Fender launches their new online guitar tuition platform Fender Play.
Do you remember that well known lager brand which ran a set of TV commercials with the strap line “if (insert well known lager brand) did (enter type of situation here e.g. parties, airlines etc)…
Well the insinuation is that they would probably be the best in the world. Now Fender has entered the competitive on-line guitar tuition market with Fender Play and they could use exactly the same strap line. The question is if Fender did on-line guitar lessons would they be the best in the world?
The on-line guitar tuition market is a crowded market place. With many free on-line platforms as well as the two market leaders JamPlay and Guitar Tricks I think Fender are going to find it a tricky proposition to attract subscribers. But it is Fender and there is a certain cachet that comes with the Fender brand so I guess only time will tell is Fender Play is going to be a success.
How does Fender Play work?
First up you have to create an account by going to the Fender Play website. Not a problem but that is where I find my first criticism of the service. Right at the top of the site it asks you to sign up for your free trial. The good thing about Fender Play is that this is a 30 day free trial, better than JamPlay’s 7 day trial and the same as Guitar Tricks. That is all very good and I am happy that Fender Play is giving me such a long time to check out their service. But to access your free trial you have to enter your credit card details! Fender, I have to say, I am really not impressed with that! At £15.99 per month this is not a cheap service and at this price I really want to try it out to see if it is worth it before I part with any of my payment details. Now the cynic in me believes that Fender are hoping that a lot of us will forget to cancel our subscriptions. But I don’t want to be cynical so Fender, do we really have to give you our credit card details before you will allow us access to a free trial of Fender Play?
But, as I can’t see this changing, be very aware, they have your credit card details and you will be charged if you don’t cancel your subscription. If you like the service that is not a problem, but if you don’t put a note in the diary as to when your free trial comes to an end!
As I have just started my free trial it will be interesting to see what Fender do to communicate to me that I am coming to the end of the free trial period. I am hoping that they will send me at least an email to ask me if I will continue with the service. I will report back at the end of my 30 day trial when I find out what Fender do.
Putting this issue aside what is Fender Play like as a tuition platform?
Once you have signed up you are asked a couple of question. The first question is what will you play? You have the choice of acoustic or electric guitar. You are then asked what style do you want to learn? You can choose from rock, blues, folk, country or pop? For these two choices I selected electric and rock.
Once your path has been chosen you can access the lessons. For example on the rock guitar path you have 5 levels working from the basics of getting familiar with your guitar and playing your first notes and chords through to more complicated skills such as arpeggio picking. Along the way you can put the skills you have learnt into practice in songs such as “Satisfaction” by the Rolling Stones, “Plush” by The Stone Temple Pilots and “Don’t Fear the Reaper” by The Blue Oyster Cult.
The platform is very easy to navigate and the lessons are clearly shot in high definition video, using a number of visual positions so that you can see exactly where to place your fingers. There are also chord diagrams to accompany all the lessons. The whole thing is very polished and well put together as you would expect from a company like Fender.
Is Fender Play good?
Well apart from the initial grumble about handing over my credit card details for a free trial I have to say Fender Play is very good. The layout and functionality of the platform is good and the lessons and tutors are all very professional. The main drawback for me of Fender Play is that it is very much aimed at the new guitarist. If you have some experience of playing the guitar there is not much that you are going to gain from Fender Play and at £15.99 per month, after your free trial period ends, it is not cheap.
To conclude Fender Play is brilliant for the new guitarist allowing you to get started and learn the basics so that you feel you are progressing and can enjoy playing the guitar. If you are beyond this stage then JamPlay and Guitar Tricks has a lot more to offer.
To find out more and to sign up for your 30 day free trial visit the Fender Play website.