When first learning guitar, most beginners think of paying for private lessons or reading guitar books, but there are actually quite a few other options that can save you $1,000's in the long run, without sacrificing quality.
In fact, it's possible to save as much as $2,488/year compared to private guitar lessons, by taking lessons online.
I've tried dozens of beginner guitar lesson options, so I decided to sum up my research here to make your decision easier. Check out this comparison of the best ways to learn guitar for beginners:
Overall, it's clear to me that taking lessons online, with a community (NOT just watching random YouTube videos), is the best way to learn to play guitar. This is especially true for beginners looking for guitar lessons, because of how convenient and flexible it is to learn online. You can learn at any time in private, without any pressure to cram your questions into the last 5 minutes of a 30-minute session, and best of all: you can practice at your own pace.
My Favorite Online Community for Beginner Guitar Lessons
UPDATE: After reviewing dozens of options of guitar lessons for beginners, I found JamPlay.com to be the best by far. Compared to taking private lessons (2/week, 30 minutes each, which cost between $12-$28 on average), JamPlay will save you $917.59 - $2,488.60 per year! Plus, I found a coupon code that saves 25% on the 1st month:
If you're a beginner, learning guitar with an instructor can be great, but it also becomes quite expensive over time.
Plus, it's tough scheduling lessons, trying to squeeze in your questions afterward, and trying to remember what the instructor taught you. 1-on-1 attention is awesome, but many times it's too difficult to get the answers you want.
After buying, trying and reviewing everything from lesson books, to expensive DVD home study courses, to online guitar communities, I found that learning with videos can't be beat. Hitting the rewind button allows you to learn every chord, scale, technique or song at your own comfortable pace.
While videos are the best form of guitar lessons, getting feedback is crucial. Buying a couple DVD's will not make you the best guitarist you can be, even if they claim to "make you a rock star in a week", or any other nonsense.
BUT, with a community and a group of dedicated, professional guitarists to learn from, along with a steadily-growing library of 1,000's of high-quality guitar lessons and exclusive software tools, you'll get the most out of your investment.
JamPlay.com is my favorite site for guitar lessons for beginners, because they have 34 instructors, 10,000's of fellow guitarists, chord & scale libraries, and 1,000's of well-organized videos, all for less than the cost of a 1-hour lesson:
Don't forget to enter the coupon code 86C6CC to save 25% on your first month! Still not sure if JamPlay is right for you? Read on to compare the many options for learning guitar as a beginner...
Video Tour of My JamPlay Account
Curious if JamPlay is worth the dough? Why not take a quick tour through my account? Click play below to see inside:
Like what you see? Head over to JamPlay.com and start watching professionally-made video lessons.
Top 5 Mistakes Beginners Make with Guitar Lessons
In the last 12 years, I have been learning guitar and showing friends & family the basics. In that time, I've found a few critical mistakes beginners make, that can ruin the fun of learning guitar. After this much trial & error, take it from me...
Avoiding these 5 common beginner mistakes with guitar lessons will make you better a LOT faster (and save you $1,000's/year):
Wanting to learn a song right away
Barely pressing down the frets
Not focusing on the simple things first
Playing without picking the right equipment
Being afraid of sounding bad at first
There are TONS of other mistakes I made, that are also popular among beginners, but those are the universal mistakes that just about everybody makes when first trying to learn guitar. So why are these things so bad? Let's break them down...
1. Problem: Everybody wants to play a song right off the bat, because that's what they want out of playing guitar. The trouble is, that's like someone brand new to basketball trying to slam dunk. Playing a song on guitar is what you do once you have the basic skills down. In the end, this only discourages the learner, and makes things more difficult for them.
2. Problem: I can almost guarantee that anyone who first picks up a guitar won't press the strings down on the frets hard enough. This is uncomfortable for many people at first, until they build calluses on their fingers, but it's essential for getting rid of that annoying little buzz sound that ruins chords and makes beginners think they're no good at guitar.
Solution: Build your hand-eye coordination by pressing one fret and playing one string at a time (individual notes).
3. Problem: Another common thing guitarists do is get ahead of themselves. It's alright if you look at the guitar while you play at first. Yeah, it's fun to look cool while you rock out, but save that for when you know how to rock out! =)
4. Problem: This is a simple mistake, but a costly one; not playing with a comfortable guitar, strings, strap or pick. It's tough to tell what's supposed to be comfortable when you're just starting out, but a good rule of thumb is that the only thing you should force yourself to deal with is the tips of your fingers getting a little sore. Other than that, everything should be as comfortable for you as possible (even if it's different than the preference of the person teaching you).
Solution: Go to a music store and try out a few picks. Ask about and try different strings. Be comfortable and relaxed!
5. Problem: The biggest mistake you can make at first is to be afraid of sounding bad. No matter how good Jimi Hendrix, Steve Vai, or Andy McKee became at guitar, they probably sounded awful when they first picked it up. It's natural to want to sound great right when you pick up the instrument, but it's just not practical.
Solution: Adjust your mind set. Focus on the little steps, and work your way up. Constantly push forward and don't worry about how you sound until you're at a level where the only way up is playing complete songs for people.
In general, I recommend starting with individual notes, learning the strings (and how the frets & strings make notes), then working up to simple chords. Once you can play a few popular chords, try transitioning between them. As you get more comfortable with this, try strumming in different patterns, and switching to and from different chords. This will give you a strong sense of how songs are constructed, and will help you learn a LOT more songs in the end.
I hope that helps make the learning process more comfortable. Learning guitar can be a challenge in the beginning, but it's an awesome skill, and the better you get the more fun you'll have! Start taking lessons, and keep practicing.
How My Guitar Journey Began...
My name is Kyle, and I've been playing guitar since I was 11 years old. I started on a $10 Delta Acoustic guitar I bought with my allowance at a garage sale in my neighborhood. My parents weren't sure if I'd stick to learning guitar, so I didn't get any formal training as a beginner.
I just kept practicing (off and on), and eventually my Dad let me play his Gretsch electric guitar! I played that guitar in a few bands, but ended up working really hard to get a Takamine Acoustic/Electric in high school, and I can't get enough of it.
I love playing acoustic & singer/songwriter music, writing my own songs, and playing for my friends & family.
When I got back into guitar in college, I realized that taking guitar lessons would help me boost my skills, learn more songs, and improve my ability to write my own songs.
Unfortunately, I didn't have the money to invest in guitar lessons, so I tried watching YouTube videos to hone my skills. After getting distracted and watching a bunch of random people show off on their guitars, I found that everyone who takes free video guitar lessons seriously is holding their best stuff back to get you to buy it.
So, I started looking into all the guitar courses floating around out there, and slowly but surely bought a couple of them. I had already picked up a few books, and a couple DVD's over the years, but these home study courses were different...I realized that most of them were packed with guitar lessons for beginners.
One day a friend of mine was talking about how he wanted to learn to play guitar, and he asked my advice on how he should learn. That's when it hit me: I could use my web design skills to make a website reviewing the courses I found!
So, I made this website to help beginners find the best guitar lessons for them. After trying and reviewing tons of guitar lesson products, I realized that very few methods can compare to 1-on-1 attention.
That said, all of the guitarists that learn from an instructor have trouble getting their money's worth, because they only get a little bit of time to ask questions, and their lessons are so short (usually 30 minutes). It's hard to schedule lessons and fit in practice time between, not to mention complete the exercises/homework your instructor gives you, and the whole time you're spending $96-$224/month on average!
You can go at your own pace, watch (and rewind!) video lessons made by professional guitar teachers that specialize in genres ranging from country to jazz to heavy metal, and talk to other guitarists and the pros to help you through anything that doesn't come naturally to you.
I tried 3 different guitar communities (and a ton of random video sites), and the only one I recommend is JamPlay:
Value for Price:
Ease of Use:
Community: 1,000+ Videos
Best Guitar Lessons for Beginners
JamPlay was created for Beginner and Intermediate guitarists who would rather spend $20/month than $20/lesson. You can learn from 34 teachers instead of 1, and you can watch as many lessons as you want, at your own pace, in the privacy of your own home.
1,000+ video guitar lessons, organized into topics/skills
34 professional instructors, covering every popular genre
Killer chord & scale libraries
Forum with 1,000's of other guitarists to talk to
Live webcast guitar lessons (Get instant feedback like 1-on-1)
Metronome & online Guitar Tuner
In my opinion (after a ridiculous amount of research and learning guitar for over 12 years), I don't think it's possible to find a better deal than JamPlay. Especially not with this 25% OFF coupon code:
Click the link above and enter '86C6CC' to save 25% ($4.99) on your first month!
Don't forget to pop in that coupon code to save 5 bucks, and keep in mind that you can always cancel and get a refund if you don't like it!
Sound cool? Head over to JamPlay.com and try it out for yourself:
Here are some of my favorite things about JamPlay:
It's cheap! You'll save $1,000-$2,000/year compared to traditional lessons
Organization: Forget getting distracted on YouTube!
Learn any style of guitar you're into
Talk with other guitarists on the forums and by chat if you need help
Use the metronome, Tuner, and solo backing tracks as much as you want
Get feedback and answers from 34 professional teachers
Lookup chords or scales in the libraries
Learn how to play 150+ popular songs on guitar
Though it's my favorite way to learn guitar, there are some things I do NOT like about JamPlay too:
You have to pay every month to stay a member
You won't get as much 1-on-1 time as with a private teacher (The forums and chats help a lot, though!)
Information overload: Jamplay has so many lessons, so many guitar tools, and so many people to talk to, that it can all be overwhelming. They keep things organized, but it can still be tough to stay focused on one series at a time...
Curious what other members of JamPlay have to say? Here are a few comments that helped me decide to join:
Other Customer JamPlay.com Reviews
"I subscribed to JamPlay and...it's helped me quite a bit"
By "Phil Body" from March 24, 2009. Found on HomeRecording.com.
"Q: I have been playing guitar for 10+ years....I don't consider myself a great guitar player by any means, but I can get the job done....My wife wants me to give her lessons...since I am self taught, I really have no clue how to give lessons....any suggestions on where I should start?
A: You might try subscribing to one of the online guitar instruction sites, that way you can go step by step with your wife over the fundamentals without domestic friction. Besides, you'll learn a thing or two as well.
I subscribe to JamPlay and I got to say it's helped me quite a bit simply by watching several other instructor's methods. My ability to assess and take a student to the next step has really improved and since I'm dealing with classes of middle school kids with vastly different abilities and skill sets, it's a great tool."
"JamPlay.com has 6 free lessons"
By "chessmas". Found on Yahoo! Answers.
"I'm not crazy about the free sites, there not very complete, but one site has six free lessons, it's http://www.jamplay.com...what can it hurt to check it out? Well, I wish you luck."
"Here's a nice one I found today: JamPlay.com"
By "JBL" on December 18, 2008. Found on Whirlpool Forums.
"There seems to be dozens of online guitar tutorials, however some seem to make more of an impression than others. Here's a nice one I just found today: http://www.jamplay.com
Even the free samples demonstrate a lot of detail without making it too complex."
I hope this post helped you decide on guitar lessons for beginners that best fit your needs. Feel free to email me if you have any questions about this article.
There are tons of options, but if you're looking for the best value out there, my vote goes to JamPlay.com. In my opinion, it will improve your skills more than books, DVD's, or even private lessons, for far less money in the long run.
Ready to start learning guitar from home? Sign up to JamPlay to get free beginner lessons, and enter the coupon code 86C6CC to save 25% on your first month:
Here's the coupon code I found to save $4.99 on your 1st month at JamPlay.com: