JamPlay VS ArtistWorks (Paul Gilbert's Rock Course)
Outside of the instructor feedback and interaction - which is significant since it's with Paul Gilbert - ArtistWorks doesn't meet the same level of quality and variety that you get with JamPlay guitar lessons. Yet while JamPlay is better overall, ArtistWorks deserves a serious look from the social and/or feedback-oriented learner who wants an experience that's more like an in-person guitar lesson.
The ArtistWorks format is a lot different than JamPlay, in that it incorporates a feedback system with instructors for particular styles of music. Each style covered has its own designated instructor, many of whom have national notoriety. For this comparison, we're using the ArtistWorks rock guitar course taught by Paul Gilbert.
Users of this course can actually communicate with Paul through the membership interface and platform, which includes video exchanges where Paul will actually help you through your playing and critique what you're doing.
This is - without a doubt - ArtistWorks' strongest feature.
But how does it compare to a program like JamPlay with a more traditional setup?
We'll compare the two in the tables ahead. Enjoy and leave us questions if you have them.
Read more: Full JamPlay review
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Use this chart to compare JamPlay, ArtistWorks and a couple other popular programs.
Want a quicker answer? Take the quiz
This quiz covers eight of the most crucial questions we identified when analyzing JamPlay and ArtistWorks. Take the quiz to find out which one is right for you.
JamPlay VS ArtistWorks: The Basics
In the first table we're comparing things like length of free trial, cost of each program, and the amount of content they provide. JamPlay appears better in this table primarily because of the format difference. ArtistWorks has less content specifically for guitar because they try to address a lot of different instruments while JamPlay only addresses guitar and bass.
However, JamPlay does have a much better free trial arrangement, which gives you access to the entire site for an allotted time period, not simply a few sample lessons.
JamPlay also comes in cheaper at $160 per year compared to the $280 required for an ArtistWorks membership.
Reported Memberships as of 2021 (Revised rating - This number is likely much higher for JamPlay, but they haven't revised their report for quite awhile)
Free Trial Period
7 and 30 days
Sample lessons offered
Total Number of Lessons
Roughly 200 lessons per course
Styles (Genres) Covered
10 for guitar and lots of other instruments
10 for guitar and others for additional instruments
$20 per month or $160 per year
$279 for a 12-month plan
Note that the price provided is for Paul Gilbert's rock course specifically. In other words, you sign up for a particular course and not for the site as a whole. This is a dramatically different platform, which ArtistWorks has organized this way because of their desire to get students directly communicating with their teacher.
That is, inherently, more expensive than a simple streaming service.
If you value the communication with a particular teacher, and want guitar lessons that are mirrored off the more traditional in-person living room model, this is something you're likely willing to pay a bit more to get.
Skill Level, Depth and Challenge
Gilbert's rock guitar course in ArtistWorks runs into some trouble quickly when we look at how they break down their content by skill level. Not surprisingly, the course is stronger on advanced topics when compared to their beginner section. Yet much of the problem centers are how the content is ordered.
For example, Paul goes over the E major chord before the lesson on holding the pick is presented.
We also don't see the "Single Note Introduction" lesson until deep into the beginner material.
Complex topics like trills, string skipping, and soloing technique are covered in the beginner section as well, which we'd recommend moving to later stages of the course. However, there are also string skipping lessons in the advanced section.
This puts JamPlay firmly ahead in the skill level department, primarily because of their better organization.
To be fair, the actual teaching directed at each skill level is fairly good, and Gilbert is quite good and empathizing with you as a student and making you feel like he understands where you're at.
Structure, Design and User Experience
Looking at design and site structure, both JamPlay and ArtistWorks are at about the same level. Neither is as up-to-date as the big box programs like Fender Play and Yousician, but neither of them have design issues that hinder the user or make it difficult to find your way around.
Depending on how you're using it, we'd say JamPlay is a little better with their interior navigation, but we don't want to split too many hairs here.
Interior Course Navigation
Main Menu Navigation
From the screenshots below, you can see that the navigational elements of both programs are pretty similar:
Video Interface Quality and Features
The only thing that really separates the JamPlay and ArtistWorks video player is the multiple camera angles incorporated by JamPlay.
In fact, they are consistently the best when it comes to providing multiple, high-definition camera angles. For many of their videos, JamPlay will provide four at a time.
ArtistWorks uses one at a time and will jump to different angles depending on what's happening in the video.
Other video player features are even between the two programs.
Slow Down/Speed Up
Multiple Video Angles
Full Screen Quality and Pixelation
Supplemental material is a strong suit for JamPlay, though - in this example - there is one glaring exception:
Since ArtistWork's entire platform is built around getting actual interaction with your instructors, that's a massive category that should be considered. Paul Gilbert will actually watch your video exchanges and give you feedback. As I mentioned before, it's much closer to the feel of having guitar lessons with an instructor in front of you that gives you substantive feedback.
All of that is - of course - in addition to the streamable videos.
Other supplemental content is taken over by JamPlay, as they're one of the best when it comes to adding tabs, diagrams, and digital resources that go beyond the recording video.
Tabs and Notation
(Revised rating - February 2021: This rating may be different for JamPlay in other articles)
Guitar Pro Files
Licensed Song Lessons
Though JamPlay hasn't focused much on their song lessons in recent years, they're still a better option in this category because ArtistWorks doesn't incorporate this element into their program at all.
JamPlay hovers around 600 song lessons, though I've noticed they seem to allow some licenses to run out without renewal, thereby reducing their song library.
Still if it's a comparison with ArtistWorks, they win this category easily in a bit of an unfair comparison.
If song lessons are a priority for you, JamPlay or Guitar Tricks are going to be your best bet.
Number of Songs
Song Coverage (completeness)
Easy Song Versions
Second Pay Wall
Concluding the Comparison
This comparison is limited, because we're not looking at the full scope of ArtistWorks, instead limiting our assessment to one of their more popular guitar-focused courses. In that respect, it's not entirely fair to ArtistWorks as it goes up against the full roster of JamPlay's content.
Yet even if we were able to look at ArtistWorks with all their content, many of the problems we've identified would still exist.
For example, there would still be issues with topical order and a lack of supplemental content. When comparing attributes directly, you can easily see that JamPlay offers a better program.
However, ArtistWorks still makes a strong push for consideration based on their instructor-focused system.
There's really no other program that puts this kind of effort into getting you in touch with a real teacher online. For most online guitar lessons, that's just not something you have access to. Yet Paul Gilbert - after already having recorded a streamable course - makes himself available to students, which significantly expounds on the material at hand.
If that's a way that you prefer to learn, ArtistWorks gets an immediate bump to the front of the line.
Otherwise, we'd recommend JamPlay for most scenarios.
Do you have questions about our JamPlay VS ArtistWorks comparison? If so, leave them in the comments section below and I'll help out.
We'll see you there.