Learning guitar is a fun, exciting, and rewarding pursuit. No matter how deep you go into studying the guitar, there is always something more to explore and always new ways to develop your skills. Additionally, there are more free and paid beginner guitar lessons available now than ever before.

Beginner Guitar Lessons – Where to Start?

However, quantity does not always equate to quality. Having more information does not necessarily mean you have the right information. Consequently, it can be difficult for beginning guitarists to make meaningful progress without some guidance from legitimate and knowledgeable sources.

There are many different types of beginner guitar lessons – or you can teach yourself. You can take the solo path and watch YouTube videos, look up chord diagrams, and find only TABs or other resources. You can find a guitar teacher in your area or online and take lessons from them. Or, you can find an online course or app with built-in lesson plans. Let’s briefly explore the pros and cons of each option to help you make a better decision for yourself.

Teaching Yourself

The myth of the “self-taught” guitarist is ubiquitous. How many times have you heard of a guitarist like Jimi Hendrix or Kurt Cobain begin self-taught? How much of this do you actually believe?

Certainly, nobody learns in a vacuum. Guitarists like Hendrix or Cobain had teachers at some point, whether they recognize them as such or not. That being said, today’s rich information ecosystem makes it possible to learn guitar through a handful of different YouTube or other internet channels.

This approach is beneficial for some students. You have open access to learn whatever you want, choose your own adventure, and explore to your own tastes. If you are disciplined and inspired, you can certainly make progress this way.

However, with this approach you run the risk of missing out on basic, foundational guitar skills, and instead have a smattering of distantly related skills that do not form a cohesive skillset.

Guitar Lessons With a Teacher

Choosing lessons with a guitar teacher near you can be a great way to learn the instrument. There are many ways to find excellent guitar teachers. By exploring options in your area, reading reviews, and asking for references, you can most likely find a wonderful teacher. We have a list of guitar classes in a number of U.S. cities.

The right teacher can take your interests and build a plan for you to advance in a logical, cohesive manner that ensures you develop proper technique and knowledge. The wrong teacher can turn you off to the guitar and possibly music in general.

However, most guitar teachers will offer a trial lesson, so you have the opportunity to meet, play, and ask some questions before you start paying for lessons.

Guitar Apps and Other Online Courses

Another option is to pursue the guitar through guitar apps or other online courses. These sorts of courses can be a great option for a student who is interested in learning some basic skills and songs but does not want to commit to meeting for weekly lessons with a teacher. (We review online guitar lessons here.)

Many of these apps have built-in playalong programs which can be a great way to build basic rhythm skills on the guitar. Most apps are designed by music teachers and thus have some logical progression to the content.

Of course, you can always read reviews before downloading or subscribing. However, apps generally do not come with a human companion to assist you and answer your questions.

How to Choose Beginner Guitar Lessons?

How do you go about choosing the correct option for learning guitar? The best choice is to ask yourself some basic questions.

What are you looking for from the guitar? Do you want to learn some basic chords, songs, and strumming patterns? Then the simplest way would be to read a couple articles, watch a video or two, and go from there.

Do you want to write music and find people to perform it with? Then perhaps an in-person teacher would be a good choice. You could work on developing your songwriting skills, learn some music theory concepts to enhance your knowledge base, and possibly find other students to jam with.

Do you see yourself having trouble committing to a weekly meeting, but still want some structure? Then perhaps going with a guitar learning app or online course is the best choice for you.

The beautiful thing about learning the guitar is the choice is up to you!