Self-Taught vs Private Lessons

Discussion about guitar playing from a diverse group of people with different tastes and levels of experience.
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Self-Taught vs Private Lessons

Post by BigMoney » June 19th, 2017, 4:54 pm

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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If you'd like to hear them all played on an acoustic guitar simultaneously, watch me play fingerstyle. Cheers. ... C5yufPaVAg

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Alan Green
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Re: Self-Taught vs Private Lessons

Post by Alan Green » June 19th, 2017, 9:29 pm

Self-taught, but I could already read music before I first picked up a guitar

I had a few lessons in my early 20s, but my tutor "did a runner" before some heavies came round and kicked in his front door; and I had some lessons ahead of my Grade 7 exam because some things needed a little polishing.

The internet is a very poor teacher; it cannot see if you're doing something not quite right, and there's no control over your ability to jump into an online lesson that's way ahead of your skillset. Whilst there are successful guitarists who say they learned by "buying a Metallica tab book", their technique is generally poor. Prime examples: Harry Styles (ex-One Direction), whose guitarist on a live TV show recently was so unskilled he had two fingers welded to the scratchplate to keep his hand in place, and another ex-One Direction member who "played" guitar at the One Love Manchester gig with his thumb and one finger and had the rest of his hand stuck to the scratchplate. Useless, completely useless; both of them.

My students - some aged 6 - have a completely floating pick hand. It has to be an essential starting point.
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Re: Self-Taught vs Private Lessons

Post by Nick6 » July 17th, 2017, 6:10 am


I've noticed in that I have given some folks lessons. Even just playing guitar is a very busy thing.
I'm mostly a sound engineer. Some people ask "How do I get there" as they are into music and
sometimes see me singing and playing acapello. I don't really have a talent for anything except
operating a mixer, or camera; Sometimes playing a small show of a dozen and a half people tops.

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Re: Self-Taught vs Private Lessons

Post by Alanjackman84 » September 25th, 2018, 3:52 pm

I'm a self-tough guitarist and I also work as an English tutor part-time.
I can tell you for sure that no teacher in the world can teach you unless you want it.
And if you really want to learn to play the guitar - the amount of information available on the web is more than enough. The rest is up to your dedication and ability to learn and take action.
Often times youtube teachers like Marty Schwartz, justinguitar or Claus Levin are much better than local guitar teachers.

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Re: Self-Taught vs Private Lessons

Post by oldstrummer » September 27th, 2018, 9:06 am

I am self-taught with nearly 50 years of playing behind me. As a child I took piano lessons for eight years. I studied music theory in college. But my guitar knowledge is all self-taught.

Three weeks ago, I started taking lessons. Wow!

You've heard the saying, "He doesn't know what he doesn't know?" That's me. My teacher has me looking at the guitar and the music theory behind it in ways I've never considered. In three weeks I've had a complete turnabout in how I approach guitar playing.

I lacked discipline, proper form, and most importantly, knowledge how how music works on a guitar. I have spent decades memorizing songs, and have a good working knowledge of blues and rock music structures, but I now know I was sloppy and careless. My teacher has already instilled in me a reason for using specific fingerings, forms and modes. He has me practicing cycle-of-fourths chordings, scale cells, blues licks and alternate pickings. And while these may sound boring (they often are), they are giving me the discipline I lacked.

My lessons are an eight week plan, so I have five more weeks before they end. I suspect there is a next level of study, and depending on where I am in five weeks, I will likely choose to continue. Highly recommend lessons!

Heck, even Tiger Woods has a golf coach!
Duke Ellington said it best: "If it sounds good, it IS good!"

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Re: Self-Taught vs Private Lessons

Post by lostarrowynp » October 19th, 2018, 10:27 am

Oldstrummer has good comments. If you really want to learn- that is what you will have to do.. Time and practice.
If you just want to doodle on the guitar like I do- Poorly- then there has never been an easier time to "learn" how to play the guitar. There is SO MANY internet teachers and people giving out tips to players. Each time I watch I learn something new. Of course you will never really learn how to play like that- but you can get quite good. If you have talent of course

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Re: Self-Taught vs Private Lessons

Post by Robert_S » October 21st, 2018, 1:09 pm

I taught myself for six months, but I saw that I was getting complacent.Strumming A, D and E casually, the major scales were better, but I wasn't pushing myself hard enough.

So I got a teacher. Someone who will task me to do the next thing in line. Working four strum patterns using A, D, E, G, C, G7, Am, Em chords. Wow, plus having to retrain my thumb to be behind my fingers, and an alternate fingering of G (to make switching to D easier).

On top of this, doing Am pentatonic in a sequence I didn't conceive before.

Lots of work. I think I'll be stuck on this current lesson for a couple weeks.
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Re: Self-Taught vs Private Lessons

Post by nethanpaul » October 26th, 2018, 6:03 am

The online videos for beginners are very resourceful these days but I think a tutor can help better with the technicalities.

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