You want to teach yourself to play the guitar. That’s great. Many people do. But not many people succeed. That is because learning the guitar is a steep slope and they don’t start with a strategy. Without a strategy, we always quit when the going gets tough.
Here are 3 ways to teach yourself to play the guitar. Sorry, watching Youtube is not a one of them. Well, at least not without a system.
1. Learn One Song On Your Own
You have to keep on learning to play one whole song. To learn one song well is better than many songs in parts. One has a clear outcome, the other really nothing to show but us attempting to show off. And believe me, very few people are impressed by our fancy intros or licks in the middle and a dramatic end. When we can’t even play a full song from start until one, people will think we are an impostor. And seriously we are.
One of the reasons why we don’t learn one song from start to end is because we are not clear about how to choose that song. That song has to be a personal song, one that speaks to you and when spoken or sung represent you. A good way is to ask yourself if the words or melody represent what you want to share to the world.
Pick a good song. The right song and stick to learning one song on your own. A great strategy is then STEP 1, to learn the chord progression first. Then STEP 2 to learn the melody. If you don’t know the melody well enough, listen to many versions of the same song on Youtube. And lastly STEP 3 is to learn to play the chord progression while singing out the melody or the song.
Having learned one song, you can firmly say that you have taught yourself to play the guitar.
2. Get a Complete Course And Learn The System On Your Own
Some of my most fulfilling learning experiences came from subscribing to a system. Usually it is a paid online course. Some of them are an e-book or a instructional book. The benefit of doing it is that instead of random pieces of information that sometimes contradict one another, you learn the teacher’s method completely. You can easily take a quantum leap in your learning that way. Some of the courses I have taken
- Kirk Lorange’s Plane Talk.
- Jimmy Bruno Guitar Institute.
- Martin Taylor’s Fingerstyle Guitar.
- Blues Guitar Lessons With Keith Wyatt.
- Andreas Oberg’s Jazz Guitar and More.
- David Reed’s Improvise for Real.
The choice depends on the genre of music you are into and what you are trying to learn. Go seeks out a basic course that will teach you how to start playing the guitar. Yes, getting an online teacher is not cheating, it is a great way to teach yourself to play the guitar.
3. Get An Outline of Topics & Use It As Checklist To Learn On Your Own
This strategy has to do with finding an outline of what you should know in order to learn to play. An outline can come from searching for one on the internet to copying the index of a book or just posing the question “What are the important things to cover when learning the guitar?” on a forum.
With that outline, go and be an independent learner to find out how to educate yourself point by point. Go ask a friend, join a forum and pose a “how do I …” question.
Learn from the vast information available on Youtube on your own. A sample outline that serves as a checklist on how to play is as follows.
- Anatomy of the guitar
- How to hold a guitar
- How to tune a guitar
- How to read tabs and chords
- How to play the major scale
- How to strum in rhythm
- Learn Major Chords
- Learn Minor Chords
- Learn Dominant Chords
- Find out the chord progression to a song
- Learn to change chords in a chord progression
- Learn to Play a Song
- Learn Power Chords
The above will serve as a checklist for you to explore the areas of playing the guitar more systematically than to randomly select a guitar lesson online. I have to admit that Youtube is truly a wealth of resource. But I should add that only if you use it systematically and I suggest the above 3 ways of systematically teaching yourself how to play the guitar.
Of course getting a teacher is always the best way but if cost is a consideration or you are the kind of independent learner like myself, the 3 ways are more adventurous and a more fun way to go.
What do you think? How did you teach yourself to play the guitar? Please write a comment below. I really like to hear from you.