My father played guitar when I was growing up and always kept a stack of well-worn songbooks by Harry Chapin, Don McLean and John Prine near. When my parents gave me a Takamine acoustic guitar for my birthday as a teenager, I consulted the same songbooks for my first foray into guitar playing. Admittedly I fell away from the practice over time, but during it lockdown, many people suddenly had the urge to pick up a new skill. Being a bit rusty, I decided to tinker with my guitar and through the process I found some of the best online guitar lessons out there.
What I love most about playing guitar is that the guitar is such a rewarding instrument — there’s no feeling like writing your first song, getting the riff right, learning a guitar trick, hearing a melody by ear or earn those calluses on your fingertips. It’s pretty intuitive, but if you want to go beyond the basics to improve your existing guitar skills after a long hiatus, or you’re completely new to music and want to learn to play for the first time, formal guitar instruction with a guitar teacher may be in order.
With busy schedules, this may seem like an impossible feat — but that’s where you’d be wrong! There are many resources out there for people who want to learn to play guitar online, and video lesson options should definitely be considered. We’re not just talking about a free YouTube guitar lesson, but beginner lessons, lessons that teach guitar technique, music theory, and more. There is an absolute wealth of options for online guitar lessons taught by professionals. And the best part is that you can learn on your own, giving you more flexibility than traditional courses.
If this is the perfect time to learn how to play your favorite song on the guitar, here are five of the best online guitar lessons to get you started. We will periodically update this list of the best online guitar lessons.
Guitar/Photo by John Falcone/CNET
The Guitar Lesson for Beginners a lesson from GuitArmy at Skillshare is a great place for music beginners to start with an online guitar lesson. Chris Rupp is a guitar teacher of 18 years and his own GuitArmy page has over a dozen guitar lessons for beginners. The first lesson includes basic guitar training information for the beginning guitarist such as holding the guitar and picking, strumming, fingering, guitar parts, tuning, reading music and playing a basic chord.
What it costs: Some Skillshare online courses are free when you create an account, but most require a premium membership, which costs $168 per year or $32 per month. You can sign up for a one-month trial of unlimited lessons. The premium subscription is also ad-free and allows you to download courses to your mobile device and watch them offline.
Will Edwards/Photo by Shelby Brown/CNET
Skillshare lesson by musician Will Edwards, Learn basic guitar strumming skills, assumes you have a working knowledge of guitar. The online guitar training course starts with the basics of tuning and progresses to skills like using a metronome, playing scales and “cowboy” chords. Guitar lessons are still for beginners, but not for those who have never picked up a guitar before.
What it costs: Some Skillshare online courses are free when you create an account, but most require a premium membership, which costs $168 per year or $32 per month. You can sign up for a one-month free trial of unlimited lessons. The premium subscription is also ad-free and allows you to download courses to your mobile device and watch them offline.
Henry Olsen/Photo by Shelby Brown/CNET
I liked Henry Olson’s Guitar masterclass for beginners on Udemy delves into topics like guitar gear in addition to how to play. Olsen’s class will help you figure out basics like which guitar is best for you and setting up an amp (if you’re using an electric guitar). You’ll also learn basic guitar chord rings, strumming patterns, electric guitar riffs (as well as acoustic techniques), practice work, and tips to make playing easier.
The course includes 12.5 hours of on-demand videos, 26 downloadable resources, PDF support for most lessons, and a 42-page picture chord book.
What it costs: Udemy courses are priced by individual instructors from a price tier, unless they choose to offer them for free. Olsen’s class costs $120.
Dan Dresnok/Photo by Shelby Brown/CNET
by Dan Dresnock Guitar lessons for the curious guitarist The class has something for every level of guitarist so you can continue to progress through the lessons as you improve. Dresnok teaches acoustic and electric guitar lessons, ear training and an in-depth look at scales, rhythm and strumming, and guitar basics like chords. It also covers soloing, reading and writing music, and more complex techniques such as slides and pull-offs.
The course comes with nearly 30 hours of video, 54 downloadable resources, and 10 track support videos so you can put the solo lessons into practice.
What it costs: Udemy courses are priced by individual instructors from a price tier, unless they choose to offer them for free. Dresnok’s class costs $100.
Masterclass/Screenshot by Shelby Brown/CNET
Making art in any form means making it your own and expressing yourself. Learning what the goal of the class is like Art and Soul of Guitar with Carlos Santana. The 10-time Grammy winner takes you on a journey through blues, jazz, guazira, merengue and rock on a “spiritual” level.
This class is perhaps the most advanced on the list, featuring Santana breaking down his musical process and talking about connecting with an audience. His course consists of 16 lessons and delves into music in a more abstract way — rhythm, techniques, melody, beyond sheet music, live performance, and your material.
What it costs: MasterClass provides access to its 180+ courses for $180 a year. There’s also a 30-day guarantee — if the program isn’t for you, you can get a refund.
For more, take a lookand other online courses to help you and .