Guitar Tricks online lesson review from a “full access membership” perspective.
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Product: Guitar Tricks
Product Type: an online, self-paced, guitar training course, and membership.
Rating: 8.5 out of 10. You can find all types of guitar training sites on the web, but if you want a robust, easy to follow, well thought out guitar training program, for now, we think your search can stop right here.
- Comprehensive yet easy to follow even for new players
- Crazy huge catalog of songs to learn
- Excellent instructors and realistic learning paths
- Learn at your pace
- Take it with you, desktop, laptop, mobile devices
- No lefty specific material
- A little more expensive than some competitors
- Can be difficult to get the full experience on small screen mobile devices.
Price: The “full access subscription” is generally about $19.95 a month, but you can usually get an annual membership for anywhere from $99 to $149 depending on the specials they run. Free for the “basic membership”.
Try before you buy: Guitar tricks offers a free 14-day “full access membership” trial to let you get your feet wet. There’s no way you will get through all of the content in 14 days but definitely dig in and snoop around.
My experience before and after Guitar Tricks
I have wanted to improve my guitar playing skills for years. I took in-person lessons with a very qualified teacher, but scheduling conflicts and the cost eventually lead me to stop.
From there I searched the internet, especially YouTube. There’s no shortage of lessons out there, but I found the lack of structure counterproductive. I’d watch one video, learn a little something, then jump to the next shiny object video and almost learn something else. So I had the freedom to choose whatever I wanted whenever I wanted but there was no real learning path. For me, that meant no progress and little satisfaction. Then I came across Guitar Tricks.
Is Guitar Tricks Any Good?
Um … yes. Here’s why I think so. I love the way they break down topics into easy step-by-step video lessons and place them in a logical learning sequence.
The lessons are, for lack of a better term, super-efficient. Just long enough to teach you bits at a time, but not too long so that you are overwhelmed.
The videos are shot at multiple angles so you can see the proper positioning of hands and fingers on the guitar. This is perfect for beginners!
The inclusion of tabs, notation, backing tracks, and well crafted instructional videos in bite-size segments sets Guitar Tricks apart in my mind. This allows you to practice along with your device if you like, or print out the notation when you feel like disconnecting. That is the kind of flexibility you will probably want and need.
I was looking for structured lessons that I could access anywhere and any place it was convenient for me – Guitar Tricks granted that wish.
Is Guitar Tricks free?
The basic membership is free and beginners can learn a lot with the free basic membership. But eventually, I would recommend you upgrade to a full membership and bust the door to learning wide open.
What Do You Get With “Full Access Membership”?
I was immediately impressed with the flow and feel of the site. I will use the terms ‘site’ and ‘app’ interchangeably – what I mean is your access point whether on your desktop, laptop, or mobile device. The home page is your launch point. Whether you are an absolute beginner, or someone like me, just looking to sharpen your technical skills and learn new styles – your path is waiting for you on the home page.
The four home page launch points give you an idea of where you can go and how you can structure your learning. Again, I love the flexibility coupled with structure. It makes it hard to go wrong.
Is Guitar Tricks good for beginners?
Guitar Tricks training is absolutely excellent for new guitarists. Take it from me, new guitarists need to learn the fundamentals. I know this from experience because my first in-person instructor really only wanted to teach me what was quick and easy. “Bring me a list of songs and I’ll teach you to play – you’ll love it!” So I learned a couple of songs, but all I knew were those songs. No real technique – and very few fundamentals.
The fundamentals are the foundation for learning everything else – including all your favorite songs – eventually. Guitar Tricks teaches fundamentals in their Core Learning System (TM).
Level 1 of fundamentals …
This consists of 7 chapters of course material with topics ranging from getting to know the guitar, to playing simple melodies, to open chords, to rhythm and timing.
Lisa McCormick is the instructor and does an excellent job of explaining and demonstrating each lesson. The videos can be viewed at half speed, full speed, and double speed with other intervals in between. As I mentioned before, most lessons include complete written lesson descriptions, notations, images, and jam tracks. Again, the flexibility to learn the way you learn best.
A couple of things I didn’t love about Level 1 fundamentals, based purely on personal preference (YRMV):
- For absolute beginners, Lisa teaches “simple” open chords. ‘Simple’ meaning these are not full chords, generally, just one or two fingers playing three to five strings.
The ‘simple’ chord concept is one used by many instructors for beginning students because it’s just plain simpler – thus the name. It gets you making pleasant sounds with the guitar more quickly and is easier on the fretting fingers. But eventually, you will need to learn the full open chord fingerings which are different.
Personally, I’d rather learn the full open chord fingering early on because when done right, and admittedly it will take longer, the chord sound is so much more robust. Another advantage is you only have to learn the full open chord fingering position once.
- Okay, this is nitpicking, but some of the “teaching songs” are … well, let’s just say, I don’t think a lot of artists will cover any of them anytime soon. But that doesn’t necessarily diminish the lessons you learn.
Truth be told, when my wife was taking the course, she listened to one song “Long, Long Train” so much I begged her to throw me in front of one. But … the corny little song was closely related to the lesson being taught and it did its job. It was exactly what my wife needed as a learning tool.
But in reality, I doubt your motive in learning to play the guitar is so you can thrill your friends and family with “teaching songs” – unless that’s your thing (I’m not judging). Most people want to learn how to play real songs they love. Is that YOU? Cool – thought so.
The skills you learn in Fundamental Level 1 can easily translate to playing real songs. By the time you complete Level 1 chapter 5, you could be playing simplified versions of these well-known songs:
- Simple Man (Lynyrd Skynyrd)
- The Boys of Summer (Don Henley)
- Every rose Has It’s Thorn (Poison)
- Let It Be (Beatles – of course)
- You Can’t Always Get What You Want (Rolling Stones)
Level 2 of fundamentals …
Picks up right where level one left off.
Once you feel good with the progress you’ve made in Level I, remember you move at your own pace, you are ready to learn about power chords, barre chords, introductions to major and minor scales, key signatures, and learn a little about reading music.
Again, instructor Lisa McCormick guides you through the 7 chapters. Follow her lead and be sure to take the time needed to understand the instruction, notations, and practice.
Remember, you can go at your own pace and watch the lessons over and over again until you feel confident to move on. You will be surprised at how fast you are able to learn things you may have thought you just couldn’t learn.
Choose your path …
After you have completed Fundamental levels 1 and 2 of the Core Learning System (TM) your foundation is laid. You will have moved from ‘beginner’ to a more ‘experienced’ guitar player. By the time you reach this stage in the course, you will have had the opportunity to play a bunch of songs you and your family love to listen to and your confidence should be growing.
Now you decide which path you would like to take next. Just as there are two levels of fundamental training, there are two levels of training for the path(s) you choose to follow: Blues, Country, Rock, and Acoustic.
Here are a few highlights of some of the other quality modules provided with a full access Guitar Tricks membership:
- Gear & Tone:
- learn the parts and functions of the guitar
- learn how to properly string the guitar yourself
- how amplifiers work and how to choose an amp
- learn how to define your tone with and without pedals
- Artist studies:
- Learn how guitar legends carved out their style and got the tones they made famous
- Study the styles and techniques of guitarists you know by name: Angus, B. B., Chet, Eddie, Eric (Clapton & Johnson), Jeff Beck, Jimi, Page, Stevie, and even Wes Montgomery.
- The tools every player needs:
- Jam tracks, metronome, tuner, chord, and scale finders, fret diagrams, charts, guides … the toolbox is complete!
Who are the Guitar Tricks instructors?
I’ve mentioned Lisa McCormick who does a skillful job of teaching level 1 & 2 fundamentals and more advanced classes.
As you progress and choose your path throughout the Guitar Tricks course you will have the opportunity to learn from several other uniquely talented ‘instructors’.
I could have called them ‘musicians’ because – well let’s face it, that’s what they are. However, I purposefully used the term ‘instructors’ to differentiate and contrast what you get from Guitar Tricks as opposed to what you might find in a random web or YouTube search.
You can find hundreds, maybe thousands of really talented musicians on the web, and a lot are amazing players. Nevertheless, not every skilled musician is a skilled ‘instructor’.
Guitar Tricks seems to find musicians who are gifted at teaching. Of course, you will relate to some better than others, and maybe some not at all. But, for my money, these instructors are top-notch.
Who is Guitar Tricks good for?
Beginners – this complete guitar training course is perfect for new guitar players of all ages, yes even kids.
- Clear and understandable course material
- Go at your own pace
- Learn to walk before you run with fundamentals
- I’ve even taken the skills I’ve learned from this course to teach family and friends. (My wife went from having no interest in playing, to writing her own songs in a matter of months. Your results may vary.
Intermediate Experienced players – can definitely benefit from Guitar Tricks.
- Brush up on techniques
- Study other styles of playing
- Sure, you can learn styles and techniques on YouTube but you will have a really hard time finding well thought out sequential lessons (with no irritating ads placed at the most important parts)
- They also have a seemingly endless catalog of instructor lead song lessons.
Would I recommend Guitar Tricks to MY friends?
Yes. Absolutely. I already have.
Women, men, and kids of all ages are learning to actually PLAY guitar with Guitar Tricks. So why don’t YOU?
If you are sick of trying to learn on your own and going in circles …
You need a complete, well thought out, high quality, guitar training course that you can access on your computer, tablet, or phone.
If you want structured flexibility (that’s not an oxymoron – at least not in this case) … the freedom to learn at your own pace while being instructed by gifted trainers who are also experienced musicians … then this is the time to act.
I would recommend you give Guitar Tricks a try. I’ve been a member for over 3 years and like it so much I decided to become an affiliate. Select the link below and sign up for your free trial.