Online learning resources, be it courses, videos, written content, one-on-one coaching, apps, et cetera, provide fantastic opportunities to learn (and teach) acoustic guitar and understand music more generally. Though nothing truly beats dedicated in-person guitar lessons, there are plenty of excellent alternatives online.
Note that by “resources,” I'm not only referring to video tutoring and full-length courses (though these are arguably the best options). I'm also considering masterclasses, applications, videos and articles, and other online resources for learning how to play the acoustic guitar.
Though obviously subjective and prone to biases, I’ve done my best to list out these resources based on the following metrics (in no particular order):
- Reputation of the acoustic guitar learning resource
- Quality of education in technique, theory, and learning real songs
- Organization and depth of learning
- Adaptability of teaching to individual students (one-on-one lessons are best here)
- The resource must be currently available
With all that being said, let’s list out the learning resources.
The top 11 best online resources to learn how to play acoustic guitar are:
- Peghead Nation
- Fender Play
- Berklee Online
- Sage Music School
- iMusic School
- Online Academy Of Irish Music
- Andy Guitar
In this article, we'll go through each of the above-mentioned resources to get a stronger idea of what makes them great for learning acoustic guitar. Whether you're a complete beginner or a successful professional, there is always something to learn! I'll include links to check out each of the options for yourself to learn more about the guitar. We'll also consider a few “honourable mentions” worth considering.
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ArtistWorks is a unique learning resource that lets students learn from world-class musicians and teachers. There are hundreds of courses on varying instruments such as mandolin, woodwind, percussion, and of course, acoustic guitar.
With each course, you will get access to video learning lessons that provide step-by-step instructions available 24/7 and worksheets. What makes ArtistWorks stand out from the rest is its Video Exchange Learning. Students can submit videos to their instructor directly, asking for feedback or help. The teacher will then make a personalized response video for the student. This interaction will then be published in the ArtistWorks video library, where thousands of members can watch this interaction and learn from it.
JamPlay is an excellent online resource for musicians looking to learn electric or acoustic guitar from top teachers. They offer thousands of lessons in an assortment of musical styles and difficulty levels, providing something for everyone.
With a JamPlay membership, students will get to learn from over 100 different world-class musicians and teachers and get access to all on-demand lessons and courses, live courses, musical libraries and tools. The courses offered range from learning the foundations of playing guitar to learning more intricate skills such as “chicken scratch.” JamPlay features hundreds of songs to learn from, and you can even take master classes from professional musicians like Mark Lettieri from Snarky Puppy.
Take your lessons anywhere with 24/7 access to the JamPlay course library. Each video features interactive controls such as slow-mo, looping and progress tracking so you can customize your learning experience. In addition to on-demand video courses, they also offer weekly live guitar workshops and daily Q&A sessions for students to interact directly with the teachers.
At Peghead Nation, musicians get to learn root music from the ground up on seven different instruments at their String School. As for the acoustic guitar lessons, they range in styles such as Irish, Bluegrass, Swing, Celtic and more. Each course is also separated based on skill level, making it easy to decide which is the best fit for you.
All lessons are taught via pre-recorded videos and include play-along tracks. The videos feature multiple angle shots to see the techniques of both hands. You can purchase subscriptions monthly with the option to upgrade to an “All-Access Plan,” which includes unlimited access to courses and instruments available.
Fender Play is one of the number one online resources to learn the guitar online. They feature easy-to-follow step-by-step lessons, song tutorials, chord challenges and more. Along with electric and acoustic guitar lessons, they also offer bass and ukulele courses.
You can access the material either online or through the Fender Play app. The app makes the experience quite customizable, which is excellent for musicians who want to learn a specific style or personalize their lessons. To start, you will select the instrument you want to choose (which can be changed whenever), then choose a genre you want to learn. The options are rock, folk, pop, country and blues. From here, you can select courses in your skill level, explore songs to learn and play along to playback tracks.
Fender Play offers a 7-day free trial so students can explore the learning style and see if it works for them. Memberships include access to all instrument courses.
Jamorama is a great online resource that offers access to a community of other students to help you along your guitar learning journey. This is an excellent option for people who want to learn to play guitar while also making some friends along the way and being able to reach out to a community for support and advice.
They offer two different memberships, free and paid. The free version gives you access to a few beginner guitar courses, a membership profile where you can share what you are up to and access to member support where you can message community members directly or post on forums. The paid version has everything the free version includes, plus access to all courses available, additional learning materials, printouts, and jam tracks.
The courses are taught by step-by-step video lessons that can be accessed 24/7. The courses range from beginner to guitar theory, speed picking and more. It also features progress tracking to keep yourself on track to reach your goals.
TrueFire is an excellent online resource for musicians looking to learn guitar at any skill level. They offer thousands of guitar lessons in different styles such as Blues, Jazz, Country, Acoustic, Metal, etc. At TrueFire, you get to learn from Grammy award-winning musicians and top teachers from the comfort of your home.
Each class is taught by interactive videos lessons with features such as slo-mo, looping, metronomes, tuners, goal tacking and popular song tutorials. They offer everything you will need to learn and master any instrument at your own pace successfully.
Berklee is a renowned school that is one of the largest music education providers. Berklee Online takes the material learned in the classroom and brings it online so students worldwide can learn from one of the top music schools. This is one of the most accessible and flexible ways to earn certificates and bachelor's degrees.
Students will get access to various teaching methods within each course, such as video lessons, animated demonstrations, audio analysis and free handbooks. At Berklee, they will teach students to be well-rounded and gain professional-level skills to take their musical journey to the next level. A few examples of different guitar classes offered at Berklee Online are Basic Improvision, Advanced Guitar and Guitar Performance.
Sage Music School
Sage Music is a music school that offers both in-person and online learning options for adults and kids. There are various instruments to choose from, including the piano, violin, clarinet, and guitar.
Both classes types follow the same structure and provide step-by-step teaching for students of all levels. The guitar lessons range from classical to acoustic and electric as well as they vary in musical style and difficulty level.
Students will be emailed a link to access the class. Click on the link at your scheduled class time on a video-enabled device, and your teacher will be there. While these classes are on a schedule rather than 24/7 access, they do provide you with in-class learning from the comfort of your own home. So for musicians looking for an online class with a set schedule each week, this is an excellent option for you.
iMusic School is a superb resource for musicians looking to learn and try different instruments. They offer everything from the flute to vocal classes, guitar and more.
The courses can be accessed on a monthly, 6-month or annual subscription and give you unlimited access to every instrument lesson, sheet music, playback tracks, and tools such as a metronome, tuner, and chord dictionaries. As for the guitar lessons, they have structured courses for every level ranging from beginner through to expert and have three different musical styles; jazz, folk and classical.
All students will also access the iMusic School app, where they can access classes and learn whenever and wherever they choose. The app features video lessons and masterclasses from renowned teachers and musicians.
Online Academy Of Irish Music
The Online Academy Of Irish Music (OAIM) offers over 60 courses to teach students to play Irish music. There are 14 different instruments to choose from that range by difficulty levels. Instruments include banjo, flute, fiddle, and of course, the guitar.
There are six guitar classes to choose from. Whether you are a beginner or advanced, there is something for you. Each course is taught via video lessons accompanied by downloadable sheet music and mp3 files. These lessons will also teach you a few Irish jigs, along with techniques and tips.
All students will get access to OAIM's virtual pub sessions and community forums where you can learn, listen and connect with musicians around the world.
Andy Guitar is a great resource to learn ukulele and electric or acoustic guitar by Andy himself. New classes are added regularly and feature video lessons for children, adults, and beginners to intermediate musicians.
There are two membership options. The first is the free version that gives students access to structured video lessons, bonus content and a song search with over 600+ tunes. The second option is a paid monthly membership that includes everything from the free version plus access to all courses, including 500+ video lessons and interactive tabs.
Andy Guitar offers a 10-day free trial for students to explore the teaching methods provided and see if it's a right fit for them.