Can I Learn to Play Guitar on YouTube? 10 Tips to Help You Succeed

guitar lessons
YouTube has TONS of both good and not-so-good material on learning guitar. The trick is to know the difference! Here are some pointers that can help you make the most out of the awesome free resource of YouTube.
Remember, YouTube is a marketing platform, and people make money through views and subscribers. But just because someone has thousands of views or subscribers, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the content is going to help you become a better guitarist. Even videos by professional guitarists can contain misinformation and promote mythology. HEY, ANYONE WHO CAN PLAY GUITAR CAN TEACH GUITAR RIGHT?? NOT!
A lot of professional players are looking for extra money so they put stuff up on YouTube, and the most successful of the lot put up content that YOU ask for. And if you are a beginning guitarist, you probably don’t know what you don’t know and need to know – otherwise, you wouldn’t be a beginner!
Think about this…. Would you trust your doctor if they got their degree on YouTube and in the process got to vote on what they wanted to learn? Hmmmmm…. Or your mechanic? Or your hair stylist?
So, how do you successfully navigate this awesome resource of YouTube? We’ve put together 10 tips that can help you get the most out of your YouTube guitar education.
  1. Know how to hold to properly hold your body, pick, and guitar or your progress will be slower. Look for videos that directly address the ergonomics of guitar technique. Most teachers don’t address this but we find this to be vital in learning now to play the guitar.
  2. Know what you want to play. If you want to play shred metal on an electric guitar, don’t waste your time watching videos by YouTubers who teach acoustic folk.
  3. Tune your guitar every day and know how to do it properly. Find videos that help you do this.
  4. Learn how to read guitar tablature.
  5. Learn the natural notes on your fretboard. There are some great videos out there that teach systems for learning the notes on the fretboard. This takes a while (months and months often) so understand this is just part of your guitar journey. It’s not a super fun activity, but as you progress, you will be so glad that you did!
  6. Learn the major scale in at least one position –and connect it with the fretboard notes you learned.
  7. Learn the minor scale in one position — and connect it with the fretboards notes you learned
  8. Learn the major and minor versions of the chords connected to the notes you learned. For example, if you are working on learning where the A notes are on the guitar, learn the A major and A minor chord fingerings. Work on that over a few weeks. You aren’t going to learn all of these chords is a week or even a month (unfortunately)!
  9. Learn how to play on time (whole notes, half notes, quarter notes, 8th notes, 16th notes, and 8th and 16th triplets). Find videos that teach you how to incorporate a metronome in your playing.
  10. BE SKEPTICAL–no one can be a blues genius or a metal god in a matter of weeks. The truth is you can sound pretty good in about a years’ time with consistent practice. Your practice sessions don’t have to be lengthy – they just need to be consistent.Ideally, most busy people can squeeze in between 15-30 minutes of focused practice at least 5 days a week. In about 2 years, you should be able to be on stage playing in a band with the right program. How does that sound?

You may also want to check out a free resource we offer for beginning guitarists: How to play the blues with just one finger of your fretting hand! Just sign up and view the videos at your own pace.

So, when you are ready to move on to live on-line or in-person lessons, check out what we offer at Peak Music Studios’ Guitar Program. We cut through the noise that you will find on YouTube (and frankly, with other teachers) and get you working on the guitar-playing techniques that move you forward as quickly as possible.
Rock on, People!