With the huge number of resources available online, anyone can learn pretty much anything they want to.
All it takes is a quick search on your favorite search engine, and you’ll be inundated with guides, tutorials, and lessons.
While this is a fantastic convenience of the modern world, it does come with its problems, like which site to use.
For guitar players, there are a ton of platforms claiming to offer the best lessons, guitar tricks, and the fastest routes to becoming a true virtuoso on 6 strings.
To help you cut through the noise and decide which platform is best for you, we’re going to be pitting a couple of huge names in the guitar-learning universe against each other in this Fender Play vs JamPlay match-up.
Let’s start with a little bit of background on the two companies.
Background of Fender Play & JamPlay
Let’s start with Fender, a company that really doesn’t need an introduction. If you know anything about guitars, you’re sure to know Fender, or at least have heard of them.
Their story starts with radio repairman Leo Fender, who started producing guitars and amplifiers in the 1940s (initially with inventor Doc Kaufmann before starting his own brand).
Over time, his brand grew and started stretching its fingers into new territories. Fender Play spawned from Fender’s app, Fender Digital, which was originally a ‘social media’ of sorts for guitarists.
After adding online guitar lessons, guitar tricks, and tools, the app eventually evolved into Fender Play, featuring more than 900 courses made up of over 40,000 lessons and 1200 audio lessons for their user base of almost 1,000,000 subscribers.
JamPlay, on the other hand, is a dedicated online guitar lesson as one of its services whose focus has always been on providing new guitarists with a platform to find lessons, tutorials and become better guitarists with instructions from more than 100 professionals guitarists.
They started offering lessons back in 2006, and although their service is older than Fender, they don’t have quite the number of users, with just over 400,000 currently utilizing their lessons.
Registration & Prices
You can register for Fender Play really easily on their website or by downloading their app. All you’ve got to do is give them an email address to create an account or use a Facebook or Apple account.
Before you’re expected to pay anything for a subscription, they also offer a free trial period of 7 days, or 14 if you’re willing to part with your credit card details.
Prices for Fender Play are:
· $9.99 per month
· $89.99 per year
With fewer options to register with, over on JamPlay, you’ll have to create an account using your email address. Like Fender Play, JamPlay also has two free trial options: 7 days with no payment information and a 30-day free trial if you don’t mind handing a payment method over.
Prices for Jamplay are:
· $19.95 monthly
· $109.95/year (standard with one toolkit)
· $199.95/year (pro with all nine toolkits)
Content & Progression Systems
Once registered, Fender Play greets you with a page to choose your instrument (between guitar, acoustic guitar, bass, or ukulele) and style (rock, pop, country, folk, or blues).
Once you’re all ready to get going and start jamming, you’ll be automatically put at the beginning of a learning path based on your preferred style and instrument.
While the site starts you on level 1, you’re free to skip ahead to a higher level to match your abilities, ensuring there’s something for all beginners, intermediate, and advanced players alike.
There are also lessons for popular songs from both the past and present that provide a nice break from the somewhat rigid learning path.
Once you’ve found a suitable lesson, it’s pretty straightforward. Just follow the lessons in your path and keep practicing the techniques presented.
JamPlay users are able to choose any of the available courses to jump into, even if they are intermediate-advanced players’ skill level, with each one focussing on a different style or technique.
However, all of them are definitely worth completing, especially for those who want to become ‘complete’ guitarists.
The site consists of about 5,000 online guitar lessons divided up into around 4,650 courses over 20 genres of guitar lessons for you to dive into.
Don’t let the comparably small number sway you, though, and these are valuable guitar lessons spread out over more than 450 courses and 20 different genres.
To supplement these courses, JamPlay also features 9 Guitarist Toolkits. As briefly mentioned in the prices section, access to any toolkit requires you to lock into a yearly membership plan with JamPlay, with those who want access to all 9 having to pay a whopping $90 more per year than those who only want access to 1.
While this might seem like a lot, it doesn’t seem too bad when we consider that a yearly membership paid on a monthly plan comes out just shy of $240, and that’s with no toolkits!
But it’s still quite a lot more than Fender Play’s membership plan.
Here’s what you’re getting with each toolkit:
Beginner Practice Plan: This plan provides all of the basics and foundations for a beginner guitarist and might be worth it, especially for learners who really aren’t sure where to start.
Unlocking Rhythm Guitar: Aims to improve rhythmic and percussive techniques for strumming along with chords. These skills are definitely essential for all guitarists.
Unlocking Lead Guitar: Moves into developing skills that will transfer well to playing melodies. While not absolutely essential for all guitarists, most will get something out of this.
Singing and Studio Essentials: This course focuses more on home recording. This only really seems to be useful to those who plan on taking performance and recording quite seriously, but it’s interesting, nonetheless.
Blues Essentials: Does what it says on the tin, helps guitarists develop skills specific to blues. A lot of music on guitar has foundations in blues styles, and many of the techniques within the toolkit will transfer to other areas of playing. Learning about blues is in the best interest of every guitarist.
Rock Essentials: This one provides great insight into rock-based techniques.
Country Essentials: Learn how to play all those classic country tunes, and find out how to get that iconic ‘country’ sound out of a guitar.
Fingerstyle and Folk: This toolkit delves into an area of guitar playing that many shy away from, making it more accessible and achievable for beginners to intermediate players.
Bass Essentials: As the only bass-focussed toolkit, this one is definitely worthwhile for beginner bassists as it teaches learners how to catch the rhythm and hold a groove.
Fender Play’s lesson interface is wonderfully simple. There’s a video and a TAB. That’s it, and that’s all you really need. The videos are easy to follow along to, especially with the inclusion of the tablature underneath, and the whole thing just works.
Meanwhile, JamPlay seems to look a little messier. While there seems to be quite a lot on the screen, it’s straightforward once you take it all in, and a lot of the information is helpful.
There are video lessons that you can watch, guitar lessons on the left side, scene selection/progress on the right side, and tabs with information about the song lessons, supplemental materials (TABS, sheets, etc.), notes for yourself, comments, a section to ask questions, and a button to download the lesson at the bottom.
While information isn’t displayed explicitly below the video lessons (without requiring a download), the information presented within the video is more than enough to follow along easily.
Fender Play Vs JamPlay – Which Platform Comes Out On Top?
It’s really quite difficult to pick a clear winner between the Jamplay vs Fender Play showdown.
While Fender Play’s cheaper price and more structured and rigid course plan might make it the better option for beginners, the freedom makes it a preferable option for more experienced guitarists.
If you are a beginner learning how to play guitar and prefer to check out JamPlay, it would still be worth checking out the free trial offered by Fender Play to at least get some basics down.
This way, you won’t feel lost or overwhelmed when using JamPlay.
Either way, it’s still worth trying both of them out with the free trials before committing (just remember to remove your payment information when you’re done to avoid a surprise charge!).