Right on, scawa (2006 Dec 20 Sat 14:00), bootlegger (ditto, 17:09), and many others! I too have played for 40 yr; learned as a soph in coll., Sep '66. I had a freshman roommate who was 6 mos. into the guitar, had one I could borrow (Harmony 6-string, which went for $50 in 1966, and was very good for its price class), and his having just picked up the levels I needed to learn, he was able to show me a lot of very useful stuff. And my kid sister, a HS soph, was also just learning, and we traded pointers, songs, techniques. Plus, it was the era of Dylan, Peter, Paul & Mary, Joan Baez, Ian & Sylvia, Simon & Garfunkel, Mamas & Papas, Beatles, Byrds, Lovin' Spoonful, etc., etc., so plenty of examples around to learn from by ear, and which fit real well into acoustic guitar.
Also, it helped that I had about 10 yrs' piano playing under the belt, so I already knew a lot about chord structures and such. And to top it off, there was a folk club on campus to go listen, jam & learn, try my hand at performing in front of a small audience (5 - 15 typically) of fellow students -- minimal pressure.
All this made for an ideal, fertile learning ground. It is indispensable to be strongly motivated to learn. Inspiration can come from listening to those in the stratosphere of virtuosity. On the piano, I think of Paderewski, Horowitz, or Rubinstein playing the Polonaise Militaire. On guitar, anything by Al Petteway, Carlos Santana or the late Jerry Garcia, Danny Gatton, Frank Zappa. Or whoever is your guitar-playing idol.
So just follow these four steps:
1. Listen in awe.
2. Think, "I'll never even get onto the same planet as that guy." Hang on to that admiration for a decent interval, maybe 10 sec., maybe 30.
3. Then toss that thought totally out of your mind, and think, "I'm gonna go get that, no matter how long it takes!"
4. Then go do it, using all the advice from previous postings in this thread.
"A journey of 1000 miles begins with a single step."
I.e., it's good to have a long-term goal, however nebulous, that's well beyond your current ability, while pursuing a series of graded, easier, short-term goals. Keep one eye on the horizon with the other on your next footstep.
If you have a burning desire for the music, you'll get there!
Fred in Laurel, Md.