Fender Play is now available to download on Android smartphones, following its 2017 launch on iOS. This is the latest app to become available from the amp and stringed instrument company and in contrast to Fender's tuning app, this one is more concerned with helping users to learn to play the guitar in the first place.
It is clear this app is aimed at those who are very new to the guitar and is likely to be of less use to experienced players. However, for those new players, the app is based on a video-first learning method. So users are essentially walked through each lesson completely in video form. These start off with non-playing essential information such as the terminology for the equipment and phases the learner will need to know to understand later lessons. Furthermore, the course as a whole is broken down into different levels (one through five) so there is a clear structure to the lesson plan with learners about to focus on an individual level until they feel comfortable enough to move to the next. In addition to the various lessons which are based more on learning a particular playing style, all levels do include a number of well-known songs for users to learn. While the later levels do certainly increase in complexity, they are still more designed with beginners and inexperienced players in mind as all the songs are provided in a ‘simplified’ manner - meaning they are not actually what the original musicians play but a stripped down version of the song designed to be easier to play. As well as more chord-based than tablature.
One of the nice benefits of the app is that it is slightly more customizable than other options and less dependent on learners having to follow the set structure, though they can if they want. Instead, users of the app are able to filter out all the lessons they are less interested in. For example, a user can just focus on learning the songs and skipping the technique lessons altogether. In this instance, songs are ranked on an up to ‘three pick’ basis (where three picks are the hardest) allowing users to easily identify and focus in on the songs that are most relevant to their playing level. Although Fender Play is now available to download from the Google Play Store for free, the app is subscription-based with the price set at $9.99 per month. This price is specific to the US and may vary for those accessing the service from other countries. Although, as a means to see if this app is the right sort of tutoring tool for users, Fender does offer a 30-day free trial. It also looks like the subscription is cross-platform so owners of both Android and iOS devices should be able to access the service from either operating system using the same login credentials.