I’ve been helping my 11 year old son learn to play guitar this year, and a few months ago we purchased a couple of the Jamorama Guitar Lessons Courses. There are a few different Jamorama Guitar Courses available to suit different ability levels and different styles of playing.
In this article I’ll focus on reviewing the Jamorama Guitar Lessons Beginners Course. In future articles I’ll review the other courses. Please note, the ‘basic’ Jamorama guitar course includes the Beginners Course and the Intermediate Course. I’m only reviewing the Beginners Course here and will post a link to the Intermediate Course Review when I’ve completed it.
Jamorama – Getting Started
When you purchase the Jamorama course, the first thing to realise is that it’s all a digital download – you get instant access to it once you’ve paid. Paying and downloading was simple and after making payment you’re taken to a download page where all the course material is ready to be downloaded. You also receive an email with your payment and login details so if you need to download the Jamorama lessons at a later date, they’re easy to access.
You download all the Jamorama material as zip files, and unzip it to wherever you want it to go on your computer. The best advice I can give is to keep the folder structure that the files come in – this makes it easier to find things.
In the Beginner’s Folder, there are three main parts:
- Jam Tracks Folder
- Video Folder
- pdf booklet
There are 54 videos, and two sets of 16 guitar jam tracks – one set with the guitar so you can hear what it’s supposed to sound like and one set without guitar so you can play along.
Jamorama Beginners Guide
It’s a 95 page pdf document and contains 15 Jamorama lessons.
It’s well laid out and easy to read and follow.
There’s an introduction section with explains the parts on the guitar, how to sit when playing guitar, where to place your fingers etc. My son and I skipped over this part because he knew it already, but it is good information for a beginner to know.
The lessons are well structured. Lesson 1 introduces the A and D chords – probably two of the easier chords a beginning guitarist can learn.
Lesson 2 introduces the concept of guitar tablature (TAB) and introduces a strumming pattern for the A and D chords you learnt in lesson 1. It also incorporates the first Jam Track, so you can play along with the Jamorama band using the A and D chords.
The only problem I had with the layout of the first two lessons is that in lesson 1 they show the TAB for both the A and D chords. My son had never seen TAB before and found it very confusing. It wasn’t until later that I realised they provided a good introduction to the concept of guitar TAB in lesson 2. For us it wasn’t an issue because I’m a guitarist and could explain it to him, but for a new guitarist it may be a bit off-putting if they see it in the first lesson and don’t understand it.
Are the Lessons Easy to Follow?
This was an important factor for me. You see, whilst I’ve been playing guitar for over 30 years, I wanted to find a structured course to help my son learn because I honestly struggled to work out what things I needed to teach him and in what order I’d need to teach them. So before we bought Jamorama I’d teach him a few chords and try and teach him a relevant song or two, but I lacked a clear direction. Also, he’d only practice or learn when I was around, and I really wanted to have something that he could use himself.
I’m very happy with the way these lessons are structured. There are 15 lessons in all, and whilst you can probably absorb the contents of one lesson in one sitting, you’re able to break it up if you wanted to.
The booklet has very clear directions, and for every lesson there’s at least one or two videos and jam tracks for you to watch and play along with. There are also very clear photos and diagrams in the pdf document so you can see what the chords are supposed to look (and sound) like.
I’m confident that if you’re a beginner with no guitar experience, you’ll be able to follow the instructions in the course and begin to learn the basic chords in this Jamorama course with no problems. Now, learning guitar does take a bit of work and practice, but results to come to those who are patient! In the early stages it can be difficult to get your fingers moving into the right position to sound the chords, and pressing the strings down can hurt after a while, but that’s all part of playing guitar! Jamorama doesn’t make that aspect of it any easier or any harder. What Jamorama does do well is provide a very simple path through the 15 beginners lessons.
Here’s a Sample of the Jamorama Beginners Course
In this video I show you an example of one of the video lessons and one of the jam tracks. You can see in the video lesson that there are multiple camera angles at once so you can clearly see what’s going on.
If you can’t see the video because you’re viewing this via a feed reader, click to watch the Jamorama Guitar Lessons Beginners Review Video.
Jamorama Bonus Software
There are some software bonuses that come with the Beginners Course and they’re good value, particularly for a beginner.
Guitar Tuner Pro is a basic guitar tuner that you install onto your computer. You select what tuning you want, and mouse click the relevant string to hear the sound that the string is tuned to. It’s very simple to use. Practising on an in-tune guitar is so important when you’re starting out and this tuner makes it easy to get your guitar in tune, avoiding at least one frustration!
Guitar Ear It is a fun program that helps you learn to play by ear. It plays a series of chords and you have to choose which chord you think it’s playing. You get points for getting the answer right, and you receive more points for getting it right first time, less points for guessing it right with your second guess etc. I believe that it’s very important to learn to play by ear and this program is a helpful way for you to start learning.
I’ve had a play around with this program and it’s fun, but not something you need to focus on initially. Long term you should aim to develop your ear so you can hear a note and know what pitch it is, but this skill isn’t necessary when you’re starting out.
The Jamorama Metronome (everyone needs to play in time!)
The Metronome is a useful addition to the Jamorama toolkit. For those who don’t know, a metronome is a device musicians use that provides regular beats according to a pre-set time measure. So if you set it to 60 Beats Per Minute (BPM), it’ll tick (or click) once every second (i.e. 60 times a minute). Set it to 120 BPM and it’ll click twice per second.
A metronome is very useful to practice along to for two reasons:
- Learning to play in time is very important. If you want to play with other musicians, you can’t stop and start playing – you must all play together in time.
- You can speed up the metronome to improve your skill. Start of practising the lessons at a slow speed (60 BPM) and, as you gradually master the chords, increase the tempo up to 120 BPM (gradually!) so you’re forced to play / change chords / move fingers etc faster.
I’m a big believer in practising with a metronome or some other form of click track (drum beat etc).
The final bit of software is the Jayde Musica Pro software. I won’t go into a lot of detail about it, but it’s software that teaches you how to read music. As I mentioned earlier, this is something that’s good to know about, but isn’t necessarily a priority in the short term when you’re starting out.
Jamorama Beginners Lessons – What’s Missing?
When I started learning guitar in the early 80′s, nothing like Jamorama existed (neither did the internet). I learnt from a teacher, friends and guitar books.
One of the things I’ve noticed with Jamorama and other courses like it is that they teach the basics very well, but don’t teach any popular songs (at least not in the beginners course). This is usually due to copyright issues – most major artists won’t allow companies like Jamorama to teach their songs. As a result, a lot of music courses will teach older songs that are in the public domain and not subject to copyright.
So if you’re expecting Jamorama to teach you how to play the latest songs, you’ll be disappointed. But that’s not unique to Jamorama – it’s the same across all beginner guitar courses.
What you will learn from Jamorama is how to play the chords that are used in most popular songs today. My advice is to find the chords charts on the web for the songs you want to learn and use the chord knowledge you’ll gain from Jamorama to play those songs.
You won’t learn any barre chords in the Beginners Course – they’re covered in the Intermediate Course. Again, this is not essential in a beginners guide, but barre chords are something you’ll need to learn. Remember, the Intermediate Course comes together with the basic Jamorama package and I’ll post a review on that soon.
The Jamorama Beginners Course is a good introductory course for someone who wants to learn the basics of playing guitar.
You’ll learn all the main guitar chords, basic strumming techniques and some of the notes on the guitar fretboard. The jam tracks and videos will help you learn the basics and show you how to play the various courses and exercises they include in the book.
Once you’ve mastered the Beginners Course, it’s time to move on to the Intermediate Course where you’ll learn barre chords and lots of other chord and scale shapes.
I believe this course is good value for money – I wish something like it was available when I was learning as a teenager – it would have helped me progress much quicker. My 11 year old son is able to sit down and work through the lessons – I don’t need to be there when he practises (yay!). We’ll sit together at least once a week and he’ll show me what he’s working on, put thanks to the videos, pdf booklet and jam tracks he’s able to learn at his own pace.
These lessons are good value when you consider that you’re getting two complete guitar courses for the price of two face-to-face guitar lessons. I still think there’s a place for one-on-one guitar instruction, but the Jamorama beginners course is very good for those who want to learnt he basics.
They offer a couple of free lessons on their site so you can get a sample of what they’re like.
Also, they offer a very comprehensive money-back guarantee so you can have peace of mind knowing that if you invest in the course, and it’s not what you want, you’re able to get your money back, no questions asked! So there’s no risk to you at all.
Please leave any questions or comments below and I’ll answer them to the best of my ability.
Here’s the link to Jamorama Guitar Lessons again.
If you liked this article, you may also like these similar posts:
Download 7 Chords In 7 Days - our FREE guide that will help you become a better guitarist
Learn a new chord every day
Impress your friends with your new chord knowledge!