The 8 Best Online Guitar Lessons of 2019

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The Rundown

  • Best Overall, Live Teachers: TakeLessons "Their live online interface impresses us the most, as the app offers live video sessions to get real-time feedback."
  • Runner-Up, Best Overall Live Teachers: Truefire "Once you’ve jumped through the hoops and chosen your instructor, the experience seems really easy to use."
  • Best Overall, Recorded: Fender Play "Fender has tapped their deep Rolodex of professional guitarists to share their knowledge."
  • Runner-Up, Best Overall Recorded: JamPlay "Because JamPlay has been around for so long, they’ve amassed a massive collection of tutorials and lessons from a ton of teachers."
  • Best for Scheduling: Preply "Once you see a teacher you like, you can select them and choose the actual day and time you want a single lesson."
  • Best for Teacher Selection: Lessonface "You can really hone in on the right teacher for you based on your needs and the style of guitar you want to learn."
  • Best for Solos and Lead Guitar: Music Is Win "You’ll get a more personal, more honest vibe with this platform."
  • Best for Mobile Players: ArtistWorks "You get personal interaction from your guitar teacher without the need to schedule that virtual meetup."

Our Top Picks

Best Overall, Live Teachers: TakeLessons

TakeLessons

 TakeLessons

TakeLessons offers one of the most straightforward options for online guitar lessons — owed mostly to the fact that the website and app interfaces are so clean. For over a decade, TakeLessons has offered a variety of online tutoring, from math to English to music.

And it’s their live online interface that impresses us the most, as the app offers live video sessions to get real-time feedback. They operate it like a virtual classroom where you log in and join other students learning at the same time. Classes are available a few different times a day, so there’s flexibility there if you need it.

Some of the guitar topics they cover include “Essential Scales and Chords” to build a nice foundation, “Blues Guitar Lessons” to get more specialized, and even “4 Easy Guitar Chords to Unlock 100s of Songs,” allowing you to get started fast and play along with friends right away.

Over their tenure, TakeLessons has amassed a population of 200,000 students, six thousand teachers, and has taught around two million lessons.

They operate based on a monthly fee of $19.95 each month, with that price being cut in half if you pay for the full year ahead of time. This premium subscription unlocks direct teacher feedback, lifetime progress tracking, and more.

We’d like to have seen more explicitly one-on-one options from guitar teachers, but you can opt to use the service to find in-person lessons in your area, too. 

Runner-Up, Best Overall Live Teachers: Truefire

Truefire

 Truefire

Truefire feels a little bit more like a DIY operation. Their recorded lesson platform feels modern, and it’s clear that they’ve had more focus on their repository of pre-recorded lessons and tutorials. This is great for some players, but if you want the direct access that comes with private lessons, then their teacher directory is probably the better bet for you.

There are other instruments available here, including other stringed instruments like dobro and mandolin, and even some keyboard and saxophone lessons. But where you’ll see the most depth of teachers is in the guitar category.

Once you’ve filtered your search by the instrument you want, you can choose your instructor, but we’d prefer to see a bit more filtering options. Choosing a teacher is a bit of a mixed bag, as some of them only offer a “premium channel subscription” granting you access to premium video lessons, but not necessarily interacting with you one on one.

But others offer single purchases of private video lessons through the Truefire app or browser site. Once you’ve jumped through the hoops and chosen your instructor, though, the experience seems really easy to use.

Best Overall, Recorded: Fender Play

Fender Play

 Fender Play

Fender launched its own online guitar lessons platform in 2018, and at first, it was a surprising move. As one of the first electric guitar manufacturers ever, Fender has the history and the brand recognition to instill enough confidence, but we’re surprised at just how polished the online lesson platform seems.

To be clear, this is a pre-recorded system, so you won’t get live back-and-forths with real teachers, but you will get access to a community of other students and teachers to answer questions — just not in real-time. They’ve set up the model to offer a free trial that is based around three lessons (Guitar 101, general technique training, then a direct riff class) that promise to get you playing riffs in seven minutes or less.

If you like this trial, it’s pretty easy to upgrade to the full version afterward. The reviews indicate that the classes do get you really far, really fast. The lessons are recorded by professional guitar players, and this seems to be a huge selling point with Fender because they’ve tapped their deep Rolodex of contacts to record lessons.

The platform works on desktop, but also tablets and mobile phones, making it one of the most versatile options from a format perspective. Plus, they base a lot of the trajectory on popular songs, so you can choose lessons about tunes you’re actually interested in. The pricing starts at $89.99 per year, though you can pay just $9.99 per month if you want a lesser commitment.

Runner-Up, Best Overall Recorded: JamPlay

JamPlay

 JamPlay

JamPlay is another pre-recorded directory of video lessons and exercises focused exclusively on guitarists. A few of the other services try to round out their offerings with other instruments, JamPlay focuses on guitar only. The simplest pricing starts at $19.95 per month, so it’s in line with the other services in the space, but they also give you an option to lock in a lower price if you sign up for a full quarter or a full year — giving you more options than most services.

Because JamPlay has been around for so long, they’ve amassed a massive collection of tutorials and lessons from a ton of teachers — 400+ courses from more than 100 different instructors. What’s more, is they’ve packaged them in a huge variety of different ways.

There are instructor-specific learning paths, topic-specific tracks, and even what JamPlay calls “toolkits." These packs tackle subjects like scale practice, developing good playing habits, and more. The interface feels a bit dated, but they do have apps for virtually every device you could want.

All in all, there isn’t quite the level of polish here that exists on Fender Play, but it is a close second, in our book.

Best for Scheduling: Preply

Preply

 Preply

At first glance, it’s clear that Preply is a site built mostly around live language lessons. In fact, there’s no obvious way to get to the music lessons section without literally searching for “guitar” in the search field on the home page. But don’t let that sway you, because once you get into the list of teachers who teach the instrument, it’s really intuitive to schedule a lesson.

Searching guitar brought us a list of around 30 tutors, so it isn’t a huge selection. But once you see a teacher you like, you can select them a choose the actual day and time you want a single lesson. What’s more, is each teacher names their own per-hour price, so you can customize the amount paid. We even saw a teacher go as low as $10 an hour. This likely means you won’t have the option to build very easily to an advanced level, but it does allow you to customize the price you pay.

There are also really transparent ratings right on this screen, and a quick quote from the teacher to tell you a bit more about them. We like this approach a lot, because it gives you the ability to try a single lessons, really tailored to your needs.

There isn’t a whole lot of depth and breadth here, as the site does seem tailored to languages, but what is there seems really promising for those who want a one-on-one experience.

Best for Teacher Selection: Lessonface

Lessonface

 Lessonface

To us, Lessonface is sort of a combination of the Preply model and something like TakeLessons. In fact, next to TakeLessons, it seems like one of the largest options out there, in terms of market share. It differs from some of the mainstream guitar-centric platforms, mainly because you start by choosing a teacher, rather than signing up for a monthly plan. And, when it comes to guitar, there are a ton of teachers available, all offering different specialties.

What’s more, is the search function lets you actually choose the style of guitar you want — everything from Acoustic and Electric Guitar all the way to Flamenco or Slide Guitar. This means you can really hone in on the right teacher for you based on your needs.

From here, you’ll be taken to the teacher page, where there are in-depth ratings, a description of their specialties and bios written by the teachers. You can also search by price, which makes for a nice level of customization, especially if budget is a consideration.

Like many of the other services, there is a built-in video chat platform that has been optimized for music lessons by the Lessonface team, but you can opt to communicate with your teacher outside of this via Skype or other services. Overall, the real winner here is the ability to customize the teacher for your needs. 

Best for Solos and Lead Guitar: Music Is Win: The Guitar Supersystem

Music Is Win: The Guitar Supersystem

 Music Is Win: The Guitar Supersystem

One of the most unique options we found in our search was the Guitar Supersystem, operated by guitarist and YouTube personality Tyler Larson. Larson’s YouTube channel is called Music is Win, and is a great place to start if you want to get a feel for what he’s all about and what his personality is like.

But his subscription-based guitar lessons are anything but surface level. Larson is a Berklee-educated guitarist who has a real knack for taking complex guitar- and theory-based concepts and making them more digestible for beginner or intermediate guitar players.

For $10 per month (though he often runs promotions driving the price down), you get access to lessons about songwriting, advanced scales and theory, and even jazz/blues licks that you can take with you to your next jam. It’s definitely a one-man operation, but he does bring in some tips from other guitar players here and there.

His system is all run on his own platform, so you won’t get the versatility of the “big box” options, but you’ll get a more personal, more honest vibe. Plus, there’s a forum-based community at your disposal, comprised of other passionate students to give you a place to ask questions and work through challenges.

Best for Mobile Players: ArtistWorks

ArtistWorks

 ArtistWorks

ArtistWorks takes a more hybrid approach to the online lesson system. While many services tend to offer either/or when it comes to video lessons or one-on-one sessions, ArtistWorks seems to have tried something new. Their Video Exchange system is set up so you can get real, personalized feedback with an instructor, without the need to schedule a time.

Once you’ve started lessons and signed up, you record yourself playing, wherever you are, and send that to an instructor. That instructor then records a video response giving you feedback and redirecting your technique. This means that you get personal interaction from your guitar teacher without the need to schedule that virtual meetup.

Plus, ArtistWorks will then add your video exchange to their system, meaning their library of lessons is always growing based on student submissions. There’s everything from Jazz Guitar to Fingerstyle all the way to Mandolin lessons. The pricing structure is pretty familiar at a $30/month base price that gets better as you commit more months.

Our Process 

Our writers spent 10 hours researching the most popular online guitar lessons on the market. Before making their final recommendations, they considered 15 different online guitar lessons overall, screened options from 15 different brands and manufacturers, read over 50 user reviews (both positive and negative), and tested 2 of the online guitar lessons themselves. All of this research adds up to recommendations you can trust.