Learning guitar on a budget

Obviously in an ideal world you would have individual face to face guitar lessons but budgets and working hours don’t always allow for this. Don’t let these things put you off learning.


Firstly, I think it’s important to identify how you learn.

1. Reading - Some people find it easier to sit down and concentrate on a book with no distractions. There are countless great music books which you can learn from on the market. Many of which will include play along tracks or videos. As a side issue, I would say these types of music books will often reference guitar hero’s and for adults they may know who is being talked about and it maybe helpful but children often will not and therefore if for example a song is being presented in the style of Eric Clapton this would mean little to nothing to a child.

I have designed a music book that takes the learner on a mini adventure and is geared towards children and beginners. If this is something that would interest you please feel free to check it out. https://www.ianmcneillmusic.com/shop

2. Visually - Some people are visual learners in terms of how they take things in and need to see where fingers should be placed or watch a teacher play a song slowly to get an idea of how it should go. This is when instructional videos, private lessons, paid teaching websites and free resources like YouTube all come into play. These resources are fantastic, some of which I didn’t have growing up pre internet. A blended approach using all of these resources for learning can be great.

It’s important not to become totally dependant on tutorials or even a teacher. In my opinion the most important thing is to have fun and to learn the tools to be able to work things out for yourself. That is music theory, and how to apply it along with ear training. These are things that will really help. Unfortunately there’s not magic formula, it does take time and practice so its important to be patient and again have fun!


3. Practical application- For myself I’m quite a practical person so I had to learn by actually trying techniques and exercises that I had been shown by those who taught me to be able to play songs on the instrument. When practicing, repetition is your friend but be warned nobody else will appreciate listening to you practice over and over again, they only want to hear the finished result.

By getting private lessons even if they are not weekly you are Investing in yourself and you will get valuable feedback regarding your technique that you simply can’t get from videos. I think It’s important to realise that any guitar teacher will not know everything but they can certainly impart some of their knowledge and hopefully point you in the right direction on your musical journey.


For a lot of people face to face lessons are invaluable and even one off lessons every so often can really help. Doing joint or group lessons to cut cost, which is something I’ve offered in the past may help with budget restrictions.

Also gift vouchers for Christmas instead of another pair of socks is another great idea for the budding guitarist. https://www.ianmcneillmusic.com/shop


Hope you’ve found this useful in your quest to learn the guitar. Ian.

Photo by 42 North from Pexels: https://www.pexels.com/photo/person-playing-brown-guitar-1407322/

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