Many of us want to be able to play the guitar decently enough to play among a few friends or just for our own pleasure. Many of us try to learn to play the guitar with an instructor or a few with no luck. Also, it take quite a lot of resources to take lessons from a personal instructor. The good news is that the digital mode has democratised learning, and has made content available for anyone who is ready to reach out for it. Today, we can learn to play the guitar online by paying very less money or nothing at all. Besides low cost and easy access, another perk of online guitar lessons is that you can revisit the lessons as many times as you want, and can choose from various platforms to find the course that suits your learning behaviour and pace.
Although, learning to play the guitar from an instructor in person still has its advantages like personal attention and teaching, but if you have low funds, or prefer the flexibility of learning at your own pace, then online guitar courses are a good way to go.
Following are six great websites that have well-charted online guitar lessons and courses. I have personally used a few of them, and highly recommend them. These may add more value to your skills than any live teacher possibly can:
1. Guitartricks.com (theory, techniques and practice songs)
There are ample of lessons (11000) and songs (700) to learn on the website. They have a step-by-step curriculum that teaches you theory, techniques and songs.
You can get full access to all the ‘Beginner’ and ‘Experienced’ lessons at USD 19.95 per month, and you can save 25% when you pay annually. They also often have promotional offers that help you save up to 20% on your bill. The platform has over 2.1 million members, and various instructors who teach in fun and easy ways.
What I like about this platform is their quality of videos, and the features of the web app. The curriculum is well-planned, and you can easily learn a lesson and move on to the next in a linear fashion. One can mark a lesson as favorite and download it, and even open the guitar tuner during a lesson. The Progress report section gives you an overview of the lessons covered by you; it is encouraging and effective in keeping a learner going. There is a toolbox that has applications and interactive activities including scale finder, metronome, fretboard trainer, and chord finder. I am also affiliated to this online guitar lessons platform, for it has a very organised teaching approach.
2. Justinguitar.com (theory, techniques and practice songs) <3 <3
This online guitar learning platform is one of my personal favorites. Justin’s website has well-structured lesson plans for beginners and intermediate-level learners. Also, he simply gets it! He understands the challenges that learners face, and tries to address them through his tutorials, while teaching valuable techniques. His way of teaching is to-the-point and sensible.
His video tutorials are enjoyable, effective and FREE! However, the users are encouraged to donate when they can afford to, to keep the platform up and running.
In the beginner’s course, he takes learners step-by-step through learning about basics such as choosing, tuning and holding a guitar, using a capo, playing chords, changing chords, strumming, and exercising. He teaches basic chords, and how one can practice them to excel. The training exercises and one-minute chord change sessions available in the course are a great way to improve one’s skills.
The intermediate method teaches slightly advanced techniques, theory and chords. Various songs are also taught to put the theory and techniques to practice. In the Intermediate level, there a few lessons which are only available in DVD format, which can be bought at reasonable prices, and are totally worth it!
He also teaches Blues rhythm and lead, folk finger style, rock, jazz, songwriting and more. Justin’s Youtube channel is also worth checking out.
It’s a 6-week course with commitment of about 6-8 hours a week. Taught by Associate professor Thaddeus Hogarth of Berklee College of Music, this course covers online guitar lessons like exploring the instrument, performance techniques, and basic music theory. It’s an organised course, with 4.7 rating out of 5.
It takes learners step-by-step through how to tune a guitar, learning names of the strings, and finger-style and picking techniques. There are assignments to be undertaken every week. Upon completion of the course, the learners will be equipped to apply theoretical concepts to their playing, and have fundamental knowledge to pursue intermediate courses. If you want to take a more professional and systematic approach to learning how to play the guitar online, then this a good option.
4. Tabs.ultimate-guitar.com (chords for all songs ever! I mean, a lot of songs!)
As the name suggests, the website has an exhaustive list of song tabs and lead and bass chords. These tabs and chords are contributed by an ever-growing community of authors.
This is the first website I open when I want to find out the the chords of a song. Of course, the best time to use this platform is when you have learnt how to play and change chords, and have also learnt a few strumming patterns. Look for songs you like and have chords you know and practice them for best results.
The Lesson section on the website has techniques and theory lessons that can be read and watched. There is also a free online guitar tuner to use.
What I also like about this website is that any artist can submit tabs for a song, which are then reviewed by other artists who can accept, reject or recommend to improve the tabs as per the Tablature and Approval guides provided by the website. This has helped in creating a bank of a huge collection of tabs and chords of old and new songs that learners like us can use.
There is a paid section of the website called Tab pro. It lets learners listen to how the songs are supposed to sound when they are played. One can control the tempo to play a song at their own pace. The best feature of the paid platform is the Virtual fretboard that graphically shows the chord progressions and finger placements. Tab pro costs around USD 2 per month and USD 10 per annum for web access and about USD 3 per month and USD 15 per annum for both Web and APP accesses. I like the lifetime access option that costs about USD 20, a little more than the annual subscription option.
5. Guitarlessons.com (theory, technique and practice songs)
This website, by artist Nate Savage, is very organized! His video lessons are simple to follow and informative. There are various free lessons under the headings Beginner guitar quick-start series, Rhythm guitar quick-start series, Lead guitar quick-start series, Blues guitar quick-start series, Guitar lessons for beginners (this is an extension of the quick-start series for beginners), and Guitar theory, ear training and reading.
They have a Free Toolbox for beginners with 50 step-by-step lessons, which can be subscribed on the website by submitting your email ID. Basically, a lot of well-organised free lessons like Justin Guitar.
To fast-track one’s learning, and to get dedicated support from experts, one can also subscribe to the online Academy. It has 60+ hours of step-by-step video lessons that cost USD 29 per month, USD 127 for six months or USD 197 for a year, with 90-day money back guarantee. The lessons cover music theory, songs and jam tracks, and techniques for playing chords, strumming and changing chords. One can also participate in live video broadcasts and ask live questions from experts or practice along. The paid platform has features to track one’s progress (which, I think, is a great way to stay motivated), and get support from an online community of learners.
6. Guitarjamz.com (theory, techniques and practice songs)
Marty Schwartz has over 2000 online guitar lessons, plus written manuals, downloadable jam tracks, and personal lesson tracking. His videos comprising the Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced, Music theory, Blues, Country and Soloing lessons teach techniques, exercises, and songs, like previously mentioned websites. One can subscribe to the online version of the platform, but I prefer their DVD sets, which are more organized than the website, and are great for offline and self-paced learning. DVD sets are available for beginner lessons, acoustic blues, Rock and clues, music theory, etc. You just pay once to purchase a DVD set, and have the lessons with you forever.
His website has some free lessons, and to access all the lessons one can subscribe to the premium membership. The premium section costs USD 29 per month (save 14% when you pay for 3 months, and save 63% when you pay for a year), and gives additional features to learners like Exclusive offers, Personal Lesson Tracking, Dedicated Support.
Another website that you can refer to for learning guitar online is guitarlessons365.com, which has a number of free lessons and songs. Their advanced lessons are worth checking out.
All these websites are great resources to learn how to play the guitar. Each student can pick the website that they feel they understand well, or which has the right teaching rhythm for them. You can test a couple of websites and lessons (thanks to the free trials on the paid websites), and then decide what works for you. Rest assured, these online lessons, when followed diligently, will make you a decent or even a good guitar player.
My personal deck of tools for learning to play the guitar includes:
- For theory, techniques and songs: Justinguitar.com and Guitartricks.com
- For chords: tabs.ultimate-guitar.com
- For metronome, guitar tuner and chord charts: GuitarTuna APP
I hope this information will of help to you, and you will be able to find a set of websites and APPs that work for you.
If you are looking for any specific online guitar lessons or anything that I have not been able to mention here, ask your question in the comment section. Also, if you know of any other useful online platforms for learning to play the guitar, do share their names with us.
Stay tuned, as soon I will post about the best tools that can help you improve your guitar playing skills. Till then, all the best, you fellow musicians. Have fun playing!