Parent article: Guitar Tricks Review
Guitar Tricks VS Ultimate Guitar (Pro & Free)
Though Guitar Tricks and Ultimate Guitar (the free and Pro account) serve two different purposes, the two programs cross paths in a few areas and are both forms of paid guitar lesson education. Both are quite good for pure song learning, though Guitar Tricks is the better option if you want more of a guided lesson environment, as opposed to Ultimate Guitar's database of Pro tabs that are there for self-motivated navigating.
The difficulty in comparing Guitar Tricks and Ultimate Guitar is that the two sites have some distinct and inherent differences. Guitar Tricks is a an educational site that specifically provides lessons with instructors, talking you through material and teaching you the guitar through pre-recorded videos.
Ultimate Guitar is more of a community and a tab resource with a ton of user-submitted content.
While they do have lessons, their popularity and usefulness has been fueled - over the years - by guitar tabs. Their new platform, Ultimate Guitar Pro, is a high-quality pre-created collection of guitar tabs in a Guitar Pro-style format.
Since Guitar Tricks is also know for their licensed song video lessons, the two programs cross paths here: Both are an online song learning resource for guitar players.
In this article, we'll compare the two side-by-side so you can get a better idea of which program is better suited for you.
Compare to Similar Programs
The following chart contains links to Guitar Tricks, Ultimate Guitar Pro, and similar programs we've reviewed, some of which we also partner with. Note that these links help support our site, but do not cost you anything or change your experience in any way.
You can use this section to access programs, free trials, and compare other similar programs to Guitar Tricks and Ultimate Guitar.
Ultimate Guitar Pro
Guitar Tricks VS Ultimate Guitar: Comparing the Basics
Both Guitar Tricks and Ultimate Guitar Pro are membership sites with a monthly or yearly fee. Even the free side of Ultimate Guitar - with user submitted tabs - functions largely as a membership site.
This is where we see that Ultimate Guitar doesn't really offer formal lessons or instructors, but is instead focused entirely on their tablature program.
To be fair, an Ultimate Guitar Pro membership is far cheaper than Guitar Tricks.
Over 3 million
Primary Content Focus
Pro-quality guitar tabs
Free Trial Period
Total Number of Lessons
Styles (Genres) Covered
$180 (per year)
$40 (per year)
For what you get from each program, the difference in price is reasonable, even if Guitar Tricks is just more expensive. The value of each membership is decent, so don't take that particular red X (in the price category) to necessarily be a problem.
Skill Level, Depth and Challenge
Skill level is an area that we typically use to compare online guitar lessons, but that doesn't work super-well for Ultimate Guitar because their lessons are mostly pieced together or submitted by community members.
They're not really parsed based on skill level.
However, you can certainly browse through their tabs and written lessons based on difficulty, which is easy to do with the difficulty ratings for each song, particularly in the Pro sections.
For those looking for more of a lessons environment, Guitar Tricks is easily the better choice.
Structure, Design and User Experience
Since these resource are websites, it's helpful to grade them from a user experience perspective.
How easy are they to navigate? Is material hard to find? Is the design modern and user-friendly?
Guitar Tricks did a revamp a couple of years ago and upgraded their interface, which was needful at the time. However, Ultimate Guitar - for what seems like several decades now - has done very little to modernize their site's design. Outside of small upgrades, the site looks similar to how it did 10-15 years ago. I've never been a fan of the dark, black background and the yellow font.
Now, the Pro section tabs are nicer and don't adapt the surrounding aesthetics of Ultimate Guitar, but the overall design of the site is a bit chaotic, making it hard to decipher where you're going or how to find what you're looking for.
It's also a little off-putting when the main body of content - the Pro tabs - look so dramatically different from the surrounding interface.
Interior Course Navigation
Main Menu Navigation
For all categories, Guitar Tricks beats out Ultimate Guitar in this area. Guitar Tricks is just easier to follow and a more pleasant interface to work with that does a much better job of guiding the user.
Ultimate Guitar should be recognized for putting together a robust system of searching and displaying tablature.
It's why we gave them a B in the course navigation rating, even though they don't technically have courses.
Tabs and Supplemental Content
Not surprisingly, the tabs and supplemental categories are quite favorable to Ultimate Guitar. After all, they have based their entire membership platform off providing tabs, so we would expect those tabs to be high caliber.
While Guitar Tricks does provide a lot of tablature, it doesn't include the playback or extended features that you get with Ultimate Guitar Pro.
Ultimate Guitar even goes so far as to provide a chord sheet version of each song, kind of similar to how Chordify sets things up.
Tabs and Notation
Guitar Pro Files
The only area where Guitar Tricks is a little better here is in terms of instructor interaction, which is only because they actually have instructors while Ultimate Guitar does not.
If you're after tabs and song learning resources, it's tough to ignore Ultimate Guitar Pro's extensive collection of supplemental content.
Song Lessons Section
Song lessons is another category where Guitar Tricks gets some heavy competition from Ultimate Guitar. While both programs make it a point to teach songs, Guitar Tricks does so via teaching and tutorials while Ultimate Guitar Pro uses high-functioning tablature.
Ultimate Guitar also has a much bigger song library, since it's obviously easier to provide a guitar tab sheet than it is to film an entire lesson series for a single song.
You can see the grading breakdown below:
Number of Songs
Song Coverage (completeness)
Easy Song Versions
The difference will come down to how you feel about the pre-recorded tutorial format. If that's something you prefer or need, Guitar Tricks is going to be the better fit, perhaps coupled with the free version of Ultimate Guitar.
Concluding our Guitar Tricks VS Ultimate Guitar Comparison
And at the end of our comparison, that's the main difference that should be highlighted. If you're after tabs only than Ultimate Guitar Pro is your best option.
On the other hand:
If you want someone to walk you through the music, explain the different parts, and demo the song for you, Guitar Tricks will give you a stripped down tab but make up for it with an immersive teaching system.
Only you can decide which one is right for you, but if you need additional help, you can checkout our individual reviews of both programs below:
Questions about the Programs
Do you have questions about our Guitar Tricks VS Ultimate Guitar comparison, or perhaps how we've chosen the grades given for each category?
If you do, the comments section below is the best place to get in touch.
We'll talk to you there.