August 7, 2017

How Fender Is Reinventing Online Guitar Lessons


Fender recently announced the launch of Fender Play – a new and innovative 4K video subscription service designed to teach guitar in bite-sized, song-based tutorials with multi-angle video lessons for the Age of Distraction.

The new video subscription service puts the focus on learning popular songs, rather than bombarding students with music theory. The idea behind the new monthly subscription service is to nudge amateurs toward the rewarding goal of actually being able to play a familiar song. The company hope, beginners will be less likely to quit—and perhaps more likely to buy more Fender guitars and amplifiers in the near future.

With technology changing rapidly, the way a kid learned to play piano back in the day is no longer the way the majority of people choose to learn these days. They tend to sit in front of a computer or turn to their smart phone anytime and anywhere. They do things in little bites compared to sitting through scheduled hour-long lessons.

Fender designed what they call “micro-learning” - a strategy designed to suit current learning styles supported by research and a personalized method of teaching. The service, which is available on the web and iOS to start, breaks things down by song and lets the student delve into learning individual chords and various techniques as needed.

It features songs from giants like The Rolling Stones, Foo Fighters, Tim McGraw, Coldplay, The Smashing Pumpkins, and countless across the genres of rock, country, pop, blues, and folk. Over time, they’ll continually add music to their catalog, presumably as quickly as they can license the rights and shoot new video lessons.

With the tutorials themselves shot in 4K-quality video from multiple camera angles, you can clearly see how chords are formed and the guitar strings are strummed or struck. This is a common shortcoming of YouTube lessons, although some are better than others. Far too often the video features some person in a basement strumming a guitar in front of their webcam from an angle that makes it hard to figure out what they’re even playing—presuming they’re even playing the song correctly.

In addition to songs and riffs, the service includes videos on things like strumming technique, scales, and understanding guitar tone effects like reverb and distortion. Fender Play’s explanation of tone and effects are a decent starting point for beginners, to whom the site is primarily geared.