In this JamPlay vs Justin Guitar shootout, both represent hugely popular online guitar lessons providers with great features, but which one is best for you?
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JamPlay vs Justin Guitar: Who’s Offers Better Lessons?
JamPlay and Justin Guitar are no doubt two of the best online guitar lesson sites available to both beginners and experienced players.
Both sites offer a wide range of lessons for both beginners and experienced players alike. While JamPlay has a wide range of instructors, some famous and some not, Justin Guitar is the work of just guitar player and teacher Justin Sandercoe of YouTube fame.
Even though both sites are great options for online guitar lessons, we here at Guitar Niche pit Justin Guitar vs JamPlay to find out which is truly the best option for you.
JamPlay vs Justin Guitar Quick Comparison:
JamPlay and Justin Guitar In Detail: Breaking Them Down
Before we get started, let’s go over how we’re going to compare and judge the two sites against each other. We’ll be comparing both the features and appearance of the websites as how we imagine a beginner and an experienced player will view them.
For example, an experienced guitar player is more likely to be impressed by number of songs or technical lessons available while a beginner will be looking for an easy to follow set of introductory steps or lessons.
The major criteria, as with all good online guitar lessons, will be how easy it is to navigate each page, how many features and lessons are available, and how easy each video is to follow.
Guitar Teachers and Basic Lesson Plans
No matter how easy the user interface is, the site will ultimately only be as good as the teachers who are teaching the lessons.
The teacher’s ability to communicate the importance of each technique or lesson and how it pertains to the overall lesson plan is vital.
Without being able to see progress on the instrument and through each site’s student path, beginners are likely to get frustrated, or lose interest.
Our first impression of the site for this JamPlay review section was that the instructor list features a lot of big-name guitar players who teach either techniques or their own songs.
While it can be really inspiring and motivational to players to learn from their heroes, we feel this feature has more marketing value than teaching value.
The basic lesson play is split into 4 phases:
- Genres & Skills
- Songs, and
We really like the flow of this order and think it makes it easy for the student to accumulate skills while constantly using them.
You’re earning them in a new context such as “here is a country riff, now let’s play it in a popular country song, finally, let’s write a song featuring this riff”.
Furthermore, the instructors in the beginner series videos we watched spoke slowly and clearly, demonstrating years of experience teaching the guitar.
However, there are multiple options and pathways for each phase and level which can be confusing or redundant.
For more info their site, check out our complete JamPlay Review >>
To kick off our Justin Guitar review, let’s take a look at the lessons and learning structure. All Justin Guitar lessons are taught by the main man himself, Justin Sandercoe.
While some people may be discouraged by the lack of famous, guitar hero instructors, the familiarity and consistency of having the same instructor can be very comforting to new players.
The lesson plans are well laid out with a nice, descriptive “welcome” page explaining a little bit about the site and module structure.
With labeled beginner and topic options, we found it easy to navigate but somewhat “busy” with the number of options.
The color-coded difficulties are also helpful as it works to break up the wide number of options into smaller, more manageable sub-categories.
The lessons are also further split up under the labels of “beginner”, “intermediate”, “advanced”, and “spectrum”.
For more info on this service, check out our comprehensive Justin Guitar Review >>
Winner: JUSTIN GUITAR
When learning guitar, there are enough small things to frustrate and discourage you enough to quite altogether. One thing that can easily make it worse on a student is a hard to navigate website or lesson plan.
Even for experienced players, you don’t want to have to spend too much time trying to figure out to how to find your way around the song lesson pages or figuring out how to slow down the video or where the tabs load from.
Overall, the user interface is not difficult to navigate whatsoever, but we wish there was more of an emphasis on getting started with lessons.
Once you scroll down a little bit, the viewer is bombarded with course options that don’t seem to tie in together at all based on genre, style, or difficulty.
Once you get to the lessons tab on top of the site, the four phases are easily laid out and you are directed to the homepage for each phase.
However, as we mentioned before, it can be a little bit overwhelming to a new student as there are about two dozen options, split between acoustic and electric guitar.
This site puts the onus on the student to find out which path is best suited for them and the page layout further emphasizes that.
The home page on Justin Guitar is set up with a much more user-friendly appearance in our opinion with the first thing you see being a 1-minute introduction video and a “beginner’s start here” page with links.
As you scroll down, a screen pops up with interesting stats and numbers representing the site such as the number of songs and lessons available as well as users, subscribers, and facebook likes.
From a strictly aesthetic perspective, the Justin Guitar site is much more modern, interactive, and appealing than the JamPlay web page.
If you can’t find what you’re looking for on the front page, there are helpful drop-down menus along the top page to help guide you towards tools, lessons, and more.
Winner: JUSTIN GUITAR
Along with all the videos and great teachers that makes these sites great, the real value lies within the tools they offer via the website.
Things like tabs that pop up next to the video, the ability to slow down/speed up the pace, built in tuners, or chord finders are all invaluable to students.
JamPlay has a very easy to use toolbox that is located right below the video screen of each lesson. It’s simple to find and shouldn’t be too confusing for students as it has helpful labels and links to multiple features.
Students can hit the clearly labeled “Ask A Teacher” button for additional help, take their own notes in “notes”, and control playback speed with an adjustable clicker among many others.
While we have not been thrilled with their home screen and lesson selection user interface, this is clearly a top-notch video lesson webpage.
For those of you familiar with YouTube video formatting, you may enjoy the Justin Guitar video lessons and toolbox, or lack of a toolbox.
Basically, his site is just YouTube videos with a few additional comments and tabs you can access under the video.
While the video content is no doubt fantastic, many helpful tools like video speed control, note taking, or separate published tabs are not available on the same screen as with JamPlay or Guitar Tricks.
For some, they may appreciate this streamlined platform and with no subscription cost, you are certainly not getting ripped off or losing value. But if cost is not problem, it may be best to opt for a more complete learning package.
Available Song Lessons
Last but not least, if you’re going to be shelling out your hard-earned money to learn your favorite songs, you expect at least some of those songs to be available on the platform.
While licensing and tablature rights can get legally tricky, JamPlay still appears to have a questionably low number of songs available for its students to learn; somewhere in the range of 200-300 by our hand count.
Hard rock and heavy metal are well represented, as are The Beatles but overall the selection is lot on many classic and modern rock hits such as guitar lesson staples “Wonderwall” or “Good Riddance”.
Blues and Country are similarly understaffed as a dozen or more of the instructor’s original pieces take up valuable space.
Justin Guitar’s free online guitar tutorials lists over 550 song lessons available, while JamPlay doesn’t list a number, our hand count suggested they had only 300 or so. In addition to having more than JamPlay,
it also has a more diverse selection of genres such as alternative, funk, and reggae.
The same color coding from the general step by step guitar lessons is used here to help users filter songs based on difficulty.
What’s more impressive is how many of these lessons are available with only one instructor, while sites like JamPlay have dozens of teachers and less lessons.
Winner: JUSTIN GUITAR
(3 / 4)
JUSTINGUITAR WINS 3 OUT OF 4 CATEGORIES
- More available song and genre lessons
- One teacher simplifies things
- Easy to navigate
- Live Lessons
- No famous instructors
- Few in-lesson tools available
In Summary, Which Is The Best Online Guitar Lessons Service For You Personally – JamPlay or Justin Guitar?
Justin Guitar won three out of the four categories, making it incredibly impressive considering it costs $0 per month compared to the $19.95 per month that a JamPlay membership costs – though they do offer a free access trial.
While you can’t go wrong with either, Justin Guitar definitely offers more value and is less risky considering it is free and accessible to all.
While JamPlay packs in more features and instructors, Justin Guitar is a step above in usability and quality.