Learn to Play the Guitar – The Options

It can be quite an onerous task for the new player.  How do you learn to play the guitar and how do you get better.

In this article I will go through some of the options that are available and what are the best, in my opinion, products on the market that you can get if you want to learn to play the guitar.

First off I am a firm believer in enjoying what you are doing and this is very true if you want to learn to play the guitar.  However, I am also of the opinion that you get out what you put in, therefore the more effort you put in the better you become.  To that end I am always wary of ads that tell you that you can learn to play the guitar in 10 hours or less.  Certainly you will have made some basic steps but I am not convinced that you will actually be able to play guitar.  So if you are looking to learn to play the guitar my first bit of advice would be to steer clear of miracle teaching techniques that will teach you to play in double quick time.

The Guitar Tutor

The first option, and probably the best, is the private guitar tutor who will guide you step by step using the best teaching methods to get you playing the guitar competently.  There is nothing better than one to one tuition to really get you well on the path of guitar mastery.  However, there are some caveats to this viewpoint.  It is not cheap, guitar lessons, especially with a good tutor can be very expensive.  Furthermore not all guitar tutors are the same and standards vary, and can vary quite dramatically.  My first guitar tutor was a great guitarist and I am sure he would have been a good tutor but we ended up talking more about guitars and equipment than actually how to play the thing.  I must admit that was probably more my fault than his but, as a tutor, he should have been able to direct my enthusiasm more constructively.  Sadly I was wasting my money, became dissatisfied and stopped going.  Unfortunately you may well find that you might have to try out a few tutors before you find one that you gel with, but when you do I think it is by far the best way of learning to play the guitar.

How do you find a guitar tutor?  The best place is to check in your local guitar shop as they will be able to recommend someone, they may even run lessons themselves.  If they do recommend someone then ask for some testimonials and if possible speak to the people, who gave those testimonials, directly.  You would be surprised how many testimonials are provided by friends and family, and they are not likely to give the tutor a negative review!  It is your money that you are spending and if the tutor is half decent they will not mind you checking them out before you commit yourself.  I am also slightly wary of tutors who request a block booking of a certain number of lessons.  You should be able to have one or two taster lessons before having to commit to a large number of lessons.  In my view steer clear of the block booking technique before you have tried them out, even if there is a hefty discount involved.

What are the options if you want to learn to play the guitar but you can’t afford a one to one tutor?

Before the days of the internet there were two options, books and correspondence courses.  Now thanks to the internet the correspondence courses, at least by post, have largely disappeared.  As an option we will discuss the internet later, but books still provide a credible, and in some cases cheap, option for someone who wants to learn to play the guitar.

Guitar for DummiesIf you check out guitar books on Amazon or in your local guitar shop you will be amazed at the choice open to you.  From basic teach yourself guitar through to specialist speed metal techniques there are books to cover all musical tastes.  Once again it is a case of getting a few and seeing which ones work for you.  As with a tutor you might have to go through a few before you find one that really gels, but you will always learn something on the journey.  If you don’t want to buy you can check at your local library as most will stock a selection or be able to order ones that they don’t have.  If you find something that you can like then you can choose to buy.  If you want to buy then a good place to start is Guitar For Dummies from the Dummies range of teach yourself books.  The book is very comprehensive, fully illustrated and features a free interactive DVD.

What about the internet?

In some regards the internet has opened up guitar tuition to a huge and global audience.  There are literally thousands of products out there on the internet that you can choose from.  Remember my initial warning to avoid miracle teaching techniques that will promise to turn you into Jimi Hendrix in just 10 hours.  The internet is where the warning should be heeded most there are some good tuition products and there are some bad ones.  Before you consider paying for a tuition product check out what is available for free on sites such as You Tube.  There are some really great Guitar tutors out there who have up-loaded brilliant videos as a taster of what they have to offer.  Give these a go and you can pick up an awful lot for free.

Jam PlayIf you do choose to go for an online course make sure that the provider is reputable and offers a money back guarantee.  Do they provide examples of what you get before you part with any money, if not think twice before signing up.  In our opinion one of the best providers is Jam Play an online member based service which is truly a cut above the rest.  Once you are a member there are 3792 lessons you can choose from totalling 919 hours of tuition time.  They have 68 instructors ranging from Steve Stevens of Billy Idol fame to Mike Mushok from Staind.  Between the instructors they cover just about all you could want to learn on the guitar.  All lessons are fully transcribed and you can print them off allowing you to practise even when you have turned the computer off.  In my opinion there is no other online service which offers as much content.  Membership costs as little as $19.95 per month but if you go for the one year deal it will cost you $139.95 which is a 42% reduction on the monthly price.  I really like the service and have only just started to really access everything that the site has to offer.  To check out what they have to offer go to the Jam Play site now.

As you can see the options available if you want to learn to play the guitar are unlimited.  So there are no excuses get learning and happy playing!

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