Best Online Guitar Lessons for Acoustic 2019

Whether you are new to the guitar or an experience student, online guitar lessons are becoming the most popular way to learn to play. That’s good news. The challenge for new students is choosing the right course to take because there are so many available. The first thing to do is gather information about the programs that are out there. What are their basic features and formats, pros and cons, and overall quality? The following section offers a concise view of the top seven online guitar courses, with the top recommendation listed first.

Reviews and Recommendations

[Note: Each review lists the name, site address, features, format, pros, cons and “verdict” for courses we recommend, beginning with our top-ranked online course, and moving down from there].

Name of program:
Jamplay
Website address:
https://www.jamplay.com/
Features:
Jamplay boasts a massive community of learners, skilled instructors and live lessons for raw beginners all the way up to advanced students. There are live question-and-answer sessions, a huge archive of lessons so you don’t have to worry about missing anything (ever), open-mic sessions so you can check out what others are doing or take part yourself, a super easy-to-use dashboard, games, a free trial, and much more. The site is always looking for ways to improve and update its features based on user suggestions, and more than 400 classes to choose from in the recorded course library.
Format:
Jamplay offers super-simple navigation with clearly marked subject tabs and user-friendly format overall. Beginners are walked through the lesson setup and are put at ease with friendly, knowledgeable teachers and HD video on every lesson. Lessons are broken up by “phases” depending on your skill level, so it’s easy to jump in to Jamplay’s world and start learning from the get-go.
Pros:
The best, biggest, and most popular guitar-learning platform. Low monthly cost of $20 for pay-by-the-month students, but $160 for a whole year, which is a significant discount. Great instructors and a virtually endless number of activities and lessons for new students and advanced ones to keep things interesting.
Cons:
Not many cons. The free trial is a bit shorter than others and you’ll have to pay an additional fee if you want to download some of the lessons for offline use (but note that all lessons can be accessed online at any time for members).
Verdict:
Jamplay gets our recommendation as the top online guitar course for its sheer versatility, professionalism, and wide range of offerings. New, intermediate, and advanced students can find competent teachers and as many HD video lessons as they can handle. The company’s willingness to always upgrade and improve the site is admirable, and has propelled them from an “okay” website for online guitar lessons to the top dog in a competitive niche.

Name of program:
Guitar Tricks
Website address:
https://www.guitartricks.com/
Features:
With reasonable pricing ($20 per month or $180 per year), lots of teachers, a full two-week free trial, and a step-by-step course specially designed for beginners, Guitar Tricks lives up to its reputation as one of the oldest (in business since 1998) of the major sites for online guitar lessons.
Format:
Easy-to-follow navigation panel that literally walks you into and out of courses, which are in HD video for ease of leaning. Originally set up for beginners, Guitar Tricks has branched out into teaching intermediate and advanced students, and has done so in a slow and careful way. Students never have to guess where to click next, which makes it easy to focus on just learning how to play the guitar.
Pros:
Students can choose from more than 10,000 lessons and 40 teachers and have access to several different subscription plans, individual lessons, and paced leaning for beginners. There are hundreds of tracks designed specifically for play-along learning too.
Cons:
Guitar Tricks doesn’t have the gigantic song library that most of the other top sites offer, but that’s a small “con” considering all the great stuff the program has.
Verdict:
Guitar Tricks has something for everyone, and is a close second in the rankings for websites that offer online guitar lessons. The main quality of the top sites is their ability to combine HD video, masterful instruction, and seamless site navigation. Guitar Tricks checks all the boxes and has earned its spot as the number-two online guitar instruction site.

Name of program:
Jamorama
Website address:
jamorama.com
Features:
Jamorama is geared mostly for beginners but they do offer lessons for more seasoned students. Like most of the top programs, Jamorama boasts simple navigation and quality video lessons, with solid teaching tools for beginners.
Format:
It’s sort of a bare-bones approach, which can be a relief for new learners who just want to focus on playing and acquiring basic skills. There’s a wonderful library with hundreds of PDF’s, video lessons, and more extensive explanations in eBooks.
Pros:
The site offers very affordable plans, has one of the best blogs among the top online programs, includes games and lots of fun learning features, and makes a solid effort at incorporating social interaction within the website. The lifetime plan costs just $99, making it a great value for what you get.
Cons:
There are fewer lessons here than in most programs, and they don’t really offer a free-trial, so to speak. Instead, there’s “free access to basic features.”
Verdict:
Jamorama is a decent choice for beginners who want to save a few dollars and learn the basics.

Name of program:
Truefire
Website address:
https://truefire.com/online-guitar-lessons/
Features:
Great lesson progression, HD video and excellent teachers. An incredible catalog/library of courses.
Format:
The learning system is logical and user-friendly, with simple navigation and more than 25,000 lessons to choose from.
Pros:
Gigantic catalog of lessons, decent pricing at $20 per month, $200 per year, or $1,000 for life. Great teachers and high-quality courses.
Cons:
Maybe not the best site for beginners because it feels geared for more experienced musicians.
Verdict:
A good program with fair pricing but not a top-two pick because it lacks the extensive support for beginners that other sites offer.

Name of program:
Artist Works
Website address:
https://artistworks.com/
Features:
The menu at Artist Works is not as extensive as other top sites, plus the payment plans are priced above most others. Given those drawbacks, the site does include some great HD lessons and lets students record themselves and get teacher critique.
Format:
It’s a simple format with songs, lessons, and interactive features easy to access. The overall feel of Artist Works seems more geared for non-beginners but they have started adding new features for that section of learners.
Pros:
Great interactive lesson format, with skilled teachers.
Cons:
The priciest of the top programs with only a comparable number of lessons and instructors.
Verdict:
The site is best for intermediate and advanced learners who know exactly what they want and are willing to spend more for it.

Name of program:
Justin Guitar
Website address:
https://www.justinguitar.com/
Features:
Easy navigation and simple set-up for learning. The big selling point of Justin Guitar is that it’s totally free, so they get lots of traffic from those wanting to taste what online learning is like.
Format:
The site is set up like most of the other tip programs but there is much less content. If you are new to guitar, this is a wonderful place to begin. There are video lessons galore, and hundreds of style tips so you can get your feet wet with online learning.
Pros:
It’s free, and a good way to test the waters of online guitar instruction.
Cons:
It’s free, so you won’t get the gigantic libraries and hundreds of teachers to choose from that the other big sites offer.
Verdict:
Justin Guitar is a worthy site for new learners, but after the early stages, you’ll probably want to graduate to one of the pay sites.

Name of program:
Rocksmith
Website address:
https://rocksmith.ubisoft.com/rocksmith/en-us/home/
Features:
Rocksmith uses gaming to teach basic guitar skills, and offers mini-units and tutorials for raw beginners who want to have fun while learning.
Format:
While the early version of Rocksmith was focused more on the game aspect, it has grown into a full-fledged teaching tool but is not a “traditional” course program like the other top lesson sites.
Pros:
The tutorials are logically arranged for rank beginners and there is a fun level here that many programs lack.
Cons:
There are many better, cheaper, and easier ways to learn basic guitar. Rocksmith is geared for those learner who want a heavy dose of gameplay as part of their learning experience.
Verdict:
The program is not for everyone but is a decent way for some to learn basic guitar skills.

Online Guitar Lesson Selection Tips

When choosing an online guitar lesson program, keep the following facts in mind:

1. Know your personal goals: If you’re just looking for a very basic introductory lesson, then you might not need a program that is known for taking students from “beginner” to “advanced.” But if you aim to achieve proficiency in playing the guitar, spend more time choosing a program because you will be putting in a lot of hours interacting with the online instructor.

2. Assess your time and monetary budget: If you are short of time, maybe working two jobs and juggling college classes in between, then it’s probably best not to choose an extensive online teaching program. Wait until you have more time. For now, if you’re short on time or funds, consider a course that’s more geared to introductory-level instruction.

3. Choose a course based on valid reviews and student feedback: There are hundreds of online guitar lessons out there and they are *not* of equal quality. Do research on the top-ranked programs and select one based on your needs, goals, budget, and available time. If you have questions about a program, feel free to call or email the contact person listed on the website.

4. Consider programs that allow for easy contact with instructors and site administrators. This can be vitally important for beginners. You will help yourself by using a teaching program that lets students interact easily when they reach a sticking point in learning or have technical questions about the site (how to adjust sound quality, video clarity, and related subjects).

5. Check out the experience of the instructors: Do they usually teach advanced students? How long have they been instructing? Do their sample lessons convey a sense of clarity? Is this their first foray into online teaching or have they been doing it for many years?

6. Finally, look for programs that are transparent about costs: Are all levels of coursework clearly listed on their pricing page? Are there introductory lessons for first-time students that cost less than a full-blown program? Do they allow for monthly or weekly payments, or charge the entire program fee in a single, up-front payment? Are there discounts for students who sign up for a series of classes?

The more “homework” you do before choosing an online course, the better off you’ll be in the long-run. So be sure to spend a few hours checking out the details of the online programs that interest you before making a commitment.

Learning Guitar Online vs Hiring a Local Tutor

Millions of guitar students take advantage of the convenience of learning online, while other seem to prefer using a private, local teacher. Whichever way appeals to you initially, it helps to understand the basic pros and cons of each method. That way, you’ll have a more accurate feel for the method that suits your skills and personal preferences best. Here’s a quick breakdown on the advantages and disadvantages of the two approaches:

Learning Online

Pros: Learning guitar online is much less expensive than hiring a live tutor, in most every case. You don’t have to waste time driving to and from classes, don’t have to wait to practice what you’ve learned (as soon as the online lesson is over, you can begin practicing), can schedule a lesson at virtually any time of the day or night, can choose from literally hundreds of instructors/courses, and, finally, will have the chance for more direct interaction with your online teacher than you would with a live tutor.

Cons: There are a few disadvantages to online instruction for guitar students: You will need to make sure you have a reliable Internet connection for online classes, will have to take time to minimize distractions like phones and background noises, will have to optimize your computer to obtain the best sound quality, and will not be able to have an instructor by your side to help with finger, arm, elbow and wrist positioning.

Hiring a Tutor

Pros: Live teaching, which was the only choice for students before the computer era, can be one of the best ways to learn guitar (or any musical instrument, for that matter). The key advantages are: physical-touch capability, no reliance on Internet connections or speed, perfect sound quality, and a lack of distractions one might face with an at-home environment. Tutors can physically adjust the wrists, fingers, arms and elbows of students when teaching live. And in live classes, you’ll never have to worry about an Internet connection conking out. There’s also the issue of sound quality, which is ideal in a live lesson but can be less than perfect with online courses. Finally, you’ll never have to worry about a barking dog or someone knocking at the front door during a tutoring session in a classroom.

Cons: The disadvantages of live instruction typically include factors like cost, travel, scheduling, limited choices, and lack of extended interaction. Prices for private or even live group lessons are almost always significantly higher than online course fees. Also, you’ll need to travel to and from the live lessons, deal with scheduling conflicts, and will be restricted to the teachers available in your geographic area. Students in live classes also face the challenge of having much less time to interact with their instructors, compared with online programs.

Final Thoughts

For beginners and even most intermediate and advanced students, online guitar lessons are becoming the norm. Yes, it’s nice to have a live lesson from a tutor once in a while, or perhaps at very advanced levels, but online guitar classes are usually ideal for those who want to explore their artistic capabilities with this ancient, unique musical instrument.