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Have you ever heard someone say, “My mother made me take guitar/piano/trumpet lessons when I was a kid and I sure regret it now”? If you are like me, you probably hear just the opposite. It’s the lessons folks quit or gave up on that they regret. People usually wish they had stuck with the training they started as youngsters and often want to go back and continue their musical education as adults. If you are one of those folks who used to dabble with guitar and would like to go back, or even if you have never played before and want to get started, GuitarTricks.com could be a great source of help for you.
Unlike many sets of CD’s or books you can order to be shipped to you directly, GuitarTricks provides video lessons online that you can access for a monthly fee. In my opinion, it is the best online program for learning to play guitar. Jon Broderick started GuitarTricks.com in 1998, making it the oldest website of its kind on the Internet. His goal was to put several of his own lessons on the web that clearly explained how he played some of his favorite solos and invite other guitarists to do the same. His hope was that the lesson sharing would benefit guitar players of all abilities from all different locations. As the website grew and changed, the lessons became more sequential and provided a way for an interested student to progress from whatever skill level he or she currently possessed to the next rung of the ladder.
Basic Course Information
When you become a member of GuitarTricks, you will have access to a complete system of guitar learning materials. It doesn’t matter if you are a total beginner or if you have years of experience, you will find something of value here. The lessons on the website are divided into three basic sections:
- Fundamentals for Beginners
- Courses for Beginners through Intermediate Players
- Selected Topics for Intermediate through Advanced
Read on to learn more about each aspect of the Guitar Tricks site.
This part of the course has been honed and improved over the years since Guitar Tricks started. It is geared toward folks who have never picked up a guitar before as well as those who may be returning from a length of time away from the instrument. The lessons are all presented in a sequential manner that allows each new skill to build on the one that was introduced before.
Fundamentals One is for you if you have never tried guitar before. The lessons don’t require you to have any previous knowledge of music at all. You’ll start learning at the beginning with how to hold your instrument and identify the G string. By the time you finish this part of the course, you’ll be able to play several full major chords.
Fundamentals Two proceeds from where the first one left off. You’ll learn to understand scales, music notation, minor chords, intervals, key changes, barre chords and basic song structure. The speed of the exercises will increase slightly to provide a challenge for you and you should start to feel like a “real” guitar player.
Once you have completed all the material in the Fundamentals section, you’ll be ready to move on to the Courses. This is where you get to focus on your favorite style of guitar music and really start reaching your personal musical goals. There are three courses in this section of Guitar Tricks. You can choose blues, country or rock as your specialty. Because the three styles all require different gear and accessories, the lessons will help you figure out what you need to get set up and ready to roll. Then, you’ll learn the techniques and methods that apply to your favorite genre.
The Blues, Rock and Country courses are each divided into two sections much the way the Fundamentals course was. They will help you take your basic guitar knowledge, whether or not you learned it from GuitarTricks, and move from there on to the next level. Here is a look at the skills and techniques that are covered in these courses.
- Rock Level One works on power chords and helps you create your own rock riffs. You’ll learn how to become a rhythm guitar player and get some pointers on basic guitar setup. There is plenty of information about amps, tone, and accessories here that will help you get the sound you love.
- Rock Level Two helps you understand major and minor triads and conversions. You’ll also increase your skill at picking and learn to play rhythm for both classic rock songs and metal music. This is the place to get an understanding of chord embellishments and alternatives, too.
- Country Level One begins with country strumming techniques and learning the “boom-chick” style of strumming. You’ll learn how to work barre chords into your favorite country song and also get acquainted with country-style tone, pedals, amps, pickups and more.
- Country Level Two moves on through pointers on country musicianship, chord inversions, and how to create a country sound with any chord. You’ll also learn to play like many of the masters of the genre including Chet Atkins, Lester Flatt and Merle Travis.
- Blues Level One starts with the form of the 12-bar blues. Once you have that down, you’ll learn how to play it in combination with power chords, barre chords and in several different keys. You’ll also get valuable insight into the tone and equipment needed for you to replicate the bluesy sound you love.
- Blues Level Two works extensively on soloing and creating your own blues licks. You’ll learn the style of the “Three Kings of Blues-” Albert King, BB King, and Freddie King. The course finishes by exploring the regional differences that are found in blues music and helps you learn Delta Blues, Chicago Blues, and several others.
While many folks that have been playing guitar for a long time often have trouble finding a lesson or workshop that interests or challenges them, this is not a problem at Guitar Tricks. There are so many lessons here on such a wide variety of subjects that every player can learn something new. The experts at the GT website recommend that you try branching out into a new genre in order to stay fresh and excited. For example, if you are a country, player, the chances are good that you could learn some new picking techniques from the metal instructors.
The more advanced lessons on the Guitar Tricks site are indexed several ways to make it easy for you to find something you want to study. There are twelve different genres included here that you can browse through. They include such wide-ranging styles as funk, classical, and metal lessons.
If you’d like to develop your technique in one particular area, the lessons are also categorized that way. You can easily find training on double stops, legato, tremolo, fingerpicking, harmonics and more than fifteen other skills.
Maybe you’d like to search for lessons that are offered in the style of one of your guitar idols. You can do that with ease here. Jack Johnson, Joe Pass, Jimi Hendrix and several more greats are represented in the GT selected topics.
This section of the website provides a lot of fun and information for guitar students. One of the main toolbox features is called the Jam Station and makes you feel like you have a group of buddies on hand ready to rock out with you as the lead player. So far, there are about 150 tracks available in eight different styles that you can play along with.
The toolbox also contains a useful metronome and tuner to make your practice sessions more productive. You’ll also get access to the Full Control Video Player. This handy little add-on makes it possible for you to select any portion of your Guitar Tricks lesson and set it to play in a loop. You never need to start, stop and rewind, but can go over the material as many times as you need to for the best results.
If you register at GuitarTricks, you will get 24 free lessons with no strings attached. It’s a good way to try out the videos and search engines and see if you think the system will work for you. You can sample many different levels, teachers, techniques and styles to get a feel for the instruction that is offered. If you decide to become a member of the site, it will cost you $14.95 per month. It is probably worth checking back once in a while, though, because they sometimes offer membership for even less.
There is undoubtedly a lot of good information on Guitar Tricks and I think it is the best source for online lessons. If you are patient and work through the instruction in a systematic way, you should get a good basic education and can take your guitar playing in any direction you like. The biggest drawback of the course is that it often requires you to do your practicing in front of a computer and monitor, but if that works for you, you’ll learn a lot. The membership fee is quite reasonable when you consider all the information that is available, and in my opinion, it is money well spent.