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As one of the long-running online guitar lesson platforms available, Guitar Tricks has had plenty of time to perfect its methodology. Their website is very user friendly and their content is vast and pretty tough to beat without paying a considerably higher subscription price.
As an educational resource, it is an invaluable tool for any budding guitarist to have access to. Whilst a lot of the lessons are aimed towards beginners there is still plenty there for intermediate or advanced learners to use to improve their skills.
With internet access in the palms of our hands, there has never been a better time to bite the bullet and take advantage of all the platform has to offer, whatever your level of experience. So let’s take a closer look in our comprehensive Guitar Tricks review!
Things to consider before you pick an online guitar lesson provider
Variety of content
Having a decent amount of content to choose from is important to ensure that you don’t get bored too easily. Once you have grasped how to play you are going to want to put it to good use.
That is not to say it is simply a numbers game. A concise library of quality content is far more useful than an armada of useless videos. If you can browse the content first, make sure there is plenty for you as an individual, a library of thousands of pop songs is hardly going to thrill a metalhead looking to learn to thrash.
Having thousands of songs at your fingertips is great, but there should be a good balance between the theoretical side of things and the practical. Most of us set our hearts on learning the guitar to emulate our hero’s but you can’t dive in head-first. The fundamentals have to be established first.
Even if the idea of music theory doesn’t appeal to you sooner or later it is invaluable for progressing any further than jamming a few chord progressions. So you should pick a platform that teaches in a relaxed manner but still has plenty of songs so you don’t tap-out.
Video lessons are a great way to learn practical skills visually and audibly at the same time. However, if the quality just isn’t up to standard you are not going to see much more than a blurred hand strumming a guitar. The best online guitar lessons provide high-resolution recordings with multiple camera angles or at least a dedicated close-up shot.
Ideally, this should be both hands because to play guitar your hands work independently doing different things at the same time. The reality is you have two techniques to acquire simultaneously for any guitar lesson.
The video setting controls should also be more extensive than play/pause but then you get what you pay for and this may not be the case on a free platform or a cheaper option.
Unfortunately, most decisions boil down to price at some point. You need to weigh-up how often you are going to use the resource to determine how much value you get for your money.
If the content is vast and you are eager to learn, without too many other demands in your free time you will sail through the courses on offer.
Consider that a group-style guitar class could cost you $5-10 per week and that a private lesson could cost you twice as much. Each would give you around an hour of tuition and you would have to schedule it around your life. If you are a busy person then the convenience surely outweighs the caveats.
The average price of an online guitar lesson subscription is generally between $10 and $20 per month. If you compared this to a real-world weekly paid lesson then you are saving yourself cash from the get-go. Many sites also offer a yearly price or seasonal offers that can help you save you a little more.
Guitar Tricks Review
Guitar Tricks was founded in 1998 and has gone on to teach well over a million users how to play the guitar. Their lessons cover acoustic and electric instruments, (including 6 & 7 strings and even bass guitar) in several genres, covering a variety of playing styles.
The curriculum is an award-winning one specially developed with beginners in mind. Their course content is extensive and delivered by talented, friendly professionals.
The videos are exceptionally high-quality and have a lot of useful playback options. It is available in web and iOS/Android formats although the latter is less in-depth. Wondering how much does Guitar Tricks cost? It is priced affordably at $19.99/month or $179.99 yearly. Here is a run-down of some of its biggest selling points;
- User-friendly site
- Active forum
- Award-winning curriculum
- 11,000 lessons
- 1,000 + licensed song library added to weekly
- A large roster of talented contributors
- Advanced video tools/controls
- Reasonably priced subscription
- Premium full-access 1-2-1 live lessons available at an extra cost
Guitar Tricks Breakdown
The platform has seen a few changes since it began life in the late 1990s. The website has an up-to-date, clean-cut appearance. It is uncluttered so as not to overwhelm you despite having a significant amount of lessons available to you. This way it caters to all ages, keeping it streamlined and easy to navigate for even the least technically inclined.
The app version is also easy to use and has a similar design. The dashboard provides the lessons under ‘songs, lessons, and styles’ headings and the videos are the same resolutions as the web provides.
The Core Learning System is well laid out and easy to follow. You have 2 guitar levels to complete then lessons are divided by genre. You can choose from Blues, Country, or Rock each with a level 1 and 2.
On top of this, there are a host of songs to learn, including old classics and modern releases. The library of lessons and songs is constantly being updated and will only grow.
The difficulty level of the songs is labeled using a self-explanatory 1-3 guitar icon system, the more guitars pictured the harder it is to play.
There is also a very active forum, where you can discuss everything from guitar basics to songwriting and recording. Subscription users can ask the instructors questions directly within their dedicated forum areas and even request future song lessons as well.
Guitar Tricks offers 24 lessons that are basically a free-for-all, accessible without a subscription commitment. The iOS and Android versions are also available for free but the content is, of course, limited with the paid app upgrade you get much more.
There are also a few bonus tools accessible such as chord and scale finders, a reference tuner, a fretboard trainer, and a metronome. They have also recently added a glossary in case any of the language used is new to you, and a tab guide as well as complimentary chord charts.
The site itself keeps a history for you on what you have and haven’t accessed. There is a handy last lesson button for you to go back to what you were previously learning.
In total, there are over 11,000 video lessons hosted and a catalog of 1,000 songs. The genres covered in the library are wide. There are plenty of simple tracks as well as more difficult songs available.
The lessons are taught relying on a video-tutorial format, full of information tailored towards the level of the course. Their proprietary embedded video player is very well-developed with a wide range of controls and scrolling features, but more on that later.
As far as the course content is concerned, the methodology is fool-proof and lets you learn at your own speed. It is very beginner-orientated. The award-winning curriculum that the company has developed is designed to take you from absolute zero-knowledge through the necessary fundamentals and beyond.
You will learn some essential skills along the way until you are ready for more advanced techniques. That is not to say that you can’t skip a lesson but the curriculum has been developed in such a way that each level builds on previously learned skills.
So it is advisable to let it teach you from scratch rather than get too far ahead of yourself and struggling later on down the line. This also ensures you don’t develop any bad habits that will be tougher to correct later on.
Aside from the main core learning system content which covers Blues, Country, and Rock, there are lessons contributed in other styles from the 30+ instructors. In addition to the 3 core genres, you have funk, soul, metal, rockabilly, bluegrass, jazz, pop, surf, and even world-music catered to as playing styles. So you can learn a good variety of different techniques, grow as a player, and expand your repertoire.
The content is well organized. Users can pick from their core learning system content which covers beginners and intermediate or browse by genre and style based lessons.
There are also stylized classes that take an in-depth look at specific artists’ styles, under Guitar Tricks Artist Inspiration Series. It includes plenty of greats to choose from, some of which have changed or shaped the industry with their techniques and playing styles. B.B King, Chet Atkins, Jimi Hendrix, and John Mayer are listed to name but a few.
In addition, there is a very comprehensive technique reference library, for intermediate + users. It covers a huge range from your country bends and finger-picking to your rock-oriented hammer-on and pull-offs. You can learn to perfect your pinch and natural harmonics, palm mute, and slap.
The technical content is again diverse and covers the more basic strumming up to tapping and touching and some pretty complex sweeps. There are even lessons dedicated to the more specific like bottle-neck slide use and how to handle your whammy bar. So there is plenty to explore if you already have your chords down and don’t want to start at the very beginning.
More on the beginner-friendly Core Learning System
The Core Learning system is in its 3rd iteration and has been improved over the years to a point where it is second to none. It features a linear learning program of 8 full-length, self-paced courses divided into 2 main sections. Dubbed guitar fundamentals and intermediate style courses.
The guitar fundamentals are broken into 2 separates levels. If you are completely new to the guitar you can start with Guitar Fundamentals Level 1. This teaches everything from how to hold your guitar and identify the strings and how to tune them, progressing onto some simple open chords.
The course progresses steadily on to guitar fundamentals 2, where you will be introduced to barre chords, minor chords, power chords as well as scales. It even has a chapter on song structure and an introduction on how to read music.
Reading music isn’t a necessity, but it is never a bad thing to try to wrap your head around. The majority of guitarists will read tablature, a way of notating the music that is more specific to your instrument. This is more of an essential if you want to be able to apply what you have learned off of the platform later on.
When you have finished the 2 fundamental levels there are 3 genre-based routes you can take on the intermediate lesson path. These style courses have more of a focus on techniques.
The different styles are played in a different manner, so you may want to work your way through the blues, rock, and country sections to gain a wider knowledge. The speed is kicked up a notch to help you build as a player.
You can through the levels until you are comfortable enough to access the technique reference section and artist-inspired content. By the end of the core learning system, you should be able to follow any of the thousands of songs available to you.
Video Quality & User Controls
The video lesson quality is brilliant. Many are shot in 4K resolution but you can adjust the quality if you are worried about your data when a higher definition isn’t required. There are a few older videos that are slightly lower resolution, they account for around 2% of the total content and Guitar Tricks is working to replace the older content so they won’t be around for long.
The videos demonstrate 2 angles at all times. You have a close-up shot of each hand in-display. This is second to only JamPlay which provides up to 6 camera shots on their advanced technical videos. But, one could argue that 6 is possibly overkill!
Some of the lessons have chord diagrams displayed where necessary and others have full-on scrolling tabs that are synced to the video playback.
The sound is impeccable, so you will hear the instructor and their instrument without any hitches. The best thing about the player itself is the controls on offer. You can play with the speed settings allowing you to learn something very slowly and build up from there. The video playback and sound are adjusted with the speed settings as is the tablature.
You can also use the AB loop function to pick a part of the video and play it on an endless loop until you have mastered something particularly tricky.
Last year (2019) the site oversaw a new full-access addition. Their previous Full-Access Plus provided live group lessons with a dedicated group coach picked from each genre. Users were given regular check-ins with the coach on an individual basis and guided on what to work on next in order to progress.
The new Full Access Pro takes this one step further, allowing users to browse through the roster and pick themselves an individual professional coach. They are then able to have live video chats on a one-on-one basis where they are given live individual lessons, especially tailored.
It is a relatively new feature to comment on, but it can only be beneficial for someone to see you in action after learning essentially on your own for the most part. That way they can give advice and help correct anything you are doing wrong. Many of the tutors provide more specific course content, one for example has lessons for ear training.
You can book the lessons one at a time or on a weekly basis depending on the coach’s schedule and your own commitments.
Before we wrap up, we have a couple of questions to answer that may be playing on your mind.
Why learn guitar online?
Learning online can be more convenient. You essentially have a tutor available to you on-demand, allowing you to learn from your own home at your own pace or even take it on the go.
You can play and replay the lesson content as much as you want to allowing you to really make the most of it rather than paying an hourly rate to go over the same things. Therefore it can also work out cheaper in the long-run.
You can learn from some of the world’s best professionals with a reasonable price-tag. It can also be less daunting to learn remotely than to feel vulnerable playing (let’s face it badly, to begin with) in front of someone.
Why pay for online content?
YouTube guitar tutorials are widely available without a price tag but they aren’t all focused on teaching you. The video quality also varies wildly and although YouTube has playback settings, playing with the speeds generally reduces the quality further. So if you want to practice a part slowly it can be too obscured to see and the sound is difficult to suffer through too.
Subscription providers have more of a duty to provide a service that pleases their customers. The content is dedicated to helping you improve and generally speaking, has a lot more to offer.
The structural nature of a specially developed curriculum promotes learning. You will have a better clue of your level and abilities and a history that is easier to keep track of and know exactly where to go next.
Guitar Tricks Review – Final Thoughts
Learning an instrument online has become a more convenient way to master the skills in our fast-paced, modern world. The video lesson format is a solid way to deliver a lesson and whilst it is not live like a genuine one-on-one lesson, it is pretty much the next best thing.
In recent years, the quality of the videos has evolved and Guitar Tricks offers one of the best embedded-players around. The integrated controls prove excellent tools for practicing with and honing your guitar technique.
Although it has some stiff competition from JamPlay and other leading structured online courses, in our opinion, it is well worth the subscription price for all it has to offer.
The award-winning core learning system is second to none, although it has a less academical approach than ArtistWorks for example, it teaches all the fundamentals and is very informative throughout without being too heavy.
The content is varied enough to keep you entertained and being added to all the time. The contributors are well-seasoned and non-condescending.
It has something for everyone, whether you are a beginner that needs the basics, want some technical breakdowns, or emulate the stars, it has you covered. The price whilst a little higher than some is worth every penny with the mountain of valuable content available.
The Guitar Tricks platform offers a free 14-day no-obligation sign-up. This gives you the opportunity to test out the features for yourself and get to grips with how it works. If you utilize your time wisely throughout the trial period you should get a good idea of how well it is going to work for you. You will need to attach a debit or credit card as part of the sign-up process.
After the 14-day period ends they will automatically take the first payment and you will be an officially subscribed user. If you find you are unimpressed during your free trial you can simply cancel at any time. They even offer a 60-day money-back guarantee.
If the teaching or delivery doesn’t suit your preferred learning style then there are plenty of competitive sites you could try instead.
We recently reviewed 10 of the best online guitar lessons and you might find the article well worth a read. It includes a mixed round-up of paid subscription sites and free resources to use, so head on over for all the info.