If I did a survey from all my students over the past 10+ years (literally thousands at this point), the majority would say learning the guitar is top on their list of musical desires.
The guitar is one of the most idolized and loved instruments of the past 100 years.
People love it!
But for most, it’s hard to play and get started.
It doesn’t have to be this way with the right resources, but it’s hard to find the motivation and the right teachers.
In-person teachers cost a pretty penny, and they aren’t available 24-7.
We can’t be; that’d be crazy!
So a lot of students turn to online learning programs, and I actually encourage this.
You need to find the right one, however.
A couple of years ago, one of my students approached me with the chance to join JamPlay.
Admittedly, I didn’t know much about it.
But as a dedicated and caring musician and teacher, I decided to check it out.
I was impressed then by the massive list of lessons available and the quality of most of the lessons.
There’s enough to keep you busy and improve any guitar player.
Has it held up since I last checked it out?
This is why I decided to do an in-depth JamPlay review for you.
We’ll look into the many offerings, but more importantly, together, I’ll help you see the pros and cons from a teacher and player’s perspective.
Let’s get rocking.
How Is This JamPlay Review Different From Other Ones?
There are a few out there (and some good ones too).
The problem I found is that they’re all by pro or semi-pro guitar players.
These players are awesome experts and all, but they don’t know what it’s like to look at lessons from the points of view of beginner, intermediate, and advanced players.
Over the course of my music teaching career, I’ve worked with all levels of musicians and guitarists.
I’ve seen the many-headed dragon that improves people through teaching.
When I look at each of the elements from this program, I’m thinking of you.
I’m looking at how each type of player will benefit from this.
And with JamPlay, there’s a lot to consider.
The detail and experience behind this review are put all on the line for you to show you exactly what JamPlay is and if/how it will help you guitar playing dreams.
JamPlay At A Glance
JamPlay started out as a simple guitar instruction course and has since evolved.
They’ve tried to become a one-stop-shop for all things related to guitar instruction.
They organize lessons into Courses including:
- Phase 1 (Beginners)
- Phase 2 (Genres and Skills)
- Phase 3 (Songs)
- Phase 4 (Songwriting)
It doesn’t stop there.
From here, they also offer Artist Series lessons and access a licks and riffs library.
JamPlay stores and share performances, interviews, and concerts too.
It’s crazy what they’ve packed into this program.
The phases are sequential and the place to start, but from there, you have access at your leisure to customize your instruction with many other videos and tools.
At the same time, they also run live courses for people to learn together and give each other feedback.
These courses are archived for later viewing when you’re done.
They offer some great tools directly on the website for guitar players and have a thriving community of teachers and students to talk with.
As a guitarist, I feel like I could get lost in all it offers (in a good way).
As a teacher, my students will never be bored, though they may get lost (in a bad way).
Who Is JamPlay For?
JamPlay is meant for guitars.
Anyone who plays or wants to learn to play guitar.
This includes bass guitars as well.
They’re even pushing into more on the classical guitar.
The techniques and lessons aren’t specific to electric or acoustic guitars, though it’s clear the main audience is those who enjoy lead or rhythm electric guitar.
Still, the genre tips and lessons cover more than just rock or pop music.
Singer-songwriters, country, and more are covered too.
Fresh beginners to the guitar will get a lot from the early phases of lessons.
It covers everything you need to know.
But, as happens with online programs, if there’s something you’re missing right away or mistaken on, you may end up quitting in frustration.
The online community helps offset this, as does the chance to work one on one with teachers (for an extra cost).
People who have at least a little experience on guitar (can hold it and strum a few chords) are the ideal audience for this course.
Guitarists with more experience may be bored with the first phases, but the myriad of lessons and courses will keep you busy and improving for years to come.
All in all, anyone who seriously wants to improve on the guitar should check out JamPlay.
Jam Play Membership
JamPlay’s pricing and membership come in a few different forms.
Note: They offer sales and specials all the time, so be sure to head over there for the most current pricing information.
|Normal Member Per Month||Normal Membership Per Year||Pro Membership Per Year |
|+ 7,000+ lessons|
+ 100+ artists
+ All ages and skills unlocked
+ Song library access
+ Progress reports and tracking
+ Live courses
+ Access to tools and apps
|+ All the previous benefits|
+ Save 30%
+ Get a Free Toolkit*
|+ All the previous benefits |
+ Access to all 8 Toolkits
+ 1-on-1 consultation meeting for help
+ 25 ownership credits**
+ JamPlay shirt
What Are The Guitar Toolkits?*
More details on the Toolkits come later on.
Briefly, the Guitarist Toolkits are packs of extra and specific lessons on improving a specific set of skills.
A lot of the information is available in their other lessons on the site, but the Toolkits are made for improvement in the specified area specifically.
I love these for my students.
If I have one struggling with music theory, I tell them to take the Toolkit lessons on this topic.
If I have a fan of country music in my studio, I send them over to that Toolkit.
This is great for those with experience and wanting to improve beyond.
What Are The Ownership Credits?**
Ownership credits allow you to purchase and download lessons to keep forever.
If you don’t want to pay the monthly or yearly fees anymore, the lessons you buy with the membership credits will always be yours, even if the membership isn’t current.
JamPlay Free Trial
The price (while worth it, in my opinion) is a little higher than some may want to pay.
That’s fine, but don’t be afraid to check it out with the JamPlay Free Trial.
The Free Trial is for you to check out the entire membership experience without paying a cent.
For 30 days, you get to explore the many lessons, courses, apps, songs, etc. without paying anything.
After this, you may opt to pay either a yearly membership or the monthly membership (Pro is also an option).
Fair warning, you will have to input your payment information before claiming the Free Trial (as is standard with many programs).
If you don’t want to pay at the end of the month, you just have to remember to cancel on your own.
How Does JamPlay Help?
Before we get into the nitty-gritty details of the program, let’s look at the overall program and, more importantly, how it helps you.
Does it help at all?
In my opinion, it most certainly can.
The question of how much it will help is largely up to you.
JamPlay offers you no shortage of tools, lessons, courses, and an online community to motivate you, keep you on track, and make you a better guitar player.
I know from my own experience teaching how important this motivation and accountability are.
Students (of any age) are most likely to succeed if they have three things in place:
- Inspiration to keep going
- Community and others to rely on
Of these, JamPlay nails the latter two points.
Feedback is hard to give person to person, though the community helps.
But the other two points are here in spades, probably more than almost any other guitar learning program out there.
Top it with quality lessons taught by great players, and you have a recipe for success.
So, how does JamPlay help?
It gives you a path to improvement, motivates you with great teachers and lessons, and a community to bond with.
JamPlay Online Guitar Lessons Review: The Pros And Cons
Before digging into the details, let’s look at the big pros and cons of this program and platform.
No way of learning is perfect, and JamPlay is no exception.
These pros and cons are here for you to help you decide whether it’s worth checking out (spoiler: it is!).
For details, look at the What’s Inside section later on in this review.
Massive Lesson List
Of course, no program would be complete without lessons, and JamPlay fills this need in a way I never expected.
When they say there are 8,000+ lessons, they mean there are 8,000+ unique lessons.
There is material to study and learn for literal years for all levels of players in every genre imaginable.
Not many programs have reached this size, but this is one of the reasons JamPlay is a giant in the world of guitar learning.
Yes, there is more of an emphasis on electric guitar than acoustic (even less of bass), but there is more than enough crossover and material for anyone to spend many, many hours on.
Even though I’ve checked this out before and continue to look at it, I know I’m nowhere near close to seeing all it has to offer.
Creative Ways Of Tracking Progress
Motivation is essential to improvement and good musicianship.
At a certain point, people learn it’s really up to their discipline and dedication how far they get in playing.
JamPlay knows this and offers some creative ways to track your progress and motivate you.
This has inspired even me to practice more.
For my…reluctant students (read: lazy), it’s so engaging they buy into it instantly.
More details on these specific aspects follow later, but here’s what I think is so powerful briefly.
First, lessons you add to your playlist get put into a progress bar. It’s a visual representation to motivate you to get it done.
This is neat but not unique.
But JamPlay took a note from the video game industry and their “achievements,” which motivate gamers to invest more time in playing.
JamPlay Badges are challenges players complete by doing specific tasks.
You complete these challenges not by just logging in but by posting your playing and getting feedback from one of the instructors.
This is so powerful from a teacher’s perspective.
I wish every online music program did this. I know I want it for my students.
I’ve seen it so many times, and it’s so underestimated in the world.
Community, camaraderie, peer groups, or whatever you want to call it are one of the best indicators of success.
JamPlay has an active community split into different groups with their instructors and moderators on-hand to keep these appropriate, on-task, and helpful.
All students need this. It’s almost impossible to be so motivated completely on your own.
My students, whether adults or kids, do better when they learn together.
I often group them up with others at the same level, and we try to do group lessons on occasion.
Music isn’t supposed to be one person hiding in a room forever.
This sometimes happens when learning online.
JamPlay battles this with a helpful and powerful online community.
Saves You Money
A lot of people may be shocked to think about JamPlay as a “cheap” option when it’s one of the more expensive memberships out there for guitar playing.
But if you stop to think about it, it’s actually a great deal.
Going by what you pay for the number of lessons you get, each lesson comes in at pennies per lesson.
Even if you spend one hour per week with these lessons, you’ll end up saving a ton of money compared to what private lessons or even group lessons would cost.
The average private costs $35 per hour and happens once per week.
In 52 weeks (one year), you’ll have spent $1,820 on lessons.
Sure, you’ll improve a ton, but is the extra $1,600 worth it?
Maybe, maybe not.
Still, looking at it from this perspective, JamPlay’s price isn’t high at all.
It’s a steal!
Tons Of Bonus Tools
On top of the lessons and course, they also offer some helpful tools.
My students flock to these to entertain themselves and make playing easier.
More details come on this later, but the tools are wide and varied.
Some are practice and learning tools simply to help you learn songs.
Others are for getting your guitar or bass set up faster.
There are even some games for training different aspects of your guitar knowledge.
These games come with leaderboards (and yes, I may have spent too much time trying to crack the top 10).
High-Quality Recording Format
Any musician worth their salt would be quick to tell how important audio quality is.
Whether it’s a performance or lessons, the audio needs to be top-notch.
My students, like all students, thrive on good-sounding models.
JamPlay spared no expense in making sure the recordings for each lesson were done well with great sound.
It’s almost as if you’re in the room with the teacher.
But for guitar and bass, the visual quality is almost as important, and at times, even more so.
Guitar and bass require a lot of mechanical motion, and any teacher will tell you how much damage a simple like over-extending the wrist will do on a guitarist.
JamPlay’s lessons take care of this too.
When it’s time to get in close, they make sure the video feed is crystal clear, so their students know exactly what something is supposed to look like.
This is something many guitar courses (and especially free ones on YouTube) miss all the time.
Newer Players May Get Lost
Don’t get me wrong.
It’s awesome that JamPlay offers so many options and lessons.
But it’s a lot to handle.
I’m an experienced musician, and even I get a little overwhelmed by the options.
I know where I’m strong and where I’m weak.
If I want to improve my flatpicking, I’ll seek out lessons to improve that skill.
Newer players (especially brand new ones) will look at the lessons and feel lost.
The Phases are great for building skills, but even then, it’s tough to know where to start and if JamPlay has a place they want you to start.
For this reason, I’d say their overall structure is just a little too much.
If you’re serious about playing guitar, it won’t take too much to dig into it and play around.
But some may get scared off too quickly.
Iffy Quality Of (Some) Teachers
JamPlay brags that they have over 200 experts helping make all their lessons and courses.
This may not be a good thing.
All of these experts are great players, but great players don’t always make good teachers.
Some of these teachers are awesome.
A few of my students found some they’ve followed outside of the platform.
These are the treasures of the program.
But then there are some who are as entertaining as dry toast.
Watching their material was still helpful, and I learned some.
But I was bored.
If you’re paying for lessons, they should be good AND engaging.
This being said, all of the teachers know what they’re doing, most of the teachers are good, and there are some great ones too.
Feedback Is Inconsistent
One of the biggest drawbacks of online learning platforms, especially ones based on recorded video lessons, is the lack of feedback.
As a teacher, I know specific feedback is critical for consistent improvement.
It’s just hard to do when you’re not in person or live.
JamPlay is aware of this problem and tries to fix it.
They offer the chance to ask questions on any of the lessons, courses, etc. with the chance for answers to your questions.
The answer comes back fairly quickly, but they’re not from the teachers themselves.
It’s a member of the JamPlay staff that responds.
These people are great knowledgeable, but it’s not always the same.
The answers sometimes miss the point too, and then you have to ask again.
It’s not instant feedback, but at least it’s feedback.
The badges process requires people to post their challenges in video form, and you get some feedback from that.
But it’s pretty generic.
There is a chance for more 1-on-1 meetings, but it costs extra.
Overall, it’s a good effort to fix a common problem, but it falls a little short.
Some Lessons Are Chunked Too Long
Maybe this is the teacher in me being picky, but some of the lessons are just too long.
My younger students would never be able to attend on one thing for 25+ minutes in one go.
And, honestly, neither would my older adult students.
People are only able to pay attention for short periods of time before they need a change.
This is why our TV shows are spaced out with commercials every 6-7 minutes.
JamPlay would be better off breaking some of the longer ones down to 8-10 minutes with practice time assigned in between.
When you get a less-than-engaging teacher with a long lesson, I bet most of you will jump off to try another.
Don’t give up if this is the case, though!
There’s a lot of value in the program.
The Verdict: Is JamPlay Worth It?
After all, this, is JamPlay worth it?
As a guitar player, I’d say heck yes.
The massive list of songs and lessons, along with their platform and community, makes it one of the best guitar learning programs out there.
The cost may seem higher at first, but when compared to what you get and what lessons cost in person, it’s no contest, really.
From a teacher’s perspective, I’d still say JamPlay is great.
No way of learning is perfect, and yes, JamPlay doesn’t do a perfect job of giving feedback.
And some of their teachers are a little boring.
But all the information is good and helpful.
Better yet, JamPlay is always growing and improving.
It’s a platform I enjoyed diving into years ago and one I’ve gladly reviewed recently.
If the price scares you a little, just check out their Free Trial and see all they have to offer for yourself.
Trust me; it’s more than worth it.
If I believe in it enough for my students, I believe in it for you too.
What’s In Jamplay Online Guitar Lessons?
For some of you, all you want to know is about how JamPlay helps.
For some, you want the details of the program.
This section will go over most of the many things JamPlay offers.
I won’t go into too much detail, but if you want to know more about the offerings, this section’s for you.
The first tab to check out is the My JamPlay tab.
This is your sort of home base.
It’s where your important information is, including progress, Jam Point, Badges, and other profile information.
Once you get started, this is where most people will go to get back into their lessons day after day.
Since JamPlay has such a massive list of lessons, the progress report is your own tailor-made list of lessons to keep you organized and on task.
As you search and play around with the lesson, you may save them into a playlist of sorts to view later.
These lessons pop up here and get added to your progress bar, giving you extra incentive to complete more lessons.
It’s a customizable place to keep your lessons organized.
Jam Points is a new feature they’re beta testing as of this writing.
Essentially, this feature gives you Jam Points for completing certain tasks such as “Finding the Guitar Tuner” or logging in 3 days in a row.
As of now, these points just add up in your profile and just appear as a score.
It’s still fun to see how many you can earn, and it’s another reward system for doing engagement tasks.
They plan on developing a way to use these points as a way to earn products or help unlock other features on the platform at some point.
The badges concept is really neat, and I haven’t seen anything like it on other online learning platforms.
Basically, each badge is a challenge based on technical skills or a task.
They often go along with a specific lesson or course.
You post a video of yourself completing the challenge, and then one of the staff watches the video, gives you brief feedback, and approves completion of the badge.
The badge is then attached to your profile as completed.
I think this feature is great for learning.
I loved completing some of these and earning the badges.
They range from easy to hard as everything does in JamPlay and covers acoustic, electric, and bass.
Profile, Friends, Messages
They also have a profile you may customize for other members to see.
You can add friends you know into your friends list or meet through their chat.
Here you also see messages from friends, teachers, and staff.
It’s pretty simple but still nice to see the inclusion of interaction and community at every level of the learning.
The lessons tab is where you’ll spend most of your time finding lessons.
Then, it’s easy to save them and view them in your Progress Report.
The lessons are split into the following segments.
Note: At the top of each segment is a tab for switching between bass and guitar.
Phase 1 – Beginners
Phase 1 is for beginners.
Inside the phase, 1 tab is a list of courses grouped together by the instructor.
The courses are then split into bigger categories of acoustic, electric, and bass.
There is no specific place to start; it’s all up to you.
Every one of these courses should be for beginners and help newbies improve.
There are so many, it’s hard to check every single one out.
I recommend learning about the teachers, their style of playing, and their style of teaching before committing to one and going through the whole thing.
Phase 2 – Genres And Skills
Here is where the lessons start to get really interesting for guitar players who know their way around the box.
In this phase, courses are separated by genre and specific skill set.
This is where the serious guitar player will be able to grow quickly.
As a folk guitarist, I was quick to check out some of those lessons.
I wasn’t disappointed.
It was chock full of specific tips and exercises on this specific genre and play style.
But I’m also aware of my weaknesses.
So I sought out lessons in those skills and am going through them.
You and my students will get a lot out of this too, if you take the time to think about what you want and what you need to learn.
JamPlay has enough material to cover both.
Phase 3 – Songs
This phase is less about developing skills but more about in-depth guides to learning a huge number of songs from across many different genres and performance styles.
There are two things the song lessons I’ve checked out in this phase do well.
First, it teaches you step by step how to play the songs.
This seems obvious, but they really take their time to teach them in a way that lets you build up to the highest level of proficiency.
Second, they include a ton of performance tips and personality.
This is what I really loved, and honestly, a lot of my students do too.
Skills are critical, and I’ve often talked about how exercises and technique are the keys to the kingdom, but it’s the passion and heart of a musician that makes it worthwhile.
Phase 4 – Songwriting
The songwriting phase isn’t one a lot of people who join JamPlay will be running to check out.
When you think of JamPlay, you think of guitar and bass playing.
But this phase also presents some great information and helps with songwriting.
Learning from accomplished songwriters (though the actual success of every single instructor is a little debatable), you’ll have no shortage of methods for getting your inspired songs down.
I enjoyed these ones, even if it wasn’t 100% related to what I initially checked out the platform for.
The artist series isn’t part of their “standard” phase of lessons.
Beginners and intermediate players can learn from these, but it’s better left to advanced and expert players.
Essentially, this section is filled with mini-courses in playing in the style of artists who’ve achieved a higher level of success.
Licks and Riffs Library
This section is the heartland for electric guitar and bass players, though blues guitarists will get a lot from it too.
It’s often said that every song is already written, and everything coming out now is just a reimagining or adaptation of what came before.
There is some truth to this, as the library shows.
So much of guitar playing today was all born from the same place.
And the heart of this is licks and riffs.
This library gives you the chance to slow down and master specific licks and riffs.
This is a helpful tool for all players.
Performances, Interviews, Concerts
In these 3 subsections, we’re treated to exactly what the title says: performances, interviews, and concerts by amazing guitarists.
The Live tab in JamPlay covers courses designed for in-person (well, virtual in-person) instruction.
The courses happen weekly live with an instructor, and specific practice, exercises, and homework are given each week.
You get to connect with others taking the course at the same time.
Basically, you get group lessons wrapped into the membership price.
Another big win!
On top of this, all courses are archived and viewable later as well.
The tools tab is a selection of helpful programs and libraries to use as a resource when not directly in the lessons.
There is a lot in this little tab, and I’ll briefly describe what’s inside each of them.
Need a chord?
Look up one of the 1,000s of chord and voicings to get detailed information on how to play the chord with great visuals and instruction.
Similar to the chord library but now with scales.
For the lead guitarist or solo player, this scale library is critical.
You need to be able to smoothly work your away the scales to play and improvise solos and more.
Again, this library has clear visuals and engaging tips.
Jam Tracks are fun things to use. I often love playing with them.
If you’ve got a good handle on some scales and licks and riffs, now you can jam along with some music.
These tracks are just simple (but high quality) background playing.
Chords, drums, and others will back you up as you play around soloing and leading a song of your own.
For those wanting to get better at improvising, this section is for you.
If you’re a songwriter, you’ll be able to explore melodic ideas here as well.
Metronomes keep the beat in different ways.
JamPlays is a nice one, though not really any better than any other metronome app.
Still, it’s included on the platform and the app, so you don’t have to leave or mess around with other devices while you’re practicing.
Here is a simple but visually clear guitar tuner to help new and experienced guitarists get their guitars quickly in tune.
This is the same as above but with the bass.
The chord namer program is a neat one I don’t think most people will use a lot, but it has a cool concept.
Essentially, if you’re just playing around on your guitar, maybe writing a song, and you end up playing a chord you don’t know, the chord namer steps in to help you.
Click the frets you’re pressing down, and the number will tell you the name and spelling of the chord.
Now just write it down, and you’ll be able to look it up later.
The training games are simple and fun.
From theory to fretboard notes, these are games to make the “boring” parts of learning guitar a little more fun.
The leader board is a big motivator too.
A thriving community is a big plus when learning.
JamPlay does everything it can to encourage players to meet and chat with each other.
In the member’s section, you’ll be able to see members currently logged in.
With clear profile information, check out where each member is on their JamPlay and guitar journey to chat with others at your level.
This section is another good place to start with JamPlay, though they don’t push it this way.
Here, you’ll see all the instructors with their genre and playstyle labeled.
When you click on them, you’ll get a brief bio and links to their courses and lessons.
If you know what style and genre you want to learn, come here first and look for their lessons.
The staff is the team that works on JamPlay.
There’s not much to do here, but it is nice to learn about the folks who put this massive program on the map.
Periodically, JamPlay offers giveaways.
This isn’t fully developed yet on their part (as of this writing), but it’s coming.
This is another way to spend JamPlay Points.
Still, free stuff is good, right?
JamPlay also runs sales on their extras, including the Toolkits (extra specific lessons and courses).
The sales are part of bundles.
It’s worthwhile to check this out once per month and see if anything strikes your fancy.
Don’t forget, all your lessons, tools, progress, and everything may also be connected with their related app for all devices.
In my experience, the whole platform works clearer on the computer, but when you need to get on, the app works great as well.