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Best Online Guitar Lessons

Thanks to the convenience of the internet, driving to an in-person guitar lesson is less of a necessity and more of an option. The other option? Online guitar lessons.

Taking guitar lessons online is a more comfortable, more convenient option for many, especially if you’re too busy to schedule an in-person lesson. Online lessons are often a more straightforward way to learn guitar: all you need is internet access.

Whatever the reason, if you’ve always wanted to find the best online guitar lessons but didn’t know where to start, you’ve come to the right place. Here are five tried-and-true options to check out. 

Guitar Tricks

Guitar Tricks began in 1998 and since then, has evolved into a source of over 1,000 songs from a plethora of bands. It has more than 11,000 lessons. Top-notch, experienced instructors from all over the globe teach these lessons, so you know you’re in good hands. 

One of the best things about Guitar Tricks is what a comprehensive source it is. It doesn’t matter if you’re a complete beginner, a novice guitar player, or an advanced guitarist — this online platform can provide anyone with lessons and songs to learn. 

Here are a few more pros to keep in mind.

Pros:

  • There are thousand of lessons which means you’re getting a comprehensive guitar education.
  • Guitar Tricks offers its patrons one-on-one lessons, which can be very useful for those who benefit from that teaching style.
  • This program allows you to go entirely at your own pace, which makes learning a cinch.
  • There’s a free trialfor those who want to test the waters before committing to Guitar Tricks.
  • The step-by-step video series is simple and easy to follow.

Below are a few cons I’ve noticed.

Cons:

  • The website itself can be confusing to navigate during the first couple of visits because of its layout.
  • It’s not the cheapest tutorial site.
  • Bass guitar lessons aren’t an option.

If you’ve always wanted to learn how to play classics like “Sweet Home Alabama,” “Folsom Prison Blues” or even more recent tunes, like Ed Sheeran’s “Perfect,” Guitar Tricks might be the answer for you.

JamPlay

JamPlay launched in 2006, and since its creation, JamPlay has grown to over 6,500 lessons with more than 100 instructors. 

A membership with JamPlay can provide you with many advantages as an up-and-coming or experienced guitarist. Its interactive guitar tabs are convenient because they work on mobile devices, you can print them, and there’s no Adobe Flash or other plugins required to run the program.

You’ll also receive a host of tools — from an online tuner to a metronome to the scale and chord library — to help you advance in your guitar skills. Here are some more pros to check out.

Pros:

  • There’s no lack of content with JamPlay so that members can access tons of iconic, memorable songs.
  • The platform is clean and incredibly easy to navigate, which can facilitate your learning process.
  • JamPlay’s lessons are comprehensive; ranging from beginner introductory sessions to more advanced techniques.
  • There’s a large variety of styles — blues, rock, celtic, country, surf rock, reggae — to explore and master, so you’ll never get bored.
  • There’s also a trial membership, which is a great way to sample JamPlay without risking anything.

Of course, you’ll want to consider some of the minor cons that come with JamPlay, too.

Cons:

  • Unfortunately, some iconic artists are missing from JamPlay’s collection.
  • For beginners, JamPlay can be a bit daunting because there’s no set and prominent place to start. 
  • Some of the advanced song lessons can feel incomplete.

Overall, JamPlay is a great option, especially for those who rely on their mobile device, as this platform has an app for both iOS and Android. This makes it easy for the guitarist who’s often on-the-go or simply prefers their mobile device to computer desktop lessons.

Check out my full review of JamPlay now.

Fender Play

You’re probably familiar with the brand name Fender, thanks to its decades-long dedication to guitar-making. However, Fender also hosts lessons through Fender Play, a platform with easy-to-follow, step-by-step lessons. 

Though Fender Play is the newest option — launched in 2017 — it has much to offer, especially if you’re interested in learning other instruments in addition to guitar. This platform makes it easy to learn specific techniques, such as accented strumming, blues shuffle basics, and alternate strumming.

Because there are many styles to choose from, those who wish to buy a subscription or take advantage of the free trial can learn songs from Green Day’s “Basket Case” to the ’90s alternative hit “Wonderwall.” 

Here are a few pros to evaluate. 

Pros:

  • The content is perfect for beginners.
  • For the musically inclined, Fender Play offers ukulele and bass lessons at no extra charge.  
  • There are multiple styles to choose from, from rock to folk to blues and country.
  • The Fender Play website is clean and beautifully designed, making it easy to navigate.

On the other hand, below are a few cons. 

Cons:

  • There aren’t many sub-genres to explore, which could be an issue if you’re looking to play surf rock or funk. 
  • Fender Play’s content might seem a little sparse for more advanced guitarists.
  • There aren’t many online tools available to users. 

Fender Play is an excellent online option, especially for the price. Because it’s also available as an app for both iOS and Android, you can take your lessons with you easier.

TrueFire

TrueFire has been a leading provider of web lessons since its conception in 1991. This site has over 40,000 video lessons and 700 courses for beginner and intermediate guitarists. 

The best thing about TrueFire is its attention to detail and technique. Much of the material focuses on improving technique, so you’ll be able to become a better guitarist faster. It also allows users to go at their own pace, which is especially helpful for intermediate and advanced players who want to skip the beginner material. 

Be sure to read through the below benefits to TrueFire.

Pros:

  • TrueFire offers a 30-day free trial, so you’ll be able to sample some of the platform’s lessons before fully committing to a payment plan. 
  • Private lessons are available for those who thrive with that teaching style.
  • TrueFire has more than 200 instructors with impressive and extensive musical backgrounds.
  • Guitarists can play songs from major styles like rock, country, blues, jazz, and acoustic. 
  • For those who rely on their mobile device, TrueFire does have an app available for both iOS and Android. 

As with everything, here are a few downsides to this platform.

Cons:

  • A majority of TrueFire’s extra features aren’t available unless users pay extra.
  • Because there isn’t a specific starting point, you might feel a bit lost at first, especially if you’re a beginner. 
  • There are not as many songs available to guitarists as other options since TrueFire focuses on technique. 

Still, TrueFire stands as an excellent option for any level guitarist, from novice to expert. For further information, see my full TrueFire in-depth review.

Artist Works

Artist Works is also a newer option for learning to play guitar online. This platform was established in 2008 and has over 50,000 video lessons for its students to use. There is material for beginner, intermediate and advanced guitarists, so nobody’s left out. 

With Artist Works, you’ll be able to send messages and videos of yourself practicing to top instructors — such as Paul Gilbert, Martin Taylor, and Keith Wyatt — for individualized feedback. 

This is a technique-based learning system, so the majority of lessons focus on improving your guitar skills as opposed to learning songs. You’ll be able to lean on other guitarists in the Artist Works community while you’re learning, so you can pick up music styles faster. 

Pros:

  • Artist Works offers a plethora of guitar music styles, including fingerstyle, bluegrass, and classical.
  • The messaging option with personalized feedback is incredibly useful, especially for beginners.
  • The instructors with Artist Works are not only experienced and easy to follow — many of them are famous musicians.
  • Its forums are great places to ask your instructor questions or engage in discussion with the rest of the community. 
  • This site is also flexible with pricing, offering various plans to fit your lifestyle and goals best. 

Cons:

  • Artist Works’ catalog of songs isn’t as impressive as other options, so more advanced players looking to learn hundreds of songs might be better off with an alternative.
  • Artist Works shows its age through the website, which isn’t very easy to navigate.
  • The video player used also seems a little outdated.  

Although Artist Works is a fantastic option for the up-and-coming rock star, it’s also a perfect learning system for musicians who want to learn other instruments at the same time, such as violin, harmonica, or trumpet.

For more on ArtistWorks, see the full review now!

How to Choose the Best Online Guitar Lessons 

As I mentioned before, guitar lessons online are becoming more and more popular due to many reasons, including convenience. However, not all of these courses are created equal.

So, how are you supposed to pick the best online lessons for you, specifically? The easiest way is to evaluate several factors and ensure the lessons will be tailored to your tastes and preferences.

Critical Components to Look For

As it is with in-person guitar lessons, every teacher or instructor has a particular way of teaching guitar lessons. 

For some, private or one-on-one lessons are a necessity. Some guitarists just learn better that way, and you might be one of them. 

Find out what kind of learner you are. If you’re a visual or auditory learner, meaning you rely on visuals and sounds to pick up new skills, the course you choose should have both video and audio. Luckily, these types of online lessons shouldn’t be too difficult to find. 

If you’re a kinesthetic learner, you learn via tactile methods such as (you guessed it) playing the guitar yourself. That’s another easy way to learn because whatever lessons you choose, you’ll definitely be playing along and practicing techniques yourself with your instrument. 

Those who learn by reading and writing might have a trickier time learning with solely visuals and audio. However, that doesn’t mean you’ll have a more difficult time picking up the guitar. That’s not the case at all. If you fit into that category, one of the best things you can do is take notes during the lessons. With web lessons, it’s easy to pause the lesson and jot down a few essential things you’d like to remember. After the lesson, you can review these and refer back to them whenever you need to. 

Regardless of how you learn best, another one of the most critical things to look for is a balanced but comprehensive approach.

In other words — especially if you’re a beginner guitarist — you need a learning structure that you can understand and work with. If you find yourself in an online lesson and your instructor is using words like “power chords” or “alternate picking” without explaining them thoroughly, that isn’t a very stable or in-depth way to learn. Although details are important, you can see the big picture if you only scrutinize the details.

Today, we use our mobile devices more than ever, and it’s always a good sign if the platform you’re considering has a mobile app for both iOS and Android. 

Trial periods are not only an excellent key component of a successful learning platform, but they’re also a handy way to make you like the learning material and content. If the site in question doesn’t offer a trial period, it’s much riskier to choose that platform since you don’t know for sure if you’ll enjoy it or thrive under that instruction. 

Lastly, you’ll want to do a little research on your own. Make a brief list of what you’re looking for in an online guitar course. It might be helpful also to jot down your budget. How much are you willing to pay to learn the guitar online? Pricing varies based on the online guitar platform, so they’ll be plenty of options. 

If you think you’ve narrowed it down to a few platforms, it’s always a good idea to browse various forums (such as Reddit) to see what people are discussing when it comes to that particular online guitar course. Read reviews — both good and bad — about the lessons you’re considering purchasing. It’s a great sign if the site has a large, encouraging community. 

All that said, the most important thing is making sure you’re getting the best service for your money. If the platform checks all your boxes and is within your budget, go for it. 

What Are the Advantages of Online Guitar Lessons?

Of course, there are many advantages to learning how to play guitar online. I’ve compiled a quick list of what I think are the most significant benefits to learning guitar online.

Cost

With in-person guitar lessons, the student is often restricted in a few ways. Locally, you’ll only have a few options for teachers and lesson costs. However, with online lessons, you’re entirely in control: choose your instructor, the price of the platform, and the classes you’re most interested in. In other words, the options are virtually limitless. 

It’s also usually cheaper. An average in-person guitar lesson costs between $20-$40 (per lesson). For online guitar lessons, they’re typically subscription-based, meaning you pay a monthly or annual fee for unlimited lessons — a more inexpensive option. 


Time Management

Online guitar classes are usually conducted through a combination of forms. This could mean video lessons, online chats, or live-cam sessions. It’s often easier for people who are busy or have hectic schedules.

You’ll take lessons on your own time. Instead of having to drive to your lesson every Tuesday at 5 p.m., you log on for your class whenever you want. 

This is especially convenient for parents, workaholics, and students, no matter what their level of education is. Can’t sleep? It’s perfectly acceptable to log on and complete a course at 2 a.m. if need be. You manage your own time, which leads to your success.

Choose Your Pace

With these online courses, you’ll get to choose the pace you want to move at. In-person guitar lessons often involve moving at the instructor’s pace. With an online platform, you’re free to move as quickly or as slowly as you wish, without judgment.

Ease of Access 

You can access the lessons whenever and wherever you want — it’s even easier if your chosen platform has a mobile app for iOS and Android. 

It’s an excellent option for those who simply feel more comfortable in their own space. 

In terms of access, many online guitar lesson options allow you to re-watch lessons or courses, so you’ll always have access to the information or lesson material even if you forget some aspects of the teaching. This is also helpful for your overall progress when learning to play guitar. 

All in all, the advantages of these lessons are, in a way, endless. Online guitar courses are what you make them, so whether you’re a complete novice or a guitarist just looking to learn some new techniques and material, it’s an excellent learning tool.

Essential Things to Keep in Mind

Although these platforms are advantageous, you’ll still want to make sure you keep a couple of things in mind should you choose to sign up for one of them.

Gather All the Tools You’ll Need.

Although it might sound obvious, make sure you have everything you need before signing up with an online platform. 

For beginners, this means gaining access to the tools you’ll need. Most importantly, do you have a guitar to play? Are you're hands big enough to play the guitar you have? You can choose the type of guitar based on what you’re hoping to learn. If you plan to rock, an electric guitar and an amp to amplify your guitar’s sound would be a good choice. If you’re into the “coffeehouse” vibe, maybe an acoustic guitar is more your speed. 

Regardless, you’ll probably also want to check out the following tools:

  • Guitar picks: These are essential for most guitarists and come in a plethora of shapes and sizes (try a thinner pick if you’re planning on strumming and a thicker pick for more control). Don't forget to learn the proper way to hold the pick!
  • A case: Even if you’re not yet playing shows, a guitar case helps keep your instrument safe from things like dirt, dust, and scratches. 
  • A capo: This is a tool that can help you play various songs in different keys and will prove helpful as you move on from learning the basics.
  • Extra guitar strings: Guitar strings will eventually break and it’s totally normal — wear and tear, how much pressure you apply to the strings and age can cause a string to break, so it’s always nice to have a few on hand.
  • A notebook or blank sheet music: This will be handy when you’d like to write down the songs you learn.
  • A guitar tuner: Although many platforms will have online tuners, it’s always nice to have a manual one to keep on your person or in your guitar case. Learn to tune the guitar here.

Be Mindful of the Cost.

First and foremost, make sure you’re not being scammed out of your money. If the courses are moving too slowly for you, you might want to consider finding another online guitar platform. You don’t want to be dragging along at a slow pace while being charged via subscription. You want to find a happy medium between a balanced speed and absorbing information.

Practice your Self-discipline.

Dedication is also essential. With an online guitar course, there’s often nobody to hold you accountable per se. You’re the one in charge, so you have to keep yourself responsible for your learning. 

You’ll need to be just the right amount of disciplined to ensure you can complete an online guitar lesson. Do your best to create some sort of schedule, even if it’s a loose schedule. Practice is essential to learning any type of instrument, so sticking to a plan can help young guitarists progress easier.

Set Personal Goals.

Within the same vein, setting short term and long term goals will also act as a catalyst for your progress. 

Short term goals can be almost anything. Maybe you want to complete three lessons this week. That’s a short term goal. Perhaps you’d like to practice a little bit every single day for a week. These are reasonable goals to keep in mind.

Long term goals can also be pretty versatile. For some of you, that might mean mastering the guitar solo in Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven.” Whatever it may be, commit it to memory or, better yet, write down your aspirations so you’re motivated to meet them. 

It’s always important to make sure these personal goals are realistic. Setting a short term goal of performing on-stage next week for a beginner who hasn’t yet learned a song might not be practical. Set goals that will apply to you and are possible to reach. 

When you reach these goals, you’ll be motivated to keep going to reach your long term goal: improving your guitar skills.

The Verdict

All things considered, Guitar Tricks has my vote as the best option of the roundup. Guitar Tricks has been in the business for the longest amount of time, and it certainly shows. Although it’s not the cheapest on the list, its valuable attributes make the price more than worth it. 

Guitar Tricks’ lessons and course material is comprehensive, so any guitarist — no matter what level they are — can benefit from this platform. 

Beginning an online guitar course is an excellent way to pick up the guitar or hone in on your existing skills. It’s more convenient, as you’re always able to get a lesson in, and you’re able to go at your own pace, step by step.

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