Teach Yourself Guitar: 7 Proven Ways to Self-Learn Faster

Teaching yourself to play guitar can be a difficult task. There are thousands of tips and tricks out there for how to teach yourself guitar, but the best way is often the simplest. Guitar playing is not about memorizing what scale goes with which chord or mastering finger positions; it’s about developing your musicality through practice. Here are five ways that teach you just that!

Can You Teach Yourself Guitar?

You may be wondering is it possible to teach myself guitar? And the answer is yes!

There are plenty of teach yourself guitar books, videos and courses out there. The internet is full of teach yourself guitar tutorials, which make it easy to teach yourself the basics like chord progressions, scales and finger positions.

Can You Teach Yourself Guitar Fast?

Yes, you can learn guitar very quickly if you are strongly motivated!

You will get out what you put in. If you are spending hours learning guitar every day, then of course you will teach yourself fast. But if you only have an hour or two to spare each week, it is still possible to teach yourself at a moderate rate!

guitar on amp
Let’s Learn How Teach Yourself Guitar!

How to Teach Yourself Guitar!

And now with those questions out of the way let’s get into the tried and true ways to teach yourself guitar!

1) Find a Teacher!

You may not want to, but you really should find a guitar teacher to learn faster. Guitar teachers teach you how to teach yourself guitar, they aren’t just there for the weekly lesson. They can help teach you music theory and give you advice on what materials are best suited to your learning style.

One of the great things about getting a teacher is that many teach at their homes or studios which means it’s an added bonus if they teach in a place that you can practice at.

If finding guitar lessons is difficult, then starting your search online will help immensely! Look on Google for a guitar teacher in your area and see what comes up; you’ll be surprised how many results there are out there!

However, if you can’t afford a teacher. I would recommend Justin Guitar, which has high-quality free beginner guitar lessons online!

If you simply cannot stand having a teacher, you can still use these next 4 tips to self-learn guitar much faster!

2) Learn the Basics of the Guitar

The first thing you are going to want to do is learn the names of the strings and basic chords. After that, you will need to be able to play them.

A Major Chord
This is an example of a chord. In this case it’s A Major!

When teaching yourself guitar, it’s important not to skip this step! If you don’t know the names of the strings and chords, then you’ll have a tough time navigating around your instrument when playing songs later on down the line. After all, teach yourself guitar is about being able to teach yourself songs!

Start by learning the names of the strings – E, A, D, G and B. They stand for Eddie Ate Dynamite Good Bye Eddie or something like that… Jokes aside these are the notes on a guitar from lowest pitch to highest pitch . Once you know what each string is called it’s easy to teach yourself guitar!

After learning the names of all six strings, teach yourself how to play open chords. A chord is a group of three or more notes that are played simultaneously and stacked on top of each other . Open chords have no need for barres. If you want to teach yourself guitar it’s important to start with open chords first because they teach you how to play chords with a simple left-hand technique.

Open Chords – A, D, E, and G are the most common open chord shapes that you will want to learn first! You can find these in any guitar teaching book or beginner lesson. Just Google teach yourself guitar chords and you’ll have no trouble finding them!

3) Learn How to Hold the Guitar Properly

If you want to self-teach and learn you’re going to have to hold yourself to a high standard when it comes to posture and positioning because you won’t have a teacher to look over you.

If you teach yourself guitar, but don’t hold the instrument properly, it will be a struggle to learn and play songs.

learning guitar
Everyone starts somewhere

When learning teach yourself guitar with proper form is important because you want your body to develop good habits from the start so that it’s easier down the line! Proper positioning of your hands on an acoustic or electric as well as your posture will teach you how to play guitar and help develop good playing habits for later on!

One of the best ways I found teach yourself guitar is by looking at images online. There are a lot of great videos out there that show exactly what fingers go where, as well as proper positioning. Try finding some videos with award-winning guitar instructors and you’ll teach yourself guitar in no time!

Proper Technique

If you don’t already know here is a quick primer before trying to teach yourself.

guitarist sitting down
At first, you might be sitting hunched over kind of like above in order to see your hands, but really try to keep your back straight

When learning to teach yourself guitar, find a posture that is comfortable. Most people will sit on a chair with the guitar resting against their right leg or thigh when playing an acoustic. Electric guitars can be played standing up or sitting down depending on your preference. Here are some photos of how a guitarist might sit.

How to hold the pick is also important teach yourself guitar. Beginners will typically hold the pick between their thumb and index finger with it sticking out at a slight right angle away from your hand. The tip of the plectrum should be facing up in relation to you, not parallel with the floor or pointing down towards your foot!

Here are some photos of me holding a pic properly!

hand holding guitar pick
View from front, thumb is more or less perpendicular to pick direction
front holding guitar pick
View from the back, index is more or less parallel to pick direction

4) Learn Scales

The next thing to do on your guitar learning journey is to learn some simple scales. When you teach yourself guitar, it’s important to start with the basics. Scales are great to teach yourself guitar because they help you memorize notes on your fretboard and teach you how to play some simple melodies by ear!

When learning scales to teach yourself guitar is easy if you just have a basic understanding of music theory or do some research about them online or with a book.

This is from my piano jazz scale article

Scale patterns for teaching yourself guitar are important because they teach you the notes on each string which will help in later learning when it comes to chords and songs! There is no need to rush, even if you want teach yourself fast. Learning scales step-by-step over time is good enough for most beginner learners.

The first scale I would suggest learning is the e-minor pentatonic scale. Check out my article on that if you want to learn it now!

Important Tip: As you learn the basic scale patterns, like major, minor, harmonic minor, melodic minor, and pentatonic try shifting them up and down keys, and make sure to keep track of the root notes!

5) Learn Songs

A great way to learn more about the guitar is to learn your favorite songs! Eventually, you will notice some patterns being repeated (such as chord progressions, or voice leadings), and you will pick up some licks that you can use when you improvise. Learning songs is a great way to train your ear and improve your musicality and improvisations skills.

teach yourself guitar
Go learn some songs!

When you teach yourself songs, you can either learn from a chord chart online or buy an actual songbook. Most of the time when learning to teach yourself guitar it’s best to have some sort of visual aid so that you don’t get lost with your playing!

Try searching teach yourself guitar on YouTube and look for high-quality videos by famous musicians. I suggest Nikola Gugoski for some great YouTube tablature or songsterr for just a free online tab book!

Important Tip: A really important reason to learn songs, is because you will enjoy doing it! You should enjoy playing guitar, it should not be a chore! If you find yourself falling out of love with. the instrument, try learning a favorite song, and take a break from scales for a while. I am sure you will fall in love with the guitar again in no time.

6) Practice and Set Goals

A great way to learn anything faster is to set goals: “I want to learn the Snow Riff by the Red Hot Chili Peppers this month.” Set goals within realistic time frames, and for realistic achievements.

practice time while teaching yourself guitar
Practice is important, so make sure you do it with intention!

Whether you teach yourself guitar for fun, to improve your playing skills, or even as a career choice it’s important to stay focused and motivated. Make sure that you practice daily if possible! If not every day then at least try practicing once a week. Even learning just one new song per month gives you twelve songs under your belt in a year!

If you teach yourself guitar as a daily habit then it will be much easier to learn new songs and techniques, and practicing scales, etc. Eventually, guitar practice should become second nature over time.

This means that soon enough you can take all those cool licks or riffs and use them in your own playing without concerning yourself with the technicalities.

7) Play with People and Stay Inspired

One of the best ways to make sure you are learning something new every day is by talking to other musicians: especially if they are better than you! Try jamming with friends or online and ask them to teach you some techniques.

teach yourself guitar
Get the whole squad together, for a fun jam session!

If no one has time for this, or if you want something more structured then try joining a local band! There are usually plenty of opportunities available in your area. If there aren’t any groups that suit what you play, start up your own group by advertising online or through your family and friends!

Another great way to teach yourself guitar is by listening to music that inspires you. Check out some of the best players in any genre, go to concerts- anything really! There are so many ways to discover new sounds, techniques, chord progressions, etc. This is a great way to teach yourself guitar! The learning process really never ends, and we wouldn’t want it to either!

Conclusion on Teaching Yourself Guitar

In the end to teach yourself guitar is to set out on an epic journey. It’s one that I believe everyone should embark on at least once in their life. Learning guitar is fun, rewarding and it can teach you so much about music- not to mention the countless hours of enjoyment playing with others!

Teach yourself guitar today…and make great memories tomorrow.

Mark D.

Mark D.

Hi, I'm Mark. I've been playing instruments since I was just a little kid. I've played cello and piano for a few years, and recently picked up guitar. I've produced bad music. I also run this blog where I share interesting things I've learned. I hope you Enjoy my posts!

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