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The 5 Best Ways to Learn to Play Guitar

The 5 Best Ways to Learn to Play Guitar

Has that dusty guitar been sitting in your attic for years? Or has it been standing in the corner of your living room as a tasteful decoration? Maybe hanging on your wall?

Or maybe you just heard Steve Vai for the first time. Or Jimi Hendrix. And you went out and bought a brand spankin’ new guitar. You couldn’t resist.

Regardless of how you got here, this much is clear – it’s time to learn to play guitar.

But how exactly do you get started?

Luckily there are a number of ways to learn a new instrument and some great options for all of you aspiring rock-and-rollers out there.

Below are the absolute best ways to learn the instrument and to begin your journey to become the next Jimi Hendrix, Steve Vai, Tony Rice, Django Reinhardt, or Eric Clapton.

1. Take Private Lessons

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One of the most popular ways to learn any instrument is to take private lessons. Private lessons are a great option since they will allow you to have guidance every step of the way. You’ll get specialized attention and will be able to progress at your own pace.

If you’re someone who can’t be motivated to teach yourself, then the steadiness and structure of private lessons will likely be great for you.

One drawback however is that private lessons are also one of the more expensive ways to learn. If you can’t afford to spend money on lessons each week, then continue reading on for some cheaper alternatives.

2. Take a Class

Similar to private lessons, taking a full-fledged group class is another great possibility. Although not as common as private lessons, classes will be considerably cheaper since you will be sharing the cost with other students.

Many community colleges offer continuing education classes for beginning guitar players, as do some larger music lesson studios.

The drawback with group classes however is that you may not get as much individualized feedback and direction as you would in a private lesson.

3. Book Learning

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In private lessons or in a classroom setting, you’ll likely be using a guitar lesson book such as the Hal Leonard Guitar Method series. So why not cut out the middleman and simply purchase the book?

A guitar method book will take you step by step and give you a well-rounded education, teaching you how to read music notation and tablature, and how to play basic chords.

If you have the dedication and drive, using books and teaching yourself in this way may be just right for you. It’s also a cheap alternative to a more formal education.

4. Youtube

Another great (and cheap) way to learn to play guitar is by using Youtube. Youtube is one of the best modern luxuries we have for learning pretty much anything, including guitar. Simply search for “guitar lessons” on the site and a nearly endless string of results will appear.

For the visual learners out there, Youtube is great and will allow you to see exactly how various notes and techniques are played as your virtual instructor or instructors walk you through their lessons step by step.

5. Other Internet Resources

Although Youtube is one of the best websites for learning a new instrument, don’t forget that there’s a whole World Wide Web out there. A simple Google search will deliver an abundance of online guitar websites, each featuring articles and lessons that will help you learn the instrument.

Websites such as Ultimate-Guitar.com have lessons, articles, chord charts, and guitar tabs that will allow you to study the instrument and learn songs by your favorite artists – all without spending a dime.


It’s easy to see that there are plenty of options and methods for learning to play guitar, but remember that you don’t have to pick just one. By combining some of the methods above, you’ll be amazed at how quickly you can learn to play guitar.

Take a private lesson and then go home and build on what you’ve learned by browsing guitar lessons on the internet. Learn a new technique in a guitar method book and then watch a Youtube video to get the full visual. The possibilities are endless.

Now you know how to get started. So stop reading, grab that guitar, and get to playing!

The Best Ways to Learn a New Language

The Best Ways to Learn a New Language

latin-man-300x225I was really terrible at Spanish in high school. My grades were pretty bad throughout the year and I thought that I would never be able to learn a new language. I had nightmares about “conjugating” verbs. My teacher even suggested that I avoid taking Spanish classes once I got to college. I just barely made it out alive…

Luckily, things have changed a lot since then. I’ve gained a lot more motivation, a lot more interest in other cultures, and I’m starting have a pretty decent understanding of Spanish. I’ve also started learning the basics of German and French, and am genuinely enjoying it.

If you’re like me and were pretty clueless in high school, don’t worry!

There are a lot of great ways out there to either start learning a new language or to refresh your existing knowledge, and most of them are actually pretty enjoyable.

Make It Into A Game Using Duolingo

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This is probably my favorite way to learn a new language and it’s also one of the most fun. Duolingo makes learning languages into a game and you “level up” as you learn more and more. The courses are broken up into manageable lessons in which you translate sentences, transcribe what you hear, and speak phrases into the microphone.

The ability to access Duolingo for free on iOS, Android, or on the web also makes it extremely easy to get started on. It’s a breeze to chip away at languages whenever you’re bored or have a few minutes of downtime.

Spice Up Your Commute With Pimsleur Audio Programs

car-in-commute-300x199Pimsleur audio programs have been around for quite a while and are a great way to learn a new language. In addition to software-based courses, some of the most popular offerings by the company are its audio programs. The audio programs come in a ton of different languages and are a great choice for people with long commutes. Why not be productive while sitting in traffic?

The audio courses guide you through spoken conversations while telling you how to respond and allowing you a chance to reply out loud. Because of that, it’s a great choice for anybody who actually needs to learn to speak a language, rather than just being able to read it or understand it.

Another great thing is that many local libraries have Pimsleur audio courses, so it’s pretty easy to just go grab one and get started for free.

Learn a New Language With Rosetta Stone

The Rosetta Stone software is very similar to Duolingo but instead of relying on text to teach you new words it is a much more visual course. Rosetta Stone immerses you in your chosen language and teaches you through context and visual information. It’s very similar to the way children and infants learn to speak.

I’ve only experimented with Rosetta Stone during brief stints, but I actually like it a lot more than Duolingo. It can’t compete with the price of Duolingo however, as most of the courses cost around $200.

Watch Foreign Television

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Of course, one common way to learn a new language  is to immerse yourself in it by watching TV shows or movies. It’s amazing what you can understand and what words you can figure out just by seeing the context of the words and watching body language.

If you want to make the most out of this you might want to start with subtitles in your own language at first, then start watching with the native subtitles, and then take the subtitles off completely.

Also, I’ve heard of people learning completely from this method, but in my opinion this is probably serves better as a supplement to a more structured language course.

After reading this article on Fluentu.com I’ve started watching the Spanish version of a show called Extr@ on Youtube.  If you search for it on Google you can also find live television streams from around the world, like the one for the Mexican Travel Channel.

Visit a New Place

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You could also be really brave and go for TOTAL immersion. Simply visit a place where they speak the language you would like to learn, and go. Learn how to order food, ask for directions, and get to know the locals.

This method is definitely not easy, but many people pull this off. Many people travel through, or even move to new countries without the slightest knowledge of the language.

You can do a lot more than you may think with body language alone, but immersing yourself like this can really force you into understanding a new language in a pretty intense way.

You don’t necessarily have to leave the country to do this, though. You could also try going to a more diverse part of your own city and throwing yourself into a few conversations. If your city has a Chinatown or a section with a lot of Latino businesses, for example, maybe try taking a little mini-vacation and start practicing.

Take a Class

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You can also go the more traditional route by taking a class on the language of your choosing. If you’re currently in college or high school, you have plenty of options to learn a new language. But if you’re out of school, there are still some options.

Many colleges offer continuing education courses devoted to learning the basics of a new language. You can probably find other basic language classes offered in your community as well, if you search for them. There are also plenty of online courses to choose from.

Join a Foreign Language Club or Group

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Another great way to learn a new language, or to practice one, is to join a foreign language group in your area. If you’re in college you can look for a club focused on the language you would like to learn.

Otherwise, you can try Google and look for foreign language groups in your city. There are also many Meetup groups that meet specifically to practice language skills and are great for getting some practical experience.


So those are some of my best ideas for learning a new language or two. Of course, I think the best way of all is to do more than one of the above. Personally, I still have a lot to learn, but I’m trying to add more of these methods into my life so that the languages I’m learning will become second nature to me.

What do you think? Did I miss anything?

If so, feel free to leave me a comment down below.