Generally speaking, learning to play any instrument requires time, effort and dedication.
It’s important to ask yourself whether or not you truly have the desire to learn before becoming too concerned with how long it takes to become good at an instrument.
If you are really determined to learn, then the time and effort it takes to become good won’t feel like a grind. On the other hand, if you’re expecting instant gratification, then your journey may prove frustrating.
The guitar can be enjoyed at any level. If you want to learn fast, you need to dedicate yourself to long hours of practice every single day. Furthermore, you need to be studying the right materials and be able to recognize bad habits so you can quickly correct them. This is why it’s also a good idea to enlist the help of a teacher.
It Depends on You
This is a difficult realization for many students of the guitar. How quickly you progress will largely depend on you; not how good your teacher is, or how good your study material is.
Think about it; a teacher only has 30 minutes with you every single week. That leaves a whole 10,050 minutes where you are not learning directly from your instructor.
You can’t really become good at anything with 30 minutes a week. On the other hand, 30 minutes a day – especially over the long term – can have a tangible effect on your skill level. Consistency and habit are hugely important to your progress.
You have to take responsibility for your growth, and the more effort you’re willing to put in, the faster you will reach your goals of becoming good at the guitar.
It Depends on Your Definition
How do you quantify “good”? What does that mean to you? How do you define it?
Do you want to be able to play your favorite pop songs on the radio, or do you want to be able to play like the masters, be it Steve Vai, Joe Satriani or Eddie Van Halen? There is a considerable gap in skill level required to play simple pop songs versus the work of the pros.
If you embrace music as a lifelong passion, then there is no preset destination or point of arrival. You will keep getting better over time because you won’t stop playing. It will be a part of your lifestyle.
Not that there’s anything wrong with developing your skill level to a particular point. The question you then have to ask yourself is, “What is good enough for my personal creative expression?”
There are plenty of players, like Kurt Cobain, who may not have been the most technically skilled, but were still able to express themselves the way they saw fit.
If you truly enjoy music and guitar, progressing will be fun. You may have moments of frustration, but you will work through them as you begin to understand what it takes to be “good”. Some persistence will be required of you no matter what level you aspire to.