Fender Play Vs Guitar Tricks – Which One to Choose

Fender Play Vs Guitar Tricks – Which One to Choose

Whether you're a brand new guitarist looking to start off right or an experienced player who feels stuck in terms of progress, finding the right online guitar lessons is a great way to accelerate your learning and breakthrough plateaus. But with the array of available online learning programs, it can be tough to choose the right one for you.

Today, we'll be taking a look at Fender Play vs Guitar Tricks. Both of these sites are pretty popular for online learning, but some players may take better to one than the other. We'll do a detailed feature rundown on Guitar Tricks vs Fender Play to help you decide.

Introducing the Products

Before we get into the particular features of both Fender Play and Guitar Tricks, we'll briefly introduce you to each one:

Fender Play

Fender Play is a relatively new online learning program for guitar. It was started in 2017, and it's especially good for beginners and intermediate players. Plenty of people are drawn to it because it was started by one of the world's leading guitar manufacturers, and a subscription gets you 10% off Fender guitars and gear. The lessons Fender Play offers are easy to follow, since they're in a linear format --you choose a learning path based on your genre preferences, and a varied cast of instructors then takes you through lessons on technique, skills, and learning songs.

Pros & Cons of Fender Play

Pros

  • It offers lessons for guitar, bass, and ukulele, so you can learn multiple instruments at once
  • Path-based learning is less overwhelming for beginners than some other courses are
  • A high-quality video player with multiple camera angles makes it easier to see what the instructor is doing
  • Compared to most other online guitar lesson sites, it is very affordable

Cons

  • It doesn't offer much for more advanced players
  • It doesn't have many song tutorials -- something a lot of players want to learn

Guitar Tricks

Guitar Tricks has been around since 1998, which makes it one of the most established guitar lesson sites in the business. It's also incredibly popular, largely because it offers something to challenge players at just about every level. Guitar Tricks has an excellent core learning system designed to take beginners through the basics before they move on to other courses.

From there, players can take courses for more experienced guitarists, learn from different musical styles, discover new techniques, and even take artist studies to learn from the style of other players. Unlike a lot of online guitar lessons, Guitar Tricks offers something to challenge players of every level.

Pros & Cons of guitar Tricks

Pros

  • A rigorous core learning system sets players up for success
  • You can take courses in a variety of genres
  • You can also take standalone lessons in technique or on how to play individual songs
  • It offers something for every level of guitarist

Cons

  • The sheer amount of available options can be overwhelming for the newer guitarist
  • It's a bit more expensive than some guitar lessons

Features Face To Face: Fender Play Vs Guitar Tricks

Now that we've given you a general sense of both Fender Play and Guitar Tricks, we'll do a shootout on each individual feature.

Lessons for Beginners

Since a lot of people looking for guitar lesson sites are beginners, we think it's important to focus on lessons for new players. Both Fender Play and Guitar Tricks are great for beginners, although each one takes a different approach.

Fender Play

Fender Play lessons are centered around learning paths, and each path takes you through the basics. To start, you choose your instrument -- acoustic guitar, electric guitar, bass, or ukulele. If you're learning guitar, you need to choose a learning path. You can choose from pop, rock, folk, blues, or country. It's notable that folk is included since it isn't in many sites. Each Fender Play path has five levels. If you already have the experience, you may need to skip a level and continue. If you want to see a sample, check out this Fender Play video covering the basics of the guitar.

However, Fender Play does have a disadvantage in this area. While you can do multiple learning paths, each path starts with the same guitar basics. And while you can skip ahead, it's a bit of an inconvenience.

Guitar Tricks

The Guitar Tricks beginner curriculum starts with two fundamentals courses before asking new players to choose a genre path. Its two guitar fundamentals courses are designed to take you through foundational skills that guitarists in all genres should have. After that, you can choose rock, blues, or country learning path. Each path has two intermediate courses that help you start to develop genre-specific skills. If you're looking to become a well-rounded guitarist, you also have the option to do all three. If you want an inside look at the Guitar Tricks core learning system, check out this video review.

If you don't want to play rock, blues, or country, you might balk at this system. However, after the core learning system, Guitar Tricks lets you explore lots of genres. You may want to choose a core learning path that's closest to the genre you want to play and then go from there.

The Winner: We think this Guitar Tricks vs Fender Play comparison is a tie -- Guitar Tricks has a more efficient program for players who want to play multiple genres, but Fender Play offers the basics in more genres.

Lessons for More Experienced Players

Guitar Tricks and Fender Play can both take you through the intermediate level, but some players may be looking for lessons that can help them improve even as advanced players.

Fender Play

Fender Play doesn't particularly focus on advanced players. However, it does do well, taking players through intermediate skills. Each lesson also helps players internalize what they've learned -- each one has a practice session complete with tablature and a metronome at the end. (You can take a look at a lesson in this video.)

Fender Play will give you a decent foundation, but if you want to progress further, you'll likely need to move on to a different site like Guitar Tricks.

Guitar Tricks

Guitar Tricks is truly excellent when it comes to challenging advanced players. Since it's been around a lot longer than Fender Play, it's accumulated more video lessons. And when you log on to the site, you can go to an entire section with lessons for more experienced players. The site counts the second half of the core learning system as advanced lessons, and the concepts in these Guitar Tricks courses can take a bit to master.

After that, there's plenty on Guitar Tricks to challenge more advanced guitarists. You can visit the "scales and chords" section to develop your fretboard knowledge, and a "practice" section offers exercises for every level of guitarist. Advanced players can also challenge themselves to learn new styles of guitar, explore techniques, and more. Check out this sample from the Guitar Tricks artist study on Albert King.

The Winner: Guitar Tricks wins this one -- there are plenty of advanced lessons to keep you busy.

Genres Offered

While very new players might not yet have a specific genre in mind, most end up choosing a genre or two that they really want to explore. Both Fender Play and Guitar Tricks offer guitar learning in multiple genres.

Fender Play

While Fender Play does well with covering some of the basic genres on the guitar. As we mentioned earlier, when setting up your path, you can choose to start learning guitar in one one of these genres:

  • Blues
  • Pop
  • Rock
  • Folk
  • Country

With Fender Play, you can also choose whether you want to learn on an electric guitar or an acoustic, but there isn't much difference when it comes to playing a given genre on acoustic or electric guitar. If you want to take a look inside one of the site's genre paths, check out this Fender Play lesson on Jewel's "Who Will Save Your Soul" from the folk learning path.

Guitar Tricks

We mentioned earlier that the Guitar Tricks curriculum focuses primarily on blues, rock, and country. However, it would be misleading to say that these are the only genres the site offers. If you navigate to the Guitar Tricks section on styles, you can choose from the following:

  • Acoustic
  • Bluegrass
  • Blues
  • Classical
  • Country
  • Funk & Soul
  • Jazz
  • Metal
  • Rock
  • Rockabilly
  • Surf
  • World

Each of these Guitar Tricks categories offers several beginner lessons and advanced lessons on playing riffs, different techniques, picking patterns, and song lessons. The number of song lessons and videos varies depending on the individual genre. However, each category is not a complete course for beginners -- you'll need to complete your core learning first.

The Winner: GuitarTricks wins this one -- there's a wealth of different genres to suit just about every type of player.

Instructors

In beginner lessons especially, it's important to have a knowledgeable instructor who is easy to follow. Both Fender Play and Guitar Tricks have skilled instructors as part of their curriculum.

Fender Play

Fender Play has about 20 different instructors, and each learning path is taught by more than one. Fender Play instructors all have both playing and teaching experience and some have taught at Berklee, UCLA, and USC. Although some students might prefer a single instructor like you would get in private lessons, learning from multiple people has its advantages -- you can benefit from their collective knowledge.

Guitar Tricks

Guitar Tricks has over 30 instructors, and most specialize in a genre (or more than one). This means that your guitar learning in specific genres is especially high quality -- you'll be learning from guitar players who have decades of experience in their chosen genres.

The Winner: Guitar Tricks and Fender Play tie in this one. Both have qualified instructors on staff, and we like that you have the opportunity to benefit from the knowledge of more than one person.

Lesson Quality

While a lot of learners are primarily concerned with the content of song lessons and other learning content, video player quality has a huge impact on your learning experience. Here's what Fender Play and Guitar Tricks to offer:

Fender Play

Fender Play's video player and general site design is beautiful and easily navigable. And because the site is so new, all videos are in HD. In many cases, song lessons and other videos use multiple camera angles. The main video will show the instructor playing the guitar, while the inset screen will be a close-up, over-the-shoulder view. This mimics what you see when you look down at the guitar, so the lesson itself will be easier to follow. This type of video is one of the main advantages of Fender Play -- the Fender Play team has put a lot of thought into what learners need.

Guitar Tricks

In terms of video quality, Guitar Tricks has a lot of variation. Some Guitar Tricks video lessons are from 1998, so the resolution isn't as good as newer ones. This shouldn't present a huge problem, but a lot of learners value high-definition video. However, while Fender Play's videos may be higher resolution, Guitar Tricks video lessons do have a major advantage. Video lessons Guitar Tricks offers allow looping videos and playback speed adjustment. Both of these things are ideal when you're learning difficult concepts. You can loop the lesson so you can continually practice its content, and you can slow the speed to make playing along with difficult riffs much easier.

The Winner: Guitar Tricks wins this one thanks to its many playback features. When it comes to Guitar Tricks vs Fender Play, you may prefer Fender Play if you want all videos to be in HD, though.

Pricing and Free Trial

Pricing is a major concern for intermediate and advanced players, but it's also a concern for beginners who may not know if they'll want to stick with the guitar. Here's the pricing for both Fender Play and Guitar Tricks.

Fender Play

Fender Play's low pricing is part of its draw. If you choose the monthly, no-commitment plan, you'll only pay $9.99 per month, which is significantly cheaper than most sites for guitar players. If you want to save some money and pay for a year upfront, it's $89.99 -- still a great deal. Fender Play's free trial is fairly generous -- you have 30 days to test-drive the site to see if it's right for you.

Guitar Tricks

While Guitar Tricks is a bit more expensive than Fender Play, it does offer excellent value. If you want to pay by the month, the cost is $19.95 per month. And while the site doesn't offer an annual membership, you can get a 14-day free trial to test it out. There's also a free basic membership that gives you limited access to lessons -- this is a great choice if you're just starting out and want to see if you like the site.

The Winner: In terms of price, Fender Play is the winner thanks to its affordability.

Stand Out Features

Often, you'll find that some online guitar courses offer features that others do not. Here are some of the standout features to consider when looking at Guitar Tricks vs Fender Play:

  • Artist studies. Maybe you have a favorite artist you'd like to learn from, or maybe you just want a new way to expand your playing styles. Artist Studies (which you'll only find on Guitar Tricks) let you select an artist and take a deep dive into their playing style and the techniques they use. Some of the artists you can learn from include B.B. King, Jimi Hendrix, The Edge, John Mayer, and Jimmy Page.
  • Bass and ukulele lessons. If you're learning both guitar and one of these instruments, you probably don't want to spend money to subscribe to both guitar lessons and a separate site for bass or ukulele lessons. Fender Play offers lessons in both of these instruments so you can have one online home for learning. If you want to learn two instruments, your Guitar Tricks vs Fender Play decision is likely to be relatively easy. 
  • Song library. Fender Play does incorporate songs into their learning program, but they don't offer standalone video lessons for individual songs. Guitar Tricks offers a library of song tutorials that you can access when you want to take a break from the class you're currently taking. There are songs for every ability level, and Guitar Tricks will rate each tutorial in the song library based on difficulty. Many of these songs are legendary hits -- you can find songs by Bob Dylan, AC/DC, Eric Clapton, Sam Cooke, and more.
  • Technique lessons. Plenty of online guitar lessons incorporate new techniques into their lessons, but Guitar Tricks has separate lessons focusing on useful techniques. Like the song library, these are lessons you can take individually -- they aren't part of a course. Some sample techniques you can learn are fingerpicking (in multiple styles), harmonics, slide guitar and bending.
  • Gear discounts. This isn't a feature of the Fender Play program itself, but it's a nice perk if you think you'll need to buy gear at some point in the near future. If you're an annual member of Fender Play, you will save 10% on guitars, amps, and gear from Fender.
  • Toolbox. With a membership to Guitar Tricks, you have access to the Toolbox, a free collection of online tools that makes your learning experience easier. You get a scale finder, a jam station (with backing tracks to play along with), metronome, chord finder, reference tuner, fretboard trainer, chord charts, guitar tab guide, guitar glossary, and fretboard diagram.

Conclusion

When it comes to Fender Play vs Guitar Tricks, we don't think one of these courses is universally better than the others. Instead, depending on your circumstances, you'll probably find one is better for you. Here are our recommendations:

Use Fender Play if:

  • You're a beginner who wants to learn the fundamentals of playing the guitar
  • You have a limited budget and don't want to spend too much
  • You also want to learn bass and/or ukulele
  • You prefer a straightforward learning path

Use Guitar Tricks if:

  • You are already an intermediate or advanced player (or you want an online learning program you can use for years)
  • You want to take both courses and individual guitar lessons in technique and on individual songs
  • You want to explore a wider range of musical styles
  • You want to access tools like a scale finder, a chord finder, an online metronome, and a jam station with backing tracks
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