Updated by Danielle
Updated on January 5th, 2023
Updated the home page for Guitar Tricks and JamPlay, and made some adjustments to the "what's new" sections.
Best Online Guitar Lessons (our top Pick)
Organization, topical coverage, licensed song lessons and beginner content are all major strong points for Guitar Tricks. Their courses and song lessons are broad and effectively organized, easily making them the best guitar lessons available as a monthly streaming service.
Guitar Chalk focuses on helping people find the highest quality guitar lessons and websites for learning guitar. A huge part of what we do is centered around highlighting online content that teaches you the guitar with broad and thorough explanation. We do this by buying, testing, and rating these programs, guitar-in-hand, so that we can give you a first hand account of their value.
Content quality, educational quality, topical organization, and song lessons are just a few of the factors we look at and use to come up with a rating and grade for each online guitar lesson program. This piece contains the top online guitar schools based on these reviews and ratings. The top websites we've tested are Guitar Tricks, JamPlay, TrueFire, Justinguitar, Active Melody, and Guitargate.
If you're looking for something on your device, we've covered guitar lesson mobile apps here.
Keep reading for more information on all six of our recommendations.
Best Websites for Learning Guitar Online: Comparison Table
In this section, you can use the compare buttons to look at the lessons we've rated side by side in a table. You can compare up to four at a time.
We sometimes use partner links to promote guitar lesson programs that we trust and have tested ourselves. If you click through our orange buttons and make a purchase (or even sign up for a free trial), we might receive a commission that costs you nothing extra. Thanks to everyone for your continued support! - Bobby and Danielle
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1. Guitar Tricks Lessons
Guitar Tricks got started way back in 1998 and they're still the absolute best value in the business when it comes to video-based online guitar lessons and courses. They have a ton of high-quality content and are particularly strong when it comes to providing topically-organized guitar lessons and learning structures.
Particularly if you're in the market for beginner lesson material, Guitar Tricks is going to be your best option.
HOW MUCH DOES GUITAR TRICKS COST?
- Price: $19.95 per month or $179 per year
- Free trial: Yes, 14 days
GUITAR TRICKS STATS AND REFUND POLICY
- Members: 3 million+
- Lessons: 11,000+
- Song Tutorials: 1,000+
- Refund Period: Yes, 60 days guaranteed
WHAT'S NEW FOR GUITAR TRICKS IN 2023?
- Auto-scroll notation added to both Guitar Fundamentals 1 & Guitar Fundamentals 2
- New "Riffs" section where you can learn popular riffs from top songs
- Over 1000 songs
- New POP song section
- Revamped iOS app so you can access more features that the site has like the Progress System, Collections, Acoustic Course
WHAT SKILL LEVEL IS GUITAR TRICKS BEST FOR?
While Guitar Tricks has a really wide scope, they're best-known for their beginner content and their song lessons. Personally, I've used them for years, and have found them effective for all skill levels, though their organization of fundamental guitar content is definitely a strong point.
Guitar Tricks is one of our top scorers in terms of pure quality of education.
HOW ARE GUITAR TRICKS LESSONS CATEGORIZED?
Their lessons are categorized into primarily four sections.
- Beginner Lessons
- Experienced Lessons
- Learn to Play Songs
- Learn Styles of Guitar (has been moved under the Experienced Lessons section)
I've covered the full membership in my Guitar Tricks review going into as much detail as possible about the courses, topics covered and the other tools offered to full access members. Within each section there are a variety of courses and lessons to choose from, totaling over 11,000 videos not counting the song tutorials.
If you don't want to use the skill-based categories to sort content, you can sort courses and videos according to individual styles, some of which have more or less content depending on their popularity. For example, the "blues" style has a lot of material while the surf and flamenco guitar lessons are more sparse. As of right now, there's nothing that comes close to competing with the amount of resources they provide, overall. It's an excellent source of guitar lessons for kids and adults, alike.
IDEAL FOR: Beginners who want structure
- Lesson structure and organization is top-notch
- Song section is the best in class and it's not close
- Caters to beginners better than other programs
- Huge volume of content
- New content added regularly
- Not the strongest program on advanced topics
- No one-time buy/download options
2. JamPlay Lessons and Courses
JamPlay is the second-largest online guitar school, with over 5000 on-demand lessons and additional song tutorials. We did a full JamPlay review here if you want to go through a more thorough detailing of the program. The song tutorials section is similar to what Guitar Tricks offers, though JamPlay has the added benefit of certain songs being taught by the musicians and artists that wrote the songs.
For example, Stand's Mike Mushok takes you through all the Staind songs JamPlay offers, and he's just one of many "artist" teachers that make an appearance on the site.
Others include Bumblefoot, Joel Kosche (formerly of Collective Soul), Tosin Abasi, Lita Ford and more.
HOW MUCH DOES JAMPLAY COST?
JamPlay's pricing system is fairly basic, structured in a similar manner to Guitar Tricks with a monthly and yearly option.
However, they also produce downloadable courses that are available for a one-time price.
- Price: $14.96/month
- Promo code? Yes, 1BA1E2 for 25% off first month or 33C6CE for 10% off all memberships
- Free trial: Yes, 7 days
JAMPLAY QUICK STATS AND REFUND POLICY
- Members: 465k+
- Lessons: 5100+
- Song Tutorials: 500+
- Refund period: 7 days after initial purchase
What's New for JamPlay in 2023
- New exclusive courses from Tommy Emanuel, Stu Hamm, Dweezil Zappa, and much more.
- Lesson content now recorded and published in 4k
- Up to 383 total song lessons
WHAT SKILL LEVEL IS JAMPLAY BEST FOR?
While Guitar Tricks is designed with a broader focus, with more guitar lessons for beginners, JamPlay provides more nuanced material that often appeals to the intermediate guitarists. However, both sites have material that spans the entire spectrum of skill and ability. JamPlay also has a more diverse list of signup and pricing options, allowing you to pay monthly, quarterly or with two different yearly plans. Here's a look at their lesson covering how to play "Shine" by Collective Soul.
Similar to Guitar Tricks, content and lessons can be sorted by skill level, technique or genre.
JAMPLAY LESSON STRUCTURE
- Skill level
- Style or musical genre
JamPlay has an additional section for all their artist-taught online courses, as well as live lessons. Other features include a section for bass players (which is actually a separate membership), a ton of jam tracks (available depending on what kind of membership you buy) and a reporting system that helps you track your progress. Between the two, we typically opt for Guitar Tricks because of their reputation and organization. However, both options are solid.
IDEAL FOR: Intermediate players and style-specific study
- Plenty of specialized topics covered
- Content goes into a lot of depth
- Well-known artists and guitarists contributing
- Good balance of learning paths and single-topic courses
- Can be difficult to know where you are in the "process"
- Not crazy about the darkened theme
3. TrueFire Guitar Lessons
Not only does TrueFire have a massive amount of content but, they stand out from Guitar Tricks (and JamPlay to a certain extent) in terms of how they price it. While the expected monthly and yearly membership options are available (allowing you to stream all the content) you can actually buy single courses and download them as standalone products. This is not possible with the other two sites we've looked at.
TrueFire did a promo code for us that gives you 30% off either your first download or enrollment in the annual program. Just use CHALK30. You can sign up for a membership here.
Membership essentially gives you unfettered access to all the material, though it's nice that you have the option to avoid a monthly cost if you want to.
Read the full review: TrueFire
In terms of overall content quality and volume, TrueFire is our highest-scoring option.
Moreover, the TrueFire content is so thorough that you might be better off taking it one course at a time. It's most ideal for advanced guitar players as it gives you an extremely wide range of topics and styles to choose from, along with plenty of depth and detail inside each course. Take the Steve Vai course referenced in the above photo. It includes all of the following material:
STEVE VAI'S TRUEFIRE COURSE INFO
- 21 PDF Charts
- 11 MP3 Jam Tracks
- 21 Guitar Tabs (Guitar Pro files)
- 4 hours and 59 minutes of video
- Total download size of 3.5 GB
This is a lot of material to get through and absolutely worth the $34 asking price. For those needing assistance in a specific area, TrueFire can probably get it to you for a one-time fee and still keep you busy for awhile. If you look at just the rock category, there are several pages of courses similar to the Vai offering we highlighted.
Learning paths and a robust sorting system are provided to add some organization to all the material. However, each course is, in and of itself, its own learning path that can be followed in a linear line before moving onto the next course. Account creation is free and comes with a 30-day free trial with access to all the website's resources, namely the following:
TRUEFIRE FREE TRIAL INFO AND QUICK STATS
- 33,000+ lessons
- 11,000+ tabs ∓ notation
- 7000+ jam tracks
- Free trial: Yes, 30 days
It's plenty of good-quality material to keep you busy for a long time, so give the free trial a shot and explore some of the courses.
IDEAL FOR: Advanced players and style-specific study
- Massive amount of content
- Perfect for advanced study
- Single course downloads and pay-as-you-go options are great
- Lots of big name instructors
- Song section is fairly weak
- Hard to know how to navigate from course to course
4. Guitargate Lessons
Guitargate's creator, Michael Palmisano, is a friend of Guitar Chalk and someone that we can vouch for, both professionally and personally. His courses are all hosted on Guitargate, which he continuously updates with new content and course material. His classes are some of the most comprehensive and complete online guitar lesson sites available. We consistently recommend them, especially for those looking to get a little more theory and technical instruction.
Read the full review: Guitargate
With a strong educational emphasis, solid instruction, and clear presentation of music theory, Guitargate gets our highest educational quality rating, though is comparable to sites like Guitar Tricks and JamPlay.
WHY GUITARGATE IS A GREAT ONLINE GUITAR LESSON PROGRAM
Michael, a formally educated guitarist who has taught/worked with over 70,000 guitar students, has intentionally focused on practical fretboard navigation and music theory. He teaches guitar in a way that doesn't just show you mechanical movement, but also gives you a truly foundational understanding of the instrument.
In short, Michael will teach you all the placement and structural issues (chords, scales, modes, inversions, etc.) but also, and more importantly, how to apply those topics in a practical way. His primary Guitargate course is a 136 lecture package which includes the following:
- 7.5 hours on-demand HD video
- 2 hours on-demand audio
- Access on mobile, TV and other devices
THE POPULARITY OF MICHAEL'S COURSE
As mentioned, we know Michael personally and have used his courses first hand, which is why we're comfortable recommending it. However, we should also cite the tremendous success and popularity it has had, as it was previously hosted on Udemy. For example, he was the second course that came up when you searched for "guitar." His online courses also had a ton of enrollment and received almost exclusively "glowing" reviews from students who have taken his class.
Michael's ability to teach is as remarkable as his skill on the guitar. To create good online lessons and help guitar students succeed, you've got to have both. You can actually browse through the entire curriculum for the course before you take it, that way you can get a feel for the exact topics that are covered. The cost for the course is only $9.99 per month, which gives you access to all the content as well as instructor feedback from Michael.
IDEAL FOR: Getting more instructor interaction and emphasizing music theory
- More instructor interaction
- Educational quality is exceptionally good
- Michael Palmisano's teaching method makes theory easier to understand
- Get feedback directly from Michael
- Sponsored by PRS
- No song section
- Smaller volume of content than the big box options
5. Justinguitar (Justin Sandercoe)
Justinguitar is easily the top free online guitar school because of its thorough, organized curriculum, large song section, and the overall quality of Justin Sandercoe's teaching style. In addition, Sandercoe's platform is also one of the longest-running online guitar lesson sites, having gotten started back in 2003.
STRENGTHS OF JUSTINGUITAR
Sandercoe's program scores high for topical order, navigation, and cost/value (of course), largely because of a recent re-design of the site, which catalogs every lesson into modules and courses. They also added a progress tracking system.
Read the full review: Justinguitar
Justinguitar's topical ordering is really strong, and one of the best scores we've recorded, second only to Guitar Tricks.
This score is based on Sandercoe's strong, methodical teaching method that covers all the basics, and gives you plenty of application along the way. He's a patient instructor that doesn't push simply for "fun" material at the expense of important concepts.
Generally, his online learning program is most ideal for beginners or those interested in blues and jazz. Sandercoe also has a ton of material that focuses on classic rock. Beyond that scope, it gets a little more thin.
For intermediate and advanced content, the Justinguitar program isn't your best option because it's limited to the scope of its loan instructor. Sandercoe's playing ability is broad and he can teach a lot of styles, but if you want to go in depth with a topic he's not as familiar with, you'll need to look elsewhere.
Though still quite good, Justinguitar's education quality rating lags behind some of the bigger names because of a smaller scope and less material adapted for higher skill levels.
In a lot of cases, we recommend complete beginners start with free courses like Justinguitar, then - as they progress - branch out into some of the paid guitar lessons. Though it's also fair to say that Sandercoe has material that can help at all skill levels.
IDEAL FOR: Beginners, blues fans, and budgets
- Strong organization
- Completely free (doesn't even require an email signup)
- Content also available on YouTube
- Sandercoe's teaching style is great
- Lots of big-name accolades
- Not ideal for style-specific studies
- Older YouTube videos are low resolution
- Content range drops off after beginner material
6. Active Melody
The best guitar lessons on YouTube would have to be Brian Sherrill's program, Active Melody. It's setup with a massive percentage of the content available for free on YouTube, while there's also a paid side hosted on a private Vimeo account. Sherrill's teaching style is similar to Sandercoe in that he's patient, methodical, and extremely detailed in how he approaches content.
You'll learn a lot about improvising and dissecting scales as Sherrill takes you through soloing processes step-by-step. There's also a big emphasis on music theory and plenty of structure if you go through content on the Active Melody website, as opposed to the YouTube channel itself.
Read the full review: Active Melody
Though content is limited to Sherrill's style, interests, and expertise, the content quality of Active Melody is great for a YouTube platform and able to compete with much larger sites.
WEAKNESSES OF ACTIVE MELODY
Like Justinguitar, Active Melody has a similarly difficult time expanding into other styles and more advanced content. Again, this is an issue that seems to arise when you have just one instructor. There's also some organizational limitations that come with browsing the content only on YouTube.
Active Melody content, particularly if browsing only via YouTube, is a little harder to navigate and sort through than other programs, though still scores a respectable 72 out of 100.
However, these detractions are not enough to make Active Melody a bad choice, even if you decide to add the paid content in addition to what you can get on YouTube.
MOST IDEAL USER
Sherrill's laser focus on blues and soloing patterns make his material ideal for lead guitar players that are interested in learning those styles or beginners that want to learn more about the general discipline of improvisation. Active Melody content will help you understand structures as opposed to just memorizing patterns. Beginners, blues fans, and lead guitar enthusiasts will all be well-served.
IDEAL FOR: Beginners, lead blues fans, and improvisation study
- Improvisation and lead material is excellent
- Free YouTube side is already a ton of content
- Paid side is less than $10 a month
- Sherrill's teaching style is detail and beginner friendly
- Organization can be a bit disjointed in some spots
A Beginners Guide to Online Guitar Lessons
How Guitar Lessons Work
Most guitar lessons are quite simple: A teacher, presumably someone who has been playing guitar for a long time, shows a student - or a "beginner" guitar player - how to play the instrument by walking them through, demonstrating, and explaining different aspects of it.
A basic guitar lesson will look something like this:
- Select a teacher: A teacher, either in someone's local community or a friend who is able to teach guitar, gets connected with a prospective student.
- Schedule a time to meet: That teacher and student find a common time and location to meet for a "guitar lesson"
- The student is taught: During the guitar lesson the teacher shows the student different aspects of the guitar and how to play certain things, depending on their skill level.
- The teacher is paid: Once the lesson is complete - usually after 30 minutes to an hour - the student pays the teacher for their time and the next lesson is scheduled.
How Online Guitar Lessons Work
Online guitar lessons are essentially the same principle, but where the lessons take place via one of two methods:
- Pre-recorded video or streaming: Students watch lessons in a Netflix-style streaming setup (most common).
- Via video conferencing: With something like Skype, a student learns from a teacher in real-time, but remotely over a computer.
By far, the most common and recommended of these two is the video streaming or "pre-recorded" setup. This setup itself, can take several different forms which we will cover in the following section (different types of online guitar lessons).
Tracking Your Progress
Some programs like Guitar Tricks and Justinguitar offer tracking systems that help you track your progress as you go and easily find where you've left off with their videos.
Getting Feedback or Help
Other programs like ArtistWorks and Guitargate will actually work in elements of instructor interaction and feedback, even with pre-recorded video courses.
Different Types of Online Guitar Lessons
While there's almost always an element of video and streaming, there are different types of online guitar lessons, particularly relating to how people pay for their content. There are also different mediums and methods of delivery that might impact which solution is most ideal for you.
Here are the major types of online guitar lessons:
A membership site is the most common type of online guitar lesson program. These websites have all their courses pre-recorded and streamable from a membership account.
The process looks like this:
- Student purchases an account for a monthly (or yearly) membership fee
- Logs into their account
- Watches guitar lesson videos at their own pace
- Logs out when finished
Single Course or Video Downloads
Other sites make their courses or videos available to non-members as single fee downloads, where users pay a set (one-time) cost and download the material. In this case, that material belongs to the student forever and they do no have to pay a monthly fee or purchase it again.
- Select the desired course or video
- Pay a one-time fee
- Download the material
- Watch the material at your own pace
Choosing Online Guitar Lessons
Once you decide online guitar lessons are right for you, there are a myriad of different considerations that could impact which program(s) you choose. In this section we'll look at the variables involved.
Comparing guitar lesson features
The easiest way to do this is to compare features like the amount of content, the target skill level, musical styles covered, and other similar variables.
Amount of Content
One of the simpler considerations would be the amount of material available on a particular site. For example, Guitar Tricks has over 11,000 video lessons while Guitargate has a little over 400. If pure volume of content is important to you, this is a good place to start.
TypeS of COntent
The type of content speaks to how information is delivered. As I mentioned, this is usually at least video, but there can also be additional forms of content like tabs, written lessons, and audio samples.
Course and Topic Organization
The way courses and topics are organized in an online guitar lesson program is really important, because it's often what sets apart the paid online guitar lessons from the free ones. For example, JamPlay and Guitar Tricks are put together with a linear learning path, while YouTube channels that teach guitar can't really match that structure.
Skill Level Focus
Getting to a more practical, guitar-focused matter, choosing guitar lessons should also take into consideration skill level and which program handles and challenges your abilities most effectively.
- Beginner guitar lessons: Focused on the bare basics, chords, chord changes, simple melodies, and easy songs. See our best guitar lessons for beginners.
- Intermediate guitar lessons: Targets more niche topics with greater depth and more technical complexity. Helps to develop interest as well as teach patterns. See our best intermediate guitar lessons.
- Advanced guitar lessons: A wide range of topics with a ton of nuance and narrow focuses in particular areas. Should be both physically and mentally challenging. See our best advanced guitar lessons.
Musical Style Focus
Another way to choose your program is to consider your own musical interests and see which websites cover them most thoroughly. For example, you might be really into blues guitar. Thus, it stands to reason that great blues guitar courses would be more entertaining for you and more motivating to work though.
Here are some of the most common styles covered in online guitar lessons:
- Blues guitar lessons: Being a foundational genre of music, blues is an extremely common context people use to study guitar. These courses are more lead guitar focused, but can also cover a lot of foundational rhythm concepts. See our best blues guitar lesson recommendations.
- Metal guitar lessons: While metal is a bit harder to define, a lot of younger, more modern guitar players are interested in learning it. The study of tone, heavy chord progressions and melodic speed are common parts of this genre. See our best online metal guitar lessons.
- Classical guitar lessons: In terms of a formalized study of the guitar, classical is one of the most formal around. It focuses a lot on posture, fingerpicking technique, and scale-based theory. Those with an interest in the more academic side of music are often drawn to it, especially for performance purposes. See our best classical guitar lesson roundup.
- Jazz guitar lessons: Like blues, jazz is such a foundational musical discipline that many guitar players, regardless of stylistic interest, choose to learn it. Rhythm and lead technique as well as a heavy dose of music theory are all present in this particular area of study. See our best jazz guitar lesson picks.
What's the best online guitar lesson program for beginners?
While almost every program has some kind of beginner course, we've found Guitar Tricks to be the best option for beginners because of the way it covers early material. It's a tightly-organized program (particularly the Guitar Fundamentals I and II courses) that's easy to follow along with. It's our top pick for those just getting started.
What's the most affordable way to take guitar lessons online?
In terms of affordability, Justinguitar is completely free, so we often direct people there first, especially if they're not totally sure about learning the guitar yet. For other options, you have essentially two pricing tiers:
- $10 per month
- $20 per month
Most programs hover around or between these two numbers. In rare cases, we've seen sites charge more than $20, but that usually includes some form of coaching. Here's a more thorough article we've put together on guitar lesson cost and pricing.
Online Guitar Lesson Companies
Big Brands and Membership Websites
If you're looking for the best online guitar lessons for your situation, familiarizing yourself with the companies that offer them will be helpful as you sort through the pile.
Not all guitar lesson companies deliver content in the same format. For example, TakeLessons sub-contracts with teachers who then teach in person or via Skype. If we move out of online-only guitar lessons, bigger companies like Guitar Center and School of Rock offer their lessons in person or in a class format.
In other cases, the creators might be freelancers hired by the publishers. TrueFire, for example, has paid for courses developed by Steve Vai and Tommy Emmanuel, though neither of those guys are technically employed by TrueFire. They're the creators while TrueFire is the publisher.
More rarely, the instructors, creators, and publishers will all be separate entities. Though most of the time we recommend guitar lessons that are written and presented on camera by the same person.
You can get a feel for how this breaks down by looking at some popular guitar lesson companies in the following chart:
School of Rock
What's the best online guitar lesson website?
There is no one-size-fits-all guitar lesson solution out there, whether online or offline. People learn differently, which means different minds will benefit from a variety of websites and programs. We would advise you to take all the factors we've covered here and apply them your situation.
Do you like the idea of a monthly membership? Are you into blues, jazz, or metal? What kind of material do you want to learn? How much guitar do you know already?
By answering these types of questions, you'll give yourself the best chance at selecting an online guitar lesson program that's suited to your needs.
Now, if you simply want to know the best online guitar lesson website overall, we'd still say Guitar Tricks. Their organization and strong, licensed song section is just far better than anything else out there. It's usually our top pick.
Benefits of Learning Guitar Online
I would argue that online guitar tuition websites are far more functional and more accessible than the traditional tutoring model. They're an especially effective way to extend knowledge to a greater number of people and to make it more widely available. This is partly due to the nature of the internet (spreading information is its sole purpose), but also to how these programs are structured. Here are four tangible benefits of online lessons that help to make learning guitar accessible to more people:
In comparison to hiring a tutor or an in-person guitar teacher, online lessons are significantly cheaper, running $20 per month on the high end, with promos and annual subscriptions often cutting that number down. This material is then available 24/7, wherever you have internet access. Paying $30 for a 30-minute lesson can't compete.
Ideal for Self-Starters and the Self-Motivated
Your learning style also plays a significant role in terms of how much you enjoy and learn from online lessons. Typically, those who are self-motivated, who like to work alone and are able to self-start will do really well with the structure of internet education. It allows you to move at your own pace, take lessons whenever you want, and review as needed.
Conducive to a Tight Schedule
A similar benefit is how online lessons are able to bend around your schedule. Those with less free time, perhaps adults or working professionals, who want to learn guitar can take lessons anytime, and stream content the same way you would stream a show or movie.
Provides Structure and Topical Order
Again, this is why free websites like YouTube often fall short. The best guitar courses are always really good at ordering their content. Topics are addressed based on skill level and/or style, in a way that each idea covered builds on the idea that preceded it. This is sometimes even better than an in-person teacher, just because the structure and organization is predetermined and professionally established.
Cost and Value of Online Guitar Lessons
Since we've given all these programs a rating, we can now plot that rating with the monthly cost of each program to get a rough value estimate. This will give us a graph where the cost and quality of each program is clearly visible. We'll do one for both the monthly and yearly cost of each program. Monthly price value first:
Lower and further to the right is better. You can see that Active Melody, Guitargate, JamPlay, and Guitar Tricks come out as the best compromises of price and quality if you're looking at the monthly cost.
And now the same graph for the yearly price of each program:
The graph is a little more varied when you look at yearly pricing, which is often discounted. Though the same few programs come out in the right, lower corner of the graph, basically everything from Guitar Tricks down to Active Melody. TrueFire performs much better in this graph.
Promotional pricing (usually for yearly signups) knocks the monthly and yearly averages down even further. Seeing nine dollars per month is not unusual, so it pays to check in with these programs about promotional pricing and deals.
Do these sites really work?
Yes. Learning guitar online absolutely works, just the same - if not better - than what you would see with a private tutor. The benefits I mentioned earlier all come into play here. Total availability, the ability to review easily, and having access to multiple instructors and musical styles helps you learn quicker and gets you playing where you actually understand the fretboard.
These sites do a great job of teaching you guitar, otherwise I wouldn't recommend them. Not all online guitar lesson sites are great, but the ones that are work well. If you use them consistently, you'll see significant improvement in your playing ability and overall musical creativity.
Best online tuition for Adults?
For adults who don't have a lot of guitar or music experience, I'd recommend starting with Justinguitar or Guitar Tricks. If you're more of an experienced player, JamPlay and/or TrueFire are better fits for honing more specific skill sets and playing styles. Checkout our guitar lessons for adults list for more info.
Which program is best for kids?
For kids I like the early Guitar Tricks courses and even some of the TrueFire single-purchase courses. Yousician is also a good resource for kids, taking a unique, video game-style approach to teaching the guitar.
Conclusion & Questions
We've built and will continue to maintain this as our primary directive and reference for the best online guitar lessons we've tested, reviewed, and recommend.
If you have or know of a resource that deserves inclusion in this list, in that it would be helpful to those seeking to learn guitar, please feel free to get in touch and share it with us.
Or, if you'd prefer, leave it in the comments section below.
Erwin Shatzen says
Hi Bobby, this is a very useful article. I am 65 and have picked up the guitar again after a 55 year hiatus. I was given 3 years of classical guitar lessons as a child. My question comes from this: In food preparation, you can learn a recipe and know how to make one dish, or you can learn a technique and be able to prepare many dishes. That said, which of these would you recommend? I’m willing to put in the work and have been since 2/22. I would like to be able to know and change chords quickly and accurately. I would also like to be good at finger picking. I own a classical, steel string, and electric guitar. Thanks for any direction you care to offer. Best Regards, Erwin Shatzen
Bobby Kittleberger says
Hey Erwin – for chord changes and basic fingerpicking, I’d probably start with Guitar Tricks or Justinguitar. From there you could move to TrueFire for more specified courses. Let me know if you have any additional questions.
Thank you for this direction. I’ve been on Tony’s Accoustic Challenge since 2/22. I will look at Guitar Tricks and Justin and make a decision. Best regards, Erwin
Bobby Kittleberger says
Let me know if I can help further.🤘🏻
Thanks for this great list! I’ve been using https://chordlines.com/. It’s a choice to get free tabs without those unwanted ads inside lyrics.
Hey Dereck – this is a GREAT find. Do you know who runs this site?
Great list! I’ve been a member of jamPlay for the last 4 years and have loved it. Once you get in on the holiday promos re-upping becomes a breeze. Their new toolkits really sweeten the deal, as well!
I was wondering if you’d be willing to check out and possibly add my site to the list: https://thebestguitarlessons.com.
Our mission is to provide high quality guitar lessons tailored to bring the fastest results possible. Lessons feature supplemental TAB, imagery and GuitarPro files as often as possible. We also review gear and other guitar lesson programs, such as you’ve done here, as well as industry news.
Thanks for the consideration and love the site! Been following for a while now. Take care!
Hey, thanks for getting in touch and sharing your site. If I get a chance I’ll take a look. Is it a paid membership site, or just ebooks/articles?
Thanks for the consideration! All of our lessons and content is 100% free. No memberships required. Let me know if you have any other questions. Take care!
Hi, have you ever heard of the Rik Emmett books, “For the Love of Guitar”? I was wondering if you had and what you thought of his teaching.
Hey Gordon – I haven’t heard of him, but it looks interesting. Have you been through his books?
Thank you for the very detailed reviews, they are excellent.
I was wondering if you had a look at Paul Davids’ course: learnpracticeplay?
Hey Ethel – thanks for the kind words. I haven’t seen LearnPraticePlay but I’ll put it on my list. Thanks for the heads up!
Wow thanks for your help on lefty guitar Mr. Kittleberger. That sounds awesome! Have you heard anything about “The Ultimate Beginner to Expert Guitar Lessons Bundle
Discover Your Inner Hendrix with This Beginner to Expert, 59-Hour Guitar Training Extravaganza” by Dan Dresnok? Is it any good? It’s selling for $30 and I thought it might be interesting. The crazy long link to it is below. Thank you! Bob
Bobby Kittleberger says
Thanks, Bob. I honestly haven’t heard about the one you mentioned. Looks like the link isn’t working.
Hi, Bobby. I found your site because I was googling this same course “The Complete 2021 Beginner to Expert Guitar Lessons Bundle” after seeing it offered for $29 through a local news channel article. It would appear this coursework and pricing has been offered from time to time from quite a few sites including Forbes. I would love to know if it’s worth the purchase. Sounds too good to be true. Also sounds like an overwhelming amount of content.
Hey Kerin – I looked and that course isn’t familiar to me. To be honest, it does look a little sketchy. For that price I would assume it’s fairly basic, or maybe even some kind of re-purposed content. Are you familiar with the creators at all? Sorry I can’t provide more info on it.
Thanks for looking into it, Bobby. I thought it was interesting that Bob had commented about the same/similar offer. I haven’t seen any comments/reviews about it online. I’m not familiar with the creators, but that doesn’t mean much as I’m new to the guitar lesson world. Perhaps this is a sign to spend my $29 elsewhere! Thanks again!
Yeah, I would agree, Kerin. Good luck!
Thanks for this Bobby. I am an intermediate left-handed guitarist and also have a visuoperceptual disability that makes it very hard for me to turn things around in my head if I’m watching someone opposite me play. Could you recommend a guitar learning website/program for someone like me during COVID?
Bobby Kittleberger says
Hey Bob – if I’m not mistaken, TrueFire allows you to mirror or “flip” the video which then makes it appear as though you’re watching a left-handed demonstration.
I would start there if that’s a priority for you. Underrated feature, for sure.
Let me know if you have any additional questions.
Looking at your reviews….great job! However at the top of this page the $99 link for GuitarTricks has no code and simply connects to the standard annual fee.
Will look around your site more…loks intriguing
Bobby Kittleberger says
Hey thanks, Jerald. The button was for a promo that they just stopped running. I switched it back to the trial which is your best bet. https://www.guitartricks.com/trial_splash.php?a_aid=55097c8e80b04
If you want, I can share other promo codes with you. Just let me know. Hope this helps.
G Froes says
It’s really great list, no doubt. To me, particularly, I get use two websites that helps me a lot and have excellent resources besides videos. E-Chords (https://e-chords.com) and a new one called Guitar Camera (https://guitarcamera.com)
Bobby Kittleberger says
Hey Gabriel – thanks for sharing. I use E-Chords as well and they probably should be on this list.
Ken Tyler says
Hi there, Thanks very much for this. This is a great resource – very useful indeed. I have tried many of the lessons you recommend and feel that they all have their particular strengths. At the moment I’m learning Blues guitar from absolutebluesguitar.com. Bobby Harrison is an incredible teacher and the site provides a very high level of detail for so many aspects of electric blues guitar. More importantly for me, it provides the continuity and progression that I found lacking in the other sites. The lessons are clear and well structured and you really feel like you’re playing the blues rather than just exercises. Please check it out and include it in your review as it doesn’t seem to have very high visibility online. It took me such a long time before I stumbled across it and it would be great if it could be featured on your listing. Many thanks! Ken
Bobby Kittleberger says
Hey Ken, thanks for turning me onto this. I’ll take a deeper look once I get a chance and see if I can get in touch with Bobby Harrison.
Ken Tyler says
That’s great Bobby, thanks for your response. Hope to see it featured in your listing soon! Ken
Scott Clausen says
Great article! I have a membership in Truefire and love it. I will definitely check out the books mentioned as I have not seen any of them prior to this article.
I would also second the Andrew Wasson site and, for jazzers, the jazz guitarlessons.net run by Marc-Andre Seguin.
Bobby Kittleberger says
Thanks, Scott. Pretty much all the Hal Leonard guitar stuff is really good. I’ve corresponded some with Marc-Andre Seguin but I’m not super familiar with his material. Look good on the surface though.
Fantastic article!!! All great! I recently started with an up and comer, Crazy Mo Guitar! Great instructor and material. Thanks!
Bobby Kittleberger says
Hey, Scoots – thanks for the kind words. How long has Crazy Mo been around? His site looks great (new).
Absolutely terrific article with reference to sources I will visit repeatedly. I have also enjoyed content online from Andrew Wasson – Creative Guitar and from Scott’s Bass Academy.
Bobby Kittleberger says
Thanks much. Those both look like resources worth including. We’ll do a bit more research and then likely add them in the article.
Thanks for this information. I was looking for online lessons and this article helped me in my search and in my decision. I’ve chosen and of course I am enjoying it very much. I guess I could have enjoyed many others had I chosen for another website. Initially I was attracted to Fender Play, then I read this article and also considered JamPlay. Finally, I picked Guitartricks. I think their 20 years experience and the fact that they are not expensive is what made up my decision. To everyone, whatever source you decide, I recommend trying lessons online because I think the price is so much less than learning in person with a single teacher. I also value the benefit of learning during your own time, just signing in whenever you want. Anyway, thanks and good wishes to everyone who begins the journey of learning guitar.
Bobby Kittleberger says
Hey Albert – thanks for your thoughts on this. I do believe that the online medium is more comprehensive, cost-effective and easier to use than in-person tutoring, though both have their pros/cons.
I did a full Fender Play Review here, https://www.guitarchalk.com/fender-play-review/
Though it seems like you’ve already made your decision. Thanks again for the thoughtful comment.
Jim McGuiness says
Hi, I have had year-long memberships with Guitar Tricks, Jam Play and True Fire. They have all helped in me achieve more in the last four years that in decades of just noodling around on my own. They all have flaws though as their is a lack of understanding as to what is uniquely powerful about the medium through which they work. Education of all kinds has been a “hit or miss” proposition where failure is seen as an inevitability beyond anyone’s control in a large segment. Therefore they do not pioneer any now modality which uses all aspects of the digital media realm to capture and learn from their own shortfalls. As an instructional designer myself going back to the 1980’s I have been able to ascertain that digital media networking in this the age of information can and should be rethought to offer “no-miss” modalities where all who choose to buy in get orientation to the new relationship where users understand that their honest feedback will be used to improve course-ware. Unfortunately, feedback mechanisms are treated as public comments and because of 20th Century cultural issues anyone who is critical draws nasty remarks. It seems “if you don’t have something positive to say, don’t say anything” still rules, when indeed flaws need to be treated seriously. Interfaces should be re-designed to allow students to isolate and manage everything they do not grasp when they encounter it, and communicate that privately with encouragement to the company. There is no benefit at all to having artists try to teach when professional illustrators and narrators can meet with them and produce course-ware they endorse as conveying their technique. I find that there is very little if any attention to information ergonomics as well where one should be designing to try to keep everyone from having to stop playing to use a mouse to advance music. Sound Slice is a step in the right direction but it just showed up without anyone showing how using it in full screen mode using resizing of the first line of music leads to a wider and automatic scrolling. I also could not find instructions if you can loop parts of Sound Slice. I stumbled across it after wasted time. This is the age of getting rid of waste of time and lax attitudes about failure to get the value you sign up for. I’m too old to start a business doing this. But I feel I must share this grasp as much as I can when given the chance. The services must not remain in a position where they can just do what THEY think will be effective and then get defensive when clients criticize–or they don’t even measure much less care about how many people walk away unhappy and never come back. The unique benefits of this technology are that they make for the grounds for “no-miss”–i.e. both the consumer and the company are in symbiosis, they both get better and better and everyone wins. Free lessons that make money through ads will go way as people pay the $10 YouTube no charges per month to watch videos without waiting for ads. Eventually everything will have to become affiliated if and when no-miss modalities supplant the casual and frankly disgraceful by comparison 20th Century model of glib acceptance of failure as the student’s fault.
Bobby Kittleberger says
I think I see what you’re saying, though I would probably disagree with your assertion that a lot of these companies are doing a poor job of considering user/customer feedback.
To be honest, I think I’m a little confused as to the “thesis” of your argument. It’s certainly fair to say that all these companies have flaws, but I would argue that their strong suits far outweigh any concerns you might have, especially if that’s only in relation to how they handle constructive criticism.
Am I misunderstanding you? Let me know, Jim. Thanks for the thoughtful comment.
Sharna Waller says
This is so useful and there is so much there to choose from. I would just add to the list a site which I have found really useful learning the guitar. It’s a podcast and I really like listening to it when I travel to work. They cover a lot each lesson! See https://tunein-toneup.com
Bobby Kittleberger says
Thanks, Sharna. I’ll try and check it out when I have a chance.