1. Exclusive offers
2. The list in brief
3. Best for beginners
4. Best for intermediate players
5. Best for content volume
6. Best for big-name tutors
7. Best for usability and navigation
8. Best for game-style learning
9. More options...
10. Buying advice
How we test
We personally research and test the latest online guitar lessons to provide unbiased recommendations. Read more on how we test online lessons here.
Whether you’re an established guitar player looking to grow your library of skills and techniques, a total novice picking up the guitar for the first time or you're heading back to school or college and want to take your six-string skills to another level, the best online guitar lessons can give you a major helping hand. There’s a huge choice of high-quality platforms out there, each providing its own unique set of features to help you master the instrument at home or on the go.
All online lessons services are accessible via your laptop, phone or tablet too – with some even available via a dedicated app – so you won’t even need to leave your home to start learning and playing. For this guide we’ve tested options for all skill levels and budgets and we're recommending our absolute favorites here.
You'll be pleased to learn that most platforms offer at least a 7-day free trial too, enabling you to try a few before you sign up for a longer-term paid-for subscription. Commit to one of our choices and you’ll be licking and riffing like a true rock hero in no time.
If you want to get straight to our top picks, keep scrolling to the next section, or head to the end of the page for more expert guidance on what to look for when choosing the best online guitar lessons platform for you.
Chris Corfield is a journalist with over 13 years of experience writing about guitars for some of the music world's biggest brands including Orange Amplification, MusicRadar, Guitar World and Total Guitar. Chris loves getting nerdy about everything from guitar gear and amps, to trying out online lessons, as he and a number of our contributors did for this buyer's guide.
Best online guitar lessons: Latest offers
Already tried a free trial and know which guitar lesson platform you'd like to sign up to? A few of our top choices currently have discounted lesson plans up for grabs, some of which are exclusive to Guitar World readers.
Guitar Tricks Black Friday: $99 one year sub + extras
Now is the best time to sign up for Guitar Tricks, with the best price of the year on a Full Access annual subscription, plus hundreds of dollars of extras, including a custom lesson plan, access to one premium Bootcamp, a copy of Guitar Tricks’ Ultimate Beginner Guide and exclusive access to their brand new 100 Essential Licks video series. If you’re serious about learning the guitar, this deal places a serious amount of valuable content at your fingertips.
Guitar Tricks: Get your first month for just $1
Enjoy your first month of Guitar Tricks for a single buck at this link and start improving your playing for way less than you'd pay for a cup of coffee. Guitar Tricks features plenty of great content for beginners, but really shines when it comes to intermediate and pro players, with over 11,000 videos accessible across the site.
Fender Play: 50% off an annual subscription
Signed up for a free trial and now you want to continue getting all the benefits of Fender Play lessons full-time? Fender is offering 50% off an annual plan for all Guitar World readers, dropping the price from $99.99 to just $49.99 for the whole year – that's just over $4 per month. Just add the code guitarworld50 at checkout to see your discount.
TrueFire lessons: Save 30% with code GWTF30
TrueFire includes 50,000 video lessons taught by industry-leading teachers, Grammy Award-winning artists and world-class touring musicians. And in case that wasn't a good enough to sign up, you can now save 30% off an All-Access subscription and all courses with the exclusive code GWTF30.
Simply Guitar: Save 20% on lessons at this link
If you'd prefer to learn on your smart device, Simply Guitar has a fantastic app with a fun, lively gamified approach to learning the instrument. Right now if you sign up for a year you can save $30, dropping the annual cost from $150 to just $120. At $10 per month after the discount this is amazing value.
Best online guitar lessons: Quick list
Want to cut to the chase and find out what the best online guitar lessons are for your needs? Below, you’ll find a brief round-up of our top choices. You can then jump to our longer list for a more detailed review of every pick.
Best for beginners
Fender Play is one of the highest-quality and most rewarding platforms for learning the guitar online, and it's constantly evolving with new lessons, courses and songs added regularly. It’s ideal for total beginners, with guided paths and lesson plans ensuring you’ll become proficient in what you want to learn.
Guitar Tricks has developed their content over the last 24 years and 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. They also offer a 60-day money back guarantee if you're not totally into it.
Biggest lesson archive
TrueFire has 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.
Best for big-name tutors
ArtistWorks goes big on the personal touch. As well as having some world-renowned instructors – including Paul Gilbert, Jared James Nichols, Keb' Mo' and Andy McKee – it enables you to submit your own videos for assessment with a real tutor. Your allocated instructor will review your playing and point out places you can improve.
Best for usability
Guitareo contains a massive selection of videos and other resources that teach you how to play guitar. If you’re a complete beginner, they’ll go right from the start, covering all the basic information without it ever seeming patronising. It’s well laid out and easy to navigate, with super friendly presenters.
Best game-style learning
Simply Guitar proves that learning guitar doesn't have to be complicated, and practice time need not be dull. It's a friendly iOS/Android app with a fun gamified approach, that holds your hand all the way, from first asking you whether you even own a guitar, right up to teaching you how to master the fretboard.
The best online guitar lessons available right now
You can trust Guitar World Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing guitar products so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.
Below you'll find full and detailed write-ups for each of the best online guitar lessons we rate. We have links to full reviews if you want to delve even deeper, too. We've tested each one extensively, so you can be sure that our recommendations can be trusted.
Best for beginners
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 we found that 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 – and that content is ever-growing – 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. You get even more lessons, artist content and gear chat via Fender Play Live sessions.
If you're a Guitar World reader, Fender Play is offering you 50% off the cost of an annual subscription. Just use the code guitarworld50 at checkout.
Read the full Fender Play review
Best for intermediate players
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 24ish 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.
We found the song lessons and genre studies in particular to be 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 in, 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, blues and metal.
One ace up Guitar Tricks' sleeve is their 60-day money back guarantee. If you find you don't click with GT in your first couple of months and you alert their support team within 60 days, you will receive a full refund.
Not sure whether Guitar Tricks or Fender Play is right for you? Read our Fender Play vs Guitar Tricks comparison feature.
Guitar World readers can get their first month of Guitar Tricks for just $1 right now with this exclusive offer.
Read our full Guitar Tricks review
Best for content volume
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 and start tutors 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 on this list – especially the ‘lifetime’ membership – but it’s a tool that will see you far beyond those first baby steps on the instrument.
Right now you can save 30% off an All-Access subscription and all courses with the exclusive code GWTF30.
Read the full TrueFire review
Best for big-name tutors
One thing you can miss out on with online learning is the feedback you’d get from a real-life 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.
Read the full ArtistWorks review
Best for usability and navigation
Newcomer Guitareo contains a massive selection of videos and other resources that teach you how to play guitar. If you’re a complete beginner, they’ll go right from the start, covering all the basic information you need, without it ever seeming patronising. The aim is to get you playing straight away, and from our experience using the platform they’ve done a good job of making it both fun and easy to understand.
If you want to look into things like ear training and theory, then you can do – we found that there are loads of resources on Guitareo that cover these areas. The more you search through what Guitareo has to offer, the more you realise how much information is in there. There are separate sections on the website that help you in different areas; there are courses in particular genres, a section for learning 500 songs in 5 days, key guitar method lessons and more. If, however, you just want to be taught how to start playing the guitar, then you can simply go through the step-by-step lessons.
It’s well laid out and easy to navigate, though you’d be forgiven for feeling a little overwhelmed by everything on there at first. That said, it’s worth having a look around at all that’s on offer, because the content is very good.
Read the full Guitareo review
Best game-style learning
Simply Guitar proves that learning guitar doesn't have to be complicated, and practice time need not be dull. It's a friendly iOS/Android app that holds your hand all the way, from first asking you whether you even own a guitar, right up to teaching you how to master the fretboard.
At its core is a fun gamified approach that relies on an animated fretboard. Provided you play the correct notes as the scrolling fretboard delivers them you'll unlock more, exciting content including Simply Guitar's impressive library of contemporary songs (over 1,000 songs and counting).
Instant feedback lets you know when you mess up, and the app will return you to tricky passages that need more work. It's clever stuff.
Each level is introduced by an often-quirky explanatory video that's delivered with good humor, bad jokes and a great deal of professionalism. The rest of the content is predominantly animated but we found it engaging to the point of being addictive.
If you're a beginner who treasures simple pleasures, you're going to love this app (particularly with the 7-day free trial up front). If you're an advanced player, look elsewhere for more depth.
Currently Guitar World readers can save 20% off an annual subscription at this link.
Read the full Simply Guitar review
So those are our top picks, but there are plenty more great options to choose from that offer something a little different. We've selected a few more of our favorites below.
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, similar to Simply Guitar. 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 we found 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.
Can't decide between Yousician or Simply Guitar? We go deeper in our Yousician vs Simply Guitar comparison piece.
Read the full Yousician review
There’s no denying that online lessons have their limitations when compared to face-to-face, but Pickup Music does everything possible to limit those and bring a level of personalisation and interactivity that many online learning platforms lack.
The website is easy to navigate, but upon logging in, you’re greeted by a chat bot that can helpfully point you in the right direction, should you perhaps be overwhelmed by all the different options.
The lessons aimed at beginners are great. They explain things clearly and concisely, without ever being patronizing. They go through the basics like tuning and how to read TAB so no prior knowledge is required beforehand. What’s more, even in the first couple of lessons, you’re playing straight away so you feel like you’re instantly progressing, which makes you want to carry on.
But it’s not just for beginners; Pickup Music is an all-encompassing online learning platform for guitarists of any level – from straight-up beginners, to experienced players looking to expand their six-string vocabulary. Their content is well presented, covers a wide range of music and manages to be fun whilst improving your playing.
Read the full Pickup Music review
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.
Read the full JustinGuitar review
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.
Orange Learn now also offers lessons for vocalists, too.
Read the full Orange Learn review
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.
Best online guitar lessons: Buying advice
How to choose the best online guitar lessons for you
Whether it's the guitar, ukulele, bass, drums or flugelhorn, learning an instrument is a hugely personal (and very rewarding) experience. Some people prefer to get a gentle nod in the right direction from a friend or teacher 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 to suit 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 many 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 – plus many additional features such as direct feedback and live lessons – 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. If they move too fast you’ll become overwhelmed and demotivated. Too slow, however, and you’ll inevitably get bored. What's more, 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 want to do it, learning the guitar is not an easy task and requires plenty of effort. 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.
How much do online guitar lessons cost?
Costs can vary wildly, depending on the subscription level and platform you sign up for. Monthly prices start from around $/£9.99, with annual subscriptions also commonly available – these will usually save you a little cash over a monthly sub in the long run. Some brands even offer the option to sign up 'for life' which is a one-off payment that gives you access for as long as the platform exists. It works out cheaper in the long-run, but you need to to be committed for a number of years to truly see the payoff.
A monthly or annual subscription can feel like quite a commitment, when it's a service you've not used before. This is why many online lessons providers also offer a free trial before you make a decision to go long-haul, giving you time to explore the content and the user interface to ensure it’s the right fit for your specific learning needs. Free trials can range from 7 days up to 30, depending on the current promotion – sometimes you'll see extended free trial periods around Black Friday and in the lead up to Christmas, or during the back to school season – and some don't require any credit card details so you can sign up knowing you're not going to be charged if you forget to cancel. Other sites are free to join, but you pay to open up specific types of content.
Don't forget, most online lessons subscriptions can be cancelled at any time too, so if you feel you've absorbed enough content to be working on for the time being, you can always take a month or two off and save a few bucks in the process, before picking it back up at a later date.
Compare these prices to the average cost of a face-to-face lesson – around $40-$60 per 1 hour lesson – and the cost of a monthly online lessons plan quickly pulls into focus. You can read more about online vs face to face guitar lessons here.
Is it worth paying for online guitar lessons?
100%. Yes, there are plenty of free resources available online but, particularly if you’re a beginner, how do you know where to start, how to you know the tutor has the credentials to deliver the lessons in an accurate and considered way, and how do you ensure you don’t miss any critical steps in your guitar playing development? This is something that only a real teacher or a carefully constructed online lesson plan can deliver.
And what about direct feedback on your development, or a community of like-minded learners? Most online lessons deliver these sorts of community features.
As we've already said, with free trials available from most providers, you can try before you buy. This ensures that, once you do start paying, you can be confident you’re getting exactly what you need.
Can you really learn guitar online?
There are pros and cons to both face to face lessons and online lessons. There’s no match for the instant feedback you get with an actual tutor, but physical lessons can be cost and time prohibitive. What’s more, some online providers also include feedback from a dedicated tutor within the cost, meaning you get the convenience of learning remotely, with the feedback you’d get from face to face lessons.
If the content in your online lessons is delivered in a clear and professional manner then it absolutely is possible to learn via remote lessons. The key is then to build on those skills by playing with other musicians, playing live and recording. In our opinion, these are the best ways to develop your talent and forge your own voice on the guitar. You could always choose the hybrid approach which is to support your online learning with semi-regular face-to-face lessons.
How we test online guitar lessons services
The Guitar World online guitar lessons review process is editorially independent and not influenced by any third parties. For the purposes of our reviews we are either supplied with a free subscription by the platforms themselves, or we purchase our own subscriptions.
We evaluate online guitar lessons platforms in the following categories:
- Ease of registration/setup
- Quality of content/tutors
- Range of content
- Other useful features
This enables us to produce accurate, well-balanced and real-life online guitar lessons reviews to help you easily figure out whether the service you’re interested in really is the best choice for you.
Our testing criteria in detail:
- Ease of registration/setup: How easy is it to sign up for the service and find the right content for your preferences, playing style etc. If there's a free trial, is it easy to find, set up and cancel?
- Quality of content/tutors: Is the presentation of the video content clear and does it sound good? Just as important are the tutors, so we look closely at the delivery of the content. Are the lessons easy to follow and understand, do the tutors play well and do they communicate the information in a friendly, engaging manner? If the platform offers playalong songs or downloadable PDFs, are they easy to use?
- Range of content: Some platforms offer content for all abilities while others are more focused in a particular area. We look at the total offering and look for strengths and weaknesses. We will always aim to recommend a platform for the right type of player.
- Other features: How easy is the content to navigate in general? Is it clearly presented and are the learning paths obvious? Does the site offer live streamed content or member feedback as part of its subscriber community? Are there any other useful features on offer such as the ability to slow down or loop video? Is the content available on multiple platforms (ie. web and mobile)? Is the content available to use offline?
Our testing team includes:
- Expert reviewers with years of hands-on experience testing and owning a wide range of guitar products and services.
- Industry professionals who have worked in the guitar/music industry for decades. This includes guitar tutors and writers who have held positions at guitar companies and roles at leading guitar magazines and websites.
Read more about our rating system, how we choose the gear we feature, and exactly how we test each product.
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