I have been playing off and on now for about 4 years. When I say off and on I mainly mean that I try to play for periods of time and then get discouraged from seeing (and hearing) little improvement. I am in a small town in central NY and there are virtually no teachers in the area that are even decent. I've tried the only two I could find. One was basically printing tabs and trying to get me to play them. I can do that! The second guy had a condescending attitude and teaching style that was irritating. He would play something crazy! Far beyond me, and say something like "ya gotta play it like that!" Stroker!

So in a nutshell I've never had any direction or proper instruction. I've just bought books and tried tabs. After getting frustrated and putting it down for a few months, I always end up picking it back up because I have such a "want" to just learn how to really play. I am 43 and have no delusions about becoming a rock star or even being in a band. I just want to learn because I love it. I need some advice!

Is Jamplay.com a good idea?
Well Idk if this will help, but have you watched youtube vids? there's plenty of online "teachers" out there. all at your finger tips man.
What are you looking to play? You said it is just for personal enjoyment, but are you wanting to write your own songs, play your favorite songs, or just improvise fluently?
you're never as free as when you are lost
Quote by GuitarQ33r0
What are you looking to play? You said it is just for personal enjoyment, but are you wanting to write your own songs, play your favorite songs, or just improvise fluently?

I guess all 3 really. If I had to put them in order I'd say play my favs 1st, then improvise, and then write my own songs.
Well you should just print off the guitar tabs of your favorite songs or songs on your level of playing. And like Sythecus said, there are literally thousands of lessons on youtube. You can go ahead and try jamplay, but at least get the basic techniques (hammer ons and pull offs, slides, string skipping etc.) on youtube for free. They might even have a couple of your favorite song on youtube. This will advance your playing more than you think. Then learn some scales, no complicated modes or theory, just stick with the pentatonic first, then major. You will be surprised how well you can improvise with just simple scales and a little practice. Backing tracks also on youtube help. Songwriting is a whole different world, but easy to get adjust to. I'm not the best so I can really give you advice other than write your ass off lol.

If its just for fun, keep it fun man. No point being self conscious or too serious about your playing. Think of when you first picked up a guitar to where you are now, you'll be surprised how much you already know.
you're never as free as when you are lost
I know the way I go about things is that I first take a lot of time (maybe half a day) and really consider what I want from the instrument. Try to set some sort of 'goals' to achieve would be a great idea (this part is hard for me). Then, I start from the ground up. I look at how much time I have to practice. I look at what interests me and what makes me want to play guitar in the first place.

Then I will go 1 level deeper and figure out what I want to improve or play. I do not rush each level and I think logically for the most part about them. Next, I attempt to create a 'structured' or 'loosely-structured' practice schedule. This part is the most complicated and everchanging part (for me anyways).

I don't know if this was useful, but it's what I know from experience. Teachers, especially the bad ones, can actually be detrimental towards your goals. If you state what you want to learn and the teacher doesn't follow, stop taking lessons.

Right now, I would recommend taking a step back, breathe, and look at the big picture.
You really should consider a teacher. Although there is a staggering amount of information out there on the internet, it's fragmented and not the same as having one educated person guiding through relevant material. There's also a lot to be said for having to face someone each week - this can be great motivation to make time for practice in those busy weeks. Too many people become collectors of guitar books that they never read, don't become one of them!
I know of a great teacher online....he does lessons through skype. www.guitarlessonsinarlington.com I used to do lessons with him in person. However, he unfortunately moved. Fortunately, he decided to do lessons on skype. Check him out. I have learned wonders from him.
my best bit of advice would be to take things slow. you may only see little improvements over time, but when you think about it, a little improvement is still an improvement and they add up over time. there is stuff that i practice that when i first get into practicing them they seem way over my playing level. but once iv gone over them over and over it soon becomes like second nature and boosts my confidence level.