Free lesson sites are great, but their teaching resources are limited by far smaller budgets. Jamplay offers a far more professional, step by step approach than regular Youtube videos or free sites.
So here's my Jamplay review - some of the key benefits of taking your next (or first) step with their course. You can also find Jamplay discount codes at the bottom of this page if you choose to join the fun.
Benefit #1 - Jamplay's Lesson Structure
Jamplay's lesson structure is simple and logical. They offer 5 main areas of learning:
- The Basics (from absolute beginner to intermediate)
- Styles & Genres (from Bluegrass to Metal)
- Skill Building (essential techniques)
- Songs (learn popular songs note-for-note)
- Artist Studies (the tricks and techniques of the greats)
Their process helps to keep your learning varied and streamlined at the same time. Their licenced song library is one of the (if not the) largest available and they break songs down part by part, note for note.
You can also learn in phases. This is a logical step by step path through the entire Jamplay lesson library, from absolute beginner through to advanced. Great if you don't know where to begin... or go next.
Benefit #2 - You Choose Your Teacher
When you begin, you have a number of tutors to pick from. The idea is that you spend some time with each tutor and go with the one (or two) you find has the best teaching style for you. This is quite a novel way of personalising your lessons.
Some tutors I found "hummed and harred" a lot (although some might prefer the unscripted, informal feel of it), some were more succinct than others, but there is a huge benefit of having multiple tutors - some will include tips and methods that are unique to them. Each tutor is different and approaches teaching in different ways.
You can sample Jamplay's free lessons from each category and tutor by visiting their lessons page.
Benefit #3 - The Best Video Lessons On The Web
Here's where Jamplay shines. They offer HD quality video (which you can scale back if your connection is slower) which makes use of multiple camera angles such as over-the-shoulder and split screen. You can tell immediately they are shot professionally in a studio.
Multiple camera angles, and accompanying tabs and chord/scale sheets mean you're never second guessing where to put your fingers.
Over-the-shoulder view shows you the fretboard how you see it when you play.
It's surprising just how much clearer seeing the fretboard this way is as opposed to head on.
The control bar offers some great functionality...
...A/B looping allows you to set any two points in the video and repeat that section. I found this really useful when the tutor slowed down to show you a lick. No more constantly clicking back on the time bar - you can keep both hands on the guitar. Also, lesson bookmarking means you can come back to a lesson you're not fully confident with, all your bookmarks being stored in your personal lesson planner.
Below each video is the supplemental content section - printable tabs, chord and scale charts, jam tracks and a text rundown of the lesson. Here you can also ask the tutor in the video questions about anything you don't understand.
The only gripe I have (and it's more just me being picky) is that sometimes the split camera angles aren't always necessary. But in most videos they are genuinely useful and make an effective change from the traditional "head on" view. It would also be great to click and pick your own camera angles. I'm sure that's in the pipeline!
Benefit #4 - Jamplay's Live Webcam Sessions
Another unique feature of Jamplay is their live community based lessons, boasting 8 hours of live sessions, 7 days a week. JamChat allows students to interact with the tutor live. There are also "open mic nights" which allow you to showcase your talent over webcam.
Many see this as the defining feature of JamPlay and it really does raise the barre (sorry) for other online lesson sites.
Other Jamplay Features
As well as the video lessons they also offer several integral features such as a comprehensive chord and scale library, a library of jam tracks, interactive games, a lick and riff library and custom progress reports which I thought was particularly useful for tracking your progress in a given lesson, noting down bits that you need to work on more, or bookmarking a cool riff you came across. I found it very simple to use as all your bookmarks are linked from one place.
The Bottom Line
As far as learning guitar online, Jamplay offers by far the most interactive and comprehensive learning experience available.
You can get unlimited access on a monthly ($19.95), quarterly ($49.95) or yearly ($139.95) basis (note: see discount codes below!), which is pretty reasonable considering the number of hours of video, live webcam sessions and the various libraries and tools.
If you want the absolute best learning experience but can't afford pricey one-to-one lessons, Jamplay is the best compromise you'll find.
Jamplay Discount Codes
Copy and paste one of these codes into the coupon field when you sign up to get a discount on membership.
jamplay1 - try Jamplay for $1 (be sure to select "monthly membership")
bootcamp - 25% off (any membership plan)