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You've been saying for a long time that you wanted to learn how to play the guitar. Set aside the air guitar and pick up a real one! Guitar lesson programs of all types and learning styles are available to help you achieve your string strumming goals. Do you like blues, rock, country, jazz, or classical? You'll find there are guitar lessons that will teach you how to play any musical style on the guitar.
If you've already been playing guitar for a while and need to improve your skills, there are a variety of programs to help you move to the next level. While many guitar lessons are geared toward novices, some companies offer guitar learning systems with a series of instructional levels that will help you move your musical career forward.
Sunday, October 24th
The True Fire guitar lesson system is a library of 700+ courses with over 33,000 lessons. It includes over 11,000 tabs and notations and 7,000+ jam tracks for all styles and all skill levels. You'll learn from a roster of over 140 guitar music educators who are grammy-winning, professional recording artists, music school professors, and world-class instructors.
You can craft your own study course by pulling together lessons from all over the website or app to fit your goals and interests. The interactive lesson player shows multi-view video angles, playback controls, video looping, slow motion, a tuner, a metronome, and other useful controls. You can also access text narrative, standard notation, tablature, guitar pro tab and practice rhythms.
Need private lessons? True Fire offers online private guitar lessons that are personalized, 1-on-1 instruction from over 40 professionals across 34 styles, 7 instruments, and 5 ability levels. You simply choose your instructor, choose whether to do individual or ongoing lessons, and complete your profile telling the instructor exactly what you'd like to get out of the lesson. That way he/she can tailor lessons just to your needs. Then, send a video of you playing your instrument to establish a baseline. You'll receive a lesson and feedback on your playing and learn at your own pace. Even though live lessons can be more engaging than recorded ones, the resources on True Fire far exceed those of other recorded lesson sites, so you will never lack resources to continue learning between lessons.v
You can access course content via website tabs containing whole courses, learning paths (genres), private lessons (list of instructors), and jams (In the Jam videos with featured artists, individual jam tracks, and premium jam packs).
True Fire publishes its learning software on Windows and Mac PC operating systems as well as on the Apple App Store and the Google Play store.
Course content can be purchased a la carte or via subscription via an all access pass. In general, the browsing and purchasing experience feels a little nickel-and-dime-y but the all access pass can alleviate that problem. It also helps that you're given $10 in "TrueFire Cash" to buy a lesson with. Every time you purchase something on TrueFire, you get a rebate of a certain amount of True Fire Cash that can be used for up to 25% off any course and many other items.
True Fire's strength in variety of content is also its weakness in a way. With such a dizzying array of packs, lessons, courses, and other a la carte content, it's really difficult with True Fire to know where to start if you're anything other than a beginner. While, there is a categorization of content according to skill level, even using that categorization feels overwhelming
Learning Paths are a nice way to start by following a path through very basic concepts and techniques all the way up to more advanced abilities and skills.
Tracking progress is done via a dropdown under a course video and you can mark your favorite videos to come back to later or add them to a playlist. Another really neat feature is the SoundSlice technology which displays the music notation below the video in the exact moment as its notes are being played in the video above. That makes it super easy to follow along in the lesson with the music. And it's easy to select a section of a video via a waveform display to loop it so you can go over a chord, section, or concept multiple times.
Overall, with True Fire there are so many videos, varieties and fantastic instructors, plus a ton of really great learning features. And, it's all online rather than just on DVD. The site appears to be frequently updated and it has downloadable learning software to put on your Windows or Mac PC, or your iOS or Android device and go mobile. We give True Fire our highest rating.
Guitar Tricks is a guitar lesson website that puts the learner first and creates an experience that is less intimidating than meeting with a live instructor who may not understand or care about your learning style. It helps take the anxiety out of guitar lessons with a variety of friendly instructors and bite-sized tutorials.
Once you log in as a member, the Guitar Tricks home page directs you to beginner or experienced lessons or takes you to areas of the site where you can learn to play full songs or different styles of guitar. It also displays a list of the newest tutorials.
The beginner and experienced lesson links each show you a graphic charting out where you'll begin and what comes next in terms of fundamentals, levels, and genres of guitar music. They also provide access to various styles, techniques, artist studies, practice drills, chords and scales, and gear and tone tutorials.
The Learn to Play Songs area is a large library of multiple genres of familiar music sortable by popularity, title, difficulty, artist, style, newest, and instructor. The Learn Styles of Guitar area is similar but only with buttons representing each genre.
The top menu focuses on the key areas of learning: Lessons, Songs, Channel, and Forum. The Account button takes you to your profile and billing information page.
Besides the top menu, the side menu begins with a convenient Home button followed by a Getting Started button that leads to a video and a detailed explanatory overview of all the learning options available on the site. Next is the Instructors button with names, photos, favorite genres, and a "Learn More" link for each instructor.
The Progress sidebar button displays the Progress Center screen where you can see your last watched lesson, core learning system progress, song progress, lesson progress, favorites, and history. The Toolbox button shows a grid of resources like the scale finder tool, the jam station, a metronome, a chord finder tool, reference tuner, fretboard trainer, chord charts, tab guide and glossary. Finally, the News button leads to a blog page with categories such as announcements, bands, gear, how-tos, music theory, and quizzes.
Pricing is not revealed until you sign up for the free account and choose to begin the payment process. But there is a 60-day money-back guarantee in case you want to try the full access pass to see if GuitarTricks will work for you. You can pay $19.95 billed monthly or opt to pay $179 billed annually. Free gifts worth $200 with annual billing include rock backing tracks, chord theory magic audio course, song builder's toolbox audio course, and blues backing tracks.
Guitar Tricks has a big bag of tricks! There is a lot for students to take advantage of with their system. They could be more up-front with the pricing, but at least there's a generous 60-day money-back guarantee if it doesn't work out. The price (and free gifts) is also reasonable whether paying monthly or annually.
JamPlay offers guitar lessons via HD video to beginner through experienced players, focusing on blues, rock, country, metal, and a variety of skills and songs. You can take up to 25 Master Classes with 504 lessons or 44 Live Courses with 699 lessons. In all, with a JamPlay membership, you'll get over 400 courses with over 5,500 lessons via 80 different instructors.
JamPlay's Community feature hooks you up with thousands of other players of all different levels who can help you with moral support, questions, or ideas for learning. The live chat runs 24/7 and lets you connect in real time with members and JamPlay teachers.
The Chord Library allows you to make custom chord sheets, so you can work on just the ones you struggle with in your practice routine. Also, there are over 950,000 chord voicings in 30 different tunings that you can sort in a variety of different ways. Chords are depicted as charts, tablatures, and photographs of fingers holding down strings over frets.
JamPlay has gone to a lot of effort to create a comprehensive scale library. It diagrams on the fretboard where to play the notes of each scale and how they apply to theory, solos, and other aspects of playing the guitar. There is a large selection of demonstration and improvisation videos for each of the scale patterns in the library as well as an interactive tool for customizing the scale diagrams.
JamPlay's JamTracks section lets you access a library of professionally recorded jam tracks to play along with in genres ranging from Rock to Funk to Ambient.
If games are a way for you to more easily learn how to do anything, then JamPlay's membership includes a Games section. The games help you with fretboard memorization, notation quizzes, note identification, and pitch recognition.
Some learners want to skip right to learning how to play "sweet licks" on their guitars. The JamPlay Lick & Riff library gives you tons of ideas on how to play both popular and original sequences in a variety of genres and styles.
Custom progress reports let you monitor your progress for every lesson. If you only understand part of the lesson, you can mark the percentage you understand and come back to it later. Progressive bookmarking allows you to mark a spot in a lesson so that you can come back to it later and re-learn or practice it again. Note saving is for people who want to make a note of a technique or to-do within a lesson. Notes are stored in a database for future reference. Live structured guitar lessons via 1080p video feed let you interact with an instructor. Daily JamChat live Q&A sessions over 8 hour stretches each day also include regular open mic nights to jam with others or webcam-to-webcam.
JamPlay's pricing is not immediately apparent or easy to find. It was buried in the 2nd column of the FAQ page. They have a money-back guarantee of 30 days for a full refund. But the refund request must be made in the first 7 days of membership. On the Enroll page, the money-back guarantee and privacy pages along with several other informational links in the site footer lead to "404 not found" errors and nothing else on that page is linked that ought to be clickable to get to more information.
JamPlay has a lot of neat features that can help people of all learning styles get something out of their program. We especially liked the chord and scales library and tools, plus the games for making lessons more fun. It would be better, though, if the pricing were a bit more up-front and the 30-day guarantee wasn't restricted to being requested within the first 7 days.
Gibson Guitars, a leader in fretted instruments, has partnered with Legacy Learning Systems and instructor and professional musician Steve Krenz to produce a guitar lesson DVD series called "Learn and Master Guitar". The system uses four modes of learning: reading, listening, watching, and doing.
The easy-to-use program of self-directed study progresses from beginner through advanced lessons on 20 DVDs of instruction, 5 "jam along" CDs, a 100+ page workbook, and an online community of learners and instructors.
The Telly Awards-winning DVDs contain over 40 hours of lessons in HD video format with clear, well-demonstrated techniques and practice drills.
The topics that Learn and Master Guitar covers start with the basics and move through advanced techniques. Starting with the Foundational Techniques lesson, which teaches how to hold the guitar and picking and strumming, you'll move on to the Basic Chords lesson followed by the Advanced Chords lesson which teaches barre chords, two chords, major 7th and minor 11th chords and so on.
The lessons on Advanced Electric Guitar Techniques teach Hammer-Ons and Pull-Offs, Advanced Bends, and the Eddie Van Halen Technique. Then it's on to the Mastering the Entire Guitar lessons in which you'll learn more about how to fully use the whole fretboard, reading music and tablature, ear training, alternate chords and chord creation, and many other topics.
The Play-Along CDs, of which there are 5 total, provide tracks you can jam with as if you were in an actual band. The tracks are recordings of actual professionals playing real guitars and are not MIDI or computer-generated tracks. You'll feel like you are in a real studio. You can even control the volume of the recorded guitar part by adjusting the balance controls on your own playback device.
A lesson book comes with the DVDs in case you want to practice without the DVDs and CDs.
An online community of over 15,000 users is available for student support. The video instructor, Steve Krenz, logs on regularly to field questions and give answers. If at any time in the first 60 days of using the DVD series you decide that it isn't working for you, you can get a full refund.
Learn and Master Guitar's use of DVDs in place of online learning is due to its claims that this method of instruction is superior to "thirty-minute videos" found online. They also claim that software-based instruction chains you to your computer in a way that detracts from learning well. This may be true in some cases, but it ignores the new reality that not all online lessons are so limited. People who are mobile learners may not want to lug 25 DVDs with them wherever they happen to want to use the lesson materials.
If you want a guitar learning system that is composed primarily of DVD and CD media, then Learn and Master Guitar is a good option. But if you want to use the more sophisticated and interactive learning and feedback modes provided by software-based solutions, look to other programs.
Elmore Music's website has three main areas to appeal to guitar learners. The videos section contains 15 free individual videos on topics ranging from effective practice, picking, chord mastery, strumming, percussive guitar, and scales. The videos are each of relatively short lengths, at between 1 and 5 minutes each, as compared to the more comprehensive paid tutorial videos Elmore offers.
Elmore Music has a downloads section of the website that offers a single report about 50 ways to improve playing. The page description doesn't offer much more detail than that unless you provide your name and email address to instantly download the whole report.
The main product of the website is its programs section where Elmore offers over 20 full-length lesson topic areas delivered as 20 or more videos per topic online and/or as a hard copy.
The topics range from Beginner to Classical, Lead, Rock, and "2.0" versions of the same. Each topic set is individually priced and comes with a membership to the Ultimate Guitarist Members Center where you can post questions and get tutoring. You also get the latest copy of the digital magazine "Fret Talk" that contains text, images, and video that plays right in the digital magazine.
If you purchase a program individually, the program videos can be accessed online only for $39.95 or you can get an instant download plus hard copy for $49.95.
Elmore Music also offers an "All Access Pass" product to purchase all of their programs. There is a 7-day free trial for the all-access pass and then you pay $12.95/month or $97/year to get access to everything from that point forward.
You can cancel at any time for any reason. And there's a 60-day money-back guarantee.
We found the website a pretty confusing in terms of getting all the detail we needed to decide whether to make a purchase. From the looks of the free videos, the tutorial style and teaching strategy is comparable to other online guitar tutorial websites. But, it notably lacks the sophisticated software-based next-generation learning tools that higher-rated systems have.
The Jamorama guitar learning courses are delivered via a single, easy-to-use online user interface via your computer. It is a social network of guitar students that relies on community to help students learn from each other as they take the courses.
On the Jamorama website, you participate in activities such as watching video lessons, collaboration, gamified profile achievement badges, discussion forums, activity posts, and messaging with other students.
Jamorama tracks your progress through each of the lessons in each of the courses. Each course begins with an introduction video and then progressively adds more information, technique, and practice scenarios the deeper you go into the lessons.
Lessons are divided up into weekly groups of between 2 and 10 or more topics per week and consist of videos and exercise PDF files you can download and print. You can begin with the free basic access plan to get your feet wet and see if the system will work for your learning style and time that you can devote to lessons. If you find that the community-based learning method is a good one for you, then you can upgrade to the $99.95 one-time paid membership which unlocks all the Stage 2 lessons and beyond, plus pro features for when you get to that level of ability. If you're not fully satisfied with your purchase, Jamorama allows 120 days for a full refund.
A separate set of song lessons walk you through how to play popular and familiar songs. For example, songs like Fields of Gold by Sting, Don't Dream It's Over by Crowded House or I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For by U2. A blog section on the website has articles on various guitar techniques, artists, courses, gear, lessons, and news. And a forums area is available where students can discuss their progress in the courses. Unfortunately, it looks like the blog has not been updated for about two years and the last forum post is nine months old as of this review.
Jamorama seems like a solid approach to today's trend toward online learning courses. However, the lack of new blog posts over the past two years and the lack of new forum posts over the last nine months gives pause. If that part of the site has been neglected for so long, what if there are other parts that need updates but are no longer maintained? And is the community strong and diverse enough to help newer learners just joining the platform?
With Artist Works, you can choose from multiple instruments (not just guitar) and then select a teacher to learn from according to the style or genre he or she offers. The price will mostly remain the same, but we did find one exception in pricing plan structure and cost for one guitar teacher.
Once you sign up for a plan 3-month, 6 month, or 12-month plan, you can begin your lessons. You can schedule your learning any way you like. The way lessons work is that you follow a tutorial, record a video of your learning and practicing process, and upload it to the Artist Works website. Your instructor then views your video and responds with feedback, tips, and additional practice or techniques to try.
Guitar teachers include award-winning professional artists who are proficient in rock, blues, country, jazz, dobro & lapsteel, bluegrass, and classical across instrument types such as electric, jazz, acoustic, blues, classical, country, and rock guitars.
Each plan's premium features include hundreds of lessons, a video exchange archive, video submissions to the teacher (5, 12, or unlimited), a music theory workshop, the AW Live monthly broadcast, and VIP bonus content.
Artist Works guarantees that the platform is the most effective and instructive way to improve your skills online. However, Artist Works provides no refunds, credits, prorated reimbursements, or refund via chargeback disputes whatsoever. Membership can be renewed automatically and so if you're unhappy with the lessons, you must cancel your subscription before it renews at the end of the current billing period.
Compared to other online guitar lesson systems, Artist Works feels limited in number of guitar instructors (only 10 at this writing) and disconnected in its approach of recording and uploading a video for asynchronous instruction. For some people this may be the focus and feel that they want, but for those used to a more direct interaction with a tutor or teacher, the record-and-upload feature may be too limiting.
Also, given that lesson sites and learning styles vary so widely, it is really a concern for a lot of students that the money they invest in starting a program be refundable if things don't work out. Based on this critical factor alone, and the fact that Artist Works offers no refunds or money-back guarantees, we are recommending that you look elsewhere for a guitar lesson system.
No matter the skill level, pay attention to the type of instruction given by each program. For example, some guitar lessons have a plethora of guitar training materials including DVDs, online tutorials, books, charts, and so on.
If you find that certain guitar lessons are limited to one type of instruction, it may not be aligned with your personal learning style. Therefore, look for a guitar lesson program with instructional methods that work well with your particular learning needs and skill set.
For example, a program that relies solely on CDs, DVDs, and books can be a good method of learning, but it is inherently limited by the fact that if updates are needed, an entirely new reprint and redistribution of media is necessary. Alternatively, if a program has online components, the updates can occur more immediately, frequently, and without additional replacement cost to the consumer. Additionally, online or software-based programs can offer more value with unique interfaces that can connect directly to electronic instruments and provide next-generation learning experiences that DVDs and books cannot.
When looking for guitar lessons, there are certain factors you need to consider. Some of these include:
TopConsumerReviews.com has reviewed and ranked the best Guitar Lessons available today. We hope these reviews help you find the right guitar lessons to fit your needs right away!
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