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November 28, 2008

Teach yourself guitar

Is that even possible? Don't you need a guitar teacher in order to have a chance of getting anywhere?

Those are good questions. Let's take a look at them in more detail.

First of all, I think having a guitar teacher is the best possible situation. Teaching yourself to play guitar can be done - I did it that way. The main drawback is that it will probably take longer to get anywhere. You have no skilled teacher to ask for feedback, or to ask "what should I be working on?".

Teaching yourself takes extra discipline. You will need some sort of guide, whether this consists of books, DVDs, audio, computer software, etc. Personally, I learned by listening to tapes of the Beatles and Heavy Metal bands from the late 70s. I kept listening to a short part of a song on the tape, playing a long with guitar at the same time. I tried to figure out what chords and/or notes were being played. Listening for 3-4 seconds, imitating, rewinding, playing along, thinking, repeating over and over. Getting anywhere this way took a long time, but in the process, I also developed very good ears for hearing notes and combinations of notes. This, I realize now, was VERY rewarding for my future guitar playing.

However, if I started from scratch again, I would try and find a good guitar teacher. With a good teacher, you can progress much quicker than by yourself, not only because of the instruction part, but also because the teacher will be able to give you very constructive feedback. When teaching yourself, this can be difficult. How can you be sure what you are doing is good, correct, etc?

It can be hard to find a teacher that works great for you, but don't give up. Talk to several teachers and see if you can start out with just a few lessons. Try to get a feeling for if this teacher communicates well with you and you see the potential for good progress. If not, try a different teacher.

If you do decide to teach yourself, ask on web guitar forums and check reviews of Guitar DVD's and books. Amazon has a good selection of material which is user-rated, so that you get an idea of useful people find it.

Above all, you must realize that practice is what will make you improve on your instrument. Whether you have a teacher or you are teaching yourself, set aside as much time as you can per week for practice. It's really only during practicing you are really learning; the rest of the time you are taking info in some way. I would say try and play an hour per day, at least, and set aside at least 3-4 days per week to practicing. Otherwise, most people will not progress as quickly as they would like.

Now, if you can't find a teacher where you live, I can perhaps help you out with my web cam guitar lessons. The way this works is we do one-on-one lessons, using a webcam and necessary software. It's almost like having a real teacher in your living room.

You probably know that I also have blues/rock guitar DVD material on this website. There are lots of blues licks, scales and exercises on these, as well as song snippets and intros.

Whatever you choose to do, have fun with it, and remember that you have to spend time practicing your guitar in order to really progress. Don't let that discourage you, however. Practicing can actually be fun! The more you practice, the more you improve, which motivates you to practice more! If you are serious about improving your guitar playing, practicing won't be a problem for you.

By Robert Renman - www.dolphinstreet.com

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Posted by Robert Renman on November 28, 2008

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