Free? Did somebody say free?
That’s right! There are several websites that offer free online guitar lessons for beginners.
Maybe you are:
- Strapped for cash, already have a playable guitar, and just want to get started right away.
- An extreme introvert, and the idea of having live in-person or online guitar lessons terrifies you.
- Someone with a full schedule, and adding a weekly guitar lesson to your calendar feels overwhelming.
- Thinking, “Why should I spend a ton of money on guitar lessons when I could just learn from videos online?”
That last one is a very good question. Let’s talk about that.
Pros and Cons of Free Online Guitar Lessons
Like I said, if you have a full schedule, you’re on a tight budget, or you have a fear of playing in front of someone else and receiving constructive criticism, free online guitar lessons might feel like the best option.
On the other hand, some of the things that make free online guitar lessons seem so appealing can also be drawbacks. Having a real live human being there to watch and listen as you play, and to offer feedback on what you’re doing well and what you need to improve, can be crucial to making progress on the guitar.
Without that live feedback, it’s easy to learn some bad playing habits that can be difficult to undo.
When I was 10 years old, I picked up my dad’s guitar and a chord book and basically taught myself how to play. I never took a single guitar lesson until I went to college 8 years later. Nor did I have access to online video lessons, because… well…
It was so long ago that the Internet wasn’t a thing yet.
(Yes, I am that old!)
I’ve been playing for about 40 years now, and sometimes I still find myself falling back into some of the bad technique habits I developed when I was a kid.
Another possible drawback is that without the accountability of meeting with a teacher at a designated time each week and having a specific assignment, a lot of students just don’t practice. It takes a very disciplined person to sit down with the guitar on a daily basis and keep plugging away, without any feedback, just for the joy and passion of learning.
Having said all that, there is an upside to online video lessons:
Having access to the experience and wisdom of great guitarists all over the world.
With in-person lessons, there is a chance that you might get connected with a teacher that you don’t really gel with. You might get frustrated and quit, and let’s face it… breakups are awkward.
With free online video lessons, if you don’t feel like the instructor meets your needs, you can always find another website. No harm, no foul, and no money lost.
Totally Free Guitar Lessons
I started off my search the same way you probably did:
I typed “Free Online Guitar Lessons” into Google.
Please be aware that not all of the top-advertised “Free Guitar Lesson” sites listed on Google are totally free.
Several only offer “free trials” with a credit or debit card required to sign up. If you forget to cancel before the trial period expires, you could be charged a hefty fee.
In this post, I am going to cover only those sites that offer totally free guitar lessons, with no payment card required.
Having said that, most of the sites listed below do offer an optional upgrade to paid online lessons.
I have to say that it was difficult for me to assign a “ranking” to this list of sites because I think they each have some great features. The sites that offer an accompanying mobile app are ranked higher due to flexibility of delivery, but all of the sites provide lesson material that is of high quality.
TrueFire offers their First Steps for Beginners course completely free. This course includes over 30 prerecorded video sessions that will get you well on your way to playing songs on the guitar in a short period of time.
TrueFire has learning paths for Rock, Acoustic, Blues, Jazz, and Country, so whatever your preferred style, TrueFire will get you started on the right path.
For access to more advanced lessons and play-along Jam Track videos, you can upgrade to their All Access pass with a 30-day free trial (credit/debit card required).
Although you can view all the lessons on their website, they also offer a great app that you can download for Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS or Android.
Justin Guitar offers over 1,000 completely free lesson videos ranging from beginner to advanced skill levels.
In addition to learning chords and strum patterns, Justin teaches you ear training, music theory, and guitar maintenance to give you a broad foundation as a musician.
There is an optional free app available for iOS and Android that allows you to access the lesson videos, and excerpts of available play-along Jam Tracks. For full access to the Jam Tracks you can upgrade to a monthly subscription with a 7-day free trial (payment info required).
3. Fender Play
Fender Play is offering a 3-month trial to their huge library of lesson videos with no credit card required. Acoustic and Electric learning paths are available in Rock, Blues, Folk, Country, and Pop styles, and include several popular songs to play along with.
Lessons can be viewed on the website or in the Fender Play app for iOS or Android.
Fender’s paid subscription is reasonably priced and the lessons are high-quality. However, even if you decide not to upgrade at the end of the trial, you can learn quite a bit in three months if you work at it consistently.
Your Guitar Academy offers a complete Guitar 101 course that covers the basics of playing guitar and has a learning path for Acoustic, Electric, Lead, Funk, and Blues guitar all the way up to an intermediate level.
The site also offers more advanced lessons on playing in the style of many famous guitarists, all for free.
For a reasonable price, each course can be purchased for download to your computer or mobile device, with packages that include:
- HD video lessons
- An accompanying detailed lesson book with tabs, chord boxes and chord charts for each lesson
- MP3 versions of the exercises and songs at regular speed, slowed down speed, and backing tracks to jam along with
- A scale book
- A chord book
- Exclusive access to the private YGA student Facebook group
PlayGuitar offers a unique Customize My Lesson Plan feature that will help you start your learning path by assessing how much guitar knowledge you have before you start, so you don’t end up rehashing material you already know.
Based on your answers, each week guitarist Jonathan Boettcher will send you a lesson video that meets you where you are and helps you move forward. You will also receive emails on most weekdays with valuable tips on making progress on the guitar.
If the weekly videos are too easy for you, there is a link in the email where you can request to be moved up to the next level.
When you get to the point where you’re ready for an additional challenge, PlayGuitar offers several downloadable courses and jam tracks for purchase, covering a variety of rhythm and lead guitar styles.
The website also has individual videos on Technique, Music Theory, Lead Guitar tips, and Exercises to help build your skills.
Guitar Compass offers 12 free beginner guitar lessons that advance pretty quickly, so if you’re a fast learner this might be a great option for you.
For a more thorough lesson track, Guitar Compass offers a paid monthly subscription with a 7-day free trial (credit card required).
BONUS LISTING: Loog Guitars (Ages 8 and under)
Loog Guitars offers weekly free group lessons on Zoom every Saturday for ages 8 and under, with one caveat: These 30-minute lessons are designed to help kids who already own a Loog Guitar get started playing, which is why I listed it separately from the Top 7 above.
For more detailed information, check out my full review of Loog Guitars here.
Are Free Online Guitar Lessons Right for You?
If in-person lessons are not an option for you, any of the free lesson sites listed above will get you started down the right path. When you get to the point where you’re ready for a greater challenge, the paid options offered might be perfect for you.
However, if you’re looking for a more personal approach to learning guitar and would like to receive feedback from a guitar teacher, stay tuned for an upcoming post in which I will review websites that offer live online guitar lessons and/or video exchange programs.
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All the best,