GuitarTricks vs TrueFire: Which Is the For Learning Guitar‎?

By Jodie Chiffey | Learning

Last Updated on

With advances in technology, Skype and other online tools that allow you to chat to anyone in the world at any time, long gone are the days where you had to scour the internet for a guitar teacher close to where you live. While learning to play guitar by a person physically in front of you is still highly beneficial, it’s not very practical – and not to mention expensive. People are so busy and lead such complex lives that companies offering online guitar lessons are popping up all over the place instead. Our GuitarTricks vs Truefire comparison is designed to help you figure out if either one would benefit you if you want to learn how to play this versatile instrument.

man learning to play guitar with guitar tricks

Both GuitarTricks and TrueFire are some of the oldest guitar tutoring websites on the internet, and both have amassed a worldwide following since they both began in the ‘90s. Since then, their repertoire of songs and tutors has grown, and today expect to be tutored from some of the best guitarists in the world. There are pros to using both guitar lesson brands, so it’s definitely both knowing the fundamentals before you go with either one. This is where our comparison guide will come in very handy.

Whether it’s GuitarTricks or TrueFire you end up using, we’ve got all the information you could possibly need to make your decision. It can be difficult to know which one to choose, but we hope to make it easier for you by giving you all the facts so you can get a headstart. Let’s get started with our GuitarTricks vs Truefire head to head comparison.

The main differences between GuitarTricks vs TrueFire

GuitarTricks vs TrueFire

Both online guitar brands are similar in nature, but there are clear differences between the two to make them stand out too. We’ve put the main differences side by side so that you can make a quick distinction between them before you read the entire comparison guide. Hopefully, this should give you a better understanding of what they both can offer.

  • TrueFire was established in 1991, whereas GuitarTricks began in 1998.
  • TrueFire offers over 40,000 lessons; GuitarTricks offers around 11,000.
  • GuitarTricks has 33 different instructors to choose from. In comparison, TrueFire has a whopping 140 tutors.
  • While exact numbers are unknown, GuitarTricks uses far more songs to learn from than TrueFire.
  • GuitarTricks costs $179.99 for an annual membership, while TrueFire is $249 per year in comparison.

Things to think about when first learning to play guitar online

man playing guitar

While the classic tried-and-tested local guitar teacher might work best for you, if you’re on a tight budget or haven’t got a consistent amount of time to dedicate to being tutored each week, then an online tutoring scheme might be best. Before you commit, here are some useful things to think about first.

Do you have decent equipment to learn from?

By this, we mean have you got a laptop that you can use or an HDMI cable that you can connect your TV to? It might sound obvious but when you’re learning to play guitar from an online video tutorial, you’re going to need to be able to see it clearly so you can follow which guitar strings to play.

The best solution would be to use a large desktop screen or laptop that’s set up in front of you. Even better – if you have a large TV screen that you can connect your laptop to through a cable, then you’ll be able to follow the video perfectly. Using a smartphone is probably going to be too small, so before you commit to membership with either GuitarTricks or TrueFire, get your kit sorted out first.

Will you stick with it- GuitarTricks vs TrueFire?

When using an online platform, you’ll need to use a lot of your willpower in order to improve and progress with your guitar skills. Not having the commitment of a local teacher scheduling you in each week can sometimes mean you fail to find the time to dedicate to practicing each week, so make sure before you commit to signing up you know it’s the right way for you to learn.

If you’re not sure, take advantage of the free trials on offer. They’re a great way to have a play around with each platform to see which one works for you. You can watch the videos and use the lessons just like you would if you were a fully-fledged member. If you’re not convinced, simply cancel once the trial period is up.

Can you afford a guitar tutor?

If so, then the traditional way of teaching may be best. You really can’t beat a guitar teacher being sat right in front of you giving you the direct level of feedback your playing needs. If you’re a complete beginner, it might be worth getting someone in first so you can master the basics, our comparison GuitarTricks vs TrueFire will make you feel a bit more comfortable switch to either GuitarTricks or TrueFire.

However, if you really are on a tight budget then don’t fret. An online guitar tutor will be more than enough to get you up to speed with your guitar playing. You might just find you have to play one of the sessions more than once to get the hang of it. Remember – you have to work to your own pace to get results.

GuitarTricks Review

guitartricks lessons

GuitarTricks is one of the most popular online guitar lesson programs on the market. Started in 1998, it’s since gained over 1.9 million members and won numerous awards, including the Player’s Choice Acoustic Guitar Gold Award and Davey Awards Gold Award Winner. Its popularity is consistently growing.

With a membership, you get access to the entire suite of songs, tools, and lessons on offer to help you reach your guitar playing potential. There are 33 different tutors available – all with different guitar playing backgrounds, but all are super talented and experienced in all forms of mediums. This includes playing in a band and in-studio sessions. This is one of GuitarTricks’ biggest selling points – you’re in good hands with any of their instructors.

For beginners, you’ll go straight into their beginner Core Learning System. This will allow you to learn the basics of the guitar so you can start to progress through the sections. While you’ll get to play almost straight away, you’ll also discover more about how to tune strings and play simple chords. This is a great place to start if you are new to guitar.

For more seasoned guitar players there’s plenty for you, too. GuitarTricks’ step by step system gets harder as you progress, allowing you to learn quickly and efficiently while perfecting your craft. With a simple click of the ‘Next’ button, you can go onto the next lesson, trying out new tracks and musical styles to get you up to speed. GuitarTricks uses high-quality video with multiple camera angles so you can get a more realistic view, even though your tutor’s on a screen.

There are various video qualities available too, from 224p to 4K, allowing you to choose the resolution that works for you. Not only that, but you can play on an A/B looping system so you can repeat a lesson, and you can also slow down the video to try and master the song.

One of the biggest complaints about GuitarTricks is that bass guitar lessons aren’t available. This is a shame if you’re looking to broaden your skills with bass, but unfortunately, you’ll have to look for an alternative program to GuitarTricks if the bass is your chosen instrument. Overall though, GuitarTricks is a market leader and it really does a show.

Features:

  • There are over 11,000 lessons.
  • Over 700 songs are available to learn.
  • GuitarTricks caters for all levels.
  • Video lessons are downloadable.
  • Features supplemental tabs and chord charts.
  • You can bookmark lessons and view your progress history.
  • Access the library or book a private lesson for an additional fee.
  • Features chord and scale finder tools, backing tracks and a metronome to keep your time.
  • Forums are available for you to chat with tutors or other learners.

Pros:

  • There are loads of online songs to play along with and learn from.
  • The website and library are both incredibly easy to use.
  • You can get 1-on-1 lessons if you prefer to learn that way.
  • It’s a very affordable program.
  • Lessons are short and to the point, allowing you to learn in short bursts to fit your schedule.

Cons:

  • There are no lessons available for bass guitar.
  • You have to pay an additional fee for private lessons.
  • Some of the older lessons are of poor quality.

Popular opinion on GuitarTricks

guitartricks lessons

Generally, opinions are very positive when it comes to GuitarTricks. They’ve really nailed their market and are providing top-quality guitar lessons to suit every budget and schedule. We’ve tracked down a few real-life reviews so you can get an authentic look at what some learners are saying.

  • One budding musician stopped being able to afford a local teacher so turned to GuitarTricks, and loves that the instructors take it nice and slow. Affordability is a big factor for her.
  • Another GuitarTricks member loves how easy the site is to use and finds the library of songs and backing tracks extensive and a great resource.
  • One guitar student remarked that they were disappointed there weren’t more songs from The Beatles and other bands from that era to play along with.

TrueFire Review

man learning how to play guitar using true fire

TrueFire has been established since 1991 and is quite possibly the largest online guitar lesson program in the world. It’s got around 700 courses and over 40,000 lessons, which is absolutely huge when you’re talking about an online platform. There are more than 200 instructors too, many of which are big names in the world of guitar and have a wealth of expert knowledge to share with its members.

While the website feels a bit more clunky and cluttered compared to GuitarTricks, it is still fairly straightforward to use. There are quite a lot of options available to choose from, but spending time using the navigation at the top should help you out. It’s a little overwhelming at first, but taking the time to browse through the website beforehand will help you get started to find out whether it’s right for you.

Unlike GuitarTricks, which offers a comprehensive beginner’s program, TrueFire doesn’t have this and instead relies on you to choose where you want to start. This is great if you’re looking for flexibility, but not so good for complete beginners that need a helping hand. They do have the ‘Learning Paths’ system to help you get going, though. You simply choose the genre you want to get started with and then begin with the ‘Learn Guitar 1’ course. From here, you can map out your path to learning how to play.

For intermediate or advanced guitar players, TrueFire really kicks into its own. There are so many supplementary courses to undertake that you can really start to nail the more technical elements of guitar playing. You can literally pick any genre and your favorite songs are likely to be in the library thanks to TrueFire’s vast selection. Even using TrueFire for a few years won’t get you anywhere near to completing all the courses!

You can hire private tutors too. They come with an additional fee, but if you need a more personal touch and have the cash to spare, it’s a great way to get some feedback on your music skills first hand. It works in a slightly different way to GuitarTricks, in that you upload a video of yourself playing the guitar, and you then receive feedback on that video. It doesn’t quite have that true personal touch, but it’s a decent start.

Features:

  • There are over 40,000 lessons.
  • Instructional video lessons are available.
  • Backing tracks for you to play along with songs.
  • A downloadable app for on the move.
  • Video jam tracks.
  • Classrooms and workshops are available for an additional cost.
  • 30-day free trial.

Pros:

  • Bass guitar lessons are included.
  • There are so many great instructors to choose from.
  • There’s so much content for advanced and intermediate musicians to benefit from.
  • There are absolutely tons of lessons to go through.
  • Extra jam tracks are available.

Cons:

  • Private lessons aren’t truly personal.
  • It’s not so easy for beginners to use.
  • The additional features can get quite expensive.

Popular opinion on TrueFire

true fire logo

Again, reviews for TrueFire are pretty good, but there are definitely pros and cons. We’ve scoured a range of online reviews to try and find what real-life users of TrueFire think of the platform so far. This is the best way to gauge popular opinion to see whether it might be suitable for you.

  • One guitar player loves the teachers really know their stuff and makes learning fun.
  • Another learner said they had a lot of success with TrueFire and found the lessons comprehensive.
  • One reviewer stressed how TrueFire isn’t a great platform for beginner guitar players. When he first learned how to play, he went with GuitarTricks.

GuitarTricks vs TrueFire Conclusion – Which is the better option?

This isn’t an easy clear-cut comparison as both GuitarTricks and TrueFire have so much to offer. They’re two of the biggest players in the world of online guitar lessons, and you won’t read a review without either one getting a mention. There are millions of people around the world already using them, so when it comes to learning guitar, you’re going to want to check them out first.

One of the biggest things to note about TrueFire is that even though it’s the older platform of the two, it’s not so good for beginners. This is a fairly common complaint when you look into popular opinions, but for whatever reason TrueFire doesn’t even try to aim their lessons at beginners. Their target market is intermediates and advanced guitar players, which seems a shame for budding musicians wanting to learn.

Luckily, GuitarTricks offers a great alternative if you’ve never picked up a guitar before. Using a super simple step-by-step system, you start at the beginning and work your way up to the more advanced lessons. If you’re looking for more flexibility then perhaps you won’t like this method quite as much, but if you need to learn the basics then definitely start with GuitarTricks.

guitar and piano

TrueFire does have its plus sides though. Their resource of songs, courses, and lessons is huge, so you’re never stuck for choice. It would also take you a really long time to get through them all, so it almost feels like you’re on a constant guitar-learning progression. While GuitarTricks doesn’t have quite so much resource, it still offers enough to get you mastering the basics and more advanced skills.

When it comes to price, GuitarTricks is a little bit cheaper per year. They also have fewer additional fees – something TrueFire is becoming notorious for. The add-ons can get quite expensive with TrueFire, so you have to be careful what you add to your basket. Their private sessions aren’t quite as personal to what GuitarTricks has to offer, either. Instead of playing via video chat with one of the tutors, you send over a video of you playing guitar in order to get feedback.

Overall, we think GuitarTricks is the better option for all abilities and offers that personal touch to really make a difference and add flavor to your guitar playing.

Frequently asked questions

“Is GuitarTricks free?”

GuitarTricks is a paid-for service, so it’s not free. When it comes to payment, there are two choices – an annual or monthly subscription. Annual subscription is $179.99, while a monthly subscription costs $19.95 each month.

“Can you get live lessons on GuitarTricks?”

While live lessons aren’t part of the membership packages, you can purchase a 1-on-1 session separately. You can choose from a 30 or 60-minute slot, and in that time you’ll get direct feedback on your playing, as well as hints and tips from your tutor directly on how to improve. Sessions generally cost $45 for 30 minutes and $60 for 60 minutes.

“Does GuitarTricks have a satisfaction guarantee?”

They do. They offer a full, 60-day money-back guarantee. All you need to do is contact them within 60 days of your purchase and they will refund 100% of your money back – no questions asked.

“How much does TrueFire cost?”

A subscription to TrueFire has a few different options. For a monthly membership package, it costs $29 (billed in one lump sum of $348). For the annual package, it’s usually $249 although you can expect to find money-off deals, and for the lifetime package, pay $2,499 or less in the TrueFire sale.

“Is a free trial available with TrueFire?”

TrueFire offers a 30-day trial so you can give all the features a go before you commit. With a free trial, you’ll get access to:

  • 40,000+ video lessons.
  • Tab, standard notation charts, and practice jam tracks.
  • A free course download of 10 Guitar Licks You MUST Know.
  • 25% off your first-course download purchases.
  • $10 initial deposit of TrueFire Cash, good for up to 25% off courses.
  • Access to other learning tools and more.

“How does TrueFire work?”

You can either purchase private lessons with a tutor for an additional fee, or you can tap into the huge library of over 600 courses covering any genre. You can take the lessons at your own pace and play along until you improve your guitar playing skills. The great thing is there’s no rush or limit to what you can do.

GuitarTricks vs TrueFire: The bottom line

Whether you decide that GuitarTricks or TrueFire is the right online guitar school for you, hopefully by now you have all the information you need to be able to make that choice. We’ve love to know if this comparison guide helped you. And if you liked this article, why not discover the best guitar amps with bluetooth on the market, or how to read guitar chord charts?

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