I am a self-taught guitarist and as such, I have a ton of bad habits when it comes to playing guitar. I wish I had taken lessons when I first started. I think it would have been much better to have a solid foundation for starting out. A few years ago I did try out a few different guitar teachers so I could learn some advanced techniques. I went through 3 before I found one that actually knew what they were talking about. This is the reason I have looked into online lessons and have conducted a JamPlay Review.
If you are just starting out I do recommend getting some lessons. Even if you are an intermediate player it can help a lot. There are a lot of companies providing online lessons now. These lessons can help you avoid the problem I encountered with my real-life teachers. I have had a peek into JamPlay’s course and have seen what they have to offer.
I even found some lessons that were great for me and I have been playing guitar for over 10 years!
I am going to discuss what I think are some of the strengths and weaknesses of the program. Hopefully, after reading this you can make an informed decision whether this is the right course for you.
JamPlay is among the biggest online lesson providers for guitar. This course provider has massive libraries of everything you could need as a beginner. They have over 5000 lessons broken into 200+ courses, 120+ teachers, and more than half a million students.
The sheer number of students at any one time should be a good indication that the program is effective. It also shows that there is a lot to learn as subscribers stick around for a long time.
JamPlay offers a variety of different learning tools to keep you engaged. There are, of course, basic charts and tablature for scales, chords, and riffs. These are pretty standard and boring but they serve them in a way that allows you to progress at a steady pace. This should prevent you from becoming overwhelmed. There are many other learning materials to pair with these.
They have a progress tracker, training games, and tracks you can play along with. These are to help keep you committed to your practice between video lessons.
Consistent practice is an incredibly important part of learning an instrument. Incorporating several ways to keep students engrossed in their learning is a smart move by JamPlay.
If you would prefer to have face to face lessons but also enjoy the convenience of an online course then JamPlay has you covered.
They offer live lessons multiple times a day through webcasts. If you have any questions about your practice you can also ask away on their daily thread.
This process is obviously not quite as good as being able to ask your teacher directly in a one-on-one lesson. However, it is as close as you will get for an online course. It is also a heck of a lot cheaper than paying for private lessons. This is especially the case if you are doing a new lesson every day. That would cost you hundreds of dollars a week for a private tutor.
You can also purchase one-on-one online lessons through the JamPlay platform. You could have the best of both worlds with this feature. A cheaper bulk lesson plan, and individual help when you need it.
Learning an instrument is just like learning any new complex skill. You can’t jump straight in and be playing a difficult solo on the first day.
You will need to establish a foundational set of skills to build upon. JamPlay has 650+ lessons dedicated to this stage of learning.
They break initial lessons up into three learning paths when you begin with JamPlay.
The first potential path you could take is for people that have never picked up a guitar before. This will start with some very basic principles such as how to tune your guitar, how to hold a pick, and basic guitar care.
If you are a beginner-ish self-taught guitarist there is also a learning path for you.I really wish I had encountered a program like this in my early years of guitar. It would have saved me so much time and energy.
Playing along with tabs on your own is a great way to learn to a certain extent. However, the little extra touches offered in this course will propel you faster and further than learning on your own.
You will learn things such as how to avoid pain while playing and how to read sheet music.
The last foundational course path you can take is for those among us that have tried a few times in the past to learn guitar but stopped.
There are many reasons why you may have given up. Sometimes life gets in the way or maybe you just got frustrated with a skill plateau. This may have made you hang up the guitar one day and never pick it up again since. JamPlay has designed this course to help you commit this time around.
The learning sequence for this program will help to keep you interested in your learning. It also aims to connect all the previously acquired knowledge you have.
There is no reason that an absolute beginner couldn’t start with the first course and work their way through all these lesson sequences. This would give them a huge advantage when they move onto the intermediate courses.
By the end of these courses, you should be more than capable of learning a few songs through JamPlay. You should also have the skills to learn on your own through other mediums like tabs or sheet music.
Related Content - The Best 3/4 Size Guitars
In spite of there being such a vast range of lessons for beginners, most of the lessons are for intermediate players. When you are ready to move on to these types of lessons, you will have plenty of options at your fingertips.
The guitar is an extremely versatile instrument. Not only are there plenty of different types of guitars, but the techniques used can also vary greatly between genres. It’s unlikely you will see someone chicken picking an 8-string guitar. You also probably won't see someone shredding a Metallica solo on a ¾ scale acoustic guitar.
JamPlay does not cover every sub-genre ever. But, you can learn a lot through their vast selection of broad genre technique lessons.
There are copious amounts of lessons for the most popular genres such as
For these genres, there will be an abundance of lessons by a variety of teachers for you to go through. You will probably be able to find exactly what you are looking for. They even branch these broad genres into smaller ones. For example, you can get down to the nitty-gritty of what makes djent musicians tick. You could also find out how jailhouse rockers create their vibes or tricks from many other niche genres.
To go with these larger genres you can also find some unique offerings like Celtic music. The lessons available in these courses will obviously be fewer than the larger genres. Yet, you will likely find enough to satisfy your needs as an intermediate player.
This is where you come to improve the finite details in your playing. Everyone could use at least some of the lessons in here. A guitarist should always be working on their skills such as accuracy and speed as these can fade over time. Therefore, even pro guitarists could benefit from what is available here.
You can use the drills to focus on your weaknesses and improve drastically.
They build these courses around assistance from instructors. Doing so helps you to understand how to improve, and complete drills.
Some of the courses even have evaluations so you can get feedback. This is like a test, but it’s not high school. You don’t need to worry about failing, you won’t get graded. Having access to tailored feedback is a very important part of learning. It helps prevent you from reinforcing bad habits. It can also be beneficial just to hear that you are on the right track to spark your motivation.
The lessons in this section cover a variety of topics. They can be anything from playing skills to more conceptual ideas. You will find a course for pretty much any area of guitar playing. Some of the areas covered are;
If you decide to go ahead with a JamPlay membership I recommend spending a lot of time in this section. It is tempting to learn song after song once you reach a certain point. Try to remember that working on your skills is just as important.
Let’s face it, learning a song and being able to nail it for the first time is one of the best feelings. Especially if you are new to an instrument.
You haven’t decided to learn guitar just to strum some random chords and do endless exercises. So, let’s look into the ways JamPlay helps you learn full songs.
Websites like Ultimate Guitar are great as free tools to learn songs. They even have pro tabs now that allow you to play along with a song. However, given that the websites' community creates these resources, there is a high likelihood of inaccuracy.
JamPlay avoids this problem by only having professionally created tabs. Their tabs are also highly interactive so you can try out a section, listen back, hear what you did wrong, and try again.
They also have video instruction available. In this method, an instructor will talk you through how to play the song. They may also address particular points of difficulty or common mistakes in technique.
An additional way to learn a song through JamPlay is with a play-along demo. This is a mode in which you will jam along to a demonstration of a song. They will break the song down into sections so you can see how the original artist put the song together.
When you use the platform for a song course you will address 3-4 similar songs. This will give you a chance to consolidate your learning of each song. You will do this by readdressing common themes and skills. It will also help you learn similar songs more quickly in the future.
The video instruction helps you to get each new concept right. They will also address music theory while they are at it. Engaging in both of these will help you to build on your overall knowledge of the guitar. It will also make a difficult future song more achievable.
The genre courses can be huge. Picking up a song course instead can get you to break down your learning. Having smaller and attainable goals can keep you motivated.
You can also experiment with a few different styles more efficiently. This is great if you’re not quite sure what rabbit hole you would like to dive down first.
There are over 400 song learning courses on JamPlay. These range from short 10-minute lessons to 90 minutes. You will have to set aside some time to practice outside of the lesson as well. It is still nice to know you can squeeze in a short lesson or spend a good hour or more in a lesson.
Most of the songs on the platform fit into the popular genres of rock, blues, and pop throughout many decades. All the classics are there for you as well as a few obscure options.
Once you have the ability to work your way around the guitar comfortably you may want to start adapting your style. If this is the case you will likely want to match some of your favorite artists.
JamPlay has targeted these courses towards players that are at least on the upper level of intermediate. This is due to the teachers being legends of the industry and not having time to teach basics.
There is a huge variety of instructors in the section of JamPlay. I was really surprised to see the expanse of genres covered. I personally was super excited and surprised to see Tosin Abasi from Animals As Leaders. I definitely have a lot of practice to do before I can reach a level anywhere close to his playing. It goes to show there is something for even the most experienced players.
These masterclasses are more for stylistic learning rather than technical perfection. It is best to look elsewhere in the JamPlay program to improve your technique. However, finding your own style is an important part of guitar work. This is especially true if you are playing in a band or writing music. Having access to all these professionals and their advice is an absolute godsend.
These will help you write better licks, lead lines, and songs. Keep in mind that they won’t help you target problem areas in your playing. These aren’t a standalone learning package like the other parts of JamPlay are.
Related Content - The Best Guitar Headphones
We mentioned briefly that there are live lessons available on JamPlay. Let’s take a closer look at these lessons and how you may benefit from them.
You May have been a university student or office worker during the 2020 pandemic. If so, the live lessons will probably feel very comfortable for you.
Some of the courses work in a similar way to an online lecture. Others are more like a mini-course. For the full courses, there are often tabs to download and practice with between lessons. You may even receive some other homework to do too.
The live lessons can cover a range of guitar-related topics. You might get some genre-specific lessons. Perhaps there will be a lesson on composition, or music theory, the list goes on.
The online lessons vary greatly. If you are not interested in any upcoming lessons there is sure to be something that tickles your fancy coming up soon.
Using the live courses may keep some people on track. I know that personally if I have a deadline to do something I am more likely to get it done. On the other hand, you do lose the freedom of choosing when and where you want to engage in a lesson. This is one of the major selling points of online lessons so it may be a turn off for you to engage with live lessons.
Some courses are for beginners and others for the upper echelons of advanced players. This is important to be aware of so you know what you are getting yourself into. It’s not ideal to log into a lesson only to find out it is way beyond your capabilities. The same applies if the lesson is of no value to you because your skills are far beyond the lesson.
These work similar to a Reddit ask me anything stream. There will be an instructor on at certain times and you can ask them about any trouble that you’re having. You could discuss anything from your technical faults to learning processes.
This is a very helpful tool. It's also much more efficient than trying to find something on youtube. You can be very specific and really punch out a problem that you're having. You can also see where other players at your level are having trouble.
This is where you can find all the static resources that JamPlay offers. Some of the resources are the types of things you may be able to find for free through a google search. Yet, you have to know what to search for. If you were searching in this way, there would also be little to no structure to the resources. It would be hard to find an appropriate learning path for yourself.
The resource libraries cover a range of topics such as
The chord library on JamPlay is one of the most comprehensive on the internet. The software they use to deliver it allows you to mess around with the chord structures. It also helps to learn about voicings and augmentation. It will show you tablature and finger charts to help you wrap your head around new chords.
These resources are best used in conjunction with the other courses on JamPlay. I personally wouldn’t pay for the program just to access this area of JamPlay. However, it certainly is a welcome addition.
Sometimes it is nice to try to learn something on your own through practicing with a tab. You can then use the other courses to double-check and consolidate your learning.
This is an awesome course for beginner and intermediate players. It even has a lot to offer for advanced guitarists. The variety of learning methods, options, teachers, and resources is huge. You are sure to find something that clicks with you.
I would highly recommend a beginner use JamPlay. An intermediate player has even more resources but may not need to spend the money to improve their skills. I do think it is worth a shot for such a player though. You could even try it out for a month and see how you feel about it once you have had a look past the paywall.
JamPlay is a little more expensive than some of the other big players in the online guitar lesson space. However, the old adage is true “you get what you pay for.”. The sheer number of resources at JamPlay is worth the extra cost alone. That is not even taking into account the live lessons and daily Q&A. There is a lot of hidden value in a membership to JamPlay.
Unfortunately, JamPlay does not have a permanent free trial system. BUT! There is one temporarily available here at the time of writing this article. If you miss out on that opportunity, the monthly membership is only $19.95. That should give you enough time to explore the program and decide if you want to sign up for a yearly membership.
Yes and no. This really depends on you! This course, or any other course, is not going to magically make you a great guitarist. You need to put in the work. This is a platform for learning and practice, and it’s a good one. However, no effort still equals no results.
Jamplay is an incredibly feature-packed learning system. There is something useful for all levels of musicians. I have broken it down into as much detail as I could. If you have any further questions feel free to ask in the comment box below. You could always send a message through to JamPlay themselves on their website. Their contact team is very friendly and helpful.
If you haven’t bought your guitar yet, check out our favorite electric guitar starter packs.
All images used in this article are sourced from JamPlay.com