As a guitar instructor, I talk to a lot a lot of beginner guitar players and one thing I hear very often in some form or another is this: “maybe I should learn a little on my own first before taking lessons.” I cannot stress this enough…DON’T DO IT! Seriously, attempting to learn on your own first could be detrimental to you guitar playing future. 


As a beginner (especially as an adult beginner) attempting to learn on your own is a recipe for disaster. One of the most important reasons I tell people not to attempt teaching themselves is that you will inevitably get overwhelmed. It will make you frustrated and want to slam your guitar against the wall which will likely lead you to quit guitar altogether and then all your dreams die. I know that sounds dramatic, but hear me out.


There’s so much info on the internet that it is enough to make anyone feel overwhelmed just because of the sheer volume of it all. But even if you were to find something that might be helpful to you, how do you know if you’re doing it right? How do you know if you’re supposed to learn it first or second or fifth? Why doesn’t it sound right when I play it? Why does it hurt? I probably don’t need to tell you this because you’ve already experienced it to some degree.


After getting overwhelmed, you get totally frustrated. That’s when your self talk gets really negative and your belief in yourself tanks. You start thinking things like “I just can’t do this”, “I’ll never be good enough”, “there must be something wrong with me because everyone else can do it”, “it’s too hard for me.” This type of thinking creeps in fast and is so toxic. It’s no wonder that most beginner guitar players quit within the first few months. 


When a beginner says they need to learn on their own first before taking lessons, it just doesn’t make any rational sense. Why wouldn’t you come to a professional to make sure you were getting the basics down the right way. Would a heart surgeon attempt to perform heart surgery on themselves before applying to med school? Absolutely not.


I know that when beginners say that they need to learn a little on their own first, it really is just coming from a place of fear. They’re afraid of looking stupid in front of others. That is a very strong feeling that we can all relate to every time we find ourselves learning something new. We don’t want to embarrass ourselves. To that, I just want to say, BE BRAVE. You can do this. Push past the fear so that you can get to the happiness and fulfillment on the other side. Learning something new is uncomfortable at first, but the pay off of actually getting it is incredibly rewarding.


The best way to get past your fear as a beginner is to take lessons from a qualified guitar instructor. A good teacher will make learning guitar so much easier. They’ll guide you down a clear path straight to exactly how you want to be able to play. They offer feedback and advice based on your playing and help you avoid bad habits and other frustrating pit falls that plague beginners. A good teacher nurtures a supportive and encouraging environment that quickly overcomes fears and replaces it with feeling like you can actually be a great guitarist.



About The Author: Ryan Duke is a professional musician, guitar teacher, and owner of Supertonic Guitar offering Franklin guitar lessons.