With the invention of the internet, learning the guitar is much easier and cheaper than it used to be. Before everyone had computers in their homes, we did things the hard way by playing along to records or tapes. When I was a child, my parents hired a guitar teacher and I went for classes every week, too. Having a qualified guitar teacher is preferable to everything, but if you don't live near one, there are other learning opportunities available to you. Online there are a variety of options for those who love to play the guitar.
Lessons - www.theguitarsuite.com
On this site, you can actually take free lessons from beginning to advanced. You can even tune your guitar along to the supplied tones. It is a very useful site for anyone who loves guitar and wants to improve their skills. You can hear what chords sound like, which is helpful, too. Elsewhare on the internet there are places that charge you to do the same things with downloads of their programs, but this site eliminates most of that. This is a great site for the do-it-yourselfer who wants to learn at their own pace.
Learning music theory - www.about.com
Here you can learn a host of different lessons in music theory, from those in the know. This site is a compilation of different peoples’ knowledge, and knowledge for all levels of learning to play the guitar. Use the search feature to narrow down what exactly you want to learn and chances are, this site will have articles about it.
Guitar Tablature - www.powertabs.net
First, download the Powertab editor, a free program that allows you to listen to songs and learn them at the same time. The program has a metronome, to keep the beat as you play, which can be turned on or off, among other useful features. You can even write your own music here. You can also download tablature for songs you like, and learn them at your own pace. There are user-compiled versions of popular songs, for all levels of learning. This is an excellent site, with a variety of styles of songs from classical to rock.
There are other tablature sites for those who just want to learn their favorite songs without using software. One I like is called Tab World, but there are many others. Do a search on the internet for these sites and bookmark those that are most useful to you. This also goes for song lyrics, guitar riffs and pentatonic scales. There is a lot to learn on the internet, for free, for guitar players. Check to see which sites are your favorites then practise to your heart's content. I've been playing the guitar off and on for 30 years and am thrilled to see how much easier it is to learn, now that online instruction exists. Rock on, and have fun, that's what guitar playing is all about.
Carolyn McFann is a scientific and nature illustrator, who owns Two Purring Cats Design Studio, which can be seen at: http://www.cafepress.com/twopurringcats . Educated at the Rochester Institute of Technology in New York, Carolyn is a seasoned, well-traveled artist, writer and photographer. Besides handling numerous assignments in the US, she has lived and worked in Cancun, Mexico. Clients include nature parks, museums, scientists, corporations and private owners. She has been the subject of tv interviews, articles for newspapers and other popular media venues.