Review of the popular Truefire.com website and guitar app.
If you are into online guitar it will be hard not to miss the flood of online guitar courses currently available, a veritable smorgasbord selection that ranges from tasty to just plain off. So this review is intended to highlight one of the best providers, not the only mind, but a platform that delivers quality content 24/7/365: Truefire.com.
So what is Truefire? It is a website, it is also an app, and it has some of the worlds best guitarists delivering and writing courses for them. So from a blues lesson with Robben Ford to a Certified Gems with Tommy Emmanuel, and just about everything in between, it has something for all tastes and genres, almost. Once you sign up for an account, what ever you buy or get for free is available across all your gadgets. Handy, right! Check the video review below for a detailed analysis and demo of the app.
Right off the bat the app is one of the best available for your money – free. Yup, free. It is available for IOS, Android and PC. It has a video player in-bedded with the usual controls. What sets this app apart are its extra awesome controls. They allow you to make a selection, loop it and then slow it down. This is enormously helpful for learning new licks or trying to playing with the instructor. The newer videos are HD quality so if you are using an iPad, that means you get great clarity. The app also has the tab and stave available for you to read and follow as the video commences.
So you want to study Passion & Warfare with Steve Vai? Or maybe its Fingerstyle Essentials with Muriel Anderson? What about some Bebop Etudes with Sheryl Bailey? Maybe you just want some song writing tips from Larry Carlton? Or maybe its SWAT Improvisation with Carl Verheyen. Truefire pretty much has that covered, and then the rest. The course range and depth is pretty amazing. The one area, ironically in regards to CGRocks, that is woefully underrepresented is classical guitar; with no instructors or lessons. However we would not be reviewing this site if it had no value. As a guitarist who wants to learn or be inspired there is loads on offer and if you want to improve your fingerstyle technique and theory then this site will be hard to go past. They have some of the best guitarists delivering lessons and insights, there are DADGAD lessons with Pierre Bensusan or Origin insights with Adrian Legg.
They have a variety of ways for you to study, from one on one lessons to whole series’ such as Survival Guides, Essentials or even Learn & Play Guitar. They also have a set syllabus called Learning Paths, which means you can start out with a definite structure, a variety of instructors and have goals to aim for.
Along with a host of other courses and a great Jam track app called: In The Jam, which allows you full control over the track. Need more bass, just move the slider. Maybe you want to hear what Larry was thinking whilst playing his lead; just move the slider. All in real time.
Right one of the best aspects of Truefire is the price, the courses generally range between the $14 to the top of $89. They also have all access plans from a year to a lifetime. It really just depends on how deep your pocket is. However if you are a struggling student or a parent you will know the value of money and the really great thing about this site are the fire sales. The generally tie in with the main American holidays, currently the Christmas sale is on with a slew of giveaways and freebies, and can reduce the price of a course by up to 50%. So as long as you are not in a rush, it is worth waiting for a sale.
Top tip: do not buy through the iPad portal, go online via a PC and buy your courses that way. Why? Well you will not get any discounts applied, it will be the usual price.
So any concerns?
There are only two downsides to this online learning platform. First, if you are using an iPad, you are at the mercy of your memory, which currently isn’t much (and lets face it I wouldn’t put it past them to get rid of that too!) You are also at the mercy of what ever WiFi signal you are surfing on; sometimes that can be like going back to the ’90’s and waiting for dial tone!! The second concern is the lack of classical guitar courses. I feel this is definitely a niche in the market that can be explored a little further by Truefire. The only competition in this area is Artist works and they are a tad, shall we say, expensive; and a little old skool!
Play A Long
Today its standard to be able to plug and play a long. This is one area that I believe Truefire could delve into in their apps. It would expand the usefulness of the Truefire platform exponentially. However that aside there are two cheap methods to achieving this. Grab yourself an iRig interface, from Amazon, and download the Jamup App (it is available for free or if you have some cash the Pro version). Plug into your iPad, plug in some headphones and a guitar and you are able to play along. How? Well Jamup allows its app to run in the background hence you can run Truefire whilst hearing yourself through the Jamup app. Guitar learning and playing on the go, anywhere, any time!
So if you are looking for inspiration and want to rock your guitar chops to another level check out Truefire.com. There are a load more features to this site, such as their own in house magazine, interactive tabs with Soundslice, a student forum and blog. They offer value for money and breadth of range, obviously apart from in-depth classical guitar lessons, but there are loads of fingerstyle lessons. There really is something for any taste. Head over to their website and get learning, what do you have to lose?