World Guitar Day
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World Guitar Day: 7 YouTube Channels To Improve Your Playing
Guitarists are a unique breed. Jokes aside, almost everyone who takes up the instrument shares one simple trait in common: the desire to play better. With the seemingly bottomless well of resources available on the internet, specifically YouTube, improving your guitar knowledge and skill should be easy, right? As any guitarist who's ever gone down the online rabbit hole knows, there's a lot more chaff than wheat out there. But fear not, we're here to help!
In honor of World Guitar Day, Oct. 6, we rounded up some of the best YouTube guitar lesson channels out spanning several styles and genres, providing you seven solid resources to learn new techniques, build your chops and play like your heroes. You're welcome. Now start woodshedding.
Need a hand with acoustic arrangements of some of today's biggest hits? Have no fear, Michelle Arseneau — aka Guitar Goddess — is here. Possessing impressive unplugged chops and a pleasant teaching demeanor, Guitar Goddess' YouTube channel contains a treasure trove of lessons on songs from the likes of Taylor Swift, Rihanna, Harry Styles, Imagine Dragons, and the Chainsmokers. She also offers informative vlogs (guitar travel hacks), regular Q&As and a bit of comedic relief to boot. — T.M.
Looking to dial in some slightly left-of-center techniques from nontraditional players like Neil Young, Annie Clark (St. Vincent), Ry Cooder, Marc Ribot, or Dave Rawlings? North Carolina-based Eric Haugen's channel houses 150-plus lessons from off the beaten path. On his about page, the Berklee grad states, "I love twangy guitars, fuzzy psychedelia, open tunings, all kinds of slide guitar, stabby angular playing, as well as thoughtful melodic simplicity." Haugen's material is daring and inventive, his channel is warm and inviting, and his teaching approach is relaxed yet empowering — think Bob Ross for guitarists. If you're an intermediate to advanced player feeling like you're stuck in a rut, Haugen's lessons are perfect for finding new ways to make audience members look up from their phones at your next gig. He also offers individualized Skype lessons via his website, which is loaded with free backing tracks and tabs for a very reasonable fee. — N.H.
Let's face it, learning the ins and outs of jazz guitar can be intimidating. But Netherlands-based guitar instructor somehow makes tackling jazz seem like it's within reach. A wonderful resource for beginners and intermediates alike, Larsen's channel covers grade-A material like learning standards, II-V-I soloing approaches and essential jazz rhythms to more progressive topics such as modern chord voicings, altered scale runs and quartal harmony. And that's just the tip of the iceberg. Larsen's channel is so well-organized and broad that players are sure to find a subject of interest. Subscribe and your jazz chops are bound to make "Giant Steps." — T.M.
Looking for the kitchen sink of lesson channels? With everything from how to properly change your strings (a must) to the CAGED System (in under 10 minutes, no less) to Prince's Greatest Guitar Techniques (a personal favorite), The Art Of Guitar covers plenty of ground. Mike, the channels likable and experienced captain, has a natural way of introducing fundamental concepts for beginners as well as demystifying seemingly complicated secrets of the masters in his Artist Series. The latter takes on the task of teaching 20-plus techniques of guitar heroes like David Gilmore, Dimebag Darrell, John Mayer, and many more. In addition to the free lessons on YouTube, Mike has built a full-blown online course available on his website. — N.H.
Shred master Robert Baker is an amazing DIY YouTube success. Since uploading his first video in 2007, his channel has grown north of 126,000 subscribers on the strength of his killer guitar content and friendly disposition. The Ohio native's channel is littered with guitar riches, including quirky listicles, gear demos, original songs, killer covers, inspirational vlogs, and lesson-based material. It all makes for a give-and-take akin to hanging with your best guitar buddy. After watching one of Baker's videos, you simply can't help but want to pick up your guitar and play. — T.M.
Musicians all over the world are becoming more and more aware of Reverb. The Chicago-based company provides an online music marketplace where you can buy almost anything, including gear used by Liam Gallagher on tour with Oasis or in the studio to record Nirvana. But guitar players looking to hang on to their money can peruse the Learn To Play: Reverb Lessons section of their YouTube page. From ripping like Chuck Berry and soloing like King Crimson's Robert Fripp to tweaking your rig to sound like Tom Petty, Reverb videos cover a lot of quality territory for the guitarist looking to get it right.
Dubbed "the planet's largest and most comprehensive selection of online guitar lessons" by Guitar Player magazine, guitarists of all experience levels simply can't go wrong with TrueFire. Their YouTube channel offers a delectable taste of the material available via their website's expansive lesson library, featuring players covering virtually every style and genre — including GRAMMY winners and nominees like Steve Vai and Robben Ford to session aces Carl Verheyen and Larry Carlton to renowned educators Frank Vignola and Jon Finn. Classical guitar, jazz comping, blues soloing strategies, precision strumming are just a handful of the topics you'll find upon browsing. And if the YouTube lessons have you craving for more, dig in to the full courses available at TrueFire's website and watch your six-string skills soar to new levels. — T.M.