Pedro Hidalgo

Pedro Hidalgo

ActiveMelody Review



SUMMARY provides original lesson material each week designed to help guitar players improve their ability to improvise lead, rhythm, and fills.


In today’s world, there are several options for learning guitar online, from one-on-one instruction to university level courses from renowned institutions such as Berklee College of Music and membership sites such as Guitar Tricks or Active Melody. 

Today we look inside what an Active Melody membership looks like and whether it is worth joining as a premium member and what can you expect to learn.

Let’s dive in!

How does it work?

Unlike most membership sites that have several teachers on their rooster, Brian Sherill is the founder and only teacher. He is the person responsible for all the content creation of the platform.

One outstanding feature is that instead of presenting the lessons as courses like most memberships sites do. On Active Melody, you learn in the form of weekly lessons, similar to a one-on-one lesson. 

Besides, the focus of how you learn is also unique from other places as Brian doesn’t teach you other people’s songs. Instead, you will learn how to play rhythm, jam, and compose music. 

The benefit of this approach is that it will teach you the backbones of how music works and not only to things related to the guitar.

Similar to many of its competitors, you can download a PDF from every lesson. You can also play along with Brian via the interactive tab viewer, which loads below every video lesson. 

Once you become a member, you have immediate access to every lesson previously released on the site. — the permission to post and answer on their forums and access to the Blues Lead Guitar Course.

Check out this excellent video lesson about blues phrasing so that you can get a taste of Brian’s teaching style.


How does it look?

The site’s User Interface is slick and simple, and site navigation is also straightforward. 

Once inside the member’s area, there are three main sections of the site:

  • Lessons
  • Blog
  • Forums

The Lessons Page is your portal of guitar knowledge and is the main hub of the site where they host all their content. There is a five year’s worth of weekly lessons available that you can easily find through the sidebar on the left. 

There are some intuitive search options; you can search for lessons by key, artist, and topic such as lessons in different keys and concepts.  Such as rhythm and lead guitar.

So for example, if you click on the B. B King tag, you will see all lessons available where Brian teaches something related to his style of playing. The site navigation is simple and designed to be practical, to allow you, the guitar student to quickly find what you are looking for.


Quality of lessons

The quality of instruction is pretty good and suitable for guitar players of different levels ranging from beginner to mid-intermediate guitar players. The production quality of the videos is also above average compared to regular lessons available on YouTube and in similar quality to other membership sites such as Jamorama and Jamplay. 

Although you only have one teacher in Brian Sherill, his passion for teaching is captivating. And you can see his passion for teaching others on how to play the guitar. One downside is the depth of the curriculum, a bit shallow compared to bigger sites such as GuitarTricks or TrueFire.

One cool thing about Active Melody is that every lesson available on the site is also available on YouTube. The difference is that as a premium member, you have access to additional sections where Brian slowly breaks the lesson into small chunks of information.


What will you be learning

The first thing to notice about the lessons is that everything is rooted in the blues. So every technique and concept you will learn will help you to have a better understanding of popular music. 


Because the blues is the foundation of contemporary music styles such as Jazz, Soul, R&B, and all derivative sub-genres, therefore, you will be able to apply this knowledge to several different musical situations.

As a premium member, you will learn several advanced rhythm concepts and strategies. And for improving your lead guitar playing such as chord tone soloing and pentatonic licks. As a result, you will develop a good foundation for learning different styles of music later on. 


Teaching style

For some people, Brian Sherill’s teaching style can feel somewhat limited since he teaches everything from a blues perspective. But the upside is that he really knows the concepts to the heart and have a wealth of experience playing the Blues.

For guitarists looking for more varied guitar education, Active Melody might not be your best choice. There are not that many lessons covering styles and concepts outside of the Blues realm.

According to the founder, they centered Active Melody’s teaching philosophy on helping people to visualize chord shapes around the neck and how to connect those shapes to the corresponding scales. 

The most significant upside of the whole experience is that at times, it feels like going to an in-person guitar lesson where your teacher is weekly pointing out things for you to work on. And it improves you as a player. 

Here are a couple of things Brian always refers to in most of his videos: 

  • Position based lead guitar
  • In-depth rhythm guitar playing
  • Attention to the most delicate details for playing blues such as bending and vibrato.


Who is it for?

So you read all this way, but you are still unsure, is Active Melody right for you?

Well, it depends on what exactly your guitar playing goals are. For a guitarist like you, looking for a more in-depth curriculum, then these are better options such as Guitar Tricks or JamPlay. 

If you really want to learn the ins and outs of Blues playing and gain improvisational and compositional skills. Then Active Melody offers excellent value.


Is it Worth it?

Learning to play guitar online has its pros and cons but compared to in-person guitar lessons, the price of admission usually makes it worthwhile. Any competent guitar teacher will charge you a minimum of $30 for a one-hour guitar lesson but for just $69 you have access to Active Melody for an entire year. 

That guarantees you will have access to one new lesson every Friday plus around 400 that were previously released. At this price range, Active Melody does offer incredible value, but as discussed before it is not for everyone.

Overall Active Melody does an excellent job in providing world-class guitar instruction at an affordable price. And it provides an intimate experience since you will learn everything from one teacher, which can be a good thing for some guitarists. Others will prefer to learn from several different people, and if that’s the case, Active Melody is not the best option for you.


Wrap-Up and Final Thoughts

So should you join Active Melody and become a subscriber of their premium content?

That depends on the kind of instruction you are looking for since the depth of content is somewhat limited regarding the type of styles it offers. 

For players, craving to learn more about Blues. Then Active Melody is an excellent value for your money, and we think there is a ton of value to be had by becoming a premium subscriber. 

Don’t forget to subscribe to their YouTube channel and get a glimpse of what their premium subscription looks like.