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Learning Guitar – Guitar Tricks Website Review

Guitar TricksA close friend of mine has wanted to learn guitar for a long time, and I decided to check out the website after an online friend recommended it. I figured I could review its suitability for a beginner while enjoying some advanced lessons for myself.

I shared previously that I had a beginner’s guitar class in high school. A topic of debate when learning guitar is, do you start by learning to read music and play notes (melody)? Or should you start by learning simple chords? There are pros and cons to either method.

In my high school, the approach was to learn to read music and play melody. The guitartricks website goes the other route and teaches simple chords first. Which is better? I believe that new students will gain a greater sense of early accomplishment by starting with simple chords. So I applaud their choice. They also teach how to read chord diagrams, which again, makes it faster for a first time player to be productive sooner.

How long does it take to learn the guitar?
I have my own opinion but I’ve scoured the web to read what others have written in order to summarize a general consensus.

It’s a popular question but unfortunately it’s very hard to answer. At what level of playing do you mean? By way of analogy, how long does it take to build a house? Or a one-room cottage? Within two weeks, the average person can learn 5 or 6 basic chords which can be used to play hundreds, no thousands, of songs. The most important thing is, practice, practice, practice. If someone is willing to commit at least 30 minutes a day for two weeks, they can easily develop the muscle memory to learn several chords.

Mastery of guitar takes years of practice. If someone is hoping to have the skills of Jimi Hendrix, Santana, Eddit Van Halen, Slash, etc., that ain’t gonna happen in months. Those men devoted years and years to their craft, and they likely had a heavy sprinkle of magic on their heads to boot.

Some people just have an innate sense of rhythm and/or a great sense of tone memory. A very small percentage have the truly extraordinary gift to hear a song just once or twice, and then reproduce it. Some are also gifted with unusual dexterity and hand coordination. We’re not talking about those folk. Instead, we’re talking about those who have moderate typing skills on a keyboard (can you type?). We’re talking about people who can drive a car or who can use a knife and fork to cut their food. Those common abilities represent the power to develop muscle memory where both hands are doing something different. It’s important to set expectations. When anyone first tries to play a stringed instrument, it will be frustrating. As an adult, it can be especially discouraging because we’re used to basic eye-hand coordination coming easy.

So what does someone need to excel at guitar? A good teacher, a lot of enthusiasm, a dose of aptitude, favorable physical ability (good/normal hand dexterity), and at least 30 minutes of practice a day.

Guitar Tricks is offering a great deal before Christmas, where you can get a basic acoustic guitar plus a subscription for $129!

Things I Like:guitartricks-lesson-screen

  • The video and audio quality for the content is outstanding. I like how they split the video content into 3 panes when beneficial so that you can easily see both hands along with the instructor’s face. The larger pane is on the fret-hand.
  • The mobile app is good (I tested the Apple iOS version).
  • The introductory videos are done by a woman named Lisa McCormick who studied music theory and education in college. She’s a terrific instructor.
  • The foundations are covered extremely well. For the beginner lessons, most are produced in short little nuggets of 2 to 5 minutes in length. The site shows your progress in a visually appealing way.

If you’ve ever wanted to learn, do yourself a favor and dive in!


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