Both Fender Play and Yousician platforms are great tools, but one is clearly better. Any of these platforms would’ve been a God-given gift if they had existed back when I started my guitar journey during the late 90s. But, I preferred the Yousician experience.
Fender is a prestigious worldwide brand that manufactures some of the most beautiful and exquisite-sounding instruments—I’m a Fender lover. But manufacturing great instruments/amplifiers is one thing, and teaching how to play an instrument properly is another. It just doesn’t have the care and attention that Yousician offers.
Neither of them could really replace the guidance of a conscientious and knowledgeable teacher, but they might add up a great input into the process of a newcomer. They might be great supplementary material for music academies.
It is also evident that music teachers and psychologists were consulted in developing apps like Yousician. I’m certainly eager to see what the future holds.
These platforms can be great for players with intermediate experience too. Finally, let’s keep in mind that these are practice alone tools. If we’re looking to get better with music, I also recommend playing with other real musicians after practice.
Learn a few riffs and a couple of songs and after that, go out there and make some music.
Bottom Line Up Front
These two platforms come from different natures: one of them is more traditional and the other one offers a modern approach to the learning experience of music. If you feel comfortable and adapted to the standards of media nowadays, then Yousician is probably much more suitable for you.
It stands as a leading app when comparing it to most of its competitors, since it has incorporated the gamification experience of music. It also offers a better mobile experience. Fender Play goes into a different direction.
Yousician has integrated a listening feature to its UI and this opens up a new variety of possibilities. For instance, it offers singing as a possible instrument. This feature also allows the platform to ‘keep an eye’ on the player’s progress.
So far, this might be the only learning platform that comes with a UI that can actually interact with the user. We can thank games like Guitar Hero for these kinds of inputs to music learning.
All the other learning platforms are video or tab oriented only. That is the case of Fender Play. It is very close to learning songs and techniques directly from YouTube, but Fender oriented.
Both Yousician and Fender play have great-looking UI, but FP does it in the old-fashioned way: it offers all of its content only through video lessons, supported by tabs with a midi audio reference. No game at all.
The Fender Play program comes as an integral part of the Fender Official website. It is not as suitable for mobile devices since it doesn’t come as an app. Aside from that, Fender Play is well thought; well finished and exhibits fine design features, coherent with the nature of its beautiful instruments and amps.
Main Differences Between Fender Play Vs Yousician
The main differences between these two platforms derive from the way they were conceived.
- Fender Play is a traditional video-oriented platform, whereas Yousician is intended as a video game.
- Fender Play doesn’t have a way to measure the player’s progress, whereas Yousician can listen to the player while playing the game. Therefore, if the player is not playing with a minimum set of skills, the game stops.
- Fender Play features the option of learning guitar, electric guitar, bass and ukulele whereas Yousician features piano and singing besides the aforementioned.
- Fender Play has a vast catalogue of lessons but you have to orient yourself towards your goals, whereas Yousician has a smoother learning curve since you’re completing stages on the video game.
- Fender Play has a wide number of teachers depending on the genre,whereas Yousician offers every learning process through their gaming platform.
- Fender Play uses tabs supported by midi audio but it lacks audiovisual tools, whereas Yousician uses a bunch of visual aids such as frames, colors, colored bars and curved lines.
- Fender Play features famous artists to talk about some of their iconic hits, whereas Yousician feature artists in a different way. They bring them in to talk about their own learning processes within the platform and they offer “courses” to learn some of their tunes within the game.
- Fender Play only offers their work in English, whereas Yousician features a broader number of languages with the usage of subtitles and language-appropriate voiceovers.
- Fender Play works only in a number of countries, whereas Yousician doesn’t seem to have any geographic limitations.
- Fender Play has more difficulties for starting the free trial, whereas Yousician seems to be easier and more straightforward.
- Fender Play offers a 14-day free trial if you agree to pre-subscribe to the yearly plan, which provides three months free and costs $89.99 USD, whereas Yousician only offers a 7-day free trial, costing USD 199.99 per year. They have several types of seasonal discounts that can save you as much as 49%.
Both Platforms Head to Head
Yousician and Fender Play will benefit any player, but not in precisely the same way.
Let’s talk about their conceptual differences as well as their commonalities.
The first thing worth mentioning about this learning platform is a browser-based app. It is an integral part of the Fender Instruments Official Site. It features a step-by-step guide to start the self-learning process by choosing the instrument you want to play.
Also, the genre you’d like and a few questions regarding your experience with the instrument. This is called a “Path,” and you can change it whenever you want.
The instruments available are acoustic guitar, electric guitar, bass, and ukulele.
The genres available are Rock, Blues, Pop, R&B/Soul, Country, and Folk.
From this point on, a series of short video lessons will appear for you to select as you navigate your path. Most of these video clips vary from 2 to 4 minutes. You can select a Lesson Mode and Practice Mode, which lets you repeat as much as you want.
These clips feature the possibility of loading the tablature as a visual aid and some other helpful tools.
You can also change from levels within your path whenever you like. Each level has its own amount of lessons and courses. There is a sidebar menu that will help you navigate through that.
For instance, the 7th level features a total of 21 courses available. This is the highest level within the platform.
Fender Play features a tremendous amount of famous songs to cover. It looks pretty cool, but there are a few downsides to it. We will address that below as we compare both platforms.
There is also the possibility of choosing different modes of practice. FP also features the opportunity to address other “challenges” and work on different particular skills.
You can even save a list of your favorites activities within the platform:
Two More Aspects of Fender Play: The Songs and Its Learning Process
One excellent feature is that some artists are featured and talk about their songs or other topics related to their music.
It is also essential to understand that the songs are taught by one of the teachers within the platform and not the artist himself. To practice correctly, you must use the tab and midi sounds within the Practice Mode.
Practice Mode includes controls play/stop, speed (three options: 1x, 0.75x, and 0.50x), and the possibility to add/remove and change the volume on a few instruments from the midi track. The midi tracks usually include guitars, bass, drums, and the metronome.
There is an important point to address in every form of learning: Gratification. These new platforms recognize this concept’s importance and have devised creative ways to attain gratification after practice.
Fender Play addresses this matter by using a “Streak” count, which continues to count each day you log in and practice on the platform. It is beneficial that it does require you to practice. If you only log in but don’t practice, the streak won’t count.
- It is a bit more affordable than Yousician.
- It has great tools such as tablatures, a metronome, a practice mode and a lesson mode.
- It has a great team of designers involved.
- It offers a quick look to a vast range of instruments and amplifiers all made by Fender.
- It features a significant amount of songs within its catalogue.
- It offers a free trial
- It exhibits a great love and passion for music.
- It is a web based platform only. It doesn’t come in the form of an app, suitable for mobile devices.
- It s UI doesn’t interact with the user.
- It lacks fluency and continuity. You have to click in and out of every single lesson, chapter etc.
- It doesn’t have a real way to measure the student’s progress.
- It aims mainly for beginners and its top levels go as far as an intermediate level.
- It doesn’t feature visual aids such as colors, lines, clouds etc. It is only video-oriented.
- It is only available for a reduced list of countries. If yours is not in the list, you’d have to use a VPN.
- It comes only in English. It lacks options for other languages.
Yousician offers an entirely different format from FP and offers desktop and mobile apps as well as a video game. This sets a different platform for musical learning since it completely changes how the teaching strategy is addressed.
There is a profoundly different psychology behind the processes of learning a specific knowledge through a set of lessons than learning it by actively playing a game about it.
This app also begins with selecting an instrument, a musical genre, a level of experience, and an approximation of the time the user thinks they might practice.
One of the main features that Yousician support is singing.
This is a Game Changer
The Yousician app has developed a quality feature that sets it apart from its competitors, including Fender Play. Yousician can listen to the player while they perform, allowing Yousician to leverage its singing feature.
This is not to be taken lightly. It is a huge game changer, and it has everything to do with the fact that it uses gamification in this manner. This is a major difference when comparing it to the competition.
Because of this feature, the user can feel and hopefully understand when they are not performing specific and fundamental goals, such as playing a determined note or pitch and actually doing it in time.
The gaming interface will show you visual codes like colored bars, curved lines, texts, and dots that are specific to the game’s rules. The song will stop when the user is not playing with minimum skills.
This format is very different from platforms like Fender Play and many others. It’s what made games like Guitar Hero engaging, challenging, and fun.
Next, let’s talk about Yousician App’s creative use of visual aids like colors, dots, and other elements.
Colors, for example, are directly related to the fingers you would have to use on every different instrument.
Curved lines that vary in tempo address silent moments where the player must wait before performing a given note.
Using long and short bars of a determined color within a virtual guitar neck addresses the correct note, the right string, the proper finger to use, and the note’s length. Again, a tip of the hat to Guitar Hero.
Also, Yousician allows the user to add or remove specific instruments from the accompanying track. Lastly, there’s a Practice Mode with a metronome/speed control.
Like Fender Play, it has two ways: the Lesson Mode and the Practice Mode. Practice Mode doesn’t add up any significant points, just a few. To get considerable gratification within the platform, the user has to pass the lessons as if they were completing stages in a video game.
In my experience as a music teacher, performer, and guy who loves playing the guitar, I admit that I consider Yousician a much more creative and well-thought platform than Fender Play.
To me, the level of expertise Yousician is trying to attain is far more detailed and demanding than what I’ve perceived from Fender Play. And it has addressed it more creatively.
The difficulty levels in Yousician are more congruent to the actual processes of playing the guitar and understanding music. As the levels go up, the user deals with more subtle things such as dynamics, expression, etc.
Fender Play looks for the same thing, but its tools are not as effective. When it comes to Yousician, the listening feature of it again plays a crucial and determining role.
Remember: in all levels, the game virtually stops the ongoing song when the user is not performing it correctly for too long.
The listening feature is applied to a wide range of possibilities and difficulties for the user: it can go from playing a long note on an open string on a ballad to correctly performing bends and vibrato in fast rock-n-roll passages.
Like Fender Play, Yousician features many famous and rare songs, but they have taken a different approach.
They have recruited some significant artists, such as Metallica, Juanes, and Jason Mraz, to create short video promos talking to the users about their own guitar-learning experiences rather than speaking only about the songs themselves.
Those few minutes with the artists, who generally share private thoughts and reflect on the possibilities of the application’s learning curve, give a stronger sense of receiving a real lesson from the artist himself.
It is a slick approach, and it works. These artists provide many songs from their catalogs in the form of “Courses” within the Yousician app.
The learning process of these songs is also better addressed in this app. After watching the artist’s video shorts, you start playing the game, and the interface feels familiar.
Fender Play’s approach uses a similar video featuring the artists. The difference is that you receive the song lesson from a teacher from the platform. Not from a fun interface—no game involved.
Just a set of lessons that, in a way, are given to you by a stranger. In that regard, the gaming interface works better than having the option of clicking on countless videos of these teachers.
The fact that this app consists of a game also brings into the equation a different gratification method, consisting not only of points but rewards as you advance and get deeper and further into the game. This gratification method is supported by sounds like tiny bells or even a coin-like sound.
This is popular in the gaming culture, and those familiar with this will appreciate this fine detail. The other option many platforms use is a total score number that increases as you complete tasks. In FP, it is called the Streak Count.
- Its UI consists of as video game. It is fun to play and it can be quite challenging.
- It comes as an app available for all sorts of mobile devices and also for desktop and laptops.
- Its gaming UI offers a great deal of visual aids such as colors, curved lines etc.
- Its UI can listen to the user’s performance.
- Its listening feature offers the possibility of learning singing. It also features piano.
- It keeps a much more careful track of the user’s progress. If the performance is not as good, the user cannot complete a given stage.
- It doesn’t have a limit of supported countries.
- It features a wide number of languages using translations and/or subtitles.
- Its top levels can be quite challenging, even for the experienced performer.
- It offers a Free Trial.
- It offers a large catalogue of songs.
- It also exhibits great design and great love and passion for music.
- It is a little bit more expensive than Fender Play.
- Artists are a part of the platform but you never really receive a lesson directly from them.
- The singing option aims only for timing and pitch but it doesn’t take into account the Tessitura of a given player. This opens the risk of harming one’s voice while playing the game in singing mode.
Other Alternatives to Consider
Many of these learning platforms have benefited from a single predecessor that has been on the game for more than 20 years. That is the case of Guitar Pro, which still remains as a great alternative to any of these platforms. Besides this one option, there are other alternatives to take into account. Some of them are:
- Guitar Tricks
- Jam Play
- Justin Guitar
- True Fire
- Active Melody
Question: Which Platform offers a better Experience, Fender Play or Yousician?
Answer: Both offer a pleasant experience but Fender Play offers video-based learning courses while Yousician offers a gaming experience in addition to the video courses.
Question: Which One has a Longer-free Trial, Fender Play or Yousician?
Answer: Fender Play
Question: Does Fender Play and Yousician offer the same Kind of Challenges?
Answer: Fender Play seems to aim at beginner and intermediate players. Yousician can become very difficult, even for experienced players in the game’s top levels.
In general terms, Yousician stands as a better option than Fender Play. I applaud their results. However, I do believe that any of this platforms can take the user only to a certain point.
From that point on, the user has to connect the dots himself and that’s where I recommend the guidance of an experienced and knowledgeable teacher. These platforms serve as an introduction to music and guitar learning, not to replace music teachers and music schools.
The interpretation of the audible information that the users are responding to is a priority to me as a music teacher. Again, these sorts of thoughts definitely have to be guided by conscious and aware instructors since AI and these kinds of apps are clearly not there yet.
Remember: “Practice first and then go out and play with others.” This idea should be tattooed in every musician’s mind. What you learn in the field can never be learned in a practice room.
- Fender Play vs Yousician: Who Can Benefit from these Learning Platforms - December 19, 2022