“Music is the strongest form of magic.” - Marilyn Manson
In recent years, electric guitar sales have dropped. However, people are still interested in playing the guitar. Perhaps people are choosing to play the acoustic guitar, folk guitar, or jazz guitar instead.
Whatever the reason may be, learning to play the guitar takes time, patience, and perseverance, especially when going it alone, without guitar tutorials, music theory, or a teacher to encourage us.
Fortunately, the internet is here to save the day! There are plenty of free guitar lessons available online as well as resources that you'll have to pay for. The advantage is that you can work on your guitar scales at any time of the day.
In this article, we're going to take a look at some of the websites you should definitely visit whether you've just started playing the guitar, are looking to learn new techniques, or an advanced player looking for something new.
Websites for Learning to Play the Guitar: Tabs4acoustic
Tabs4acoustic is for classical guitarists. The site has 30 video courses, 10 hours of professional videos for each level, from beginners to experts. You’ll find theory work and technical activities as well as lessons dedicated to different topics like reading music, playing chords, reading guitar tablature, blues music for beginners, slide guitar, and an introduction to guitar scales.
There are video lessons with a written part to help you better understand certain aspects. There are exercises to work on to help you improve.
There’s also tablature available in another tab. The 5 most popular tabs are:
- Hotel California
- Nothing Else Matters
- Redemption Song
Perhaps you could start with these?
Tabs4acoustic also includes FAQs, a forum, a riff library (for finding nice riffs), backing tracks (for improvising), and challenges. You’ve got everything you want and it’s free!
Take your guitar learning on the go with these best guitar apps!
Every guitarist should add this website to their favourites. If you want to play guitar, this is one of the first websites you should start with.
There are over 100 online guitar lessons for beginner guitar techniques like strumming and picking. Once you've worked out how to play guitar, you learn to play their licks of the week, which are great for improving as a musician both in terms of technique and music theory.
Whether you're playing guitar for fun, a professional musician, playing blues guitar or rock guitar, make sure you regularly pick up your instrument and head over to ShredAcademy.
ArtistWorks Guitar Campus
We'll start with the bad news first, you have to pay for this site. However, you will get your money's worth for it.
Unlike some of the other sites we mentioned where you consume the content and learn guitar on your own., with this website, you get an instructor who will provide you with online guitar lessons. The money you pay is for actual guitar instruction, rather than access to videos and articles like on some other sites.
You can spend a lot of time on some sites looking over a guitar lesson and not actually becoming a better guitar player. This isn't the case here as you'll have someone helping you and providing you with guidance and feedback. This will ensure that you don't pick up any bad habits, which often happens with self-taught musicians.
Read some of the best guitar blogs, written by guitar players!
If you can't read sheet music, this site needs to be put into your favourites bar now.
Ultimate-Guitar is arguably the best website for tablature. Since guitar tabs are user-submitted, there are often several versions of each one. However, users also rate the tabs so you can quickly find the best tab according to other users votes.
Learning guitar is much easier when you get to play your favourite songs and you'll probably find the tabs or the chord progressions for them on this site. To be fair, if you can't find it on Ultimate-Guitar, it probably doesn't exist! Every time I want to learn a new song on the guitar, Ultimate-Guitar is the first place I visit.
There are also lessons and an accompanying app for mobile devices and tablets so that you can take Ultimate-Guitar with you anywhere.
Jammit is a website and also an app for iOS, Mac, and PC. If there's a certain song you're trying to learn on the guitar, this is probably the place to go. You can find a song you like, slow it down, loop a tricky section, and jam along until your fingers are dancing on the strings just like your favourite artists. If you're struggling with a certain solo, open up the tabs on Ultimate-Guitar and jam along with Jammit!
This website is all about learning how to play the guitar. There are tonnes of great lessons and resources to get you practising regularly. If you want to learn how to play guitar, this site is worth your time.
If you aren't attending a guitar course, you should definitely be spending a lot of time on this website. Fortunately, you won't have to pay a penny to access the site and start enjoying all the lessons available.
Additionally, the website is regularly updated so it's still worth visiting once you've got the hang of the guitar as you can still learn different techniques and more about the underlying theory.
With recommendations from Mark Knopfler and Steve Vai, you don't need to take my word on just how good this website is.
After being taught on a proper music course or by the best guitar tutors, YouTube is the next best thing. MusicRadar has beginner guitar lessons. Be it a pentatonic scale, a chord progression, strumming patterns, power chords, or ear training, you can learn more with the free guitar lessons on MusicRadar.
As we said, though, make sure that you don't pick up any bad habits as there's nobody there to correct you when making a mistake. While free guitar lessons can be really useful, it's always a good idea to have an actual guitar instructor or an experienced musician come in and check you're doing it right.
There are beginners, intermediate, and advanced, and theory classes on iMusicSchool. 100,000 students have already taken classes. There are 60 artists and specialists offering their expertise on the site.
You can also choose which guitar teacher you’d like video lessons from. You can also try the course and ask the teacher questions before paying for it. You can gain unlimited access to the courses.
You can subscribe for a year or just a week in order to try it out. This is a site you could use for a very long time.
Online Private Guitar Tutorials
While we've mentioned websites you should visit, you can also use the internet to interact with real people. For example, on Superprof, you can find private guitar tutors who offer tutorials via webcam. This is great if you happen to have an awkward schedule or other commitments stopping you from attending guitar lessons or getting a private tutor.
The advantage of online private tutors over websites is that they can correct you when you make mistakes, adapt their lessons to your learning style, and tailor their course to exactly what you want to learn and how you want to learn it.
While all these websites are fantastic resources, they can't replace having a real person in charge of your musical education. Even though online private guitar tutorials aren't free, they tend to be cheaper than hiring a private tutor as they don't have to travel to you and they can work whenever.
I'd recommend starting with some of these websites, seeing how you get along.
Advice for Learning an Instrument Online
Research into online tuition
A recent report into online tuition by The Tutor Pages has demonstrated that music teachers tend to be quite sceptical about the prospect of teaching a musical instrument or singing online. Apart from the obvious auditory, visual and kinaesthetic limitations of teaching via the internet, survey participants expressed concern over other less quantifiable elements such as presence, motivation, rapport and support.
Having said that, music teachers were also quick to recognize that there were significant advantages too, such as not having to travel, being able to access a wider student base, and having more flexibility in scheduling (by being able to teach pupils abroad during the day, for example).
Only 16% of musicians in the survey had taught online before. So, what is it like, and can it work?
Teaching the cello over the internet
When people find out I have a Skype pupil, the same questions tend to come up: why doesn’t she go to a local teacher? How did they find you? What about the time difference? How does it work?
I first met the family at a two-day course I was teaching on in London. They were visiting from Germany, and were very keen on the Suzuki method for learning the cello, having started with it several months earlier at a summer course in Dorset. They asked if I might consider teaching Lena over Skype and I agreed. Neither of us was quite sure how it was going to work out, but since there were no Suzuki teachers within travelling distance from where they lived in Germany, this was really their only option.
More recently the family moved to India, and one of the great things about our situation was that a move of thousands of miles to a different continent made no difference to us. We have had to overcome poor internet connections, dying microphones and overly curious house pets, but somehow it works.
We generally try to have a lesson once a week, but the day and time varies according to both our schedules, so sometimes that can mean an 8.15am lesson at my end to accommodate the time difference.
The role of touch in teaching
There has been some debate over the past few years about the role touch should play in instrumental lessons, but it’s clear to me from my own experience that not being able to adjust posture during a lesson slows the process of learning considerably. Lena’s mother is a cellist herself, so she is able to be my hands – and sometimes even my ears. Without her pre-existing knowledge and expertise, I honestly don’t think the set up would have worked.
The family are extremely committed and they try to visit the UK at least once a year, so I am also able to give a series of lessons to Lena in person. These periods are vital times to catch up, both technique-wise, and also relationship-wise. You might call this a ‘hybrid’ model of online/face-to-face tuition, which is an approach mentioned by a number of teachers in the report.
Finding a real connection
Not everyone will agree with me, but I feel that something is lost in the human connection between people if you only interact via video link. The subtleties of communication are missed, which can be difficult. I can’t always tell when Lena is tired or unfocussed, and so fail to adjust my lesson style appropriately. In ‘real’ life, this would not be a problem – it’s much more obvious! So when we actually meet (often on a summer course) it’s a chance for me to get to know Lena properly again, and for her to do the same with me.
Skype is an amazing tool, but I think it will be a long time before distance learning can truly rival face-to-face lessons for instrumental teaching. Having said this, as my experience with Lena shows, online tuition can give students learning opportunities that would otherwise be closed to them.
Private Guitar Tutorials
If you want to take your learning offline, private guitar tutorials are definitely the best way to learn. They come with all the advantages of online private tutorials, with the exception that your tutor is actually there in front of you and can physically show you techniques.
That said, a private tutor will probably still recommend some of these websites for you to browse at your leisure between their lessons to make sure that you're not rusty the next time you see them!
If you're looking for guitar tutors, you can search for both online and offline tutors, browse their profiles, and get in touch via Superprof!
So are you ready to start learning to play the guitar? Then you might enjoy our top picks for the best websites to learn guitar...