REVIEW: Guitar War – An Online Guitar Competition!

War is hell. Guitar War is hella fun!

Off the Rack

Celebrating its ten year anniversary, Guitar War is a one-of-a-kind site where two combatants record and enter a track, and the members of the site vote for their favorite of the two.  When the voting is closed, a winner is declared.  However there are no losers – both combatants receive helpful and specific critique about their playing, performance, and technique.

The Specs

Membership dues are modest monthly fee of $10.95 – Although primarily geared towards guitarists, there are competitions for bass, voice, synth, and song-writing.  Unlike traditional guitar sites, Guitar War is a fully interactive arena in which carefully constructed professional-sounding songs do battle.  There really is no better way for a player to improve than with specific feedback of his peers.

Along with your track, you must also provide tab notation for your song.  This has two distinct benefits; firstly it is always great practice to write out your licks, riffs and songs (for posterity if not for your band/jam-mates to learn). Secondly, the notation allows for you (and others) to pick up, and pick out other’s riffs that you may want to try out.

The common theme seems to be one of mutual and respectful feedback from your fellow guitarists, a virtual woodshed where musicians of all types can freely exchange and try out new ideas!  This indeed is highly beneficial to those who may not already have a community base of working/playing musicians, either due to geographic and or time constraints.  Perfect for anyone who is into writing and recording, Guitar War is the next logical step in the chain of production, where you can get personalized feedback from others doing the same thing, writing and recording.

So what is the point, you might be wondering, of Guitar War?  Simply put, through ‘the spirit of friendly competition’, players push themselves and each other to reach their musical goals, from learning to practicing, to performing.  Everyone knows how motivating a competition can be, most of us thrive under deadlines and specific goals.  Guitar War provides the structure many of us lack with regards to our own creative development AND output.  Even if a player NEVER submits a track/joins a war, he can still reap the benefits of watching, judging and even observing the critique of the other warriors on Guitar War.

The Low Down

My impression of the site is that experienced players will be more at home, but beginners and intermediate players looking for direction and or inspiration, can certainly benefit from the warring tracks.  As with any site or product, you may want to check out Guitar War to see if it is for you before you decide to sign up.  That being said – at only $10.95 per month, you don’t have much to lose.

For non-members there is plenty of information about the site, and how it operates, on the homepage.  If you or someone you know already has professional sounding recordings of original (or non-original) material, RUN don’t walk to your computer and declare war, because sometimes war IS the answer!

Pros: Keeps you motivated to practice. Reinforces ability to read and write TAB. Quality Feedback from other Guitarists. Keeps you improving!

Cons: Monthly fee.

Price: $10.95 per month.

Andy Bukstein is a staff writer for SMG. A consistent exception to all the rules, Andy is living proof that not every great guitarist gets paid and laid. Alongside a passion for music, Andy moved to LA in April 2010 to pursue a career in writing sketch comedy, allowing his failures to become grist for the comedy mill. Email

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