Sometimes, when you're looking for online music lessons, you can get it narrowed down to a couple of courses. But from there, it can be tough to figure out which one to choose.
Today, we're taking a look at Guitar Tricks vs JamPlay, two of the giants of the online guitar lesson world. We think that lots of people learning how to play guitar may narrow down your choices to these two -- both have a seemingly endless array of lessons in different genres, and they also have opportunities for individualized feedback. In this article, we'll take a closer look at each course in order to help you choose which one is right for you.
Introducing The Products
Established in 1998, Guitar Tricks has been around for quite a while, and in that time, the site has grown significantly. Beginners can start out with a core curriculum before advancing to song tutorials, genre-based courses, artist studies, and more. You can also take classes in specific techniques you want to develop, as well as go through song tutorials to learn some of your favorite songs.
Pros & Cons of Guitar Tricks
JamPlay was founded in 2006, so it's a little younger than Guitar Tricks. However, in that time, it's managed to amass thousands of lessons, many of which are taught by famous musicians. JamPlay lets you choose a beginner guitar course (the site has many courses for new guitarists) and go from there. It also has daily live courses and daily live Q&A courses, and annual memberships include at least one one-on-one coaching lesson.
Pros & Cons of JamPlay
Please also read our face to face comparison with TrueFire here.
Features Face To Face
Now, we'll look closer at both of these sites. We'll focus on features that most guitarists, especially those who really want to learn to play (or improve their playing) would want to have.
Many people end up taking their first guitar lessons online. For this reason, we want to focus on beginner courses for a moment -- and both JamPlay and Guitar Tricks take different approaches to beginner courses.
Guitar Tricks has a Core Learning System that the site suggests new guitarists should take. These courses can give you the foundational knowledge you need to explore other genres and start learning more songs. Here's what it looks like:
It's worth mentioning that you don't have to take every single intermediate course in this curriculum, but it's a good idea to take at least one before moving on.
JamPlay takes a different approach. The platform has over 100 instructors, and many of them have a beginner guitar course. You get to choose which one you take. This has some advantages -- after all, you do get to choose your instructor. But for the new player, it can be a little intimidating.
The Winner: We like the GuitarTricks method since its Core Learning System is designed to give everyone the skills they need to proceed with any genre they choose.
Plenty of players check out online song tutorials on YouTube for free before they commit to online guitar lessons. Thus, for a lot of guitarists, the number of song lessons a site offers can be a crucial factor in making a decision.
Guitar Tricks offers roughly 900 song lessons, with more added regularly. By contrast, JamPlay offers about 350 song lessons. Both add song lessons regularly, but these seem to be more of a focus over at Guitar Tricks.
The Winner: For players who love song lessons, Guitar Tricks comes out on top.
For a lot of players, having the right instructor makes all the difference when it comes to learning. For others, learning from different instructors is key when it comes to developing new skills.
Guitar Tricks has 33 instructors (as of the writing of this article). All are accomplished players and teachers, but none are necessarily household names. This isn't a problem, but some players may want to learn from specific artists they admire.
JamPlay has over 100 instructors, and many are household names. You can learn from Lita Ford of The Runaways, Kaki King, Joel Kosche of Collective Soul, and Rex Brown of Pantera, just to name a few.
The Winner: We like the variety of teachers on JamPlay, so it wins this one.
Material For Experienced Players
Many online reviews of sites dedicated to learning guitar focus on what's available for new players. But if you're more experienced, you can generally skip over most features geared toward newer players. Luckily, both Guitar Tricks and JamPlay have material for experienced players.
However, we think Guitar Tricks offers more material that experienced players will find helpful. There are countless genre courses, courses dedicated to learning specific advanced skills, and even artist studies, which we think are a great way to expand your playing.
The Winner: We think Guitar tricks wins this round -- there's more material across more genres to keep even advanced players entertained and occupied.
Live And One-On-One Instruction
Most online guitar lessons don't include one-on-one instruction and many that do charge extra. Guitar Tricks lets you sign up for one-on-one lessons, which are usually $40 for 30 minutes or $60 for an hour. You can pay a little extra for lessons with more accomplished or in-demand instructors, too.
JamPlay offers one-on-one lessons that come with your subscription. However, you only get this type of access with an annual membership. A regular annual membership gives you one free one-on-one lesson, and an annual Pro membership gives you two. In addition, JamPlay also has a daily live course and a daily live Q&A. You don't often find these features with online guitar lessons, and we think these are useful resources to have.
The Winner: JamPlay has a lot more when it comes to live learning, so we think it wins this round.
You might not select a site offering video lessons for its bonus features, but the bonuses that come with a site can make a big difference in your learning journey.
Guitar Tricks offers jam tracks, chord finding tools, a metronome, and an online tuner. You also get a guitar glossary to help you learn guitar terms, a guitar tab guide to help you master reading tablature and a fretboard diagram. If you sign up for an annual membership, you also get the bonus tools we mentioned earlier.
JamPlay, on the other hand, offers a scale library, a chord library, a chord finder, a jam track library, a lick and riff library, and online learning games. These are going to be especially useful for those taking beginner lessons, as they can help you really enhance your understanding of the guitar. If you purchase an annual membership, you also get access to the toolkits that JamPlay puts out each year.
The Winner: Both of these sites offer a good bit of extras. That said, we think JamPlay wins this round since it offers a little extra.
What You Get For Free
You can only learn so much about a set of online guitar lessons before you sign up. For this reason, plenty of players look for a site that offers some material for free. Luckily, both courses do offer some free material. Guitar Tricks has a free trial that lasts 14 days, and it also offers a limited course of free beginner lessons. This is especially valuable for the new player, who might want to figure out if they even like playing guitar before purchasing a membership.
Unfortunately, JamPlay does not have a free trial. They do have some free material, which you can find under the site's "Weekend Warrior" section. These lessons and commentary can give you a feel for the site, and they're good for those who like to periodically pick up a guitar and learn something (but who may not have the time to steadily work through a program).
The Winner: We think Guitar Tricks has more in the way of free options, so it wins this one.
Pricing And Money Back Guarantee
Pricing can play a major role in which lesson program you choose. Even if a given course offers great value, you may not feel inclined to sign up if the price is too high. Luckily, in the Guitar Tricks vs JamPlay comparison, pricing is similar.
For Guitar Tricks, you can purchase a monthly membership for $19.95 per month and cancel at any time. You can save some money and pay once per year for $179. This option also comes with four bonus gifts: Rock Jam Tracks, Blues Jam Tracks, Chord Theory Magic, and the Song Builder's Toolbox. Guitar Tricks has an extended money-back guarantee -- if you are dissatisfied, you just need to request a refund within 60 days of purchase.
For JamPlay, a monthly membership is also $19.95 per month. This site has two annual payment options. The standard one is $225 per year, and it gives you access to all site toolkits (resource combinations that help you learn genres, get ready to record, learn music theory, and more). This one gives you a few download credits for lessons, and you also get to schedule a free one-on-one lesson.
The second one is the Annual Pro membership. For $299, you get everything that comes with the standard annual membership, but you get two online one-on-one lessons, more download credits, and a free JamPlay T-shirt. JamPlay has a shorter money-back guarantee -- you can get a full refund, but only if you request one within 30 days of purchase.
The Winner: We think both sites offer great value in terms of pricing. That said, Guitar Tricks has a better money-back guarantee, so it wins this one.
As we've dug into each of these online guitar sites, we've found that each one has some features that the other does not:
We think both Guitar Tricks and JamPlay are great choices. That said, you may find that you like one more than the other. Here's one last summary to help you choose which one is best for you.
We Think You'd Like Guitar Tricks Best If:
You might prefer JamPlay if:
Ultimately, we don't think you can necessarily go wrong here -- both of these are excellent courses that can keep you challenged regardless of your skill level or experience playing. Take your time, choose carefully, and enjoy your playing journey!