Decoding the Term – The Self-Taught Guitar Player

Are you a self-taught guitar player?

I am one.

Whenever somebody asked me where do I learn to play, the usual answer I will always tell them, “Oh, I was self-taught.”

But then, I pondered on the term ‘Self-taught’. What do people actually understand when I told them I was a self-taught?

Okay, what made me to teach myself to play in the first place?

Well, in my case, I never had the chance to hire a guitar teacher or get myself enrolled in guitar classes. Not because I don’t want to but it was more like I could not afford it at the time of my learning. And furthermore, I was still in high school when the inspiration to embark on guitar playing happened. So heck, I decided to learn to play anyway.

vsco-guitar-71571I believe the common understanding from many people will be that a self-taught is a person who taught him or herself to do something, like in this case; learning guitar. The same goes to me if somebody told me the same thing. The terminology seems to make perfect sense. But, “Oh hang-on a minute.”

How exactly can you teach yourself something from out of nothing, because when I did first pick up the guitar, I do not know a single shit about it? I was even unsure if I were holding the instrument properly yet alone to go on playing it. So, surely you need to have something to guide you? Simply because we did not invent the guitar to know anything about it.

I learnt to play from reading instructional prints like books and magazines, watching other players, listening from audio recordings etc. Now, this is what made the term ‘Self-taught’ interesting as much as it is confusing at the same time.

With that, I think the actual meaning of the term ‘Self-taught’ has been decoded. Self-taught does not mean you just pick up the guitar and you just go teach and play it yourself. How on Earth will you know what to teach yourself? When you first picked up guitar, do you know why there are frets on the neck – what did they represents? Why the strings are placed in the particular order that they were and, how come the gauges are not the same? How do you actually hold the pick to strike the strings?

Then, you gave it a whack and it sounded so horrible. You gave it a second try, still terrible and every time you did, it never changed a bit; terrible with a capital T!

So when I told people that I was a self-taught guitar player, am I really correct? How can I teach myself play guitar then, when I do not have the slightest idea of how to make it work when I first picked it up?

You definitely have to gather some materials to aid you in the process. So, it seems self-taught actually means learning and playing the guitar self-dependently with the assistance of learning materials and, not by having a real life teacher to provide for you.

Is this self-explanatory to us all?

How did you understand when someone tells you that he (or she) was a self-taught guitar player?

Please share your thoughts in your comments.

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