If you want to learn the guitar, the internet is bursting with options.
Among these, Guitareo stands out as one of the most recognizable and popular. So you might be thinking about starting your guitar journey there.
But how do you know if it's the right fit for you when there's so much choice out there?
If you find yourself in this situation, you’ve come to the right place as I've taken an in-depth look at the platform.
So this balanced and detailed Guitareo review is here to help you decide whether or not this is the place for you to get to grips with this wonderful instrument.
We’ll be looking at the actual content, what worked and what didn’t, the cost, potential alternatives, what others have said and most importantly – is Guitareo worth it?
Below is a summary of the main points if you’re short on time.
- Incredible depth of content
- Excellent focus on musical theory, which not a lot of sites do
- Provides the means for becoming a better guitar player, rather than just teaching songs
- Easy-to-use, well-designed site with lots of downloadable resources
- Range of lesson types including specific courses, quick tips and play-alongs
- A nice sense of community, with forums for fellow learners to engage with one another
- Allows you to stick to a particular method, or carve your own learning pathway
- Less content for advanced players
- Most of the content is very general; not a lot relating to specific genres or techniques
Best for: Anyone wanting to learn guitar quickly and through an effective training program.
Overall: Guitareo is a fantastic place to learn the guitar. The range of courses means you get all the content you need, and the focus on musical theory and personal practice helps you develop musical skills, and progress much faster than other platforms.
Here is a taste of what's to come:
- All about Guitareo
- My review of Guitareo’s courses
- What I liked about this platform and thought could be improved
- Who I think this platform is for
- The cost, potential alternatives and most importantly…
Is Guitareo worth it?
What is Guitareo?
Guitareo is an online music learning platform focused on helping you with your guitar playing, wherever you are in the world.
The site is accessible for beginners, with courses also specifically dedicated to more intermediate and even advanced players.
The courses are led by actual instructors with years of experience and there is a wide, wide range to choose from. There are also forums where you can engage with other learners and loads of downloadable resources to help with personal practice.
How does Guitareo work?
The best way to access all of Guitareo’s perks is by purchasing a membership either monthly ($12 per month) or annually ($127 for the year).
You then have access to all that the site has to offer. This includes courses, shorter quick tip lessons, spaces for practicing scales and much more.
Beginners have two main options. You can either go to the Courses page or the Lessons page.
The lessons page will direct you to four main lesson groups, the first one of which is Acoustic Guitar Made Easy.
This course contains 31 shorter courses ranging from 5 to 30 minutes all designed for getting you from novice to experienced guitar player and covering all the basics of guitar.
Other large courses in the lesson section include:
- Guitar Technique Made Easy
- The Ultimate Guide To Recording Guitar
- Guitar System
Alternatively, you can go to the courses page. This includes all of Guitareo’s courses and it’s up to you as to where you start and what you take. Beside each course is the length of lessons and the ability level (which is split into 3 sections). This includes:
- Beginner (1-3)
- Intermediate (4-6)
- Advanced (7)
Another option Guitareo directs you to is Songs. This section of the website includes the 500 Songs course which I review in more detail below. It includes a course of 8 video lessons and chord chart Pdfs for 500 songs with a chord progression this course will teach you.
Other options for learning on the site include:
- Shorter Quick Tip videos on specific techniques
- Live Question and Answer sessions
- A chords and scales section where you can review your theory
- Play-alongs where you can practice Guitareo pieces
- Forums where you can discuss and engage with students and teachers
What is a lesson like?
With the range of courses on the site, each lesson is a little different. But there are some common themes.
Most courses will start out by outlining the main idea you’ll be exploring. You then have a series of lessons focusing on the specific techniques and skills you need to learn to properly master this concept.
This will often include your instructor demonstrating an idea on the guitar and then explaining it with the help of visuals. The instructor will usually also explain the musical theory background of an idea.
The final part of any course will focus more on practice sessions and will give you tips and tricks to work on whatever idea you’ve just learned in your own time.
My review of 3 classes
There’s a lot on offer with Guitareo. It’s one of its biggest strengths, but that also makes it very difficult to review everything.
In order to cover the greatest audience possible, I didn’t use one of the big block courses on the Lessons page. Instead, I took courses labelled beginner, intermediate and advanced on the site.
This way players from all backgrounds can get some insight into what kind of education they would get from Guitareo.
Let’s take a look at the actual guitar lessons you would be engaging with.
500 Songs In 500 Days
I decided this should be the entry-level course I took because Guitareo is clearly taking time to promote it.
So, let’s take a look at 500 Songs in 500 Days
You will learn:
- The ‘four chords’ pop song regression played in each song
- I-V-VI-IV in the key of G, with some reference to the theory behind it
- How to alter the order of these chords and some songs that do just that
- Using a capo to change the key of the song
- Expanding the progression to play with slash chords and dominant 7ths
- How to add some style with your strumming
- Introduction to playing the chords in different keys and bar chords
- An essential element of music for any guitarist to learn
- Actually teaches a couple of song examples, and gives you the means to learn the rest
- Lots of visual resources included in the lesson and downloadable ones outside it
- Co-taught with the help of a singer, developing the musicianship of whats learnt
- Gives you direct assignments for improvement
- Gives a bit of background in theory, and the most common chord shapes
- Ends on bar chords, something to work on and progress with
- Could do with a little more focus on strumming, as this can play an essential part in changing the dynamic of the music.
Length of Course: 8 video lessons, ranging from 8 to 18 minutes in length.
Best for: Absolute beginners shouldn’t have a problem with this lesson. If you’ve never picked up a guitar before it might help to learn the note names and a few chord shapes, but it’s not essential. This course is ideal if you’re an early guitar player looking for a solid technique for playing some of your favorite songs.
Overall: All musicians know the Four Chords. They have come to absolutely define pop music today. So if you want to get to grips with playing some of the modern era's most popular songs, this course is the one for you. You’ll not only learn the four chords in the key of G but also more general tips for playing including strumming, inversions and bar chords. On top of this, you get an incredible list of songs, with a pdf chord chart in both G and the original key, with some tracks even taught directly in the course.
Understanding Minor And Diminished Chords
To get the balance right I’ve also taken courses designed for intermediate players.
This one is ranked as Intermediate 4, meaning it's aimed at people who have already taken beginner courses at levels 1,2,3.
However, it's not essential that you take these levels first and you can take any course that you feel you need help with, depending on your skill level.
This course is all about understanding minor and diminished chords, an essential aspect of the music theory of guitar.
You will learn:
- Understanding Major and Minor scales as a basis for learning these concepts
- Using minor scales do identify minor chords, by lowering the third
- Stacking thirds to understand how to build diminished chords
- Building minor chords in different key signatures
- Building diminished chords in different key signatures
- Very direct teaching of what kind be a difficult concept
- Easily digestible for beginners struggling with theory
- Lots of helpful visual resources
- Uses simple music theory to back up concepts
- Introduces students to rarer chords they might not yet be comfortable with
- The visuals and teaching style are a little boring
- Not a lot of playing examples, which could’ve helped with some of the points.
Length of Course: This short course is 6 lessons long, adding up to around 25 minutes of content.
Best for: People who have experienced a few of the beginner courses of Guitareo and are ready to push themselves into more theoretical concepts. Also really helpful if you have a decent understanding of major chords and you want to expand your knowledge to chords that are less common.
Overall: I must admit that this course didn’t massively excite me compared to the 500 songs. But that’s kind of the point. If you want to get really good at any instrument, sometimes you have to put in the hours where you don’t get the results immediately. This course covered a concept that might not be flashy but is important, and it did it in a clear, concise and helpful way. In around 25 minutes you’ll have a really strong foundation for understanding minor and diminished chords. What more could you want from these lessons?
Understanding Chords Outside The Key
Guitareo describes this course as one of the two most advanced courses they offer, with the highest level: 7.
Although I’d disagree with the description of this course as advanced, I do believe there’s a lot to learn from it…
You will learn how to:
- Create a lowered 7th chord
- The minor 4th
- Apply playing chords outside the key to your practice
- Deploy what you’ve learned in a more musical sense to your playing
- Read and identify any chord you see on a chart
- And all about secondary dominant chords in the major and minor keys
- Feels like an actual authentic lesson
- Gives a solid background in musical theory
- Teaches useful chord progressions
- You can clearly see how you would apply this to your own playing
- Teaches a very specific concept directly
- Includes a practice session and jam track
- Not really an advanced lesson
Length of Course: This course is 36 minutes long, with the content divided between 6 lessons.
Best for: The first thing said in this course is that you need a solid understanding of major and minor keys. So this is best for people with a reasonable understanding of musical theory looking to expand their knowledge; ideally, you would have completed the theoretical lessons in the earlier levels.
Overall: I’m a little torn on how to review this short course. On the one hand, I thought it was very good. It took an essential aspect of the guitar, taught it clearly with reference to basic musical theory, and then applied it to a practice session that illuminated the concepts explored. That, in essence, is what a musical lesson should be. But the ideas explored here aren’t advanced. And if I were a more experienced guitar player I might be disappointed that this is the most difficult level of content on the site.
What did I like about Guitareo?
A Great Depth Of Content
For any site aiming to teach beginners a new skill, covering all the basic elements is essential.
Luckily, Guitareo does just that.
Not a beat is skipped on this site in terms of teaching what you need to know. It covers all the essential elements of the guitar, including posture, strumming, chords and much, much more.
This is great because if your aim is to get much better at an instrument you need to start out with a strong foundation. With an in-person teacher there is always a risk you only focus on what they think is important, and in doing so might miss out on things that will impact your playing later down the line.
There is no risk of that here. Whether you start out with Acoustic Technique Made Easy or choose your own courses yourself, all the content you need to develop your playing is made available.
Another pro of the content is that it’s very generalizable. Although I do think this can hold the site back in some way (we’ll get on to that later), having content that’s broad and applicable to a wide range of audiences means that a bigger group of people will be able to gain something from this course.
This is as opposed to teaching very specific techniques or styles that some people may not be interested in, and may feel like they're wasting their time by learning.
Guitareo has none of this. So if you’re a beginner, you’re bound to gain something from at least one of their incredible range of courses.
Easy To Use With Lots Of Resources
So the content is all looking good. But that’s only part of the story.
We all have some kind of experience with education, and if you think back to anytime you learnt something new, the value of what you learnt was largely dependent on how someone explained it to you.
Communication is a massive part of teaching, and that applies to sites like Guitareo as well, whether it’s the actual quality of the instruction to smaller things like the layout of the website.
Luckily, I don’t think it is disappointing.
The teaching itself is very high quality. In the courses I took, as well as some of the shorter ones that I browsed, I always felt like I was in the hands of a capable instructor who knew exactly what they were doing.
But beyond that, I was massively impressed by the resources. Not only does every lesson contain visualisations of what’s being taught both in the video lesson itself and below it, but there’s also a tonne of downloadable resources for you to work on in your own time.
This is particularly true for the 500 song course. This is one of Guitareo’s most advertised courses and it’s easy to see why. Having the chord charts for such a range of popular songs is a real gift to any budding musician, especially as they equip you with the tools to use them in the course itself.
I was also taken by the design and layout of the website. It may seem like a trivial thing, but the aesthetics of a site can make a world of difference to your experience with it. This is especially true if you’re a beginner and intimidated by the prospect of committing to this level of learning.
Everything was clear, easy to find and just looked generally inviting. It might not seem like a big point, but with so many sites to choose from, little things like that can make a world of difference in finding the right one for you.
Lots Of Choice And A Range Of Teaching Styles
I think that one of the biggest advances of the internet in general, but specifically online learning, is the choice it gives us.
We all learn in different ways, we all have different priorities and preferences when it comes to what and how we’re taught. The technology we have today means we can individualise learning more than ever.
Guitareo takes advantage of that.
Here there are no rules when it comes to how you learn. If you are someone who likes structure and order you can take one of the courses on the Lessons page. This will group the lessons together for you and you can work through each course methodically.
But that isn’t the only option.
If you’re someone who doesn’t like being constrained in your learning, you can put together your own curriculum using the Courses page, where courses are spread out randomly. You can order them in terms of ability level and start where you feel comfortable, or you can just choose whatever you feel like learning on any given day.
This option is particularly good if you don’t have much time for learning.
But there are other options for different styles of teaching on top of that!
The quick tip lessons, the chords and scale focus and even the Live Q and A’s all contribute to a massive range of different teaching styles that is matched only by the range of content.
As a result, as with the content, there is bound to be something of value for you.
Music Theory Clearly Explained
This pro is a lot more specific to me.
In fact, for some people, this might be a turn off!
But I really loved the focus on music theory in the course I took. And no, I’m not someone who loves music theory for the sake of music theory. That is not the point I’m making and you can ask any one of my musician friends for proof that music theory really isn’t my thing.
However, I do think it’s important and often overlooked by other sites.
This is because it gives you a strong framework for understanding concepts that underpin the actual playing that you do. What this means is when you get to a more advanced stage in playing, certain ideas and concepts will make a lot more sense and come a lot more naturally.
Now, is it essential to learn music theory to learn guitar?
Most musicians in the world, The Beatles included, reach extraordinary heights without using it. However, having a basic understanding can be very useful.
This is exactly what Guitareo does. Rather than bombast you with difficult theoretical concepts, it teaches an aspect of guitar, as any site would. The only difference is that there’ll be a sentence or two explaining the theory behind a concept.
I think this is fantastic. You don’t even need to understand the connection between the theory and what you’re learning. But if you’re a beginner, engaging with a basic form of these ideas at an early stage in your playing will be instrumental (pun intended) in your development as a musician.
My first and only in-person guitar lessons were when I was 11. I was taught by my old PE teacher! I think he must’ve drawn on his experience in school because I learnt a lot from those lessons, and even though I’ve had none since, most of the ideas I learnt have stayed with me.
So whenever I take a guitar lesson online, that’s always my reference point.
How similar is what I'm learning now to the lessons I had all those years ago?
In this regard, Guitareo gets top marks.
I can’t quite put my finger on it, but every lesson felt very authentic. If I were to guess a reason for this I might say that how they are structured is similar to a typical music lesson. An idea is explained, demonstrated and then you get the chance to try it yourself.
Alternatively, it might be the focus on a specific aspect of guitar. That felt very similar to a regular lesson. Or maybe it’s just the teaching style of the instructors.
The reasons hardly matter. The only takeaway is that if you’re looking for authentic lessons that replicate an in-person teaching style, this site has your back.
What would I improve?
Not A Lot For Advanced Players
There isn’t much to say here.
If you're an advanced player, this site may not be the best use of your money.
Don’t get me wrong, all the points above still hold up. And what it means to be advanced is entirely subjective and up to your own evaluation of your playing.
But I would say anyone with a decent background in guitar won’t gain much here.
Of all the courses across the site, only two are described as for advanced level players. It would take you around an hour to get through these. Even then, I think it’s a stretch to label them advanced.
As someone who can only strum a couple of open chords, I’m immensely far from being an advanced guitar player. But even I could grasp the concepts and wrap my head around what was taught in level 7.
Even in terms of the songs, scales and quick tips, most of these are labelled at beginners. This does seem to be a recurrent theme among e-learning sites aimed at teaching music.
It’s probably because being able to learn online is such a recent development, it’s non-musicians or younger musicians who take the most interest, and are thus the target audience.
This is a shame, because music is a constant learning process for everybody, no matter how long you’ve been playing. And the teaching style and layout of Guitareo could be really useful for someone who has a lot of experience if the site chose to include more challenging courses.
There are definitely places for advanced players to go learn, but Guitareo is not one of those places, at least in my opinion.
General Almost To A Fault
Yes, yes, I just praised how general the content is.
But this is a Guitareo review, and what kind of reviewer would I be if I didn’t contradict myself at some point. It’s my job to nitpick and complain.
So, whilst I did value how general the content was, I felt it also slightly held the site back.
In my opinion, they should keep all the general content, as it’s all very useful to a beginner. I just felt like more specific courses could’ve been included. The only place we get a sense of that is in the quick tips section.
Some ideas for more specific courses might be ones devoted to specific styles of playing, like blues or jazz, or maybe even exploring how the guitar is played around the world.
I felt that among the actual courses, some of the lessons could go into a lot more detail. The guitar has been around for centuries and has taken all kinds of different forms across the world, but you don’t really get a sense of that here.
As a result, I did feel that a lot of the lessons became, dare I say it…
Now, this shouldn’t be a problem. You use this site to learn, and it fulfil this task very well. But, at least compared to some of the other music lessons I’ve experienced, I did find these courses a little boring and lacking in energy and passion. I think that’s a result of how general they were.
You’re learning the guitar here. It’s one of the coolest things you can do. But I didn’t get a sense of that with the Guitareo classes.
Who is Guitareo for?
This site is a very general guide to all things guitar. So if you know next to nothing about the instrument, and you want to learn, this is the place to go.
If you’re an advanced player then it probably isn’t the best way to invest your money. But with that said, there are a couple of smaller groups beyond just ‘the novices’ who I feel would benefit from the site.
- More experienced guitarists with little background in musical theory
- More experienced guitarists who want to develop their musicianship
- Musicians from other backgrounds who want to get to grips with the guitar
- People who want in-person lessons but for whatever reason can’t, and would like to replicate that online
- People who value a range of teaching styles, and feel capable of constructing their own curriculum
How much is Guitareo?
All the plans for payment on Guitareo will offer you the same thing. This includes access to all the lessons, songs and teachers.
You have two main options for paying for membership.
- A monthly plan for $12 a month subscription (normally listed as $15)
- A yearly plan for $127 per year
As I said, both plans will grant you access to everything on the site.
I should note that although the yearly plan may seem like more of a commitment, it is around $2 cheaper per month than the monthly plan itself.
Also, Guitareo, like many companies, might be running deals, promotions and sales at the time when you sign up. This means the prices are subject to change, and you should check the site for any updates.
Guitareo sometimes offers a 7 day free trial, but you can get a 30 day free trial by clicking the link below.
Guitareo do operate a refund policy.
There is a 90-day money-back guarantee if you are unhappy with any aspect of your purchase.
With the dawn of the internet, the task of learning the guitar is easier than ever. So if you see yourself up on stage with a six-string, but don’t actually know how to play, now is an excellent time to get started.
But which site do you choose?
You can check out our Best Online Guitar Lessons Review which rates the best 10 courses and classes of 2023.
But if you're short on time, here's a quick overview:
Pickup Music is a great place to learn guitar online, and probably one the best music platforms I’ve reviewed. Anybody with an interest in guitar will gain something from this site. There is a massive range of courses catering to different skills and interests, but each lesson is consistently informative, engaging and helpful.
Fender Play is the option with the most clout attached to their name. As guitar manufacturers for nearly 70 years, with their products played by the likes of Jimi Hendrix and Stevie Ray Vaughn, they’ve expanded to offer a teaching service.
This site focuses on getting you to grips with playing the rock guitar.
TrueFire was founded all the way back in the 1990s, so their instructors know a thing or two about teaching guitar online. Among the guitar community, this site is known for offering courses that can go in-depth and technical with the concepts they approach. I’ve even seen some guitarists warn novices against it!
Another cool thing about TrueFire is that you can purchase courses individually. So if you aren’t sure about the whole site, but like the look of a specific teacher or idea, that’s another option.
JamPlay is a site with over 7000 courses, with Rock Guitar For Beginners, The Art Of Versatility and Bluegrass Rhythm Survival Guide being among their most popular.
Whilst some sites devote all of their time and attention to guitar, others have expanded beyond one discipline to include courses for a range of different skills and trades.
Udemy has a range of guitar options on offer. Some of the most popular include Henry Olsen’s Ultimate Beginner Guitar Masterclass and Michael Palmisano’s Professional Guitar MasterClass.
Skillshare also has options for you, with Guitar Fundamentals: Learn Quick With Mike Boyd standing out.
If you’re thinking “hmmm that’s all cool, but I wanna be taught by a celebrity” then MasterClass has you covered. Like the sites above, there is a range of disciplines for you to dip into here, but this time each course is taught by an outright legend in their field.
Music courses on MasterClass cover a range of topics, with a range of instructors, but when it comes to guitar, your best bet is checking out Tom Morello’s Masterclass.
What others have said
In order to keep this review as balanced and as fair as possible, I’ve scoured the internet to see what others have said about this site and compare it to my own opinion.
Strangely, not a lot has been discussed.
All my go-to online places for understanding the opinion of the guitar community are actually quite quiet on what they think about Guitareo, which I didn’t expect, particularly as the sites relating to Musora are becoming more recognisable across all instruments.
Thankfully, one of the perks of the site itself is that it does include open forums, discussions and comment sections where people can share their opinion of Guitareo directly on it.
Now, you might be thinking that the site itself is a bit of a biased place to get your information. But there are actually a handful of more negative and constructively critical comments on there, meaning people feel they can talk about the site openly.
I took both the comments below from the 500 songs course.
The first was a little more negative.
“Not impressed with this style of training. Basically getting a chord book of songs and some random training on how you might play a few measures. I already have chord books with hundreds of songs. Telling users to go find the song elsewhere to learn the strumming is a fatal flaw in this training. For beginners, playing the chords isn't the issue. It's how to strum those chords that makes all the difference. Guitareo commenter
I actually found the 500 songs course to be quite good. I thought it took a basic but important idea in pop music and expanded in a useful way to help people's guitar playing.
But I can see where this person is coming from.
There are a million chord books out there, but the strumming pattern can sharply change how those chords sound, and that wasn’t given enough focus.
I think ultimately what it comes down to is a differing preference in teaching style. Some people will massively value going this in-depth on the four chords as a foundation to build on. This person clearly didn’t.
However, another comment on the same lesson was very positive.
“Thank you, I found this chord progressions lessons series very helpful in learning how music gets put together, how to just sit and start to make 'interesting' music while just noodling on my guitar, and a good method for practicing chords in general. I really liked the last lesson where you showed the bar chords, and relationship on the neck with major scale, it just clicked suddenly. And a very effective way to practice, especially that "A" shape off the fifth. Slowly growing additional (major) scales into my practice set. Thank you so much!". Guitareo commenter
To be fair, this comment is more indicative of most Guitareo comments. Most people appear to be very grateful to the instructors, and willing to share their experience of how they developed.
Again, I agree with this person's comment, and I think it applies more generally to the site as a whole.
Ok, so these lessons aren’t groundbreaking. But they do give a very strong foundation of musical knowledge which you can build on with practice, all the while becoming a better guitarist and musician.
Is Guitareo worth it?
I believe there are two things you need to ask yourself before reaching a conclusion about whether to purchase a Guitareo membership:
What level of playing am I at and what, specifically am I aiming to learn?
If the answer to the first question is advanced, then you should probably look elsewhere. Guitareo does have a massive range of content, and for the most part, teaches it well, but it’s hard to imagine that you’d gain anything from that content if you already have a solid background in guitar.
However, if you’re a beginner, and if you're just generally looking to learn about the guitar, I would recommend checking this site out.
You have a range of content to choose from, and the option to either stick to a specific pathway or put your own course outline together based on whatever you’re struggling with.
The classes themselves feel like authentic lessons, with practice sessions, breakdowns of concepts, as well as resources and visuals to help you on your way.
Personally, what I valued most was the dedication to music theory. Don’t let this put you off! Guitareo goes into depth with musical theory whenever it needs to, which other sides tend to avoid. But it’s explained clearly, coherently and only when necessary, and will contribute so much to your general understanding of music.
Do other sites offer similar things? Definitely. But I think when it comes to being orientated to beginners, Guitareo does a very good job and is worth checking out.
Related article: Guitar Zoom review
Frequently asked questions
A monthly plan with Guitareo will cost you $12 per month. Annual membership is $197.
Yes, there is a 90-day money-back guarantee.
Too many to count! Lessons include the 500 songs course, broader courses for all abilities to play, lessons specific to scales and chords as well as shorter quick tips.
You can access a 30 day free trial (not usually available) by clicking the links on this page.
Charlie is a student reading politics at King’s College London. He is also a passionate musician with over 14 years of experience. In his free time, he also enjoys cinema, long-distance running and learning new things.