Have you always wanted to pick up the guitar for a hobby? Or maybe you’re interested in taking up a part-time gig in a local band? Alternatively, it could be that you’re looking for a way to further your child’s musical talents. Whatever the case, professional tutelage is vital if you want to do things the right way. It’s therefore a high time to start exploring the best options.
A database with hundreds of guitar courses. More than 90 professional instructors to choose from. With such impressive numbers, JamPlay clearly deserves the top spot on our recommendations list.
It goes without saying that the platform makes strong arguments for itself elsewhere. In particular, they have no equal when it comes to coverage of guitar techniques. Their website is equally impressive --- in spite of the huge amount of content it holds, it still has a polished and well-organized interface.
Most importantly, their lessons are filmed professionally and in high definition. On one hand, the videos are split between a variety of angles to illustrate techniques in detail.
To help you make the most of them, JamPlay also provides:
-A-B looping to help learners focus on specific segments
-Video bookmarks: These allow you to save your progress.
-Print ready sheets: These are your go-to option anytime you want to download song taps and chord charts in the right format.
-Variable playback speed to help you learn at your own pace.
JamPlay's course is made up of 4 phases, the first of which is comprised of a 68-lesson series. This helps beginners get acquainted with the basics of guitar playing. The rest are designed to facilitate progress: 2 adapts you to a specific genre to pave way for phase 3's extensive set of mastery lessons. Phase 4 acts as a bridge for those looking to venture into music production.
Other areas where JamPlay outshine the rest of the pack include:
-They offer live classes as well as pre-recorded videos
-Learning is reinforced with live video chats with tutors.
-The site's biography section provides a background on all tutors, which makes it easier to pick a suitable one.
-JamPlay's course is suitable for guitarists of all levels
To be honest, there's not much to dislike about JamPlay. Other than the higher subscription rates, the only downside is that the platform doesn't allow you to download video lessons. But as far as your options go, JamPlay should definitely take top spot on your list.
2. Guitar Tricks
This is often regarded as a one-stop solution for guitar players of all skill levels, and for good reason. GuitarTricks is a seasoned veteran in providing tuition, having been around since ’98. They also boast of a 33-member coaching team and a library with 11,000+ lessons.
And don’t think that GuitarTricks are too old a dog to learn new tricks (pun intended). The platform packs some of the most sophisticated learning tools out there. The standout feature is the Core Learning System — this basically creates a meaningful learning experience from their enormous library. Other learning resources include: chord and scale finders, jam station, reference tuner and metronome.
Sounds great, but what if you’ve never picked up a guitar before? GuitarTricks provides a series of courses to help you master the basics (holding, strumming, striking chords and melodies, etc) before advancing you to intermediate concepts. The more advanced tutorials will then equip you with genre-specific skills (rhythm, strumming patterns, chord vocabulary and more).
For those looking to polish their skills, GuitarTricks’ homepage makes it easy to determine an appropriate starting point. Specifically, your first visit of the site will help you explore your interests and capabilities. From there, it becomes easier to focus on things that are relevant for your growth.
Other benefits of GuitarTricks program include:
-The 60-day trial window: You’ll be hard-pressed to find a friendlier refund policy.
-The core learning system helps learners determine appropriate start points and stay on track.
-Their instructors are either accomplished guitarists or accredited trainers — or both.
-Lessons are packaged in both high- and low-resolution videos, both of which are downloadable.
-A wide variety of learning tools, including apps for the 2 most popular mobile platforms.
On the downside, the platform’s track library falls short in some genres (particularly blues and rock). Additionally, the course material is somewhat less consistent in quality compared to Jamplay — this could be because tutors record video lessons independently. That being said, Guitar Tricks is worthy of a runners-up place on our recommendations podium.
With a handful of videos and eBooks in their library, Jamorama seems to follow the standard recipe for online guitar learning platforms. However, a quick look at their site suggests otherwise --- they claim to be a social network for guitar students. Believe you me, that is a lot better than it sounds.
On one hand, the social element makes Jamorama ideal for those who struggle to learn in isolation. There's also something to be said of the ability to interact with other guitarists. Less than 5 minutes after signing up, Jamorama gives you access to their members area. Other notable perks of membership include:
-Guitar Tuner Pro: This simply helps you tune your guitar digitally
-A game that helps you develop an ear for chords and trains
-Jayde Musica: This is another gamified feature to help you with chord and pitch identification
-The ability to print out lessons
It is worth highlighting that Jamorama's entire course is aimed at beginners. Lessons are split into 4 categories, but the combined length of their videos is about 10 hours --- this is way less than what you get on other sites. That being said, the course provides enough materials to help learners grasp the basics.
-Affordable: Jamorama offer lifetime membership for less than $100. Just let that sink in.
-You can seek assistance and opinions from other guitarists, thanks to the discussion boards.
-The learning experience is more dynamic compared to other sites.
-With its limited library and course scope, there's only so far that Jamorama can take you.
All in all, Jamorama is well-suited for beginners and those who want to socialize with other guitarists.
It might not have the most musical name, but there's no discounting TrueFire's credentials as a guitar lessons provider. With roots tracing back to the early 90's, the platform basically wrote the rule book for their younger counterparts. No wonder their user base numbers in the millions.
Part of what contributes to their popularity is their adherence to simplicity. The site itself features clean, simple design --- no crowded menus or glitzy elements to take your breath away. Rather, everything you need to navigate the site is packed in a slim bar at the top of the page.
The elegant approach carries on to their course format. Comprised of 10 modules, this takes you through the aspects of guitar playing in an ascending order. As you'd expect, the lessons in each module are arranged chronologically.
TrueFire also has this unique feature called "In the Jam". This is a proprietary app that allows members participate in jamming sessions with artists of different styles. Other key features include:
-Private lessons: These helps members leverage personalized feedback from their favorite tutors.
-Learning tools: The tools section covers everything from tuners to jam tracks.
-A blog and student forum
-TrueFire offer affordable membership options and a decent money-back guarantee
-More than 140 instructors, including certified guitar trainers and award-winning guitarists.
-The platform employs 2 video players; the first offers an interactive experience, while the second is tailored for low-resolution videos
-TrueFire leaves learners to determine starting points on their own. This inevitably complicates matters for beginners.
-Most of their extras are subject to additional fees.
With that in mind, TrueFire is best suited for intermediate and advanced players looking to broaden their skill sets.
ArtistWorks was established circa 2008 with one main goal: To turn aspiring guitarists into well-rounded musicians. This explains why they do things a little differently. While other sites sell access to a library of materials, ArtistWorks offer a la carte lessons from whichever instructor one prefers.
The arrangement is much simpler than it sounds: Learning is packaged into 'schools' based on guitar type and genre of focus. While all schools have numerous video lessons, each of them has a unique subscription rate. And if you're wondering, all tutors on ArtistWorks are legends in their own right.
The quality of learning is further reinforced by:
-The availability of eBooks in addition to lesson videos.
-An active learners' forum and social media community
-Video exchange: As the name suggests, this feature allows you to record videos and send them to your instructor.
-The video exchange feature affords personalized feedback
-High quality lessons for all skill levels
-ArtistWorks have no equal when it comes to competency of tutors
-Free sample classes to help users gauge instructors
-Tutorials aren't available for download
-Costs a lot more than other programs
Overall, ArtistWorks is great for those who want to combine one-on-one training with online classes.
Online Guitar Lesson Selection Tips
The most obvious takeaway from the comparison is that JamPlay and GuitarTricks deserve first and second place respectively on your priorities list. Of course, it can’t hurt to visit other sites and see what they have to offer. Here are the key considerations to keep in mind while you’re at it:
-Experience: You want to pick a platform with years of experience administering the course, and a reputation for keeping abreast with advances in learning technology. Be sure to visit each platform’s ‘About Us’ section to see how far back their track record dates.
-Coverage: The guitar course aside, a good platform should provide lessons covering the basic concepts of music.
-Learning environment: This should be user-friendly as a rule of thumb, but great courses offer mobile access to their classrooms, so to speak. You’ll also want to choose a platform that provides a solid set of practice tools.
-Flexibility: The beauty of online guitar lessons is that you can take them on your own schedule. More on that later, but any platform worth their salt will offer a wide range of courses and tutors. Still on flexibility, there’s something to be said of downloadable video tutorials offered at no extra cost.
Of course, the proof of a pudding is in the eating. As helpful as reviews are, you can only tell how good online guitar lessons are by taking them first hand. So pick a platform that will allow you try out their lessons before committing yourself.
Taking Lessons Online vs Hiring a Local Tutor: Which Is Right for You?
In a perfect world, you’d be able to combine online and in-person lessons to create the perfect experience. Like most people, though, your circumstances dictate choosing either one. This begs for a side-by-side comparison of the two options.
The single biggest argument in favor of tutelage is proximity — being in the same room as your coach makes it easier to develop rapport. In addition:
-The coach can tailor their technique to your particular learning style.
-Feedback is provided in real time — the instantaneous responses will help you progress smoothly and speedily.
-The regularly-scheduled sessions will help you stay committed to learning.
-Your teacher may offer performance opportunities that you wouldn’t get on your own
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that these benefits carry a hefty price tag. Hiring a tutor will cost you much more than what you’d pay for online lessons, but that’ll be the least of your worries. Chances are that you won’t find a highly-rated coach within your area. Even if you do, the lessons will necessitate either you or your tutor to travel to the other’s location. Either way, the arrangement will impose strict demands on your schedule.
The beauty of online lessons is that you don’t have to travel around. As long as you have the right device(s) and internet access, you can take them from anywhere, and at any time. This means learning is as friendly on your pocket as it is on your schedule. On top of that:
-Online lessons will open up a world of learning materials and playing techniques.
-You’ll be able to review lessons as many times as you like without sacrificing consistency.
-An online platform will expose you to a handful of tutors instead of limiting you to just one. This’ll make a huge difference in your learning experience.
-Lessons will be richly structured. This means they’ll include everything that might help you master a particular technique.
As for the downsides, you cannot count on feedback from tutors when taking online lessons. Some highlight common errors when covering a particular technique, but it can be hard to tell if you’re actually doing things right. On the same vein, there’s no one to motivate and keep you on track — this means you’ll have a hard time resisting distractions. Nevertheless, a well-organized course with interactive learning materials can make all the difference here.