In our previous articles, we have extensively recommended Guitar Tricks as a reliable online guitar instructor for children and adults alike. Not only are they a good choice for beginners looking to become professionals, there are also a number of other options that Guitar Tricks boasts. However, there is a new competitor in town; Fender Play.
Fender Play is new in the industry, but has its own features to boast as well.
Here, we will discuss both of these online guitar lesson giants; Guitar Tricks and Fender Play, and help you make an informed decision. We will also discuss the pros and cons of both these providers to help you get a clearer picture of where these giants are originally coming from.
Comparing these two giants was one of the most difficult comparisons we had to make. Both of these providers focus on beginners and are well-known in the industry for what they do. This is why their sites and apps have the most downloads and registrations than any other out there.
However, at the end of the day, we had a winner – Guitar Tricks.
The only problem we had with Guitar Tricks i.e. where Fender Play managed to get the upper hand, was the price point. Where Guitar Tricks’ subscription costs $19.95 per month, Fender Play is easier on the wallet with a price point of just $9.99 per month.
Here are some more features we compared, in summary:
|Subscription Price (per month)||$19.95||$9.99|
|Money-back Guarantee||60 Days||No money-back guarantee|
|Number of Songs||1,000+||700-750|
|Number of Lessons||11,000+||N/A|
|Number of Instructors||30+||19+|
|Active Forum/Updates||Yes – Regular and active||Slightly active|
|Number of Genres||14||5|
|Bass Guitar Lessons||No||Yes|
|Private Lessons (1-on-1)||Yes||No|
As mentioned above, both of these giants focus on helping those starting out learn the basics of the guitar and make their way to greatness. The lessons start all the way from helping you grip your instrument properly to strumming techniques and chords.
Catering to beginners is perhaps the beating heart of any guitar instructor, both online and offline.
Where both of these platforms differ is how they cater to said audience.
To start learning from Guitar Tricks, you can start off by signing up for a free trial. You will get access to a dashboard where you will find a limited number of beginner lessons to choose from. Remember, even the best tutors in the world might not work for you if their teaching style is different to yours, so we can’t say anything about the teachers themselves.
Students have rated the instructors on Guitar Tricks very highly, but this is a very subjective matter and depends on your learning style. Guitar Tricks takes the cake in this regard mostly because of the company’s large number of teachers (30+), each with a unique style of teaching. Balance of probability suggests that you will definitely find someone who can teach you regardless of your age or style.
An example of one of the well-reputed instructors on Guitar Tricks is Lisa McCormick, who excels at setting the foundation for students. In her lessons and in many others, fundamentals will be broken down into 7 palatable chapters with a lot of practicing opportunities.
Before starting any chapter, you will be able to judge whether it will suit you or not, since they are rated from a difficulty rating of one to five. You can access these videos from your web portal or Android or iOS app. Unfortunately, you can’t see how long a video is until you play it (something that might get fixed soon, based on feedback). Plus, the videos are usually 3-5 minutes long, which might seem too short to some.
Fender Play has fewer instructors, but what it lacks in variety it more than makes up for with the in-depth courses it features. Each course is detailed in the table of contents to show you just what you will learn. The courses and tutorials might not always have that personal touch, but every technique is explained in several different ways so that you can grasp the gist of it properly.
Where Guitar Tricks lets you alternate between learning techniques by playing some tunes and simply observing, Fender Play takes a different approach. Here, you first have to choose one of your preferred equipment and then the style which you want to play. You look at videos first and learn, and exercise at the end of each stage.
Another difference here is that Guitar Picks teaches you the basics much more thoroughly i.e. once you’re done with their basic tutorials, you will be able to play any style. This means their basic course is much longer.
Fender Play, on the other hand, lets you choose your direction before-hand i.e.:
Once you have chosen a style, Fender Play generates “My Path” for you and tailors your learning according to that. There are just 5 levels instead of the 7 chapters, meaning that you learn much quicker this way.
Just remember that if you need to expand your horizons in the future, you might have to work a bit harder. Your online portal and your app will feature tutorials based on the style you choose, i.e. your path.
Unfortunately, by the time you are done with the basic chapters, you will still be a basic player in contrast to Guitar Tricks, where you will be able to tackle some intermediate songs and tunes as well.
You won’t have a dedicated instructor in Fender Play and each video will have a new one. This can be good or bad, depending on your preference.
Guitar Tricks and Fender Play have their own pros and cons, but when it comes to beginners, Guitar Tricks is a much better option for those of you who want a solid foundation and aren’t short on time. However, if you have an audition or need to perform somewhere urgently, Fender Play is a good bet.
Guitar Tricks focuses only on guitar tricks, as the name suggests, while Fender Play focuses on a number of instruments. This is not to say that Fender Play is inefficient at what it does; just that Guitar Tricks is much more thorough, especially when it comes to intermediate and advanced guitarists.
The large lesson gallery Guitar Tricks boasts is much more suitable for intermediate and advanced guitarists, since it lets you truly spread your wings. The idea with this large a catalogue and unlimited access is to help you play your favorite tunes no matter the genre or style.
Fender Play lags behind in this department, falling heavily towards beginners. It is important to note here, though, that while Fender Play doesn’t have any advanced features, the website doesn’t claim to help or target intermediate and advanced guitarists, either.
If you’re an intermediate or advanced player, you won’t gain much from Fender Play. You should, instead, go with Guitar Tricks to be well on your way.
Ease of use is one of the top priorities of both guitar-learning websites, however, one of them does a better job at it than the other. Guitar Tricks focuses a lot on using a contemporary design with its app and web portal, and when you play a tutorial, there is a very convenient description below it.
Unfortunately, not everyone likes it this way. While most find this a bit helpful, many have argued that a music sheet under the video would fair much better.
And that is exactly what works for Fender Play. Not only does that help children know what they’re doing, but also gives them an idea of how to read sheet music.
This isn’t something major, but sometimes does make a difference. Here, the clear winner is Fender Play for those looking for sheet music.
However, that is not to say that Fender Play’s website and app are impeccable. From time to time, their app is known to crash on Android OS, and searching for a specific can also become very difficult. This takes away from the overall user experience.
Guitar Tricks feels more complete while Fender Play feels a little more informative. Again, this is a very subjective matter. For those of you who can’t bear crashes in the middle of a course video or while practicing, Guitar Tricks will do the job perfectly.
Furthermore, Guitar Tricks also gives you access to a Toolbox at all times so that you can tune your guitar, find scales, chords and more.
Another point to keep in mind is that Guitar Tricks’ app feels like a small version of the web app or portal, which is neither a good nor bad thing. Some people like it, some don’t. Fender Play’s app, on the other hand, has a true app-like feel to it.
In the game of UI/UX, most people prefer Fender Play in the Guitar Tricks vs Fender Play comparison.
Having video tutorials and lessons is one thing, not being able to view them properly and on your own terms is entirely another. Fender Play lacks severely in this regard, not giving users enough control over what they view and how they view it.
However, all their lessons are in full HD, which is a huge plus against Guitar Tricks, which offers most of its lessons in 540p. The production value of each of these videos is very high, though, so Tricks has that going for them.
Guitar Tricks offers a lot of flexibility in terms of how users can view their tutorials, such as going full screen, adjusting speed, subtitles, loop (sections and the entire video), and more. If you don’t like the online video player, you can download the lessons and play them on your own video player as and when you like it.
One of the most important factors you will have to consider when choosing the best online guitar platform is the cost, especially if you’re financing your own learning ventures. We’ll jump right in and let you know that Fender Play costs less than Guitar Tricks and offers great UI/UX. The cost is perhaps one of the major reasons Fender Play is compared to Guitar Tricks.
However, there’s a popular saying:
“You get what you pay for…”
We’re not saying Fender Play doesn’t do a good job at explaining; only that with the low cost comes less learning material, less one-on-one time with teachers, and overall less content.
Guitar Tricks, on the other hand, costs $10 more than Fender Play per month, offering value much more than what you pay for. On the app, you might feel a little underwhelmed compared to Fender Play’s, but that feeling doesn’t last for long!
Remember, you don’t have to decide on Guitar Tricks vs Fender Play based on the cost, but can also choose to try out each provider thanks to the free trial both of them offer!