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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


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


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 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!