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Gigajam Review

Gigajam Lessons

Gigajam

  • Rating:
  • Published By: Gigajam, David Young
  • Website: www.Gigajam.com
  • Pricing: $39.95 (pricing information may be outdated)
  • For Skill Levels: Beginner
Official Website

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Geared and marketed more towards the school system in the United Kingdom, Gigajam is an online music site based in the UK. They teach guitar, but also have separate courses available for other popular band instruments such as the bass guitar, drums, and the keyboard.

Gigajam has several teaching options available. For every instrument, they have downloadable lessons, paperback books (same content as the downloadable lessons), and a video course which has previously aired on the Musician's Channel. You can watch a two-part intro video for each instrument on their site for free. In this review, we mainly talk about their downloadable guitar courses, as they give the best bang for your buck.

David Young is the author of the guitar course, and has privately taught rock, funk, jazz, classical guitar, sight-reading, and music theory for 10 years. He is a freelance/session guitarist and has played with artists such as Marti Caine, Gerrard Kenny, Jim Davidson and Brian Conley.

Features

The Gigajam course was created to take brand new guitarists to a relatively competent intermediate level in a relatively short time. It's a decent beginner's course that will give you a head-start which you can easily build on. Our one main criticism is that if anything it is a little short of lesson material as it wasn't designed to be an A-Z guitar curriculum.

The bulk of the guitar course is a series of .pdf lessons with hyperlinks that point to the audio and video files for that lesson, as well as to their interactive Xtractor modules.

Gigajam has 3 levels, or grades, of course material that you can purchase separately or together for what works out be a 14% discount.

Level 1
10 Computer-based lessons
55 instructional videos
54 Play-Along files

Level 2
10 Computer-based lessons
89 Instructional videos
66 Play-Along files

Level 3
10 Computer-based lessons
61 Instructional videos
60 Play-Along files

Gigajam's proprietary software, called the Xtractor is rather innovative. It takes MIDI audio files used in your lessons and allows you to mix the various instruments playing on the track. You could, for example, mute or quiet the guitar and play along with the rest of the band. It also lets you to vary the tempo and even transpose the music if you wish. There is also an advanced aspect of Xtractor that allows you to record and compare you guitar playing against the lesson in MIDI format. Unfortunately, it takes some special equipment to properly take advantage of. So, if you own a MIDI enabled guitar, and the other necessary hardware, this is might be the guitar course for you! Please realize, however, that the software doesn't make or break the course, and that you won't need any special hardware to benefit from the Xtractor, but admittedly, it makes it a lot more fun. If you are interested in getting the necessary equipment to work with the Xtractor, you can check out the requirements on their site.

Support

Gigajam's customer support is better than most, as they have a phone number in addition to the normal email support available for their customers. Unfortunately for North American customers, the cost to call overseas may be just a little too expensive. One pleasant surprise that they don't mention on their site is that they do have a new support forum, much like Jamorama does, only smaller.

Ease of Use

Gigajam made its lesson format incredibly easy to use, as all related audio, video, and other lesson material is linked to from right within the lessons. Worked like a charm.

The Xtractor software does have issues with Windows Vista ®. There is a workaround published on Gigajam's site though, so this isn't much of a problem.

Gigajam's software was recently made compatible with the Mac as long as it is running OS X 10.3 or later.

Guarantee

Gigajam has a 30 day money-back warranty on all their products.

Price

For the price of a single, private lesson, you can get all the guitar basics under your belt. While the price is a little higher than some of our other choices, Gigajam is still an option for you to take a look at.

Conclusion

If you are brand new to the guitar, want a little slower pace and not such a steep learning curve, Gigajam makes for a good choice. However, don't expect to get too terribly far in your studies. For guitar courses that give you more bang for your buck, take a look at a couple of our higher rated products.

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Review Summary

Gigajam was designed to be a music education supplement to be used in schools in the UK. I'm not even entirely certain how well it does in those markets either, since the teaching makes heavy use of proprietary software that works with very limited models of musical instruments.

Unfortunately the lessons the Gigajam course tend to be light on substance and don't make for a very complete or thorough guitar beginner's education.

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