How do you like to wind down? Some people choose yoga as their relaxation method, others prefer sipping on a nice glass of wine, and some know there’s nothing like the sound of music – especially if you can make it yourself. That’s where guitar playing comes in. So, now you’ve bought a guitar and you’re ready to start playing — except you’re not sure of the difference between a major and a minor chord or even where to begin. However, besides being highly versatile, guitars are considered to be fairly easy to learn. Whether you want to pick up a new hobby or impress your loved ones, you’ll be strumming your favorite songs in no time! And here are some of the best courses to make your musical journey interesting and fun.
Started in 1998, GuitarTricks is the ‘OG’ online platform for guitar lessons. With over 11,000 lessons, 700 songs and 32 instructors that specialize in different genres, the website offers different levels of learning. Starting at pre-beginner with articles that will help you choose the right guitar and accessories, there are advanced lessons for more experienced players. The Core Fundamentals module offers a step-by-step approach to playing while making music right from the beginning. Once you’re comfortable playing, you can also explore blues, country or rock taught by the experts. Lessons are supported by an active community and useful tools such as a chord finder, chord charts, and a fretboard trainer.
Coming in close as the best online guitar website is JamPlay, offering three interesting beginner options: “Never Played Before”, “Self-Taught Guitarists” and “The ‘Forever’ Beginner”. For more advanced players, there are lessons to strengthen foundations and learn techniques, alongside over 20 genres of music including jazz and flamenco. And for those that prefer a more personalized experience, there are daily live instructor forum lessons. Master courses, a riff library, interactive games on music theory and an interactive tab player that works on mobile devices and tablets make JamPlay quite the bang for your buck!
TrueFire is available on Windows or as an app. With a fuss-free interface and live Q&A sessions, lessons are organized into structured courses that need to be individually bought. Along with a free 30-day trial period, TrueFire offers the first beginner course with 34 videos on foundations, basic chords, and perks such as chord charts and jam tracks. These bite-sized courses are carefully curated to provide a satisfying learning experience that will answer all your questions. The main drawback is having to pay for each level of the course, but the wide range of lessons, styles and the option to request a one-on-one lesson is promising. Perfect for anyone who prefers a one-off payment that allows for ample time to learn and practice.
The biggest disadvantage of online learning is the lack of feedback that a music teacher would provide. This is where ArtistWorks steps in to bridge the gap. Their unique Video Exchange Learning allows you to submit videos of your practice to instructors on forums, who can then respond with a video explaining or answering questions. Virtually creating an atmosphere of classroom learning is a hard task — one that ArtistWorks has tackled head-on and emerged victoriously. You can also choose to apply for music certification Blues Guitar and Ukulele. This includes weekly lessons on music improvisation and ear training, right from beginner to advanced. The cherry on top? Lessons are taught by award-winning musicians such as Grammy winner Jason Vieaux and 14-time British Jazz Award winner Martin Taylor.
Despite being fairly new to the world of online guitar learning, guitar mogul Fender introduced Fender Play with a similar structure as most other websites — online video lessons. What sets them apart is a convenient and simple app that lets you carry your lessons with you wherever you go. Learn acoustic, electric, bass or ukulele at your own pace, with an extensive library of songs and bite-sized lessons. Learn to play a riff in 3 minutes! Fender also gives you a sweet 10% off on guitars, amps, and gear once you start your membership.
Where other sites offer multiple instructors, Justin Guitar is headed by Justin Sandercoe, who has worked with Cathy Dennis and Carla Bruni. What started in 2001 as an example of lessons he offered quickly expanded into a YouTube channel with over 400 million views and over a million subscribers. With a lesson map to tell you exactly where and how to start, Justin offers music theory beyond chords and scales. There are also lessons on ear training, transcribing and songwriting. With forums and live stream Q&As, Justin Guitar combines the best aspects of most other platforms in one place. But the best part is that Justin strives to provide music for all, with 1000+ free lessons and a free app called My Practice Assistant. Plus, if you genuinely can’t afford a paid lesson, just email Justin to let him know!
Offering a number of both free and paid lessons, Guitar Compass is the perfect place to start if you want to try a few lessons before committing to a course. With a section for free lessons for beginner, acoustic, blues, electric and country, a premium membership provides access to in-depth tutorials beyond strumming, reading guitar tabs and scales. It also includes intermediate and advanced lessons, jazz progressions and scales, metal, classical and more.
Tired of sitting alone in a room with just your guitar for the company? Well, here comes Jamorama to the rescue! Their tag line is “the social network for guitar students”, and that’s exactly what you get. Oh, and a whole bunch of guitar lessons and courses to go with it. You can even collaborate with friends you’ve made on the website. While courses like Speed Picking are for those looking to challenge themselves beyond strumming chords and playing the lead, a unique one offered on Jamorama is Acoustic Guitar Maintenance. This outlines re-stringing, cleaning, and tuning, which is absent elsewhere. Like some other sites, basic access is free with a limited set of guitar lessons while premium access gives you 275 guitar lessons. The only catch is that the courses are limited to the beginner level.
Udemy: Complete Guitar System — Beginner to Advanced by Erich Andreas
One of the highest-rated guitar courses on Udemy, Erich Andreas provides a comprehensive course with over 34 hours of videos and 158 downloadable resources. With easy access from any device anywhere, keep track of your lessons and progress as you breeze through this step-by-step course. Don’t get swept away, though — there is a clear emphasis on practice and determination. While there are no forums or blogs for support, it is quite affordable, requiring only a one-time payment for lifetime access. Where Jamorama is for social learners, this course is for those that prefer to have a one-track, easy to follow set of lessons or want to fill gaps in their knowledge. You can also check out Erich’s YouTube channel with over 400,000 subscribers to get a feel for his teaching.
The website offers what its name suggests — guitar lessons. And all of them are free! They range from playing and techniques to picking the right guitar for you. Theory, ear training and reading are also available for free. Most of the videos are straightforward and concise and listed in a methodical format. They also have a free Beginner Guitar Starter Kit. However, it lacks the structure of most other courses, which is remedied by their offshoot, Guitare.
Run by GuitarLessons, Guitareo provides step-by-step lessons in a more traditional format. You can also choose to buy lessons as a one-time payment and watch them at any time, with lifetime access. Besides the 26-week beginner’s course and another technique, they also give you what you’ve always wanted — 500 songs in 5 days. This will teach you the most commonly used chords, variations, using a capo and much more, besides giving you a “cheat sheet” with all the songs you ever wanted to play.
In a fast-paced world where hobbies are at a premium, the internet brings knowledge right to your fingertips. Quite literally in this case! Playing an instrument is more than stringing together chords. These courses provide you with all the guidance you need to pick the right guitar and gear, maintain your new purchase and methodical instruction to play. And it’s all done from the comfort of home with no restrictions on time. Whether you’re on an extended lunch break or want to create some music at midnight, these are the best tutors you’ll find online. So what are you waiting for? Go pick up that guitar and knock the socks off your friends and family as you riff to Sweet Child o’ Mine!