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Beginning Jazz Guitar

Blues Turnarounds

Basics of Bass Guitar

Beginner Guitar Chords

Memorizing the Notes on the Neck

Chromaticism and Improvising

On Becoming a Competent Musician

Chord Theory

Phrasing & Improvisation

Jazz Guitar Chords

Blues String Bending

Intervals on the Guitar

Improvising One Note at a Time

Scale Formulas

The Musical Alphabet


Can You Teach Yourself Guitar From

Books, DVDs and YouTube?

Yes you can. Beginning guitar at least is not advanced rocket science, and yes most of you could teach yourself a bunch of chords, learn some basic songs and learn to read tablature to pick up some cool riffs to impress your friends. All you've got to do is wade through the hundreds of thousands of free lesson, tab and video sites available.

In fact if that's all you want to do great, mission accomplished, and at no cost to you. Don't read any further. This article is aimed at the persons that want to become good at the guitar.

Getting What You Paid For

The big issue is that so much information in "web land" is presented by total beginners, who in reality, are not qualified and could never actually get a job teaching in a real music studio. That's not to say that there's not some really great lessons expertly presented (Our lessons for example). However, this leads to a major problem. How do you know what to follow? The short answer is you don't.

To me, as a professional guitar coach who has been at it many years before the internet, I find most of the information my students download and bring to lesson totally laughable. 99% of the time it is so bad that I just tell them to not bother bringing it in anymore. I tell students is that if you like a certain artist buy their tab book, and I will help them through it. The same goes for YouTube lessons.

The argument against online guitar education applies to books and CD/DVD methods as well. The difference is that the information is more than likely presented by a knowledgeable expert.


OK, lets' assume you've actually found a few reputable sources online. The three biggest obstacles with doing it yourself is that

1 You don't always where to start,

2 Sometimes it's hard to tell if you are doing it right, and

3 Having the discipline on your own to keep up the follow through.

For many this very frustrating and a lot of potential players give up and blame themselves. Just trust me on this, most of the time it's not you.

Self Taught Famous Guys?

OK that's really easy. Quit your job, camp on various friend's sofas, starve, play guitar 16 hours a day, starve some more. Do that for a few years and you'll probably get really good. Next! Seriously most people starting out aren't able to put so much much time into so lessons are a shortcut. A good instructor can offer insights that he or she has gathered over the years.

Get an Instructor

The biggest advantage of having an instructor in front of you is that when your frustration is at a high point and everything sounds bad, it's really useful to have someone tell you "It's ok, it should sound like that at this point, and in fact you are doing everything right," or,” here are a couple of corrections so just keep practicing and it will work." The teacher also has the ability try multiple approaches that online lessons, method books, CDs and DVDs cannot.


  • Online, how do you know if the information is correct?
  • Online, you don't always know if you are doing things right.
  • An instructor can modify their approach to your learning style.
  • An Instructor can be asked questions.
  • An instructor can demonstrate many ways.

So while I think it's fun and challenging to teach yourself and by all means go ahead and keep doing it, but do yourself a favor and check in with a good teacher once in a while, if not on a regular basis to keep you on track.

Oh and don't get me started on those lesson mills that seem to proliferate the internet these days. You know the ones where no matter what city or part of the country you are from, the same site appears in a search. Of course they always look somehow local because you city's name will appear. These sites hire instructors to come to your house. The problem is they don't often hire qualified teachers. If your lucky...