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Learn How To Play Guitar Alone

Updated on October 30, 2012

There are many good reasons to want to learn how to play guitar. Perhaps you simply love the instrument; that's certainly reason enough! Or maybe you know that learning how to play the guitar can help you out in social situations - after all, there's always a guitar that you can pick up and play at parties to get a little bit of attention. Your reason for wanting to learn guitar might greatly influence how you go about learning. If you want to become a professional classical guitar player, for example, you'll probably want to splurge on the expense of private guitar lessons. If you just want to be able to hold your own at parties, you might learn to play guitar from books and software programs.

Many people use a combination of these methods throughout their musical life to begin learning guitar and then grow their talents. Here is a closer look at some of the basic options that you have for learning how to play guitar:

  • Private guitar lessons. This is the priciest of your options. It probably requires purchasing your own guitar and your own lesson books as well as paying for the hourly fee of private instruction. However, it is also one of the quickest ways to learn how to play guitar and you can be fairly sure that you're learning everything correctly. Students who are interested in learning how to play guitar for the purpose of eventually entering a musical career often consider this the best choice.
  • Classroom guitar lessons. There are also classroom setting where you can learn to play guitar. Depending on your age, these might be offered at local recreation centers, music schools, college campuses and other locations throughout your area. Classroom guitar lessons give you the chance to learn the basics of how to play guitar, including how to hold the instrument, tune it and play chords. You don't get the one-on-one feedback that you'd get from private guitar lessons but you do get personal feedback from a live instructor. These are cheaper than private guitar lessons.
  • DIY with books. The method of self-taught guitar which has been used most commonly until recent times has been through books and practice. You can learn to play guitar by getting books about playing guitar as well as music books for guitar. Then you get your guitar and play through the books until you get better. People sometimes audio or video record themselves during the process to get a better sense of how they sound.
  • DIY with computer software programs and video games. Today, it is less common to learn just by books and more common to self-teach guitar using computer software programs designed for this purpose. These programs take you through step-by-step instruction and give you some feedback on how you're sounding. Many people find that they can learn guitar easily this way, at their own pace and without the cost of an instructor.

• Create your own guitar-learning group. Some people want human feedback and don't want to learn to play guitar alone but can't afford lessons. One great option in this case is to create your own group committed to learning guitar together. Designate a leader and someone to solve problems in the group and then set about creating an atmosphere that's conducive to learning. Give each other positive feedback and work together to find resources that will help the group. Who knows; you might create a band out of this!

No matter how you learn to play guitar, the key to improving is practice. You can mix and match various methods of learning to play guitar but if you don't get out the instrument and play, you're never going to really learn what it's all about.


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  • profile image

    Stuffed up :) 5 years ago

    ok thanks very much everyone :)

  • TheMusiconomy profile image

    TheMusiconomy 6 years ago from New York City

    It really depends on what your goals are as to whether you should DYI or not. The majority of people will reach a plateau by teaching yourself and won't be able to reach the next level. When that brick wall is reached, you'll have to find a private instructor at that point, (who will spend time breaking your bad playing habits), or you'll be satisfied with your limited level of playing. Unfortunately, most people will quit out of boredom or frustration.

    If you can afford it, try private lessons. 30 minutes once a week or bi-weekly. It will make a big difference. The Internet and computer programs would be supplemental activities to keep you engaged.

  • profile image

    Multiman 6 years ago

    Great Article

  • 6 String Veteran profile image

    6 String Veteran 7 years ago

    Informative hub, generally speaking, but it might be a good idea to include the negative aspects of the options you mentioned. Not to be negative but sensible.

    Briefly: 1. Teachers vary greatly in quality / methodology, so you're not necessarily safe with one. You have to DO YOUR OWN RESEARCH on good and bad guitar-playing habits, and not be afraid to ask a prospective instructor's opinion on these matters in order to evaluate him/her.

    For example, you might find--through a little reading + video watching--that playing with your fret-hand thumb extended way above the guitar neck is not good technique. But when you ask your prospective teacher about this he says something like "Well, Hendrix did it and so does so-and-so, so it's good enough for me", etc. This is NOT a good response. The right response is along these lines: "The thumb can be used for such-and-such [demonstration] like Hendrix and others have done but it's not typical. The best form is to keep your thumb BEHIND the neck."

    2. There're also many risks involved with DIY-ing it. What if the student develops bad habits? Who's going to be there to correct that? Even with the best material that is a big risk since everyone's attention to detail and ability to self-push is very different.

    3. Finally, with a guitar class there is always a risk of loss of interest for a few students.

    Well, said my piece (from many yrs experience as a guitarist and instructor). Sorry for being long-winded, btw.

    Again, good hub...just the risks had to be mentioned.

  • Trusted Marketing profile image

    Trusted Marketing 8 years ago from Charlotte, North Carolina

    You are right. Practice is the key and though it is not my favorite 'key' to play in, it is the secret.

  • profile image

    country guitar lessons 8 years ago

    I have been teaching people how to play the guitar for a few years and it is definitely a hard thing to teach. You did a great job explaining the basics in this hub!

  • profile image

    Free Fretbord Exercises  8 years ago

    Great Hub Kathryn,

    I learned to play guitar the DIY way with books and by ear. I believe finding a good teacher can speed the learning process and helps correct bad technique. But There are some really great DIY Books out there as well, and you can learn classical this way too.

  • profile image

    best guitar courses 8 years ago

    Private lessons are too expensive for me. I've been going the DIY with software route. Works pretty well.

  • profile image

    learningguitar 8 years ago

    hello, i went through your hub, you have portrayed everything in a really new and dynamic style. you have adopted the slow and steady method to learn guitar, this is what have attracted me towards your site. you have done a great job. i think i should also start trying hard.

  • chrislakeguitar profile image

    chrislakeguitar 9 years ago from UK

    Hey, cool hub, really great information on here. I've written an article on my website all about why video lessons are such a great way to learn how to play the guitar. Thought you might want to check it out:

  • worldofwars1 profile image

    worldofwars1 9 years ago from horsehose bend

    nice job i am worldofwars1 so i posted a blog to of these types about guitaring and now i am number 67 i think so i just wanted to say good job.

  • profile image

    AlternateTuning 9 years ago

    The pic looks like one of those self tuning electric guitars. Strange looking thing

  • Paraglider profile image

    Dave McClure 9 years ago from Kyle, Scotland

    Hi Kathryn - Just out of interest, what on earth is that 3rd picture? Some kind of guitar-synth? Never seen one of these.

  • profile image

    Jean Littman 10 years ago

    Kathryn your hub is great. This article is well written and very helpful for those wanting to learn guitar. Thanks!

  • profile image

    Lloyd Thompson 10 years ago

    Thank you. I truly appreciate your Hub!