Learning to play the guitar 20 years ago was a lonesome and difficult proposition.  Sure, you could buy books and ask friends for teaching and insight, but when it came down to you in the dark moments of the night; you were always completely alone with your wicked chord progressions and your punishing pentatonic scales.  Today, with the advent of the internets, you have a wide selection of outstanding online guitar teachers and this review with take a look at three substantial resources to help you advance your guitar skill at any level.  We begin with free lessons from guitar legend Arlen Roth hosted on the Gibson website.

Arlen’s teaching style is warm and prescient and kind.  He knows his stuff and you sit in amazement watching his skill in action.  The quality of the free Roth videos is outstanding and a single, 7-minute, lesson can last you a week or two as you try to take in a master’s teaching.

There are so many Arlen Roth videos on Gibson.com that it would take you the better part of two years to master them all. 

It is incredible Gibson offers these video lessons to us for free — the amount of goodwill they are providing to the guitar community is incalculable and invaluable.  Thank you, Gibson!

Next on our guitar lessons tour is GarageBand by Apple.  You can download free guitar and piano lessons; but the real shine of GarageBand is in its stars. 

For five dollars, you can download a master class with Sting, John Fogerty, Fall Out Boy, and others to learn — directly from them — how to play their hit songs!

The tutorials are wonderfully presented with live TAB and chords and active guitar strings animation. 

You really get a sense of learning from these star interactions and most songs have both simple and advanced teaching.  Picking your poison was never easier or more fun!

Our final stop on our online guitar lessons review includes mega-publisher Hal Leonard’s GuitarInstructor.com portal. 

If you’ve ever used a Hal Leonard book to learn a musical instrument, GuitarInstructor.com is the online equivalent.  Doug Boduch is the star of the guitar show because he is the most accessible of all the online instructors.  Sure, there are other “star” instructors like Ted Nugent, but only Doug makes the impossible possible.

For around two dollars, you can buy guitar lessons that will be stored in your online digital locker.  I prefer the Flash lessons to the downloaded Windows version because if I feel like learning, I can just log in to my account and click-to-watch.   

In addition to guitar lessons, you can also buy “Video Songs” that are taught to you in a step-by-step method:

Then, when you have a feel for the song, you can play along with your instructor and follow the moving online guitar TAB at the bottom of the screen.

GuitarInstructor.com also has Song Tabs you can purchase for a dollar and print and “play along” with in order to advance your practice into performance:

Another fine offering on GuitarInstructor.com is the ability to purchase for a dollar — “Jam Tracks” — so you can play along with a song with a full backing band.

This concludes our review of three outstanding online guitar lesson resources.

There are many other guitar lesson portals online and many of them are free.  YouTube is also filled with free guitar stuff, so start searching and clicking to make your finger picking and strumming patterns better tomorrow than they are today.


  1. Jam tracks is brilliant, David. Why troll bars hoping to find musicians when you can get good songs like this online – and lessons as well! 🙂

  2. I like your thinking, Gordon! You could also become your own bar band with these backing tracks. Just login, plugin and start playing! You’d sound like an entire orchestra.

  3. The guitarist known as BucketHead recently played a show with an ipod as his backing band. Apparently he would just skip ahead when he’d get bored playing a particular song.

  4. I think I am frightened of Buckethead, Gordon. SMILE!
    I suppose you could “play along” with your iPod without ever really having to learn the songs. Just strum and fake it like Madonna does on stage.

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