When I started learning the guitar; private lessons, dry Hal Leonard technique manuals, and one or two very helpful magazines were almost literally the only options available to aspiring players.
Today, beginners have something like the opposite problem. The sheer number of guitar lessons and tutorials available online and through social media staggers the mind.
Many of these resources are helpful, but others can lead to bad habits, and far too many give short-shrift or ignore the importance of guitar fundamentals completely.
If you’re having difficulty navigating the vast sea of online guitar lessons available today, know you aren’t alone. That’s why we’ve taken the time to review seven of the most popular and effective online guitar lesson platforms on the market today.
Our Recommended Programs
Choosing from among the best online lessons on the market today isn’t an easy decision; it isn’t as though one program stands head and shoulders above the pack. Still, there are two that, all things considered, seem to offer the most value for the guitar player’s dollar. These are TrueFire and Fender Play.
TrueFire, our first choice, makes the cut for two reasons. First, the sheer volume of quality content available on the site; Truefire offers guitarists a library far more extensive than other online lesson platforms. Trufire also has some great tools, including loop and slow-down features.
In the interest of full disclosure, I’ve always been a fan of Fender guitars and gear. My go-to guitar is a Fender Telecaster, and the Frontman is among my favorite portable combo amps. That said, I did my best to approach Fender’s online platform as though I’d never heard of the brand.
It didn’t work. The quality and innovation I’ve come to expect from Fender is evident in its online platform. Also, a modest discount on Fender gear is a membership perk. Guitarists of all skill levels will find valuable content here, but intermediate and advanced players may prefer Truefire.
The Ultimate Beginner to Expert Guitar Lessons Bundle Review
1. Fender Play
When your brand name is practically synonymous with guitars and guitar gear, you had better bring your “A-game” when creating an online guitar instruction platform, lest you be accused of doing nothing more than trying to sell gear.
Fender was savvy enough to know this and created a platform to rival the best on the market.
While subscribers to Fender Play do receive a ten percent discount on Fender merchandise and gear, this platform is no slick advertising ploy. It is chock-full of quality content with easy-to-use interfaces.
With over 3000 lessons and thousands of songs to learn and master, Fender Play has plenty to keep your practices fresh and compelling.
Fender Play allows guitarists at all skill levels to track their progress using customizable goals. It also offers guitarists a choice of guided learning paths and lesson plans based on their skill level and genre of choice.
New masterclasses, tutorials, and other valuable content are added to Fender Play regularly, ensuring the studying guitarist will always have something new and engaging to learn and practice.
Simply stated, Fender Play is everything you’d expect from one of the seminal names in guitar manufacturing. The platform doesn’t offer offline content, though, so an internet connection is required. Still, it’s hard to imagine Leo Fender wouldn’t be pleased with this online lesson site.
- Quality lessons for online
- Easy-to-use interfaces
- Perfect for beginners
- Students can track their progress easily
- Discount on Fender Gear and chances to win through weekly giveaways.
- Lessons for bass guitar and ukulele are also available.
- Doesn’t offer offline content
- Not much preferable for the advanced guitar player
Guitar Educators At Your Fingertips
True Fire doesn’t have the strongest song lessons section, but with all the other content available this shouldn’t deter you from signing up for a trial to see if it’s for you.
3. Guitar Tricks
Since its launch in 1998, Guitar Tricks has helped over three million guitar students improve as players. Offering over 11,000 lessons, Guitar Tricks is packed with more valuable content than most of its competitors.
From its step-by-step learning system for beginners to its 11,000-plus song library, this platform is great for both beginners and intermediate guitarists.
Guitar Tricks has continuously developed its content, and now it offers twelve genres to study, including niche genres such as rockabilly and surf guitar. Its “core learning system,” a series of video tutorials that teach using simple popular songs, is great for keeping beginning players engaged and excited.
Like Fender Play, Guitar Tricks offers a mobile app for Android and iOS, so you can take your lessons from world-class instructors along with you, wherever you go.
The only drawback to GuitarTricks is that it’s very light on pop music as a genre. While its true guitar seems to be underrepresented in modern pop, the platform is likely losing a lot of younger potential students to more pop-friendly sites.
If modern pop like Billie Eilish and Taylor Swift is your thing, you may prefer another platform.
- More organized and valuable content than competitors
- Huge selection of song lessons in the library
- Video lessons download option available
- Mostly Preferable for intermediate to advanced-level players
- Their instructors are outstanding but not as famous or iconic as other platforms have
- While the music selection is huge, it does not include less popular genres such as gospel, reggae, or flamenco as some other online guitar teaching sites do
JamPlay is a great online lesson site for beginners, but it has more than enough content for intermediate and advanced players too.
Take your playing to another level with music theory, scales, and chord-building lessons, or check out JamPlay’s tutorials on more advanced guitar techniques such as sweep-picking, slap-bass, and slide guitar.
Along with its guided learning paths, JamPlay offers an impressive library of stand-alone classes and “guitarists toolkits,” a series of mini curricula focused on learning and developing particular guitar skills.
There are some great tools available on JamPlay too. Like TrueFire, Jam Play features looping and speed control so you can discern that blazing-fast lick.
Jam Play also offers interactive fretboards, tablature, and notation. With a pro membership, guitar students can download lessons for offline practice.
Be sure to check out JamPlay’s “Artist’s Series,” featuring lessons from professional players like Steve Stevens, Bumblefoot, Lita Ford, and Mike Keneally (of Steve Vai, Joe Satriani).
- There’s a lot to learn on this platform
- Lessons are downloadable for offline practice.
- Backing tracks in a variety of genres and keys
- 4K video lessons with several camera angles
- Learn from the real-world expertise of top recording and live music artists in all genres
- Only pro members can download the lesson
- There’s so much to explore that it might be intimidating
ArtistWorks – Learn from Masters
Founded in 2008, Artistworks is an online learning platform for various instruments, including piano, banjo, and an array of symphonic woodwinds and percussion. Given this wide range of offerings, one might wonder if Artistworks gives short-shrift to guitar lessons; it does not.
Boasting world-class instructors like virtuoso Paul Gilbert, Artistworks offers over 50,000 video lessons comprising thirteen different guitar courses, including acoustic guitar, bluegrass, electric rock guitar, acoustic dobro and lap-steel guitar, and electric jazz guitar.
For beginners looking to learn acoustic guitar basics like open chords and strumming rhythms, David Butler’s course comes highly recommended. You’ll be supported every step of the way whilst building up fundamental techniques.
With courses dedicated to various genres and styles like rock, jazz and bluegrass, intermediate and advanced players will also find plenty to sink their teeth into.
What sets Artistworks apart from the pack is the level of personalized feedback the platform offers guitarists of all skill levels.
Players can take a video of themselves playing a particular lesson or practice lick, then have their performance evaluated. Constructive criticism is offered, as well as valuable suggestions for improvement.
Artistworks offers three tiers of membership, allowing aspiring guitarists on a budget to enjoy limited perks for a lower price. Members can also opt for a yearly membership that costs less per month and grants unlimited access to the site’s vast library of guitar resources.
- The instructors’ expertise is incredible.
- It’s perfect for sharpening your current abilities
- The community of this site is superior to others. You can connect with your instructor and classmates, which creates a more enjoyable learning environment and may help you improve.
- You can choose a lesson as per your skill level since the skill required for each lesson is mentioned in the course menu
- The interface should be more user-friendly
- Video lessons are not downloadable for offline practice
- Though the song library covers most genres, you’d not find specific items.
If Brian May, Steve Vai, or Mark Knopfler contacted you to recommend online guitar lessons, you’d likely check them out, no? Well, these guitar giants have all spoken out to express their admiration of JutinGuitar, and its creator, YouTube sensation Justin Sandercoe.
Justin Sandercoe has been the St. Paul of guitar for over fifteen years now, bringing the good news to the multitudes. An aspiring guitarist can learn quite a lot from Justin’s vast library of free online guitar lessons alone, so you can only imagine what his official online lesson site offers.
Justin Guitar offers over 1800 lessons and tutorials along with more than 1,279 free guitar lessons. The platform also has a library of over 600 free songs.
If, at first glance, it seems JustinGuitar offers less in the way of content than other online platforms, keep in mind the mountain of free content Justin has made available to everyone on YouTube.
The free YouTube channel is also packed with great instruction. This is one of my top picks for those needing guidance but lacking funds for paid platforms. Subscription options are also very affordable.
Justin Sandercoe and JustinGuitar have been featured on the BBC and NPR radio and in print via the Telegraph and USA Today.
When it comes to tools for learning, JustinGuitar provides an interval ear-trainer, an invaluable tool for any guitarist (or any musician, for that matter).
The platform also offers a built-in tempo calculator. Guitarists of all skill levels can benefit from JustinGuitar, but this is a particularly good site for beginners.
- Lots of content is free.
- Paid lessons are not much pricey
- Justin is a fantastic guitarist and an outstanding guitar teacher. It’s easy to follow Justin’s lessons because he is one of the top instructors around.
- Free lessons are less in-depth than they are available on paid sites
- There isn’t as much variety in terms of genre or style
If you’re searching for the best online guitar lessons for beginners then Jamorama is an easy-to-follow guitar course.
Featuring over 275 step-by-step video tutorials and play-along tracks for jamming, Jamorama can definitely hang with the top rated online guitar lessons on the market.
The platform offers a lifetime membership and allows students to download tabs to practice every lesson offline or on the go.
Jamorama features a team of high-quality guitar teachers led by head instructor Mark McKenzie, YouTube’s “The Guitar Guy,” and contributor to Guitar Player Magazine. The platform’s “guitar system” covers:
- Foundational Skills
- Strumming patterns
- Chord Progressions
- Lead Guitar
- Finger Style
- Music Theory
- Guitar Tabs
- Practice Routines
- Guitar Maintenance
Like many of the best places to learn guitar online, Jamorama allows students to track their progress along with learning components that complement and build upon one another. This platform also offers a sixty-day trial period, so there’s really no excuse not to check it out.
- It’s a simple, step-by-step approach that’s ideal for newbies
- Jamorama is the most inexpensive membership program we’ve come across
- 60 days trial period and money-back guarantee
- Song library is not as huge as on other guitar learning sites
- Several beginner guitar lessons progress to more sophisticated material, but they don’t go very far
- The lessons provided here are not extensive enough for intermediate or advanced players
How To Choose The Best Online Guitar Program For You
Any two guitarists, even of the same skill level and genre, approach their playing differently. We all develop and enjoy a personal relationship with the guitar, and as such, some online guitar programs will suit certain players better than others.
When it comes to learning guitar (or anything else, for that matter), you need to find what works best for you. If you tend to learn quickly but need to discipline yourself to practice more, you’ll likely choose a different platform from someone who perhaps needs more time to master the basics. When it comes time to choose a platform for online lessons, take advantage of free trial periods to gauge the pacing of its tutorials.
There are many online guitar courses, but which one is the best guitar learning site for you to choose? Here are some things to consider or some questions to answer when looking at the best guitar-learning websites.
Your Expectation: What kind of virtual learning experience do I want?’ Do you want an online program with video lessons and downloadable PDFs or play-along tracks? Or would you prefer a system that focuses on online discussion and online jam sessions?
Experience Level: What kind of guitar player am I?’ Are you a beginner, or do you already have some experience under your belt? Is this online guitar program going to be for learning songs and improving my current skills (intermediate), or am I looking for something to take me from the very beginning to playing my favorite songs (beginner)?
Lesson Cost: How much money am I willing to spend?’ Some virtual guitar lessons cost as little as $10 a month, but many online tools also offer pro plans that charge hundreds of dollars every year. Make sure the online program you’re looking at isn’t just an introductory fee and then costs more for future use.
Availability: How available/accessible do I need the online guitar lessons to be?’ If you want online access 24/7, you should make sure that any online tool you choose offers online streaming or online download options for all of its content.
Community: Where are my other guitar-playing friends?’. If your goal is to have a community of online guitar players to interact with online, this should be a factor in your online program choice.
With all of these things considered, you have to choose and decide which online guitar lessons platform best serves most or all of your needs.
The Benefits Of Online Guitar Lessons
Here are some benefits that you will get when you start learning guitar online:
Learn Guitar On Your Schedule
In today’s increasingly fast-paced and fractured world, our work and business obligations tend to devour ever more of our time and energy. Scheduling a hard and fast time for daily or weekly guitar lessons is a luxury few of us can afford.
Online guitar lesson websites solve this problem, allowing you to take a lesson or watch a tutorial any time, day or night. Most even come with apps, allowing students to learn on the go.
Learn At Your Own Pace
As touched on earlier, the pacing of guitar lessons is an important factor in an individual’s growth as a player. Platforms that are too fast can feel overwhelming or even discouraging. Those that move too slowly fail to motivate. Finding the right balance for you is key.
Being able to pop in for a lesson and then practice what you’ve learned for as long as you feel necessary before taking that second lesson is liberating. Just take care that you are, indeed, practicing and not procrastinating!
Learn From Professional Guitarists
Guitar lessons from a professional guitarist can cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars an hour. These days, most professional players share bits of their techniques through magazines and online forums instead of taking on private students.
While I applaud the democratization of so much excellent guitar knowledge, I can’t help but imagine what a one-on-one lesson with Steve Vai or Eric Clapton might be like.
Some of the best online guitar classes boast professional teachers most guitarists would never have access to otherwise. Paul Gilbert, Wolf Marshall, and Joe Bonamassa are among the legendary players who’ve contributed content to online guitar learning platforms.
Another advantage of using the best guitar lesson websites is their tools for developing guitarists. From three-dimensional video tutorials and pitch-trainers to slow-motion and loop playback features, many of the top online guitar lessons offer some pretty fantastic practice tools.
The tools a guitar lesson website offers should be among the deciding factors in choosing the right platform for you.
Learn On The Go, Or Even On Vacation
With traditional guitar lessons, leaving town for business or a vacation means missed sessions. Students who choose online lesson sites never have to miss a class because they’ve been called out of town. As long as there’s an internet connection available, you’re good to go.
In fact, some of the best online lessons even offer downloadable content so you can practice without internet access.
Track Your Progress
Finally, using one of the best online lesson sites for guitar will allow you to track your progress, an invaluable tool for procrastinators like myself. Tracking your progress builds confidence, keeps you motivated, and lets you know you’re getting value for your time and money.
What’s The Cost Of Taking Guitar Lessons Online?
Though the price varies by platform, most online guitar lessons cost between $9.99 and $29.99 per month. Most offer discounted annual memberships as well.
Depending on your budget and desire to learn guitar, some of the better online lesson sites may seem a significant commitment. Luckily, most of the top sites offer free trial periods, during which you can evaluate the platform and decide for yourself how much value you’re actually getting for your buck.
Considering that, according to Google, the average price of guitar lessons in the U.S. is between forty and sixty dollars an hour, even the more expensive online sites are far more economical than in-person classes.
Free Vs Paid Online Lessons
There’s no shortage of free guitar training videos and tutorials online, and some of them are quite good. But how is a beginning guitarist to know the good from the bad?
The kid on the YouTube video walking you through the intro of “Sweet Child O’ Mine” may sound great, but how do you know he isn’t a one or two-trick pony who ignores essential fundamentals? If so, are you doing yourself any good by imitating his playing?
Fortunately, there are free online guitar lessons out there every bit as useful as those offered by some of the big-name online lesson sites.
You can go a long way using some of the better regarded free resources, but eventually, you’ll find yourself covering a lot of the same ground. It may well be time to graduate onto a paid platform when that happens.
While you can learn quite a bit from free lessons and tutorials, there is definitely something to be said about the consistency and cohesiveness of the classes offered by the better-paid sites. Keep this, as well as your budget, in mind as you decide between beginning with free or paid lessons.
Is It Better To Learn Guitar Online Or In Person?
Whether playing guitar is a skill best learned face-to-face can be argued among honest guitarists.
The constant feedback provided by an in-person instructor can be invaluable, as can be the minor, seemingly insignificant adjustments they make to your fretting or picking techniques. For this reason, some argue there is no valid substitute for the private lesson experience.
If you have the time and money to invest, private lessons may give you an edge that online courses don’t. For the rest of us, online platforms provide more than enough exercises, tutorials, and even feedback (though limited, of course, when compared to private lessons) to keep us engaged and constantly improving.
While in-person lessons may have the edge when it comes to valuable feedback, the cost of daily guitar lessons can be prohibitive when compared to the monthly or yearly fee of an online platform, so online students are likely to learn at a more accelerated pace.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can You Really Learn Guitar Online?
Yes, you can surely learn guitar online. You’ll have to put in the work, of course–there’s no mobile app that will build callouses on your fingertips or train your hands and fingers to play like a virtuoso.
If you choose a good platform, though, and practice diligently, you have every chance of improving your playing using online lesson sites.
Can You Teach Yourself Guitar?
Yes, you can teach yourself guitar. As a primarily self-taught player, I can testify that. Would I recommend it? No, not if you have other resources available to you.
Today, you needn’t reinvent the wheel to figure out this beautiful creature called the guitar. The plethora of internet resources, paid and otherwise, available today make learning the guitar even more of a joy.
What’s the Best Platform for Children?
Out of all the entries on our list, only one or two can stand out as the best online guitar lessons for kids. Fender Play is a great online resource for children. The site’s layout, ease of use, and library of lessons on guitar fundamentals make it an ideal place for younger learners.
Another excellent resource for young guitar students is JustinGuitar. Justin’s vast catalog of video lessons (many of them free) are tailored to guitarists of all skill levels, and there’s more than enough content to keep your young budding guitarist motivated and engaged.
What’s the Best Online Platform for Adults?
Which platform is best for adult learners is mostly a matter of personal preference since all of the above have plenty of great content for the demographic.
In our opinion, though, TrueFire represents the best possible experience for the adult guitar student. That’s because Truefire is absolutely jam-packed with content and because it offers practicing guitarists some fantastic tools with which to hone their playing.
Are Online Lessons Worth the Time and Money?
Yes, as long as you choose a reputable platform that doesn’t instill bad habits. The top online lesson sites are well worth the investment if you want to improve your guitar skills. Be sure to find the platform that best matches your needs, and odds are you’ll be improving in no time.
No matter your skill level as a guitarist, there’s always more to learn; that’s one of the beautiful things about guitar life. The next time you feel the urge to take your playing to the next level, consider the online guitar lesson sites listed above.
I’ve given you my favorites, but we all respond individually to different ways of learning, so be sure and try at least a few before committing to a program.
About the Author
Thomas M., the founder of Guitar Top Review, boasts 15+ years of guitar experience and was a church band member in L.A. Transitioning from piano to acoustic guitar, his first love remains his Taylor GS Mini. Alongside like-minded hobbyist friends, he launched the site, driven by a deep love for music that transcends professional boundaries.