Imagine yourself sitting down to play the guitar. You want to play to your own musical standards and to make music that impresses your audience. You will play from beginning to end without a hitch. Your attention will be on the music, not nervously anticipating the bits that you can "scrape through" when you are alone in your room but could be your undoing in front of an audience.
To learn to play guitar with a high degree of fluency, the first free resource you will need is time. Even if you have a busy daily schedule you can find say, half an hour to set aside to learning guitar. Think about what you do during the day. After dinner for instance, do you sit staring mindlessly at the television? Could you get up a little earlier in the morning to play guitar? Failing to seriously think about when you are going to practice the guitar will make the other elements of your guitar education more difficult.
Once you have worked when you will practice the guitar each day, you can contemplate the basic needs behind learning music. You can see in your imagination how you want to play guitar, so how do you go about getting the music into your head and your fingers?
An essential piece of equipment you need by your side is your guitar tuner. With free guitar tuners available to download, there's no excuse not to be in tune. I recommend the AP Guitar Tuner. It has a great visual guide to make sure you get your guitar in tune with a minimum of fuss.
Whether you already read standard musical notation or you will be using guitar tablature, you need to go to your friendly neighborhood search engine and look for a free music notation program called TablEdit. Guitarists record arrangements of songs using this program and share it with other guitar players on the internet. You download the software in a zip file and install it on your computer.
Now go to your search engine again and type in the name of the song you want to learn followed by "tabledit". If your request is not too obscure, you will get a number of web pages where you can download your song. As an example, type "classical gas tabledit" into a search engine and you will be rewarded with over one-hundred-and-fifty results. The only drawback with the free version of the program is you can't edit and save the music you are learning.
Another free guitar notation program is called Powertab, so if you can't find a Tabledit file for the piece you want, try your search using "power tab".
Now sit down with yourself and let the notation program play the song. Get a good grip on how the song sounds. Then start to learn the notes in whatever size chunks you need. Break it into licks, bars, half bars, whatever, but don't ride over any bits that are difficult for you. The ultimate aim is to perform a series of small movements, each one leading to the next without unnecessary muscular tension.
If you have difficulty with any part of the song, play it slowly several times on your notation program until you can hear it in your head. Then try it slowly on the guitar.
Finally, if you can't find a TablEdit or Powertab arrangement of your song, the latest version or Apple's Quicktime has the ability to slow down any music without altering the pitch. All you need then is a sound file and a tab or sheet music of your piece and you're ready to rock!