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Last Updated: January 2023
In this in-depth look at TrueFire, we’re going to see how this guitar training subscription program stacks up to the competition.
We’ll go over what’s covered in the course, what it’s like to go through lessons and whether it’s actually the best option to learn how to play the guitar correctly.
Let’s get into it…
TrueFire is probably the OG of online lessons. They started back in 1991. And it shows with their overwhelming collection of 54,000+ different videos.
It’s kind of intimidating – and that’s the main criticism we have of all our top online guitar lessons.
Sure, too much content is a good problem to have. But the question remains, what’s the best program to help you learn guitar and become a better player?
It has all the things you’d come to expect of a top-tier online guitar training site – beginner paths, advanced skills training and great bonuses. All in all, on the surface it seems like a great choice to learn how to play guitar.
Is TrueFire a better choice than something like JamPlay or Guitar Tricks, though?
Maybe… Read on to learn why or why not.
VIDEO: Guitar Lesson Buyers Guide
7.5/10 Stars Overall
Key Decision Making Factors
- Ease of Use – 6/10 – Not the best design, very overwhelming – no clear guided learning path. Lots of site sections to navigate
- Comprehensiveness – 9/10 – extremely comprehensive – the largest number of videos of any of our top picks. Over 54,000 videos
- Lesson Quality – 7/10 – well-shot and produced, not the most engaging or fun
- Affordability – 8/10 – similar monthly price to other comprehensive options, cheapest yearly price of all the comprehensive options
- Standout Features – 7/10 – nothing crazy, best feature is the large amount of content and the fact you can learn multiple instruments with one subscription
Should You Subscribe: If you’re an absolute beginner, then NO, DON’T go with TrueFire. There are better options out there for complete beginners. With TrueFire, you don’t get a hand-held, guided lesson plan on how to learn guitar. There’s no A->B path like with Fender Play or Guitar Tricks, so it can be a bit confusing if you’re not already sure of what you need to be learning/practicing.
However, if you already know the fundamentals of playing and know what skills you want to learn, then YES, TrueFire is a GOOD CHOICE. So in essence, it’s probably a better option for intermediate and advanced students. But that’s not to say it’s absolutely useless for beginners, either.
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More About This Program
TrueFire is one of the OG online lessons in existence. That’s what’s allowed them to amass their 54,000+ videos. So it’s a great program and you’re able to learn everything you could possibly learn. But with that comes a lot of overwhelm and confusion, especially for beginners.
There’s no guided path of learning like other options have. And so it’s better suited to people who are self-starters or at least have a novice/intermediate understanding of how to play guitar.
Don’t get us wrong – you can absolutely learn to play as a beginner using TrueFire. You just aren’t guided along the journey as well as other programs like Fender Play and Guitar Tricks. And that can make things a lot more difficult to do. But the lesson quality, material covered and extras included with your membership are a great value.
And TrueFire has been in business so long, they know how to teach people to become better guitarists. So you can’t go wrong – especially since there’s a 30 day free trial where you can take the whole system for a test drive. They’ve also got a very affordable yearly subscription price.
Is TrueFire a good choice? Absolutely. Is it the best choice for someone just starting out? No, definitely not.
- $19.95 / month
- $99 / year
- Over 54,000 different lessons and 30,000 tabs to play from
- Learn guitar, bass, ukulele, banjo or even harmonica
- Advanced interactive videos with tabs/notation that plays in sync with video
- Legendary artists as your teacher (like Steve Vai from Frank Zappa)
- Learn in the most popular styles – Jazz, Rock, Blues, Country
- 30 day free trial
- Tons of extras included in membership and new content added consistently
- One of the most expensive monthly membership prices
- Not a TON of songs to learn – more focused on skills/technique
- No easy-to-follow, laid out path for beginners
Who it’s Best For:
- You want the absolute largest collection of skills/technique training out there
- You know the basics and want a wide variety of self-taught learning paths
- You’re a beginner that doesn’t mind creating their own learning plan
- You don’t need a easy-to-follow, laid-out-for-you way to learn
- You value practice and want a lifetime access option
- You trust the brand of a company with 30+ years of satisfied customers
What’s Included and How it All Works
The first thing we noticed in our look at TrueFire is their clean, minimal design.
There’s a lot that you actually get when you sign up. Of course, the 40,000+ video lessons and 30,000+ tabs are just the beginning.
You get all the same bells and whistles that come with other popular lessons – community features like a forum, tracks to jam along with, private tutoring options (extra cost), events and masterclasses and more.
So you’re not going to go wrong by choosing TrueFire. It’s just very overwhelming if you don’t know what you’re doing.
Beginner’s need a clear-cut path to being able to play, not thousands of options that end up paralyzing them.
But if you’re looking for a literal treasure trove of different lessons on skills, techniques, and more then this is a GREAT option for you.
And I’d highly recommend trying out their free trial to see for yourself.
Here’s a closer look at some of our favorite features:
Their Core Lessons
The skill/technique/genre lessons are the back-bone of the TrueFire learning system. And there’s a ton. Over 54,000 now. And a lot of them (not all) are in high quality 1080p resolution with something called Soundslice (more on this later).
All the videos are high quality and easy to follow along with. In addition to this, you get a lot of additional material. If you’re good at reading tabs and already know basic chords on guitar, there are tons of resources for you to practice along with.
This is one of the best features of the platform, because whatever you want to learn, they’ll likely have a lesson for it.
If you’re diligent enough with your study/practice, TrueFire alone can probably take you towards total mastery of the guitar.
Soundslice Video w/ Interactive Tabs
This is probably the coolest feature, compared to their main competitors. Soundslice is an interactive tab player that is synced to the video that you’re watching.
So you can practice along with the video and navigate both the lessons and exercises quickly and easily. We haven’t seen this with any other program, and is one of the reasons we really do recommend this program for some students.
And with this feature alone, we’d say TrueFire is well worth trying out even if you’ve tried other guitar training in the past.
Of course, any set of lessons will only be good as the people that are teaching them. These guys have this on lock. Some of the biggest names in music are the main educators in some of the content on the site.
Take it from us – learning from legendary artists is much better than learning from your local music teacher.
If you feel like you need a little more one-on-one tutoring, but still want the convenience and value of online lessons, TrueFire comes through for you.
For an additional cost, you can book private lessons with their educators. The only problem is, it’s not a live session. It’s more of a “review and feedback” type of system. But it’s still well worth it, especially for some students.
In the Jam
This is another favorite section of ours. Unlike traditional Jam tracks you can play along with, this platform takes it up a notch. Their “In the Jam” section allows you to play along with great musicians (not in real-time, obviously) while you’re learning sheet music.
But what makes it different from others is that, you can actually mute out sections of the “jam band” that you don’t want playing. So if you want to focus on really locking in with the drummer, for example, you can.
Truly “On-The-Go” Capable
Most of the time, you’ll likely be learning in one place. But you don’t have to if you don’t want to. The apps are fully compatible with both Windows and Mac, as well as mobile devices. Hell, you can even use AppleTV.
You are also able to download lessons to your device, so you don’t necessarily need an internet connection to practice or learn remotely. Very useful.
Beyond all the stuff we mentioned above, there are some other things that make this a worthwhile program to try out:
- Learn more than just guitar – bass/ukulele/banjo/harmonica lessons included
- Live Q&A Sessions and other Masterclasses
- Community Forum
- Song Lessons
- Genre/Style-based “Learning Paths”
Frequently Asked Questions
If you’re already an experienced guitar player or someone with a lot of self-discipline and drive then TrueFire is worth it. But it’s not the best choice for complete beginners or anyone looking for a guided approach to learning the guitar. TrueFire has so much content, and no clear learning path, that it’s overwhelming for beginners and inexperienced players. It’s not worth it if you’re just starting out.
TrueFire is basically a large collection of guitar lessons – that’s it. You can either purchase individual lessons or subscribe to the “all access” to get access to everything they offer. It’s much like a library, where you’re given a bunch of content and kind of left on your own. So you can start learning whatever you’re most interested in after browsing their content. It is a bit overwhelming for beginners, and therefore, not the best choice for anyone starting out.
If you’re looking for a comprehensive selection of guitar lessons to learn from then yes all access is absolutely worth it. If there are lots of skills/topics you’re interested in from the company then get it. However, if you’re only interested in one particular lesson set from the company, and nothing else, then you’re better off just purchasing that one set of lessons individually.
The Final Verdict
TrueFire is a great option for novice/intermediate guitarists who want a truly comprehensive set of materials to help them master their instrument, in and out.
TrueFire is a treasure box of guitar skills and techniques. It’s just not an easy-to-follow beginner system.
The main problem with pretty much all training platforms online is the sheer volume of content makes it confusing and overwhelming. And this isn’t truer for any other brand more than TrueFire.
Sure, they do have lessons that can teach you the basics like notes or scales on a guitar, but it’s not guided or hand-held as much as other options.
You want a more guided approach – something like Guitar Tricks’ “Core Learning System” or Fender Play’s guided learning path.
But there’s no doubt True Fire IS WORTH IT – if you already know what you’re doing and what you want to do next.
Thanks for reading our complete Truefire Review – we hope it was helpful to you.
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