Fender Play Review (2019) – Can This Platform Help You Shred?

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Learning a musical instrument these days may almost seem like a piece of cake. Is it because there are so many instructors or talented individuals who are eager to share their knowledge? Though this might have something to do with it, it’s mostly because of the new possibilities introduced by the internet.

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A lot of people offer their musical knowledge freely on YouTube, especially anything related to guitars. Others ask for compensation but may put in more effort in their methods of teaching.

One of the things the internet has made possible is making room for online lesson platforms that can be accessed from anywhere in the world and at a considerably lower cost than going to school or taking private lessons.



Fender Play - Overview

Fender Play is a web platform that offers a wide range of lessons with a particular focus on guitar. Needless to say, this would extend to instruments that most guitar players can play, so the platform also contains valuable information for bass and ukulele players.

It’s an affordable option for those that can’t afford private teachers and especially for those at the beginning of their journey.

  • Large playlist
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    Beginner-friendly
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    Multiple instructors
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    Great video production value
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    Custom lesson plans
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    Progress tracking
  • Limited value for advanced players
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    Some upsells

Genres Covered

You can find lessons on Fender Play that cover a wide range of genres. From folk and blues through to pop and rock, both simple and difficult songs can be learned by eager guitarists.

When you sign up on Fender Play, you're usually required to fill out a short form. The information in that form will tell the app what type of instrument you want to learn and what genre you’re most fond of.

This will help create a personalized curriculum for you and give you a list of lessons by instructors who are best suited to teach you what you wish to learn. The only downside is that browsing the songs list is best done by searching for artists.

It’s also important to note that besides covering multiple genres, Fender Play also has specific lessons for electric and acoustic guitars. The information you submit after registering will also help the app to steer you in the right direction.

Difficulty Progression

Discussing the difficulty progression of any teaching app is always important. People need to know exactly how hard the lessons are, but they should also at ease when they first interact with the app.

Learning guitar is as exciting as it can be discouraging at first. Fender Play has enough content to get anyone from total beginner to intermediate player. In fact, the Level 1 video, which covers the fundamentals of the guitar, offers a quick but in-depth introduction to setting up and using your guitar.

From there, you can take things course by course until you reach Level 5. If you have any talent at all and are willing to put in the work, this level can be reached within weeks and mastered within months.

Among the courses or lessons offered are: basics, chords, exercises, techniques, theory, and tone.

One of the best things about this, besides learning the basics and chords, is that you can learn a bit about different guitar tones. It is enough to give you a broad understanding of how to set up a guitar to get a certain tone and how to combine various effects and when to use them.

Again, this may not cover extreme metal genres or the effect pedal combinations of your favorite virtuoso. But it is a good place to start nonetheless.

Video Production Value

The video production value on Fender Play is close to outstanding. Close but not there yet because there is still a good deal of older video content in the library.

Many of the older videos, from back when the platform was young, have not been edited or enhanced in any way. Some of the lessons may have been since revisited by the same instructor or other instructors. But there is a considerable portion of average quality videos too.

Video production value is determined by many factors. Having HD videos is not synonymous with outstanding production. You have to account for the available camera angles, media player features, audio clarity, the instructor’s ability to explain concepts, and so much more.

If you take all of that into account and just subtract some of the average quality videos, the overall video production value of Fender Play is close to outstanding. The beginner lessons, in particular, are very easy to follow.

Instructors and Songs

Instructors are a big part of any teaching platform. And, it’s not always just about the credentials. While the names you see on Fender Play’s roster may not be very recognizable, know that they are all highly qualified musicians and experts in their respective genres.

Note that not all the lessons will feel like a one-on-one lesson with an instructor. Some song tutorials may not feature an instructor demonstrating techniques. Others may feature instructors but little to no conversation. The explanations in some of the videos are visual rather than audible.

That being said, it’s nice to have access to a very vast library of songs created by popular modern and older artists. It’s safe to say that if you’re a music buff, you’ll find some of your favorite hits on Fender Play accompanied by TABs and guides on how to play them.

This is also what makes it so fun to learn how to play the guitar most of the time. You get to learn and develop your skills by also learning some songs you’re likely to practice over and over until you get them right.

Tools

Fender Play comes with some additional tools. First of all, the app has an online tuner that works with any device.

Another cool app that you get access to is the Fender Tone amp controller. This app lets you use your smartphone or tablet to make modifications to your amp. It’s not compatible with all amps but if you happen to own the Fender Mustang GT or Rumble amps, you will be able to use this convenient app.

Pricing

Fender Play users enjoy some of the lowest costs around.

A complete subscription, which by the way also includes access to the bass and ukulele platforms, is just $9.99 per month. A discount is provided if you decide to enroll and pay for a full year upfront at $89.99.

Now, to some of you this may seem like a big deal. But, keep in mind that learning guitar may take some of you longer than others. Compared to the yearly investment required for private lessons, the annual subscription cost to Fender Play is chump change.

Of course, don’t forget that there are also various free tutorials, ebooks, video guides, and all sorts of other educational materials on guitars and related string instruments.

Fender Play covers the basics very well and creates interactive video lessons with verified TABs. This can add a great deal of value to your early development stage. And, whenever you’re no longer challenged by what Fender Play has to offer, you can always discontinue your membership and seek advanced lessons elsewhere.

Promo Codes & Discounts

There may also be a few ways to save money when signing up on Fender Play.

The website usually offers discounts if you sign up for the newsletter. You may be able to get up to a 20% discount if you sign up for the newsletter and then decide to take up a subscription plan. 

However, understand that the discounts often only apply to the annual plan and your information is certain to be used for marketing purposes.

14-Day Free Trial

Originally, Fender Play offered a 30-day trial period. That’s been cut down to 14 days. You can at least start learning the fundamentals before you decide if you want to pursue becoming a guitarist. There’s a reason for it too.

Studies have shown that shorter trial periods work better for both businesses and users. The business can collect sooner and the user will want to make use of the trial sooner rather than putting it off after signing up.

Fender Play Alternatives

  • Guitar Tricks - it's also a paid online platform for guitar lessons, but they've been around since decades and feature much more content.
  • Check Circle
    JamPlay - It has much more content covering a wide range of genres and playing styles.
  • Justin Guitar - It's a totally free learning platform for beginners, originally started in the form of YouTube videos by Justin Sandercoe.

Conclusion – Fender Play is a Lot Better than You Think

Fender Play is clearly a platform for beginner guitar, bass, and ukulele players. The app contains traditional formatted lessons but also a lot of playthrough content that’s easy to follow, interactive, and not at all boring to novices.

At the same time, you have to acknowledge that the app has some clear limitations. While beginners and some intermediate players may be able to learn music theory, understand some skills, techniques, and tone intricacies, advanced players simply won’t get enough out of the platform.

It all comes down to where you are in your development stage. Furthermore, the price is hard to beat. Thus, Fender Play also makes a lot of sense as a gift to beginner guitar players or complete newbies, alongside usual guitar player gifts.

Gavin Whitner
    Gavin Whitner
     

    A guitar player, songwriter, composer, and also the lead editor of MusicOomph, Gavin is one of the four musician friends behind this site. Outside of music, he's an avid sports fan and hardly misses anything from football (soccer) to F1.

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