Exploring the Possibility of Self-Teaching Guitar: A Comprehensive Guide

GuitarLeave a Comment on Exploring the Possibility of Self-Teaching Guitar: A Comprehensive Guide

Exploring the Possibility of Self-Teaching Guitar: A Comprehensive Guide

The guitar is one of the most popular instruments in the world, and many people dream of learning how to play it. But is it possible to teach yourself guitar, or do you need a professional teacher to guide you through the process? In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the possibility of self-teaching guitar and discover the pros and cons of this approach. From finding the right resources to developing a consistent practice routine, we will cover everything you need to know to start your journey as a self-taught guitarist. So, get ready to pick up that guitar and start strumming your way to musical greatness!

Can You Learn Guitar by Yourself?

The Benefits of Self-Teaching Guitar

Learning guitar by yourself can have numerous benefits that can enhance your learning experience. Here are some of the advantages of self-teaching guitar:

Flexibility in learning pace

One of the most significant benefits of self-teaching guitar is the flexibility it offers in terms of learning pace. You can learn at your own pace, without the pressure of meeting a specific deadline or keeping up with a group of students. This allows you to spend more time on concepts that you find challenging and to revisit them as often as needed until you fully understand them.

Saving money on lessons

Taking guitar lessons can be expensive, especially if you take lessons regularly or for an extended period. Self-teaching guitar allows you to save money on lessons, as you can learn from various resources such as online tutorials, books, and apps. Additionally, you can use free resources such as YouTube videos and online forums to learn new techniques and get feedback from other guitarists.

Learning at your own convenience

Self-teaching guitar also offers the convenience of learning at your own schedule. You can learn whenever and wherever you want, without having to worry about scheduling lessons or commuting to a music school. This allows you to balance your learning with other commitments such as work, family, or other hobbies.

Overall, self-teaching guitar offers numerous benefits that can enhance your learning experience. By understanding these benefits, you can make an informed decision about whether self-teaching guitar is the right option for you.

The Challenges of Self-Teaching Guitar

While it is possible to learn guitar by oneself, there are several challenges that one may encounter along the way. Here are some of the most common obstacles that aspiring guitarists may face when attempting to self-teach:

  • Lack of proper guidance: One of the biggest challenges of self-teaching guitar is the lack of proper guidance. Without a teacher or mentor to provide feedback and advice, it can be difficult to know if you are making progress or if you are on the right track. This can lead to frustration and discouragement, especially for beginners who may not have a strong foundation in music theory or technique.
  • Difficulty in identifying and correcting mistakes: Another challenge of self-teaching guitar is the difficulty in identifying and correcting mistakes. It can be hard to recognize when you are playing a note or chord incorrectly, and even harder to know how to fix it. This can lead to sloppy playing and poor technique, which can be difficult to overcome later on.
  • Limited access to resources: Finally, self-teaching guitar can be challenging due to limited access to resources. Without access to quality instructional materials, such as books, videos, or online courses, it can be difficult to learn the necessary skills and techniques to become a proficient guitarist. Additionally, without the guidance of a teacher or mentor, it can be hard to know which resources are the best to use.

Essential Guitar Gear for Self-Teaching

Key takeaway: Learning guitar by oneself can have numerous benefits, such as flexibility in learning pace, saving money on lessons, and learning at your own convenience. However, there are also challenges to self-teaching guitar, such as lack of proper guidance, difficulty in identifying and correcting mistakes, and limited access to resources. To overcome these challenges, it is important to have the right tools, such as a good quality guitar, guitar straps, capos, picks, tuners, and books and sheet music. Online tutorials and lessons, such as YouTube tutorials, online courses, and mobile apps, can also be a valuable resource for self-teaching guitar. It is important to set goals and create a schedule to stay focused and motivated throughout your learning journey. Developing good habits, such as warming up exercises, proper posture and hand positioning, and regular practice sessions, can also help you improve your guitar playing skills. Seeking feedback and improving skills, such as joining online guitar communities, recording yourself playing, and seeking feedback from friends or family members, can also be helpful in identifying areas that need improvement and track your progress over time. Finally, continuing your guitar journey by exploring different genres and styles, joining a local guitar club or group, and taking advanced lessons or classes can provide you with a supportive community of fellow guitar enthusiasts who share your passion for music.

Guitar Basics

Choosing the Right Guitar

Choosing the right guitar is a crucial first step in self-teaching guitar. The guitar you choose will greatly impact your learning experience and ultimately affect your ability to play. When choosing a guitar, consider the following factors:

  • Budget: The price of the guitar can vary greatly, so it’s important to set a budget beforehand.
  • Size: Acoustic guitars come in different sizes, and it’s important to choose one that is comfortable to play.
  • Material: Different materials produce different tones, so it’s important to choose a guitar that produces the sound you desire.
  • Brands: There are many guitar brands available, each with their own unique style and quality.

Once you have considered these factors, you can start narrowing down your options and selecting the right guitar for you.

Understanding the Parts of a Guitar

Understanding the parts of a guitar is essential for learning how to play. A guitar consists of several parts, including:

  • Body: The body of the guitar is where the sound is produced.
  • Neck: The neck of the guitar is where the frets are located.
  • Fretboard: The fretboard is the surface of the neck where the strings are pressed down.
  • Headstock: The headstock is where the tuning pegs are located.
  • Bridge: The bridge is where the strings are anchored to the body of the guitar.

Knowing the names and functions of these parts will help you understand how to play the guitar and troubleshoot any issues that may arise.

Proper Guitar Maintenance

Proper guitar maintenance is essential for keeping your guitar in good condition and ensuring that it stays in tune. Here are some tips for proper guitar maintenance:

  • Cleaning: Use a soft cloth to wipe down the guitar after each use. Avoid using harsh chemicals or cleaners, as they can damage the finish.
  • Tuning: Tune your guitar regularly to ensure that it stays in tune.
  • Truss rod adjustment: If your guitar is not staying in tune, it may be necessary to adjust the truss rod.
  • Inspection: Inspect your guitar for any damage or wear and tear. If you notice any issues, have your guitar checked by a professional.

By following these tips, you can ensure that your guitar stays in good condition and is ready for self-teaching.


As you embark on your journey of self-teaching guitar, it is important to have the right tools to make the learning process more enjoyable and efficient. Here are some essential accessories that every self-taught guitarist should consider investing in:

Guitar Strap

A guitar strap is an essential accessory for any guitarist, regardless of their skill level. It allows you to play your guitar comfortably while standing or sitting, and it can also help prevent back pain and posture issues. A good guitar strap should be adjustable, durable, and comfortable to wear. Leather straps are a popular choice among guitarists, but nylon and polyester straps are also popular options.


A capo is a small device that clamps onto the guitar neck, allowing you to change the pitch of the strings without having to physically adjust the tuning pegs. This is a great tool for guitarists who want to play songs in different keys without having to learn new chords. Capos come in a variety of sizes and styles, and they can be made from materials such as rubber, nylon, or metal.


Picks are small plastic or metal tools that are used to strum or pick individual strings on the guitar. They come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and they can be made from materials such as nylon, celluloid, or delrin. Some guitarists prefer heavier gauges for strumming, while others prefer lighter gauges for fingerpicking. Experiment with different picks to find the one that feels most comfortable in your hand.


A tuner is an essential tool for any guitarist, as it allows you to ensure that your guitar is properly in tune. There are many different types of tuners available, including clip-on tuners, pedal tuners, and tuning forks. Some tuners are more accurate than others, so it is important to choose a high-quality tuner to ensure that your guitar stays in tune. Many tuners also have additional features, such as a metronome or a drum machine, which can be helpful for practicing and improving your timing.

Resources for Self-Teaching Guitar

Online Tutorials and Lessons

When it comes to self-teaching guitar, online tutorials and lessons are a great resource for those who want to learn at their own pace and in the comfort of their own home. There are many websites and mobile apps that offer guitar lessons, and they can be a valuable tool for anyone who wants to learn how to play the guitar.

Here are some of the most popular online guitar lessons:

YouTube Tutorials

YouTube is a treasure trove of guitar lessons, with thousands of videos covering a wide range of topics, from beginner lessons to advanced techniques. Many professional guitarists and music teachers have their own YouTube channels, where they share their knowledge and expertise with the world. You can find videos on everything from chord progressions to songwriting, and you can even find playlists specifically designed for beginners.

Online Courses

Online courses are a great option for those who want structured lessons that they can follow at their own pace. Websites like Udemy, Coursera, and Skillshare offer a wide range of guitar courses, taught by professional guitarists and music teachers. These courses typically include video lessons, exercises, and quizzes, and they can be a great way to learn guitar technique, music theory, and songwriting.

Mobile Apps

Mobile apps are a convenient way to learn guitar on the go. There are many guitar apps available, such as Fender Play, Yousician, and Guitar Tricks, that offer a range of lessons and exercises designed for beginners and advanced players alike. These apps typically include video lessons, interactive exercises, and progress tracking, making them a great option for those who want to learn guitar while on the move.

In conclusion, online tutorials and lessons are a valuable resource for those who want to learn guitar on their own. With the help of YouTube tutorials, online courses, and mobile apps, anyone can learn guitar at their own pace and in the comfort of their own home.

Books and Sheet Music

For those interested in self-teaching guitar, books and sheet music can be an invaluable resource. They provide a wealth of information on how to play the guitar, as well as the theory behind it.

Guitar Method Books

Guitar method books are designed to help beginners learn how to play the guitar. They typically include step-by-step instructions on how to hold the guitar, how to read tablature, and how to play basic chords. Some popular guitar method books include:

  • “Guitar Method, Book 1” by Michael Ledbetter
  • “Guitar Method, Book 2” by Michael Ledbetter
  • “Guitar Lesson Goldmine: Guitar Method for Guitar, Book & Online Audio” by Bradley Laine


Songbooks are another useful resource for self-teaching guitar. They provide guitar tabs and chord sheets for popular songs, making it easy to learn and play your favorite tunes. Some popular songbooks include:

  • “Guitar Play-Along Volume 68: Led Zeppelin”
  • “Guitar Tab Anthology: Classic Rock”
  • “The Beatles – Guitar TAB Songbook”

Music Theory Books

For those looking to gain a deeper understanding of music theory, there are many books available that delve into the subject. These books can help you understand how music works, how to read sheet music, and how to write your own music. Some popular music theory books include:

  • “Music Theory for Guitarists” by Tom Kolb
  • “The Complete Guide to Music Theory for Guitarists” by Brian Larson
  • “Music Theory for Dummies” by Michael Pilhofer and Holly Day

In conclusion, books and sheet music are an excellent resource for those looking to self-teach guitar. They provide a wealth of information on how to play the guitar, as well as the theory behind it. By using these resources, you can take your guitar playing to the next level and become a skilled musician.

Tips for Self-Teaching Guitar

Setting Goals and Creating a Schedule

Creating a clear and concise set of goals is a crucial aspect of self-teaching guitar. It helps you to stay focused and motivated throughout your learning journey. It is important to distinguish between short-term and long-term goals, as they will serve different purposes and have different timelines.

Short-term goals are specific, achievable, and can be accomplished within a few weeks or months. These goals are meant to provide a sense of accomplishment and momentum in the early stages of learning. Examples of short-term goals include learning a specific chord, playing a simple melody, or mastering a particular technique.

Long-term goals, on the other hand, are more general and can take several months or even years to achieve. These goals should be challenging but realistic, and they help to provide direction and purpose to your guitar learning journey. Examples of long-term goals include mastering a particular genre of music, performing in public, or composing your own songs.

Creating a daily practice schedule is essential for achieving your goals. It helps you to prioritize your time and efforts, and it ensures that you are making steady progress. When creating your schedule, it is important to consider your available time, energy levels, and personal preferences. It is also essential to be realistic about your goals and to ensure that your schedule is manageable and sustainable in the long term.

Some tips for creating a successful practice schedule include:

  • Start with a realistic goal: Set a goal that is achievable and realistic given your current skill level and time constraints.
  • Be consistent: Try to practice at the same time each day, and make it a habit.
  • Break it down: Divide your practice time into shorter, more manageable sessions, and take regular breaks to avoid burnout.
  • Track your progress: Keep a record of your practice sessions, and note your achievements and areas for improvement.
  • Mix it up: Incorporate a variety of techniques, exercises, and songs into your practice routine to keep things interesting and challenging.

Overall, setting goals and creating a schedule are essential components of self-teaching guitar. They help to provide direction, motivation, and structure to your learning journey, and they ensure that you are making steady progress towards your musical goals.

Developing Good Habits

As a self-taught guitarist, developing good habits is essential for achieving success. By incorporating these habits into your practice routine, you can improve your technique, increase your muscle memory, and enhance your overall musicianship.

  • Warm-up exercises

Before you begin practicing, it’s important to warm up your hands and fingers. This can help prevent injuries and increase your dexterity. Some simple warm-up exercises include stretching your fingers, playing scales, and practicing arpeggios. You can also try playing simple melodies or chord progressions to get your fingers moving and your mind focused.

  • Proper posture and hand positioning

Proper posture and hand positioning are crucial for playing the guitar efficiently and effectively. Make sure to sit or stand with your back straight and your shoulders relaxed. Hold the guitar with your thumb on the top of the neck and your fingers curved around the fretboard. When playing chords, place your fingers close to the fretboard and use a neutral wrist position. For single-note playing, keep your wrist flexible and your fingers curved.

  • Regular practice sessions

Consistency is key when it comes to practicing the guitar. Set aside a specific time each day to practice, even if it’s just for a few minutes. Start with short practice sessions and gradually increase the length as you become more comfortable. It’s also important to take breaks and give your hands and fingers time to rest and recover.

By incorporating these habits into your practice routine, you can set yourself up for success as a self-taught guitarist. Remember to be patient, persistent, and consistent, and you’ll be well on your way to achieving your musical goals.

Seeking Feedback and Improving Skills

Seeking feedback and improving skills are crucial components of the self-teaching process. Here are some effective ways to seek feedback and improve your guitar playing skills:

  • Joining online guitar communities
    • Joining online guitar communities is an excellent way to connect with other guitar enthusiasts and learn from their experiences. You can find online forums, social media groups, and even dedicated YouTube channels that focus on guitar-related discussions and tutorials. By participating in these communities, you can ask questions, share your progress, and get feedback from experienced players.
  • Recording yourself playing
    • Recording yourself playing is an effective way to identify areas that need improvement and track your progress over time. You can use a smartphone or a digital audio recorder to record your practice sessions. Listening to your recordings can help you identify issues such as incorrect fingerings, poor tuning, or weak rhythm. You can then work on these areas to improve your overall playing.
  • Seeking feedback from friends or family members
    • Seeking feedback from friends or family members who play guitar can be helpful in identifying areas that need improvement. You can ask them to listen to your playing and provide constructive feedback. They may be able to identify areas that you may have overlooked or provide suggestions for improvement. However, it is essential to remember that not all feedback is equally valuable, and it is crucial to consider the experience and expertise of the person providing feedback.

Continuing Your Guitar Journey

  • Exploring Different Genres and Styles

As you progress in your self-taught guitar journey, it’s essential to keep challenging yourself and expanding your musical horizons. Exploring different genres and styles can help you develop a well-rounded understanding of music and enhance your guitar playing skills.

Here are some tips to help you explore various genres and styles:

  • Listen to a Wide Range of Music: The more you expose yourself to different types of music, the better you’ll understand the nuances of each genre. Make a playlist with songs from different decades and styles, and actively listen to them while following along with the guitar parts.
  • Research the History of Guitar in Different Genres: Learn about the guitar’s role in various genres and how it has evolved over time. This knowledge will help you appreciate the context of different playing techniques and styles.
  • Learn from Cover Songs: Listen to cover versions of your favorite songs, and try to replicate the guitar parts. This can help you develop your technique and understand how different genres are interpreted on the guitar.
  • Try Fingerpicking and Flatpicking: Fingerpicking and flatpicking are two essential techniques used in various genres. Try incorporating both techniques into your playing to expand your skillset and explore different sounds.
  • Join Online Communities and Forums: Connect with other self-taught guitarists through online communities and forums. Discuss your favorite genres and ask for recommendations on new music or techniques to learn.

Joining a Local Guitar Club or Group

Joining a local guitar club or group can provide you with a supportive community of fellow guitar enthusiasts who share your passion for music. You can attend meetings, participate in jam sessions, and receive feedback on your playing.

Here are some benefits of joining a local guitar club or group:

  • Meet Fellow Guitarists: Connect with like-minded individuals who share your interest in playing the guitar. Building relationships with other guitarists can provide you with valuable insights and advice.
  • Learn from More Experienced Players: Attend workshops and clinics led by experienced guitarists who can offer guidance on technique, theory, and performance.
  • Participate in Jam Sessions: Jamming with other guitarists can help you develop your improvisational skills and learn new techniques. You can also experiment with different genres and styles in a collaborative setting.
  • Get Feedback on Your Playing: Share your progress with others and receive constructive feedback on your playing. This can help you identify areas for improvement and set goals for your musical development.

To find a local guitar club or group, search online or ask other guitarists for recommendations. Many music stores and venues also host guitar-related events and workshops that you can attend.

Taking Advanced Lessons or Classes

As you progress in your self-taught guitar journey, you may reach a point where you feel ready to take your playing to the next level. Advanced lessons or classes can provide you with personalized guidance and support from experienced instructors.

Here are some tips for finding advanced lessons or classes:

  • Research Local Music Schools and Instructors: Search online or ask for recommendations from other guitarists. Look for instructors who specialize in the genre or style you’re interested in and have experience teaching advanced students.
  • Consider Online Lessons: There are many online platforms that offer advanced guitar lessons taught by professional instructors. Look for courses that focus on technique, theory, and performance, and choose an instructor whose teaching style aligns with your learning preferences.
  • Attend Workshops and Masterclasses: Many music schools and venues host workshops and masterclasses led by


1. What are the advantages of learning guitar by myself?

Learning guitar by yourself has several advantages. Firstly, you can learn at your own pace, which means you can take as much time as you need to master each lesson. Secondly, you can choose the style of music you want to learn, and the type of guitar you want to play. Lastly, you can practice whenever and wherever you want, without the need for scheduling lessons with a teacher.

2. What are the challenges of learning guitar by myself?

Learning guitar by yourself can also have its challenges. One of the biggest challenges is that you don’t have a teacher to guide you through the learning process. You will need to be self-motivated and disciplined to practice regularly and consistently. Additionally, without a teacher, it can be difficult to identify and correct mistakes, which can slow down your progress.

3. What kind of guitar should I buy for self-learning?

When it comes to buying a guitar for self-learning, there are several factors to consider. Firstly, the size and shape of the guitar, which can affect your comfort and playing style. Secondly, the material of the guitar, which can affect the sound quality. Lastly, the price, which can vary depending on the brand, model, and quality. Some popular brands for beginners include Yamaha, Fender, and Gibson.

4. How can I learn guitar chords and tabs?

Learning guitar chords and tabs can be done through various resources, such as online tutorials, books, and apps. You can start by learning the basic chords and progress to more complex ones as you become more comfortable with the instrument. It’s also important to practice chord transitions and strumming patterns to develop a smooth and flowing playing style.

5. What are some tips for practicing guitar by myself?

Practicing guitar by yourself requires discipline and dedication. One tip is to set aside a specific time each day to practice, and to stick to that schedule. Another tip is to start with simple songs and gradually progress to more complex ones. Additionally, you can use a metronome to help you maintain a consistent tempo and rhythm. Lastly, don’t be afraid to experiment with different styles and techniques to find what works best for you.

How I Taught Myself Guitar; What NOT To Do

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back To Top