People tell me that they assumed I’ve always played guitar (since a kid but I haven’t). Or folks will mention to me that they (or their children) have a guitar but it’s collecting dust. It was too hard they say or they just didn’t have the time to take any lessons.
This is what I say to all of them:
Do you (or your child) want to play the guitar? You can! You only need a few minutes a day. Obviously the more you put into it the more you get out of it but you CAN learn to play! Even as an adult, you can also learn how to play (as I did)! You don’t NEED a teacher … but it may help (especially in the beginning). But these free resources I will share below I have used (and still use or reference at times) and would highly recommend to anyone who wants to learn. As for me, I did end up getting a teacher (online) when I first started (because the YouTube videos just wasn’t cutting it) but I’m telling you once you get the basics down you can jam from there. Once you hear yourself strumming what sounds like a REAL SONG and you hear a compliment from a critic (aka family members lol) then you KNOW there is potential. It is a great feeling to be able to play. When people see you whip out your guitar, the winds blow a gentle breeze and strangers stop to listen. True story! Okay okay, maybe you’re not there yet (nor myself since that only happened one time) but seriously, you CAN DO IT!
If you really want to learn how to play, here are some resources you can use RIGHT NOW (if you are reading this post, this says that you have internet access and some kind of interest for yourself or someone you know). My first guitar lesson was just in February 2016 (as of the writing of this post less than 3 years ago) but here I am now documenting to you which resources I used and would recommend to anyone who wants to learn. (For you skeptics out there, I did play the recorder and then the clarinet waaaay back in the day- until 9th grade of HS- so I guess I do have some sort of musical background. Back then I didn’t think of playing the guitar though- I’m telling you this is a new thing that came on only a couple of years ago! More later on that once I finish my “guitar history” post.)
You might be thinking, wait a minute- so you say you haven’t even played guitar that long? What do you know?? I’m telling you check back and you will see what can be done when you allow the Lord to work and you do the work! (Okay, confession, I didn’t do THAT much work. I could have practiced waay more than I did. But, I did what I could while juggling life and yet God was able to use what little I had and multiplied it in so many different ways. LET ME TELL YOU. (Somebody testify to this!! Anyone? Anyone?) Check back here to read about my history with guitar and worship leading if you want to read for yourself.
Okay well let’s get to it, what do you recommend then? I want to learn how to play today!! Well, whoah nelly! Slow your roll a little bit now but I DO LOVE your enthusiasm! Let’s keep on reading!
Highly recommended free / low cost beginner acoustic guitar resources
(in no particular order):
P.S. There are a lot of resources out there that I have not used or have used but it didn’t fit what I was looking for. So, this post is about sharing what I am using and/or have used that I would recommend to anyone who asks me about playing guitar. Thanks!
- Yousician. It is for guitar, bass, piano and / or ukulele. You can use the free version or pay for the full version on apple or android or your computer. It looks kinda like a game except the microphone from your device picks up and listens to what you play. I recommend just using the free version until you are consistent with practicing with it and using it regularly first. I have never purchased the full version; I only use the free version as I use the tuner on it to mainly show students how to TUNE THEIR GUITAR before they practice (and maybe look around to encourage them to practice as well). ALWAYS tune your guitar before you practice so your ears will get used to what being “in-tune” (the correct sound) sounds like!
- Worship Tutorials. Find a worship tutorial for the song of your choice (with the chords and chord diagram (finger placement chart) on the screen) and then play along with their recording of the song (chord diagrams are on the screen) to practice. These resources are free and provided for the purpose of equipping the church. I continue to use this resource because Brian Wahl is continuing to expanding his ministry to include other worship leaders providing feedback, tips and tools for anyone who leads worship or are interested in leadership and worship (aka right up my alley!). There is a free lesson series for acoustic guitar for beginners available as well if you register through email for access here: https://www.worshiptutorials.com/course/learn-how-to-play-guitar-beginner-course/ . Sign up for this today!
- Worship Artistry. Available for guitar, drum, bass or keyboard (you get access to everything – all instruments- when you sign up). There is a cost for this but when you sign up for an account you get access to 101 free lessons and access to 3 songs of your choice to help you decide to upgrade if it fits for you. What I love about Worship Artistry is the automatic looping feature for the chord changes and strumming patterns (for me, learning how to get the strumming patterns down was very hard so this was SUPER helpful my first year). I also appreciated the detailed explanations of how to try and do the different techniques I was trying to pull off that added to the songs that I was learning how to play. Also, there are tips provided (under extras) for how to sound more interesting when you are playing solo (the only instrument) for each song. You can print the music and if you have a team, you can all have access at a much lower cost (as low as $3/user) verses $8/month or $85 yr for an individual paid account. Register for free now and try out a song of your choice to see what it’s like!
- Musicademy. Available for everything you can think of regarding leading worship…all instruments, voice, technical (sound tech) skills, ear training, band leading… you name it – it is probably there. It is a great resource that I would highly recommend (I’ve purchased some acoustic guitar resources). However, let me say that they are based out of the United Kingdom so they have a slight accent. Also, their website has a whole lot of information on there and it may be hard to find exactly what you need (at least for me it was back then at first). However, their customer service and their community responds quickly via Facebook and are very helpful. They offer free lessons, DVD’s for purchase or a subscription service which provides you access to all of their content at a monthly rate. Maybe you can sign up and access the free items and post your questions in the social communities first before buying anything.
Keep in mind that it’s not about what you BUY that will make you a great guitarist (or a great anything, really). It’s about consistency. These above listed resources all have free content and help in their own unique ways. You don’t need to spend any more money than having access to a working (and in-tune) guitar.
I would also purchase these things as well:
- a variety pack of picks (so you can see which one you prefer best)
- a guitar stand so you can keep it out (not locked in your case) to make it easier to see it and play it! (‘Out of sight, out of mind’ so be intentional and put it in your sight! Make practicing EASY for you to do, not a burden!)
- a capo (mine cost me $14 I think; it’s not expensive) Why do you need a capo? You don’t NEED one but if you want to play along using all of the tutorials provided for you online, you will need one in order to match the sounds on screen. If you try to play along without it (and they are using one) – it will not sound pretty. Yikes! 🙂 You can play without a capo though. This is for later once you have a few basic chords under your belt; it is not necessary right as you start learning how to play.
Finally, I will close by saying that it IS hard to learn how to play the guitar, just like it is hard to do anything that is new to you. I remember my daughter being frustrated at tying her shoes because she couldn’t do it and then she couldn’t do it just right like how she wanted it. But now, she sure can tie her shoes like it’s nobody’s business! I guess all of that work (every day tying her shoe) and the determination of learning how to do it herself helped her to get to where that lesson is long forgotten by her. It will be the same with guitar too. Try me and see!
Let me know your thoughts and tell me what you think if you try out these new resources! I hope they are as useful to you as they were (and are) for me today.
Check back to read my history with guitar and worship leading.
Read other blogs on guitar here https://sejanashines.com/category/guitar/.
Oh and I should add that I am interested in helping you on your journey too, if I am able! Click here for more on that.