Find out everything you need to know before you buy with our Fender Play review.
Fender Play is a very polished platform with well-made lessons and some cool features.
But it’s mainly aimed at beginners and experienced players may find it lacking.
- Looks great and is very professional
- Good selection of tools
- Great for beginners
- Not so good for more advanced players
- Some pointless tools
Value for Money: 6/10
Overall score: 7.2
Fender Play is the legendary guitar maker’s attempt at diversifying its business. And it’s a huge success.
The platform’s genius slogan is “we don’t just make guitars, we make players”. This is a great marketing idea – it ensures new players are hooked on the Fender brand from day one – especially as a Fender Play provides 10% off all Fender gear.
But is Fender Play good for users?
Yes, it is. In fact, it’s excellent. But it’s focused on beginners and there are better options out there for more experienced players. If you’re an intermediate or advanced guitarist then you may prefer Guitar Tricks.
Fender Play does an admirable job of providing a personalized lesson plan. When you first start it asks you a series of questions. These are designed to gauge your preferences and playing ability.
You can choose from six main styles and four instruments.
It then generates a lesson plan for you using this information.
This gives you some structure. But it doesn’t really explain why you are learning this and how it fits into your wider development.
Here’s an example of what I mean.
For my instrument I selected the electric guitar, my style was blues and I said that I could play across the fretboard.
My first lesson took me through C7 chords and how they can be transposed.
Fine, that’s blues. Next, it teaches me a riff that uses an Aflat7 on the 5th. Makes sense.
But next, it teaches me how to transpose major and minor power chords. Then I learn a song that isn’t related. Next the major scale.
None of these lessons were related to each other.
One really cool feature is practice mode. It appears after each lesson and is a great way to reinforce what you have just learned.
It shows you the sheet music and tabs in real-time as you play along. Best of all, you can cut out the drums, bass and guitar. This is useful for hearing parts that you might be struggling with more clearly.
By removing the guitar you only hear yourself, meaning you know how well (or poorly) you are playing a song.
Another nice touch is the streaks. Every time you log into Fender Play to practice it logs it. Log in three times a week and you score a streak and get entered into a competition to win gear.
This is a great way to encourage you to keep practicing.
This is one of Fender Play’s biggest selling points. The whole thing looks amazing and is very professional and intuitive. It beats any other lesson platform for this.
Videos are amazingly well produced – although on one of the ones we played the guitar couldn’t be heard over the teacher’s voice
First-person views of the fretboard to show chord fingerings are very helpful.
Fender Play has a reasonable choice of songs.
It probably doesn’t have as many as Guitar Tricks, but the songs it does have seem to be more mainstream, which is good.
More advanced players may find the song lessons disappointing. That’s because they keep it very simple and only teach the basics of each tune.
Rolling chord charts during play-along sections are really useful.
Fender Play offers a wide variety of tools, but some feel a bit pointless.
The tuner is great and covers four different instruments and a wide variety of tunings.
Each lesson features information on the tune. This includes who wrote the song, what you will learn, the chords used, and a tab of the lesson. It also provides related videos – for example, those showing you how to play each chord.
There’s a chat so you can ask a beginner guitar question – unfortunately, this didn’t seem to work. I asked how to play an E minor power chord and it said that it was “unable to access that data at this time”. It gave me plenty of options to buy Fender guitars though!
The chord challenge is also pants. It just gives you four chord charts and a metronome. You have to count how many times you successfully changed chords and then enter your score.
Value for money
Fender Play’s value for money is ok. But there are cheaper options out there or ones where you get more bang for your buck.
It’s £173.99 per year or £23.39 per month. US, UK and Australian users get 10% off of Fender gear so it’s good if you plan to buy a load of equipment.
The free trial gives you full access and lasts for two weeks, which is ok, but not as good as Guitar Tricks’ full month.
Fender Play is an excellent guitar lessons platform. Users will be impressed by its high quality and adaptable lesson plans.
It’s especially good for novice guitarists, who enjoy the clear presentation and the fact that it focuses on the basics.
But more experienced players are likely to be disappointed and may wish to choose another platform.