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Once you set your feet on the path of learning how to play an instrument, you never actually stop learning. There’s plenty of room for improvement in every technique you deem you’ve mastered, and in all fairness, nobody knows ‘everything’ as far in terms of theoretical aspects behind the actual playing.
Now, some people pay hundreds of dollars each week to their guitar professors, which used to be perfectly fine, but more and more people are turning to online courses simply due to the simplicity they offer. Knowing that there are dozens and dozens of guitar lesson websites and platforms, we’ve searched the market for the most comprehensive online platforms (both paid and free) and have come up with the following list.
Here are the best online guitar lessons in 2021:
1. Guitar Tricks
Guitar Tricks boasts longevity that not many guitar lesson websites have; they’ve been around the market ever since 1998, and they’re still going strong more than two decades after. There are numerous reasons why they are held in such high regard among guitar newcomers and beginners, and we’re here to name but a few of the most notable ones.
Guitar Tricks are also one of the best beginner-friendly sites that feature specially designed programs that can teach immediate beginners the ropes of guitar playing; their CLS (core-learning-system) starts off with two levels of guitar fundamentals, after which newcomers are allowed to pick and choose one of the three ‘specialization trees’, including Blues Style, Country Style, and Rock Style.
Firstly, before you dive into one of the three branches you’ll get the opportunity to learn basic and relatively advanced techniques while the intermediate levels will help you refine and polish your chops in a simple fashion.
Additionally, you will be able to quickly learn how to play some of your favorite songs, as the catalog of Guitar Tricks offers over a thousand step-by-step tutorials of popular songs, and better yet, it’s expanding even as you’re reading this.
From iconic rock tracks composed by bands such as The Eagles, Lynyrd Skynyrd, over classics like John Lennon and The Beatles, to up-and-coming performers such as Cage the Elephant, Ed Sheeran, you’re bound to find your go-to tunes as well as discover interesting new ones.
Now, another great benefit that you will be able to reap is the fact that this platform offers a free trial; you’ll be able to check out its features and actually even learn a couple of tricks before deciding whether or not you want to stick with it.
As far as price is considered, Guitar Tricks operate on monthly memberships; there’s no ‘exclusive content’, which means that you will be granted access to all of the features as you see fit. However, you can also stick with the training courses if you want to get the most value for your buck.
Check Guitar Tricks
Guitar Tricks is essentially a beginner’s platform that will be able to bring out your talent and refine your working ethics in a fun, engaging way. We recommend this online guitar lesson website mainly because they offer so much while asking for so little; newcomers won’t have to worry about saving up money for these lessons, as they are available cheap even after the free trial period expires.
If you’ve been searching for online guitar lessons and courses prior to stopping by here, the chances are you’ve stumbled upon Udemy already. That’s not surprising at all given the fact that this is one of the largest, most popular guitar-learning websites around.
In short words, Udemy is an online skill acquisition academy, and it’s a terrific spot for beginners to learn the basics, and even for the top-tier killed players to refine their techniques.
Their platform is relatively easy to navigate, you’ll have to at least have some idea what to look for before you can start getting some actual value for your buck. The ‘most popular’ searches all relate to paid content, and there is no free-trial package that will provide you access to these courses sadly.
However, there are quite a few benefits to be reaped should you decide to go with this option. Udemy hosts an array of professional teachers, which makes taking different lessons and courses a bit more versatile and eclectic.
The tons of all the content are neatly categorized into logical groups, such as acoustic guitar, blues guitar, fingerstyle, rock, classical, country, and similar genre-based packages, but some sessions and classes regard music theory, techniques, and even bits and pieces of music production.
Arguably one of the best things about Udemy is that they often offer substantial discounts to their sponsored masterclasses weekly, although the drawback of this approach is that you’re not always going to be able to line your lessons in chronological patterns.
Further on that note, the highlight feature of Udemy’s guitar learning academy segment is precisely the master-class section. Instead of resorting to all-encompassing packages and learning systems, students will get to learn the craft of different teachers in small steps.
As mentioned before, Udemy does not offer free trials, and all of the content on their guitar lesson website is based on the pay-to-unlock system, which is actually much better than it sounds. Unlocking guitar classes will allow you to visit them at any time you want regardless of where you are, which makes the learning process tailored to your personal preferences and, obviously, obligations.
However, the main drawback of this is that there aren’t any disciplinary ‘systems’; if you get stuck or overwhelmed at any point, you won’t get notifications, pep-talk, or any sort of extra ‘motivation’, for a lack of a better word.
|Check Udemy Guitar Courses||
Udemy has something for everyone; beginners will get the opportunity to quickly acquire the basic skills while advanced players can partake in intermediate-level master-classes. The accessibility of Udemy classes and lessons combined with weekly discounts on numerous master-classes casts a long shadow over the fact that most of the content is, sadly, quite pricey.
Signing up for TrueFire guitar lessons is a sure-fire way of learning how to play guitar, even if you’ve never picked up an instrument in your life so far. Generally speaking, this site offers everything a guitarist could ever possibly want, including super-star educators, simple beginner’s lessons, thorough advanced lessons, cheap membership, free-trial packages, and even the chance to apply for a position of an actual educator within the company.
Let’s start from the ground up, the main reason why we are recommending this guitar lesson platform is that it features streams from some of the most renowned guitar gods on the planet, including Steve Vai, Tommy Emmanuel, Larry Carlton, and many others.
Money-wise, there are a couple of options you have depending on your budget and obviously determination to learn how to play an instrument. Initially, we recommend going with the free trial version, which will give you access to the most basic facilities of the site, which includes a solid number of beginner lesson streams and virtual guitar tools.
A monthly membership subscription costs $19, but annual subscriptions are much cheaper, totaling at $199. There’s another option for the most dedicating, most determined players who want to stick with TrueFire for life, but it’s as expensive as $1,999.
Although it may appear counter-intuitive at first, it actually offers the most value for the buck since there’s enough content already for a century of learning, not to mention that new videos, lessons, and classes are uploaded regularly.
Some of the other notable features of the TrueFire platform include interactive tablatures and notations of popular songs, as well as personalized progress tracking, both of which are highly motivational features that are constantly being upgraded and refined. This platform is excellent for beginners and skilled guitar players, but it actually has numerous streams that have helped professional players just as much.
Being taught by some of the most respected and renowned guitar teachers and players is one thing, but being able to access such content free of charge is game-changing. If you decide to stick with TrueFire, you’re bound to learn not just the basics, but some of the best-kept guitar secrets too. Additionally, all membership options are fairly cheap.
JamPlay is an excellent site that offers a plethora of features to both members and non-members. What makes this guitar training website different from others is the fact that they boast a massive library that you can use to step up your music theory game before even starting the free trial course.
While this is essentially a beginner’s guitar lesson website, JamPlay also offers hours and hour’s worth of content that can help intermediate-level and skilled players advance through the ranks rapidly.
The learning system of this website is pretty diverse, and it’s comprised of beginner lessons, style and genre familiarization, skill-building courses, master classes, and song tutorials. Of course, you’ll have unlocked most of this content by simply applying for membership, but only a handful of features will be available prior to actually signing up.
That’s where ‘Libraries’ come in; the Library section features a comprehensive chord library, a section of scales, licks, and riffs, but there are also a couple of training games and progress tracking features. Note that not all of the features present in the Library category are available before signing up.
As far as the price goes, this website offers a membership-based course unlocking system. There are a couple of options at your disposal, although the free trial package is not one of them; the monthly membership subscription is pretty cheap, being $19.95 while the annual membership subscription costs $159.95. There’s another level called the ‘Pro’ membership, which costs almost twice as much, but it includes extra content in terms of additional lessons and tools.
The accessibility of JamPlay lessons is their forte; you’ll be able to switch between lessons and advance at your own pace, although it’s recommended that you stick to the regime and follow the plan if you want to get the most value for your buck.
The free-access library of JamPlay makes it an excellent choice for beginners to start with; you don’t even need a free-trial tour of the academy to see that this is a serious organization that houses professional teachers. Given the fact that the membership is pretty cheap and that there’s enough content for several lifetimes, there truly are no reasons why you shouldn’t at least check them out.
5. Fender Play
Fender Play is easily one of the strongest, most renowned online guitar course platforms available on the market. Guitar lessons contained on their platform are suitable for beginners and intermediately skilled players just as much as they are suited for experienced and seasoned veterans.
One of the most unique features of Fender Play is the fact that they offer unparalleled app-based accessibility to their courses, along with plenty of convenient guitar tools such as guitar tablatures, notation, and step-by-step song tutorials.
What we liked the most about this platform is the fact that each lesson features numerous camera angles, especially the close-up views of finger positioning with each course. Progress Tracker is another cool feature that will help you note down your achievements and track various parameters, such as courses attended, songs learned, and so on.
Needless to say, Fender is most renowned as one of the most iconic guitar companies in the world, and they generously offer discounts on all their gear with a subscription to Fender Play. In this way, you will be able to swat two flies with one stone by equipping yourself with better instruments and accessories, while also acquiring skills on how to best use them.
Another highlight feature of Fender Play is the well-designed training path meant for immediate beginners who have just ventured on the path to become guitarists.
Lastly, Fender Play monthly subscription is incredibly cheap, and you’ll be able to take a free trial course, which will unlock most of the features on the platform.
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In a nutshell, Fender Play offers much while requiring very little, especially for newcomers and beginners. This is a professional guitar learning platform that hosts a plethora of skilled educators, and the tools that will be at your disposal will help make your learning experience much more pleasurable and comfortable.
Justin Guitar is our top choice for free online guitar lesson websites of the day. This platform was founded by Justin Sandercoe (hence the name), and to no surprise, he’s the lead teacher and educator that presents all of the lessons and videos on the platform.
That might sound like a bit of a drawback in comparison to paid online courses where you’d get to cherry-pick one of the hundreds of guitar teachers, but in our humble opinion, this might as well be a huge benefit in itself.
Having a single educator gives the sense of familiarity that will invariably forge a bond of sorts, thanks to Justin’s innate open-heartedness and friendliness mainly. Guitar legends such as Steve Vai and Mark Knopfler vouch for and endorse Justin, which should be a reason enough to at least give it a shot.
The format of the JustinGuitar platform is pretty neat, although it wasn’t as pristine as it is now a few years back. All of the categories are neatly visible and accessible from the main page, allowing you to get to the lessons, covered songs, the knowledge base, a bit of music theory basics, tools, and most importantly, interact with Justin or with the student community participating in the lessons.
One of the things we’ve liked the most about Justin’s platform is that it features dozens of lessons and an actual grade system. This system has much in common with karate belts; students are given ‘color’ grades as they enter the academy, although you don’t need to start off from the very beginning necessarily (if you’ve already learned the basics, for instance, you can kick things off with yellow or orange).
The lessons are neatly organized in these color grades, although the final grade has not yet been finalized. There are other lessons you can access that are not grade-based, such as playing techniques, scale-related courses, introductions to chords, buying guides for guitars, and so on.
We strongly recommend the JustinGuitar website to beginners, mainly because this platform is both fun and highly interactive. The grading system is a fun, engaging way to keep the students interested in the instrument, and the lessons are straightforward but full of musical value. Most importantly, there are no drawbacks – all the lessons and tools are completely free.
7. The Great Courses Plus
Next up we’re reviewing a massive platform that offers a huge amount of streamable content that touches numerous categories aside from guitar playing. Speaking of which, the courses that relate to instrument skill acquisition are in abundance too.
The quality of the aforementioned content is the first reason why this site has made it onto our list of the best online guitar lessons. Namely, the teachers and educators are both professional and fun, but the same can be said about the quality of gear used to record the stream videos and clips.
Guitar and music-related courses are designed to replicate actual classes you would otherwise have taken in music schools (or with a private teacher); most of the lessons last around 30 minutes on average, so even the most immediate beginners will be able to get up and stand on their feet after a couple of weeks.
On the downside, even though the courses are comprehensive, they are not gelled into a system (such as GuitarTricks Core system, for example). Even though the lessons are listed numerically in a logical order, all of the content is unlocked with membership, which means that many people will feel tempted to skip out on theory lessons.
Only a handful of educators are listed as The Great Courses Plus guitar teaching staff, which is not necessarily a bad thing. The educators succeed one another after each segment of the skill acquisition course is finished, which can basically be perceived as a shortened version of the basic music school.
As far as price is concerned, this guitar learning platform offers both free trial packages and different membership prices. The free trial version of The Great Courses Plus is one of its highlight features; you’ll have fourteen days to take a look at the lessons (which last approximately 30 minutes), which further means that you’ll be able to tackle most of the content within this time span without paying absolutely anything.
This is why The Great Courses Plus is perfect for fast learners and people who’ve had some experience with guitar playing, but it’s just as generous to beginners who’ll invariably have to return to lessons a couple of times. The membership plans are divided into three categories – monthly plans, quarterly plans, and annual plans.
Basically, all three options include the 14-day free trial, unlimited streaming, and the ability to cancel the subscription at any time. The ‘unlimited streaming’ means that the entirety of the content will be unlocked after you subscribe to any of the three membership plans. Speaking of which, the monthly membership starts at $20 per month; quarterly membership is cheaper at $15 per month, and the annual membership is the cheapest at $12.50 a month.
Check The Great Courses Plus
A guitar learning platform that offers a free trial course is almost by default valuable to beginner students, but that’s not the reason why you’ll love The Great Courses Plus. Basically, this site features plenty of content that spans beyond guitar-play, and given the cheap membership fees, you’ll get the opportunity to expand your knowledge to other instruments and music theory in general.
Even though FretHub is a relatively new guitar lesson website, these guys have managed to film more than four hundred lessons with quality cameras already; this maybe wouldn’t sound as impressive if we didn’t add that there are only two teachers currently educating young guitar players at this virtual academy.
We’ll start our review of FretHub with their accessibility; basically, you’ll be able to watch the lessons on your PC, your tablet, or your smartphone. Furthermore, each lesson features at least a dozen camera angles that will look pristinely visible on any given platform.
Since there are so many lessons, it would be hard to describe each and every one of them; rather let’s discuss some of the topics that you’ll get to learn about at FretHub, including chords, strumming and picking techniques, scales, different playing styles, genres, and more importantly, there are even advanced techniques as well as improvisation-based tips and tricks.
What we quite liked about this guitar learning platform is that a developed, well-thought system exists for both immediate beginners and advanced-level players. The exquisite Foundation Course is split into 10 levels and features lessons that will help you understand the basic concepts of music theory, some of the simplest chords, and the fundamentals of guitar.
Advanced lessons are basically a form of natural progression; this is where you will learn different playing styles, get accustomed to different music genres and even start to develop your style and voice as a guitar player.
FretHub offers a free trial course, but it’s fairer to label it ‘preview’ actually, given the fact that it lasts only five days. Nevertheless, this should be enough time for you to get acquainted with the teachers, the features, and the platform itself.
As a relatively new face on the market, FretHub offers a variety of benefits that most well-established companies might not. Aside from the free ‘preview’, they offer plenty of quality content at dirt-cheap prices, not to mention that they have one of the most comprehensive and interactive educational systems out there.
9. Your Guitar Academy
Your Guitar Academy is exactly what its name implies; this is a very friendly online guitar lesson academy that boasts Beginner courses for starters, Player Studies for those interested in breaking down the playing style of their favorite guitarists, Guitar Gym for those looking to step up their chops, and the massive Theory Lab for those who want to learn a bit more about music theory.
YGA is an actual academy where students will be able to learn all the aspects of guitar playing starting from the ground up.
The Basics is the first feature of this guitar lesson platform; it packs numerous features regarding acoustic and electric guitar playing for beginners, dabbling in chords, scales, and some of the simplest guitar techniques.
Instead of having a regulated learning system, YGA utilizes levels to point out how difficult (or easy) each course is.
Player Studies is definitely one of the most interesting features of the Your Guitar Academy; this section demystifies the playing styles and habits of iconic guitar players such as Slash, David Gilmour, Santana, Jimmy Page, John Mayer, Eddie Van Halen, Jimi Hendrix, and many others.
The Guitar Gym is another cool, exquisite feature of this site; this ‘gym’ helps players develop healthier guitar playing habits and aims to correct mistakes that are deeply rooted in the player’s hands and muscle memory.
Finally, the Theory Lab is where you’ll be able to take lessons regarding music theory, including scale harmonizations, triad construction, chords, modes, and so on.
What’s even better is the fact that a lot of the lesson videos are actually completely free of charge. This is one of the few platforms that don’t offer a membership-based learning experience; rather they offer paid tuition and unlock-based courses.
That being said, it’s pretty obvious that YGA’s services are a bit more expensive in comparison to most platforms we’ve covered so far. However, there’s a silver lining here in the sense that these skill books and paid courses are substantially more comprehensive.
If you don’t feel dissuaded by steep price tags, YGA might be the perfect guitar academy for you. Their content is absolutely fantastic, and they offer numerous unique features, as well as physical copies of skill books and e-books. The only downside to this guitar learning platform is that you have to unlock each class you want to take.
10. Andy Guitar
If your favorite mode of learning is by one-on-one interaction, you’ll probably want to stick around and see what Andy Guitar has to offer you. This is a special guitar learning center in the sense that Andy Crowley is its only educator, but what truly makes a clear distinction between this and similar platforms is the fact that Andy managed to film so many lessons and song tutorials all by himself.
As we’ve mentioned earlier, sticking with one teacher may have numerous positive side-effects, such as getting familiar with the pace and the style of teaching, familiarity with the previous (and future) lessons, and ultimately, the improved interaction.
Andy Guitar’s classes are divided into ‘free’ and ‘premium’ courses. Instead of offering a free trial for people to ‘speed-run’, Andy decided to put up six masterclass-based lessons that will be accessible and readily available to everyone at any given point.
Unlocking any course will permanently make it available for you to preview, but it also might be a good idea to consider applying for a monthly membership. Even though there’s enough free content for you to browse, some of the most prolific guitar lessons Andy filmed are locked, and a monthly subscription will make it available for you at a decently approachable price.
Obviously, premium courses are in greater number, and they’re mostly meant for advanced-level guitar players. Andy is constantly updating his lessons catalog, and he’s made all of the courses available on both PC and mobile apps, which means that the accessibility of his content is pretty great too.
On the downside though, Andy being the only teacher means that he can’t exactly cover as much ground as academies with 10-20 teachers. Certain segments of his platform are still in development, particularly areas regarding song tutorials, covers, and such.
Check Andy Guitar
We recommend Andy Guitar online guitar lessons mainly because Andy Crowley is a well-respected professional guitar teacher that has collaborated with numerous other pros and guitar course platforms. The quality of his lessons is indisputable, and the accessibility to his platform is just as great. Most courses are free of charge, and even the monthly subscription is dirt cheap.
How to choose the best online guitar lessons for you?
While hopping from one free online guitar course to another is a viable option, people who quite want to learn how to play guitar should at least consider subscribing to an actual professional site. If this has been on your mind for some time, we’re here to help you decide by offering easy tips on how to pick the best platform.
First and foremost, you should always check out what ‘free trial’ actually means. There are numerous academies and websites that offer free trial courses only if you subscribe in advance, allowing you to cancel your subscription at a later point, but charging you the initial fee.
Secondly, the quality of the content always beats the quantity of the content. For instance, if a platform offers thousands of lessons that are poorly explained or filmed most people wouldn’t feel persuaded to return to future lessons and classes later on.
Thirdly, decide which learning approach you feel the most comfortable with before signing up for membership. Some people enjoy watching 1-hour master classes’ more than bite-sized videos that last only a couple of minutes, and vice versa.
Further on that note, the number of teachers that appear in the videos and streams also plays an important role. On one hand, if the platform features dozens of teachers you will be able to have different prisms of perception regarding similar topics.
On another hand, getting familiar with the teaching style and approach of only a few educators might feel a bit more comfortable with others. This is entirely a matter of subjective preference, which means that there are no ‘right or wrong’ answers to this question.
Finally, the price, as the most definitive factor for some, should also be accounted for. Most online guitar lesson courses are accessible via subscriptions, so obviously you need to decide how much money you are willing to spend.
In most cases, quarterly and annual subscriptions are much cheaper than monthly membership fees. Furthermore, you should also make sure to check whether your membership will give you access to all the content on the site or only some of it. Some platforms feature several ‘levels’ of memberships, as well as platforms that operate on ‘unlock-based’ mechanisms.
Any of the 10 guitar lesson websites we’ve covered will give you what you need to learn the basics; most of them actually feature content that will be of much help to you even as your skills improve. It’s up to you how far you want to go as a guitar player, and we certainly hope you’ll reach the upper echelons.
We also hope that you’ve liked our reviews of the best online guitar lessons and wish you happy, joyous studying of the world’s most remarkable stringed instrument. Make sure you are staying safe and have a good one, folks!