How to Teach Yourself Guitar (Best Ways Today)

Signing up for in-person guitar lessons gives you the benefit of learning with an experienced musician. However, these lessons can be expensive. You have to stick to a schedule, and you might not have access to instructors who have a lot of experience in your area.

If you’re wondering about how to teach yourself guitar as an alternative, you should know that there are plenty of online resources available. Between online classes, videos, and apps, it’s important to pick a method adapted to your needs. Here are some of the best ways to learn how to play by yourself.

Top Pick: Learning Guitar with Guitar Tricks

Guitar Tricks

Our Top Pick
Guitar Tricks
9.8/10 Our Score

Best Course for Learning Guitar Today

  • Guitar Tricks is the #1 option for learning guitar in 2021
  • Learn guitar like a natural quick and easy
  • Full money back guarantee
  • Comes with a no-risk 14-day trial

Guitar Tricks is an online guitar lesson course that has been around since the 90s. It’s an award-winning system that allows you to progress step by step.

We like the customized approach to learning guitar. Once you complete the first two levels and master some fundamentals, you can choose to focus on blues, country, or rock to play the kind of music you enjoy.

This system includes over 11,000 video lessons, and Guitar Tricks releases new videos regularly. The videos are fairly short so that you can study whenever you have some free time. They’re easy to follow, and the excellent image quality makes it easy to see where your hands should be on the neck of the guitar or how to strum the chords.

You can learn to play more than 700 popular songs with this system, and you’ll start playing songs from your very first day.

Guitar Tricks is a very comprehensive system. You can progress at your own pace, and we like the step-by-step approach because it creates a clear path for progressing. It’s easy to go back and watch a video again if you need a refresher on an important skill.

You can access this content through the Android and iOS apps. The simple interface of the apps makes it easy to find lessons, and there is a loop feature you can use to watch and hear the same part until you can play it just right.


  • Comprehensive method with thousands of lessons
  • Simple step-by-step approach
  • Choose which genre you want to focus on
  • User-friendly apps
  • Try it for free


  • No direct interactions with instructors
  • Song library includes lots of classic rock and could be more diverse

Read the full Guitar Tricks review here.

Best for Learning Theory: Guitar Gate

Guitar Gate is another online system to consider. It focuses on electric guitar, and it’s an ideal option if you’re curious about music theory.

This system relies on video lessons that teach you new techniques along with the ‘why’ behind it. This approach can be intimidating if you’re new to playing guitar, but it will help you think about your playing in more abstract terms.

Learning about music theory along with mastering a new instrument can translate into slower progress. However, you’ll have a solid basis for progressing in the future. You’ll know enough theory to learn new songs more easily, play by ear, improvise, and even write your own songs.

Guitar Gate offers a large catalog of video lessons organized into different courses and levels. The structure makes it easy to focus on one skill at a time.

You’ll also get access to weekly videos. These videos focus on specific exercises and tricks and will help you take your playing to the next level.

Guitar Gate is an affordable option, and there is a free trial, so you can decide if this method is right for you. You can also share videos of your playing with the instructor to get some personalized feedback, a feature that adds value to your subscription.


  • Learn about music theory
  • Lots of high-quality video lessons
  • Get personalized feedback
  • Easy guitar practice routine to follow and learn unique tricks with the weekly videos


  • No app
  • Progress is slower than with other methods

Best Free Option: YouTube

If you look up how to teach yourself guitar on YouTube, you’ll find countless videos with some great advice from experienced guitar players.

YouTube is an invaluable resource for anyone who wants to learn guitar or any other instrument. You can find videos on any topic you can think of, from tuning your guitar to modal progressions. The best thing about YouTube is that you can access all this content for free, provided that you sit through a few ads (or skip ads entirely with a YouTube Red subscription).

Here are some of our favorite YouTube channels for beginners:

  • Marty Music. Marty Music is a popular channel for learning guitar. You’ll find a playlist with some beginner’s acoustic and electric guitar lessons that cover all the basics. This channel is a treasure trove if you’re looking for song tutorials or advice about gear.
  • Andy Guitar. This YouTube channel offers some free content to promote a paid online system. However, Andy Guitar has an amazing ten-day course that can help you get started with playing guitar before you decide to spend money on online classes.
  • GuitarLessons. We like GuitarLessons because most of the videos uploaded by this channel are short and very accessible for beginners. This channel covers topics like how to play chords, strumming patterns, exercises, practice routines, common mistakes to avoid, and you’ll also find some step-by-step tutorials.
  • GuitarZero2Hero. This channel is one of the best online resources for guitar tutorials. You’ll find new tutorials uploaded on a weekly basis, including tutorials for recent hits. There are also a few lessons for beginners that cover basics like chords.

These channels are only the tip of the iceberg. You can look up any guitar-related topic or look for a guitar tutorial for your favorite song, and you’ll more than likely find quality videos. The downside of YouTube is that you don’t get the same structured approach as with online lessons, but it’s a great option if you prefer self-directed learning.


  • YouTube is an endless repository of free content
  • Easy to find tutorials for the songs you want to learn
  • Lots of channels have great lessons for concepts beginners need to master


  • Not all the videos you’ll come across are quality content
  • Some channels offer free content to promote paid systems
  • Learning is not structured like with online systems

Best App For Learning Guitar: Chordify

Chordify isn’t a comprehensive method for learning to play guitar, but it’s a must-have tool that gives you access to a huge catalog of song chords.

This app has a repository of over 22 million songs. You can look up any song and find chords for it.

The principle is similar to karaoke. Instead of seeing the lyrics, you’ll see the chords for different parts of a song. You can see the chord progression as you play along, or use the capo feature to simplify the chords if you’re a beginner.

The app comes with some useful features like playing chords on a loop or slowing down the progression to help you learn a new song. You can get PDF printouts for any of the songs. There is a convenient personal library feature where you can save your favorite songs and get curated recommendations for what you should learn next.

Chordify won’t teach you how to play chords, but it’s one of the best resources for finding accurate guitar chords for any song you want to play. Chordify is available on Android, iOS, and desktop.


  • Access chords for over 22 million songs
  • User-friendly mobile app
  • Loop or slow down chords to learn new songs on guitar
  • Organize chords with the personal library feature


  • Chordify doesn’t teach you how to play chords
  • You can’t listen to the songs

Best Book: Guitar for Dummies by Mark Philips and Jon Chappell

Guitar for Dummies is a fun introduction to playing guitar. There are more than 400 pages of content, and the book covers basic topics like how to select your first guitar, how to play basic chords, and how to start playing melodies.

One of the advantages of this guitar book is that you can study when you don’t have access to the internet. You can opt for the paperback version or the Kindle version if you want to read this material on a phone, tablet, or eReader. Either way, it’s a great option for studying basic guitar concepts on the go.

We like this For Dummies book because it goes beyond the beginner level. Once you master all the basic concepts, you’ll get to explore different genres and find some chapters that introduce music theory.

While previous editions of the book came with a DVD, this new edition gives you access to some online videos and audio clips. These resources add value to the book and allow you to listen to examples and watch instructors demonstrate things like strumming patterns.

There are some drawbacks to teaching yourself guitar with a book since text, images, and diagrams can’t replace videos, but this book uses an interesting mix of different formats by giving you access to video and audio clips.


  • Read about important concepts on the go
  • Learn basic concepts and discover more advanced topics
  • Access video and audio clips
  • Fairly comprehensive resource


  • Some concepts are hard to master without using additional video resources
  • Need internet access to use the audio and video clips

Final Thoughts

How to teach yourself guitar depends on the results you want and how much time you’re ready to commit to this project. We recommend Guitar Tricks if you’re willing to commit to studying for a few hours each week.

Guitar Tricks

Our Top Pick
Guitar Tricks
9.8/10 Our Score

Best Course for Learning Guitar Today

  • Guitar Tricks is the #1 option for learning guitar in 2021
  • Learn guitar like a natural quick and easy
  • Full money back guarantee
  • Comes with a no-risk 14-day trial

Guitar Tricks is one of the best systems for beginners because it’s very comprehensive. It includes thousands of video lessons, and you’ll find tutorials for several hundreds of songs. The step-by-step approach allows you to progress at your own pace and ensures that you master each concept before moving on. We like the quality of the material, the logical structure, and the fact that you’ll start playing songs right away.

Read Next:

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