I was taught that when we want to say "produce sound on a musical instrument", we should always use the definite article before the instrument ("play the guitar/piano/violin").
I did research on this, and I got the expected results from the dictionaries I use:
Jean plays the guitar and her brother is on percussion. Cambridge Dictionary - guitar
He learned to play the clarinet at the age of ten. Cambridge Dictionary - play
He taught himself to play the violin. Oxford Dictionary - play
(particularly, they all pertain to the skill these people possess)
Then I came across this thread. There, some people said "play guitar" is more common in the USA while "play the guitar" is BrE.
One trustworthy American English dictionary provided the next examples:
Howard Roberts played guitar and Schuur sang and played a Fender Rhodes piano. vocabulary.com - guitar
I never thought about combining it with drag, ’cause to me, well, drag queens don’t play guitar. vocabulary.com - guitar
Moreover, I generated the ngram graph and noticed that the expressions using the are way more popular than those without the article:
Now I am confused about which one is correct and whether they are both acceptable.