How to Teach Yourself Guitar: 10 Best 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. There are plenty of resources available online, but many people will tell you to find a teacher. And while a guitar teacher will help, it’s more than possible to do it on your own.

With the right learning plan and 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

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 or a younger person filled with rock and roll dreams, it’s possible to do with the right plan. You can teach yourself to play guitar. Whether it’s with free resources or through online classes.

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

  1. Find the right guitar.
  2. Commit to a regular practice routine.
  3. Make a plan, what is it you want to learn as you get started?
  4. Consult a teacher or do research to find a starting point.
  5. Be patient and work at it, set milestones to recognize results.
  6. 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 find the right guitar. There are many to choose from, so make sure to select the one that matches your music style. Below you will find steps to help get you started!

how to teach yourself guitar

10 Steps To Learn Guitar

We have created a few steps to help get started when trying to teach yourself guitar. These are things that will help you succeed as a beginner.

1. Buy the Right Guitar

The first step to teaching yourself guitar is to have the right instrument. 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. Don’t select one just because it’s easier to learn. You will be very disappointed when it cannot sound like your favorite song.

You also want to make sure that the guitar is the correct size for you. A guitar that is too big or small 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.

You also want to make sure that it has been set up and is in the best possible condition. The string height or action must be right, otherwise, they might be too hard to press. You also want to make sure the intonation is set correctly as well, this way the guitar is in tune and sounds right. This is especially important with an acoustic guitar.

Looking for an electric guitar for a beginner? Click here!

2. Learn to Hold 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 grab a quick pack of picks, take some time to learn which are best for you. Then, learn how to use it properly.

3. Guitar Theory and Basics

Another important way to teach yourself guitar is by learning the music theory behind it. Things like understanding the guitar string names, and how to tune the instrument. These will give you a strong starting foundation as a guitarist.

Guitar theory is a little daunting at first. But once you get the basics down, it will become easier and more fun to learn new things. Just stay focused on one thing at a time and don’t jump around too much. This will help you stay focused without getting overwhelmed.

4. Basic Chords

Playing chords are one of the first places to start when learning guitar. There are many 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 progression 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!

Some chords to work on that are a part of a regular learning plan are:

  • G Major
  • E Major
  • D Major
  • C Major
  • A Major

5. Strumming Patterns

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. There are many patterns that need to be mastered.

This includes upstrokes and downstrokes that are perfectly timed. Create the right rhythm patterns with your strumming hand. Don’t rush into playing solos. It’s better to get strumming down first, and good motor skills come with practice.

6. Learn to Read Music

Learning to read music is a very underrated new skill. 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 closer to the beginning. You will thank yourself later.

7. 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. Without them, your skills will be limited, and jamming with others on the fly will be difficult.

8. Warm-Up Routine

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

9. Learn to Play Your Favorite Songs

If you’re looking for the best way to teach yourself guitar, this 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.

Learned the chords and strumming patterns, then practice playing 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.

10. Play with Other Musicians

Another great way 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!

Finding Learning Material

Now that you have some steps to help you succeed, you will need to find learning material. Here are a few different ways you can teach yourself the theory behind guitar.

Guitar Books

One of the best ways to teach yourself how to play the guitar is by using books or another form of literature. 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, there are many complete guitar lessons that offer a free download. Many of them offer techniques of different skill levels like

If you have a few bucks to spend, one good book for beginner guitarists 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, 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 Programs

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

Some popular apps are:

These can be a great way to stay engaged and find the right learning path. 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 guitar lessons 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.

Guitar Video Tutorials

The number of videos online or on YouTube is a wealth of knowledge. Players and people who have done it and have something to offer. There are many people who have created video tutorials that can help a new player get started.

We suggest you check out a few channels and see who you find to be a good teacher. Then try out some of their lessons and see if you can get some basics started. With as many people teaching guitar through YouTube videos, you are sure to find the right fit.

Child Learning Guitar

Additional Tips To Help Teach Yourself Guitar

Here are a few other suggestions and tips that you should consider when getting started. They can be helpful for even a short season.

Guitar Teachers

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. This is quite valuable in the early stages to get things figured out.

Make a Learning Plan

When creating your learning process 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 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 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 only 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

Find a Quiet Place to Play

One of the most important things to remember is 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 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. You also need to make sure 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 improvise. 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!


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 is because they don’t have any previous experience. 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 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 enjoy a guitar teacher.

A good guitar instructor 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, teaching yourself 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!