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Last Updated: January 2023
In this article, we’ll look at everything you need to know about the guitar lesson platform, JamPlay – the good and bad, what’s included in the subscription, how it works and whether or not it’s the right choice for you.
Let’s get right into it.
JamPlay used to be our #1 pick for best platform for learning guitar in a structured way. But this year that changed.
It’s still a great set of guitar lessons, but it’s no longer the best choice in our most recent review. The amount of content is vast, but it’s prone to becoming overwhelming – especially for complete beginners. JamPlay’s beginner content is a bit dry compared to others and there’s no clear path for learning – what to start with, where to go next, etc. And the content is all old – they don’t seem to be updating, adding new material or having new live workshops.
But if you’re looking for a very comprehensive set of guitar training video lessons, great bonus features and a more affordable yearly subscription than Guitar Tricks, then JamPlay is still a good option.
7.1/10 Stars Overall
Key Decision Making Factors
- Ease of Use – 6/10 – very overwhelming and confusing – no clear guided learning path. Lots of potential site sections to navigate
- Comprehensiveness – 7/10 – extremely comprehensive set of lessons covering style, genre, skills, fundamentals and more, but no longer updated with new content
- Lesson Quality – 7/10 – well-shot and produced video based lessons, beginner lessons are long and dry
- Affordability – 7.5/10 – not the cheapest option, but more affordable on a yearly plan than some competitors
- Standout Features – 8/10 – interactive lessons + exercises, lots of extras like apps, courses, etc.
Review Table of Contents
Should You Subscribe: Most people wanting to learn guitar SHOULD NOT subscribe to JamPlay – they’d probably be better off subscribing to Guitar Tricks (especially complete beginners). If you don’t need a hand-held, guided learning path and want a more affordable yearly subscription with a similar amount of comprehensiveness, then JamPlay may be a good choice for you. Just don’t expect much NEW content added to the site.
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JamPlay Video Review (Old)
More About the Program
JamPlay is one of the original online guitar learning platforms and used to be our #1 pick. It’s the first set of online guitar lessons that I’ve personally tried and used to be my favorites.
I was absolutely floored by JamPlay’s learning experience and the depth and comprehensiveness of the lessons. It was overwhelming because of the sheet amount of content, but I enjoyed it and preferred it to Guitar Tricks, because they had lessons on singing while playing the guitar.
JamPlay’s website isn’t the most easy to use and has a ton of areas to explore as soon as you log in. You’re left wondering what to do or where to start. The beginner lessons are extremely comprehensive and are taught by multiple instructors. That’s good if you want to be able to switch instructor styles, but it’s also overwhelming for a beginner to know what to even start with.
There’s no clear learning path for beginners inside JamPlay, but for those who know what they want to learn there’s a wide variety of content to choose from. You also have interactive learning portions of the lessons, including song lessons. And there’s a ton of options when it comes to techniques, songs and styles.
JamPlay is a very comprehensive course, but it doesn’t seem like they are adding much (if any) new content to what’s already there on the site. And unfortunately, if you want to learn guitar AND bass, you’ll need a separate subscription for both.
Does JamPlay work? Yes, absolutely. Is it the best option to learn how to play guitar? Not anymore.
- $19.95 per Month (Get 10% Off!) or
- $159.95 Yearly
- $299.95 Yearly PRO Level (Includes 1-on-1 training + more)
- 6 to 12 weeks for initial training (beginners) + a lifetime of various styles/skills training
- Self-taught, so depends on your own pace
- 4 Phases + Artist Series and Extras
- Lessons for Beginners – for complete novices to self-taught guitarists
- Learn Your Preferred Styles and Skills
- Learn Songs
- Learn Songwriting
- Artist Series – Learn the specific styles of your favorite guitarist
- Performances/Concerts/Interviews/Lick&Riff Library
- Extras Included in PRO Level Membership: 1-on-1 consultation, 7 different guitar “toolkits”
- 30 Day Money Back Guarantee
- Affordable cost – yearly price offers bigger savings over Guitar Tricks (Plus Get 10% Off JamPlay With the Link Above)
- Option to bridge gap between online lessons/private training w/ 1-on-1 consultations
- Extremely comprehensive curriculum – A to Z style
- Good selection of bonus materials: jam tracks, games, community and much more
- Some of the best guitarists in the world as instructors
- Doesn’t look like they’re adding much new content to what’s already there
- Completely overwhelming – not hand-held/guided at all
- Difficult to know where to start, who to watch and where to go next (especially beginner lessons)
- Lots of songs to learn, but needs more funk/soul/r&b songs+lessons
- Not enough modern songs to learn
- Bass guitar lessons are a separate subscription
Who This Program is Best For
- Novice and intermediate guitar students who don’t need a guided approach
- You are looking for a large selection of techniques/skills/styles
- You want something similar to Guitar Tricks but at a more affordable yearly cost
- You want instructors who are at the top of their game (famous guitarists + session musicians)
- You want the best of both worlds (online lesson and private tutoring)
How it Stacks Up to Competitors:
There are a lot of online guitar lesson platforms you can choose from. Most offer the same basic idea, but there are better and worse options for everyone. Let’s see how JamPlay compares to the other players in the market.
JamPlay vs. Guitar Tricks
The biggest difference between JamPlay and Guitar Tricks (aside from price) is the fact that Guitar Tricks has a “core learning system.” This is a hand-held, guided path for beginner guitar students to learn from. It takes most of the confusion/overwhelm out of programs as comprehensive and wide-reaching as these.
JamPlay doesn’t have anything like that. You have several different “beginner” lessons from several different instructors (each containing about 8 hours of video) and so you’re left a bit confused on what to choose or where to start.
Beyond that, though, JamPlay has a more affordable subscription option if you choose to subscribe to the annual/yearly plan. The content topics and breadth of lessons is similar in both companies’ cases.
JamPlay vs. TrueFire
I’m not 100% sure, but I believe the TrueFire company owns JamPlay now. TrueFire is a very similar setup to JamPlay, but it is a much more comprehensive platform. Whereas JamPlay has an insane amount of videos, TrueFire has over 54,000 at the time of this writing. So it’s a much deeper learning experience.
Similar to JamPlay, it doesn’t have the best “beginner” lessons and isn’t hand-held or guided at all. If you’re an intermediate player, TrueFire may be a better choice for you since it has more content in a lot more subject areas. Further, TrueFire is actually cheaper than even JamPlay if you go with the yearly subscription
But if you want some of the specifics that JamPlay offers, like the one-on-one consultations, then go with JamPlay
JamPlay vs. Fender Play
If you’re a complete beginner, Fender Play is a much better option for you than JamPlay. It’s a very guided and hand-held approach. There’s no confusion about where to start or what to do next. And the content itself is great. However, it isn’t anywhere near as comprehensive as JamPlay. If you’re looking for lots of different video lessons, then JamPlay beats out Fender Play.
But in terms of lesson quality, Fender Play is better – the videos are short and concise and the lessons get you right to playing right away. You don’t waste anytime and get into playing cool riffs almost immediately. On the other hand, with JamPlay you have dozens of beginner courses available to you, each with 8 hours+ of video lessons and a pretty boring style.
If you prefer short, snappy lessons and don’t want to be bored, Fender Play might be a better choice for you.
What’s Included in JamPlay and How it All Works
When you first login to your Jamplay members area you’re asked to fill out some questions so the program can be more customized to your needs.
Definitely fill in the first 2 pages of info for best results, but it’s all pretty optional.
Review of JamPlay Members Area
Once you’re in the main members area you’re shown several sections – your progress so far, new courses, upcoming live workshops, community board and Q&A section, the latest news and more.
Inside JamPlay, they also tracks your progress as you complete various lessons. It’ll allow you to start where you left off easily.
Jamplay also offers flexibility. You can choose which concepts to learn first and focus on what interests you depending on your skill level.
If you want to master the instrument, you can learn everything here at JamPlay. And their use of HD videos makes for more effective teaching/learning.
Different Areas of Learning
You’ll notice in the JamPlay homepage pic above that there are several headings – Courses, Songs, Tools, Instructors, etc.
Under the Dashboard area is where you’ll find the tracking tools for your progress. You can view progress reports, edit your profile and see any any jampoints/badges you’ve earned.
Under “Courses” and “Songs” you’ll see how the program is broken down into four+ initial phases.
- Beginner Courses – the fundamentals you need to know as a complete beginner
- Genres & Skills – specialized lessons to improve specific guitar skills
- Songs – learn popular songs on the guitar
- Songwriting – learn songwriting in the context of playing guitar
You’ll also find the JamPlay Artists Series lessons, archived live workshops and the toolkits included with your subscription (if any).
The Tools section is pretty sick too – it’s got chord/scale libraries, guitar and bass tuners, training games, a metronome and JamTracks – backing tracks you can play along to.
Phase 1 – Beginner Guitar Lessons
Phase 1 of JamPlay covers the fundamentals – the beginner lessons. They are divided into 3 sections:
- Acoustic Guitar
- Electric Guitar
- Bass Guitar
Note: Bass Guitar Lessons Require a Separate Subscription. Click Here to Get 10% off Bass Lessons too.
If you’ve never picked up a guitar before or you’re still very new – this is where you want to start.
There are a lot of different beginner lessons, separate by instructor but you don’t have to do them ALL.
There are short descriptions of each beginner lesson under the title so you’ll be able to tell which lessons are most appropriate for you.
For example, you could start with the fundamental basics (strumming, pick technique, etc), and then go into a beginner lesson that’s more song-based. Or maybe start with more song-based learning and then jump to lessons more geared towards a finger style guitarist.
It’s totally up to you.
I would, however recommend taking the lesson on “how to practice” what you learn – it’s only 11 minutes and one of the most valuable lessons in JamPlay.
Phase 2 – Genre Specific and Skill Based Lessons
Phase 2 is where JamPlay starts to really shine. They have a vast collection of music styles to learn that is just incredible.
Whichever genre(s) you choose to play, you will be in a gold mine of tutorials.
If you want to learn more than one style, you can do so at your own pace. JamPlay doesn’t limit you to one style; you can learn them all if you want.
Beyond styles and genres, there are tons of lessons here on specific skills that will help you master the instrument. Sure it will take a while, but if you want, JamPlay can help you become an absolute guitar playing pro – versatile and capable of playing anything, anywhere.
Some of the genre’s you can learn at JamPlay include:
- R&B & Soul
- Acoustic Rock
- Hawaiian Slack Key
While going through the music genres you like, you can also focus on skills and specializations.
Some of the Guitar Skill-Based Lessons Available at JamPlay
- Speed and Technique
- Helpers & Tips (hammer-ons, pull-offs, rakes, harmonics)
- Singing With Guitar (my personal fave)
- Reading Music & Rhythms
- Lead Concepts & Techniques
- Theory & Improvisation
- 12 String Guitar Playing
- Rhythm Training
- Ear Training
- Studio Skills & Engineering
- Instrument Care & Maintenance
If you check the descriptions of the guitar skills in JamPlay, you’ll notice they have a module on Studio Skills – a lesson you won’t see in other programs. That’s one of the many reasons why I say JamPlay is one of the most comprehensive courses available online.
It’s not just because of the number of videos but because of the variety of lessons you can learn inside Jamplay. I can honestly say that this is an all-encompassing course.
Phase 3 – Song Lessons
Let’s be real, Phase 3 of JamPlay is what we’re all really here for…
This is where we get to learn actual songs that we actually might like and want to play!
There are some GREAT songs here and new ones added often. Tons of classics to learn.
However, as mentioned earlier, the songs you can learn across different genres is limited.
Lots of Rock, Metal and Country. Virtually no R&B/Funk.
Personally I wanted to learn a lot more R&B/Soul and Funk guitar. But the only song I could find in the giant list of songs at JamPlay was James Brown’s Super Bad Super Slick.
That was disappointing, but not a deal-breaker. The real place where the R&B/Funk style is taught is in the style/skill section (i.e. Phase 2).
In all honesty, this shouldn’t stop you from learning some of these songs. You can learn from their online videos along with guitar tabs to follow the lessons easily. And sometimes there is style overlap between genres of music. So a rock song might use an R&B lick or technique.
It’s a good idea to learn at least some of the songs inside JamPlay even if they’re not in your favorite genre.
Here are some of the popular artists/bands they cover:
- The Beatles
- Fallout Boy
- Collective Soul
- Three Days Grace
- James Brown (only one song though)
- Willie Nelson
- Jimi Hendrix
- ZZ Top
And a whole hell of a lot more. This alone might be worth the price of JamPlay’s membership for some of you readers out there.
As of the time of writing this article, JamPlay has at least 1 song in every genre of music they cover that you can learn (I think). So, there’s no need to worry. You still have many different songs to learn, and they are continually adding more.
Phase 4 – Songwriting Lessons
This is a pretty cool new section in JamPlay that was added recently. In this section there are several instructors with different lessons on how to write full songs, now that you know how to play the guitar properly.
The section is divided into two – electric guitar songwriting and acoustic guitar songwriting – but there’s only 1 electric lesson at the time of this writing.
Learning how to write songs is a super important part of being a musician.
There’s more to it than finding a chord or two and coming up with a quick pattern. These lessons are super helpful for any musician, so I’m glad to see JamPlay actually include it in their updated members area.
Beyond the 4 Phases of JamPlay
After going through the lessons in the first 4 phases, you will get some extra stuff that will fire up your interest even more. They don’t just stop at the main lessons, you know.
It is an entire system designed to help you master the guitar.
The Artist Series
This section is too damn cool. Probably my FAVORITE section of all of JamPlay’s content. Here you will learn from some of the music industry’s best guitarists who will show you their unique styles.
From major music industry session players to members of some of the biggest bands in the world, you will learn only from the experts.
Who would have thought you‘d be able to learn and play with rock legend Steve Stevens from Billy Idol? Or Collective Soul’s Joel Kosche?
With JamPlay, that’s possible.
But there’s no set order of these lessons, which is why it’s separate from the initial 4 phases. You should have a solid handle on guitar playing before you dive into this section.
In the Style of…
The Artist Series don’t just stop there, though. No, no no…
There may be some lessons that are not taught by the artists themselves, but these are lessons taught by qualified instructors who will show you how to play like these legendary artists.
The artists covered in this section are:
- Tom Morello
- Jimi Hendrix
- Joe Satriani
- David Glimour
- Carlos Santana
- Steve Vai
- Merle Travis
- Tommy Emmanuel
- The Rolling Stones
- Eric Clapton
- The Edge
- John Mayer
- Dave Matthews
- Keith Urban
- George Harrison
- Wes Montgomery
You wouldn’t want to miss some of these awesome stuff. These can serve as your motivation to get through the basic lessons immediately and continue until you get to this section.
The Evolution of JamPlay Over Time
JamPlay has been around for quite a while and has been a major force in the online lessons world. It was a top-tier product. But I don’t think the company has evolved enough over time to remain competitive with others in the space.
Don’t get me wrong, JamPlay is still a great set of guitar lessons, but it has not evolved much over time. The product is basically the same since the first time we reviewed it years ago. The website design and organization has changed, but the content, flow and basic way it works is the same.
Literally – those screenshots above of the members area look EXACTLY the same, but in a different color. It doesn’t look like much new content has been added to the main phases of the program. Even in the archived live workshops section, the last live workshop I could find was from 2019.
Not a good look. Especially since programs like Guitar Tricks are still constantly evolving.
Product Design and How it Affects Use
As you can see from the screenshots of JamPlay’s website above, the design of the website isn’t terrible. It looks nice. But it’s not the best out there either. The older website was a little less pretty, but was setup almost exactly the same as it is today. It can be a confusing and overwhelming website to use. There are 4 phases of the main guitar learning program, but they’re separated in two different menus.
For example, Phase 3 and 4 (songs and songwriting) are in a separate menu from Phase 1 and 2, where Artist Series lessons are also located. So it’s a bit confusing navigating and using. There is a lot of content and there are a lot of tools, but such a comprehensive program needs a much better design to be used without overwhelming the user.
Beyond that, the fact there is no guided, hand-held beginner learning path makes it extremely confusing and overwhelming for beginners. If you click on “Beginner Lessons” you’re confronted with over a dozen different “beginner” courses. Which do you choose? There’s no guidance. Beyond that each of those beginner courses has like 8+ hours of video.
In my opinion, even though the content can be great, JamPlay needs a better design and user flow.
My Personal Experience
Here’s my story using JamPlay to learn guitar for the first time. I loved it when I first used it, but now I’m much less impressed with the program, so take the following with a grain of salt.
Here is my personal experience with JamPlay – and it was one of the best ways to learn to play the guitar that I had ever tried – and I’ve tried quite a few (from private teachers to online lessons).
But the thing is, I’m not the biggest fan of private teachers – they’re expensive and they aren’t as versatile in their style/skill as what’s available online.
When I found JamPlay, I fell in love with the program.
I LOVE MUSIC
I have always been a music lover, and eventually I want to be able to play a large variety of instruments. My first instrument ever was a guitar.
And I wanted to learn how to play the guitar before anything else in music. I was gonna be a rock star.
Unfortunately, when I started taking traditional style lessons my excitement died out quickly.
This S**t Sucks…
The private lessons from a guitar teacher were boring and dry. The practice was tedious and uninspiring. And, worst of all, I had no idea where all of this was going – what am I trying to accomplish here?
I’m tryna be a rockstar, dammit…
How could I be excited when I was forced to play boring songs I didn’t care to learn and aimlessly practice with no vision or idea of how this would take me to my end goal?
Nope – that’s not what I needed.
Sure.. you gotta learn the basics at first. But you want to keep the excitement of being able to play your favorite songs SOONER than later. You want to know it will all be worth it.
Private lessons from traditional teachers just wasn’t offering that…
Needless to say, that didn’t last long and I quit.
Now remember, I was 10ish when I started… YouTube wasn’t around then.
But I wanted to master the guitar one day. I wanted to play the songs I liked and not something I had ZERO interest it.
It was supposed to be fun, right? There had to be something better.
The Beauty of the Internet
Eventually, I decided I should try to learn how to play the proper way again. By this time, YouTube lessons were starting to get made more and more so I learned a bit for free through the internet.
It was cool, but nothing serious. It wasn’t enough – I wasn’t progressing the way I was hoping to.
(Even today, the free lessons on YouTube can be a great start, but they’re not enough to REALLY learn properly)
So I decided to take the next step. At one point I tried out some online singing lessons and liked them. So I thought, there must be something there for instruments too.
Eventually I found something called Guitar Tricks. And so I started learning fundamentals and poking around some popular songs.
But soon after that I found JamPlay.
And damn was I glad I did.
I hadn’t heard of them before, so I decided to check it out. It seemed like exactly what I was looking for.
I took the plunge and got access to the program on the monthly plan. It seemed expensive at first (cheaper than private lessons, but still… an ongoing subscription?)
Soon enough I learned why it was a subscription – the amount of new content and lessons being added is WILD.
If you ask me now, with all that JamPlay offers, I think it’s UNDERPRICED!
On my first look at JamPlay, everything looked professional with super high-quality videos. What was even better is they’ve got some great names behind the training (for example, Steve Stevens from Billy Idol has a masterclass in the member’s area).
I was stoked…
Learning the Proper Way
When I got access to the JamPlay program, I was eager to start immediately. It was impressive, but a little overwhelming.
They just have so much stuff that I found it hard to pick where to start. It wasn’t like a linear guitar curriculum.
I didn’t know if I should go with this trainer or that trainer. This set of beginner lessons or that set.
When I finally dove in (I just picked a beginner series randomly) I found that the way the lessons were laid out made sense. And they dove right into playing after briefly explaining the basics (I’m not gonna lie – I got flashbacks of my private lessons at that point).
But it was a little better this time around.
I could see where I was going thanks to the JamPlay members area. I had the motivation to get through the basics because I could immediately jump between the basics and stuff that interested me (learning songs from Metallica/RATM/SOAD and a bunch of R&B/Funk/Soul styles).
Now, you don’t have to be like me and start right at the beginning. You can choose wherever you want to start – dive right into learning a particular skill, style, or song if you want.
That makes it great for intermediate and advanced guitarists as well as beginners.
The JamPlay Learning Experience
I really liked the fact that you could learn however you wanted, whenever you wanted and wherever you wanted. You can use the program’s mobile video streaming on your phone or tablet and get up to 720 HD video. Learning at your own pace is so much better than having someone force you down a certain path. Like I said, I was jumping between fundamentals and songs/skills/styles. It was great.
Of course, you still need to be disciplined if you really want to get better.
Sometimes I’d miss practicing for a few days but didn’t have to worry about some teacher giving me a headache about it. And if I had extra time, I could move forward faster than I’d be able to with a private guitar tutor.
Ups and Downs, Back and Forth
Since I know music and the basics of theory, I raced through Jamplay’s fundamental sections and went straight to learning a bit about the skills and styles I wanted.
I quickly learned I should go back eventually and do the fundamental stuff PROPERLY… Apparently learning the basics is important (lol).
I’m not gonna lie – some of the fundamental stuff is dry and boring.
All in all it’s a solid program for any aspiring guitarist to try.
With JamPlay’s money-back guarantee I literally had nothing to lose, but I was NOT disappointed and have been a member ever since.
The Downside of JamPlay’s Lessons
The types of songs available to learn in JamPlay are good, but it kept me wanting for more.
They have a lot of rock and country music, but not enough in other genres like Funk/Soul/R&B. And I think the company would benefit by adding more modern songs into their lessons.
Having said that, there’s tons of classics to choose from, but they need to up the number of “recent” songs they cover.
Also, a lot of the songs and styles/techniques often crossover between genres, so you’re still learning what you need to learn for your particular preferences.
Even though one month is PLENTY of time to test and sample all of the content of Jamplay (they have a 30 day money back guarantee), be aware there’s A LOT of stuff there.
And it can be pretty overwhelming.
How to Make the Most of the Program
If you decide to try JamPlay out, explore the members area thoroughly first to see all that’s there.
Then make a plan of attack of what to do first and what to do next. And stick to your plan. (It’s ok to switch back and forth between all the shiny objects you’ll find as long as you stay dedicated and consistent with learning/practice).
Adjust as necessary, and if you find JamPlay is just not for you, cancel within 30 days and you’ll get your money back.
Frequently Asked Questions
Jamplay’s toolkits are sets of lessons and digital tools that help you improve or master specific topics and skills. They are sets of content that focus on a specific topic or genre and contain 75-100 “tools” including guided practice, lesson plans and videos.
Yes, Jamplay’s set of lessons is worth it, but it’s not necessarily the best choice for everyone. If you’re a complete beginner, there is a better choice of guitar lessons for you. If you’re an intermediate or advanced player, there’s also a better choice for you. JamPlay used to be the best for most situations, but not anymore. That doesn’t mean it’s not worth the price of the program, though.
The way Jamplay works is that you are greeted with an extensive library of content to learn guitar. You should first start in the “beginner” lessons. There are several options, so just choose one of the “beginner” series’ and start there. After that you’re able to choose specific skills and genres you are interested in. Once you go through a few of those lessons, you can try learning some of your favorite songs.
The Final Verdict
I DO NOT RECOMMEND JamPlay overall – especially for beginners and people who want a guided way to learn
JamPlay used to be my go-to recommendation for a while. But most people wanting to learn guitar will do better with Guitar Tricks or Fender Play. They’re just better overall options.
But JamPlay DOES have some great content and that alone can be worth the price of the subscription. Their artist series and in the style of series is great.
So that’s it! Our full JamPlay review – we hope you found it helpful!
Other Guitar Guides You Might Like:
- TrueFire Review
- Guitar Mastery Method
- Fender Play
- How to Read Tabs
- How to Play Guitar Power Chords
- Basic Chords on the Guitar
- Scales for the Guitar
- Learn Essential Guitar Techniques
Tools and Resources for Guitarists (affiliate links)
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