JamPlay Review - A Top Guitar Lesson Vendor For Beginners
Alright, today’s guitar lessons review video is all about an online community called JamPlay.
My cousin Bryan and I have both been playing guitar for over 10 years and honestly we gradually bought a ton of lessons online and we ended up actually making this rating algorithm, kind of geeking out a little bit with the spreadsheet to compare them side by side. And basically what we found was that JamPlay ended up being the number one rated program overall. Now it’s not perfect, and one thing we notice was that pros and cons wise, one of the cons was the fact that their money-back guarantee only lasts seven days. So if you sign up, you pay $19.95, you get in here, you start looking everything and are like “This is not what I want” you only have seven days to get a refund. Now obviously you can still cancel after seven days and stop paying from that point forward. But at the same time a lot of other programs offer 30 day, even 60 day money-back guarantee.
So what we thought about was it might be helpful to you to basically be able to look-in at my account and you could see inside the members area, you can see what they have to offer, how things are laid out. And if it’s something you are interested in you can sign up and that way you can kind of save some time. If it’s not something you’re interested in, you don’t think it’s worth the money, then you can basically save the time and the money from the beginning and not have to worry about signing up and going through the hassle of sending them email and getting a refund and all that kind of stuff. So I hope it helps, let’s go and jump right in.
The Jamplay review
Alright, so this is what you see when you first log-in. And the core element to the whole site is the video lessons. They’re HD quality and you can choose different streaming speeds and everything so you can actually kind of find a balance between page load time and quality of video, which is really cool.
Let’s go and look at the first phase.
All the lessons are broken up to three phases, there are almost 3000 lessons right now. And the first phase focuses on the beginner lessons. So they break it up to acoustic and electric guitar and each individual instructor. There are 44, I think it’s at, right now. And each of these individual instructors has their own series. And so everything is very well organized. I’ll just show you an example real quick. Let’s do Your First Song. Okay so this is very beginner level stuff, in the beginner section of phase one they actually start walking you through things as simple as how to hold your guitar, how to string it, how to tune it, even how to choose the right guitar. But they actually walk through a whole bunch of stuff too. To understand some very basic progressions and very basic chords, strumming patterns, how to use a capo, all kinds of really cool stuff.
So this is the streaming quality I was talking about before. And one thing to note too, obviously you can do a full screen video.One of my friends actually plugs their laptop, they got like some five dollar cable from Radio Shack, they plug their laptop into their TV, they got like a 42” TV, and you can just plug the laptop straight in and watch massive in full screen on the TV which is really helpful.
Anyway, another really cool feature is that they have this thing called looping. So you can select two parts of the video and let it just continue to repeat that same section. That’s really helpful when you’re stuck on something, especially in the song lists. I’ll show you those in a minute. You’re stuck on a certain part, say it’s like a 15 second little segment, and you’re trying to figure out that one thing. Man is it nice to just let it loop, because it’s so frustrating when you’re sitting there with your guitar, on your lap or whatever. You’re sitting there in the chair, you have to keep clicking the mouse to go back to a certain part. So that was genius on their part to add that. I’ve seen that in a couple of other communities too, it’s a really cool feature to have. What’s nice too is that the lessons aren’t just videos. It may be one thing just to have video, but it’s nice to also show things like lesson materials. In this case a very simple tab and standard format. Which is really cool. That can actually help you in a lot of different ways, especially when it gets more complex and this has more chords and more difficult progressions and stuff.
Another cool thing is they show you chord chart and notation format and then also just tabs. So if you’ve been playing on Ultimate Guitar for a long time you’ll be very familiar with this format which is great. I’ll show you this in a little bit, but you can actually add your favorite chords to a chord sheet and you can break them up in to different genres, different styles, how you want to do it. I just kept the default sheet, but that’s a pretty cool feature too.
This is just a quick and easy way to navigate other lessons. You can actually take notes. I haven’t taken notes on this one, this one is pretty simple, but that’s a pretty cool feature too, it’s no different than taking a guitar class in college or even in-person lessons with a private instructor.
On top of all that they add a lot of value actually sometimes with the comments because you’ll find that there are just dozens and dozens of people that are commenting on a video and sometimes the instructor will hop in there and answer the questions and stuff. So that can really add tremendous amount to the quality of lessons too. Because you can ask a question, get it answered, typically it’s answered the same day, it’s really nice. Jamplay review
So that’s all just phase one. That same layout and structure works the same way for these three things and the Artist Series. So I’ll kind of give you an idea of how they all work.
The phase two is where it starts to get really fun
It actually focuses on genres and skills. So genre is everything from blues, to metal, to country, jazz, funk, rock, bluegrass, even Hawaiian slack key, Celtic, classical, they cover pretty much everything you can imagine, which is awesome. They also have skill building. Skill building is basically just what it sounds like. Singing with guitar, lead concepts, speed and technique, specific tips. And there’s a lot of stuff in each one of these. Just this one little thing with tips and tricks has over almost 30 videos. So they end up really walking through a lot of things. And songwriting is really cool too.
Speaking of songs, phase three – that’s all it’s about
From what I understand, JamPlay has to pay a lot of money to get the licensing to be able to do this, but basically they’ve build up this library of couple hundred songs that they actually have made step-by-step videos of how to play this song, how to play every part in guitar. Sometimes in some songs there are three different guitar parts. You know, the way with the studio versions and stuff. So they walkthrough with different camera angles, they show you how to play all these songs. In most of the songs are things that, depending on the genre of course, there are things that you actually want to play, there are things that you’ve heard before, things that you like to listen to. So it’s a lot better than just random stuff, or backing tracks that are just really generic and stuff. They really walkthrough some pretty cool stuff. So that’s phase three.
The Artist Series
Kind of a continuation of phase two and phase three where the actual artists themselves will walk through things that they feel really important, based on their style and the kinds of things they do. And then In the Style Of… is kind of cool too. So if you like a certain guitarist, like Jimmy Hendrix, Steve Vai, those kinds of guys. You can actually see specific lessons that focus in on their guitar style and the things that they do too. Which is really really powerful for some of these. These can be really cool.
They actually do a web-cam based thing called Jam Chat ,12 hours a day there will be an instructor available, you can hop on a chat room, basically that’s all secure within JamPlay. And you can ask them questions, it’s kind of more like that one-on-one private time. Sometimes it’s more like seven-on-one, there will be one instructor answering questions from six or seven people, but every once in a while you have more than 10, 15 people, 20 people on there, but it ends up being really powerful. Because you can talk to other people live and you can talk to the instructor too. So after you start taking some lessons throughout the phases, and you start to find the instructors that you really connect with, really like, you can start looking-up the times that they are doing live lessons and actually hop on there. They schedule really far in advance too, I mean they have weeks and weeks in advance so that can be really really cool too, to add a little benefit and kind of make it feel like it’s a private lesson setup.
Next section here is Teaching Tools
This is something that kind of sets online guitar lessons from the DVDs that we’ve bought. I actually bought a couple DVD courses that I’ve found. And for one, one is good because of the fact that it’s static. I mean these three phases, they have thousands of lessons, but they’re adding new ones every week. And when you buy a DVD course it’s going to be the same forever. It’s not like they’re going to send you new DVDs later after you spend a couple hundred bucks on DVDs. So it ends up being really powerful to have something online, because it’s dynamic, I mean they can make something new every day. And part of that dynamic ability is something like a chord library, where like I mentioned earlier you can save your favorite chords, you can create chord sheets and customize things. Let’s say for C. You can look at the C chord family, you can look at different types, you can look at different tunings, and you can see all the Cs. You can see so many different chords which is incredible. So whether you’re looking to write songs, whether you’re trying to figure out how to play specific songs or how to develop more skills in certain areas or genres chore library can be invaluable.
In a similar fashion they’ve done something with scales. Where they actually show how to play the scales themselves. And you can actually click play on a video to watch someone play it. Zoomed-in on that one thing and they also have a separate angle, which is kind of nice too. So all in live form whichever one you prefer you can watch that one. So that’s pretty sweet too.
Let me go back to the beginning it will be quicker. Alright, so actually let me walk to the tools just a little bit more. Lick and Riff library is pretty cool in backing tracks. Those two things. It’s kind of like the dad that teaches his son to swim by just throwing him into the deep end. I mean playing, actually jamming with people, playing, just learning the solo, just strumming chords, doing progressions, feeling the chord change, those are the best ways to learn. It’s much, much easier just to dive in and start playing, but at the same time it’s embarrassing. When you’re not good in the beginning, it’s hard to do that stuff. So, I found that it’s actually really cool in private to be able to sit there and listen to a backing track that somebody’s basically recording of someone strumming chords of a certain type and you can sit there and solo, learn things like that. I mean that’s just a really, really good way, without having to be embarrassed, to learn those kinds of things and develop those skills and keep the tempo and keep things moving.
Speaking of keeping tempo, they do have a metronome, it’s a pretty simple thing, but it’s definitely valuable. Guitar tuner, they have a tune by ear thing and a digital tuner if you actually have a line and you can actually do a mike through your computer and then you can tune straight up from that, and then obviously they have this set up too, so you can just tune it by ear. They also have something that’s kind of unique that we haven’t seen in any other courses or anything and that’s games. They have these little leader boards and you can actually, like they said, music theory sucks a little less with games.
So music theory is usually pretty dull, that’s what they’re getting at with that, and yes, I mean playing some games actually makes this a little more fun. So whether it’s recognizing pitches or memorizing the fret board, playing games can definitely make things a little more fun. They also have a forum which is actually pretty huge, and they end up going through a lot of stuff in here, and there are tens of thousands of people, and hundreds of thousands of posts overall. There is so much content in here and there’s all these people talking all the time and you can get a lot of questions answered, not just from the instructors but from other students, which is beneficial too. And we did find the forum to be a lot more active than some of the other communities. Some of the other even DVD courses will claim that they have a forum, but it tends to not be all that active and all that useful.
So, anyway I hope this video helped you, hope it helped you make a decision about JamPlay. It’s a really cool community and they’re always improving things which is nice and we’ve seen some of the cons that we initially reported on our review of seeing them go away already, so they’re definitely doing a good job pushing forward and I look forward to seeing what they do in the future. Hope the video helped and have fun learning the guitar!