#1
Hi all fellow musicians.

I was thinking today that I learnt guitar in a different way then most. I feel like this has given me and advantage in some areas and a disadvantage in others.

I basically taught myself everything I know. Since I was not guided I leaned very strongly towards certain styles and technieques. I disregarded chords and musical theory all together for a while.

The interesting thing is that now that my playing is at an extrememly comfortable level the theory knowledge is coming naturally. It is like the underlying experience I have with the instrument allows me to memorize new musical theory without having to study it. Maybe it is because now I am actually interested in getting to the next level.

What I wanted to find out is how did you guys learn guitar. Did you also teach yourself on the internet or did you have a teacher and how did that help you or hinder you.

Also where are you in your guitar playing now and what are your aspirations.

I have been playing guitar for over 6 years and although there have been periods where I haven't played that much guitar I have never stopped thinking about music. Now I can play the drums, the keyboard and I am a pretty capable recording engineer and producer.
#2
Chords: first teacher
Scales, keys and modes: myself
Technique and phrasing: another teacher.
Gear:
Jackson Dinky (JB+59) > TC Polytune Noir > TS808 clone > DOD 250 > Modded RAT > CH-1 > GE-7 > TC Flashback > Plexi Clone
#3
self taught with theory and technique only recently did i take some lessons to help with classical tecnique

my playing is a 6-10 with ten being me being the pefect guitarist
which is impossible
#4
I used to think my dad could play guitar, so he taught me some chords while I was still young and green. A few years later I left him in the dust.

I'm mostly self-taught, focused a lot on improvising and sounding different. Only recently I've been attempting to nail a certain style down beautifully. For the first 2 or 3 years I was pretty much doing finger independence exercises and song covers. After that I started doing things a bit more methodically since I began noticing more precise flaws in my technique. I studied theory along the way on my own, through the internet and whatnot.
#5
Quote by Victorgeiger
I was thinking today that I learnt guitar in a different way then most. I feel like this has given me and advantage in some areas and a disadvantage in others.


It's not different at all; as far as I can see most guitarists are self-taught for the most part.

For my part at least I had a teacher for about 6-9 months who taught me the absolute basics of playing bass and theory, and since then I've been entirely self taught. Since I've been playing for just about a decade now I generally say I'm self-taught if I need a quick answer.

The teacher really helped; I skipped past a whole bunch of mistakes that I would have made if I was teaching myself and it gave me a good solid foundation on which to build.

Where I am now... well I have an album out that has some of my best playing on it, although for the most part it's not the limit of my technique. As ever I'm still improving though, things like note choice, phrasing, consistency, and so on never stop improving really.
R.I.P. My Signature. Lost to us in the great Signature Massacre of 2014.

Quote by Master Foo
“A man who mistakes secrets for knowledge is like a man who, seeking light, hugs a candle so closely that he smothers it and burns his hand.”


Album.
Legion.
#6
Self taught. I've been playing for eight years. Got into theory about two years ago, but still couldn't care less about most of it or find that 95% of it is just putting names to things I already knew, but knowing some terminology and stuff helps out when you're in a band where the bassist and the keys guy know everything under the sun theory-wise.

I don't really feel hindered at all. Maybe I did for the first 4-5 years or so, but I'm finding that as long as you spend time and actually learn, and try to actively make sense of it and try new things and new positions, then you're doing the same thing as the guy that starts with a guitar teacher and learns theory earlier on. You just don't have names for everything and associate things more with sound and feel rather than the concept that describes that sound and feel.

The trick to being self-taught (for me) is to really try to understand the instrument (and music in general) instead of relying on 'how-to-play' videos or tabs for everything you do. Use your ear and start putting together ideas and finding patterns in and between the songs you've learned to play.

The only thing I regret is not being able to play exceedingly fast. I get tripped up when I try to learn those fast sweeping arpeggios and stuff. It could be my hands, or it could be that I never had anyone teach me the proper way to do it. I can pull off shorter runs, but I can't do those big ones. Like that one in Metropolis Pt. 1 by Dream Theater. I tried that one pretty actively for like 4 months and wasn't even close lol. But I'm primarily a blues/acid rocker anyway, so it doesn't really hurt me.
#7
Mainly self-taught and by ear, with a year or so's worth of Classical guitar lessons when I was a few years in - which I would recommend to everyone.
#8
Self taught. Got interested in it when I was about 15, and learned from watching music videos, some chord books, tabs from this site(which is why I ended up joining the site eventually) and pure determination. 8-9 years later, I'm a decent guitar player, got more into the tone aspect of it instead of the technique part, so I'm a very good rhythm player.
#9
It is really great to hear these kind of tales from you guys. Many of the guitarists I know were trained. I guess this made me feel like I was at a disadvantage even though I was able to play physically faster and more technical solos then most of them.

They do seam to have an advantage in the song writing department. It will take me forever to decide on where to go from piece to piece in my songs but they just write. Maybe it is because they are following rules, maybe it is because I am trying to be to technical. Either way, I guess the best thing I can do as a musician is to just continue practicing, learning more and improving
#10
I was taught classical from a young age, continued on to study it at university, and believe this has led me to be the guitarist I am today. I don't, as many do, claim that classical guitarists are fundamentally better than pop/rock/etc guitarists, just that until recently, it was mostly classical guitarists that were taught so technically (this is largely because classical music makes you do things you don't want to do, and makes you a better guitarist for it, although the new RockSchool examinations etc are seriously tackling that problem), and that there is a higher proportion of beginner/amateur pop/rock guitarists, as us classical guys tend to take it quite seriously.

Having said that, there are elements of my playing that I got from learning classical that I couldn't live without, such as my knowledge of music theory (that's a whole extra debate) and the use of four fingers as opposed to one pick (sorry guys, there just aren't many occasions where I'd rather use a pick )

But despite what some may see as a rather rigid learning style, my first two teachers (the other two didn't because I knew what I was doing by then, and I had more interest in classical) encouraged me to improvise, jam and learn pop/rock stuff.

However, more importantly than what route you go down, I think is your mindset; not sight-reading a simple piece of music and being content; analyzing every note; what fingers you are using on each hand, how you're hitting the notes (and so on, this could be a huge list) and asking yourself constantly how to improve just the tiniest details
#11
All of the above.
Formal training, self taught (if I had an interest in something in particular), theory, etc.
#12
I took two years of acoustic classes in high school, parents also during this period bought me a line 6 spider III 15w amp and a laguna 6 string guitar (super basic setup)

I always listened to a lot of metal and kinda just jumped in to drop D and learned parts of songs by carnifex, suicide silence, and other 'deathcore' bands. I eventually moved on to playing more 'metalcore' and 'djent' usually not learning songs or anything but just fiddling around and playing whatever i thought of.

now i write, check out my signature (track i wrote and performed)
#13
I started by learning tab and taking it from there, using this site to look up tabs and being content with learning songs instead of theory. I'd do anything to take the first two years back and learn theory and all that.

So now I search for anything and everything that crosses my path that might help me become a better guitarist that I could do by myself. I guess the next step would be to take lessons so later on, I can regret not having done it sooner.
Free Ali
#14
Never had a teacher, started out learning a bunch of songs from tab and had no concept of theory. Did a lot of improvising - didn't care if the notes I played sounded good, just wanted to play really fast like Jimmy Page lol. With my supra distortion pedal and the tone on 10 to bring out those pinch harmonics - I'm amazed my parents didn't kick me out of the house. What godawful noise.

As I got older and realized how terrible everything I played sounded I pretty much had to start from scratch all over again.
#15
Once I discovered fifths and octaves I figured I'd keep playing every combination of notes on the neck and sooner or later it would make sense. Sounds like the thousand monkeys in a room with typewriters writing Shakespeare joke. It only works if you're obsessed and it makes more sense to start with a good teacher. It's definitely a lifetime pursuit so you might as well get a good start.
#16
I'm completely self taught in every aspect of my playing.. I honestly don't think anythings wrong with being self taught you just have to understand how to practice, but I can't lie it's mostly a trial and error process when teaching yourself it's not like having a teacher just spoon feeding you material.

I think the main problem with self taught players is that they don't set goals, and they don't understand how to practice or even how to structure that practice when they start practicing. Most of the time they just noodle around playing along to records not even thinking about using a metronome so when they first record themselves they assume they're great because they can play along with their guitar idles on record, but as soon as they listen to the recording it's just a scrambled mess of out of time licks and chords lol..


The most important thing to do if you want to get serious is to study how to practice, and to set goals and understand how you would go step by step in order to reach those goals.. Even better you have to be very critical on yourself brutally honest with your playing that's the only way to make progress is to figure out your weaknesses and to turn them into strengths.


I just know for a fact that a lot of self taught guitarist have holes in their playing from what I've seen some don't even know basic chords they just get into lead or the majority I know don't know how to count music which is very sad.. I just wish some people would realize that learning guitar is not a race it's a never ending journey you never stop improving no matter how long you've been playing there's always something new out there to learn.


The best thing to have when learning guitar is patience if you don't have that you wont get anywhere with your playing.


Last edited by Black_devils at Jun 4, 2014,
#17
Quote by Black_devils
I'm completely self taught in every aspect of my playing.. I honestly don't think anythings wrong with being self taught you just have to understand how to practice, but I can't lie it's mostly a trial and error process when teaching yourself it's not like having a teacher just spoon feeding you material.

I think the main problem with self taught players is that they don't set goals, and they don't understand how to practice or even how to structure that practice when they start practicing. Most of the time they just noodle around playing along to records not even thinking about using a metronome so when they first record themselves they assume they're great because they can play along with their guitar idles on record, but as soon as they listen to the recording it's just a scrambled mess of out of time licks and chords lol..


The most important thing to do if you want to get serious is to study how to practice, and to set goals and understand how you would go step by step in order to reach those goals.. Even better you have to be very critical on yourself brutally honest with your playing that's the only way to make progress is to figure out your weaknesses and to turn them into strengths.


I just know for a fact that a lot of self taught guitarist have holes in their playing from what I've seen some don't even know basic chords they just get into lead or the majority I know don't know how to count music which is very sad.. I just wish some people would realize that learning guitar is not a race it's a never ending journey you never stop improving no matter how long you've been playing there's always something new out there to learn.


The best thing to have when learning guitar is patience if you don't have that you wont get anywhere with your playing.




Inspirational seriously thanks man.
#18
My experience with guitar learning was very similar to yours, Victorgeiger. I also have been playing for about 6 years now and basically taught myself, although I had music theory foundation from music school, where I went for 8 years and played the piano, so that came in handy when I started to learn guitar. But still I learnt all guitar myself with a little help of the mighty Internet. As for level, well it is hard to say, but I definitely want to get better at guitar. Never stop learning right?
#19
The guitar thing started around 1987 I think.

My mom asked one evening with a rap band on the television that did include a guitarplayer what instrument I would pick if I was interested. I just answered guitar.

By 1988 I got a brand new Jasmine S60 acustic guitar and thats where it began. At first I had a few lessons but I was clueless to where and what/where you could go and do so the interest was not really there as much though at a former class mate he invited us in to hear smoke on the water by Deep Purple and I got my guitar teacher to show me how to play it.

Then by 1989-1991 I was in a different school and I started quickly to get into Metallica, S.O.D, DRI, Death,Slayer, Kreator and Danish band Invocator. It inspired me to get an electric guitar and what to play at the time so that what's I did.

However it was all on my own. For some reason I did not feel like anybody knew how to teach me so I just started right away learning on my own which came pretty natural.

I used my ears to guide me and learned from books or music or few times people and the bands I would be playing in.
#20
I learned to strum with friends who were beginners like me. There was no internet in the late 70s, but live bands were popular. We taught ourselves through chordbooks and chordcharts, as well as watching bands play. A friend in the late 80s taught us pentatonic.
#21
Mostly self-taught, but learned a lot from jamming with a guy that was better than me. (My first post, by the way, so hello to everyone!)

Started out when I got my first acoustic for Christmas when I was 17. Been playing ever since, so around 15 years now. Stared out learning all the basic open chords (CAGED shapes, major and minor).

For the first couple of years, I mainly printed tabs off the internet and learned to play the opening riffs to songs I liked. Lots of Zeppelin licks, Neil Young songs. Funny thing is I never really learned to play all the way through a song until I started jamming with other guys.

Jamming with others is when you really learn how to step up your game and sink or swim. It forces you to learn faster than if you just noodle around and learn opening riffs to songs, like I was doing.

Eventually learned how to use the minor pentatonic shape to improvise, then learned the structure of the 12-bar blues progression. My, how so many song use that! If you learn to improvise over the blues, you know about half of all popular music ever created right there

Then learned the "blues" scale, major scales, what modes are, then here recently have begun a journey to learn the ever fascinating genre of jazz. If you want to stretch your knowledge of music and theory, then dive into jazz. My study of jazz has forced me to take my playing and knowledge of the instrument to a higher level.

I'm not much of a shredder, but it is on my list of things I'd like to learn.

Anyway, that's me, in a nutshell.

Peace!
#22
Another self taught player right here. I am currently 18, and I started with piano at 16 (also self taught, although I do plan to start jazz piano lessons in September). I was, and still am, very eager to learn. Piano taught me a lot of theory, which helped me out a lot with the guitar.

I learned a large number of chords by playing my favorite songs (a lot of them use weird chords). I've learned the major scale and its modes, as well as the respective pentatonics, and the harmonic minor scale (I pretty much only learn a scale/technique if I'm sure I need it).

I've also written 12 songs in the one year I've been playing guitar, mostly alternative rock and ballads, but I've also written 3 blues songs, which is pretty much my favorite genre to play. I also like to play flamenco lead guitar with backing tracks, smooth jazz (which really helps with groove, and creating lines that people can sing, IMO) and rock (and by that I mean both alt-rock in the style of Oasis and 80's style hard rock, like Guns N' Roses and Scorpions). I don't really like metal.

But I agree with the guys above, setting goals is critical. Getting ever closer to them pushes you to go for more. Currently I practice my scales like a maniac so I can play fast (having just an acoustic doesn't really help, although I'll be getting an electric tomorrow ). I also want to really learn legato. I generally want to step up my technique, speed and clarity. I have no problem with creativity though. My end goal is to become a great blues-rock and smooth jazz guitarist.

And that's about it!
Last edited by CostasNoir at Jun 11, 2014,
#23
Quote by CostasNoir
Another self taught player right here. I am currently 18, and I started with piano at 16 (also self taught, although I do plan to start jazz piano lessons in September). I was, and still am, very eager to learn. Piano taught me a lot of theory, which helped me out a lot with the guitar.

I learned a large number of chords by playing my favorite songs (a lot of them use weird chords). I've learned the major scale and its modes, as well as the respective pentatonics, and the harmonic minor scale (I pretty much only learn a scale/technique if I'm sure I need it).

I've also written 12 songs in the one year I've been playing guitar, mostly alternative rock and ballads, but I've also written 3 blues songs, which is pretty much my favorite genre to play. I also like to play flamenco lead guitar with backing tracks, smooth jazz (which really helps with groove, and creating lines that people can sing, IMO) and rock (and by that I mean both alt-rock in the style of Oasis and 80's style hard rock, like Guns N' Roses and Scorpions). I don't really like metal.

But I agree with the guys above, setting goals is critical. Getting ever closer to them pushes you to go for more. Currently I practice my scales like a maniac so I can play fast (having just an acoustic doesn't really help, although I'll be getting an electric tomorrow ). I also want to really learn legato. I generally want to step up my technique, speed and clarity. I have no problem with creativity though. My end goal is to become a great blues-rock and smooth jazz guitarist.

And that's about it!


Nice dude! Sounds awesome. I like your gusto! Good luck with the guitar tomorrow I hope you get a sick one!
#24
I started with just a beginner guitar DVD. It showed me the basic chords that everyone learns in the beginning (Emajor, Dmajor, etc.) Then I just taught myself. Started coming here to get tabs to songs I wanted to learn. Looked up some of the different scales here as well. This year I started to learn how to play flamenco guitar, which is almost like relearning how to play.

I think teaching yourself is great, you can go at your own pace and learn the songs that you want. The only negative to it is that you might pick up bad technique habits, and with no teacher to show you what you're doing wrong, you will carry those bad habits through your playing career.
#25
Quote by Victorgeiger
Nice dude! Sounds awesome. I like your gusto! Good luck with the guitar tomorrow I hope you get a sick one!


Thanks a lot man, really appreciate it! I got a Goldtop Epi Les Paul (a nugget in the usual Epi lineup) and a Marshall DSL15C valve combo. Really ballsy tones I'm getting out of that setup so far!
Last edited by CostasNoir at Jun 13, 2014,
#26
I had no previous experience of guitar or any other instrument.

I lost my job and really needed a hobby.

I found Justin Guitar and then bought a Squier Beginner pack in early January 2013.

I started his Beginner course and finished his October and started his Intermediate Course on NYD and I'm 3 quarters of way through.

I really like the idea of having a really structured practice schedule.