Many, many people want to play guitar, as it is an extremely fun and versatile instrument to play.
However many of those people also fail while teaching themselves how to play. Which leads many people to wonder if guitar really can be self taught.
So can you teach yourself guitar? Learning guitar on your own can be done! I I personally taught myself how to play guitar over days, months, and years of practice, and finding resources like Youtube, forums, tabs and more to better my skills.
- Pros & Cons of teaching yourself guitar
- How to self teach yourself guitar
- Things to think about during the learning phase
- How long will it take to teach yourself guitar?
- How much does it cost to teach yourself guitar
- How much time per day should you play guitar when learning
Teaching yourself guitar is not the only option when it comes to learning guitar! Before we get too far into this article, I want to make sure that you are aware of the different pros and cons of learning guitar on your own.
Why you should teach yourself guitar
- Learn at your own pace. If you are able to make sure you actually do practice, not having an instructor can be the best thing ever. You are able to practice when you want to practice.
- Inexpensive. Hiring an instructor can be expensive, like really expensive. Learning on your own means you only have to pay for the equipment and you are done!
- No pressure. Some people don’t like to be pressured to do something, and having a teacher does mean pressure. You will always want to be improving weekly to make sure you are sticking to the curriculum. Teaching yourself means you don’t have to worry about this.
- Can learn at any time of day. Many people work nightshifts, swing shifts, or have schooling that is difficult to schedule around. When you are teaching yourself, you don’t have to worry about someone else’s schedule and can practice whenever you are actually able to.
Why you shouldn’t teach yourself guitar
- Difficult to be motivated. If you have ever tried to teach yourself something, you likely have run into this being an issue. Much like when working out, you find that without a coach making you do something, it’s difficult to keep motivated. If
- No real structure. Something many people need when learning something new is structure! However when you are teaching yourself, structure just isn’t there.
- Hard to know when you have arrived. Without having someone literally tell you how far you have come, sometimes people will give up, even though they are about to have a breakthrough. Having someone teach you, can allow them to let you know that your progress is normal.
What are the steps to teaching yourself guitar?
Learning guitar without a teacher is a lot of fun, and doesn’t have to be that hard! As long as you don’t give up, and have a plan, you should just be fine.
Here are some things that you can be doing to teach yourself guitar.
1. Practice a ton
Practice, practice, practice. You won’t get any better at guitar unless you actually spend the time practicing playing guitar.
Thankfully playing guitar is a ton of fun, and is extremely rewarding, so hopefully you will catch on, and enjoy it a ton.
Side Note: While practicing, make sure to learn how to tune your guitar. This is an important step that you will use a ton!
2. Find a course to learn
This is probably the main way to learn how to play guitar! Of course not everyone wants to spend the money on a paid course and that is fine.
Instead, jump onto Youtube and find a beginner course there. There are plenty of experienced guitarists wanting to teach you how to play guitar there.
These courses may not be quite as structured as others, but they will get the job done, and for no cost to you.
3. Learn new songs weekly
In my experience, learning new songs regularly is really what taught me to grow in my guitar playing skills.
What music do you listen to? What do you want to play? Find those songs, and just start learning them.
For example, I learned how to play Stairway To Heaven considerably too early in my learning phase, however I did it. It took some time, but after studying tabs, and getting the muscle memory, I was able to do it. You can too!
Plan on in the beginning, to try and learn one new song a week.
4. Find a group to join
Having friends and groups that play guitar are a huge help! Especially if those friends are already better than you.
I don’t even know how many times I learned a new strum pattern, a new song, or a new method because I saw one of my friends doing it, and I wanted to learn.
Thankfully because you are talking to an actual person, they are able to rewind, and reteach in a way you request.
How do you keep going when you want to give up?
Learning guitar takes time, as we will learn later in the article, and it isn’t always the easiest thing to do either.
However it is a ton of fun, and is something you will be able to take with you throughout the rest of your life.
With those things in mind, there are a few things you should keep in mind when learning guitar.
1. Don’t give up
The only way you can fail when learning guitar, is if you give up. If you don’t give up, you will get better at playing every time you pick up your guitar.
Whether that be learning a new song, learning a new chord, or even learning the components that makes up a guitar.
If you think about it in a way, that you are slowly learning no matter what, I hope that you don’t give up during the process.
You aren’t going to be an expert guitarist after a day, but you will get better every day that you play.
2. Don’t compare yourself to other guitarists
I have been playing guitar for around 15 years, and I still find myself comparing my abilities to other guitarists and feeling bad about myself. I literally did this two days ago.
Not only are there always going to be better guitarists out there than you are (likely, unless you literally are the best guitarist), but there are also different types of guitarists!
You see that electric guitarist that you are crazy impressed with their talent? They may not be very good at playing acoustic, but you are.
3. Learn, all the time
Not only is practice something that is important when playing guitar, but it is also important to always be learning.
Listening to podcasts about playing guitar, watching videos, and reading articles constantly will widen your knowledge on the subject, and allow you to find the direction you want to take your playing style.
How long will it take to teach yourself guitar?
This is a difficult question to answer, as you really never finish teaching yourself guitar. Once you have mastered one skill, there is another to learn, and this makes learning guitar a lot of fun!
However to give you some idea of a timeline, below is what I would think will be when you enter the different stages of guitar.
1. Beginner: 0-1 Year
At the beginner stage of playing guitar, it begins right when you pick up your guitar, all the way until you feel confident in playing a song or two without taking breaks to line up your fingers for the next chord.
This stage, honestly is a stage many people ever want to get to. To be able to play a song around a campfire, and have fun with friends.
There isn’t anything wrong with this, and if this is as far as you ever want to go with guitar, then you will have to deal with the learning curve in the beginning, and once it clicks you will have succeeded in what you want.
2. Intermediate: 1-5 Years
This intermediate stage will likely take you about 1, to 5 years to achieve. At this point you will be able to pick up a guitar, and learn a new song within minutes of getting a chord sheet, listening to the song, and having a chance to play it.
For most people that leave the beginner stage of playing guitar, they probably will never leave the Intermediate stage.
As an intermediate, you will be able to play in a band, have a ton of fun, and just enjoy getting to play guitar.
You may not be able to play those crazy solos you hear on the radio, but you are going to better than most guitarists on the planet.
For the record, after 15 years of playing in bands, on my own, and writing on this site, I still consider myself an intermediate guitarist, and that is okay!
3. Expert: 5 – ? Years
Very very few guitarists end up in this portion of learning guitar. For those that are on the 5 years of the spectrum, they likely are those guitarists you see that just have that talent. They picked up on guitar quickly, and mastered it.
If you are one of those people, then awesome! However don’t feel bad if you never quite reach the expert level.
How much does it cost to teach yourself guitar?
Learning guitar on your own can be incredibly inexpensive, in comparison to the alternatives.
In the end, you will want a couple of different things!
- An inexpensive guitar – When learning how to play guitar, I would never recommend you go out and spend a crazy amount of money, just to see if you like playing guitar. Work your way up to the better guitars after you are confident this is a hobby you want to keep doing. This guitar here would be a great place to start!
- A capo – While many people will complain about anyone having a capo, I find them to be indispensable. You can quickly change the key of a guitar by just adding a capo to a higher fret. This capo here would be an awesome starter capo, however if you want to upgrade, I have this one!
- Guitar picks – Playing guitar can be done without a guitar pick, however for many different styles of music, or to strum, it’s going to be mandatory to have a pick, or two. Since this likely is the first time you have ever bought picks, I would recommend an assorted pack that includes different thicknesses of picks, this kit right here would work awesome.
- Guitar strings – If you are buying a guitar new, or used, I would recommend finding some strings that you think you would like, and add them to the guitar. They aren’t expensive, and you will find you may want to change them out a few times until you find some that you like the sound, and feel of. My personal preference for guitar strings are light strings, and these ones here should work great.
How much time per day should you play guitar when learning?
This is going to be very different for everyone. Learning guitar is going to take quite a bit of time.
If you don’t mind taking longer, then you won’t need to play quite as much, however if you want to learn quickly, then plan on spending more time every day.
I would highly recommend though, that you spend about one hour per day dedicated to just playing guitar.
At the peak of my experience in learning guitar, I would spend 4+ hours a day playing guitar, so it can also range in your time available.
Frequently Asked Questions
If you practice daily, you should be able to play a couple simple songs all the way through in 2 months. You may not be as smooth as you would like, but you will have confidence enough (generally) to start playing in front of family and friends, and have fun with your new instrument!
I highly recommend learning how to play by using an acoustic guitar with a low action, and with lighter strings. These lighter strings will be a little more “tinny”, however they are considerably easier to press down on, and hurt your fingers less (until you build up callouses).
It is never too late to learn how to play guitar! Guitar is an extremely fun instrument to learn, and is great for working your brain! Whether you are a child, or someone later in their life, learning an instrument like guitar can be extremely great!
Teaching yourself guitar can be an extremely rewarding experience, and something you will have the ability to do for the rest of your life.
I can’t say it is going to be the easiest thing you have ever done, but it will be worth it for sure.
This article, hopefully gave you a little bit of a push, and some advice to helping you teach yourself guitar for years to come.
Remember, every day you play, you are a little bit better at it.