If you are looking to learn playing the guitar online, you would most likely stumble upon these two websites: JamPlay and Guitar Tricks. In the crowd of several guitar learning platforms offering courses, programs and apps, these two services truly stand out. However, which one is the best for you? Let’s find that out with a detailed look at these individual courses in this JamPlay vs Guitar Tricks comparison guide. At the end, we’ll recommend one which we believe is worth your time, effort and money.
The JamPlay website was set up in 2006 and has over 6,500 lessons and more than 450 on-demand courses to its credit, and this number is growing at a solid pace. Spanning 20 unique genres and featuring more than 100 guitar teachers, JamPlay has spent well over a decade building professional learning material for all types or levels of guitar learners.
• Offers an easy-to-navigate, clean website that has been tweaked almost to perfection over the years.
• The lessons are simple to use and well set up. For instance, song lesson breakdowns are given in the sidebars, and also the tabs and song notes go directly below the video player.
• The lessons are filmed in HD, with the platform’s lessons incorporating various camera angles. There are different video playback options too.
• Lessons are offered in four distinct phases so that you can play or jump into specific phases as per your learning requirement or skill level.
• Some of the best musicians or guitarists offer their services as instructors through JamPlay. Also, the number of instructors on JamPlay is probably the highest for any single platform.
• JamPlay offers a good collection of songs to learn, with a major emphasis on metal and rock. Most of the songs offered on the platform are taught by their original creators.
• The platform offers a strong feeling of community, along with several handy tools, including a metronome, tuner, and chord finder.
• It offers various live courses, along with live daily Q&A sittings with the tutors. In other words, there is good scope for learners to engage with their instructors.
JamPlay video lessons are classified by guitar types and teachers. This means almost all instructors on the site have a lesson set for learners with different skill sets. This shall also help you select the right course from the multiple courses on offer. The length of the videos varies based on the material being created.
JamPlay membership starts at $19.95 per month. You can also opt for quarterly and annual memberships to effectively bring down your monthly costs. The site offers a 7-day trial. This may be half the amount of time Guitar Tricks offers to new members to try out their platform, but it still should be more than good enough for people to get to know the site’s programs, features, layout, etc. And unlike Guitar Tricks, JamPlay is constantly running some sale or the other. This means your chances of buying premium membership to the site at a bargain is quite high at any given time of the year.
JamPlay provides four distinct phases, letting you jump into any of the four: beginners, skills and genres, songwriting, and songs. Phase 1 offers a lot for beginners to grapple with, and there is the option to select a beginner’s course of your choice. The remaining phases offer significant amount of material for experienced guitarists.
There are just too many courses offered to list them here individually, with each course offering a significant amount of dedicated lessons. JamPlay lets you jump in at any stage you think works best for you. However, if you are a complete noob, it’s recommended you start off your journey with the first level.
As far as teachers go, JamPlay spoils you with its choices. With close to 90 of them, JamPlay proves that you can have quantity and quality at the same time. Some of the famous musicians offering their knowledge through the JamPlay platform include Phil Demmel and Robb Flynn (Machine Head), Shane Gibson (Korn), Nick Catanese (from the Black Label Society), Bumblefoot (from Guns N’ Roses), and Mike Mushok (Staind). In addition, there are quite a few equally talented but less notable tutors who focus less on metal and rock.
• The lessons’ production quality is excellent. The videos clearly communicate that JamPlay cares about the look and feel of their lessons.
• It has a lot more intuitive user account panel when compared to Guitar Tricks.
• JamPlay has its own modest community where site members can contact each other and interact.
• Some of the artists on-board are part of large bands or are solo artists who teach their own guitar-playing techniques and songs. Advanced guitarists who don’t want to spend too much time on the basics would appreciate the presence of such artists.
• The number of camera angles in a few videos could be lesser. At times, there are too many angles to the same scene, which could confuse the learner.
• Live webcam lessons aren’t the greatest. They must be redone to offer more value and not be arbitrary.
• JamPlay may not be as old as Guitar Tricks, but it has been in the industry long enough for its older lessons to look a bit outdated when compared to the newer videos it pumps out on a regular basis.
Having started its journey in 1998, Guitar Tricks is one of the first few sites to introduce the concept of learning guitar online to the world. According to its website, Guitar Tricks is out there to offer online guitar lessons so that people can learn to play the guitar in an easy, fun and quick way. The goal is to provide all guitar knowledge in a step-by-step format. Having accrued over 11,000 lessons and more than 1,000 songs, you will certainly not complain about learning material being inadequate.
• Like JamPlay, the page layouts are sensible, and the essentials can be easily accessed.
• A clean and easy to navigate site that also has a fresher and brighter vibe.
• A host of handy video features is offered, which include slow-motion playback and A/B looping. These features help with repeating an entire video or a particular portion multiple times.
• The lessons are laid out in a linear way, which could cause inconvenience to the more seasoned players, but beginners would certainly appreciate that.
• Guitar Tricks has a good number of tutors who cover everything that there is to learning guitar, at least at the beginner’s level.
• The officially licensed songs catalog is fairly big, with hundreds more added every week. The songs differ in their genre, skill level and artist.
• Guitar Tricks offers a feature called ‘full access’ wherein you’ll have small group or live individual sessions with a tutor, akin to an actual physical learning experience.
Guitar Tricks offers step-by-step classes that are ideal for beginners. Unlike other sites, the lessons do not force amateurs to do drills and exercises. Beginners can start playing music on the first day of their learning journey. The video lessons are basically the continuation of the previous lesson(s). The short video lessons help save time, particularly if you are in for some comprehensive learning. The lessons are typically delivered in a linear format.
Guitar Tricks membership plans start at $19.95 too. The annual plan would set you back by $179, which means an effective monthly price of $15. It offers a 14-day trial which you can put to good use before laying your money on the table.
Guitar Tricks presents its lessons or courses employing a methodology called ‘core learning system’. You would, as a result, not have much scope for tweaking or accelerating your learning pace. As far as instructors go, Guitar Tricks has a solid roster of instructors to offer. There is a nice mix of genders, styles, age, and experience. Some of the teachers worth mentioning on the platform are Sharon Aguilar (Cee Lo Green’s lead guitarist) and Anders Mouridsen (worked with Faith Evans, Taylor Swift, and Pink, to name a few).
• Lessons are to the point.
• “Artist style” lessons work best for advanced/intermediate players since they help acquire good understanding about an artist’s techniques and characteristic style.
• The number of songs to learn are significantly more than just a handful.
• Good set of teachers on-board, with most of them exhibiting enthusiasm and energy in their videos.
• Unlike JamPlay, there aren’t many genre-based mini programs.
• The jam station cannot be downloaded. To use the tool, you must be online at all times.
• As mentioned before, Guitar Tricks has been around for ages, which means the quality of a lot of its videos is below par in terms of video resolution and production value.
• Some of the “extras” offered, such as one-on-one discussions, are subject to extra charges which may be a bummer for some.
To conclude, both the sites excel and lag in specific aspects. However, in our opinion, JamPlay is an overall better platform to learn guitar online. Some of the points that tip the scale in favor of JamPlay are a solid scale library tool, much better video production quality, and the sheer number of new mini courses and lessons uploaded to the site regularly. If you are still not sure, sign up with JamPlay and check the service out for yourself. If you are not happy with your experience, you can always get a refund.
George A. Smith received a Masters Degree in Music Education from the University of Berkeley. George has been teaching music professionally for the past 8 years. George regularly contributes content to several music websites including LoadRecords.com.