While playing the guitar can be a pretty cool experience, teaching your fingers to find their way around a fretboard can seem the very opposite of cool – bleeding fingers, aching knuckles and the loneliness as you slave away. If you are going to go through all of that, at least, you should be allowed a sense of inspiration, hope and purpose to keep you company. While you could go sign up to learn with a professional teacher, you do know that pretty soon, perhaps in just a month, what you paid the teacher could very well add up to more than the price you paid for your first guitar. That’s where software guitar lessons come in – you get to spend as much time as you want being taught to handle the coolest instrument on the planet, you do that at your own pace, and you never need to be worried about the time or the money takes.
Let’s start out by looking at the standard well-respected guitar packages. You can expect most software guitar lessons to cost around what you would expect to pay for just one regular guitar lesson – about $50. But there do exist a few well-endowed packages that cost in excess of $200 that intermediate guitar enthusiasts really rave about. A guitar lessons package usually does its teaching with clear close-up-shot videos of professional teachers laying out the principles of how it’s done, with actual playing. You also get an online chord dictionary usually that shows you pictorials of how you play chords on a fretboard, a software metronome, and a software tutor to help with one of the toughest parts of learning – tightening and tuning guitar strings just so.
Let’s not get ahead of ourselves though. When you go in the store for the best package of guitar lessons to suit your needs, what would you look for? To begin with, you aren’t looking for something that’ll lick you into shape and turn you into a virtuoso guitarist. What you want is something that will help you enjoy the first few months you spend with your instrument, and that will teach you a few of the basics without rushing you. For this, you need to find something that’s easy to use, that gives you plenty of practice tools and exercises, and isn’t too elementary that you would get bored with it.
With these in mind, let’s look at some of the best software guitar lessons packages they have on the shelves right about now. Charanga Software’s Guitar Coach Deluxe is one of my favorites. It teaches you to play classical guitar and it does this out of the six CDs in the package. It has a CD completely given to teaching you to their basics of the guitar, and the others teach you specific chords and songs. Each specific technique comes with a video of a live guitarist showing you exactly how it’s done. It lets you play along with each lesson, and you get to record your performance. For all this, you pay a grand total of $40.
eMedia’s Guitar Method teaches you to play the guitar – electric or acoustic – and features the work of PhD guitar instructor Kevin Gary. It has more than 150 lessons, and happily, they really go into specifics like how to pick the strings and how to play the chords. The chord dictionary comes with attached sound clips so that you can hear exactly how it’s supposed to be done. I love the way it tries to teach you how to enjoy guitar without needing the software’s handholding all the time. The lessons themselves are just wonderfully explained and laid out, you get all of this for $60.
But what if you aren’t a real beginner, and you need guitar lessons that are a little more in-depth. Guitar Magic Evolution is your thing then; this package goes into guitar theory, and the esoteric world of chord formations. They offer 170 lessons, dozens of songs and revealing videos.
My choice for the beginner would then be eMedia’s Guitar Method. And for an advanced learner, Guitar Magic Evolution is hard to beat.