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If you’re looking for a constantly-updated and cheaper internet-based online guitar lessons then you can stop searching right here. Jamplay is a relatively newcomer to the world of online professional guitar lessons. When I first found out about this site, I was totally amazed at the total amount of content and high definition (HD) video quality. As of this review, the membership area contains 3257 video guitar lessons and counting (excluding those bass guitar lessons) from 95 different guitar instructors. I have a feeling that the site will continuously recruit new instructor. The site also has live webcam sessions scheduled every day where you can interact with the teachers and ask questions. This is something that I think not many sites can do.
Jamplay has the largest number of guitar teachers I have ever seen in the guitar teaching business. There are a total of 95 guitar teachers (33 acoustic teachers, 47 electric teachers and 15 bass teachers) who put together this huge video content on this site. You will get to know each one of them when you visit Jamplay.com. Most of them are professional guitarists and guitar teachers but some of them are music composers, solo artists, record producers, recording engineers, singer-songwriters etc.
Generally, all the guitar lessons are divided as follows:
- Phase 1: Beginner Guitar Lessons (contains 508 lessons)
This phase includes all fundamentals a newbie needs to know. They will teach you chords, chord theory, reading tablature, fingerpicking, timing, tempo, ear training, circle of fifths, how to play lead and scales etc. Each instructor has different teaching approach and the lessons taught will vary from teacher to teacher. Phase 1 is for beginners, it’s advisable for a beginner to learn all the basics above before moving on to phase 2.
- Phase 2: Genre Specific Techniques and Skills (contains 1835 lessons)
If you already have the guitar basics and playing experience, you can choose to access to any genre-specific lessons that you’re interested in. Jamplay covers a wide variety of music genres and guitar styles such as blues, fingerstyle, metal, bluegrass, rock, celtic, classical, country, jazz, funk, flamenco, folk, R&B, reggae, Brazilian, gospel and even Hawaiian slack key. You can choose any instructor you want to learn from. There is also another section called skill-building lesson sets. You will learn reading music, lead concepts, theory, ear training, studio skills and engineering and so on.
- Phase 3: Learning Your Favourite Songs (contains 298 lessons)
As of this review, there are a total of 298 songs on the site covering music genres from rock and metal, country, bluegrass, blues, punk, gospel and many more. There are both oldies and contemporary songs. All the songs will include not only lesson write-ups, diagrams, backing tracks, notations and tabs but also lyrics as supplemental content (only if the songs have lyrics). Some very dedicated instructors will even break down the supplemental content into multiple parts such as song structure, chord charts, pedal settings, guitar solo audio files, chorus acoustic audio files etc.
- Phase 4: Songwriting (contains 73 lessons)
When I reviewed the site, there were 6 instructors involved in this phase. I’m pretty sure beginners and intermediate players will have “ah-ha!” moments while progressing in this songwriting phase. Each instructor has his or her own different approach in songwriting process. I noticed one of them taught everything thoroughly, from music theory to tips on performing. She is a professor in a music college with 40+ years of experience in music industry.
- Artist Series (contains 543 lessons)
In this series, you will find lessons are classified under the name of all professional guitarists and solo artists from Jamplay. Each artist has his or her own focus including improvisation, conceptual, soloing, looping, composition, vocals etc. There is also a section whereby the Jamplay artist will teach in the style of those famous guitar legends such as Jimi Hendrix, Carlos Santana, Rolling Stones, Eric Clapton, John Mayer, B.B. King and many more.
Now let’s talk about the video quality. I think one of the reasons why over three hundred thousand members are still using Jamplay is because of the HD quality videos with great close-ups. I really couldn’t find any videos with mediocre quality. The videos were shot from multiple angles including overhead camera shot or instructor view (which you can hardly find in other online course) when the fingers were in action. Most of the videos were edited in a split-screen style in order to show all those shots simultaneously. I have to say it’s a very professional piece of work.
A very small number of the written online materials need Guitar Pro software to open them. You will need to buy the software at 20% discount. The price is $ 47.95 after discount. My opinion is that you don’t need to buy it because other materials are suffice for your learning. Besides having the supplemental content to complement video lesson, it has a progress bar, an online metronome, notes for you to write your thoughts and a discussion page where you can post your comments.
Like any other online videos, you need a broadband internet access to watch Jamplay videos. Dial-up internet access is a no-no. You’re not allowed to download any lessons and save them to your own PC. If you’re always travelling, you can stream the content to your iPad.
Jamplay also has some cool software, libraries and applications to complement its top-notch course.
- Chord Library
This was the first time I came across a site with such a massive chord library. It has close to a million chord voicings across dozens of tunings. Impressive! Users can save their favourite chords to chord sheet for future practice.
- Scale Library
There are dozens of scales in the library such as pentatonic scales, diatonic scales, blues and bebop scales, symmetric scales and other exotic scales. Some of the scales are really exotic. It’s no joke. You will find the formula of each scale in this comprehensive library. Before you start to study this whole shebang, you’ll need to learn the simple theory i.e. half-step and whole-step which is available on the site.
- Lick and Riff Library
You will find hundreds of licks across several genres here. The videos are short and perfect for all you guitar shredders out there. Notation and tab are included.
It’s an online metronome where you can adjust the number of beats per measure, speed (BPM) and metronome volume. Pretty cool stuff.
- Guitar Tuner
There are 2 types of methods i.e. tuning by ear and digital tuner. Tuning by ear is easy to use. You just need to click the string on the screen, listen to the sound and tune your guitar by using your ear. The digital tuner will require a microphone or line in. It’s quite similar to an electronic tuner.
- Backing Tracks
There are hundreds of backing tracks in this playlist. Track transcription, recommended scales to use and discussion page are also available.
They are called Music Notation Quizzer, Note Identification, Fretboard Memorization and Pitch Recognition. These 4 games were designed to train your memory in an enjoyable way. Those members with high scores and played the most games will be listed.
- Chord Namer
It’s a tool that helps you to figure out the chord name. Simply click all notes of the chord you want to find out on the fretboard and the tool will show you the name of the chord … and I thought I have seen the coolest tool.
In my view, Jamplay has the best support so far in this industry. It has many kinds of support channels where you can seek help or ask questions. The most common and widely used channel is the forum. It has a huge community and numerous topics including music theory, chords, scales, progressions, timing, songwriting, recording etc. If you like to have live instructor answer your questions via webcam, you can join JamChat. It’s a live webcam session scheduled every day where you can have a video Q&A section with an instructor. It’s an innovative and amazing feature for a guitar learning site. You can also read blogs and download podcasts which contain interviews, articles, lessons, news and updates. You will never feel lonely when you can search for new friends in Jamplay’s community. You will also be able to exchange messages with them.
USD 19.95 per month is not the cheapest membership subscription fee. Nevertheless, if you’re in the market for high-quality online guitar lessons, you’d be hard-pressed to better Jamplay. I personally think it’s worth the money just by considering the rare degree of quality of the instructors, videos and materials.
If you still hesitate about the price, you can choose quarterly membership for USD 49.95 or yearly membership for USD 159.95 which is way cheaper than USD 19.95 per month.
There are quite a number of free lessons on the site so check them out first before you decide whether you want to become a member or not.
Yes, there is a 100% money back guarantee but I feel that the trial period is too short. 7 days? Jamplay needs to consider revising it. Anyway, the cancellation and refund process is pretty quick and hassle-free.
Regardless of your skill level, you will find that it’s the right product to aid you in your journey to guitar mastery. I give two thumbs up for Jamplay simply because of the affordable membership, its monstrous lesson library and HD quality videos. If the money back guarantee period can be revised to 30 days or more, then this site will probably be the most competitive online guitar lesson site. If you decide to join Jamplay, remember to use the coupon codes at the beginning of this page.
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