Hey guys. I am new to guitar (just started in January). I played a little when I was younger (around 14 years old) but never took practicing seriously so I never got too good and consequently gave the hobby up. I now take things seriously and practice 1-3 hours a day.

My question is, what is the best method to get good? I have a Hal Leonard guitar method book that I have been working through but it is very boring and I often become disillusioned by the fact that I don't know how to play anything remotely entertaining. On the other hand, I do know how to read music on the 1st 3 frets on all 6 strings. The other option is to do what I used to do and just look up tabs of songs I like and learn that way. Obviously, the second method is more entertaining, but as I want to be a good solid player of acoustic and blues would doing a more "classical" education of guitar be most appropriate?

Any help or suggestions on how to structure my practice are appreciated!
Youtube, lots of good turorial videos on there. Learn the right way too, there isn't necessarily a right way, but some ways are just better than others and can be helpful when learning other stuff.
It really depends what you want to do WITH the guitar.

Looking and reading up tabs is indeed a quicker way to have fun and mess around. But there's a totally different side of music you will only understand when you learn to appreciate notation and all that jazz.

imho :P
If you're bored learning to play from a book, try to learn some songs you like and are easy to play. Playing guitar is about having fun, especially when you begin. You can worry about theory later
ventor is right. once you can actually get your fingers to work the way you want them and the way they should. and then you can begin to learn actual technique and notes,

the one thing you should ALWAYS remember is to have fun. dont make learning guitar or bass or anything be a chore
ventor is right. once you can actually get your fingers to work the way you want them and the way they should. and then you can begin to learn actual technique and notes,

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the one thing you should ALWAYS remember is to have fun. dont make learning guitar or bass or anything be a chore
I imagine the most common answer you will get is to find an instructor and take some lessons, which is good advice. If that is not an option, I would try to structure your practicing to do a variety of things during the week as not to get bored. The Hal Leonard book is a good one, especially for learning notes at first position. I would also recommend working through "Guitar for Dummies" at the same time. It takes a more TAB approach and gets you playing more interesting music faster. If you have a computer, I highly recommend that you buy the computer program, "Guitar Pro." Playing along with your favorite songs, downloadable from UG for free, is a blast and teaches rhythm.

So my own practice schedule is to:

!. Practice everyday 30mins to two hours.

2. Work through Hal Leonard and For Dummies at my own pace, but try to master a section every week (alternating every week which book to focus on)

3. Practice along with Guitar Pro at least three days out of the week.

4. Do chromatic and scale exercises for the first 15 minutes of practice everyday.

Beyond that I try to review chords during the week and add new ones periodically.

I'm also doing the fingering exercises from Speed Mechanics, but you may substitute any style practice you wish into it's place.

Hope this helps.
Thanks for all the advice guys. Thanks especially to rhettro for the in depth advice. I will have to pick up a copy of For Dummies and start working through that as well. I already have a copy of speed mechanics on order right now. I don't have the funds to pick up guitar pro at the moment but I will keep that in mind for the future.

As far as getting bored goes, that is far from happening as I always love to play, no matter what I'm actually practicing but I want to make sure my practice time is yielding the most benefit. Let me know if you have any additional tips. Until then, I will continue to work through the book and work on some of my songs on the side.
^Yep that's the one. I feel it's a good compliment to the Hal Leonard stuff as it's more about playing than learning to read music. The "Guitar for Dummies" book introduces many different concepts, but doesn't go into any of them in depth, so it's sort of like a short hand look at all the different styles of guitar playing. The next step would be to buy some books on the particular style of music you are interested in as well as some theory books. I believe there is a free demo version of Guitar Pro you can download if you just want to try it out. www.guitarpro.com .
Learning guitar is going to be boring at time when you are learning. Practice scales, chords, finger picking, chicken picking, etc.

You Tube has got a lot of good lessons.

If you use Firefox there is a plugin that you can download that will pull the video out as an .flv file.
You will need a converter. I use avs4you. The demo version will create a watermark. or for $30 you can have the registered version, good for 1 year or $70 lifetime. This licsene is good for their whole software catalog.

After I convert, I put them on DVD, I use the DVD Maker w/Vista. Then I play them on my tv.

Good lesson sites are Justin Sandacore and Rock on Good People. Search You Tube for "guitar lesson"

Good luck
Thanks for the advice guys! I order guitar for dummies online and should have it soon. I will continue to work through Hal until then and check out some of those youtube lessons as well.
Ok....let's see....

Youtube: Definitely. When you can't be bothered/can't afford to go to a teacher, seeing someone else do it on a video is the next best thing. This is my favourite resource. I agree with siksofus, Justin Sandercoe and David Taub are great teachers. I do the same sort of thing as siksofus as well, I take the videos from youtube but I put them on my ipod so that I can watch them at any time.

Teacher: Many people argue that this is the only real way you are going to make good progress. In my opinion, that is a load of garbage. I've progressed just fine without any help from anyone. Its up to you, you might want one, you might not.

Books: Sometimes. I'm not a great fan of sitting down and reading all the time, which is why I like youtube, but at times it helps. I remember some guy came and spammed UG with ebook links, which included some good books. Searchbar maybe? I must emphasise I don't condone such illegal behaviour.

Tabs: Yeah, sit down and learn some songs. Obviously you have to want to learn them, so pick good ones and learn them well. This is part of practicing.

Practice: This one shouldn't need to be said, but too many people forget this. They think there is a single cure for their crappy playing (I'm not picking on anyone in particular, settle down), which there isn't. The more you play, the better you get. By practice I mean techniques, like chromatic runs up and down the neck, alternate picking, all that stuff. As they say, practice until your fingers bleed. Ok, maybe not until you bleed, but you get the idea. Practice a lot.

Jamming/Improvising: Should come under practice, but I felt it needed its own paragraph. I don't know about the rest of the people on UG, but I felt that jamming or improvising over songs really helped me. It helps you develop an ear for good sounds, and it is a load of fun. You learn licks of your own, plus you learn some of the stuff that you are listening to.

Most importantly, as I tell all the people who I give my advice to, have fun. This is absolutely vital
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If your scales aren't perfect, every time, up to speed, in every key, with and without using any open strings, you have no reason to be bored. You ain't there yet. Get to work! Know the scale forms starting with your index, second, and pinky fingers in each key.

Sooner or later, you'll notice that there are certain chord forms that naturally fall into these scale forms. And so you can start learning basic chords off the scales. After a few months of dedicated practice, you can improvise by playing the chords and the notes in the different chords in different orders, based on the scales.

Then you can gradually get into other scales, like the various minors, augmented, and diminished scales. Pentatonic scales, blues scales, and modal scales. And each of these scales has its own set of chords (every other note in the scale = a chord). So in another year of hard work. Improvising gets more rewarding.

I tend to learn these things in clusters: Learn a new scale, learn the chords within that scale, learn the variations (susp4, add9, add11, etc.), and learn how that particular scale and set of chords relates to others in the cycle of fifths.

And play any melody that pops into your head. After a few years, your fingers will know how to find the strings and frets you're after, and you'll know which strings and frets you ought to put your fingers on.
I am in the same boat as you. Started in January. But the first thing the teacher did with me is build a list of songs (15) that he picked and I picked that are easy to play, that are somewhat slow on chord progressions (but not all slow), and use easier chords that are mostly open. I then doing my exercises each day for half the time (probably more like 20% of the time), and then play the songs on my stereo through iTunes. Hence, my chord progression playing is really playing the songs. I have found that my ability to play with the stereo has gone straight up after about four weeks of practice.

I can post the list of songs if you want--they are pretty easy chord progressions.
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