If you’ve ever wanted to learn guitar, you’ve probably weighed out the pluses and minuses of taking guitar lessons.
Guitar lessons will ensure that you’re learning the correct technique (as well as the right terminology) as opposed to just learning by ear. However, finding an in-person instructor, keeping to a set schedule of lessons, and commuting to and from the lessons can be an imposition to some learners – especially those with a busy schedule.
Many famous guitar players learned to play in slightly unorthodox ways and some stuck to a more traditional method.
Here’s how some of the biggest guitarists around learned to play:
John Mayer’s father rented a guitar for him to play when he turned 13, and a Stevie Ray Vaughan cassette tape gifted to him by a neighbor helped Mayer develop his affection for the blues.
Mayer took guitar lessons from a guitar shop owner in his Bridgeport, Connecticut hometown. His preoccupation with the instrument concerned his parents so much that they took him to see a psychiatrist, who assured them he was fine.
Slash – aka Saul Hudson – originally started playing bass. He switched to guitar after hearing music teacher Robert Wolin play “Brown Sugar” by the Rolling Stones. He started taking classes with Wolin, playing a one-stringed flamenco guitar gifted to him by his grandmother. Hudson was a champion BMX biker, but started devoting up to 12 hours a day to playing the guitar.
As an elementary schooler, young Hendrix took to carrying a broom with him to pretend it was a guitar. Hendrix first got his hands on a string instrument while helping his dad with a side job. The client allowed Jimi to keep an old, one-stringed ukulele that was among the items being removed from her home – and he taught himself by ear to play Elvis Presley songs. He bought his first guitar for $5 (about $51 in 2022) and played for hours every day. He listened to artists like Muddy Waters, B.B. King, and Robert Johnson for inspiration.
Nirvana’s guitarist and frontman developed a love of music at an early age. He reportedly started singing at two years old, and started playing the piano at age four, composing his first song – about a trip to a park. For his 14th birthday in 1981, Cobain’s uncle let him choose his gift – a bike or a used guitar. Cobain picked the guitar. He learned to play some songs by Led Zeppelin and Queen before starting to write his own songs. He played guitar left-handed, despite being forced to write right-handed.
The “Cream” guitarist got his first guitar for his 13th birthday, but it was so difficult to play that he lost interest until two years later. Blues music was Clapton’s biggest inspiration – he practiced learning the chords by playing along to blues records. By age 16, he was getting noticed for his skills and began busking around London.
However, if you want fast, real results, guitar lessons can get you there faster. Fret Zealot’s ecosystem of guitar lessons allows users to learn guitar how they want – when they have time, wherever they are. Rather than having to travel to a guitar teacher, Fret Zealot users can access lessons from world-class instructors from their phones.
There are lots of courses for complete beginners, which will teach you the basics like notes, chords, strumming, and finger positions, and from there, you can learn what interests you – whether it’s delving into simple song lessons or working on more advanced techniques like pentatonic scales or riffs.
Plus, the Fret Zealot app contains every note, scale, and chord – so you’ll never have to resort to books or diagrams.
According to TakeLessons.com, the average cost of in-person guitar lessons in the U.S. is $30 to $60 an hour. With Fret Zealot, you’ll save money on the cost of guitar lessons, plus gas or transportation and any books an in-person tutor may require. The biggest saving is time – you can simply take out your phone anytime, and get to learning.