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Teach Yourself Guitar

Updated on August 22, 2011

Best Ways to Teach Yourself Guitar

If you want to learn the right way and avoid acquiring bad playing habits you're going to need to take guitar lessons or find yourself a decent self-study course. Below, I'm going to introduce a few of the best self-study guitar courses on the market. You can also check out my companion pieces on learning guitar:

Teaching yourself guitar is an excellent and economical way to learn guitar - provided you use a quality course. Guitar lessons can get quite expensive. If you consider that most private guitar lessons cost at least $20 per hour and then compare that with the dozens of lesson hours you get with self-study courses it's easy to see which will save you more money.

In addition, having your own self-study guitar course allows you to progress at your own pace and revisit the lessons whenever and as many times as you want - you won't get that with private lessons. However, if you think taking guitar lessons is your best option, then Take Lessons is a good resource for finding a guitar teacher in your area. Now, for those that want to teach yourself guitar here are some quality resources.

Sample Learn and Master Guitar Lesson

Teach Yourself with Learn and Master Guitar

Of all the guitar courses available Learn and Master Guitar is probably the best around. It has been awarded the 2008 Acoustic Guitar Magazine Player's Choice Award, two Telly Awards, and an AEGIS Award for Excellence in Education. If that's not impressive enough, then I don't know what is. What's more, the instructor Steve Krenz is a highly accomplished guitarist who holds a degree in music and is master of many different styles of guitar playing. He's also a great teacher who has a gift for imparting knowledge in an easily understood way.

The lessons are laid out on its 20 DVD's and lesson book. It assumes that you are a complete beginner with guitar and so starts with the absolute basics. However, even people with some guitar knowledge can benefit from it by just skipping the introductory basics or by purchasing the upgrade package that adds an additional 20 DVD's for advanced players. The course also comes with 5 Jam-Along CD's to test your newly learned guitar skills. They also include free online support for those that need a little extra help along the way. Now, this guitar study course costs more than most others do, but considering the highly professional quality, the unbeatable expertise of the instructor, and the vast amount of training and knowledge given, it's well worth the price.

Sample Jamorama Lesson

Online Guitar Lessons

A second and cheaper option is Jamorama, which is taught by Ben Edwards - a professional guitarist who lays out the fundamentals in a clear and concise manner. His course guides you from the absolute basics all the way through to advanced guitarist levels. Purchase of Jamorama gives you instant access to a members area where you can either use the course online or download it for offline use. They also offer a free six day trial that includes six introductory lessons by email, which gives you a good idea of the written lessons offered. However, this doesn't include the high quality video and audio resources that you get when you purchase the course.

The entire package includes a 15 lesson beginner course ebook, a 29 lesson intermediate course book, and 148 video lessons. That's almost 200 lessons, once again compare that to the cost of taking 200 private lessons. The video lessons are high quality and include excellent diagrams and graphics to teach you the proper playing techniques. In addition you'll get 26 jam tracks that let you practice along with a complete band, a metronome application for developing rhythm, and bonus software that teaches you how to read music notation and train your ear.

They also offer email support and great advice on deciding how to buy a guitar. If you want a hard copy of the entire course on DVD and book form it is quite a bit more expensive. However, unless you insist on being able to use the course in front of your TV, I don't see why anyone would want to pay so much more for this when you get the exact same materials with the download version.

Teach Yourself Guitar with Software

Learning to play guitar with a software package is another option.

1. Guitar Method by eMedia is probably the best. They offer both a beginner and an intermediate package with a reduced price if you purchase the deluxe package that includes both of them. Guitar Method provides you with over 160 lessons that teach all the basics and more such as how to string a guitar. It's also loaded with all kinds of interactive goodies to enhance your learning. These include great videos, animated fretboard displays, onscreen music tools like a tuner, recorder, metronome, and chord dictionary. Over 70 famous songs are included to give you practice and the MIDI compatibility displays the music into tabulature or notation as it's playing. This allows you to adjust and loop the music as you practice with it. Also, if you're looking for left handed guitar lessons, it's on of the few courses out there that provide a left handed view.

2. Interactive Guitar is another good choice. It offers sound instruction with over 50 video lessons a 200 page book, and 2 CD's full of songs. The software features a chromatic tuner, a recording studio, an effects studio, and a virtual fretboard display. The MIDI machine lets you practice with the songs at your own interactive pace. I especially like the compare feature, which allows you to record your playing and then compare it to original examples. This feature gives you a great way to chart your progress with graded reports and advice.

3. Teach Yourself to Play Guitar is a decent package that instructs through 100 video lessons and 50 practice songs. It does a good job of covering all the basics of guitar playing and ownership such as tuning, guitar types, reading tablature, caring for a guitar, and much more. It also includes features like an interactive song player, built-in tuner, a chord dictionary, and some learning games. However, the song player lacks the MIDI compatable features of the other packages.

Guitar Method Books

A third and cheaper option would be to teach yourself guitar using books. Some of these are the same method books that you would be using when taking private guitar lessons (another added cost to lessons). Others are more comprehensive books that teach you about many other aspects (such as the history, care, and purchase of the instrument) in addition to teaching you how to play guitar. I've listed what I think to be the best of these guitar books to the right.

One final word, although all of the above resources are great ways to learn guitar on your own, the key element if you want to teach yourself guitar, or any instrument, is YOU. You must have the desire and dedication to learn. If you have that then you're already halfway there!


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      Mara Diakoulas 8 years ago

      Hi, I Love the info on this page! I have recently come up with

      The Noted Neck, Temporary tattoos of the fret board for guitar beginners and music lovers. Take a look! Much love. Mad Genie Designs

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      honestkyle 8 years ago

      I've learning some skills with guitar software and it was kind of strange, but it was pretty fun at the same time. I would recommend guitar software to anyone that is comfortable with the computer and wants to learn the to play the guitar.