For 100’s of years, people have learned guitar from other guitarists willing to teach them.

If you were lucky enough to become the protégé of someone awesome, with enough work you’d probably turn out to be a great guitarist too. If not, it was a lot more difficult.

Luckily, we live in a time when it’s possible to learn from professional guitar instructors from around the world, without having to leave the house.

Technology is pretty sweet, huh?

Speaking of technology, the last decade or so has brought an evolution of formats for guitar lessons…

We were stuck in a world of nothing but books to read for years, but even though they started to have some nice exercises and songs to learn over time, let’s face it:

If reading was all you had to do to master something, school wouldn’t be taught by subject matter experts using a variety of media and teaching techniques.

Reading definitely has its place, don’t get me wrong, but it can only go so far with something as hands-on as playing guitar.

The real magic starts to happen when you can SEE someone playing guitar, and HEAR them explaining how to play it.

So, as people started to realize they could stop giving private lessons and charging a large hourly rate to students to make it worth their time (and scale by packaging the lessons and selling them to lots of aspiring guitarists), two main formats took shape in the guitar lessons industry:

  1. DVD Guitar Lessons
  2. Online Guitar Lessons

DVDs came first, and were instantly popular because of their familiar format and ease of use. People love watching TV, and having the ability to take lessons on their TV with the ability to rewind parts they didn’t understand changed the way people learn guitar forever.

Then, a few brilliant minds realized that the cost of producing high-quality video for online streaming was going down, common Internet connection speeds were going up, and that it would be far cheaper and easier to produce lessons online that having to print books, create DVDs, and ship courses.

Both of these formats have their advantages and disadvantages, so let’s walk through them…

Pros of DVD Lessons:

  • Familiar, user-friendly format (TV + DVD player)
  • Lessons are easy to see and follow
  • Usually come with exercise book and CDs

Cons of DVD Lessons:

  • Course can not be updated over time
  • Typically taught by only one instructor
  • Very few lessons for the price (comparatively expensive)

Pros of Online Lessons:

  • Convenience (stream anywhere with a laptop)
  • New lessons and tools added regularly
  • Cheaper than physical home study courses
  • Multiple instructors with different skills and genre backgrounds
  • Great support (community and teachers)
  • Tools like tuner, metronome, jam tracks, learning games, etc.

Cons of Online Lessons:

  • Depend on Internet connection
  • Monthly membership pricing
  • On smaller computer screen*

*Note: If you want to watch online lessons on your TV, you can buy a standard cable (S-Video, VGA, DVI or HDMI) for a few bucks at Radio Shack to plug your computer into your TV and watch everything with no other setup required.

All things considered, we have found online lessons to be far better than DVD lessons.

We have purchased and tried multiple DVD courses, and liked them for what they are, but after signing up for lessons online, we just can’t honestly recommend DVDs over their Internet counterparts because of their convenience, support, and value for price.

Feel free to compare the most popular lessons online and the top DVD lessons side-by-side.

Or, if you’re just looking for the best, here are top rated online lessons.