Anyone interested in learning how to play the guitar might initially search around the web or their local guitar shops for a suitable teacher. Fortunately, those aren’t the only options available to us these days.
Online lessons have become the new mode of learning how to play music (particularly the guitar). It seems that the options are endless, and for the complete beginner, this may be a bit overwhelming.
Have no fear though! If you’re self-motivated, disciplined, and willing to put in the time and effort to practice, you can be playing the guitar in no time.
Of the seemingly countless online guitar lesson platforms, there are two in particular that I’ll be reviewing today. Fender Play and JustinGuitar are two of the biggest names in the world of online guitar lessons. I’m going to walk you through the benefits and drawbacks of each, and give you my recommendation between the two.
So let’s get started on the Fender Play vs JustinGuitar head-to-head review.
Fender Play Overview
What is it?
Fender Play might be more recognizable to you than JustinGuitar, and reasonably so. Fender has been around since 1946 building guitars, but in the world of online guitar instruction, their platform is imitative at best.
This platform looks good and operates well. It’s user-friendly, with apps for several different devices, and has a clear, progressive course curriculum for brand new guitarists, covering lessons in five major musical styles: blues, folk, country, pop, and rock.
Is it any good?
Fender Play is okay for complete beginners. You’ll find lessons similar to what you might find in a level 1 guitar book that comes free with a Fender guitar.
The platform is easy to use, has clearly defined lesson objectives, and has tons of songs for you to learn how to play. What’s lacking most is the level to which you can progress through Fender Play’s program -it’s pretty low in the grand scheme of things.
- Choose between multiple instruments (acoustic guitar, electric guitar, ukulele, and bass guitar)
- Choose between multiple styles (blues, folk, country, pop, and rock)
- Multiple guitar instructors
- Clearly structured lessons plans
- Library of songs to learn
- Some interactive features like practice mode, and chord challenges
How Does Fender Play Work?
Fender Play, like many other online guitar lesson platforms, works on a subscription basis.
You can sign up for a monthly or annual subscription, which gives you access to all of their lesson content, including regular lessons, song lessons, interactive features, and others.
What is it?
JustinGuitar is an anomaly in the online lesson game because the entire program was created and is taught by one guy –Justin Sandercoe. The courses are structured well and are designed with both the complete beginner and experienced player in mind.
What’s more is that almost everything is completely free, with the exception of a six-month membership which gives you access to all of the music theory instruction as well. That’s only $9.99 for the entire six-month course. This makes JustinGuitar a great option for anyone looking to get started learning guitar on a budget.
The obvious downside (if you can call it that) is that you’ve only got one instructor -Justin. However, as a guitar teacher, I can assure you that the content you receive through this program is high quality, and gives you nearly everything you need to become a great player.
Is it any good?
As a guitar teacher, I can tell you that the content you receive through this program is high quality. You get nearly everything you need to become a great player, minus practicing for you!
JustinGuitar also has lessons in music theory, which is a widely underappreciated subject in the guitar world -particularly music theory in its practical application on the guitar.
- Highly organized course curriculum
- Learn different styles
- Learn songs
- Theory courses
- Some interactive tools
How Does JustinGuitar Work?
JustinGuitar doesn’t work like most online guitar lesson platforms in that it’s completely free to go through the video lessons. To begin taking lessons, all you have to do is create an account, and you’re off.
Finding where to begin is pretty easy because everything is organized by grade level. You might have some trouble at first if you’re an experienced player, but I’m sure it won’t take long before you get yourself into the swing of it!
Key Factors When Trying To Decide Between Fender Play vs JustinGuitar
Signing up for an online guitar lesson program is a commitment, and comparing the important features can be difficult if you’ve never played before. Everybody learns differently, so think about these carefully before deciding whether or not these platforms are right for your needs.
Your own interests
Do you just want to strum chords on an acoustic guitar? Do you want to learn how to shred on an electric guitar? Is there a specific style you’re most interested in learning how to play? Ask yourself these questions and look to see what these platforms can offer you.
Fender Play offers a fairly diverse selection of musical styles to learn, but they’re designed for complete beginners. You won’t be learning how to shred on Fender Play, but you’ll definitely learn some chords, and how to change between them.
JustinGuitar doesn’t cover a very wide range of musical styles, but what you’ll learn from JustinGuitar will apply to many styles, and there are lessons for experienced players too!
Reputable & Experienced Instructor
Having the best teacher in the world isn’t everything, but if your teacher has a track record of creating really great guitarists, you might be in the right place.
Fender Play’s instructors are of high quality. They explain concepts clearly, and the video lessons are recorded in high-definition video and audio, so you’re getting, “quality.” The only thing Fender Play lacks is the track record, and that’s because their program is designed for complete beginners.
JustinGuitar is one of the pioneers of online guitar instruction, and his track record is exceptional. When you have people like Tommy Emmanuel and Steve Vai telling you how great JustinGuitar is, you should know you’re on the right track.
The course curriculum
Fender Play and JustinGuitar’s courses are very well organized. JustinGuitar definitely has the edge in this category, as it’s far more comprehensive.
Before you start using a website or an app for long periods of time, you want to make sure that it makes sense and is easy to use.
Both Fender Play and JustinGuitar are easy to navigate and learn from.
Having tools to enhance your learning experience isn’t a necessity when learning the guitar, but it can definitely help.
Fender Play and JustinGuitar give you the tools you’ll need in order to have efficient learning and practice sessions. I think Fender Play’s tools are a little more commercialized and flashy, whereas JustinGuitar’s tools are simpler and more practical.
How much time you’re willing to practice
You can have all of the best instructors, lesson plans, interactive tools, and reference guides in the world, but if you don’t put in the time to really practice, you’re not going to see any results.
Learning the guitar (or any instrument) requires time, self-discipline, patience, and consistency. So whatever platform you decide to try, I recommend you give 100% effort to practice and then judge the platform based on your results. Sometimes the only thing stopping you is you!
Benefits and Drawbacks of Each
Every platform has its benefits and drawbacks. These two are no exception!
- Logical progression of course materials
- Affordable, with a free trial period included
- High quality production of video courses
- Large library of songs to learn
- Best only for complete beginners, as even the later courses cover rudimentary concepts, and overly simplified versions of songs
- Only five major styles are offered
- Well thought out, logical progression of course curriculum
- Almost everything is completely free, so it’s the most affordable option
- Great for beginners, intermediate, and advanced players
- Long-standing platform with proven track record
- There’s only one instructor, so it might not suit everyone’s style of learning
- Some styles of guitar are underrepresented
Price Comparison at a Glance
- $9.99 monthly
- $89.99 annually
- Or $9.99 for a six-month course
Who Is Fender Play Best For?
Without a doubt, Fender Play is for complete beginners and nobody else. If you’ve ever played a single note on the guitar, don’t subscribe to Fender Play because you’ll be wasting your money.
Who is JustinGuitar Best For?
JustinGuitar is best for complete beginners, intermediate players, and advanced players. If you’re unable to afford guitar lessons but are dying to learn, JustinGuitar is like a God-send. You get so much value for free, and even more if you just pay $10 for six months.
Fender Play vs JustinGuitar – Final Thoughts
Of all of the head-to-head reviews I’ve had to write, this is by far the easiest, as it has a clear winner in my professional opinion. JustinGuitar beats Fender Play any day.
The only reason you might not benefit from using JustinGuitar is if you simply don’t like his teaching style, and that’s okay! Everyone learns differently.
If you can get past his occasional goofiness, JustinGuitar is the absolute best option between these two platforms.