NME x Fender Play – check out our guitar masterclass with Girl Ray guitarist Poppy Hankin

Remember all those hours you spent playing Guitar Hero or Rock Band, mastering the living hell out of that stumpy plastic guitar, only to find that not so many IRL bands are on the hunt for a plastic guitar player and your sick skills were, essentially, useless?

Or remember that time you got a real guitar for Christmas and a copy of Bert Weedon’s Play In A Day book, only to find that at the end of said day you’d barely made a dint in ‘Big Note Blues’ and not even touched ‘Bert’s Boogie’, and were quickly found consigning your guitar – and your dreams and ambition – to a life of withering, unloved sadness in the corner of your room?

Happily, each of these scenarios is a thing of the past, thanks to Fender Play, an app that combines the gamified, have-fun-as-you-play experience of Guitar Hero and its ilk with the real string-twanging, callous-forming pleasure of the Weedon method, making guitar playing easier and more accessible than ever before. 

Pitched at anyone from absolute beginners to lapsed players and old hands who want to brush up their skills, Fender Play has interactive lessons to help you hone your guitar skills, and comes with a selection of brilliant, officially licensed songs to play along with. Brought to you by Fender, makers of many of the most iconic guitars in history, as heard on countless of your favourite tunes and played by so many of your real-life guitar heroes, the app makes guitar playing accessible to everyone, and brings the guitar lesson into the 21st century. You’ll be headlining The O2 before you know it. 

To celebrate Fender Play, NME has invited a few Fender-loving musicians into the studio to see if they can teach Deputy Editor Dan Stubbs – a lapsed player whose own axe has sat, unloved, in his basement for far too long – a few new tricks. 

This week’s lesson comes courtesy of guitarist Poppy Hankin of the excellent North London trio Girl Ray, whose second album, ‘Girl’, is out this month. Poppy started playing the guitar as a teenager, learned her first chords from her dad, and has developed her own style incorporating indie, pop and a big dollop of Nile Rodgers-inspired disco-funk.

It’s probably safe to say Dan won’t be headlining The O2 before he knows it, but you can see how he got on in his masterclass with Poppy in the video above. 

Fender Play is available on Google Play and the App Store and you can sign up to a free trial here. Girl Ray’s ‘Girl’ is out November 22.

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