You’ve seen the websites. They list multiple lessons for learning to play the guitar, beginning with the most essential basics and working up to improvising lead guitar licks. Is it really possible to learn to play the guitar by following these online lessons, or do you need to hire a teacher for best results?
The fact is, you can be your own best teacher, if you will be faithful to practice what you learn. A real live teacher can help in some ways. For instance, they can advise you if you are practicing something wrong. If you persist in practicing something wrong, it can hamper your advancement as a guitar player in the future. However, if you are careful to follow online lessons, you will probably be able to figure out you are doing it wrong.
Free online guitar lessons vary in quality, of course. The best will be equipped with diagrams and sound files. Some even provide video clips to even better illustrate the skills that are being learned. Search around and you can probably find really great lessons geared to exactly the style of music you are wishing to play. Do you dream of burning up the fretboard in bluegrass flatpicking? Are you hoping to do some sensuous jazz sounds? Is rock more your thing, or one of the many variations of jazz, country and rock? There are websites devoted to each style of guitar playing.
One style of music that would be best learned from a live teacher is classical guitar. If you already know some basic guitar, however, and especially if you can read music some, you can probably teach yourself classical guitar using free online resources as well.
Here are a few suggestions for learning to play using free online guitar lessons. Search around for a site that speaks your language and appeals to you. There’s sure to be one that communicates with you personally. Also, start at the beginning even if you have some experience. For instance, if you are proficient at strumming chords, but want to add some picking to your repertoire, scan through the preliminary lessons anyway. You may run across a tip or a tidbit of training that you will need when you begin learning the new skill.
Of course, there is no substitute for consistent, focused practice. Shoot for an hour a day, learning new skills at your own pace. Don’t get frustrated with yourself if a particular lesson is hard for you. Take your time to get it right and practice, practice, practice. Regular playing is the only real way to develop the strength in your hands, the calluses on your fingers, and the knowledge in your head.
Finally, the most important weapon in the “teach yourself” arsenal is a can-do attitude. Many others, some of the greats, in fact, have taught themselves to play guitar. You can do it, too.