There are a lot of resources available to teach yourself to play guitar. Whether you’ve found an online cache of instructional videos, or a book for beginners at your local music store, there are many ways to become a self-taught guitar player. But how effective it is? Read on as we review two of the ways you can teach yourself to play guitar, and how far each can take you:
A quick Internet search will turn up tons of websites that boast claims of being able to help you learn guitar through video tutorials. These are good resources that allow you to quickly reference a specific topic. When you’re trying to master a certain technique, or need to look up an obscure alternate fingering of a chord pattern quickly, you can usually find these without too much difficulty online. You can also easily find printer-friendly charts for easy guitar chords.
The downside? It can be all too easy to get stuck. When you’re watching videos and repeating what you see, you’re missing one critical thing – feedback from a professional about your technique. That chord may sound right, but is your posture off? Is there a certain technique you’re just not understanding – no matter how many times you rewatch that video clip? Without a guitar teacher there to answer your questions on the spot, you may find yourself hitting a wall.
“Teach Yourself to Play Guitar” Books
Any brick-and-mortar music store will have a wide selection of books available for purchase. These books are quite similar to the online learning resources, in that there will be photos of each technique, and diagrams for chord fingering patterns as they are discussed in the lessons. The advantage of a book over online resources, of course, is that you don’t need an Internet connection or a computer to teach yourself to play guitar. You can practice outside on a nice day, or in the car while on a family vacation.
The downside to using a book to teach yourself to play guitar is that you won’t have any of the technological advantages on your side. A book won’t be able to play videos of the techniques, so you will have to rely on the photo and the description alone to help you understand the concept. And although most books will contain a chart of all the common guitar chords, with primary and alternate fingering patterns, nobody is there to check your technique or offer tips for getting the finger placement correct.
How to Really Improve
While it might seem exciting to teach yourself to play guitar, the truth is, it’s not the best method for learning. Sooner or later you will run into a situation where your resources, whether online or in print form, can’t help you completely understand the technique. In the end, there really is no substitute for learning with a private guitar instructor.
A private instructor will guide you through the basics of guitar, cater the lessons to your individual learning style and goals, and show you the best exercises to practice in between lessons as well. Most of all, they can provide an important source of motivation, holding you accountable and keeping things fresh. After all, even the most dedicated guitar players sometimes need an extra push! So keep on strumming – and have fun!