Are online guitar courses worth it?

Are online guitar courses worth it? Put simply, learning guitar is a journey and as George Harrison said, “it’s a long and winding road” but I’ll add in ‘peppered equally with those elusive lightbulb moments and downright frustrations’. Be under no illusions – it’s absolutely worth it.


Before trying to answer if online guitar courses are worth it, let’s ask a few related questions:

The basics:

  • Is music good for you? YES. It’s brilliant for your general wellbeing – in so many ways.
  • Is the guitar a good option for exploring music? YES. The guitar enables you to make music from the ‘off’ (assuming it’s in tune)!
  • Are guitar courses/lessons necessary to play guitar? This is a really tricky and subjective question but generally the answer is YES.

Ask yourself:

  • Where am I right now on my guitar journey? Examples: at the very start, can play but really struggling, already performing with success in open mic nights?
  • What do I actually like playing and want to improve on? Examples: Blues lead, solo fingerstyle, funk rhythm player, singer/song writer, etc.
  • What do I want to eventually do in playing the guitar? Examples: happy to just entertain myself, jamming along with a bunch of mates, playing in front of a paying audience.

Getting you from where you are now to where you want to get to

Are online guitar courses worth it? put quite simply, it’s a journey. As George Harrison said, “it’s a long and winding road” but I’ll add in ‘peppered equally with those elusive light-bulb moments and downright frustrations’. Be under no illusions – it’s absolutely worth it.

You’ll need a compass and way-points to make sure you get there. This where is where courses/lessons (from professionals) come into play – sure, you could wander around by yourself and you might get there eventually but it will take longer and I’m not sure what state you’ll be in when you do. With your journey you cannot simply just punch in a destination into the SatNav – you’re creating your own map and training your mind and body as you go.

Initial courses give you the correct set-up and the basics for playing songs but the tone won’t be quite right and they’ll feel clunky. You may then look at other courses to address techniques and look into why and how things actually work (theory). At some point you’ll find a genre or style that you’d like to focus on – yet more study! And so on. We should all go at our own pace but if we practice correctly we waste less time.

There’s no doubt in my mind that actually sitting down with a pro tutor (either as one-to-one or part of a group) is the best method. Proximity means that the tutor can spot the real problems we’re having (not just what we think they are) and we can get very accurate and personal guidance. Add in the ‘nice’ pressure of playing in front of someone really makes a positive difference. I mentioned pro tutor – a fantastic player doesn’t always necessarily make for a fantastic teacher; watching a tuition YouTube video or DVD course generally means that the onus is on us to pick up the nuances and subtleties that make all the difference to our playing.

Live online group courses

While we’re in the middle of a pandemic it’s obviously not possible to sit down in the same room with a tutor for lessons. You have probably already worked through some DVD or online tutorials and some YouTube ‘how-tos’ – probably with mixed success. But have you tried live, group online lessons yet? We think this is the best mix as you can:

  • noodle while taking part (sorry, practice with your mic off!) in the seclusion of your own home.
  • see how others are getting on in their struggles – it’s amazing how even just being online with fellow hobbyists can create a sense of community.
  • turn on your mic and ask for clarification on something there and then, not just check it later when the question has long evaporated.
  • turn on your camera and work with the tutor on screen – it’s fantastic for group learning.
  • practice to your heart’s content after the session using the comprehensive materials (accurate PDFs with support video snippets and practice loops)

Everyone learns in different ways and at different paces. The above describes our approach to teaching online – live and group!

  • Live means that when questions arise, the tutor can explain and demonstrate stuff in a different way, there and then and cover a bit of background on practical know-how and fundamental techniques.
  • Being part of group means that someone will always ask the question that most people have rattling around in their heads and you should leave a lesson with a good understanding of what you need to work on.
  • Having comprehensive materials means that you can work diligently at your own pace after the lesson but bolstered by the guidance from the actual lesson.

So, are online guitar courses worth it? yes, but:

  • You should have a realistic understanding of what your level is where your next way-point is (and that it’s not too much of a stretch). Trying to achieve too much, too soon is an enthusiasm killer!
  • You should find a professional guitarist/tutor who is not just a brilliant player but is also an approachable and great teacher.
  • Consider the live/group approach.

The guitar can be a lifelong friend – stick with it.

Have a look at our next course promo video ‘Mixing Licks and Chords’ and see if this course is for you, it starts on 18 January and will get you playing like pro! Click here to sign up.