The Best Guitar Lessons Online

The guitar is one of the most popular and versatile instruments in the world. From Pop to Country, from Metal to Bollywood, and a thousand other permutations, this instrument has been adapted to all of them. Awesome! But if you want to learn to play guitar, in any style at all, here’s the thing: the guitar functions in the exact same way, no matter what style you want to play. It is very logical. And we teach it that way:

WHY is x,y,z this way on the guitar? There is a physical/scientific/math/crafts reason.

HOW do you get your fingers to do a,b,c? An approach based on sport & athletics provides a ton of methods.

WHAT do you have to learn first? Music is communication, like language. First we make sense, then . . . . everything else follows.


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guitar teacher Jay Albert performing as Angus Young flailing on his back

Your Laid Back Guitar Instructor



Q: Can anyone learn how to play guitar? 

A: Short answer: Yes. Remember, music skills are inherent in all humans. So those skills are a given, they are yours to develop. I discuss general music skills here.

Playing any instrument requires dexterity; if you think about playing a gaming system or typing on a computer - take those examples and maybe double it. That’s an approximate dexterity gauge for playing guitar. 

Now to think it a bit finer. Every instrument is set up differently, I mean physically. Drums: you hit. Horns: you blow. Guitar: 

  • Your right hand plucks single strings, strums several strings at a time, hops from one to another. 
  • You will use either a pick or your bare fingers to do all that. 
  • Your left hand pushes a string up against the wood/metal of the guitar’s neck, four different fingers which work separately and together. 
  • And of course both hands have to work together while doing very different tasks. 

Is the guitar easier or harder than say, piano, clarinet, drums, dulcimer? That depends on you and your personal ‘wiring’. We each have our predilections. Think of the SPORT aspect of it: in baseball some people have great pitching skills, some are good fielders, catcher is a famously particular set of skills. Then again - everyone bats, everyone runs bases, everyone throws. 



Close up of a guitar teacher showing placement of right hand thumb on low e string of guitar



There's weird stuff, like:   The lowest sounding string is in the highest position. That thick one there where the thumb is, it's called the “Low E String”

Lowest pitch, is on top. Of course it is!!






I had a student who worked on guitar for several years; he progressed but never really felt at home with the instrument. He dropped guitar and took up saxaphone instead. Loved it, played great, it came naturally to him. Others have had opposite experiences. That’s what I mean. It’s somewhat trial and error. 

But let me just suggest this: 
You should try to enjoy trials, 
and also enjoy the errors. 
That’s life. That’s part of learning anything. 

Every single thing you have ever learned - you made errors. One could even say that errors are HOW you learn. Again comparing to baseball, yeah everyone makes errors. They learn from them, minimize them, work on, get better. We laugh at the foibles and falls, dust ourselves off, get up and try again.


Q: How difficult is it to learn the guitar? 

A: Firstly, see the answer above. Now, think of it like LANGUAGE: every kid in kindergarten knows thousands of words, and they can and will generally yap and yap all day quite happily, speaking and listening and communicating like pros. When they begin elementary school it’s time to formally learn reading and writing. So. Shall we give them a newspaper to read? Shall we share the novels we love, Hemingway perhaps? A dictionary? There ya go! That’s the answer! It does contain all the words, right? 

Learning guitar is as easy/hard as learning pretty much anything else. Sure it takes time and effort. But it isn’t more difficult or esoteric than most other topics. To learn guitar online, you wanna make sure that each individual thing you learn, the order of those things, and the tasks you repeatedly practice, are scaled appropriately for you as a beginner. 

  • Beginning lessons should cover a few things at a time
  • They should all be related and interact together
  • The tasks should allow your mind and body to focus on those specific things

Otherwise it’s just “Here’s your first driving lesson, Jenny! Go to Montana.” 

So my whole structure with live lessons and with all written and video material is: 

  • Structure things so that they are learnable
  • Each week that you practice you should have tasks that are learnable in One Week


Sound simple? Yes? . . . . . . thank you.


grainy photo from nineteen seventies of a young girl with a child's guitar and winnie the pooh slippers


Some of us have wanted to play guitar 
for a long time.









Student of Songdog Music with arm tattoos holding her guitar, a black fender Stratocaster

The HSS Strat: rock and roll machine!
Nicole's equipment has been upgraded considerably!

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Q: What is the best way to learn guitar chords? and What 3 chords should I learn first??

A: Oh lawdy lawd. These are the million dollar type of questions. Well here’s an answer you won’t find anywhere else, and one that should make you stop and think for a moment: 

  • Chords are one of the absolute best things about the guitar. Our instrument plays them like NO other instrument; not piano, not a string orchestra, not a jazz band, not a Javanese Gamelan ensemble, nothing. That particular Strrrrummmmmm that we get? Nobody can copy that. So chin up! this here is good work!
  • Playing a chord on a guitar involves usually two or more fingers of the left hand, often angled in weird ways, sometimes jammed together like they were absolutely not intended to be. So first off: learn to control one finger at a time, and get it to do what you want. Then do the next finger, then another, and another. Doesn’t matter which order, player’s choice! 
  • Once your fingers behave you can look up some chords to play. But you’re gonna be disappointed. The answers you find will offer you plenty of chords, sure, but they're sort of random, some are definitely not the easiest, and in addition, once you have learned these chords - whatcha gonna do with them? And how you gonna move from one to another? So maybe begin with just one. 


Allow me to suggest this: The G Major Chord

A guitar chord chart showing the left hand fingering for a G major chord


It may look awkward b/c you spread two fingers way apart. Oddly enough this particular spread is easy for most folks. BUT here’s my top secret TIP: The high E string is on the far right. It's the skinny one. Put the finger for that string down (3rd fret). Super easy right? Well see the next strings, numbers 2, 3, and 4? (letters B and G and D) Those are all open. So you can strum four strings with only one left hand finger doing any work at all!

See what we've done. We simply segmented our learning. Don't bother with the last two strings. Yet. The chord sounds awesome with just four strings! and from there, we build. 



(Bonus: SOME OF YOU may find extending finger 2, the middle one, quite familiar! ;-)