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Who here is self taught and who here has studied privately?

On a tangent, I think now more than ever it is reasonable to be completely self taught. The internet can teach you so much these days. Online videos are a great resource as well.

On the other hand you can't jam with the internet like you can a teacher. They will also point out your mistakes way faster than the internet. Backing tracks are great, but jamming with a person teaches you much more.

What do you guys think?
 

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For me, the most efficient way to learn guitar is with private instruction. For all of the reasons that you mentioned, but mostly because a teacher can critique you in a way that videos can't - unless you post one - then the internet is happy to criticize but much slower to offer hints at how to correct things. Also, a good teacher will encourage you to fill in all of the gaps - there are too many guitarists out there who can't play a B minor chord.

I'm biased though - I'm a music teacher.
 

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There are many great guitar players who learned on their own but I don't think that is possible for many of us, including myself. I went both ways. I started off with a teacher and then went with videos and on line. I still think I would like to take a lesson now and then for certain things.

My feelings are it's always best to start with a teacher at least for a few lessons to correct any bad habits before they start. Having lessons is also good for those that need the reinforcement to be regular with their practice and improvement.

Randy Bachman was taught by Lenny Breau. It seemed it may have helped him a bit, don't you think?
 

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I agree with the others. Start with a teacher. Once you have the basics down and know a little theory you can go your own way but I still take a lesson once in while, usually to learn a specific technique. As was mentioned a good teacher can hone in on where you're going wrong and very quickly set you on the right path. It's also pretty hard, at least for me, to learn theory from a book or even a video. It took me five years of private lessons 30 years ago to get a handle on the theory well enough to be able to figure out the rest from books and videos. I quit playing for 20 years but I never lost the theory and six months of private lessons when I started again got me back to where I can at least strum a few chords in a jam.
 

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I first started with piano lessons when I was six years old until the age of thirteen so that helped tremendously with learning theory. I don't think I would know half as much if I didn't have a teacher. I then took classical guitar lessons through the Royal Conservatory for about a year which helped me with technique, in particular coordinating my left and right hand. But most of the rock, metal and blues techniques I picked up on my own with reading... back in the day Troy Stetina books were very helpful with technique.

I do think if you can find a good teacher they are well worth the money. The should be able to open you up to different music and techniques that you may not otherwise have learned without being pushed in that direction.
 

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I'm with Chuck on this one. Class dismissed!!!! :D
I just taught myself eruption. No teachers.

If you want something bad enough, you'll make it happen.

They don't call me Chuck "the secret" Ganaman for nothing.
I don't know what the percentage is of those who can learn by themselves but you two are obviously in that category. I wish I was.
 

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Private lessons get my vote every time. I wouldnt be who I am without them.
 

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Private lessons are excellent for a measured period of time. Then either a break or new teacher is in order.

I find that self scrutiny is almost as powerful as a teacher. I'd say that the only necessary person to have in one's music journey is a master "mentor" who has deep knowledge of the technical and theoretical aspects of what you're seeking.

My playing has mostly improved thru repetitive listening of my own rehearsals and seeking random one hour lessons 1-3 x per year with a list of questions on the way in. 50% of the lesson is talking. I always record my lessons. I'm looking for one gold nugget. If I get one good gold chunk I'm pleased. Good value. Then I incorporate it over 3-12 months into my playing.

(Selfish yet honest plug) I can honestly say that the properties of sticking to your fingers and sliding over the strings more easily found in the V-Picks line of guitar picks has increased my speed and expressiveness over the past three years. I'll go as far as saying it's nice to play when your had lasts a lot longer, has more volume and attack, and "removes the space between your fingers and the strings" as one client emailed me.

Hey wait a second, Tone Dripper sells them. (Now back to regular broadcasting). {mention this "lessons" post in a pm and get free shipping on orders over $35}.
 

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Self taught is a misnomer. I know what we mean when we say it, but in truth we do not learn anything in a vacuum. Somebody else is always involved, usually a friend, but bandmates, snooping around music stores (folks are always doing this at the local shop), transferrable knowledge form previous lessons on other instruments and school, and so on. We digest it, poop it out, and spread the compost on our creativity.

My own experience by some descriptions could be characterized as self taught because I never had a formal guitar lesson (until I attended workshops by the likes of Pierre Bensusan, Don Ross, John Renbourn, Simon Mayor, and others long after I'd started teaching others) but in fact all I was doing was applying several years of formal piano, choral, and voice lessons to the guitar. Before I could tell the difference between a guitar and a ukulele I knew major and minor scales and arpeggios, chord construction, harmony, etc so laying it all out on the fingerboard was a matter of mapping the thing. Technique was an early issue, so I watched the bands that played high school dances and picked the players' brains, hung out with friends who played and picked their brains, started jamming with guys and picked their brains, hung out at music stores and watched the better players and picked their brains (John Till caught me staring at him, I didn't know it was him until weeks later, and he showed me a couple of things), I happened to meet the secretary treasurer of the local musicians union as he was acquainted with my parents and he let me pick his guitars and his brain. Guitar Player Magazine in the '70s was great, but it was the only readily available modern print material.

I owe it not to being self taught but to every generous soul who allowed me into their sphere, my piano teachers, vocal coaches, choir masters, buddies, and complete strangers. I've been paying it forward ever since, even as I make my living teaching music.

All of this may well be more important and effective than some formal lessons, but as a product of formal lessons in other realms, I would have killed for private guitar lessons. In the small town of my teenage years their was no private guitar teacher, the nearest being a half hour highway drive away and I with unwilling parents. It could have saved at least a couple of years of screwing around, especially early on. Initially didn't know how crappy my guitar was either!

In spite of adapting to the situation, and being reasonable successful under the circumstances (and maybe I kind of romanticize it all now), what I feel I lost by not having private lessons:

1) proper introduction and development of classical guitar technique,

2) suitable repertoire in the right order,

3) exercises to overcome difficulties in fingering,

4) proper posture,

5) concrete goals in order of difficulty and ability,

6) timelines for achievement,

7) proper explanation as to why all this was important,

8) encouragement,

9) time (so much wasted time in self instruction),

10) likely other stuff I'm too tired to remember right now.

I will agree that it would be easier today with all the materials that are essentially free on the net, but many people can't even apply information they're given without assistance. Between learning issues and personalities, there are too many variables to assume anyone can teach themselves music.
 

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Its pretty much been said already but I just wanted to post a personal example here. I am not a good player but enjoy plunking away on my bass for fun. I have no formal training but I wanted to learn the bass lines for Pink Floyd's Money. I learned it from a video on youtube and do a pretty good job of it if I do say so. I recently did some amp mods for a friend who is a gigging bass player and instead of cash for the job I asked if he could educate me about scales and getting to know where all the notes are on the fretboard. I had a great session with him and was showing him my 'virtuosity' with playing 'Money' and he pointed out many spots in the tune where I was using the wrong fingers for fretting and basically being quite uneconomical with my fingering. Essentially I was doing a lot of extra work when there were much simpler ways to achieve the same notes without flopping all over the place to use the same fingers for each note. He showed me how to get the same result with half the effort and this, I think is where the benefits of having a good teacher, even if only part time, is really invaluable in helping develop good habits that will serve you well when learning songs on your own.
 

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I just taught myself eruption. No teachers.

If you want something bad enough, you'll make it happen.

They don't call me Chuck "the secret" Ganaman for nothing.
Absolutely agree! I want this more then anything in life. Nothing will ever get in my way or stop me. I don't have to force myself into picking my guitar up to practice or play. Playing and practicing are my obsession! It comes as naturally as breathing, eating and sleeping. My guitar is a constant in my life and it makes me deliriously happy. I am always looking at different ways of challenging myself via new songs, new techniques etc.

I started with 2 years of private lessons from 3 teachers that should of never been teachers! When I got the basics of some theory and techniques down I decided that I was smart enough to teach myself.

I think that playing in a band setting has helped me immensely. I have a mentor in one of the bands I am in and he is very gracious and patient with me. I have had the good fortune of hooking up with some pretty awesome players!

My own personal guitar heroes always motivate me to play and become better! Trying to emulate them is a very powerful motivational tool for me.

I never have had that "aw shit moment" I don't feel like playing today! I play and practice with every free second, minute and hour(s) of time I have. My priority in life is to be happy, nothing more nothing less. I feel sheer pleasure just gazing at my guitars! Such joy and happiness from a chunk of wood and some metal! Who'd a thought?
 

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@Moot

You are so right. I'd say that my comment is like a condiment and yours is the meat and potatoes.

In reading your post I realized that I wasn't paying enough credit to my 12 years of classical piano and 2 years of classical guitar.
 

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Some great points raised. Having a good "coach" is key.

I started on classical guitar with a very good teacher and she taught me quite a few things. One of them was her hands were literally half the size of mine but she practiced 8 hours a day to be a solid classical guitarist. Determination and work will pay off.

At the beginning, getting a teacher was a good way to progress faster but definitely found it harder as I progressed myself and essentially learned on my own which was not ideal (for me). Over 10 years ago, I decided to take lessons with a young guy - he had decent chops, theory and played in a GnR Tribute band. I ended up managing him with a weekly agenda and we would typically just jam. That's not what I wanted.

A few years later, I found a great teacher in NYC and took lessons via Skype. I like the "nuggets" comment by @sambonee. I met up with my teacher while in NYC and he gave me a great suggestion on positioning the pick which I use today. I think in person lessons trump online lessons but would not discourage anyone to at least try online if in person is difficult.

Lately, I've been using the Frank Gambale online school and works great for me (btw, 50% discount this week).
 

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Self taught is a misnomer. I know what we mean when we say it, but in truth we do not learn anything in a vacuum. Somebody else is always involved, usually a friend, but bandmates, snooping around music stores (folks are always doing this at the local shop), transferrable knowledge form previous lessons on other instruments and school, and so on. We digest it, poop it out, and spread the compost on our creativity.
I agree with the post as a whole as well--but this is one point I keep making when I see discussion online about self taught vs lessons (or when someone asks me in person)
If they ask me what I was--I answer both.
I took lessons & I learned stuff on my own--and I learned from other resources as well.

Some people are mostly self taught--and with some of those it shows.

But not everybody had private/formal lessons, if you find the right teacher I cannot recommend the lessons highly enough.
 
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if you find the right teacher I cannot recommend the lessons highly enough.
That can be a job in itself, especially when first starting out. There are some great teachers out there and then there are many that are not. New ones to guitar think if a person is a very good player, he will be a good teacher. That is not always the case. Teaching is a skill of its own.
 

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If you want it bad enough as Adcandour stated you will take advantage of every opportunity that presents itself!

Research and development reveal themselves when you least expect it.

Moss does not gather on a rolling stone! (haha but it's true)
 
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On YouTube you can get lessons from Eric J, Mark N, SRV etc. The amount of free yet high quality lessons on every aspect at every level is spectacular. I have been learning from Guthrie Govan today.
 
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