Top 5 Online Guitar Lessons Websites in 2019 [Beginners To Advanced]
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Trying to learn how to play guitar? Well done – this is probably the best decision you will ever make! However, the guitar can be a tricky instrument to learn, which is why a good course is essential if you want to do things properly.
Last Updated May-10-2019
In the most recent revisit to this article, we went through each summary to ensure the course details were up-to-date for 2019.
We also added some of our new video reviews for sites such as GuitarTricks, JamPlay and Fendr Play, which give you a good glimpse of the courses in action.
In the good ol’ days – and we’re talking just 20 years ago – the only real way to learn guitar was from a book, a VHS, or face-to-face with a teacher. While these are still very valid methods (just replace VHS with Blu-ray!), learning how to play guitar via an online course is now considered one of the best ways of learning.
Which is why we have created this page. Here we give you everything you need to know about some of the most popular online guitar courses, their pros and cons, and whether they are worth spending your cash on.
Below is a quick comparison table highlighting some of our favorite online guitar courses. Stay tuned after the chart for a more in-depth look at these courses and what they can offer you.
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Top 5 Websites For Learning Guitar:
+ Huge archive of lessons and songs
+ Easy website to navigate
+ Some handy extra features
+ Constantly improving
+ Offers new one-on-one lessons
- Song lessons for some major bands still missing
- No bass guitar lessons
- New one-on-one lessons cost extra
+ More than 100 different instructors
+ Bursting with content
+ Excellent for both beginners and advanced players
+ Learn iconic songs from the artists who wrote them
+ Great range of Artist Series and live courses
- Some iconic artists are missing in the song list
- A few advanced song lessons feel incomplete
3. Fender Play
+ Beautiful site design and slick videos
+ Great content for complete beginners
+ A growing list of song lessons
+ Ukulele and bass tuition at no extra cost
+ Competitive price
- Lacking content for advanced players
- Some song lessons are not complete
- No forum or chatroom
- Low on extra features and tools
- Still a little low on content
+ Over 200 experienced and iconic instructors
+ A jaw-dropping catalog of 40,000 guitar lessons
+ Great content for intermediate and advanced players
+ Extra jam tracks and private lessons are available
- Structure can be a little confusing for beginners
- Lack of individual song lessons will put some users off
- Many of the extra features are subject to additional charges
+ Superb expert instruction
+ Distinctive Video Exchange feature
+ Active community that increases in size
+ Great range of Artist Series and live courses
- No full songs to learn
- Format takes a bit of getting used to
The Advantages of Learning Guitar Online
Taking one-on-one, face-to-face guitar lessons with a local teacher is a tried-and-tested way of learning the guitar – but this method also has its drawbacks.
Not only are you limited to one teacher, and restricted to their course material and schedules, but they tend to be expensive – especially if you want to learn to a decent standard.
This is why online lessons have completely revolutionized the way people learn guitar (or any instrument for that matter).
In a nutshell, the advantages of learning online include:
• Convenience. Learning online is an incredibly convenient way of nailing the basics of guitar right up to advanced soloing, all from the comfort of your own computer. Providing you have a laptop, tablet or smartphone, you can take your lessons literally anywhere.
• Pace. With online lessons, you can learn at your own pace – whether you are a slow learner or can only dedicate so much time to playing, you can learn and practice when you want; not when your guitar teacher tells you to.
• Choice. Online tuition is also great for giving you choice. That may be the number of instructors, a wider range of genres, or an instant archive of songs to learn. With online lessons, you will be able to tailor the majority of courses to fit your style.
• Cost. Another big plus is that online courses are cheaper in the long run (even in the short run!). A private tutor could cost you anywhere between $20 and $40 per lesson, which can soon build up – especially if you are a complete beginner and need lots of instruction. Online courses tend to be much cheaper, with some coming in at around $20 a month (less than a dollar a day).
If you learn every day, the money you can save quickly adds up – and that’s before you take into account the amount of free lessons and free courses on offer.
Why Pay for Online Lessons When YouTube is Free?
Make no mistake about it – there is no better time to learn guitar than in the internet era. Video platforms like YouTube are awash with thousands and thousands of free guitar tuition videos.
You have professional musicians teaching in-depth technique lessons, right down to amateurs teaching random songs from their bedrooms.
While choice is a great thing, this can lead to problems. There is only so much benefit that jumping from YouTube video to YouTube video and learning random chords and songs can offer.
Learning guitar from scratch can be a little daunting. Unless you know where to start you can easily get flustered and overwhelmed, or you can see no progress and get bored very quickly.
Sure, there may be videos on everything from holding the guitar to playing your first songs, but what order do you learn them? Should you be learning chords first? Or scales? Or should you learn how to strum before everything else? Or should you learn it all at the same time?
How do you chart your progress, or decide what to watch when you are presented with thousands of instructional videos on YouTube?
For a relatively small fee, starting a bona fide online guitar course can provide you with both a reputable teacher as well as the structure you need to progress.
Start at the beginning of one of these courses, follow the step-by-step lessons for a few weeks, be sure to practice, and you are almost guaranteed to see good progress!
Detailed Platform Breakdown:
GuitarTricks is often seen as the king of online guitar courses – and for good reason.
Launched in 1998, it is one of the oldest and most comprehensive guitar tuition sites around, boasting an archive of 11,000 lessons, with more than 700 songs.
Overall, the website is slick and easy to navigate, while the new video player is simple to get to grips with. This player makes learning easy, with advanced functions such as slow motion and A/B looping, while most of the videos are filmed in super-clear 4K.
Instructors are plentiful – there are 32 of them, all of which are experts in their own styles of guitar music, while many are professional recording and touring artists.
For complete beginners, the easy-going Lisa McCormick takes the Guitar Fundamentals Level 1 course, which gives you a solid grounding in the instrument and actually starts you playing simple songs with backing tracks from the first few lessons.
Advanced players can explore foundation courses for three different styles of music: blues, country or rock, with two course levels per style.
Aside from learning techniques, there is also a bank of 700 different song lessons, covering artists like The Beatles, Blink 182, AC/DC, Pink Floyd and Metallica, among many others.
One slight drawback is that of the 700 songs, some less popular bands feature more than some guitar icons. Still, despite a little lack of balance, with so much choice covering a full spectrum of styles, you’ll never be bored.
Throw in an active community, regular blogs, and a host of useful tools, and it’s clear to see why 1.9 million guitarists use the system.
Check out our video review of GuitarTricks:
When it comes to online tuition, you can’t go far without hearing the words ‘JamPlay’! This long-running online guitar school is one of the most comprehensive around, with several unique features that make it a very serious contender for top dog.
One of these features is the number of instructors – there are more than 100 of them! The good news is that it’s not a case of quantity over quality. The majority of JamPlay tutors are professional artists, some of which are members of iconic bands.
For example, the Megadeth songs are taught by former Megadeth shredder Glen Drover; Staind lessons are taken by Mike Mushok; and Machine Head lessons taught by both Robb Flynn and Phil Demmel. You also have a huge roster of other familiar guitarists, including Nick Catanese, Ron ‘Bumblefoot’ Thal, Brent Mason, and Dave Isaacs.
The feel and format of the lessons is also very polished, with a sensible site layout, a customizable lesson dashboard, and an advanced video player.
The videos themselves are filmed in high definition, with multiple angles on screen at one time to aid tuition.
There’s no shortage of things to learn either, with more than 6,500 different lessons and a big range of songs to learn. These include hits from The Beatles, Fall Out Boy, Jimi Hendrix, The Offspring, ZZ Top, Eric Clapton, System of a Down, and many more.
It’s not solely the heavier styles of music that are catered for, as JamPlay offer tuition on an unrivaled menu of genres – blues, fingerstyle, classical, jazz, pop, bluegrass, country, and surf among others. Be sure to check out the full list of styles you can enjoy learning.
Ultimately there is a lot to keep you coming back to JamPlay. Such as Live Courses, where a JamPlay instructor streams a live lesson, focusing on a certain style or technique.
You will also find plenty of extras including a collection of Artist Series courses, training games, a lively community and an array of tools to help you along.
Check out our video review of JamPlay:
Despite a relatively short existence, the platform has already built up a great beginner’s course with plenty of tuition on chords, techniques and songs, although the lack of content for experienced players means advanced guitarists should probably look elsewhere for now.
The site design is very stylish and feels fresh, modern and minimalist – reflected in the high definition videos themselves.
The course instructors don’t have the same notability as some of the other sites, but they are still experienced and friendly.
A big plus for guitarists wanting to dabble in different instruments is that some quality bass and ukulele tuition is included at no extra cost. This includes a dedicated archive of bass and ukulele songs to learn.
On that note, there is also a good range of guitar songs to work through, similar in style to the leading websites. However, as these lessons are tailored towards beginners, some songs end up feeling a little incomplete.
The site lacks some of the extras and community feel that other systems offer, which is a bit of a shame, but the overall cost is lower than others, so it is still a worthwhile choice.
Ultimately, Fender Play has a bit of catching up to do when it comes to content, but they have laid the foundations for what could be an excellent site in the near future. The progress over the past year has been impressive, so we look forward to the next few years!
Check out our video review of Fender Play:
Having been in business since 1991, it’s safe to say that TrueFire has a lot of experience under its belt! The numbers back it up – they offer more than 40,000 lessons and 700 courses, which pretty much guarantees you will never run out of things to do.
The instructors are a highlight and rival the likes of ArtistWorks in terms of pedigree, with several huge guitar icons teaching some of the courses, such as Steve Vai, Robben Ford and Tommy Emmanuel.
These three barely scrape the surface though, as TrueFire offers more than 200 incredibly experienced instructors.
While the Learning Paths beginner’s courses are great, it is the content for intermediate and advanced players where TrueFire really excels, with a huge range of core and supplementary courses to choose from.
The open structure can be a little confusing if you are unsure where to start, but providing you can use some initiative, the system is relatively straightforward to get to grips with.
The website is pretty stylish and easy to navigate, while most of the videos are filmed in high definition. Many feature multiple camera angles and use the modern SoundSlice player for a strong interactive experience.
Unlike JamPlay and GuitarTricks, there isn’t a huge catalog of songs to learn from, as TrueFire focuses more on teaching techniques instead of helping you add songs to your repertoire.
Whether or not this is a negative will depend on your style and aims as a guitarist.
As for extras, several features are offered including fully-adjustable ‘In The Jam’ backing tracks and private lessons with a tutor, although these features cost extra.
Ultimately, the core courses and thousands of other lessons provide enough value for any level of guitarist. This is why TrueFire remains so popular after all these years.
Check out our video review of TrueFire:
Compared to the leaders in online tuition, ArtistWorks does things a little differently. This site focuses on the community and instructors, instead of on learning individual songs.
For some people, this is an excellent way of learning the guitar – especially when you take into account the caliber of instructors on offer.
For example, students enrolling on the Rock Guitar course will be tutored by none other than Paul Gilbert (Mr. Big, Racer X) – one of the fastest guitarists of all time and a true legend.
Electric Country guitar lessons are taken by one of Nashville’s leading guitarists Guthrie Trapp; flatpicking virtuoso Bryan Sutton is in charge of Bluegrass Guitar lessons; while Nathan East – one of the most popular and recorded bassists of all time – is just one of the bass instructors for ArtistWorks. It’s hard to rival this kind of instruction.
What makes it all the more special is you get personal video feedback from your tutor, thanks to the innovative Video Exchange feature.
This adds a new dimension to online learning, allowing students to film and upload videos of themselves playing to the Video Exchange, before receiving video feedback from their instructor full of tips and advice.
There’s also a huge archive of these exchange videos, so you can watch how others cope with the lessons and see what feedback the instructor offers them.
In addition to the regular lessons and unique Video Exchange aspect, ArtistWorks focuses on the community side of learning guitar, and provides a variety of ways to keep in touch with your expert tutor and friendly, like-minded fellow students including dedicated forums, a Shoutbox chatroom, and an active Facebook community.
While the lack of songs will put some guitarists off, the expert tuition and Video Exchange is well worth the price of the course alone. You can read more about ArtistWorks in our full review or click here to sign up.
How Much Do These Sites Cost?
Now’s the time to talk money. How much will you be paying to enjoy online guitar lessons from the comfort of your own home and in your own time?
GuitarTricks is $19.95 every month, or you can pay an annual fee of $179.95, which saves you $60 over the year in comparison to the monthly fee.
JamPlay is also $19.95 per month, or an annual payment of $159.95 – a great saving that works out at just 44 cents a day. You can also buy a premium ‘Year Pro’ subscription for $299.95, offering one-on-one consultation and several other goodies.
Fender Play is slightly cheaper than the others at just $9.99 per month, with a good-value yearly subscription of $89.99. This price includes both bass and ukulele lessons.
TrueFire is $19 per month, with an annual subscription of $199 (essentially giving you two months for free). There is also a lifetime subscription for $1,999 – it pays for itself after 10 years!
ArtistWorks is $35 per month (with a three-month plan) or $30 per month (with a six-month plan). There is also an annual plan at $279 per year (working out at $23.35 month).
How Do I Try These Sites for Free?
The good news is that the majority of these online guitar lesson sites offer a free trial. This allows you to sample each platform for up to a month before making a final decision.
For example, GuitarTricks offers a 14-day free trial, allowing you two weeks of access all areas tuition.
Fender Play also offers a completely free two-week trial, which is more than enough time to learn the basics.
Other sites, such as JamPlay, offer free one-week trials and don’t even require a credit card to join.
While it’s not ideal to sign up to every single free trial (because jumping around from site to site will land you with no structure and more confusion), trying one or two of the platforms you are interested in is a great idea.
The Final Word
There you have it – a complete guide to five of the most popular online guitar tuition websites currently available.
Our advice is to check out the websites themselves, then take advantage of a few free trials and see if the format suits you. There is plenty of choice, so take advantage of this!
Not every website will appeal to every guitarist. Beginners would find use with most of our choices, although more experienced guitarists would be better off sticking with JamPlay or TrueFire for their advanced content.
Every guitarist is different, so it’s up to you to decide what you prefer. Keep checking back, as we will review new online guitar courses as they appear. Good luck!