1. Justin Guitar

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JustinGuitar.com is a free guitar lessons website with hundreds of complimentary video lessons. You can find lessons for all skill levels, or particular interests, and all Justin asks for is a donation. You can also purchase apps, books, DVDs and more, plus there are links to further resources, such as podcasts, a forum and special offers.

It’s hard to imagine how much work the site’s owner, Justin, must have put into creating and maintaining this site. He’s uploaded literally hundreds of free lessons, and although the site’s not quite as glamorous as others, it’s well-organized. You can easily find lessons based on your interests or particular skills you wish to work on. Once you locate a category using the side bar, you’re presented with a write-up from Justin, who hastips and information to offer on all guitar topics.

Underneath the information, you’ll find links to all the relevant lessons. For example, if you want to know more about ear training, you click on the ear training option, then read about what ‘ear training’ means, how people use it and what are its benefits. From there, you can see the ear training videos (stages 1 to 5) and specific lessons which use those skills (in this case, ear training is used in 6 lessons).

2. Guitar Compass

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Guitar Compass features hundreds of free guitar lesson videos. These online lessons are designed to teach you how to play guitar by covering the absolute basics up to more advanced soloing concepts and techniques. The lessons span different difficultly levels and genres like blues, rock, country, and jazz. Each lesson is designed to introduce you to a subject and get to know our instructors and their teaching style.

3. Guitar Tricks

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GuitarTricks.com provides over 11,000 online lessons with help from over 40 guitar tutors. It has downloadable apps to help you tune and practice, plus a great array of songs to play along to. Its lessons and tools are suitable for beginners and advanced players, making it a really useful site for any guitarist.

If you don’t know anything about playing a guitar, don’t worry. Guitar Tricks provides carefully planned video lessons with a knowledgeable tutor who talks you through everything step by step. If you have a particular genre of music or style of guitar playing in mind, you can also locate lessons which focus on those preferences. At first, though, it’s probably most sensible to take a few more generic lessons for beginners.

The site allows you to try out a great deal of material before you decide whether or not to pay for full membership. You can access dozens of lessons for free, as well as advice from tutors and also a few really helpful apps. This gives you plenty of opportunity to check out the quality of the lessons, which we felt were very well produced and offered tips suitable for the ability levels they described.

Apps include tuners and games to help you learn notes, chords and more. These are especially handy for beginners because finding the right note or tuning your guitar can be hard when you’re not used to hearing the correct sound. Apps can also be downloaded, making them really useful for travelling and retuning a guitar when you’re on the move and don’t have an internet connection.

4. Jam Play

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JamPlay offers online guitar lessons, educational games, a great set of community features and more, to help develop your guitar playing skills. HD videos are provided with notation, and new video lessons are uploaded every day, with around 11 hours of new lesson content per month. Combine this with several comprehensive chord, scale and jamming libraries, and you’ve got everything you need to become a guitar master.

The sheer amount of guitar-relevant information and tools on JamPlay.com is pretty impressive. As a free member, you can browse the site and explore exactly what’s on offer. Five sections (lessons, features, teachers, live and home) allow you to easily navigate the site and find whatever you’re looking for.

The lessons pages provide a quick video overview of what’s available and how each lesson will play out. If you begin with the basics, you’ll be introduced to everything from how to hold a guitar to using a plectrum, from how to read notes to producing chords on the fretboard. There’s plenty of content to explore if you already know the basics too, so you can simply skip over the lessons which aren’t relevant to you.

All lessons are streamed in HD, the videos allowing you to view important information such as hand positioning. It’s also useful to hear the guitar as you watch it being played. Tutors are enthusiastic and knowledgeable, offering more than 4000 lessons in total (to date). Lessons cover a wide range of genres, which also include lesser-known areas of guitar playing.

5. Guitar Lessons

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GuitarLessons.com provides a range of free beginner and intermediate guitar lessons online. It also offers access to The Guitar System, a downloadable package of additional lessons for a complete guitar education, better suited to players who wish to develop beyond basic playing.

Guitar Lessons does what it says on the tin: provides guitar lessons online. Many of these are free to access, each recorded in HD. Free guitar lessons cover all levels, although they are probably better suited to beginners and intermediate players than more advanced guitar players. Still, advanced players may be interested in the information and lessons provided on specific genres of music, such as playing blues.

There are more than 50 HD videos and you can choose general skills, rhythm or lead guitar. The lessons are not specific to electric or acoustic, so any instrument you have at hand is fine. There are 12 simple videos for beginners to leap off with, teaching the very basics, such as how to play, hold or tune a guitar. You can try out your first guitar song in no time, with a few basic choices to start with.

6. Rocksmith

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Rocksmith combines console, PC or Mac software with downloadable content to help you learn guitar faster than ever. You simply plug in your electric guitar using a special cable, choose a song or game, and play.

The really clever thing about Rocksmith is that it immediately learns and responds to your playing. Choose a song, start playing at a simple level (just one note) and the software slowly increases the difficulty. If you’re struggling, the difficulty is reduced, if you’re breezing through it then it becomes harder. With this instant feedback, you are always pushed to improve, meaning that your development is incredibly quick and specific to your needs.

The software comes with around a dozen songs, although you can download more easily. The basic interface includes a music video and fret board style on-screen notification system, so you can easily see which notes to play, and when. It’s somewhat reminiscent of Guitar Hero, but more in depth, and the really good thing is that you’re genuinely learning guitar rather than simply playing a game.

It can feel as though you are playing a game rather than playing the guitar, which is not necessarily a bad thing. There are also a variety of guitar exercises to try, which are cleverly disguised as video games. For example, moving between certain chords at the right time, might fire a missile at the correct enemy. So, whilst you’re blowing things up, you’re actually learning progressive chord changes. Clever!

7. Guitar Masterclass

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GuitarMasterclass.net is a website which hosts a large guitar-focused community. It’s made up of tutors and students, all of whom are avid guitar fans who enjoy sharing songs, tips, lessons and more. The full site contains over 15,000 videos and more than 3,000 lessons from 17 instructors, so there’s plenty to learn.

Finding guitar lessons is pretty simple and the site understands how guitar playing functions. You can choose your instrument, style or instructor, plus the level or difficulty you wish to play at. You’re then shown all the lessons which suit your preferences.

Faced with so many results, you might feel a bit overwhelmed. However, you can view the latest and highest rated videos within that category and shift your preferences until you locate something you’re looking for. Still, a key word search would be really useful!

Although you can’t necessarily search exclusively within the lessons, you can perform a search through all of the site’s content. It’s not too difficult to then find what you’re looking for, assuming you know what you’re looking for. If you’re not sure, that’s where the live help and forums can really come in handy.

Live help is provided using an instant messenger, or you can arrange to receive support using video chat.This is particularly helpful if you’re not sure how to move your hand or just want some feedback on how you’re playing. Workshops also run fairly regularly, and you can sign up for these if you check out the workshop calendar.

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