Which best method to learn guitar is right for you?

Are you new to playing guitar, and not sure how you should go about learning? There are a number of different ways you can get Guitar Instruction. The best way to go about it depends who you are and what stage you are at. Here are the common was to learn guitar, and the advantages of each.

Private lessons

If you are wanting to get the best results in the shortest amount of time, getting a teacher is definitely the best form of guitar instruction available. Of course, I’m a teacher myself, so I would say that, wouldn’t I? Well yeah, I would say that, and I just did. But let me tell you why it’s a good move.

The first reason is that having a regular lesson each week will make you more disciplined about your practice in between lessons. A teacher can’t practice for you, and you still need to motivate yourself and make a solid habit of it. A disappointingly large number of students will come in week after week and end up repeating the same lesson each time, because it’s obvious that they haven’t practiced properly in the time in between. However, if you are motivated to learn, having a weekly lesson to prepare for is probably the best sort of encouragement to stay on top of your practice and to make it a habit.


The second reason why private lessons are the best form of guitar instruction, is that a guitar teacher can spot shortcomings in your playing that you won’t notice on your own. You might be angling the neck or positioning your hands in a way that makes it especially awkward to play. Maybe you’re “cheating” by using fingerslides where you really should be doing a legato pull-off. A dvd or guitar magazine won’t point this out to you, but a teacher will.

The other great thing about a good guitar teacher, is that they will tailor the guitar instruction to fit exactly what you want to learn. Any other guitar instruction material will, by necessity, be “one size fits all”, and made to suit as many people as possible. A guitar teacher though, can ask you exactly where it is you want to get to, and plot out the steps you need to take based on that.

Downloadable courses

If money is an issue and you want the best “bang-for-your-buck” then this is definitely the way to go.

The advantage that digital content has over DVDs and books is that it is an affordable way to get guitar instruction in a variety of different media – text, video, audio and images. It’s all well and good to read about how to play, but nothing beats being able to watch for yourself what a guitarist is doing with his fingers. By the same token, video alone can be very irritating when you are trying to learn something in your own time. It is great to have written guitar instruction material available as well.

If you are looking at buying some a downloadable guitar instruction course, I can recommend Jamorama. One of my students has used it, and I can vouch for the results. It is a very good price, and because you download it there is the instant gratification on not having to wait for postage. If you don’t like you can get a refund too, so there is absolutely no risk in trying it. There are a number of other courses available too.

Another great course is: "Ravi's Learn Guitar in 21 Days". You can preview a part of this course in the video below. It's really great.

Hardcopy study materials

Before the internet and the widespread use of home computers, people were learning guitar from books and videos. These are still available, and work just as well now as they did back then.

To be honest, with the exceptional quality of what’s now available in downloadable content, I think that that is probably the way to go. But you might really want hardcopy materials to wrap up and give to somebody as a gift for christmas or their birthday. Or maybe you just don’t like using a computer any more than you have to.

Other options

Some people get their guitar instruction at a college or university. For the most part, these are not for beginners, rather for people who have been playing for some time and wish to do it professionally.

There are a number of guitar magazines available too, and most of them include some written guitar instruction in them, and sometimes an attached audio CD. These are best used as a supplement to some other form of guitar instruction.. they are one-off “tips and tricks” rather than a holistic method. Be aware that most of the material in most magazines is not guitar instruction; the biggest thing is usually advertising, the rest is usally a mix of product reviews and interviews with famous guitarists.

Combining them

There is no reason why you have to stick to just one method. Maybe you could download Jamorama, and then go to a teacher a few months later. Or go and get private lessons, and supplement them with lessons from a magazine. Give them all a try and see what is right for you.

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