Guitar lessons can be expensive (especially for true rockers, after all if you sing the blues you're most likely too poor to afford proper lessons), and so many people choose to teach themselves. I am one of these people, but though I most likely could get lessons I don't want to because by teaching myself I have much more satisfaction when I overcome a hard solo or something, and also I can play whatever the hell I want (which is pretty much AC/DC 24/7).
So anyway jumping right to my little mini lesson thing.
The key to teaching yourself how to play guitar
The absolute most important thing in teaching yourself guitar is to never, ever get discouraged and never let musical frustration get in the way, and to have confidence in your own skills. Keep telling yourself that you will learn it eventually. How do you do this? This question will bring us to the next section, which is the two general starting approaches.
Start high and work down
Some may think this crazy, but if you have at least a little bit of musical talent and a lot of patience, this is the road for you. What this method means is you learn as one of your first major songs a very complicated song (not too complicated), and then after you've mastered that move down slightly and work back up to even more complicated songs. The theory behind this: If you start with an easy song at first it's easier to have low confidence and therefore want to quit when you get to a challenging song, since you're used to having it easy. It's like this: Take a pampered rich boy who has had everything given to him and has everything in the world and rip him out of this world one day and put him in the army. What happens? He doesn't know what to do, he breaks down, maybe kills himself. Now take a tough, from-the-slums guy who fights for everything, then put him in a suburban, Brady Bunch atmosphere and how does he handle it? He can take anything that coems his way ebcause he's used to it. And so my point is this: If you learn a complicated song (mine was Mason Williams's Classical Gas) you will, when you get to an easier song, say 'Oh this is nothing compared to...' and when you get to a little more complicated song than that you can say 'Oh well I learned that really hard song so I know I can do this.'
Start simple and work your way up
This is the more obvious method; start with easy, two or three string songs, like Beethoven's Ode to Joy, then move your way up to harder songs gradually.
The basic ideas of the former and latter
Okay summing the last two paragraphs, basically the first method gives you the will and confidence to get through challenges, and the second lets you build from the ground up. Whichever one you find more appealing is the one you should try.
Some tips on getting started1. For method 1 I suggest you learn Mason Williams's 'Classical Gas' or for a lighter load 'Blackbird' by The Beatles, or if you only want to play electric guitar, no fingerpicking, try something rock 'n' roll, like Led Zeppelin's 'Stairway to Heaven' or AC/DC's 'You Shook Me All Night Long'.
2. For method 2 I suggest you try to learn Beethoven's 'Ode to Joy' or something by George Thorogood (or is it Thurgood??), or for something slighty (not by much) more challenging, AC/DC's 'Hard as a Rock'. (I apologise for the multiple references to AC/DC songs; but I have chosen to study the band and I have found that for rock guitar they are one of the best bands to learn from).
How to teach yourself guitar
If you think teaching yourself guitar will be easy, it's not. If you think teaching yourself guitar is difficult, it's not. It is simply something that you'll have to work at, and fgure out along the way. Here are the basic guidlines that I am using to teach myself guitar:
1. Internet tab sites are your best friend. But be careful, alot of tabs are inaccurate. If you don't want to use tab sites, I highly recommend buying a tab book (they're around $20-25, or more depending on content) and a CD (or CDs) to go along with the songs in the book. Tablature is what makes teaching yourself guitar easier than other instruments, but it does require that you listen to the song.
2. Here's a secret: Windows Media Player (on Windows XP, I don't know about other versions) has 'Play Speed Settings' that allow you to speed up or slow down a song. By slowing down songs I have been able to teach myself guitar solos (if you want proof of how much slowing down the speed helps, listen to a really fast song and think about how else you would be able to learn it).
3. Talk to and/or listen in on conversations of other guitarists. This has let me learn several things such as theory, chords, what people like to hear, and such things as that.
4. If you have AOL or AIM feel free to IM me; I love to talk about guitars and music in general. My e-mail address is AcDc1087@aol.com.
5. Never give up, always know that you will get better, and always remember (I hope UG lets me say this):
'Don't ever worry about anyone being better than you, just do your own shit.'