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YouTube vs TikTok: Guitar Tutorials

Learning guitar online is great, right? No need to leave your house. Spend money on expensive guitar lessons. And you have all the songs you could ever want to learn at your fingertips.

guitar goddess with acoustic guitar

I've been teaching guitar on YouTube since 2009 back when it wasn't yet a popular place to learn guitar. I started out as a cover channel jamming on my favorite songs and began teaching because some of my viewers began requesting tutorials for those songs.

At the time, I had no idea or knowledge about teaching guitar online. I didn't even know about Marty Schwartz and Justin Sandercoe, who both basically pioneered YouTube guitar lessons, until a few months or so after I started making my own tutorials.

my old filming and editing setup

I was uploading videos filmed straight through my webcam with terrible audio because no one was using DSLR cameras then.

After the 2010's YouTube boom and the demand for HD video, I invested in new gear and began creating higher quality guitar lessons and my channel began to take off!

my first dslr camera

It was very easy to predict which songs were going to do well and help grow my channel. This was my experience from 2012 - 2021. And then, at some point, it wasn't.

With the rapid rise of TikTok, every single social platform began to develop and push "their version" of short-form content.

Instagram now has "reels" and YouTube now has "shorts." And thus the battle between Youtube vs Tiktok guitar tutorials began.

As a creator, this was both exciting annnnnd stressful.

Knowing how long it takes me to create a single YouTube video and now having to add a vertical form of that seemed to just add more work to my plate.

In addition to that, views for long-form guitar lessons have gone down whereas short-form videos seem to rack up tens and hundreds of thousands of views or more.

I've talked at length about this with my husband: Cody - The Groovy Guitar Dude + one of my really good friends, Ellen: For3v3rfaithful who both are also YouTube guitar teachers and have expressed similar feelings about these changes.

Long-form lessons allow guitar newbies to enjoy the experience of more detailed lessons to further explain chords, strumming patterns, extra progressions and techniques that a short video may not be able to deliver.

However, on the other hand, short-form guitar lessons like TikToks are great for those who are past the super beginner stages of guitar and looking for a quick lesson to learn their favorite song without having to skip through stuff they already know.

I've gone back and forth experimenting with different formats trying to discover what my online students prefer to learn from.

What would this mean for my guitar tutorials moving forward?

Would I still be able to go in-depth on a song?

Will beginners struggle with short lessons because of lack of explanation?


Here's an example of me teaching "Stick Season" by Noah Kahan with both a long-form YouTube video and a short vertical video.

I feel like at this point, I have come to a place of acceptance that this might be the new way of learning guitar online. For now.

I will a creator these much shorter videos are:

  1. Faster + easier for me to film

  2. Faster + easier to edit

  3. Which means I can make even more videos than ever before.

So, it's not all bad. Currently, I am figuring out how to mange creating both types of content and figuring out what my audience's needs are, which brings me to asking...

Do you prefer learning guitar from long-from or short-content and feel free to share why in the comments below!

Long-form vs. Short-form

  • Long-form: YouTube videos

  • Short-form: (tiktok, reels, youtube shorts)

  • Both!

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