The internet has dramatically changed guitar instruction. Previously, your options were personal tutors, guide books, or DVD courses if you wanted to learn. I remember my first guitar “teacher” was a booklet that I struggled to keep open while I held my guitar in my lap!
Times have changed, with online guitar instruction now the most popular way to learn. Jamorama is a large, popular online guitar learning center. But will the site help you learn how to play? Are the paid features worth the price?
Check out my complete Jamorama review below. It covers what Jamorama does well, where they could use some improvement, and the overall quality of their courses. Let’s get strumming!
Consider This Before Getting Guitar Lessons
Jamorama isn’t for everyone. Here are three essential things to consider before committing to the site:
How do you like to learn? Some people prefer watching a video; others prefer reading instructions. It’s important to know what style of teaching you prefer.
The majority of content on Jamorama is video-based. Personally, I find that videos are a helpful guitar teaching tool because you can watch the instructor’s finger placement. If you’re a visual learner like me, you’ll probably like Jamorama’s teaching style.
If you prefer written instructions, Jamorama probably isn’t the best choice. While the site does have a blog section, it’s not primarily a teaching resource. It hasn’t been updated in several years, so don’t expect new entries soon.
The ideal Jamorama user is a beginning guitar player with little to no experience. The majority of their video courses are designed for people who know basically nothing about guitar. Courses cover holding a guitar properly, playing different beginner chords, music theory, and many other introductory topics.
Some advanced lessons are available. You can learn speed picking, fingerstyle, and blues. However, if you’re an advanced player with many years of experience, Jamorama probably doesn’t have much to offer you.
Before buying, ask yourself the following:
- Do you prefer visual learning?
- Are you okay with video instruction, which provides no personalized feedback?
- Are you looking for beginner-level instruction?
If you answered “yes” to those questions, Jamorama is worth considering.
Jamorama is a website with video lessons, a blog, and a social community platform. They promise to teach you how to play the guitar, even if you’re a total beginner.
The site previously emphasized a significant social component, where members interacted on a Facebook-like network. Although the site's social aspect still exists, it’s far less of a focus for the site today than in past years. You’ll find little mention of it throughout their website.
The site has two membership types. The free Basic membership lets you create a profile, read the blog, and watch three beginning video courses. For a one-time fee of $99.95, Full Access Membership gives you unlimited access to all the videos, blogs, and social components.
The course work will teach you how to play, but you don’t get direct access to an instructor. If you want personalized lessons, Jamorama probably isn’t the best option.
- Extensive collection of video lessons
- Ideal for beginning players
- A free option lets you try before you buy
- No personalized instruction
- Free course selection is limited
- The social aspect of the site has recently decreased
Features & Benefits
Here’s a closer look at the main features of Jamorama:
If you’ve visited other guitar instruction sites, you’ve probably noticed that they typically feature a wide variety of instructors. Jamorama is different. The same instructor, a guy named Mark McKenzie, teaches all the courses.Aside from his Head Instructor position at Jamorama, Mark McKenzie is also the creator of The Guitar Guy , a popular YouTube channel. He’s an experienced teacher with an engaging, easy-to-follow style. Plus, he’s an accomplished singer, too.
Extensive Video Courses
As I mentioned earlier, videos are the bread-and-butter of the site. They cover a wide range of info, including playing, music theory, maintenance, and more. Each course is divided into sections meant to take one week to complete. You complete the courses in order, with each lesson building on previously taught information.
Each video course includes PDFs with supplemental material. While you can view the PDF on your monitor, it’s often easier to read a printed copy while watching the video, so you’ll probably want a printer.
Have you never even touched a guitar before? Jamorama is designed for you. Almost all of their courses are made for beginners. You’ll learn a combination of music theory, such as scales, and physical actions, like how to properly hold a guitar and strum the strings.
As I mentioned earlier, I wouldn’t recommend Jamorama for experienced players. You likely already understand most of the info in the lessons, and new lessons are rarely posted. Instead, Jamorama is designed more like a series of courses you complete once.
Completing all the courses in the paid membership should take you about a year. Unfortunately, once you’ve finished, there’s not much else to do besides chat with other members in the forums and re-watch videos.
Further Reading: Holding your Guitar Pick for Starters
The free section won’t turn you into Jimi Hendrix, but it’s a great way to check out the format of the videos. You can get a feel for how the information is presented, and whether or not you like the instructor’s teaching style.
You have to register with the site by giving them some contact information, but you get access to the real, paid courses, not a smaller, free version. Additionally, if you do decide to buy a membership, you can get a refund for any reason during the first 60 days.
Jamorama has a separate section with videos that teach you how to play specific songs. It’s not a significant focus for the site, but the videos are well-made. There’s a relatively diverse selection of songs available, including hits from Ed Sheeran, Oasis, Leonard Cohen, and more.
Unfortunately, only about 25 songs are available. I would’ve liked to see a much more extensive list, especially considering YouTube videos are available that can teach you just about any song imaginable. Still, all of the song lessons are free, so the limited options aren’t a huge deal.
Learn more quickly about playing guitar songs by mastering your ability to read guitar tabs!
Initially, Jamorama tried to differentiate themselves from the competition by emphasizing their social media platform. Similar in structure to Facebook, it allowed each member to create his or her own page.
Of course, unlike Facebook, the focus here was on guitars. Users were encouraged to share their progress and discuss their struggles when learning to play.
Although the platform still exists, it’s not featured nearly as prominently in the company’s marketing. That’s kind of a shame. The ability to talk to others who were viewing the same exact lessons created a unique and helpful community. It still exists, but it’s not nearly as active as it was previously.
I always make sure to deliver the good and bad in my review without any bias. However, it’s helpful to hear other opinions, too. I scoured the internet and found the following reviews that offer additional insights into Jamorama:
Barry is one of many users who liked the instructor:
Aaron’s experience is similar to many others who felt that they learned a lot in a short amount of time:
Jim’s opinions reflect many other comments that feel the site is a good deal:
Jamorama isn’t the only online course available. Here are three alternatives you might like:
New content infrequently appears on Jamorama. If that’s an issue for you, check out Guitar Tricks, which adds new lessons and song tutorials on a regular basis.
They also have a robust selection of advanced courses, plus lessons on different types of guitars. While Jamorama provides comprehensive instruction for acoustic guitars, Guitar Tricks might be a better option if you’re interested in electric guitars as a beginner. Read more about this platform in my complete Guitar Tricks review!
JamPlay is another large, popular site for guitar lessons. Like Jamorama, most of their teaching is done via video courses. However, they also have robust live content, including streaming classes, live chat, and real-time question-and-answer sessions.
Unlike Jamorama, JamPlay has a large roster of different instructors, so your experience can vary by class. Plus, it’s more expensive, with a yearly subscription costing about $150. Read more about JamPlay in my complete JamPlay review!
Fender Play is the most directly similar to Jamorama in terms of setup and structure. They both consist mainly of video lessons, with a special eye towards absolute beginners.
However, the lessons are much shorter. They’re called “bite-sized” and typically last for a few minutes. If you prefer shorter lessons, choose Fender Play. If you prefer courses that are a bit more comprehensive, go with Jamorama. Read more about Fender Play in my complete Fender Play review!
Online guitar courses are an excellent way to learn how to play, but not all courses are the same. Jamorama does have some shortcomings but, overall, there’s a lot to like. If you’re looking for beginner lessons, Jamorama is a great fit because:
- The free membership lets you check out the lessons before spending any money
- The teacher is experienced, helpful, and presents the material clearly
- The courses cover practically all aspects of beginning guitar playing
As the Head Editor at Music Grotto, Liam edits content produced from over 30 professional music/media journalists and contributing writers. He works closely with journalists and other staff to format and publish music content for the Music Grotto website. Liam is also the founding member of Music Grotto and is passionate in disseminating editorial content to its readers.