The instructional materials most commonly used consist of learning how to play popular songs on the guitar as well as focusing more on the music theory side of things. This is conveyed by musical notation as well as through guitar tabs for those who do not read music. Paid lessons versus free guitar lessons can be very similar in that each approach to learning will use the same basic knowledge just in different formats. These days the various instructional materials found online can include guitar lesson videos, tablature, sheet music, audio files and all sorts of chord and scale diagrams.
Common Guitar Lesson Prices
So which is the best way to learn? You might consider taking lessons from a local instructor, if you can afford to do so, and also using as many good online sources for guitar lessons that you can find. We understand that the price of guitar lessons can add up over the month since most students will take a half hour lesson each week. While prices definitely vary widely based upon various things like location and notoriety of the instructor, the prices will loosely range from between $10 to $15 per half hour in most areas. It all depends on what is being taught by the instructor as to how the student will most likely develop their skills as a guitarist. Many beginners will start learning how to play songs which the instructor feels comfortable playing. And there are loads of online guitar tabs available as well so by combining using a guitar instructor and using the resources available online you will be able to gain an excellent and diverse level of instruction.
There are notable similarities in the different ways you can use any source of lessons. Learning well known songs on the guitar for instance brings several skills to the forefront overtime. These include things like single string picking, chord formation and strumming as well as various specialized techniques for lead and rhythm playing. Knowing how to use each of these will lead to the ability to play all of the parts and sections of the song as opposed to just one area of it. This well rounded approach will obviously take more time and effort to learn because there is simply so much more information involved. Yet the time put into actually learning this will be worth it in the long run because the guitarist will not be limited to only being able to play just one part of the song.
How long does Learning the Guitar Take?
As far as how long it takes to accomplish all of this, it will depend on the amount of time that you as the student spends practicing your guitar. Depending on how advanced your current playing skills are this could be hours, days, weeks or more. This is the way that most students learn in the beginning. One thing to keep in mind is that they will have more of an inclination to continue with their efforts if the songs that they are learning are ones that the student actually likes and has a desire to learn how to play.
A lot of teachers will teach the student any song that they bring in to learn. The way that this works is that the student brings in a CD which has a song on it that they want to be able to play. The guitar teacher will then play the section (often the beginning of the song), several times so that they can figure out the notes and chords. Once the teacher has learned how to play the song by ear, they will stop and show their student how to play what they just learned. This is a good system to a point because it will let the pupil learn something that interests them. The reality is that it can be extremely boring to have to learn nothing but scales or sit and practice basic guitar chords over and over again. However this is necessary until it is learned because that is what songs and music are based upon. And if you know a lot of it, then you too can learn to play songs by ear eventually.
Putting Your Skills to Use
I like to point out that to be able to write songs on the guitar really only requires learning a few chords. This sounds like great news right? Well it is true and although it is rather limiting, it will serve as all that is necessary to write songs. Many of the most well loved pop music songs are based upon only three chords. There is no need to be a scholarly music theorist who knows hundreds of chords and chard variations. All you really need is three.
Depending on what you want to do with your guitar playing skills this might be all the learning that you will ever need to do, although like I mentioned it is quite limiting. Once you have the basics learned, such as the three main chords in a key I, IV, V for instance then as you practice them you are actually building up the physical ability in your fingers and your brain that will allow you to eventually be able to play them fluidly and effortlessly. After accomplishing this you might find that starting to learning some basic guitar scales for beginners will be the next logical step. So whether you use paid or free guitar lessons, you will most likely learn from songs. You may only need to learn some basic chords and take it from there, yet you will at least be growing your abilities to play the guitar and hopefully enjoying it as you go.