Looking for the best way to learn guitar quickly?
The best way to learn guitar (for self-learners) is by combining the powerful concepts presented in this post with a professional online guitar course.
On top of that, if you’ve ever asked yourself, “how can I learn guitar faster?” you’ll discover that the last five hacks at the end of this post are extremely useful for internalizing what you learn much faster.
11 Techniques & Methods That Form The Best Way To Learn Guitar:
- Mentally prepare yourself to absorb some pain.
- Find an online learning system that fits your needs.
- Practice like a turtle.
- Leverage momentums to squeeze more from your practice.
- The art of investing in fundamentals.
- Minimize your learnings to fit your goal.
- Use YouTube as a learning booster.
- Take periodical checkups.
- Use learning aids such as progress trackers and goal planners.
- The new CAGED system.
- Learn to deal with the Bumps on the road.
Assuming you’re beyond the first step of buying or borrowing a guitar, delve into the 11 aids presented below because they can knock off hours of unnecessary frustration from your learning process.
This “frustration” is one of the reasons which cause many beginner guitarists to quit within their first year of playing.
I’ve created this post to get you to the side of successful learners.
1. Mentally prepare yourself to absorb some pain.
The truth is that starting to play any type of guitar involves some pain.
One part of the best way to learn guitar is to be mentally prepared to deal with the challenges that will most likely occur along the way.
So, here are two types of pains you may (or may not) encounter in the first few months as a guitar beginner:
The physical pain,
(a) Pain in your fretting hand’s fingertips (the hand that shapes chords and presses notes to produce a melody).
This pain usually lasts for a couple of months and will diminish as your fingertips’ skin grows tougher.
Rub your fingertips on your knee for a few seconds to relieve it while you practice.
If your fingertips are sore too much and you can’t continue with the practice session, take a 24-hour break and then continue.
(b) Shoulders or back pain may result from a wrong body posture.
Remember this next image of a “proper body posture” and try to mimic it until you feel comfortable sitting with your guitar.
(c) Rare, Wrist pain. It is usually caused by excessive practice or incorrect strumming motion. This can be solved by reducing the duration time of each practice and with proper warmups and stretches.
Solving these three completely normal pain types with the above tips will get you back on track faster if they occur.
2. Find an online learning system that fits your needs.
Online guitar lessons are the best way to learn guitar at home. While some new self-learners care more about the flashier stuff of their chosen online learning system, like a top-notch learning interface or the brand itself, others prefer easy-to-follow and impeccably organized learning material that will gradually get them from point A to B in the shortest possible way.
Most professional online learning platforms provide an option for a free trial. Try at least two and find out which one best fits your needs.
These three are the best way to learn guitar online without a face-to-face instructor, rated by Trustpilot.com’s (wisdom of crowds) reviews as of 02/2023 :
Disclosure: We are a professional review site that receives compensation from the companies whose products we review or recommend.
Keep this in mind:
Using large video-sharing websites is not the best way to learn guitar because the lessons aren’t always linked to one another in sequential order, which leaves you with the feeling of “where do I go next?”
Moreover, you can find yourself wasting a lot of time and energy chasing the “correct lesson,” the same time and energy you can channel to actually learning to play.
Let me show you how you can benefit from YouTube as a” booster” for learning in a moment…
3. Practice like a turtle
“If you learn something slowly, you forget it slowly.”
Enthusiasm and the need to accomplish make us blind to the fact that we don’t retain so much of what we learn if we’re learning it fast.
Give your brain and hands time to understand the proper way to execute what you learn slowly. This builds good muscle memory.
Compounding slowly-mastered guitar elements one on top of the other will build a stronger skill without gaps in the long run.
This approach for practicing will help the material sink in deeper.
If you’re unable to control your urge to accomplish, remember this:
“The seeds of slow practice root dipper”
4. Leverage momentums to squeeze more from practice
“I just pick up a guitar, and if I annoy myself within ten minutes, I’ll put it down.
If I’m not annoying myself, I’ll keep on going.”
Jeff Beck -Guitar Player interview, October 1980
If your goal is to be able to play guitar just as a hobby or for self-improvement, you can relax a little bit from the stressful word “practice.”
Instead, look at it as if you’re more of a guitar-playing explorer.
It’s already known that for beginners, the cumulative results of 15-20 minutes of practice a day, five times a week, are better than an hour-long practice twice a week. (It’s an entirely different story for professional musicians).
Don’t carry a sack of breaks on your back. If you start to practice and it pulls you in, great! Keep on going with the momentum and squeeze the practice to its extent.
But, if you feel like you “have to” practice or pick up the guitar and you’re not getting anywhere, leave it aside and return to it fresher the next day. After all, you’re not preparing yourself for the Olympics.
“Improve by as little as one percent each day, and within three months and ten days, you’re one hundred percent better than you are today.”
So, taking this whole “practice” thing lightly is vital to having fun.
This next video clarifies what practice is:
5. The art of investing in fundamentals
Learning how to play the guitar is the same as learning many art-based skills, fundamentals-wise. (well, not just arts).
No matter which path you choose to take your playing further down the road, strong basics will be the solid ground on which you’ll grow your skill. So,
To start, a good investment would be in developing these six essential elements:
- Chord forms vocabulary.
- Technique drills such as triplets on a pentatonic scale.
- Intervals – The distance between one note to the other so you can find your way around the instrument.
- Fretboard familiarizing – enough to find notes, scales, and chord roots.
- Rhythm (strumming hand and overall sense of rhythm development).
- Dynamics – How you express what you play.
As a complete beginner, this may not tell you that much, but as soon as you start going, these elements will become clearer.
There are more basic elements, but they’ll not necessarily serve your goal in the first few months of playing.
Once you understand and get these basics a little polished, you’re learning curve will increase in giant leaps, mostly because you’ll better understand how music works.
Take this dynamics video, for example, and see how one element can make a huge difference in the way you’ll sound:
Do you see where I’m going with this? incorporating dynamics in your playing can make it sound more expressive and exciting.
6. Minimize your learnings to fit your goal.
Reading and then re-reading a few core books about a specific topic is often better than reading hundreds of different books on that topic.
Applying the same approach to your guitar learning will result in focusing on what you need to learn in conjunction with your goals.
While the six fundamental elements I provided above are good for the “general maintenance” and improvement of your playing skills, let’s not forget that your goal is what’s important.
If you’re eager to play a particular song, leave everything aside. Isolate and focus on that song until you master it. don’t let any background noise distract you from achieving mastery of that song. Playing five or six songs this way can make you a better player in no time because it unites your hands, brain, and ears to work together toward a goal. This is a powerful and one of the best ways to learn guitar faster.
7. Use YouTube as the ultimate learning booster.
While it’s hard to only learn guitar playing with YouTube videos due to lack of systemization and sometimes unorganized information (not to mention the distractions), YouTube can be a beneficial tool in those cases when you want to learn a specific subject.
This subject may be a specific guitar solo you like, a particular scale, or a fingering for a specific song.
Youtube can also serve you as an inspirational channel.
Watching other guitar players’ videos can teach you a lot just by observing and listening.
Nevertheless, you will want YouTube to be your “personal advisor” when you want to solve a specific problem.
This key is important because you can’t rely on YouTube to know what’s best for your skill development at any given moment. Yet again, when you need to learn something specific, this is where YouTube will come in handy.
8. Take periodical checkups.
If you decide that the best way to learn guitar from home is with an online learning system, it’s highly recommended that you take “periodical checkups.”
What does that mean?
Same as you meet your doctor once in a while to make sure everything is o.k., and for some “fine-tuning,” the same applies to guitar learning.
Your “doctor,” in this case, may appear as an instructor, a friend who plays better than you, or even a group you may choose to play with which are a little above your current playing level.
It doesn’t matter as long as you do this occasionally.
These “checkups” can benefit you by (a) making sure you haven’t picked up mistakes along the way, (b) you’ll be able to ask anything that’s not completely understood, (c) by Letting a higher authority observe your playing, it will allow him/her to give you some feedback on things that you need to improve or things you might have missed.
Moreover, playing in front of or with others will put you in a different state of mind.
Any way you look at it, unless you’re completely introverted, this key will enrich your whole learning and playing experience.
9. Use learning aids such as progress trackers and goal planners.
How often do you think you would have to repeat a musical element until you reach mastery over it that you wish to achieve?
Let’s take interchanging between two chords as an example.
How many repetitions would you have to make so that jumping smoothly between the two chords will sound clean? Five times? ten? a hundred?
It’s hard to tell until you measure it.
And how do you measure it? With the help of this repetitions tracker.
In it, you’ll define the purpose of the repetitions, then document the number of repetitions you did in each practice until you mastered it.
This method is for those who like to keep track of their progress, keep things organized and work systematically.
While the trackers will help you to document your progress, the “Goal planners.” will help you define what you want to achieve within a time frame.
Combining and working with the two printable PDF files is another best way to learn guitar quickly and an excellent way to keep a record of your progress so you can refer back to it, check what worked for you, and do it again.
You can discover multiple useful printables that’ll help you accelerate your goal achievements for free (No registration is required ) on our free downloads page.
10. The new CAGED system.
Have you ever heard of the CAGED system?
It’s a term that describes the first five major chords any beginner “should” start with.
But here’s the problem,
Why should you start by learning five chords that will narrow your possibilities for the choices of songs you can play? (Besides, they’re not all on the same scale and most popular songs are).
If anything, I’d suggest you learn the new system C AM G EM D.
Have you noticed I added the letter M which represents MINOR CHORDS?
I just added two M’s to the original CAGED system for them to be in one scale (The G major scale in this case).
Looking at it this way and you’ll quickly be able to play songs like:
“Knocking on heaven’s doors” (G, D, C, and Am in the verses).
“Walk on the wild side” by Lou Reed (Am, C, G).
“All I want is you” by U2 (C, Em, G).
11. Learn to deal with the Bumps on the road.
When the learning process flows smoothly, and the graph is green, playing guitar adds more than just fun and relaxation to our lives.
It also adds a dimension of self-improvement because of the challenges we must face and overcome.
One of these challenges is being unmotivated to practice when things don’t go so well.
That’s a practice on its own.
When we find ways to transcend and conquer this lack of motivation, we become better, not just as players, but it also affects our self-growth as persons.
So, how do you deal with a situation where you lack the motivation to practice?
Here are three inspiring Jim Rohn’s quotes you can tell yourself when your motivation graph becomes red:
“Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going.”
“Success is nothing more than simple disciplines practiced every day.”
“Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishment.”
While all keys described above (if implemented) put you ahead of 90% of guitar newbies, you can dig even deeper and discover the:
Four methods to speed up your learning and internalize your skill faster.
The first two are best to use when you lack time to practice physically. They’re supposed to be performed without the instrument.
1. Use your imagination to practice.
An imagination practice happens when you’re reviewing what you’ve just learned in your mind’s eye while you’re away from your instrument.
Let’s say you have just learned a new song, and connecting the first two chords is challenging. In this case, you can imagine successfully connecting them smoothly, even when you’re not physically holding the guitar.
This will hack your brain into believing that you’re actually practicing, and as a result, your brain will build neuron connections, as explained in the above video.
A good time to practice like this is while walking around the block or lying in bed before sleeping.
Use this method to imagine yourself conquering the new chord you learned today, the new strumming pattern, or the new riff.
2. The arm-practice technique
If the imagination practice helps your brain absorb faster, the “arm practice” will help develop your hand coordination.
Take a new strumming pattern and practice it on your arm so you can feel the thumb slightly “strumming ” on your second arm.
Another example would be to finger scale/chords on your arm.
You can do it with any chord or scale, and when combined with “the imagination practice,” it becomes a powerful tool to direct and focus your brain toward improving your overall playing.
3. The 50% rule of division.
Did you know you can increase your progression speed by two times just by dividing your practice time properly?
Let me explain…
No one told most beginner guitar players that if they spend a part of their practice time on one subject and another on developing their strumming hand, they can increase their progression pace by as much as x2.
The way to do it is by dividing the practice session into two-three parts.
In the first part, practice the song you wish to play but in the second or third part, mute the strings with your fretting hand and work only on the same song’s strumming patterns without letting the chords ring. This will allow your brain to observe and digest the strumming hand movement without tying it to the chord’s sound.
In other words, you isolate and practice each hand’s role in-depth. Exactly like you would have done if you wanted to develop a specific muscle in the gym.
4. Draw chords and scales on paper to memorize faster.
This is another method to carve shapes into your brain.
You’re invited to use this free blank fretboard diagram to help you memorize chord shapes or scales by drawing them on paper.
Final Tips for The Best Way To Learn Guitar
- Plan your practices to maximize productivity and then stick to the plan.
- Acknowledge your playing consists of three playing modes:
“Practice mode” for improving and nourishing your skill.
“Playing music mode” for having fun without the pressure to achieve.
“Goofing around mode” – not a goal-oriented activity. Just let yourself recharge.
- Build a solid foundation by consolidating from time to time what you’ve already learned.
- If possible, record yourself playing so you can refer back to it later to see how much you’ve improved.
- Play songs from the end to the start.
This gives your brain time to internalize the chords from a different angle. It will also develop your ears to the chords once out of context.
- Use emotional experiences to carve what you practice on your brain.
Humans tend to retain a memory much longer if a strong feeling is attached to it.
Here’s an example: will you ever forget the first time your heart was broken? Unlikely.
If you practice in the forest for the first time and it’s fun, you’ll remember the entire experience longer, thus what you practiced.
- Enrich the lives of others with your playing. This will trigger a self-fulfillment feeling.
- Cultivate your new hobby as if it was your child. Patiently give the skill time to develop, and you’ll find it super rewarding.
- Have faith in yourself!
Even though you might be carrying past failures on your shoulders, guitar playing is, first of all, for YOU and your inner feeling. The fear of failure may pull you down you from starting to learn or performing for others. If you’re aware of this, you are one step ahead. Here’s a nice TEDx video to deal with the fear of failure.
Quick tidbits to support your best way to learn guitar:
To move forward faster as an absolute beginner, start with the following:
Get to know the guitar parts, memorize the names of the open strings and also understand that the top three strings are called the ‘bass strings” – this will help you find chord roots faster.
A better way to learn chords as a beginner is by learning an easy song you love.
You can identify an “easy song” if most of the chords it contains are marked with single capital letters like G, C, and D, for example, or capital letters with the letter M next to them like Am, Dm, or Em.
Stubbornly understand how to tune your guitar because an out-of-tune instrument will spoil the playing experience.
The most efficient way to tune the guitar is learning to do it with a clip-on tuner. Small, accurate, and always attached to your guitar head it will help you avoid the frustration of an out-tune guitar for a very low price.
Important tip: Get some spare high-E acoustic or electric guitar strings (the one that breaks the most) before you try to tune the instrument by yourself.
There’s nothing worse than breaking a string without having a spare one.
FAQ for the best way to learn guitar:
Q: What is the best way to learn guitar at home?
A: The easiest way to learn guitar at home quickly at your convenience is with a professional time-saving online guitar course and the proven above methods.
Q: How long does it take to learn guitar?
A: Realistically, you could play a couple of beginner songs within a month. Playing simple melodies and more advanced songs usually takes about three months, and playing advanced songs in “time” plus some cool solos will usually happen anywhere from 4-6 months. This is more than achievable if you have a powerful professional system to support your studies.
Q: Can I teach myself to play guitar?
A: You can teach yourself to play the guitar independently, but you’ll always need to “import” outside knowledge through a book, YouTube videos, online courses, etc.
Remember that if you learn by yourself, you must be careful and double-check that you don’t pick up and internalize mistakes.
Q: Is it actually hard to learn guitar?
A: The guitar, like any other instrument, is challenging on the first steps. Every situation in which you try to learn a new skill will require practice, self-discipline, persistence, and of course, getting used to the physical elements required to execute music.
The good news is that once you get it going, you’ll be amazed by how soon you forget the “hardness.” After all, that’s the price to pay for making the guitar-playing wish come true.