Guitar Lesson FAQ
Over the years of playing guitar and running my own web class, I've gotten a lot of "frequently asked questions". Many of the most popular questions had to do with finding the best methods for learning how to play guitar, which is exactly why I made this website, so I figured I'd put them all together on this page for your benefit. I hope it helps!
What is the average cost of guitar lessons?
Though I never took private lesson myself, the lead guitarist in my band did, and he paid $18 for 30-minute sessions. That said, I've heard of people paying as little as $12, and as high as $32!
In general, you can expect to pay $15-$20/session ($30-$40/hour), 2x each week. This means it's common to pay about $150/month ($1,800 every year!)for only 2 lessons/week. This is the reason I did not take guitar lessons when I started out, but I quickly found that there are advantages & disadvantages to learning both ways...
Is it better to have a private instructor, or learn on my own?
This differs with each guitarist, but in general it helps. Biggest reason? One-on-one attention. The problem is many people get caught up in trying to ask a bunch of questions (I did take lessons from my best friend for a while), and it wastes all the time for the session. This is what I found in my Alto Sax lessons, too, and it was not productive.
While many people benefit from having an instructor, there are excellent guitar courses available that allow you to learn step-by-step from home, and even ask questions to instructors online, for a fraction of the cost. If this is appealing to you, see my reviews of Learn & Master Guitar and Guitar Tricks.
How long should I expect to wait before I can play for my friends?
This can vary wildly, but in general I'd go with about a year. If you have a lot of time to devote to practicing, or you invest in lessons or a solid course, I'd say even 6 months would be enough to feel confident in front of people.
What's the best way to get started (I'm a complete beginner)?
I decided to learn with a little help from my friend and through guitar tabs. I highly recommend you do NOt do this!
The key to learning any instrument is to lay a solid foundation, then build upon it over time. If you constantly try to learn specific songs, you'll only pick up on certain elements of songs you learn to play, and you'll have to go back and fill in the gaps later on, like I did. Invest some time & money into a course like Learn and Master Guitar to develop the fundamentals, improve your playing, then move onto playing tons of songs and writing your own stuff.
What are the advantages of formal guitar training?
I never had formal training, but when I started trying to branch out to harder songs, and even write my own songs, that I was missing some crucial fundamentals.
I would venture to say that the biggest advantage of formal guitar training is understanding the simple stuff. Literally, being able to grasp the concept behind the key you're playing in means you can rip an insane solo in just about any song. Being able to play a wide variety of chords means you can write in a diverse and unique manner. Get the basics from training, then practice and push yourself to do more and develop your own style. It's the formula for success.
Should I try to sing while I play songs, even if I'm a beginner?
I know, I know...it's tempting, but don't even think about it. Just work on being able to play the songs first, then the singing will come more naturally later on.
What's the best order to learn guitar in (chords, scales, etc.)?
In my opinion, the quickest way to look like you know what's up is to learn the most popular chords (G, C & D).
Once you've learned some chords, it's vital that you work on keys and their scales. From there, decide what your goals are (rhythm & singing, lead, etc.) and base the amount of effort you put into each area on that. Or, if you don't want to mess around with all that, get a course that walks you through it all in a step-by-step fashion.
Are you pumped up yet? Read my reviews of the top guitar lesson products now:
- JamPlay - Review of my #1 pick for guitar lessons (and a 25% OFF coupon code!)
- Learn and Master Guitar - The facts about the most popular guitar DVD course
- Guitar Tricks - In-depth review of another cool guitar community
- Jamorama - The real deal about this infamous digital guitar course
If you're even half-way serious about learning guitar, I would highly recommend investing a little bit of cash and some time into one of the courses above. I tried tons of stuff, and those are the only products I recommend...