In my quest to keep refining my guitar skills, I've gone through several guitar lessons designed to teach new skills and music. However, I know in-person classes aren't for everyone.
Online lessons - whether they're through an app or a website - can be a convenient way for people with busy schedules to learn guitar at their own pace. Fender Play is a digital platform that could help you do just that, all from the comfort of your home.
Things to Consider Before Buying a Course
Have you thought about taking guitar lessons but aren't sure if they're something you should spend your money on? Guitar lessons can be pricey, so it's a good idea to decide if they're the right choice for you before shelling out your cash.
One point to consider is your budget. Guitar lessons fall into a broad range of prices depending on your skill level, how often you take them, and where you get the lessons. Some lessons are more flexible in pricing than others, allowing you to decide how often you want to take them to align with your budget.
Something else you'll want to think about is how serious you are about your guitar playing. Is it the guitar something you want to invest a lot of time in, or is it more of a hobby? Although guitar lessons can help casual learners, they typically focus on helping guitarists who are disciplined enough to practice outside of lessons, too.
What level of expertise are you? This is another question to ask yourself before beginning lessons. Guitar lessons meet different areas of expertise, so it's crucial to choose lessons that mirror where you are in your guitar knowledge.
Finally, how do you like to learn? In-person lessons might be best for you if you require instant feedback as you learn. Online lessons can be beneficial for you if you wish to move at your own pace and don't mind someone not being alongside to teach you.
About Fender Play
Fender Play is a digital platform that's available on your web browser or your Android or iOS device. The program claims to teach the guitar to beginning learners, allowing them to play within a few minutes of following a lesson.
You can think of it as a simpler, more streamlined version of Guitar Tricks, another app for beginners that offers additional learning pathways for more advanced guitarists. You can read my full review of guitar tricks too
You can purchase Fender Play as a monthly or annual subscription. Both plans give you the full catalog of guided lessons and song instructions for the guitar, ukulele, and bass. If you opt for the discounted annual plan, you'll also get 10% off fender guitars and gear.
- Progress tracking
- Comprehensive lesson plans
- 14-day free trial
- Excellent video quality
- Move through lessons at your own pace
- Available as a web platform or app
- Exclusive Facebook community
- Lack of material for advanced guitarists
- Not much customization available
- Little consistency between instructors and lessons
Fender Play is definitely more of a tool for beginners learning how to play than advanced guitarists. If you want to learn the basics, you'll find a lot of helpful information in the program. Experienced players, however, will probably need more in-depth instruction to dig deeper into their playing.
Further Reading: Great Basic Guitar Chords to Master
Features and Benefits of Fender Play
What does Fender Play do well? Here are a few ways it stands out in teaching you the guitar's beginning steps:
Access to Five Musical Paths
When you first sign up for Fender Play, the program will greet you with your musical path options. These paths guide you to learning the type of music you're interested in. Your options are:
After making your choice, you'll move onto custom lessons for that path that will teach you everything from proper hand positions to playing beginning notes.
Guitar, Bass, and Ukulele Lessons
The guitar isn't the only instrument you can learn with Fender Play. You can also get bass and ukulele lessons from expert instructors who have plenty of experience with their craft. You also have the option to choose between an electric and acoustic guitar.
Each instrument's lessons come with your membership, so you always have the option to switch between lessons without paying again.
If you finish the lessons for guitar and find that you're craving more learning, you can always head over to one of the other instruments. Just like with the guitar, you'll get guided lessons that start with stripped-down basics to get you playing on your own.
Step-By-Step Guided Learning
One of the most significant benefits of Fender Play for beginners is that its lessons literally walk you through each piece of playing. The lessons are short and sweet, making it easy for you to jump right in and start learning.
The setup of each musical path takes you from one lesson to the next in terms of difficulty. Each path has five levels of progression that get a bit more challenging. You'll focus on theory, chords, tone, and more for any of the musical paths you choose.
However, you're also free to skip through to different lessons if you feel that any are below your skill level, or you can repeat any lesson with which you need more practice.
High-Quality, Helpful Videos
The videos you'll find on Fender Play aren't your basic, one-angle videos you often see on free YouTube or website lessons. These videos also include several close-up shots and various angles that help you see precise finger placements and movements to play chords, riffs, and songs.
Videos on Fender Play also come with tablature, a glossary, and chord diagrams that offer additional information and learning opportunities for beginners.
Further Reading: ArtistWorks Review - Great Video Archive for Learning
Fender designed Fender Play to cater to self-learners. Still, you don't need to feel like you're on your own. The platform has a handy progress tracking feature that helps you see what you've done so far - and it could be just the right amount of motivation to keep you moving forward.
The tracker is basic, but it does what it needs to. You can see what skills, songs, and classes you've completed. This feature can be beneficial for you if you like to visualize your guitar learning and what you've done already to keep moving toward your daily goals.
You can also end up on a Streak if you log in for three days in a row and spend at least seven minutes on lessons. Earning a Streak shows that you've been consistent in your learning and could inspire you to keep going.
As a member of Fender Play, you'll not only have access to all of its guided lessons that teach you how to play guitar, but you'll also be able to put your learning to work by playing songs.
Fender Play has a library filled with hundreds of songs in multiple music genres. You'll find classics through today's top hits, so there's a little something for everyone. The program also notes each song by its difficulty and the chords you'll need to master so that you can stick to songs on your level.
Every music path and lesson will have guidance from real instructors who are experts in their instruments. You can view a full list of instructors that will teach lessons through Fender Play videos.
These instructors have years of playing experience under their belts and a wide range of expertise that qualifies them to teach learners like you. Some instructors have studied under prestigious composers, others are established teachers and gig artists, and some have their own music releases.
You're not limited to using Fender Play on your computer. If you have a cozy spot that inspires you to play, go there instead - and take Fender Play with you on your laptop, smartphone, or tablet.
The program is available on the App Store and Google Play for free with your Fender Play membership. You'll get all the same benefits that you would on the web-based version, including guided lessons, song playing, and progress tracking.
Customizable Playing Settings
When you play songs through the Fender Play program, you can go 100% at your own speed. Use Practice Mode to set the playback speed to a slower pace to meet your needs and skill level. The tablature will also move according to the speed you set so that you can follow along comfortably.
You can choose between a monthly plan and an annual plan when you sign up for Fender Play. With either plan, you'll get a 14-day free trial to test the service and make sure it's right for you before continuing your membership.
An annual plan gives you an additional perk, however. You can get an exclusive 10% off Fender gear when you opt to pay annually. The discount includes amps and guitars.
An annual subscription will also give you a lower price that works out to $7.50 per month instead of the regular monthly cost of $9.99.
Further Reading: My Top List of Online Guitar Courses
What Do Others Say About Fender Play?
I scoured the internet in search of other reviews and testimonials from people who have tried Fender Play, and I found several positive claims from other guitarists:
This Amazon customer purchased Fender Play for a teenage daughter and saw good results when using it with a strict practice regimen:
Emerson Rosenthal authored a detailed, real-life account for VICE of what it's like to use Fender Play:
Another Amazon customer stated that they used Fender Play for themselves and children, who were all beginners to the world of guitar:
Alternatives to Fender Play
Fender Play may be a fantastic choice for pure guitar beginners, but intermediate to advanced players could want a different option. Here are a few of the top alternatives to Fender Play and how they match up:
Guitar Tricks is one of the most popular choices for online guitar lessons. It's similar to Fender Play in that it targets beginner players who want to learn a variety of styles.
However, Guitar Tricks has more options for guitarists who want to keep advancing past the beginner stages. You'll have access to more than 11,000 lessons that head into intermediate to advanced territory and some more songs to with which to practice.
Compared to Fender Play, Guitar Tricks:
- Is a bit pricier at $19.95/month
- Has more offerings past the beginning stages of playing
- Offers one-on-one lessons with instructors for extra practice
Although JamPlay has plenty of material for beginners to sift through and learn, the program has tons of lessons for intermediate to advanced guitarists. This program could be ideal for those looking to home in on their craft and learn new tricks with the guitar.
JamPlay is more comprehensive than Fender Play, offering more than 450 on-demand lessons plus live courses, chord libraries, and various tools to keep you learning.
Compared to Fender Play, JamPlay:
- Has more genres to choose from
- Offers master classes for experts
- Includes interactive games to supplement your learning
- Charges a higher monthly subscription price at $19.95
You can read my full review of JamPlay here
TrueFire has one of the largest libraries of guitar video lessons on the web. In addition to its 40,000 video lessons, there are also more than 900 in-depth courses, over 1200 audio lessons, and several online learning tools. For more information check out this TrueFire review.
TrueFire has a stand-out feature called In The Jam, where you can watch real jam sessions to focus on how guitarists play music in a band. Each video in the series includes tablature and videos to watch the other instruments, too.
Compared to Fender Play, TrueFire:
- Offers more video playback options, like looping and slow-motion
- Doesn't provide song lessons
- Is more expensive at $29 per month
- Has a library of more than 40,000 lessons
Think TrueFire might be the program for you? It's available for you to use here.
Conclusion: Is Fender Play Right for Your Guitar Lessons?
If you're struggling to find beginner guitar lessons in your area, or you just feel more comfortable learning at home, then Fender Play could be the right program to start you off.
Fender Play is targeted at beginners, specifically, with its guided lessons that can have you playing a chord in minutes. Its dashboard is streamlined and easy to navigate, pointing you in the direction you need to master the basics of the guitar.
Want to try Fender Play for yourself? Click here to enjoy your 14-day free trial.
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