Learning guitar online wasn’t even a thing when I cajoled my folks into buying me my first guitar. I was 12, it was a Landola nylon strung cheapo and me taking classical lessons was the condition. This was all far from ideal but at least I had a guitar. Nowadays there are a million free and paid online courses. Can they replace the real – one to one – experience of learning with a teacher? 

To answer this question I need to delve into my past, long before the internet was around. I was, like I say a pimple faced 12 year old in 1976 when a 3/4 scale classical guitar became mine. With my dodgy spiked hair and growing collection of punk rock singles, learning Segovia’s Etude in E minor was not remotely on my radar. Nevertheless its where I began. I can at least say that me and Keith Richards learned Malaguena early on!

This guitar deal was more complex than I’d first thought. My folks didn’t buy the rock n roll dream one little bit you see. In their minds only a classically trained musician stood a chance of earning a respectable living. In an orchestra. One of dad’s colleagues had a son who was a classical guitarist and lute player. A deal had been hatched whereby he would teach me some Segovia etc for a small fee. 

Segovia, Gonzo and Black Coffee

So once a week I was deposited at his place for an hour or two. To be honest I don’t remember much about it. I stuck it out for a while, learned some good stuff (although not The Sex Pistols or Devo as I’d hoped) and moved on. I can’t even remember the guy’s name now only that he had a Muppet toy (Gonzo I think) suspended from his ceiling by a perfect hangman’s noose and that he drank cold black coffee. Just recently I found out that he killed himself. Maybe the Gonzo thing was deeper than it seemed…

Accepting eventually that classical guitar was not my bag, but still keen to spend money on professional lessons, the folks enrolled me in a guitar class at the local town hall. By this time I’d sprayed the Landola lime green. It had “Davy Boy” spelled out with stick-on 3d letters on its front. 

I found myself part of an odd group of mainly older people sitting in a semi circle facing a man called (honestly) Phill McCracken. He would play some quite impressive folky/bluesy/country flourishes as we all tuned up. Then he would hand out chord sheets for some seriously middle of the road, sing along songs that I didn’t want to know. We started with Marie’s Wedding and The Skye Boat song and worked towards the more edgy Leavin’ On A Jet Plane, by Bob Denver and the positively wild Tambourine man by Dylan. Yet again Anarchy in The Uk or Jocko Home were not on the menu. 

They’d All Be Learning Guitar Online Now

These days I’m pretty sure everyone in that group would be learning guitar online. Given the choice I definitely would have. Both of the above interludes were valuable in some way. By 13 or 14 I could play a good range of chords, a little flamenco guitar and a handful of cheesy songs. As I got older and made guitar playing friends I learned more of the stuff I actually wanted to play. 

That kind of peer to peer learning is hard to replace in an online setting. A teacher can’t reach out of the screen and physically wrestle your stupid fingers in to place (especially if its a pre-recorded course) But other than that awkward situation learning guitar online is the way to go. 

When you are learning online – and I mean specifically through a pre-made course of lessons – you can go at your own pace. You can stop, start and rewind till you’ve got it. You can learn specifically the kind of playing you want to. 

Part of the reason I started as I did was down to our location. I lived in a small rural village and had no mates who played or were interested in playing. Guitar was not taught at school and there were no local private tutors. The Internet has made that irrelevant. You can access online guitar lessons from anywhere with broadband. 

Even as someone who has played for 40 odd years I still learn a lot from the internet. Everyone has a Youtube channel these days. But if I was just getting started I’d want a good step by step, foundational online course to follow. Which is why I have built one which I hope to release very soon. 

Stuck At A Crossroad?

You see I had a little interlude not long after what I’ve talked about above where I didn’t play at all for a year or two. My first eagerly saved and craved for electric guitar nearly put me off forever. It had a horrible action and fence wire strings. I had no idea (the small village thing) that these things are easily changed. As soon as I learned that (from someone like me), I got back in the game but it was like starting from scratch – almost.

So my course is for people who find themselves a a similar crossroads. They learned a few chords, maybe a song or two and a few riffs but got no further. Through a series of videos with accompanying downloads and notes, I build from there. I think I’ve come up with a course that gives students a solid foundation for both rhythm and lead guitar playing that they can take in any direction. If you are interested in learning guitar online and that sounds good, watch this space.


I'm Dave Menzies a digital entrepreneur, photographer and guitarist. I live on the Argyll coast of Scotland. My partner and I write, record and produce our own music and videos in our home studio. I love to help individuals discover the lifestyle freedom offered by the digital world and guitarists to develop their own style.