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Best online guitar lessons 2021: our pick of the 9 best remote learning platforms for guitar players

Best online guitar lessons 2021: our pick of the 9 best remote learning platforms for guitar players
(Image credit: Getty/Westend61)

Whether you’re a seasoned player looking to build on your library of techniques, or a total novice picking up the guitar for the first time, online guitar lessons can give you a major helping hand. There are lots of high-quality platforms available, each providing its own unique set of features to help you master the instrument. All are accessible via your laptop, phone or tablet too, so you won’t even need to leave your home to get started. In this guide to the best online guitar lessons, we bring you our top choices for all budgets and skill levels. Before you know it, you’ll be licking and riffing like a true rock hero.

If you want to get straight to our top picks, keep scrolling, or hit the buying advice button above for more guidance on what to look for when choosing the right online guitar lessons platform for you.

Best online guitar lessons: Guitar World’s Choice

Man shows boy how to play the acoustic guitar

(Image credit: Getty/South_agency)

When it came to choosing the best online guitar lessons platform, a couple stood out from the rest; namely Fender Play and Guitar Tricks. It makes sense that Fender would dive headlong into the tuition sector, because the more people who are able to play the guitar, the more potential customers the manufacturer has. But to Fender’s credit, it hasn’t skimped on the learning experience. Everything in Fender Play is there for a reason, and the site is clean, intuitive and encourages you to stick with it. If you're a beginner, this is a particularly great option.

For intermediate to advanced players, it's impossible to ignore Guitar Tricks. With over 11,000 videos on their site and 22 years in the game, they do online guitar lessons incredibly well and highlight that, whatever your playing level, every day is a school day.

Best online guitar lessons: Product guide

1. Fender Play

Classy yet inviting beginner-friendly platform from the biggest name in guitar

Price: 14-day free trial, then $9.99/£9.99 per month or $89.99/£89.99 per year | Key features: Bespoke paths for learning, quick lessons, loads of popular songs, a breeze to navigate and use

Simple to use 
Ideal for beginners
Great selection of teachers and lessons
Rewards regular use  
Internet connection required, as no offline content  

As one of the first names people come up with when they think of guitars, Fender needed to get it right when it came to developing an online guitar lesson platform. And Fender Play is one of the highest-quality and most rewarding options available for learning the guitar online. It’s ideal for total beginners, with guided paths and lesson plans ensuring you’ll become proficient in what you want to learn. 

There’s plenty for the more experienced guitar players, too, but if you fit into the intermediate or advanced category you may want to look elsewhere for a truly comprehensive and exhaustive mix of content.

It clearly benefits Fender to start building brand loyalty right from the start of a new player’s journey, but with Fender Play there’s nothing cynical or half-hearted. It’s simply the best online guitar learning tool there is.

Read the full Fender Play review 

2. Guitar Tricks

One of the best for intermediate and advanced players

Price: $19.99 monthly, $179.99 yearly, free 14 day trial | Key features: 11,000 lessons; extensive core studies; song lessons; artist and genre studies; chord and scale charts; maintenance tips; tone advice; with amp guitar settings

Cool genre studies available 
Vast lesson catalogue 
Suitable for intermediate and advanced players
Great song tutorials
Pop fans will be disappointed with the song library
User interface could do with an update

As we all know, learning guitar is an ongoing process – you’re never truly done. This is something Guitar Tricks has obviously had in mind as they’ve developed their content over the last 22 years. 

With over 11,000 lessons and more than 900 song tutorials, Guitar Tricks has a lot more to offer intermediate players than many of its counterparts, probably because they simply have more content than most of them. That’s not to say they don’t nail the beginner material – they have an extensive core plan that takes you from learning how to hold a guitar to playing barre chords – it’s just that you get the sense their overall focus is on the intermediate crowd here.

The song lessons and genre studies in particular are pretty impressive, offering not only bite sized, easy to follow tutorials, but also accurate advice on getting the tone right; including which pickups to select, amp settings, and what pedals you could use. They cover 12 genres all up, even dipping into some niche territory with the likes of surf and rockabilly. It has to be said though, for all this they don’t pay too much attention to pop music. Even with one of the biggest song libraries out there they don't touch many of the biggest acts, such as Taylor Swift or Billie Eilish. They may be missing a trick here – especially with younger people who may have recently been inspired to pick up the instrument – but overall, you can’t blame them for wanting to focus on more prominent guitar genres like rock and metal.

Read our full Guitar Tricks review

3. TrueFire

Big-name instructors and innovative learning tools lead the way

Price: 30-day free trial, then $29/£21 per month, $249/£178 per year or $2,499/£1,800 for a lifetime | Key features: 40k lessons, 30k tabs, 20k jam tracks and new courses uploaded weekly

Works across different devices
Slow-mo and loop features are great 
It’s pricey 

While many of us will have spent time on YouTube lapping up as many free lessons as we can, there are plenty of guitarists out there who would happily pay for something a bit more structured. TrueFire is a great option, with more lessons, tabs and jam tracks than you’ll ever realistically need, along with a selection of well-respected teachers to learn from.

We particularly like the slow-mo and looping features, where you can single out a tricky passage and have it repeated slowly until you nail it. It’s a simple trick but one that will work wonders on your playing. TrueFire isn’t the cheapest option here – especially the ‘lifetime’ membership – but it’s a tool that will see you far beyond those first baby steps on the instrument.

4. Yousician

Interactive learning using your smartphone or tablet

Price: Seven-day free trial, then $9.99/£7 per month or $119.99/£86 per year | Key features: Audio-recognition technology, 9k lessons, 1,800 songs

Simple to use 
Makes learning fun 
Not the best choice for intermediate players 

Proving there’s more to the best online guitar lessons than a bank of videos, Yousician aims to introduce a sort of gamification into the mix. If you’ve played console games like Guitar Hero and Rock Band, you’ll be familiar with the concept of Yousician. Basically, you use your smartphone or tablet to listen along to your playing, and the device listens to you and scores you based on how accurate you were. 

It’s a simple concept but it definitely works, particularly for younger players where that instant feedback and ‘one more go’ appeal is strong. If you’re already playing and looking to move to the next level, Yousician probably isn’t the best choice, but for total beginners it’s a quick and fun way to get started. 

5. ArtistWorks Guitar

Big-name instructors and the personal touch

Price: Three-month plan $35/£25 per month, six-month plan $30/£21 per month, or annual plan $23.25/£16.50 per month | Key features: Over 50k video lessons

Great for honing existing skills
Video feedback 
Relatively pricey 

One thing you can miss out on with online learning is the feedback you’d get from an instructor. It’s all very well plugging away on your own, but it’s handy to have an experienced player point out something seemingly insignificant in your technique – a stray finger here or a different pick angle there – that will stop bad habits forming further down the line. 

ArtistWorks goes big on this personal touch. As well as having some renowned instructors – including Paul Gilbert – it enables you to submit your own videos for assessment. Your allocated instructor will review your playing and point out places you can improve. Add in over 50,000 video lessons and you’ve got a highly comprehensive online learning resource.

6. JustinGuitar

One-man tuition industry hits the right notes

Price: Packages from $9.99/£7 per month for a six-month plan | Key features: Grade system, downloadable resources, huge variety of courses for all ability levels

Incredible amount of content
Lots of it is free  
Great presentation style 
Hard to criticize anything here 

If you’ve ever searched YouTube for guitar lessons, you will have doubtless come across Justin Sandercoe. The guy is a legend in guitar circles, so it’s only right we include him in this list. For total beginners, Justin offers one of the best introductory experiences going, and it’s all free. For more advanced players, there’s loads in the way of tutorials and downloadable practice resources, meaning there’s something for everyone. 

YouTube gave Justin the platform to spread his good word to the masses, but his premium lessons are well worth the extra outlay. 

7. JamPlay

Big-name teachers and all the content you could ever need

Price: $19.95/£14 per month, $49.95/£36 for three months, $159.95/£114 per year | Key features: 7k lessons, over 100 teachers, more than 450 courses, live broadcasts, interactive tab

So much content 
High-quality instructors 
Not the cheapest option 

For the ultra-committed learner, JamPlay offers an enormous resource of lessons, tutorials and courses. Overall, it feels like a high-quality platform, with something for everyone. We are particular fans of the one-off courses, where big names like Robb Flynn and Tosin Abasi conduct masterclasses on their playing, performing and writing expertise. It’s not often you get to hear bona fide guitar legends break down, in great detail, the chops used to play their tracks.

There are cheaper options out there than JamPlay, but there are few that can match it in terms of sheer weight of resources. If you’re committed to improving and developing your skills, JamPlay could be the right choice for you. 

8. Orange Learn

Gain actual accreditation for your playing

Price: Free to join, with monthly/annual costs charged according to desired grade level | Key features: Accredited course for learners of all levels

Nice to learn with a specific goal in mind 
Great downloadable course materials 
Not as much content as elsewhere 

While all the big guitar brands now offer some form of learning aid, Orange was one of the first with its Orange Learn tool. And where others focus on providing a vast barrage of content, Orange has instead gone for credibility. Here, you work through official courses with the goal of receiving an actual, graded qualification at the end. 

Lessons range from total beginner through to Grade 8, and there are even tutors online to help you whenever you get stuck on something. Orange Learn might not be the flashiest, but it’s certainly one of the best equipped to get you where you want to be. 

9. JamTrackCentral

Another killer option for intermediate and advanced learners

Price: Free version, with Premium available for $21/£14.99 per month | Key features: Personalised coaching, masterclasses, jam tracks, videos and interactive tabs

Great for upgrading your skills 
Loads of useful resources 
There are better options for beginners 

Not everyone who looks for an online guitar lessons provider is at the very start of their journey. It’s quite common for intermediate and advanced players to hit a glass ceiling with their playing, and JamTrackCentral is almost entirely geared towards coaching these players to the next level.

There are some great teachers included, like Guthrie Govan and Jeff Loomis, along with a terrific selection of materials you can download so that you’re not staring at your screen the whole time.

The best online guitar lessons: Buying advice

Best online guitar lessons: Lady playing guitar at laptop

(Image credit: Getty/Westend61)

Learning an instrument is a hugely personal experience. Some people prefer to get a gentle nod in the right direction and then go and put in the hard yards themselves, while others need more regular attention and guided lessons. However you prefer to learn, there will be an online guitar lessons provider that fits your needs.

You might have had a scan around at some of the best online guitar lessons platforms already. If so, you’ll probably have noticed that they are quite similar in some ways. You sign up, decide which path you want to go down, and then a thread of videos opens up to you. However, there are a number of small variations between them that could be the difference between you sticking with the lessons and giving up after a month. The pacing of the lessons is very important. Too fast and you’ll become overwhelmed and demotivated. Too slow and you’ll get bored. Additionally, some new players want to learn the chords and scales that will enable them to write their own music, while others will prefer learning famous riffs as a means of getting used to the basics. 

Whichever way you do it, learning the guitar is not an easy task. By making the decision to learn, you’ve signed up for months of seemingly slow process and, often, sore fingertips. Just keep in mind that it’ll all be worth it in the end.

Beginner? Here’s the gear you need