#1
I'm a 47 year old guy who has always had a passion for guitar.  That being said, I really want to learn it myself instead of always listening to someone else.

To that end, I'd like advice on how to begin.  Is there any structure that I should follow.  I'm good at following logical order, but I can't find anything in the lessons section that says, "Start with this" or "Lesson 1" or "Now that you've got that, do this".

Please help an older guy out!
#2
Well start by getting a guitar, and consider getting a teacher if you really want to learn the instrument.

If/when you have your guitar, start off by learning some songs you like. It'd be good if you'd do some research about standard playing technique (like posture, picking hand technique fretting technique etc. [a teacher would be an immense help with this part]) so you have some idea about how to play it properly, but after that just learn some good songs. I wouldn't worry about much else until you can play a couple of easy songs in the guitar, and even after that learning songs is always a great way to practice.

Afterwards, a good place to start is open chords. These will serve as some basic building blocks for songs you'd like to learn or write yourself. The most common ones are C major, G major, E major and minor, D major and minor and A major and minor. You can learn a lot of classic songs with just these chords (Knocking in a Heavens Door for example is just G-D-C-C-G-D-Am7-Am7 [Am7 is just Am with one extra note that has an easy open shape to play]). To help with chords and anything else musical, you should learn the names of the notes and their locations on the fretboard. Standard open strings, as you might know, are EADGBe. If you learn the chromatic scale you can start figuring out the notes on the board (1 fret=1 semitone=1 note forward in the chromatic scale). This is already a good start, but getting familiar with scales and keys doesn't hurt either.

After that, you just need to think about your goals. Let's say you really like classic blues guitar lile Hendrix, SRV, Clapton etc. you should look into rhythm techniques like the blues shuffle, lead guitar concepts like the pentatonic scale, blues scale, vibrato and bends and learn a lot of songs in the style. If you share your favoritr bands and some of your goals with us, we can help with this part.
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#3
You're thinking correctly about finding a logical structure to follow. There are probably dozens of different approaches to learning guitar, and you'll undoubtedly hear most of them in response to your question.  The important thing is to settle on one lesson plan and stick with it. In this age of youtube, there is more information available to beginners than ever before. That's a good thing...once you learn how to filter it out. The worst thing a beginner can do is to jump randomly from one site to another, skimming the interesting stuff and missing a lot along the way. 

The absolute best way to learn is to take lessons from a qualified instructor. If you want to learn on your own, it will take longer...and you're getting a late start. The next best way....wait for it....is to get a learn-to-play book. Most of us old-timers started with Mel Bay or something similar. Follow the lesson plan in the book. Try to find another player who can give you in-person tips on technique.  Any poor technique you start with will haunt you and be hard to un-learn. 

Once you've got a firm grasp on the basics (notes on the fretboard, chords and transitioning between them, strumming and keeping a solid rhythm) you may want to look up chords to songs you like. Learn new chords as they become necessary.  It would be a mistake to try to learn flashy solos without getting these basics down solid. 

Most of all, don't skimp on your first guitar. You might think it's safer to get a cheap one so you won't lose that much if it doesn't work out. Wrong. Most of the under $100 guitars are very difficult to  play and keep tuned. In other words, you run the risk of sabotaging yourself. Even if you get lucky with a playable one, you'll want to upgrade within the year, so that money is wasted anyway.  

Best of luck!
#4
The absolute best way to learn is to take lessons from a qualified instructor.


Agreed. Agreed. Agreed.

Guitar wasn't my first instrument, so I figured I could teach myself how to play it. And I did. Problem was, in doing so, I unknowingly picked up some terrible habits that limited my ability to improve.

So after a few months of frustration trying to play certain pieces, I relented and found a teacher. He noticed my issues, and set about correcting them. It took serious time to unlearn some stuff, and I never actually got around to learning the songs that sent me to him in the first place. (I was seriously just done with them.

Had I started with a teacher, I'd have saved myself a LOT of time and frustration.
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