How Many Hours Per Day Does It Take To Get Good At Guitar?

How long is this going to take? Good question.

I had a 14-year-old student who used to practice 30 minutes per week (the 30 minutes just before his next lesson). When I called him out on it, he whined that he just didn't have the talent for it.

His mistake consisted in believing that a person was born with musical ability, and, as such, being good would somehow magically just happen by virtue of owning a guitar.

There are no musical instincts, my friend.

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How many hours a day do you currently practice? Yes, hours per day? If you were thinking hours per week, you're not putting enough time in to get good.

Think of it this way: Steve Vai spends three hours warming up before each show. Warmup. Is he warming up more than you practice?

Eric Johnson reported that he practiced four or five hours per day as a kid and I don't think he really got it all together until he was in his 50s.

Almost every person I know who is "good" on the guitar put in hours per day, at least for the first few years.

At my peak, I practiced eight hours per night. Yeah, not much sleep back then.

Many hard core fanatics are putting in 10 or more hours per day.

These are the calluses on the fingers of Paul Gilbert:

Feeling like a slacker now?

Even if you're not one-sided maniac, you should consider guitar practice a part-time job and devote no less than 20 hours per week to the thing.

You will see progress once you start getting more than two hours per day, six days a week; better to go three hours six days a week.

But what if you don't have 15 to 20 hours a week to put into the guitar/music?

Have a guitar lying around so that you can just pick it up and work on something specific in a focused manner, even if you only have ten minutes to spare at that particular moment. Ten minutes ain't nothing.

Have guitars all over the place (office, home, everywhere) so that no matter where you are you can work on something.

You can still work on valuable music skills and knowledge in the absence of an instrument. Time away from the guitar can be used to work on theory, reading interviews, or hanging out at this blog.

If you have limited time make sure and not just run through the same old thing you always do, rather, work on something totally different.

And, face it, there is no moral obligation to actually be "good."

Just have fun. You won't burn in hell just because you never made it to the top of the guitar world. It's pretty weird up there anyway.

Besides, taking guitar practice to the extreme can lead to a pretty miserable life. Lenny Breau was one of the great jazz guitarists of all time. He got that way by practicing more than 9 hours per day, every day. Sometimes a lot more than that. I'd love to have his abilities on guitar but, after reading his biography, I'd just as soon pass on that skill set and live a normal, long life. A person can put in 10-16 hours a day on guitar but, in the end, you might not be much of a person.