Play Guitar!

Learning to play guitar can seem daunting, but it doesn’t have to be… I’ve been playing the guitar for some 27 years, and after a lot of trial and error I’ve learned a few things about the art of learning.

One thing I’ve discovered –– I don’t learn squat from books. For me, it’s all about instructional guitar DVDs or online lessons.

The ability to see what an instructor is actually doing with his hands, and the options to pause, rewind, or even play it over and over again, can really make the difference when learning to play guitar.

So with that said, here’s a list of some of my favorite online and DVD guitar lessons.

1. Homespun Tapes

When it comes to instructional guitar DVDs, there are two main studios I recommend ––Homespun Tapes and Stefan Grossman’s Guitar Workshop.

While both of these companies tend to specialize in acoustic guitar lessons, they each offer very effective and affordable electric guitar lessons as well, and there are literally hundreds to choose from. If you’re interested in fingerpicking, blues, bluegrass, country, western swing or jump blues, trust me –– you can’t go wrong with either of these studios.

Happy Traum, the man behind Homespun’s stellar instructional guitar DVDs, continues to amaze me with his ability to both teach and entertain.

While there are thousands of great guitar players offering up their own guitar lessons these days, I’ve discovered that it is rare indeed to find a virtuoso guitarist who is also a virtuoso guitar teacher.

Happy Traum is that man –– Traum’s excellent Easy Steps to Acoustic Blues Guitar #1 & #2 literally transformed me from a bored acoustic guitar strummer to a rapidly progressing intermediate blues and ragtime fingerpicker in a few month’s time. This one is highly recommended.

2.Stefan Grossman’s Guitar Workshop

One of my other current favorites is Eric Thompson’s excellent Flat Picking Guitar Country Style, which is published by the well-respected Stefan Grossman’s Guitar Workshop… Thompson’s easy demeanor and understated guitar skills make for excellent learning, and I have particularly enjoyed his breakdown of Maybelle Carter’s now-classic flatpick lead playing.

3. TrueFire

One final option that makes my top-pick list of guitar instructional DVDs is TrueFire. While I haven’t yet explored their online guitar lessons, last year I purchased their exceptional Jump Blues 2-DVD Set with Matt Brandt and was absolutely floored with the amount of information presented.

These guys clearly know what they’re doing, and like most of the lessons presented above, TrueFire’s DVDs come with both video lessons and complete TAB files (not to mention backing tracks you can jam to,) making them a no-brainer when it comes to learning to play the guitar.

Note to the wise: while TrueFire’s lessons range from Beginner to Expert, the previously mentioned Jump Blues DVD is not for the weak of heart –– it’s a fantastic set of lessons, but be prepared to put in some work!