Do Free Online Guitar Lessons Work?

Whether you are a beginner guitar enthusiast or someone with a little musical know how guitar lessons are key to perfecting your craft. Busier schedules and longer working hours present difficulty in making time to meet with a private guitar teacher.

Between work, family, friends and school fitting in time for practicing a new skill has become more of a challenge. Online courses for education have become increasingly popular over the last decade for this very reason, and for an aspiring guitar player this might be the only way to squeeze in time to learn.

Free Online Guitar Lessons

The internet offers a wealth of online guitar tutorials, a great deal of which are free. Are the free online guitar lessons just as good as lessons you would pay for? That may be a matter of personal opinion but the old adage “you get what you pay for” speaks volumes about free online guitar lessons.

The average free online guitar lesson begins with the instructor teaching you how to hold a guitar. Next they explain the strings and the frets, very quickly. Then they will typically dive right in to showing you how to strum a few chords. So far so good, but most of them will not teach you a thing about musical theory, notes, chords and other concepts that you should know.

These lessons are fine if you want to learn enough guitar to memorize a few songs to play for a family gathering, but you will probably never jam along with a song on the radio at will if this is how you were taught.

These courses teach guitar like a parrot is “taught” to speak. Parrots learn to talk by mimicking human voice. Parrots do not understand what they are saying when they talk, they simply copy the sounds that they hear. This is not how you want to learn to play guitar.

Play as You Practice

Let there be no confusion, I am not saying free online guitar lessons are no good. I have come across several free guitar lessons that were very informative from well meaning musicians trying to help out their fellow man. My problem with these courses is that they start out teaching you a few basics and jump right into playing.

It is true that guitar is not a spectators sport so it is good to promote playing while learning, but they skipped some elementary steps and dove in a little too quickly for your average beginner. For someone with any prior guitar knowledge this would be no problem at all, but for an absolute beginner, this can be very confusing, frustrating and damaging to your guitar playing ability.

How Do You Learn?

So how do you find a solid free online guitar lesson that will help you achieve your guitar goals? Do your research. Watch several free online videos to get a feel for the teachers, their methods, their curriculum and your ability to follow what they are saying. We all learn differently and prefer certain teaching styles. Some people learn better visually, seeing what they are learning helps solidify the information in their brain. Others are perfectly content to read a book and let their mind fill in the blanks.

For the guitar in particular, learning visually is a requirement. Concepts that would take you less than five minutes to learn with a visual example would require a teacher to write a whole book on the subject. In this aspect, free online guitar lessons are all good in the sense that they all provide video.

Do Free Online Guitar Lessons Work?

In all honesty, my best advice is to take free courses with a grain of salt. There is a great deal of guitar instruction in most of these lessons, but they usually jump around a bit skipping over key details. This can be confusing and frustrating for the absolute beginner.

The worlds greatest musician may not be the worlds greatest teacher. I would suggest eventually finding an instructor or course that you have to pay for, and using the free lessons as practice or review of what you have learned. This is a great way to track your progress.

Try TABS Guitar

You do not necessarily have to be a whiz with music notation and theory to play the guitar. There are other methods such as TABs guitar. TABs will get you playing the guitar rather quickly, but for the beginner that would like to be considered an advanced player eventually, even a small amount of education on standard music notation and musical theory makes a world of difference. This more well rounded approach to playing guitar is better suited to playing and writing your own music.

If you learn to play guitar with an inexperienced guitar teacher who does not have a good grasp of teaching the guitar you will be fighting an uphill struggle that most novice guitar players lose. You will most likely end up feeling like you are doing something wrong when in all actuality your lessons were poorly constructed and less than user friendly.

Learning to play guitar may not be rocket science, but it is a new skill that requires lots of practice and lots of patience. You will encounter enough frustrations learning from a great teacher, do not set yourself up for added difficulty. The lack of lesson structure and choppy content could be the breaking point from you becoming a great guitar player, or quitting from sheer aggravation.