Learning guitar online without guidance is not as easy as just opening a YouTube video from a random teacher. Paid alternatives, like the legendary Guitar Tricks, guide you through all the confusion and on the right path to becoming a better player. Guitar Tricks is one of the founders of online lessons and overall a great choice, yet there are others to consider that might fit your learning style best. Two decades after my first online lesson, I will guide you through some of the best Guitar Tricks alternatives as a teacher and studio musician.
Bottom Line Up-Front: While Guitar Tricks has decades of experience teaching players of every level, there are better resources for dedicated advanced players or total beginners. If you live in one of the two extremes or have a specific area you want to develop your playing, the online world offers guitar courses from equally helpful websites or master teachers you should consider.
With so many paid and unpaid alternatives, it’s hard to choose one, let alone stick with it for a long. My Goal is to guide you not to the best overall but the best online lesson resource for you.
Top Guitar Tricks Alternatives at a Glance
- Justin Guitar – Best For Total Beginners: Justin is the first face I can recall teaching lessons online on YouTube. His
beginnermethod is the best and the culmination of two decades of teaching hundreds of thousands of new guitarists, including me.
- Lick Library – Best For Songs and Styles: Lick Library is as big of a name as Guitar Tricks in the online lesson community. They truly outclassed everyone else when they came out by having master players teach every possible guitar song no other website would take on.
- True Fire – Best For Advanced Players: True Fire, in a way, is the modern Lick Library. Their business model allows them to get Joe Bonamassa himself to teach his songs. Only looking up close at such big names is enough for intermediate and advanced players to sign up.
- Tim Pierce Masterclass – For the Gigging Musician: Tim is one of the most humble masters of the guitar out there. He is one of the most acclaimed session guitarists who teaches better than anyone what you need to know in real-life gigging and studio situations.
- Fender Play – Best for Beginners and Intermediate Players: Fender Play took all the best aspects of Jam Play, Guitar Tricks, and other websites and recently launched its modern, user-friendly website. Apart from advanced and specific guitar concepts, I find it the best website of 2022.
- Tom Hess – Best For Metal and Professional Guitarist: Tom has been around for as long as Marty Schwartz or Justin has. While the latter were teaching general guitar and songs, Tom focused on metal and took it to the next.
Why Should You Learn From Guitar Tricks?
Guitar Tricks deserves all the merit it gets from the guitar community. It’s one of the founders of online lessons, putting up videos far before YouTube stars and with more content than most paid websites.
Most of the modern alternatives to Guitar Tricks were inspired by it and look like a spin-off with other teachers and a different website branding. The only thing I have never liked about the website is the name; the term guitar tricks make me feel uneasy as going for tricks is the opposite of teaching guitar properly. However, that’s just a pet peeve showing that the name doesn’t do the website justice.
Overall the website is one of the best alternatives for beginners and intermediate players that want to get to the next levels. The teacher will motivate you to do your best, and the online tools you get with the subscription are very useful. The lessons’ structuring is also fantastic, guaranteeing you won’t skip the basics.
Where Could Guitar Tricks Improve?
Where I think it could improve is the in-depth lesson for advanced players. The content is good, but it sometimes skips some important aspects you need once you get to a professional playing level. For example, a teacher will go through how chords and scales work together but won’t give you practical tips like Tim Pierce in his masterclass.
If you have yet to decide, try the 24 free lessons first to get an idea of the content.
How To Tell A Good Guitar Lesson?
The answer to this question would have saved me years of jumping around from one YouTube video to another on my quest for finally learning the dreadful modes. However, I can’t blame myself, and neither should you, as in truth, it takes becoming a teacher to tell a good lesson from a bad one.
Put simply, if you feel like skipping most of the lesson to get to the core of it, it’s most likely the lesson’s fault, not yours. This is valid for individual videos and full methods, including many videos you feel like skipping.
Another important aspect is the teacher’s skill as a player. Not all great players indeed make good teachers. However, having Guthrie Govan, arguably the greatest guitar virtuoso of our generation, play in front of a camera for two hours will teach an advanced player more than any lesson.
The video quality and how a lesson is structured in multiple videos are crucial for paid subscriptions. I prefer numerous short videos rather than long ones to avoid repeating the same concepts over and over.
Having direct contact with the teacher and possibly private lessons is a big plus. I still remember sending a message on YouTube live to David Walliman on modes and his epic reply that finally demystified them for me.
Also, I never trust a paid service that does not have quality backing material like tabs, sheet music, or backing tracks. Even if the lesson in itself is good, the subscription should come with extra perks.
Justin is the true master of teaching a
The peculiar thing about Justin is that he had figured it out since the first lesson. There’s not much to improve on a
When I taught little kids how to play guitar a year ago, his method was the one I was teaching as it was and still is bulletproof. Now he even has an app dedicated to learning guitar!
Justin is a great player, yet he doesn’t go into advanced concepts often, as most of his audience are beginners and intermediate players. With this in mind, I urge you to try his free
Justin Guitar Pros
- Justin is the best motivator to get over your early playing struggles
- There is a mobile app available
beginnercourse is completely free!
Justin Guitar Cons
- The website is not very user-friendly.
- There is not that much content for upper intermediate, or advanced player
For a good reason, Lick Libray now calls itself the original online guitar lesson platform. Two decades ago, their DVDs were the most reliable resource in the world for learning complex songs and every possible guitar style.
I think the “in six weeks” DVD series is still unbeatable for teaching you a music style in a short time. Master guitarists teach all the lessons; sometimes, the best players in the world often teach their songs. Danny Gill, Tom Quale, Michael Casswell, and the mighty Guthrie were my teacher heroes and could be yours.
The song catalog is impressive and always 100% correct! There is no note out place on any song; they even go as deep as to play them with the same technique and attitude as the original recording.
Lick Library is also listed in our list of best Justin Guitar alternatives.
Lick Library Pros
- Top-level professional teachers
- A vast catalog of songs with incredibly detailed accuracy
- Fast and slow performances
- Backing tracks
Lick Library Cons
- Recently the most famous teachers have left the platform.
- Not the best video quality
TrueFire is now what Lick Library was in 2010. They managed to get the best player in the world to teach on the website. If Steve Vai, Larry Carlton, Tommy Emanuel, and others agree to teach a lesson on your site, then it’s not something an intermediate or advanced player want’s to miss.
TrueFire is your ideal website if you want to learn guitar in any of their all-star lineup styles. Even though it is expensive, you can have one-on-one lessons with some of them.
The Jam Tracks included in the “In The Jam” series are probably the best I have encountered online. An excellent resource for improving your jamming skills.
What I think it’s perfect, apart from the instantly vast catalog of lessons, is the video quality of every class. No matter how much time passes, I’m always impressed when Larry Carlton, arguably the greatest session guitarist ever, teaches a two-hour lesson.
- Some of the best players in the world teach in the platform
- Excellent for intermediate or advanced players
- Great video and audio quality
- Good backing tracks
- Not much content for beginners
Tim is your guy if you want to learn electric guitar in the most practical way possible and shine at gigs or in the studio. His experience recording hundreds of albums and touring the world shows all the small details of his playing and teaching.
I still am a student of Tim’s masterclass and will continue doing so just to get the chance to join him on live stream and ask him questions. As a session musician, I know that true mastery lies in simplicity, and Tim is the best example of giving easy answers to complex questions. I especially love how for every lesson, there’s a simplified version tailored for beginners that are quite there yet.
If you are stuck in the same licks when improvising, his course on soloing over chords changes, and a practical way of explaining modes is what you need. All is tailored to make you shine on the stage or studio.
I would suggest having at least one year of playing under your belt before joining his class, as sometimes it could feel overwhelming if your fingers can’t respond as you wish they would.
Time Pierce Masterclass Pros
- Practical lessons from a studio legend
- A fantastic approach to learning music theory for guitar
- Great lessons on lead guitar and getting a good guitar tone
- Lessons on guitar gear and how to be a great working musician
- A simplified version of most lessons is available
Tim Pierce Masterclass Cons
- Not much content for beginners
- The available content is vast but limited to Tim’s knowledge of pop, rock, funk, and blues.
I argue that Fender Play is the best website for learning guitar launched in recent years. A lot of attention was put by Fender to going to the core of teaching guitar with the practical short video format. Just like a good arrangement, there’s nothing left to take out of it.
I put it at the same level as Justin Guitar regarding
The only area where I think there could be an improvement is the high-level content. Perhaps getting some star teachers to do occasional masterclasses would make Fender Play beat TrueFire and Lick Library in teaching advanced concepts.
The subscription has a fun element with giveaways, challenges, and a sense of community with other players. The website is now testing a feedback mode to listen to your playing and correct mistakes. New songs are added weekly, and it’s only half the price of Guitar Tricks!
Read Also: What are the Best Songs to Learn on Fender Play.
Fender Play Pros
- Efficient approach with short format videos
- A vast catalog of continuously updated lessons and songs
- Useful tools including a next-gen feedback mode
- Weekly live streams, prices, etc.
- Professional teacher
- High-quality audio video and backing material
- Very affordable
Fender Play Cons
- Not much material for the advanced player
- The teachers are great but not famous guitarists
Tom Hess is the guitarist who taught me how to properly alternate pick. Before accidentally seeing one of his old YouTube videos, my hand was all over the place. As a teenager obsessed with shredding, he got me close to sounding good while playing fast.
Tom’s mission has evolved from being a guitar-only teacher to something bigger. His mission statement on the website says it all.
“Our mission is to transform ordinary people into outstanding, world-class, top-level guitar players, musicians, and teachers.”
He also offers music career counseling and a specific course for guitar teachers. Tom is one of the few guitarists I trust can do these two things that stretch beyond being a good teacher. I believe his courses are fit more for intermediate and advanced players who genuinely want to go beyond their playing, mindset, and overall approach to music.
Tom Hess Pros
- Very experienced teacher for metal and overall guitar technique
- A personalized strategy for each student of his premium classes
- Fantastic resources for professional musicians and guitar teachers
Tom Hess Cons
- The website is slightly confusing
When Should You Get In-Person Lessons?
In-person lessons are always the main altearntive to everything you do online. The main advantage is that you get someone to correct any mistakes you’re making and save you months or even years sometimes.
The downside is that one teacher might not be able to cover all you want to learn, and it will be costly depending on where you live. A month of lessons with an in-person teacher could cover the cost of one year at Fender Play!
I think you need occasional feedback from a real-life guitarist. Still, you could also find that for free from good players in your city or an occasional masterclass from touring guitarists.
How about one on one online lessons?
Those work great, but I think you should combine a few one-on-one lessons with online pre-recorded methods. The main reason is that the teacher on the other end of the camera will still repeat most of the things you will find in the video and leave you time to practice them.
One-on-one’s very efficient for advanced players who find a teacher to get them on the next level for something specific. I often do that when I need to get into a different style but don’t have the time to follow a prerecorded course.
Question: Are TrueFire and Jam Play part of the same company?
Answer: TrueFire and Jam Play have united forces in creating TrueFire Studios. The joint venture’s scope goes beyond guitar lessons to every music lesson online.
Question: What is the Best Resouce For Guitar Music Theory?
Answer: I argue that Rick Beato has the best overall music theory and ear training courses. I recommend playing beginner tunes first rather than immediately getting into the theory part. First, you do, that you know what you’re doing.
Question: Which Guitar Lesson Platform Teaches Bass?
Answer: Lick Library has a large catalog of Bass guitar DVDs. My top choice for learning bass, though, is Scott Bass Lessons. Scott has become a legend in teaching bass with more content online than any other website.
Final Thoughts on Top Guitar Tricks Alternatives
Ultimately I believe we resonate more with the teachers than the lessons. I found that during my teenage year, online guitar teachers became as important as my favorite bands or guitarists. If you go through the free trial and feel that a teacher has much to offer that resonates with you as a musician, you probably find the right one.
Take your time before judging whether a lesson is right or not for you. You need at least a few weeks of daily practice to see if you are improving or not. No teacher or method can replace your time exploring the instrument.
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