Have you always dreamed of becoming a guitar player, but never had the extra free time to commit to lessons?
If this sounds like you, then you’ve probably asked yourself, “Can You Learn Guitar Online?”
Trust me, you’re not alone. This is probably one of the most common questions I get as a guitar player.
Fortunately, there has never been a better time to start learning the guitar. There is an unlimited number of resources online that make it easy for anyone to learn how to play guitar whether they’re an absolute beginner, or a more experienced player trying to get to the next level.
So, Can You Learn Guitar Online?
In Short, Yes you can learn how to play guitar online. There are a ton of online guitar lesson services, apps, websites, forums, and games that make learning guitar online possible without an in-person guitar teacher.
In this post, we’ll be discussing everything you need to know about learning guitar online including the advantages and disadvantages, the best online guitar lesson services, how you should approach learning guitar online, and some helpful tips and tricks.
Let’s get started!
Is it Possible to Learn Guitar Online?
For some people, particularly the older generation, the thought of learning how to play guitar exclusively online may seem impossible.
Keep in mind that the internet learning in general is a fairly recent concept and certainly has never been this robust before.
Literally for many decades, typical one-on-one guitar lessons with a guitar teacher was just expected if you ever wanted to learn how to play the instrument.
The development of online resources have completely changed the game. But are online guitar lessons really good enough to replace an actual guitar teacher?
Is it really possible to learn guitar online exclusively?
Well, as a self-taught guitar player through the online resources, I can say that the answer is a resounding yes!
It is definitely possible to learn guitar online. There is so much information on the web these days that there isn’t a single guitar concept that doesn’t exist somewhere online. It may take a bit of searching, but it’s 100% there. I strongly believe that anyone can learn guitar online as long as they’re diligent and put in the work.
Can You Teach Yourself How to Play Guitar?
Another common question I get from people interested in learning guitar is “Can you teach yourself how to play guitar?”
In short, yes you can teach yourself to play the guitar. Anything you could possibly learn from an in-person guitar teacher can be found online, meaning there are no limitations as long as you have access to the internet.
However, just to be clear, you’re “teaching yourself to play guitar” in the sense that you don’t need to hire a guitar teacher for lessons.
In reality, you’re not technically “teaching yourself.” You ARE being taught by guitar instructors; just in a different format. Rather than a one-on-one relationship in which a teacher directly teaches you, you’ll be taught through content, either video or written lessons.
Benefits of Learning How to Play Guitar Online
Online guitar learning resources have really changed in the game in recent years. Learning how to play guitar online actually offers several distinct advantages over traditional in-person guitar lessons.
An obvious advantage to learning guitar online is the convenience factor. Being able to learn guitar from the comfort of your own home is a huge perk.
I personally loved learning the guitar at home because I just found it more comfortable and relaxing. Also, being able to use your own equipment is a huge perk because I found that using my own gear would inspire me to play more.
Aside from that, we all have busy schedules. Whether you’re a parent or someone who works multiple jobs, it can be hard to commit a certain amount of time for in-person lessons.
When you’re learning how to play guitar online, you have the luxury of choosing your own schedule. If you only have an hour to spare throughout your day, you can bust out your guitar and just start learning.
Another HUGE advantage of learning guitar online is the price. In-person guitar lessons can be very costly over time. Typically, you can expect to pay anywhere from $20-$40 for a single 30-minute lesson with a guitar instructor.
When you’re starting out with in-person guitar lessons, you’ll typically start out with one 30 minute lesson per week, so you’re looking at $80-$160 per month for guitar lessons.
When you compare that to online guitar lesson services and other resources, learning guitar online is SIGNIFICANTLY cheaper.
Many online resources are completely free, such as Justin Guitar or YouTube.
If you’re someone who wants more structured online guitar lessons, then there are paid services that do a great job at a fraction of the price of in-person lessons.
The online guitar lesson service that I personally recommend is Guitar Tricks. They offer thousands of video lessons and you can get complete access to their galley for $20 per month. You can get a 14-day free trial by clicking the link.
For $20, it’s an amazing value because you’ll have unlimited access to material for an entire month. When you compare that to the price of a single 30-minute guitar lesson that cost the same or more, it’s a no brainer. You can get a lot more bang for your buck.
When it comes to variety, there is no question that learning guitar online will offer you more than in-person guitar lessons.
Think about it. If you have an in-person guitar teacher, you’ll be limited to what THEY know and what genre THEY specialize in.
Your in-person teacher will likely be able to teach you the fundamentals and maybe a taste of different genres.
If you want to specialize in a certain genre of music down the link, there’s a good chance that your in-person instructor won’t be able to get you too far.
For example, if you want to become a metal guitar player, but your teacher specializes in classical music, there’s only so much they’ll be able to teach you before you outgrow them.
This is where learning guitar online is a huge benefit. There is essentially an unlimited amount of instructors out there specializing in every genre of music under the sun.
If you look at an online guitar lesson service, like Guitar Tricks, they have dozens of professional guitar teachers who specialize in every single genre of music out there.
This means that no matter what type of music you want to learn, you’ll be able to find an online resource that teaches you exactly what you need to know, regardless of what stage you are in in your guitar learning journey.
Go at Your Own Pace
Another advantage of learning guitar online is the fact that you can go at your own pace. This is similar to the convenience factor that we previously discussed, but I figured this point is still worth mentioning.
Sometimes, life gets in the way. You’re busy and don’t have a lot of time to practice. When you’re learning online, that’s not a problem at all. You’re not committing to a certain amount of time every week. You can just practice when you have some time to spare.
On the other hand, the opposite is also true. If you have a lot of extra time on your hands, you can progress at a much faster rate when you’re learning guitar online.
For in-person lessons, there is only so much material you can cover in your weekly 30 minute lessons. In terms of information, you probably won’t learn too much each lesson because a lot of time will be spent reviewing last week’s material, answering questions, and just practicing.
Compare that to online resources, all of the content is available to you 24/7. So, if you’re feeling inspired, nothing is stopping you from moving onto the next lesson when you feel you’re ready. No need to wait a full week for your next lesson.
Easy to Review
Another huge benefit to learning guitar online is that it’s really easy to review old material since everything is obviously documented in the form of video or text-based content.
Unless you’re someone who takes REALLY good notes, then there’s a good chance that you won’t retain 100% of the information from an in-person guitar lesson.
When you’re learning online, it’s super easy to just go back and revisit older guitar lesson videos if you need a refresher.
Drawbacks of Learning How to Play Guitar Online
While it’s definitely possible to learn guitar online exclusively, and a great option for most people, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows.
There are certainly some drawbacks to learning guitar online compared to learning with an actual guitar teacher.
Lack of Structure
In my opinion, the biggest disadvantage of learning guitar online on your own is the lack of structure.
As I mentioned, there is an unlimited number of guitar learning resources online. If you want to learn something, then the information is 100% online.
The issue that many self-taught guitarists face is that they do not follow a structured course, but rather find random bits of information from several different sources.
Since every instructor teaches in their own way and has different opinions and methods, there can be a lot of essential information lost if you seek information from different instructors, even if they’re teaching the same topic.
Also, if you’re a complete beginner, you simply don’t know what you don’t know. It’s hard for you to separate the good sources from the bad ones. In addition, since beginners lack the fundamental knowledge, it can be difficult to know what lessons to search for and in what chronological order.
You Can’t Ask Questions
Another drawback to learning guitar online is that you won’t have anyone to directly ask specific questions as you start playing.
Sure, there are guitar forums, Facebook groups, and Reddit threads that you allow you to ask questions, but it can’t compare to having a guitar teacher right there to answer specific questions as they arise.
Since most online guitar lessons are in video format, there’s not a lot of interaction. You’ll just need to watch the video again and try to make sense of the content on your own.
This alone can be a pretty big deterrent for a lot of new guitar players because it’ll require a lot more time and research to find answers to the specific questions you may have. There’s nothing quite like having someone there to instantly answer your questions as they come up.
No One to Correct Your Mistakes
One common issue that new players have is that they don’t know if they’re playing something correctly or not. Since they lack experience, they have no idea if their technique is sloppy.
It is common for guitar players who learn guitar online to develop bad habits without knowing, which are very difficult to break down the line.
This is where having an in-person guitar teacher sitting next to you is really helpful.
Having someone there watching you play and giving instant feedback is helpful because they can point out any mistakes on the spot before bad habits are formed in the first place.
Lack of Accountability
Another downside to learning guitar online that many people often overlook is the lack of accountability.
When you have an in-person guitar teacher that you meet every single week, you’re typically held more accountable when it comes to practicing the material.
You don’t want to disappoint your guitar teacher by showing up to a lesson without practicing the material assigned to you in the last week. You’re held accountable because you don’t want to waste your time, your instructors time, and your money.
When you’re learning guitar online, you’re on your own. All of the responsibility is on you to study, practice and progress.
If you’re not motivated, this can often lead to inconsistent practice schedules and lack of results.
Like I mentioned, it is definitely possible to learn guitar online on your own. But for some it can be a lot harder if you’re not diligent and don’t take it seriously.
How to Learn Guitar Online: 5 Simple Ways
Now that we’ve established that you CAN learn guitar online, let’s talk about how to learn guitar online.
Here are 5 platforms that I feel are the best ways to learn guitar online.
Online Guitar Lessons
In my opinion, the best and most consistent way to learn guitar online is with an actual online guitar lesson service.
These services will typically offer video lessons taught by various professional guitar instructors.
You’ll be able to learn everything including the fundamentals, specific genres of music, techniques and even songs.
The main reason why I personally feel online guitar lesson services are the best way to learn guitar because of the overall quality standard.
Let’s face it, there’s a lot of garage and false information on the web. If you’re a beginner, it’s hard to filter out the good info from that bad.
When you use one of these reputable guitar lesson services, you can be assured that the quality control is consistent.
You’ll typically have high resolution videos with multiple camera angles, guitar tabs to follow along, backing tracks to play along to and more. And since you’re being taught by professional guitar teachers, you can be sure that information itself is good.
These services also have more structure, so you can be sure that you have a complete package and you’re learning everything in the correct order.
If you’re just trying to find individual lessons across the web taught by different people, it’s really easy to miss something important.
In my experience,
Despite the fact that YouTube guitar lessons can lack structure and quality control, I’d still say that YouTube is one of the best ways to learn guitar online.
And this is due to the sheer amount of content on the platform. The fact that it’s free is just icing on the cake!
There’s no doubt that anything you could possibly want to learn about the guitar exists on YouTube somewhere.
You can learn songs, fundamentals, theory, techniques; the whole gamut.
That’s right! Even information from paid guitar lesson services and probably be found on YouTube for completely free, albeit not presented as well.
Personally, I’d recommend using YouTube if you want to learn specific songs if they’re not taught within your guitar lessons service.
Guitar Tab Websites
Speaking of learning how to play songs, this is where guitar tabs can be very helpful.
Tablature notation is a great way to learn how to play songs because it is intuitive and easy to understand. You won’t need to learn how to read music to understand guitar tabs.
There are a ton of websites out there that are just huge collections of guitar tabs for practically every song out there.
Websites like Songsterr actually have a built in guitar tab player so you can play back guitar tabs and hear how it’s supposed to sound.
Guitar tab websites are one of my favorite ways to learn new songs on guitar quickly.
Guitar Learning Apps
If you’re not too good with computers, but have a smartphone or tablet, then guitar learning apps are a great way for learning guitar online.
You can find a variety of different apps that can help you learn the various different aspects of guitar.
Some examples of guitar learning apps you’ll be able to find include:
- Full Guitar Lesson Services (Guitar Tricks has a mobile app)
- Guitar Tab Apps
- Music Theory Apps
- Ear Training Apps
One guitar learning app in particular that I think is really unique is Yousician. Unlike typical online guitar lessons, Yousician actually listens to you play using the microphone on your mobile device and give you direct feedback.
If you recall, I had mentioned that one of major drawbacks to learning guitar online is that you don’t have anyone to provide direct feedback on your playing. Yousician helps solve this issue.
Overall, I think guitar learning apps can be a great way to learn guitar online whether you’re a beginner or an advanced player.
Guitar Learning Video Games
Are you an avid gamer? Well, believe it or not, there are actually video games that teach you how to play guitar.
One example is Rocksmith. Rocksmith allows you to actually plug your guitar into your computer or console and play along to your favorite songs, similar to Guitar Hero.
Rocksmith also allows you to practice scales and techniques that would normally be really boring, with fun arcade style mini-games.
Overall, I think gamifying the guitar learning process is a great way to break up the monotony of guitar practice.
Guitar learning video games allow you to practice and learn guitar in a fun way that doesn’t actually feel like practice.
In my opinion, anything that inspires you to practice and play guitar more is a win in my book.
Tips for Learning Guitar Online
If you’ve made it this far into the post, then you’re probably ready to actually start learning guitar online.
I’ve put together a list of some important tips that I think every new player should know before they get started. These are all tips for learning guitar online that I WISH I knew when I first started learning.
Choose a Structured Course
I’ve mentioned it several times throughout this post, but I can’t stress this tip enough!
If you’re a complete beginner, it’s extremely important to have a solid grasp of the fundamentals before you decide to specialize in a specific genre.
When you’re learning guitar online, a lot of websites out there will only give you bits and pieces of the big picture, which can seriously hinder your learning.
Therefore, I always recommend investing a little bit of money in a structured online guitar lesson course that teaches you everything you need to know from start to finish all in one place.
This ensures that you’ll learn everything you need to know in the correct order and by the same instructor, which has a much higher level of consistency.
Set a Consistent Practice Schedule
When it comes to learning guitar, consistency is key. Practicing for short periods of time every single day is better than practicing for a long period of time every week.
This is because it is important to build up muscle memory. Also, you want consistent exposure to new material to ensure it stays fresh in your mind and you don’t forget important concepts that are needed to progress.
Remember, since you’re not physically meeting a guitar teacher every week, you’re going to need to be accountable for your own growth and success.
Don’t Skip Music Theory
One of the most common aspects of learning guitar that self-taught players skip is music theory.
And while music theory isn’t 100% necessary to become a good guitar player, it’s very helpful because it allows you to actually understand what you’re playing and why it works.
It’s especially helpful if you plan on writing your own music down the line.
If you were to sign up for traditional guitar lessons with an instructor, then they’d typically teach music theory at least in some capacity.
In general, I think it’s a good idea for any guitar player to learn at least a little bit of theory, despite how boring it may be at times.
Just trust me on this. You’ll thank me later.
Be Cognizant of Developing Bad Habits
Without having someone sitting in the room correcting your mistakes, it’s very common for online guitar learners to develop bad habits and technique.
This is definitely something that you should be aware of while you’re learning and practicing. If you’re a beginner, it can be hard to tell, but it’s something you should keep in the back of your mind when you’re watching guitar lesson videos.
One common thing I see is that new players can get a bit too eager to move onto the next lesson before they have perfected the previous lesson.
Try to avoid this. Pay extra attention to your technique and make sure you have everything nailed before moving on to the next lesson.
It’s essential to build a strong foundation in the early stages because this will carry through regardless of what genre or style of music you wish to play in the future.
So to wrap things up, can you actually learn guitar online?
In fact, I personally learned how to play guitar exclusively using online resources.
Online guitar lessons have really changed the game. More people can have access to guitar lessons than ever before.
As long as you understand the process and put in the work, I think it’s possible for anyone to learn guitar online.
So, if you’re ready to get started, I would highly suggest signing up for
Good Luck Playing!