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"How Long Have You Been Playing Guitar"? Who Cares?

As a YouTuber and guitar instructor, there’s one question that comes up more frequently than any other: “How long have you been playing guitar?”

The answer to this question is not only unimportant, but also inaccurate when it comes to assessing a musician’s level of skill.

Before I get to the question you should be asking, I want to preface this topic with the fact that I don’t think anything good comes from comparing yourself to other guitar players in a competitive way.

You should never get discouraged when you watch somebody ripping through a sweep arpeggio. You should never feel down about your self-worth as a guitarist.

That said, here’s my point: It’s not how long you’ve been playing, it’s how often you play. Somebody who picks up the guitar for two hours on a random Saturday a couple times per month for 10 years isn’t nearly as proficient on his or her instrument as somebody who practices 15 to 20 minutes every day for two years. Practicing every day, even for just a few minutes, will be beneficial in several ways. You’ll improve your ear, develop muscle memory and build finger strength.

But, more importantly, you’ll deepen your passion for the instrument, as it becomes a more consistent part of your life. I practice every day because I want to, not because I have to, and as a result I have more and more music in my head that wants to come out. The only reason for this buildup is that I put my fingers on the frets every day, and I encourage you to do the same, in any way you see fit.

Tyler Larson is the founder of the guitar-centric brand Music is Win. His insightful, uncomplicated guitar lessons and gear demonstrations along with entertaining, satirical content about life as a musician receive tens of millions of video views per month across social media. Tyler is also the creator of the extremely popular online guitar learning platform, Guitar Super System. A graduate of Berklee College of Music, Tyler has been teaching guitar for over a decade and operates a production studio in Nashville, TN.