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Do I really need guitar lessons to learn to play anymore?

I’ve decided to learn to play the guitar.. But do I really need lessons? I mean, nowadays, you can learn practically anything you want with a little research on the internet. I’ve got several books and a dvd or two. Will getting lessons be necessary?


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4 Responses to “Do I really need guitar lessons to learn to play anymore?”

  1. The Answer Key! said :

    If you already know how to read music, then no.

    If not, I’m not sure a book can teach you that properly.

    However, I play 4 instruments, and I’ve only had formal lessons in one of them.

    Once you learn how to read music, you can read music for any instrument. (except percussion is different.)

    Get some help with that, then all you need to know is where the notes are on the instrument, and voila.

  2. eine kleine nukedmusik said :

    If you never want to leave your garage or bedroom, no, you don’t need lessons.

    If you don’t care if you ever get as good as your hero, no, you don’t need lessons.

    If you never want to do more than strum along, no, you don’t need lessons.

    If you want to pursue excellence in musicianship, you bet your ass you need lessons. If you’re going to practice 2 or more hours a day, you may as well get the lessons, so you can make the most of that time.

    Guitar, especially, you can get quite far on your own, but there aren’t many self-taught guitarists out there who are actually GOOD. Yes, they exist, but we can’t assume that each of us is in that top 5%, because that is very unlikely. I think I answered one of your questions not too long ago… you had lessons for a style you weren’t interested in playing with a classical guitar you don’t really like. So you quit, like 80% of the people who pick up anything. Spend a lot of time in a music instrument store. Hang out and chat with the salesguys/girls. Yes, they want to sell you something good that will keep you playing, and thus coming back for all your picks, straps, cables, other guitars… a music store that rips people off doesn’t stay open long. Figure out the kind of music you want to start playing. Then get the right style guitar for that music, and take lessons in that style. Learn to read music, plus scale and chord theory.

    You can get far as a hobbyist, but you can’t let it get you down when you put on Van Halen or whatever and think, “man… I’ll never play like that…” Well as a hobbyist, no, you won’t. But if you really put your all in (people spend a dozen years in university to master this stuff man! Like freakin surgeon!) you can. You really can.

    It’s like golf… if you treat it as a hobby, yea, you’ll lower your handicap and have lots of fun. It takes major obsession to lose that handicap and start getting par.

    Good luck!

  3. Sal Chaech said :

    Need? No.

    With enough determination, lots of practice, and an ample amount of patience, it is entirely possible to teach yourself guitar. I did, and I don’t suck.

    Before I continue, I’ll admit to having a bias. I can be a cocky SOB when I want to be, and the method I chose to learn guitar is no different. Also, I started very young, while my brain was still figuratively speaking like a dry sponge, ready to absorb anything. I’ve never had a single lesson, and there are certain elements to my style that reveal the fact that I am not a schooled musician. Then again, my heroes are all (for the most part) self taught.

    It is by far easier to learn guitar with lessons. Also, there are several “improper” ways of playing that a) can be avoided through lessons, and b) are difficult to change once they become ingrained in your self-taught style. I put the word improper in quotes because of my bias; I feel that sometimes, these are also things that give you flavor, that are marks of uniqueness in a musician.

    If you do choose to teach yourself, I highly recommend a poster called “Guitar Chords,” available at most music stores and I’ve also seen it at other places in their poster collections. Not only does it look cool on your wall, but it also makes an easy reference, and it’s a good in-your-face reminder to pick up your guitar and practice. Practicing new things often is the key to improving your playing. Also key is to remember that everyone sucks at it for the first little bit, and if you can get over that first hump, the rest is smooth sailing.

    So yeah, the key word in your question is “need.” Many people don’t need lessons to learn, but it sure can help.

  4. ? said :

    I have never taken a lesson and never will.

    How good you get depends on the time you practice, a teacher can only motivate you to practice, that’s the whole idea behind lessons. If you can keep yourself motivated, playing 1-2 hours a day, doing scales with a metronome, learning chords, you have zero need for a teacher. Look stuff up online, you can learn more than your teachers know with the power of the internet.


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