Hello and welcome to my Jamorama review.
The world of guitar instruction has changed a little since I was first started playing electric guitar as a teenager in the early 90s.
Home internet was around back then, but it was very new, and downloading hours of video or audio content was certainly not something that ordinary people had the connection speeds to consider doing. There were guitar based discussion groups around, such as the rather chaotic alt.guitar.
Some guitar magazines published some of their lesson content online, but blogging was still about a decade away from taking off.
We were still a long way away from being able to access a comprehensive and professionally put-together introductory guitar course delivered completely over the internet!
I was lucky enough to have private guitar lessons every week at school. This was great for a number of reasons: firstly, because my teacher was a great player and excellent teacher, and also a really funny dude who I liked to learn from; secondly, because my parents were happy to pay for the lessons, which for a kid who might earn a few dollars a week from mowing the lawn made a huge difference; and lastly, because the school would schedule the half-hour lessons during class time, so every week I got to leave some boring math or english class and spend half an hour learning how to play.
I very quickly became obsessed with learning how to play electric guitar though, and was always hungry for more stuff to get my hands on between lessons. For me, this meant guitar magazines.
At the time, I quite enjoyed these, but looking back I’m not sure what I was really doing. They were usually fairly long, well over 100 pages, but more than half of that would be just big full colour advertisements to make me lust after extravagant pieces of music equipment that I had absolutely no possibly use for as a kid practicing in his bedroom.
Apart from the ads, they had interviews with guitarists, which were occasionally interesting, news and product reviews, and often a big classifieds section. The actual instructional material in a typical magazine often only amounted to 4 or 6 pages.
The reason I mention all of this is because when I see some of the guitar instruction materials available on the internet today I often wish they were around when I was a beginner. Which brings me to the product I’m reviewing today, Jamorama.
What is Jamorama?
Jamorama is a structured learning package written to take the student from a complete beginner to an intermediate stage of playing. Jamorama is a digitally downloadable product, which means that after you’ve bought it you can download the entire course straight onto your hard drive.
For people that really want a hardcopy course, they do have a physical version of their product, but it is quite a lot more expensive, and you have to wait for it to get shipped out to you. It is meant for both acoustic guitar and electric guitar players, and it uses a combination of video, audio and written material to teach with.
Jamorama review: What’s in it?
Jamorama consists of 2 ebooks, 150 video lessons, and 400 sound files.
The ebooks form the core of the course. The first is a beginner’s guide, which takes people who might have never even held a guitar before and gets them reading guitar tablature and playing their first chords and songs. The second one follows on from that with some more difficult material. Each consist of about 100 pages of pure instructional content.
The videos illustrate the lessons found in the ebooks. They are really well shot, zooming in on both the left and right hands, as well as providing a diagram to help understand the fingering. Sometimes it can be hard to see how a chord is fingered just by looking at what the hand is doing, because the fingers might be really close together, or a finger might be muting a string or not even touching it, rather than fretting it, so having a diagram is helpful and convenient.
The audio files contain jam tracks that help you practice what you have learnt in a musical situation. Playing against recordings is an excellent way to tighten up your chops, because it makes you play to a steady beat. Learning to play a solid rhythm early on will help you immensely.
This is an ear training game – it trains you to recognise the common intervals and chords in popular music. It starts off with some very easy intervals, and then gets more difficult. Playing this game will be very worthwhile if you have never undergone ear training before.
Jayde Musica Pro
This is another game, which shows you how to read music. The music here is all in standard notation, which a lot of guitarists never use – Jamorama is just written in guitar tablature. But if you do want to learn how to read standard notation, this is a cool way to go about it. It’s a bit like a cross between an introductory music theory course, and space invaders.
Guitar Tuner Pro software & How to Tune your Guitar ebook
The How to Tune your Guitar ebook is a short and fairly to the point guide to, of all things, tuning a guitar. The software is useful if you don’t have anything else available to tune with, although for my mind it’s no replacement for a real electronic tuner.
This is a software program that gives you a fully functioning metronome, with a traditional metronome look and soon. Using a metronome is vital to getting the most out of your practice time. Even a basic metronome can cost more than the whole Jamorama course, so this is a great bonus.
Jamorama Chord Kit
This is a reference style resource with ideas of chords and chord progressions to play. It’s a cool little reference to look at when you have finished the main course, or you just want some new ideas to mess around with.
What I like about Jamorama
The clever combination of written materials, video demonstrations and jam tracks caters to people with different learning styles, and makes the exercises extremely clear and easy to understand.
Jamorama is excellent value for money. The sheer amount of quality instruction you get with Jamorama for the price you pay is really hard to argue with. When I compare what you can get here with what was around when I started playing guitar I really feel like we were missing out!
I like that Jamorama doesn’t try to be “all things to all people” – instead, it is unapologetically targetted at brand new and beginner guitarists. Intermediate players can get some value from it to.
This course is extremely easy to use. You just open the ebook and get started. There is no real hurdle for anyone to learn from this course. Everything is expressed in plain, simple to understand language, and it’s structured that the next thing to do is always straightforward.
Jamorama has a 60 day, no questions asked, money back guarantee. This is pretty awesome. It basically means there is no risk in trying the course. You can buy it, and if you decide you don’t like it for any reason at all, you can just shoot off an email and you’ll get your money back.
I do like how the videos are professionally shot, and they make it very clear what the guitarist is doing with each hand. I’ve seen videos from some guitar courses that are just a zoomed out, and while those videos are still useful, being up close to each hand is much much better. Full marks for the video quality.
The jamorama course is actually a lot of fun. This is a huge plus, because by having enjoyable things to play, instead of just dry and technical exercises, you will be much more likely to persist with your playing and to keep practicing regularly. And besides all that, playing guitar is meant to be fun.
It is convenient, and a good course for busy people. Because it makes learning guitar simple and straightforward, you can put it down when you’re busy, and pick it back up when you have time.
What I don’t like about Jamorama
There is not a lot of theory in Jamorama. If you’re just wanting to get together a basic ability to play, then this fine. But if you have ambitions to ever play in a jazz group, to study at conservatory level, to write or arrange songs, or to improvise, then you will probably want to follow this course with some more formal learning, once you have completed it.
There is not a lot there for people beyond intermediate level. If you have been playing for more than a couple of years, and you fancy yourself as a pretty good player, then there won’t be a lot that is new to you. If, for example, you don’t know how to play major seventh chords, or sixth chords, or diminished chords, then it’s probably still worth taking a look.
The jam tracks do sound a bit cheesy. This is not a big deal because they’re for learning with, not performing with.
There isn’t much in the way of “mindset” teaching here – by this I mean advice about maintaining consistent practice schedulues, about how to think about music, and other thoughts and concepts about how to approach the guitar, and music generally. I think a little bit of this can be helpful amongst all the chords, exercises and songs. There are little “philosophy” sections in the ebooks that do go some of the way to providing this kind of teaching, and the advice you get here is generally good.
There are little “interest” sections interspersed throughout the course. They consist of little bites of music trivia, which are kind of irrelevant and distracting. It’s not clear what possible purpose they serve. This is an extremely minor complaint, but I have to say I found them very annoying.
Jamorama review: Conclusion
Jamorama is suitable for anybody new to playing guitar, whether they have never picked one up before, or they have been struggling through on their own for some time. It also might be a good purchase for intermediate players who feel like they need something to “fill in the gaps”. It is a. The 60 day, no questions asked money back guarantee means that you can buy it, try it out, and if you decide that it’s not for you then you can just get a refund and you haven’t lost anything – so if anybody is not sure if it’s for them I suggest you at least give it a try.
Jamorama won’t turn a raw beginner into a virtuoso overnight. As with any course, you’ll only get out of it what you put into it, and if you buy it and then never practice then it won’t get you anywhere. That said, they make it easy for you to stay focussed and disciplined by making the lessons fun, and the structured nature of the program mean you can get the most out of your practice.
Thanks for reading and I hope you found this Jamorama review helpful.