Knowing how to teach yourself songs on guitar will save you tons of time, avoid the frustration of failing to progress, plus provide you with the confidence of knowing you’re learning how to play a song as it should be played. Following the 8 steps below will help you to teach yourself.
In YouTube search for a music video of the song version you wish to learn. This may be an original studio recording, a live performance, or your favorite cover version. Example Search Words: hallelujah buckley
The version you choose will serve as your point of reference for accuracy:
Open a second YouTube window and search for a video of that same song performed ‘live’ by that original artist. Simply type the name of the song plus the words live, acoustic or unplugged. Example: hallelujah buckley live. You may find a video with the original guitarist playing the song close up.
If you find a video of the original guitarist playing the song:
a) See if they’re using a capo and on which fret?
b) Try to identify the chords & strumming patterns they’re using.
c) Try to identify the first chord they play. This chord is usually the key.
There’s no rule saying you must play a song in its original key. The key is usually determined by the singer and whatever key is most comfortable for their voice.
Open a 4th window and search YouTube for a guitar tutorial by entering the search words: hallelujah guitar lesson beginner buckley
Repeat this 2 more times so that you can choose from at least 3 tutorials tailored to your playing level. Here are 3 examples:
Guitar Tutorial Option #1
Guitar Tutorial Option #2 (Includes Chord Diagrams)
Guitar Tutorial Option #3 (Includes Chords, Lyrics, Multi-Screens)
Like choosing an in-person guitar teacher, select the tutorial you like best based on the teacher’s style, video & sound quality, song accuracy etc.
Open a 6th window and search the internet (not Youtube) by typing the name of the song plus the word ‘chords’ & ‘artist’s name.’ Example: hallelujah chords buckley
Click on a search result to open any of the online apps such as Ultimate Guitar to open a chord/lyric sheet like this:
Having opened windows with an:
1. Original studio recording by the artist/band or live performance by the original guitarist if available
2. Guitar video tutorial
3. Chord/lyric sheet …
You are now ready to learn how to play the song with confidence!
For more on how to teach yourself songs on guitar, check out this video on
How to Learn Songs by Ear on Guitar