6 Tips for Learning to Play Guitar on the Cheap

Courtesy of Trent Hamm... 

Learning to play guitar as an adult can seem like an expensive proposition. There's the cost of the instrument, books and the hiring a guitar teacher – it can add up quickly...

However, there are many strategies you can use to cut down on those expenses. You can take advantage of an inexpensive instrument, use free instructional materials and even find opportunities for free or low-cost instruction. Here's how to achieve all of those things.

Tip #1). Pick an inexpensive and widely used instrument. It will be far less expensive to find a mid-grade guitar, for example find a brand-name budget electric such as; an Epiphone, LTD or Squire Strat, than to find a more famous brand-name like a USA Gibson LesPaul, Custom Shop ESP, or USA Fender Stratocaster. save the big-dollar purchase for a few years down the road when you've earned it through study and practice.

If you stick to instruments that aren't overly complex and frequently show up in popular used shops and on second-hand websites, you'll have an easier time finding an inexpensive instrument to get started with.

Tip #2). Watch Craigslist, buy and sell, or Kijiji for bargains on a used instrument. Once you've decided on your instrument, start hunting Craigslist and other local bargain websites for that instrument. As suggested earlier, you'll have a much easier time with this if you pick an inexpensive and widely used guitar to learn on. You'll have an easy time finding a basic starter guitar, as those instruments are often listed on Craigslist and other bargain websites by people upgrading to more expensive models.

Another great place to look for instruments is a local shop selling secondhand items. Those stores may have a few musical instruments on hand at a reasonable price that are perfect for learning.

Tip #3). Look for video lessons on YouTube. Many great musical instructors such as Andrew Wasson of Creative Guitar Studio have put introductory lessons – and some, pretty advanced lessons, too. YouTube is an excellent place to learn guitar from seasoned professionals. In fact, I'd say that YouTube can be a veritable treasure trove of music teachers and music lessons for all levels.

This is a great opportunity to watch a lot of videos and figure out which ones really click with you. Different people tend to learn things better from different styles. For example, some learn well from rote memorization, while others learn better from experimentation. Try YouTube teachers like Wasson and down the road sign up for online courses. These online instructional video courses for guitar are a fraction of what it would cost to take lessons in person. And, courses like the Creative Guitar Studio program are excellent for beginners to advanced students.

Tip #4). Check the community calendar and the calendar at any local music shops. Many communities and local music stores will run "learn to play days," where they will provide free introductory lessons on various musical instruments.

They may even offer some information packets and other resources to continue following up on your own. These can be invaluable places to get started.

Music stores sometimes also run free or inexpensive group classes, where groups of people show up for lessons on an instrument all at once. These are often available at a fraction of the cost of a one-on-one lesson and provide a good temporary start for any self-learners.

Tip #5). Trade your own skills in exchange for lessons. Many music teachers will happily swap lessons in exchange for a service that they would otherwise pay for. For example, if you have skill in home repair or carpentry, you may be able to trade your skills to that person in exchange for a set of music lessons.

Perhaps the local music teacher needs a website or a social media presence that you could manage for them in exchange for lessons.

Talk to a few local teachers about this, particularly if you have unique professional skills to market. Find out if there's a mutually beneficial arrangement that you could both find value in.Whether it's home repair or wholesale prices on products, teachers may want to trade with you for their services.

Tip #6). Hit every used bookstore and summer garage-sale in your area for guitar lesson books and old guitar player magazines. Used bookstores often have a big pile of music instruction books and out of print magazines on most common instruments, usually for sale for just a dollar or two.

There are many great books out there that are useful for learning an instrument. You don't need a brand new book to learn how to use an instrument like the guitar that's been available for hundreds of years.

Since these books are so inexpensive at second-hand shops and garage-sales, you can pick up several introductory titles and see which ones work best for you. One good option is the Alfred's series of books.

Whatever route you choose, keep one thing in your heart: This is supposed to be fun. It doesn't matter how well you're doing at learning guitar, as long as you're enjoying yourself.Overtime your skills will continue to improve.

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