The Seven Best Sources of Basic Guitar Lessons and Guitar
By: J M Jones
You're a beginner, and you want basic guitar lessons to start
you off. But you're confused by all the choices: which would be
the best guitar learning technique?
Guitar lessons are like anything else: there are two ways of
learning , and they're not the hard way or the easy way, nor are
they my way or the highway. No, they're teach yourself, or get a
Let's look at teachers first. They come in four guises, and some
are more effective than others. The more effective, the more
The cheapest and probably least effective guitar lessons you can
get are from a friend. I don't say that to be disrespectful to
anyone's playing abilities, but simply to point out that unless
that friend plays by the book and is a qualified teacher, you'll
probably pick up any bad habits they have. They're also not
likely to be available to give guitar lessons on a regular
basis, and may either become impatient when you don't pick
things up fast enough, or may just let things slide, allowing
you to form bad habits of your own. So your basic guitar lessons
will remain just that--basic. The cost is good, though--usually
You may be fortunate enough to be still at school with guitar
lessons available there. If so, take them. You'll get a
qualified teacher, weekly classes, and fellow pupils to swap
notes with (and maybe even get together to play with!) after
your guitar lessons.
Night school is the next most effective and cheap source. It
differs from school because you have to make the effort to go
after a day's work. That usually means you've other things going
on in your life--things that may intrude. Not only that, class
size will probably be large, so you'll have less input about
what you want to learn. And there's usually only two
levels--basic guitar lessons, then improvers. The cost as an
hourly rate will be very reasonable, though.
A professional teacher is the most expensive option. A good one
will bring out the best in you, may encourage you to take
grades, but will get frustrated if you don't practice. If you
have money, time, and are prepared to put the work in, this is
one of the most effective routes to take, because they'll
correct any bad habits, and your guitar lessons are one-to-one.
Obviously, you can save a little if you get your basic guitar
lessons at, say, night school first.
If you can't afford a professional teacher, and you don't have
evening/school classes or a friend handy, the second guitar
learning technique is to teach yourself. You've three possible
You can buy guitar tutors fairly cheaply at most guitar shops,
or online. They used to come in book form, but increasingly
incorporate CDs and DVDs. There's a one-off cost,
non-refundable, and you progress at your own pace.
Once you've got past the basic guitar lessons in these tutors,
you might decide the best way to teach yourself is to play your
favourite songs by ear. So you listen to them over and over,
work out the chords, then play. The advantage of this technique
is that it'll give you confidence, and if you mess up, no one
will know. It's also cheap--presumably you've already paid for
Also, there are fan sites online where you can download lyrics
and sheet music to your favourite songs, thus saving you the
time of doing it yourself.
Finally, there's the online course. For the cost of a few guitar
lessons with a professional teacher you can get a course aimed
at your level of proficiency. There are anything from basic
guitar lessons online to advanced jazz. The courses usually come
with a money-back guarantee, too, which is not true of the other
methods. Another advantage is that you learn whenever it's
convenient--teachers are available only at certain times of the
So there you have it--the seven basic guitar lessons sources: a
friend, school lessons, night school, a professional teacher, a
book or course, learning by ear, or an online course.
Which is best?
Depends on how serious you are, how much time you can devote to
practice, and what you want to achieve.
If you're just starting, it might be best to go for the
cheapest, most basic guitar lessons you can. That way, if you
don't persevere, you haven't lost much.
If you do persevere, and you want to get really good, you'll
eventually want to consider a professional teacher.
Wherever you want your journey to take you, I hope you get there
and have fun travelling!
About the author:
J M Jones (The Guitar Dog) has been playing since...well, a long
time. In that time, he's occasionally taught, written words and
music, been in bands, and collected a whole lot of theory which
he shares in easy-to-understand language with anyone who's
interested. To browse it or sign up for your free fortnightly
guitar lessons, visit www.guitarism.co.uk
Get 50 great gifts for guitarists, all under 50 dollars: