To say there are a lot of online guitar lesson platforms out there would be a gross understatement. As a guitarist and reviewer, I’ve tried many, if not most of them.
When I first reviewed Pickup Music in 2023, to be honest, I doubted Pickup Music would impress me much–how could it, being but one of a vast sea of platforms, most of which contain more content than any guitarist could possibly digest in one lifetime?
I took advantage of their free trial at the time, expecting that to be the extent of my experience with the platform. Yet here I am over a year later, still a devoted member. Pickup Music has only gotten better in 2024, thanks to meaningful improvements and valuable new additions.
It’s hard to say what, exactly, it is–it could be the attractive personalities of the instructors or the brilliant arrangement and accessibility of their top-quality content, or something else entirely. Whatever the case, Pickup Music is a rising star in the industry, and justifiably so.
Pickup Music: Online Guitar Lesson Platform Review
The majority of lesson videos on Pickup Music is broken into four easily identifiable and accessible formats: structured learning pathways, master classes, five-minute lessons, and essential licks.
In 2024, Pickup Music added new features including 1:1 video feedback for students, weekly live lessons, live-band backing tracks, the Pickup Music Practice Center with interactive tools to improve your skills, monthly competitions and giveaways.
Pickup Music also features Jam Tracks and what they call the “Song Squads.” The jam tracks, which allow users to play along with pre-recorded progressions, are available in a variety of styles including Blues, Jazz, and Neo-Soul.
Pickup Music also offers a modest library of drum tracks you can practice along to or use to write your own progressions, and a number of tracks focused on scales and music theory.
Song Squads, a feature unique to Pickup Music, are songs written and recorded by Pickup instructors.
Available in a variety of genres and styles, every Song Squad features an accompanying video lesson and corresponding guitar tablature. Users can record their own covers of Song Squads and submit them for a chance to have their performance featured on the site.
Pickup Music offers lessons in a comprehensive range of styles, including blues, neo-soul, R&B, country, fingerstyle, classical, funk, fusion, progressive, gospel, and modern jazz guitar. Subjects like music theory, the CAGED system, soloing, and technique are also explored in depth.
One of the things that help set Pickup Music apart is the quality and personalities of their instructors. A user’s first experience with the site once signed on, is a video welcome message from owner/instructor Sam Blakelock.
Having earned a master’s in jazz performance and subsequently performed around the world, Sam remains an affable, down-to-earth person and a more-than-effective instructor.
Sam is more than a skilled musician and accessible teacher, though. Understanding a guitar-lessons site will only ever be as good as its instructors, Sam has staffed his platform accordingly, hiring only the most skilled, knowledgeable, and charismatic guitarists to create content for Pickup Music.
Here, I can only relate my personal experience with a few of Pickup Music’s instructors. Seth Rosenbloom, for example, teaches the blues learning pathway, which I’ve been working through and enjoying.
Like Sam, Rosenbloom is likable, and he knows his stuff. A well-regarded guitarist in the modern blues scene, Seth has played alongside legendary musicians yet remains humble in his delivery.
Few guitarists can lay claim to having their work praised by the likes of Quincy Jones and John Mayer, but Melanie Faye can. One of Pickup’s R&B gurus, Melanie teaches, among other courses, “R&B Techniques in Seven Days,” a master’s class I’m very much enjoying.
Sophie Guiliani teaches Pickup Music’s master class “Melodic CAGED Soloing,” among others. A graduate of the Musician’s Institute College of Contemporary Music, Sophie has earned endorsement deals with major guitar companies and has performed with pop acts such as Olivia Holt.
Or check out Isaiah Sharkey, whose slick R&B guitar mastery shines through in his advanced Neo Soul coursework. The Grammy-nominated artist helps unlock the secrets behind smooth jazz and fusion as well.
These are a few standout examples among over 50 qualified instructors covering dozens of genres and techniques tailored to all skill levels. Review the Artist Bio section to learn more about your potential teachers.
Pickup Music is more than an online guitar lesson resource; it’s an online community of guitarists looking to further their skills. Visit the Community Corner for Pickup’s Office Hours, Community Video Archive, and Community News.
Every Monday morning at ten Los Angeles time, Pickup Music offers live guitar lessons via Zoom. Cleverly branded as “Office Hours,” this provides students with many of the benefits of private lessons via a digital format.
If you miss Office Hours, don’t panic. Recordings of live lessons are available to watch through Pickup’s Community Video Archive, along with a host of other valuable content.
You can also get personalized feedback by submitting recordings of yourself playing through the lessons.
As mentioned above, Pickup Music offers a fourteen-day free trial; after that, the subscription costs have increased in 2024 to $29.99 monthly, or $179.99 annually (a savings of $180 over monthly payments) to reflect recent upgrades and new features.
While existing users keep legacy pricing, new users pay the updated rates which reflect the array of new bonuses added in the recent past.
Pickup Music doesn’t issue refunds on payments that have been processed, but subscribers can cancel at any time and continue to enjoy the service until their next scheduled payment date.
Pickup Music may, however, consider certain refund requests on a case-by-case basis and at their own discretion.
How Does Pickup Music Work?
The first thing that impressed me about Pickup Music was the layout of the site itself.
Many online-based guitar lessons sites clutter their homepages in an attempt to display the breadth and depth of their content libraries, Pickup Music’s homepage is designed not to overwhelm; it directs the user rather than dropping them headlong into an ocean of content.
Further streamlining the user experience, Pickup Music allows users to pin content to a digital dashboard.
This is one of my favorite features of Pickup Music, as it allows for a more personalized – not to mention convenient – experience; it’s like having your own Pickup Music homepage.
As mentioned above, the majority of Pickup Music’s content is arranged into learning pathways, master classes, five-minute lessons and “essential licks.”
Learning pathways are deep dives into a genre, style, or subject. These courses are weeks long and punctuated frequently by summaries and review modules.
The pathways not only teach the fundamental chords, scales, and playing concepts step-by-step, but also reinforce learning through summaries, reviews, play-along jam sessions, and even personalized video feedback from an experienced instructor.
The CAGED System Learning Pathway received recent updates, and a new Rock Learning Pathway has filled a gap for rock and metal guitarists. A Metal Learning Pathway is also in development, following Pickup Music’s roadmap.
I recently completed the upgraded CAGED System Bootcamp and was blown away by how much my soloing skills improved in just 3 months. And I’ve barely scratched the surface of the many Pathways now available.
So while the core of what makes Pickup Music so special remains unchanged, there’s no denying meaningful improvements have been made.
Five Minute Lessons
For those of us short on available time, 5 minute lessons provide a bounty of guitar knowledge offered in bite-sized morsels.
A small sampling of the most popular five-minute lesson titles includes Picking Technique, How to Solo with Modes, Introduction to Secondary Dominants, Technique Tips for Speed, CAGED Quick-Start, and Ten Tips for the Gigging Guitarist.
More advanced players will likely be drawn to Pickup Music’s master classes. Covering a wide range of genres and styles, Pickup’s master classes offer members an opportunity to sure up their fundamentals while exploring the finer points of their preferred discipline.
As mentioned above, I started Melanie Faye’s master class, “R&B Techniques in Seven Days.” I’ve also taken a number of the lessons included in Sophie Guiliani’s “Melodic CAGED Soloing” master class.
The latter is a ten-day program and, as its name implies, the former is a seven-day study. Both classes are accessible, packed with useful content, and – perhaps most importantly – thoroughly enjoyable.
Pickup Music keeps adding more masterclasses, with recent additions covering genres like gospel, jazz and rock guitar.
Pickup Music’s “Essential Licks” are a series of video tutorials explaining how to play useful and engaging guitar licks in a wide variety of styles and genres.
A sampling of the most popular titles includes “Ten John Mayer Blues Licks,” taught by Seth Rosenbloom, “Ten Extended Fusion Licks,” with instructor Kaspar Jalily, and “Ten Colorful Jazz Licks,” taught by Horace Bray.
Each Essential Lick includes a series of video tutorials and corresponding tablature, which makes learning great-sounding licks a breeze.
Who Is Pickup Music For?
As someone with absolutely no connection to or financial stake in the service, I can honestly say that if you play guitar, Pickup Music is for you.
Beginner guitar players, intermediate guitarists, and even seasoned players will find more than simply a wealth of valuable content; Pickup Music provides a unique and personalized learning experience for players of all genres and skill levels.
With recent upgrades such as the Bass for Guitarist Pathway, CAGED Learning Pathway, Rock Learning Pathway, and more advanced Masterclasses like Hendrix CAGED, CAGED Arpeggios, etc., Pickup Music now appeals to rock, metal and advanced players more than ever.
Reasons To Buy/Not To Buy
Reasons To Buy A Subscription:
- User-friendly and easy to navigate
- Multiple learning options suitable for players with little free time
- Knowledgeable and likable instructors
- Lessons are engaging and easy to follow
- Direct feedback on your guitar playing from experienced guitarists
Reasons Not To Buy A Subscription:
- The platform lacks a rich library of popular songs
- There is currently no Pickup Music app (iOS or Android) available
How Does Pickup Music Stack Up Against Competing Platforms?
There are some excellent online guitar lesson platforms out there, many of which I’ve tried and enjoyed.
Pickup Music, thanks not only to the quality of its content but also its organization and accessibility, can stand toe-to-toe with any of the big names out there.
Pickup Music may not have as large a content library as some of its competitors, and they’ve yet to attract guest instructors as popular as those featured by some other, as yet larger sites; still, as I stated earlier, Pickup Music has something special that simply can’t be overlooked.
See Pickup Music’s teaching excellence in action with their free YouTube tutorial – a prime example of their high-quality lessons:
Frequently Asked Questions
Who owns Pickup Music?
Pickup Music is owned by Sam Blakelock, a professional jazz guitarist from New Zealand now based in Los Angeles. Sam co-founded the company together with Cam Nolan, intending to build a stronger community for musicians, creators, and music lovers.
The community originally started as an Instagram page and has since expanded to more than 850K followers through three pages (@PickupMusic, @pickupjazz, and @PickupBeats).
Is Pickup Music worth it?
Whether Pickup Music is worth it or not is subjective and depends on your individual needs and goals as a guitarist.
However, with over 40,000 guitarists using the platform and a 4.8-star rating on Trust Pilot, it can be concluded that many guitarists have found value in using Pickup Music.
In addition, the platform provides personalized feedback and guidance from professional guitar instructors, as well as step-by-step learning programs in different styles of guitar through the Learning Pathways feature.
If you’re interested in seeing if Pickup Music is right for you, they offer a 14-day free trial.
How can I track my progress and get feedback on my playing?
You can track your progress and get feedback through learning pathways with daily exercises, video feedback where instructors review your playing, weekly live lessons for real-time feedback, and the Pickup Music community where you can share videos and learn from each other.
These interactive features allow you to measure your achievements, get expert tips, and engage with instructors and fellow musicians.
Does pickup music have an app?
Currently, Pickup Music is developing an app, so stay tuned! Meanwhile, the site is mobile-friendly, accessible on web-enabled devices. Create a shortcut for easy access on your phone. All Pickup content is supported on Android and iOS through mobile web browsers.
If you’re learning guitar or looking to sharpen your musical skills, you owe it to yourself to sign up for Pickup Music’s free fourteen-day trial.
Truly a standout among the myriad online guitar lesson platforms out there, Pickup Music is a personalized and thoroughly engaging online learning experience.
About the Author
Gustavo is a music teacher and classical guitar player from Brazil, currently residing in Dublin, Ireland. He holds a graduate degree in Classical Guitar Performance from the Federal University of Pelotas. In 2020, Gustavo successfully completed a Master's degree in Sound Engineering from the Academy of Sound in Ireland.