How hard is it to learn guitar by yourself?

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Learning something new is usually difficult. The guitar is a string instrument that is hard to learn. But there are exceptions. Everybody is different so it will depend on your personality and individual situation how difficult it will be for you to learn guitar on your own and without assistance.

How hard is it to learn Guitar by yourself? The guitar is not an easy instrument to learn. In spite of the help you can get from books, MP3/CDs, and YouTube videos, it is harder to learn guitar without a teacher or a proper mentor.

Learning from a guitar teacher helps immensely and make it a lot easier to learn the instrument. The reason is that the teacher is usually an expert in the field, and he tailors the learning according to your individual needs and your level of ability. Finding the right lessons to learn online from an unknown degree of difficulty can sometimes be a bit of a challenge.

Here are some of the difficulties that you will encounter while learning guitar on your own:

Tuning the Guitar

While learning the guitar by yourself, you may not know that you need to tune your guitar before practicing or do not know how to tune properly. Playing on an out of tune guitar is detrimental to your progress. If you practice repeatedly on an untuned guitar, your brain will start to think that whatever sound you play is right and you will not learn to recognize the correct pitches. Right away you started on the wrong path.

Additionally, when you hear a musician playing a piece in tune, you may wonder why you don’t sound as good as him. As a result, you may feel uncertain and feel less motivated to practice. So it is essential to first learn how to tune your guitar properly before playing the guitar.

Sources of Information

There are lots of information online about learning guitar including articles, videos on YouTube and guitar magazines. This influx of information can be confusing and even overwhelm you. For a beginner, you may switch from one source to another when you get stuck and does not understand something. Furthermore, you may not find the exact answer you are looking for. Instead, this influx of information will overwhelm and confuse you.

Sometimes the information you find online may be irrelevant for you. You think that you have found a reliable source for guitar lessons.

For example, you have learned how to hold the instrument and play the open strings. As you proceed further, you come across some difficulties playing chords in an improper position.

You attempted to play a new chord, but it does not sound correct. You rewind the video several times and play as shown but still, it does not sound correct when you play it. When you are your own teacher, you have to find the solution to your own problem.

Sometimes you may get stuck and need some help. At that moment, you may not know whom to ask. So you have to follow the trial and error method. Time wasted!


You can use a book to learn the guitar. However, you should understand that books can only provide you with a printed description and show through pictures how you should do it. Nowadays you may get an MP3 or CD along with the book. The audio will allow you to hear how a note or chord should sound. But hearing is different from watching a video of a person showing how to play a chord or a piece. Though some books provide valuable information, they come with inadequate support.


A very good source for learning how to play the guitar are videos. You can surf through all the free videos on YouTube. You will not be short of videos as they are many guitarists who upload their videos on YouTube. However, there are drawbacks. As a beginner, you will not understand whether they are good teachers or whether they are imparting you the right information or skills. You will never know if they are omitting things that are really significant.

Learning guitar by yourself vs. learning from a teacher

Motivation brings success

When you are learning guitar by yourself, it is sometimes difficult to keep motivated and driven to carry on. You face obstacles and you feel discouraged. It is helpful to have a motivating mentor who will always encourage you to move forward and not give up mid-way.

Furthermore, getting lessons from a teacher motivates you because your tutor constantly inspires and pushes to your limit while enhancing your skills. Taking weekly or bi-weekly lessons from a guitar teacher will also encourage you to practice the guitar more frequently, correctly and efficiently.

Motivation is very important because the more motivated you are, the more you will practice the guitar. Regular practice will improve your skills. Getting lessons from a teacher serves a comprehensive purpose. You not only learn the proper techniques, rehearsal scales and check your mistakes but you are also motivated to succeed.

Constructive instant feedback

This is a very fundamental difference between learning yourself and taking lessons from a teacher. For instance, if you are learning how to fret a note, but it keeps buzzing or muted and does not sound correct. This is a very normal difficulty that guitarists encounter at some level.

Whereas a video can only demonstrate how to do a particular thing, a teacher demonstrates how to do it correctly when things go wrong. Your tutor will not only point out what you are doing wrong but also advise you how to do it correctly. A good mentor will possibly also provide a list of exercises particularly customized to assist you in playing correctly. He may also add a practice composition to assist you to come out of your stagnation.

Tailored teaching

The information online is not catered to one person but address the masses. While learning yourself, you may find videos on YouTube that teach about chords but you may not know the difficulty level of the chords. When you start practicing, you may realize that they are too difficult for your level.

On the other hand, a teacher creates a complete practice plan that caters to your individual objectives and learning pattern. He teaches you chords suited for your own level. He would be able to fix things instantly so that it will sound good as you play.

Sometimes you may know the chord but do not know where in the fingerboard should be played. The teacher will be able to give you a live demonstration. This is very helpful because he knows your level, whether you have any musical background or starting fresh. According to your ability to learn, he will explain to you instantaneously with proper example.

A customized or tailored lesson from a guitar teacher is incomparable to any books, videos and other sources that are created for the masses.

Learning plan according to your level

Can you tell when you move forward from a beginner to an intermediate level? How can you find appropriate compositions or songs to study depending on your present skill level?

If you are learning guitar by yourself, you should have answers to these questions. It is not helpful if you look for intermediate lessons when you are at a beginner level. In doing so, you may start struggling to learn the piece that is beyond your current skill level. This can result in self-doubt or discouragement, and eventually, lead you to stop learning the guitar.

When you learn from a guitar teacher, your tutor will know what to teach you step-by-step. He will create a structured course covering suitable exercises, repertoire, scales, and studies. You improve immensely by following the advice and instructions of the teacher without getting overwhelmed.


Learning from a good guitar teacher can be expensive. On the other hand, you might think you can save if you learn guitar by yourself, as it might be free or costs very little. There is a saying that you got what you paid for.


When you learn guitar from a teacher, you have to maintain a fixed schedule. You have to make yourself free for the class that may be in the weekend or evening classes on any weekday. However, if you learn by yourself, you decide when to learn instead of meeting an appointment with your teacher. Discipline is another aspect of learning the guitar effectively and having a teacher can help with that.

The right age to learn guitar

Some teacher might say there is no right age for learning guitar. However, in our experiences, it depends on the individual. A child who is four years old or an adult of any age can learn guitar provided they are really passionate, patient, creative, and have a devoted teacher!

Some start learning guitar at an early age. But there are others who start learning later on. Quite a few guitarists start learning guitar when they were 30 years, 40 years, 50 years or even 70 years old. However, some of them turn to be wonderful guitarists. Hopefully, you would not one of those who got discouraged and stops learning guitar just because you got crazy for not figuring out things on your own.

It may be that when they were young, they just did not get the time and were busy with other activities in life. Probably, they did not find a good tutor to learn guitar.

You may think that you are too old to learn the guitar. But I think that a person is never too old to learn but grows old when he stops learning. Learning guitar is not about how old you are but about passion, creativity, imagination and having some fun along the way.

So let’s check out why it is now time for you to fulfill your dream of learning to play guitar:

Music expresses emotion

I think music is an expression of emotions. It is very important to learn the technical part of the instruction. But you should also create beautiful music. So you not only need to play the right chord but the music should also touch the soul of your audience.

Love for learning

You want to learn to play guitar because of your love for the instrument. You may be inspired by someone who is an amazing guitarist or you have this deep desire within you to learn guitar. However, competition should not come in the way. You do not need to compete or play better than someone else.

Learning as an adult

When you are learning guitar as an adult, you have more experience. You are cleverer and smarter and probably have some pent up emotions within you. All these will influence you’re playing and composing songs.

Playing guitar helps in socializing

Learning guitar helps you to meet different people, the other students who are learning the same instrument. You learn a lot from others especially youngsters. You may also meet charming celebrities while attending workshops. There are lots of people who like good music. So when you learn to play the guitar, you can entertain guests at home or play a piece in a social gathering.

Pro Tip: (Stretching  Exercises) It is essential that you remember to stretch for greater flexibility of your hands and fingers while playing the guitar. Moreover strumming the guitar can really be dangerous for your well-being if you do not take the necessary precautions. It is essential to learn stretching movements for your hands. Stretch and work the muscles in your hands when you are not playing the guitar. If you do not stretch on a regular basis, you can be prone to injury. As a beginner, you may not know about stretching exercises and that can be hazardous for you. You may injure your hand or finger in your excitement to learn the instrument. Ask your teacher for his stretching recommendations.


The guitar is an instrument that is hard to learn and when you learn by yourself, it becomes harder because you are the student and a teacher at the same time.

As a beginner, when you don’t have any idea about how to hold or play the guitar, you often have to go that extra mile, and when you are struck, you have to research on your own to find the right information. You have no one to help you so you have to look for information from different sources.

The easiest way would be to ask someone who knows how to play guitar which is a teacher or a mentor.

You need a lot of patience, motivation, and self-discipline in learning guitar but more so when you are learning by yourself.

When you get lessons from a guitar teacher, it might be expensive but your progress is monitored and help is near when you need it. Moreover, you are constantly encouraged to excel in your craft. With a teacher, you will maintain a fixed schedule. Irrespective of all the work or engagements you may have, you need to make yourself free for your classes.

So it is a personal choice whether you wish to learn guitar by yourself or get some help from an expert. Books and videos are always helpful as a supplement and you learn new interesting things.

But proper guidance from a supportive & capable teacher can be very helpful when you are just starting to learn guitar. That is why RoPe Music Lessons is here to help with your needs in your musical quest.

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