Yes you can teach yourself how to play guitar...well sort of! When people say "self taught guitar", they probably mean they didn't have a teacher.
I'm self taught, but when I was a beginner, I didn't just pick up a guitar and start playing, and neither will you. I followed instructions from some guitar lesson books. They were BORING, and I had to learn how to read music, there weren't any videos then.
Quality guitar lessons are a must!
I'd be a better player today if I had access to the multi-media guitar lessons that are available now. I know, I bought some to review, and I'm using some of them to fill gaps that I developed from being self taught, without good lessons.
Some Benefits of Self Taught Guitar are:
There's free info on the internet for beginners, be careful though or you'll miss a lot of important details. Many free "lessons" are taught by people that shouldn't be teaching and you'll develop the same bad habits.
You won't succeed at self taught guitar by jumping around from lesson to lesson either, you need to follow lessons in order. You're not gonna impress anyone by playing little bits of songs, or a lick here and there.
Top notch lessons are the next best thing to having a good guitar teacher... the only thing missing is the feedback ... You can see and hear exactly what you're supposed to do in the videos, and play along with full band backing tracks to get yourself rocking.
Learning to play guitar takes time. You won't learn to play in a day, a week, or even a month, but, it's never been easier to teach yourself guitar than nowadays.
When you first begin learning to play guitar everything's gonna feel awkward and your fingertips will feel some pain and tenderness. This is going to happen, but will change with practice and time.
After approximately a month, holding your guitar will feel more natural and your fingertips won't be as tender, because you'll begin to develop callouses. You'll also place your fingers on the notes faster and more accurately.
As time goes on the awkwardness you felt as a beginner will disappear and things will seem almost automatic. The more you practice, the less you'll have to think about what your fingers are doing.
To summarize; here's how you can rock as a self taught guitar player:
Remember, it takes time to learn how to play guitar...you will learn faster using a guitar teacher or following quality guitar lessons.