I’m an avid, but decidedly average guitarist. Growing up I was surrounded by friends who were wonderful guitarists. My high school seemed to produce them like an assembly line. I got plucked from the line by quality control at a very early age.
To this day many of my closest friends can still make a bunch of nylon, steel and spruce, sing like a bird (shout out to Al and Ang). Despite all my efforts at learning, my music still sounds more like the wailing of an ebola victim than bird-song.
Nevertheless…I keep trying. Don’t they say, only 10,000 hours to mastery?
Driven on by videos like the one above of Paco de Lucia doing his thing, I park myself in front of the laptop for hours each week, tongue poking out at a 45 degree angle, brow furrowed and devour online guitar lessons.
Over the past few years – during these sessions – I’ve come across some handy free resources I’d like to share. More to say thanks to those good guitaring souls who put there material out there free of charge for finger-picking basket-cases like me.
Here are just a few.
Justin Guitar features the teachings of Justin Sandercoe. Justin’s a hugely affable Aussie and a highly accomplished guitarist with a real affinity for teaching. There’s a colossus of well-produced information on his site for the beginner guitarist and some great resources you can buy to take his teachings ever further.
I bought his Beginner’s Songbook a while back. It’s been extremely helpful in coaxing what could almost be considered a tune from my guitar. Who’d have thought it, right? Justin’s Beginner Songbook takes you through a number of guitar classics graded by stages of difficulty, but more importantly, gives great guidance on strumming patterns – a feature many other beginner songbooks lack.
Flamenco Class Guitar is a wonderful resource for the beginner looking to take on the world of flamenco or classical guitar.
Alberto Guzmán is an expert teacher who seems to possess that easy laid-back persona that goes hand-in-hand with flamenco guitar mastery. His lessons are clear and concise. He makes you want to pack a bag and make a dash for Sevilla tomorrow.
Guitar Nick is the online offering of Italian Jazz guitarist, Nicola Mandorino. I’m currently working my way through his 100 finger-style lessons for beginners. They’re great! Nick’s lessons feature youtube clips with twin camera close-up shots of both hands.
I may never know what it feels like to watch my fingers dance across the frets like Paco but there’s a huge sense of satisfaction in producing even the simplest of sounds. And that’s why – despite the protests from my neighbours – I’ll stick at it. Court orders be damned!