Guitar Instructor Review

Acoustic Guitar Electric Guitar June 27, 2020
guitar instructor

Guitar Instructor Review

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guitar instructor

Learning how to play the guitar can be a very rewarding undertaking as long as you’re willing to commit to it. Regardless of what your goals may be, you’ll get more out of it the more you put into it.

Over the years, online guitar lessons have become an affordable way to take lessons at your own pace whenever it’s convenient for you, and they can be catered to whatever skill level and goal you may have.

Guitar Instructor Scorecard
Guitar Instructor
Guitar-Instructor
Overall Score
Pros
  • Enjoy the trial period without entering a payment method
  • Occasional users can simply purchase a la carte items to save over a full subscription
  • Play-Along tracks are outstanding
  • Free previews of many lessons
Cons
  • There isn’t much free content here
  • A la carte options can get expensive if you’re not careful
Pros
  • Enjoy the trial period without entering a payment method
  • Occasional users can simply purchase a la carte items to save over a full subscription
  • Play-Along tracks are outstanding
  • Free previews of many lessons
Cons
  • There isn’t much free content here
  • A la carte options can get expensive if you’re not careful
Accessibility & Design
Quality of Visual Aids
Lessons Available
Instructors & Teaching Methods
Unique Features
Trial Period
Pricing & Refund Policy

Guitar Instructor offers thousands of lessons that include tabs and traditional notation using more than 140 instructors covering several different styles.

Their site contains several different learning paths for beginners depending on which method might interest you, as well as a large song library that allows you to learn famous songs by popular artists. Also, you can try Guitar Instructor free for seven days without having to give them a credit or debit card.

Guitar Instructor Video Review

Why You Should Trust This Review

I’ve been playing guitar and making music for approximately 35 years, mostly based out of Los Angeles, CA. I’ve played in several bands, been involved with several recording projects and played countless shows all over the world.

As a band member I have been a leader, a follower and a team player, primarily playing punk and alternative styles of music. I’ve never taken a formal guitar lesson but I have learned a lot from other musicians by simply playing along with them, asking questions and picking up tips and tricks here and there.

I continue to enjoy the experiences I get from playing and touring, and a big part of that is because I’m still able to learn so much from other guitar players.

How I Tested It

I spent a few days on the Guitar Instructor website and there are lot of options and directions that you can take. I’ll admit that I was a little confused at first because there are so many avenues that you can go down and I found the site to be a little hard to navigate due to all of the options. But, after a short amount of time, I gradually got the hang of it.

Some of the beginner lesson paths.
Some of the beginner lesson paths.

I explored the beginner lessons and, as mentioned, there are several different paths; electric, acoustic, tab-only, standard notation, chords first, and video lessons. All of the different paths contain onscreen guitar tabs, but the first five lesson paths are geared more towards learning how to read music, whereas the video lessons have more of a “pick up a guitar and play” method.

The Lessons & Video Player

All of the learning paths start with the basics, like the names of the different guitar parts, how to hold a guitar, finger placement and how to strum properly, and they are very accelerated and encourage you to jump right in. As mentioned, there are several different paths, so it’s up to you to decide which direction to take. If you’ve never played guitar before, it might be daunting to have to figure out what kind of learning path works best for you, but each learning path has a description to help you decide. Plus, it’s very easy to sample each learning path and skip around within the lessons until you find what’s comfortable for you.

One of the Guitar Instructor video lessons.
One of the Guitar Instructor video lessons.

The length of the lessons vary depending on the learning path; some can be as short as five minutes while others can be as long as 20 minutes. If you are following one of the notation or tablature paths, you can adjust the speed of the lesson and create your own custom loops to re-watch a specific segment. However, these features are not available for the video lessons.

Also, the production value for the videos can be a little mediocre and inconsistent. Some of the videos are high-definition while some are not. And, some have a multi-view format, giving you various views and close-ups of the instructor’s hands, while some of the videos simply cut in and out from far-away shots to close-up shots.

Kids Lessons

Guitar Instructor also offers a beginner path devoted to kids, which features a 12-lesson course containing audio and video content, including notation and tablature. The lessons are primarily visual and, like most of the Guitar Instructor lessons, they focus on learning how to read music and the basics of guitar playing.

The lessons start with learning notes and one-finger chords, but then progress to learning how to play several classic rock and folk songs. Also, many of the lessons are formatted into a sing-along style with accompanying vocals, allowing parents to participate in the lessons even if they have no musical training themselves.

The Instructors and Styles

Guitar Instructor is part of the Hal Leonard educational music publishing company, so it makes sense that the lessons tend to lean more towards learning written notation and tablature rather than a more interactive approach with video lessons.

Some of the instructors on the Guitar Instructor website.
Some of the instructors on the Guitar Instructor website.

There are more than 140 instructors available to teach rock, blues, jazz, country, folk and R&B lessons, and the instructors all seem very experienced and knowledgeable. However, they seem more focused on teaching notes and learning how to read music rather than learning how to play comfortably.

What It Offers

Guitar Instructor offers a seven-day free trial which gives you full access to their entire website, which is more than 50,000 lessons taught by more than 140 instructors covering six different styles of music, including acoustic. The video lessons are not available to download, but all of the tablature and notation can be downloaded and printed as PDF files. And, you are not required to give Guitar Instructor a credit or debit card to sign up for the free trial. Also, there are no Guitar Instructor apps to download for mobile devices, but their entire website is web-compatible.

Other Features

  • G-Plus Songs

G-Plus is a collection of famous songs by various popular artists that you can learn, all of which contain step-by-step video instruction, tablature and audio play-along tracks. The interactive tabs allow you to create customized loops within the lesson, adjust the tempo, and also isolate or remove the lead guitar and full-band tracks. However, the accompanying videos don’t allow you to adjust the speed or create custom loops.

One of the G-Plus song lessons.
One of the G-Plus song lessons.
  • Video Songs

There are more than 600 Video Song lessons that cover several styles of music and skill levels, and this is simply all of Guitar Instructors’ video lessons from all of their different courses. So, some of the lessons are in the G-Pus format with the interactive tablature, and some of the lessons are simply an instructional video without any tablature or additional features.

  • Chord & Lyrics Library

The Chord & Lyrics library contains more than 7,500 songs featuring complete lyrics with chord symbols and chord grids. These are more simplified, chord-based versions of popular songs that are available in case you want to learn to strum-out some hit songs.

  • Play-Alongs

There are more than 1,200 popular songs that you can play along with, and you can also choose to remove the guitar tracks if you want. You can browse through the songs according to style or artist, or you can search for a specific style, song or artist. There aren’t accompanying tabs for these songs, and you can’t adjust the speed or download them.

  • Guitar Tab Library

The Guitar Tab library contains thousands of songs that can be downloaded and printed and, according to Guitar Instructor, many of the songs are approved by the artists themselves for accuracy. You can browse the tabs according to artist or genre, and you can also use the search option to find a particular song or style of music.

The Guitar Tab library.
The Guitar Tab library.
  • Bass and Ukulele Lessons

In addition to guitar lessons, Guitar Instructor also has lessons for bass and ukulele. These lessons aren’t nearly as abundant as the guitar lessons, but they are still a nice add-on in case you want to switch between instruments without having to pay extra. There are eight different bass instructors covering six different styles with more than 1,000 tabs available, and these lessons span from beginner to master level. As for the ukulele, there are only two instructors which focus primarily on beginners.

  • Additional Features

Another feature is the customizable My Library option, which allows you to add any lessons, tabs, songs or videos to a personal playlist for easy access. Also, there is an online tuner, an online metronome, and an optional newsletter that updates you when new lessons and songs have been added to the site.

  • 50,000+ lessons available
  • Six learning paths for beginners
  • Interactive tablature
  • Libraries of notation, tabs, chords and lyrics
  • Play-along songs

Signing Up

As I mentioned, Guitar Instructor offers a seven-day free trial that gives you full access to their entire website. If you choose to pay for a membership, it’s $9.99 per month or $99.99 per year. And, all of the tablature and notation are available to download at no additional cost with both the free trial and the paid membership.

  • Free seven-day trial
  • $9.95 per month or $99.99 per year
  • Notation and tablature are free to download
  • Customizable playlist of lessons
  • Online tuner and metronome

What I Liked

Guitar Instructor gives you tons of features and paths to explore, especially if you’re a beginner. Whether you’re interested in learning how to read tablature or traditional notation, learn a particular style of playing, or figure out the chords and lyrics to a classic song, there are plenty of options to enjoy.

Having more than 50,000 lessons taught by more than 140 instructors is great, and six different learning paths gives beginners lots of avenues to explore. Also, I really like that all of the notation and tablature is free to download, there are bass and ukulele lessons at no additional cost, and that there are lessons geared specifically for kids.

  • Large selection of courses and instructors
  • Six different beginner paths
  • Notation and tablature are free to download
  • Go at your own pace
  • Watch only the lessons that you want
  • Switch between instruments and styles
  • Free bass and ukulele lessons
  • Lessons for kids

What I Didn’t Like

As I mentioned earlier, I didn’t exactly love the website itself and thought that it was a little confusing and difficult to navigate. But, as I also mentioned, you get the hang of it after a while. Plus, it’s unfortunate that there are no apps for Guitar Instructor, so you would have to use the browser on your phone or tablet if you want to use a portable device to watch lessons.

Also, the video player left a lot to be desired and really doesn’t have any features other than standard controls. You can play, pause, use the slider to fast forward and rewind, skip back 10 seconds, adjust the volume, make the video full-screen, and that’s basically it. You can’t adjust the speed of the videos or create custom loops within the videos, which I think are important features to have when you’re trying to take video guitar lessons.

Lastly, the production value and resolution is a bit mediocre for a lot of the videos, and several videos don’t offer very many close-up shots of the instructors’ hands or varied camera angles. Also, there is no option to download the video lessons, even for an additional fee.

Also, a seven-day free trial seems a little short, but I suppose it should still be enough time for someone to try it out and decide if they want to pay for a membership.

  • Slightly confusing website to navigate
  • No apps for mobile devices
  • Only standard controls for video player
  • Mediocre quality of some videos
  • Short trial period

Final Thoughts

The cost for Guitar Instructor seems very reasonable considering how many lessons and instructors are available, and it’s great that you can download all of the notation and tablature at no additional cost, including during the free trial period. Also, it’s great that there are so many different learning paths for beginners, but figuring out which one to choose may take some extra time to figure out.

And, since the site focuses so much on learning how to read music, that’s also something that you should decide up front. That being said, a seven-day free trial that doesn’t require a credit or debit card should be plenty of time to decide it’s the right website for you.

Michael Vogelsang

Michael is a musician, writer and voice actor who has played and recorded music with several bands, mostly connected to the hardcore punk scene. In his spare time he enjoys spending time with his wife and their ever-growing family of animals.
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