Online guitar lessons? Yes folks, we are living in the future. This past year Fender shocked the guitar industry when they launched Fender Play. Fender Play is an online guitar lessons site as wel as a bass and ukulele lesson program. Since this site is guitar focused, I will keep this review focused on the guitar lessons section of Fender Play.
Why learn guitar online? Well, going to private lessons tends to put you on a slower path to learning the guitar. Think about it. 30 or 60 minutes once per week, where the instructor gives you some material to learn. Or you can learn material for 30-60 minutes per day, at your own pace, in your pajamas. It's also a whole lot cheaper. The average private guitar instructor is about $80-100 per month, where this is $10 per month. You can see how this will lead to faster progress.
Who is it for?
I am assuming since you are researching guitar lessons online that you are a newer player. I think Fender Play is a great choice for even the most absolute beginners. Some of the lessons at the start assume you know nothing about the guitar. Of course, if you have more experience you can skip over the beginner material. This program is great for beginner to intermediate players.
Fender Play offers instructional material for guitar (acoustic and electric), bass, and ukulele. If you play guitar, your wife (or husband) plays ukulele, and your son plays bass then this is a slam dunk deal for you!
Who is it not for?
After going through the lessons and curriculum, I can say that it's not for advanced players. This comes as no surprise. Most guitar instructional material aims more at the beginning players. One other thing I noticed is that some of the songs are not complete. They teach the intro of main riff and that's it.
Let's dive right in. Fender Play features a ton of guitar instruction. Hours of technique, songs, tones, and chord videos.
The layout is nice and clean. Fender Play has a modern feel. The video appears on the right hand side of the screen, and a table of contents will be on the left hand side. At any time, you can click on a topic on the left side of the screen, and the video will jump to that topic.
If the video lesson has a tab that goes with it, it will appear below the video. A great feature that Fender Play has is when you scroll down to the tab, the video resizes and comes with you. This keeps the video in view while you are reviewing and following the tab.
I found the instruction to be clear and helpful. The pace is a little on the slow side for me, but for a beginner it should be fine. One thing I wish they would add is an option to play the videos at 1.25x or 1.5x speed. This could help players that would like more fast paced instruction. On a positive note, most of the lessons are short clips. When you are learning, it's best to go in small chunks. I found the videos to be the perfect length for this.
Oh yea. It's nice that Fender chose to use beautiful guitars in the videos. The colorful telecasters in the videos had me looking at my white on black tele in shame.
Fender Play offers a free 30 day trial for new monthly users. After the 30 days it renews every month at $9.99. There is also a one year option that costs $89 per year. I think Fender priced this right, and I felt like I got $10 worth in an hour of practice let alone a whole month.
When you first sign in it prompts you to select your instrument and musical style. Don't worry, you can always go back and change this later. Once this is complete, it starts you on your path.
The musical styles for possible paths are rock, blues, folk, country, and pop. This is for both acoustic guitar and electric guitar.
Each path consists of 5 levels. Level 1 is the most basic, and as you progress the lessons and techniques get more advanced.
The cool thing about the paths is that they include technique, exercises, and songs. This keeps the learning different and helps to keep it fresh. You learn a technique or two, then it shows a song that utilizes that technique. Cool.
Fender Play has loads of technique videos that you can browse on your own. I liked how the techniques section covers concepts and techniques. For example, chord anticipation. It's a technique (strum pattern) but it also covers the concept of what it is and when it's used.
Fender Play has a massive chords section. Each chord has a diagram and a brief video showing how to form the chord on the guitar. This is great for beginners. One of my favorite features is the point of view camera angle, which shows the hand shape of the chord as you would see it.
If you want to jump right in and start learning songs then Fender Play has you covered here too. There are pages and pages of songs to learn, all complete with video lessons and tabs. You don't have to follow the path. You can explore on your own. Here is a link to all the available songs.
For $10 a month, I see the value in this for beginner and intermediate players. A 30 day trial will allow you to try it out for a full month before paying. Like I said above, learning online is the future. It allows you to progress at a much faster pace than with weekly one on one lessons.
Why pay $100 per month for 4 hours of instruction when you can pay $10 per month for unlimited instruction? To me, this is a no brainer. If you are on the fence, sign up for the free trial and see if you like it. You can always cancel if you don't.
Thanks for reading my review of Fender Play. I hope this review has helped you to decide on whether this site is a good fit for you. Drop me a line with any suggestions or feedback.