In 1977, I studied at the Guatemalan National Conservatory of Music with Professors Alejandro Herrera and Rene Abularach on Classical guitar. I also studied harmony and composition with Igor de Gandarias, Juaqin Orellana and Jorge Sarmientos. In New Orleans, I took private jazz guitar courses with steve Masakowski and Hank Mackie. In 1983 I started my own Jazz band, “Acoustic Ensamble”, a band that I shared with well known international musicians like: Carlos Gomes, Fernando Perez, Bryon Sosa, Miguel Angel Villagran, Igor Sarmientos, Alfredo Caceres, Antonio Cosenza, German Giordano, Rolando Gudiel, Roberto Abularach, Auri Ruiz, M ... View Profile
On a day when there's a temptation to go into a dark place, and only see all the bad stuff there is in the world ... greed, cruelty, exploitation, selfishness ... I get days like that pretty often .... it's great to find someone giving out, and giving out good, and operating on an honour basis ... There are so many people who can't afford Guitar lessons .... well, here's a wonderful guy who has set up a whole system of teaching guitar ... Blues, Jazz, Rock, even Songwriting, from the basics, tuning the guitar, etc ... upwards ... If you use his site, it's up to you to determine how much you can contribute ... but this is an amazing site .... he is also very aware of issues in the world which need attention ... a great channel .. Check him out. He's a giver.
I know that for me, I enjoy getting to put the spotlight on my students. I also like haveing concerts for my students to be able to demonstrate their skills for their friends and family. I also can work with students of any age, starting at about age 5 through age 100+. My experiences with teaching children gives me the ability to teach even very young students.
Practice at least 20 minutes 6 days a week. Consistent practice will allow you to improve your guitar playing skills over a short period. Taking long breaks and not staying dedicated will wear away your muscle memory and delay the development of your skills. Instead, dedicate 20 minutes to an hour of practice throughout most of the week. During practice, you can either run different drills or you can try covering a song.
Acoustic: I recommend a Yamaha solid top acoustic guitar. This guitar plays just as good as some that are many hundreds of dollars more expensive. It can be difficult to manufacture quality acoustics at low prices due to the importance of a solid top finish. When I was in college I scratched together the cash to buy a handmade acoustic guitar that was over $1,000 (I won’t mention the brand) but that guitar was nowhere near as good as this Yamaha.
As a beginner, it is best to avoid making a pawn shop, flea market, or yard sale purchase unless you are shopping with somebody who has experience in purchasing a guitar. Having never purchased a guitar, you may not know what to look for in terms of damage or guitar quality. With that being said, a local music retail shop is your best bet. You may also shop online with a reputable company, although be sure to review the business’ return policy.
Learn how to transition to different chords. One way to become proficient quickly is to learn how to transition between the various chords quickly. These transition periods are often the hardest for beginners to play when they are starting off. The more you practice between switching to different chords, however, the better you'll get at doing it in songs. Practice switching between open chords like G, A, E, and C. 
Use tabs instead of sheet music. If you don't already know how to read music, it can take a lot of time to memorize and proficiently read sheet music. Tabs are an easier and more intuitive way to write music for beginners that doesn't require any formal education. Tabs will simply tell you where to put your fingers on a fret board and how to generally play a song.
3/4 Size Acoustic: I also have a 3/4 Scale Guitar in my apartment because they are awesome to sit beside your couch and just pick up easily and jam with. I bought the guitar a few months ago, and when I was playing it a concerned shopper came up to me and reminded me “that’s for kids you know.” I laughed. Fair enough, but I think little guitars are cool to have around the house, so if you do too (or if you have really small hands) perhaps this could be the guitar for you.
Wow! This post really seems to have helped a lot of folks get started with the guitar. It has been read by – I kid you not – millions of aspiring guitarists. Thank you! As many of you have noted in the comments below, no, I’m not selling anything here related to playing the guitar. My motivation to write this post was that musicians, and especially guitar teachers, can often make learning the guitar sound way too hard. It’s actually easy.
Learning guitar is a lot easier when you have a step-by-step system to follow. Guitar Tricks lessons are interconnected and organized to get slightly harder as you progress. You watch a video lesson, play along, and then click a “Next” button to go to the next lesson. Lessons have multiple camera angles, guitar tabs, jam tracks and everything else you need to learn.