Just wondering what the general opinion is. I hear that it's common for you to miss out a lot of theory being self-taught. Yet is it worth paying for tuition when there are so many online lessons that are so easy to access?
I didn't take any lessons. Maybe I should have. It would have sped-up the process I assume. But meeh. I'm fine as it is. I'm just far too lazy to focus on specific stuff I need to get better at in general.

I should've focused more on techniques and grips and less on specific songs in the beginning.

Techniques, chords and theory should I have spent the first year or so focusing on. but that was far too boring so I tried to learn songs instantly.
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Last edited by JohnnyGenzale at Feb 28, 2013,
both are good really...
It's helpful to have someone who's above you guide you along and give you tips/direction
and it's also good to figure things out for yourself so you can get a more in depth feel for it

My thoughts anyways
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both are good really...
It's helpful to have someone who's above you guide you along and give you tips/direction
and it's also good to figure things out for yourself so you can get a more in depth feel for it

My thoughts anyways


i didn't get lessons and if i did i might be further i might not who knows.

definatly good to have somebody to bounce stuff off
A good teacher can help guide you, and help you progress faster by helping you practice effectively to make the most progress. I was self-taught, the only former lessons I got weren't even for guitar, it was composing electronic music online at Berklee.

There's a lot of stuff I wish I could've been taught, I taught my best friend to play at first, then he's learned a lot from online resources as well as me. He was as good as me in a year without practicing more, just I pointed things out, and I taught him theory so he picked up writing pretty fast. I wish someone had explained theory, I had to read so much before it clicked.
Last edited by stratkat at Feb 28, 2013,
I recommend that you do get lessons in theory. It's true that it's all there on Youtube having everything taught to you by one person is much nicer than many different fragments of information on Youtube.

Theory isn't essential but it is very enlightening. Something that is important though is that theory is made use of as it's being taught. This way you get to see the theory in action. Without this, theory can remain an academic bubble that seems to have little to do with 'real playing'.
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I played self taught for about 5 years before taking lessons, after that, my skills improved dramatically.

Think of that next time you are not allowed to laugh.
I had been self taught before I took lessons. Within 3 weeks, my skills improved considerably.
I think having a teacher that knows what they are doing is good when you are first starting and when the time comes to learn theory and such. That stuff can be really confusing if you don't have somebody explaining to you how it all works.

Now, once you've been playing awhile and know enough to get around, I don't think taking lessons at that point would be very beneficial since you would probably know enough by then to easily teach it to yourself.

Also, I think it really depends on the person. There are some people out there who just have a natural talent for it and can learn and do much more in a few years than most of us could probably accomplish in decades of playing.

The good thing for people these days is that a lot of that information you would pay a teacher to teach you is readily available on YouTube and the internet in general. It's not really the same as having someone in front of you going over it at your own pace, but it's better than nothing. Looking back, I really wish I had something like that when I started playing. That was before YouTube was a thing.

I had to learn the old fashioned way: music class in school and guitar lessons at the music store.

I need to start taking lessons again. I've been slacking off lately and have forgotten a lot of what I've previously learned.
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I think it depends on what you want out of playing guitar.

If you don't mind mindlessly chugging powerchords, and not being able to do much else, you could survive without a guitar teacher.

I personally think that having a guitar teacher helps you WAY much more than just doing stuff all alone. When I was learning guitar scales, and how to improvise up and down the neck, I didn't understand the concept of boxes, I just played the standard pentatonic scale up and down, essentially just changing the key I was playing in. When I acquired a guitar teacher, he helped me understand the concept of boxes.
I'm self taught. I wish I had the money for a teacher.

I'm decent but I've plateaued. There comes a point where you just can't figure out certain advanced techniques and concepts without someone to hold your hand through it. Also it took me far longer to reach my current skill level that someone with a teacher would have taken. Like, a difference of years.

On the upside I've definitely developed my own techniques and styles. When I play with friends they're always pointing out the slightly weird and different ways I do certain techniques. Some of those techniques and styles might be considered "inferior," though.
Having had lessons I've become very complacent when teaching myself. It's always good to have someone who gives you 'homework' and expects you to prove that you've done it the week after. Keeps you motivated to improve things you wouldn't normally be bothered to do.
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Teacher. However, with the resources available nowadays, being self taught is pretty good too.
Sometimes I wish I had a teacher, but I'm doing fine without one. I wouldn't discourage someone from having a teacher.
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i was self taught for 7 or 8 years, learning at my own pace but happy with what i had accomplished. this year i took a guitar course at university to learn some theory. there are people in the class who have never played a guitar before, so at times learning chords and the actual playing part is terribly slow. but most people in the class know theory from other instruments. the theory, for me, has been extremely helpful and i have learned more this year than any other year playing, easily. i wish i had done it sooner, but im happy with how its turning out, definitely glad i got some lessons.
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bottom line if you self taught just get the occasional lesson to ensure your technique is okay and your on the right path.
I teached myself how to play guitar and I decided to take lessons after two years because I wasn't quite certain if my technique was alright. My technique turned out to be alright. I'm mostly learning a lot of theory implementation such as arpeggio's during my guitar lessons now. It's really beneficial but in the end, getting better is entirely your effort.
I didn't take lessons specifically to develop technique and style on my own.
The internet is such a good teacher for some things.

I used that to work out some fine-tuned techniques like artificial harmonics as I couldn't work out how to do them without watching someone else do it as I had literally no idea of how to move my hand to make it happen.

I don't regret not getting lessons though; it might have helped but it has definitely helped me develop my own style of playing instead of learning someone else's.

It has made my guitar playing more unique, though I did play trombone for 7 years before even picking up a guitar so had the theory nailed. I then just needed to apply it to the most wonderful instrument in the world...the guitar.
I was self taught for about five years, then hit a wall as far as learning anything else goes. I started taking lessons a little over a year ago. Man, have I learned a lot! I first learned about all of the bad habits I had developed. Then I began getting some technique down, mainly through learing to play songs and solos of the greats via tablature. Now I am learning some theory and beginning to re-learn to sight read (I played mallet instruments and drums in school). I'm really glad I'm doing it. I'm getting better by the week in many areas. It's certainly well worth the $30 a week that I'm paying.
People that think instructional videos and online guides are a comparable replacement to a real instructor are either delusional, or have never had a good teacher.


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I had a teacher when I was just starting out, and I think it's great to have someone show you the basics. They can see what you're doing and tell you how to improve. They can also help point advanced players in the right direction. Videos are great, but there's so many of them and so much to learn that it can be overwhelming. Where do you begin?
In response to those that actively prefer to not have a teacher, this is an admirable approach but be aware that you may be picking up bad habits that you'll have to work out of your system later on - which can be a frustrating and time consuming experience.

Also, there is the question of time. It could take you weeks to make a 'discovery' that a teacher could have explained to you in just one hour. This is fine if you enjoy the journey of making discoveries but if you really want to get somewhere fast then a good teacher could potentially save you a lot of time.
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I prefer self-taught to an extent, especially in the beginning. When you're learning how to play on your own, it's a lot easier to get your own feel, style and personality because it's only you doing what you feel is right and what you think sounds good. Lessons don't hurt at all, but it may be a bit harder getting out of the bad habits you fell into when it comes to technique and whatnot.
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Everyone operates differently. Many people learning to play the guitar have initiative and motivation and can push themselves to learn. However, other people need a guitar teacher to push them, keep them focused, or help them "get over the hump" when they plateau. There are obviously many incredible guitarists who have never taken a lesson. On the other hand, there is an equally high of number of guitarists who have.

Bottom line, it depends on you.
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Also, I think it really depends on the person. There are some people out there who just have a natural talent for it and can learn and do much more in a few years than most of us could probably accomplish in decades of playing.

I think this mars what is an otherwise excellent post.

I think this is a bit of a common sense myth, but really the only difference between talented folk and non-talented people is that talented people invest more time, and invest it better.

Practicing smart for 20 minutes is going to be ten times more effective than hours of mindless noodling, and if people devise careful practice regimes that are meticulously tailored to their learning abilities, they can achieve mastery with an appropriate amount of effort.

The thing is, the type of practice that really expands one's ability is gruelling, mentally exhausting and boring. It's the people that can bear with that and find new ways to challenge themselves that are the most successful imo.
The problem with being self taught is sometimes you lack motivation to progress further. You just become content with learning your favorite songs all day and not really focusing on your "technique" or whatever.
Your ideal teacher is you in ten years' time. If I'd had a teacher like that then a few things would have been better or quicker. Motivation and discipline of technique. I would have liked a teacher who worked from a compositional basis, i.e. someone who encouraged me to write music and to develop that writing ability in parallel with technique.
I payed a guitar teacher 70$ a month for half a year and he didn't teach me shit. Then I picked up guitar myself and was able to teach myself music theory in less than a month. Seriously i'm the best teacher I've ever had.

Self teach and get shown stuff too/lessons.
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Self teach and get shown stuff too/lessons.

Any guitar teacher would probably urge the student to self-study outside the lesson slots, so this falls under "teachers".
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Someone with more experience than you is necessary to shepherd you through the difficult initial phases, like 'where do I put my finger on the fretboard' or 'is it wrong if I play with only upstrokes'. But at the same time it's easier to learn songs if you can pick/find the songs you want to learn.
Both are good really, no wrong answer. I've kind of done both. For whatever it's worth, I've bought many videos from the website below and have been VERY pleased. I've learned so much from this guy, I think it's the best online guitar lessons site imho. There are general lessons and note for note solos. Great teaching and a lot of free videos too. The site is


Hi, I teach guitar in Brooklyn, and I've also been a guitar student for many years. I think a motivated musician can go a long way on his or her own with self-teaching, but I also think almost everyone will hit a wall unless there's another person to act as a guide. My teachers have suggested that I learn songs that I never would have learned to play on my own; they weren't my "favorite" songs, and many times they weren't styles of music I would normally play or listen to, but every one of them improved my guitar playing! So I hope as a guitar teacher that I'm opening the minds of my students the same way.

What do other people think?