In my experience, most students who want to start learning the guitar want to jump immediately into playing popular songs.
They’re eager to learn their first few chords and a few basic strumming patterns, and then start playing and singing like nobody’s business, excited to fumble through a tune they know!
While this is great and I love to see students with that level of enthusiasm, it’s also key to remember that mastering the guitar in the long run isn’t just about playing a few great tunes. You also need to master the technical side of the guitar.
A Quick Illustration
Think of your favorite guitarist, whoever that may be. Now think of one of his (or her’s) best solos.
What sticks out in your mind?
If you’re like most people, you picked a performer and a solo that probably has a ton of technical mastery within it.
For example, listen to these clips of 7 great metal solos:
Keys to Success with Guitar
Many beginners don’t realize that most of music can actually be broken down into a series of scales, and one essential ingredient to becoming a good musician is to truly learn each and everyone one of those scales.
Let me say it again, the key to success with your instrument is to learn guitar scales. If you can do that, you will be able to play a much wider range of songs later on, and even be able to solo effortlessly over them, in a way that displays your natural technical ability as well as musical taste.
But it all starts with the scales.
One recommendation I have for many students is that they sign up for an online lesson program. You can contact me to schedule a Skype lesson, but I also encourage everyone, including my own students, to join one of the larger guitar programs out there, like Guitar Tricks.
The reason is because these programs provide a number of different video lessons with different teachers, giving you a range of perspectives, and they’re available for a very low cost.
It’s a great supplement (but not a replacement of) working with a private, individual teacher. Read the course review to learn more.
Another option is to go with a subscription to one of the great guitar magazines. See this list of good music magazines focusing on guitar techniques and learning to improve your playing.