Metal Mike: Dispelling the Myth of Being Self-Taught

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EastIndiandDevil

Knock Knock lmao. Whats wrong with pride? Sounds like you know what pride is. Good for you on taking lessons. The point is alot of people out there didn't, I think that's the message we are getting across. I believe Metal Mike was touching on the phrase "self-taught" as being a direct meaning, when I believe people use it as a phrase in general meaning they didn't have direct instruction from an already good guitar player. We didn't have inside info, we had to study and find out for ourselves. But don't fret lmao, I find nothing wrong with someone who takes lessons. I just think Mike misunderstood the meaning of "self taught".

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InGuitarITrust

Hahaha! what a bunch of BS and pride I read in the comments, yeah I took lessons and still it was because of my own initiative and pursuit, knock knock. I don't think I took formal training but some help just like anyone who reads a magazine, the only difference is that there's a person. I declare myself a self-taught hahaha!

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onitakezo

I didn't have a guitar until after I was 30, didn't play another instrument, no one showed me how to anything, never took a lesson, never learned a song ( to this day)(it is however really easy to play a lot of things that sound like something, but thats just to my ear), and have gone 6 months to a year without touching one actually in that time. I'm now 33 can play guitar, bass, mandolin, anything with strings really, piano and a bit of drums. on any givin day I've impressed famous professional musicians and have on other days what the robot devil would call "stupid fingers". The inconsistencies are because I have no clue what I'm doing. I just slowly get better and producing what I want or exspect. That is self taught.

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RogerL.

I think you're confusing self taught with inventing something. All the points you make have to do with coming up with something new on your own. Being self taught really just means that a person had to discover these different aspects of playing by themselves. Whether it was watching other players or listening to different sounds or reading books, they had to do all the work themselves to make it sound right. The difference of having a teacher is that teacher directs the player to discover these aspects per his or her instruction.

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doctortuxedo

Wow. There is a lot of disagreement here. The author makes great points in outlining the collective conscienceness of music and the guitar. Everyone learns from one another. Some people "discover" it on their own & others have some guidance. I never took a lesson for the first 15 years I played. I was in bands and everything. Then I started taking mail order Berkley Guitar Method & Theory. What I discovered was that I did already use and know most of the stuff already I just didn't have a name for it. Angus Young famously denies knowing any music theory. I love Angus but I call BS on him. HE KNOWS! He just might not call it an E minor Lydian. Formal training is easy once you just look into it. It seems all the self taught folks feel like they might be looked down on. You just have a complex. Theory is so easy 15 years without and now about 20 years with. Much easier with. How do you understand the awesome articles in Guitar World? I have been reading them for 20 years. Part of my learning music was from GW. Every player should at one point learn a little theory. If you do it yourself your still self taught although your "teaching" yourself the accepted method that is agreed upon by the music world. I guess the proper term is autodidactic.

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crusheverything

I usually like Mike's column a lot and find useful advice therein, but this article strikes me like he was on a tight deadline and pulled something out of his ass. There are people out there, including me, who have always had other, more pressing things on which to spend their hard-earned money, rather than formal lessons. I consider myself "self-taught" because no one has ever sat down with me for 5 seconds to show me how to do anything on guitar. While I do believe my playing could benefit from formal training, I feel there are some advantages to having figured out my own way to play, foremost being that people compliment my unique style regularly. That alone is worth so much more to me than being able to mimic a better player. Art is about self-expression.

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mgordon514

Semantics. (Although admittedly Metal Mike's columns do make it quite a bit easier to teach myself!)

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King-G

This is like the whole tone is in the fingers argument. There's no need to be so literal about it.

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EastIndiandDevil

I agree with Noel as well. I kinda took the article as being condescending, almost a sense of tunnel vision with no empathy for the fellow musician. I do believe self-taught is a word that guitar players use in general. No I didn't get lucky enough to be taught by jon petrucci, joe satriani, or paul gilbert. I didn't get the chance to grow up in southern California. I got a job when I was 14, the manager told me he never had anyone turn in that many applications. I was determined to play guitar. (by the way back then minimum wage was $5.15 an hour) All my paychecks went to a Bronze series warlock I bought at my local guitar shop which back then was not $100-$200. More like $500, definitely took advantage of me. My dad told me he would never allow me to have a guitar period in his house or he would kick me out, he told me I would grow up to be a loser. Then one day I brought it home and said "what do you think now?" I sat in my room my whole high school life with head phones on, hours on end playing until bed time. I skipped dinner, and hanging out with my friends because I LOVED IT! I couldn't afford to take lessons in town at that guitar shop, and my parents definitely wouldn't take me to lessons. I was on my own, to absorb whatever I could from my favorite music videos, books, or magazine. I had to research myself, I had to figure it out myself. I didn't have a guitar god handy to just say "hey man you do it this way and it is way easier". I read stories about kirk hammett being taught by joe satriani and I think well no shit he got good he had a master teaching him. I worked hard to get where I am, I love playing guitar, I had to figure it all out by myself. Go back to your studio Metal Mike in L.A. or Poland and play all your nice ass guitars, and free equipment. Next time you write an article remember the people who read it, and maybe be a little more humble and empathetic. To the rest of you hard working musicians, I'm here with you brother, we do what we can with what we got and we use the shit out of it!

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jimisteel5149

I agree with Noel Chambers. ^
Self taught means you choose your own path and you pick and choose areas you want to focus on and try to find your own voice. It's pretty apparent that this guy wants to dismiss a musicians quest for artistic induviduality. Of course it's still a guitar with however many strings and there are traditions and cliches just like anything else but art is subjective and so too is learning. How can you know if being formally trained will stifle your creativity if that's all you know? Did someone show Jeff Beck how do make his guitar sing like a voice? He pursued the sound he was after. Yngwie pursued the sound he was after. Eddie pursued the sound he was after. Of course functional harmony will make it's way into your playing of that's what you listen to but there are also plenty of examples of music that does not abide by that at all. Guthrie Govan learned a lot by listening and woodshedding. It's ignorant to try and take away credit from someone's musical quest because it isn't formal training. It's a pretty narrow minded article.

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godofwar

I had four guitar lessons, all from a Mel Bay book, when I was in fourth grade; that was over 50 years ago. Yeah, there have been times somebody showed me a new chord or the other guitar player in the band changed how I played a part, but for the most part I have had little in the way of formalized training as a guitar player. Most of my education has been learning by trying to duplicate a song I liked or had to learn for a band & "dinking around" on my own. Most of my originals were written by trying to figure out how to play what was in my head. Does that make me a primarily self taught guitar player? Recently, I took a few lessons from a friend who is a much better player than I am & that helped me out of a rut, but that is a fraction of what I learned "on my own."

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The Shred King ...

Even today's greatest players (e.g. Mark Tremonti taking lessons from Michael Angelo Batio) seek out instruction to brush up on a technique. There is no shame in this and better yet you'll end up improving. Initiative and pursuit are things that take you over the top -- but first you need to know what you are doing. There are tons of players out there that have all the initiative and pursuit in the world but are simply playing things incorrectly or with poor technique. This is the danger in the so called "self-taught" mindset which is only overcome by formal instruction.

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scottriggi

Yes...who is "Self Taught" ?.......Every musician (singers included..as the voice is an instrument) learns from listening, copying, mimicking a song, a sound...be it music or a train on the tracks..it is all sound and an inspiration to put that in a musical form, be it on a variety of instruments either mass produced, with a standardization or a one unique piece self made. It is a broad statement to say one is "Self Taught".

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Noel Chambers

Being self-taught means that the core of your knowledge and training comes from your own initiative and pursuit rather than through formal training - it does not mean that you are completely devoid of all outside knowledge and influence, as you contend. Self-taught guitarists have every right to be proud of their accomplishments, and to have these accomplishments minimized and dismissed by you in your plea for formal training is a shame.

When I look back at my 25+ years of playing, I see that I would have benefitted greatly from formal instruction - but if this piece had come out 25+ years ago, it would have done nothing to compel me to seek that training out since the arguments are shallow and hollow.

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