2020 has been a rollercoaster of a year and with internet access at our fingertips and a ton of spare time on our hands, many of us have been turning to online educational resources.
Online guitar lessons have existed in one form or another since the late ’90s. But, it has only really been in recent years that the format has developed to a point where it competes with (and perhaps even trumps?) in-person lessons.
A one-on-one tutor in the real-world is generally considered better than a group class, as you can learn at your own pace. Now, you can have a tutor in your pocket and learn at your convenience.
We have dug through the resources and rounded up 10 of the best online guitar lessons for you and categorized some of them to make it easier. So whatever your level, or reason for seeking an online hand, we have you covered.
At a glance…
Best Online Guitar Lessons for Beginners: Guitar Tricks
Best Online Guitar Lessons for Intermediate or Advanced: True Fire
Best Free Online Guitar Lessons: Justin Guitar
Oh, and a heads up! There may be some products which I recommend for which I may make a small commission at no extra cost to you should you make a purchase. All recommendations are genuine and/or verified by myself!
10 Best Online Guitar Lessons in 2021
Guitar Tricks has been around for such a long time it should probably be considered a staple in any learning guitarist’s belt. With a wealth of content available for users to access that ranges from guitar theory practice to full-length song play-throughs, it teaches technique along the way.
The curriculum starts from absolute scratch. The developmental difficulty can take an absolute newbie from the basics steps up to an advanced level via its award-winning Core Learning System.
If you are totally brand new to your instrument you can start with their recommended Guitar Fundamentals Level 1 course and progress steadily through the levels until you are comfortable.
Users can then choose from a wide range of genres, jumping from one to another or staying in one lane. The interface is very user-friendly and easy to navigate. Each genre has incremental lessons that get harder as you go. The progressing method is pretty fool-proof. The library on offer is vast and the lessons in each genre are taught by a roster of reputable pros.
The video lesson quality is sound, you get two camera angles at all times. A close-up shot box of each hand in action is displayed alongside the main video footage. You can change the video settings, they are 4K in quality but if that’s going to drain your data and you don’t need to watch something particularly closely you can adjust it to your preference.
The controls allow you to loop a section so that you can hone in on a trickier lick and there are speed settings to configure letting you learn it slowly and build up the speed later. It also features a tab that moves along with the playback that is also automatically adjusted with the speed settings.
The program was updated in 2019 to include a premium full-access feature. Plus gives users live group lessons with a dedicated group coach. You get regular check-ins and lesson plans suited to what you need to work on individually. The Pro full-access has one-on-one live lessons, you get your own coach. The lessons can be recurring or booked one at a time.
Price: $19.99/mo or $179.99 yearly
- Award-winning curriculum
- Vast library of 700+ songs
- Roster of pros
- Great video quality
- Might eat your data
JamPlay has been on the scene for a fair while, though it has a smaller set-up than some of those we have already discussed, the 5,500 lessons available is still pretty substantial. There are more than 120 tutors contributing.
The site has a logical 4 phase layout which should be very user-oriented, but beginners may find themselves overwhelmed. There is a host of information available to you. Great if you are intermediate or beyond but a little daunting if not.
If you are starting out you really want to stick in the Phase 1 area and get to grips with the basics. There are a total of 21 beginner courses that comprise 664 lessons. So trying not to skip ahead would be good advice.
There are some great extras like a chord library and chord finder as well as training games which are all beneficial to those starting to learn the guitar.
Phase 2 is genre-based and skill-based. The library is not yet stacked fairly, some genres have a lot of content, and others are a little more sparse. Phase 3 is a song-based library of lessons and Phase 4 is aimed at songwriting, teaching you to use the skills learned creatively. There is also a master-class area for the more experienced players.
Lessons have an introductory page some of which go-over specific techniques for the video up ahead. The videos are all shot with multiple angles to capture the all-important techniques in action. The production is jaw-dropping, coming onto the market in 2006 the content was ahead of some of the older platforms from day 1. Some of the more difficult courses provide six camera shots simultaneously.
There are numerous playback rates and sections can be looped and you can change the resolution. The embedded player contains information about the scales used, the notes the progressions as well as showing your progress bar and notes. It can’t be faulted but as mentioned previously could be too much for some.
- Multi-view videos
- 90 instructors
- Handy bonus content
- Library is unbalanced in genres
- Could be overwhelming
As one of the oldest surviving online guitar lesson platforms, True fire has plenty to offer. With over 33,000 lessons/courses available to users it is one of the most extensive options out there. Add to that the 200+ Grammy-award winning contributing tutors and you have something pretty exclusive.
It is competitively priced in-line with Guitar Tricks but some of the names on the books might leave you a little more star-struck. With lessons from the likes of Steve Vai and Larry Carlton, you will learn to pluck, pick, and shred in no time.
The lessons each have a video alongside additional info and support. The video quality is great despite having been up and running since 1991 the site has seen plenty of revisions and the content is impeccable. It has a modern, easy to navigate site. Older videos have fewer controls available but newer ones benefit from interactive notation and tabs.
There are beginner-friendly lessons provided but the real value of True Fire is for intermediate and advanced players. There are a lot of technique videos available and the library is so much more extensive than its competitors and is being added to all the time. Most additional and exclusive content is hidden behind a paywall but the company is so convinced in their methodology they offer an unlimited lifetime subscription for just under 2,000 bucks.
- Over 30,000 lessons
- Over 200 tutors
- High-quality video content
- Additional lesson support
- No song based play-through lessons
Price: From $19/mo
4. Fender Play
If money doesn’t stretch to the $19.99/mo of Guitar Tricks then another great web-based platform for learning guitar you could try is Fender Play. It is another beginner-friendly option with a plentiful playlist that can provide you with custom lesson plans for half the price.
The platform asks users to fill out a short questionnaire upon sign-up to help determine the best course of action for their learning. Fender Play actually covers a range of instruments, so if you were looking to learn bass or ukulele it is an ideal choice too. That said, the guitar is the main focus, so when it comes to learning resources there are more available for a budding guitarist.
The genres covered in the library are pretty wide, with simple and difficult songs available in each category. By selecting the genres you want to learn you can filter out irrelevant pieces and the app can build course content tailored to you as an individual.
The difficulty level progresses alongside you as you would expect with any learning tool. The video for level one covers guitar fundamentals and also offers a brief bit of guitar set-up advice which is a nice touch. You can also learn everything from basic chords and useful exercises to help you learn to tweak your tone.
Some of the older content is a little lacking but many lessons are being revisited and as they fill the library with newer videos they will gradually disappear. Newer video uploads really can’t be faulted. You have chord diagrams displayed clearly and the beginner lessons are very well-explained by pros.
The app is easy to use and has a few welcome extras. There is an integrated tuner for your instruments and you can use their Fender Tone Amp control App from within as well. They have two newer features, Practice mode, and Streaks, to help encourage practice habits and track your progress.
- Library of over 1,000 songs
- Affordably priced
- Individual lesson planning
- Some older content is not as high-quality
Artist works might just have some of the most exclusive content available online. The roster of celebrities gets bigger every year. The site caters to a whole host of instruments so the content for guitars specifically is trickier to navigate. The platform is a little more academic in lesson delivery.
It is geared towards theory and technique so you won’t find a library of songs to jam along to but the course content is professionally designed to help any level progress.
It covers the most basic guitar lessons and techniques all the way up to the complex for the advanced guitarist. The videos are shot in the studio and the quality is great, the embedded player settings are less flashy than some of the competitive sites we have looked at but each lesson has sheet music.
You can learn at your own pace navigating your way through course content or you can take a tailored 12-week course in a range of topics and present for a certificate of completion. Before completion, your work is evaluated so your progress is marked with something little more substantial than a yay way-to-go colored bar like some of the sites provide.
It is very community-driven and learners can video-exchange, so you learn from one another and not just from the tutors contributing to the course content.
The unlimited subscription plans are a little more high-end and have a personal edge. You can actually record your own video that the celebrity teachers will critique and help guide you on what to work on and how to master it. This is very one-on-one and the video exchange lessons with the professionals can be very beneficial.
- Extremely versatile
- Premium content
- Ideal beginners who want to learn technically
- Huge celeb roster
- Pricey subscription
Price: $105 Quarterly
Jamorama began life as a free online guitar lesson resource led by Mark McKenzie running a one-man-ship. You may recognize him as The Guitar Guy from YouTube where he has built a substantial fanbase of subscribers.
With 20 years of teaching under his belt, his video lessons are very informative, chock-full of advice and tips. There are technique-based and song-based lessons to choose from. They are shot in high-quality and he has a penchant for beginner tutorials. The curriculum is not particularly advanced and he teaches with an acoustic guitar although most of the techniques are transferable and will help you progress on an electric guitar as well.
Most of the fundamental-based content remains largely free to this day, despite having moved away from free teaching and encouraging a lifetime membership subscription. For a one-time fee of less than $100, you can use his site forever.
As it is a one-man operation as opposed to a collaborative roster, the library is on the smaller side, as you would expect. However, that said the content is of a great caliber. There are diagrams displayed and scrolling chords at the bottom of the page. The player lacks some of the more advanced options that some of the top-dogs utilize. You can’t loop a section or change the speed but he teaches in a patient and informative manner.
The site saw an overhaul in 2016 and is easy to navigate and the community he has built is large. He employs an achievement badge system to encourage users and you can display your completed courses in your personal profile. It is a social platform, you can friend and message other learners.
- One-off fee for a lifetime of use
- Useful tools
- Updated site
- Great social community
- Less content
Price: $99.95 Once
If money is tight you might be wondering what free online guitar lesson options there are available to you. One YouTube-based tutor with a wealth of free content to consider is Justin Sandercoe. He actually started his Justin Guitar site pre-YouTube but very quickly adopted the platform for hosting all his video content and enticing new members.
As a YouTube content creator the majority of his tutorials are available for free but in the footsteps of many his site has a few exclusive optional extras that will cost you $9.99 per month or $99 for permanent unlimited access.
Whilst you can search his channel for the videos, the site (free to use) keeps them well organized and allows you to find the level or genre you are looking for. Recently updated (2019) the layout is modern and uncluttered.
There are well over 1,000 lessons, they are broken down into grades and each grade has separate modules. Each module has an introductory video and the steps of the module are linked at the side so you can skip if you are more familiar with the content. The video quality is great, he has chord diagrams displayed in-picture. Videos can be marked with a check on his site as watched to keep track of your progress.
He also offers a beginner course iOS app and his site provides some neat little tools such as a metronome and ear trainer.
- Over 1,000 free video lessons
- Module-based video curriculum
- Useful tools
- The site relies on YouTube embedded videos
Price: Free *
8. Marty Music
Marty Music is another YouTube face you might have stumbled across. With over 350 million viewers his simplified explanations and friendly demeanor make him a great tutor whether you are starting out or looking to improve. He has a relaxed, methodical approach to teaching.
His channel is stacked with videos, that include the breakdowns of simple chord progressions as well as complex famous riffs. Marty breaks the song into bite-size chunks or focuses on one notoriously tough part (in his more advanced videos).
He utilizes YouTube time-stamp skip to put whole songs into chapters so you can technically repeat sections and skip parts. It isn’t as flawless as some of the proprietary videos on Guitar Tricks but it is valuable none-the-less. They are shot at in high-quality and easy to follow.
On his official site, he also offers in-depth courses comprising of videos grouped by the bundle. There are styles and genres or themes to choose from. Some range from 6 hours of footage and others are a whopping 20 hours. The course content comes with a price so it isn’t strictly a free resource but a 6-hour beginner’s fundamental bundle costs just $40 which would maybe get you 2 face to face hours in the real-world with a private teacher.
- Great song-breakdowns
- Informative but laid-back approach
- Lots of free content
- Paid course bundles also available
- His channel is also full of other content, reviews, jams, and podcast-style videos with guests
9. Andy Guitar
A great alternative one-man-band with a clearly thought out syllabus is Andy Crowly of Andy Guitar. Although he too offers exclusive course content with 12 individual premium courses that require a $9.99/mo subscription he also has almost 700 free tutorial style videos.
The site is very streamlined, the courses are well structured. You can take several routes or approaches to learning. He has a dedicated ‘total beginners’ start here link that sets you on your fundamental path.
There is main syllabus content that is acoustic and electric, within the syllabus you have beginner, improver, intermediate, and lead 1, 2, and 3 courses (stated as intermediate-plus). There are also rock-oriented or finger-style pathways to choose from, each contains well-known songs as well as technique style videos that teach the rudiments and progress from there.
The videos are well captured and Andy is an engaging teacher with a likable personality. He also has a free Android App version of his lessons.
- 600+ free lessons
- Great for beginners
- Acoustic and electric guitar catered too
- Logical site layout and progression
- Nothing for the advanced players
Terry Carter started Rock Like the Pros as the result of his many years of teaching his immersive curriculum in L.A. With the modern developments of technology, he saw the potential for turning his methodology into a digital format.
His teaching platform is App-based and allows users to learn via their mobiles. Each course requires a separate purchase and all are priced individually according to their content.
The courses are very well structured and cover everything from foundation ability to experienced player techniques. You can select from styles, theories, and master-class.
The theory side of things is taught interactively. It is detailed but explanations aren’t just it, the theory is seen applied so you can interactively put it to use on a fretboard. Which is far more practical and feels more immersive.
As far as his website is concerned, purchasing some courses entitles you to a lifetime membership.
His ultimate ‘beginner chord and strumming course’ is comprised of 20 units with lessons that focus on 6 main chords. The strumming techniques and rhythm patterns start simple then there are units with examples in the style of popular songs so you don’t get bored and you can put what you’ve learned into action.
Then the strumming and rhythm get revisited in an intermediate fashion and there are many more song-based examples. This goes right up to rhythms with rests. Sheet music and TAB’s are supplied alongside each unit.
There is a very active forum-based community. You can sign up for weekly Zoom video call-based Q&A’s, there is a 30-day trial option available to try the resources out.
- Well-designed App
- Suitable for all levels
- Theory seen in action
- Ukelele also available
- Some courses are pricey
Why Take Online Guitar Lessons?
There are many reasons why learning guitar online can be beneficial. Obviously, the convenience of being able to fit it in around your lifestyle is a big plus. You can also stay in the comfort of your own home, rock out in your PJ’s or take it on the go.
Some people prefer online resources to combat anxiety. Without real-world interaction can be a less daunting way to learn. Fear of failure is a big deal for some people and no-one runs before they can walk when learning a new skill. From behind a screen with no one to hear, your baby-step renditions can be more liberating.
Learning a new instrument takes a lot of time, learning online allows the pace to suit your needs. You can go as slow or as fast as you like and have the capability to go-over something tricky for as long as you like without the rest of the class getting exasperated.
Many platforms have some notable names on their tutor roster, so you can learn from some of your heroes. This is something which you probably couldn’t book in person without breaking the bank.
Learning online can work out a lot cheaper overall than paying someone by the hour to teach you too.
Things to Consider When Choosing The Best Online Guitar Lessons
Pretty self-explanatory, you don’t want to get bored too easily once you have made enough progress. If you are an intermediate or advanced player this is all the more important.
Guitar basics and theory
Everyone wants to jump in head-first and shred like the best of them. Many platforms will have song libraries for you to play along with but at some point, the technique will become important. For that, you need the fundamentals. So look for an online guitar lesson platform that teaches at least the basics so you don’t develop bad habits that need correcting further down the line.
Most of those we have highlighted are taught in a video tutorial fashion, although some online guitar lessons are taught with a written how-to guide and picture style, videos are much better for demonstrating techniques in action.
Because of that, video quality is important and so is the layout. Having the close-ups of both hands for example is pretty vital for a beginner. Guitar playing requires simultaneous coordination, which can be tough to master when you are starting out.
Are Free Online Guitar Lessons any Good?
As with anything, you get what you pay for. Some of the free lessons listed are pretty exceptional.
There is no shortage of YouTube guitar tutorials out there but not all of them are dedicated to getting you to progress.
The video quality of the content can also be wildly different from channel to channel. If learning guitar is a goal and you don’t have the cash to spare we have included some of the best free lessons.
Are Paid Subscription Guitar Lessons Better than Free Lessons?
Subscription content generally has more to offer, the curriculum is better laid out and marketed. The app has more development than your average YouTube tutorial. Many YouTube tutors will have limited free content and save exclusive content for people willing to pay via their private sites anyway.
Do I have to be able to Read Music?
The simple answer is no. While being able to read music can be an advantage for professional ventures such a session guitarist work, most guitarists rely on tablature which is a simplified, instrument-specific way of notating the music.
That is why it is another prominent inclusion that many guitar instructing platforms have adopted. Some video lessons will just display chord diagrams again pretty good for demonstrating but not if you are working on an arpeggio exercise or busting out a solo.
Having a scrolling tab that plays alongside the video can be hugely beneficial and some of those we chose for today’s top-ten offer just that. If you are a visual learner it could be a welcome addition to the learning method. It is also especially useful for faster scaling and riffs. If you can’t make out the guitarist’s fingers you have a tan display that shows you exactly where your finger should be.
Many musicians learn to play by ear, so don’t get bogged down by notation. If you follow the video in a practical manner but don’t understand diagrams or tablature don’t let it put you off.
Final Thoughts On Online Guitar Lessons
There has never been a better time to take up the hobby you have been procrastinating on. Online lesson formats have genuinely evolved with the times and are a viable way to master your craft and hone your guitar skills. So whether you are a beginner or seasoned pro looking for some breakdowns of more advanced techniques learning guitar online could be the perfect solution.
If you have ever experienced anxiety in a classroom environment or just have a hectic schedule then the remote manner could give you the control over your learning progression that you need.
There are some great options to choose from, narrowing this list down to 10 was pretty tough. If we had to crown a winner we would lean towards Guitar Tricks as one of the oldest on the market, the methodology is solid and the price pretty reasonable. Though it should be noted that the App version is a little less involved.
Before we finish, it is worth noting that many of the online guitar lessons listed have trial periods so you can essentially try before you buy and work out what is best for you. Guitar Tricks, for example, has a free 14 day no-obligation sign-up and Rock Like a Pro offers 30-days.