Since its inception in 1946, Fender Musical Instruments Corp. have pretty much stuck to their guns and their founder’s love of stringed musical instruments and haven’t strayed too far from that path, unlike some other manufacturers. So, it feels a fairly natural progression that the new Fender product is one to help you learn said stringed instruments, specifically the electric or acoustic guitar.
Fender Play is, at its heart, an online school of guitar lessons using video. However, it goes much further than just some instructional videos hastily constructed and uploaded to the Internet.
Tailored guitar tutoring
Just as a real-life guitar tutor should, it tailors the tuition to your specific needs and likes within musical genres. So, by answering some questions to create your learning path, it guides your practice using specific songs to teach different chords, riffs and techniques to improve your playing.
Although it appears aimed fairly straight at the basic to intermediate level guitarist, there could well be gaps in any player’s knowledge that could be supported by such a course. You can choose your musical pathway and the songs you learn currently from pop, rock, blues, country and folk music and whether you want to play acoustic or electric guitar. Song choices range from the likes of Foo Fighters, Rolling Stones and the White Stripes to Carrie Underwood, Kelly Clarkson and John Lee Hooker.
As the tuition is delivered online, it includes a range of material to support the instructional videos and allows the learner to move at their own pace. So, whether you have an hour a day or merely minutes, there is something there to help you improve. For example, song lessons are 10-15 minutes long or riff lessons are between 3-5 minutes.
Progress is tracked through your account dashboard so you have a detailed record of what you’ve completed in case you want to refresh yourself at any point and the program can be accessed using a desktop or laptop computer, tablet or phone so you can have a lesson whenever and wherever you like.
The video is shot in 4K resolution and you can pick from multiple angles and split screen to aid your playing technique and the chord diagrams are also shown on the lesson screen. New material such as songs and lessons are added regularly and players are notified when this happens. There is even talk of adding lessons for bass guitar and ukulele in the future.
The curriculum itself has been developed by educational advisors from various music programmes such as the Musicians Institute in Hollywood and is delivered by a team of specialist instructors. It is based on a system of micro teaching, which is a strategy designed to help players keep focused and engaged. This is to ensure that learners don’t give up too easily, by encouraging short but quite intense activity, as well as teaching them what they actually want to learn.
Currently, the curriculum can be accessed globally in English and Fender Play is being launched in the US, UK and Canada. A 30-day trial is available to try out the lessons, after which you can cancel or continue paying GBP15.99 / USD19.99 / CAD26.99 per month for access.
For more information and to start your free trial go to www.fender.com/play