How To Learn From Video Guitar Lessons More Effectively

We all learn differently, but for those who need a more visual approach to learning guitar, video tuition is a welcome change from translating reams of notes from tablature. However, simply watching a video lesson like a movie, whilst trying to play along isn’t the best way of approaching this medium. Check out these 7 tips to help you get the most from video guitar tutorials.


1. The Pause Button Is Your Friend!

Remember to learn in your own time; there is no rush to keep up with the teacher. Give yourself time and space to react and retain the notes being taught. This means pausing more often than you think you may need. Hitting the pause button after every two or three notes (or even each note if needed), building the part slowly, is more conducive than tackling large chunks of information.

This approach also prevents you from playing over the teacher whilst they are delivering the next set of instructions; creating a confusing situation where you are constantly out of sync with the lesson. If you are continuously rewinding lessons again and again, then take this more bite-sized approach.

2. Watch & Listen First

It is tempting to dive right in and start playing, but there is a real benefit to taking one pass through the lesson without your guitar first. Make a mental note of the note and techniques used. Do you recognise the shapes, chords or scales being used? You will be much more focused and prepared when you grab your guitar.

3. Get Looping!

There is a truth in the realisation that, is not your brain which needs to remember the notes, but your fingers. Muscle memory is your most powerful ally when it comes to learning anything new.

How do we build this muscle memory and program those hard won notes not our fingers? It’s all about repetition. If, like Licklibrary lessons, the tutorial’s video player has a loop function, make sure you take full advantage; once you have learnt that section, find that snippet of footage in which the teacher is playing the part and set an AB loop. Next, play it on a constant cycle, round and round until it becomes an unconscious motor skill (this happens much quicker than you may think!).

Once a lick, riff or pattern is in your muscle memory it is in your guitar bank and much easier to recall than deciphering from TAB later.

4. Know The Song

It sounds simple, but if you’re tackling a piece of music, make sure you know it. Listen to the song and develop a level of familiarity whereby you can sing the guitar part in your head.

Having a reliable musical reference in your internal juke box is invaluable when it comes to trying to learn and replicate any guitar part.

5. Get That Backing Track On Sooner!

Another tried and tested way to commit small sections of riffs or licks to memory, is to perform what you have learnt to music. The traditional approach of learning a full part or even an entire song before braving a performance with the backing track or song isn’t always the best strategy.

Rocking out to the track doesn’t have to be a distant reward! If you have learnt a fragment of that riff, put the track on and play, leaving space for the notes you are yet to learn. The same approach can be taken with a solo; why not loop that single lick you have learnt to the backing track?!

6. Learn First, Read Second

If you are using TAB or supporting written material for a lesson, save it for later. Splitting your attention between written information and on screen instructions is a dizzying experience - a little like reading a book and watching a movie simultaneously. The chances are that you will miss valuable elements such as correct fingering and position.

7. Know Your Scales

The vast majority of rock, pop, blues and metal guitar parts all have their genesis within major/minor scales and, of course, our old friend the pentatonic scale.

Knowing and being able to recognise these scales, within the parts you are learning, is like a having a musical crystal ball! Good fretboard knowledge gives you a head start. Having the ability to recognise a map of notes, by sight is an essential tool when learning from any video guitar tutorial.


Learning directly from another musician is one of the truest and original forms of learning to play an instrument. With the right approach, learning to play guitar from video lessons is an immediate and fast way to reach your guitar goals.


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