GuitarJamz Review

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If you’ve spent much time looking for online guitar lessons on Youtube, you know who Marty Schwartz is. Usually smiling underneath a jaunty hat, he’s one of the best-known online guitar instructors.

Marty advertises for his site – GuitarJamz.com – primarily by providing free material on Youtube. He takes requests and explains how to play popular songs. And Marty is, when all is said and done, a pretty good explainer of songs. He takes beginner songs appropriately slowly, and yet has a good intuitive grasp of how much explanation students need of more complex fingerings. You won’t have him saying, “well, take this shape from the third and fourth frets and slide it up to the 7th and 9th,” without explaining which finger goes where, if it’s not obvious.

Marty’s vibe is personable and social. He reminds me of nothing so much as the kind of guitar-playing friend that most of us had at some point when we were first learning. He knows more than we did, and he was happy to share his knowledge.

That’s Marty in a nutshell. He’s a pretty decent teacher, but his lesson plans and organization are a little haphazard – rather than building up a solid curriculum from a clear plan, it feels like Marty quickly records a few lessons on whatever he is interested in talking about that day.

The result is that the lesson quality can vary. Some of his lessons are absolutely fantastic, and others are a little more mediocre. He’s speaking like a friend, rather than a teacher, and while that can keep things nice and low-key, it also allows a little bit of laziness to creep into his lessons. The production quality is decent, but it’s not always clear how the lessons build on each other to produce something greater than the sum of their individual parts, the way really good lessons should.

It’s therefore hard to give GuitarJamz.com a stellar review. There are better, more organized sites out there, which offer a more comprehensive learning experience for your hard-earned dollar. Guitar Tricks or JamPlay come to mind as better alternatives. But Marty’s lessons do have some excellent content, so if you connect with his vibe, he could still be a reasonable choice for you online guitar lesson needs.

Click Here To Try GuitarJamz

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Rating: 7.4/10 (16 votes cast)
GuitarJamz Review, 7.4 out of 10 based on 16 ratings

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{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Jay Coleman March 24, 2011 at 9:39 pm

Now THAT is how to review a site! Impartial, honest, insightful & informative! Proper Job!

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George Ovitt April 1, 2011 at 3:49 pm

Actually I have found Marty’s website lessons quite well organized, especially if you begin with his extensive coverage of music theory before going on to the “blues” and “riffs” sections. The beginner lessons are perhaps a bit ad hoc, but serve the purpose of building your enthusiasm for learning the instrument. I’ve learned a tremendous amount from Marty, enjoy his laid-back approach, and think that, for one dollar a day (!) you can’t do better–at least compared to the other sites I have visited. The comment “maybe he wasn’t the best player” seems gratuitous to me–Marty is a fine guitarist, and, in any case, his abilities are beside the point. Rory Block is great, but try learning to play a song from one of her videos!

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alex myers July 7, 2011 at 10:55 am

What I recommend is using a more structured learning program, but throw some marty in the mix. He boosts morale like none other, so any time a more structured lesson is getting you pent up and frustrated, learn something from Marty and youll feel like a rock star and be able to push through the rut.

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Rick Hermanns October 18, 2011 at 3:53 pm

His site is good but his customer service sticks. I just purchased some DVD/CDs from them and two of the CDs do not play correctly. I have sent two email requests for replacements with any reply. It seems that they are happy to take your money but after that they don’t want to mess with you. Terrible business approach! That said, I like Marty and his teaching style but may be done with him if they don’t follow through on my problem!

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Kevin D February 23, 2012 at 9:35 pm

Actually I find Marty’s style quite refreshing for an experienced musician looking to learn the guitar. I spent hundreds for another well known DVD-based guitar teaching method branded under a US Guitar manufacturer who makes very expensive guitars (you guys can figure out who that is). While the other DVD plan assumed that the individual had no prior experience on any instrument it progressed as if you were learning at an elementary school to middle school level and had a different organization of material which didn’t even get into chords until you were well past the first 4 “sessions”. There was no chord theory to speak of – only rote memorization of the forms given. Marty’s site is very organized and has the necessary depth of all the topics that you can take in any order – I can say this because i’ve been a musician most of my life on instruments other than guitar and I’m 53. Every thing is covered in DEPTH unlike the other program which simply scratched the surface on all the topics with 1 or 2 pages of lesson book content and then long numerous videos to explain and demonstrate those 1 or 2 pages. I reached a point in the other program where I decided that after 6 months of hard work, 2-3 hours a day 7 days a week that I wasn’t getting anywhere and the idea of “learning and mastering” old favorites and children’s songs just didn’t appeal to me. I took the free lessons before signing up for the subscription and I feel that Marty’s teaching method and online video content is spot on. I’ve learned more in less than a week with Marty’s online lessons than I learned in 6 months of the other program.

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David Sopp April 6, 2012 at 11:26 am

I have to agree with Kevin D I just recently found Martys sight and found it to be like a shot of b-12 ive been playing for 1 year and have tried both jam play and guitar tricks yes they are well structured but at a very slow pace alowing bordom to kreep in, the key ingriedient of laziness. After 2 days of martys free 3 day trial.I was playing some new, very cool strum patterns as well as awesome songs on u-tube.The review was spot on when it said Marty was like a friend who who was happy to share his knowledge.That being said when i purchased my guitar one of the first things i was told was to find a friend who new more than me to practice with. Overall i believe Marty’s approach is to get you started playing really cool stuff as quick as possible so boredom wont set in and keep you interested so you will search some things for yourself I.E. different chords embelishments, techniqes. I was interested in L&M, Maybe a year with Marty would be better and see what happens from there.

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Tim May 30, 2012 at 3:38 am

I can’t say enough good things about Marty. I, like countless others, found him on youtube. I really liked his approach to teaching. I decided to take it a step further a purchased his ‘Blues Domination’ set. What he says makes sense and turned on the lightbulb in my head. I bought my first guitar 23 years ago and took some lessons here and there. I stopped taking the lessons because I didn’t get it. Marty takes a fun approach to learning and is very encouraging to the viewer. I learned more from those dvds than from any other source…and I’m not even done with them yet! I’m soaking it all in. The only thing that I don’t like is that the disks are not marked in chronological order and sometimes Marty does seem to record a segment on whatever is on his mind that day. He throws in a random music theory clip here and there on the disks, which is good, but would be nice to see them grouped together. One of the dvds is geared towards the complete beginner – watching paint dry would be more exciting. I’d love to meet the guy someday and thank him for what he has done for me.

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Annekatz87@yahoo.com September 24, 2012 at 6:26 pm

Marty rocks, awsome teacher. not everyone can teach, they make it about themselves, not about learning. I have learned so many songs I can’t tell you how appeciative I am for Marty. Keep up the good work. I am in my fifties, starting over, and I was told that I am a intermediate player, thanks to Marty. Love ya,

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Eddie March 6, 2013 at 10:20 pm

Marty is great. Found him on YouTube. I’ve been playing since I was a kid, and he jump started me in a whole different direction. Very impressed. To those who criticize about his jumping around from one idea to another, that’s because he’s baked out of his mind. A true stoner !! Give him a break, he’s givin it back. A gift for those of us who want to learn.

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Gregg August 29, 2013 at 2:59 pm

Marty has a fun approach to teaching and connects with a lot of people who share that first lesson nightmare of their youth. Music is a creative process and he teaches his lessons to nurture that in his students. After watching some of his videos I feel he has in effect developed his own teaching style quite well. Granted, it may not be a regimented “this way only” style, but that is the beauty of a creative art. Here’s your brush, these are the color paints you get to start with, now draw me a house. Marty encourages experimentation and imagination, and I’m sure his students are better off for it. But, there may be folks out there who are used to learning one way to paint a house. Me, I’m like a sponge at this point.

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