The best online guitar courses to get you started on your musical journey
So, you want to learn to play the guitar. Whether it's part of your 2022 New Year's resolutions or just a spur-of-the-moment decision to take up a new hobby, we're really happy you're making this choice for yourself. But, have you figured out how you're going to learn?
If you're anything like us, you'll be avoiding in-person guitar lessons. It's still pretty iffy for most of us when it comes to meeting face-to-face, and in-person lessons are already more stressful as it is. They take up a lot of time, and don't usually come with a flexible schedule. Can't make your Wednesday night lesson because you caught a stomach bug? Too bad, you're still paying for it.
Thankfully, you can avoid all of these problems by opting to do your learning online. It's true, you can learn pretty much anything online these days — cooking, woodworking, knitting, starting a business, and yes, playing guitar. Welcome to the future, baby. No human interaction needed here.
But, as you could have probably guessed by now, these online guitar classes take place on the internet. That means you're going to have options. Enough options that you'll probably look up one list and immediately close the tab out of overstimulation. That's where we come in.
We spent a lot of time researching the best online guitar courses and services so that you could narrow down your final choice, and we think we've found the best ones for your consideration.
Here are some of the things we looked out for when parsing the abundance of choices:
Everyone is busy in one way or another. Most of us barely have the time to pursue a passion in the first place. But, it's important that we at least try to fit something we love into our daily lives. That's self-care right there. You know the saying: All work and no play really sucks. (That's it, right?)
So, assuming that passion is learning the guitar, you'll have to map out the kind of time commitment you can (and want to) agree to. This means you'll want to take a look at each course's lesson plan and structure. Is it intuitive? Well-balanced? Messy? Stressful? Make sure it's something you can see yourself handling for the foreseeable future — the more simple it is to use the course, the less time you'll waste. Taking that into account with your personal schedule, you should be able to figure out if it'll fit into whatever you currently have going on.
You'll also want to know what kind of financial commitment you're getting yourself into. Does the course or service have a limited free trial, or do you have to sign on the dotted line immediately? If there's no trial, is there a money-back guarantee? Wasting time is bad enough, but wasting time and money is worse.
Consider your instructors
Just because your course is online doesn't mean you're not going to have an actual teacher. In fact, all the best online courses have experienced, real-life instructors that will be teaching you through comprehensive video lessons.
Although you can probably assume that most big-name guitar courses will be taught by professionals, it's never a bad idea to look into their backgrounds to see if they mesh with your goals (sometimes, the course websites will make all of this information readily available). Some programs even offer celebrity guests, which is a fun bonus.
What you'll mostly want to look for, though, is each instructor's expertise. Are they most savvy in rock? Blues? Jazz? The style of guitar you want to learn will inform who your go-to instructors will become.
Price vs. value
No matter what you're buying, the value-to-price ratio is always going to be a huge factor. It's your money, after all. Sometimes, investing in a high price point is worth it as long as you're getting equal value out of it.
When it comes to guitar courses, you'll be able to judge this on how many lessons you get for how much you're paying, how long you have access to the course, student testimonials — things like that.
It's not always an easy thing to discern and you might not find your perfect answer before trying something out, but you should always try your best to pick the one you think you'll get the most out of.
What makes the course unique?
No two courses are completely the same. Many of them have at least a few features that set them apart from the rest, and some of which might make or break the deal for you.
Look for things like live lessons, video sharing with instructors and other students, interactive tabs, what devices the programs work on, and anything else that will boost the quality of your personal experience.
Be honest about your skill level
Whether you're a total beginner who has only has experience playing the air guitar or an intermediate player that wants to freshen up on their craft, there's a course out there for you. All that's required of you is to be honest about the skills you currently have. No matter what level you're at, if you try to punch too high above your weight class, you're going to struggle, which can end up leading to you putting down the axe for good.
So, don't throw yourself into the deep end when you don't have to. Find a course that will cater to what you have or haven't learned, and start from there.
How to choose the best course for you
There are a few bases you'll want to cover before you finally choose your guitar course, aside from what we recommend to you.
We mentioned skill level already, but it's important that you're honest with yourself about what you already know and how much you have to learn. Don't feel shy about calling yourself a beginner, because there's literally no shame in that (every music legend starts somewhere).
Furthermore, you'll want to take stock of what you even want to learn. Do you want to learn how to solo? How to write music? How to play covers of famous tracks? All of the above? It's an important question to answer, because some courses are suited better for certain goals. You'll probably also want to nail down what genre of music interests you the most (although learning the basics of each one is a great way to progress).
Other obvious things you want to iron out are your budget, the amount of time you want to commit to learning the instrument, what kind of devices you have, and your personal learning style. It's even better to be in tune with what type of feedback resonates with you most. Maybe you want to hear from your teacher often and receive honest, constructive criticism. Maybe you want to avoid any sort of communication with a human and keep your newfound passion for music on the D.L. until you can prove your proficiency to the masses.
Here are six online guitar courses that we think are actually worth your time and money. Just promise us you won't become that person who breaks out Wonderwall unsolicited at parties, okay?