Can you get really good, maybe even great after 10 years of playing?

Can you get really good, maybe even great after 10 years of playing?

If not, 20 years?


If you put in the time you can get good after 2 years even great in under 5

What do you consider good - great?

For me, it’s of course the guitar hero’s I listen too but I would also say the guitar teachers online like Justin, Chris Buck… guys like that

That would depend on the style of music. Great musians concentrate on what they’re good at and become great at it. Good musicians can entertain people. So someone who plays open chords and can entertain an audience is a good musician.


You should be a good player that can hold your own with other musicians after five to six years of playing --starting out with a fair amount of talent going in, a good ear for music, solid study habits and practice.

how would one “start out” with a fair amount of talent? :thinking:

The same place where any other natural or innate ability and/or gift comes from. :slight_smile:

talent /tăl′ənt/


  1. A marked innate ability, as for artistic accomplishment.

“has a rare talent for music.”

  1. Natural endowment or ability of a superior quality.

“The play has a cast of immense talent.”

Talent - But still did a huge shed load of practice and learning. Natural talent is a myth but you may have an advantage with certain motor skills both physical or cerebral. No one is born shredding. It all takes hard graft. Simples.


“Hard work always beats talent if talent doesn’t work hard.” Quote Tim Notke
Every talented person I know also are the hardest workers/practice in what ever they do.
So does talent bring hard work or does hard work create talent?


This, nothing more to say. Well I guess apart from opportunity and that’s a different ball game.

To the OP learn you craft, slow and steady. Build a wide and deep foundation of the basics. Keep on layering and repeating that approach to all levels of playing and you can get there but don’t expect it to be easy. No quick wins no short cuts. My 2 cents.

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Damn. I’ve got four more years to get that far? I guess that’s guitar…

Maybe less, maybe more, depending on your definition of “really good” and the other criteria. Mozart didn’t need that much time, having composed and performed for royalty at age five. :slight_smile:

What makes a good or great guitarist is a bit like asking how long is a piece of string. What makes G/G guitarist really depends on your definitions.

Some who arguably fall into the category of good or even great but were not the most technically “great” include (with a short quip about them):

Kurt Cobain: “With his do-it-yourself ethic, Kurt was an example to many that you didn’t have to have the technical skill of a Jimi Hendrix to make your mark in music.”

Joni Mitchell: “Joni Mitchell is not a technically brilliant guitarist, but she is one of the most inventive players of all time.”

John Lennon: “John knew he wasn’t a technically good player, but any guitarist can throw a few chords together that work. The trick is making magic out of those chords. Lennon’s guitar work was simple.”

Bob Dylan: “Dylan stands firmly as one of music’s ultimate icons, despite guitar skills that are a bit meh. Like Lennon, Dylan’s strength lies in his songwriting ability.”

Johnny Cash: “Although he wasn’t necessarily known for having mad guitar skills, Johnny Cash most definitely had a unique playing style.”

B.B. King: “B.B. King once said he is like a cook who only has three or four ingredients to work with, but he knows how to use those few ingredients very well and in interesting combinations. B.B. may not play complicated licks, but he found his note all right and played the hell out of it.”

You can check out this: Six Influential Guitarists Who Were Mediocre Players - Guitar Tricks Blog


I would guess that the most important factor would be the amount of efficient practice time you can put in.

Time needed increases with decreased efficiency, but more time is helpful.

Talent is a multifaceted thing that ranges from coordination to untreated and focus.

If you are super interested, have no innate disadvantages, are well organized and driven, and have gobs of time, like multiple hours per day, you will become good fast.

I am very interested, poorly organized, old, lazy, slow and short. Oh, and rhythmically challenged, not to mention playing righty when I am very left handed (I chose this) and have quite limited time.

It is good that I have no agenda and am having a whole lot of fun plodding along in my meander through guitar. I will be good at it, but I will be in the longer end of the scale.


10 years of actual growth and progress, learning and hard practice, yes.

10 years of cowboy chord campfire strumming, no

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I’ve been playing for something like 12 years now. I can now play songs that I never dreamed I could play 10 years ago. For me that’s beyond great!


I enjoy reading this thread, talent is mentioned, talent does not matter, hard work and a lot of practise is the way forward is also mentioned…

I believe some kind of talent and 10000+ hours of focused practise is the way to go if you want to be brilliant.

@OpsRes kind of summed it all up for me…
Kurt Cobain… there are probably players in this forum that has better skills than he had on guitar… but there is not many around with the same pressence that Kurt had with a guitar in his hands.
And the list goes on and on…

My take is that if you can find some meaning doing this, even better… if it makes you happy and put a smile on youre face, and maybe it gives you a break in a world that is spinning faster and faster…. Just play youre guitar.Does not matter much how good you are or whatever youre endgame is… just enjoy wherever you are at any given moment.

I also liked what @stitch said furter up in this thread…


I find it interesting that the people who are often referred to as “naturally talented” are often those who grew up in musical households.

Mozart, for instance, was a prodigy, but his father was a musician and a composer, and his older sister an accomplished musician. He started learning piano at the age of 3.

I think being born into a musical family and continuously being exposed to music and musicians from a very young age, and being encouraged and inspired by them, is a huge factor.

And, in those days, they didn’t have TV or social media to distract.




Eddie Van Halen was 23 when Van Halen’s first album was released. He started playing guitar at 11.

So yeah you can get really good in a decade of dedicated practice & playing.

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I wonder what percentage of successful (as in making substantial money in performances and music sales) musicians started in their 50s?

Are any of who we consider the great musicians late bloomers? Present company excluded, y’all are great, right?

I suspect one’s odds of achieving this level are higher if you start really young. Mozart probably integrated music into his being the way we integrate speaking. It was just natural, having been so immersed from so early.