When you are learning the guitar there are many things that come into place.
Whether you want to be the next Yngwie Malmsteen or the next Van Halen or
whether you simply want to play your favourite songs on the guitar, there are certain
things you need to learn and certain skills you need to develop. You also need to be
able to solve any problems you pick up and avoid problems in the first place. But the
problem is when you are self-taught you have certain challenges that is almost
impossible to solve on your own. These things are:
1) You have no idea what you need to learn.
When you are self-taught you may be able to find out certain things that you need to
learn that almost everyone is aware of. Even people who don’t play the guitar know
that chords is something guitarists learn. However, depending on what you want to
do, you may have to learn certain things that someone else doesn’t need to learn.
For example, an upcoming rock guitar player who just wants to play their favourite
songs doesn’t need to learn how to read music unlike those who want to play
Someone who wants to write their own songs needs to learn things that those who
do not want to write songs don’t have to learn. There are things and skills that is not
common knowledge or that is often badly taught or taught in an incomplete way that
you need to learn and develop. But when you are self-taught you are all alone, you
have nothing but trial and error and it will take years to figure everything out yourself
if you ever are able to do this.
2) You have no idea when you need to learn something.
Even if you can figure out or stumble upon what you need to learn, there is an order
that you should learn things that will not be the same for you as someone else. And
figuring this out is nearly impossible. Since you don’t have any idea what exists
beyond your knowledge and if you are a beginner you don’t know anything yet. And
when you are an intermediate or even advanced you may think you know but you
really don’t know. And if you are advanced you may be able to know the big picture
but it still a lot harder for you to go it alone.
3) You have no idea how to practice.
You may learn certain things and that is good but you need to know how to practice
everything that you know otherwise you will waste hours of practice time not getting
anywhere. You have little to no chance of finding out how to practice on the internet.
So, it is really hard to make a lot of progress on your own.
4) You will pick up bad habits without realising it and it holds you back.
When you have a bad habit, these little habits can hold you back from reaching a
certain goal or goals which you have possibly picked up without even realising it.
You have no way of knowing if you have picked up a bad habit and if you were to
watch someone play on Youtube, they may also have bad habits and you wouldn’t
even spot it. This is problematic and causes people to not get to where they want to
be on the guitar.
5) You have no way to spot bad advice or good advice or great advice.
When you are self-taught and you have no way to spot bad habits in your playing
you have no way to spot bad advice or good advice or great advice. You might have
thought “well I will just learn from people from Youtube or on the internet” but it’s not
that simple. Otherwise people would become excellent just from looking on youtube
videos. How many people do you know who have done that? I bet not many. And if
someone says that’s how they got good that is likely a lie. Someone who has only
been playing for a few months can post advice on the internet and could post really
bad advice and you would have no idea.
The point is you are more likely to go backwards if you are self-taught than if you
have a really great guitar instructor who can get you there in half the time or quicker.
About the author: Jake Willmot has long hair and likes to rock out, on top of that he
teaches the best guitar instruction in Devon, Exmouth and helps many people play
guitar the way they want to.