Celebrity Culture:

If face-to-face lessons make you nervous (or you simply don’t have the time for them), these might work better.

Most Unique Lesson Plans


While MasterClass syllabi might be a little broad at times, it’s invaluable to learn from the legends about more than just music theory — you’ll get insight on how to use effects, how to perform on stage, and much more.

Best app

Fender Play

No matter your skill level, you’ll find value in Fender Play — plus, it’s a fantastic pick for those with already busy lives who want to pursue guitar.

Editors independently select all products and services featured here. If you buy something through our links, we may receive a commission.

By Dylan Haas

So, you want to learn to play the guitar, do you?

That’s awesome, and we’re really happy you’re making this choice for yourself. But, have you figured out how you’re going to learn? 

If you’re anything like us, you’ll be avoiding in-person guitar lessons. Not only are in-person lessons more stressful, but they also take up a lot of time and don’t usually come with a flexible schedule. Can’t make your Wednesday night lesson because you caught a stomach bug? Too bad, you’re still paying for it.

You can avoid literally all of these problems by opting to do your learning online. It’s true, you can learn pretty much anything online these days — cooking, woodworking, knitting, starting a business, and yes, playing guitar. Welcome to the future, baby. No human interaction needed here. 

But, as you could have probably guessed already, these online classes take place on the internet. Meaning you’re going to have options. Enough options that you’ll probably look up one list and immediately close the tab out of overstimulation. That’s where we come in. 

We spent a lot of time researching the best online guitar courses and services so that you could narrow down your final choice, and we think we’ve found the best ones for your consideration. 

Celebrity Culture: How did we choose them?

There’s a lot to take into account when choosing the right online course or program for you. Here are some of the things we looked out for when parsing the abundance of available options:

  • Does the course or service have a free trial, or do you have to commit immediately? If they don’t, is there a money-back guarantee?

  • What’s the quality of the instructors? Are their backgrounds and experience made readily available? Some classes even offer celebrity guests, which is a fun bonus. 

  • Price versus value. How many lessons are you getting for the price you pay? How long are the courses?

  • Are there any unique features like live lessons, video sharing, or others?

  • What skill level is the course? You want something that will cater to you, and you don’t want to be thrown into the deep end as a newbie. 

  • Is there an intuitive, well-balanced lesson structure, or does it come across as messy and stressful?

  • What kind of schedule are you working with, and does the lesson plan fit into it?

We kept all of these in mind when distilling our final list. One method of learning we did check out but ultimately didn’t make the cut was YouTube, because it’s honestly just a little too broad (but could be helpful if you’re looking for a very specific lesson, which you’d need to figure out ahead of time).

Celebrity Culture: How to choose the best one for you

There are a few bases you’ll want to cover before you finally choose your guitar course, aside from what we recommend to you. 

We mentioned skill level already, but it’s important that you’re honest with yourself about what you already know and how much you have to learn. Don’t feel shy about calling yourself a beginner, because there’s literally no shame in that (every music legend starts somewhere). 

Furthermore, you’ll want to take stock of what you even want to learn. Do you want to learn how to solo? How to write music? How to play covers of famous tracks? All of the above? It’s an important question to answer, because some courses are suited better for certain goals. You’ll probably also want to nail down what genre of music interests you the most. 

Other obvious things you want to iron out are your budget, the amount of time you want to commit to learning the instrument, what kind of devices you have (these are online, you know), and your personal learning style. It’s even better to be in tune with what type of feedback resonates with you most. Maybe you want to hear from your teacher often and receive honest, constructive criticism. Maybe you want to avoid any sort of communication with a human and keep your newfound passion for music on the D.L. until you can prove your proficiency to the masses. Once you think you’ve figured all that out, you’re ready to make your decision. 

Here are seven (mostly) online guitar courses that are actually worth your time and money. Just promise us you won’t become that person who breaks out Wonderwall unsolicited at parties, okay? 

Short lessons for when you’re pressed for time • Updated weekly • Usable on your phone or tablet • Progress tracking • Live lessons with instructors

Not a ton in the advanced theory department, but perhaps that will come later

Fender Play will work great for players of various skill levels, and it fits seamlessly into busy lives thanks to its bite-sized lessons and multi-device compatibility.

Celebrity Culture: Fender Play

No matter your skill level, you’ll find value in Fender Play — plus, it’s a fantastic pick for those with already busy lives who want to pursue guitar.

  • Free trial?:
  • Payment basis:
    Monthly or annual

Everyone with at least a mild interest in guitars knows the name Fender.

Fender makes some of the finest guitars known to the music industry, including but not limited to the famous Stratocaster and Telecaster lines. So, the company creating a guitar learning app seems like a given.

When you open up the Fender Play app, you’ll make a profile and choose your personal style of music, which will be used in providing you with a lesson plan that’s in line with your interests. From there, you’ll be able to learn songs, (some) theory, technique (like picking, strumming, solo-ing), and more from a roster of professional instructors via video. 

The biggest pull of Fender Play is that it’s extremely convenient. The app is operational on both iOS and Android devices, meaning you can stream course videos and more in-app content right from your phone or tablet. Its bite-sized lesson options makes it a great choice for those who already have a packed schedule but still want to become passionate about playing music. 

The app’s interface is sleek and intuitive, and it’s nice that you can track your personal progress with each lesson you take — your “path” shows what you’ve done and what comes next, kind of like a syllabus. In addition to the service’s easy-to-follow nature, you’ll also gain access to a thriving community of musicians that you can interact with during live video lessons, and be able to participate in weekly challenges (which sometimes offer prizes). 

Fender Play is only $9.99 per month, which is a great price for all that you get with it. You can also pay an annual fee instead ($89.99), which gets you 10% off of Fender gear if you’re looking to get a new instrument, or even just some new swag.

Good for dipping your toes into learning the basics • Competent and clear instruction • Easily accessible content • Low-risk money and time sacrifice

Very surface-level, and not really for those who desire in depth knowledge of the instrument

Udemy’s beginner course is great for the basics — if you just want a quick peek into what you’d see in a more in-depth course, this is a good place to feel out how passionate you are about learning the guitar in the long run.

Celebrity Culture: Udemy

This Udemy course allows you to start with the surface-level basics to get a feel for whether you even like playing guitar.

  • Free trial?:
  • Payment basis:
    One-time purchase

Udemy‘s beginner guitar course is great for those looking to test the waters. It’s low risk in terms of time and money sacrifice, and will give you a great peek into what learning the guitar for real is all about. In other words, this course will work best for those who want to learn some guitar skills, but aren’t necessarily certain that they are in it for the long haul. If you want to be able to break out a quick tune at a party, this is a good choice. 

You’ll learn surface-level basics about chord shapes, rhythm patterns, theory, standard picking, fingerpicking, and should be able to play seven full songs by the end of it all. The package comes with lifetime access to five hours of video instruction, various articles, and more than 30 different downloadable resources that can be viewed on any of your internet-connected smart devices. 

It has generally positive reviews, hitting a 4.7 out of 5 average on the main site, mostly citing the quality of the video instructor and overall clarity of the course curriculum.

While this course is very basic, it’ll teach you the proper basics, which will keep you from forming any bad habits should you continue along your guitar learning journey. (Also worth noting that Udemy often runs  sales, so keep an eye out for deals — there’s really no reason why you should have to pay full price for any course on the site.)

You can buy single classes instead of a membership • More than just guitar lessons • Real case studies from the pros

No monthly payments, only annual • Beginners will probably want to look for more in-depth theory courses

MasterClass is a great way to learn more than just blues scales — you can hear from famous musicians on how to use guitar effect equipment, how to perform on stage, and more with their broad-strokes syllabi.

Celebrity Culture: MasterClass

While MasterClass syllabi might be a little broad at times, it’s invaluable to learn from the legends about more than just music theory — you’ll get insight on how to use effects, how to perform on stage, and much more.

  • Free trial?:
  • Payment basis:

Who wouldn’t want to learn how to rock out from celeb-level musicians? That’s exactly what MasterClass offers.

The online learning service features two guitar-centric courses (as of this writing): One taught by the legendary Carlos Santana, and the other by the innovative Tom Morello of Rage Against the Machine. 

While a lot of the courses are high-level and not super in depth when it comes to music theory, you’ll get lessons on things that most guitar teachers don’t offer — from using pedals, to creating a stage performance, to calming your nerves in front of an audience. This is perhaps the thing we love most about MasterClass: you’ll learn more than just how to play scales.

Another fun addition is the inclusion of actual song case studies, in which Santana and Morello teach you the ins and outs of their own songs — who better to learn from?

While MasterClass does offer a relatively low monthly rate, it’s a shame that you’re forced to pay it on an annual basis — meaning you have to pay for the whole year up front ($180), which is easier said than done for most people. You can also buy classes in full at $90 apiece, but if you’re interested in more than one class, you might as well just buy the full year, because you’ll be paying that $180 price tag either way. 

MasterClass’ guitar courses are great, and it’s a ton of fun to learn from famous musicians, but it’s probably better suited for intermediate players. It’s recommended for beginner-level musicians to go more into the nitty-gritty of theory and technique before diving into everything else, and MasterClass is more of a broad-strokes kind of deal. 


Berklee College of Music reputation • Paid version comes with a certification • Great for learning theory and technique • Free version without certificate

Not for people who want to just jam out and learn covers — this is much more nitty-gritty

Look to Coursera’s beginner course from Berklee College of Music for a solid guitar foundation that you’ll be able to build upon, leading to a truer understanding of the instrument.

Celebrity Culture: Coursera

Get collegiate-level instruction from the Berklee College of Music.

  • Free trial?:
  • Payment basis:
    One-time purchase

What if we told you that you could go to the Berklee College of Music without actually going to the Berklee College of Music? Well, you kind of can with their beginner guitar class on Coursera.

The six-week class guides you through the basics of the instrument with collegiate-level instruction, with a focus on theory, technique, and a true understanding of the notes in front of you. This isn’t for people who just want to learn their favorite hit guitar solo and call it a day — take this course if your eventual goal is to be able to write and perform solos of your own. 

After the six weeks, you’ll have learned how to identify all the parts of a guitar, including string names, how to read tablature and notation, chord block diagrams, various picking methods, chord shapes, and much more through video and reading lessons. You’ll even have control over your deadlines, because starting off a new passion shouldn’t be overwhelming. 

Another perk of using Coursera is that you get an actual certificate once you complete your training when you choose the paid option (which offers financial aid opportunities for those who need assistance). If you opt for free enrollment, you’ll have access to the course materials without the option of certification. You can make use of the site’s seven-day trial to make your choice on that front.

If you want a great foundation for long-term guitar playing from a reputable instructor, Berklee’s highly rated beginner guitar class on Coursera may be your match.

Direct, personalized feedback from professional instructors • Multiple membership options • Highly experienced teachers from different music backgrounds • Virtual classroom-like environment

Might be nerve-wracking for some to post their videos, since other users can see them • There is a limit to how many video submissions you can do per month

If your ideal learning environment is one that mimics a real-life classroom, ArtistWorks will check off all the boxes with its unique video exchange program that affords you personalized feedback.

Celebrity Culture: ArtistWorks

ArtistWorks is the closest you’re going to get to an in-person guitar lesson online.

  • Free trial?:
  • Payment basis:
    Three-month, six-month, or annual

Face-to-face guitar lessons can be nerve-inducing and time-consuming. But one thing that’s really hard to replicate with online guitar courses is the direct feedback loop that comes with in-person lessons. 

ArtistWorks hopes to close that gap, though. 

The service is a video exchange platform that allows you to communicate directly with your instructors without the rigid schedule of in-person learning. How it works is like this: You record yourself after your chosen video lesson (which are bountiful on the AW site) and demonstrate what you’ve learned, ask any questions you have, or point out things you want to improve upon. Then, your instructor records their own personalized video, addressing where you’re doing well, and helping with possible problem areas. That video interaction gets put in a library that can then be accessed by other ArtistWorks users, creating a learning community just like an actual classroom. You might have some initial anxiety about sending in these recordings for all to see, but it’s ultimately worth it and helps to create a robust, collaborative learning environment. 

The beauty of these submissions is that you can record and file them at any time, from any place via your phone, tablet, or computer. The process doesn’t usually take more than two days, and you’ll never be restricted by busy schedules and time zones — you can access all of it whenever you have the time to. 

There is, however, a cap for how many submissions you can post per month depending on your membership level, so you might have to use them sparingly. But, that doesn’t negate the value of customized feedback, especially for an online service. 

On ArtistWorks, you’ll find a large sampling of lessons from different genres and guitar styles, all from highly experienced teachers who want to help you along at every step — it’s great for players of all skill levels, whether you’re a beginner or an advanced player looking to brush up on your technique.

If your ideal learning environment is one that mimics a real-life classroom, ArtistWorks is for you. 

One-time payment • Interactive and fun way to learn • Large library of hit songs • Available on consoles

New tracks come with a price tag • You’re not going to learn much about music theory

Beginners will love the interactive learning experience of “Rocksmith” — you won’t be learning complex theory and technique, but you’ll certainly be able to cut your teeth with the game’s vast library of hits.

Celebrity Culture: Rocksmith

You’ll learn real songs, on a real guitar, in an interactive setting that’s super fun and informative.

  • Free trial?:
  • Payment basis:
    One-time purchase

OK, this one isn’t a guitar course per se — it’s actually a video game. But, it’s a video game in which you actually learn how to play the real guitar. 

No, this isn’t Rock Band or Guitar Hero, which employs the use of guitar-like peripherals with large buttons. Rocksmith is actually controlled with a real guitar. Simply plug in your own guitar (cable included) and go. 

Anyone who has played those aforementioned music games will probably be familiar with Rocksmith‘s interface — you’ll play hit tracks note-for-note from the game’s 50-song library (with hundreds more available to purchase and download). During each song, you’ll be able to see correct finger placements and notes, with a backing track that’ll have you feeling like a real performer.

The fact that it’s a game is actually super helpful — the competitive aspect pushes you to get better all the time, and Rocksmith‘s AI even adapts its difficulty level to how well you’re playing, which is encouraging. You really get to learn at your own pace. 

A huge benefit to Rocksmith is that it’s a one-time purchase. No monthly payments, no fees — pay your $30, and the game is yours for good. (Besides the PC version, the game is also available on PlayStation and Xbox consoles.) 

The downsides to Rocksmith maybe aren’t deal-breakers, but they should be noted. First of all, if you want to get extra tracks, you’ll have to pay extra, which is a little annoying. Also, Rocksmith isn’t really for those who want to dive into music theory and technique — this is more just a fun way to practice and get your fingers familiar with basic chords and notes, which is definitely worth something. 

*A lot* of content • Money-back guarantee • Updated every month • Mobile-friendly • Select celebrity-taught lessons

No offline use • Massive amount of content ends up hurting structure a bit

JamPlay caters the most to intermediate and advanced players who