If you’re wondering how hard is it to teach yourself guitar or ukulele, you’re in the right part of the internet! In fact, I’m a self-taught guitarist with over thirteen years of experience with guitars. I thought it’d be great to share some of thoughts and tips on how I did. Whether you’re a complete beginner or you’ve been playing for a few months already and you’re not making any progress, this article should be really helpful. What’s more, it doesn’t matter if you play the bass, acoustic guitar or ukulele, because some of my tips and recommendations apply to all musicians out there.
In addition, I’m going to give you a few tips on how to learn effectively on your own. You’ll see that it’s actually really enjoyable. To be honest, I’m super excited to share all of that with you. Ready? Let’s jump into it!
My self-taught story
A little more background about me – my musical journey started in 2008. When I got my first guitar, I had no clue what to do and where to find good resources. Back then, there weren’t that many useful music blogs and YouTube channels for beginner musicians. Still, somehow I managed to become an advanced player in a matter of a few years without buying any guitar lessons or paying for online courses. I definitely know how hard it is to teach yourself guitar. It was a long road, but it was really rewarding. Still, there are a few things that I could’ve done better in order to learn faster. I feel like I wasted a lot of time and to be honest, that progress could’ve been achieved way quicker.
From bedroom to live gigs
No matter what your goals are, you can teach yourself how to play any instrument. Is guitar just a hobby for you or do you want to make a living with music? To be honest, it doesn’t really matter. Of course, becoming a professional musician will be really challenging, but it’s not impossible. And I feel like choosing the self-taught approach is actually more rewarding. It makes you proud about every little bit of progress that you make. For example, music was just a hobby for me when I started. A couple of years later, I traveled to the United Kingdom to become a full-time busker and I played a dozens of solo gigs in pubs and restaurants. I’m also working on an EP with my indie band. All that without any guitar lessons! That’s pretty cool, right?
My first guitar wasn’t perfect. It was a really cheap Chinese-made classical guitar for worth $25. It was really crappy, but it stayed in tune. It’s all that matters at the beginning, right? So if you’re wondering if you need to spend hundreds of dollars to start, trust me. You don’t. You can buy the most expensive guitar in the world, but it’s not going to make you a better player. And you won’t be learning faster!
Self-Taught? You’re not alone.
What’s interesting, if you dive deeper into biographies of the most famous musicians in the world, you will find out that a lot of them are actually self-taught. They all know how hard it is to teach yourself guitar. That includes such guitarists as:
- Eric Clapton
- Jimi Hendrix
- David Bowie
- Alex Turner
- Kurt Cobain
- John Frusciante
- and many, many more!
Undoubtedly, there is a connection between the self-taught approach and becoming a great musician. What’s interesting, there is a study on that subject. Peter MacIntyre and Gillian Potter found out that informal practice, such as self-teaching, results with a higher motivation to play music. I totally agree with their research. When you keep on learning on your own, you really appreciate your progress. And when you see the results, you become more encouraged to practice more. In the end, that snowball effect really improves your overall skillset.
To be honest, I’m not surprised that great musicians are often self-taught. Having a successful career in music requires a lot of hard work, persistence and patience. And since self-taught musicians already used the same skills to actually learn to play, they are capable of achieving great things. For example, Ed Sheeran taught himself to sing. Whether you like his music or not, you have to admit that he achieved an amazing success as a musician. Want to hear his musical advice? Check out the video below.
How hard is it to teach yourself guitar?
To be honest, it’s not easy, but it’s definitely achievable. It requires a lot of patience, consistency and hard work. You won’t become a great musician in a few weeks or months of playing – that’s a fact. I like to compare developing guitar skills to developing muscles at the gym or burning fat. You just can’t expect great results after one workout. What’s more, you have to practice regularly and add it your daily or weekly routine to observe results in a long-term period.
You may also ask: how to actually do it? Do you just sit with guitar and play around for ages? Or are there any other resources that you could use? Maybe online courses or some fancy learning methods? Well, it all depends on what you like. Some people prefer learning with YouTube, while others enjoy reading tabs and figuring out everything on their own. I have a few tips on how to learn effectively so make sure to check out my guide below.
Tips For Self-Taught Musicians
Here’s a few recommendations on what you can do to learn quickly and more effectively. These are the things that you have to remember when you choose the self-taught approach when it comes to guitars. In fact, some of these tips could be relevant for other musicians too. So whether you wan’t to start playing piano or harmonica, these rules will apply there as well.
1. Be Patient
If you’re choosing the self-teaching approach, you need to work on being patient. Although it depends on the specific person, sometimes learning on your own can take a it longer than expected. Of course, it’s not always the case. There are players who manage to make a gigantic progress in a short period of time. Still, becoming a great guitarist takes a lot of effort and most importantly, time. You can compare it to losing weight. For example, you won’t become shredder after one workout at the gym, right? You need to do it consistently for a long period of time to see the results. That’s why patience is so important, especially when you’re your own music teacher!
2. Practice Regularly
It’s extremely important to stay consistent and to practice at least a few times a week. You don’t have to play every day, but if you can do it (and your fingers are okay with that) – do it, even for a few minutes every day! From my experience, it’s better to practice more frequently for shorter periods of time. There is no point of sitting for 10 hours with a guitar and trying to hit that new solo. Try to stick to your routine and became a master of productivity. If that’s something that you’re struggling with, here’s a great guide on how to become more productive. What’s important, it can be applied to any area of your life.
3. Use YouTube
Back when I started, YouTube wasn’t that popular like nowadays. There weren’t that many guitar lessons and tutorials out there. Today’s beginners have the opportunity to access thousands of free guitar lessons on YouTube. Seriously, there are just so many great YouTube channels out there! I highly recommend free lessons by Paul Davids and GuitarLessons365. They will definitely help you with becoming a really good self-taught guitarist. You can either follow all of their videos or just use them as an inspiration. To be honest, there is no limit when it comes to self-teaching. You can use as many resources as you want!
4. Record Yourself
Here’s a good tip – try to record yourself every few months. In my case, it really helped me to understand and acknowledge the progress that I’ve made since the last video. It’s really encouraging when you see that you’re a much better player than a couple of weeks before. On the other hand, if you don’t see any kind of progress, you know that you have to change something in your routine. Especially at the beginning, the progress will be really noticeable. So if you’re still wondering how hard is it to teach yourself guitar, record yourself today and compare it with a new video in the next quarter. You will be able to answer that question on your own!
5. Find Other Players
Another great tip – try to find other players who are on the same level as you. It’s super fun when you can share that musical journey with other players. Try to find a local Facebook group for musicians or ask around – you will most likely find someone who’s also interested to learn. In that way, you will be able to encourage each other to practice more. In addition, you will be able to exchange your experiences, guitar lessons and tabs for interesting songs. And who knows, maybe in a few months you’ll form a band and you will become the next Foo Fighters?
6. Try Fender Play
If you don’t know what Fender Play is, feel free to check out my other article about it. In short, it’s a learning platform created by the most famous guitar brand in the world. It’s not expensive and it features lessons for all-level musicians. If you’re interested, have a look on the video below. It’s perfect for all guitarists and ukulele players! In addition, there’s a free trial included (you’ll see the link in my article linked above).
7. Don’t Give Up
This one is really important – it’s easy to feel discouraged when you don’t have any external guitar teacher. Things get difficult especially after a few months when the initial excitement goes away and you’re left with hours of practice and a tiny bit of progress. Well, I know that struggle. I had a few moments in my life where I didn’t want to play guitar for months! On top of that, I felt like I’m a terrible player and it’s not for me. Nevertheless, it’s important to know that these moment of discouragement are totally normal. If you don’t have the motivation to practice, take a short break, but don’t put the guitar away completely. Mental health is really important when it comes to self-learning, so make sure to stay positive and don’t ever give up! The progress will eventually come.
8. Have fun
Although you know how hard it is to teach yourself guitar, in the end it’s all about having fun! Use that challenge to enjoy yourself, meet new people and prove that you can actually do it. Still, try not to overthink it. It’s easy to think that you’re doing something wrong, but trust me – as long as you’re practicing regularly, you’re on the way to become a great guitar player!
How hard is it to teach yourself guitar? – Summary
I hope that you understand now how hard is it to teach yourself guitar. You are probably aware that it’s really challenging, but I encourage you to try this approach. As a self-taught guitarist, I’m really proud that I managed to be my own teacher. It took a lot of hard work, patience and effort, but it was definitely worth it. And most importantly, I’m sure that you can do it too! Just remember that playing guitar is not a sprint – it’s a marathon. I know that you want to progress as quickly as possible, but it’s not always possible. These things take time. Practice regularly and you will see great results – I’m absolutely sure about that!
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