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Avoid This Mistake When Teaching Yourself Guitar

While having guitar lessons with a teacher is generally regarded as the ideal way to learn, it’s not always possible, and many people choose to teach themselves guitar instead. While there are lots of excellent self-taught guitarists, there can be some pitfalls on this path, and in particular there is one mistake that should be avoided.

This is the mistake – which many people make – of not following a structured lesson plan, but instead gathering information randomly from a variety of sources.

Often the complete beginner will get a few guitar magazines, and try to follow the tutorials – which are usually focused on highly specific skills. Or s/he will go online and pick up bits and pieces of information from the huge variety of sites out there that provide guitar advice. So you end up with a few chords, a few scales, a few riffs etc. – but no real musical and theoretical context in which to place them.

warning signPeople who try to learn in this way often find that a few months down the line, they haven’t really made any significant progress. Then they feel discouraged, and may even think about giving up the guitar. This happens because this piecemeal approach to learning means they often don’t fully understand what they’re learning, and don’t develop a solid foundation on which to build more advanced skills. And without this foundation, it can be very difficult to progress well.

So if you want to avoid this mistake when teaching yourself guitar, make sure you follow a high quality guitar lesson plan. You may not be learning with a teacher in person, but you’ll still benefit from the guidance of the experienced guitarist-teachers who create these courses.

There are lots of options available, both online and off. Some people like to use traditional guitar tutor books, although these can be quite limited and hard to follow. For this reason, many people prefer to use a multi-media course which combines video, text, audio instruction, and often software too. Video lessons are especially useful, since they show you exactly what you need to do with your hands, and a good playing position is something that you need to pay particular attention to developing, since you won’t have a teacher there to correct any bad habits.

So to become a successful self-taught guitarist, follow a proper plan and give yourself the solid technical and musical grounding you’ll need to make progress later on. If you’re looking for a good course, I suggest checking out Learn and Master Guitar (physical format, with a book and DVD series) or Jamorama (downloadable course with books, video, audio and software – see my Jamorama review for more info).

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