Guitar Self Learning Guide

Can Guitar Be Self-Taught? The Pro’s & Cons Of Teaching Yourself To Play Guitar

Everything You Need To Know Before Starting Your Self-Taught Guitar-Playing Journey

The question of whether the guitar can be self-taught is one that many aspiring musicians find themselves asking.

Teaching yourself how to play the guitar is a popular choice for many aspiring musicians, but is it really the best option?

In this article, we’ll explore the pros and cons of learning guitar on your own and provide a step-by-step guide on how to teach yourself guitar using books, YouTube, and online courses.

We’ll also discuss common mistakes made when teaching yourself guitar and why it’s a good idea to supplement your self-taught learning with a real guitar teacher.

Can Guitar Be Self-Taught?

The short answer is yes, guitar can be self-taught.

With the vast amount of resources available online, it’s easier than ever to learn guitar without the guidance of a teacher. From video tutorials to online guitar lessons, the internet is a treasure trove of information for self-learners.

However, it’s important to note that self-teaching requires a great deal of discipline and determination. Without a teacher to hold you accountable, it can be easy to fall into bad habits, lose motivation, or overwhelm yourself by overconsuming content.

teach yourself to play guitar

Self-Teaching Guitar Versus Learning From A Teacher

When it comes to learning guitar, you have two main options: self-teaching or learning from a professional guitar teacher.

Self-teaching allows for a more flexible schedule and can be more cost-effective, but it can also be more challenging to stay motivated and overcome obstacles.

On the other hand, learning from a guitar teacher provides valuable feedback and guidance, but it also comes at a cost and may not fit into everyone’s schedule.

Ultimately, the choice between self-teaching and learning from a teacher will depend on your learning style and goals.

The Pros and Cons of Self-Teaching

As with any method of learning, teaching yourself to play guitar has its pros and cons. Some of the benefits of self-teaching include:

  • Flexibility: When self-teaching, you can learn at your own pace and on your own schedule.
  • Cost-effective: Self-teaching is often cheaper than taking formal lessons.
  • Tailored learning: With self-teaching, you can focus on the areas of guitar that interest you the most.

On the other hand, some of the downsides of self-teaching include:

  • Lack of accountability: Without a teacher to hold you accountable, it can be easy to fall into bad habits or become demotivated.
  • Limited feedback: Self-teaching doesn’t provide the same level of feedback as formal lessons.
  • Difficulty in identifying mistakes: Without a teacher to point out mistakes, it can be harder to identify and correct them.

You have to weigh up the pros and the cons when making a decision about whether to teach yourself or to get lessons from a real teacher.

How To Teach Yourself Guitar

If you decide to go the self-taught route, there are a few key steps you can take to make the most of your learning journey.

Start with the basics: Before diving into more advanced songs and techniques, make sure you have a solid understanding of the basics. This includes chords, scales, and proper technique.

Use a variety of resources: Don’t rely on just one book or YouTube channel to teach yourself guitar. Mix and match different resources to keep things interesting and ensure that you’re getting a well-rounded education.

Practice consistently: As with any skill, practice is key when it comes to self-teaching guitar. Set aside a specific time each day to practice and stick to it. Consistency is key in order to see progress and improvement.

Be patient with yourself: Self-teaching can be challenging and it may take longer than learning from a teacher. Be patient with yourself and remember that progress takes time.

Break down songs: Listen to a song you want to learn and try to break it down into smaller parts. Once you understand the individual parts, you can work on putting them together to play the entire song.

As you can see, self-teaching guitar can be a great option for those who want to learn at their own pace and on their own schedule. However, it’s important to use a variety of resources, practice consistently, and be patient with yourself in order to be successful.

In the next section, we will discuss specific resources you can use when self-teaching guitar such as books, YouTube, and online courses.

self learning guitar guide

How To Teach Yourself Guitar From Books

Books are a great resource for self-teaching guitar, as they provide a structured learning experience and can be a valuable supplement to online resources. There are a wide variety of guitar instruction books available for all skill levels, from beginner to advanced. Some popular options include the Hal Leonard Guitar Method and the Fender Guitar Method.

If you’re a beginner then I would highly recommend downloading a copy of our free beginner guitar ebook to get you off to a good start.

If you’re a more advanced player then the publisher Fundamental Changes has fantastic books on every niche guitar topic imaginable.

When self-teaching from a book, it’s important to have a clear goal in mind and a consistent practice schedule. Start with the basics, such as learning chords and strumming patterns, and gradually build up to more advanced techniques. It’s also important to supplement your learning with online resources, such as videos and guitar tabs, to help you visualize and understand the concepts better.

How To Teach Yourself Guitar From Youtube

Youtube is a great resource for self-teaching guitar, as it offers a wide variety of guitar lessons from both professional and amateur guitar teachers. Some popular Youtube channels for guitar lessons include JustinGuitar, Marty Music, and Rick Beato.

You can even view my channel here where I have an abundance of free guitar lesson videos with insights that will help aid you as you teach yourself guitar.

When self-teaching from Youtube, it’s important to find a channel that is relevant to your skill level and learning style. Start with basic lessons, such as chord progressions and strumming patterns, and gradually build up to more advanced techniques. Be sure to take notes and practice regularly to solidify your learning.

Learning guitar from Youtube can offer a wealth of great advice, just don’t overconsume too much content.

How To Teach Yourself Guitar Using Online Courses

Online guitar courses are a great resource for self-teaching guitar, as they offer a structured learning experience and can be accessed from anywhere.

As of 2023 there are more online guitar courses than ever and many celebrity guitarists have released their own meaning you get instant access to some of your favourite players.

When self-teaching from an online course, it’s important to have a clear goal in mind and a consistent practice schedule. Start with the basics, such as learning chords and strumming patterns, and gradually build up to more advanced techniques. Be sure to take advantage of the interactive features of the course, such as quizzes and exercises, to solidify your learning.

Common Mistakes When Teaching Yourself To Play Guitar

Self-teaching guitar can come with its own set of challenges, and it’s important to be aware of the common mistakes that beginners make.

From not starting with the basics, to relying solely on one resource, to not having proper technique, these missteps can impede your progress and make the learning process more difficult.

By being mindful of these pitfalls, you can avoid them and set yourself up for success on your guitar learning journey.

  1. Not setting clear goals or having a consistent practice schedule
  2. Not supplementing learning with online resources or guitar tabs
  3. Skipping over basic concepts and jumping to advanced techniques
  4. Not seeking out feedback or guidance from more experienced guitar players
  5. Developing bad habits, bad posture and bad technique which can hold back your progress or lead to you being unnecessarily frustrated

Why It’s A Good Idea To Learn From A Real Guitar Teacher

While self-teaching guitar can be a great option, there are certain benefits to learning from a real guitar teacher.

A guitar teacher can provide personalized feedback, guidance, and support throughout the learning process.

They can also help you set clear goals, develop a consistent practice schedule, and correct any bad habits that may develop from self-teaching.

If you’re learning guitar from the very beginning then taking lessons guitar lessons with a teacher will be the easiest and most efficient way to get started. You can always head off on your own once a teacher has helped you get the basics down.

Likewise, if you’re a more independent learner you will still benefit from a regular lesson with a guitar teacher. This way they can help you overcome any hurdles you come across when self-learning and can provide you with actionable feedback on your posture, playing and technique, which is something you will never get from a book, online article or youtube video.


Self-teaching guitar can be a great option for those who are motivated, disciplined, and have access to the right resources.

However, it’s important to set clear goals, have a consistent practice schedule, and supplement learning with online resources, guitar tabs, and feedback from more experienced guitar players.

For those who are serious about learning guitar, it’s also a good idea to consider taking lessons from a real guitar teacher, even if it’s only once every few months to get keep you on track and unlearn any ad habits you may have developed.

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About The Author

Meet Michael Gumley, the guitar genius behind this informative blog post. He’s not just a guitar teacher, he’s a guitar Jedi. With 12 books under his belt, he’s basically a walking encyclopedia of guitar knowledge. Not to mention, his Guitar Ninjas curriculum is so good, it’s being used in 20 studios worldwide. And if that wasn’t enough, he’s also the owner of Melbourne Guitar Academy, where students have been shredding their way to guitar greatness since 2015. (oh wow, I used Chatbot to generate that intro)

So, if you’re looking for guitar advice, you’ve come to the right place. If you want to learn from a great Guitar Teacher In Melbourne then get in touch to book a free trial lesson with Michael.

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