Anyone who recently wanted to play along to songs with the Fender Riffstation must have noticed that the service was under maintenance since quite some days. But apparently it was more than just that, because they have basically different plans. It was previously a free service and beginners, but even more advanced players enjoyed it because they could play along to songs while seeing the chords on the screen. But they decided to put the free service offline because they are working on a paid Riffstation service instead:
While we work with labels and publishers on a paid Riffstation service, Riffstation will no longer be available on the web or mobile devices.
At least they do offer you a free copy of Riffstation Pro at the moment, but let’s be honest, do we really need that? Right, we don’t. All what we need is a web service that has YouTube music videos embedded while showing the guitar chords so that we can play along to songs that we don’t know yet, or that we want to try out on our guitar just for the fun of it. That brings us to the question, are there any alternatives to the Fender Riffstation? Of course there are! I discovered at least two alternatives, but if you know more, feel free to drop a comment! Here are the alternatives…
It must be mentioned, but that was the case with the Fender Riffstation too, that these services sometimes really show you the exact chords and playing along becomes very easy, but then there are also many songs where they are totally off. You know, there are different ways to learn a song, for example by your ear, or looking up the chords, or watching YouTube tutorials, but my point is that when these services work, you can just start to play right away because everything is on the screen.
With some exceptions, the Riffstation was very good and it’s a shame that Fender decided to take it offline to make it a paid feature soon. It makes them look greedy, because let’s be honest, they are already selling guitars and I am sure they could easily afford it to let the Riffstation remain free. I think they have the wrong thinking, because when newbies have a fun and free way to learn new songs, they might want to get deeper into the hobby, and it could very well be that these are the future guitar buyers. I’ve always been honest on my blog, and Fender I tell you something, because what you did there looks like absolute greed.
I am not really dependent on services like the Riffstation, although it was fun to use because we all don’t have a brain that stores thousands of songs. But I always thought this might introduce many people to guitar playing, or that it helped newbies to get started with some songs. Some of them might have so much joy that they really stick with guitar playing, looking for more advanced techniques. This is something that corporations will never get, if you don’t give something back for free, if you don’t support your possible clients, you don’t have to wonder if you sales decrease as well. I am pretty sure the paid Riffstation will be one of those overpriced web services. Nobody will talk about it, because it should be free.
Yes, as a guitar manufacturer you absolutely should be able to afford to host a service like this one for free. It might even pay off more in the long run than making a chord tool a paid feature.
For those who have read this, if you know some cool alternatives to the Riffstation too, feel free to drop a comment. We should support newbie guitar players. It might be that some enjoy these type of tools to make their first steps, playing the first songs. And yes, there are many alternative learning methods, but again, some people might enjoy embedded YouTube music videos with chords shown on the screen. So, if you know free services like this, drop the links in the comment section, but please don’t spam unrelated things.