If you’re a guitarist and you’ve been on YouTube at any time within the last year or two, you’ve probably seen an advertisement for Guitar Tricks.
Of the numerous online guitar lesson platforms out there on the market today, GuitarTricks stands out as one of the front-runners.
Guitar Tricks has a hefty list of online instructors and specialized tools you can use to learn at your own pace, and also keep yourself motivated while moving forward.
Let’s dive into this Guitar Tricks review!
Guitar Tricks Overview
What is it?
Guitar Tricks is one of the longest-standing platforms for online guitar lessons. It was started in 1998, even before YouTube hit the online scene.
This platform offers thousands of instructional video courses from just over 30 different instructors, in twelve different styles, as well as a basic course for complete beginners.
This gives you the opportunity to find the instructors you like most in the styles you want to study. The amount of content available on Guitar Tricks alone is pretty overwhelming, but the course curriculum and user interface make it easy to navigate for everyone from complete beginners to advanced players.
Is it any good?
As someone who’s spent the last twenty years learning guitar and teaching through in-person lessons, I’m always skeptical when it comes to the teach-yourself method of learning.
However, after trying Guitar Tricks out for myself, I can safely say that there is more than enough instructional content, reference tools, and interactive practicing aids for anyone to have a great experience in this program.
The nature of online learning requires you to be self-motivated and disciplined, so getting the most out of Guitar Tricks (or any online learning platform) eventually comes down to personal responsibility for quality of content.
How does it work?
Using the Guitar Tricks platform is really simple. Like almost any online guitar lessons, you sign up for a membership, find a course that you’re interested in, and you’re on your way to improving your guitar skills.
Take notes, replay small segments, and go at your own pace as you move through lesson modules. The beauty of Guitar Tricks is your ability to learn as much or as little as you want.
A monthly membership is very affordable, and the annual plan will save you even more. With either plan, you’ll gain access to all of Guitar Tricks’ instructional material and learning aids.
If you’re not sure about it yet, you can just create an account and test the waters with their 14-day free trial. Also, if you pay for a membership, Guitar Tricks offers a 60-day money-back guarantee, so there’s almost no reason to not give Guitar Tricks a try!
With all of that being said, let’s take a closer look at what Guitar Tricks offers while I walk you through its key features.
Guitar Tricks Key Features
When learning guitar, there’s a certain level of fundamental knowledge and skills required before you’ll be able to move on to more advanced genres and techniques. This seems a bit obvious to point out, but it’s necessary because you might notice that the Guitar Tricks Fundamentals 1 course is taught by one instructor, with 23 sections of video lessons.
Guitar Tricks’ Guitar Fundamentals 2 is a similar story with 30 sections of lesson videos taught by the same instructor. Don’t be disappointed. Once you get past the fundamentals, you’ll be able to branch out into almost any courses you’d like, from many different instructors.
Songs Specifically for Beginners
It’s one thing to dredge through fundamental techniques, but another to learn them through playing music you enjoy. I’ve always found success in helping my students progress quickly by teaching them how to play songs that they know.
The Songs Made Easy section gives beginners a substantial list of nearly 100 video lessons on famous songs, but simplified for beginners. You can easily search or sort by artist, genre, theme, or difficulty.
Practice For Beginners
This is probably the most valuable section of all for any beginner. The way you learn to practice will determine the quality of player that you become. These videos are short and simple, but should not be skipped over – especially if you’re a beginner.
Quality points to Guitar Tricks for including content specifically devoted to learning how to practice.
Tuning & Guitar Maintenance
No beginner section is complete without explaining how to take care of your guitar. Again, this section is short and simple, but valuable!
Explore Different Styles
Here you’ll find video lessons in Acoustic, Bluegrass, Blues, Classical, Country, Funk & Soul, Jazz, Metal, Rock, Rockabilly, Surf, and World.
This list isn’t exhaustive, but it covers plenty of material for any beginner or intermediate guitarist. There aren’t hundreds of videos per style, but there’s enough to give you a good idea of what each style is about.
Learn Special Techniques
This section is devoted more to extended techniques like sweeping, tapping, hybrid picking, harmonics, and more. There are loads of guitar tricks to learn here (see what I did there?), so don’t hesitate to jump down this rabbit hole.
In this section, you’re able to learn how to play, “in the style of ____.” I’ve had students of mine tell me that they want to play like Eddie Van Halen or Jimmy Page, and this section gives you the opportunity to do just that. The list of style mimickers is pretty long, so have at it!
Workouts for Your Hands
Here you’ll find enough technical exercises to keep you busy for a full year, and probably then some (maybe even a lifetime!).
Chords and Scales
Many teachers will give you scales to “practice.” They’ll give you a scale to play over and over again until you can play it in your sleep, but never walk you through the process of applying that new muscle memory to use in the real world.
This section is packed full of lessons on how to apply the knowledge of scales, modes, and arpeggios to musical practice, which is essential to becoming a fingerboard-fluent guitarist and improviser.
Tips On Gear and Tone
It’s one thing to be able to play the guitar really well, but another thing entirely to know how to maximize your sonic potential.
I believe that a great guitarist will sound great on almost any instrument – it’s just part of knowing how to be expressive, and understanding how to craft musical ideas into something meaningful. The other half of that is knowing how to fine-tune your sound, which is a more technical thing.
This section offers video lessons in everything from how your guitar works (both acoustic and electric) to how your guitar amp works.
New to using guitar effects pedals? There’s a lesson series that walks you through the standard types of guitar effects pedals.
Are you looking to tailor your sound for a specific genre like country or rock? There are also lesson series’ to walk you through the process of achieving that. I think Guitar Tricks has put together some really useful information in this section, and it’s going to be more helpful than scouring YouTube to find something you understand.
Songs for Intermediate and Advanced Players
I’ve said this before, but I think it’s really important to keep repeating it. Guitar students are more motivated to learn music they know and like.
When I was a young guitarist, I was lucky enough to have a teacher who understood this and applied it in my lessons. Granted, I was playing classical guitar, but the same concept applies here. I spent hours every day practicing because I was playing music that inspired me – not just some mindless technical exercises and single-note melodies from a workbook.
In this section, you’re almost guaranteed to find something you like (unless you’re a classical guitarist – more on that later). Each song features a series of video lessons walking you through each section of the song.
One small issue I have is that not every song includes sheet music/tablature, so you might have to find that elsewhere unless you’d prefer to practice learning something completely by watching – the Suzuki method is successful for a reason after all.
Plenty of Instructors
As I mentioned earlier, when you’re thinking about purchasing guitar lessons, one of the most important things to consider is the instructor.
Guitar Tricks has (from what I can see) 34 different guitar instructors with enough experience to give any newcomer a proper welcome to the guitar. Some instructors only have a few lesson series’ covering specific songs that fit into the genre they’re representing, while other instructors offer a more well-rounded curriculum.
So if you’re a beginner using Guitar Tricks, I would suggest following their suggested lesson plan through the first two Guitar Fundamentals courses at least. From there, you’ll have a working base from which you can begin branching out into the genre or song-based lesson series’.
When you’re doing anything that requires months and years to accomplish, it’s easy to lose track of how far you’ve progressed or to see any progress at all. The progress tracking feature of Guitar Tricks is pretty minimal, but it’s better than nothing.
I’ve seen other platforms like JamPlay offer you things like points and badges as you progress through instructional material, and even opportunities to test the skills you’ve learned. In my opinion, this helps keep things in perspective -it’s supposed to be fun, so why not make it more like a game?
Guitar Tricks shows you what lessons you’ve completed, and how far along you are in the lesson you’re currently on. To me, this is still helpful because it’s staring you right in the face if you’ve started something and failed to complete it.
They could potentially make it better with something like JamPlay’s progress incentives, but unless you’re a practice journaler and used to tracking your routine daily, it may not be necessary. It would still be useful for those detail-oriented go-getters out there though!
Tools & Learning Aids
Of all of the online guitar lesson platforms out there that I’ve seen thus far, Guitar Tricks has the most extensive ‘Tools’ section. I’m sure they’re all nice people though (ba dum bum). Jokes aside, Guitar Tricks’ Toolbox is loaded.
The Jam Station gives users the opportunity to put their fingerboard knowledge into practice. Having a library of backing tracks that you’re able to practice your guitar soloing skills over is extremely helpful. Gone are the days when one would have to record themselves playing chord changes for ten minutes in order to practice soloing.
No need to organize a band rehearsal either (though I still recommend doing that any chance you get). Nothing can replace the mystical connection that happens between musicians playing together live, but you’ll have a lot more fun when that time comes if you’ve put in the grunt-work of practicing alone beforehand.
The Jam Station tracks are organized by Title, Style, Key, and Instructor. Each track is accompanied by a lead sheet and a link to a corresponding series of video lessons.
Along with the Jam Station, you’ve got other powerful interactive tools like:
- Metronome that increases speed automatically so you can practice speed drills
- Chord Finder that shows you any chord you want in five different positions on the guitar
- Reference Tuner that allows you to customize your tuning
- Scale Finder which shows you any scale available to you and provides you with PDF’s to print
- Fretboard Trainer to test your knowledge of notes along the fretboard
- Chord Charts
- Guitar Tab Guide (for those who don’t yet know how to read tablature)
- Guitar Glossary, for the guitar scholars
- Fretboard Diagram
If you’re having trouble working through something from a recorded video lesson, or if you’d just like to interact with a teacher on a regular basis, you have the option to book a live video lesson with one of Guitar Tricks’ instructors.
These lessons aren’t included in the membership, so they cost anywhere from $40-$100 per hour. Every once in a while isn’t that bad and can serve as a very helpful supplement to your own self-teaching.
Guitar Tricks Channel & Forum
These pages are loaded with video blogs and chat room pages covering anything you could possibly think of that’s guitar-related. If it hasn’t been covered in a dedicated video lesson, it’s probably in the Guitar Tricks Channel or in a Forum chat room thread.
Pros & Cons
- Affordable monthly or annual membership plan. If you calculate the cost of guitar lessons from a traditional point of view, you’ll end up spending about $160 per month. From your wallet’s perspective, almost any online guitar lesson program will win over that. The great thing about Guitar Tricks is that it’s not just any lesson platform. They’ve been around since the early days of online lessons, so you know you’re getting more than what you pay for -for only about $20 a month.
- Massive Library of lessons, songs, and interactive tools. When I say massive, I don’t say that lightly. It might seem overwhelming for someone just getting started on guitar, but after a day or so of navigating the website, even I was able to find something worth practicing. There really is something for everybody.
- Reputable teachers. Some people prefer to fork out the extra cash for teachers with renown and notoriety -that’s great for them. If you’re considering online guitar lessons, it’s likely because of how affordable it is. The fact that Guitar Tricks has courses from some of the most well-known players in the world might just be their biggest selling point for that reason alone.
- 14-day free trial. I understand how internet scams work as well as anyone who’s fallen victim, but the 14-day free trial is real! Even if you didn’t want to continue taking lessons on Guitar Tricks afterwards, you could take the 14 days and put yourself through a personal guitar boot camp and make the most out of it. Imagine what you can do in just two weeks… for free, no less.
- 60 day money-back guarantee. This is also real. If you’re not happy with your experience, you get your money back, as simple as that.
- Some styles in Guitar Tricks have less available lesson content than its competitors. For example, JamPlay has more instruction in classical guitar and songwriting. This isn’t necessarily a downside depending on your goals as a guitarist. If you just want to learn songs, chords, scales, and the like, Guitar Tricks is one of the best resources in the world.
- No available lesson content for bass guitar. This might not be a downside if you have no interest in playing bass guitar, but since other platforms offer bass guitar lessons, it’s worth noting. It’s good to be well-rounded, but I recommend learning one thing at a time if you’re just beginning to play the guitar.
Who Is the Guitar Tricks Course Best For?
Guitar Tricks is best for any beginner and advanced guitarist interested in playing acoustic or electric guitar. If I had to start over on guitar without any in-person lessons, I would start either with Guitar Tricks, or JamPlay.
The biggest thing to keep in mind when you’re considering online guitar lessons is your own level of commitment. It requires some level of self-discipline to keep yourself organized and on track. Guitar Tricks gives you almost everything you need in order to become a better guitarist and musician -you just have to practice!
JamPlay, TrueFire, JustinGuitar, ArtistWorks are some of Guitar Tricks’ biggest competitors. You’ll find a very similar platform structure with JamPlay, TrueFire, and JustinGuitar.
They all have huge libraries of lesson content which you gain access to based on a subscription (except for JustinGuitar, which is free), access to lessons from loads of different teachers (except for JustinGuitar, because you just learn from Justin), and access to interactive learning aids like metronomes, ear trainers, and chord charts.
ArtistWorks is comparatively more expensive than all of the other platforms mentioned above, but you get direct access to one of the 10 Master teachers (depending on the musical style you choose to learn).
The above-mentioned platforms all serve as reasonable alternatives, as they offer comparable pricing and scope of the content. It’s worth mentioning though that if cost is your biggest deciding factor, JustinGuitar might just be your best option to get you started since it’s completely free.
If you’re a complete beginner, any of the options are a great starting point. If you’re an intermediate or advanced player, every platform mentioned above (including Guitar Tricks) will give you plenty of things to learn as long as you keep an open mind and stay consistent with moving through material.
Guitar Tricks Review – Final Thoughts
Guitar Tricks is a great option for anyone who is looking to learn guitar for the first time but isn’t sure they’re ready to commit to paying an instructor every week.
For the more experienced players, you might find something more challenging elsewhere, but that’s not to say you won’t find anything to learn on Guitar Tricks.
Classical guitarists should go to ToneBase or JamPlay, unless you’re interested in branching out into other genres. If that’s the case, Guitar Tricks is a fantastic option. Overall, I’d say this is a great platform and is popular for a good reason, so don’t hesitate to try it out for yourself.