Three Types of YouTube Videos You Should Be Making as a Guitarist

In this guide I look at three types of music videos you should probably be making as a guitarist. All three have their own benefits, so have a look and see which ones would be most beneficial for you.

Ultimate Guitar

Got your guitar skills up to a decent level? Ready to start showcasing your music to the masses? Then if you haven't already, you might want to consider using YouTube in your overall marketing campaign.

Now I'm sure I don't have to mention how power a tool this can be in getting your music out there. Not only can you get a ton of traffic by dipping into YouTube's existing audience, but the visual nature of it can also help form a deeper connection between you and your potential fans.

That said, what kind of videos should you be making as a guitarist? While there are a load you can try out into (Live shows, interviews, music videos etc), the below are three I've seen to be particularly effective for various reasons:

1. Live Jamming Sessions

Main Aim: Effectively Showcasing Your Talent To Potential Collaborators And Business Partners.

Secondary Aim: Footage For Your Current Fanbase.

The first type of video I'm going to suggest is a live jamming session. In this video you'll be showcasing your guitar playing abilities, usually in one take and with minimum interruptions. If you do any type of vocals you can also add these in there, basically the aim is to show off your core talent.

The reason why this kind of video is a worthy addition to your arsenal is that it allows people to really focus on what you can do as a guitarist. While your fans will be able to appreciate this, the real benefit comes in when you're looking for work or potential collaborators.

Looking for a singer to do live gigs with? Maybe you're looking for a band or to get more solo shows on your own? These jamming videos are great bundled with your CV, and can help you better give people an idea of what you have to offer.

Below is an example of this kind of video in action:

YouTube preview picture

  • There are a number of ways you can run your own live jamming sessions:

  • Solo, or with other guitarists.

  • Freestyling what you're going to play, or pre-planning it and recording.

    Over a backing track, or just have the guitar doing all the work (the second one is recommended).

    However you decide to do them, make sure you record something that's epic! Something that is near near the top level of what you can do, something that even you may not be able to top for a good while. Achieve that, and hopefully others will dig what you've recorded too.

    2. Videos Of You Performing Cover Songs

    Main Aim: To Reach New Potential New Fans.

    Secondary Aim: Footage For Your Current Fanbase.

    The next type of video you should be making is cover songs. Covering other people's already popular song is becoming increasingly popular, and for one good reason:

    It opens you up to an audience that most likely wouldn't have found you otherwise.

    When you're a new musician, or if you've been around for a while but haven't marketed yourself that much, people aren't generally going to be searching your name. They will however be searching for already established musicians, so the below mentioned tactic will take full advantage of that.

    First though, here's an example of a cover song which got quite popular:

    YouTube preview picture

    If you optimize your videos correctly, it's possible to get your video in front of people who are searching for currently popular songs. That means when they search for a new song in the charts for example, if you're early enough to do a cover for it and get it up on YouTube (using terms that people would search for), your video may show up alongside the original. Not only in the initial search results, but it may also be recommended in the "related videos" section after viewers finish watching the original. Fans of the song will often watch multiple versions of their favorite songs.

    Once you get people viewing your cover songs, you will of course need to take steps to get them to subscribe to your channel and sign up to your list. After all, them hearing you once won't make them a die hard fan of your music. Get them to subscribe to you in some way, and you'll have a much better chance of building up a relationship with them and turning them into a long-term fan.

    3. Teaching Beginner Guitarists How To Make YOUR Songs

    Main Aim: Building Influence, Making Money.

    Not many people are currently doing this third kind of video, so you've got a big opportunity here. Do it well and this could help open a load of new doors for you.

    While making money directly as a musician playing gigs / collecting royalties / selling digital downloads etc is all good, there is another way to make money from your talent. Have you ever considered teaching other people how to play guitar?

    I've personally set up a course which teaches musicians how to market their music because that's what I am very good at. If you're good at playing guitar, why not set up a video course teaching people how to do the same?

    Now I'm not saying this is going to be easy for everyone to do. Even if you can play the guitar well, it doesn't necessarily mean you're going to be good at teaching it. That said, you never know unless you try. I guarantee at least a few of you who are reading this has the ability to set up a successful beginner guitar video course, so you may want to look into it as an additional way to make money from your talent. The best part? Once it's made that's it, you then just need to promote it alongside promoting your music.

    As guitarists tend to pick up fans who also play guitar themselves, you'll find that a percentage of your fanbase could be the ideal customers for your course. After all, who better to learn from than someone they already know and admire?

    My advice is to put out a few of these teaching videos on YouTube for free to gauge the reaction, and if good, set up a paid membership course for people to get the rest of your videos. Use the videos to feed people back to your sign up page, and really push the course in the same way you'd push your music. This could be great for an addition income from your music, so give it a try.

    What Kind Of YouTube Videos Should I Make As A Guitarist Conclusion

    So there you go, three types of YouTube video you should be making as a guitarist. I hope you found it useful, and will try at least a couple if you aren't already. You can see more music business, music marketing, and general music industry guides on my website Music Industry How To. Thanks for reading. :)

    By Shaun Letang

    So what kind of videos do you find are useful for promoting your music? Let us know in the comments below.

  • 17 comments sorted by best / new / date

      The vids are cool! But I think that you should really decide how you want to market yourself as. Say I look at the first video. I can see that you're a good lead guitarist. So if I'm looking for a guitarist for my band, you'd be the man. Or if I look at the second video, I can see you'd be good at playing covers at a bar. But neither video promotes your own original material, so if you're aiming to release a successful EP on the basis of how many youtube views your cover got, you'd be barking up the wrong tree. If I put up a video of teaching people how to play my original songs, and nobody knows my original songs, why would they watch it in the first place? Makes no sense. For a more realistic view, how many times have you gone to a cover band after their set and asked if they have any EPs of original music to buy? I'm not saying that these vids aren't good - they are! But they may not be advertising yourself as the artist you want to advertise yourself as. They definitely do not promote your original music, if that's an aim of yours.
      Shaun Letang
      Fair point Alan. I wasn't however saying these are the only videos you should make. The above are some videos which I see being utilized less often, which I feel could be a useful addition to the other original videos most guitarists already make. I should have made that clearer. In addition to the above, you should also put up videos of any live gigs you do, your practice sessions, interviews and the like. The above three are by no means all I suggest people put up. Thanks for your comment.
      I am right at the point where I want to post videos of me playing bass. I have a few concerns, or questions rather. Should I post original music that is not copyrighted? I would think no. I heard--and it makes sense--that you shouldn't post cover tunes on the same account as original music. If you get deleted for copyright violation you will lose the original videos too--and you cannot make any money posting covers (legally). Keep the covers separate from the others, true yes? Finally, I should be able to post instructional videos with my original music right? Once I master a method of posting with a little bit of quality sound I am ready! I will listen to any advice, and thank you for this article!
      Shaun Letang
      Hi Christian. Cover versions are widely accepted, as long as you mention it's a cover version and not your own material. If you try and pass it off as your own material that's when you could potentially get in trouble, so don't do that. From what I've seen posting cover versions on the same account as your original music is fine, but if you want to be extra safe, then create a separate account under a separate name. I don't feel this is necessary though, but it's what you feel comfortable with. Youtube don't generally go in and straight delete an account, if there's a problem they'll usually email you and ask you to change something / tell you they've taken down / changed the rating on a specific video. Unless you've done something extreme (Which posting cover versions isn't) then your account won't just be taken down. Your account will only be contacted if you get lots of complaints, then Youtube will look into it. That said, posting cover versions won't generally get you complaints. And lastly, yes, you should be able to post instructional videos with your original music. Hope that helps.
      Yes, you helped a lot! I also appreciate being able to post questions--and possibly appearing a little ignorant--without getting hated upon like I would on a You Tube comment section. I hold the people on this site to a higher standard. Thank you for your reply. Also, would you recommend posting original music only if I had it copyrighted? Would you post your own material without a copyright?
      Shaun Letang
      No problem Christian. This site is full of musicians with different levels of experience, there's no silly questions so ask away. Technically, a song is automatically copyrighted as soon as it gets pressed up in a tangible form. So if you get a CD out of the studio you make your music in, it's legally copyrighted. This isn't the strongest form of copyright you can go with though, there are other stronger more secure ways (You can see details in my guide here: Unless you're selling your music, investing a decent amount into a Youtube video, or expect to get a lot of views, I wouldn't worry too much about buying a copyright for a Youtube song. If it fits into any of the above categories however, then you should go for one of the more secure methods of copyright.
      If your fans want to hear Feel Good Inc. they can listen to the Gorillas do it. A common joke was "(feigned interest)Hey Daniel, who sings that song?" "Uhh, The Red Hot Chili Peppers." "Cool. Keep it that way." Other than that, well written article.
      The number of cover videos and people who search for cover videos are outrageous, and is a means to - for some people - getting their names out there. It's a pretty good tip for people who haven't considered the easier things
      David Caraccio (aka DavidSinRocks) is a bass player that a lot of people here probably know. He was in on the ground floor of Youtube cover videos, some of his first being uploaded in 2006. Now he is (I think) the 2nd most popular bass player on Youtube with about 60000 subscribers and millions of views. The most popular bassist, MarloweDK, uses his YT channel only to compliment his bass teaching website, so that makes David THE most popular 'cover' bassist. He has toured extensively with a RHCP tribute band all over the world and is now in his own band who are also touring a lot and are on the way up to big things. His success can probably be directly attributed to putting covers on Youtube, which he still does regularly. Every video is pure quality and people love it, myself included. I found him through his covers, and now I listen to his own music very often, so there is something to be said for doing (good quality) covers
      The best possible kind of video you can put up is one where you are having fun. There is nothing more boring than watching a guy play his guitar, only for him to look like he is hating every second of it. You need to show energy, give people energy, and they'll give energy back. A good example is CharlieParraDelRiego, he always looks like he is having fun rocking out, and it's entertaining because of that. It doesn't matter what you play, as long as you be yourself and have fun, you'll get fans.
      I hate people playing along to a recording .I don't want to see someone play whole lotta love to the led zeppelin album.
      How about posting your own songs? Just check David MeShow or Davie504 on YT, they make their own music and it's awesome. Such way is much harder than covers though.
      Shaun Letang
      Posting your own songs is also a good idea Zaqq. Like I mentioned to Alan above, I'm not saying these are the only types of song you should make. They're just some under used video types that I thought I'd highlight so people can start using them alongside their own songs. Thanks for you comment.