Well, since I'm one of the mouthiest when it comes to technical suggestions, I'll start it off with a couple.
GUITAR: It's been my experience that the size and shape of your guitar can make a huge difference in the time it takes to learn to play. If you have the luxury of choosing your instrument, don't go for the biggest at the beginning. Many experienced players designate guitar sizes according to the model names used over the years by Gibson and Martin. The "D" size (Martin) and the "J-200" size (Gibson) are both very large instruments, and may be awkward at first to a beginner, or someone of smaller stature. If you're carryin' a few extra pounds, they can make learning more of a chore as well.
Keep in mind that virtually every company from low-priced budget up to super-expensive, usually have models that fit the Martin/Gibson designations, and staff in a music store will understand if you ask for an "0" or "00" (smaller) size, even if your price range is a hundred bucks. They can also show you catalogues, which every store has, and that should demystify some of it.
Classical Guitars have nylon strings which are easier on those beginning fingers...but have wide necks. There's always a trade off.
Of course many folks learned on instruments with VERY high action (strings need to be pushed really hard, equalling pain) or jumbo sized instruments, but generally it's easier on a smaller guitar, 'cause you can see over the top of the body and neck where your fingers are supposed to go.