Teaching Yourself to Play Guitar Online

Teaching Yourself to Play Guitar Online

There was a time when the internet didn’t exist, and believe it or not, people tried to teach themselves how to play guitar then.  This next statement will probably blow your mind: all those people were probably more successful at teaching themselves than people are today.  Want to know why?  Read on . . .

Video lessons have been around for a while

Back in the eighties, VHS tapes of guitar lessons started coming out, and they were taught by either famous rock stars (hit or miss in terms of quality) or successful guitar teachers (like Arlen Roth).  So what is the difference between those VHS tapes, and the videos on YouTube?  The difference is, anyone can post to YouTube, but only guitarists who really knew what they were doing could get a VHS tape of guitar lessons to market.   Even with that content available, most people who were successful at teaching themselves, didn’t necessarily rely on that medium by itself.  Most of them played with other guitar players, and tried to learn as much as they could from them.  Also because of the lack of free guitar tabs online, more guitar players tried to learn to read music so they could teach themselves songs from songbooks or from tabs in magazines like Guitar World or Guitar for the Practicing Musician.

Learn to read music

If you’re going to teach yourself how to play without taking lessons, do yourself a huge favor and learn to read music.  Get the Hal Leonard guitar method book, and then get an app that helps with learning to read music.  Combine old world techniques with new technology, and you will progress faster than people did 30 years ago.  One thing I will say about the Hal Leonard Method book for guitar is that it moves a little too quickly.  They need more exercises and songs for each section to allow students enough time to memorize the notes.  I put together a method book for standard notation – you can download an excerpt for free from Teachers Pay Teachers.  I’ll have a full version coming out soon.

Learn to play by ear

Once you’ve been playing for a while, try learning songs you like with minimal help from sheet music or chord sheets.  There are apps to help with ear training, and those are worth their weight in gold.  Then, download an app to loop and slow down music.  The app I use most in lessons is Transcribe! which is written by Seventh String Software.  I also use “Anytune” which is an iPhone/iPad app because it allows you to make playlists, which makes practicing a lot of songs go a little more quickly.  Both of these apps allow you to save any loops you create.

Watch guitar lesson videos with your ears

One final note about teaching yourself using Youtube videos – try to spend some time not looking at the video while playing along with it.  I think one mistake students tend to make is to have their eyes glued to the screen while trying to play, and that makes it much more likely that their fingers will go to the wrong place.  If you’re trying to learn a song from a video, watch the video and play along while looking at the instructor, but try watching it again and focusing on your fret hand.  You can still hear what the instructor is saying and playing, but you’ll be able to make sure your fingers are in the right place.


Leave a Reply

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

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.