Looking for Beginner Guitar Lessons?
There has never been a better time to learn guitar and take beginner guitar lessons. Up until recently, beginner guitarists only had a few choices, expensive private lessons where your every move is scrutinized or huched over a piece of photocopied sheet music.
Now, there are online guitar courses with high quality streaming video and DVD packages which can give you all of the information you need to master the instrument.
As a beginner it can be hard to judge which courses are worth your hard earned money which is why we reviewed, rated, and compared the top beginner lessons.
Beginner Guitar Lessons: Buying Guide
As a beginner, you’re at a disadvantage when choosing guitar lessons. Unless you’ve done some research beforehand you’re unlikely to know what you need in a course. The first, and easiest, thing to think about is what you want to be able to do as a guitarist. Whether you want to write your own songs, play covers or master classical fingerstyle, you need to keep your goal in mind. When you first take up the instrument, you’ll need to learn the same things as everybody else, but as you progress your course should ideally include lessons on the things you’re really interested in. Most courses at least take you to intermediate level, where you’ll be learning specific styles and techniques, so you should take it all into account when you make your choice.
The Importance of Fundamentals
The core of any beginner guitar lessons are the fundamental techniques you need to play the instrument. Most courses will have special lessons on holding the guitar, its parts, tuning it, changing the strings, how you use each hand and how to read guitar tabs. If you’ve played before, or if you’re happy to do a little online research, this won’t be necessary, but high-quality instruction is still preferable to a hastily organized web lesson. The important basic lessons that all beginners need are playing major chords, simple melodies, switching between chords, an introduction to music theory, scales and minor chords. Each of these should have some significant dedicated lesson time, because they can be very challenging at first.
The lessons are all delivered via videos. This means the quality of the videos is very important when you’re choosing a course. You can almost always find screenshots or a sample video on the official websites, and you should look at each carefully before you make a decision. Can you clearly see both of the instructor’s hands? Are there close ups? Do you get on-screen notation or diagrams so you can play along? Ideally the answer to these questions will be yes. Specific hand and finger positions are really important on the guitar, so don’t settle for sub-par video.
Chords and Scales
The real meat of the course is likely to be the information on chords and scales. Chords are used to strum through songs and scales are used to construct melodies and play solos. As a beginner, switching between chords smoothly will be extremely difficult, and coordinating your fingers to play melodies will take a lot of practice. Most courses will use a 12 bar blues to help you practice chord changes, with some including basic folk numbers like “House of the Rising Sun.” For melodies, running through scales is a big help, but you should get some simple beginner melodies to practice too.
Plan for the Future
If you’ve found a course which covers the fundamentals in sufficient detail and presents itself well, you should start to think about the future. Look at the intermediate and advanced lessons (if there are any) and see if it teaches you what you want to know. For example, if you want to play Spanish style guitar, check to see if there are any lessons on it specifically later down the line. For jamming and songwriting, there may be goal-focused lessons (songwriting workshops e.t.c.), but you really just need a good section on music theory.
Beginner Guitar Lessons: Conclusion
Out of all the beginner guitar lessons we’ve tried, the best option is Jamplay. It has HD-quality lessons shot with multiple camera angles and close ups, a comprehensive overview of the fundamentals, genre-specific lessons and ones on popular songs. It can lead you through from being an absolute novice to an advanced shredder, and it also comes with extras like a chord and scale library.