Fender Play Review
Is the legendary guitar manufacturer’s lesson set a good way to learn how to play guitar?
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Last Updated: November 2020
In this Fender Play review, we’re going to see how this fairly new player stands up to the guitar lesson competition.
We’ll go over what’s included, what the learning experience is like and whether it’s worth your time and money.
Let’s get into it…
Fender is a legendary guitar company, and their relatively new lessons platform is pretty good.
It’s a great (not the best) option for beginners, but probably not really for anyone who’s got experience playing guitar.
It very much seems like an “add-on,” to the company portfolio. It makes sense for the company to get into guitar training, but it’s evident it’s not a focus for the company.
Pricing is good, and the quality of lessons are fine. It’s a solid beginner program. But it’s not the best set of guitar lessons out there by far.
But can we really recommend it over other options? Maybe. Read on to find out why.
4/5 Stars Overall
Should You Subscribe: YES, if you’re just getting started with guitar and need a well-structured beginner program that will get you from A to B easily, Fender Play might be the best program for you.
The best thing about this program is it’s easy-to-follow, guided approach to learning and the fact you can learn either electric/acoustic guitar, bass guitar or ukulele all within the same program/subscription.
The main criticism we have for our two favorite online guitar lessons is that there’s just SO MUCH material, it can be overwhelming. A lot of times, when you first login to those programs, you have no idea where to even start.
Fender Play, however, is a very step-by-step approach to going from not knowing anything, to being able to play at a novice level in the most popular styles, without much confusion or overwhelm.
And there’s a great selection of songs you can learn to play in the program, too.
But that’s really where it stops. If you want to go beyond the fundamentals of playing guitar and really hone in on skills, you won’t find much advanced or intermediate training in Fender Play. Options like Jamplay or Guitar Tricks, as overwhelming as they can be, have a ton of lessons on specific skills and advanced guitar techniques.
But it’s a GREAT option to start your guitar learning journey. And they have a free trial, so you can try it out for yourself without any risk.
- $9.99 / month
- Yearly discount available (includes 10% off all Fender purchases during subscription for US/UK users)
- Legendary name and brand synonymous with “guitars”
- Learn acoustic/electric guitar, bass or ukulele
- High quality video lessons with a large library of song lessons
- Simple to follow-along for beginner’s plan with zero overwhelm/confusion
- Learn in the most popular styles – Rock, Blues, Folk, Country, Pop
- 14 day free trial
- Get 10% off Fender guitar products with your membership
- Monthly membership
- Not enough intermediate/advanced lessons after you learn the fundamentals
- Not as much content/styles/skills as our other top picks
- No community section or live lessons
Buy a Fender Play Subscription If…
- You want to be able “play guitar” within a couple of months of taking lessons
- You don’t want to choose between thousands of paths/lessons to learn from
- You want a step-by-step beginner’s pathway without distracting “shiny objects”
- You only need a “fundamentals” type course, and don’t want to delve deeper just yet.
- You have a Fender guitar or plan on purchasing one (or any accessories)
What’s Included in the Program?
When you first sign up for Fender Play you’ll be taken through a quick “survey” to see what style you want to learn in – pop/country/rock/blues/folk – and whether you want to learn acoustic/electric guitar, ukulele or bass.
Don’t worry, you’re not forced to only learn this, you can always change this later.
Once you choose your “path” you’ll be presented with 5 different levels of lessons. These lessons will get you to the ability to actually play your instrument.
Then you can access their supplementary/skills lessons:
- Collections Lessons (styles beyond the main path)
- Techniques/Skills Lessons
- “Chord Challenge” training game
Each level of the main course content covers a particular fundamental skill you’ll need as a guitarist.
After that you’re able to drill down a bit, but not as in-depth ad exhaustively as some of the other lesson options out there.
Below, we’ll give you an example of what the lesson path looks like. In this specific case, we chose the “electric guitar” and “blues” path for learning.
Level 1: Fundamentals – 17 Lessons
This level is where you’ll learn the absolute basics of playing guitar. After a quick introduction you’ll learn the 101 stuff – parts of a guitar, how to hold a guitar and pick, the notes, etc. Then you jump right into learning and playing a simple riff.
After that you get into good strumming habits, reading tabs and chord diagrams, common problems beginners face and then another set of riff/song lessons. Level 1 then gets rounded out with some basic guitar chords and more riffs/songs.
Level 2: Building on the Basics – 23 Lessons
Next up you’re going to build on the skills you learned in Level 1. You start with a warm-up lesson and then dive into reading rhythm in music before getting to this level’s first riff/song lesson combo.
You’ll also learn more about notes and get introduced to power chords and the 8th note strumming technique. They also introduce capo’s, shuffle feeling and how to jam with a bass player.
Level 3: Taking it Further – 22 Lessons
The next level is similar to the previous in the way it’s structured. You start with a warm-up, and then more on to a skill to build your fundamentals, before getting to a riff/song lesson to practice what you learn.
In this section, you’ll be introduced to more chords, rhythms and genre-specific styling.
Level 4: Advancing Your Basic Technique – 21 Lessons
Now it’s time to learn some more techniques for playing your preferred style. You’ll learn about techniques like hammer-ons, pull-offs and more. You’re also introduced to the pentatonic scale.
Needless to say, there are lots of genre-specific riff/song lessons to help you learn the techniques better.
Level 5: The Final Level – 22 Lessons
After the warm-up you’re diving into playing in more keys/guitar scales while getting introduced to things like diatonic harmony and solfege. They also go over palm-muting and more power chords.
You’ll also have a couple lessons, of bringing everything you learned together, to play guitar like you know what you’re doing.
To be honest, this module seems to be pretty underwhelming.
Other Course Sections
As mentioned above, there are other sections, beyond the fundamentals. In the songs section you get a wide variety of lessons from classics like The Rolling Stones and Aretha Franklin, to more contemporary musicians like Billie Eilish.
In the “collections” section you get different lesson collections on various topics. Some of these include “how to read rhythm” or “easy R&B songs.” There are some intermediate concepts here like alternate guitar tunings and fingerpicking techniques.
In the “skills” section you are able to dive deeper into specific skills like learning “6/8 time signatures” or exploring the “A Minor Pentatonic Scale” in depth. The lessons are categorized into 7 sections here:
More About Fender Play
Fender is a trustworthy name in the world of guitars. There’s no doubt.
But as good as Fender Play is, it’s still not our first choice for where to learn guitar.
When compared to other programs we review, it just falls a bit short in terms of quantity. The quality is fine, though it’s not always the most engaging teaching style..
The main problem with other guitar lessons is the sheer volume of lessons makes it confusing and overwhelming. And although Fender Play does a good job at trying to eliminate that, it’s not perfect.
Even though the main “path” you take is well laid out and easy to follow, the supplemental sections may give you a bit of overwhelm when choosing what to do next.
All in all, though, the training program is a solid one. Especially if you’re looking for an “all-in-one” membership program. Remember, Fender Play is the only lesson to give you acoustic/electric guitar lessons AND bass guitar/ukulele lessons all in one interface.
And you can easily change your “path” if you’re interested in learning those other instruments and styles available.
Bottom line: if you take the yearly subscription and practice with Fender Play diligently, you’ll be a very accomplished guitarist – able to play a variety of popular styles using any guitar-like instrument you want.
That in itself makes Fender Play a worthwhile subscription. You can try it out for free, as well. Just sign up for their free trial and take the lessons for a test drive. We’re sure you won’t be disappointed!