Become a Real-Life Guitar Hero With Fender Play

In the late ’90s, I “learned” to play the guitar in front of the computer, strumming a bulky electronic pick over a tennis racket to the tune of “Dude Looks Like a Lady.”

But Fender Musical Instruments Corporation (FMIC) is taking a more modern approach to first-time fretboarding.

The company—famous for its stringed instruments and amplifiers—last week launched Fender Play, a video-based learning platform for desktop and iPhone.

Designed to ease beginners through the learning process, the program features hundreds of instructor-guided video lessons to help anyone master chords and riffs “in minutes.”

“Ninety percent of people who pick up the guitar will drop out after one year, and we see Fender Play as a solution to that challenge,” Ethan Kaplan, general manager of Fender Digital, said in a statement.

New users are asked a variety of questions about preferred instrument and genre (rock, pop, folk, country, or blues?), allowing the creation of a comprehensive, customized curriculum of personal “learning paths,” according to the firm.

Courses focus on a song-based method that teach core techniques, with added tips and tricks from artists like U2, Shawn Mendes, The Rolling Stones, Foo Fighters, Meghan Trainor, and Carrie Underwood.

“Our intuitive platform, whether used on its own or as a practice supplement to in-person lessons, allows first-time players and beginners to get started,” Kaplan explained. “It allows them to learn when and how they want in a digital setting with superior production and accuracy far surpassing your average online lesson video.”

Fender Play, which requires a Wi-Fi or LTE connection, allows folks to choose which instruments, songs, and genres to study; track progress in real time, access a glossary of terms, chords, and videos; and more.

“This is a pinnacle step for Fender Digital,” Kaplan said, boasting a continued progression “from analog to digital” to link offline and online experiences of playing.

A digital syllabus was created by a panel of advisors from music programs, including the Musicians Institute in Hollywood and Thornton School of Music at University of Southern California in Los Angeles.

Novices in the US, UK, and Canada can sign up for a free 30-day trial; cancel at any time, or stick with your new hobby for $19.99 per month.

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