Research has shown that guitar players have brains that work a bit differently. The act of learning how to play the chords and read sheet music opens neural pathways in the brain, rewiring the brain in a positive way which leads to a series of cognitive benefits. However, learning to play the guitar by yourself can be daunting.
Truefire and Jamplay are two of the most popular online courses for those who want to learn how to play the guitar.
What Is Truefire? Truefire offers one of the more comprehensive libraries for online guitar lessons, with courses that span more than 40,000 lessons covering almost every style and skill level. Truefire is ideal for novice players as well as intermediate guitarists who want to brush up on their skill after leaving their guitars alone for an extended time.
Truefire also has a corresponding mobile app for the Google Play store and the iOS App Store.
Membership Cost: $29 a month, $149 for a year, and $1499 for lifetime access
What Is Jamplay? Since launching in 2006, Jamplay has amassed more than 6500 guitar lessons with the help of 100 instructors. This translates to a highly comprehensive and in-depth course load that will accommodate new and experienced guitarists alike. The entire website is laid out in an easy to navigate way. There are beginner lessons that are easy to follow, with Jamplay’s large array of instructors creating a foundation for acoustic or electric guitarists. Then there are separate advanced lessons that are specific to different playing styles — including blues, rock, jazz, and many more. This can be used as a springboard after you learned the basics of playing the guitar and you want to practice a specific style.
Jamplay also has dedicated apps on the Google Play Store and iOS App Store.
Membership: $159 a year, $.05 per lesson. You also have the option of receiving tutoring and lessons in person, at about $2,080 and $50 a lesson.
Jamplay vs Truefire Comparison
Both platforms offer intuitive navigation and are recommended for those who want to learn the guitar. The main differences are the type of online courses offered as well as the variety of content.
Truefire allows members to choose a style in different paths, allowing students to progress at their own pace. However, Jamplay is a bit more intuitive, offering four unique phases that include beginners, genres and skills, songs, and songwriting. It takes a more structured approach to fully understanding how to play guitar, and how to read music. Keep in mind that there is no correct progression path either — but Jamplay is refreshing, where beginners will not be completely lost when they log in.
One distinct Jamplay feature that differentiates it from Truefire is its dedicated song list. While Truefire has different tunes and riffs, it does not put any focus on teaching individual songs. Jamplay has an extensive list of popular songs from big artists like System Of a Down, Fall Out Boy, and the GooGoo Dolls. Some of the guitarists introduce the students to the songs, teaching them their hits.
At no additional cost, Jamplay also has access to a thriving online community where individual artists will provide in-depth instruction about their unique styles. There’s also live Q&A sessions with the platform’s instructors and teachers.
While both platforms are ideal for aspiring guitarists, Jamplay offers a bit more structure as well as additional content. There is a sense of community for those who sign up to Jamplay, while Truefire is more sanitized.
Is It Hard To Play The Guitar? Learning the guitar is very challenging in the beginning. As long as you work hard on it, you will find that it will become easier. When it comes to learning the guitar, there are a few distinct challenges.
Some problematic encounters include sore fingertips and wrists from pressing on the strings for an extended period. These issues tend to go away after a few days. After the initial break-in process, it’s all about being dedicated and adhering to a course schedule that will allow you to learn as you go.
Benefits of Online Courses For Learning Guitar
Some people can simply pick up the guitar, memorize a few chords, and suddenly they have an expedited understanding of the guitar as an instrument. Those individuals are rare — for us mere mortals, you will need to adhere to a course load that will teach you how to play the guitar. With the advent of the Internet, no longer do you have to hire an expensive music teacher or a guitarist. Beyond convenience, there are certain benefits when learning from an online course.
Affordability. Hiring a music teacher can run up hundreds of dollars per hour. Compared to traditional music lessons, online courses are significantly cheaper because you won’t have to pay for the music room, the instruments, or the facility. Your learning on your own time and moving along at a comfortable pace. In most scenarios, all you will need is your computer and your guitar. Depending on the online course, you may also learn via your smartphone or tablet.
Scheduling. When you’re ready to learn the guitar, you must stick to some sort of routine. While you will not have the pressure of meeting up with a music teacher, you will still need to adhere to an established schedule to become more proficient. Individuals who are independent and driven tend to fare well learning by themselves since they won’t have a music teacher hounding them to finish a lesson.
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.