Fender Play vs. Yousician: Which Guitar Lessons Are Best?
Online Guitar Lessons for Beginners > Fender Play vs. Yousician
Finding the best online guitar lessons can be tricky, especially if you’re brand new to playing guitar.
There are a TON of platforms out there that offer guitar lessons for beginners, and today we’re going to compare two of the biggest – Fender Play and Yousician.
Both are super popular platforms – but which is better?
There’s a lot to delve into here, but if you don’t have time to read the whole article, you can use the below table to compare the key points of each platform.
But if you want to get into the nitty-gritty, keep reading as we break down the pros and cons of both Fender and Yousician.
Let’s jump in!
|Is It Beginner Friendly?||Tricky to navigate, rigid lessons, but provides a lot of information||Easier to access, but the lesson plan is quite rigid|
|Price||Higher price overall, but lower price per lesson||Lower price for annual billing, but higher price per lesson|
|Free Trial||7-day free trial||7-day or 14-day free trial, depending on if you choose monthly or annual billing|
|Refund Policy||Full refund within “cooldown period”, partial refunds possible||No refunds|
|Weekly Commitment||Weekly challenges and other tools to keep you on track||No weekly commitment or incentives|
|User Interface (UI)||Harder to start navigating, but lots of useful, easy-to-understand information||Simple interface, but no flow|
|Features||Lots of bonus and supplemental materials to practice away from the app||Very few bonus features or supplemental material, but you get a 10% Fender discount|
Is It Beginner Friendly?
When it comes to keeping things beginner-friendly, both Fender Play and Yousician have strengths and weaknesses.
Yousician is a fairly beginner-friendly platform, as long as you’re comfortable with the app-based interface.
The lesson plan is straightforward and guides you from the very beginning of learning how to play guitar. It uses a fairly intuitive method for teaching complete beginners how to play.
In each Yousician lesson, you play along with a song, following the bouncing ball across the screen and picking or strumming the notes and chords to the beat.
The app “listens” through your microphone, and if you hit the right note, each bar the ball lands on turns green. Hit the wrong note, and the bar turns red.
This makes it easy to know whether or not you’re playing the right note, and it’s a lot like Guitar Hero, but with a real guitar!
Where Yousician falls down a bit in beginner friendliness is that the app can be a bit confusing.
The app doesn’t tell you how to get to the different sections, and it can take some time to figure out where the lessons are.
And of course, if you’re not familiar with a video game format, just figuring out how to play along with each song takes some time.
Another point against Yousician is that the lessons are pretty rigid, so you don’t have a lot of flexibility to pick and choose what to focus on or when to move on to a new skill.
You can’t choose which songs you want to learn, or what order you learn the songs in. You can’t choose what order you learn skills in. Instead, you have to follow the exact path Yousician sets for you.
Getting started on Fender Play is pretty easy. Once you sign up, simply choose your learning path, and you can start on the video lessons right away.
Where Fender Play loses points is in the lessons themselves.
Fender Play sets a fairly rigid lesson structure. You have to complete each lesson before you move on to another one, you can’t bounce around lessons, and you can’t choose what songs you want to learn.
Since Fender Play uses video lessons, you can’t get any direct feedback on your playing, or even if you’re playing the song correctly.
Fender Play also doesn’t have an active community around it, where you can compare your playing or get advice from other students, like Tony’s Acoustic Challenge.
Although Fender Play has some weaknesses, the lesson plan and the format are easier for beginners to pick up compared to Yousician.
Price: What’s the Damage?
Whenever you’re first starting out in any new hobby, price is an important consideration. Music lessons are no different!
The saying, “You get what you pay for” doesn’t always tell the whole story. When it comes to Fender Play vs. Yousician, this gets especially complicated.
At face value, Yousician is a more expensive platform than Fender Play.
Yousician offers a few different options for subscriptions, and that affects the price in a pretty predictable way. If you commit to a one-year subscription, it’s cheaper than paying monthly.
If you decide to pay on a monthly basis, Yousician charges $19.99 per month, or $119.99/year for the basic plan paid upfront.
Yousician Premium+ costs $29.99 per month or $179.99/year, and Yousician offers a FamilyPremim+ plan for $44.99 per month, or $269.99 if you pay for a full year.
It’s important to keep in mind that Yousician adds new lessons constantly, while Fender Play has a set number. So although the Yousician price is higher, you’re getting more lessons for your money.
Fender Play is more affordable than Yousician right off the bat.
Like Yousician, the cost of a Fender Play subscription depends on whether you pay monthly or upfront.
A month-to-month Fender Play subscription costs $19.99 while if you pay for the year upfront, it costs $149.99. There is also a bundle that includes a guitar for $199.99 for one year.
You also get a 10% discount on Fender products purchased online with your subscription, which is pretty amazing if you’re in the market for a new guitar!
On the other hand, Fender Play doesn’t offer any bundle deals for learning other instruments, and the price per lesson is higher.
Overall, Fender Play and Yousician come out about even in price, but Fender Play offers slightly more value.
Free Trial: Can You Try Before You Buy?
Trying something out before you buy it is just good sense, whether you’re looking for the best beginner acoustic guitar or choosing the right guitar lesson.
Fender Play used to be the clear winner in this category, but, as of 2020, Yousician began offering a longer free trial period, making the two lessons more or less equal.
You can try Yousician for 7 days before you start paying for the basic Yousician Premium or Premium Plus subscription.
There is one small catch, however – you have to make sure you cancel at least 24 hours before the last day of the trial period, or you’ll be charged.
Fender Play offers a 7-day free trial if you choose monthly billing and a 14-day free trial if you choose an annual plan.
It makes sense that Fender Play moved first to offer a longer trial period since the format of the lessons on Fender Play takes more time compared to Yousician.
This is one reason why I often offer a two-month trial for Tony’s Acoustic Challenge. After two months, you have a good idea of what the lessons are like and how much fun you can have!
Refund Policy: What If You Want Your Money Back?
If you’re paying for a product, you hope that you won’t have to send it back. But the world’s not perfect and sometimes we do need to get refunds!
Yousician offers a full refund if you cancel your subscription within the 14-day “cool off period,” despite the fact that the company offers a 30-day free trial. You also have to have not accessed any lessons in that period.
This does make things a little complicated, but as long as you cancel within the time frame, you’ll get all of your money back.
The company is a little less forthcoming about partial refunds. The refund policy just says that you have to contact support with any questions, rather than giving specific guidelines.
If you choose a monthly subscription, you must make sure to cancel your subscription before the next automated payment.
For the annual subscription, you’ll just have to write off whichever months you’re not using Fender Play. In the words of the company, “Refunds cannot be claimed for any partial subscription period.”
This is one area where Yousician is an obvious winner, even if the rules for getting a refund aren’t quite as clear as you might want.
Weekly Commitment: How Long Will You Stick With It?
To get better at playing guitar, you have to play often – there’s just no way around that. So, this might be the most important factor: how likely are you to keep using the app long enough to make real progress?
Even habits that should be fun, like playing guitar, are tough to keep up. If you’ve started (and stopped) in the past, don’t feel guilty – most lessons and apps have an extremely high drop-out rate.
That’s why I stopped teaching weekly lessons and created Tony’s Acoustic Challenge, with a totally different set of principles. It’s designed to keep you playing every day and making steady progress in as little as 10 minutes a day – watch this free class to find out how.
Both Yousician and Fender Play have plenty of lessons and exercises to work through from week to week at your own pace. But if you tend to be motivated by gamification or tracking metrics, Yousician takes the lead in those features.
Yousician wins out when it comes to weekly commitment because the app actively encourages you to play every day, instead of just making it possible.
Within the app, Yousician offers weekly challenges, which include learning a particular number of songs or playing a certain amount of time.
You don’t have to participate in the challenges, but the challenges encourage you to play every day and to learn new songs regularly.
Winning a challenge for your skill level feels good, and these challenges can help you get through the typical “stage two” frustration while helping you improve more quickly.
Fender Play doesn’t really offer any big incentives to maintain a weekly commitment to playing.
The lesson plan on Fender Play is very much “go at your own speed,” and there aren’t consistent challenges to encourage you to stretch your skills, like mastering chord transitions or learning to play in a different tuning.
Fender Play is all about being accountable to yourself, and if you’ve got a lot of self-discipline and the motivation to learn, that can be enough. But a lot of beginner players need some outside motivation to stick with learning.
Since Fender Play doesn’t have a strong incentive to stay committed, Yousician takes the lead in this category.
User Interface (UI): Is It Easy to Follow?
The best online guitar lessons in the world aren’t worth much if using them is a pain and a chore.
The big issue you’re likely to run into with Yousician is that learning how to navigate the app is a steep learning curve.
Getting started with the app isn’t bad, and Yousician offers a few videos to coach you through the process.
But once you’re signed up and set up, it’s not really clear what the different sections are or how to actually start playing through a lesson.
Once you’ve figured out how to navigate the app, the interface while you play through lessons is reasonably instinctive. The lessons move from one to the next automatically, and the different settings are easy to adjust.
Since it’s an app, you can use it on a computer, smartphone, or tablet, so it’s a more flexible interface. But there are some tricky aspects to using Yousician that make it less than ideal.
Figuring out how to get to the lessons on Yousician takes some work. You’ll have to find the right section in the app on your own, and since there are two kinds of lessons (songs and independent study on techniques), it might take some time.
It can also be tricky to learn how to play along with the songs. If you’re not familiar with games like Guitar Hero or Rock Band, it’ll probably take you a few tries just to understand the scrolling icons and what you’re supposed to do.
Fender Play makes it easier to understand how to get to your lessons and take them in, but the process isn’t very smooth.
Accessing your lessons on Fender Play is a bit clunky and slow. You have to select each lesson, and there aren’t any automatic features, so you have to adjust what you can each time, and by hand.
There also isn’t any kind of direct feedback for Fender Play, so you won’t know how you’re playing if you’re making the right movements or hitting the right notes until you play for someone else.
All in all, Fender Play and Yousician both have weaknesses, and neither one comes out as the clear winner.
Features: Any Extra Bells and Whistles?
A great online guitar lesson is about more than just the lessons themselves. Features that help you dive deeper on a particular topic or skill, or expand your repertoire, can make a big difference.
Yousician comes out as the winner in this section because it offers the most extra features to help you step beyond the lessons themselves.
Fender Play offers some bonuses that are attractive, but they don’t help as much when it comes to improving play.
Yousician offers a lot of extras to help you improve your guitar playing, so you aren’t limited to just the app when it comes to making progress on your acoustic guitar journey.
You can export the tablature for the songs you play on Yousician and print them to make it easier to practice the songs outside of the app, which makes practicing a little more flexible.
You can also download the audio files for each song to play along with, without having to use the app itself to play.
All in all, Yousician offers more flexibility to take the meat of the lessons with you anywhere you go, which gives it a clear advantage in the Fender Play vs. Yousician debate.
Fender Play doesn’t offer much in the way of bonus material or options to take your lessons outside of the website.
You can’t easily download or print the music that you’re playing, and you have to access it through the site and videos themselves.
Fender Play does offer some supplementary content, like the Chord Challenge, which lets you set a practice run on particular chords you might find tricky, but it’s a lot less portable than Yousician.
Another point against Fender Play is the fact that you can only access the site in certain countries, so it’s less accessible than Yousician.
A Good Alternative
If the comparison of Fender Play vs. Yousician doesn’t seem to have a clear winner, that’s because both apps have some significant flaws. Neither one is likely to get you past beginner-level playing without serious dedication and practice.
Explore our guitar app comparisons for a more options:
If you want to learn acoustic guitar much faster and have fun playing songs right from day one, then check out my program, Tony’s Acoustic Challenge. Instead of picking your way through boring lessons, you’ll start fresh each week with a new technique.
It keeps things fresh, so you don’t get bored and frustrated hammering away at the same material day after day and week after week.
Best of all, the lessons are just 10 minutes per day! So you can take as little or as much time as you want to learn the skills.
But the main thing about TAC is that it’s fun! It makes you want to play guitar because you’re having such a good time every time you do!
Transform Your Guitar Playing in 10 Minutes a Day
Remember, the secret to a fulfilling guitar journey is consistency, not laborious practice.
Snag your FREE TAC Progress Tracker today and build the skills to learn songs faster in just 10 minutes a day!
Which online guitar lesson is correct for you depends a lot on what you’re looking for. Fender Play is pretty decent, but Yousician has the edge when it comes to incentives to keep playing.
That being said, if you want the best of both worlds, check out Tony’s Acoustic Challenge.
It has a more intuitive interface, weekly challenges that encourage you to stretch your skills, and a vibrant community of guitar players encouraging each other and sharing their wins.
If you’re ready to get started, watch this FREE guitar class, where I show you the three secrets to faster guitar learning in 10 minutes a day.