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Best Online Guitar Lessons 2020

While watching Youtube tutorials on how to play the guitar, a well structured online course will definitely be less overwhelming. The options we opted for are JamPlay, GuitarTricks, Fender Play, TrueFire, ArtistWorks, and LearnAndMaster. We also cover the paid programs and their value for money, along with the topic of YouTube lessons.
You will needIf you’re just starting out, we recommend going for a high-quality acoustic guitar. The Yamaha FG830 is our recommended top quality choice for beginners. It sounds amazing, it is very forgiving and extremely durable.

Top Lessons at a Glance

  1. Jamplay
  2. Guitar Tricks
  3. Fender Play
  4. Truefire
  5. ArtistWorks
  6. LearnAndMaster

Jamplay

Jamplay has an impeccable reputation and is considered one of the best online guitar lesson providers available. In a nutshell, what sets them apart from similar brands is that they provide free toolkits, they allow you to take a peek into the libraries, and they frequently offer discounts on new courses.

From guitar lessons for beginners to masterclasses, there’s pretty much something for everyone in the Jamplay store. This platform boasts over 6,000 lessons and over 200 instrumentation and style-building courses grouped into five categories, including Beginner, Genres, Skills, Songs, and Master Classes.

How it works

music note icon First, you’ll be prompted to pick your desired guitar learning course. The Beginner’s bundle is perfect for immediate starters while all the other courses are a bit more suited for experienced guitar players. Let’s break down each bundle.

The JamPlay Beginner Guitar Lessons are meant for immediate beginners, self-taught guitarists, and those who’ve simply hit a wall and think that they for whatever reason can’t move past their current level.

Essentially, these lessons start off by building the foundation blocks of guitar playing – you’ll learn how to properly hold your pick, position your hands on the fingerboard, learn the basic chores, strumming techniques, and learn how to maintain and tune your guitar.

The reason why these lessons are especially great for self-taught guitarists is that you’ll get the opportunity to correct any mistakes and behavioral patterns you’ve developed while learning on your own. A good portion of the training includes pointing out the most common mistakes and bad habits players own make and develop, so you’ll easily fill the gaps in your technique.

Moreover, the lessons also dabble in simplified aspects of the basic music theory; this means that you’ll get to learn the essentials and a bit of harmony while you’re at it; the teachers explain at length what time signature is while reinforcing your timing habits, you’ll get to understand what ‘keys’ are and how to weave chords into chord progressions, which will ultimately become the staple of your songwriting process.

Other training courses are also available, such as Style & Genre lessons, Skill Building lessons, and the Interactive section with on-screen tablatures.

The Style & Genre lessons are slightly more advanced than the Beginner’s course as they focus on tips and tricks that aim to help you step up individual techniques, such as speed, improvisation, singing along the guitar, tackling down instrument maintenance, developing your sense of rhythm, and so on.

What’s more, the Skill & Style section offers a ‘quick start’ guide of sorts for studio engineers and is based on creating a home studio environment, the fundamentals of mixing, and such.

Once you’ve got on your feet with these two lessons, you can proceed to the Genres training course. Essentially, this online guitar lesson program is based on a concept of understanding established music styles; it covers more than 20 music sub-categories, including blues, jazz, R&B, gospel, rock, funk, metal, country, and numerous others.

The opportunity to combine everything you’ve learned from the previous lessons arises with the ‘Learn Songs’ training course. This portion of the JamPlay online guitar lessons features a vast catalogue of popular songs that were hand-picked in such a way that they sport a presence of all the essential techniques interpreted in different styles.

Program features

  • Beginner Lessons program comprised of the most basic and essential playing techniques
  • ‘Learn Styles’ program that covers over 20 music sub-genres, including rock, blues, jazz, country, gospel, metal, R&B, country, fingerstyle, and numerous others
  • ‘Refine Skills’ program that was specifically designed to improve the existing knowledge of the basics
  • ‘Learn Songs’ feature that features a huge catalogue of songs and song tablatures from most popular artists
  • Master Classes held by professionals that break down the particularities of prominent guitar player’s technique and style
  • Vast libraries of chords, scales, licks, riffs, progress reports, and training games
  • Free ‘toolkits’, which are essentially trial versions of JamPlay online guitar lessons comprised of selected fragments of the aforementioned training courses

The JamPlay program embodies everything you need to know about your chosen instrument, and what’s best about it is that you’ll get to choose how you approach the learning process. There are several training courses at your disposal, and it’s up to you to determine in which order you’re going to take them.

Estimated time needed to learn how to play the guitar

graduate lesson JamPlay offers dozens of individual training courses that complement each other, so in that respect, following them through and through will most likely require months of persistent practice. However, these lessons are meant to set beginners on a path to become professionals one day, so you won’t really need that much time to actually feel comfortable playing the guitar on your own.

If we take the ‘Beginner’s Lessons’ as the core of this training regime, we estimate that you’ll need a month or two tops. The teachers invested a lot of intention into details, but the overall feeling is that the lessons are comprehensive, yet easy to follow.

Pros

  • Some of the most popular names in the music industry are guitar teachers at JamPlay, including Mike Keneally, Robb Flynn, Andy James, Tony MacAlpine, Dave Davidson, Lita Ford, Tosin Abasi, and Bumblefoot
  • Thousands of online guitar lessons that will help you understand the basics, polish your skills, and set you on a path to become a professional
  • New courses are popping in every day
  • Huge catalogue of chords, scales, and training games to keep you entertained

Cons

  • The programs are relatively easy to follow, but they’re absolutely brimming with content. Some beginners might find this as intimidating

Bottom line

bottom line review Simply put, JamPlay is one of the best online guitar lessons provider for numerous reasons; first and foremost, this website offers so much content that you’ll have to learn something new every day; secondly, you can specialize in certain styles (or genres) or become a well-rounded player by following JamPlay programs.

Although it might feel a bit overwhelming at times, it’s absolutely phenomenal and we highly recommend checking it out.

Guitar Tricks

guitartricks

Guitar Tricks is exactly what its name implies. This is an online platform that provides guitar lessons for both beginners and experienced players. They’ve been around for more than two decades (22 years, to be more precise), and they boast millions of satisfied guitar players who’ve used their services, so as far as credibility goes, they’re completely legitimate.

They offer a wide range of services, most of which aim to help beginners learn the ropes, but also to guide them towards becoming better players by developing muscle memory, work ethics, and fundamental knowledge of guitar playing in both theory and practice.

The prime spot of this online guitar lesson platform is Guitartricks’ Core Learning System comprised of four separate steps that occur in two stages – two levels of the ‘fundamental’ stage, and two levels of ‘specialization’ stage. Of course, if you wish to become a versatile, well-rounded player, you can expand your knowledge by taking up to four additional classes and complete the Core Learning System in full.

Overall, they offer simple means of learning how to play while still touching on interesting and important aspects of differentiating between music styles, guitar playing techniques, routines, habits, and plenty of music theory knowledge.

How it works

music note icon As mentioned before, the highlight of GuitarTricks guitar lessons is their Core™ Learning System. It’s comprised of several steps that are designed in such a way that they aim to help beginners tackle down the fundamental techniques, including holding the guitar properly, holding the pick in the most comfortable way, basic finger positioning and basic guitar maintenance. This is the ‘Level 1 Guitar Fundamentals’, or the first step in the Core Learning System.

The ‘Level 2’ is a logical continuation of the fundamental guitar playing techniques, but only this time it’s expanded, a bit more complex, and substantially more versatile. After figuring out the essentials, here you will have the opportunity to learn basic chords, scales, the gist of song building, and the final aspects of the most common guitar techniques.

The final steps of the Core Learning System are the ‘specialization level’ where you’ll be able to choose between taking Blues courses, Rock Courses, or Country courses.

Program features

  • Core Learning System comprised of two beginner levels and two specialization levels
  • Learn Your Favorite Songs suite
  • Guitar courses for more experienced guitarists
  • Learn Guitar Styles section
  • Artists Studies that cover personal information and break-down of techniques used by famous guitar players
  • Library of most popular guitar playing techniques

Estimated time needed to learn how to play the guitar

graduate lesson The Core Learning System is thorough, but it’s also very comprehensible and easy to follow. You get to choose how ‘complex’ or how ‘simple’ the learning process will be, so in that regard, the time needed to learn how to play the guitar on your own can vary from a mere month to 2-3 months.

 

Pros

  • Simple learning systems
  • Specialized classes for more experienced players
  • Huge libraries that break down the styles of popular artists, explain different techniques, and so on
  • Rock, Country, and Blues-specific intermediate classes

Cons

  • The only thing that Guitartricks needs is the ‘Master Class’ section

Bottom line

bottom line review All in all, GuitarTricks is a remarkable and exquisite platform for guitar players by guitar players. People will have the opportunity to gain the basic knowledge of guitar playing rapidly while still being able to indefinitely expand their understanding of guitar techniques, styles, and genres of music.

Fender Play

fender play

Fender is the name millions of people associate with ‘guitar’, not just because this is a brand that manufactures top-quality ones, but also because they’ve redefined what the term means time and time again.

This brand has so many professional guitarists in their team that they can’t even compare to most educational guitar lesson platforms. What most people like about Fender Play is that even their website is interactive and engaging; of course, the lessons are too, but one of the main problems of most online guitar lesson platforms is the clunky design of the user interface.  Anyway, let’s get back to seeing how Fender Play works.

How it works

music note icon Just like with any other guitar training platform, you’ll be prompted to choose your subscription tutelage plan. Fender also offers a free trial, so before you start typing in your credit card details you might want to try it out first.

Aside from the free trial, you’ll also gain access to numerous instructional videos on the Fender Play official website, including Guitar 101, Play Some Notes, and Play a Riff. Basically, these clips are meant to show you the very basics of guitar playing in less than 7 minutes time.

The program has so many interesting features, including progress trackers, the Fender Play application, and the ‘speed-run course’. Of course, you’ll also get to meet your teachers before you even start the course so that you can make a better choice.

You’ll be prompted to pick a ‘style’ (acoustic, electric, rock, jazz, and such), which will transition you to the first level of ‘your path’ (progress tracker). All the lessons are ordained in a very logical order and feature detailed descriptions (whether it’s a skill course, a technique course, and such).

After completing the initial five levels, you’ll then proceed to learn actual songs. The Fender Play library features thousands of songs, including both hits and deep cuts from pop, rock, blues, funk, R&B, country,  bluegrass, fusion, blues, and jazz artists.

Program features

  • 1-month free trial
  • Progress tracker
  • Learn Popular Songs feature
  • Fender Play Application
  • Video-based guitar learning sessions

Estimated time needed to learn how to play the guitar

graduate lesson Nearly everyone who works for Fender is a guitar player, and nearly every professional teacher that works for Fender is a world-renowned guitar player. That being said, it’s more than obvious that you’ll be able to tackle down the basics in record time, presumably under a month’s time. However, you’ll have the opportunity to learn at your own pace and access lessons and training courses whenever you deem fit.

Pros

  • One of the most reputable guitar brands on the market
  • Interactive interface, very fun and engaging to use
  • Simplified training courses
  • 1-month free trial with limited access to the lessons

Cons

  • Slightly pricier than average

Bottom line

bottom line review If you’re insecure about your guitar playing skills and want to get better, checking out Fender Play might be the best course of action. They offer the best online guitar lessons and the most versatile and well-rounded guitar training regimes, so you’re virtually risking nothing, especially due to the fact that they offer a free trial version of their program.

Truefire

truefire

TrueFire is one of the veteran guitar lesson companies founded in 1991 by Brad Wendkos in Florida, United States. They mainly operate on streaming platforms and feature a vast database comprised of over 40000 guitar lessons, more than 30000 tablatures and notation content, over 20000 jam tracks, dozens of guitar courses, and a ton of premium (and exclusive) content.

It’s also one of the few educational platforms that offer ‘lifetime’ program options, which is highly unusual, but also very beneficial for both beginner and experienced players.

How it works

music note icon The first step is choosing a tuition plan between monthly, annual, and lifetime. Each plan offers different benefits and access to different kinds of content, so you should check out their official website to find more about the details.

What’s really interesting is that TrueFire also offers a 1-month free trial. If you opt for the free trial, you’ll gain access to the basic lessons, tabs, and jam tracks, but you’ll also have access to streaming. You won’t be able to download content, though.

If on another hand, you decide to go with a paid plan, you’ll get to choose between Beginner Guitar lessons, blues guitar lessons, jazz guitar lessons, rock guitar lessons, country guitar lessons, and acoustic guitar lessons.

Some of the most prominent features of TrueFire online guitar lesson program are 1080p HD video communication, progress tracking, slow-motion and looping tools, as well as a huge tablature and jam track database.

Program features

  • Full access to streaming content
  • Over 40,000 guitar lessons
  • Over 30,000 tabs and notation content
  • More than 20,000 jam tracks
  • 30-day trial version

Estimated time needed to learn how to play the guitar

graduate lesson TrueFire offers a monthly plan, which immediately translates to ‘they guarantee that you’ll be able to handle the basics with their 1-month tutelage’. Some people might not be able to pick up the pace and follow through the plan in entirety within a 1-month period of time, but due to the fact that there are so many content and useful tools at your disposal, the chances are pretty high that you will.

 

Pros

  • Massive database filled with useful content
  • Professional guitar players teach at this educational company
  • Free trial, monthly, annual, and lifetime programs
  • Six different specialization guitar lesson courses

Cons

  • Limited access to non-members

Bottom line

bottom line review TrueFire offers sure-fire means to learn how to play the guitar like a professional, no matter how untalented you think you may be. The professionals working at this reputable establishment are known to pull the best from people and push them to break through their boundaries in record times, so why not give them a go?

ArtistWorks

artistworks

ArtistWorks is a relatively young education platform founded in 2008, but even still they’ve earned an impeccable reputation and have set out thousands of beginners on their way to becoming well-rounded players and performers.

They offer free video lessons, paid guitar lesson programs, as well as monthly/yearly packages that allow you to save up some money. This company has numerous professional teachers, including Nathan East, Mike Marshall, and even Paul Gilbert, so you can rest assured that you’ll be in good hands.

How it works

music note icon The main principle of how ArtistWorks actually ‘works’ is via video exchange. Every practice season is one-on-one between the teacher and the student and every lesson is in video format.

Simply put, once you choose your desired instrument plan (banjo, guitar, bass, etc), you’ll be assigned a teacher who will guide you through every step of the way. Once the session ends, you’ll still be able to stay in touch with your teacher via videos or e-mail, so in that sense, the communication is pretty flexible and dynamic.

Program features

  • Acoustic Guitar Beginner program
  • Electric Rock Guitar course
  • Electric Blues guitar course
  • Acoustic Flatpick guitar program
  • Electric country guitar course
  • Electric Jazz Guitar course
  • Electric Fingerstyle Guitar course
  • Acoustic Classical guitar program
  • Acoustic Dobro & Lap Steel program
  • Electric Jazz Improv guitar course
  • Music Certificate program

Estimated time needed to learn how to play the guitar

graduate lesson Basically, you’ll be able to choose between 3-month, 6-month, and 12-month plans; this basically means that the estimated time needed to finish your desired course (or courses) is at least 3 months. However, all the teacher are established and reputable professionals who have plenty of experience in sharing their knowledge, so it’s highly likely that you’ll end up being able to play on your own after a couple of weeks.

Pros

  • Huge selection of genre and style-based programs
  • Acoustic and Electric guitar courses
  • Famous guitar players as teachers
  • Music certificate program

Cons

  • The platform on the website is slightly confusing to use

Bottom line

bottom line review Young educational companies are sometimes overshadowed by well-established platforms, but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t give them a chance. ArtistWorks offers a huge variety of training programs and courses and hosts dozens and dozens of prominent guitar professionals, so we highly recommend trying their services out.

LearnAndMaster

learn & master

The Learn and Master is an all-encompassing training course provided by Legacy Learning Systems. It covers a wide range of instructional art classes, including painting, piano, ballerina dancing, photography, and obviously, an array of guitar classes.

What should interest you the most in the context of Learn and Master online guitar lessons is that you’ll get to choose your specialization early on; their classes include Blues Guitar, Fingerstyle Guitar, Guitar Setup and Maintenance, as well as some ‘complimentary’ instructional guides regarding famous Song Hits and Rock Hits.

How it works

music note icon The highlight of Learn & Master’s online guitar lessons is the Blues Guitar Lesson. Essentially, the training begins with the promotional video showing you how the end result should look like before breaking it down into smaller fragments.

Steve Krenz, a professional guitar instructor and player, will lead you throughout the lessons, showing you the basics of finger positioning, strumming, chords, scales, and all things bluesy. Even though blues is generally considered to be one of the most complex guitar-driven ‘genres’, Steve explains the fundamentals in easy and practical ways.

Program features

  • Six instructional DVDs that comprise more than eight hours of guitar lessons
  • Jam-along DVD packed with more than 20 songs, covering plenty of ground in terms of blues guitar work
  • Interviews with famous guitarists such as Jack Pearson and Johnny Hiland
  • Downloadable E-Book

The instructional DVDs are lessons that follow the same thread logically, starting off with the basics of guitar playing, moving over to beginner techniques, and finish up with actual songs that combine all the elements together.

Apart from following the instructional DVD guidelines, you’ll also get the opportunity to test your new-found skills with the Jam-Along DVD. Essentially, this DVD features more than 20 blues songs that were carefully picked based on what techniques the guitar players were using in them.

Let’s not discredit the importance of the complementary interviews. Professionals Jack Pearson and Johnny Hiland talk at length about their guitar playing roots, their road to becoming professionals; they also share numerous tips and tricks for beginners that are bound to help you out by the long run.

We should also note that Fingerstyle online guitar lessons are also an option that Legacy Learning Systems offers. Although most beginners do feel a bit more comfortable learning how to play the guitar with a pick, using your bare hands might be a bit more challenging, but it’s also very rewarding.

This program is led by the same instructor (Steve Krenz), it features 9 DVDs, as well as a Jam-Along DVD, just like the Blues Guitar program.

Estimated time needed to learn how to play the guitar

graduate lesson Given the fact that playing the blues requires a certain degree of talent and unwavering dedication, you will probably need at least a month of daily practice before you can actually put what you’ve learned to use by yourself.

On another hand, blues covers more ground in music theory (and guitar playing in general) than any other music genre (aside from jazz), which means that the time you put into following this program and its lessons will be well spent.

Pros

  • The lessons are neatly broken down into six DVDs that follow the same logical thread
  • Jam-Along DVD provides you with means to test out your newfound knowledge into practice
  • The program is very easy to follow; all the lessons are comprehensible for most immediate beginners
  • The interviews are the icing on the cake; you may find more enthusiasm, as well as some additional tips and tricks on how to flatten the learning curve a bit and how to avoid common mistakes

Cons

  • Blues is generally hard to master
  • A portion of the lessons require a certain degree of talent

Bottom line

bottom line review Legacy Learning Systems online guitar lessons are absolutely great. The basics are broken down in a very understandable way while the Jam-Along DVD gives you the means to try yourself out whenever you feel comfortable.

By all means, this is not ‘just’ a beginner’s guitar program. The training course progresses at a steady pace, giving you access to slightly more advanced lessons that touch on different rhythms, tempos, keys, and a variety of guitar-playing techniques that every player needs to have in their arsenal.

How long will it take to learn to play the guitar through an online program?

Essentially, the answer to this question depends on numerous factors. First of all, every individual is different. Some people are talented and are able to progress much faster than average. People who are born with the innate ability to understand the basic concept of an instrument (or instruments) will likely require substantially less time before they become capable of playing whole songs on their own.

On another hand, there are people who might not be ‘talented’ for an instrument per se; people who have the ability to ‘process information’ faster than average. Even though the practical things might go a bit slower in this particular situation, people who ‘get’ things fast will undoubtedly be able to get the most out of online guitar lesson programs in the shortest time possible.

Even if we’re to completely forget about the fact that talent and information processing factor into how much time a person might need to learn how to play the guitar via online programs, the training courses themselves, as well as the platforms they’re based on are much different.

In this sense, it’s up to the ‘teacher’ (or teachers) and their ability to present their knowledge of techniques and theory in a very general way. Again, since every individual is different, the same can be said about the ‘teachers’ who have created online lessons. Charisma, expertise, knowledge, and proficiency with the given instrument play key factors in how these ‘teachers’ share their experience and knowledge with the students.

All this considered, online guitar lesson platforms and websites typically state how much time they estimate a person might need to handle their initial training courses. While the statistics state that an average individual normally needs approximately three to six months to learn how to properly play the guitar on their own, most programs boast about being able to ‘beat’ that time.

Free Vs Paid Programs

In essence, free guitar learning programs are perfect for people who’ve had some experience with this instrument. Most of these ‘free’ programs touch on important aspects of guitar playing, and even though they’re not as versatile or as thorough as ‘full/paid’ variants, they can help you tackle down the basics.

One of the biggest advantages of free guitar learning programs is that with little effort you can ‘compile’ fragments of knowledge contained therein and, in a way, simulate the experience you’d have by using a paid program.

Of course, this requires plenty of time needed for the research, and you’ll often end up finding the same type of lessons across various platforms that are just packaged a bit differently, which means that you’ll basically ‘waste’ a good portion of invested time.

On the plus side, you can play it safe by sticking with free programs provided by reputable and established companies and guitar lesson and training platforms. This is one of the most sure-fire ways to get as much value as you can from gratis lessons.

However, there are also numerous pitfalls of free lessons. Trial lessons are typically nothing more than ‘sneak peek’ previews of the paid lessons, which means that you’ll get to experience only a small fraction of each course.

This might be great to start with, but you’ll probably end up hitting a wall and not being able to fully develop your beginner guitar playing techniques and habits.

If your question was ‘are free guitar lessons worth giving a shot?’ the answer would be ‘depends, but generally no’.  Even though you won’t have to pay a cent, you’ll be investing time only to find that you need to pay to proceed to the ‘main course’.

Given the fact that paid programs typically don’t cost much on a monthly basis, you don’t really have any reasons to invest your time in constantly searching for free guitar lessons.

Paid Programs vs Learning from YouTube

YouTube has reached an enormous level of popularity and is currently the biggest media & media streaming platform with the highest number of registered users. As a matter of fact, it’s not uncommon to see people have multiple accounts, especially pop celebrities and rock stars.

Apart from allowing us access to our favorite songs and content from our idols, YouTube is a place where you can find pretty much anything for free, including guitar lessons. Now, the question that arises before we even consider taking someone’s ‘YouTube guitar lesson’ or a class would be ‘is this person the real deal?’

Certified teachers usually state their credentials, which greatly simplifies the matters of credibility, but on the flip side, they normally don’t compile ‘full lessons’ rather they give out previews identical to ‘free guitar lessons’. Exceptions are possible, of course, but they’re pushed back by advertised content that are predominantly trial versions of guitar tutorials.

Now, as far as the other end of this particular YouTube content goes, we’re talking about guitarists of varying skill level that are not exactly ‘teachers’. As a matter of fact, both beginners and professionals are releasing tutorial-based ‘lessons’ due to the increase in popularity of ‘streaming’ and ‘reaction videos’.

What’s really interesting and beneficial about YouTube guitar lessons shared by non-professionals is that the content is, at the very least, interesting and might provide you with a different perspective on certain techniques that someone other than yourself might have figured out differently.

Beginners will have plenty of things to discover while intermediate-level players have the opportunity to enrich their ‘style’ of playing by watching thousands and thousands of different guitar players that put their own stamp on certain things like using hammer-on and pull-off techniques, the use of vibrato, legato slides, whammy bar usage, and so on.

At the end of the day, YouTube might turn out to be a better source of information than free tutorials and trial versions of guitar lesson packages.

An online guitar lesson program will only get you so far – it’s up to you to make the most of what you get, be it in the form of video lessons, practical advice, or crunching down music theory.

Luckily, the finest platforms are more versatile than others, providing you with the necessary knowledge and tips regarding all things practical in a very easy-to-understand, comprehensible way. We hope that you liked our selection of the best online guitar lessons and wish you all the luck with learning how to play, and hopefully mastering this wonderful instrument.