As a guitarist, the most enjoyable and motivating milestones come when you learn to play songs you know and love. Not only do you experience the thrill of hearing a legendary song floating from your guitar, played by your own hand, but also you can entertain and impress people you know. These instructional sites offer a range of lessons across a variety of genres so you can learn different styles and techniques.
Guitar Lessons for the Classics
Every musical genre begins with legendary songs. The latter half of the 20th century produced classic rock songs that would define popular culture. The following tunes are some of the simplest classics to learn on acoustic guitar:
Love Me Do by The Beatles
Visit JustinGuitar for this lesson. This generous chap from England offers video lessons without any sign-up requirements or payments. His service is completely free, though he does ask that you consider making a donation so that he can continue offering free song lessons to the masses. His method for teaching is simple:
- He plays the song once through to introduce the lesson.
- He returns to the beginning and, section-by-section, identifies each chord.
- He plays the song again and vocalizes each chord change as he is playing to give you prompts as you practice.
His site also features a metronome, which provides a click track that will aid you as you practice, and it has every other resource imaginable including chord charts, free manuscript paper for notating songs, and much more. There is a great variety of lessons here from artists of all genres, so take the time to browse through the song categories on the left side of the page.
Brown Eyed Girl by Van Morrison
- Requires $29 per month to gain full access, though you can do a free trial and full access for three days.
- Offers a very large library of lessons.
- Offers this particular lesson for free at any time, and gives you a good example of what you would get for the paid membership.
His teaching style is easy to follow and he does not speak over your head. The unique value of this instructor is the massive library of resources on his website.
Knockin' On Heaven's Door by Bob Dylan
- Everything is free on his site, though he asks that you consider donating so that he can continue offering free content.
- He has an efficient, punchy style of teaching with a similar method as the other sites. His explanations are probably the clearest and most articulate of the sites, which gives him an edge.
- If you sign up for his newsletter, you receive free instructional videos via email several times a month. This is a helpful reminder to practice while simultaneously providing new practice material.
The uniqueness of NailGuitar is the way it proactively brings new content to you after you sign up.
How to Play Folk Music
The beauty of folk music is that it is a stripped-down art form that narrows the spotlight onto a single performer who only has a guitar and his voice to offer. If there's any genre that is guitar-friendly, folk is definitely it. The following folk masterpieces are not only brilliant, they're easy to learn and play.
Country Roads by John Denver
The professional poise and friendliness of the female instructor from Mahalo adds a warmth to the lesson. Also of note:
- She takes plenty of time to break down each chord before beginning the song itself.
- The video is professionally produced with a three-pane split-screen that allows you to see different angles at once.
- She has a beautiful singing voice, which allows her to demonstrate how the chords line up with the lyrics
Mahalo is not a guitar instruction site with additional resources. It produces the channel on YouTube devoted exclusively to guitar lessons. Although there are no additional resources, the company's investment in the videos ensures quality instruction.
Here's To You by Joan Baez
This video from GuitarNick will show you how to play a Joan Baez classic. The uniqueness of this instructional video is its complete absence of talking. If you're weary of sitting through spoken introductions or don't need someone talking at you while you're watching them play, GuitarNick is for you. This lesson:
- Shows a dual video feed of the guitarist's left hand and right hand, so that you can see what each hand is doing at the same time.
- Provides a visual that is a detailed close up so that you can clearly see the fingering for each chord.
- Offers an additional link to a separate site that has the tablature for the song being played in the lesson.
The unique value of GuitarNick is the no-nonsense approach. They cut the talk and just show you the strumming pattern and chord fingering without any fuss or frill.
Learn to Play Gems From the '90s
The grunge era might have earned a reputation that provokes images of flannel and frayed shoulder-length, angst-ridden hairstyles, but one wonderful thing that grunge music brought to musicians everywhere was simplicity, especially with some of its slower tempo hits.
About a Girl by Nirvana
Interestingly, this instructor from Central Guitar Lessons has the most advanced video teaching format than any of the previous sites, but he does not have an online presence other than his YouTube site. Although this might appear to be less professional, it also means no sign-up requirements, no additional sites to browse, and certainly no fees to pay. His instructional videos have the following perks that other videos do not have:
- A close-up of fretboard as he plays.
- Graphics that show the chord chart fingering as the video plays.
- Longer lesson time: 10 minutes for one song! His teaching style is very thorough.
The only downside to YouTube-only instruction is that he does not have a site that offers you the vast amount of additional resources that the other sites have. However, his videos are of such high quality that the lack of an additional site is not a concern.
Glycerine by Bush
What makes TocarGuitar unique is that it uses a combination of the styles from the sites above. The video lessons are YouTube-only, but he also has a separate website that:
- Allows you to download the sheet music for each song you learn on YouTube.
- Is a donation-only site, so no fees.
- Requires you to create a free account, which will you give you access to even more guitar music resources and print-outs.
His teaching method is straightforward as he jumps right into the chords for the song, and then breaks each section down at a slower tempo. The real value of this resource, however, is its unique combination of YouTube-only instruction paired with additional resources at another site.
Guitar Lessons for Today's Hits
There are plenty of recent hits that are very playable on the acoustic guitar.
Rolling in the Deep by Adele
Alex Maldonado offers high-quality videos that make his online instruction worth noting. His videos have:
- Professional editing.
- Excellent use of graphics that show chord fingerings as he teaches.
- An efficient, well-organized flow of steps that make the instruction move smoothly.
He is also a YouTube-only instructor, but he makes use of Facebook with a page devoted to updating you whenever new videos appear. There are not as many lessons as some of the larger sites, but the lessons he does have are excellent.
Paradise by Coldplay
This lesson for Paradise comes from Learn Guitar Fast Tips. If you prefer something much more in-depth, similar to an in-person lesson at a guitar store, then this unique approach to online instruction offers:
- Lessons that exceed twenty minutes.
- Very clear step-by-step instructions.
- Frequent play-throughs to refresh the step you just learned.
This video requires more patience, but you will learn the song inside and out. What makes this lesson special is his in-depth thoroughness and you'll find more lessons through the website.
Learning Through Lessons
As you learn more songs, your appetite to add even more tunes to your repertoire becomes insatiable and, before you know it, your skills are growing exponentially. Learning your favorite songs and performing them for friends and loved ones is the fastest way to get past the Wall of Pain that hits every guitarist in the early stages of their craft. Rely on these video lessons to help you hone your craft and learn some great tunes.