If you set out to learn how to play the guitar using online lessons today, you’ll be truly spoiled for choice. There are a number of both free and paid resources with video tutorials and step by step guides on how to learn the guitar.
One such site is Guitartricks.com, which happens to be one of the most prominent online guitar lessons websites on the internet, and it’s no doubt thanks to their huge advertising presence and their infamous giveaways.
In this KillerGuitarRigs Review, we’ll be taking a look at Guitartricks.com to see whether you should buy into their marketing hype, or give this one a miss.
How Much Does Guitar Tricks Cost?
Guitar Tricks offers 2 tiers of membership, starting with their free Basic level. With a basic subscription, you get access to 24 different lessons and limited access to some of the features reserved primarily for their Full Access subscription customers.
Full Access grants you unlimited access to every corner of the website, and at the time of writing was available as a monthly subscription for $19.99 per month, or as an annually recurring payment of $179.99.
They do run sales quite often, so it’s worth checking back regularly if the full price seems too much. In addition, one of their better known offers is a free classical acoustic guitar for new subscribers. They are usually available in waves, so if you’re keen to get the free guitar, but it’s not available right now, try again in a few weeks.
Who is it For?
Guitar Tricks is aimed primarily at the brand new to intermediate players. There are advanced lessons, but they are more limited in scope than those available on competitors’ websites.
As with most lessons, it starts right at the beginning with an introduction to the guitar, how to hold, how to tune, how to strum, etc., followed by how to play chords and simple melodies. By the end of the first phase, you should be playing some easy songs.
As you progress through, you’ll find the lessons getting more difficult. It is possible to skip through lessons if you’re already skilled in particular areas, but the site really does try to encourage you to progress through the whole course.
It’s not a site that is well geared toward younger learners. It has a very mature feel that kids aren’t likely to gel with, and the instructor personalities aren’t the most exciting.
How is the User Experience?
Guitar Tricks has updated its learning experience and now features the popular “path” system, although they refer to their setup as the “Core Learning System”. After completing Guitar Fundamentals 1 and Guitar Fundamentals 2, the path splits into 3 branches; Rock, Country, and Blues.
Within the Rock, Country, and Blues paths there are 2 levels, with level 1 being the beginner lessons and level 2 for more advanced players. We found this to be an extremely limiting approach. Intermediate guitarists in particular will find themselves needing to jump back and forth between levels in order to find the most suitable levels.
As with most of the other online lessons sites, Guitar Tricks does offer real songs to learn, which is always a big plus. We were quite impressed at the size of the library as well as the variety in genre. While the core learning system styles were limited, if you want to learn outside of that system just using your favorite songs, there is plenty of choices available.
Song based lessons are divided into sections, including tabs, and it’s claimed that they’re all 100% accurate. We weren’t able to test every single song, but from the lessons we took, we were satisfied with the accuracy.
The Guitar Tricks video player experience is much improved over their previous version. It now offers multiple resolution choices from up to and including 4k, it has an A/B looping feature to allow you to repeat specific sections of the video, and even includes a speed adjustment bar in case you’d like to speed up or slow down a section.
Any tabs and notation can be toggled on or off, and conveniently plays along with the video, so there’s no need to manually scroll through to keep your place.
The production quality was good, with closeups of the fretboard and wide angles showing the instructor both available, but the background was visually unappealing, and with just a couple of exceptions, the instructors weren’t particularly engaging.
Other Apps to Consider
Guitar Tricks has some good features, but also has a number of serious limitations, too. Check out these alternatives if you’re interested in seeing what else is on the market before making a decision as to which site you’d like to subscribe to.
Fender Play is a favorite amongst the KGR staff. It offers a slick user experience, tons of high quality lessons for bass, ukulele and of course, guitar, and structures the lessons in a way that’s easy to follow. Both the website and the app are easy to use, and they have recently introduced AI technology to give you real time feedback on your progress just like a live instructor would.
The Gibson App
Gibson has taken huge steps forward with their new app. It’s aimed squarely at the younger generation, with gamification at the heart of the design. Like Fender Play, it offers AI feedback, and a range of great lessons, but uniquely, they have structured the app like a social platform, with tons of Gibson related content for fans of the brand to enjoy outside of lesson time. The instructors are engaging, and the song library is one of the best out there.
Final Thoughts on Guitar Tricks
Guitar Tricks clearly has a huge marketing budget, and in their ads, their lessons seem like the real deal. In reality didn’t find that they quite lived up to the hype – they weren’t bad by any means, but once you’ve experienced some of the other systems available today, it’s hard to enjoy the low energy lessons we found on Guitar Tricks.
It may feel like harsh feedback, but Guitar Tricks is one of the most expensive online lesson sites on the market, and for $180/year or $19.99/month, we expected much more in terms of personality from the instructors, and features within the site.
Our advice – go with Fender Play, it’s cheaper, and you’ll find the lessons much more engaging.