Beginner FingerPicking Lesson
Easy Intro to Major Chords
What is GuitarTricks?
Guitar Tricks, or, GuitarTricks, is a company and a website that offers a step-by-step learning system mostly for beginners. If you are an intermediate-advanced guitarist, then you might feel that a lot of the lessons are slow paced and basic. Perhaps you'd want to look into something else (Jamplay is a good candidate) unless you want to go over the basics again and learn the fundamentals properly in case you forgot or missed them for some reason (VERY common with self-taught guitarists.
They learn how to read tabs, play a couple of their favorite songs, and that's it. They have almost zero training or knowledge of the fundamentals of playing the guitar). They are one of the biggest sources of video guitar lessons on the internet, and arguably the first ones to invent the whole idea of “online guitar lessons”.
As I said, their main focus is on the beginners, and their goal is to bring these beginners to the mid-late advanced levels. From there, I believe NO online learning system is ready (yet) to give masterclasses for high advanced – expert players. GuitarTricks is a real veteran in the business and a video guitar lessons behemoth. Founded in 1998, it now has a staggering number of members of over 2.2 Million (counted in Oct-2016) and still counting up.
They have over 11,000 video guitar lessons, over 600 song lessons (A lot more than any other program), and a very convenient and easy learning system for beginners to follow. Check the illustration below:
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What's new for Guitar Tricks in 2018?
New year, big news as always. As a guitarist myself, I just admire what Guitar Tricks has become.
For 2018 Guitar Tricks is keeping the focus on the beginner-intermediate audience, just as we're used to since its beginning.
With a few major (Well some not so major) additions to the program:
- 80 new songs added to the song library ( With a total of 700 song lessons now!)
- Added 6 new songs-made-easy for beginners (These are songs normally for the advanced player but they created a “light” version of it so beginners/intermediate players can play it – and enjoy it too).
- Added 5 new artist studies (Such as Angus Young of DCDC, and Chet Atkins!)
- A new program called Full Access Plus, which is a full-subscription program PLUS live lesson coaching from one of their pros! (I'm particularly excited the most about this one)
- 1-on-1 personalized lessons – These are private guitar lessons conducted online that you would pay something around $40 for 30 minutes, or $60 for a full 1 hour. So if you've been looking for an online guitar teacher for private lessons, it is now doable inside GuitarTricks.
- And more …
So overall, I'm really excited for all the progress and new additions that GuitarTricks has made. Things are only moving forward with that program and I continue to believe in it as a top-choice for online guitar training, especially for beginners (to intermediate) who've been struggling with mediocre Youtube guitar lessons or are feeling stuck in one place and making little-to-no progress over a long period of time (Who doesn't know that ugly feeling…).
Getting Started With Guitar Tricks
“Getting Started” is where you typically want to begin regardless of your experience on the guitar. It's an area which contains an overview of their entire lessons and courses database and makes it easy for you to jump right into the correct zone according to your own skill level and experience. You can access it from the left sidebar menu on their homepage. →
The “Core Learning System”
The “Core Learning System” is the trademark of GuitarTricks. It's a series of courses and guitar lessons dedicated exclusively to the beginner guitarist. Its purpose is to walk you through the absolute beginner phase of learning guitar, from the very basics like holding the guitar and identifying certain keys on the fretboard, to the advanced intermediate level where you can start playing full songs and compositions on your own.
It (should) put you right in the intermediate level area where you will have enough skills and experience to start to take on the more challenging techniques and exercises and are ready to progress to the advanced skill level area. Even if you consider yourself a more experienced player, I recommend going through this system quickly just in case you’ve missed something important in the past, or to simply refresh your memory on the basics and the fundamentals of guitar playing.
How Beginner-Friendly Really is Their Learning System?
If I'm allowed to say only one thing about Guitar Tricks, then it would be about how well-optimized their whole learning system and guitar lessons for the total beginner guitarist. I know a few awesome other guitar learning programs but when I see a beginner guitarist, then Guitar Tricks would almost always be the first choice that I'd suggest to them without a doubt.
There's no such thing as “common knowledge” when it comes to their program.
They teach you everything from the very basics while zooming in on every small detail leaving nothing behind. That's really their biggest asset and why I put them first almost all the time. And they do have a 14-day free trial as well, it's a no-brainer for any beginner wanting start on the guitar. I got approached by my boss at work yesterday and told me that his daughter wanted to learn guitar. She's like 14 or something, I immediately recommended Guitar Tricks to him without hesitation because I know how good Guitar Tricks is with dealing with beginners.
Their instructors deliver the guitar lessons very professionally and in a slow, clear manner, and contrary to a lot of other teachers, they focus on “teaching” and showing you all the action and in different angles if necessary, rather than “playing” or “showing off”. Just watch the free lessons they have on their website, you'll understand.
They do have an easy navigation for the entire website and once you're inside, you won't feel lost or overwhelmed and you'll immediately know where to begin. They have marked all their guitar lessons and song lessons with difficulty level and style so you know exactly what you're learning at each exact moment. Let's look at their song lessons page as an example from the screenshot below:
You can arrange the list based on whatever you like, difficulty, artist, instructor, style and so on. Notice how they state the difficulty of each song lesson by the number of guitar symbols. 1 – 3 guitars means easy difficulty, 4 guitars means intermediate, and 5 means advanced.
Most of their song lessons are level 2 to 3, the least being 1 (VERY easy songs, suitable for a beginner with a couple of weeks to one month training) and 5 (Suitable for those on their final stage of learning and are ready to move on to their next challenge, and perhaps consider getting a real life private guitar instructor to get him/her into that sweet location where you can start doing some really amazing and special things on the guitar and just be totally awesome).
Combining this with a good teacher support and a progress tracker, and the core learning system explained above, you will quickly understand that they've done a fine job optimizing their program for beginners' needs.
Beyond The Core
After the intensive beginner learning system and finishing all the basics, it doesn’t stop there. GuitarTricks expands upon what you have accomplished so far with advanced guitar lessons and techniques, including:
- Songs: Learning your favorite songs is something that is probably on your wish-list right from the start. And at this stage, it is a good idea to start learning these songs! Songs have a strong positive effective on your learning. Because it's very fun and entertaining, you'll enjoy learning them and it will make your training much more interesting. Essential in my opinion.
- Advanced Techniques: Focused lessons and courses on advanced guitar techniques, including: Alternate Picking, Bending, Hammer-ons and Pull-offs, Legato, Palm Muting, Vibrato, Tapping, and more…
- Styles and Genres: You can take on the more advanced genres and styles such as: Jazz, Classical, Bluegrass, Funk and more…
- Artist Studies: Lessons about the styles of popular and famous artists and bands, such as BB King, Jimi Hendrix, Iron Maiden, and more…
Special Tools and Features
Besides the large number of professional guitar lessons and the Core Learning System, Guitar Tricks offer additional services and features (free of charge) that can be a lot useful to the guitar student:
- Tools related to guitar, featuring:
- Scale Finder: An application that will help you learn every scale you want on the guitar, including the ability to play the scale and listen to it, in addition to a built-in fingering diagrams so you learn how to play the scale correctly.
- Jam Station: A place with lots of jam tracks on different scales and keys. The full access includes over a thousand jam tracks.
- Metronome: A great tool, and even a must for the more advanced stages to help you develop speed and accuracy at the same time. I suggest the Soundbrenner Pulse Metronome if you want a more serious and convenient Metronome.
- Chord Finder: Find the chords that you want
- A Tuner
- Fretboard Trainer: This is a cool little game, that presents a guitar fretboard, with a question mark on a specified location on it, and you have to guess what the key is corresponding to the location of the question mark on the fretboard. You have to choose from four different answers.
- News section: including different music related articles and offers.
- Forums: They have a HUGE forum that is accessible by everybody, but has a restricted area for paid members only. This is a great addition to the site because it offers a level of sociability, encourages players to engage with their questions and express their ideas and opinions, as well as search for existing topics. The forums have thousands of different posts and threads, so if there’s anything in your mind about guitars, you will probably find it there.
Free Lessons for Guests
Pros and Cons
Guitar Tricks has a lot of pros and some cons. Let's discover all of them, shall we?
- A huge number of guitar lessons in video format that you can watch online – One of the largest collections in the business.
- Dozens of professional teachers with diverse playing styles, to teach you any style you like.
- Who are they? From looking at the instructors' panel on their website, you can read a small biography on each one of them. You'll notice that all of them are well recognized and certified guitar teachers and artists that have made contributions to the music industry by either instructing or creating music and records.
- A coherently structured guitar learning system. Very important, especially for beginners and intermediate players.
- Has the most song lessons online, over 600+ and counting.
- Experience – the first ones ever to provide online guitar training services – since 1998.
- Friendly community and forums
- Easy to use with very friendly user interface that encourages learning
- Inexpensive – the content very much worth the money.
- Free Tools and Features that can make your learning more effective and fun
- “Core Learning System“: One of the BEST learning systems for beginners on the internet.
- A progress tracker page that tracks all your progress. Need to leave after a specific lesson? Or even at any point of the lesson? Then don't worry, all is tracked and documented in one clear page and is only updated when YOU make a progress. You will know exactly what lesson you were at, the % of progress you've made, its name and of course a link back to it so you don't have to search or manually navigate to it by yourself. Here's a screenshot of that progress tracker page:
I don't know why it shows nothing in my report, I've watched dozens of their lessons, at least it should show something under the “LAST WATCHED LESSON”.
Perhaps either I haven't taken enough lessons to count over the 0% (I've watched only a few lessons of entire courses/learning paths that literally contain thousands of video lessons, as I didn't need the content since I'm an advanced player. But I had to watch a lot of videos (20+) so I could review and judge them), or that feature is for premium members only.
- The Core Learning System, though being very good and efficient as we mentioned earlier, might feel boring to some people because of its huge emphasize on the fundamentals and the basics of playing the instrument. A thing that might cause losing motivation in the early stages.
- Being a huge flamenco guitar fan, I'm sad to say that GuitarTricks has no official flamenco guitar lessons or learning paths like that of Rock, Blues, Jazz, and Country. If you intend to learn flamenco guitar, Jamplay has two great flamenco guitar instructors that would teach you basic, up to very advanced flamenco guitar techniques. Having 30-day money back guarantee themselves, I'd give them a chance without a doubt.
- Lack of heavy Rock/Metal material – Many of us get into playing the guitar because of influence from bands like Metallica, Iron Maiden, etc. While there ARE Iron Maiden dedicated lessons, the overall focus on Metal lessons, techniques, and songs, are very limited for the time being. Will update when any further changes happen to this in the future!
A few more issues that me – Along with a few other friends GT members I know that are worth to be noted here are:
Lack of Focus on Music Theory.
It's not that GT does NOT include music theory in their lessons, but instead, they don't have dedicated, focused lessons on the subject.
For example, you could be in a Blues lesson, and the instructor will explain the basic theory behind Blues chord progression and he would go like:-
Go 1 -> 4 -> then 5 -> And repeat, etc (While of course, demonstrating everything on the guitar), but he doesn't go deeper as to how/why this progression, its origins, what the numbers mean, etc etc.
And I wonder why a huge company such as GT can miss on this opportunity, and lead the industry with top-notch music theory.
A course in Udemy that I recommend for learning rock/country music theory on the guitar is called the Guitar Masterclass Course, check it out here.
But this course is oriented only for the Electric Guitar.
Perhaps not so “hidden”, but a friend of mine noticed that there are some lessons or material that can't be easily accessed (ie through the main menu or navigation from the core learning system, and so on).
He found out about them when asking questions to a guitar instructor, and then got referred to them by him via a link.
My friend said that they were very valuable and were surprised how they did NOT make it easy for students to access those.
Well to be fair here, GuitarTricks really is a huge database and source of online guitar education.
It would be very difficult to map out EVERY resource they got in a very organized manner, but hey, that's something they could improve upon in the future (And I'll make sure to remind them of this).
Lesson to learn here:
If you're a paid, active member – ALWAYS use the forums or messaging system to ask questions and get clarification on some points you did not get so well. You might get access to a goldmine of information that you didn't know even existed! – Just a tip 😉
AVOID This Common Mistake …
IF you get too bored or worn down from the intensive training, then I suggest this: PLAY SONGS! GuitarTricks has plenty and a variety of lessons for very popular and fun to play songs.
Take advantage of that unique and special feature of Guitar Tricks that not many out there offer, or at least not on the same level of Guitar Tricks, and enjoy yourself, relax, and then get yourself back into the learning with full energy and focus.
A very common mistake by a lot of players is that … They try to “blaze” through the fundamentals and basic training and attempt to finish it as quickly as possible so they could finally start learning the advanced, “cool” techniques, or a very anticipated “advanced” song.
DON'T fall for this temptation. You might indeed finish your basic training in a week, but it will most likely be a “weak” basis. Remember, learning is a process over time. Finishing a video does not mean “lesson learned”. Give yourself some time, relax, enjoy the lessons, maybe go over the lessons another time, make sure that you understand everything because you are building a foundation here. Not so many places out there can give you this kind of training and if you're already paying for it, why not fully use the program and follow through all the training, right?
If you build your foundation properly and persevere through the intense beginner training, I can guarantee you that once you finish, every lesson from that point on will make more sense and feel a lot easier because you will actually be building upon that basic foundation that you've built for yourself.
In the other hand, if you haven't paid much attention to building your foundation, and didn't get a good grasp of the basics, then all the lessons that will come in the advance phase will feel much harder, some you won't be able to fully understand, and as a result of that your progress will suffer greatly and you would've actually stalled yourself instead of winning time by rushing first.
To become a full member and get full access and enjoy all the features that they have to offer, without any kind of upsells, you face two options: (Please note that these numbers might change anytime depending on the company itself)
- MONTHLY: You pay the full price of 20$ a month, every month, cancel anytime. (If you think about it, it is cheaper than 1 real life lesson by a private instructor!)
- ANNUALLY: Save 25% and pay 179$ for one year (or 14.9$ a month), billed every year, cancel anytime.
A price of a single, private guitar lesson with a private teacher costs anything between $20-$50. Having this amount and quality of guitar education at your fingertips, in your own spare time, online, for maximum $20 a month, is a no-brainer deal for me.
The price is very reasonable and acceptable in my honest opinion, especially considering what you're getting in return.
[REMINDER: PLEASE CLICK TO CHECK PRICES ON THEIR SITE – THEY MIGHT CHANGE ANY MINUTE]
Money Back Guarantee
It’s important because no matter how excellent the program is, and even if you rarely find an unsatisfied customer using this feature, still, the program might not be suited for everyone.
And if you happen to be that one person who doesn’t feel comfortable with the program from the beginning, you have all the right to step back and ask to return your money. After all, even a physical private teacher in real life might give you a free first lesson as a “trial”, why these programs should be any different, right?
So in conclusion, is GuitarTricks still the beginners' top choice for learning how to play the guitar?
In my honest opinion, I believe so. Even though there are other good candidates as well competing with GuitarTricks at the moment, you won't find the same simplistic, easy, slow-paced beginner-friendly step-by-step type of lessons that GuitarTricks is famously known for, and a big credit goes to the Core Learning System too which is, in my opinion, the best feature of GuitarTricks and sets a clear path for beginners to learn guitar as easily and fun as possible.
Another great thing is that they have a 14-day free trial that you can take without spending a dime and during that period you can really decide whether the program is for you.
Additionally, even after the free trial period ends and you decided to continue, but after a while, you felt that you're not getting what you've paid for, they have a 60-day money back policy that you can take advantage of in that case.
Personally, I'd still recommend GuitarTricks first to any beginner who asks my opinion because it's the safest and easiest way to learn the guitar with a monthly subscription that costs only a fraction of that of a private session with a private guitar instructor.
Perhaps the only alternative that I would suggest if asked what online guitar training do I recommend, is Jamplay. But if GuitarTricks offers a 14-day free trial, it's a no-brainer to take it first before anything else.
MY RATING: 9.8/10