Anyone wishing to learn a musical instrument is going to need some kind of tuition, there are more acoustic guitar lessons than ever available now in the form of private lessons, online lessons and although not quite as popular as they once were, books. The question is which one is right for you.
On this page, I’ll give you my opinion on the pros and cons of each and hopefully point you in the right direction.
One to One Acoustic Guitar Lessons
Most would tend to agree that one to one private lesson’s with a teacher are the best way to learn the acoustic guitar, or pretty much anything for that matter, but as with all style of learning there are good and bad points:
Benefits of Private Guitar Lessons:
- You learn at your pace. If your teacher shows or asks you to do something you don’t understand you can ask them to repeat it as many times as you want. If you’re picking it up quickly, your teacher should be moving you on at a good rate to keep your progression challenging.
- Feedback. Possibly the biggest benefit from one to one tuition is the fact that your teacher can look at you and say, no that’s wrong do it like this, or yes that’s right keep doing it like that. No matter how good an online lesson is, they can’t tell you if you’re getting it right or not.
- Learn the style you want. Blues, classical, rock, tell your teacher what you want to achieve, they will then point you in the right direction and let you know if it’s achievable.
Some Cons to Consider about Private Guitar Lessons:
- Only a good teacher is good. If you find a good teacher, then they are worth their weight in gold. Sadly there are too many teachers who are wannabe performers and are simply teaching until they get their break, they can wow you with their licks and riffs but are no good at teaching others to do the same thing, an intermediate level student may recognize this quite quickly, a learner may take months before they realize they’ve wasted a lot of time and money.
- Cost. One to one tuition is generally the most expensive way to learn, one way to bring the cost down is group lessons, but this still won’t come cheap, and by nature of the fact that you’re in a group, you won’t get the same benefit as one to one. Master classes are one-off group lessons usually by someone reasonably reputable, and you can pick up some good tips, but generally aren’t a good place to get feedback as you are one of many attendees competing for the attention of the instructor.
- You don’t learn the styles you want. I wrote on this in the pros list as “learn the style you want,” confused? What I mean by stating this as a pro and a con comes down to communication between you and the teacher. Lesson one or even better over the phone when discussing your first lesson, you must clearly state what you want to get from them, what style you want to play, etc. Otherwise, they will teach you to play what they like to play. Which brings me on to my final point.
- You can’t find the right teacher. If you want to be the next Paco De Lucia, you may not be able to find a Flamenco teacher in your area which essentially removes this as a viable option
Online Acoustic Guitar Lessons
Google Online Guitar Lessons and you will get eleven teen trillion results, OK perhaps that’s an exaggeration but only slightly, but you will most definitely not be short of options. They tend to fall into two categories, paid for and free. The following takes both into consideration:
You may read our another great article about Top 11 Best Online Guitar Lessons Sites in 2018 by clicking here.
The Benefits of Online Guitar Lessons:
- Low cost, and often free. An annual subscription to online lessons will most probably be cheaper than 1 month of one to one lessons. Some only require one-off fees, and some are completely free.
- Some sites offer a money back guarantee.
- Ever improving production quality. Some courses are now presented in staggering clarity and clearly, studio produced, with cameras at various angles, tablature, and diagrams all on the screen to assist with learning.
- Pretty much every genre is catered for. Unless you want to learn Mongolian mountain guitar, you’ll probably be able to find a course online, some of the bigger sites cover most genres, so you don’t have to sign up to a number of sites.
- Portable and flexible. You can learn where and when you want to.
Some Cons to Consider about Online Guitar Lessons:
- Not many sites offer feedback. As stated earlier having someone look at your technique and tell you what you are doing right and where you are going wrong is invaluable.
- Free sites aren’t always as good as they look. Google Free Guitar Lessons and you’ll probably get several million results however the vast majority are a waste of time as you only get a couple of free lessons before the big upsell (when they ask for money for the full course.) Some free sites just relentlessly throw adverts at you, and some have very poor production quality. That said there are a couple of the upsell courses that do at least offer a reasonable amount of free content before they want money. One site that offers about 90% free content is justinguitar.com. I’d recommend this site to anyone, and there is so much well put together free content by a man who knows his stuff and knows how to teach.
- Lack of structured progression. Some online courses can be a collection of random lessons which you can put together yourself and learn what you want when you want. This isn’t really a good thing for a student in my opinion, as what you think you need to learn next isn’t always what you need to learn next. Although this doesn’t apply to all online courses as some have a very clearly laid out course progression.
The Guitar Lesson Books
To a degree, they’ve fallen by the wayside in recent years, but they are still a preferred learning method by some. It was the way I learned, I have a small library of teaching yourself books and tab books in my living room, and I still refer to them regularly.
- Cheap. Apart from free internet material probably the cheapest way to learn.
- Learn when and where you want. You don’t even need a wifi signal for a book.
- There’s just something about a book. If I want to learn a piece of tablature, I’ll always print it off, maybe it’s a generational thing maybe it’s just me, but I prefer to read from a page than a screen.
- A good way to learn theory where the visuals aren’t as important.
- Still, pictures cannot replace moving pictures. No matter how detailed or well written a book is it will never be a substitute for a well-produced video, of course, the lack of audio is equally important, although some do come with CD’s, which means you’ll need a CD player.
- No feedback.
For the best acoustic guitar lessons find a GOOD teacher and have one to one tuition if you can afford it if you can’t get a good teacher go online.
Online lessons won’t give you feedback but are cost effective, and you’ll find lessons in whatever you want, (and who knows maybe even Mongolian mountain guitar one day).
Free online lessons generally are too good to be true. Although there are some good sites out there.
Books have their place for things like theory and written music but are the third choice of the three options.
As I stated at the beginning, this is my opinion, and I’d like to hear your thoughts on the subject or any questions you might have, please feel free to leave them at the bottom of the page.
I hope this has been of some help and leaves you more certain about the path you wish to take. I will be writing in more detail about online courses soon if that is of interest to you, or if you’re a beginner/intermediate looking for a new guitar, you might like to read my reviews of some the best acoustic guitars in the market today by your budget.
- Top 5 Best Acoustic Guitars Under $100 - Reviews & Buyer's Guide
- Most Popular Acoustic Guitars under $200 - Reviews & Buyer's Guide
- 5 Best Expensive Acoustic Guitar under $2000 - Reviews & Buyer's Guide
Many Thanks 🙂