The guitar is one of the most iconic instruments in modern music, appearing across virtually all genres and styles, cementing its place among the most versatile instruments out there.
It’s no surprise that millions upon millions of people are picking up guitars to express themselves musically through the power offered by these 6-stringed powerhouses of emotion.
And only one thing stands in their way – learning the damned thing.
With real-life teachers costing a pretty penny, many are turning to online guitar learning resources in a bid to become better players. If you’ve searched the web, you’ve surely come across Guitar Tricks and JustinGuitar, two of the biggest names out there.
While learners across the globe are being drawn in by both of these sites’ friendly and enthusiastic approach to helping you learn guitar, you might be wondering which one is the better choice for you.
In our Guitar Tricks vs JustinGuitar showdown, we’re going to be putting the two platforms head-to-head to give you all of the information you need to make a choice on which is the site for you.
Backgrounds of Guitar Tricks and JustinGuitar
Guitar Tricks burst onto the scene of online guitar teaching back in 1998, claiming to have invented online guitar lessons (their words, not ours!), with a crystal-clear motive; to give new guitarists the simplest path to becoming proficient players.
Over the years, they managed to gain a following of 3,000,000 users and are gaining new students every single day.
A little bit younger, Justin Guitar started offering online guitar lessons in 2003. This platform was founded by an experienced teacher, Justin Sandercoe, who shares the same ambitions as Guitar Tricks in aiming to provide an easy way to develop on the guitar.
However, Justin’s cause may seem nobler, as he wants to do this for free. So far, with his library of over 1800 lessons and YouTube following of around 1,400,000 subscribers, it seems safe to say that he’s doing pretty well.
Registration & Prices
Both Guitar Tricks and JustinGuitar feature easy and quick sign-up processes to get up and rocking as soon as possible.
Guitar Tricks offers two ways to sign up – either creating an account with an email address or logging in with your Facebook or Google account if you have one.
After this, you’ll be faced with a few simple questions about your experience on the guitar, though you can skip this and move straight onto the lessons if you so desire.
We’d recommend sticking with them, though, as their questions allow them to recommend the correct lessons, ensure you are given lessons suitable for your level, and set the tone for your experience on the site.
Before subscribing, we also recommend you take full advantage of their 14-day free trial, even if you do plan on sticking with them.
Prices for Guitar Tricks are:
To create an account on JustinGuitar, you just have to provide your name and email address and come up with a password to log in with. You’ll then be sent a confirmation email to activate your account and get started.
While Guitar Tricks do have their 14-day free trial, JustinGuitar goes one step further by offering their courses for free!
While there are subscription options on the site with their own benefits, Justin’s free courses make the platform essential to guitarists on a budget.
Prices for JustinGuitar are:
· $9.99(6 months)
With free courses and a MUCH cheaper subscription than Guitar Tricks, does that mean JustinGuitar is unable to provide lessons of the same quality and caliber as Guitar Tricks? Well, let’s find out.
Content & Progression Systems
Guitar Tricks sets new guitarists out on the right foot by ensuring they are fully equipped with the basics of guitar before moving forward.
These skills are taught through two levels of ‘fundamentals’, after which you’ll be able to pick a genre and focus on skills specific to that style.
The content of the two fundamentals courses ranges from strumming and playing your first chords to reading music, all of which are pretty much essential no matter what genre path you do decide to follow.
As such, it’s highly recommended that newer guitarists complete these before thinking about moving on. More experienced guitarists are free to skip these lessons and focus on learning genre-tailored techniques. These are laid out over the following courses:
· Songs Made Easy
· I’m More Experienced
· Artist Studies
· Blues 1 & 2
· Rock 1 & 2
· Country 1 & 2
The name for each of these modules is pretty self-explanatory. ‘Songs made easy’ looks into learning popular songs individually, ‘I’m more experienced’ focuses on techniques every seasoned player should be practicing, ‘styles’ moves onto combining different skills from a variety of genres, ‘artist studies’ examines the techniques utilized by legendary guitarists of the past and present, and ‘techniques’ works on developing proficiency.
Over on JustinGuitar, you’re provided with a dashboard on which you can create a routine, keep track of lessons, and monitor your progress and previous lessons.
The first courses beginner guitar players should work through are beginner lessons, intermediate, and advanced ones. They’re clearly laid out on the site, and the song lessons map provides a fantastic structure for you to follow.
If you don’t exactly consider yourself a beginner, don’t write these courses off completely. It’s well worth flicking through them, finding a level that matches your abilities, and following the course plan from there.
To supplement these, one can jump into a beginner course that goes into more detail on a range of different subjects such as theory, arpeggios, amps, and effects, and one of my personal favorites that I don’t see many other platforms offering, ear training.
You’ll also find a huge library of short lessons for famous songs which are definitely worth trying out to get a real taste for Justin’s teaching style.
Each course features a short introduction summarizing the contents, techniques, and skills taught within that specific course, making it easy to find out where you should be starting from in the song lessons map.
What do you get with the paid subscription? In exchange for cold hard cash, JustinGuitar provides insight into music theory through a series of additional courses that come along with PDF ebooks.
While these are in no way essential, it’s hard to turn them down at such a great price, and they are a great way to contribute to Justin.
With a healthy variety of different styles to choose from, Guitar Tricks should easily appeal to most guitarists. Each style or course on the platform generally has a dedicated teacher who specializes in the genre to ensure that the best possible lessons are given for each genre.
The lessons themselves take the form of videos with chord charts and TAB overlays providing additional information to the learner. Descriptions and jam tracks are readily available, and notations can even be downloaded for you to work on at your leisure or follow along to the video with.
Guitar Tricks’ lessons are simple, easy to jump into and get the job done in terms of relaying important information to learners in a clear, easy-to-follow manner.
For those who prefer a more personalized approach, Guitar Tricks also feature single or recurring one-on-one private lessons, available in 30 and 60-minute slots.
You’re also able to choose a teacher (so make sure to watch their videos and make sure you like their style first). Different teachers also have different prices, ranging from $60-$95 per hour.
However, while the instructors are extremely experienced guitarists and teachers, many having worked with professional bands, if you’re willing to pay these prices on a recurring basis, it might be worth looking into guitar teachers you can visit in your area. You might actually even save a buck or two that way.
JustinGuitar vs Guitar Tricks’ lessons takes a similar form – video lessons with overlays providing information for the learner to follow.
Though Justin Sandercoe himself is the teacher for all guitar online lessons on the platform, his natural charisma really sets him apart. He’s easy to follow, provides great tips, and following his lessons is just a really enjoyable experience.
You’ll also find a collection of tools on both sites. JustinGuitar features an ear interval trainer, metronome, tempo calculator, and blank papers (chord sheets and tablatures), while Guitar Tricks offer the same (excluding the ear interval trainer we love), along with a scale finder, jam station, chord finder, reference tuner, fretboard trainer, and diagrams.
Guitar Tricks vs JustinGuitar – Which is the Platform for Me?
As we weigh up Guitar Tricks vs JustinGuitar, it’s clear to see there’s not really much separating the two platforms.
Given the fact that additional payments are required on top of the subscription fee for feedback through one-on-one sessions on Guitar Tricks, it’s probably worth going with JustinGuitar.
Especially considering the quality of lessons and fact that it’s free, JustinGuitar becomes even more apparent as the better choice. Although if you do think access to those additional tools is worth the extra investment, Guitar Tricks is the option to go for.
Even if you do choose to go with Guitar Tricks, it’s definitely worth checking in on JustinGuitar and utilizing both of these platforms.
As a developing guitarist, the best thing you can do for your own progress is to take on as much advice as you can and practice, practice, practice.