Updated by Danielle
Recently updated on January 28th, 2021
Updated screen shots for Guitarzoom's home page and made minor changes/fixes to article formatting.
Guitar Tricks VS Guitarzoom
Though Steve Stine's teaching method is solid, a lack of topical order and a bizarre signup process/pricing structure, keep Guitarzoom from competing with a polished and streamlined Guitar Tricks program.
Guitarzoom's success thus far is due entirely to the guitar playing and teaching ability of Steve Stine. Stine developed Guitarzoom almost entirely on his own, providing a ton of content in the form of free lessons and a paid VIP program with multiple courses available.
But how does his platform compare to the more popular Guitar Tricks?
What kind of value can you get out of both programs?
In this comparison piece, we're going to look at Guitar Tricks and Guitarzoom side by side in several different categories. It'll help you see the strengths, weaknesses, and areas of value for both platforms.
A Quick Comparison Chart
Since we've reviewed both platforms individually and put them through our basic ratings system, we have them here in a chart with a couple other competitors. We partner with and recommend both Guitar Tricks and JamPlay, so you can use these buttons to checkout those programs at no extra cost to yourself. Thank you for supporting us.
Guitar Tricks VS Guitarzoom: The Basics
Stine isn't super transparent about his membership numbers or the total number of lessons he provides. Judging by his YouTube account, he has a fairly significant client base, but his courses are strangely ordered and separate from one another. For example, there's a VIP, Play Songs, and Masterclass section, all with multiple courses in each.
With multiple videos in each course, it's hard to tell exactly how many lessons/videos there are, though at this point I would guess that number is around roughly 2000.
Memberships as of 2020
3 million +
Free Trial Period
Total Number of Lessons
Styles (Genres) Covered
$20 per month or $180 per year
$8.25 per month or $99 per year
Where Guitarzoom is a little better than Guitar Tricks is in the pricing column, though it makes sense since Guitarzoom has far less content. They only charge $8.25 per month or a flat $99 per year. The problem is that once you buy the VIP membership, you have to upgrade again for things like the Masterclass and Play Songs section, so the green check mark doesn't tell the whole story.
Guitarzoom also made some recent updates to their design and home page, not long after we criticized their site's usability in our full Guitarzoom review.
This rendition didn't do much to change the interior membership design, and the site has some weirdly slow portions, like loading course banner photos and even some video players.
But overall, the Guitarzoom redesign is a good look, if not purely from an aesthetic perspective.
Ability to Cater to Specific Skill Levels & Provide Learning Paths
As I mentioned earlier, Stine's teaching ability is quite good. He's good at explaining topics and providing solid demonstration, while also interweaving aspects of music theory and making the complex understandable.
Where Guitarzoom runs into trouble is with how they organize content and a general lack of guided learning for beginners. They do have beginner courses, but it's difficult to know where to start and the free beginners content is also weirdly organized without a linear learning path.
Guitar Tricks is the opposite, providing extremely linear paths to follow, even to the point where we don't recommend skipping around too much on their site, in favor of following the learning paths they've set up.
To be fair, both programs are able to serve most skill levels. But, for beginner players (which both programs market to), Guitar Tricks is a far more solid and reliable option.
Site Design and User Interface
Both sites do a good job with their design and user interface, though Guitarzoom is a bit trickier to navigate just because of the uncertainty in regards to how one course or course section relates to the others. At the same time, modern design trends and aesthetics are adhered to by both sites, so all the green check marks being on Guitar Tricks' side makes it look more lop-sided than it actually is.
Interior Course Navigation
Main Menu Navigation
For the users' sake, we'd like to see better grouping of courses and a clearer path to follow in Guitarzoom's program. The difference between the VIP section and Masterclass is unclear, while the loading times for those sections are far too long.
Once you do get into those sections, there are a lot of courses to choose from that don't appear to be in any particular order.
Guitar Tricks falls back on their Core Learning System which does a good job of giving you a path to follow, and is pictured in the screenshot below:
Video Interface Quality and Features
Guitarzoom uses Vimeo to host their free videos, which does have the ability to speed up and slow down. Though for paid content, the backend looks different, and incorporates section looping with a platform that I didn't recognize. Guitar Tricks uses a paid Wistia account, with a similar feature set.
Both programs have their share of older videos that look a little grainy and aren't shot in HD.
But overall, the video players for both Guitar Tricks and Guitarzoom leave little to complain about.
Slow Down/Speed Up
Full Screen Quality and Pixelation
Guitar Tricks consistently provides tabs, chord diagrams, and the occasional backing track. With Guitarzoom - at least the courses we were able to test - supplemental content was more rare. Now, we should also mention there could be more supplemental material in courses that we weren't able to access, but generally it seemed to be given little focus in Stine's material.
Instead, Stine would market his eBook's wherever there was a need or relevancy for something like chord diagrams.
It's not my favorite thing, but I'll give Guitarzoom credit for putting more effort into the actual instructional video and not just falling back on supplemental content.
Tabs and Notation
Guitar Pro Files
In the screenshots below, you can see that Guitar Tricks has tabs and sheet music thoroughly integrated into their platform while Guitarzoom simply places a link for the "Chords Made Easy" eBook.
Licensed Song Lessons
For a long time Guitar Tricks has owned the landscape of video-based song lessons for guitar. They have over 1000 licensed songs from a ton of different artists and are consistently adding new material.
Guitarzoom has a course that's set aside for learning songs, which is unfortunately behind a second pay wall within your membership.
While Stine's instruction is good, I always point it out if you have to pay a second time to get to material within a program you've already paid for. Rocksmith and Yousician do this as well.
Moreover, Guitar Tricks is just vastly better when it comes to giving you video-based guitar song lessons. They're the best resource in existence and can give you a ton of music (from popular artists) to keep you busy, far beyond what Guitarzoom is able to offer in this department.
Number of Songs
In specific course
Song Coverage (completeness)
Easy Song Versions
Second Pay Wall
Concluding our Guitar Tricks VS Guitarzoom Comparison
It's always hard for a one-man-band guitar lesson site to compete with longer-standing platforms that have multiple instructors. While Stine has certainly put out his fair share of content, it's more so the marketing methods and organizational issues that make his courses less appealing, especially from a beginners perspective.
For a program like Guitar Tricks, having one price tag and a single membership level is actually really refreshing. Every lesson, all the courses, and all the material are part of a single connected system and membership.
Guitarzoom is stuck somewhere in the middle of Guitar Tricks and TrueFire.
It doesn't have enough content to be a course library, like TrueFire.
Yet the content is does have it too disconnected and not topically-ordered enough to be a guided course like Guitar Tricks.
If it's a choice between Guitar Tricks and Guitarzoom, we'd continue to recommend Guitar Tricks for all skill levels.
For more information, consider reading the two full reviews of each program, or giving the Guitar Tricks free trial a shot.
Do you have questions about our comparison?
If so, leave a note in the comments section below. I'll jump on and help as best I can.
See you then.