Embarking on the world a guitar can bring you is a beautiful journey. Surely, having a guide to show you around and teach you the ropes can help you get ahead of the curve and really learn at a faster pace. But that is not an option for many. In that case, can you really navigate on your own and teach yourself to play guitar? The answer is yes! Learn more and how below:
Aspiring guitarists and hobbyist learners alike have frequently asked this question. And the answer is yes! You can teach yourself guitar and you can do so in a number of ways. Countless tutorials, blogs, and websites are there to aid you and start you off. Many people lack the time and money that structured guitar lessons demand so self-teaching is not only an option but perhaps the best option for them. As long as you are wary of a few things and make sure to not forego the foundations, there is no saying where you can go. In this article, we have detailed the reasons why one can go for teaching themselves along with tips and tricks on how to do so.
Yes, you can teach yourself because of the multitudes of resources available today. Now, this was definitely not a solid possibility for the 90s. There were books and CDs available but they were not all that helpful. Books did not have any proper examples of practice and audio whereas videos back then lacked the resolution and quality of today. In those times, only the most determined and gritty of the bunch could really teach themselves to master the six strings.
Luckily for us, there are no excuses! So many platforms like YouTube and blogging sites have material to teach you to play. There are even popular guitar websites dedicated to this very thing. The internet has cultivated for us a great database of resources that it’s hard to name them all. It is true without a tutor you will have a tougher time but it is absolutely possible to learn on your own. All you need is the determination to go for it and the dedication to keep at it. And it might actually be the best option for you. Let’s discuss the reasons below.
Well, it’s the same as the reasons people consider self-learning anything: time and money. In the fast-paced world of today ruled by the limitations of work, commute, and social life, many people lack the time they need to invest in their hobbies. The time they do have is usually late nights or weekends and they cannot find any instructors that fit that schedule. But they still want to learn, they have the passion and drive. So, by teaching yourself, you can be your own boss here. Of course, by being your own boss, you would have to coordinate your lesson plans alone but that is the beauty of it!
Now, let’s consider the costs. Quality, private guitar lessons cost anywhere from $30 up and only for half an hour. That means a 2-hour lesson, a proper lesson time, is going to cost $120 a week. Of course, there are cheap teachers out there but that defeats the purpose of getting lessons in the first place. So, putting in that little bit of extra effort to do the heavy lifting is a good way to learn and for some, the only way to learn.
So, the question that then surfaces is: how exactly does one learn to play guitar on their lonesome? Here are a few ways:
First things first, how can you play if you aren’t even in the right tune? You can go out and buy one which is the most accurate option or you can use an inexpensive digital tuner, whichever fits your needs. The thing here is that beginners will rely on it a lot but the goal is to be able to tune it by ear. Not everyone has a perfect pitch but with practice, you can surprise yourself by how close you get to the true notes.
This is one of the first things you need to know without a teacher to guide you. They will be your only foray into playing songs for a while and most resources will be using them when they teach you. It is not at all hard but just something to familiarize yourself with.
Chords are when you play multiple notes at the same time. Chords are the basis of the most popular song tutorials out there so it is one of the first things you should focus on getting down. There are lists and graphics for the most used ones out there so you can start out practicing those.
This is a big oversimplification but bars are basically four beats. A ‘beat’ is the place where you bob your head along to the music. It goes like 1-and-2-and-three-and-four. Learn about this in more detail because it will clear you up on a lot of things related to how and when notes are played. For example, strumming patterns are based around the beats.
Chords and notes are all well and good but what will really make you a versatile player and imbed in you the groove are strumming patterns. There are many variations out there. Pick up as many as you can and play around with them to have a good sense of rhythm.
Compensate for the lack of a structured setting by playing with a few like-minded friends. Or if you have friends who play you can simply ask them. A lot can be learned from watching but more than likely they will give you a few notes about what to work on as well.
The lack of feedback is a major setback when learning by yourself. Whether it’s the comments section under a tutorial video or an actual forum on a website, you should make use of such places to ask questions and get tips. Usually, people will have already answered common questions and by reading through this you can get valuable insight.
This is a step that you should take after you have played a few songs because it can be a bit of a turn off at the beginning. Music theory is a long journey in itself but the basics can really help you understand your instrument and why chords, scales, and arpeggios are structured the way it is. By learning these, you can also eventually start to make your own covers in your style. However, don’t feel too pressured to learn everything at once, take one step at a time.
Watching covers is a great way to learn how to stand out. Because there are many experts there, you can learn quite a few things by just slowing down videos. Oftentimes, they will even have detailed what they’ve done for your benefit.
There are few setbacks you may face and common mistakes learners make when self-teaching. Knowing about them will help you avoid the repercussions.
It is tempting to keep learning one song after another especially when there is so much material but you should really focus on the basics. Think of it like dancers. Dancers practice each move separately with counts, sealing them into muscle memory before they combine it all with music. So, practice the basics so your fingers get the dexterity and strength they need which will help you when you get to more complicated techniques.
Being your own boss and not being accountable to anyone has a setback, which is: you will often feel like lazing. The guitar takes practice. At the very beginning, you need to form calluses and later you will need the speed and flexibility. Keep a dedicated time for guitar learning and stick to it so your progress isn’t hindered. If you let the guitar sit for too long, you would have to start over again and that comes with its own set of frustrations.
At first, you should stick to one regimen. It is all too easy to get overwhelmed because of the crazy amounts of resources available. Be careful to avoid courses that claim to make you a pro in a few days as well. Choose well and choose one.
It is inevitable that forging your own path will take longer. A teacher can streamline your progress and it’s easy to get disappointed when others say learning this thing or that only took them a week. Don’t let it get you down and keep the goal in mind. Look forward to all that you are learning, on your own, no less! It is a great feat that deserves a pat on the back.
The sky is the limit! Here’s a secret. After a certain level, all guitar learning becomes self-learning. This is because everyone can teach you the basics but the rest is all up to you. What styles you will play, what techniques you will learn, what genres you will focus on, etc. The time you spend with your guitar is perhaps the deciding factor. There are many self-taught artists doing well for them these days. Another important thing to consider is finding musicians to jam with because this is where you will really learn in-depth about live performances.
In conclusion, there will be many roadblocks to overcome but it is a hundred percent possible to teach yourself guitar. With the right tools and the right mindset, you can do anything. Self-teaching guitar is rewarding and commendable and it may be your only option. At the end of the day, it is better to learn than to wait or put it off just because you are not in the best possible setting. The best possible setting is whichever setting takes you forward. Overall, there is nothing to lose. So, why not give it a try and see where it takes you?