If you’re looking at learning the guitar then you may be asking yourself what the best way to go about it is. Well, the good news is that you have plenty of options like Truefire vs JamPlay available to you! You could go down the traditional route of paying for a guitar instructor in person, you could try and teach yourself or you could enroll in an online course.
This last option has become increasingly popular over the last few years and has got to the stage now where there are some really excellent choices available to beginners.
They both offer essentially the same thing, guitar lessons online, but they go about it in slightly different ways that could benefit people differently depending on their style and circumstances.
But which one will be right for you? In this article, we’re going to compare the two side by side. We’ll take an in-depth look into their characteristics as well as making some recommendations and answering some of the most frequently asked questions.
Let’s take a look.
Main Differences Between Truefire vs Jamplay
The main differences between Truefire vs Jamplay are:
- Truefire has been around a lot longer having been founded in 1991, whereas Jamplay was created in 2006.
- Truefire features a catalog of 40,000 lessons, whereas Jamplay’s list is closer to 30,000
- Jamplay offers the ability to learn specific songs, whereas Truefire focuses entirely on individual chords and notes
- Truefire was originally a CD/DVD product and made the switch on online lessons later down the line, whereas Jamplay has always operated online
Aside from these major differences, there are plenty of similarities. For example, they both fundamentally provide the same service in teaching guitar to beginners as well as more experienced players.
They both also feature well over 100 instructors and have active online communities. Another key feature that is present across both platforms is the inclusion of live events and streams featuring both regular and guest tutors.
Key Specifications of Each
|Number of lessons||40,000+||30,000+|
|Number of tutors||200+||100+|
|Suitable for beginners and advanced players?||Yes||Yes|
|Learn well-known songs?||No||Yes|
|Price||See here for latest price||See here for latest price|
Exploring the Truefire vs Jamplay Features
Here are the main features of both Truefire and Jamplay.
Truefire was founded in 1991 and has since collaborated with over 600 world-class tutors leading it to be regarded as one of the premier online guitar lesson services on the planet.
With over 2 million users globally, Turefire’s library of interactive videos and comprehensive courses results in a detailed and personalized learning experience for guitarists.
Its success and what helps it stand out from other similar products can largely be put down to the standout quality of tutors and artists who give the lessons. They include GRAMMY-winning artists, industry-leading music teachers, and professional session musicians.
The library of courses and lessons stands at a huge 40,000+ with videos and tutorials aimed at both beginners and intermediate players covering a wide range of topics and playing styles. All of the content available through Truefire is available on-demand across all of the standard platforms (mobile, desktop, tablet, etc).
Truefire Key Features
- Large library of lessons
- A high number of tutors
- Interactive community
- Live lessons and sessions by regular and guest tutors
- Different teaching styles and genres catered for
- Private lessons available
- Focus is on learning chords/notes rather than playing along to well-known songs
The main learning method when using Trufire is self-study courses. There are over 600 of them available to beginners and intermediate players alike with thousands of lessons contained within.
One real positive about Truefire is that their wide range of courses really does cater to almost all skill levels, playing styles, and genre preferences.
Each course is led by what Truefire says are world-class educators who are experts in their specific areas. Some examples of these different areas are style & technique, live performance, harmonic concepts, and play-along analysis.
The online element to Truefire’s offering means that the lessons have been designed and structured in a way that makes them fully interactive.
Features like playback controls, slo-mo, video looping, digital metronomes amongst others mean that the overall learning experience is far more intuitive than a player simply watching and copying a video.
This level of interactivity means students can tailor and personalize their learning experiences easily. Preferred lessons can be selected and added to a playlist whilst progress can be tracked by marking lessons as complete or in progress.
It’s also worth remembering here that all of the videos on Truefire can be downloaded to your laptop or mobile device meaning you can take them absolutely everywhere should you want to.
Learning paths is a key feature of Truefire that helps users when first getting started on the platform. It’s an innovative concept that helps tailor the user’s experience and allows them to reach their end goals as quickly as possible.
As we’ve already touched on, Truefire features a massive library of content. Whilst this is almost always a good thing it can sometimes feel a little overwhelming when starting out.
That’s what we found anyway. Thankfully after an initial assessment of your current skill ability, the path to guitar perfection is pretty much laid out for you. A really useful feature particularly for beginner players.
As good as the online lessons are, sometimes you can’t beat the 1 to 1 interaction with a person in real life (or in this case streamed live). The benefits you see when a pro takes a look at your specific problems or playing issues is super useful to all abilities and it is thankfully an area included with Truefire.
Whether you’re joining a virtual classroom with multiple students learning at once or if you opt for a totally individual session, these can really aid the learning process and are an excellent feature to have been included.
‘In The Jam’
Jamming is at the heart of how Truefire goes about teaching guitar. Putting the skills learned during the course lessons into practice in a live environment with other students as well as the professional instructors is a brilliant way to cement what’s been learned.
‘In The Jam’ is how they go about this and is a feature that sees live jamming sessions scheduled regularly.
Each session features 10 multi-track jams delivered via video and separated into video and audio elements for each instrument. Players can then mute, solo, or adjust volume levels of any track they want.
Each of these jams also includes a lead sheet chart that illustrates chord progression and general jam structure, making it simple to follow for even the most novice of players.
This is one of the most popular elements of Truefire and one that really helps set it aside from competitors like Jamplay. When we tested it we found it worked well and really allowed us to feel that we were putting our improv skills to the test.
Community and Blog
Another feature that is key to the success of Truefire is its community forums and in-depth blog. This gives students the space to connect with one another, discuss ideas and learning techniques as well as keep up to date with the latest Truefire and general guitar news on the blog.
We found this to be a particularly useful part of the site as it gives you the ability to see how other people are getting on with the lessons and provides a wider support network should you need it.
The features included in their in-house magazine, Riff Journal, were insightful, interesting, and relevant. All of which adds to the value of the Truefire package.
Jamplay was created in 2006 and is one of the other main options when looking for online guitar lessons. It has well over half a million users worldwide and, like Truefire, features lessons from some of the top guitar teachers in the world.
It also features an extensive library of lessons and songs to learn, meaning when you sign up there is sure to be no shortage of content to begin working through.
There are currently over 120 instructors teaching over 5000 lessons that are split into around 200 distinct courses. Whilst this may not be quite the same amount as we see with Truefire, this really is more than enough for the vast majority of guitarists.
Its success since its launch has largely been down to the user experience when using its website and apps. Many would argue that the way in which content is delivered on Jamplay is much better and more forward-thinking than that of rivals like Truefire.
Jamplay Key Features
- Over 120 instructors
- 5000+ lessons
- 200+ courses
- 451 popular songs to learn and play along with
- Extensive library of scales & chords
- Innovative content delivery
- Live lessons every day
- Great for beginners and intermediate players
The courses on Jamplay are broken down into super clear and easy-to-understand categories. The first of which is their foundation course. This aims to introduce the novice guitarist to their instrument and get them playing. Over 650 lessons are dedicated to the absolute beginners so for anyone yet to pick a guitar up, Jamplay is a great option.
Also falling under the foundation category are the courses aimed at self-taught guitarists and a course dedicated to understanding basic musical theory.
All of which we thought were excellent inclusions and something we didn’t see when exploring Truefire. The course for self-taught players, in particular, seemed like a fantastic feature.
Like the learning paths featured in Truefire, Jamplay helps you figure out which of its courses are best suited to your level of experience and style of play. What it doesn’t let you do, however, is pick and choose which lessons you want to do and add them to a playlist like in Truefire.
Although we thought this may hinder the overall experience to an extent, Jamplay features such an in-depth range of courses that it wasn’t too much of an issue.
To give you a feel for how specific some of their courses are we were able to take one’s on really specific genres, including Celtic, Hawaiian slack key, and reggae.
As well as these genre-specific courses you can complete lesson series aimed at improving specific skills like speed and technique, ear training, recording, and singing.
As with Trufire, when learning guitar with Jamplay you have the option of having private lessons. This is a great addition as it allows users who may have hit a brick wall in their development the opportunity to connect and play with real people and get real-time feedback.
Where Truefire offers live lessons and jamming sessions, Jamplay has masterclasses. These are lessons hosted by celebrity guitarists ranging from Steve Stevens of Billy Idol to Bumblefoot of Guns’N’Roses.
Jamplay has a greater range of this sort of content and the beauty of having so many celebrity contributors is that you can learn very different and recognizable styles.
We found these masterclasses to be great for picking up the nuances of playing styles and really good fun for emulating well-known musicians. However, they offered little in the way of tangible technical knowledge.
Community and Live Events
In addition to the celebrity masterclasses offered by Jamplay, they also have community-led live lessons. These are streamed events hosted by Jamplay instructors and as well as lessons also feature Q&A sessions for registered users.
The lessons themselves focus on specific elements of play and can be followed easily using the accompanying resources. The Q&As on the other hand are much more general and open to any topics or queries.
We liked this feature as it’s something not really offered in Trufire. Despite offering a community forum on the Truefire platform, we found that through these structured live sessions you got a much stronger sense of community and it was much easier to connect with your fellow guitarists.
Truefire vs Jamplay – Pros and Cons
- Well over 200 experienced tutors
- A massive 40,000+ back catalog of guitar lessons
- Includes excellent content for both beginner and intermediate players
- Extras such as songs and private lessons are available
- Feel and structure takes a little bit of getting used to
- No specific song lessons
- Extra features such as private tuition incur extra charges
- 100+ excellent instructors
- More than enough content
- Perfect for both beginners and intermediate players
- Able to learn popular songs
- Create live sessions
- Community Q&As
- Some major songs are missing from their archives
- Some of the advanced lessons feel a little lacking
Are There Any alternatives?
Guitar Tricks is another well-established online service and specializes in beginner guitarists. This means that if you are totally new to the world of guitars then Guitar Tricks should definitely be on your radar. If, however, you’re a slightly more advanced player then we’d recommend choosing between Truefire and Jamplay.
You should also think about giving Guitar Tricks a go if you like the idea of learning through playing well-known songs. It has this functionality and is similar to Jamplay in that respect, however Guitar Tricks has a much larger library to choose from.
Another great option for honing your musical skills is Yousician. Pricewise, Yousician is comparable to Truefire and Jamplay when only looking to learn the guitar. Where this service excels, however, is if you are looking to learn multiple instruments, such as bass of the ukulele.
If this sounds like it might be of use to you can read more about Yousician and see how it compares with another similar service, Rocksmith.
Frequently Asked Questions About Learning Guitar Online
Answer: This is totally down to you and your budget. You can opt for free content that is available on platforms like YouTube, pay for subscription services such as the ones listed above or decide on the more traditional method of having lessons in person.
To decide which is best for you’ll need to assess the pros and cons of each before comparing them with your preferred learning style.
Answer: The more you practice the better you will come! It’s really as simple as that but as a general rule of thumb, you should aim for 20 minutes per day.
Our Verdict: Which Service is Better For You, Truefire or Jamplay?
When it comes to choosing which of these a player should opt for it really comes down to personal preference, playing style, and learning style. With Truefire you are getting a long-established service that has tried and tested methods along with a professional standard of tuition. This classic combination means Trufire is probably best suited to those who like to learn in a more traditional way.
On the other hand, we have Jamplay. Jamplay is more suited to players who want to be able to learn as they play along to their favorite songs and participate in a wide online community. Some may argue that this format appeals more to the modern learner.
Either way, both of these are fantastic learning aids that will have you mastering your guitar in no time at all!
Jodie is a trained classical guitarist. She is also a full-time blogger and loves to write about different types of guitars. Just give her 60 seconds of your time, and she’ll tell you all that you need to know about any guitar of your choice.