Zito is God wrote:I'm gonna give you a tip that NO ONE on here will agree with except me: Learn music theory as you start playing, at least mildly. You don't wanna end up being one of those repeating parrots that look at tabs and copy where to put their fingers without knowing what notes they are playing and what scale something is based off of.
I totally agree w/ this. I learned some theory from this dude through the university when I took bass lessons from him. It's very applicable stuff to playing guitar and really opens up the whole neck for you nicely. While I am not exactly a 'shredder', I can fake my way through just about anything.
Perhaps my most ridiculous moment was trying to cop "The Girl From Ipanema" off an online tab. The mofo had so many chords that I ended up circling them w/ different colored crayons from AcidDaughter's 64 crayon box to get the chord at a glance.
re the original question, I think that a combination of ways is good. Lessons will help and practicing on your own can work very well too. One of my favorite things to do is to just jam along w/ records. Figuring out Led Zeppelin I was pretty illuminating. I can't really pull off Jimmy Page but the songs themselves have some nice basic structures that are fun to jam along with and, here and there, you can feel his voice and pick up on stuff. It will, of course, drive your roommates batty to listen to you do that.