Hi everyone. As most of you know, my name is Shaun. Normally, I talk about fixing and building guitars, but let’s talk about the real reason why we build them. I've been playing guitar since I was 13 years old. I've played just about every style. From being in heavy metal Metallica cover bands to playing solo fingerstyle (Tommy Emmanuel and Andy Mckee kind of stuff), I know a ton about the instrument.
One thing that I would recommend for you and every beginner to intermediate guitarist is to take lessons. Playing guitar is not only about learning cool songs, it’s about training style and how to develop your own tone. You do this when you learn guitar.
It’s important when you are first starting out to get structured lessons. There are LOTS of free online guitar lessons, but most of them aren’t very helpful and none of them will teach you how to incrementally improve. That is why a well thought out lesson system will help you improve faster and more consistently.
These two places have the best online guitar training available today. Their lessons are:
I learned this from the beginning. When I first picked up the instrument, I thought I didn’t need lessons or training. I fumbled around on the internet looking for online guitar tabs, training videos, and learning songs by ear. It wasn’t until I started taking lessons at local music stores and guitar lessons online that my skills really improved.
I wish I had done that sooner. The $19 it costs to join one of these professional online guitar lessons sites is EXTREMELY worth it. I saw a huge improvement when I joined. It’s so important to have a great experienced player train you how to practice and play. You will see such better and faster results.
The main two places online that I’ve used to master the guitar (ha ha I say that jokingly) are Guitar Tricks and Jamplay. There are many other guitar lessons online, but these are the two that are the most consistent and comprehensive. Although they aren't free forever, they are free to join. This way you can try them out and see if you like them. They've helped me learn much faster than I would have on my own. Here's a short review of each.
1. Guitar Tricks - Read my full Review
2. Jamplay - Read my full Review
I've used and looked at a ton of different lesson websites and I think Guitar Tricks is by far the best especially for beginners. Their comprehensive course includes:
Over 8,000 super easy-to-follow videos
Over 500 REAL songs from bands like Jimi Hendrix and The Beatles
Not to mention their interface is awesome to use!
Their system just plain works
My playing improved drastically after a few short weeks of using this site. You should definitely check it out.
Probably the biggest advantage to Guitar Tricks is it's TOTALLY FREE to start. Yup, that's right. You can start it for free. Plus, even if you use it for the first month or two and don't think it's worth the money, you can get a full refund within 60 days. There is literally no risk in checking this one out. How can you go wrong?
You can also check out my full Guitar Tricks Lesson review here.
Ok. So I ranked Jam Play number two. Don't get me wrong. This site has awesome training and will really help your playing. Their system is pretty unique in that they have guitar coaches or instructors that you can use similar to taking real guitar lessons in person at a music store. Here's what's included:
Over 4,000 videos in HD
Over 50 professional instructors to learn from
Unlimited access as much as you want to learn!
Live instructors online everyday
I think the live online instructors forum lessons are really cool. They make you feel like you are in a real lesson rather than just watching a video. They have great step-by-step instructions for every type of playing style out there from shredding metal guitars to country, blues, jazz, and folk. You name it. They have instructors who specialize in that style.
The only drawback to JamPlay is the price. It's a little more expensive than GuitarTricks, but they still offer a 100% money-back guarantee. Try it and if you don't like it, you can get your money back instantly. How sweet is that? They've been offering this guarantee for years and say that not even half of one percent of customers ask for a refund. That's how much you are going to like it. Go check it out for yourself.
Use coupon code 1BA1E2 to save 25% off first your first month!
You can also check out my full JamPlay Lesson review here.
Computer based teaching has been around since computers were invented. Even before that video based training was around. Thus, the age-old debate of whether real-life live teaching is better than virtual teaching has been going on for decades. There are obviously pros and cons to both types of learning, but in today’s modern world of virtual lessons and online courses web-based teaching is pulling ahead at least for many topics.
Music is one of those topics. Virtual teaching has come so far from its early days that video lessons are actually more helpful and informative than real-life lessons. Here’s what I’m talking about.
One of the main reasons why music courses and guitar lessons online are so effective is because you can pause, rewind, and repeat. Unlike in an in person lesson, virtual training lets you pause what the instructor is saying to give you time to process it and figure it out. Then you can hit play and jump back into the lesson. I know teachers can stop in real life and show you more details about the technique, but that takes time away from the lesson. If you have to stop for 10-15 minutes and focus on a fingering pattern, half of your lesson is gone and you didn’t really learn anything new.
Internet based training lets you watch the same instruction over and over again until you figure out the fingering patterns without cutting the rest of the lesson short. Not to mention, you can also pause and stop any video during the teaching and come back to it a later time. This means you don’t have to block out an hour or two at a time. You can sit down for 15 minutes or 30 minutes at time and learn something new.
Although there are plenty of great musicians teaching at local music stores (I know, I was one of them), most of these instructors don’t have a wide knowledge of different genres. For example, your local guitar shop teacher will probably only be able to teach you one or two genres of playing like rock and blues. But do these people know country, metal, reggae, soul, fingerstyle, classical, and everything else?
Okay, that was kind of a loaded question, but you get the point. Going to a local music store limits the type of music and playing styles that you can learn. You are pretty much just left up to whoever they have working there at the time. You don’t have to problem with web-based training. There are limitless videos on every single genre and playing style you can think of. Not to mention, you can work on different playing styles at the same time. For instance, you can work through a country playing module on Monday and Wednesday and work through a classical series on Tuesday and Thursday. There are just so many more options than traditional lessons.
One of the biggest reasons why beginners end up quitting guitar is because they feel like they aren’t getting anywhere. I know what I’m talking about. It’s hard to stay motivated to learn an instrument when you are have to practice Mary had a little lamb everyday. You need something cool that you can relate to.
The only thing that helped me through the pain of learning my first chords was working on Metallica riffs, Zepplin tunes, and Hendrix solos. Without that music there to motivate me, I might have quit too. All of the major online guitar instruction sites show you how to play tons of your favorite songs, so you can learn anything you want to. I’m sure they have Mary had a little lamb too if that’s what you want. : )
There are so many benefits to online education. It’s kind of crazy that it’s taken this long to catch on and become a staple in everyone’s life. I’m not sure I could live without my online courses now. I’m a member of a ton of different places (not all guitar related) and I love learning new things and getting better at guitar. Here are a few of the top reasons why I like internet courses so much.
Learning music online is so much more affordable than learning guitar at a local music shop. Depending on what part of the country you are from, you could be paying $25-$50 per half hour lesson each week at a local music store. That’s a ton of money—anywhere from $100 to $200 a month to learn how to play guitar.
Now think about guitar lessons online. You could have an unlimited number of hours of videos and instruction for only $19 a month. It’s really a no brainer as far as I’m concerned.
Let’s face it. We all have busy schedules and all have lives to attend to. It’s hard enough just finding the time to site down and practice let along actually book a lesson, drive to the store, wait in line, and drive back home. If your experience is anything like mine, your commute to and from the local guitar shop will actually be longer than the training itself. It’s just a huge waste of time.
With online guitar lessons, you can easily log into your account whenever you have a few minutes and sit down to learn something new. No booking appointments. No driving to crowded stores. No teachers canceling on you. It’s way more convenient.
Although many local musicians are good and have some experience and education, they typically are industry known experts. The teachers in these guitar membership sites are professionals who have successful careers in the music industry. Some are studio musicians and recording artists while others are touring musicians. They are in bands like Guns ‘n Roses, Billy Idol, Animals as Leaders, Steve Vai, Megadeth, and Korn.
I’m not sure about you, but I’d like to learn popular songs from the people who actually wrote them. Not only do you get great training, but it keeps you motivated. Learning from Tosin Abasi himself was really motivating to me.
If you are like most people, going into a guitar shop and sitting down with a teacher is kind of scary, especially if you are completely new to guitar. Learning guitar doesn’t have to be scary though. These online videos start at the very beginning and show you step-by-step how to improve and what to focus on.
There’s no expectations or mean teachers. You can take your time to learn the basics before moving on, or you can go crazy and plow through new instruction everyday.
I know I mentioned this before, but it’s worth talking about again. Going to the local music store or hiring a private instruction is crazy expensive. Why would you want to spend all that money if you’re a beginner and don’t even know if you want to continue learning.
Be smart and try a free trial in one of these online guitar membership sites. You can see what learning guitar is like and not spend any money. After the first month it’s way more affordable than traditional teaching.
Unlike learning from a teacher who has a set lesson program, learning guitar online let’s you learn anything you want. There are lesson programs you can follow, but there are no rules. You can start learning any style or any song anytime you want to. You aren’t tied to a teacher’s lesson plan that can’t be changed.
I realize this might sound like too much freedom for some people. Sometimes you need a little bit of structure in order to learn efficiently. I hear you on that one and I agree. That’s why each website has a beginner’s section where they walk you through all of the basics in their own plan. It’s there for you if you want it, but you don’t have to stick to it. You can learn anything you want day or night.
Don’t believe that online guitar programs are the way to go? There are tons of guitar masters who have not only endorsed internet based courses, they’ve written some themselves. Some of the best guitarists in the world are preaching that virtual training is the easiest and fastest way to learn how to play guitar. Here’s just a few examples.
Joe Satriani is one of best rock guitarists of all time. He pioneered the instrumental rock guitar concept with his Surfing with the Alien album. He also created the G3 guitar tour that features the best guitar virtuosos each year. Joe values music education, especially virtual education. He actually taught Steve Vai how to play guitar believe it or not. Joe has created and endorsed countless guitar education courses like the one above.
Steve Vai is commonly recognized as one of the best electric guitarists in the world. Before starting his solely career, he played with bands like Frank Zappa and David Lee Roth. You might not be familiar with Steve himself, but you’ve probably seen his guitar at a Guitar Center near you. It’s the one with the handle in the body. It’s awesome; I have one. : )
Steve was a huge inspiration to me when I first started playing guitar and loved reading his tips and transcriptions in the Guitar World magazines. Above is the video of the world’s largest online guitar lesson that Steve partnered with Berkley College of Music to create.
Everyone knows Eddie Van Halen’s name and most of his music. He practically invented the two handed tapping technique in his Eruption solo. Yup, you know what I’m talking about. Obviously, Van Halen was incredibly successful and sold millions of albums. Like the other rock guitars I’ve mentioned, Eddie believes in online education. Here’s a video Eddie did with the Smithsonian Institute to teach people some of his virtuosos tips.
Yngwie Malmsteen is the king of shred and fast guitar playing. He came over from Sweden and lit the metal guitar scene on fire with his debut album. Ever since then he’s been recognized as one of the best guitarists in his style of playing. He’s also been a true pioneer in the video lesson industry. He was making instructional courses way back in the 1990s. He believes in the system. Here’s one of his courses.
Andy Mckee is one of the most popular acoustic guitarists in the world. With his percussive style and two hand tapping approach, he catapulted to fame with his hugely successful Youtube channel. He was originally a guitar teacher in Topeka, Kansas and now he does guitar clinics all over the world as well as online guitar lessons for people over the internet. How cool is that? Andy is still one of my guitar idols. It’s so cool that I can learn directly from him.
Check out either one of the courses below and get playing today. Learning guitar is one of the most fulfilling things I’ve ever done. It’s a way to be creative, connect with other people, and just have fun. I wouldn’t give it up for anything. Trust me. You will have just as much fun. Get started with one of the free trials below.