Today you can learn pretty much anything online. There are plenty of sites where you can take lessons on, for example, computer programming, philosophy, music, and, of course, how to play the guitar. If you don't have the time or the cash for expensive private tuition, online lessons are a flexible and cheaper alternative. If you follow this site, you already know that our mission here is to provide you with the best tools and strategies for improving your guitar skills.
In this guide, we're going to take a look at the top 6 guitar learning sites that have helped thousands of guitar players start from scratch and improve their skills and knowledge. This guide is not going to make you a guitar hero overnight, but will give you the right directions and will help you find the best lessons for you.
|Site||Level||Genres and Styles||Medium||Visit|
|zero to intermediate||Acoustic, Bluegrass, Blues, Classical, Country, Funk, Jazz, Metal, Rock, Surf, World||streaming/download||GuitarTricks.com|
|beginner to advanced||Blues, Fingerstyle, Metal, Hawaiian, Bluegrass, Rock, Celtic, Classical, Country, Jazz, Surf, Funk, Flamenco, Folk, Gospel, Reagge, Pop, Rock||streaming||Jamplay.com|
|intermediate||Rock, Gipsy, Jazz, Dobro, Country, Blues||streaming/video exchange||ArtistWorks.com|
|zero to intermediate||Rock, Blues, Fingerstyle||DVD||LearnAndMaster.com|
|intermediate to advanced||Acoustic, Americana, Blues, Classical, Country, Funk, Jazz, Metal, Rock, Surf, R&B||streaming||TrueFire.com|
|zero to beginner||Rock, Blues, Folk||streaming/DVDs||JustinGuitar.com|
GuitarTricks.com invented online guitar lessons in the late 90's (even before Youtube), and has grown its comprehensive lesson library to over 11,000 lessons, with 30 top-notch instructors from all over the world. Here they have courses for beginners, intermediate, and advanced players. It is clear if you have never played guitar you can get started right away on this site.
The lessons at GuitarTricks.com start with the basic explanations of tuning and holding positions and build into various styles of playing and picking. They work on rock, country and blues first as these are often the easiest for a beginning student. They make it very easy to jump ahead past the basics and getting into the meat and bones of playing different styles. To find out more, check our Guitar Tricks review
- Level: zero to intermediate
- Medium: streaming or download
JamPlay has not been around as long as Guitar Tricks, it is often labeled as a second best site for online guitar lessons. However, in many ways both sites are similar, it all comes down to personal taste. The video lessons on JamPlay are great, most provide close-ups at multiple angles. This is a huge plus and one of the best things about the site.
While JamPlay has its share of beginner lessons, it does seem to be a little more geared towards intermediate and advanced players. This is really not such a bad thing, many players out there have gone over some of the basics before and sometimes need a nudge into something a little more challenging. Jamplay is certainly not lacking on challenging lessons. They show you all the basics if necessary, but you quickly move into more complicated lessons. To find out more, check our Jamplay review
- Level: beginner to advanced
- Medium: streaming
ArtistWorks is an online music school that covers several instruments. For the guitar courses, it hires amazing instructors such as Paul Gilbert or Brian Sutton. The unique feature of ArtistWorks is their Video Exchange System: you can submit your recorded videos directly to your instructor and get personalized feedback from him. This is a huge plus, as online lessons interaction often relies only on comments and forums.
You can choose among several popular instructors, depending on your favorite genres: Paul Gilbert, Keith Wyatt, Guthrie Trapp, Andreas Oberg, Chuck Loeb, Martin Taylor, Bryan Sutton, Andy Hall and Jason Vieaux. While ArtistWorks streaming interface is not evolved as Guitar Tricks or Jamplay, their big advantage is the possibility to get a personalized feedback from your instructor. You almost have the feel of an in-person lesson, with the advantages of the online training (no fixed schedule, you can re-watch the lessons as much as you like)
- Level: intermediate
- Medium:streaming and patented video
- Teachers: Rock Guitar with Paul Gilbert, Blues Guitar with Keith Wyatt, Gipsy Jazz with Andreas Oberg
Learn & Master is another company leader in education and training services. Unlike the sites mentioned above, Learn & Master does not stream the lessons but you'll get a DVDs set and a lesson book (20 DVDs with 40 hours of instruction, 108 pages book, 5 jam-along cd). Steve Krenz will be your teacher for all the lessons, so be sure to check if you like his teaching style.
The choice to provide the lessons on DVDs instead of online streaming seems a bit outdated, but can work well for those who prefer to learn offline, avoiding all the distractions of the Internet. However, the quality of the Learn & Master learning program is very high: it covers in detail the fundamentals and provides you with all you need to become a complete guitar player. If something is not clear, you can use the Student Support Forum, ask your questions and get help.
- Level: zero to intermediate
- Medium:DVDs, CDs and lessons book
TrueFire is the biggest site for online guitar lessons. It has a huge catalog composed of 25.000 video tutorials, spanning every genre and style. TrueFire is not the best choice for a beginner, as it lacks of a step-by-step learning path, unlike GuitarTricks and Jamplay. Such impressive amount of guitar knowledge could be overwhelming for those who are at the beginning.
If you are already an intermediate-advanced guitar player, you'll find very interesting things at TrueFire. There are some advanced courses on composition and improvisation that will keep you busy for weeks (personally Alien Guitar Secrets of the great master Steve Vai is the course I liked the most). TrueFire is definitely a great learning resource, not the best for beginners but if you already master your chords and scales, you can find interesting new inputs.
- Level: intermediate to advanced
- Medium: streaming
- Price: depends on the course you pick
The last site I want to show you is Justinguitar.com, created by the Australian guitarist Justin Sandercoe. Comparing JustinGuitar to the professional platforms listed above is not totally fair, as the previous ones are backed by funds and big teams. But the work of Justin is worth a mention.
JustinGuitar is a one-man show, but on his site there are a lot of guitar lessons, with not bad quality. They cover the very basics, while for more advanced topics you can buy the DVDs. You can enjoy the online lessons without registering, but, if you can, you should make a donation. In fact the site runs on an "honour system", and it is supported by donations and DVD/books sales.
- Level: zero to beginner
- Medium: streaming and DVD
- Price: Honour-System. As Justin states on his site: "If you can afford to donate then you should not consider the site free"
We already discussed the most effective way to practice the guitar in a past article. To get the most out of your online guitar lessons, there are some smart strategies that you should follow:
- Practice in small, high-focused sessions
We live in the Era of Distraction and information overload (how many time have you checked your phone while reading this guide?). Here's a tip for making your practice sessions effective: set a timer for 25 minutes, turn off all the notifications, and focus only on the lesson. Your brain (and your fingers) works at its best if you focus on one single thing. When the timer is elapsed, you can relax and even surf a bit the Web. You'll be surprised how this simple technique is effective for improving your guitar skills.
- Practice slow and perfect
Try to be always aware of every mistake you make. Go slow, play each single note perfectly, and if you make a mistake, try to understand what happened. If you keep your brain focused on a perfect practice, you'll achieve better results in shorter time.
- Be consistent with your practice
When you are playing the guitar, you use your short term memory and long term memory. The best way to train memory is through repetitions. Neuroscience researchers taught us that the so-called spaced repetitions are the key for a great long term memory. Try to follow a regular practice schedule, and your memory will surprise you!
The real secret for learning how to play the guitar is to find the program that works for you and stick with it. So pick the site that better resonates with you, put in a bit of hard work, and soon you'll find yourself smiling while playing your favorite music easily.
You have to stick with it. Sometimes, you are going to be so frustrated you want to give up the guitar — you'll hate the guitar. But all of this is just a part of learning, because if you stick with it, you’re going to be rewarded."
This advice was given by Jimi Hendrix in 1968. Today in 2017 there is an incredible amount of tools and resources for learning how to play the guitar online, so we have no excuses!
We have just seen the most popular guitar lesson sites of the Web. Before joining a site, you should consider your current experience level. If you are starting from scratch or you are a beginner, Guitar Tricks is a great choice. If you are already a beginner/intermediate guitar player and you want to study improvisation, chords harmony, soloing, explore various musical styles and other advanced techniques, Jamplay could fit your needs. If you are an old-style guy and you prefer to stay disconnected while you're practising, the DVDs of Learn & Master will make you happy. Finally, if you would like to have a feedback on your practice through a video recorded exclusively for you by your online teacher, try ArtistWorks. I wish you every success on your guitar journey!
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