Aside from being some of the most legendary musicians of our time, what one thing do Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, David Gilmour, Buddy Holly and Stevie Ray Vaughn have in common?
Their weapon of choice was made by the same company, as is the guitar of thousands of musicians across the world:
Never one to be stuck behind the times, Fender have hopped on the trend of using the internet to share knowledge about how you can be more like these rock icons. If you aspire to be anything like those names, surely this is a good place to start?
I’ve loved the music of Hendrix and the others since I was a kid. So, for once, instead of doing air guitar in my bedroom I’ve taken a look at Fender Play to see what it can teach me.
I’ve considered everything –– from the content, to the teaching style, to the cost, to the alternatives and so much more –– to help you decide whether Fender Play is right for you.
Before we begin, here’s a quick summary if you’re short on time.
- The chance to stick to a specific Learning Pathway with specific courses to help you progress, or take individual courses and learn specific songs
- Deeply comprehensive content, covering all aspects of the instrument
- Learning pathways gradually build on each other, so you see rapid progress in your playing
- Instructors communicate effectively and break down the specifics of every new thing you learn
- Gets you to grip with the basics of soloing and lead guitar
- Neatly laid out, with helpful visuals and resources
- Exercises, drills and the chance for feedback makes each lesson feel authentic
- High production value on lessons
- Constantly changing instructors in courses; some people prefer routine over variation
- Doesn’t explain to students the purpose behind certain drills and exercises
- Limited on advanced content
Best for: Fender has a reputation for being the top choice of lead guitarists. So if electric guitar and rock and roll are your thing, this will be up your street. It’s aimed more at beginners, but the range of classes and options means anyone with an interest in guitar might get something from the site.
Overall: The first thing you notice about this site is that it looks very professional, and the production value is insane. But it’s not just about the aesthetics: the content, teaching style and overall atmosphere live up to the look. Fender Play bridges the gap between learning basic chord progressions and taking your first step to being a rock superstar, giving you the tools you need to become the best in the business. It is limited in what it can offer to advanced players, and you might find yourself moving past the site as you get to the end of the learning pathway content. But for beginners, it’s a great way to start.
Here is a taste of what's to come:
- All about Fender Play
- My review of the learning pathways on Fender Play
- What I liked about this platform
- What I think could be improved
- Who I think this platform is for
- The cost and any potential alternatives and most importantly…
Is Fender Play worth it?
What is Fender Play?
Fender was founded way back in 1946 by American inventor, Leo Fender. This was at the time when the electric guitar was just becoming popular, so the company has been along for the ride in terms of the instrument's rise and evolution.
As regards the timeline of products, Fender Play is the newest addition to the family, having only been founded in 2017. But the established history and 70+ years of growth behind Fender Guitars has meant the site has grown astronomically, becoming one of the more recognizable platforms on the web.
Fender Play boasts over 11,000 video lessons for learners to enjoy, and these include a mix of technical tutorials and popular songs for you to learn.
Although primarily associated with the electric guitar, the site also has content for those interested in guitar in all its forms, including acoustic, bass and more.
How does Fender Play work?
You can start your experience on Fender Play with a 7-day free trial. This gives you access to all the content.
If you like what you see, you can review some of their membership options and pick one that suits you. A monthly plan with Fender Play will cost you $9.99 per month. An annual membership is $89.99.
Purchase will again grant you access to all of the content.
Fender Play has a range of courses to choose from, including song lessons, chord challenges and specific classes for technique and development. You also have the choice of learning a range of Fender related instruments including:
- Electric Guitar
- Acoustic Guitar
Given Fender's reputation, the main guidance is towards what's called the Rock Learning Pathway. A learning pathway consists of seven levels, where you’ll gradually progress your guitar skills. You don’t need any prior experience.
Each level contains around 20-25 smaller courses, which are all focused on a specific topic related to guitar, such as chords, rhythm and more. These courses are divided into smaller classes that take a range of forms.
The first is Show Me, where an instructor will introduce and break down a new musical concept to you. Then there’s Exercise, where an instructor will teach an exercise or drill for you to learn that directly relates to that new musical idea.
There are also practice sessions. These aren't video lessons and are completed in your own time, where you read a chord sheet or tablature, and practice along with a metronome and backing track.
Interspersed with these courses are song courses, which follow a similar format, the only difference being an actual song is being taught.
Finally, each level ends with Feedback. Here an instructor will recap what’s been taught and will introduce you to a piece of music that incorporates all you’ve just learnt. Using Feedback Mode, you then have a chance to play into your device and test your accuracy.
What is a lesson like?
No two lessons are exactly the same, especially given the range of instructors. But Fender Plays slick production style means every lesson is very consistent and neatly presented.
Normally, a lesson will start with one of the instructors sitting down, explaining the concept you’re going to learn. They’ll then delve into the concept more specifically, breaking down what you need to know. This will often entail a split-screen, with cameras focusing on different aspects of the guitar so you can see what's going on, which I think is essential.
These lessons will be followed by a practice session, where there is no video or instructor, just sheet music and a metronome. All you need to do is hit play and practice along.
There will also probably be an exercise after the main lesson, where the instructor focuses on a drill or exercise that you can practice to properly nail down what you’ve just learnt. These are also followed by self-guided practice sessions.
Sometimes they’ll be a longer song lesson, that follows the formula of the regular lesson, where you get to apply your newfound knowledge to your favorite tunes.
My review of three classes
Fender Play has a lot to offer. I took the seven levels of the rock learning pathway, as this seems to be the most popular, comprehensive and in-depth course on the site.
I took the major lessons of each class, as well as trying the practice exercises and song lessons.
Fender Play lets you go through all seven levels at whatever pace you like. So, to make this review as useful as possible, I divided the levels into groups of three: beginner, intermediate and advanced.
Let’s see if the lessons live up to the name!
Levels 1 to 3: Beginner
There is a whole range of classes on Fender Play. There’s something for everyone including absolute beginners.
You don’t need to have any prior experience to start with this learning pathway. The aim is to methodically take novices and gradually develop their skills to Level 7.
The aim of the first three levels of the pathway is to help new students get to grips with with all the basics of the guitar. And Fender Play does a pretty good job of equipping learners with what they need to know about their guitar journeys.
You will learn:
- The components of the guitar, how to hold it and posture
- Approaches to reading a chord diagram
- Strumming patterns, and the E minor and D chords
- Helpful warm exercises
- Fretting notes in different strings
- The C Major scale on one note and open position
- Transitioning with chords
- The difference between lead and rhythm guitar, and playing the EM pentatonic
- Reading, picking and strumming rhythms
- Professional layouts, with illuminating musical visuals
- Useful practice exercises
- The opportunity to learn basic but popular songs
- Warm and engaging tutors clearly passionate about guitar
- Lessons gradually develop in difficulty, covering all the basics for beginners to know
- Potentially challenging concepts broken down and explained clearly
- Different instructors lead different lessons with no apparent reason; might be jarring for beginners
- Could take more time to explain music theory and notation which many guitarists have to go back and learn again
Length of Course: I’d class the first three levels as for beginners. Each level consists of around 20 classes, which are divided into Show Me explanatory lessons, Exercise lessons and practice sessions, and song lessons. Show Me and Exercise lessons normally take around 2-5 minutes, whereas song lessons often last 5-10 minutes. You complete the practice sessions in your own time.
Best for: Anyone who has never picked up a guitar before, but has even the slightest inkling to give it a go. You don’t need any prior experience to get something out of this course. If you have a particular interest in electric or lead guitar basics, these first courses are essential.
Overall: With so many facets to the guitar, and so many instructors claiming they have the right approach, it can be very difficult to know where to start with teaching the instrument from scratch. Fender Play gets the balance just right. I was amazed by how much content was covered in just three levels. On top of that, every lesson broke down new concepts succinctly and offered the chance for beginners to learn practice exercises and songs, which is a rewarding element of learning any new instrument. I personally wasn’t a fan of the constantly changing instructors, but I really dug the overall approach to getting started with the instrument.
Level 4 to 5: Intermediate
Intermediates are a very hard group to define, especially as Fender Play doesn’t categorize their levels based on ability.
However, I would say Levels 4-5 are perfectly suited to what I call late beginners; people comfortable with the basics of guitar and ready to push themselves.
These are the levels where the rock and roll element of Fender enters into the picture, and there’s a real push for students to develop as lead guitarists.
You will learn:
- How to play a minor pentatonic scale and the basics of soloing
- Alternate picking and palm muting
- Fundamentals of reading rhythms, and the importance of rests and reads
- Three-finger power chords and 7th chords
- Hammer offs and pull on
- Switching between more complicated chords
- Syncopation and chord anticipation
- Major and minor keys, and using Solfege
- Delves into music theory, and develops general musicianship more than previous levels
- Methodically builds from earlier lessons
- A broader focus on lead guitar, bridging the gap with more simple acoustic playing
- Encourages experimenting and playing around with the guitar in practice
- Songs increase in difficulty, but are still accessible for learners
- Opportunity to solo and “jam” with a full band backing track
- Still doesn’t quite explain the purpose beyond learning certain drills and exercises
Length of Course: The same as the first three levels. Around twenty classes in both levels, divided into video lessons, song lessons, exercises and practice sessions ranging from 3-10 minutes per video.
Best for: This section is absolutely ideal if you’ve taken the first three levels, purely because these learning pathways are structured so that they build on each other. But it also works if you’re an intermediate comfortable with the basics and want to expand your horizons. These levels are particularly useful for those looking for a way in with playing lead guitar.
Overall: When I first started learning the guitar, I couldn’t imagine it was the same instrument the likes of Jimi Hendrix played. What I was learning seemed worlds apart. But these levels truly bridge the gap between strumming acoustic chords and playing the lead guitar. This course managed to effectively compound what has already been taught, but I felt it went so much deeper when it came to explaining the musical theory behind guitar and developing more general musical concepts that are invaluable for those learning the instrument.
Level 6 to 7: Advanced
It feels a little wrong to describe this as an advanced level. The learning pathway is designed for people who haven't touched a guitar, so many musicians may even consider it a stretch to call this section intermediate.
However, the final levels are the most advanced relative to the rest of the learning pathway. It’s here where you’ll get the first signs of real, in-depth guitar technique.
Let's take a look.
You will learn:
- How to play half-slides and vibrato
- Half-bar, moveable chord shapes
- How to read slash chords
- Sixteenth notes and syncopation
- Double-stops and string bends
- Triplets and the basics of the blues shuffle
- I-IV-V Chords in relation to key signatures
- Barre chords with a 5 string root
- Lives up to the rock part of the name, with a broader focus on lead electric guitar
- Songs increase in complexity but are still accessible to those who stuck with the course
- Teaches cool yet achievable guitar tricks beginners can show off to their friends
- Leaves you with a strong foundation to continue your guitar journey
- Properly delves into theory
- Not a lot of advanced content; some of the lessons seem a lot easier than others
- Quite a lot of repetition from earlier levels
Length of Course: The final two levels each contain around 20-25 short courses, and as with earlier levels, these consist of video classes ranging from 1-10 minutes, and practice sessions you complete in your own time.
Best for: Those who have taken the pathway up til level 5 and are ready to continue. That’s the main demographic. Players with even a few years of experience might find the content wanting and may wish for more advanced lessons.
Overall: This was probably the weakest section of the learning pathway. Perhaps it's my fault for grouping the courses in the way I did, as no aspect of the learning pathway is meant to be ‘advanced.’ But even as something of a beginner myself, I found I had somewhat exceeded a lot of the content here. It’s still worth completing if you’ve made it through the other levels. The teaching quality, production value and resources are all consistent with earlier levels, and there are still a few things of value taught here. Just know you might be left wanting more.
What did I Like about Fender Play?
Covers All The Bases
Learning the guitar is a daunting task. The instrument has been around in various incarnations for centuries. With so much history and so many current ways of understanding the instrument, I don’t think there’ll ever be an exact formula for getting started.
But I do think Fender play gets pretty close.
One of this site’s strengths, and this particularly relates to the learning pathway, is how it covers all the essentials of the instrument.
Before you’ve even played your first note, you already have an understanding of how to hold the guitar, the best kind of seat to use, what posture you should have and more. This is important because so many factors go into mastering a craft in music that transcends just simply playing the instrument.
And, when it does come to playing the guitar, the site still holds up. Rather than spending each lesson learning the same basic chord progression, or tiring over one song, you’ll get to learn about rhythm, strumming patterns, chord progressions, soloing and even a little bit of music theory.
By being so thorough and comprehensive, Fender Play manages to develop the general musicianship of their users, which can be a wall many guitarists hit with their playing if they don’t develop these skills early on.
You might notice that as your playing gets better and you progress through the course, it’ll become more and more difficult for Fender play to cover everything you want to learn. This shouldn’t be alarming, as getting better at an instrument also means an opportunity to learn even more. Fender Play isn’t quite built for this kind of advanced teaching, but we’ll get to that later.
If you’re a beginner, or even an intermediate looking to develop gaps in your knowledge, rest assured Fender Play has got all your bases and blindspots covered.
Ask a guitarist this:
“I want to learn guitar. What do you think of X site for getting started?”
And the response you’ll normally get is this:
“Why not just get in-person lessons?”
As someone who got into playing music before the internet came to dominate life, I can sympathize with this response. But for many people, whether because of affordability, location problems or time, this just might not be an option.
With so many amazing tools and resources at our disposal, I think it’s important to develop how we teach music in creative and innovative ways. However, a lot of sites currently champion video-game style learning, which I think can lose a lot of the value of in-person guidance and support.
As a site, Fender Play is one of the closest I’ve seen to replicating real life teaching.
This is partly because of how methodical the teaching is. Just like in-person lessons, the lesson will focus on developing a particular skill or explaining a particular concept. The teaching style is one of the best parts of the whole site. Each instructor goes into very specific detail, breaking down every component of the idea, and repeating it and re-explaining it.
This means anyone remotely struggling is sure to understand the concept within the lesson frame.
But there’s more. Again taking cues from real lessons, which I’m sure many of the instructors give or have given, there will then be an exercise, drill or song that the instructor will demonstrate, normally incorporating what you’ve just learnt. You also get to “jam” with a band backing track.
You are then encouraged to practice this on your own.
I think this is fantastic, as it gives beginners a bank of exercise and songs to draw from that they can show off to friends and family, whilst also getting comfortable with whatever topic has just been taught.
Finally, one of the coolest things about the site is the opportunity for feedback. After teaching a song, or completing a level, you're encouraged to enter feedback mode, where you can play into the site using your device's audio, and see how accurate your playing is.
Feedback is essential to learning any skill, so it’s awesome to see websites take this initiative.
Although the constantly rotating instructors limit the extent to which a student-teacher relationship can be facilitated, which I think is important for beginners and is already restricted by the lessons being video recordings, I was still impressed by how often using Fender Play felt like an in-person lesson.
Some may see the aim for sites like Fender Play as simply replicating in-person lessons as close as they possibly can, but the internet also provides new innovations that mean we can expand beyond our traditional concepts of teaching.
Part of this is the options it gives us.
Rather than stick to one pathway, and focus on your progression in that, Fender Play allows you to draw from all sorts of courses on their site.
Although primarily known for their rock guitar status, lessons in acoustic, bass and ukulele are all also offered here.
There are also a wide range of songs available , as well as courses that go into specific depth about a certain topic.
There will also often be themed collections of lessons, including songs to learn for Halloween and Christmas.
These courses are often divided into different skills, such as theory, technique, chords, tone and more. So if you’re lacking in one division, you know exactly where to look for lessons.
There’s also a chord challenge where you can develop your finger dexterity and improve on a score the site gives you by working through your chords, as well as artists spotlight, guitar articles and crash courses in specific genres.
It’s all there.
High Production Quality And Layout
This may seem like a superficial point, but I do think it’s important.
When learning something new, every detail counts. It’s already quite daunting anyway, so if something throws you, like a site being confusing or videos being poor quality, that can cloud your judgement of the instrument.
The pressure is increased if you’ve spent money on lessons.
Fender Play’s layout is neat, organized and easy to understand. You know just where to go to find what you're looking for and everything looks professional.
On top of that, the production quality of the videos is excellent. They just look good! They’re well-shot, well-lit and use different camera angles so you get a full picture of what's being played.
By producing slick, practical content Fender Play sets you at ease, making you feel like you are with a safe pair of hands. And this means you don’t waste any mental energy when it comes to focusing on what you are about to learn.
Bridges the Gap Between Rhythm and Lead
This is an entirely personal point.
I’ve only ever been able to strum a couple of chords on a guitar. When I was first learning to play chords about ten years ago , I just couldn’t see what any of this had to do with all the cool solos, riffs and licks that I had listened to so many rock icons play.
Learning acoustic chords vs. soloing on electric guitar feels like two different instruments.
Taking some of the lessons on Fender Play felt like unravelling a great, big mystery for me.
Through learning about the E-minor pentatonic, slides, vibrato and more I was finally able to see the lead guitar connects to the acoustic guitar, and music theory in general.
A gap in my knowledge had been filled, which is always a good sign.
What could be improved?
Not A Lot For Advanced Players
I’ve raved about Fender Play a lot, but there is always room for improvement.
If you're a beginner, skip this section. If you consider yourself to be more advanced, you might want to take note of that in terms of content for you…
There just isn’t a lot.
This is a harsher critique when it comes to the learning pathways because those are designed for beginners. But even as someone without much experience myself, I found I was left wanting a little more from the final levels.
The guitar is an incredibly influential instrument with so many dynamics and idiosyncrasies to it. And I feel Fender Play often just scratches the surface. Even with courses outside the platform, I just felt that there could be so much more detail, so many more concepts explored or styles of guitar taught.
Like I said before, we are all always learning when it comes to music, even those at the top. At the same time, we all have to start somewhere, so devoting attention to beginners is important. But given the resources at Fender Plays disposal, they could focus on expanding the horizons of players with a little more experience as well.
This is quite a common complaint if you search for reviews of Fender Play online. Naturally, beginners don’t seem to have this problem, and players who have been playing a little longer are still quick to acknowledge the site's merits, many of which I discussed above.
But I imagine if I were an advanced player and purchased the site, I would feel disappointed.
That isn’t to say every guitarist beyond beginner level won't like Fender Play. There are always gaps in our knowledge, whether we are self-taught, returning from hiatus or just missed something early on in our musical education. And given the site's quality, Fender Play is a good place to fill those gaps.
But, when I finished Level 7 I was left asking:
“Where do I go from here?”
I don’t think I got an adequate answer.
Could Delve into Explanation More
This point is a little more specific to my understanding of learning.
It also pertains to the beginner rather than advanced elements of Fender Play courses.
I just felt at the start of the teaching, some concepts weren’t fully fleshed out or explained. Now, this is very much a nitpick, because for the most part everything was explained very well and concepts were broken down clearly and succinctly and were therefore digestible.
My main criticism is of the first exercises taught, because we were never told why we were doing them.
This is a problem for me because if you want a student to practice something, it’s much easier to encourage them if there’s a clear goal. For example, a couple of warm-ups that were taught had the aim of helping me “get better.”
But get better with what? My finger dexterity? My tone? My scales?
Also, whilst I was very impressed with the introduction of music theory concepts in later levels of the site, this could have been done earlier. It’s a pet peeve of mine that many sites will introduce a concept that directly relates to music theory without explaining the theoretical background. An example of this would be teaching a chord and not describing what a chord is and how it relates to the rest of music.
This is a problem because many guitarists will practice chords, get comfortable with them and develop as players. So much so that their level of playing will require some kind of understanding of theory, which they'll have to go back and learn.
I’m grateful for the fact that there was any theory at all, and when theoretical concepts were introduced they were explained very well. So why not bring them in earlier, especially if they are going to make more sense to the students later in the course.
It’s a nitpick, sure, but what kind of critic would I be if I weren't nitpicking?
Constantly Switching Instructors
This isn’t a con so much as it just didn’t make sense.
Now, we all learn differently, so having different instructors for each lesson might not be a problem for you. And, I need to stress this, this is not a criticism of any of the instructors.
I actually found them all to be consistently clear, concise, engaging and evidently passionate about their instrument.
But I didn’t understand why they rotated, especially because sometimes the instructor would repeat what the previous one had already taught.
Being exposed to different perspectives when learning something as subjective as music is essential. Different instructors vary in their expertise and what they bring to the table.. So there are certainly merits of having a range of teachers.
But from my experience, trust is essential to learning something new, and facilitating a relationship with an individual teacher is a part of that as they become a source of guidance.
This is especially relevant to Fender Play, as the learning pathway was methodical, and built on previous lessons, so the lack of continuity was sometimes a little unsettling
Who is Fender Play for?
If you like guitar, I’m sure you’ll get something out of Fender Play.
The site is ideal for beginners, especially those interested in rock. So, if you’ve never touched the instrument before, but have any remote interest in doing so, this platform is ideal.
However, there are also smaller, niche groups who I think Fender Play should appeal to, including:
- Intermediate players looking to build their repertoire
- Guitarists coming back to the craft after a hiatus
- Solid guitarists who are still struggling with music theory
- Anyone looking for a good bank of exercise and drills
- Acoustic players looking to develop as lead guitarists
I would suggest that if you are an advanced player looking to still learn and develop, this might not be the site for you. The learning pathway is great for getting started, but it only really scratches the surface,
However, with the range of songs and classes available, there may be something for you, even if you are at this level.
How much does Fender Play cost?
When it comes to paying for your membership with Fender Play there are two main options for you to choose from.
- The monthly path costs $9.99 to access all the content
- The annual plan in which you pay $89.99 for a year of all the content you receive with the monthly plan
It’s worth noting that the yearly plan is overall almost 25% cheaper than the monthly plan altogether.
I’d also like to note that these are very reasonable prices that are quite a bit cheaper than most other online platforms or in-person lessons.
Fender Play will often provide discounts, promos and sales on their site so make sure to always check out what's on offer on the site, especially if these prices don’t feel worth it.
There is a free trial available.
For seven days you have access to all the content on Fender Play without paying a thing.
All sales are final with Fender Play.
They do not offer any kind of refund for this platform.
If you are unhappy with your purchase, there is no opportunity for remuneration, which is honestly in contrast to quite a few of Fender Play’s competitors.
With the dawn of the internet, the task of learning the guitar is easier than ever. So if you see yourself up on stage with a six-string, but don’t actually know how to play, now is an excellent time to get started.
But which site do you choose?
You can check out our Best Online Guitar Lessons Review which rates the best 10 courses and classes of 2022.
But if you're short on time, here's a few other choices:
The site has a method based on goals, where you can start as a beginner. From here you can continuously progress with your guitar journey, delving into different styles, topics and techniques.
There are also 500+ songs available to learn on the site, and a 5 day boot camp where the aim is to learn songs fast.
Guitareo posts regular content up on Youtube, so you can check those videos out if you're interested in purchasing a membership.
TrueFire was founded way back in the 1990s, so their instructors know a thing or two about teaching guitar online. Among the guitar community, this site is known for offering courses that can go in-depth and technical with the concepts they approach. I’ve even seen some guitarists warn novices against it!
Another cool thing about TrueFire is that you can purchase courses individually. So if you aren’t sure about the whole site, but like the look of a specific teacher or idea, that’s another option.
JamPlay is a site with over 7000 courses, with Rock Guitar For Beginners, The Art Of Versatility and Bluegrass Rhythm Survival Guide being among their most popular.
Whilst some sites devote all of their time and attention to guitar, others have begun to expand beyond one discipline to include courses for a range of different skills and trades.
Platforms like SkillShare and Udemy have been dominating the e-learning game, and their guitar courses certainly don’t let them down.
Udemy has a range of guitar options on offer. Some of the most popular include Henry Olsen’s Ultimate Beginner Guitar Masterclass and Michael Palmisano’s Professional Guitar MasterClass.
SkillShare also has options for you, with Guitar Fundamentals: Learn Quick With Mike Boyd standing out.
If you’re thinking “hmmm that’s all cool, but I wanna be taught by a celebrity” then MasterClass has you covered. Like with the sites above, there’s a range of disciplines for you to dip into here, but this time each course is taught by an outright legend in the given field.
Music courses on MasterClass cover a range of topics through arange of instructors, but when it comes to guitar, your best bet is checking out Tom Morello’s MasterClass.
And if you're looking to develop more than just your playing skills, you can develop your writing, production and hustle skills on Soundfly.
What others have said
Education is entirely subjective. We all process information in different ways, and have entirely different goals when it comes to what we want to get from a certain platform.
So, instead of this review just being my opinion, I’ve spent some time searching the internet to see what others had to say about the site.
Honestly, the general opinion was very mixed.
This is hardly surprising. Music is subjective, yet musicians seem to be very passionate about the right or wrong way of teaching their instrument. Whereas some people will dislike Fender Play, and recommend a different site, others will complain about that site and recommend another one.
One of the recurrent themes was that although Fender Play went into depth and detail for beginners, there wasn’t a lot for advanced players.
“I've played guitar for 20 years. When fender play was free at the start of the pandemic I got it for the craic. I found the vast majority of it too basic, but there was the odd lick I found satisfying to learn, and also found it interesting to go back to basics to see how it is taught and how I might do things differently. Beyond this though, I lost interest.” - Reddit commenter
“I started with fender play because I already had it for guitar. It was a good place to start, they teach you all the core concepts you need to know but I found that I'd outgrown it in about a month.” - Reddit commenter
These comments summed up the side of those who weren’t totally convinced by Fender Play. It’s clear that both see something of merit within Fender Play, and think it’s a good place to start.
But I agree: there just isn’t a lot there for beginners. This is a shame because music is a constantly evolving process where there is always something new to learn. And even after years of playing, finding something new to practice can be just as exciting for advanced players as it is for beginners.
However, other commenters were a lot more enthusiastic.
“Great for beginners or if you’re coming back to the game after a long hiatus (I fall into this category). They have a lot of techniques, videos, a decent selection of songs, and the instructors are pretty solid. I signed up last July, and use it regularly. They even do a weekly giveaway where you get to choose between a guitar/bass/amp if you hit your weekly practice streak. I actually ended up winning in January of this year!” - Reddit commenter
“I've been using Fender Play for 3 days and LOVE it. It's really well built, well curated, clean, and the vids are all short but really clear and to the point, no fluff. you can get a free trial, you know?” - Reddit commenter
It’s safe to say I agree with this perspective. If you’re at a developmental stage in your playing, the video, techniques, layout and content will no doubt be of massive benefit to you.
I also like the point about the free trial, which is always important to consider before you invest in any new platform.
So, although there’s not a lot for advanced players, it seems the content and teaching style itself was appreciated.
Is Fender Play worth it?
The answer to the question above is always subjective, and depends on what you’re looking for, your price range and what kind of learning environment suits you.
If you’re a beginner, this is definitely a great place to start. You’ll be introduced to all the essentials of the instrument clearly and comprehensively. You’ll learn exercises and drills that give you a solid foundation in playing and find yourself making rapid progress from strumming simple chords to actually soloing.
This is all done through providing you with songs that explain concepts, practice sessions for exercises and even the chance for feedback, all of which make the lessons feel intimate and authentic.
And with the free trial, this doesn’t cost a thing!
Frequently asked questions
A monthly plan with Fender Play will cost you $9.99 per month. An annual membership is $89.99.
No, Fender Play does not operate a refund policy.
Fender Play offers over 11,000 lessons!
Yes, Fender Play operates a 14-day free trial.
Charlie is a student reading politics at King’s College London. He is also a passionate musician with over 14 years of experience. In his free time, he also enjoys cinema, long-distance running and learning new things.