Guitareo is among the most popular of online guitar lesson platforms, promising that you can ‘Play Well’ in 90 days only. This seems to be a rather bold statement given that mastering an instrument usually takes several years. But what if it is possible? Is your first gig just 90 days and a few hundred dollars away?
Nate Savage, one of the teachers for Guitareo, is no stranger to the online guitar-teaching world. Savage has been teaching and recording lessons for several platforms over the years and has enjoyed huge popularity with students across the globe.
But a great teacher is not enough when it comes to e-learning. The content offered and the downloads available are just some of the key points to consider when selecting the best guitar learning site for you.
So, is Guitareo the platform for you? Will you be playing well in 90 days? Is it worth spending the money on an e-learning course with no way of guaranteeing the outcomes? How do you decide which program to go with?
Table of Contents
- Overview of Guitareo
- About Ayla Tesler-Mabe (Primary Instructor)
- About Nate Savage (Teacher)
- The Guitareo Acoustic Guitar Course Introduction
- Guitar Technique Made Easy
- XP / Experience and Student Reviews
- Student Reviews
- What Else Does Guitareo Offer?
- 500 Songs
Overview of Guitareo
The Guitareo method consists of 4 courses: Acoustic Guitar Made Easy, Guitar Technique Made Easy, The Ultimate Guide to Recording Guitar, and Guitar System. Each of these courses are divided into several lessons which is usually between 10 minutes and 20 minutes long each.
Most of the lessons are presented by Nate Savage who has an impressive proven track-record as an online teacher. The lessons are aimed at guiding the complete novice towards the ultimate goal of playing well.
Playing well is however a rather vague promise. It does not offer a comparison or a specific skill level as a standard measure of achievement. The first question that pops into my mind is “Playing well compared to..?”. I can however guarantee that you will “play better” than you do as a beginner.
There are two membership options to consider. The annual option will cost you $95 dollars ($7.92 per month) and will give you full access to all the sections of the website and the teaching platform.
The alternative option is the lifetime membership. It costs $297 and guarantees lifetime access to all the Guitareo content. Lifetime memberships are however limited according to the Guitareo Website. Both options also have a 90-day money back satisfaction guarantee.
There is also a 7-day free trial available. This will probably be the way to go if you are not convinced that this is the site for you. That will give you enough time to make an informed decision on whether or not to continue.
About Ayla Tesler-Mabe (Primary Instructor)
Ayla Tesler-Mabe has made a splash in the music industry as a professional guitarist, vocalist, and songwriter – playing in popular bands including Calpurnia and currently Ludic. And while she’s actively creating new music and performing, Ayla’s also passionate about helping students through Guitareo every day!
Ayla’s no stranger to answering questions candidly, lending advice, and starting conversations about all things guitar – and her teaching style makes students feel comfortable and encouraged so you’ll keep practicing and developing your skills.
About Nate Savage (Teacher)
Nate Savage is an expert in online guitar teaching. Apart from his work with Guitareo, he has recorded and presented lessons for several other online music teaching platforms. He has a laidback and slightly goofy approach to teaching. This made the lessons fun and easy to follow.
It doesn’t matter how long you may struggle with one of the pillars or techniques, Nate makes you feel great about what you have achieved. If you’re teaching online, it is important to capture the attention and imagination of your audience. It keeps students engaged and motivated as they move along.
Nate Savage is no longer a coach with Guitareo but all his lessons and videos are still on the platform.
The Guitareo Acoustic Guitar Course Introduction
The Guitareo platform based its lessons on a ‘five-pillar system’. Each pillar claims to represent an essential technique that needs to be mastered in your journey to becoming the next Jimi Hendrix.
The first lessons, as is typical with all music teaching platforms, is spent on posture, practice space and practice habits, instrument care and other basic but essential aspects of learning the guitar. Holding the guitar in a way that is comfortable and affords you the required amount of mobility is very important.
I think that more time should have been spent on this very important point however. Understanding how to hold the guitar whether you’re standing, sitting, or hanging upside down from a tree is not something that should have been rushed.
Unlike the piano which is stationary and has a standard size (approximately), the guitar differs greatly in size and shape, as do the people holding the guitars. Guitareo didn’t really spend enough time on going through the best options here.
I ended up having to research many of the basics of guitar playing including how to hold a pick and how to hold a guitar. This is definitely a problem that Guitareo should work on to ensure that it keeps up with its competitors.
The Five Pillars
The five pillars of the Guitareo method are strumming, smooth chord changes, playing ‘clean’ chords, playing songs, and theory of music. If you master all these techniques, you will be playing well indeed. But it is not that easy.
Lessons are generally well constructed and presented in an easy-to-follow manner. I did find myself having to pause quite frequently however, trying to understand and achieve the required technique. This makes the courses feel a little rushed at times.
Nate Savage’s experience as a teacher is a huge plus for the Guitareo platform. Having dealt with students and their questions for so many years, Nate really seems to understand and anticipate every possible problem you could face while trying to complete a lesson.
Painful fingers are a reality when it comes to learning the guitar. Although Nate repeatedly warns that your fingers will be hurting, he fails to mention just how much. The friction of the strings on your sensitive fingertips causes painful and sometimes bleeding fingers.
The Guitareo approach is to toughen up and get on with it. Personally, I tend to agree with this approach, but other solutions to the painful finger dilemma should be discussed to ensure that potential customers don’t give up before really getting into the program.
Google will bring you solutions such as superglue on fingertips and soaking fingers in methylated spirits. Both methods are controversial and I would suggest that you speak to an experienced player before doing anything crazy.
The remainder of the Acoustic Guitar Course is spent on strumming patterns, open chords and learning new songs. Although Nate repeatedly states the importance of smooth chord changes, and presents some great practice techniques to achieve this, it still felt like Guitareo could have done more.
I really like that Guitareo, as well as its sister sites, spend a great deal of time on theory and sight reading. This pillar is the backbone of music and is where you learn to ‘speak’ and write in a new universal language.
The Acoustic Guitar Course on its own will not be enough to help you achieve the promised goal of ‘playing well’ in 90 days. It does cover a great deal of material including chords, strumming patterns and new songs, but at best, you will still be at an early intermediate level.
The time and practice you put in will be the deciding factor. Guitareo provides the lessons, tips, and pointers to guide you on your way, but it will be up to you to do the practice.
This section of the course is what makes it fun. This is the ultimate goal for learning any instrument – playing your favorite songs.
Guitareo has hundreds of songs which you can learn to play in step-by-step videos. After struggling with techniques and chord changes and the sore fingers, playing a song is like a reward for sticking to it.
Guitareo managed to select songs that are easy to learn and fun to play. From the first song you play, which consists of only two chords, to the much more advance songs in later lessons, Guitareo’s library covers most genre’s and styles.
I did find that there should have been more songs for the beginners. Songs with only two chords or maybe three, that is easy to learn and play. You don’t want to be stuck with only one or two songs as a beginner – it’s a short-cut to quitting.
A great feature of Guitareo is the variety of downloads available for each lesson. Nate sets an assignment for every lesson which you are expected to work on before progressing to the next. The downloads are geared towards helping you on your quest to get the most out of each lesson and assignment.
The downloads are a combination of PDF downloads (Sheet music and Chord sheets) and Jam Tracks which you can practice to. This allows Guitareo users to build a library of songs, technical exercises and jam tracks that they can use anywhere and at anytime without the need for an internet connection.
The worksheets will give you all the exercises, theory, and information you need to perfect the technique covered in that lesson. This includes sheet music for the more advanced lessons that you will be learning in the later courses.
A jam track is available for practically every lesson. Instead of just having to play through chords on your own a million times, Guitareo created backtracks that you can practice to. This means that a boring two-chord exercise suddenly becomes a jam session with drums and bass guitar backing you up.
The jam tracks are available with or without a click track. If you are struggling with timing and rhythm, the click track will help you discover your inner rhythm. Instead of using only some of the resources available, you could download the entire collection as a ZIP file which makes it easier to access and use later.
Guitar Technique Made Easy
The second of the Guitareo Method Courses is Guitar Technique Made Easy. Once you’ve completed the acoustic guitar course you will be moving on to this more advanced guitar technique course.
The course is the same in all respects but covers more advanced chords, strumming patterns and techniques. However, there seems to be a gap between the acoustic guitar course and this course.
I did not feel prepared to move onto most of the techniques covered in the Technique course and kept going back to the Acoustic Guitar Made Easy course to redo lessons. Again it felt like Guitareo wants to rush towards the goal of playing well.
The intermediate and advanced player may however benefit more from this course. While Nate still encourages the novices in each lesson, he also challenges intermediate and advance players. The downloads offer sections for the three levels of experience – beginner, intermediate and advanced.
If you are looking for an online platform to freshen up on certain aspects of your technique, you will find this section of Guitareo to be beneficial and helpful.
Guitareo has an extensive forum section. This is a great place to get in touch with other guitarists and guitar students to discuss everything related to guitar playing. Apart from the General Guitar Discussion, there is a Student Progress Discussion and even an Off-Topic discussion if you feel like talking about something else than guitar.
Guitareo has thousands of lessons in various courses available for members. These courses are aimed at various levels of expertise ranging from Beginner 1, to Advanced 7. The platform has been going for several years in which time they have built up an impressive library of video lessons.
The Guitareo YouTube channel offers many more short (and long) videos in which many of the techniques are discussed in more detail. I found great tips on the YouTube channel that helped with some of my struggles.
XP / Experience and Student Reviews
For each completed lesson you will be awarded xp. Although this does not buy you anything, it does serve as a great motivator to continue working towards the end goal of being a great guitarist.
If you decide to go with Guitareo, you may want to visit this section quite frequently. Record your practice session, or a technique you are struggling with, submit the video, and get direct feedback from one of the coaches at Guitareo.
When learning to play any instrument, you will at some point need the guidance of a teacher to iron out those bad habits and difficulties.
What Else Does Guitareo Offer?
For the more experienced and advanced player, Guitareo has a Chords and Scales section where each chord and scale are discussed in a short video. So, if you are struggling with a specific chord, instead of redoing a lesson, you can simply go to the Chords and Scales section and work on fixing your problem quickly.
Each scale is explained and taught slowly with alternate fingering options. Scales are a great way of building strength and dexterity and advancing your play to the next level.
As with Pianote and Drumeo, there is the 500 songs section. You get to download chord sheets for all the songs which you can practice at home. The chord sheets are offered in both the original key of each song, as well as an easier key.
The guitar is the most popular and most played instrument in the world today. Its popularity continues to grow as more and more online teaching platforms brings great teachers to a computer screen in your own home.
But, the question remains – will you play well in 90 days? I don’t believe that 90 days will be enough to truly play well by any standard. If you are considering online lessons instead of a music studio or school, you probably already have busy schedule and limited time to practice.
Guitareo offers a great program for learning the guitar, but it is not necessarily the best route for every budding player.
If you do spend the time to practice and work on your skills, you will definitely learn to play and will be well on your way to be a great guitarist in the future.