Guitar Tricks VS Udemy (Comparison)
Our pick: Guitar Tricks
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We need to be clear up front that Udemy is not uniquely a guitar lesson program. While it includes plenty of guitar lessons and courses, their content is dependent on a community of educators and course builders and not on Udemy staff, specifically. This is a major difference from a website like Guitar Tricks which is entirely dedicated to guitar lesson creation and employs their teachers or contracts them to produce content.
Udemy is a platform that sells courses for a one-time fee and creators make a commission off each sale.
This also means that Udemy has courses that cover everything, not just guitar.
I've always been a bit suspicious of programs that work this way and try to cover so much ground within one website. This is the same problem I have with Tom Morello's course on Masterclass.
How can we trust one website that covers such a wide topical range?
Still, I want to give it a fair comparison.
How I'm Comparing the Two
To compare Udemy and Guitar Tricks, I'm assessing Udemy's guitar courses more as a group and not necessarily focusing on a specific guitar course. Their top three are from solid publishers, and includes the following:
- The Complete Guitar System by Erich Andreas
- Ultimate Beginner Guitar Masterclass by Henry Olsen
- The Professional Guitar Masterclass by Michael Palmisano
Most of my opinion about Udemy's program is based on these three courses. Keep in mind there are over 2000 courses that turn up for a "guitar" search in Udemy, so there others that may provide a dramatically different experience.
But since I know some about these educators and courses, I'm using them to give a rough overview of what a guitar course on Udemy is like.
Let's get started.
A Quick Comparison Chart
In this table we've highlighted some similar programs for easy browsing. Please note that we partner with Guitar Tricks and JamPlay, but that in no way impacts our partiality or objectivity when it comes to reviewing and recommending guitar lessons. However, if you click through the orange buttons and sign up, we may receive a commission at no extra cost to you. Thank you for your support.
Udemy Guitar Classes
Guitar Tricks VS Udemy: A Side-by-Side Comparing the Basics
Udemy covers more topical ground than Guitar Tricks, but tends to be far more shallow in each topic. In other words, you'll have more to choose from, but ultimately you'll get a far less specialized look at each concept. Plus, it's important to keep in mind that Udemy's content is crowdsourced, and not contracted.
This means in Guitar Tricks you're getting professional teachers that are contracted and paid, not simply content creators building their own course.
We should also mention that Udemy sells their content by the course, which is a bright spot for Udemy.
For a one-time fee, you can purchase and own a course for life.
Memberships as of 2020
3 million +
Free Trial Period
Total Number of Lessons
Styles (Genres) Covered
About 1 per course
$20 per month or $180 per year
About $10 - $25 per course (lifetime access)
Udemy may actually have more lesson videos than Guitar Tricks does, since they have close to 2000 results returning when you search "guitar." The problem with Udemy, though, is figuring out exactly how many of those courses are focused on guitar and, further, how many are good and/or worth your time.
To summarize, here's what you need to think about beyond simple numbers and search results:
- Udemy guitar courses do not correlate with one another (each one produced by a different content creator)
- Not all of the returned search results are necessarily only about guitar (could be bass, music theory, or other tangentially related topics)
- Not all of the courses meet a consistent quality standard (depends on the creators)
- Courses can vary dramatically in length and production quality
Skill Level, Depth and Challenge
Udemy is not a bad place for beginner guitar lessons. Again, it'll depend on which course you go with. But, generally, there's a lot of content on their platform that's good and helpful for beginners. Where it quickly falls off is when you get into intermediate and advanced content.
Since most content creators are doing a single course, they're trying to appeal - at least in part - to beginners.
The result is that you have a lot of beginner content, but a quick drop off as you move into higher skill levels.
Udemy is also particularly bad when it comes to establishing any kind of topical order. Within courses, order and organization will usually be decent (not great), but outside of those courses, it's extremely difficult to figure out whether multiple courses can work in tandem or can be mutually beneficial when taken together without also being redundant.
Again, I need to stress that this will vary depending on the course. But the type of content producer that Udemy attracts (and keeps), tends to fall in line with these grades.
Structure, Design and User Experience
Udemy's design extends beyond what they offer just to guitar players. Their entire site is built to offer courses of all types, relying almost exclusively on video to deliver their content.
However, we still like Guitar Tricks course navigation better because it's easier to find your way around lessons and courses. It's not as intuitive when we're on Udemy's platform.
Udemy does better with general content navigation and aesthetics, though neither site is particularly weak in these areas.
Interior Course Navigation
Main Menu Navigation
Below you can see two screen shots that illustrate some of the web design and navigation of the two systems. Udemy is a bit heavier on text while Guitar Tricks uses a more graphically rich system to help users navigate through courses and videos.
Video Interface Quality and Features
The video players for Udemy and Guitar Tricks are hosted on different platforms, but perform equally well while offering many of the same features. HD resolution, speed adjustments (up or down), and responsiveness to multiple devices are all present in both video players.
Guitar Tricks adds section looping - a feature missing from Udemy's interface - but otherwise the two don't have any dramatic differences.
Note that Guitar Tricks uses a third-party hosting platform - Wistia - for their videos while Udemy's videos appear to be self-hosted.
This doesn't matter outside of potential streaming and performance issues. During our time testing both platforms (we've spent far more time on Guitar Tricks than Udemy) we haven't had any issues with speed or performance, even on higher resolution/HD videos.
Slow Down/Speed Up
Full Screen Quality and Pixelation
On a separate note, it would be nice to see SoundSlice included in both programs. Currently, neither one supports it.
Below we've taken a couple screenshots of the video players for Udemy and Guitar Tricks.
Guitar Tricks is fairly consistent about the supplemental material it provides. Whenever applicable, you'll have tabs, chord diagrams, and audio files where the tabs are usually available for download.
In Udemy, this depends a lot on the course creator.
Some will provide downloadable audio, while others will provide diagrams and PDF files. The problem is that it's just not consistent so it's difficult to give this category a grade, much less a better grade than Guitar Tricks.
Tabs and Notation
Audio Files/Backing Tracks
Guitar Pro Files
Where we have seen supplemental content in Udemy, it usually doesn't do much to go beyond what you get in the video. In some cases Guitar Tricks can fall prey to the same pattern of simply reiterating in their downloadable content what they've already covered in the video.
We wouldn't say this is a strong suit of either program, but Guitar Tricks does better if you have to choose between the two.
Licensed Song Lessons
Since Udemy's content is sourced from independent creators, licensed song lessons are not available on the platform. That's not to say that these courses don't touch on styles and techniques from notable artists, but they don't teach song lessons.
However, Guitar Tricks is one of the best programs available when it comes to song lessons, as they actually pay to license the material, providing tutorials and tab sheets that are 100 percent accurate. With over 1000 song lessons from a ton of popular artists, they have one of the largest library of licensed guitar song tutorials in existence.
They also do a great job of breaking the content up and teaching the songs slowly, while also demonstrating each element.
If learning songs is a priority for you, Guitar Tricks is an easy first choice.
Number of Songs
Song Coverage (completeness)
Easy Song Versions
Second Pay Wall
Concluding our Comparison
Guitar Tricks and Udemy are an imperfect comparison, because one program is exclusively focused guitar, while the other makes nearly all educational topics available. I've always argued that this is inherently a failed approach, because it spreads your focus too thin.
Even if you're crowd-sourcing your content, why not focus in on a specialty?
This gives Guitar Tricks a clear advantage, in addition to the fact that Guitar Tricks just offers better content.
For those who want the variety of Udemy, or prefer to pay a one-time fee instead of the time-based membership, Udemy could be a better fit. In fact, that's one of the few criticisms I have of Guitar Tricks - that they don't provide single-fee download options for specific courses.
Even then, there are better guitar programs that do allow that kind of purchasing:
We'd recommend either of these programs before you go after something on Udemy.
Do you have questions about Udemy guitar lessons or the Guitar Tricks program? If so, leave them in the comments section below.
I'll answer there and help out as much as I can.
It'll also serve to improve this content for folks that might have the same question as you, in the future.