Guitar Tricks is one of the longest running and most well-established guitar instruction websites on the internet. After over a decade in the business, the website is held in high esteem by many guitarists. Guitar Tricks is one of the most comprehensive online services available for learning the instrument. However, with the wide range of options available to learners today, working out if it’s the best option isn’t as simple as it once was. Finding out about the features, and more importantly how well they’re executed, is vital to deciding if the program is right for you.
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You get a lot for your money when you sign up to Guitar Tricks. It’s a subscription-based website, so you gain access to a plethora of videos and some additional extras when you pay a monthly fee. Here is a run-down of what you can expect in return for your hard-earned cash:
- Over 5,000 high-quality video lessons taught by 45 different instructors.
- 150 jam tracks to play along with.
- Access to a thriving online community.
- Useful tools like a metronome and guitar tuner.
- A reference library of vital techniques.
- Chord and scale finder tools.
- A downloadable video player so you can watch lessons offline.
The lessons are primarily taught through HD-quality videos, but they also have supplementary PDF files which contain things like tabs for the video content so you can play along more easily. When you sign up, you can either choose to stream the videos online or download them for use on the complimentary video player. The “Basic Membership” – which is free – allows you to look at 24 of the video lessons, so you should check some out before you make a decision.
Most videos found on Guitar Tricks are of high quality. You can expect crystal clear visuals, high-quality audio and the use of multiple camera angles so you can always see what the instructor is doing. However, some of the older videos are worse in audio and video quality, and are stuck with one camera angle. These are firmly in the minority, and all of the new videos added go through quality control to make sure they’re up to scratch.
The course is split logically into several different sections. The lessons are grouped into the Core Learning System, lessons on the act of practicing, genre-specific lessons, technique lessons, songs, artist style lessons, electric guitar tone lessons, and chords, scales and arpeggios. The lessons are supported by text files, and can pretty much be followed through in any order after you’ve completed the Core Learning System.
Guitar Tricks’ Core Learning System was devised with beginners in mind. The first two courses within it are on the fundamentals of playing the instrument. There are specific lessons on holding the guitar, how to use each hand, producing your first notes and playing your first chords. The second course on the fundamentals delves further into chords and scales, and introduces important music theory concepts. You’ll get to practice your skills in a common song form and in a well known track, too.
For Intermediate and Advanced Guitarists
The second part of the Core Learning System introduces three important genres: rock, blues and country. The intermediate lessons really start with these lessons, because you learn more specific techniques used to play in these genres and gain an understanding of their conventions. You can use the technique-specific lessons for greater depth, but you get to learn them in context through the style lessons. If you would rather learn songs, you can do that too.
As you learn more and more about your chosen genres, you will move from intermediate to more advanced lessons. One of the major reasons that Guitar Tricks was formed is that it’s hard to find advanced lessons online, and Jon Broderick (the founder) intended to create a lesson site for guitarists of any level. You can undertake lessons in a cornucopia of styles and inspired by popular artists from across a wide range of genres. They also have lessons on tough techniques like sweep picking and getting the right electric guitar tone.
Ease of Use
The subscription site is exceptionally easy to use. The lessons are arranged logically, and you can use a variety of features (like bookmarks, viewed lesson history and progress indicators) to pick up right where you left off. The PDF files are all accessible from the relevant video pages, so you don’t have to search elsewhere before you can start the lesson.
There are several forums for users to interact with each other and instructors, which is a great addition for when you’re struggling with a lesson. Full members also gain access to a special subscribers’ forum, where you can ask questions directly to course instructors and guitar techs. This helps counteract the main downside of learning online – the lack of interactive support. You can post up any problems you’re having, and you’ll have a collection of answers in no time.
The chord and scale finders are the most vital tools you’ll get in Guitar Tricks. The included programs show you a display of the guitar neck, and plot the relevant notes from the chord or scale onto it. The layout is intuitive and the most important chords and scales are covered, which you will use as reference throughout your playing career. Most guitarists couldn’t tell you how to play a Bb7b5 off the top of their head, but you need to know from time to time. The included metronome and guitar tuner will also always be useful.
Guitar Tricks is currently available for $14.95 a month, which makes it cheaper than JamPlay. It drops down to $129 for the full year if you pay it all up front. For the level of content you gain access to, that price is going to be pretty hard to beat.
You can get a full refund up to 60 days after your purchase if you aren’t satisfied. This means there is no real risk in trying out the full version of Guitar Tricks, and there are also 24 lessons you can view without handing over any cash at all.
Guitar Tricks is right up there with JamPlay amongst the best options for learning guitar online. The difference in price is minimal (with Guitar Tricks just coming in $10 cheaper if you pay for a year up front), and the volume of content, quality of teaching and extra tools are very similar. You should look at both options carefully when you make your decision, but you can rest assured that you won’t regret a Guitar Tricks subscription.