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Better to learn guitar by myself or from lessons? How to teach myself?

Hello, I had been wanting to learn guitar for the absolute longest time now and will have a lot of free time coming up this second semester of my senior year in high school. Was wondering if it will be better to learn guitar by myself or from lessons.
I used to be in orchestra playing the violin until my junior year of high school so I guess you could say I have some music background.

Also, at the age of 18, is it a little late to learn guitar or no?

Thank you all!

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9 Responses to “Better to learn guitar by myself or from lessons? How to teach myself?”

  1. Henry said :

    I taught myself at age 17, and learned quickly. There are big advantages to learning late with regard to body size and finger strength. Sounds like you have enough background to teach yourself.
    I’d recommend you buy a book to learn the basics, with some chord diagrams. Learn the basic chords, and expand from there. Playing along with a song by ear, playing the melody on one string, is also great practice. Tab is a valuable thing to learn, various online tutorials explain this simple notation.
    Good luck

  2. Adam D said :

    It’s best to take a few lessons to get you started on the right track, and make sure you are playing the right way. You can then learn a lot on your own through, and other various sites.

    It’s not late at all to learn. You can learn an instrument at any age. I started at 14. By the time your 25, nobody will know that you started at 18… assuming you dedicate yourself to playing every day.

  3. gtarczar said :

    The best, easiest, and fastest way to learn is with lessons form a good qualified local instructor. Over 90% of all people who try to teach themselves end up quitting after a short time due to frustration and lack of direction. A good teacher can show you the proper way to play and help keep you motivated. That being said, there are several resources to help you to learn. Books, DVDs and websites all offer valuable information but none of them can take the place of a qualified instructor sitting in the same room with you and showing you exactly how to do it. Books, DVDs, and websites can’t answer a question for you or point out if you are doing something wrong and why. I always recommend to start off with a few months of lessons to insure that you are learning the proper techniques. Once you get the basics down then it is much easier to continue on your own.

  4. dPaladin said :

    I’ll second everyone else’s responses here: It’s never EVER too late to start learning a new instrument. And lessons are better. Classical lessons can help enormously, even if you don’t play classical music. Definitely start out on lessons for at least a month or so. If you don’t keep going with lessons, at least learn tablature and some scales. I’m sure you know that scales are the backbone of music since you played violin (king of the classical world!). Strumming patterns are good to know too. And chords of course, but that’s a given. I’d start learning all of that (admittedly not very fun) stuff before I start just trying to play songs.

  5. Kab said :

    18 is as good as any.
    Learning the Guitar
    You need a course of instruction.
    The best way is with a private teacher
    2nd would be class lessons
    3rd regularly get together with other guitar players
    or if you absolutely will or cannot do the above, Buy a book on how to play the guitar and follow it religiously.
    Last would be to find some free online lessons and skip around in them doing what YOU think you want to do next.

  6. baxterville said :

    You can save a lot of money by taking advantage of modern technology and using instructional DVDs to learn guitar. I took lessons years ago and found them frustrating, since I couldn’t ask questions between weekly lessons and if I mastered the material ahead of time, I felt stuck in place when I was ready to move forward. But there’s a great DVD set that will teach you everything you’d learn in years of lessons for less than $40. There are three DVDs (beginner, intermediate, advanced) and a book that accompanies each of them. The instructor is great and walks you through everything and tells you when to refer to the book. And the advantage of DVDs is you can use them whenever you have time and review information as necessary. I’d been playing in bands for more than 20 years when I tried the DVDs and can’t believe how much my playing has improved. It made me wish these had been available when I was 18 and just getting started on guitar (18 is definitely not too old to learn guitar — especially with your musical background).

    Here’s a link to the DVD set at Musician’s Friend:

    Good luck! And my apologies to all the guitars teachers I offend by posting this.

  7. Deborah said :


    First of all your are never to old to learn to play the violin. I have even a student who is 63 years old and she is doing fine and learned to play basic level violin within some months. Within one year she could play more advanced pieces.

    I made a website for beginners. The site is about how to hold the violin and how to hold the bow. I also added some excercises and made detailed pictures of the finger positions.

    Hopefully you can start with this:


  8. Daniella M said :

    I taught myself how to play guitar by watching youtube video lessons on the basics and then I got a friend to help me read tabs and I started practicing everyday and I got better.I just started when I was 17 so it’s never too late to learn how to play!

  9. Stephen said :

    When you’re learning anything for the first time, it’s overwhelming to try to pick the most reliable source of information. You can buy a cheap book or even try to go through reading a lot of free lessons that are offered online. Keep in mind though that just like many things, you get what you pay for. A walmart book or free articles are only going to take you so far, and you probably won’t learn what you actually want to learn.

    The best inexpensive yet reliable option is video lessons on the web. You actually get taught how to play. I personally have spent years and years developing a system and creating an online instructional website that is quality (not just trying to make a buck–like most sites out there). In fact, I offer a new video lesson every single week, answer questions, have a forum. It’s set up just for people like you. I actually take the time to help you as you learn. I’ve tried to make a very simple way to learn. I think you’ll like it!

    Anyway, here’s a blog post I made recently about choosing on online guitar instruction website. Good luck learning! There are also many other guitar blog posts you can check out!



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