For a really long time, getting the hang of playing the guitar came with a pretty hefty price tag, which could be a bit of a roadblock for a lot of folks.
Thankfully, nowadays, with the advent of tons of freely available learning material, you aren’t hard-pressed to hire an in-person guitar teacher, enroll in an academy, or pay a monthly or yearly subscription fee for online guitar courses.
The guitar can, fortunately, be learned FOR FREE if you know where to look for it.
It doesn’t hurt to check it out, as you surely can’t beat the price!
Learning Guitar For Free? Is It Possible?
Though finding appropriate free lessons for advanced-level guitar players isn’t always easy, there are more than enough ways for a beginner or intermediate student to get by without necessarily having to pay for everything they learn.
So, if you want to learn how to play your first chords, scales, or some basic songs, you’re bound to find more than a handful of free resources to draw from. However, as with most things free, there’s a catch.
There’s generally a lack of reasoning behind the fingerings that are taught.
While you might come across an absolute gem of a lesson, once in a while, where an instructor goes into the theoretical and the technical details, it sadly isn’t the norm.
But rather than pitting free against paid lessons, it would be wise to use free lessons in conjunction with a paid online platform or an in-person teacher. The free lessons could easily complement and fill gaps in the areas or topics that your paid course or teacher doesn’t specifically cover.
How Much Do Paid Guitar Lessons Cost?
When it comes to cost, there is genuinely a disparity between the cost of opting for online guitar lessons compared to the traditional way of having in-person lessons.
On average, online guitar lessons can cost from $10 to $20 per month and can even reach up to almost $30 per month with pro-level platforms. Once you’ve narrowed down on the platform to learn with, I advise you to take on yearly plans, which are way more cost-effective.
On the other hand, in-person guitar lessons can turn out to be way more expensive, going from $20 to $80 per hour and higher, depending on the accolades of the tutor and the number of students in a class.
Getting The Best Out Of Your Free Guitar Lessons
Before opting to learn with free guitar lessons, there are a few things to be aware of.
The first is the scarcity of high-quality free content. Even with platforms offering some of the best free lessons on the internet, there is usually a set of advanced lessons and additional features that you can only avail of if you have paid.
The second drawback is that there are only a limited number of free online guitar platforms with a highly structured learning path. This makes it really hard for beginners who do not know where to start or what to choose next once they reach a certain level.
However, with a bit of creativity, you can surely get the best out of them.
They can also be used independently when you’re on the road or when you don’t have access to a guitar.
The Best Free Guitar Resources
Of course, the common denominator in all these lessons is that they are free.
While some of these platforms do offer additional paid lessons and features, we choose the ones that have the highest quality free content and can be used independently to some extent.
Free Guitar Websites
Although it offers paid lessons, Justin Guitar has always been known to many as one of the best online guitar websites to learn from. With more than 1,300 video lessons to find, its guitar course is comprehensively designed to suit all levels.
His lessons are categorized into three categories: beginner, intermediate, and advanced, and the first two are subdivided into three levels, while the latter has only one level.
For beginners, Justin Guitar focuses on the basics, such as playing chords, establishing your rhythm, and a little bit of music theory. But he also quickly progresses onto topics such as triads, finger strums, and legato techniques like pull-offs and hammer-ons.
With the intermediate lessons, you start studying the barre chords, major scales, and some easy blues licks for exercise as the topics get more complex, such as how to add color to your blues licks to the introduction of genres, such as funk and jazz.
Sadly, the advanced lessons are still limited and will be updated next year, but they have some cool topics, such as how to play the blues, Hendrix-style playing, and how to incorporate blues and jazz into your playing simultaneously.
If you do not know where to start, you can go to its “Lesson Map” where all topics are listed, making it easier to navigate and choose the lesson you want to begin with.
If you can’t yet stretch that pocket money to be able to join Guitareo, try Musora’s GuitarLessons instead.
Its lessons are designed for beginners and intermediates, and it offers hundreds of free video lessons from Nate Savage and Ayla Tesler Mabe, who are the face of Guitareo.
For beginners, the first parts of the lessons focus on basic topics such as how to properly hold the guitar, strum, tune, and many more. It then progresses to how to play your first chords, Am7, C, D, and G, and succeeds in you playing a song with the chord progression, G-D-Am7-C.
The intermediate lessons are more fun as they delve into added scales and some cool lead guitar techniques, such as pinch harmonics, which add a bit of attitude and flavor to your basic guitar solos.
All in all, there isn’t much to boast about the topics covered here. But the thing that stands out with GuitarLessons is the vibe.
Taught by Nate and Ayla, the fun and vibrant energy that Guitareo is known for, is maintained, which is honestly quite infectious.
Since its launch in August 2008, Songsterr has been one of the go-to websites for guitarists who want to learn how to play songs with the help of tabs. With more than 800,000 tabs compiled, surely most of your favorites are in its library.
The website offers an interactive tab where you can play along with your chosen song while looking at the tab in a musical score format. The songs are categorized into eight tiers, where one is the easiest, so it is easier to determine the difficulty of the song you will learn.
It supports multi-tracks, so you can check whether it has tabs for the rhythm or lead guitar, depending on which you prefer to learn and play. The website is designed for students to play more and add more songs to their arsenal.
Songsterr also offers a paid membership, but the only difference is that it offers some additional playback functions such as track speed, looping, muting tracks, and solo tracks.
However, you still have the same number of songs that anyone on the free version can avail of and try out.
Established in 1998, Ultimate Guitar has been one of the most renowned websites for those who want to know the chords of their favorite songs for free.
Today, there are more than a million tabs from different songs that you can search for on the website. It also supports Guitar Pro, an interactive tab format where you can play along with a song as you follow the tab on the musical score, similar to Songsterr.
The difference is that it has a smaller number of songs under this format than Songsterr, but when it comes to playback controls, they are identical to each other.
It also offers video lessons for electric and acoustic guitars, with more topics favoring beginner and intermediate guitar players. However, some gems, such as the playing styles of Joe Bonamassa, BB King, and Stevie Ray Vaughan, can also be great lessons for advanced guitar players.
Ultimate Guitar has one of the largest free communities for guitar players, allowing you to communicate with others by creating or replying to a thread. So, if you have questions about guitar playing or just want to strike up conversations with fellow guitarists, Ultimate Guitar would be a great option.
Unfortunately, the downside remains the same. It can be overwhelming for those who do not know what lessons you should start watching first, as there is no proper arrangement of the topics.
Free Guitar YouTube Channels
The first on our list, Andy Guitar, is a famous YouTube guitar channel with over 1500 free video lessons that are worth checking out. Designed primarily for beginners and intermediates, the chunking of topics into groups of three, five, or ten makes the learning process quite interesting.
Andy Guitar is an excellent channel if you’re looking to learn intermediate-level rock songs. Andy covers quite a few rock hits from well-known bands like the Rolling Stones, Queen, and AC/DC to name a few.
His playlist called “Movie Themes on Guitar” is quite cool, with simplified renditions of famous movie themes like Pirates of the Caribbean, Indiana Jones, and Top Gun, to name a few.
He also has a playlist named “Andy Guitar Band Program,” where the video lessons are designed for you to perform in a band with your guitar, playing songs such as Satisfaction, Seven Nation Army, and more.
The basics of the video production on the channel pretty much matches up to the pros, as Andy’s camera focuses on the fretting hand in a legible way, accompanied by a graphical fretboard.
Aside from the free guitar video lessons you can see on the YouTube channel, he also has separate playlists for his bass guitar and ukulele tutorials, and he even offers a paid online guitar course on his website with a 10-day free trial with additional features, such as interactive tabs, additional video lessons, and community support.
The next on our list, ArtistWorks, has been a known guitar channel for quite a while, thanks to its lineup of renowned instructors, such as Paul Gilbert and Bryan Sutton.
With almost 250 video lessons aimed at intermediate and advanced players, the lessons can be challenging to understand and follow. However, the energy and enthusiasm that Paul Gilbert brings to the channel surely make it worth checking out.
Although they come in a playlist, these lessons are not organized in order based on difficulty, which can be an issue. However, within this maze of lessons, there are nuggets to be found. One of the advanced lessons talks about fingerstyle playing with the use of harmonics, which is quite a unique topic.
Although it has a beginner guitar course playlist, most of the topics are not exactly aimed at complete beginners.
With almost 4 million subscribers, Marty Music is one of our list’s most popular YouTube guitar channels. It has more than 2,700 video lessons and features Marty Schwartz in almost all of them.
Its vast library of video lessons covers a comprehensive list of topics that suits every skill level, from beginner to advanced, making them one of the go-to options for many guitar players who are looking for free YouTube lessons.
Its lessons are mainly designed for first-time guitar players. The focus of the channel is to have you playing guitar chords that help you play simple songs from the very start.
It also has a separate playlist for first-timers with electric guitars, talking about how to set up a guitar amplifier and get that clean sound by tweaking the gain, volume, and eq knobs at the right position.
If you are an intermediate or advanced player and would love to add more songs to your arsenal, you should check out Marty’s tutorial videos with some of the most popular songs, such as Led Zeppelin’s Black Dog, Jimi Hendrix’s Purple Haze, Metallica’s Master of Puppets, and many more.
For a free YouTube guitar channel, Marty Music is one of the best options if you are looking for lessons with an energetic teacher that makes comprehensive topics much easier to understand; however, some of the lessons can be lengthy and can go more than 15 minutes.
Aside from being known for its paid online guitar course, JamPlay also has an impressive library of free guitar video lessons that are made for beginner, intermediate, and advanced-level guitar players.
Some lessons tackle how to play specific genres, such as jazz, rock, blues, while there are also a few videos that tackle the specific playing styles of some of the greatest guitar players ever.
It has a fairly decent playlist for beginners that goes through the basics of playing the guitar in a structured way, that’s worth giving a go, before opting for a paid subscription.
The most impressive part is that their way of presenting the video lessons is almost the same as their paid platform. The videos usually come in three segments where you can see an over-the-shoulder view, a fretting hand view, and the central camera focusing on the instructor’s strumming hand.
The only downside that I noticed is that its playlists can be overwhelming, especially for beginners who have no idea where to start when learning how to play the guitar.
GuitarJamz is another YouTube channel that features tutor, Marty Schwartz. The channel features tons of bite-sized beginner lessons that are designed for beginners to be able to pick up the guitar and start playing songs in no time.
It also has a huge playlist of videos that delve into the playing styles of some of the greatest guitar players.
The dedicated playlist on quick licks is worth noting too. However, keep in mind that some of these lessons are 14 years old, and the video quality doesn’t cross 240p sometimes.
Overall, Marty Schwartz has quite a reputation for being someone who makes guitar playing fun and interesting for beginners. Thanks to his vibrant aura and careful attention to detail when it comes to explaining a topic, his lessons are as informative as they are engaging.
But just like most of the free channels, the playlists generally comprise a collection of cool licks or popular beginner topics put together in succession. While the lessons are fun to watch, you need something structured to supplement it.
Free Guitar Apps
Although widely known as an app for tuning your guitar, Guitar Tuna has some free features that can help beginner guitar players solidify their knowledge regarding fundamentals. Available on both iOS and Android, the app is easily accessible and relatively easy to use.
It has a really cool tool called “Master The Chords,” which helps you memorize the chords by detecting the sound of the intervals without trying it out on your instrument. It also has a really cool game titled “Learn Chords” where you will have to guess the chord based on the notes given to you.
All of these features are a great help for beginners, as it’s especially useful in developing your listening skills and the application of those skills on the fretboard, as you’re primarily ‘answering’ on the virtual fretboard.
Although it might not be considered a primary source of learning, it can act as an excellent supplement.
If you want to work on your music theory in a fun way, Perfect Ear is totally worth checking out. Compatible with Android and IOS, you can now study music theory even while on the road.
Aside from its guided courses for beginners, intermediate, and advanced guitar players, the application is filled with educational exercises that can surely help build a solid music theory foundation.
Its ear training section has you differentiating between the minor and majors, and its rhythm training has you listening to a specific rhythm and trying to imitate it. Besides that, it also has a fretboard trainer to get acclimated with the notes on the guitar.
Although no videos explain the reading materials, it’s worth giving it a go if you are determined to learn more about music theory in the form of an app.
The application has three modes: normal and easy, where you can listen to and get familiar with the chords using your listening skills, while the solo mode allows you to play around with the fretboard.
It also has a play-along feature where you can play along with famous riffs, such as Eye of the Tiger, Satisfactions, Seven Nation Army, and many more using your fingers on the phone. It even has some loopable tracks that you can try out too.
Although it can be a good app for fun and play, it has its limitations and doesn’t take you very far.
SmartChords is a great help for beginners and intermediate guitar players who want to study more chords and learn their names.
Of course, you won’t be able to memorize everything, but working guitar players need to be able to identify chords quickly, as it can be quite beneficial in that regard.
Aside from its feature “Fretboard Explorer” where all the notes of the fretboard are tagged, it also has a “Fretboard Trainer,” where you can try out all the possibilities with what your fingers can do on the fretboard as it tells you its equivalent chord name.
Carrying a music book along to study chords, arpeggios, and music theory might not be ideal anymore these days, so having this app on your phone really helps.
If you’re more comfortable reading than watching videos, then Guitar Player is maybe what you are looking for. Aside from the latest news and product reviews involving guitars, they also have a vast list of educational articles that help you develop your skills.
For example, one of the articles in the image above talks about ways to improve your alternate picking. Alternate picking is an important part of the puzzle to master if you want to get good at shredding, and it’s a highly searched topic by budding guitarists.
Apart from topics that involve guitar-playing techniques, some of its lessons also delve into the playing styles of some of the most renowned guitar players like Eddie Van Halen.
You also get a fair dose of guitar amplifier reviews, along with some fun ones that deal with secret recipes for getting genre-specific tones.
Another free guitar website that offers readable educational material, Total Guitar, has been one of the industry’s longest and most established names.
Like Guitar Player, Total Guitar also offers the latest news and feature articles related to the guitar and music industry, but they also have an impressive archive of guitar lessons that you can read and learn from.
While these free articles are never going to replace your in-person teacher or your paid platform subscription, they’re a great supplementary add-on.
Now equipped with the knowledge of these fantastic online resources, you have a treasure trove to explore whenever you’re seeking specific guitar insights.
However, because learning from free materials takes a self-guided approach, it’s wise to gauge your current skill set first. Understanding your position on the guitar-playing journey provides valuable insight into where you’re headed.
Armed with a clear sense of your guitar-playing aspirations, you can dive into the wealth of free materials outlined in this article with determination and purpose. This focused approach is bound to maximize the benefits you extract from the available resources.