A Closer Look At Pick Thickness (Guitar Lesson)

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Kris Norris

A Closer Look At Pick Thickness

Kris analyzes different pick sizes and their effect on his playing. Using a slow motion camera, he is able to point out the differences in pick thickness.

Taught by Kris Norris in Kris Norris Artist Series seriesLength: 32:24Difficulty: 0.5 of 5
Chapter 1: (01:15) Introduction Welcome back to the Phase 2 Artist Series with Kris Norris! With lesson 10, JamPlay is proud to offer a unique analysis of pick thickness and its effect on speed, control and tone. Using slow motion imaging, Kris analyzes the aforementioned technical elements using a variety of different picks. Each pick is tested in the context of sweep picking and tremolo picking. After each test run, Kris explains each pick's effect on his playing.
Chapter 2: (01:53) Sweep and Tremolo Examples To ensure consistency within this new experiment, the same exercises will be used as a basis for analysis. Kris will perform the same sweep picking pattern and tremolo picking pattern with each pick. First, he provides a real time example of these techniques. Then, each example is scrutinized using the slow motion camera.

Three different picks are used in the experiment. To represent the lower extreme of the thickness range, Kris has chosen a .55 mm white Cool pick. A black .88 mm pick is used as a middle ground option. This pick thickness is the same as Dunlop's popular green Tortex pick. A blue 1.30mm pick is used for the thickest option.
Chapter 3: (06:51) .50 mm Sweep Demonstration Pick Preference

Professional guitarists have been known to use picks of all shapes, sizes, and thicknesses. Is one type of pick actually better than another, or is this purely a matter of preference? Many shredders such as John Petrucci use a 3.0 mm jazz pick. Many players feel that such as pick is completely uncomfortable. However, you cannot argue with results. John has an amazing tone and is able to play at just about any tempo imaginable. On the other hand, Metallica's James Hetfield has arguably one of the smoothest right hands in the business. He prefers a pick of medium thickness such as a .88 mm pick. Kris typically plays with a slightly thinner pick. Keep this in mind as you watch each of the test examples provided in the lesson.

Using the basic principals of physics, it has already been proven that a thicker, more dense pick will produce a louder tone. Thicker picks have more mass. When this extra mass passes through the string, it causes a wider vibration and consequently a louder tone.

The question still remains whether pick thickness has any affect on speed and control. Kris hypothesizes that it is harder to play fast with a thinner pick due to its flexibility. A thin pick bends as it makes contact with the string. Before the next stroke can be performed, the pick must return to its original shape. Inevitably, this wasted motion leads to slower playing.

Normal Speed Example (Sweep Picking)

The first test example is performed with the .50mm Cool pick. Watch at 01:14 as Kris demonstrates a sweep argeggio. This example is provided with a normal film speed.

Slow Motion Example (Sweep Picking)

Compare the normal speed example to the slow motion example that is provided at 04:14. As you watch these examples notice the following aspects of Kris' technique:

-His hand tilts in opposite directions when sweeping upwards and downwards.

-Kris' pinky pulls against the first string when it is time to begin the next downward sweep.

-Pay careful attention to how much the pick bends when it makes contact with the strings.

-Look at the thumb muscle that is used to grip the pick. With a thin pick, Kris must grip the pick harder to push it through the strings.

-Only the tip of the pick makes contact with the strings. Since Kris chokes up on the pick when sweeping, the amount that the pick bends is greatly reduced.

-Notice how much the string vibrates and for how long it vibrates. These factors have a huge impact on tone and sustain.
Chapter 4: (04:42) .88 mm Sweep Demonstration Now, Kris repeats the same process from the previous scene with an .88 mm pick.

Normal Speed Example (Sweep Picking)

Watch this example at 00:15. Compare it to the normal speed example demonstrated with the white Cool pick in the previous scene.

Slow Motion Example (Sweep Picking) - 02:57

As you watch this example, keep your eye on the following:

-When the pick bends slightly, the thumb absorbs the shock and returns the pick to its normal relaxed state. Before, the Cool pick absorbed more of the shock from the vibrating string.

-The index finger finger bends slightly inward towards the palm during a down sweep. It straightens itself out during an up sweep to overcome the natural downward pull of gravity.
Chapter 5: (05:06) 1.30 mm Sweep Demonstration Normal Speed Example (Sweep Picking)

Kris provides this example with a 1.30mm pick at 00:34.

Slow Motion Example (Sweep Picking)

Focus on the following:

-Observe the back of the pick to see how the thumb and index fingers absorb the shock of the pick as it strikes a string. You should see less movement with this pick than with the previous slow motion examples. Thus, the thumb and index fingers are now absorbing more of the shock compared to the previous examples with thinner picks. The thumb absorbs the shock on a downstroke. The index finger absorbs the shock on the upstroke.

Since the fingers now absorb more of the shock, the way in which the pick is gripped becomes more important. Do not grip the pick too tightly or too loosely. Grip with just enough force so that it remains stable between your thumb and index finger.

-The string vibrates more with the heavy pick.
Chapter 6: (04:23) .50 mm Tremolo Demonstration Note: When watching these demonstrations, Kris accents the first thirty second note in each group of eight. You may notice more wrist / forearm action when these notes are plucked.

Normal Speed Example (Tremolo Picking)

This example is provided at 01:02.

Slow Motion Example (Tremolo Picking) - 03:22

Does a thin pick slow you down? As Kris hypothesized, the answer is yes. The thumb and index fingers have to fight the resistance caused by the bending of the pick as it strikes the strings. Since these fingers must work harder, tremolo cannot be performed as rapidly. While watching the slow motion example, pay careful attention to the following:

-Notice how much the pick bends as Kris tremolo picks the D string.

-Notice how much of the pick's tip makes contact with the string. The very pointed tip is the only part that should make contact with the strings when tremolo picking. Choking up on the pick will help accomplish this goal. Holding the pick closer to the tip will also reduce the distance that the pick bends as it strikes the string.
Chapter 7: (03:46) .88 mm Tremolo Demonstration Normal Speed Example (Tremolo Picking) - 02:07

The pick teeter totters back and forth much less between Kris' fingers when playing with a thicker pick. Now, the thumb and index finger are absorbing more of the shock.

Slow Motion Example (Tremolo Picking) - 02:22

As you watch this example, pay careful attention to the following:

-Notice the origin of the tremolo picking motion. Most of the motion is generated from the elbow and forearm muscles. The wrist remains straight for the most part. It does wobble slightly since it is relaxed and the elbow is moving it around.

-Notice the angle at which the pick strikes the string. It is not perfectly perpendicular to the string. Instead, it slices into the string at a very slight angle.

Chapter 8: (04:20) 1.30 mm Tremolo Demonstration Normal Speed Example (Tremolo Picking)

This example is provided at 01:29 in the lesson video.

Slow Motion Example (Tremolo Picking) - 01:42

Notice how little the back of the pick moves during this example. Compare this level of movement to the movement demonstrated with the thin Cool pick.


From a purely scientific standpoint, it is much easier to play faster with a thicker pick. The less the pick bends, the easier it is to perform rapid techniques such as tremolo picking and sweeping picking. However, personal preference and what you are used has the largest impact on your playing speed. Kris has played with a relatively thin pick for a number of years now. Although it is harder to play with a thin pick from a scientific standpoint, Kris is able to achieve the best results with this type of pick simply because it is what he is used to.

Also, thicker picks create a louder, fuller tone. This may or may not be desirable for a specific guitar part. For example, a light acoustic strumming pattern might not sound appropriate when played with a thick pick.


If you are an beginner or intermediate guitarist, you are better off using a pick of at least medium thickness. Use thin picks only for light strumming patterns. Otherwise, the size and shape of the pick is purely a matter of personal preference. Experiment with various pick shapes, sizes, and textures to determine what feels most comfortable and sounds the best to you.

Video Subtitles / Captions

Supplemental Learning Material


Member Comments about this Lesson

Discussions with our instructors are just one of the many benefits of becoming a member of JamPlay.

samparrysamparry replied on July 26th, 2013

I used to use Dunlop 1mm picks (the black ones), but i've just bought myself a couple of new picks to try and have found that the lighter ones are much better for fast playing and for sweeping etc! Currently using a 0.60mm Dunlop Tortex :)

rockgod1rockgod1 replied on May 7th, 2013

It was cool to find this and I did have a thought I personally use a thick pick maybe it's a mental thing for me I just thought why play a guitar with a piece of paper when you can play with something that cuts through the strings. It was interesting to notice the thinner pics absorbs the impact of playing and the thicker pic your finger absorbs the impact it makes sense though that's why our modern cars are made from fiberglass so the body of the car takes the impact. I also hold my pick ridiculously tight I never have an issue with dropping a pick

james888james888 replied on April 30th, 2013

so thin pick is better for sweep and alternate picking?

dhunter77dhunter77 replied on January 26th, 2013

Broken video

boianboboianbo replied on September 11th, 2012

How about trying the SIK PIK? It has a twisted tip and allow for different movement and control rather than a flatpick!

myrkmyrk replied on April 15th, 2012

One thing to note is that if you are using a GK synth pickup then the plectrum thickness seems to make no difference at all! I have done numerous test with a much wider variety of plectrums than this video - ranging from a Jim Dunlop .46 through to a bass 3mm, including Jazz picks (1,2 , and 3) and tortex picks. The difference is negligible and the sound only varies by the players control of the plectrum. This could also be the case with any high distortion playing. One thing with this video I find is that the theories are somewhat flawed or neglected from a dual standpoint... a thinner plectrum creates less resistance and therefore can be played through strings with more ease. It is the player that creates the speed, not the plectrum, so on a physics point of view a thinner plectrum would actually be faster. Like I said the reason it is such an open topic is because it is completely down to the individual player as to how they control the plectrum and how they attack the strings with it! I found this video interesting, but he waffles to great extent which makes the video rather tedious to watch in my opinion. The narration should have been over the slow-mo vids, not either side.

myrkmyrk replied on April 15th, 2012

So remember, plectrum usage is completely player dependant, and as this guy says he uses a medium/thin pick, so his skill with a thin pick or a thick would not be as great as another player who is used to those. Therefore a lot of the assumptions made in other peoples' comments are not really that accurate.

corybtnhcorybtnh replied on December 3rd, 2011

I used to play on a thicker pick (Tortex 1.14). one day i didn't have one sitting around and grabbed an old .6mm nylon, and noticed i was playing faster and clearer. Im not knocking the science of a thicker pick, as i believed in it so much its all i played for ages. But i believe that the resistance is relative, the thicker the pick the more it has to push the string out of the way before it cuts through. And the more i have to push the more energy i expended sounding a note. with that in mind, and understanding my shortcomings i recently started using a Dava control pick. i find the extra give in the pick better for my playing. But to each person their own poison. :)

guapa chicaguapa chica replied on August 17th, 2011

Like quite a few people here I use a Dunlop Jazz III 1.38 pick. I've just started electric guitar after playing acoustic fingerstyle and the Dunlop felt so natural as soon as I played with it. I use thumb and two fingers on the pick, unusual but it feels right. Another video on Jamplay says a few people play this way. Using the side of my index finger feels weird.

dylanyzewyndylanyzewyn replied on November 13th, 2010

yeeey Mythbusters =P

kevinmckevinmc replied on December 20th, 2009

Woo just what i was looking for, thanks man! I brought a bunch of random picks (everything from .5 -2mm various types) and materials, quite amazed at how different some sounded and fell in love with a few types... but really wanted a more professional opinon on it. Cheers!

J.artmanJ.artman replied on April 20th, 2009

I'm a 'Red Jazz III Nylon' user. I'd put my name on every one of these bad boys.

maltoremaltore replied on June 29th, 2009

Cool i use the black ones but that pick delivers for sure

SylviaSylvia replied on May 27th, 2009

Pretty scientific! Nice job guys.. so... size does matter??

shrreeddaashrreeddaa replied on March 30th, 2009

kick ass

specter7specter7 replied on March 25th, 2009

so in theory then since the thumb and index absorb almost all of the shock at higher thickness, your hand would get tired faster.

crometeefcrometeef replied on March 22nd, 2009

thanks Kris! i personally haven't touched another pick since i bought some Jazz III Dunlops

heavydheavyd replied on March 22nd, 2009

the jazz I does not have the problem that the 88 have..

heavydheavyd replied on March 22nd, 2009

I use 1.38 Dunlop Jazz I pick, and i love it, very easy pinch harmonics, fits perfect, and i just cant use thoose thin ones, that flipflop so much

heavydheavyd replied on March 22nd, 2009

Kris - The Guitar Mythbuster

ian24ian24 replied on March 20th, 2009

great vid and great idea. i love mythbusters too lol!

zerozero replied on March 19th, 2009

it's very interesting how the thicker pick clerly gives much more attack than the thiner pick, specially in the up strokes wich gives a broad tone. Maybe the differences are not SO bigger and can make you to play super fast to super fast + 1. Paul gilbert, Y.M., jhon petrucci, guthrie govan, use extra heavy picks. Jazz dunlop III is a very nice thick pick, used for govan and petrucci among others. Nice video. Nice video.

itsmekeuhitsmekeuh replied on March 19th, 2009

Yep Very interesting, good idea for normal lessons about technique too?

dennis.hodgesdennis.hodges replied on March 19th, 2009

sweet idea and lesson! it's really fascinating to watch the differences in slow motion.

kevinacekevinace replied on March 19th, 2009

Sweet!! Very cool...and also informative.

Kris Norris Artist Series

Found in our Beginner Lesson Sets

Kris Norris kicks off the JamPlay.com Artist Series with a wide array of ideas and lessons; from changing strings on a floyd rose, to advanced sweeping / legato techniques and soloing applications.

Lesson 1

Changing Strings - Floyd Rose Style

Kris Norris demonstrates how to install new strings on a guitar equipped with a Floyd Rose tremolo system.

Length: 13:43 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 2

Warm-up Exercises with Kris

Kris Norris shows you his favorite warm-up exercises. These exercises will prepare you to play the guitar from a physical and mental standpoint.

Length: 12:16 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 3

Scalar Exercises: Left and Right Hand Synchronization

Kris covers chromatic and scale pattern exercises. Also, he explains some variations on these exercise and provides you with the knowledge to create your own variations. Now you don't have any excuse...

Length: 20:23 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 4

Scalar Exercises: Legato

Kris shows you the in's and out's of legato playing. These examples will benefit beginners and and advanced players alike. The patterns Kris uses in this lesson are based on the examples shown in "Scalar...

Length: 11:01 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 5

Chuggin' n Skippin'

Kris covers right hand techniques such as palm muting, tremolo, palm muted string skipping, and upstroke accents.

Length: 13:26 Difficulty: 3.5 Members Only
Lesson 6

Advanced Sweep Picking Applications

Kris covers the right and left hand components of sweep picking separately. Then, he shows you how to synchronize the two. Three string arpeggios and five string arpeggios with hammer-ons are both included...

Length: 35:40 Difficulty: 4.5 Members Only
Lesson 7

Remaining Foolish: Arpeggios & Scalar Lines

Kris presents excerpts from his song "Remaining Foolish" from Icons of the Illogical. He explains the arpeggio patterns used in various parts of the song and also talks about alternate picked arpeggios....

Length: 17:40 Difficulty: 4.0 Members Only
Lesson 8

Sweep Exercises Based on Canon in D

Kris uses Pachelbel's "Canon In D" as a way to practice arpeggio sweeps. He shows how to sweep and alternate pick arpeggios.

Length: 10:08 Difficulty: 4.5 Members Only
Lesson 9

Counterpoint: A Shift In Normalcy

This lesson is about the concept of counterpoint and harmony. Kris explores contrapuntal examples from his song "A Shift In Normalcy" off of his solo record Icons of the Illogical.

Length: 8:52 Difficulty: 4.5 Members Only
Lesson 10

A Closer Look At Pick Thickness

Kris analyzes different pick sizes and their effect on his playing. Using a slow motion camera, he is able to point out the differences in pick thickness.

Length: 32:24 Difficulty: 0.5 Members Only
Lesson 11

Satriani Inspired Tapping

Kris Norris explains how to play a Joe Satriani inspired tapping etude.

Length: 11:13 Difficulty: 3.5 Members Only
Lesson 12

Extending Your Musical Reach With 8 String Guitars

Kris Norris takes a look at 8 string guitars and their possibilities. He demonstrates the versatility of an 8 string with jazz and metal applications. Kris also performs a short improv jam at the end.

Length: 10:34 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 13

Neoclassical Inspirations

Kris teaches neoclassical examples from three of his favorite guitar players.

Length: 29:17 Difficulty: 5.0 Members Only
Lesson 14

Rock & Metal Chicken Pickin'

Kris displays some adventurous ways to use chicken pickin' in a rock and metal environment.

Length: 15:25 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 15

Exotic Embellishments In The Style Of Marty Friedman

Kris teaches arpeggio examples that use notes outside of a scale. He also demonstrates an example using the Chinese scale.

Length: 12:19 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 16

Connecting Scale Patterns

Kris shows you how to connect the patterns of a G major scale together.

Length: 15:28 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 17

Mastering Modes: Basic Scale Theory Primer

This is the first lesson in the "Mastering Modes" mini series. Here Kris explains the fundamentals of scale basics.

Length: 19:08 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 18

Mastering Modes: Ionian

In this lesson, Kris explains the history behind the modes and then explains the Ionian mode.

Length: 9:59 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 19

Mastering Modes: Dorian

In this lesson, Kris covers the Dorian mode, which is the second mode of the major scale.

Length: 13:39 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 20

Mastering Modes: Phrygian

Kris explains the basics of the Phrygian mode, which is a minor sounding mode of the major scale.

Length: 7:43 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 21

Mastering Modes: Lydian

In this installment of the "Mastering Modes" mini-series, Kris covers the Lydian mode. This is the fourth mode of the major scale.

Length: 9:47 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 22

Mastering Modes: Mixolydian

Kris explains the basics of the Mixolydian mode, which is a major sounding mode of the major scale.

Length: 10:00 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 23

Mastering Modes: Aeolian

Kris explains Aeolian, which is the 6th mode of the major scale. This is also known as the natural minor scale.

Length: 7:32 Difficulty: 3.5 Members Only
Lesson 24

Mastering Modes: Locrian

Kris covers the Locrian mode, which is the 7th mode of the major scale.

Length: 5:48 Difficulty: 3.5 Members Only
Lesson 25

Song Workshop Experiment

Aaron Miller sits down with Kris in the JamPlay studio to discuss songwriting techniques.

Length: 78:38 Difficulty: 0.5 Members Only
Lesson 26

Song Workshop Experiment - Finale

Kris Norris and Aaron Miller are back to finish up what they started. Get ready for more songwriting, playing tips, and inside information. Enjoy

Length: 32:00 Difficulty: 0.5 Members Only
Lesson 27

Picking Practice With Drum Rudiments

Kris shows how some drum rudiments can be used to make exercises for your right hand.

Length: 18:33 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 28

Sliding Arpeggios

Kris teaches how to use sliding techniques with arpeggios. He uses an example in the Lydian mode and also plays over a backing.

Length: 15:11 Difficulty: 4.0 Members Only
Lesson 29

Left Hand Finger Independence

Kris teaches exercises focused on getting the left hand fingers to be more independent.

Length: 26:19 Difficulty: 3.5 Members Only
Lesson 30

Building Triad Arpeggios

Kris explains root triad arpeggios and their first and second inversions.

Length: 25:12 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 31

Practicing Triad Arpeggios Chromatically

This lesson focuses on sweep picking major, minor, and diminished triad arpeggios chromatically.

Length: 16:33 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 32

Re-voicing Progressions with Inversions

Kris shows you how inversions can be used to create smooth voice leading within a progression.

Length: 14:34 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 33

Dual Tonality Pentatonics

Kris shows how to combine pentatonic scales from different keys to form new and interesting sounds.

Length: 24:06 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 34

Betcha Can't Scale This

Kris shows you how to learn scales vertically and horizontally on the fretboard.

Length: 16:11 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 35

The Neapolitan Chord

Named after the "Neapolitan School" from the 18th century and not ice cream, this chord is a major chord built on the lowered 2nd scale degree.

Length: 7:13 Difficulty: 1.0 Members Only
Lesson 36

Diatonic Chords In G Major

Kris shows the diatonic chords of G Major.

Length: 19:42 Difficulty: 1.0 Members Only
Lesson 37

Diatonic 7th Arpeggios

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Length: 15:47 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 38

Tapping 7th Arpeggios

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Length: 7:45 Difficulty: 3.5 Members Only
Lesson 39

Popular Chord Progressions

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Length: 27:24 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 40

Quick Connect EMG Active Pickups

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Length: 26:15 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 41

Workshop With Chodypth

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Length: 77:35 Difficulty: 0.5 Members Only

About Kris Norris View Full Biography Mr. Kris Norris was born August, 31 1978 in Canton, Ohio. He began playing around the age of 14. Early on the self-taught guitarist took an interest in metal and began playing in a local Virginia metal band. Kris' early influences were rooted in Swedish metal, bands include In Flames, Dark Tranquility, and Edge of Sanity. Norwegian Black metal also played a part in Kris' interest including early Mayhem, Emperor, and Ulver. Kris started Disinterment with future Darkest Hour bandmate Ryan Parrish. Disinterment lasted over 6 years and developed a local following in the Virginia metal by being some of the first players to incorporate Swedish metal and 3 guitar players.

College Days
When Kris was 17 he attended Virgina Commonwealth University School of Music (VCU). He studied Music composition and focused on film with world renowned composer Dika Newlin. Kris also studied classical guitar with John Patykula, prize student of Jesus Silva who was the prize student of Andre Segovia. Kris left the University after 6 years of studies. After college, he began his teaching career instructing private students and giving lessons at Mars Music. Kris' teaching career would eventually be put on hold to join Darkest Hour.

Darkest Hour Days
Kris' first album with Darkest Hour ,Hidden Hands Of A Sadist Nation, the 2005 release was recorded at Studio Fredman in Gothenburg, Sweden with producer Fredrik Nordstrom. Ironically, the same studio facilitated many of Kris' influences 10 years prior.

Darkest Hour's next release, Undoing Ruin allowed Kris to stretch his wings and show what he could truly do on the instrument with the addition of several solos. The record was produced by Canadian metal mastermind Devin Townsend (Strapping Young Lad, Steve Vai). Townsend was a big part of pushing Kris to his own musical potential on Undoing Ruin and even more so on the follow up record, Deliver Us.

Deliver Us was released in 2007 and debuted at 110 on the Billboard Chart. This would be the last Darkest Hour record with Kris as a member. The album like its predecessor was also produced by Devin Townsend, who was able to take a bigger hand in its production. Devin pushed Kris to experiment with his own playing and to hone in on his strongest abilities.

Kris' career with Darkest Hour spanned 6 years, 23 countries, 4 continents, countless tours, 3 albums, near 200,000 album sales, and many lifelong friendships made along the way. With the birth of his son in 2008, Kris felt he needed to take his career closer to home while still focusing on music and guitar. In order for Darkest Hour to devote 100% to their music and touring, Kris came to the decision to amicably part ways with the band.

His Future:
As of early 2009, Kris has full sponsorships from ESP, EMG, Peavey, DigiTech, InTune, and Morley. Currently, Kris is producing and mixing aspiring metal acts while also working for Final Symphony Studios out of Charlottesville, Virgina. Kris also edits records for James Murphy (Testament, Obituary, Death) at Safehouse Productions. Kris has released his first solo record through Magna Carta Records, entitled Icons Of The Illogical. His solo effort was recorded at Karma Productions with Cory Smoot (GWAR) and features vocals from Lamb Of God frontman Randy Blythe.

Kris is excited to be an addition to the JamPlay Instructor Roster. Lending his metal chops and thorough education to his lessons make him a valuable teacher. Kris is excited to be making lessons for JamPlay and just as stoked to learn new things from our other instructors. Check it out and stay Metal.

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Create your own profile, manage your friends list, and contact users with your own JamPlay Mailbox. JamPlay also features live chat with teachers and members, and an active Forum.

Chord Library

Each chord in our library contains a full chart, related tablature, and a photograph of how the chord is played. A comprehensive learning resource for any guitarist.

Scale Library

Our software allows you to document your progress for any lesson, including notes and percent of the lesson completed. This gives you the ability to document what you need to work on, and where you left off.

Custom Chord Sheets

At JamPlay, not only can you reference our Chord Library, but you can also select any variety of chords you need to work on, and generate your own printable chord sheet.

Backing Tracks

Jam-along backing tracks give the guitarist a platform for improvising and soloing. Our backing tracks provide a wide variety of tracks from different genres of music, and serves as a great learning tool.

Interactive Games

We have teachers covering beginner lessons, rock, classic rock, jazz, bluegrass, fingerstyle, slack key and more. Learn how to play the guitar from experienced players, in a casual environment.

Beginners Welcome.. and Up

Unlike a lot of guitar websites and DVDs, we start our Beginner Lessons at the VERY start of the learning process, as if you just picked up a guitar for the first time.Our teaching is structured for all players.

Take a minute to compare JamPlay to other traditional and new methods of learning guitar. Our estimates for "In-Person" lessons below are based on a weekly face-to-face lesson for $40 per hour.

Price Per Lesson < $0.01 $4 - $5 $30 - $50 Free
Money Back Guarantee Sometimes n/a
Number of Instructors 82 1 – 3 1 Zillions
Interaction with Instructors Daily Webcam Sessions Weekly
Professional Instructors Luck of the Draw Luck of the Draw
New Lessons Daily Weekly Minutely
Structured Lessons
Learn Any Style Sorta
Track Progress
HD Video - Sometimes
Multiple Camera Angles Sometimes - Sometimes
Accurate Tabs Maybe Maybe
Scale/Chord Libraries
Custom JamTracks
Interactive Games
Learn in Sweatpants Socially Unacceptable
Gasoline Needed $0.00 $0.00 ~$4 / gallon! $0.00

Mike H.

"I feel like a 12 year old kid with a new guitar!"

I am 66 years young and I still got it! I would have never known this if it had not been for Jamplay! I feel like a 12 year old kid with a new guitar! Ha! I cannot express enough how great you're website is! It is for beginners and advanced pickers! I am an advanced picker and thought I had lost it but thanks to you all, I found it again! Even though I only play by ear, I have been a member a whopping whole two weeks now and have already got Brent's country shuffle and country blues down and of course with embellishments. Thank you all for your wonderful program!

Greg J.

"With Jamplay I can fit in a random session when I have time and I can go at my own pace"

I'm a fifty eight year old newbie who owns a guitar which has been sitting untouched in a corner for about seven years now. Last weekend I got inspired to pick it up and finally learn how to play after watching an amazing Spanish guitarist on TV. So, here I am. I'm starting at the beginning with Steve Eulberg and I couldn't be happier (except for the sore fingers :) Some day I'm going to play like Steve! I'm self employed with a hectic schedule. With Jamplay I can fit in a random session when I have time and I can go at my own pace, rewinding and replaying the videos until I get it. This is a very enjoyable diversion from my work yet I still feel like I'm accomplishing something worthwhile. Thanks a lot, Greg


"I believe this is the absolute best site for guitar students."

I am commenting here to tell you and everyone at JamPlay that I believe this is the absolute best site for guitar students. I truly enjoy learning to play the guitar on JamPlay.com. Yes, I said the words, ""enjoy learning."" It is by far the best deal for the money.

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