As one of the most popular presents each and every Christmas, the guitar competes with every trending present of the year and finds itself under the Christmas tree without fail. So where do you start if you can’t even play a G chord?
So it’s Christmas morning and you have been bought a beautiful guitar, its your first one and you love it, but now what? There are a few different ways you can begin learning guitar and depending on the way you best learn, different methods will you suit you better than others. When you first start out learning guitar, especially when trying to pick up information on the internet, it can be very frustrating so don’t ruin your Christmas because you think you will never be able to play it. It does take a little bit of time to even feel comfortable moving your hand into the position of your first chord.
Which Method of Learning Guitar is Best for Me?
With so much information available online, in guitar shops and enough guitar tutors to sink a ship, you have a lot of choices. Each method has its own clear advantages and disadvantages.
Learning Guitar Online
If you wish to start learning guitar online before any prior knowledge then be prepared for both excellent guitar lessons and bad guitar lessons. The internet has such a vast body of free guitar lessons available, growing every minuite, but how do you choose what’s good and what’s bad, when you don’t know anything about guitar yet? I originally started learning guitar by reading TABs from Total Guitar Magazine and without any guidance from a guitar tutor, I often got very frustrated. I would also watch the likes of Jamie Humphries on the musicians channel which was shown on Sky TV. After a while I wanted to know if I was learning guitar the right way so I got my own guitar tutor and had weekly lessons.
I found that when you are learning little bits from all over the place, you get worried about how balanced you are as a player. Since I started learning guitar, the ability to learn guitar from the internet has become a lot easier but it’s blended in with a wash of confusing and inaccurate guitar lessons. YouTube is one of the most incredible things on the internet, but due to its ‘everyone has a voice’ nature, it becomes diluted with misleading content. Every tutor will explain things differently and have a different way of playing things so it can be hard to know who to listen to.
I personally feel that video lessons will serve you best once you have a grounding in the basics. If you know how to play your open guitar chords and you can strum, you can spend a lifetime watching the likes of Marty Schwartz or Your Guitar Sage on YouTube. From my experience of teaching hundreds of guitarists, the first few months are hard without the support from a guitar teacher and the one to one feedback that you get.
The plus sides are that the lessons are free and you may get lucky and find that you can learn everything just by watching. Although this is rare, it can happen.
Private Guitar Lessons
If you get a great guitar tutor, you can learn with them for a very long time before spreading your wings and taking control of your own learning. A bad guitar teacher will kill it for you. Unfortunately quite like the internet, there are a load of guitar teachers that are learning on the job or teach guitar for pocket money and won’t meet your expectations. Good guitar lessons will inspire you to pick up the guitar even when you have worked for 10 hours and you would usually just want to lay on the sofa.
For many people the weekly or bi weekly costs of guitar lessons are too much, I noticed this with some of my first students and it broke my heart to see it. So I decided to write everything I would teach in terms of preparing you to learn songs on the guitar, in an ebook. I then gave my ebook to the students who couldn’t continue the guitar lessons, so they could still grow as a player in their own time. Although I wrote the ebooks on learning guitar for my students, I soon realised how people all over the world could benefit from them so I made them available on this site.
My Personal Recommendation
This is what I have seen work best for most guitar players who want to save money and cant afford a guitar tutor for over 2 years.
- Get a guitar tutor and learn the basics – chords C, Dm, Em, F, G and Am first and then Bm and D. Get taught how to strum some of your favourite songs. See how much you enjoy playing guitar.
- Then get an ebook on learning guitar or follow a video series on YouTube and see how much you can understand from the beginner guitar lessons. If it all seems too confusing then you may need another month or two of lessons.
- Get to the point where you can understand how to work out songs on guitar by ear and then work out as many songs (of different styles) by ear without help from online TAB or chord charts.
(image credit to n.karim)