How To Learn Guitar By Yourself (Step-by-Step With Resources)

Some people will tell you that you shouldn’t try to learn the guitar by yourself and you should get a guitar teacher.

While a guitar teacher can help, it isn’t the only option.

You can effectively learn guitar by yourself if you follow the right resources. There are some aspects of learning guitar that are easier when you have a teacher but it is possible to learn guitar completely by yourself.

It’s important to note that I am a guitar teacher, so when I say that it is possible to effectively learn guitar by yourself, I mean it.

In this guide, I will help you get started learning guitar by yourself.

I’ll answer common questions you might have about teaching yourself guitar and how to avoid bad advice that will make it harder for you to learn guitar.

Check out common questions you might have about learning guitar here.

Is it Too Hard to Learn Guitar By Yourself?

If you are thinking about learning guitar, you might wonder whether it might be too hard to learn guitar by yourself.

There are a lot of online resources to help you learn guitar, but is it hard to learn guitar by yourself?

It isn’t hard to learn guitar by yourself if you use the right learning materials. Learning guitar by yourself is hard if you follow bad advice. Using the right combination of YouTube videos, articles, and online tutorials can make learning guitar by yourself easier.

It is definitely possible to learn guitar by yourself and if you follow the right advice, it isn’t hard.

It’s important to remember that everybody finds it hard to learn guitar in the beginning whether you have a guitar teacher helping you or you’re learning by yourself.

Before we look at how to teach yourself guitar, let’s look at why taking lessons with a guitar teacher isn’t necessarily the best option and why sometimes you could be better off learning on your own.

Not All Guitar Teachers are Equal

Some people mistakenly think that you must have a guitar teacher and having one will solve all of your problems.

The problem is that not all guitar teachers are equal and a bad guitar teacher can cause you more harm than good.

Some guitar teachers will speed up your learning process, help you avoid issues, and make your life easier.

But those guitar teachers are rare. The best guitar teachers spend a lot of time studying teaching methods and psychology to help you learn faster. These teachers are ridiculously hard to find.

Why Great Guitar Teachers are Suprisingly Rare

Outside of teaching guitar, I work for an international service for guitar teachers that provides them with business and teaching advice.

I have spent almost 10 years coaching hundreds of guitar teachers around the world.

The frustrating truth I’ve learned over the years is that most guitar teachers don’t care about studying teaching methods or looking for ways to improve the effectiveness of their lessons.

This might sound surprising, but it’s true.

We provide guitar teachers with courses on marketing, social media, teaching methods, student psychology, and other important business and teaching topics.

You might be surprised to hear that almost all guitar teachers take the business and marketing courses to help them grow their business and almost none of them (6%) take the courses on teaching methods or psychology.

In other words, most guitar teachers care about growing their business and they don’t care about improving the quality of their teaching.

Even highly experienced guitar teachers don’t realize the importance of studying pedagogy or psychology and how it impacts the quality of their lessons.

This means there are a lot of guitar teachers who are great guitarists, but not many are great teachers.

We once ran a survey to try and find out why guitar teachers weren’t reading any of the guides or courses designed to help them become better teachers.

What did we find out? We found that most guitar teachers already think they’re experts and don’t need to improve their teaching abilities.

While there are great guitar teachers out there, it can be hard to separate the great teachers from the mediocre (who think they’re great).

If you end up taking lessons with a mediocre teacher, you’ll be worse off compared to learning guitar on your own.

Finding a Good Guitar Teacher

If you do decide to look for a guitar teacher, test them out by asking them these questions before you take lessons with them.

The questions I include in the above guide are designed to catch out sub-par guitar teachers. They’re not easy questions that guitar teachers are used to answering, so you’ll quickly find out if a guitar teacher is worth taking lessons from or not.

If you don’t want to take lessons with a teacher and want to try learning guitar by yourself, keep reading.

How to Teach Yourself Guitar

Teaching yourself how to play the guitar is easy in the beginning because everybody needs to learn the same basic skills and topics before you start learning different songs or styles of music.

You need three things to teach yourself guitar. To teach yourself guitar, you need:

  1. A plan on what topics and techniques to learn in the right order
  2. High-quality learning resources to teach topics and techniques properly
  3. A solid practice routine

Unless you have all three of the above points, teaching yourself guitar is hard.

For example, it doesn’t matter how hard you practice if you practice techniques incorrectly due to poor quality advice. Likewise, the best YouTube lesson won’t help you unless you put the advice into practice.

Let’s look at all three aspects of teaching yourself guitar so you can get started on each one.

A Learning Plan

The reason a lot of people who try to learn guitar on their own fail is because they don’t know what they should be working on.

If you have a goal of playing certain songs, but don’t know what you need to learn to play those songs, you’re going to have a hard time.

To learn guitar effectively by yourself, you need to have a plan on what topics and techniques to learn. Having a plan will make your life easier and cut down the time it takes to learn guitar.

The good news is that everybody can start with the same basic plan before you branch off to different styles of music.

The 8 steps covered in this guide explain how to teach yourself guitar from the very beginning.

If you follow those 8 steps, you’ll speed up the learning process and avoid a lot of issues beginners often experience.

High-Quality Learning Resources

When you learn guitar by yourself, you’re not really on your own. You have a massive range of online resources you can use to help you.

When learning guitar by yourself, the type of resources you use makes a big difference.

The challenge of finding good learning resources is that there is a lot of bad advice out there.

I mentioned earlier that it’s hard to find a good guitar teacher. Unfortunately, it’s the same with learning resources.

One of the reasons I started this website is because I was frustrated by the bad advice I would often see online.

In the tips section below, I offer some advice on how to find high-quality learning resources online.

A Solid Practice Routine

Practice is the only way you can get better at guitar. Successful guitarists are the people who managed to stick with it and continue practicing.

Everybody sucks at guitar in the beginning. I’ve been teaching for over 15 years and I’ve never seen evidence of innate talent.

Nobody picks up the guitar for the first time and is amazing. It takes practice.

Having a solid practice routine is crucial to your development.

Even if you only practice 5 minutes a day, you will make improvements.

Find out how long to practice guitar in this guide. The guide explains the science-backed method you can follow to get the best quality practice in.

It’s also a good idea to set up a practice space at home. Having an area you can dedicate to practicing guitar can make a big difference.

Find out how to set up an ideal practice space in this guide. The guide includes a few real examples of guitar practice spaces to give you ideas.

Practice space 4

Tips for Teaching Yourself Guitar

Here are some tips to help you get started learning guitar by yourself:

  • Read as much as you can about guitars before you buy one
  • Try to practice every day without fail (even for five minutes)
  • Have a clear idea of what you want to learn on guitar
  • Record videos of yourself playing so you can watch your technique from a different angle
  • Don’t rush – take your time to develop solid skills instead of rushing and developing sloppy skills
  • Don’t give up – guitar is hard in the beginning but will get easier if you keep practicing
  • Follow YouTube channels that have high subscriber numbers, but who are also active in the comments. YouTubers who offer advice in the comments are more likely to create better quality videos
  • Avoid any online resources that make claims such as “find the secret to mastering the guitar in 30 days”. The guitar takes a long time to master, there isn’t a secret formula.

Teaching yourself guitar takes a lot of discipline, so don’t give up if you ever get stuck.

Nobody is perfect and there will be times when you feel like giving up. But if you stick with it, you’ll make progress.

Learning Guitar by Yourself FAQ

Here are some common questions you might have about learning guitar by yourself. Check out this guide for other common questions you might have about learning guitar.

What is the Fastest Way to Learn Guitar?

The fastest way to learn guitar is to take your time and learn everything properly. Trying to rush leads to sloppy technique and bad habits. Practice for 10-15 minutes every day without fail and you’ll learn guitar as fast as possible.

Don’t try to push yourself to learn faster. Instead, focus on learning everything properly before you move on to other topics.

Can I Learn Guitar in 3 Months?

You can learn the basics of playing guitar within three months. While you shouldn’t expect to be a great guitarist in a few months, if you practice regularly, you can learn some basic skills.

Read this guide for real-life examples of how long it takes to learn different things on guitar.

Which Guitar is Easiest to Learn?

Some guitars are easier to learn than others. Electric guitars and nylon-string acoustic guitars are the easiest to learn on because they’re easy on your fingers. Steel-string acoustic guitars are harder to learn on because you need to press down harder on the strings.

While you may think that this means you should learn on the easiest guitar, that’s not a good idea.

The type of guitar you should learn on is the type of guitar that you will enjoy playing.

If you want to learn rock or metal, learning on an acoustic guitar is a bad idea. Likewise, if you want to play folk acoustic songs (typically played on a steel-string acoustic), you should learn on a steel-string acoustic. While it may be harder in the beginning, it will be the right guitar for you.

Learn about the different types of guitars and what they’re like to learn on as a beginner in this guide.