Help me out by sharing your best resources for self-teaching guitar!

I’d always wanted to learn guitar, and two (or three?) years ago a good friend surprised me with a trip to the music store for my birthday. I ended up coming home with an Ovation.

The same friend is an accomplished long-time bass and guitar player so I had access to all of the free lessons I could tolerate. After a strong start I started having some issues with my hands and stopped practicing every day while waiting for them to resolve. Unfortunately life got increasingly busy, the guitar was put in a closet and here I am a few years later with zero increase in proficiency.

I’m pretty close to crossing over into another birthday and that guitar has been on my mind. This time the friend has just retired and is going to be doing some traveling for a few months, depriving me of those free lessons. I would like to find some quality [and free] online lessons to get back in the swing of things. I am at square one so any suggestions, input, etc. would be much appreciated.

Ideally, the first time I see my friend after he returns from his gallivantin’ I’d love to whip out my guitar and bang out a simple tune. :wink:

My favorite site for free lessons: (Actually, I’m a little bit in love with Justin by now. Don’t tell him, though, I’d be embarrassed.)

All the free tabs and chords you can shake a stick (a pick?) at:

Marty Schwartz lots of youtube lessons.

Marty’s website

I’ve been teaching myself the ukulele over the last few months, and my go-to Web site is

The great thing about Chordie is that it will transpose music for you, so you can play/sing songs in whatever key you’re most comfortable with. A great resource for someone like me, who is only learning to facilitate strummin’ and singin’.

Go to the font of all wisdom. If it was good enough for, oh, everybody famous…

Thank you all SO much! I’m going to spend some time checking the recommended sites out, and will probably order the first Mel Bay lesson soon. I already ordered this book put out by the New York City Guitar School, but there is unfortunately some sort of shipment delay so I won’t get it for a couple weeks.

If you’re playing chords and not flat picking or anything, Roy Clark’s guitar music book is really good. Simply illustrated, easy to follow, and some good songs to learn. (Not just country.)

Seconding Justin’s guitar site. He’s paced in his lessons very well and has a wide variety of difficulty levels.

I would highly recommend Scott Tennant’s Pumping Nylon series, particularly his technique book. It’s for classical guitar technique, but it’s very well thought out and explained, and I think much of the technique will serve you well no matter what type of guitar you’ll play.

I’ve been learning from this book and like it quite a bit, at least through the first half. Been slacking off lately, though.

How accomplished a player are you? Added the book to my Amazon wish list.

About halfway through that book. Thought I was doing really well, then I started looking at some non-beginner sheet music and I couldn’t really find any that I was ready to tackle.

I’ve been reading the other recommendation in this thread with interest. The book I have seems to take a big jump to fingerstyle and I’m a bit stuck at that point. I’ve been neglecting the rhythm lessons in favor of lead, so that’s probably part of it. The Mel Bay seemed to be well reviewed, but isn’t it quite old? I like to play songs I’ll recognize and I’m not sure how many will be in a book that’s decades old.

The Mel Bay book is quite old. My dear friend and I were talking the other day and he said he started learning with that book 55 or so years ago. I haven’t received it yet so I can’t make an endorsement but I think you may like that NYC Guitar School book I ordered. It was just published in July. The reviews and previews have me excited about it.

This is how I learned.

Well, not exactly, there was no such thing as at the time, but I learned by buying Guitar for the Practicing Musician magazine (does that even exist anymore?) and learning from the tabs. It was simple and fun because I was learning to play by playing songs I was familiar with and knew what they were supposed to sound like.

Depends a lot on what you want to do, so tell us.
Strum chords for folk sing-alongs? Play Bach? Shred heavy-metal leads? Flamenco? Rhythm guitar for a blues band?