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After being in the business for over a decade, Guitar Tricks becomes the most outstanding and resourceful online video guitar course site. When I first stumbled upon this site, I was really blown away. As of this review, it has over 8000 high-definition video guitar lessons (and counting) instructed by 45 different guitar instructors from all around the globe. The ever-growing number of these downloadable video lessons is not the only attractive factor of this site. The unlimited full access membership fees is by far one of the cheaper choices in the market. The best thing is that you can sign up for the free membership to gain access to 11,000 guitar video lessons for 14 days and see if you like the course before you sign up for the full access subscription.
Among this group of teachers, most of them are from United States but some of them are from the other countries such as United Kingdom, Canada, Sweden, Switzerland and Singapore. Truthfully, the quantity of the instructors usually doesn’t matter much. It’s the quality of them that counts. In the case of Guitar Tricks, it’s quality over quantity. Many of them are the professionals in the music industry itself for e.g. private instructors, professional or studio guitarists, recording artists, live performers, music composers, songwriters and music producers.
When you log into your Guitar Tricks full access account, you will see 4 categories i.e. newest lessons, popular lessons, recent history (those videos you watched most recently will be listed here) and recent bookmarks. On the left side of the screen, there are 7 sections you can choose from, namely:
- Core Learning System
It consists of Guitar Fundamentals 1 and 2. This section is going to teach you all the guitar basics such as correct posture and technique, guitar parts, tuning, how to read tabs, chords, melodies, natural & accidental notes, music theory, scales and chords relationships, barre chords etc. It also includes 3 popular genre i.e. blues style, country style and rock style. Each genre comprises level 1 and 2.
- Genre And Song Studies
This section allows you to choose your own guitar styles that you like to learn. If you’re a beginner, I strongly suggest you to learn the fundamentals first before learning any of these courses. The guitar styles includes acoustic, bluegrass, blues, classical, country, funk, jazz, metal, rock, rockabilly, surf and world music. Each genre has its own set of lessons and tutorials at different levels ranging from beginner to advanced.
- Top 20 Techniques
If you prefer to learn techniques first, you can learn all of them in this section. Techniques covered includes alternate picking, bending (country & rock), classical (left & right hand), double stops, fingerpicking, hammer-ons, harmonics (basic, pinch & natural), hybrid picking, legato, muting (left & right hand), pedal tone, popping, pull-offs, rolls, slapping, slide-bottleneck, strumming, sweep picking, tapping, touch technique, tremolo and vibrato.
- Artist Studies
If you like to study the techniques of your favourite guitarists such as Jimi Hendrix, Jimmy Page, Eric Clapton, Eddie Van Halen and other 40+ artists, this section will become your favourite.
- Art Of Practice
This small section covers all sorts of practice routines, warm-up exercises, technique exercises. All lessons are categorized under different types of practice, namely beginner, general, rock style, country style, blues style, metal style and classical style of practice.
- Chords, Scales And Arpeggios
The title explains it all. You will learn pentatonic scales, blues scales, exotic scales, scales and chords relationships, basic chords, alternative chords, power chords, jazz chords and arpeggios from this recently added section.
- Pursuit Of Tone
This newly created section will talk about parts of guitar, how to restring and tune your guitar and how to set up guitar, amplifier and effect pedals. Different types of genres require different types of setups. Guitar Tricks has three types of setups: rock style, country style and blues style,
Let’s not forget that you may also choose your favourite guitar instructors whose teaching styles suit you best.
When I rate it 5 stars, it doesn’t mean that it’s totally perfect. A very small number of all the lesson videos do not have high-definition (HD) or enhanced-definition (ED) quality. Also, some of them are just short video snippets. Anyway, if you’re not a perfectionist then you will not complain about it. There are a few types of close-ups in all those videos. I noticed that they showed both hands at the same time without split screen. Some videos demonstrate each hand one at a time. Some others show only the fretting hand. The lesson formats ranging from short licks to full-blown multipart tutorials and teaching styles vary from teacher to teacher.
There are written online materials included such as the instructional text, diagrams, tabs and sheet music. In every video tutorial, you have the option to bookmark the lesson and print the supplemental materials.
Please don’t subscribe to this membership if you have a dial-up internet access. You will be depressed if you do because these are all online videos which only work well with broadband access. However, you can download the videos and save them to your computer for repetitive practice. The maximum number of videos that can be downloaded per day is only 15. Unfortunately, you can’t download some song lessons because they are officially licensed song.
Also, there are some cool software that help to make your learning more interesting:
- Ultimate Scale Finder
This awesome tool will allow you to find all notes of the modes and scales up until 15th fret. At any given root note, it will show you 5 scale patterns for any scale of that root note. You will be able to listen to those notes by playing them up the scale or down the scale using the tool. It’s undeniably glitzy.
- Ultimate Chord Finder
The interface of this cool tool is almost the same as the Ultimate Scale Finder. However, it will show you all kinds of chords instead of scales. At any given root note, it will display 3 variations for any kind of chord of that root note. Of course, you will be able to listen to how the chord sounds by playing it using the tool.
- Fretboard Trainer
It’s an online game which you have to select the correct note that corresponds to the question mark on the fretboard. You will have to answer 20 questions. You can choose to share your score on the scoreboard.
- Jam Station
It’s a tool with a very cool interface. The styles you can jam with are acoustic, bluegrass, blues, country, funk, jazz, metal, rock and world music. Almost 200 jam tracks are at your fingertips. The video tutorial, tab and notation of a track can be found by clicking the IE icon.
- Ultimate Metronome
This is another cool feature whereby you can set different tempo, accent and beat to your heart’s content. This metronome is downloadable to your PC or MAC. You can change the tempo from 40 BPM to 244 BPM. Also, there are a few different sound options for accent and beat.
- Reference Tuner
This is not a midi tuner but it uses tones sampled from a real acoustic guitar. You can select standard tuning, DADGAD tuning, open C tuning, drop D tuning, open G tuning or open D tuning and click the “strum” button to listen. You may also download it to your computer.
- Video Player
The videos are all in Flash video format (FLV) and you can download this full control video player to play the videos. Hotkey commands are supported. Please note that not all lesson videos can be downloaded especially those of licensed songs.
When you get stuck you may call the toll free number, post messages to the instructors or post your questions in the forum. The forum community is pretty massive and most of the messages or questions would be replied within the same day. There are a lot of topics of discussion including basics, techniques, gears, theory, songwriting etc.
Guitar Tricks has recently raised the monthly membership fees to USD 29.95. It’s definitely not the cheapest if you compare to their competitors such as Jamplay. Their yearly membership fees is a bit pricey too, i.e. USD 179. That’s why I have reduced their rating from 5 stars to 3 stars.
Apart from that, you will get a 60-day money back guarantee. If you feel that it is not the right course for you, you may ask for full refund within the first 60 days after sign-up.
For the past decade, Guitar Tricks has been constantly updating and improving the site and lessons. This course is definitely suitable not only for novices and intermediate players, but also for advanced players. With the weekly updated lessons, you will never run out of new things to learn. If you’re not sure if it suits you, you can always sign up for their free trial.
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