Progressing with/without a teacher or with/without reading
I wondered how many guitarists can really progress to higher levels being just self-taught and without a teacher?
Mostly, I ponder how advanced one can get without learning to read music/standard notation (and just surviving on TAB alone).
It depends, somewhat, on what you mean by "self taught". Many, names escape me but BB was one, were taught by watching other blues artists and replicating what they saw. Many of them, I have read, cannot read music either.
But that said, its always better to have more tools than less. Personally, I study with and without my teacher. I dont read music but I wish I had started doing that from the beginning.
I dont know that i answered your question well. But I think the answer is that it depends alot on the person.
“The hardest thing in life is to know which bridge to cross and which to burn” - David Russell (Scottish classical Guitarist. b.1942)
Geo made some good points but it also depends on your goals. If you want to someday play in a band and try to make a living as a musician then reading standard notation is a must. Studio musicians are others who MUST know notation and be able to transpost to various keys in an instant. If all you want to do is play around with the guitar at campfires or with your friends just for personal enjoyment then you don't need to know notation...but again as geo pointed out...the more tools you have the more you can do.
As for a teacher again it depends on your goals and how motivated you are as well as your ability to critique yourself honestly. I have been playing for 1 year (guitarversary July 4th weekend! 8) ) and I teach myself (or as someone here once pointed out...we are actually self MOTIVATED and not self taught. We need books, online lessons, videos, etc. to "teach ourselves"). There are times when I wish I had a teacher. I may get stuck on something or I don't understand something. I might be practicing bad habits that a good teacher would normally catch and correct. BUT, there is a part of me that is determined to do this myself. It's a matter of pride for me...the ability to follow my dream of playing guitar and to say "I did it myself." I want to learn standard notation because there is more compositions available as well as they are probably more accurate than the tabs. My goal isn't to play in a band (however it would be fun to try) or make a living with music. It's just a hobby right now for me. But things can change, opportunities may present themselves and I might change my plans.
You need to sit down and determine your goals and decide what's best for YOU to achieve those goals.
Sorry for the double post
You'll progress faster with a teacher.
There are many examples of famous guitarists who didn't have a teacher, who were supposedly self taught. I happen to think their stores are a little more complex and that if you dig deeper they had someone showing them things, or they hung around musicians and picked up things from them.
I've been playing about 4 years and have taken lessons off and on. For me it's a matter of finances and time. for the average person taking up guitar lessons are the way to go.
As far as reading music you're better off with that than reading tab. Tab is like paint by numbers, as far as I'm concerned. (Not that I don't use tab from tie to time!). Probably the best thing is to be able to listen to a CD and figure out what's being done.
Very well put, Mikespe.
I've been teaching myself, but it is not due to a lack of time or money. I have found it very rewarding to progress on my own, to make my own discoveries about the guitar and what I can do. I am going to start some lessons in the near future because I think it will help move me along, but to date, it has been a voyage of self-discovery and pride, a voyage I wanted to take for years, but never did.
P.S. Thanks for taking down that Sabres logo....it was very painful to look at each time you posted.
Here are my opinions on this and they are only my opinions:
1.) I don't think that having a teacher or being able to read music is an absolute must ( unless you want to be a studio musician then you will need to read music) to be a good player. There are many people out there some very famous who didn't have either.
2.) On the other hand for the rest of us how do you teach yourself something you don't know?
3.) The right teacher will get you to your goal much faster than you'd get there on your own. If not then you have the wrong teacher.
"It's all about stickin it to the man!"
It's a long way to the top if you want to rock n roll!
Pearlthecat is right on the money imo, there really is no such thing as a "self taught" guitarist unless you mean one that has never taken "formal" lessons.
just reading the posts and advice, here counts as lessons imo. we've all set and watched, played with others at one time or another, you'd have to be a hermit in a cave in this day and age of internet, etc, to be "self taught"
many famous artists cannot read music or actually know much theory, but i can't help but wonder how much more sucessful they might have been if they had learned it.
Been Reading over the posts and beleive all points and opinions are valid.
I have "taught" myself things, when I have the time and money (gotta support 3 kids) I try to take lessons. Usually to learn a different style.
Reading music is a tough one for me to pontificate on becuase prior to playing Guitar I was in the school band and learned to read music there along with song arangement and theory.
All I had to do was learn "where" the notes corresponded to the guitar.
Tab--Great tool and should be utilized to the fullest. I like tab that also shows the notes on a staff--usually in your guitar magazines. I thetime is taken to look at the staff aldo instead of the tab you could "self--teach" the notes.
2 cents but awesome post and replies.
Adding a little perspective too. When I first started out in '65 or so all I had was a portable record player which didn't even come with the nickel to hold the tonearm down. There weren't many options to learn how to play what I was hearing on the radio or .45s. I had to keep putting the needle down over and over and over again to learn a song. That, a Mel Bay book and looking a pictures of guitar players in magazines to try and figure out what they were doing with their left hands. Even after getting a guess down I still didn't yet know what the chord was. There's a whole generation as well as generations before who learned this way or with even less as a guide. (I know, this sounds like "we had to walk 12 miles barefoot in the snow to get to school"...)
Fortunately, I'd taken piano lessons since 1st grade so I had some frame of reference. Guitar lessons back then weren't geared towards what I wanted to learn nor were there tab books or if there was sheet music it was primarily written for piano.
If you don't really want/can't afford to take lessons the simplest way to learn is to find someone else who plays and spend hours playing together. Doesn't matter if they're ahead of you or if you're more advanced you'll lean and you'll help them learn. I was lucky to find a like-minded kid around 1969 and we're STILL playing together.
I'm only now learning to read tab. Old habits die hard but along with experience they allow me to fairly quickly pick out new things or know what's gonna happen next because it's happened before.
I'd suggest trying and using everything that's available. You'll find what works best.
Excuse the double post caused by twitchy caffeine fingers...