How hard is it to play a guitar?

The guitar can be quite easy to play if you are only looking to play a few chords and sing a song or two. If you wish to play like Segovia, Satriani, or Grapelli, the level of difficulty begins to escalate. In either event, it is important to start playing and continuing to play and practice every day. Only in beginning can one hope to achieve.

Should I start right away on an electric guitar?

Certainly you could start on an electric guitar, but keep in mind an electric guitar will only amplify what you know and most beginners do not know much. Proper technique and habits are easier to establish with a classical guitar. Once you have mastered some of the basics, then amplifying the sound may be a lot more fun. For young children, the potential of one day getting an electric guitar may keep them practicing for years.

How long do I have to practice?

Practicing every day is the important thing, but the length of time you practice and the intensity with which you practice will decide the speed of your development.

I am just starting, should I start playing with a pick or fingers? Do I need to read music?

When starting guitar, it is more advisable to begin by playing fingerstyle and reading music. It takes a while longer to learn, but it pays huge dividends down the road. Learning how to use  a pick later on, takes essentially minutes to add to your tool box, but to add finger picking later on is almost impossible. The same goes for reading notation, once a guitar player starts reading tablature, it is almost impossible to get them to look at reading music. A well rounded guitar player should learn to use their fingers, a pick, read standard notation, and tablature, play by ear and play be theory as well.

I don’t have  a guitar, what should I do?

If you have friends or family, there may one readily available for you to use. Make sure the guitar is the right fit for your size. If it is a steel string guitar, it may hurt your fingers for the first few weeks as there is higher tension on those guitars and the thin steel strings cut into you fingers until you develop some calluses. The calluses will not be some unsightly scar, they will look like normal fingers once they develop, just thicker skin. Preferably, the best choice is to select a classical guitar which has nylon strings, a smaller and more comfortable body and is easier on the fingers. Try to avoid starting on an electric. Establish good practice habits, posture and technique and then you can progress to the electric and actually be able to rock out increase your drive after months of practicing.

Why do I need lessons? Everything is on the internet.

How many great players attribute their talent to video lessons? A video can be a great additional resource, but it cannot correct you when you are doing something wrong and are not able to spot the mistake. It cannot supply you with related material to assist in your learning that properly corresponds to your playing level. It can’t handle individual questions you may have that are not addressed in the video. The list goes on but you get the point. A teacher is more than a dispenser of knowledge. A teacher is a guide and if you are exploring unfamiliar territory, a teacher is exactly what you need.

I want to one day play in a Rock Band. How do I get there?

Aside from telling you to practice practice, practice, the one thing you should be doing is speaking to your teacher about your goals. If you want to get anywhere, you need a map and a plan. You can always make some detours, but essentially, a good map will get you where you want to go. Any novice can quickly play a rock song, but actually becoming a Rock and Roll guitarist takes much longer.

Which is better for beginners, group or private lessons?

Strictly speaking in terms of efficiency, the private lessons are the way to go. They are faster, more conducive, less expensive and far more progressive. A student can ask any question, and get an answer immediately. Once a student understands a concept, they can move to the next idea. If the student is struggling with some part of their education,  then they can spend time devoting themselves towards the problem.  A private 30 minute lesson can be described as intense in comparison to a one hour group method. Theoretically, if you are in a class with 9 other students for one hour, your share of individual instruction is approximately 6 minutes. Usually a one hour group class also costs about $10 per class which works out to about $1.67 for every private minute of instruction. A private class of 30 minutes costing you approximately $18 means you are only paying .60 cents a minute. If group classes were the model of efficiency, there would never be a need for tutors, private lessons, or assistants. In addition, a private class can be rescheduled, whereas, group lessons cannot. Everyone knows that smaller class size means more teacher attention and better instruction. What is better than one teacher and one student?