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Best Ways to Teach Yourself to Play the Guitar

By: WhisperRoom™

April 22, 2021

A young man teaching himself how to play guitar

Learning to play the guitar during the pandemic restricts you to do it all by yourself. Unlike before, it is now difficult for you to get a tutor or physical class to attend. That doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice your progress and efficiency. Here are some of the best ways you can teach yourself to play the guitar.

Consider Joining a Class

You can’t go to a class, but a class could come to you. The pandemic has made online classes more popular than before, with plenty of reliable sources starting their own classes to help beginner guitarists. As a beginning of your musical education, you may consider online tutorials on YouTube or Skillshare that will provide you with essential basic knowledge and tips on how to learn guitar faster. If you’re looking for a more professional resource to start with, you should consider well-structured free guitar video lessons as an alternative to YouTube.

Joining an online class with video lessons has plenty of benefits. You get a step-by-step learning pattern to follow to make your learning as efficient as possible. Moreover, you get to interact with a reliable mentor and other students just like yourself. Besides, you get access to plenty of resources like guitar chords, charts and tabs, music theory, and other such great content.

Build a Habit to Play Every Day

Starting is easy, being consistent is tough. Practicing every day is what will get you to get better at learning to play the guitar. Find a time during the day that you can reserve just for playing the guitar. Having a specific time can help strengthen the habit of playing regularly.

Keep your guitar somewhere you can see it easily. It could be your bedroom or even your office. Should you get caught up with something and forget, seeing it would remind you to practice.

If you happen to skip a day due to a lack of time, ensure you don’t miss practice the next day. While building a habit, you can only afford a day of missing practice. Being part of online classes would further ensure that you are learning something new every day without forgetting what you learned the previous day.

Midlife Guitar documents progress from his first year of learning the guitar from online lessons.

Spend Time Learning How to Pick

As a beginner, you want to avoid being rash while learning the guitar. Many guitarists give up on learning how to properly pick and jump straight to learning chords. It’s great to play chords, but without having a strong foundation of the basics, you won’t be able to progress beyond a level. Instead of jumping straight to chords, spend time learning how to play leads.

Go through rock classics and find songs that have simple lead parts. Practice those regularly and once you’re done perfecting one song, find another that is more difficult. During this time, you also want to learn how to alternate pick. This method will make you faster and able to play more complex leads. Once you’ve learned how to pick well, you can move to chords.

A picking lesson for beginners from Perfecto De Castro.

Learn Music Theory

Learning how to play the guitar also requires you to learn music theory. Unless you know what you’re playing, you won’t be able to improvise and learn how to create your own music. This step is not important when you are just starting out, as many find learning music theory extremely boring. Once you’ve learned the basics of the guitar and have built a habit of playing regularly, you should start learning music theory.

As a guitarist, being able to create your own songs and finding ways to add your own touch to existing songs feels great. Once you’ve learned music theory, you’ll be able to find alternatives to chords, understand a song’s constitution and generate improvising ideas in your head.

Andy Guitar teaches a great introduction to music theory for beginner guitarists.

Practicing Your Favorites

As a beginner, you have a great opportunity to learn something new and exciting. Playing the guitar shouldn’t feel like work, but something you are arching to come back to. You should continue to learn and challenge yourself, but you should never lose touch with songs you truly love. We all start learning the guitar to be able to play our favorites, so why ever give that up?

Every day, when you practice, reserve some time to play your favorite songs. This will boost your ego and put you in a great spot to learn something new. Also, you warm up your hands and mind to start playing the guitar.

If you ever have a bad day, you can come back to your guitar, play some music, and you’ll start feeling much better. Music is not only therapeutic, but also a wonderful outlet for whatever we may be feeling. So never lose touch with what got you started.

Conclusion

It can be challenging and overwhelming to teach yourself to play the guitar, but you must give yourself the time and patience to learn. You won’t become a master in a month or two, but you can properly grasp how to play within a few years. Focus less on becoming perfect and more on each day’s lessons. Learn something new every day and continue to challenge yourself with more difficult pieces.

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