Am I taking to Long to Learn?

I finished the Grade 1 lessons in about 3 - 3.5 months. I did take much longer to focus on getting most of my chord changes around 50-60 in a minute and being able to strum the correct patterns to most songs using the Justin Guitar App, but reading even on this website that in 90 days you would learn advanced concepts (grade 2) and seeing people post on YouTube they completed the entire beginner grades in 5-6 months has me worried I am moving to slow. I practice just about every day of the week most of the time between 1-2 hours. I feel like I have made really good progress in the journey and people that have heard me play think I do very well, but I was hoping to be moving onto being an intermediate by the 6-month mark and I feel like I am lagging behind where that is concerned.

Currently I am doing 2 modules at once because I have time to practice both and advance on them both during the week. Still mastering the F-Chord that I can play pretty consistent on the electric guitar and still struggling to get it to work on an acoustic (that has both high action and heavy strings “double whammy in the hard department”). I know Justin said a great line at the end of grade 1 that the journey was the destination and that we always keep learning so no need to be in a rush, but seeing 12+ weeks to move on as an option when asking for feedback on grade 1 being the maximum amount of time it should take you to move on from grade 1, I feel like I might be taking too long. I know I could have moved on from grade 1 sooner, but I was making sure I had a pretty solid foundation for things to come. Am I just overthinking it and shouldn’t be concerned how long it takes to no longer be a “beginner”?


Yes, simple. There is no long or short and as I say as many times as @Richard_close2u says play songs play song, this is a marathon not a sprint. Do not compare yourself to others.
Have they followed the lessons diligently, have they read the lesson texts or just glossed through the videos. Have they learnt songs, all the way through ? Simple fact is you don’t know, so don’t worry about them.

And by the way you will always be a beginner in this game, as you will always discover new things to learn and start all over again.

Just enjoy the ride.




In fact, you are moving along quite well, and are obviously dedicated to your learning journey.

I’ve just finished Grade 3 after 3 1/2 years, and I practice 45 minutes a day, 5-7 days a week.

You’re doing GREAT!! Keep up the good work!!


Hi Josh,

In a word - no, you’re not taking too long!

I’m a fellow beginner, consolidating Grade 2. I thought I was taking my time going through things, and when I came to consolidate I realized I hadn’t really learned. So, I’m taking my time consolidating, and think it will take months. FWIW, I’d learned most basic open chords as a kid, but never really played beyond memorizing some easy songs.

Each journey is unique, and is impacted by countless variables. Many of those folks who rush through the lessons don’t learn technique very well. Some of them have been “playing around” at guitar for years, so things might come faster to them. Then, of course, there’s innate talent (in which I’m lacking!). What’s important is that you get out of your learning what you want to the level you want. However long that takes.

And finally - what you said here! You must be doing something right. :smiling_face: :guitar:


Thanks guys, I figured i was doing alright, but I tend to overthink a lot of things, so it is good to touch base with others and bounce things off to see where I am at. I was never in any rush to learn as fast as I could when I first picked up the guitar and I always had the plan to get a good foundation in no matter how long it took, but the more people found out I was learning and wanted me to already be playing in different venues puts the pressure on to get going and make as fast of progress as I can. It is good to know it can take a while to get all this stuff down pat.


Also, following up on this: have you considered lighter strings and/or lowering the action on your acoustic? I think comfort is especially important for beginners. I recently realized that my guitar is too big for me (darn, I love it, too!) - I wasn’t holding it properly trying to compensate for the size, and that in turn impacted my technique. Looking for a new guitar now…hopefully when my skills are better I’ll be able to return to this one.


Hey Judi! Good to talk to you again. The acoustic I have is actually a Taylor 114CE model that one of my buddies let me use because he has been playing 18 years and he said he now plays twice a year if that, so he told me to take it and learn on it as I saw fit since it was going to be the most difficult thing to learn on. Basically, the idea is I know it is going to be really tough to learn certain things on this guitar, so I don’t really stress over not being able to play Barres on it for instance, but I take it as a challenger that if I can play it, I can play just about anything.

Moral of the story is it isn’t my guitar, and by far the most expensive of my 3 guitars in the house currently, so can’t change strings or make mods to someone else’s guitar, but I have for sure opened my eyes to what to look for in a new guitar once I go to buy my own in the future.

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With regards to the F-chord, you might be doing this already, but the “secret” as far as I am concerned is pulling your hand back onto the strings with your left arm. Whereas with a D or A-chord I can make the notes ring just by pressure from my fingers, F is a different beast and a little bit of pull from the arm really makes a difference. I’m still very much a beginner but have a passable F-chord now (on acoustic)


Absolutely! Couldn’t agree more… only issue is on the acoustic I have, you have to pull with the might of Thor just to get buzzing out of the strings, since mine is one tough cookie to crack haha. I am however keeping plugging on the high action, heavy string acoustic and alternating back and forth between it and my electric and it is making wonders of progress for my electric by struggling through on the hard acoustic. It is wild I will be struggling mightily with the acoustic and then switch over to the electric with light gauge strings and it will be sounding like a beautiful F-chord. It is kind of wild, but I think it is understated the point Justin makes about alternating between acoustic and electric if you have the ability to do so. I believe my F-Chord has progressed wonderfully as a result even if it isn’t exactly where I want it to be after slightly a week of working on it.

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Wow, what a good friend you have!

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Sounds like you’re convinced already - I’ll just be another voice saying it’s about playing, practicing, learning songsand getting better, not advancing rapidly through the grades. Sounds like you’re doing just fine.


Talk to your friend.

If I’ve loaned a guitar for an extended time I would absolutely expect them to change strings as strings are a consumable.

Dropping a gauge won’t cause many problems, might need a slight tweak to the truss rod is all.

And also don’t worry about how long things take.

It’s not a race and you’ve no idea how many hours etc other people are putting in a day


100% agree. In a year or so you’ll be amazed that things that seem hard now just work automatically for you. Comparing to others is a zero sum game. There will be plenty who gave up and don’t post about it and you are doing far better than them.

besides play songs play songs, I’d add keep it fun.


Why worry about how long it takes? What’s the rush? Do you have an agenda beyond “learning guitar”?

Let go of the pressure, relax and enjoy yourself. It is more fun that way.

I agree you should speak with your friend. How nice of them to lend you their guitar. It probably needs new strings by now. And a good guitar should be easier to play not harder.

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I have a church friend who plays piano and wants to start getting there earlier and playing so I am trying to get up to snuff fast enough because not only just the basics of learning the instrument, is that I need to figure out also how to read music of traditional sheet music and then equate that to the guitar so when a song is called out from the songbook I can pick it up and play it right away even if I don’t know the song. That adds a bit of the rush to speed things up.

On top of that I have wanted to learn since i was a kid and never had the chance, so now I am picking it up at 30 trying to get lost time made up for so when I am 40 I am not still struggling with the basics. Not only that but the 2 styles I really wanted to get down are fingerstyle acoustic and blues electric. John Mayer, Chris Stapleton, and the classic rock guitarists of the world is the type of songs I want to play as they were originally done, so that puts a tremendous amount of pressure to pick it up even quicker because as we all know those are all advanced concepts on their own, let alone throwing all of that together. I am also a person that is extremely self-critical and if I don’t get it as quick as someone else, I feel like I am doing something wrong, so always a push it seems.

That being said I am not ignorant to the fact that anything worth doing isn’t easy and takes time and patience, another thing is patience I don’t have much of. I do very much enjoy the process though, I am 4 months in so far practicing like I do and I haven’t gotten tired yet, so I am for sure sticking with it, just nice to get the reassurance that I am not taking too long on things. Just so much I am wanting to figure out. I also have the entire week off so I can devote a ton of time into it, but I also struggle with the idea of do i practice the F-Chord by itself for an hour, do I do the entire module 10 and 11 practice once then repeat them again? I just struggle right now with having extra time and not sure how to effectively translate that into effective practice.

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For sure and has been playing for 18 years, said he put it down the equivalent of only playing for 4 years. I got to ask what made him quit for so long and gained some valuable insight into what to look out for in the future as well. It is for sure an advantage having someone like that around.

I’d advise finding a teacher or a more experienced “guitar mentor” that can play with you and listen to your playing and advise you on questions like this (i.e., am I progressing like I should). While it’s true that it’s a marathon, not a sprint, it’s also true that you can get stuck working on things for longer than you should, or not challenging yourself enough. It’s a tough thing to judge for yourself (especially as a beginner).

I remember when I was learning piano my piano teachers would often move me to new music before I thought I was done with whatever I was currently working on. I didn’t feel like I’d mastered a given piece, but it was on to something else. I was correct (I hadn’t mastered such-and-such piece), but I wasn’t seeing the bigger picture. I’d learned what the teacher wanted me to get from the piece, so now I was adding something else (while continuing to get better at things I’d previously learned). Again, it’s sometimes tough to see that bigger picture when you’re learning on your own. (Obviously that doesn’t mean you can’t or shouldn’t learn on your own. It just means that sometimes a teacher or mentor can be a huge help and make things more efficient.)


If it’s any consolation: I started last February, and am now on the last module of grade 1 and consolidation. I haven’t been playing every day, I have been on holiday for a month, and in the last couple of weeks I managed to develop a tennis elbow by playing guitar, cut the tip of the 2nd finger of my fretting hand preparing Christmas dinner and ruined my back moving the table back in place after said Christmas dinner. But I’m still having fun and I am happy with the progress I’ve made and am still making.

Personally, I would say: play because you want to, what you want to and the way you want to, not because other people want you to or want you to play a certain way or certain things. If those two coincide, that’s perfectly fine, but if they don’t, put what you want first. After all, it is still a hobby and it is still your free time you’re investing, so you should be the primary one getting out of it what you want for yourself. (This may sound more egotistic than it’s meant to, but I think you shouldn’t feel pressured by others, that’s all :slight_smile: )


Yeah, I have given thought to going around the 1-year mark to a guitar teacher on feedback for things I need to work on still and a direction to go in. I found myself already not doing the C and D chords with the right grip and the D specially makes playing the sus chords a bit trickier, so I am going back and fixing small issues with each chord to get it right again before going on. Definitely thought about doing a feedback guitar lesson once I learn a few more things to work on and then trying again.

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Oh lord! Sorry to hear all that has happened. Definitely not making things easy for you. I am definitely enjoying it and progressing, just got lofty goals and it takes a ton of time to get everything going in that direction, especially when finding songs to practice things with and you have to go look up tutorials on how to do them first and then put into practice what you are trying to learn. It is a long process for sure, but worth it, I think. Just got to keep giving it time and effort.

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