GuitarTricks vs. Justin Guitar

Justin Guitar is amongst the most popular online guitar lessons platforms today, mainly because it doesn’t require you to pay a single penny to enjoy full access to its exclusive content. 

Boasting over a thousand guitar lessons and an outstanding beginner’s course, Justin Guitar has established itself as a formidable platform. The million-dollar question, however, is can it go head to head with a standard-setting platform like Guitar Tricks? 

In this Guitar Tricks vs. Justin Guitar article, we set forth to find out. 

Guitar Tricks vs. Justin Guitar – Feature for Feature Comparison

Feature GuitarTricks Justin Guitar
Ideal For All Beginners
Membership Price $19.95/m or $179.99/y Free
Free Trial Period 14 Days No (Free)
Money-Back Guarantee Yes No (Free)
Private Online Lessons Yes No
Active Forum Yes Yes

Justin Guitar vs. Guitar Tricks – In-Detail Comparison

As we do with all of our comparisons, we’re going to put Guitar Tricks and Justin Guitar under the skill level microscope so that it’s easier for guitar players of different skill levels to determine which online guitar learning platform suits them best. 

Beginner Lessons

Guitar Tricks

Guitar Tricks is one of the very few online guitar lessons platforms that are comprehensive from A to Z, meaning that their beginner, intermediate, and advanced courses are all high-quality and well-structured. This is why it’s dubbed the king of all guitar learning platforms. 

If you’ve never picked up a guitar in your life, Guitar Tricks offers you a beginners course that will ease you into the art of six-string picking. It boasts an intuitive core learning system that grabs you by the hands and teaches you all things guitar-related, from how to hold and tune your acoustic/electric guitar properly to how to play your favorite songs. 

Guitar Tricks’ beginner course is composed of two levels: Guitar Fundamentals 1 and Guitar Fundamental 2. As the names imply, these are two levels that aim to help first-timers learn the basics of acoustic  /electric guitar playing. 

Guitar Fundamentals 1 covers topics such as how a guitar works, strings and tuning, simple minor and major chords, and more. By the end of this course, you’ll have the ability to play simple chords and melodies. You’ll also have a solid understanding of rhythm guitar playing.

Beginner Lessons

Guitar Fundamentals 2 picks up where the first course left off, covering topics that are essential to becoming a well-rounded guitar player, from basic song structure, barre chords, and how to read notes. These beginner lessons are slightly more difficult than the ones in the first course, with a huge emphasis on rapid skill building. 

After finishing both levels, you’ll be well-equipped with the basic skills required to venture into a certain style of music. More on that later. 

The beginners’ lessons are given by the lovely instructor Lisa McCormick. Lisa’s approach to teaching beginners how to play the guitar is enjoyable and easy to follow. The material in the beginners’ section is enough to keep you busy for weeks. And don’t worry, no previous experience is required whatsoever. 

Justin Guitar

Justin Guitar has established itself as one of the best online guitar lessons websites for beginners, flaunting a foundational course that can rival that of other big-name sites like Guitar Tricks and JamPlay. And being a free-access platform makes it a hundred times better.

Navigating to Justin Guitar’s free beginner course is quite easy. All you need to do is head to their website, hover over the lessons sidebar on the left-hand side of the home page, and you’ll be shown a list that contains four foundational lessons: Grade 1, Grade 2, Grade 3, and Classic.

The course is delivered in video format, of course, and it does an impressive job of taking novice guitar players through the essentials of learning how to play guitar, from the anatomy of the instrument to picking routines, power chords, and more. 

The beginner guitar lessons are conducted by none other than Justin Sandercoe, the founder of Justin Guitar. In Grade 1, which consists of eight episodes, Sandercoes covers fundamental chords. 

Grade 2 consists of seven episodes that revolve around power chords, fingerstyle picking, the blues, and more. Grade 3 is geared toward advanced beginners, covering topics such as blues guitar studies and effective practice. 

Beginner Lessons

Okay, so what exactly is the Classic course? Well, it’s Justin Guitar’s older course for novice guitarists. It’s still available on the website because Sandercoe believes it contains a ton of value that dedicated guitarists will appreciate. In our opinion, we think it’s a great supplementary course for the three Grade courses. 

You’ll notice that the Classic course is split into three levels: White, Yellow, and Orange. Each level consists of three guitar lessons. We recommend checking them out after getting through Grade 1, 2, and 3. 

Justin Guitar also offers a list of beginner-friendly songs that you’ll find super easy to learn. Virtually all of the songs in that list use the same chords that Sandercoes touched on in the beginner lessons. The songs are categorized based on difficulty level, so it shouldn’t be hard for you to pinpoint the ones that match your skill level. 

We personally feel that Justin Guitar’s courses for beginners are on par with the ones that Guitar Tricks has to offer. So, as far as content quality, we’ll call it a draw. However, if we factor in the fact that Justin Guitar offers full access to its content for free, one can make an argument that Justin Guitar is the winner. 

Winner: Draw

Intermediate and Advanced Lessons

Guitar Tricks

Guitar Tricks’ intermediate and advanced classes are just as solid as the ones they have to offer novice guitarists. The platform’s intermediate courses venture into three styles of music: blues, rock, and country. Each style has two dedicated levels.

Starting with the blues, you have Blues Style 1, which covers foundational topics like the 12 bar form, blues chords, chord structure, and blues rhythms. You also get to enjoy content that deals with gear selection, from guitars and amps to the effects required to achieve an optimal blues tone. 

Blues Style 2 takes things a step further by covering advanced playing techniques and new scales. It also touches on how you can achieve the signature sound of legendary bluesmen. And in the end, you get to enjoy an inspirational tour throughout the different regions that helped shape what we know now as blues. 

More of a rocker than you are a bluesman? No worries, Guitar Tricks has got you covered with an outstanding Rock Style course. In Rock Style 1, you learn about the essential techniques used in forging rock and roll music, from power chords to palm-muting. You also learn about the bluesy roots in rock music. 

Intermediate and Advanced Lessons

Rock Style 2 covers advanced rhythm and lead playing techniques, including hammer-ons, pull-offs, string bending, and vibrato. Guitar Tricks has a supplementary class made specifically for rockers called “Better Rock Musicianship.” We highly suggest checking out that course if you’re looking to pursue rock music. 

Do you look up to legendary country acts like Johnny Cash and Hank Williams? Well, with the aid of Guitar Tricks’ Country Style course, you’ll learn different country strumming styles such as Ghost and Boom-Chick in no time. You’ll also learn about country barre chords and techniques.

As you advance into Country Style 2, you start learning about the CAGED chord system, hybrid picking technique, and chord inversions. There’s also a supplementary class by the name of “Rhythm Guitar Like The Master,” which helps you achieve the tone and style of your favorite string-picking plainsman. 

Of course, each of these style tutorials is conducted by different instructors who happen to be professionals in each respective genre. After going through the style course of your preference, you get into advanced tutorials where you learn more intricate techniques. All things considered, Guitar Tricks sets the standard quite high when it comes to intermediate and advanced courses.

Justin Guitar

We know we made it seem as if Justin Guitar doesn’t have much to offer for intermediates and advanced players, but it’s not really the case. The platform isn’t just geared toward the novice guitarist; it has plenty of material for the experienced guitarist as well.

You access Justin Guitar’s advanced material the same way you did their beginner classes. Simply hover over the lessons sidebar on the left, and then choose between Intermediate Foundation, Intermediate Modules, and Advanced Modules, depending on your experience.

The intermediate classes cover a wide range of complex playing techniques, from advanced chords and legato scales to ones with an active metronome. The advanced classes take things to the next level by covering topics such as coloring, blues changes, jazz lead, common chord progressions, harmony, and more.

Note that each of these classes come with accompanying song lessons for practice, so you’re not just consuming theory without application. Justin Guitar’s lessons expand by the week, with around 10 new lessons per month. 

Intermediate and Advanced Lessons

The thing about Justin Guitar’s advanced and intermediate guitar lessons, however, is that they’re comparatively scarce when faced with Guitar Tricks’ lessons. Also, they’re not really that challenging, which gives you the feeling as if something is missing. Their so-called advanced guitar lessons would probably translate to intermediate lessons in Guitar Tricks’ dictionary. 

Winner: Guitar Tricks

Bass Guitar Lessons

It’s sad to say that both Guitar Tricks and Justin Guitar, veterans of online guitar lessons since 1998 and 2003, respectively, offer zero dedicated tutorials for bass players.

Bass Guitar Lessons

If you’re someone looking for an online guitar lessons platform that offers lessons for bassists, we highly recommend checking out TrueFire. They offer courses for beginner, intermediate, and advanced bass players, so you’re guaranteed to find a curriculum that suits your skill set. 

The Detailed Breakdown of Each Platform

Skill levels aside, there are other aspects that you must take into consideration before settling on a guitar learning platform. The following paragraphs help break down these aspects with respect to the two platforms at hand. 

Video Player

Guitar Tricks boasts an excellent player that enables you to adjust the quality of video lessons to your liking, from 224p to 4K resolution. 

The player also features advanced functions that’ll help you make the most out of your learning sessions, including an accurate A/B looping functionality that enables you to repeat certain parts of video lessons continuously. This comes in handy when trying to learn a difficult song. 

Guitar Tricks’ player also enables you to adjust playback speed without compromising the quality of the pitch. You can slow down or speed up song lessons based on the level of difficulty you want to achieve. 

Video Player

Justin Guitar, per contra, doesn’t utilize a dedicated player for its video lessons. Rather, it relies on YouTube as its main platform. So, you can expect the same set of functions found on YouTube, from full screen, subtitles, and speed adjustment. We’re quite fond of YouTube’s simplicity, but the lack of advanced features such as A/B looping can be viewed as a negative. 

Winner: Guitar Tricks

User Interface

As far as the interface and navigation, both platforms sport a simple and clean-looking layout that’s super easy to navigate. The design of the interface isn’t all that impressive with both platforms, but they serve their purpose quite well. We have to call it a draw.

User Interface

Winner: Draw

Song List

Guitar Tricks flaunts arguably the most impressive song library out of all guitar learning platforms. The list consists of over 700 hits from various artists in different genres of music. Further, the list is expanded on a weekly basis, featuring one or more new songs per week.

You can expect to find everything on Guitar Tricks’ song list, from guitar iterations of classical pieces by Bach and Beethoven, to hit records from gigantic rock acts like The Beatles, to more modern bands like Pearl Jam and Blink 182. 

Justin Guitar’s song list is also quite impressive. It’s not as vast as Guitar Tricks’ library, but for a free-access platform, it’s pretty darn good. 

You’ll find hits from classic rock acts like AC/DC, The Who, and The Eagles, heavy metal groups like Iron Maiden, and 90’s grunge bands like Soundgarden and Nirvana. You’ll also find older songs from the likes of Simon & Garfunkel in the folk section and the king Elvis Presley in the rock section. 

Even though Guitar Tricks’ list is more expensive than Justin Guitar’s, we feel like both libraries are quite impressive, so we’ll call it a draw. 

Winner: Draw

Cost

Guitar Tricks has two membership plans that you can pick from; $19.95/m or $179.99/y, whereas Justin Guitar is entirely free. Keep in mind, however, that there are exclusive lessons on Justin Guitar that come at a cost. The core classes, though, are free for all. 

Winner: Justin Guitar

FAQs

Is JustinGuitar Worth It?

Absolutely! Especially if you’re a novice guitarist. Also, keep in mind that the platform is entirely free, so you really have nothing to lose if you test it yourself.

Is GuitarTricks Worth It?

Guitar Tricks is arguably the best platform for learning the guitar online, so yes, it’s totally worth it whether you’re a beginner, intermediate, or advanced player.

Is GuitarTricks Free?

Guitar Tricks’ membership plans come at a cost, but the platform does offer a 14-day free trial, so you get to assess the quality of their content freely for two weeks. 

Final Thoughts

As you can probably tell, we’re huge fans of both Guitar Tricks and Justin Guitar, but as far as which platform is the most comprehensive, Guitar Tricks is the clear winner. We recommend trying both platforms since Justin Guitar is free anyway. 

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