So, you want to play guitar? Or you’ve already made a start and you’re looking at ways in which you can progress further and become a guitar god with guitar tricks, joining the likes of Eddie Van Halen, Jimi Hendrix, Tommy Emmanuel, and Chuck Berry, to name a few.
In days of old, becoming a more proficient player meant splashing out on an actual teacher who would either visit you or require you to commit to going to a teaching center for guitar lessons.
Well, those days are gone, my friend, and you are now able to find a whole world of online tutorials, lessons, and guides in learning to play guitar from tutors who have dedicated years to the craft of shredding.
In this JamPlay vs TrueFire article, we’re going to be pitting two giants of the online guitar learning world against each other to tell you which one comes out on top as the best option for the budding guitarist to improve their skills.
Disclosure: We are a professional review website that may receive compensation for the products we review. All recommendations are genuine and/or verified by myself!
The Backgrounds of JamPlay & TrueFire
As you probably already know, both of these platforms are subscription-based online guitar lessons services, song lessons, complete with tutorial videos, music tracks, tablatures, and guides to help guitarists become better musicians.
JamPlay opened its virtual doors to students from intermediate and advanced in 2006 and draws upon a wealth of knowledge and experience from over 100 professional instructors for all levels of guitar players on both acoustic and electric guitar.
Over the years they’ve been operating they’ve amassed a following of over 400,000 users.
TrueFire stands just a little bit older, having started offering their services in 1991. Their platform features collaborations with over 600 musicians and they feature one of the biggest catalogs of online guitar lessons, accessed by over 2 million users.
Registration and Prices on Jamplay vs Truefire
When registering with JamPlay, you are required to provide your email address, password, and billing information despite the free trial period.
While this might be off-putting, it’s important to remember that this information will need to be provided with any platform if you want to continue using it past the free trial period.
Prices for Jamplay are:
•$109.95/year (standard w/ one toolkit)
•$199.95/year (pro w/ all nine toolkits)
TrueFire’s free trial is also for a 30-day period, though you are not required to provide any payment information just to register.
When registering to TrueFire, all you need to provide is a username, password, and email address, along with some information about your playing history including what instruments you play, your level, what styles you enjoy, how many years you have played, and your progression goals.
Prices for TrueFire are:
While TrueFire does provide slightly easier registration as you are not required to provide any payment information on signing up, this information will still need to be provided somewhere down the line should you choose to stick with them.
With membership prices within a fairly similar range, I would say that both TrueFire and JamPlay are still neck and neck here.
Content and Progression Systems
With over 40,000 lessons available, this is where TrueFire starts to take the edge, particularly for beginners. Following registration, the platform recommends multiple ‘learning paths’ based on the information provided earlier in the process.
Users can then add these paths to their list and go through them at their leisure. You are also given the option to purchase additional courses to add to your Musician Profile, as recommended by TrueFire.
Once your chosen courses have been selected, you are free to jump into any music education in them, meaning that more advanced players are not required to sit through lessons explaining fundamentals that they might already be aware of.
Meanwhile, JamPlay features around 5,000 lessons for you to dive into. Don’t let the comparably small number sway you though, these are valuable lessons spread out over more than 450 courses and 20 different genres.
Like TrueFire, users here are free to choose any private lessons and can pick any available teacher and lesson that they feel they are ready to take on.
While this is great for those who have an idea of what they are doing, it might not be ideal for complete beginners, with the chance to leave them feeling a little confused on where to start or which music lesson to choose.
In an attempt to aid this, JamPlay do-over ‘Guitarist Toolkits’. These are 9 bundled plans that come free with annual memberships, giving users access to 686 lessons through 47 courses.
Currently, the available toolkits are:
•Beginner Practice Plan–Focussed on providing the foundations for new guitar players.
•Unlocking Rhythm Guitar–Develop skills in rhythm and percussive techniques.
•Unlocking Lead Guitar–Learn melodic lead skills such as bends, alternate picking, etc.
•Singing and Studio Essentials–Introduction to home recording options.
•Blues Essentials–Progress through skills used in blues.
•Rock Essentials –Develop techniques for and learn about the history of rock.
•Country Essentials–Bring different styles together to bang out classic country tunes.
•Fingerstyle and Folk–Gain an understanding of acoustic folk and develop fingerstyle skills.
•Bass Essentials Learn how bass provides the rhythmic foundation upon which the guitar is played.
Despite their efforts, one of JamPlay’s main downsides is that their system can, at times, be overwhelming and a little bit confusing for complete newbies.
While both platforms do offer solid systems, TrueFire’s comes out on top for me as the site provides beginners with more guidance and assistance on where to actually start without having to pay for an annual subscription or purchase additional toolkits.
There’s not too much to say in this section of our JamPlay versus TrueFire comparison apart from this: the quality and standard of the song lessons on these platforms are both top-notch.
No matter which platform you choose to use, you will learn the same fundamentals, however, how each platform goes about providing these lessons is slightly different.
As we mentioned in the last section of this comparison, the course structures are a little bit different.
However, the actual lessons themselves are highly informative, instructional, and are complemented by great resources such as music tracks and sheets to supply their students with all of the content they need to ensure progression across both platforms.
This is where we start to see some big differences in the approaches of TrueFire vs JamPlay. The two platforms take in their teaching in music education.
TrueFire offers what I would consider being a more ‘complete’ approach to teaching guitar by ensuring that their lessons cover a variety of styles from acoustic to jazz, blues, rock, country, and plenty of other genres, which might of interest to those who consider themselves to be aficionados of all music genres.
Meanwhile, though JamPlay does have lessons for most genres, they seem to lean more towards the rock and metal crowd, offering courses and lessons that seem to be more focused on skills that will come into play when jamming out Metallica or Foo Fighters tunes.
It’s understandable why the content is structured this way, considering there is a strong correlation between those who pick up a guitar and those who enjoy heavier music styles.
It’s also worth noting that while these skills are often taught in the context of relatively heavier music styles, they are still techniques that will transfer into all genres of music.
Who Wins the JamPlay vs TrueFire Showdown?
Overall, trying to pick an outright winner in the JamPlay vs TrueFire battle is pretty difficult. Both have their upsides and downsides and, at the end of the day, provide learners with all of the foundations and additional skills that they need to become great guitarists.
If you’re looking to become an expert across all musical styles, TrueFire is probably the best option for you. If you love rocking out and want to learn within that context, JamPlay might be your go-to choice.
My personal recommendation would be to sign up for the trials on both sites and see which one .you feel more comfortable with. After all, it’s free, so why not.