Online lessons have been my ONLY method for learning guitar, and I wouldn’t change it for anything.
Over the past several years I have reviewed many guitar lesson websites. As of 2018, this Fender Play review has been my most recent analysis.
Without totally spoiling the review:
I concluded that after testing this program, it didn’t make my list of the top guitar learning websites.
Well, there are much better options in my opinion, which I will explain as I go through this detailed review of Fender Play.
But let me make this clear:
I do make other recommendations, but I do so because I actually use and compare the lessons, and I believe certain ones will help you learn guitar better than others.
This review, as with all my others, is based on my personal preference.
Thousands of people have read my reviews, and I’ve literally only received 1 complaint about making a particular recommendation.
After reviewing Fender Play, and countless other guitar lesson platforms, in my opinion, for most guitar players, Guitar Tricks is actually the best option to try first.
And when I say, “try” I really mean test for free.
Guitar Tricks has a 14 day free trial, where you can literally try the lessons for free. If you like them, you can consider upgrading.
So here’s the recommendation I make to everyone:
Just click here and try Guitar Tricks for free. If you don’t like it, then continue researching other platforms.
After testing dozens of websites and programs, I literally still have a Guitar Tricks membership I use on a weekly basis, which I’ve had for years.
Table of Contents for This Review
In most of my reviews about courses and lessons, I try and supply a table of contents so you can find the information you’re looking for.
So use these links to jump to different sections, or read the whole review from top to bottom:
I think we all agree that Fender makes a quality guitar. The product speaks for itself.
But when a company who specializes in 1 area (making physical products), tries to enter a totally different market (online learning), it doesn’t always work.
After analyzing many different online music learning platforms out there, I believe there are a few things you need to get right. And these can take many years to accomplish:
- You need a huge range of lessons. This means you need basic beginner courses, but you also need really in-depth lessons covering ALL guitar topics.
- The instructors need to be real guitar teachers. When a teacher really knows their stuff, and is super passionate about the guitar, you can sense it.
- You need to provide value that you can’t get somewhere else. If it’s free on YouTube, why should anyone pay for it?
So, does Fender Play offer these things…?
Let’s find out.
There is only 1 type of membership.
It starts with a 30 day free trial, which you can cancel any time you want.
If after 30 days, you continue with the lessons, your credit card will be charged. So you need to put down some plastic before testing it out, and you need to cancel the membership within 30 days or you will be charge. The cancelling process is very simple.
So I like that you can try the lessons out, however some other sites do allow you to try their lessons with just an email address, instead of a credit card.
When you do login and register, these are some of the screenshots you will see.
So a membership allows access to all 5 paths:
Selecting between acoustic and electric, and then choosing your style really does nothing to your dashboard. It doesn't really change anything within your membership.
Each path has 5 levels.
So I do like how the lessons progress from 1 level to the next, making it easy for people to follow along, and understand what comes next.
You will also get access to their song lessons, and skill lessons, which can be broken down into these categories:
The lessons are provided through video, and I would say the quality of the video is very good.
Here are some screenshots of the various camera angles and dashboards:
What about the teachers?
My first impression of the teachers was not really good. They honestly all look like hipsters.
Based on taking their lessons for a while, they certainly aren't very inspiring at all.
That being said, they all spoke very clearly, and presented the material very well, and I do believe they're all qualified to teach.
But if you're a middle aged man looking to get back into the guitar, I don't think you're going to relate to these teachers at all.
Is the lesson content any good?
The best thing about these lessons is that they're really easy to access.
The setup process is simple, and the quality of the videos are really good.
But when you start to breakdown the content in the lessons, and the overall structure, things start to go downhill.
There are better step-by-step paths and lessons for beginners from other websites.
A lot of the material in the lessons can be found on other platforms including free resources like YouTube.
There isn't any great advanced lessons or concepts for intermediate guitarists.
These lessons would really only be recommended for pure beginners.
If you've received a free trial sticker after purchasing a Fender guitar, then you might get some value out of the 30 day free trial.
But even for beginners, there are some better alternatives which have better structure and organization in my opinion.
If you have any guitar background, I don't think you will really enjoy these lessons, or find them useful when compared to some other choices out there.
Typically the cost is $19.99 per month, however at the time I tested these lessons, they had a 50% off special.
The base price without the discount is $19.99 per month, however if you purchase a 6 month membership you save 58%, and when you purchase a year membership, you save 60%.
I live in Canada, and these were the quoted prices I was given, which are pretty much comparable to other guitar lesson websites:
Monthly: 12.99 CAD, which is 9.99 US (50% off)
Every 6 Months: 67.99 CAD
Annually: 121.99 CAD
Above I covered what you do get with Fender Play.
So now let me outline a few things you don't get, and highlight some better alternatives.
Community and Live Lessons:
There's no forum or community at the moment with Fender Play. This might change in the future, but at the time of writing this review, there's nothing.
You can't interact with anyone, or even get some information on the instructors.
This is a huge contrast to the thriving community at JamPlay, where you can actually take live lessons and workshops where there are question and answer periods.
If you want to join a community of guitar players, stream live lessons, and get access to 80 instructors, read my JamPlay review here.
Access to Teachers:
Fender Play has a handful of teachers from what I noticed, but you can't talk to them or ask them questions.
From what I saw, you can't even find their profiles on the site.
But with some popular alternatives you can interact with the teachers (JamPlay has 80 instructors), and you can even get personal coaching (Guitar Tricks has a 1 on 1 coaching program).
In Depth Lessons and Features:
Here are a few more things that other programs offer, which Fender Play does not:
- Lessons in all guitar genres
- List of hundreds of guitar songs
- Live weekly lessons which are all saved for replay
- 1 on 1 coaching and live group classes
- Beginner paths which cover every aspect of learning guitar
- Access to thousands of lessons and hundreds of courses
My Top 2 Alternatives:
In my opinion, both Guitar Tricks and JamPlay offer much better guitar lessons.
Their websites and full databases of lessons are so much more advanced than Fender Play, and currently I feel they offer much more value to all types of guitar players.
They both have free trials which I recommend you consider trying out:
Advice for Everyone Reading This: Take Advantage of Free Trials!
In a world of fake news, be cautious with the main-stream media, and with free resources online. Even be cautious of people like me who give in-depth reviews.
With all the information that's out there, and no matter what your personal views are, I have a recommendation that has served me well, and I think will help you also:
Don't read a headline, and think you're informed.
There have been many articles about Fender Play which are published on large media sites which have headlines that are simply not true in my opinion.
So my advice with all types of online courses is always the same:
You don't need to trust every article out there. Many of them are people's personal opinions, like this one. Some articles are negative towards Fender Play, however you might come across some positive ones as well.
The best advice is to simply try these lessons out for yourself. You be the final judge.
Based on my personal experience in comparing so many of them, I do recommend that everyone gives Guitar Tricks a test run first. I believe it's much better than the others.
If you don't like it, then simply move on to the next free trial. You have nothing to lose.