Taking Lessons or Self Study: Which Is Better Method of Learning the Guitar?

Playing the guitar


So you have decided you are going to learn how to play the guitar. You have gone out and purchased yourself amazing new guitar, gig bag, music rack, and a thousand other parts of guitar themed paraphernalia. You get back home, take the guitar out of the box, and then it dawns on you.

How in the world would you play with this thing!

You are confronted with a fork in the road. Can you take guitar lessons or would you educate yourself?

In this column, I’ll be taking a look at the advantages and disadvantages of the two. Taking guitar courses is the most conventional path, however, nowadays there are more funds that will assist you to educate yourself than previously. It is a tricky decision since there are unique advantages to every method.

Is 1 way better than another? Does everybody benefit from guitar courses? Might it be possible for everyone to teach themselves?

I will be studying answering these questions, but let’s look at each method in detail.

Educating Yourself

Educating yourself is the most readily accessible method since you do not have to locate a guitar instructor before you may begin. Anyone may set out the educate themselves to perform, but it requires a particular sort of individual to be successful.

Just be mindful, educating yourself is a trial and error procedure. If you are the type of person that gets frustrated once you’re stuck, then teaching yourself may not be the most suitable choice. On the flip side, if you like a challenge and figuring out things on your own, then teaching to play the guitar may be right up your street.

What exactly are the advantages of teaching your guitar?


One of the wonderful advantages of educating yourself is that it is often free or costs very little. You may even choose when to study, instead of wait for a set appointment using a guitar instructor. This factor alone suggests that pretty much anyone can start teaching themselves to play the guitar.

You will want to locate some appropriate resources before you may begin. A couple of the best tools out that there are guitar method books and online video courses.

Method Books

Receive a method book to fit your level of skill. If you are a newcomer, locate a publication aimed at beginners. If you would like to learn jazz guitar, then locate a jazz stylebook to your skill level.

There is still a lot to work out for your self, but a publication is a secure and dependable source of advice.

The drawback of novels is they include limited support. You may find a CD containing examples of the songs in the publication, but that is usually all you receive. Some method books include excellent information but provide no extra support.

One of the significant drawbacks to learning from a book is that you won’t really see how anything is done. There aren’t any video presentations and no access to a living breathing guitar instructor that will assist you. The nearest you will get to see how it’s achieved is via diagrams and photographs.

Strategy books are best used as a source in real-life guitar courses, or as an additional source to movie guitar lessons. That leads me nicely onto my second stage.

Video Lessons

Among the greatest strategies to educate yourself to play with the guitar is to locate courses on YouTube or register for an internet guitar program. YouTube videos are all free and accessible to everybody with an online connection. Online guitar classes charge a comparatively modest subscription fee a month. Affordable DVD lessons like the Guitar Made Easy DVD are also available. Click here to go to the site with the comprehensive review of Guitar Made Easy.

There have to be thousands of guitarists around YouTube that have uploaded tutorials. You certainly will not be short of choice.

If you would like to locate a lesson about the best way best to hold the guitar, then you can.

If you would like to locate a lesson about the best way best to fret a note, you can.

If you would like to locate a lesson about producing an improvised solo working with the Locrian mode, you can.

But this in itself introduces the very first obstacle.

How can you know whether any of those online guitar instructors are really so good? How can you know if they are teaching you the appropriate skills or understanding? Imagine if they are missing something critical? As a newcomer guitarist, you won’t understand.

You can do a little bit of digging around and discover more about the instructor’s history and coaching. This will provide you with a bit of insight into their qualifications and authority. A music school graduate is more likely to be a more trusted source of advice compared to somebody who has researched on an everyday basis. Although please note, there are a number of excellent casual guitar instructors out there also.

If you can not find any background info about the instructor, there is a risk you might be studying the wrong thing completely. It will happen, and not only online.

I have taken on pupils who have been educated by some dreadful guitar instructors. I have had to fix errors like incorrect rhythmic comprehension and fundamental technique. I have even had to fix the following guitar instructor’s lesson tools since he was teaching guitar TAB upside down!

That is appropriate, UPSIDE DOWN!

I was left completely speechless by this one.

Discover more about the instructor who’s giving the lesson. It may just save a great deal of frustration later on.

Then comes another obstacle.

You have discovered what you think to be a trusted source of course. You have followed the very first lesson about the best way best to hold the tool. You have been effective in playing open strings. Now, however, you have come to fretting chords or notes, and something does not sound right.

You are doing what the guitar instructor in the movie is showing you, but it still does not sound right.

You have replayed the movie a hundred times, clocking up more than 4 hours’ worth of screen time. However, it doesn’t sound right.

What should you do?

When you are teaching yourself, it is your choice to locate the solution.

You can post a comment beneath the video and expect the internet instructor provides some killer penetration. You could seek another video lesson about precisely the exact same topic. Perhaps a second video will shed some light on why things are not working. You could seek an alternate source of data, like a pertinent article online.

If you are going to teach yourself, then it is very likely you’ll have to do each the above and a whole lot more. But when you’ve digested all that information, you still must place it into practice and make it function.

Educating yourself is no simple undertaking, but it has to be quite rewarding as everything comes together.

Trial and error is the title of this sport. If you figure out how to be successful in educating yourself, then you can bask in the knowledge that it’s been completely earned.


  • Free (or costs very little)
  • Study whenever you need
  • Examine the exact same lesson as often as you enjoy
  • A lot of choices — enter from other educators


  • No comments on your own playing
  • No help if you get stuck
  • Your sole source of inspiration comes from inside
  • Higher chance of learning incorrect advice (lots of terrible information floating about online)


ALSO READ: Piano vs Guitar


Guitar Lessons

Guitar courses would be the conventional way of learning how to play the guitar.

You will want to do a little bit of investigating to get the best local guitar instructor in your town. It may be a tiny lottery concerning the caliber of guitar lodging accessible.

Large cities with prestigious music schools generally get much more quality tutors compared to little cities from the sticks. If there are not any superior guitar instructors in your town then guitar courses may not be such excellent value for money when compared with a town having a strong music scene.

What exactly are the advantages of taking guitar lessons?


If folks think about guitar classes, they are inclined to concentrate on the’learning’ aspect of things. But lessons function a more comprehensive intent. Something which is often overlooked.

Guitar courses are an excellent tool for keeping you motivated. This is only one of the essential factors in whether you’ll succeed in learning how to play the guitar.

I will say again because it is important:

Motivation = Crucial Factor to Success

It is equally as important as learning the correct methods, correcting errors, and practicing your scales.

Taking classes keeps you inspired as your instructor will be always encouraging you and forcing you to enhance. Possessing a weekly appointment with your guitar instructor will also spur you to pick up your guitar more frequently.

The main reason motivation is so essential is quite straightforward. The more motivated you’re, the further you pick the guitar up to perform with. More playing equals further advancement.

Feedback in your own Playing

This is the vital difference between guitar classes and teaching your self. It’s the one only difference that requires the majority of the guesswork when things are not functioning.

Let us take the case of stressing a note. Let’s say you have been practicing the way to fret a note, however, it keeps buzzing and simply does not sound right. This is a fairly common issue and something pretty much all guitarists undergo at any point.

Whilst a movie lesson may only explain to you just how you can do something, a guitar instructor can show you exactly what to do if things do not work. Your guitar instructor will have the ability to observe the subtle difference between what you’re doing, and what exactly you have to do to make it work.

They’ll have the ability to tell you about each one the factors which influence your ability to create the ideal sound. You may read about how important this factor is in that this wonderful post from Noa Kageyama.

Along with describing why the exact movements you are producing are generating the wrong sound. They could then pinpoint the adjustments you want to make to get the right outcome.

In case you’ve got an excellent guitar instructor, they will likely provide you with a pair of exercises specially designed to assist you to make the correct moves. They might even compliment this with a research bit that will assist you to master whatever you are stuck on.

Taking guitar courses is similar to having the capability to search YouTube to your remedy to your precise problem…

Then have a specialist guitar instructor explain and demonstrate that the solution…

Who subsequently publishes a miniature book of exercise tasks that will assist you to conquer the problem…

Alongside a personalized clinic routine.

Guitar courses offer you a tailor-made process of learning how to play the guitar. This is something that video courses, books, and other tools simply can not fit. I really don’t believe anything could possibly replace this core advantage of taking guitar lessons.

Structured Lesson Plan

At what stage do you move from being a newcomer to become an intermediate guitarist? How can you locate appropriate pieces of songs to find out based on your present ability level?

If you are planning to teach yourself to play the guitar, then you have to understand the answers to those queries. It is no great searching for intermediate movie courses if you are still a newcomer. You could wind up fighting the material of a lesson that’s over your present ability level. This may result in frustration and finally giving up together with this tool.

Should you choose guitar lessons, your instructor will know just what you want to work on next.

They are going to have gathered a wealth of suitable repertoire and also be in a position to select the most suitable music or pieces of music to your skill level. This is going to keep you motivated and engaged, whilst still making improvements into your own playing.

A guitar instructor will have the ability to gather a structured training plan comprising proper repertoire, exercises, scales, and studies. Each one can allow you to make massive developments without being too overpowering for you.


  • Motivation, Motivation, and Success
  • Evaluation of your own playing and constructive comments to assist you to enhance
  • Personalized practice aims to operate on your particular problems


  • Price
  • Locating a Fantastic guitar teacher is not always simple


So what is the best approach to learning to play the guitar? Would you take guitar lessons or educate yourself?

I would strongly suggest finding a fantastic guitar teacher in the regional area. I have experienced the good thing about this approach firsthand, having had classes from a young age. I can honestly state I would not be creating a career as a musician when I had not taken those guitar courses.

Should you just happen to select a poor guitar instructor, do not be reluctant to discontinue courses and find a much better instructor?

But I would not stop there. There is no harm in looking for relevant YouTube videos, method books, textbooks, etc. The longer you expose yourself to, the better educated you’ll be. This will ultimately allow you to become a better guitarist.

If you are taking guitar lessons you can always discuss anything you have learned in your on your weekly. Your guitar instructor will be impressed with your commitment and freedom.