Paid vs Free Online Guitar Lessons For Beginners – Which Are Best?
Internet guitar lessons are popular because they provide a convenient, low cost method of learning guitar at home. When you’re just getting started, the most challenging thing is choosing which course to follow, since there’s such a wide variety of both free and paid options available. While the free guitar lessons might seem like the most obvious choice to go for, it’s best to consider the pros and cons of each before making your decision. Let’s look at some of these here.
Free Online Guitar Lessons
- Most obviously – they’re free! This makes them very appealing to anyone on a tight budget.
- Free lessons can also be very good – there’s some very useful stuff out there, so long as you can find it. One such site is Justin Guitar.
- The quality can be very variable. While some of the free options are great, you may have to wade through a lot of dross to find them. Since anyone can set themselves up as an expert on the internet, you’ll find some sites with poorly produced material, hard to navigate sites, and lessons offered by people who aren’t especially skilled as guitarists, or good at communicating.
- It can be difficult to find complete guitar lesson courses. If you’re just starting guitar, it’s important to follow a coherent lesson plan that covers all the fundamental musical and technical skills you’ll need, and presents the information in a logical order. Free lessons will often teach you bits and pieces of information – some chords, riffs, a new song – but they are often don’t provide the same kind of high quality, comprehensive learning plan as a professionally produced course.
- Lack of support can also be an issue. Good quality paid courses will offer help if you have any problems with the material or the site, but free providers often don’t. Of course this is understandable – the site owners are most likely too busy, and aren’t being compensated for their time. But if you’re teaching yourself guitar* at home, it can be really helpful if you can get online assistance if/when you get stuck.
Paid Guitar Lessons
- With paid courses, you’re more likely to have access to a well-structured, complete lesson course that covers scales, chords, technical exercises, rhythm and lead techniques, music theory, reading tab/notation, ear training and more – basically everything you need to become a competent guitarist. And importantly, you’ll develop your skills in an appropriate order, building on what you’ve already learned.
- Help will normally be available if you get stuck. The best online courses have a support option, and often there will be a community forum where you can connect with others who are following the same course. This can also be a source of encouragement if you begin to feel a bit isolated learning alone.
- You also get professional instruction. Quality online guitar courses are created by pro guitarists and teachers with plenty of experience – not random people who might not have been playing long, or have much experience in the area they’re teaching, which is sometimes (though not always) the case with free lessons. If you’re just starting to learn guitar, it’s vital to get quality instruction, or you may end up learning someone else’s bad habits!
- Paid lessons are, well, paid! So money may be an issue. Remember though that even the priciest online lessons are way cheaper than private lessons with a guitar teacher, and you can often get many months’ worth of instruction for the cost of just two or three in-person lessons.
- The quality can also be variable. As mentioned, there’s a lot of not so great stuff out there, and this applies when you buy guitar lessons as well as to the free ones. However, you’ll find that reputable course providers offer a money back guarantee, so you can basically try them out with no risk. Many will provide free sample lessons too, so you can see if you like their teaching style before signing up.
So overall, there are some decent free guitar lessons out there, but if you’re really serious about learning guitar, it can be well worth making the relatively small investment in a top quality online course, so you can be sure that you’ll get everything you need to build your skills. Here are four popular options that you might like:
- Jamorama (downloadable, one-off payment – see this Jamorama review for more info)
- Learn & Master Guitar (book/DVD series with online community, one-off payment)
- JamPlay (membership site, monthly payment)
- Guitar Tricks (membership site, monthly payment)