NextLevelGuitar.com Review

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If you’ve been browsing YouTube for free video guitar lessons, you’d most probably know the guy in the image above, David Taub, one of the most popular guitar teachers on YouTube. He is also the co-founder of NextLevelGuitar.com (NLG), a website dedicated to teaching guitar students from around the globe of varying skill levels. In 2006, he teamed up with another co-founder Tim Gilberg, a computer guru and his student back then, and the chemistry between them resulted in the birth of NLG. As of this review, the site has produced over 1500 online video lessons, DVD lessons, written lessons and jam tracks—and they are still constantly adding new content weekly. The coolest thing is that all you “good people” out there can subscribe to their free 3-day trial to access all online materials in the premium membership area. You can actually be a premium member for 3 days without paying a dime, so to speak. In this review, I’m going to focus on the premium membership area only because the DVD sets more or less have the same content and quality.

Instructor5-stars

Quoting from NLG:

“David Taub has been playing guitar for over twenty years and has played in many original and cover bands up and down the East Coast and in California. He has studied extensively with east coast guitar legends Ernie White and Paul Crook. David currently performs throughout Southern California with the rock band Leo Rising.

He has extensive studio and live playing experience and has toured the east coast as well as put out two original independent band CDs – the second after being signed to a management- production deal with Philadelphia based Solutions Entertainment.”

Besides, the site also has contribution from around 15 other teachers including Lou Pallo of the Les Paul Trio.

Course5-stars

The site still needs some touch-ups. I had been contemplating whether or not to give the course a 4-star or a 5-star rating for quite a long time. I finally decided to give it a 5-star rating only because the site has enormous amount of interesting and informative lessons ranging from beginner level to advanced level. You’ll find out the reason of my hesitation shortly.

The main chunk of online content revolves around the online video lessons. Through these video lessons, you will learn almost all kinds of common chords. They’re enough to play a lot of songs. I don’t want to list them out here as you can check it out on NLG later. You can also learn to play many different music genres such as fingerstyle, rock, surf, rockabilly, country, jazz, funk, reggae and many more. As for skills and techniques, you will be taught ear training, strumming patterns, rhythms, lead techniques, scales, arpeggios, modal playing, so on and so forth. On top of that, the site also includes complementary lessons: tunings, guitar and gears, amps and settings, effects, guitar care, music theory, singing techniques and writing songs.

Not all the online videos are of high-definition (HD). The quality of a handful of videos is bad. A few of the videos don’t even play. However, I can tell the recent videos are mostly HD quality. During the lessons, the camera will zoom in to capture a close-up on either hand where necessary. There are also on-screen description, tab, strumming pattern, picking pattern and chord. Occasionally, you will hear people behind the camera talking/giving opinion to the teacher in front of the camera. Sometimes, they will even sidetrack for awhile. This is the easy-going and affable teaching style of NLG. I actually like this kind of teaching style a lot. It makes you feel as if you’re learning guitar from a friend.

There are some other good features. When you’ve done watching a video lesson, it will be marked as done. If you finish half-way, it will show you the time played. It makes it easy for you to resume where you left off in your next practice session. You can even reset it and start over. Additionally, I found that the “search for a lesson” function was not so useful. For instance, if I want to look for ear training video lessons, I need to know which category it’s in—it’s in beginner lessons category—and select the category, otherwise I won’t be able to find it.

The supplementary content includes written lessons and articles. Most of them contain PDF files which can be downloaded. There are a lot of information on many topics and it will be redundant for me to list it here as  you can check it out yourself.

The jam tracks are mainly available in MP3 format which you can download, play and save to your computer. The instruments include rhythm guitar, bass guitar and drums. Written in great detail, David Taub will advise how to play your solos using different scales, modes or arpeggios over chord progressions.

If you have slow internet connection, please don’t buy the premium membership. The video buffering will drive you up the wall. Instead, you can consider buying their guitar instruction DVD sets.

There isn’t any cool tool like online metronome or online tuner on this site. If you want to use them for free, Google it up and you will find them on other websites.

Support1-star

I tried to register their forum but the link was broken. My browser said “database error”. So, I submitted their online support form asking them about this issue. There was no reply after a few days. Then, I emailed them but they didn’t reply either. It seemed like nobody was home. I didn’t want to call them because there was no toll-free number.

Pricing3-stars

The pricing of premium membership is quite competitive especially the yearly subscription of USD 139. However, the monthly membership is a bit pricey (USD 29) if you compare it with Jamplay or Guitar Tricks.

Some of the prices of guitar instruction DVD sets are reasonable. On the other hand, the song DVDs, in my opinion, are quite costly. Having said that, their 26 songs DVD bundle (USD 199) is a nice deal. Please visit NLG to find out what you can learn in these song DVDs.

Money Back Guarantee1-star

There is no money back guarantee because you have 3-day free trial to test drive the membership site before forking out your cash. It’s definitely better than 3-day money back guarantee, right?

Overall Editor’s Rating3-stars

NLG barely earned my 3-star rating. It would be worse than 3 stars if it’s not for its massive content and fun teaching style. There’s a lot of room for improvement technically. It’s a shame to see its popularity wane for it was once an internet and YouTube phenomenon.

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Next Level Guitar
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Average rating:  
 8 reviews
by Sam Smith on NextLevelGuitar.com
Cheated

Was overcharged and repeated requests for credit have been ignored. Very poor customer service!!

by Paulo Garcia on NextLevelGuitar.com
Easy to learn guitar lessons
Country: Italy
Skill Level (Beginner/Intermediate/Advanced): Beginner

Very intuitive and easy to learn guitar lessons. I highly recommend their written materials as well.

charged my card without permission
Country: US
Skill Level (Beginner/Intermediate/Advanced): Intermediate

Renewed subscription without authorization then won't refund. Avoid this site

Awesome lessons &structure
Country: USA
Skill Level (Beginner/Intermediate/Advanced): Intermediate

Great system to get better and the lessons are great in a motivational but laid back style.I too had trouble getting a response from emails but I called the phone # and David Taub personally called me right back and I had great chat with him. Thanks to his site I have become a much better guitar player.

by Personal on NextLevelGuitar.com
Irritating email barrage
Country: USA
Skill Level (Beginner/Intermediate/Advanced): Intermediate

Sadly I have to say avoid this group. Will not honor "Unsubscribe" from the email list. Endless stream of uninvited emails. Does not understand the concept that frequent emails numbs the message and pushes clients away.

by Marty C on NextLevelGuitar.com
Refreshing
Country: USA
Skill Level (Beginner/Intermediate/Advanced): Advanced beginner

I find his teaching method refreshing, David pushes you if you are "motivated"(Key word) to learn . Anyone can learn if they put the work in. There is a lot of lessons and materials to print out, the songs are vehicles to help you learn to practice chord changes, strum patterns, and your timing. David also offers great deals for his site, you should check it out.

by Personal on NextLevelGuitar.com
Support sucks
Country: Ireland
Skill Level (Beginner/Intermediate/Advanced): Intermediate

I like the amateur informal style of the videos. David Taub is a great teacher. The others are not, they tear through stuff as if you are already an expert. The guy yelling inane rubbish from behind the camera is *really* annoying.

The worst thing about the site is the customer service. I'm not going to phone from Ireland so I'm left with one email address that only gets looked at every three or four days if you're lucky. The replies are uniformly unhelpful and the person sending the mail obviously does not speak English as their first language. They need to set up some helpful customer service urgently or they will continue to bleed subscribers.

There is a lot of very good stuff on the site though, mostly the stuff David Taub teaches. Worth a sub to look around, I find it a useful resource despite the annyances.

by Dennis Rolph on NextLevelGuitar.com
Awful
Country: USA
Skill Level (Beginner/Intermediate/Advanced): Intermediate

Pushy tactics, uninvited emails, doesn't listen when unsubscribing. I would never go to this person.