In this guide, we're going to take a look at the top guitar lessons 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.
Today you can learn pretty much anything online. There are plenty of sites, free and paid, where you can take lessons on computer programming, marketing, 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. Are you ready? Ok, let's see what the Internet has to offer to the guitar players of 2017.
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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.
GuitarTricks.com has 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. They start with the basic explanations of tuning and holding positions and build into various styles of playing and picking. As usual they work on country and blues first as these are often the easiest for a beginning student.
Guitar Tricks makes it very easy to jump ahead past the basics and getting into the meat and bones of playing different styles. They also allows you to download these lessons, which is great if you have occasional internet or wireless loss. Very few online guitar sites allow you to download their lessons.
The videos for the lessons all have great pictures, and you can pick between low, medium, and high resolution. They are clearly recorded in a proper and professional studio. They do their best to show you tabs on the side to get a better idea of what the instructor is playing. There also doesn't seem to be as many "far-away" shots during the lessons. A "far-away" shot is one of my personal pet-peeves on instructional sites.
When learning an instrument like guitar it is essential to have close ups of the fingers, along with slow playing that way you can see where your fingers go. It's annoying to no end when a site zooms out to show the instructor jamming, not letting me know what their fingers are doing! Fortunately, GuitarTricks is not guilty of this too often, they slip up a few times but make up for it by adding tabs on the side so you know what you are missing.
Another great aspect of this site happens to be the song section. The songs can be sorted by style, artist, instructor, difficulty, popularity, and of course genre. They have just about every genre you can imagine, common ones like rockabilly, rock, pop and obscure genres like world music and classical.
If they don't happen to have a song you want? Well there is a section in the subscriber's forum to request new songs. At the time of this guide they had over 700 songs to choose from!
Of course any great site for online guitar lessons is going to have a great toolbox at your disposal. GuitarTricks has a tuner, chord finder, scale finder, metronome, a fretboard trainer, and best of all a jam station. This provides numerous jams and backing tracks in a variety of styles, keys, and genres. This is one of my favorite tools, as a songwriter this is not only how I build my playing skills, but how I get new ideas for songs I write.
You can turn on a backing track and play along with whatever your creativity wants that day. If do not always have access to a band, having the jam station works just like having your own band! They even have the sheet music below each jam which is very helpful. The jam station is great to use if you are a creative musician looking for some inspiration.
On the GuitarTricks forum there are thousands of threads and posts all very up to date and on numerous subjects. The discussions are not just about techniques and lessons, but songwriting, music theory, recording, music history, and much more. This often is the sign of a great site.
Music forums are surprisingly one of the best places I have learned to enhance my guitar and musical knowledge.
On the GuitarTricks forum, you risk to get lost reading threads for hours, and forget to take some lessons! They have both open community discussions and subscriber only sections, that way you will not feel left out before getting a paid membership. In conclusion, Guitar Tricks has tons of lessons and learning material and it has hours of fun when your guitar practice is over!
- Read our full Guitar Tricks Review
- Level: zero to intermediate
- Medium: streaming or download
- Visit www.guitartricks.com
- Jamplay Vs Guitar Tricks comparison
JamPlay has not been around as long as Guitar Tricks, but it is labeled by many as the leading site for online guitar lessons. However, in many ways both sites are similar, it all comes down to personal taste (here you find a step-by-step comparison). 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.
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. There are times where you just can't tell where the instructors fingers are with online video lessons, but not on JamPlay. The video lessons are professional, with a lot of video editing, and a variety of angles.
On Jamplay's homepage there is always a list of live lessons, and advertisements for more upcoming live lessons. What caught my eye immediately were the live lessons titled "Bluegrass Basics" and "Melodic Magic" these lessons sounded pretty cool and they give a time when they will start so you can mark it in your schedule.
Diving a little deeper into the site we find a tool section that has much of the same items such as a chord library, scale finder, metronome, and the usual tools for guitar players. In this same tools section JamPlay also has music theory quizzes and games.
Most musicians have trouble with music theory so it is a great attempt to put some fun into the learning process. Of course points are kept track of so you can see where you stand with other players
Along with the points for the games they keep track of your past lessons; JamPlay has a badge and point system for each lesson completed. Apparently the JamPlay points will be used in the future for special access and privileges.
They even have a report to keep track of all lessons, playlists, and progress. If you are the type who likes keeping track of scores and achievements, then JamPlay provides you plenty of opportunities during your online courses.
The real treat on Jamplay happens to be when you get into the intermediate and more advanced lessons. If you love unique styles, they have lessons for genres like Hawaiian slack key, Flamenco Celtic, Gospel, and of course the usual genres you see on most other sites.
Variety is the spice of life and Jamplay clearly has a lot to choose from. As you advance further into lessons they phase into specific songs. Of course these songs are mostly all rock, pop, country, and metal, but they seem to have the most popular ones that most students ask for. And like GuitarTricks you can request future songs.
- Read our full Jamplay Review
- Level: beginner to advanced
- Medium: streaming
- Visit www.jamplay.com
- Jamplay Vs Guitar Tricks comparison
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
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 just at the beginning, 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're having hard-time deciding between Guitar Tricks and Jamplay, you'll find useful this Jamplay Vs Guitar Tricks comparison; still not sure? Then you must try our Free Lessons Search Engine: it's like Youtube, but only with the best video lessons
- 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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