How to Learn Guitar at Home Without a Teacher
Use an online guitar lesson program, like Guitar Tricks
Going without a guitar teacher these days is very doable because of the availability and quality of online guitar lesson programs. We recommend Guitar Tricks, but there are other good options available. Assuming you're a self-motivated learner, this is going to be your best way to learn guitar in the comfort of your own home without needing a teacher.
Guitar teachers can still be valuable, but it's becoming easier and more common to learn guitar at home without a teacher in person. This is done through online guitar lesson programs that teach you in a series of video courses, and self-disciplined private study.
If you're someone who is self-motivated and prefers to work alone, this method is going to be a great fit for you. I'll outline the steps below.
Keep in mind, I'll assume the following:
- You already have a guitar
- You're already old enough to be largely self-taught/motivated
- You have access to the internet
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1. Understand that there is an important ordering of topics
Part of the reason a pre-written course is so helpful is that it lines up topics in an optimal way. You need to keep this in mind if your plan is to learn guitar at home. While different online courses have different approaches, they also follow a basic structure, or what you might call best practices. You can read more about them in the article linked here.
Read more: How to learn guitar in order
2. Use your online guitar lesson program to follow that order
Whether it's Guitar Tricks or a different program, use the courses laid out for you to follow an established order. Even if it deviates slightly from the order we recommend in the article linked above, it's fine to just stick with whatever outline you end up with. The Guitar Tricks Fundamentals 1 and 2 courses do a solid job of ordering beginner material, which is a big part of the reason we recommend them.
Try it free for 14 days: Guitar Tricks
3. Set up a consistent practice schedule
Once you're getting started with an online course you need to set up a kind of schedule, that gives you time to watch the content. This watch time functions as your lessons, like you would schedule with a teacher. The second component of your schedule is going to be your practice time.
4. For every 30 minutes you spend with the online lessons, spend two hours practicing alone
As a way to lay down a framework for that schedule, I'd recommend breaking it down like this:
- 30 minutes of lessons/watching videos/taking notes (literally or mentally)
- 2 hours of practice time for each 30 minutes of video
5. Collect information from the lessons to stay focused
During that 30 minutes, take note of the topics they're addressing. For example, you might be going through lessons that are focusing on memorizing the fretboard. Once they've covered that topic in full, go ahead and stop the lessons, even if you aren't at the 30 minute mark.
You then need to discipline yourself to focus on that particular topic, during your practice time.
You might be able practice previous topics just to reinforce them - perhaps for around 20-30 minutes - then spend the next hour or so working on the memorizing the fretboard. That way you build forward with new topics as you go.
6. Discipline yourself
One of the most difficult but important aspects of learning guitar without a teacher is disciplining yourself. When you have a teacher, you have a schedule, and you're accountable for another person's time. For people who have a harder time self-motivating, an in-person teacher could be a better option because you have something that makes you stick with it.
But if you're going to learn guitar at home, it's crucial that you can do this yourself. You've got to stick to a schedule and use the resources at your disposal.
If you can, you'll learn guitar a lot quicker, just because you always have access to the material and you can get through it without having to wait for a scheduled lesson. Stay focused and you'll improve faster than you thought.
Will I miss things without a teacher?
The main thing that you sacrifice when you learn guitar without a teacher is direct and real-time feedback.
Some people really value that and even need it. If that's you, than a teacher is likely a better option, even if you have lessons less frequently (usually once or twice a week). That said, online programs cover topics really thoroughly, partly because you're getting perspectives and knowledge from multiple people.
A single guitar teacher can really only speak from his or her experience.
So you aren't going to miss any information.
But as I mentioned, the feedback and social aspect of guitar lessons is where you'll make the biggest concessions.
Can you do in-person lessons and online programs?
You can certainly meld these two approaches.
For example, you could use the online lessons as a supplement to in-person lessons. Some teachers even use these programs themselves to prepare material and help their students.
If you want aspects of both approaches, you can definitely get a lot of benefit from combining the two, at least until you get a larger body of knowledge under your belt.
You get to make the call on what works best for you, but it's certainly easier than ever to learn guitar at home without a teacher. Whether or not that will work for you depends on how you're wired and how you can learn most effectively.
If you have questions, we've been working with these programs and helping people find good resources for a long time.
Leave them in the comments, and I'll help out as best I can.
We'll see you there.