Online guitar training programs is now a popular thing among the guitarists' audience of today. And why it wouldn’t be? It’s very cheap compared to the old conventional 1-on-1 with a private teacher way, and it’s also effective and very diversified. The best online guitar programs would normally have thousands of high-quality guitar lessons, tablature, jam tracks and more, and they cater to almost every guitar playing style and genre out there. Basically, they are all-inclusive, you wouldn’t need to look outside the frame of the program to search for anything guitar related.
In this review, we’re going to look at one of the most successful online guitar-learning programs that has been around since 1991, has thousands of guitar lessons, DVDs, and materials about playing the guitar, and the overall impression of its customers is highly positive.
This online guitar program is called: Truefire
What is Truefire And What do They Offer?
Truefire is dubbed by Guitar Player Magazine as “the planet's largest and most comprehensive selection of online guitar lessons”. Ever since its creation, Truefire has collaborated with over 600+ professional guitar instructors and experienced guitar celebrities to build their large collection of guitar lessons online, courses, as well as jamming tracks, tablature and books.
Truefire offer both a monthly subscription method which gives you an unlimited streaming access to all their courses, or you can buy individual courses depending on what you need, without having to pay for any subscription fees. Some prefer the subscription path, and some prefer the one-time purchase of a specific course or DVD. To each his own!
Other than streamed online guitar lessons, Truefire offers private, one on one guitar lessons with one of their instructors of your choosing, of course, with additional fees.
Also, they have a blog with more than 1000 posts ranging from free guitar lessons, interviews, viral news and videos about guitar playing, and more.
Truefire also features:
• A free digital magazine called “Riff”, where you can find exclusive stories, lessons and music from the contributors on Truefire.
• A student forum with over 5000+ members and 125,000+ posts, where you can ask questions, discover and discuss all the guitar-related stuff.
• Various tools created to assist your learning such as online tuner, metronome, and chord and scale charts.
Truefire's ‘In the Jam'
Finally, Truefire has this thing called “In the Jam”.
“In the Jam” is a software created by Truefire which you can use to open special “Jamtrax” album files also made by Truefire.
Each “album” includes 10 multi-track video jams organized into separate instruments (Guitar, Drums, Bass, etc) which you can control by muting one or multiple segments in order for you to jump right in and solo with your favorite instrument.
if you are a drummer, you would mute the drums part and integrate your own playing with the track for full-band-experience immersion. If you’re a guitarist, lead guitarist, for example, you’d mute that part and play it yourself instead. It’s a great way to learn and develop your improvisational skills on any instrument, not particularly the guitar.
These sophisticated jam albums can only be opened by the dedicated Truefire software, and in addition to the video and audio tracks included, they also come with tablature and lead sheets so you’re able to know the chord progression and notation of each jam track being played.
In most cases, the Jam Tracks also contains an audio track in which the featured artist gives insight and commentary on taking their approach on the track.
Watch the video:
Evaluating the Guitar Learning System of Truefire
So we know that Truefire got tons of guitar materials ranging from lessons, jamming tracks, private sessions, tools, etc.
But what is all this really worth without having a solid learning system?
A good guitar learning system should include a proper order of the guitar lessons based on your goals or the genre you want to learn, and the lessons or features of the program should be easy enough to find and navigate through. Are the lessons organized in a chronological, coherent way? Does the content of the training material match the level of the student? Because you can have the best guitar lessons in the world, but if the normal student doesn’t know where to start or can’t find the right place in the program to begin his/her training, then the majority of these lessons would lose most of their power and potential to give you progress.
So I imagined myself as a beginner guitar student who wants to learn to play Rock guitar, and wanted to see how easy would it be for me to find the proper learning material if I start on the Homepage.
This is what I found:
I had three options to choose from! It seemed like I had to pick randomly …
If you go for Courses -> Beginner, you will find different courses for beginner level. If you go for Courses -> Rock, then you’ll find courses about rock guitar.
However, if you go to Learning Path -> Rock, then you will be presented with a series of courses put in a well-organized manner that is easy to follow, that cover everything you need to know about playing rock music on guitar without the need to actually look around and try to find stuff related to you for yourself. You just follow the courses one by one, starting from course 1 – Learn Guitar 1: First Steps for Beginners, up until the last course which is Play Rock Guitar 10: Advanced Soloing Approaches.
Each course (From 1 to 10) is divided into smaller courses that tackle more specific issues and teach different stuff related to the topic of the core course, and inside each course you can read about the curriculum of the course and what to expect to learn from it, what instruments are used, skill level, style, and who are the instructors in charge.
My opinion about Truefire’s learning system is: Professional, well thought out, and I liked it very much. I think introducing the ability to pick a path using the “Learning Paths” from the menu on the front page is a smart move and one that was very much needed. Without this implementation, I would’ve rated their learning system hardly average, as you would’ve had a bunch of courses sorted by genre and difficulty without any pointer or hint to where one should begin or lead themselves.
So I give them lots of credit for introducing a better way to navigate and use their courses for beginners and intermediate players alike.
Overall: One can say that Truefire got a great learning system.
The Quality of the Guitar Lessons & Courses
Just looking at some of the instructors there, one could tell that this is some serious world-class material in there. I mean, Steve Vai? Tommy Emmanuel? Robben Ford? These are my idols! It can't get any better than this.
Learning from guitar players of such caliber is always an honor and a huge opportunity for everyone, even if you consider yourself an expert guitarist.
Many of these guitar lessons are filled with insight and philosophy of learning that benefits the advanced player more than the beginner, but rest assured that the beginner-level lessons are tailored well for beginners.
Luckily for us, Truefire has so many free videos and lessons on their Youtube channel that you can check and see for yourself the quality and nature of these lessons.
Here are some videos I recommend you watching:
You can learn how to play Bass Guitar on TrueFire too! (And even more instruments!)
With educators like Tony Franklin, Andrew Ford and Stu Hamm you are in the right hands when it comes to learning the magic of the bass guitar.
Beginner or advanced, TrueFire got your back covered.
Basically, what we are talking about here is this: 42 courses, 6147 lessons and 16 educators will surely teach you the bass grooves.
From slow blues to upbeat funk, from walking bass to slap, acoustic or electric bass guitar, or upright – TrueFire has it all.
Other than the bass guitar courses and lessons, TrueFire also offers courses in mandolin, dobro, saxophone, drums, vocals and even turntable!
Pros and Cons – The Good & The Bad
- Good learning system
- Easy to navigate through the lessons
- High-quality lessons
- 40,000+ Instructional and educational guitar lessons
- 140+ Highly skilled and professional instructors (Grammy award winners, top-session players, world-renowned educators)
- Exclusive learning tools
- Decent membership pricing with money-back guarantee
- IOS, Android, Windows and Mac Apps – You can follow the courses on any device
- 30-Day All-Access Free Trial – You can try it before you buy it
- Lack of song lessons – Wished they had a section dedicated for learning songs, but instead they have song lessons scattered around in the various courses.
- As with every online guitar learning program – The responsibility is on you to motivate and position yourself correctly to really benefit from the lessons.
- The extra features are paid – The majority of the extras are extra charged.
Note: The prices are true to 2018, and they might change anytime depending on Truefire themselves only.
These prices are pretty normal for this type of services. Most of the online guitar programs that I reviewed have more or less the same pricing, which is pretty acceptable and reasonable in my opinion.
They have a FREE TRIAL available too, you'll get it immediately upon finishing creating your account and signing up for the program. So if you're not ready to take the free trial yet, delay creating an account for when you're ready.
This is a great opportunity for those of you who aren’t sure if they should pay the price.
Besides that, you are protected by a 100% customer satisfaction policy that backs you up on your purchases with Truefire, depending on the type of product you’ve purchased. It basically says the following:
Conclusion and Verdict
It’s obvious that Truefire is one of the most dedicated and sophisticated online guitar training programs, and they do seem to have a very decent budget to keep their content updated with a top-notch material and highly professional instructors.
They have a decent price tag on their membership subscription, which gives you streamed access to all their courses online. Bear in mind that you’d still need to pay for stuff like DVDs and In the Jam albums.
The quality of their lessons and learning system is very high since they’re all presented by some of the top professionals in the business including names like Steve Vai, Robben Ford, Tommy Emmanuel, Andy Timmons, Dweezil Zappa, Mike Stern…
Overall, Truefire is definitely a legit option for learning guitar online, and their 100% customer satisfaction and money-back guarantee policy makes it safe and convenient for all skill levels guitarists to give it a shot and try the program out without worrying whether you've made the right decision or not. What's there to lose? Basically nothing.
Do I recommend Truefire? Absolutely. And if you don't wanna take my word for it, do yourself a favor and just try it with the free trial.
Hey, perhaps it isn't for you. Some guitarists I know can ONLY learn from sitting with a private guitar teacher that feeds them all the material they need to learn and progress. And they can't stand this method of learning from video lessons on their computer. So, I mean it, try it before you buy it. They give you all the time and freedom in the world to do so, so why not take advantage of it, right?
While Truefire might not have the best path for beginners, they do excel in teaching playing philosophies and techniques, and that's evident by the caliber of many of the guitar instructors they bring into the program (Steve Vai, for example).
Hope this review was thorough and informative enough for you to make a wise decision about trying out Truefire, or perhaps something else.
If you have any questions about Truefire or this review, please ask them in the comments section below and I'll answer you as soon as I can, and to my best knowledge.
Good luck … But above all, enjoy JAMMING!