I did most my learning in the pre-internet era of guitar material availability which meant either a lot of listening to CDs (I’m not that old), buying the TAB book or score, getting someone with a better ear to teach you, or developing your own ear; also, remember that you couldn’t see how a lot of stuff was being done. Thanks to the internet, you can now learn any song or style you wish, and see exactly how it’s being done. My first port of call if I want to learn something new is not YouTube, but the Udemy platform, which has a ton of high-quality courses on pretty much any subject, and luckily for us, guitar. So, here’s a quick rundown of the best courses for learning a particular style or technique on Udemy.
First Things First
It goes without saying that when learning a new style, you should listen to it as much as possible, but where do you go from there? If there’s no teacher available where you live, or lessons are costly, the internet is a great resource for quality courses… if you look in the right place. If you’re a firm believer that everything on the internet should be free, then YouTube is your friend, but if you’re willing to shell out the price of a couple of guitar lessons, you can get a full course with no ads or annoying sales pitches, as well as guaranteed quality content.
Slide Guitar – Slide Soloing Essentials
This is a great course for anyone wanting to get into slide guitar or expand their blues soloing abilities. The course has two British instructors and the course starts off with which slide to buy and how to set your guitar up for slide, then goes into slide guitar in open E tuning, open G tuning and finally in good old standard tuning. You’ll also learn how to do chords using a slide, hammer-ons and harmonica type rolls, as well as a host of other tricks. Although I already play slide, I found this course really filled in the gaps I had, as well as being great for anyone starting out with slide guitar.
Country Guitar Fundamentals
I’m a firm believer that you can learn something from every style of music and incorporate it into the style you play. This is what happened to me with country guitar playing. To be honest I’m not really into the genre but I’ve learned and used its techniques to great effect in my own playing, and in other styles of music such as rock, fusion and jazz. Your instructor for this course is Michael Palmisano whose other courses on Udemy are equally as good. In this course, you’ll tackle country chord progressions, techniques such as pedal steel bends, flat-picking and banjo rolls, plus chicken picking and double stops. You’ll also learn how to groove country time and there’s even a section on tone. All in all, a great course.
Rockabilly Guitar for Beginners
Don’t be put off by the course name as I believe this course would be quite challenging if you’ve only been playing for a few months. While rockabilly guitar is not the most technically challenging style, it does have its nuances which might be too challenging for early beginners. I would pitch this course at the high beginner intermediate level to a satisfying progression through the many excellent lessons and explanations in this course. Rockabilly guitar is about as close to instant gratification as it gets as it’s one of those styles where a little goes a very long way. This course covers pretty much everything you need to know to play 50s rockabilly style guitar, guitar solos and rhythm accompaniment.
Discover Classical Guitar – Level 1
If you’ve never dabbled in classical guitar, this is a great place to start. What you have here is technically a beginner’s course, but also a beginner’s classical guitar course in the sense that even if you’ve been playing for a while, and never played classical guitar, you’d probably want to start with something like this. If you’re coming from rock or blues guitar, classical guitar is a whole other animal and while the course may not seem that content-heavy, it’s very well-paced so that even early beginners won’t get frustrated. If you have dabbled in classical guitar, then you might like to take a look at Level 2.
Zero to Guitar Fingerpicking in 30 Days
If you’re new to fingerpicking, or have your own style of fingerpicking and want to learn the correct way to do it, then this is the course for you. It’s aimed at beginners but even if you’ve been playing for a while and never done any (real) fingerpicking, you are essentially a beginner too. While a lot of the course does cover beginner concepts, there’s more than enough material here such as the clawhammer, travis picking, alternating bass notes, and walking basslines, for intermediate players, and a great focus on which finger goes where and why.
As well as being a great rut-buster, learning a new style will add a whole new dimension to your playing.