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Are you struggling to find time for traditional guitar lessons and dissatisfied with random videos? Whatever your reasons are for considering GuitarTricks, this comprehensive review will help you determine if it’s right for you.
While there are many sources and forms of online guitar lessons, few have rooted themselves as firmly as GuitarTricks. Since the launch in 1998, the site has helped countless musicians improve their guitar skills.
Videos are a great way to learn how to play the guitar, but there’s more to it than that. Although there’s an abundance of free video lessons out there, they’re mostly taught by amateurs who don’t have good ways to teach and may not even play the songs correctly.
These are two compelling arguments for using premium online lessons like GuitarTricks. If you want the full picture, keep reading.
Table of Contents
A Quick Overview
Before we dive into the details of what GuitarTricks can do for you, let’s look at a simple list of the highlights:
- Guitar Fundamentals Core Learning System teaches you the basics step by step.
- Lessons include things like tuning and guitar maintenance.
- You’ll learn popular songs suitable for your skill level.
- Specific style categories such as Rock and Jazz let you develop quickly in your desired direction.
- You’ll find dedicated exercises for specific techniques such as pinch harmonics, sweep picking, slapping, and bottleneck.
- There are lessons on the right gear and settings for different styles and genres.
- You get a bundle of online apps to help with music theory, tuning, and more.
GuitarTricks Pros and Cons
It’s time to start rounding up all the key insights of this comprehensive review. Here are the main upsides and downsides.
- Detailed lessons
- Lots of songs
- User-friendly design
- Frequently updated
- Many helpful features
- Optional Full Access one-on-one lessons
There’s much to like about GuitarTricks, but these are the things that stand out. The simple, easily navigated website makes it easy to find the best guitar lessons for you. Neat categories let you hone in on your favorite style, instructor, or level of complexity.
Having the lessons divided into neat sections gives you a structured and efficient learning experience. Combined with the looping and slow-motion features, they give you a customized learning curve.
What Could Be Better
- Song library could be better
- Some video player bugs may occur
- The best features cost extra
- No lessons for bass guitar
Like most video player plugins, the one at GuitarTricks can sometimes act up a bit. Also, getting the loop points exactly where you want them can be tricky or impossible. While that’s a minor issue, it would be nice to have precise looping.
Other than that, there are few things to remark on. Perhaps the song selection will become an issue to some guitarists. Although there’s a big selection, it’s very limited in some genres. Furthermore, some of the quintessential guitar classics are missing from the library, which may be a drawback.
However, it’s worth noting that no competitor offers a more complete selection either. Plus, you can always look for particular songs elsewhere once you’re more familiar with guitar lessons.
The lack of bass guitar lessons is a bit of a bummer, but then again, it’s a site for guitarists.
In-Depth GuitarTricks Review
The format of the site is straightforward but detailed. You browse between various video courses and pick out your favorites.
As for the lesson format, it’s comprehensive yet sleek and easy to follow. Songs and courses have difficulty ratings to help you progress correctly.
As you click on a song, you arrive on its main page. Here, you’ll find written information, a list of lessons, and a progress bar to see how much you’ve learned. Together with a viewing history, this makes it easy to pick up where you left.
Each lesson has its own video to show you how to play a specific part. This makes learning easier and lets you focus on the parts you want to prioritize. You’ll often also learn what gear and techniques you need to nail the sound.
Thanks to the elaborate video player’s A/B looping capabilities, you can put the video on repeat or select a specific section you want to loop over and over. That’s a godsend when there’s a tricky part.
What’s more, you can play the videos in slow-motion without any pitch changes. For soloists and shredders, this is invaluable.
Regarding video length or number of lessons per song, it varies. Simple songs may have a video each for the intro, verse, chorus, and bridge. More difficult songs have the various progressions and solos in more detailed chunks.
Plus, there’s often a full performance video so that you can play along when you’ve learned each segment.
Below the video, you can find tabs and notes, and sometimes lyrics. GuitarTricks has a new system in development, where live tablature displays together with the video. However, this feature isn’t fully available yet.
As for video quality, you can choose between resolutions ranging from 224p to 4K.
Styles and Artist Studies
My favorite thing about GuitarTricks is how it lets you focus on your desired style. This way, you’ll learn faster by staying inspired and not learning things you don’t need.
You’ll find 12 distinct guitar style sections on the site. Each one has lessons on the essential techniques, classics licks, and characteristics of some of the biggest guitarists of the genre.
For example, the metal section has things like rhythm workouts, tips on metal melodies, and artist studies on Megadeth and Metallica. Meanwhile, the bluegrass page has collections of licks and fast rhythm parts, cross-picking lessons, Tony Rice style analysis, and more.
Browsing around, you can learn the secrets of dozens of guitar legends such as BB King, Jimi Hendrix, and David Gilmour. There are also lessons on all the techniques you may need. Examples include bends, whammy bar, tapping, and sweep picking.
Even if you’ve barely held a guitar, GuitarTricks has lessons for your skill level. You can reach these beginner lessons from the home page.
First, there’s the Core Learning System. It begins with a course called Guitar Fundamentals Level 1. Here, you learn basic things like tuning and the essential guitar chords.
As a beginner, it really helps to have someone lead you by the hand and teach you proper form to avoid problems down the line. Lisa Mccormick, the instructor, has a gentle and beginner-friendly approach to these basic guitar lessons.
This course alone will probably last you for a month or two depending on how fast you learn. Since you can advance at your own pace and practice as much as you want at whatever time suits you, it’s more cost efficient than a live personal tutor.
Level two begins teaching you the common scales and keeps expanding your chord repertoire with power chords and barre chords. Also, you’ll learn the basics of how to read music for guitar.
Whether you’re an advanced player looking to take more lessons or an intermediate who just finished some basic lessons or wants to plan for the future, the GuitarTricks advanced lessons are an excellent place to look.
After the fundamentals, you can choose what path you want to take. There are basic blues, country, and rock courses. Each one has two steps. That’s a good way to learn faster by focusing only on the techniques you want to learn.
Of course, you can also take all three courses to develop a well-rounded foundation of guitar skills. Each course will teach you key rhythm work and lead guitar playing skills.
Also, these GuitarTricks courses introduce you to different instructors who specialize in their styles and techniques. Little things like this are what make GuitarTricks better than many local teachers and virtually all YouTubers.
Plus, you’ll learn which guitar pickups, effects pedals, and other gear you’ll need to get the right sound for your favorite style. Whether you’re into finger picking on acoustic guitars or looking for new lessons to reach the next level of electric guitar proficiency, you’ll find what you need.
Even with these lessons, you’re only getting started. The real power of GuitarTricks lies in its vast collection of songs.
You’ll find hundreds of songs in the GuitarTricks song library. In fact, there are too many to establish an exact number in a GuitarTricks review. There are at least 700, and they add new songs on a roughly weekly basis.
First, let me clarify that these are proper, officially licensed songs. What’s more, it covers both recent hits and old classics, as well as some more niche stuff.
There’s a nice variety, with plenty of universal sing-along songs for those of you who want to woo the crowd at the campfire. At the same time, there’s decent coverage in the less mainstream genres like funk, surf, and world music.
If you love classical pieces, you’ll be pleased to find the classical section at GuitarTricks. Several dozen pieces by big names like Tarrega, Tchaikovsky, and Beethoven can give you many months of learning.
The downside of this faceted collection is that there isn’t that there aren’t a whole lot of songs in some of the style categories. Plus, licensing issues can make it hard or impossible for sites like GuitarTricks to supply lessons on some of the most desired songs.
It’s easy to sort lessons by genre, song title, original artist, popularity, instructor, and difficulty. You can also put the most recent ones on top to stay up to date on new additions.
They list difficulty on a scale from one to five guitars, where one is very easy and five is difficult. However, the scale seems to cap at a somewhat low level. The fifth level contains everything from upper-intermediate to really hard songs, but there aren’t that many of the latter kind.
Regardless, there will be enough songs to keep even experienced players occupied for years.
A comprehensive GuitarTricks review wouldn’t be complete without a mention of the instructors. At the time that I’m writing this GuitarTricks review, there are 32 instructors on their team.
Many of these instructors are world-class guitarists who have played on the big stages around the world or recorded with some of the biggest stars. For example, Anders Mouridsen has played alongside a variety of stars like John Fogerty, Pink, Taylor Swift. Another instructor, Sharon Aguilar, plays lead guitar for Cee Lo Green.
Every instructor has a solid background and reputation as a guitar teacher, and most are at least somewhat famous as touring artists or session musicians.
Each instructor specializes in one or a few genres. This way, you know you’re getting your lessons from an enthusiast who really knows the genre.
Furthermore, these teachers vary significantly in age and teaching style. Regardless of your preferences, you’ll find ones that suit your style and learning curve well.
Another thing you get from GuitarTricks is a set of online tools. There’s nine of them, and some are quite unique. Therefore, a closer look is important for a reliable GuitarTricks review.
First, you have all the basic tools you may expect. There’s a metronome to help you develop good timing, a chord chart to help you learn and memorize chords, and a versatile tuning app.
You also get a guide on reading guitar tabs and a guitar glossary with explanations of all the terminology and lingo.
Next, there are some specialties. For example, the fretboard trainer is a simple game that quizzes you about the notes the fretboard.
The chord finder gives you another way to learn chords. You click a root note and then one of 25 different chords for that note. Then, the guitar background updates to show you which finger goes where. What’s cool is that you can view up to five different grips and inversions for each chord.
Similarly, the scale finder shows you the notes in a scale. You get 20 different scales for each root note. So, if you’ve been wondering what on earth E Phrygian and C Mixolydian mean, here’s an easy way to learn.
Last but not least, there’s the Jam Station. Here, you’ll find a big collection of jam tracks you can use to practice your lead guitar playing skills.
Sure, most of these tools aren’t that special. However, it’s very convenient to have them all together like this.
If you’re looking for a premium guitar lesson service, you’ll want to pay extra attention to this part of the GuitarTricks review. Since 2018, there are Full Access memberships that give you even better lessons.
You can get either Full Access Pro or Full Access Plus. Each one is an additional service you can buy to add to your basic membership.
Full Access Pro is the comprehensive package. With this account, you’ll get live face-to-face guitar lessons from your instructor. To clarify, this takes place over a video chat. Therefore, it’s like traditional guitar lessons but more convenient, since you can learn from home.
Full Access Plus is a more affordable option. Here, you’ll get three group lessons each week instead. Although it’s less personalized, you can still ask questions and get better advice.
Either one of these can be a good way to boost your learning if you have the money to spare. Personal guidance makes a big difference for the learning guitar player.
The GuitarTricks App
Another way to access the GuitarTricks lessons is with their smartphone app. There are versions for both Android and iOS. This can be a perfect solution if you want lessons when you’re out and about.
While there is a free version, it only has a limited selection of lessons, which alternate over time. However, a GuitarTricks membership gives you access to all the usual content via the app.
As for the app itself, it’s straightforward and user-friendly. You can navigate easily with the dashboard, and you have the same control as you would on the website but in a nicer format for mobile devices.
Blog and Forum
An oft-overlooked aspect that’s worth mentioning in a GuitarTricks review is the community.
First, there’s the official blog. They update it often, and you can access it even if you’re not a paying member. Here, you can read guitar-related top lists, reviews, and recommendations among other things.
Also, there’s a complete user forum on the site. The forum has neatly organized sections for different types of guitar topics and other subjects.
Thus, you can also learn a lot from other guitars of various skill levels. You can discuss techniques, songwriting, recording, and more. Plus, it’s a good place to get tips about the best lessons and instructors on the site.
If you’re lucky, you may even find someone to jam with.
Last but not least, you can find GuitarTricks community pages on Facebook and other social media. Among the updates and discussions, you can sometimes find additional lessons for free.
While my GuitarTricks review gives you a good idea of what to expect, it’s often best to see for yourself. Thankfully, GuitarTricks offers a free 14-day trial before you have to decide if you want a full membership.
What’s more, this isn’t some watered down version of what you’ll get with a full membership. You get access to everything for two weeks, free of charge.
It’s easy to see why GuitarTricks is still popular after more than twenty years. Whether you’re a complete beginner or an intermediate guitarist learning to pick up some new tricks and learn songs the proper way, GuitarTricks can be an excellent choice.
From the team of instructors to the vast library of song lessons and the high video quality, GuitarTricks.com gives you an easy and comprehensive learning experience. Whether it’s worth the price is up to you, and you can find out by signing up for the free trial.
Either way, I have a feeling that you won’t be disappointed. After all, a year of access to all these lessons and learning tools for less than $200 is a good value deal.