Here we take an in-depth look at one of the most popular guitar tuition sites on the internet.
Out of all the online guitar courses one of the very best and most popular is that offered at the Jamplay.com website.
This review of Jamplay will help you make up your own mind if the site deserves its reputation by going through exactly what you can expect for your small monthly subscription.
Unlike other guitar courses JamPlay is not a complete, all-in-one downloadable or CD course, it really is a proper online learning aid for guitarists from total beginners to more advanced players and the content is updated continuously with new material.
Jamplay.com has been online since 2007 and has expanded steadily to become the largest video guitar lesson site in the world.
At the time of writing this review of the Jamplay site it currently contains over 1000 hours worth of HD tuition videos, which is added to almost every week.
Jamplay currently features over 60 different guitar instructors that each specialize in teaching different playing styles in there own unique way.
The sheer number of tutors represents one big advantage that Jamplay has over private guitar lessons where you learn from only one individual with a particular style of teaching and with often a somewhat limited approach based on their favored types of music and experience.
This coupled with the fact that private tuition fees are huge compared to small monthly charge of online subscription sites.
If you have never really thought about cost as yet, let's just do some math here... Lets say for the sake of argument you private tutor charged a very reasonable $20 an hour, and you have two lessons a week, that's $160 a month for 8 hours tuition.
When I first started playing years ago, private lessons where I lived were, on average, £20 per hour, that's GBP not USD, so that's 160 x 1.6 (nominal exchange rate) = $256 a month!! which means my friends, web-based guitar tuition sites are an absolute bargain for anyone, and represent a massive saving for the cost of the lessons alone.
Why Choose Jamplay?
Here is quick look at what's on offer, with much more detail below if you want to learn more.
- Training for all levels, styles and instrument types,
- Lessons for Bass guitar
- Extensive Lesson library - over 500 hours
- Excellent HD Videos Camera close-ups
- Dozens of top tutors
- Excellent course and lesson structure
- All popular musical styles covered
- First class support
- Lick and Riff Library
- Backing tracks available to play over
- Chord Library
- Scale Library
- Essential Guitarist's Tools
- Busy community forum
- Interactive learning games
- Personal Dashboard
- Great on-site search function
- Simple site navigation
- Daily, live interactive instruction (via webcam)
- Very affordable
- Subscription discounts
At A Glance...
- Cost: $19.95 per month (or 3 cents a lesson appx)
- Gurantee: 7 days full money refund
- Jamplay Discount Coupons available.
- Format: Instant delivery via online HD video
- Video length 5 - 60+ min (average 15 min)
- Over 5000 lessons currently available
- Course Level: Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced
- Value for money: Excellent
Who is Jamplay For?
Absolute beginners, Intermediate players and advanced Guitarists
- Jamplay is ideal if you have never picked up a guitar before and want to learn to play it without spending a fortune.
- If you taught yourself and can already play a little, then the Jam Play course is also worth your investment, I know from experience many self-taught players hit a 'brick-wall' and find themselves stuck in a rut and unable to make further progress, this is the big problem with an unstructered learning process.
- Intermediate and even advanced players who are looking to master specific styles or skills that they are currently lacking expertise in.
- Folks who like to learn from expert players, not wannabe's from You Tube.
- Anyone who just wants to become proficient in a specific style of playing that may not be found on other sites on the web.
- You don't have much money to spend, and certainly not enough for private tuition and want to not only progress quickly but get the biggest bang for your buck.
- You want to learn properly how to not only play the instrument but sing at the same time and actually 'in time'.
- Folks who want to learn to play the Bass guitar in addition to highly popular Acoustic or Electric instruments.
The Jamplay Course Structure
The main bulk of the Jamplay course is divided into 3 distinct sections, with phase 1, the beginners section, sub-divided into 2 parts for complete beginners who have either never touched a guitar in their life, or are self-taught and already have some knowledge.
Working your way through whatever section applies to you, you will then be ready to advance to the second stage, or phase 2 which covers nearly all posible styles and the various skills needed for each.
All of the lessons have extra content such as tab and notation and several tools with access from within the lesson page itself, these material can also be printed off if you want a paper copy as a guide for later.
Phase 2 - Styles and Skills
The skills section is when your knowledge will really start to accumulate and playing skill improve tremendously as you learn about the all various things that go into making a guitarist.
You will learn about the all the important concepts to playing lead guitar such as soloing, playing melodies and improvising techniques, including speed playing and playing with precision.
You will learn other important skills like ear training, rhythms and other musical theory you need as player.
In addition you will also learn how to set up your own home studio with advice on equipment and set-up.
Also included is tuition on how to sing and play at the same time, and even how to play a 12 sting.
Is the actual song section that teaches you how to play some of the most popular tunes from all types of music.
However you will find there is a heavy bias toward Rock, Metal and Blues with a lot more songs for these genres than any of the others.
There is a reason for that, these are the songs most beginners and improvers want to learn how to play.
However this is not something you should be concerned with at this stage, and in any event there is absolutely tons of free tab available online, that you will be able to read, interpret and play.
Once you have completed the 3 core learning phases, you will receive some extra material that will give a further boost to you playing.
Although Jamplay is a carefully structured course, you don't have to follow it doggedly to the letter, that's the great thing about online sites, you can pick and choose exactly what you want to play and when you want to play it, something you cannot do with private lessons.
Concentrates on song writing, this part of the course gives you a basic understanding of the theory of writing songs, then develops what you will learn with more advanced techniques -
Just for balance and in the interests of fairness here are some of the negative points about Jamplay.
Obviously Jamplay's tutors are expert guitarists but not professional teachers, that would be unreasonable to expect and with so many of them you may find one or two that you do not inspire you, no problem though because you can seek out lessons from the guys you most like using their teacher profiles.
Currently, and this is to prevent pirating and protect their business, Jamplay Flash videos are not available to download onto your computer or tablet or mobile device
If it's a must and you really want to download your lessons to your PC then check out GuitarTricks.com, where lesson downloads are possible.
While the songs to learn are excellent, with many genres, there are not quite as many as some of the other online tuition sites, this is not a problem for beginners who cannot yet play.
Not every single video lesson is high quality HD, many of the older lessons are of lesser quality because they were recorded before HD was generally available, but this is offset by the fact new HD material is being added all the time.
Some people have complained the 7 day guarantee period is not long enough when compared to other sites, well I personally disagree with this point, seven days is long enough to evaluate the content that interests you and to see if you like the way it is presented, and to look through the various other features that Jamplay offers.
Additonal Jamplay Features
When you open an account at Jamplay each user has there own dashboard assigned to them from which you can do several things like track your progress, view supplemental course materialsand add your own notes to the lessons you are working on.
Apart from the actual lessons there are a heap of other features also included with the basic subscription.
Keep a check on how you are progressing with the Custom Reports feature, it's fun to find out exactly how much you have learned from when you first started because you learn with realizing just how much you have absorbed and how your skills have improved.
Jamplay also sports a Community Forum where hoards of other keen guitarists will help you with any probems or questions you may have Use the forum to create your own online profile, upload pictures, interact with other members, make new friends, use private messaging or chat with them live at any time.
One of the most comprehensive scale libraries I have seen available online. You can view any particular scale in any key you want with an accompanying diagram ot the guitar fretboard so you can see the note patterns.
Jamplay's Online Interactive Tools
Interactive Learning Games
- Dynamic Chord Library
- Scale Library
- Backing Tracks
If you like to play games then the interactive games at Jamplay will not only keep you entertained but help you learn and commit important theory to memory faster than you are likely to do just reading about it.
- Fretboard Memorization
- Music Notation Quizzes
- Note Identification
- Pitch Recognition
Musical Styles Available To Learn
Rock - Blues - Jazz - Folk - Funk - Spanish - Fingerstyle - Heavy Metal - Classical - Bluegrass - Country - Funk - Celtic - Hawaiian - Surf - Punk - Gospel - Flamenco.
JamPlay Live Lessons
Another nice feature included with your tiny subscription fee is Jam Play's Live Lessons. These are daily sessions of text chat and webcam video streams directly with Jamplay's tutors. You maybe have it in your mind that online lessons cannot possibly be the same, or as good as one- on-one private tuition, think again.
Being a web-based membership website, where the business model is your continuous membership, Jamplay offer good and timely support, via a relatively rapid email service or via a forum which is linked on each lessons page In addition.
Jamplay's support also goes the extra mile with an exclusive feature called Video Q&A where members can ask guitar-related questions and actually get a video lesson in response.
This extremely popular type of personalized support is something not found on any other site as far as I'm aware. It's a very cool feature indeed.
JamPlay Chord Library iPhone App
The folks at Jamplay definitely move with the times with the addition of a an iPhone App which can be used to view all the lessons and use the online tools which means you don't have to carry them around with you, subject of course to you have a good wifi connection.
The Artist Series
This series is taught by industry pros that have the inside knowledge on some of the most famous players, there are around 200 videos in this series.
If you have a favorite guitarist you would like to try and emulate their sound and style of play then the Jamplay Artist series will teach you how and why your guitar heroes sound like they do.
Of course, you really need to learn how to play first, playing like Jimi takes years of practice, but the material is here when you reach a good enough standard to be able to play it.
Tutor Profile Page
Each tutor has a profile page which allows you to see all lesson sets by your particular favorite tutors.
Optional yearly and quarterly subscription discount, $139.95 and $49.95 ( the annual plan will save you $100 versus the monthly payment option)
Lessons make extensive use of different camera angles with zoom close-ups of the instructors finger and hand postions.
Every video lesson comes with its own supplemental material that are pertinent to the lesson such as a chord chart for those used during the lesson, tabs which make it easier to memorize which notes to play and exercises designed to speed-up your progress for the particular piece.
Following the Jamplay course will definitely turn you into a very competant guitarist, certainly good enough standard for you to perform live yourself or form a band of your own, when you have reached this level then you will be ready for professional guidance by a private tutor if you want to try for big time.
Any instructional website is only as good as the quality of its material and the people teaching it to you, Jamplay have got both, including muscians who earn a living from playing professionally, and with this high quality course at your fingertips you are sure to improve your skill much faster than you ever would anywhere else.
One reason for this is many tricks and techniques you will be taught cannot be found in any book. If you want to learn tp play the guitar, you owe it to yourself to check out Jamplay, for the small amount of money it costs, I guarantee you will not be disappointed, and you will be amazed at how fast you start to progress with your playing.
Streaming Video Lessons
The server speed of the Jamplay site is pretty good so people with a good home Broadband connection should have no problems for the streamed content.
If your Broadband speed is poor, or, heaven forbid you are still on dial-up, you may get buffering occuring which is always annoying, and you will not get the most out of this course.
To counter the effect for some users Jamplay offers several other video formats, that take up less bandwidth( at the expense of picture quality), than the HD 720 types.
If you suffer from a really slow internet connection then a site where the content can be downloaded to your machine, like GuitarTricks.com is one option to consider, the videos make take a very long time to download, but you only need do it once.
The other option is to purchase a complete guitarist course on CD, of which there are several, the Gibson Learn and Master Guitar set on DVD is quite a good one.
What other online guitar tuition sites should I consider?
If you don't think Jamplay is quite right for you, or you want to see what else is available then there are a couple of other sites worth a look.
The best known of these is Guitar Tricks.com which is another excellent place to learn guitar, and I have no hesitation in recommending them instead of, or as well as Jamplay.
Read a review of the GuitarTricks site here...
Another site you may want to check is Instant Guitar.com, it's nowhere near as big as the two industry leaders mentioned but offers some good stuff.
Read an InstantGuitar.com review here...
Should I Subscribe To The Jamplay Site?
Your choice entirely my friend, but if you have decided you want to give Jamplay a go, I suggest you save yourself some money and go for the quarterly plan, effectively giving you 1 free month, whilst not being too costly.
The reason I suggest the 3 month option is this... I figure if you have some money invested you will stick at it better.
If you are complete beginner, you are not going to learn that much in one month, however much you practice, but believe me after 3 months you will be amazed at what you have learned and how far you have progressed in that short time, this gives you the impetus to continue.
Of course if you are really determined and are sure you really want to learn guitar or die (haha:) then the annual plan will save you around 5 single month subscription charges thus giving you 5 months tuition completely free during a year!
If you are still on the fence, check out for yourself some of the free guitar lessons that are avilable to view on the Jamplay site. If you are looking for a complete web-only guitar course, Jamplay is the best and highly recommended by everyone using it.
JamPlay V Guitar Tricks
Which is best JamPlay or Guitar Tricks? Obviously they both have similar material for beginners but there are some things exclusive to each program that are worth the price just for those.
GuitarTricks has totally different songs to those of JamPlay does, then again JamPlay contains concepts that are omitted from other sites.
They are both excellent sites, Guitar Tricks has been online the longest, giving them time to create the most effective guitar teaching lessons anywhere, consequently they have a larger following.
JamPlay has more tutors than Guitar Tricks, including many professional guitarists from active touring bands, this alone gives you more insight and perspective on what its like to play under those conditions.
The Guitar Tricks site is first choice for many folks as they offer a free 14-day trial which Jamplay does not, although they do offer a 7-day full refund guarantee.
Trust me and don't find out the hard way, for what it costs, either site is well worth the money, because I'll tell you this much, when I started to learn guitar, the web was in its infancy and online learning sites did not exist, so I spent hundreds of dollars on theory books, video courses, guitar magazines, sheet music, song books and anything else I could find that had anything to do with guitar playing, it was all good stuff, the problem was it was all over the place, I had no real structure to my learning, not to mention the piles of literature in my house. Do yourself a favor... sign up for a course now!
Experience Taught Me That...