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If you’ve arrived at this article, you’ve probably decided online guitar lessons are something you want to try out - wise choice, good for you!
Guitar Tricks vs. JamPlay: These are the “Big Two” when it comes to online guitar instruction websites, and while it’s hard to say which of the two is outright the best one, it’s more like that Guitar Tricks is better for some guitarists, and JamPlay for others - it all kinda depends on where you are in your guitar journey.
We know, the suspense is killing you, so read on to find out the verdict!
Use the following Table of Contents to jump around and skip any sections not relevant to you.
Guitar Tricks vs. JamPlay - Feature for Feature Comparison
For those that like to have the facts upfront, here’s a handy chart comparing what features Guitar Tricks and JamPlay offer:
Most people deciding on online guitar lessons are somewhere on the beginner spectrum - from never having picked up a guitar, to not quite feeling comfortable playing basic solos or fretting barre chords yet. If that’s you, and you’re trying to decide between Guitar Tricks and JamPlay, you’re in the right place.
Guitar Tricks has a much more straightforward path for beginners to take. It’s called the Core Learning System, and it’s great.
You start at Guitar Fundamentals 1 (which is divided into 7 easy to digest chapters). Then Guitar Fundamentals 2, and then you pick a genre path which gets a little more specialized - Blues, Country, or Rock.
After going through it ourselves, we’re believers in the Core Learning System. It’s a great and very straightforward - and dare we say easy - way to learn guitar basics.
JamPlay is a little different; they have a nice beginners section, and they split it up between Beginner Acoustic and Beginner Electric guitar courses.
JamPlay’s huge selection of instructors is also its downfall in this case.
Compared to the simple Core Learning System of Guitar Tricks, JamPlay complicates things a bit since you need to pick an instructor and it’s not immediately obvious what the differences are between them.
In terms of actual beginner guitar instruction, there’s not much between Guitar Tricks and JamPlay. If you follow either of their beginner courses, we’re confident you’ll be well on your way to playing songs and even doing some soloing.
For beginners, the edge goes to Guitar Tricks for the very good and easy to use Core Learning System.
For Intermediate & Advanced Guitarists
If you’re well beyond the basics, most likely you’ll be looking for online guitar lessons with:
A wide range of genres
Extra features like being able to talk to instructors and get feedback in real time
No doubt, both services have an outstanding roster of instructors. Guitar Tricks has around 30 teachers, but JamPlay ups the ante with 40+ on the acoustic side, and 50+ on the electric guitar side.
Not just that, but JamPlay also has courses taught by touring pro artists like Steve Stevens, Tosin Abasi, and Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal. If you’re an intermediate to advanced guitarist you’ll get a lot out of learning from these masters.
In terms of genres, again, both services cover a lot of ground, but JamPlay has the slight edge by offering close to double the amount. Granted, some are pretty niche - reggae, gospel, Brazilian, and flamenco to name a few - but it’s nice to have non-mainstream options.
JamPlay also offers a handful of courses on the art of song writing.
And finally in terms of extras:
Guitar Tricks has a “pro” section where you can take live, 1 on 1 lessons with a teacher. They are super easy to book - you choose a lesson length (30 or 60 minutes), choose an available instructor, pick a date and time, and you’re all set!
Guitar Trick's 1 on 1 lessons are amazing and completely replace having to drive somewhere for guitar private lessons.
JamPlay doesn’t have 1 on 1 lessons, but they do offer very cool Live Guitar Lessons where you can interact with instructors in a Q&A format. Keep in mind these are on JamPlay’s schedule, so you’ll need to show up whenever the broadcast starts if you care to speak to the instructor.
With its breadth of genres and teachers (and even some famous pros), JamPlay almost feels like it was made for the intermediate and up level player, so it gets the slight edge over Guitar Tricks.
For Bass Guitarists
If it’s bass guitar lessons you want, well this one’s easy... JamPlay has them, Guitar Tricks does not!
With 20+ instructors, a variety of genres, and the same quality of instructors and learning tools they offer for acoustic and electric guitar, JamPlay is one of the leading websites when it comes to online bass guitar lessons. You can check out their bass specific lessons here.
Which Online Guitar Lessons Have the Best...
1. Website Layout & Ease of Use
Guitar Tricks is a nice, modern looking website. Your member dashboard keeps track of your progress and lets you navigate to various points of interest like lessons, songs, and tools.
JamPlay’s design is clean and uncluttered. Just as with Guitar Tricks, after logging in you’re taken to your member dashboard. The navigation bar across the top gives you easy access to anywhere you want to go, and most of the time you’ll be using the Lessons dropdown menu.
Guitar Tricks and JamPlay are pretty evenly matched when it comes to layout and ease of use.
2. Video Lesson Player
When it comes to the actual in-lesson video player, both Guitar Tricks and JamPlay give you all the features you might need.
Setting the playback speed is an important tool, and both video players let you adjust speed in 25% increments.
Both video players allow full screen viewing, and when the instructors play something, both offer up multiple camera angles. JamPlay goes above and beyond with four camera angles which ensures you won’t miss a thing. If you’re viewing the smaller video player looking at four angles can be a bit overwhelming, so we recommend setting the video quality to the max and viewing full screen.
And speaking of quality, JamPlay goes the extra mile by offering 1080p HD for most lessons, and the newer ones in stunning 4K. Some of Guitar Tricks’ older content is not in HD, which is not a deal breaker by any means since the video quality is still good.
JamPlay also lets you pick between a light and dark theme, leave notes for yourself, public comments, or questions directly for the teacher.
While both video players are perfectly serviceable, JamPlay does a lot of little things to get the edge.
3. Song Library
If you want to learn to play songs, Guitar Tricks has the more impressive catalogue, with over 1,000 of them across numerous styles. They even have “Made Easy” versions of difficult songs aimed at beginners, which are “simplified to the basic chords and one guitar part.”
JamPlay’s song library is still solid, and the song lessons are very good, there’s just not as much content.
Guitar Tricks takes the crown for their impressive song lesson library.
Verdict & Cost
Finally, we arrive at a verdict. Like we said in the beginning, it’s difficult to choose an outright winner between Guitar Tricks and JamPlay, and instead it depends on where you are with your guitar playing.
If you’re a total beginner, Guitar Tricks has the slight edge because it’s a little more straightforward.
If you already know your way around the guitar and want to improve your skills and/or dive into a specific genre, JamPlay is slightly better suited for that.
So, how much do Guitar Tricks and JamPlay cost? Their monthly membership is equal at $19.95/mo, but their annual membership slightly differs (depending on coupon codes). Here's a chart to compare:
Rank beginners will be more comfortable using Guitar Tricks, and both websites have more than enough content for intermediate and advanced guitarists, with JamPlay going a little deeper in some genres and styles.
Michael bought his first guitar, a Fender California Series Stratocaster in Candy Apple Red, in 1998. He likes rock of all types, from classic to punk to metal. Michael co-founded Equipboard to satisfy his curiosity around what gear his guitar heroes use. Read more