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If you’ve spent much time looking for online guitar lessons on Youtube, you know who Marty Schwartz is. Usually smiling underneath a jaunty hat, he’s one of the best-known online guitar instructors.
Marty advertises for his site – GuitarJamz.com – primarily by providing free material on Youtube. He takes requests and explains how to play popular songs. And Marty is, when all is said and done, a pretty good explainer of songs. He takes beginner songs appropriately slowly, and yet has a good intuitive grasp of how much explanation students need of more complex fingerings. You won’t have him saying, “well, take this shape from the third and fourth frets and slide it up to the 7th and 9th,” without explaining which finger goes where, if it’s not obvious.
Marty’s vibe is personable and social. He reminds me of nothing so much as the kind of guitar-playing friend that most of us had at some point when we were first learning. He knows more than we did, and he was happy to share his knowledge.
That’s Marty in a nutshell. He’s a pretty decent teacher, but his lesson plans and organization are a little haphazard – rather than building up a solid curriculum from a clear plan, it feels like Marty quickly records a few lessons on whatever he is interested in talking about that day.
The result is that the lesson quality can vary. Some of his lessons are absolutely fantastic, and others are a little more mediocre. He’s speaking like a friend, rather than a teacher, and while that can keep things nice and low-key, it also allows a little bit of laziness to creep into his lessons. The production quality is decent, but it’s not always clear how the lessons build on each other to produce something greater than the sum of their individual parts, the way really good lessons should.
It’s therefore hard to give GuitarJamz.com a stellar review. There are better, more organized sites out there, which offer a more comprehensive learning experience for your hard-earned dollar. Guitar Tricks or JamPlay come to mind as better alternatives. But Marty’s lessons do have some excellent content, so if you connect with his vibe, he could still be a reasonable choice for you online guitar lesson needs.
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