JamPlay Review

Acoustic Guitar Electric Guitar May 18, 2020
jamplay

JamPlay Review

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jamplay

If you’ve ever tried or considered learning how to play the guitar, you may have found yourself intimidated by a massive, new world full of things to learn that may be difficult to understand.

Finding a competent and affordable instructor is only one thing to consider. There’s also the challenge of making time to go to your lesson, and having the discipline to practice on your own when you’re at home.

JamPlay Scorecard
JamPlay
JamPlay
Overall Score
Pros
  • Massive range of genres including some unusual choices like Flamenco and Hawaiian Slack Key
  • Awesome lineup of instructors including lots of famous faces
  • Live sessions are almost always available
  • Special area with online guitar lessons for kids
Cons
  • Bass guitar players have limited access to bass-specific site features during the trial phase
  • Extra cost to buy “credits” for downloading lessons for offline use
Pros
  • Massive range of genres including some unusual choices like Flamenco and Hawaiian Slack Key
  • Awesome lineup of instructors including lots of famous faces
  • Live sessions are almost always available
  • Special area with online guitar lessons for kids
Cons
  • Bass guitar players have limited access to bass-specific site features during the trial phase
  • Extra cost to buy “credits” for downloading lessons for offline use
Accessibility & Design
Quality of Visual Aids
Lessons Available
Instructors & Teaching Methods
Unique Features
Trial Period
Pricing & Refund Policy

Our Video Review of JamPlay

This is when online guitar lessons can be a convenient and affordable option, and JamPlay offers thousands of lessons covering several different styles from dozens of instructors that you can take at home on your own time, and at your own pace.

They offer a 30-day trial that gives you full access to their entire website, as well as lessons that you can purchase, download and keep forever.

Why You Should Trust This Review

I’ve been playing guitar and making music for approximately 35 years, mostly based out of Los Angeles, CA. I’ve played in several bands, been involved with several recording projects and played countless shows all over the world.

As a band member I have been a leader, a follower and a team player, primarily playing punk and alternative styles of music. I’ve never taken a formal guitar lesson but I have learned a lot from other musicians by simply playing along with them, asking questions and picking up tips and tricks here and there.

I continue to enjoy the experiences I get from playing and touring, and a big part of that is because I’m still able to learn so much from other guitar players.

How I Tested It

I spent a few days exploring the JamPay website and, even though there are lots of options and features, I found that it was pretty easy to navigate. When you create an account there are a series of questions for you to answer to help create a learning path, and which skills you want to learn or refine. You also have numerous instructors to choose from who cover several different styles and genres. So, if you’re a beginner, you will be directed to the beginner classes that teach you the core basics of playing.

One of the JamPlay lessons.
One of the JamPlay lessons.

I created an intermediate electric guitar rock path and I was able to watch several very basic lessons, but it’s easy to skip ahead or even change instructors if you want. Each instructor has his or her own approach to teaching, so it’s great that you can read their bios and sample their courses until you find someone that you like.

The Lessons & Instructors

The average length of each lesson is around 15 minutes, but some are much shorter or longer. Many of the lessons are geared toward beginner and intermediate skill levels, but they also offer master courses for advanced players.

The instructors themselves are very experienced and knowledgeable, and many of them are working, touring musicians who have spent several years performing and recording.

As I mentioned, every instructor has a different approach to teaching; some do more talking than others, some like to start very slowly with the fundamentals, and some want you to dive right in and start teaching you riffs right away.

Some of the JamPlay instructors.
Some of the JamPlay instructors.

Most of the lessons focus on electric and acoustic guitar, but they also have a large amount of bass lessons available, and all of the functions and features of the bass lessons are identical to the guitar lessons. However, the bass lessons are not included with a guitar membership, and an additional fee is required to access them.

Production Value

The production value of the videos is very high, and all of the lessons are filmed in 4K resolution. And, for each video, you can select which resolution you prefer depending on what works best for your streaming devices. All of the lessons are presented in a multi-view format that gives you up to six different angles of the instructor, including close-ups of their fingers.

Also, you can easily rewind and re-watch the videos, speed them up if you think they’re moving too slowly, and slow them down to as low as 10% of the normal speed so you can really see what the instructor is playing.

The video player also allows you to create your own loops so you can re-watch a specific segment of the lesson over and over again, you can bookmark lessons and create your own lessons playlist, you can leave notes for yourself for each individual lesson, leave comments about the lessons, and read comments from other JamPlay members.

There’s also the “Ask a Teacher” section which contains answers to frequently asked questions about the lesson. If you can’t find the answer you’re looking for, you can post a question and a JamPlay instructor will respond with an answer.

The selection of libraries and tools.
The selection of libraries and tools.

Additional features of the lessons include the chord charts and tablature that you can view, download and print, and some lessons include downloadable practice tracks in MP3 format that allow you to play along with a drum track, bass or metronome, and with or without a pre-recorded guitar track.

What It Offers

JamPlay offers a 30-day trial which gives you full access to more than 450 courses containing more than 7,000 lessons taught by more than 100 instructors covering 20 different genres.

New lessons are uploaded daily, and they also stream weekly live lessons from various instructors. It’s important to note that you are required to give them a credit or debit card number when you sign up, and it’s your responsibility to cancel before the trial period ends if you don’t want to get charged for a paid membership.

Chord Library

The Chord Library contains 950,000 chords for chord charts and tablature, along with accompanying photographs of the actual fingering. The chords in the library contain 30 different tuning options, and you can also create your own custom chord sheets to download and print.

Scale and Lick & Riff Libraries

The Scale Library is a collection of scales with fretboard diagrams, playing applications, theory, famous solos and interactive video examples. And, the Lick & Riff Library is a collection of short instructional videos that focus on helping you develop your soloing skills. As with all of the lessons on JamPlay, the lessons in the Lick & Riff Library contain the chord charts and tablature.

A sample from the scale library.
A sample from the scale library.

JamTrack Library

Another feature of JamPlay is the JamTrack Library, which contains more than 700 recorded tracks in various genres that you can play along with to further your lead skills. The tracks all include chord charts, tablature and scale recommendations, and you can filter which tracks you want by genre, key and instructor. Also, all of the JamTracks can be downloaded as an MP3.

Free Apps and Extra Features

There are also free apps that you can download for phones, tablets, gaming consoles, streaming devices and Internet-enabled TVs that allow you to watch and take your lessons from just about anywhere.

Additional features include custom progress reports to monitor your development, an online tuner and metronome, and a small collection of training games to help with memorizing notation, notes and the fretboard. There’s also a live chat feature that allows you to speak to a customer service representative if you have questions or are having issues with your account.

  • 7,000+ lessons available
  • Custom learning paths
  • Beginner to advanced level lessons
  • Multi-view videos with adjustable speed
  • Tablature and chord charts available

Signing Up

As I mentioned, signing up for the free 30-day trial requires that you give them a credit or debit card number. If you decide to purchase a membership, it’s:

  • $19.95 per month
  • $49.95 for three months
  • $159.95 for a “Year Standard” membership
  • $299.95 for a “Year Pro” membership. (The Year Pro membership includes added bonuses that I will break down in this next segment.)

As for bass lessons, the cost is an additional $19.95 per month or $119.99 for a year, but they offer occasional sales for adding bass lessons at a reduced price. And, adding bass lessons or canceling your membership is a simple process that you can do by logging in to JamPlay and going to your account page.

Additional Purchases

There are other purchases that you can make from JamPlay that are not included in the monthly or quarterly membership, but some of them are included in the yearly memberships.

Downloadable Lessons

All of the lessons are available to purchase and download permanently by using “Ownership Credits.” The way that works is, you buy ownership credits and each lesson is worth one credit.

So, if you buy five credits you can download five lessons. Keep in mind that you can’t buy just one credit. The price structure is $15 for five credits, $30 for 10 credits, $75 for 25 credits, and $150 for 50 credits. Once you purchase credits and download the lessons, they’re yours to keep indefinitely.

Toolkits

Other add-ons are what are called toolkits, which are additional packs of lessons beyond the beginner courses that focus on specific styles of play, practice drills, guitar tone techniques, and home recording tips. Some of the lessons are exclusive to the toolkits but some of the lessons are taken from JamPlay’s existing library.

If you have a monthly or quarterly membership, toolkits are $99.95 and you can download and keep them permanently. If you have a year standard membership you get one free toolkit to download, and a year pro membership lets you download all of the available toolkits.

One of the available toolkits.
One of the available toolkits.

1-On-1 Consultation

The one free toolkit is the only added benefit of buying a year standard membership, apart from saving $6.62 per month compared to a monthly membership. If you opt for a year pro membership, you receive the aforementioned toolkits, 25 ownership credits, a JamPlay t-shirt, and a 1-on-1 consultation.

The consultation is a one-time interaction on the topic of your choice with a JamPlay instructor who will help set up a lesson plan for the next 3-6 months. The 1-on-1 consultation is exclusive to the year pro membership and is not available as an additional purchase through any of the other memberships or the free trial.

  • Free 30-day trial
  • $19.95/month, $49.94/quarter, $159.95/year standard, or $299.95/year pro
  • Free app for phones, tablets, gaming consoles, streaming devices and web-TVs
  • Chord, scale, riff and JamTrack libraries
  • Additional lessons to purchase and download

What I Liked

I really enjoyed the JamPlay website and, even though it has tons of lessons, options, features and additional add-ons, I found their site to be easy to navigate. I also think it’s great that you’re allowed to sample different instructors and choose ones that are the best fit for you.

The HD videos with multi-view format are outstanding, and being able to choose your own streaming resolution and slow the playback speed down to as low as 10% are great features.

Also, having 20 different genres to choose from along with new lessons being uploaded daily should keep anyone pretty busy, and the huge libraries of chords, scales, riffs and JamTracks will give you plenty of avenues to hone your skills.

  • Large selection of courses
  • Custom learning paths
  • New lessons uploaded daily
  • Choose from multiple instructors
  • Go at your own pace
  • Watch only the lessons that you want
  • Several styles to choose from
  • Knowledgeable instructors
  • Great video quality
  • Free app for phones, tablets, gaming consoles, streaming devices and web-TVs

What I Didn’t Like

There are very few things that I didn’t like about JamPlay but I think they’re worth mentioning. Personally, I get a little hesitant to give any website my credit card number for a free trial, but that’s mostly because I don’t always remember to cancel on time, so I guess that’s really my own issue.

Also, I don’t completely understand the point of having to purchase Ownership Credits in order to buy and download individual lessons, especially since you can buy the other add-ons directly.

It’s not a huge undertaking to have to purchase lessons that way, but it’s still a little annoying. Lastly, it’s a bit disappointing that you can’t take any bass lessons without having to purchase an upgrade to your membership. I don’t play bass that often but it would have been nice to have the option to take a few lessons without having to pay extra.

  • Must provide a credit/debit card for free trial
  • Must purchase ownership credits to download lessons
  • Bass lessons cost extra

Final Thoughts

The cost for JamPlay seems reasonable considering the amount of lessons, genres, instructors and other features that it offers. In fact, I think that since the library of lessons is constantly growing and that you have more than 100 instructors to choose from, it seems very reasonable.

Also, a 30-day free trial should give you ample time to decide if you want to pay for a membership, or if learning to play the guitar is something you want to do in the first place. You really don’t have much to lose, but there is plenty to gain.

Michael Vogelsang

Michael is a musician, writer and voice actor who has played and recorded music with several bands, mostly connected to the hardcore punk scene. In his spare time he enjoys spending time with his wife and their ever-growing family of animals.
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