How To Learn Guitar: How To Learn To Play The Guitar In 4 Different Ways

Learning to play the guitar can be a daunting task. Thankfully, there are several different ways you can master the “axe”. Which way is best for you? Here are the major learning methods available:

Traditional Lessons

This is how a lot of people learn to play the guitar, and for good reason. There are many benefits to getting personal lessons:

  • + You get hands-on advice, and corrections on every detail as you learn
  • + If you have any specific questions, your teacher can help you out immediately
  • + Your lessons are customized to your learning curve

However, there are a few minuses to learning from personal lessons:

  • – This is the most expensive way – each lesson costs on average $20 or more per lesson, and at one lesson per week this can add up fast
  • – Lessons have to be scheduled, so this is a commitment with both time and money

Personal lessons are still considered to often be the best way to learn, since each lesson is personally customized to each student.

Instructional Books/Videos

Books and videos can be an effective tool for learning. The perks?

  • + These can be specific to certain types of guitar styles, or even specific techniques
  • + This is one of the cheapest ways to learn, with books and videos anywhere from $5 and up

What are the downsides to these methods of learning?

  • – Again, these can be specific to certain styles or techniques, which means learning the guitar fully will usually require multiple purchases
  • – Any questions you may have are not able to be answered by books or videos

Books and videos can be very effective to learn from, but they are fine-tuned to learning specific guitar skills or geared towards a very limited experience range.

Learning Online

The Internet is a huge wealth of knowledge, and can often contain good information:

  • + Some of the information is free, although it can be hard to find
  • + The Internet is international, so if there are no books, videos, or instructors available in your part of the world, you can still learn if you can get online
  • + There are some online guitar lesson packages that offer full instruction for a decent price – in some cases these can include written lessons, computer programs, video and audio files, or even all of these combined

So what’s bad about learning online?

  • – Similarly to books and videos, a lot of the free lessons are specific to people of a certain experience level, so finding lessons best for you can be a chore
  • – Spending money on a product that doesn’t work to help you learn can be a major disappointment – do your research before purchasing

Learning guitar online can be a good way to learn. The catch is finding quality instruction from the huge mass of information available about learning to play guitar.

Play By Ear

This last method is the cheapest by far, but also the hardest. The perks?

  • + It’s free!
  • + Making your own mistakes and correcting them can often lead to learning more effectively, even if you don’t learn exactly how other people have (just look at Jimi Hendrix)
  • + This will definitely lead to having your own personal style of playing, and possibly unique skills other people don’t have

But it’s not all perfect:

  • – It’s the hardest way to learn since you have nothing to help guide you along the way except yourself, and it is also the method that takes the longest by far
  • – Learning something wrong and not being corrected right away can be VERY hard to un-learn, and can sometimes cause damage to the guitar or even yourself
  • – Many tips and tricks that would help you learn effectively will be missed

Even though it’s hard, a lot of people do start learning guitar this way. It can be done, but just be cautious about making mistakes.


The method you use to learn guitar is ultimately up to you. Figure out which method works best for you and what you can afford. Anybody can learn guitar, it just takes time, effort, and some determination.