Drop everything and download: Fender Play

Back to school of rock

If you’ve ever fancied yourself as the next Jimi Hendrix but couldn’t quite fit in the hours of band practice required, Fender has your back.

Whether you’re a beginner who doesn’t know their backplate from their fretboard, or just a lapsed guitar maestro in the making, the legendary axe maker’s Fender Play app promises to hone your strumming skills.

What does it do?

Choose your weapon - guitar, bass or ukulele - and the Fender Play app will school you on how to play it using bite-size videos presented by friendly guitar gurus.

The app works on desktop, iPhone, iPad or Android and promises to teach you your first recognisable riff in just 22 minutes. A bold claim, but the app delivers.

After choosing your ‘path’ from genres that include rock, pop and blues, you’ll be presented with a series of lessons covering everything from tuning the strings to playing full songs.

The slick UI makes it easy to track your progress as you tick off each lesson and move up from Level 1 to 5. It’s perfect for absolute beginners and if you’ve already got some guitar skills under your belt you can just skip straight to the song tutorials.

Any downsides?

Obviously, Fender doesn’t provide you with a guitar to go with the app, so you’ll need to shell out for the axe yourself.

Otherwise, it’s hard to find a downside to what is a pleasingly well put together app. Our only grumble is the limited song choice. Fender says the app includes hundreds of tracks to choose from, but the selection feels a little dated and, perhaps unsurprisingly, geared slightly more towards an American audience.

However, new songs are constantly being added, so the selection should improve over time. And of course, the app isn’t a magic antidote to your lack of axe skills - you need to put in some practice time as well.

Where can I get it?

Fender Play is available online at fender.com/play, the App Store and Google Play. You can try it out with a 14-day free trial, but after that it’ll cost £9.99 a month for a subscription.