ActionTab offers you a free trial account that lets you check out some of its features and resources. This is a great way to see if ActionTab’s approach will work for you. The free trial gives you a peek of the site’s member section and song gallery. You’ll also be able to save your custom settings, store lessons or tracks as favorites, and more. However, other than a few free lessons, tracks and courses will only play as 15-second previews.
If you want full access to ActionTab, you’ll need to spring for a paid membership. You can choose between two biling cycles:
- Monthly: $9.99
- Annual: $99.95 per year
ActionTab accepts payments through Paypal or WorldPay; the latter allows for Visa, MasterCard, and American Express credit and debit card payments.
The first and biggest difference between ActionTab and many of its competitors is the lack of audio and video lessons. ActionTab teaches almost exclusively through animated fretboards, with different marker colors to indicate various fingers or playing styles (e.g., plucking, strumming) as needed. Text sidebars or pop-ups give you more information regarding certain techniques or concepts. The writing tends to be precise and easily understandable, so you can get a clear idea of how to perform the skills being explained. However, this approach tends to make for a dry, if not boring, learning experience overall.
The animated fretboard comes with controls that let you adjust tempo, playback speed, and so on. You can pause, rewind, or fast-forward the animation as needed. The colored markers are easily distinguishable, so you won’t have any problems following along. It might take some time to get the hang of all the symbols, though, and you might find your first few sessions a bit trickier as you master ActionTab’s array of icons.
ActionTab offers instruction on a variety of basic guitar topics. You can learn about everything from picking and strumming to hammer-ons, pinch harmonics, and vibrato, for example. However, the lack of direct feedback or custom performance assessment can hurt you here, since you won’t have a reliable system for determining whether or not you’re performing a new technique correctly. This can be a significant downside for beginners who can unknowingly build bad habits. Meanwhile, the limited scope itself poses an issue for beginners and advanced users alike: beginners might find themselves quickly progressing beyond ActionTab’s lesson collection, while more advanced users might not find enough new or relevant materials here to justify getting a paid subscription.
Ultimately, ActionTab prides itself in getting users to start playing quickly, and that informs a lot of the site’s design and content. There’s enough here to get you through your favorite songs, but if you want to go beyond casual playing, ActionTab might not have enough to help you. If you’re intent on expanding your skillset and really mastering those concepts and techniques, this is not the learning tool for you.
That said, if you’d rather focus on building up your song repertoire, ActionTab is an excellent resource. The site features a large list of songs that you can learn. You won’t want for variety, whether in terms of genre or artists. ActionTab features classics like The Beatles and Fleetwood Mac, for example, but you can also find more recent artists like Adele and Coldplay, as well as songs from less-mainstream genres like classical.
ActionTab has a short FAQ section covering only four basic questions about system requirements and similar concerns. If you need more extensive assistance, you can send a support request through the contact form on their website’s support page. Unfortunately, you won’t have any other readily available recourse: the link to ActionTab’s forum is a dead end, and the service doesn’t own any accounts on social media that you can check for updates.
What's the Verdict on ActionTab?
ActionTab Review 2020 – Conclusion
ActionTab works best for more casual students who just want to learn how to play their favorite songs. In those cases, the site’s straightforward approach and affordable membership rates save users time and money while still giving them all the tools to accomplish their goal. The animated fretboard does away with the features that can come off as so much needless bloat to casual learners, and ActionTab’s extensive song library will likely have the songs that these users want to learn. However, those who want to delve deeper into the ins and outs of playing guitar will soon find ActionTab’s limited scope, dry teaching approach, and evaluation capabilities sorely lacking. While the membership fee is fairly low, there’s not enough here to justify picking ActionTab over other more comprehensive options on this list.