On your own time, at your own pace
The guitar is one of the most versatile and satisfying instruments to play, but learning to master this popular instrument can be an uphill battle.
Getting good quality instruction and having constructive practice are both crucial to becoming competent. The good news is that it’s never been easier to get access to quality guitar lessons and information online.
Some of these resources are free and some will cost a few dollars, but it’s all available from the comfort of your own home. We’ve narrowed down the list to 5 sites and apps to learn to play the guitar and become a guitar god. So get ready to rock.
Yousician is one of the most advanced digital music teaching platforms available. The apps are highly automated and can provide feedback on personal progress by listening to you play over the microphone.
Yousician is a very structured experience, with carefully designed curricula. It’s also notable that you don’t just get guitar lessons. It also covers piano, bass, ukulele and vocals. Plenty of guitarists also want to learn the bass or how to sing. From that point of view, Yousician offers an amazing deal. If you’re only interested in one instrument, however, you can choose such a plan and save some money.
The selection of songs that you can learn is respectable, coming in at around 1500 titles. Though that number also seems to include lessons and exercises going by the wording on the site.
There’s no option to get direct human help, but there’s also an argument to be made for pure computer-driven teaching where you set the pace. It’s also available to use on iOS and Android, as well as a native desktop application.
You can get full access for seven days as a trial. If you’re still not sure, you can take up to 10 minutes of free lessons every day for non-paying users. For someone doing a bit of casual practice, those 10 minutes are still pretty valuable.
GuitarTricks is laser-focused on getting you to learn to play the guitar and start playing the songs you love as quickly as possible. There are more than 1000 songs included in their library in a range of genres and styles.
You don’t have to pay right out of the gate. There’s a basic access level that includes 24 free guitar lessons that will give you a clear idea of the quality and instructional style of the site. The full access membership promises 11,000 of these video lessons.
There’s material for complete beginners and advanced players. Their “Artist Studies” are aimed at polishing expert players with much more in-depth material. You can pay a monthly subscription, but paying for a year upfront will save you 25%. There are a few bonus goodies thrown in for annual subscribers.
Ultimate Guitar isn’t specifically a lesson site. As the name suggests, it really tries to be all things to everyone. The Ultimate Guitar suite of apps offer everything from virtual amplifiers to official interactive song tabs. For a monthly fee of course.
There’s plenty of free content, with many lesson articles published on the main site with a high level of frequency. It’s not a slick guided course site, but it’s worth going through the lessons archive while checking in for new ones regularly.
The main attraction of JamPlay is its variety of courses on offer. There are over 450 courses taught by more than 100 guitar teachers. You have two payment options to access this content. Either pay for specific courses outright or get to use them all by paying a membership fee. If you buy a course outright, you can download it and watch the content offline.
There are three membership tiers, with higher tiers offering one-on-one consultation, additional tools and various other perks. The basic paid subscription unlocks the mobile apps and the core library of content.
JamPlay is quite possibly one of the most comprehensive online guitar teaching sites we’ve ever seen. Compared to the price of lessons with a local guitar teacher, it’s more than a bargain.
You’ll find many people on YouTube with immense amounts of talent both for playing and teaching the guitar. If you put some time into sampling the best YouTube guitar channels, you can probably piece together a real masterclass course from the various offerings YouTube has.
Many of the freely available lessons on YouTube are actually from some of the paid services mentioned above and acts as advertising for those products. However, if you’re just looking to learn to play the guitar using specific pro tips and not an entire course, these sorts of videos are perfect.
While it’s best to go exploring the guitar treasures of YouTube yourself, here are a few great examples to get you started:
- JustinGuitar: Great YouTube lessons, though plenty of promotion for justinguitar.com.
- Fender: Plenty of great individual lessons mixed in with advertisements for Fender gear. A taster for the paid Fender Play platform.
- ArtistWorks: Fantastic tips, techniques and lessons from some of the best guitarists in the world.
Then there are amazing artists who don’t teach directly. By simply watching their videos you’ll be inspired and learn vicariously. Rob Scallon, Andy Rehfeldt and Leo Moracchioli are three prime examples.
That being said, while there’s plenty of free content to learn the guitar on YouTube, you’re also more likely to run across bad guitar teachers as well. If you’re a novice player, it can be hard to tell the difference. Which is why you should spend some time in the comments of their videos to see if any more experienced players are pointing out issues with their lessons or content.
Fast Fingers of Fun
These modern guitar learning resources are a major step-up from the traditional ways of learning to play the guitar. The old approach would have involved one or two lessons with a teacher each week and hours of self-study by yourself with a book.
Not only can you now get personalized lessons with feedback, it all happens on your own time and at your own pace. Modern guitar students should make much faster progress using these new tools and platforms. That also means the bar has been raised, with younger players hitting higher levels of mastery more quickly.
The most important lesson you can learn about the guitar (or any other instrument) is to only compare yourself to, well, yourself. Practice consistently every day, don’t overdo it, and never be afraid to ask dumb questions. In the end, what matters most is playing the music you love and not what anyone else thinks.