Are you someone who has always wanted to learn how to play the guitar, but never actually see yourself signing up for traditional guitar lessons at your local Guitar Center?
Well, you’re in luck! With today’s technology, it’s completely possible to learn guitar on your own without the need of a professional instructor.
In this guide, we’ll be discussing 13 of the best ways to learn guitar on your own.
Can You Learn Guitar On Your Own?
When learning guitar, the traditional route would be to sign up for guitar lessons with a professional instructor.
But with everyone’s busy schedules, it can be inconvenient and expensive to commit to actual guitar lessons with an instructor.
What if you could just learn guitar completely on your own. You could learn on your own schedule without needing to meet face to face with anyone.
So, can you really learn guitar on your own?
In short, yes you can learn guitar on your own. Nowadays, there is an unlimited number of guitar learning resources available online. You can use online guitar lesson services, guitar learning apps, video games, and other technology to learn guitar on your own without needing to sign up for in-person guitar lessons with an instructor.
The 13 Best Ways to Learn Guitar to Learn Guitar
Don’t have time to read the whole guide? No problem!
In short, here the 13 best ways to learn guitar on your own:
- Online Guitar Lesson Service
- Guitar Learning Apps
- Learn Guitar on YouTube
- Play Rocksmith (Guitar Learning Video Game)
- Record Yourself Play
- Read Guitar Resources
- Guitar Tab Websites
- Ask Questions on Guitar Forums
- Set a Consistent Practice Schedule
- Learn Guitar With a Group of Friends
- Study Music Theory
- Practice Ear Training
- Listen to Other Musicians
We’ll be discussing each of these options in more detail throughout the rest of the post.
Online Guitar Lesson Services
In recent years, the online guitar lesson industry has exploded. There are hundreds of amazing resources online dedicated to teaching people how to play guitar from the comfort of their own homes.
From my personal experience, online guitar lesson services are the best way to learn guitar on your own schedule.
At first glance, you may ask how online guitar lesson services are different from traditional guitar lessons. Does this really count as learning guitar on your own?
Well, the format of these online guitar lesson services has a completely different dynamic than having a dedicated teacher.
Rather than meeting with someone one on one, you’re essentially paying for access to thousands of different guitar lesson videos. They’re all professionally filmed and taught by dozens of different guitar instructors specializing in different genres.
In addition, these services also include resources such as guitar tabs, backing tracks, and written guides that give you everything you need to effectively learn and practice the guitar on your own.
And since you’re paying for access to an entire library of guitar lesson videos, you’ll be able to learn as much as you want on your own schedule. In general, you will find that learning guitar on your own with online services is a much better bang for your buck compared to traditional guitar lesson services.
Online guitar lessons typically cost way less and give you access to way more information for what you’re paying.
The main reason I recommend online guitar lessons for anyone looking to learn guitar on their own is the convenience.
Let’s face it. We’re all busy and life just gets in the way.
Not everyone is in a position where they can commit in-person guitar lessons at a set time every week.
Online guitar lessons give you the flexibility to learn guitar whenever you have some extra free time. You can go at your own pace and learn what you want to learn.
From my personal experience, the best online guitar lesson service is Guitar Tricks.
They offer a clean and effective user experience, course structure, and robust library of lessons and songs taught by professional instructors.
If you’re interested in trying out
Guitar Learning Apps
The next way to learn guitar on your own is to download guitar learning apps on your smartphone or tablet.
Now, this really goes hand in hand with the previous method, but it’s important to note because you essentially have access to unlimited guitar learning resources right in your pocket.
Learning guitar has never been so accessible. Pretty much everyone has a smartphone, which means that anyone has the resources at their disposal to learn how to play the guitar.
Whether you’re on iOS or Android, you can find an app that teaches every aspect of the guitar including, full guitar lessons, techniques to practice, chords to learn, ear training, music theory, and more!
In addition, there are also guitar learning apps, like Yousician, that takes it to the next level and add a layer of interaction. Yousician can actually listen to your play guitar and give you real-time feedback as you play, similar to an in-person guitar teacher.
Mobile apps have come a long way and are now one of my go-to resources when it comes to learning guitar on your own.
Learn Guitar on YouTube
This one may seem like a no-brainer, but YouTube is an excellent resource for people who want to learn guitar on their own.
You can pretty much learn how to do anything on YouTube, including playing the guitar.
With YouTube, you’ll have access to unlimited guitar lessons, song tutorials, tips, and tricks completely for free.
YouTube also has a built-in feature that allows you to slow the video down, which makes it easier to process things while you’re learning.
Just keep in mind that guitar lessons on YouTube can be inconsistent in terms of quality and typically lack a proper structure. If you’re an absolute beginner, it can be difficult to filter out the noise, simply because you don’t know enough to differentiate good advice from bad.
However, YouTube can be a great resource for learning new songs, finding inspiration, or learning quick tips and tricks.
Personally, I would recommend using a structured guitar lesson service, like
If used properly, YouTube is one of the best ways to learn guitar on your own. As long as you’re careful not to develop bad habits, YouTube can be one of the most powerful guitar learning resources out there.
Play Rocksmith (Guitar Learning Video Game)
Rocksmith is another fun and interactive way to learn guitar on your own.
For those of you who aren’t familiar with Rocksmith, it’s essentially a guitar learning video game that combines Guitar Hero with the real guitar.
It’s a fun and interactive way to learn and practice the guitar because it gamifies the whole experience.
Rather than just watching videos, reading sheet music, and studying, Rocksmith lets you jump right into the action and play your favorite songs.
It’s a great way to break up the monotony of your regular guitar practice and get you excited to play. It essentially forces you to practice without it feeling like practice.
And the best part is that it provides real-time feedback on your playing and gives you a score at the end of each song. This interaction encourages self-improvement and evaluation. In trying to progress in the game and getting a higher score, you’re simultaneously improving as a guitar player as well.
Rocksmith also comes with mini-games and guitar lesson videos that help you practice the “boring” aspects of the guitar in a fun and engaging way that doesn’t even feel like practice.
In many ways, playing the guitar is just like playing a video game and Rocksmith is an excellent tool that bridges the gap. If you’re a gamer who wants to learn guitar on your own, the Rocksmith is a no brainer.
Read Also: Is Rocksmith Good for Learning Guitar?
Record Yourself Play
When it comes to learning and improving at guitar, recording yourself play is something that most people overlook.
However, this tip can actually dramatically speed up your overall development as a guitar player and help you learn from your mistakes.
Recording yourself to play guitar and listening back allows you to track your performance and measure your growth over time. As you look back on your playing, you’ll clearly notice how much you have improved, you’ll pick up on your mistakes, and ultimately be able to critique your own performance.
Just tracking your progress is proven to help people learn faster. This could apply to anything, whether it’s lifting weights, running long distances, or playing guitar. Being able to measure your incremental improvements, self evaluate, adapt ultimately helps you learn and improve as a player.
With guitar, it can be really easy to miss something while you’re playing in the moment. When you listen back to your recordings, you’ll pick up on all of the nuances and mistakes, which makes it a lot easier to correct.
Guitar Tab Websites
If you are someone who just wants to learn how to play your favorite songs on the guitar to impress your friends, then using guitar tabs is the way to go.
Let’s face it. Not everyone wants to be the next Eric Clapton.
Some of us just want to casually play songs for fun as a way to relax and destress.
There’s nothing wrong with that!
If that sounds like you, then guitar tabs are an easy and intuitive way to learn songs on the guitar without needing to learn theory or how to read sheet music at all.
Guitar tab websites are a great resource for people who want to learn how to play songs on your own without needing to commit to guitar lessons. They are essentially just large databases of guitar tabs for popular songs.
My favorite guitar tab website is Songsterr because the interface is clean and intuitive, their database has pretty much every song you’d ever want to learn, and they have a playback functionality so you can hear how the song should be played.
Guitar tab websites are also great as a supplement to a structured guitar lesson service because they allow you to put the techniques into practice in a real-world situation.
Learning chords, techniques and theory is great, but at the end of the day, your goal as a guitar play is to make music. Once you have a strong foundation, you can use guitar tab websites to learn your favorite songs.
Read Also: The 5 Best Free Guitar Tab Websites
Read Guitar Resources
The guitar is one of the most documented musical instruments in the world simply due to how popular it is.
Many people will default to video content these days because the visuals are audio.
But don’t sleep on written guitar learning resources. This includes books, blog posts, etc.
One of the best ways to learn guitar on your own is just to read as much as you can. There’s a wealth of information out there.
A notable advantage of written content is that most of the resources are more reliable and accurate. For example, if you’re reading an actual book that was professionally published, that information is more likely to be accurate than a random person posting a video on YouTube.
In addition, written content also tends to save time. This helps improve efficiency because it frees up extra time to practice.
Ask Questions on Guitar Forums
When learning guitar on your own, there’s only so much watching a video lesson can do, regardless of how good it is.
Playing guitar has so many nuances involved that it’s only a matter of time before you run into a specific issue that can’t quite be explained in a video or blog post.
Actually having someone to give personal feedback can be indispensable, which is why many feel that in-person guitar lessons are essential.
However, one way to get actual feedback from people is to ask questions on active guitar forums. This could be through traditional online guitar forums, Facebook Groups, YouTube comments, or anything like that.
These resources can be an excellent replacement for an in-person guitar teacher because they allow you to have actual interaction with more experienced players who can help you through your specific questions and roadblocks while you’re playing.
Set a Consistent Practice Schedule
When it comes to learning to play guitar on your own, consistency is key.
Learning how to play guitar takes time. There’s really no way around it. You’ll need to put in the repetitions on a consistent basis to feel comfortable with the instrument and develop the muscle memory.
Setting a consistent practice schedule is the best way to accomplish this. You should be picking up your guitar every single day, even if it’s just for a short period of time.
It’s much better to have a 15-30 minute practice session every day than it is to have a single 3 hour session once a week.
Having multiple short sessions rather than a single long session is typically much more efficient because it gives you time to learn new concepts, process information overnight, and keep new learnings top of mind. This helps maximize efficiency
If you’re someone who only picks up your guitar once a week, then you’ll likely find that you’ve forgotten everything you’ve learned since your last session and need to relearn it again every time to pick up your guitar. This is ultimately less efficient and hinders your overall progress in the long run.
Study Music Theory
While many guitar players might cringe at the idea of studying music theory, it is one of the core skills that help you connect the dots and understand how making music actually works.
While learning music theory technically isn’t a requirement when it comes to playing guitar (and many of the best guitar players in the world don’t know theory), it definitely helps you become a more well rounded and versatile player.
In addition, if you want to be able to efficiently communicate with other musicians or write songs on guitar, then learning music theory is an essential skill.
And the best part about learning music theory is that you can do it completely on your own without help from a teacher. There are plenty of free resources out there that can teach you everything you need to know about music theory including videos online, music blogs, or books. Just like study for a school exam, all you need to do is put in the time and read.
Practice Ear Training
Another way to practice guitar on your own that’s often overlooked is ear training.
This is something that doesn’t even require you to have a guitar in hand, but can make a world of difference when it comes to learning new songs.
Being able to listen to a song and recognize patterns is one of the best ways to learn how to recreate it. There are plenty of guitar apps and YouTube videos that you can watch that help train your ear.
Once you can successfully understand the common patterns in music, such as chord progressions, scales, and riffs, it makes your job significantly easier. If there are specific genres of music that you learn towards, then you’ll easily be able to pinpoint and practice the most common techniques involved with playing that type of music.
Listen to Other Musicians
When it comes to learning guitar, some things simply can’t be taught or explained. As I’ve mentioned before, there are a ton of nuances involved with playing guitar that just need to hear to understand.
These nuances and mannerisms of guitar players is what distinguishes the legends of industry and separates them from the pack.
When you hear music from Steve Vai, Eddie Van Halen, or Eric Johnson, you’ll know it’s them right away.
One of the best ways to help develop your own style of music is to take inspiration from some of your favorite guitarists and expand off of it.
Listen to not only WHAT they are playing, but HOW they are playing it. This can help give you ideas that you can branch off of in your own playing.
It also gives you a sense of direction in terms of what genre and styles of music you’ll ultimately be learning in the long run.
Learn Guitar With a Group of Friends
One of the most common problems that new guitar players have when they are trying to learn on their own is the lack of motivation and accountability when it comes to practice.
If you can, try to learn guitar with a group of friends. It’ll make your overall experience more enjoyable and engaging. Having people who can provide immediate feedback and advice can be critical when you run into roadblocks.
Also, just having people to help hold you accountable can help give you the push you need to stay motivated so you don’t fall behind the rest of the group.
To wrap things up, you can definitely learn how to play guitar on your own without a guitar teacher. While some people prefer having someone sit next to them guiding them while they play, it’s definitely not necessary anymore with the tools available today. Sign up for online guitar lessons through a service like Guitar Tricks as a foundation and then branch off with other online resources as well. There’s no shortage of information, so as long as you put in the work, you’ll be a seasoned guitar player in no time. Good luck playing!