It’s quite possible you’ve seen some advertisements on Guitar Friendly for the online guitar lesson website called JamPlay. If you don’t know, JamPlay is an online guitar lesson service that teaches you how to play guitar through over 432+ hours of video lessons, live daily webcam lessons, all from over 40 instructors.
While I do gain a small commission to mention these products here (and ultimately support the development of Guitar Friendly), I can ensure you that I only mention these services because I genuinely believe in them and believe they are an excellent source for learning how to play the guitar. I was not paid or solicited to write this review. This review was written based on my first-hand experience with JamPlay.
With all that said, I want to take a bit more of an in-depth look at the service and see what it’s all about.
Upon activating your membership and logging into your account, you’ll land on the member’s homepage. You’ll notice that the design is very simple and clean, which makes everything very easy to find. The sidebar is neatly organized into different sections, and the main content area is also neatly organized to highlight different sections of JamPlay.
As you move down the page, you can see the latest lesson you watched, so you can continue where you left off. You also have updates of the latest forum activity, the current live webcam lesson in progress, webcam schedules, and newly added lessons or site updates.
Inside Look: JamPlay Video Guitar Lessons
JamPlay features over 432+ hours of video guitar lessons not including their live webcam lessons. Their video lessons are the bread and butter of their site and probably the main reason you would sign up. The lessons are divided into three different phases: (1) beginner guitar lessons, (2) advanced and genre specific guitar lessons, and (3) song lessons.
Phase #1: Beginner Guitar Lessons
This phase is divided up between acoustic guitar lessons and electric guitar lessons. This phase explores not only the basics of playing guitar like tuning, posture, and finger technique, but also looks at strumming, fingerpicking, major chords, minor chords, seventh chords, theory, scales, hammer-ons and pull-offs, changing guitar strings, rhythm, timing, tempo, and much more. They even have a kids guitar lesson section.
One thing I was really impressed with was how well the lessons are organized. Each lesson builds on the other to provide you a step-by-step plan towards mastering particular techniques and exercises on the guitar. You can then track your progress through the built-in progress report. This sort of organized plan is absolutely crucial to making advancements in your guitar playing, otherwise you are shooting the dark.
If you click on the picture above, you can see the screen for a video guitar lesson. As you can see, the video lessons utilize multiple camera angles so you can see exactly what’s going on in the lesson. A very cool new feature that JamPlay just added is the ability to loop a section of the video. This comes in handy when the guitar instructor is playing an exercise or song, and you want to play along with them.
Below the video, there are five tabs: (1) info about this lesson is a written summary of the lesson and what the lesson will be covering; (2) supplemental content is a collection of printable documents, charts, tabs, or diagrams that you can print out and follow along with; (3) more from lesson set is a complete list of other lessons in the current series; (4) my thoughts and notes gives you the ability to write notes about the lesson; and (5) comment and discuss allows you to make any comments or ask any questions about the lesson.
Phase #2: Advanced and Genre Specific Guitar Lessons
JamPlay recommends you complete phase one guitar lessons before moving onto phase two. Phase two teaches you specific techniques and skills related to specific genres of music including: classic rock, blues, fingerstyle, metal, Hawaiian slack key, bluegrass, rock, celtic, classical, country, and jazz.
The other part of phase 2 is the skilling building lessons which include: lead guitar, speed, hammer-ons, pull-offs, harmonics, reading music & rhythms, singing along with guitar, songwriting, theory and improvisation, and 12-string.
Phase #3: Song Lessons
These video lessons look specifically at how to play over 150 songs in a variety of different styles. Popular songs include: “Sweet Child, O’ Mine” by Guns & Roses, “Canon in D” by Johann Pachelbel, “Iris” by Goo Goo Dolls, and much more. Each lesson looks exactly how to play the song on video with the tabs and chords included in the supplemental material.
Inside Look: JamPlay Live Webcam Sessions (JamChat)
Another really key area of JamPlay is their live webcam sessions that happen for 12+ hours everyday called “JamChat.” Different instructors are available around the clock to help you with any questions you might have about playing guitar. Some instructors focus more on classic rock, while others might focus more on jazz & blues, and then other might focus more on classical guitar. You’ll want to check the schedule to tune in for your favorite instructors.
My experience with JamChat was variable. I sat in on some sessions that were a bit slow-paced where not many people were asking questions. Sometimes the JamPlay members in the chat can be a bit annoying with off-topic banter. However, I have sat in on a few sessions where there were a lot of questions being asked and the instructor was offering very informed and helpful answers to people’s questions. It was clear that the instructors don’t come in to the sessions prepared with material to teach you (at least from what I observed). The JamChat session is your time to ask the questions you have about playing guitar.
Sometimes the performance of the live video was variable. It seemed that quality of the video was very dependent upon the internet connection of the instructor. The first session I sat in on, the live video for the session froze. However, in the other sessions I’ve sat in on, there has been no problems.
All to say, while the performance of JamChat can vary, it’s an excellent place to receive instant and personal answers to your questions from a live instructor. The online member forums also provided an excellent resource to talk with other instructors and guitar players to receive help or learn more.
You’re getting a lot with JamPlay. Every video lesson I watched was extremely easy-to-follow with in-depth information. The multiple camera angles made it feel like I was in the same room as my instructor, and the video in combination with the supplemental material made it almost impossible to not understand what was going on. But if there was any confusion, I could easily post a question to the forum and get help from an instructor, or join a live webcam and ask my question there. I was pretty impressed.
There is nothing like receiving guitar lessons live and in person. That’ll always be the challenge of comparing online guitar lessons to private guitar lessons. However, JamPlay does an excellent job of overcoming this barrier through the intense use of media and supplemental content. Every piece of content is easily accessed and logically organized in a way that allows you to either begin or advance your studies as a guitarist.
As for the price, it’s only $19.95. When you consider that most private lessons are $19.95+ per lesson, the price of JamPlay is very impressive. And the best part is, you can try JamPlay with a no-risk 100% money back guarantee. It’s at least worth the try.
Check out JamPlay now and let me know what you think.
Questions & Comments
Do you have any questions about JamPlay? What do you think of JamPlay?