How to Teach Yourself Guitar | Steps To Success

Many people want to teach themselves to play guitar. It’s a very popular instrument that can be played in a variety of styles. While there are plenty of resources available online and offline that can help you learn, many people will tell you to find a teacher. And while a guitar teacher will help, it is more than possible to do on your own.

By constructing the right learning plan and sticking to regular routines, you can teach yourself to play guitar. It’s harder to do by yourself, but not impossible!

In this article, we will discuss the best ways to learn how to teach yourself guitar. We will also provide some tips on how to plan and improve your skills.

how to teach yourself guitar

Best Way To Teach Yourself Guitar

Learning to play guitar by yourself starts with becoming mentally prepared. This instrument is a long journey of diligent devotion and hard work. If you are going to go on your own, you need to prepare yourself to stay motivated.

Whether you are an adult, later in years picking up a new hobby, or a younger person filled with rock and roll dreams, it is possible to do with the right plan and milestones. You can teach yourself to play guitar, whether it’s with free resources or through books and online classes, or a mix of both.

First, you will need a plan, an outlook, and resources! A simple outline might look something like this:

  • Research guitars to find the one that will fit you the best
  • Commit to a regular practice routine, mark it on the calendar if you need to
  • Make a plan, what is it you want to learn as you get started-keep it simple
  • Consult a teacher or do research to construct a starting point
  • Fabricate your play times, find a minimum you can stick to
  • Be patient and work at it, set milestones to recognize results
  • Celebrate victories, even the small wins, make sure to stay motivated

Once you have a plan and are ready to find resources, you will need to research the right one for you. There are many methods to choose from, as you will see.

Use a Book Or Other Literature

One of the best ways to teach yourself how to play the guitar is by either using a book or some other form of literature for beginners. There are some great PDF downloads that you can get to help guide you through the learning process as well. Some even claim to help you learn the guitar in 21 days!

While I cannot vouch for this one in particular, there are many complete guitar lessons that offer a free download. Many of them offer techniques of different skill levels like:

  • Basic guitar chords
  • Lead guitar
  • Fingerstyle
  • Solo lessons
  • Complete guides

If, on the other hand, you have a few bucks to spend, one good book for beginners is this essential guide. It’s an easy-to-follow guide that can be used either in paperback or on kindle.

When money is tight, or you want to do it for free, there are some online learning guitar books that can be found with a bit of research. But some might not be as high quality as you will need.

Self Taught Guitar Programs

If a book or PDF is not quite your thing, and you would prefer a different type of resource, there are other types of video, software and app choices available. Some apps available offer things like real-time feedback on your progress, and even the ability to record your playing and get critique.

Some popular apps are:

  • Fender Play
  • Yousician
  • The Gibson App
  • Garageband

These can be a great way to stay engaged and find the right learning path for you. Some of them are free, but most are paid programs that are a great investment.

Learn From Websites

There are many great players who have created their own websites to teach new guitarists. They offer paid lessons in most cases, but have large communities that beginners can use to get help. One very popular platform is Justin Guitar.

He has a whole team that helps run his website, but is a great resource of free and paid options. You can easily get started with the video and lessons he has available. Then, if you like his style, you can invest in his course to really get going!

You might even find some suggestions in guitar related forums. See what others are learning from and try it out.

Buy the Right Guitar to Learn On

The next step to teaching yourself guitar is to buy the right one. You don’t need an expensive or high-end model to learn on, but you do need one that is comfortable for you.

If you are a beginner, it’s always a good idea to get the one that matches your music interests. This could be either acoustic or electric guitar.

When selecting the guitar, you want to make sure that it matches your music interests. Don’t select one just because it is easier to learn. You will be very disappointed when it cannot sound like your favorite songs.

You also want to make sure that the guitar is the correct size for you. You don’t want one that is too big or small, as it will be difficult to play and might lead to bad habits. Finding the right neck width if you have smaller hands is one of those things to check for.

Once you have selected the right instrument, it’s time to start learning!

Put Together Your Learning Plan

Now that you have the right guitar to learn on, it’s time to put together a plan. This will help keep you focused and motivated while you teach yourself guitar. One of the biggest reasons people fail is because they don’t know how to proceed, and so a plan is crucial to your success.

When creating your learning plan, start by setting some goals. What do you want to achieve by learning this instrument? Do you want to be able to play your favorite songs? Do you want to be able to perform specific techniques? Once you have set some goals, it will be easier to create a plan that is tailored specifically for you.

Then as you use your new program, you can work at setting a goal like learning an easy favorite song. You will want something to work towards, so don’t skip this step as you begin playing guitar!

Proper Routines

Your learning plan should also include solid routines. This is important because you will not improve if you don’t train regularly. When creating your routine, make sure to stick with it! Do your best to create a time when you can be focused only on learning guitar.

It’s also important to vary your routine. If you practice the same things all the time, you will get bored and lose motivation. Try to mix it up and add some new exercises into your routine every once in a while.

When you are starting out, this is a bit more difficult. But once you have some basic chords down, you can create different routines and mix them up by the day of the week.

This keeps things fresh and different enough to stay motivated and never bored. If you are going to work on more advanced techniques, then it’s okay to just stay the course and work on it exclusively for a few days. Do what you need to in order to stay motivated.

A few examples of a routine might include:

  • Memorizing the notes on the fretboard
  • Learning to read tablature
  • Practicing tuning your guitar
  • Working on basic chords

Learn to Play Your Favorite Songs

One of the best ways to teach yourself guitar is by learning your favorite songs. Most people want to get started because of a guitar hero.

This will give you a sense of accomplishment and make playing more fun. This is probably one of the best ways to stay motivated, even if you are not quite at an intermediate level!

There are many websites and online courses that can teach you how to play popular songs on the guitar. You can also find tablature books at music stores or online. Tabs are written music notations that show you how to play a song on the guitar.

Once you have learned the chords and strumming patterns for a song, practice playing it along with the recording. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes, as everyone does! Just keep at it, and you will get better over time.

Other Ways To Teach Yourself Guitar

As we mentioned earlier, there are plenty of resources available to help teach yourself guitar. There are too many to list! But we will provide a few of our favorites.

Online guitar lessons are a great way to get started. As we have seen, there are many websites that offer these lessons, and they vary in price and quality. If you are looking for a cheap and easy way to learn, this is the best option.

Finally, one of the best ways to get started is by finding good guitar teachers. A good instructor will not only teach you how to play, but also help you develop your skills. They can also recommend songs and exercises to help you improve. It’s still possible to learn yourself when seeking a teacher. Having some instruction occasionally can help you move faster and improve your plan.

No matter which resources you choose, make sure that you rehearse regularly and that you set goals for yourself. These two things are crucial to your success as a self-taught guitar player!

Child Learning Guitar

Steps To Help Learn Guitar

Once you have your guitar, a great plan with a solid routine, and some sort of lesson program, there are some additional steps to keep in mind.

Guitar Theory

Another important way to teach yourself guitar is by learning the theory behind it. Being able to understand how chords are built, what scales work over certain them, and understanding chord progressions will give you a strong foundation as a guitarist.

Guitar theory be a little daunting at first, but once you get the basics down, it will become easier and more fun to learn new things.

Learn to Read Music

Learning to read music is a very underrated skill, and every player should strive to accomplish it. This will allow you to understand what you are playing, as well as give you a deeper understanding of theory.

There are a lot of players who skip this step and regret it later. So make sure to include it in your routines and closer to the beginning. You will thank yourself later.

Holding A Guitar Pick

Learning to hold a guitar pick is very important, especially in the beginning. Striking the strings correctly will produce the best sound. It’s also important to find the right plectrums for your style of music.

While it’s easy to just grab a quick pack of picks, take some time to learn which are best for you and what you want to accomplish. Then, learn how to use it properly.

Warm-Up Routine

Before getting started with a practice session, make sure to incorporate a good warm up routine. This can help loosen your muscles and prepare them to start working. Finding some finger exercises can be a very helpful way to get ready to play.


Don’t overlook the benefit of proper strumming patterns. While it may not seem like a great skill, it can make or break the way your chords sound. Proper strumming technique is needed to play the guitar, and there are many patterns that need to be mastered.

Basic Chords

Playing chords is one of the first places to start when learning guitar. There are a number of chords that are easier than others, but can help you begin to play easier songs. It might be difficult to switch between them at first, but after a while, your songs will begin to sound like the recording!

Find some good chord charts and master them the best you can. Then before you know it, you will be writing your own songs on your new musical journey!

Learn Guitar Scales

One of the most important things you can do when learning how to teach yourself guitar is work on scales. These are simply patterns of notes that can be played over certain chords or in certain keys. When you know these scales, it will give you more options when soloing or creating melodies.

There are many types of scales and each one has its own unique sound. It’s important to learn as many scales as possible in order to expand your musical horizons.

Luckily, there are a lot of resources out there that can teach you how to play scales on the guitar. One great way to learn is by using online lessons or instructional videos. There are also books available that teach scale patterns and soloing techniques.

No matter which way you choose to learn, make sure that you rehearse them regularly. The more you play scales, the better they will sound and the more comfortable you will become using them in your music. Without them, your skills will be limited and jamming with others on the fly will be difficult.

Play with Other Musicians

One of the best ways to hone your guitar skills is by jamming with other musicians. When you play with others, it will help you develop timing and rhythm. It will also give you a chance to try out new ideas and techniques.

There are many ways to find other musicians to jam with. You can join a local music group or find someone on an online forum. You can also go to a music store and ask around for people who want to jam. Technology has made it very easy to connect with other players!

Find a Quiet Place to Play

One of the most important things to remember when learning how to teach yourself guitar is to find a quiet place to practice. This will allow you to focus on your playing without any distractions. It can be difficult to learn new things when noises are going on around you.

If possible, try and find a space in your house that is specifically for practicing the guitar. This can be a spare room, the basement, or even your bedroom. Keep your guitar accessible and all the accessories organized. Keep the area clean and prevent clutter to keep it welcoming and comfortable.

The bottom line is that you need to find a place where you can concentrate on your playing without any interruptions. So make sure to pick a spot and stick to it!

Film Yourself

One great way to improve your guitar playing is by filming yourself practicing. This will allow you to see what you are doing wrong and how you can fix it. It can be difficult to identify bad habits without seeing them in action.

When filming yourself, make sure that the camera is in a stationary position and that there is enough light so that you can see everything clearly. Also, make sure to wear a plain shirt so that you don’t have any distracting patterns or designs.

Start by playing some basic chords and then move on to more difficult techniques. Play guitar solos over a backing track or improvising. Film yourself for a few minutes at a time and then watch the footage later. You will be surprised at how much you can learn from watching yourself play!

How To Teach Yourself Guitar FAQ

We looked at many topics that can help you get started learning the guitar. But here are some of the most common questions that are asked about the topic.

Why is Learning Guitar so Hard?

Learning an instrument is very challenging. While the guitar is one of the easier to learn, it’s still hard! It takes time and hard work to get better at playing.

Another reason why some people find it difficult to teach themselves guitar is because they don’t have any previous experience playing an instrument. This can be a daunting task for beginners. But with the right resources and guidance, anyone can learn to play the guitar.

Some people find it hard to teach themselves because they get frustrated easily, or they don’t have enough discipline. It takes a lot of time to get good at playing the guitar. You need to be patient and consistent if you want to see results.

Is it Possible to Teach Yourself Guitar?

There are thousands of people who pick up the guitar as a new hobby every year. Many of them go it alone and teach themselves. Yes, some don’t continue past the first month or two, but not always because it is too hard to learn. Sometimes it’s just because they really weren’t as interested as they thought.

Yes, it’s very possible! But because everyone is different, we also learn in different ways. And so while we provided outlines and suggestions in this article, it is up to you to figure out what will be best for you. So figuring out to learn how to teach yourself guitar is also one of those steps.

Is it better to self-teach guitar?

Teaching yourself how to play guitar can be a great way to get started. Anyone who is good at learning can get going very easily and gain skills fast. But people who struggle with learning, or might have difficulties setting up a plan, may benefit from a guitar teacher.

A good guitar teacher will know how to get you started and keep you engaged at the same time. They will have a plan and techniques they know work for beginners. So depending on how you learn, self-taught guitar may be a good way to get started.

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Don East

My name is Don East, I'm the editor for Killer Rig. I've been playing guitar for over 20 years and have designed and manufactured products like guitar amps, effects pedals, and more. Over the years I have played in many bands and have a deep love for quality gear.I am an electrical engineer and have a passion for music gear, and now want to share what I know with the community!