Best Online Guitar Lessons
OK, so you want to learn how to play the guitar? That’s awesome! As a professional guitar player and teacher myself, I can attest tot he fact that you’re about to embark on a journey that can be very fulfilling and last a lifetime. Having the ability to make and play music will be a comfort and a source of joy throughout your life, whether times are good or bad.
Learning guitar in the modern era
One of the biggest challenges today for learning guitar is figuring out how to go about actually learning the instrument. Some would argue that it is easier to learn guitar to day than ever before. There are several reasons why people argue this. I’ll break it down point by point for you.
For one, you can get a great guitar for a low price. This is advantageous because most people don’t want to go hardcore and spend a lot of money on something that they might not enjoy or like. However, today you can have a modest beginner’s budget and still be able to get a great instrument on which you can learn.
Secondly, there are tons of resources that make guitar learning easy – even to the point of learning in the comfort of your own home! Back in the day, many people would have to search far and wide for a good guitar teacher or learn on their own. Now, there are online resources with great certified teachers who can guide you through the beginning steps of playing the guitar.
It’s not all gravy…
There are, however, downsides to being able to have it so easy in this day and age. Because of the plethora of free online resources for guitar, it is easy to start learning and then quit. This is not because of a lack of motivation on your part, but rather due to not having structure in the lessons.
Think about it this way – if you wanted to go get in shape, there are plenty of things that you could do on your own. However, without a clear workout plan, it might be easy to fall off the rails and be inconsistent with working out. However, if you pay for a subscription to the gym or take classes with a trainer, you might be able to have more structure to keep you accountable.
So then, how should I learn guitar?
In my personal opinion, the best way to learn guitar is through some sort of lesson plan that has structure. It’s just like being in school – you’ll start off with the basics, and then you’ll move on to the more difficult stuff in an organized manner. This will allow you to move through the material in such a fashion that you’ll be able to comprehend it as well as retain it.
How do you find lessons with structure, though? Obviously, if you have a teacher available with a lesson plan, then that’s great. However, most of us don’t have easy access to an accomplished teacher who will be able to take us through the labyrinth that is learning guitar – or do we?
Like I said before, online resources abound for learning guitar. The free ones are great to browse through, but in my opinion, I think that these resources won’t get you far in the long run.
A lot of these resources are free because the teachers are not professional. They’re just posting videos of how they think you should go about learning guitar. The problem with this is that they might not have a complete understanding of both the instrument and music theory. This can ultimately lead you astray and put you in the dark.
A Better Alternative
Instead of going with free resources for online learning, I think that it is best to go with sites that are tried and true for learning guitar. These sites cost a little bit of money (usually around twenty dollars a month), but they offer clear and concise lessons from professionals who are making and teaching music for a living.
I’ve done a lot of research on these platforms and have found what I consider to be the very best in online guitar lessons. Keep on reading to get the full review on these sites!
My Guitar Journey
I’m sure that if you’re still reading at this point, you’re definitely asking, “who is this guy and why should I trust his opinions on guitar lessons?” That is a great question to ask! I play and teach guitar professionally. I’ve toured with many great bands and worked with a number of excellent producers. However, the most important thing to me is that I get to make a living doing what I enjoy the most – playing music.
I got started on guitar when I was twelve years old. My dad, being an excellent semi professional guitarist, got me a guitar for my birthday and gave me a few lessons. However, after those few lessons, I decided to go off on my own and try to learn how to play my favorite rock songs that I heard on the radio. From that point on, I was pretty much self taught.
Learning on your own is great because it is exciting and is a challenge. However, I really wish that I had had some of the online resources that exist today available to me back then. Some of these resources explain concepts about picking, strumming, and other techniques so well that I would have been able to pick up those concepts so much more quickly.
Today, I teach many lessons to students over the internet and in person. I used to lay out a lesson plan for them. This seemed to work decently well, but I still felt that I wasn’t streamlining my students’ learning experience enough. Additionally, meeting once biweekly with students made it difficult for me to keep them learning at a steady pace. As a result, I knew that I needed to find some more material to give them in order to keep them learning at a high rate.
I searched far and wide for the best guitar learning supplements that might be out there. I did this buy checking out free resources as well as subscribing to online lessons to see what would work best alongside my lessons plans.
After a long and exhaustive search that took almost a year, I found some great online lesson sites that really get into the essence of learning guitar and explain concepts thoroughly and clearly. I now recommend these resources to my guitar students on a regular basis. I’ve seen these sites allow for massive improvement in the way that my students play. Below, I’ve included an in depth analysis of these services and what they can do for you if you are looking to get into learning guitar. Stay tuned!
Top Online Guitar Lessons (in no particular order)
If you’re looking for a guitar learning experience that gets you learning songs right away, then Guitar Tricks might be a great resource for you. A lot of times, it can be difficult to sit through learning tricky concepts and techniques without seeing how they actually pertain to playing songs and making music.
This can definitely be frustrating. It’s like learning boring math concepts in school without seeing their connection to the real world. Guitar Tricks has found a way to teach you songs while integrating important techniques into your arsenal at the same time. This is great for you because you’ll be able to start playing your favorite songs in minutes while gleaning important technical concepts from that song. They’ve got tons of songs to choose from too, so you’ll be able to find something that you’re into right away.
One of the things that I have found most useful about their system for learning is their structure for teaching students of the guitar. They start with teaching the basics through songs but then move on to allowing students to pick what style they want to learn after they’ve mastered the rudimentary concepts.
When I turned my students on to this site, their one complaint about this site is that the genres available are geared towards those who are interested in learning rock, country and blues. They do a great job with teaching these styles, but I would love to see them do other styles such as R&B, Jazz, and Metal.
This approach allows you to learn fast but also learn the way that you want to learn and play the stuff that you want to play. At $20 a month for over eleven thousand online video lessons, this is a steal of a resource. Plus, you can try it for fourteen days for free.
- Tons of in depth videos on guitar techniques
- Solid structure of learning
- Learn songs right away
- Limited genre selection for learning
This is a great resource for beginners and anyone who is interested in learning rock, country, or blues.
Okay, I know that earlier I said that I was not a huge fan of free resources if one is really trying to get serious about learning guitar. Justin Guitar, however, is the one exception. This guy has a host of great lessons ranging from beginner to intermediate to advanced skill levels. This means that wherever you are skill wise, you’ll be able to learn from Justin.
What I appreciate about this resource is the way that Justin has organized his site. He has separate sections for topics like ear training and music theory. In another part of his site, he has videos where he breaks down songs and solos (for example, “Sweet Child o’ Mine” by Guns ‘N Roses) in such a way where they make sense. You’ll be picking up these tunes and riffs in no time with this great resource.
As with other free resources, I think that this site leaves a little bit to be desired in terms of lesson structure. Other than being organized into sections, there is not a set in stone progression for the lessons. This can make it tough to stay on track for learning. That being said, there is still a wealth of information here that you should definitely check out!
Justin Guitar has the option to donate what you think his lessons are worth, and I highly encourage you to do so. It’s not often that someone who is this good of a teacher puts stuff up on the internet for free!
- Great videos on learning both songs and solos
- All skill levels
- Accessible teaching style
- Not structured well for lesson progression
Definitely check this site out to see what it has to offer. At zero cost, what do you have do lose?
This resource is a great way for intermediate and advanced players to keep their playing fresh or push their musicianship to new heights. One of the things I love about JamPlay is that they have over eighty instructors who do videos teaching you a host of techniques and songs. These instructors include famous touring guitar players as well as professors at the lauded Berklee School of Music. In other words, you’ll be learning from the best.
Another feature that I really like about JamPlay is that they host a live session every day with a different instructor. This allows students to ask questions to a real guitar teacher who is listening to things that you might be stuck on or have a hard time understanding. This is a valuable resource for any student.
If you are just starting on guitar, then this resource might be a little bit less useful to you. The beginner portion of this site does not explain things as well as something like Guitar Tricks. However, this resource is unbeatable if you are an intermediate or advanced player.
This service is available for $20 a month. The site also includes backing tracks that you can play along with as well as an app so that you can learn and play on the go. I recommend this to my current students all the time who are looking to stay fresh while they are on vacation or away from home.
- Backing tracks to play along to
- Videos from over eighty world class instructors
- Mobile and app versions for on the go learning
- Lots of different genres to choose from
- Less accessible for beginners
- Quality of teaching can fluctuate between many instructors
If you’ve already been playing guitar for a while, then this resource will definitely help you get to the next level. If you’re a beginner, it might be better for you to start somewhere else.
The final online lesson resource that is worth checking out is ArtistWorks. They have a revolutionary method of learning how to play. All you do is upload a video of yourself playing the lesson material and you get personalized feedback from the instructors. They call this method “video exchange” teaching.
They have world renowned instructors at their site, including folks such as legendary bass player Nathan East as well as guitar virtuoso Paul Gilbert. Plus, they have masters of each genre teaching you how to play that certain style. This is great because you can get training from a specialist who is the best at that genre.
The only drawback is that you’ll have to have a reliable and fast internet connection in order to upload videos to the instructors. There is a little bit of a learning curve involved with figuring out how the lessons work, but once you’ve got the hang of it, you’re off to the races.
ArtistWorks is a little pricier at $105 for three months, but if you break it down, that’s only like a dollar a day. I think it’s totally worth it to get input on your own playing from some of the world’s best guitar players.
- Personalized feedback
- Learn from some of the best players on the planet
- Unique approach to learning
- Tons of genres to choose from with specialists in each style
- Pricier than other resources
- A little bit tech heavy
If you want to learn directly from some of the masters, here is your chance. Be sure to check this resource out and give it a try!
If you really want to get down to learning guitar, there is no better time than now. The resources that I’ve listed for you should be able to help you get on a great start of learning and growing as a musician.
I truly wish that I had had all of this available to me when I was coming up. There are a few of my guitar heroes (such as the aforementioned Paul Gilbert) who are teaching lessons through these platforms. To me, that is amazing!
Good luck on your guitar learning journey, and remember, have fun while you’re doing it!