This “how to” article is not going to give you a list of specific steps to do in order to play better.
No article like that exists. You can’t read a list of steps and suddenly get better at the guitar. You need proper instruction and practice.
This article simply lists the different methods and resources you can use to enhance your skills.
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Over the last few years I’ve researched so many different tools to help beginners master the guitar.
What I’ve discovered is that there are really only 3 ways to learn how to play the guitar.
Each of these categories is slightly different, and will have a few options.
I’ve done my best to highlight the top choices within each category, and will continue to update this site as new learning products come out.
One thing I can say for sure is that there are so many good resources available for those who want to really learn guitar. The tough part is actually choosing which one to go with.
So all you really need to do is commit and take action.
1. Real In-Person Lessons
At the end of the day, you can’t fully substitute real in-person lessons.
When you have someone right next to you it’s pretty darn helpful. You can easily stick to a schedule and routine with lessons on a specific day and time.
These are definitely some important factors.
But there are also some cons about this learning method compared to the others:
- It can be expensive (See the average costs here)
- You can’t get help 24/7
- You usually need to travel to lessons
- Are there good instructors in your area?
One of the biggest downfalls with real lessons is convenience. With millions of people wanting to learn the guitar, there just aren’t enough good teachers for everyone.
Many people don’t have access to one, and many people can’t afford them.
I would only recommend this method if you have a budget for it, and you have easy access to a really good teacher.
2. Games and Apps
A new way to learn how to play guitar is with games and apps.
There are also popular guitar video games like Rocksmith.
One of the main advantages to this type of learning device is that it’s fun and easy to use. If you’re comfortable with downloading apps, you’ll have no problem getting started.
Many of these options will have a scoring system built it which makes learning fun and keeps you coming back for more, however the overall instruction is not as detailed as you’ll get with the other choices above.
There’s no doubt that people really love guitar video games and learning apps. They’re fun and entertaining.
They’re very useful in improving your muscle memory and getting you to practice, however many of them work best as a supplement to other types of learning methods.
3. Online Video Lessons
When you jump into the world of online video lessons, you begin to see the huge value created by the Internet and the growth of technology.
These have really replaced any DVD or CD course. These still exist, and some are good, but I feel their days are numbered.
What often comes to mind when thinking about this section is leverage.
Why pay a guitar teacher 30 or 40 dollars an hour, when you can share that cost with thousands of other people, making the cost of one online video lesson next to nothing.
That’s one of the main benefits with online guitar lessons.
Basically you pay a monthly or yearly fee, and you have access to thousands of online video lessons. There are beginner lessons, specific guitar style lessons, and you can even get lessons on playing your favourite songs.
Compare paying for a year of online lessons, versus maybe 4 or 5 in person lessons. You simply can’t beat the value here.
The main con is that you won’t get that instant feedback, and you need the motivation to login and practice on your own schedule. There are websites which offer live lessons, chat rooms, and some offer a video exchange feature where you can upload yourself playing and get feedback, however you're not usually accountable to any teacher.
Where Should You Go?
If you’re a beginner who really wants to learn and improve your skills, I would recommend you check out the online video section first.
In my opinion it’s overall the best avenue for learning and getting value. You can find my recommendations here.
I think for most people, it’s the way to go, especially with the free trail options available here.