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Guitar Tricks vs. Jamplay

April 18, 2015
18 Apr 2015

There are 2 really big online video guitar lesson websites at present: Jamplay.com and GuitarTricks.com

Deciding on which one to join can be a bit tricky, since they are both very similar in so many respects. This is where a side-by-side comparison between GuitarTricks and Jamplay will come in handy, but first, lets discuss the history of these sites to get a better understanding of what they can do for you.

Guitartricks vs Jamplay? Which is better?

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It's important to know that GuitarTricks is the older site, established in 1998. As such, they practically invented online guitar lessons. JamPlay is the follower, who is set out to overtake the pioneer, as can be seen from the video editing quality, and the rate at which new lessons are added onto JamPlay.

Have a look at this handy Jamplay vs Guitar Tricks comparison table below, to find the nitty-gritty differences between the 2 sites:

JamPlay vs Guitar Tricks Feature Comparison - 2016

GuitarTricks.com JamPlay.com
Level Beginner to Advanced Beginner to Advanced
Lessons Thousands of lessons
- All levels
- Many genres
- ~600 song lessons
- Supplemental tabs & chord charts
- Video lessons downloadable (except song lessons)
Thousands of lessons
- All levels
- More genre lessons than GuitarTricks
- ~300 Song lessons
- Supplemental tabs & chord charts
- Forum on each lesson
- Video lessons not downloadable
User interface Personalized UI:
- Bookmark lessons
- Lessons viewed
- Progress history
Personalized UI:
- Bookmark lessons
- Lessons viewed
- Progress history
- Collect points and badges
Online tools - Chord and scale finder tools
- Backing tracks
- Metronome
- Reference tuner
- Downloadable video player
- Chord and scale library with deep explanations
- Backing tracks
- Metronome
- Reference tuner
Extras - Active forum
- Most lessons and tools downloadable
- 1 learning game
- Active forum
- Live webcam sessions
- 3 learning games
Pricing $19.95 / month $19.95 / month
Refund policy 60 days 7 days

As you can see, both websites are very similar, but you can still find differences beneath the hood. Let's have a look at a few more things that I noticed while using both sites, these may be of interest in your decision as well.

GuitarTricks pros & cons

What I love about GuitarTricks.

There are a few things I really enjoy on GuitarTricks.com:

  • The lessons are short and to the point, nothing redundant. This is really important, since if you save just 5 minutes on each lesson, watching lets say 20 lessons will be 100 minutes shorter. That much more time to practice or do the dishes :-)
  • "Artist style" lessons are great for intermediate / advanced players, since instead of learning a song, you get in depth knowledge about the given artists' characteristic style and techniques, which is really cool.
  • There are a gazillion songs to learn in detail.
  • One of the coolest, most laid back, yet most informative teachers I have seen is Anders Mouridsen. If you go with GuitarTricks, you'll see a lot of him.
    I also like Christopher Schlegel a lot, he is so full of energy and enthusiastic.

What I dislike about GuitarTricks.

And of course there are always things you would change:

  • They could have more genre based mini courses, JamPlay has this.
  • The Jam Station is not downloadable. It's a really cool tool, but you need to be online to use it. I don't know why they don't make a downloadable version. Maybe because it would be too large of a download?
  • The quality of a few older lessons are subpar, they should just remove those or reshoot them. For example, there is a teacher called Hanspeter Kruesi, who seems like a nice guy, but the lessons shot YouTube style at his house in front of his PC don't live up to my expectations. I'm just talking about a few lessons here, but still.
Can you contact the teachers?

Some teachers at GuitarTricks have a dedicated forum section, where you can get in touch with them. Some teachers don't have this, I think it's because they don't work for GuitarTricks any more.

What if you want a refund?

No matter which membership level you sign up for (monthly or yearly), you can ask for a refund within 60 days of your payment, and GuitarTricks will send the money right back onto your account, no biggie.

Can you get a discount?

Yes, you can get a discount at GuitarTricks by signing up for their yearly membership option, using a discount code on the 1st months membership, and they also have a 2 week free trial option.

JamPlay pros & cons

What I love about JamPlay.

As with GuitarTricks, there are a few things that are especially cool with JamPlay:

  • The production quality of the lessons is just beautiful, they really care about how their lessons look and feel.
  • The user account panel is more intuitive than on GuitarTricks.
  • You can contact other JamPlay members, so basically form your own little community. I'm not much of an online community person, but I can see how some Facebook addicts might like this feature.
  • JamPlay has a few teachers who are either solo artists or were even part of really big bands. These artist-teachers aren't really the best at teaching, since they are more artisty than teachery, but nevertheless, it's cool to see them teaching their own songs and techniques. This is a nice-to-have feature for advanced guitarists.
  • I need to mention a teacher from JamPlay who is just a thrill to watch, Marcello Berestovoy. His lessons are really good and his style of teaching is great as well, too bad he only has a few lessons. Same goes for Michael Ripoll.
What I dislike about JamPlay.

And for the ugly:

  • In their quest to innovate, I think JamPlay really took the camera angle thing overboard. Sometimes they show so many angles of hands on the screen, that it can get confusing and not intuitive at all. There is an camera angle which I really dislike, the "teacher angle", which is a camera above the teacher aiming at his fretting hand. Mixing angles of the same hand on a screen is not cool, I literally get dizzy watching it.
  • I'm sure they put a lot of effort into it, but I think the live lessons are just silly and not useful. Whenever I watched them, the teacher was usually just doing something arbitrary, and I didn't see much value in them.
  • As with GuitarTricks, some of the older lessons should be reshot. There is too big of a gap between the quality of lessons they release today vs the ones from a few years ago.
  • The video player doesn't let me fast forward to a point of the lesson that hasn't been downloaded by the player yet. Hopefully they get this fixed, it's frustrating.
Can you contact the teachers?

Each lesson has a comments section, where you can post your comment and the instructor will generally reply. Artist-instructors don't reply.

Also, there is the live session thing JamPlay has, which I don't really like, but you can chat with the instructor in real time. He/she may or may not reply, since other people are writing him at the same time.

What if you want a refund?

If you need a refund, you gotta be quick, you have 7 days to ask for it from the day of your original payment.

So basically you have a week to test drive JamPlay, which isn't much actually, given the amount of content they have and the amount of time an average adult can dedicate to playing guitar per week.

Can you get a discount?

Yes, JamPlay has discount codes which you can use to save a few bucks off their membership prices.

So which site is better?

Objectively speaking, I would say that GuitarTricks is better for learning guitar. Some may agree, some not. Read my reasoning below, and leave a comment if you agree/disagree.

The reason why I think GuitarTricks is the winner versus JamPlay, is because:

  • Most video lessons and guitar tools are downloadable, which is nice when you're not connected to the Internet. You can't download song lessons due to licensing issues.
  • Longer refund period, so you have more time to evaluate it and see if you like it.
  • NEW: Check out the new GuitarTricks.com Free Trial Membership for 14 days, where you'll get access to all lessons and tools on GuitarTricks.com for $0.

But than again, JamPlay does have a cool scale library tool (which is great for intermediate-advanced players), the production quality of JamPlay videos is generally higher (the educational value is about the same), and they release more new lessons and mini courses in different genres for intermediate-advanced guitarists, which might make them a better choice if you're an established player.

You be the judge, take your pick. You could even sign up to test both, and just get a refund from the one you're least satisfied with.

And remember to save some money, go to our posts on the Guitar Tricks discount and JamPlay coupon code before signing up with their service.

Again, click on these links for a GuitarTricks discount and a JamPlay coupon code before signing up with either site. You'll save a few dollars, which is always nice :-)

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31 replies
  1. josiah says:

    hey tom i was wondering which one you thought would be better for blues rock/hard rock because i listen a lot to bands like ac/dc

    • Tom - TheGuitarLesson.com says:

      Hey there, if you’re a beginner, than GuitarTricks, because I think their beginner lessons are structured better, even in your specific genres.

      If you already know how to play, than JamPlay would be better, because they have more dedicated courses on these topics, held by different teachers. Those are a bit more advanced though, and some teachers are a bit havocy in their material, but if you know how to play, you’ll be ok.

  2. Ash kukadia says:

    I signed up for jam play and started the beginner lessons. I am 50 yo and have always wanted to play. Do you think it’s possible to learn to play with online lessons only, or would you advise getting a live teacher as well?

    • Tom - TheGuitarLesson.com says:

      Hi, nope, you don’t need a live teacher, just stick to a beginner course, and take your time with each lesson. Don’t skip without learning any given lesson, that’s important. You need self discipline when not learning with a live teacher.

  3. Ryan Saunders says:

    Is the competition from JamPlay and Guitar Tricks to strong for a new online service to establish itself and compete with them successfully?

    • Tom - TheGuitarLesson.com says:

      Yes, but the competition from free youtube video lessons is the biggest killer. Anyone with a camera can become a teacher on youtube, and since it’s free, more and more beginners are choosing that route. Even though they are destined to fail, due to the lack of structure in their learning.

  4. Stewart says:

    Which one is better for learning fingerpicking for more modern music (not classical)?

    Example: https://youtu.be/urIJuFhjNFw

    • Tom - TheGuitarLesson.com says:

      That is more advanced material. Jamplay has more courses on this type of fingerstyle guitar.

  5. ehorne2000 says:

    Tom, I am curios as to why you are advertising these sites when you have your own site that I have been enjoying.


    • Tom - TheGuitarLesson.com says:

      Hey Ed,

      My original thesis behind my site was (and still is), that I want to create lessons that will make people fall in love with the guitar, and get them motivated to play real songs. I think I’m good at creating high quality lessons that beginners will enjoy and draw enthusiasm from, but the thing is that I am a one man show at TheGuitarLesson.com, and there are only so many lessons I can produce, while Jamplay and Guitartricks are “big” companies, pumping out new content non-stop.

      I think my lessons are better for beginners though, since I make things easier with the animated tabs, but some newbies might prefer the giga lesson packages that these sites offer.

      Also, once you get to an intermediate level, the above sites will be able to keep you moving forward, all the way to advanced. I only have beginner-intermediate lessons, so I see it as natural progression to move from my lessons to the more advanced lessons of one of the above sites. These 2 sites are the sources I can truly recommend from both quality and cost efficiency point of views.


  6. Pedro Almeida says:

    Hi there Tom,

    Guitar Tricks is now $19.95 / month, not $14.95 / month.

    Best regards,
    Pedro Almeida

  7. Roger W. Manning says:

    Your video is useless to me. You have ‘backgrouond’ music playing louder than you are talking. I can hardly make out what you are saying.
    You should either drop the music after a brief intro, or make it really background.
    Sorry, just doesn’t work for me.

    • Tom - TheGuitarLesson.com says:

      Roger, I don’t have any music playing in this video at all…

      Maybe the music is just in your head? 😀

  8. Rick says:

    Which site does the best job at explaining theory as it relates to their lessons?

  9. jared k says:

    I was also looking at a site called jamorama, what do you think about them? Thanks!

    • Tom - TheGuitarLesson.com says:

      Hey Jared, I just had a look at Jamorama recently, since they upgraded their offering not long ago. They used to sell a guitar lesson ebook which was created over a decade ago, so it was pretty old to say the least. They launched the new site 2 months ago, and are now focusing on video lessons, just like Jamplay and Guitartricks. I had a good look around Jamorama, and to tell you the truth, it’s not looking very good:

      • If you compare the amount of lessons Jamorama, GuitarTricks and Jamplay has, you’ll see that Jamorama is nowhere. Literally. They have just a few courses, and even those courses are not complete. I won’t list the details, but if you have a look at the contents of their beginner’s lead course, you’ll see.
      • They don’t have any song lessons, which is a huge minus in my book.
      • Their price isn’t that much cheaper. They charge $60 for a year, but if you catch a promo with Guitartricks or jamplay, you’ll get a yearly membership for $100.

      So if you compare Jamorama vs Jamplay and GuitarTricks, well, the Jamorama guys don’t really have much going for them.

  10. ann says:

    I am a beginning mandolin player but I like the old country tunes. I know the setup is different and chord structure is different. I think I can figure that part out. what I want to learn and struggle with is rhythm, timing, and strumming patterns. which site would you recommend that may help with the rhythm, timing, and strumming patterns and also give a bigger variety of songs that I may like to play in the country music, bluegrass or appalachian music genre?

  11. Rashi yana says:

    What about Truefire, what do you think about their site? It looks like they have lots of videos as well.

    • Tom - TheGuitarLesson.com says:

      Hi Rashi,
      TrueFire.com does indeed have lots and lots of lessons. They claim to have 22,000+ lessons, and 400+ teachers. I’m not going to start counting, that’s for sure.
      I don’t have that much experience with Trufire as with GuitarTricks or Jamplay though. I have purchased a few courses from their site, which was a bit expensive, I think around $20 for a course. They have a a monthly plan as well, or actually 2 monthly plans.
      My problem with truefire is that they have so much stuff, that you get lost in their site. So for example, if you click on blues courses, they have 116 individual blues courses. They do have so called “learning paths”, where they give you the order in which you should tackle the separate courses, but those are just that, separate courses, so not really created with continuity in mind.
      So anyhow, if you are an intermediate-advanced player, you will definitely be able to cherry-pick a few courses that will be interesting, but if you are looking for a structured approach to getting from A to B, I would say go with the other 2 big sites instead.

  12. yunus says:

    Hi Tom, I am thinking of subscribing to one of these two online websites.But since I am not a native speaker, my listening skill is not good enough to understand what’s being said.So I may need subtitles.Do the videos provide us with english subtitles?Thanks in advance

    • Tom - TheGuitarLesson.com says:

      Sorry but they don’t have subtitles. Try my lessons though if you’re a beginner, I have animated tabs, which makes things easier to follow.

  13. jackoh says:

    Wow, cool video man, uber informative. It’s interesting to see the side by side like this. I haven’t quite decided which site I’m gonna go with, but I’m leaning more towards guitartricks right now. I used to play a bit when I was younger, so I’m basically restarting the guitar, and those quick to the point lessons from guitartricks come off as a nice way of relearning everything I had long forgotten. I also want to learn Beatles songs, and it looks like only gutartricks has those.
    The larger choice of lessons on Jamplay is intriguing, but I don’t know. I think I’ll try GT first since it has a longer refund period, and if it doesn’t work out for me, I’ll just get my money back and head on over to jamplay. I mean it’s not like we’re talking about exorbitant amount of $$$ :-) I mean the $15 monthly price is like 20 minutes with a live teacher, that’s pretty ridiculous…

    • TomFontana says:

      Hey thanks Jackoh, I’m glad you enjoyed the video. I wanted to make the 2 sites as comparable as possible, that’s why I did the side-by-side screen view. I hope the screens weren’t too small like this though, if you put it on full screen and change the resolution to HD, it works really well on my monitor.

      So anyhow, both GuitarTricks and JamPlay are great sites, it all comes down to you, the student. If you are diligent and dedicate enough time and practice to it, you’ll succeed either way. The reason I recommend GuitarTricks to beginners is because it gives them one less chance to sidestep and wonder around looking at other teacher’s lessons when things get a bit harder. That’s what a lot of people do on my site.

  14. banchemicals says:

    thanks for the comparison!

  15. kay says:

    Wow, this was a real deep comparison, I was just looking at each site and thinking which one to go with. At first glance jamplay looks better on the, but guitar tricks has a lot going for it. I think I’m gonna try that one because of the downloadable lessons.

  16. Anthony says:

    I bought the Jam Play yearly membership about 3 months ago. I have to say I am very satisfied and impressed how great this guitar course and want to thank you for your review on the your site. I am really seeing improvement in my guitar playing. This is a course I would recommend to purchase.

  17. Goldenboy1 says:

    I purchased a 1 year sub to JAMPLAY on Christmas day, I’ve known about it for years but what brought me around was their Christmas promotion. $99 for an entire year. I figured this was too good to pass up. PLUS, by the end of my subscription it should be holiday season again and perhaps I will get that great discount again. Not sure if it’s for new subscribers only or not but at any rate, I plan to utilize this site to the absolute fullest because there are things I have wanted to learn my entire life, but wasn’t willing to pay the enormous amount of money to learn it, with JAMPLAY I finally have that opportunity.

  18. Marty says:

    I have looked at both Jamplay and Guitar Tricks. I found Jamplay to be some what impressive but hard to navigate,cluttered with useless “gadgets” and the instruction rather robotic from some instructors, on the other hand Guitar Tricks was warm,inviting,easy to navigate,the instruction was short sweet and to the point with tab and notes to accompany each lesson.This is such a structured site which can easily bring a beginner to an advanced/professional level provided you do your share and follow the suggestions on this site.I have found everything I will ever need to become the guitarist I’ve always dreamed of,oh by the way the cost is a steal compared to private lessons for one teacher,did I mention I have 45 teachers?

  19. Dan says:

    It is worth noting that if you can do a yearly subscription guitar tricks comes out to $10.75 a month and JamPlay is only about $11.66 – hardly a difference. That doesn’t take any coupon codes into account. At those prices, price is no longer really an issue when comparing the two. Look into each site and pick the one that looks best to you.


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