I've been playing and teaching the guitar for many years, so I know how tricky it is to master this skill without proper training. This is why it's nice to see that there are now many ways to learn to play that can be accessed with just a click of a button.

One such way is through Fender's own guitar-learning service, Fender Play, which was created in 2017. It is one of the newest players in the guitar education market, so can it catch up with the older, established sites like GuitarTricks and Truefire? It has a lot of ground to cover, that's for sure...

In 2017, when I wrote my first Fender Play review article, the platform was a joke. Hardly any lessons, and not much going for it other than the Fender brand.

Fast forward to 2023, and it has made definite progress. In this updated article, I will be: 

  • Sharing my thoughts and experience with the site
  • Providing an in-depth analysis of its features and benefits
  • Comparing it to other websites that teach guitar.
  • Decide if it makes it onto my list of the best online guitar lesson sites in 2023.

Now read on, you won't need your guitar yet 🙂

First of all, what is Fender Play?

Designed for beginners, Fender Play offers comprehensive lessons for electric and acoustic guitar, ukulele, and bass. The program breaks down fundamental skills into short courses, which integrate teaching techniques with using them in songs.

Fender Play Logo

Tom's Take on Fender Play

I have used Fender Play and I find that it is well-structured, easy to follow, and offers a wide variety of techniques to learn, especially for beginners. Additionally, I like that it has a nice selection of songs from big-name artists to keep things interesting.

But on the flip side, Fender Play lessons are oversimplified for advanced, and even intermediate guitar players. So after learning the basics, you'd probably have to look for other platforms to further develop your skills.

As for the price, I think it offers good value for money if you're a beginner guitar player in the USA. It is much more expensive in the EU though. If you have tried tutorials from free streaming platforms but feel like your learning journey is going nowhere, Fender Play can help steer you in the right direction.


  • Customizable lesson progression
  • Concise lessons
  • High-quality video lessons and play-along tablature
  • Innovative guitar tools
  • Brand reputation 🙂


  • Oversimplified for intermediate and advanced players
  • Limited amount of content compared to competitors
  • Focus on getting users playing quickly not enough for those looking to further develop skills
  • Some teachers are boring to watch

Best for:

Price (USA):

Price (Europe):


Free trial:

beginner, intermediate

$20/month, $150/year

€29/month, €222/year


Yes, free trial >>


out of 10

Key Features of Fender Play

Now I'll give you a closer look at Fender Play by breaking down its key features.

The Fender Play Method of Teaching Beginner Guitar

Fender forces a structured learning approach the moment you sign up on their site.

By the way, signing up is free for 7 to 14 days, so you might as well do it and see the site for yourself. You need to enter your bank card details, but they don't charge you until the end of your trial period.

Here is the Free Trial Signup Link >>

You are forced to answer a few questions about your guitar skills for no apparent reason, other than to collect data on your habits I suppose:

Fender Play Step 1
Fender Play Step 2
Fender Play Step 3
Fender Play Step 4

But more importantly, you need to decide whether you want to learn acoustic/electric:

  • Rock
  • Blues
  • Pop
  • R&B/Soul
  • Country
  • Folk
Fender Play review Path Acoustic

You can also learn bass, and there is a short uke set of lessons:

Fender Play Path Bass
Fender Play Path Ukulele

Now let's talk about the structure and hierarchy of Fender's material, since this is one of the aspects that can make or break a curriculum.

Each Path is made up of Levels -> Courses -> Activities. It's kind of complex, so let me break it down.

  1. Each Path has 7 "Levels" - a Level is just a collection of courses, I don't really see any logic to the numbering of Levels.
  2. Each Level has 15-20 "Courses" - a Course is a collection of 4-10 Activities. The term "course" sort of makes you think that they are long, complex sets of lessons, but they are not. A Course can be:
    • A set of lessons focusing on a particular skill, chord, etc.
    • A song lesson
  3. Each Course has 2-12 "Activities" - An activity can be a number of things:
    • A short video lesson.
    • A tablature-based practice exercise for the video lesson.
    • A feedback mode practice recorder/grader, which is a good idea, but it doesn't work too well. More on this mode later.

When I first saw this, I was like "WOW, Fender Play has this many courses?"

Well, not exactly...

The Levels contain overlapping Courses between paths, so you'll find the same Courses in the Acoustic/Electric pop, rock, blues, etc. paths. There are only a few Courses that are unique to any genre, plus the song lessons reflect the Path (most of the time).

This sort of makes sense, because a lot of basic guitar skills are common between genres. So a C major is a C major whether you are playing acoustic or electric blues, rock, or whatever. Truefire (another big guitar lesson site) does this as well, it is a means of recycling content. GuitarTricks (yet another site) doesn't, they have dedicated videos for all genre courses.

The problem is that there are lots of genre inconsistencies.

For example, below is a screenshot of the Level 7 Acoustic Rock path. Can you see the problems?

  • It teaches Led Zeppelin's Bring It On Home (an electric blues rock song) in Course 23. Ummm... isn't this an acoustic rock Path?
  • Also check out Course 24, Soloing Using Double Stops and bends. That is not really used in acoustic rock, since bending is too difficult on the acoustic. But hey, the instructor doesn't mind, since he's rocking an electric guitar...
Fender Play Acoustic Rock Level 7 Song Not Acoustic

Here is what a standard Course looks like on the inside. It lists:

  • The Activities in the Course,
  • Each lesson's length,
  • Your progress with the Activity,
  • And a little favorite icon, so you can easily find the lesson in the future.
Fender Play Lesson Activities

And here is what a video lesson page looks like. It contains:

  • the video player with multi-cam views of the teacher and his/her/their hands,
  • chords/tabs,
  • notes you can take,
  • and Mustang GT tone preset that you can download.
Fender Play Lesson Page

All content is unlocked, but you can mark lessons as done or favorites.

Each path also breaks things up with actual songs from popular artists. However, more advanced players may not find the lessons challenging enough.

Overall, Fender Play's method of teaching is acceptable, but there are definite problems they still need to fix, even though they've been online for years.

Learning songs

Fender play has a large song library. I really like that they have a large collection of popular songs not only from the last decades, but contemporary artists as well.

  • Billie Eilish
  • One Republic
  • Taylor Swift
  • Lady Gaga

I know, I know, they are mostly 4 chord songs, but whatever. It gets kids playing, and that's what counts.

Fender Play Songs

You can also find interesting song collections, like "As heard On":

  • Stranger Things
  • Guardians of the Galaxy
Fender Play Collections 2

The song lessons are very basic though, sometimes way oversimplified.

Also, some songs only have their main riff or main solo taught, which is sort of a let down when you think you'll be learning the whole song.

The Website & App

One thing Fender splurges on is tech and design. Their website and app work without glitches, and are designed beautifully.

I did notice that the site is slow to load new pages, sometimes taking 5-10 seconds. This is weird and definitely noticable, since the web loads so quickly nowadays.

You'll love how easy it is to navigate both the website and app versions of Fender Play.

They have user-friendly interfaces and well-produced video lessons. The website and app are both designed to give you a seamless learning experience, with clear and concise menus that guide you through the different available courses.

The Teachers

Studying the platform, I could tell that Fender Play also gives the utmost importance to the quality of its instructors.

Each teacher is a highly skilled musician and has experience teaching beginners. They have a knack for breaking down complex concepts into easily digestible pieces, making it a breeze for new students to understand. Furthermore, they're also friendly and engaging.

However, like with many online learning platforms, the drawback here is the lack of interaction and feedback from the teachers.

Also, it's sort of weird how each Course in a Path is taught by a random teacher. I think it is much more personal when there is a single great teacher giving all of the lessons. I don't know if this was on purpose, or a forced move due to the eclectic structuring of the Paths.

Tools and Backing Materials

Aside from the video lessons, Fender Play also aids you with a wide range of tools and resources including:

  • chord charts
  • tablature
  • tuner
  • metronome
  • chord library

The above are the basic tools you'll find on all decent guitar lesson sites. However, Fender created a few unique features for their site, more on them below.

Play-along tracks with tablature and a Guitar Pro style tablature player

I like how Fender Play doesn't just provide tabs, but also has a tablature notation player built into each lesson.

It works as you would expect. Except for the annoying double dipping metronome. It should just play 4 beeps, not 8.

Feedback Mode

With the Feedback Mode type of Activity, a software provided by the external company MatchMySound listens to how you play a given songs, and scores your performance. Sort of like Yousician does.

To get it working:

  1. Find a song lesson that has Feedback Mode
  2. Your PCs microphone picks up the sounds you are playing as the song's tablature runs
  3. The site records your performance, scores you for accuracy, and shows you where you went off track.

In theory...

In reality, MatchMySound doesn't work too well. It would be a great feature, but for now, it's more of a gimmick rather than anything of use. Here is a track I played along with, you can hear the parts I missed, but the software was not consistent in finding it.

Chord Challenge Game

This is a simple, but very useful game to help you learn to switch between chords. You need to count manually though, I really wish they would implement some sort of audio counting solution.

Fender Play Chord Challenge Intro
Fender Play Chord Challenge

Download Fender Amp Presets

Beginners have a hard time dialing in the tone they hear in popular songs. Heck, I do sometimes as well, after decades of playing.

To address this, Fender Play lets you download amp presets for a lot of the songs they teach, which you can upload to a Fender amp that supports presets, like the Mustang GT 100.

Fender Play Amp Presets
Fender Play Amp Presets 2

How much is Fender Play? Warning for EU residents!

Now let's get into how much Fender Play costs in 2023.

Interestingly, they have a different price for the USA than for Europe, I'm guessing due to copyright costs for the songs they have.

In the USA, you can get a Fender Play subscription at these prices:

  • $150 / year = $12.50 / month: annual plan + you get 10% off at the Fender shop
  • $19.99 / month: monthly plan with a free trial you can cancel anytime

It used to cost less, but they raised their prices as they increased their lesson base. This is still a reasonable price point.

Fender Play Plans 2

I think the 10% discount on Fender guitars and other gear makes the annual membership a better choice if you're considering Fender Play.

However, in the EU, it is a totally different ball game.

In Europe, Fender Play costs much more than in the USA:

  • €222.24 / year = $18.52 / month: annual plan, and there is no Fender shop discount
  • €29.20 / month: monthly plan with a free trial you can cancel anytime
Fender Play Price Europe

Fender Play is absolutely not worth it in the EU at this price point! I signed up from a European country (Hungary), and I was very much surprised when my free trial ended.

You can get GuitarTricks for half, and it's a much better guitar site. Here is my full GuitarTricks review if you're interested in learning about them >>

In either case, it is not really worth it for intermediate and advanced players though, since there are not many lessons catering to them.

Fender Play Does NOT Have a Money Back Guarantee

If you forgot to cancel your membership, you're out of luck.

Fender isn't giving any money back once it's in their bank account. I can understand this from one side, since they provide a 7 to 14-day free trial period to everybody. That does leave enough time to evaluate the site.


No money-back-guarantee is not the standard in the guitar lesson industry:

  • GuitarTricks has a 60-day money-back guarantee even with their new free trial offer
  • TrueFire has a 14-day satisfaction guarantee.

So not having any way to change your mind is not that great.

Factors to Consider When Deciding if Fender Play is Right for You

When deciding if Fender Play is the right choice for you, it's important to consider certain factors to know if this platform is right for you. Here are some things you might want to think about first:

  • Skill level: Fender Play is for beginner-intermediate players. If you're on an advanced level in playing the guitar or the instrument you want to learn, then Fender Play might not be most suited for you.
  • Learning Style: Fender Play will work for you if you can learn by following instructions from a video and practicing by yourself. If you struggle without the feedback of live teachers, you might want to think twice before subscribing.
  • How much time you can commit to practicing: Do you really have the time to commit to practicing your skills? Fender Play requires at least 10 minutes of your day, but I think an hour is needed to really get going. I'm mentioning this because you don't want to commit to an annual plan and realize you don't have time to learn. If this is a concern, you might want to get a monthly plan first.

By considering these factors, you can make an informed decision about whether Fender Play is the right fit for your guitar learning journey.

Fender Play Alternatives

Looking for other platforms to learn guitar? Check out these alternatives to Fender Play.

Guitar Tricks - My Top Pick in 2023

Guitar Tricks offers (link) a comprehensive program with over 11,000 lessons, and a yearly subscription price similar to Fender Play. Its clear learning path for beginners, as well as more advanced players, makes it a great all-around option.

Guitartricks Logo

Guitar Tricks has more lessons than Fender Play, and loads of complete songs to learn as well. 

It is my top recommendation for beginners.

Here is my full review of GuitarTricks, as well as some discount codes, and their new free trial offer


TrueFire (link) gives you a more advanced program with over 50,000 lessons, making it a solid choice. They also offer a comprehensive learning path for beginners, but it is not as clear as Fender Play or Guitar Tricks. 

Truefire Logo

What sets this site apart, though, is the number of A-lister musicians it has hired to create courses, and its In The Jam feature, both of which are great for advanced players.

It offers a similar subscription model to Fender Play, but it focuses on more advanced guitar techniques and styles. This could make them an ideal choice if you're looking to take your playing to the next level after mastering the basics with Fender Play or another platform.

If you're an intermediate or advanced player, Truefire is a better choice than Fender Play. Here is a discount code for Truefire as well.


JustinGuitar (link) is a free online course that's been around for a long time. It offers a single structured lesson plan. With over a thousand lessons, it covers a wide range of styles, techniques, and theories. Justin Sandercoe, the founder and instructor, is a renowned guitar teacher with a friendly and engaging teaching style.

Like Fender Play, Justin Guitar has a strong emphasis on beginner lessons and focuses on popular songs rather than theory or technique-heavy instruction. What really makes this platform stand out is its free courses.

But because Justin's teaching style is a bit slow, the ads that appear on the videos can get in the way, and the simple fact that Fender has more teachers, I would pick Fender Play over Justin.


JamPlay (link) is another subscription-based platform with over 6,000 lessons, live classes, and a community of guitarists. You can learn a range of styles including rock, blues, country, and jazz, with lessons for all skill levels. It also has a unique feature called JamTracks, which allows you to practice playing along with a band.

Jamplay Review Logo

The problem with Jamplay is that many of their lessons are not as good a quality and their courses are not thought through, so I don't recommend them anymore.


Then you have Yousician, which is a gamified platform, not video guitar lessons. It has interactive features such as real-time feedback, personalized plans, and progress tracking to make learning fun and engaging.

Yousician Logo

It also covers different styles such as pop, rock, and classical. It is suitable for beginners and intermediate players. Here is my full review of Yousician, but I warn you, it is not pretty...

Here's a table to help you differentiate the different learning platforms in 2023:

ProgramTarget AudienceLearning PathPriceFree Trial
Fender PlayBeginner and intermediateCustomizableStarts at $12.50 (USA)Yes
Guitar TricksAll levelsStructured$11.93 (coupon)Yes
TrueFireNovice, Intermediate, and AdvancedDeep$16.59 (coupon)Yes
Justin GuitarBeginner and IntermediateStructuredFree courses-
JamPlayAll levelsVariousStarts at $13.33Yes
YousicianBeginner and IntermediateGamifiedStarts at $29.99Yes

Ultimately, it's important to think about your skill level and learning goals when choosing a guitar learning platform.

My recommendations are:

  1. GuitarTricks for beginners to intermediate players
  2. TrueFire for intermediate-advanced players
  3. Fender Play if you don't like GuitarTricks for any reason

Tips for Getting the Most Out of Fender Play

Here are some tips to help you maximize your learning experience with Fender Play:

1. Start at Your Own Pace

One of the things I appreciate about Fender Play is how customizable it is. You can choose what level you want to start at and learn at your own pace. Take your time and don't feel like you need to rush through lessons. After all, mastering each skill takes practice and patience.

2. Practice Consistently

Consistency is key when it comes to practicing any instrument, wouldn't you agree? Set a dedicated time every day to practice, even if it's just 10 to 15 minutes. An hour is best, though. Building good habits will help you progress faster and it will make playing more enjoyable in the long run.

Remember that you always have time for the things you make time for.

3. Use Multiple Resources, But Stay With It

Fender Play provides a lot of great tools and resources, but remember: you don't have to limit yourself to just one source of information. Look up different videos or articles online to supplement your learning.

However, don't stop or skip a lesson because it is hard. Stick with it, and you'll get it soon. Never skip lessons.

4. Focus on What You Enjoy

While it's important to learn all aspects of playing guitar, focusing on what you enjoy playing can keep you motivated and engaged throughout the learning process. If you're really into blues music, spend extra time practicing blues riffs, the blues scale, and so on.

For me, learning things I don't like becomes a chore, rather than a fulfilling experience. I gravitate towards blues, funk, rock, and acoustic pop. That's what I like, so that's what I play. I wouldn't be as diligent if I was forced to play classical guitar, for example.

5. Don't Be Afraid to Ask for Help

If there's something you're struggling with or don't understand, there's no shame in asking for help. It's actually fun to connect with other musicians. Reach out to fellow musicians or use Fender Play's community to ask questions or advice from other players.

6. Experiment with Different Styles

Playing different styles of music can not only be fun but also helps expand your abilities as a musician. You could try branching out beyond your favorite genre and see where it takes you.

I always recommend my students try blues after learning the basics, as well as rock and funk.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

I've talked about a lot of things in my Fender Play review, but you may still have some questions.

Is Fender Play worth it?

There's a lot to consider when deciding if Fender Play is actually worth it. While everyone's opinions may differ, I believe that this platform is worth it for people who are just starting out with their choice of string instrument, be it bass, ukulele, acoustic, or electric guitar.

But only in the USA, as their price in the EU is much higher, and simply not worth it.

Does Fender Play teach you to read music?

While the program doesn't focus heavily on music theory, it does offer some valuable information on reading music and understanding basic music notation. In fact, some of the early lessons in the program include basic exercises on reading sheet music and learning to recognize the different notes.

However, it should be noted that the program is primarily designed to teach players how to play guitar, bass, or ukulele through video lessons and tablature. So, if your main goal is to become proficient at reading music, you may want to supplement your learning with additional resources.

Does Fender Play offer a free trial?

Yes, Fender Play offers a 14-day free trial with the yearly membership and a shorter 7-day free trial with the monthly membership, so you can try out the program before fully committing to a full subscription.

Does Fender Play Have an App?

Yes, Fender has done a great job with creating a unified experience across its website and app. You can access the guitar learning platform through their website or the Fender Play app on your Android or Apple mobile device or tablet.

Does Fender Play only focus on Fender guitar models?

No. While Fender Play does feature video lessons played on Fender guitar models, you can use any other guitar brand and model.

Summary of my Fender Play Review

Overall, Fender Play remains a solid option for guitar newbies in the USA, just know that they don't have a money-back guarantee. However, Fender Play is way too expensive in the EU.

Its best features are found in its smart structure and progress tracking; well-produced videos that are very professional-looking; the hit tracks that you could play; and more tools you can utilize on your learning journey.

After exhausting its library to master the fundamentals, you might want to jump into a different platform though.

Still, I find Fender Play as a solid guitar service that shouldn't slip from your list if you're looking for options to help you get started on the guitar. But with that said, I prefer GuitarTricks.

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