Did you know that 90% of new guitar players give up the instrument in the first year?
In this article, we help you find the best online guitar lessons to help you learn guitar online and play songs from the comfort of your house consistently and sustainably.
Depending on your learning style, you might prefer learning guitar from books rather than learning guitar online. So we are also providing a selection of book recommendations. It can also be an excellent complement to online lessons.
Those online guitar lessons and books are the ones we recommend to our clients coming to our Music Recording Studio in Montreal.
Best to play guitar with the most famous guitarists
Get online guitar lessons with Carlos Santana and Tom Morello with hours of video lessons and hands-on sessions.
Best selection of online guitar lessons
Learn any technique or style with guitar teachers at the top of their creative fields.
Best to receive feedback or get certified
Register to an online guitar lesson and get valuable feedback from the teacher sending them videos of your practice.
Best if you prefer learning from books
Shop books now at Amazon.com if you prefer having a paper support to learn how to play guitar.
MasterClass: Best to play guitar with the most famous guitarists
MasterClass is a streaming platform where you can watch or listen to hundreds of video lessons taught by more than 180 of the world’s most famous and prominent experts. It’s one of the best online learning tools. You will find video lessons on various topics, including how to learn guitar with Carlos Santana and Tom Morello.
All the classes are designed to provide the best learning experience for beginner, intermediate and advanced players. Video lessons are available anytime, anywhere and on any device. MasterClass is also launching new high-quality classes regularly.
The new Session format provided by MasterClass enables you to have hands-on experience to learn alongside the world’s bests. It gives you projects and activities to work on as part of a structured curriculum to improve your guitar skills.
MasterClass also comes with an engaged community with whom you can share your work, ask questions, and receive feedback to improve your guitar practice.
The online guitar lessons we recommend
This online guitar lesson is a series of step-by-step lessons, including 16 video lessons with a total of 3 hours and 14 minutes videos. This guitar lesson is excellent because Carlos Santana not only shares his guitar tricks to play guitar like a pro but also to help you find your own style as an artist, connect with your audience and weave emotion playing guitar.
This class is for you if you are more into the electric guitar. Tom Morello explains all the techniques to master the electric guitar, from riffs, rhythms and tones to improvisation, solos and playing in a band. It contains 26 video lessons of 5 hours and 34 minutes.
About the teachers
I don’t know if Carlos Santana and Tom Morello still need to be introduced since they are so famous.
Carlos Santana is a Mexican-born American guitarist who has been on stage for almost 50 years and received 10 Grammy Awards. He became famous with his Santana Blues Band in the late 60s by pioneering the fusion between Rock and Roll, Blues, Afro-Cuban rhythms and Latin American jazz. His style is so unique that you recognize him directly when you hear him play.
Tom Morello is an American guitarist known for his creative and unique guitar-playing style. He uses feedback noise, unconventional picking and tapping techniques, and guitar effects to produce a unique sound. He is also the co-founder of the rock band Rage Against the Machine, which became famous in the 90s.
- The quality of the classes is impressive. Each masterclass is cut into lessons or hands-on sessions that make them easy to consume and helps you learn fast.
- You are learning from the most prominent artists in the world.
- Classes are adapted for people with little to no experience and advanced guitar players.
- The lessons are available on any device. MasterClass provides mobile applications for iOS and Android and smart TVs like Apple TV and Amazon Fire TV.
- There are only 2 classes to learn guitar available for the time being, but MasterClass adds new courses every month on the platform.
- MasterClass is available in English only, with subtitles. A few classes have Spanish and German subtitles.
MasterClass membership includes access to an incredible catalog of 180+ classes taught by the world’s best. Purchasing a MasterClass subscription provides unlimited access to all current sessions and classes and the new sessions and classes launched each month.
- Individual (1 account, 1 device): C$20/month
- Duo (1 account, 2 devices): C$27/month
- Family (1 account, 6 devices): C$30/month
Duo and Family plans come with the download for offline viewing capability.
If you don’t want to continue, you can easily cancel your membership renewal through your MasterClass account page.
Source: MasterClass, January 2023.
Skillshare: Best selection of online guitar lessons
Skillshare is an online learning community with 40,000+ classes for creative and curious people on various topics, including guitar lessons. On Skillshare, you’ll find inspiration from hands-on courses and teachers at the top of their creative fields so that you can take the next step in your creative journey.
Skillshare offers more than 280 guitar lessons. From beginner guitar to advanced techniques, these Skillshare classes will help you explore a wide range of topics, like basic guitar chords, chord and scale charts, music theory, songwriting, strumming and fingerstyle/fingerpicking fundamentals, and more.
Whether you’re just getting started and looking for beginner electric guitar classes or an experienced musician looking to improve your guitar skills, you can improve your playing with these tutorials. Explore genres like blues, jazz, rock, and classical. Learn about scales, triads, playing by ear, guitar solos, and beyond. You’ll find these Skillshare classes broken into short guitar lessons, and with the support of a community of creators, you’ll take your skills to the next level.
As a Skillshare member, you’ll have unlimited access to all Skillshare classes to watch when and where you want, additional features such as offline viewing, access to a vibrant community of lifelong learners, and so much more.
The online guitar lessons we recommend
Skillshare has a large selection of guitar classes depending on the techniques or the style you want to learn.
We recommend the Guitar Fundamentals: Learn Quick with Mike Boyd class for beginner lessons. It’s a trendy class with more than 19,000 students, which is pretty short (1 hour 11 minutes). It teaches the basics like tuning your guitar and chord and scale charts. You also find song tutorials to learn how to play 2 popular songs adapted for beginners.
We also love the class Learn Guitar: The Complete Beginners Guide by Marc Barnacle. This class is also prevalent on Skillshare. It includes 26 guitar lessons for a total of 2 hours and 38 minutes of various lessons for beginners. You will learn tuning, chords, scales and different guitar techniques but also several popular songs with a hands-on class project, including song tutorials.
You will also find more advanced guitar lessons on Skillshare, like Essential guitar licks for advanced guitar players by Gabriel Felix. This 2-hour 12-minute class includes the theory behind licks, how to play them, modify them and create them, use scales and arpeggios, and multiple exercises to develop your guitar skills.
About the teachers
Skillshare teachers are working professionals, experts, and subject matter enthusiasts. The Skillshare team reviews all new classes to ensure they meet the Skillshare guidelines.
- You get a free trial to check if you like it. After the free trial period, you get unlimited access to classes for the same price.
- The lesson quality is super high, which provides a great learning experience.
- Each class comes with the required students’ level and a detailed description of its content which helps you know exactly what you will learn watching it. You can also see how many students took this class and their reviews.
- The classes are split into short guitar lessons, which makes them easy to consume.
- You can learn on any device: Skillshare proposes iOS and Android mobile apps available on the App Store and Google Play.
- The guitar lessons include subtitles to help you understand everything, even if the video is not in your native language.
- Skillshare is not dedicated to music only.
- Many videos are available, but you can’t customize the content.
Skillshare offers a free trial option. After the free trial period, the membership costs $32/month. And the annual Premium membership costs $168/year (about $14/month). You can cancel your membership at any time. Your Skillshare account will be active for the remaining days you have already paid for.
Source: Business Insider, January 2023.
ArtistWorks: Best to receive feedback or get certified
ArtistWorks is an online music learning platform that enables artists to learn any instrument and style from master musicians. They provide anyone, anywhere in the world with affordable, interactive access to some of the greatest music teachers in the world.
Concerning guitar lessons, ArtistWorks offers classes from 14 master guitarists. You can also choose the style from rock, jazz, blues, country, bluegrass, classical and beginner acoustic. Each guitar class is built around a massive core lesson library that guides members from the fundamentals to advanced techniques. You can take the lessons at your pace and in the order that works best for you. Free backing tracks and tablature/notation are also provided as part of the classes.
As a student, you get access to an engaged online community of fellow players with whom you can talk shop, exchange your favorite tracks and videos, share your original songs, hear each other’s progress, make new friends, and encourage each other to grow as musicians.
ArtistWorks also offers a unique patented technology as part of their core learning system called Video Exchange® that allows members to submit practice videos and get personal video responses from their teacher to help their learning process. Unlike real-time virtual lessons, Video Exchange allows for an asynchronous learning experience, meaning that both the student and teacher can connect directly but can do so by submitting videos and responses on their own time and their own schedules. Each video interaction between teacher and student is paired on the site and made available for all members to learn from in the Video Exchange Library. This feature makes ArtistWorks one of the best learning tools.
The online guitar lessons we recommend
ArtistWorks offers a wide online guitar lessons range for a complete beginner, intermediate and pro players and different music styles delivered by 14 master guitarists.
For beginners, we recommend Beginner Acoustic Guitar Lessons by David Butler. This comprehensive class in 10 sections covers all the basics of playing guitar. Everything is included in this beginner course, from the fingers’ position to the chords and rhythm. Thanks to the song tutorials, you will start learning a few popular songs during your learning journey. As part of the bonuses, you also get access to a music theory workshop to improve your knowledge about music in general which will help you in your guitar practice.
We also recommend Paul Gilbert’s Guitar Lessons which are made for all skill levels and styles. Paul Gilbert is an incredible guitar player who started playing by ear when he was 9 and was the youngest instructor hired at the Guitar Institute of Technology (GIT). In addition to his fundamentals lessons, intermediate and advanced, you get access to ArtistWorks Video Exchange. Meaning that you can send your videos of you while you learn guitar and Paul Gilbert himself will review them and record a response video.
For more advanced guitar players, we recommend the complete four-level Certificate Course in Blues Guitar, where Keith Wyatt will teach you the essential skills and concepts to play classic blues. It includes fundamental picking and fretting techniques, chords and rhythm styles every blues guitarist uses, traditional chord progressions, blues phrasing concepts, how to create compelling solos and more. Extras include backing tracks plus guitar lessons in theory, ear training, improvisation and sight-reading. Tests every four weeks measure your skills and understanding, and you’ll receive a score for each technique and video tips offering suggestions for improvement.
To get your certification which is recognized by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC), you will need to:
- Successfully complete 12 weekly assignments according to stated Learning Outcomes.
- Earn a minimum of 75% of all possible points on three Video Submissions according to stated Learning Outcomes.
- Earn a minimum of 75% on three multiple choices, audio and video quizzes covering: Content taught in blues guitar lessons, Ear Training Lessons, Improvisation Lessons and Music Theory.
About the teachers
ArtistWorks cautiously selects music teachers who bring many years of performing, recording and teaching experience to teach players of all skill levels.
- The courses are very high quality and contain videos, free backing tracks, and tablature/notation. They are split into lessons that can be taken in the order of your choice and at your own pace.
- Video Exchange® is an ArtistWorks exclusive patented feature which is incredibly helpful for getting insights from a teacher on your guitar practice. You also get access to the Video Exchange Library to watch the feedback other guitar players receive.
- ArtistWorks offers the Blues Guitar Certificate Course in 4 levels which is recognized by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC).
- No dedicated mobile application is available, but the website works well on a smartphone.
- ArtistWorks is only available in English.
ArtistWorks pricing is flexible and provides you with various options. With each subscription, you get unlimited access to the class of your choice:
- 1 month is between $19.99 and $35, depending on if you choose the Video Exchange option.
- 3 months, including 5 Video Exchanges, is $105.
- 6 months, including 12 Video Exchanges and 25 backing tracks across instruments, is $179.
- 12 months, including unlimited Video Exchanges, unlimited backing tracks across instruments and VIP Bonus Content, is $279.
The VIP Bonus Content includes video lessons and performances from different ArtistWorks artists (and guests) covering many different genres. VIP Bonus Content video lessons include a variety of instruments, musical techniques, training techniques, and exercises.
ArtistWorks often provides excellent deals on their subscription plans.
You can easily cancel your subscription at any time.
Source: Plans and Pricing | ArtistWorks, January 2023.
Amazon.com: Best if you prefer learning from books
An alternative to online classes is, of course, learning from books. It’s a great option if you love reading, and many books also include audio tracks to help you learn guitar faster. There are a lot of books that you can find on Amazon for a very affordable price.
The books we recommend
Hal Leonard Guitar Method, Second Edition – Complete Edition
This book is made for both acoustic and electric guitar. It’s a well-illustrated book explaining everything you must know when learning guitar.
Dr Will Schmid and Greg Koch wrote this book. Dr Will Schmid was an internationally-renowned author of over 100 books for Hal Leonard Publishing and others. He was a music professor at the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee and the Music Educators National Conference president. Greg Koch is an American guitarist who started playing guitar at 12. He has authored many books on various guitar methods and styles during his career.
This book edition includes online access to 164 full-band tracks for demonstration or play-along that can be streamed or downloaded. The audio files include PLAYBACK+, a multi-functional audio player that allows you to slow down audio without changing pitch, set loop points, change keys, and pan left or right.
Music Theory for Guitarists, the Complete Method Book
In complement to your online learning, there is nothing better than a book about music theory especially made for guitarists. In Music Theory for Guitarists, the Complete Method Book, James Shipway has combined the 3 volumes of the famous Music Theory for Guitarists series in one book. This book was very recently published in 2022. The book also has over 100 free audio tracks to help you learn music theory. James Shipway is a self-taught guitarist, author and course creator. His unique approach, compared to traditional music lessons, is very practical and easy to use since he himself struggled to play guitar without guidance.
Guitar All-in-One For Dummies
A team of expert guitarists and music teachers has written Guitar All-in-One For Dummies to show you the essentials you need to know about owning and playing a guitar. You will learn everything from picking your first notes to exploring music theory and composition, maintaining your guitar gear, and diving into the specifics of genres like blues and rock. We recommend this book because it also includes online video and audio instructions to help you learn all the guitar-playing basics. It’s an excellent book for guitar players at any skill level.
We hope this selection of online guitar lessons and books will be helpful in your learning process! Once you will have improved your guitar skills, check out how to make a music video to show your talent to everyone!