Learning Guitar Online

Learning Guitar online can be overwhelming. With so many sites and systems, what should you consider when it comes to selecting a website to study lessons from?

Guitar players today are absurdly lucky. Not only can you find great quality guitars cheaper than ever before, but you can find a wealth of resources on the web - both free and paid - to assist you with learning to play the guitar.

The flip-side of online instruction is that there’s almost too much choice when it comes to selecting guitar lessons on the web. To add to the frustration, the quality varies so much. Almost anyone with a guitar, a cheap webcam, and a YouTube account can throw up a lesson... however, that doesn’t mean that they have good material, or even more important, that they’re well-educated and properly qualified guitar instructors!

So, how can you make the best choice when it comes to online guitar instruction? Having taught guitar now for 25 years, and having been involved within the realm of online guitar instruction since 2008, I've gone to work for you below and organized a short-list of what you'll need to consider when it comes to online instruction.

Why learn guitar online?
To put it into perspective, a one hour private lesson with a guitar teacher is anywhere from $25-50 per week, (as much as $200 - or more - per month). For around $19/month, online lessons will allow you to unlimited access to a teachers entire organized catalogue of material. That means what you'd pay for a month at a local studio would net you a years worth of instruction online.

This is all considering that you would sign-up to a quality lessons web-site, with material that is expertly designed by a professional player (with top-credentials). And, that the course is laid out in a very well organized manner.

Plus, many online teachers will offer followup Skype sessions. This is an extremely valuable resource. Those one-on-one Skype classes can be incredible if taken only a few times per year. They'll help the student to help clear up questions about the course and their personal technique.

Free or paid? 
Learning the guitar is a tricky beast. It’s all too common for guitar players to get stuck, hit plateaus, get too comfortable with easy material or lose motivation. From personal experience, the best way to improve is to seek out a structured, well planned resource of online guitar lessons. And, unfortunately free does not generally offer much value. You get what you pay for, (as the old saying goes).

Novice guitarists have a tendency to seek out the free resources first. That's understandable. And, while there are a wealth of free lessons on YouTube, they unfortunately lack a proper learning structure to them.

If you spend time reading some guitar discussion forums, often those beginner guitarists wished they had shelled out the $19 per month for a structured, step-by-step online program taught by a reputable instructor.

Many commenters also felt that getting a few Skype lessons from a top YouTube teacher, or from a qualified instructor of a popular school, went a long, long way to helping them progress with the instrument.

The free YouTube lessons (depending upon the instructor) generally answered a few basic questions for players, but free lessons often confused players a lot more than it helped them. Signing up to a high-quality online course can make a big different in a students success.

Electric or acoustic - does it matter online?
Beginner students (online or in person) will often ask if they should start out learning on an acoustic or electric guitar.

The answer is both “it depends”, and “it doesn’t really matter!” Research any of the worlds most famous guitarists and their first guitars - there’s not really much of a pattern to how they started. Some began on electric, some on acoustic. All in all, most of them were learning on something slightly different.There's no pattern.

One school of thought argues that learning on acoustic guitar is better because it’s harder - pressing down on the strings takes more strength, barre chords are more difficult, and there is no amp/effect/distortion to cover for your mistakes or sloppy playing. They also argue that moving from acoustic to electric is easier than going in the reverse.

The bottom line is whether you're learning online or with a private teacher, it doesn't really matter what type of guitar you start out on.

Instructors and Curriculum
A professional instructor (be sure to check the instructors credentials on all lesson websites you consider), will guide you in the correct direction with a structured approach that helps you through the fundamentals and then on to more intermediate concepts.

If you’re just starting out, using a structured system would be your best choice. You’ll be well on your way to playing chords and basic single-note melody lines within the first year by using a well structured guitar lessons website.

A majority of guitar lesson websites are focused on the beginner to intermediate student. If you’re already at that point, there are very few online guitar lesson platforms that will have more options for you.

NOTE: Creative Guitar Studio has an advanced guitar course online.

Teaching advanced material is complex, if the instructor is unqualified or under-educated, then the amount of advanced material on their site will be extremely limited. When seeking a lesson website, be sure that the site not only contains a solid beginner and intermediate approach, but also allows the student to progress onward to more advanced material.

In Conclusion
A majority of the guitar lesson websites online focus upon beginners. Only a few sites progress up to the level of intermediate guitar player. While all of this emphasis toward players who are just starting out may be good for those early learners, the overwhelming lean toward beginner material does not offer a progressive lesson structure.

If you are a total beginner, or have trouble self-organizing, learning guitar will require a step-by-step curriculum. Many of the lesson websites lack this type of guitar curriculum.

Another concern with many of the lesson web-sites is the lack of variety in the way of teaching important areas like genre, technique and style specific lessons.

A majority of the online lessons focus on blues and basic rock with the topic of music theory barely given the time of day. None of the sites I researched offered any type of Music Reading curriculum.

Review the lesson sites online that you would like to join and make sure that the websites offer a well organized "step-by-step" curriculum. Also, check to find out if you can take a follow-up Skype session throughout the year to ask about any questions about details.

Some parts of the websites online course may confuse you. Even the best course material can still create confusion with a guitar student, those Skype sessions throughout the year will go a long way to clear up confusion, or your unanswered questions.



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