GuitarTricks vs. JamPlay

Since its inception in 1998, Guitar Tricks has been acknowledged as the king of all online guitar learning platforms, offering thousands of acoustic and electric guitar lessons, an ever-expanding song library that covers all music genres, and a host of adept guitar instructors.

There is, however, a formidable challenger that’s looking to overthrow the king and seize the throne. Founded in 2006, JamPlay is a veteran online guitar lessons platform with much to offer. 

JamPlay may not boast as many years of experience under its belt as Guitar Tricks, but that doesn’t take anything away from the fact that it’s arguably the toughest competitor Guitar Tricks has to face. 

In this Guitar Tricks vs. JamPlay comparison article, we attempt to find out which of these two outstanding guitar lesson websites is the best, so stick around.

GuitarTricks vs. JamPlay – Feature for Feature Comparison

Feature GuitarTricks JamPlay
Ideal For Beginners Intermediate/Advanced
Price $19.95/m or $179.99/y $19.95/m or $159.95/y
Free Trial Period 14 Days 30 Days
Money-Back Guarantee 60 Days 30 Days
Private Online Lessons Yes No
Active Forum Yes Yes

GuitarTricks vs. JamPlay – In-Detail Comparison

Before we start dissecting each platform’s interface, video player, pricing, and so forth, we’d like to give you a detailed breakdown of what each site has to offer guitarists of different skill levels. 

Beginner Lessons

GuitarTricks

When it comes to offering beginner-friendly guitar teaching content, Guitar Tricks is among the very best. Even if you’ve never picked up a guitar in your life, Guitar Tricks will guide you through all things guitar-related, from A to Z. 

Guitar Tricks utilizes a core learning system that’s geared mainly toward first-time guitarists. It’s also ideal for those who are wiping the dust off their guitars, restarting their guitar journey after having stopped playing for a while. The core learning system consists of eight comprehensive courses divided into two levels.

The first level is Guitar Fundamentals, which serves as a beginner’s gateway into the world of guitar playing. The second level is the Style Courses, which are more geared toward guitar players who know exactly the music genre they’re looking to pursue. Since we’re talking about beginner lessons, we’ll only cover the first level in this section of the article.

Beginner Lessons

As the name suggests, the courses in the Guitar Fundamentals level are designed to familiarize the novice guitarist with basic topics such as guitar anatomy, tuning a guitar, identifying different strings, and so forth. This level consists of two courses: Guitar Fundamentals 1 and 2. 

In Guitar Fundamentals 1, you learn how to hold and tune a guitar properly. You also learn how to play major chords and you learn a lot about rhythm guitar playing. After finishing this course, you’ll be able to play simple chords and melodies. 

In Guitar Fundamentals 2, you move on to more advanced topics such as basic song structure, scales, barre chords, minor and major chords, and how to read music. This specific course is key to becoming a well-rounded guitarist, so we urge you not to skip a single lesson. 

Both beginner courses are given by instructor Lisa McCormick. She does an excellent job of explaining things in a simple and concise manner. She doesn’t use big words just to seem knowledgeable like a lot of guitar teachers we’ve seen. 

Nothing about Lisa’s approach comes across as patronizing, which is key to keeping beginner guitarists interested in continuing to learn. 

Guitar Tricks’ beginner courses should occupy you for a few weeks before you’re ready to move on to one of the Style courses. 

JamPlay

After having looked at the comparison table above, you’re probably thinking that JamPlay isn’t an ideal platform for beginners, but that’s not really the case. It’s also not the case with Guitar Tricks as far as advanced and intermediate lessons.

Both Guitar Tricks and JamPlay are pretty well-rounded and have a lot to offer for all skill levels. It’s just that we prefer the Guitar Tricks course over that of JamPlay.

If you’re a complete beginner, you’ll find JamPlay to be extremely flexible, boasting various foundational lessons conducted by different instructors. The foundational lessons are divided into sections that you can switch between; one for the electric guitar and one for the acoustic. 

While we do appreciate the flexibility, we think it leaves a lot of room for confusion. As with TrueFire, another very popular online guitar lessons platform, there’s no starting point with JamPlay’s beginner lessons. 

Yes, you can read the description of each course and decide whether it’s suitable for you or not, but once again, we’re talking about pure beginners here, and so a unified approach would have gone a long way. 

Just to give you an example of how daunting it can be to be a complete newbie browsing JamPlay’s beginner acoustic guitar courses, you have almost a dozen instructors to pick from, with each offering completely unique courses. 

Beginner Lessons

Lisa Pursell, for instance, has a foundational course that consists of a whopping 68 episodes. An absolute beginner would run at the sight of 68 lessons that have a total runtime of 684 minutes. It’s just too much material to consume. So, let’s just say that JamPlay isn’t optimal for pure beginners.

If you’re a beginner with a solid guitar playing background and a lot of time on your hand, however, you’re going to find JamPlay to be a very rewarding website. No matter the style of music you prefer, you’re bound to find a guitar instructor that shares your same musical interests, which will make the learning process a lot more enjoyable. 

Oh, and did we mention that JamPlay has a specific 19-lesson course for kids, aptly titled “Just for Kids”? The course is conducted by the wonderful Steve Eulberg, who does an outstanding job of breaking down things in a manner that youngsters will find quite enjoyable.

From our personal standpoint, we feel like Guitar Tricks’ core learning system is a simple and more beginner-friendly approach toward learning the guitar. JamPlay is great, but not for pure beginners.

Winner: Guitar Tricks

Intermediate and Advanced Lessons

GuitarTricks

Guitar Tricks’ intermediate courses are presented in the form of style-based courses that cover the foundation of three different musical styles: blues, rock, and country. This, in our opinion, is very convenient because it spares you the hassle of learning courses that aren’t all that vital for the style of music you’re interested in. Each style course is split into two levels.

Starting off with the blues courses, you have Blues Style 1 and 2. Style 1 covers essential topics such as the 12 bar form, bluesy chords, chord structure, and bluesy rhythms. It also covers how to pick the right guitar and amp, as well as guitar effects, in order to achieve a bluesy tone. 

Style 2 covers more intricate techniques and scales. You also learn to play in a similar style to some of the genre’s most defining acts. The course ends with a tour throughout the different regions across the US that have helped define and put bluesy music on the map. 

Intermediate and Advanced Lessons

The second style-based course is Rock Style, catering to those of us who are fond of the soaring high vocals, damaging drums, and, of course, grunting guitars associated with hard rock and heavy metal music. Rock Style 1 covers essential rock music techniques such as power chords and palm-muting. It also gives tips on how to achieve that crunchy guitar tone we all like. 

Rock Style 2 picks up where the first course left off, covering advanced rhythm and lead guitar playing techniques, including hammer-ons, vibrato, pull-offs, and bending. Guitar Tricks also has a supplementary course titled “Better Rock Musicianship” for those who are hell-bent on becoming the next Eddie Van Halen. 

Lastly, we have the Country Style course, catering to six-string picking, tobacco chewing, broad brim wearing plainsmen. Country Style 1 covers the essentials, from country strumming styles such as Ghost and Boom-Chick strumming to country barre chords and techniques. 

Country Style 2 takes things a step further by covering the CAGED chord system, hybrid picking techniques, chord inversions, and a lot more. You’ll also learn to play rhythm in the style of country music’s most inspirational artists. 

Every style course is conducted by different instructors who specialize in each respective genre. Now that you’re done with the style course that appeals to you the most, you’re ready to jump into the advanced guitar courses, which basically cover more intricate guitar playing techniques. All in all, Guitar Tricks is excellent for all skill levels.

JamPlay

As you’ve probably noticed in our comparison table above, we’ve edged the win to JamPlay when it comes to advanced and intermediate lessons, mainly because their courses are REALLY advanced. You’ll probably need to spend a lot of time honing your skills with the aid of JamPlay’s beginner courses before you’re ready to tackle their advanced stuff. 

All the beginner courses are under the Phase 1 umbrella. Phase 2 is where intermediate and advanced players ought to start. In Phase 2, you learn the foundation of different musical styles such as rock, blues, country, and jazz. 

And if you’re into heavy metal music, there’s a 27-lesson course developed and conducted by Glen Dover, ex Megadeth, Testament, King Diamond, and Queensryche guitarist. There are also courses from other notable figures in the heavy metal sector, from Robb Flydd of Machine Head and Staind’s Mike Mushok to the incredible David Davidson from technical death metal band Revocation. 

In this course, you learn everything from alternate tuning and super-fast alternate picking to rhythm styles that match different drum lines. The course also covers how you can develop fret hand dexterity. 

Intermediate and Advanced Lessons

Phase 3 features song lessons that cater both for transitional and advanced guitarists, leaning more toward the latter. Phase 4 is all about the process of making music. It covers the basics of songwriting. Phase 4 is quite similar to Phase 1 in the sense that it allows you to choose an instructor that appeals to your style of playing. 

All JamPlay courses vary in length and style. Some courses are strictly for acoustic playing, whereas others only cover electric guitar playing. There are 66 advanced courses in total, with a total of 1,430 lessons, all presented in 4K or 1080p resolution. 

Even though Guitar Tricks’ advanced courses are top-notch, we feel like JamPlay’s approach is a lot more suitable for experienced guitarists. No matter your genre of preference, you’ll find an instructor and course that caters to your needs and aspirations. 

Winner: JamPlay

Bass Guitar Lessons

Guitar Tricks doesn’t offer any dedicated bass guitar courses, sadly. However, the frequent rate at which their content gets updated gives us hope that they’ll begin offering bass guitar lessons in the future. 

JamPlay, on the other hand, offers some of the best bass guitar courses we’ve seen, conducted by big-name bass guitarists such as David Ellefson from Megadeth, Bryan Beller from Steve Vai’s band, Robbie Merill from Godsmack, Rex Brown from Pantera, John Deservio from Black Label Society, Evan Brewer from the Faceless, and many more. 

Bass Guitar Lessons

Keep in mind, however, that JamPlay’s bass guitar lessons are accessed through a different subscription plan than the one for six-string guitar lessons. Click here to learn more. The winner by default is JamPlay.

Winner: JamPlay

The Detailed Breakdown of Each Platform

Now that you know which of the two websites at hand is more suitable for your skill level, it’s time to assess aspects such as user interface and pricing. 

Video Player

Guitar Tricks flaunts one of the best dedicated video players out of all online guitar lesson platforms. It’s simple and neat, yet it flaunts advanced features that will help make your guitar learning experience quite enjoyable. 

One of the features we like the most about Guitar Tricks’ video player is the A/B looping system. It enables you to put a certain part of a video lesson you’re watching on loop, which is very helpful when you’re trying to get through a challenging song lesson.

Another feature we like is the speed setting bar, which allows you to change the playback speed to your liking without compromising the pitch. This, also, comes in handy when trying to get through difficult song lessons. 

When it comes to video quality, all of the recent tutorials and song lessons on Guitar Tricks are presented in 4K resolution. However, you’re bound to find a few older video lessons that are presented in lower quality. As far as camera angles, a lot of Guitar Tricks’ HD video lessons are filmed with different camera angles, but not all. 

JamPlay also sports an excellent center-aligned player that flaunts a ton of easy-to-teach features. There’s a sidebar on the right known as the ‘Scene Selection’ sidebar; it enables you to learn a specific part of a song with ease. 

Video Player

The player runs very smoothly and offers various speed adjustment options, including 10%, 25%, 50%, and more. There’s also an A/B looping feature like the one in Guitar Tricks’ player, enabling you to repeat certain parts of a video lesson. 

In terms of video quality, all of JamPlay’s courses are presented in HD video lessons and recorded in a dedicated studio to ensure optimal sound quality. The videos are filmed in a variety of camera angles, including instructor view, student view, close-up, and more. 

While both platforms are great, we feel like the effort put in making JamPlay’s video lessons as high-quality as they are sets it way ahead of all competitors. JamPlay for the win. 

Winner: JamPlay

User Interface

 Both Guitar Tricks and JamPlay sport very welcoming layouts and are easy to navigate. Both websites have a progress tracking dashboard that helps you keep tabs on your guitar learning journey.

User Interface

One thing that sets Guitar Tricks apart, however, is that it has a “toolbox” that contains a ton of convenient features such as a scale finder, tuner, metronome, chord finder, and other guitar tools. So, we’re leaning more toward Guitar Tricks. 

Winner: Guitar Tricks

Song Library

Having been around a lot longer than its competitor, Guitar Tricks flaunts an impressive song list that contains over 700 song lessons from artists of different genres. JamPlay’s song list is also pretty impressive, featuring over 450 different song lessons, but we have to give this round to Guitar Tricks. 

Winner: Guitar Tricks

Cost

Guitar Tricks has two membership plans: a monthly membership of $19.95 and a yearly membership of $179.99. JamPlay also has two membership plans: a monthly one that costs $19.95 and a yearly one that costs $159.95. 

Both platforms offer a money-back guarantee, with Guitar Tricks offering 60 days and JamPlay offering 30 days, so you can try both platforms without feeling tied to a financial commitment. 

Both websites also offer free trial periods, with Guitar Tricks offering a 14-day free trial and JamPlay offering a 30-day free trial. 

Winner: Draw

FAQs

Is Guitar Tricks Any Good?

Most definitely! No matter your skill level, you’re guaranteed to find a course on Guitar Tricks that caters to your needs. The platform boasts a core learning system that’s second to none, a massive song list, and different instructors with credible guitar playing backgrounds. 

Is JamPlay Any Good?

Whether you’re a beginner, intermediate, or experienced guitar player, and whether you play bass, electric, or acoustic guitar, JamPlay’s sheer variety of courses and flexible teaching approach are going to serve you well. 

Is JamPlay Free?

JamPlay is not free, but it does offer a 30-day free trial period. So, you can enjoy its content for a whole month without having to pay a single penny. 

Final Thoughts

Choosing between Guitar Tricks and JamPlay isn’t as simple as saying one is better than the other. Both platforms are top-notch, but if we go round by round, Guitar Tricks is the victor.

If we go based on skill levels, however, we’d recommend Guitar Tricks for beginner guitar players, and we’d recommend JamPlay for experienced guitarists. 

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