In case you are thinking about learning to play a musical instrument, learning the guitar is a fantastic choice:
- it's cheap
- uses up very little space
- playing a song that you have been listening to your entire life, or simply jamming to a backing track will be really enjoyable
Learning guitar as an adult is not so easy though. Why?
Because adults are pressed for time. We have busy schedules, always juggling our responsibilities.
But you don't need to give up on your dream of jamming along with your favorite songs.
Is it hard for adults to learn guitar?
This might be the first question that comes to your mind if you are an adult who wants to learn to play guitar.
In short, it's just as hard as it is for kids.
But is it more difficult to learn guitar as an adult?
Undoubtedly yes. But not for the reasons you would think.
The only reason it's harder to learn guitar, or anything else for that matter, is that adults do not have as much free time on their hands as young people do.
Being an adult means rushing to get kids to school, then rushing to work, possibly working overtime, coming home to prepare dinner, learning with the kids, etc.
With all of the chores and responsibilities adults have (vs kids), time becomes a rare commodity.
If you want to learn to play guitar as an adult, you need to consciously set aside practice time every day. If you can find 1 hour per day to practice, you can learn guitar just as a child or teenager would.
How can adults learn to play guitar?
The most effective way an adult can learn to play guitar is through online guitar lessons. Online lessons are great for adults, since:
- you can turn them on whenever you have time
- you can learn at your own pace, revisiting any video whenever you need to
- the best lessons are succinct and efficient
There are many websites offering guitar lessons on the internet.
You can even find thousands of free lessons on YouTube or sites like justinguitar.
But if you are serious about learning guitar though, you will need to pay a few dollars per month for your online lessons. Sorry to say so, but the free ones on YouTube are nowhere near in quality and structure.
Which websites can adults learn guitar at?
There are 2 sites that offer great lessons, probably the best you can find on the internet. They are both established businesses with a proven track record of helping newbies start their guitar journey.
I've been playing guitar for 20+ years now, and still use these sites regularly to learn new things.
I have accounts on both sites, so I'm in a good position to show you what both these sites can and can't do for you.
GuitarTricks.com vs JamPlay.com: A detailed review
Both of these sites are great, but the comparison I'm about to write will reveal the things that make them different. First, a bit about their history
One of the most well-known guitar tutorial websites is GuitarTricks. It is, in fact, the oldest video guitar lesson on the internet, dating back to pre-2000.
Jamplay is the runner up, a site that has grown to be even larger than GuitarTricks.
As you can imagine, the sites are similar in many ways. Both websites have:
- thousands of tutorials
- both acoustic and electric guitar lessons
- in all difficulty levels
- spanning many styles (Alternative, Bluegrass, Blues, Folk, Funk, Jazz, Metal, Rock, Rockabilly, Surf, etc.)
- offer a number of useful guitar tools (like the metronome, jam tracks, chord library)
Browsing through the lessons is easy on both Jamplay and Guitartricks, which is great, since simply finding the thing you would like to learn from the 1000s of tutorials they currently have could alternatively be a pain.
A great function pertaining to seasoned guitarists is the fact that the search allows you to look for lessons in the styles of well-known guitarists. It allows you to find tunes played by stars from Carlos Santana, to BB King, to John Mayer to Jimmy Page, etc.
Differences between Jamplay and GuitarTricks
As you know, I've been using both sites for years, so I'm well familiar with the differences between them.
Downloading of lessons
GitarTricks.com allows you to download the lesson videos onto your computer.
Jamplay.com does not allow this for free, you need to purchase download credits to be able to download the videos.
Will you ever want to download a lesson? That's a good question. You will probably have a monthly or yearly membership to either site, so you can revisit any lesson within that timeframe.
Perhaps if you have a slower internet connection, you would need to download the lessons instead of streaming them.
Lessons aimed at beginner guitarists
Naturally, both sites have lessons for beginners, but I feel GuitarTricks does better with beginner lessons. They have a single, well thought out course for newbies.
In contrast, JamPlay has about 10 courses for newbies, each taught by different teachers. This means that a lot of information overlaps, and some teachers are better than others.
In all honesty, I always recommend beginner guitar players to become a member of GuitarTricks, not Jamplay.
Lesson & course structure
The structure and hierarchy of lessons within a course are important to consider.
Ideally, the lessons in a course should build up to a level where you are proficient in whatever the course teaches by the end. Each lesson should build on the previous, becoming harder and more technical as you progress.
GuitarTricks is noticeably better in this regard. Each of their major courses offers a linear learning path, where the lessons build on one another. The curriculum of the courses are well thought out, you can tell that they spend a lot of time planning each course.
You can't really say this about most of Jamplay's courses, but again, this depends on the teacher who is teaching the course. A lot of the courses seem like the teacher is throwing everything he can into it, without a proper plan. This lack of structure can be disturbing. They have courses where you can see that newer lessons have been added throughout the years. These courses lack the linear learning path that guitar students need.
Lessons on songs
GuitarTricks has many-many lessons on popular songs by the biggest artists, such as SRV, Beatles, Guns n Roses, Santana, etc. They have around 1000 lessons on songs at the moment (December 2022).
JamPlay does not have as many song lessons, and the ones that they do have are not very popular songs.
Why should you care?
Learning the guitar is all about making music. While I appreciate JamPlay's courses on guitar theory and such, beginner-intermediate guitarists need to be motivated by learning the songs that they love.
Jamplay's videos offer a higher level of production complexity than GuitarTricks' videos.
This doesn't mean that you will learn more from them though, it just means the videos look better, have more transition effects, etc.
Take a look at the above screenshots from a Jamplay video (top one) as compared to a GuitarTricks video (bottom one). I actually feel that Jamplay uses too many camera angles on the same screen. GuitarTricks's screen is much simpler and cleaner.
Online guitar tools
Jamplay has more and better online tools for guitarists. I use their chord and scale tools regularly, but those are actually free to use, you don't need a membership for them.
If you think about it, having guitar tools is just a nice to have, not a dealmaker. There are tons of sites on the net offering advanced guitar tools for free.
Money back period
Both websites offer a no-hassle money back guarantee:
- GuitarTricks offers it for 60 days
- JamPlay offers it for 30 days
Will you be able to make up your mind on whether online lessons are right for you in 30 days?
Probably yes. But when you buy a yearly membership, it's still good to have an extra month, just in case.
Which site is better? GuitarTricks or Jamplay for adults learning guitar?
I'm sure you're already getting an idea of which site would be best for you.
If not, read on.
Here is a nice side-by-side comparison between the 2 sites:
I agree with the findings of this video in that:
- GuitarTricks is better for beginner to intermediate players
- JamPlay is better for higher-intermediate to advanced player
Learning to play acoustic or electric guitar with GuitarTricks or Jamplay is a perfectly viable alternative to working with a personal beginner guitar teacher nowadays.
GuitarTricks and Jamplay provide a whole range of benefits to adult guitar students, that a private teacher simply cannot provide.
The price tag difference is among the biggest advantages of learning by way of online guitar lessons, due to the fact it will cost a small fraction of what you might commonly spend on a private tutor.
Do the math. If you use a coupon for the annual membership of GuitarTricks for example, you'll pay around $140 for an entire year. That would get you 3 live lessons with a private guitar teacher...
Try both sites for free
Both Jamplay and Guitartricks have free trials, which means you can try their lessons for free for a few days.
With Jamplay, you sign up on the link above and you'll get access to all the lessons. If you like them, you can sign up for real. Use this coupon if you do for 25% off: 1BA1E2.
With GuitarTricks, you need to give them your credit card info when you sign up for the trial. Don't worry, they won't deduct anything yet. But if you don't cancel in 2 weeks, they will transfer your account to a monthly recurring account though and deduct the fee.
I wouldn't let it go that far though. The monthly membership is $20, but the yearly with a coupon is much cheaper. Check out this page for 4 GuitarTricks coupons. I use the SAVE20 code, which is $143. So that's 7 months paid to get 12.
So which site will you choose?