Some people spend their entire life learning guitar from scratch, while others start off learning from older, well-known guitar teachers. And what they learn might not necessarily be the same as what you’ll hear your favorite artists play, which might surprise some. I’m going to take the latter approach.
One popular route that most people take when learning guitar is by studying videos of other guitarists practicing along with them (known as “study songs”). This is also the route that I took for years, and I used it to learn everything from blues to rock ‘n’ roll. Now I don’t recommend this path for the majority of guitarists, but you never know.
But if you do decide to do that, have a plan for it. If you’re good enough at playing along, there’s absolutely no reason you shouldn’t be able to learn all the scales and chords yourself! All you need are some time and practice.
Learn the scales and chords (or at least listen to a few)
That’s the easy part. Once you’re good at playing along, find out which scale or chord you want to learn and memorize it. It might be a chord that you’re already familiar with, or it might be something new to you.
Take it easy on yourself so you aren’t overlearning something and losing your interest, because that’s what you’re doing now. Play along at home. Play along on your iPod, your computer…
Make a playlist of songs that you can easily play along with. For instance, if you want to learn the blues, you could start by learning the basic shapes of the notes of the root and second degree of each of the standard blues scale. This will give you a few songs you could add to your study.
If you’re more advanced than this, you could do a few scales each day, and practice them in your sleep. Or you could do them right away on your piano and then practice until you start getting good at playing them.
Don’t listen to songs you think you want to learn right away. I say this a lot, but listening to songs is like learning a new language. You need a lot of practice before you start to hear what the songs are really about, what they’re trying to communicate. So get good at listening to those songs, and take that time to figure out the most interesting features and rhythms. Even if you want to learn a few chords and scales
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