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The Drummer Is King! (Guitar Lesson)

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The Drummer Is King!

Of all the crazy antics and skills you'll learn in this series, learning your place in the rhythm section may be the most important and arguably the most difficult! Learn the importance of playing behind the beat and letting the pulse of the rhythm lead you! Apply this concept over a grotesquely slow metronome setting and LAY IT BACK!

Taught by Bumblefoot in Bumblefoot's Artist Series seriesLength: 19:07Difficulty: 3.5 of 5

Video Subtitles / Captions

Scene 1

00:00.000 --> 00:17.626
Alright, I remember way back when I was about fourteen years old and I was all fancy and I was all yeah.

00:17.626 --> 00:23.963
Doing everything and I started taking jazz lessons and I remember walking into the first lesson thinking I was going to really impress the teacher.

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Ah, watch this, I was doing all this crazy stuff and he just stops and turns on a metronome and sets it down as low as it would go.

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As low as it would go to about forty BPM's and said play chord notes.

00:38.429 --> 00:42.190
I was like what, ok.

00:42.190 --> 00:50.834
So it was just going,
And I was just going.

00:50.834 --> 00:54.642
And he stopped me and said "No, no, you're doing it wrong."

00:54.642 --> 01:00.814
He had to teach me discipline.
I did not have discipline.

01:00.814 --> 01:07.733
I could do a lot of fancy stuff and do a lot of riffing and a lot of shredding and all that stuff but I had no pocket.

01:07.733 --> 01:14.954
Without that it doesn't matter what you do, it's crap if it's not in the right place in the beat

01:14.954 --> 01:20.713
and you're better off playing the wrong notes with good groove than the right notes rushing the beat.

01:20.713 --> 01:27.307
One of the most important lessons you could learn right now is that the drummer is your boss.

01:27.307 --> 01:28.607
The drummer is the boss.

01:28.607 --> 01:30.882
I know you're going to hate hearing that.

01:30.882 --> 01:34.133
Right now all the drummers in your band are smiling like yeah see.

01:34.133 --> 01:42.329
The drummer is the boss the beat is the boss so listen to the beat.
The beat is the leader and you have to follow the beat.

01:42.329 --> 01:46.275
Never, ever jump in front of the beat.
It's the worst thing you could do.

01:46.275 --> 01:52.939
It doesn't matter how well you're playing, how accurate, if it's in front of the beat in a bad place it's not good.

01:52.939 --> 01:55.679
Let's get a beat going here.

01:55.679 --> 01:59.928
A little, ah, there.

01:59.928 --> 02:10.817
That's brutally slow, as guitar players we just want to jump ahead and our heart is racing and we want to play double that speed and just to do this

02:10.817 --> 02:16.042
it's kind of a, it's painful, it's awkward, it's not right.

02:16.042 --> 02:19.919
This is what we need to learn and we need to become comfortable with it.

02:19.919 --> 02:24.331
So what I want you all to do is listen to this beat.

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This is forty BPM's and I want you to play just one whole note to each one of those.

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Let's get some volume.
There we go.

02:34.570 --> 02:38.866
When you play it, I want you to be behind the beat.

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A little bit behind, wait for the beat and then hit it even if you're way behind it is better than being way in front.

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You want to get into the practice of waiting for the beat to happen and not jumping ahead and not rushing everything.

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So just take a deep breath and just wait for it.

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If it's too slow you may not feel the pulse and the groove at that speed.

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So one trick you can do is take this slow rhythm that's going

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and divide it in your head into two, into four, into something that you can latch on to that has a wave that you can ride.

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So we've got boom ,boom, boom, boom.
So think of maybe boom, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom,

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One, two, three, four.
One, two, three, four.

03:37.249 --> 03:47.922
One, two, three, four.
One, two, three, four and as you're playing to this, you're feeling this.

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You're dividing into something you can grasp a little better.

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So try it again and in your head think one, two, three, four.
One, two, three, four.

03:56.791 --> 04:02.480
One, two, three, four.
One and then lay back on it.

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One, two, three, four.
One, two, three, four...

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Just like that.

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Out of all the shredding and everything else you do this may be the toughest thing of all, this right here.

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As simple as it is because it's about everything else.

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It's not about your hands and what you need to remember is that music is not about your hands.

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Your hands is where the music ends, not where it begins, not where it's created, it's where the music leaves you.

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So don't think about your hands.

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Think about your body and your connection to the rhythm that's going on around you and this external beat here.

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You got to take it and boom, boom, boom, boom, boom…

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and don't rush that just stay behind that groove.

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This is the toughest thing to do out of all the crazy shredding stuff, yeah.

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So once you're doing this start doing scales and take it slow.

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What you're doing, you're not practicing the scale, you're not practicing hand techniques, anything like that.

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You're practicing staying behind the beat

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and developing that sense, that letting go.

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It's all about letting go and not trying to control everything.

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Learn to let go and let the beat happen.
Don't try and be the beat.

06:25.136 --> 06:30.319
That is probably the most difficult lesson that I've ever taken on and getting that down.

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It sounds like nothing but everything that's going on inside you as far as just releasing that urge that we as guitars players just have to jump in front

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and just do everything quick and just in the front.

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We're not in the front.

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The drums, the beat, whatever you're playing to is in the front and you have to respect that and you have to follow that.

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Very good, so do that.

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So set your metronome, your whatever you have that clicks as slow as it can go to the point to where you almost can't even feel that it's happening

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and then divide the rhythm in your head so that you are syncing up to it and then just relax and play behind it.

Scene 2

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So we're doing it with whole notes, one note per beat.

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Now let's try two notes per beat and you still need to maintain that whole internal thing of laying back, letting the beat happen

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and finding the wave within that slow pulse and riding that.

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So we've got the beat.

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I'm just breaking it up into quarters for myself.

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So we're going to do two notes per beat and we got.

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I'm already rushing, I've got to pull back.

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I'm sucking at this, see what I mean?

01:06.088 --> 01:34.624
One more time.
It's the toughest thing.

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Three note per beats now.
One triplet, two triplet, three, it's so slow, it's painful.

01:43.455 --> 02:10.728
One, two, three, two, two, three.
One, two, three, two.

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It shouldn't be this difficult.
It's difficult but it shouldn't be as bad as I'm screwing it up.

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It's because I'm trying and the worst thing you can do is try.

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I know that doesn't make sense but when you're trying, you're taking away what makes it natural.

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It's when you don't try it becomes something natural.

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So you have to think about it but not think about it.
You probably know what I mean if you've done that.

02:33.141 --> 03:07.760
See, I'm still fighting my tendency to rush it.

03:07.760 --> 03:40.150
Let's try four notes per beat.
So here's the beat.

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So I'm playing and it's not even so much I'm trying to focus on being steady.

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I'm almost just kind of thinking about keeping it behind and that's what I'm practicing here.

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Once you've got that etched in your head you don't have to think about it anymore it'll just happen.

03:55.282 --> 03:58.773
Let's see what else do we want to try?
How much do we want to go here?

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We can try five notes per beat, why not?
We're going to try five notes per beat.

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One, two, three, four, five, one, two, three, four, five.
One, two, three, four, five, one, two, three, four, five.

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There it is.

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I'm trying to get close to the beat but be a little behind it.

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I'm slowing down too much.

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One more time.
One, two, three, four, five, one, two, three, four, five.

05:22.820 --> 05:32.433
So everything is just a little behind and it's hard to maintain that and you just want to practice getting smooth and relaxed with it and easy with it.

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Being behind the beat.

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Six notes per beat, why not?

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Where every note that's on it, that's anchored down is a little behind.

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Too slow.

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I'm on it.

06:40.058 --> 06:41.103

06:41.103 --> 06:45.681
Seven notes per beat, hmm.
How do you fill that one out.

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Alright well then you can start dividing.

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When it starts getting to seven a lot of times even six you just want to think one, two, three, one, two, three,

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or one, two, three, four, five, six, one, two, three, four, five, six.

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For seven you might want to think the way the way Rush would always do it.

07:01.084 --> 07:05.054
You know one, two, three, one, two, one, two, one, two, one, two, three.
You can do that.

07:05.054 --> 07:09.001
Start dividing the group into little sub groups.

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One, two, three, four, one, two, three, one, two, three, four, one, two, three.

07:11.486 --> 07:16.362
So you need to get that in our forty BPM thing going on.

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Laid back.
Super laid back.

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It's tricky, it's tricky.

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Ok seven, one more time.

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Jumping ahead.
Stay behind.

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I'm not afraid to screw up on camera, it's human.

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Screwing up is good, it's a human thing, in fact it's stuff that people love is the imperfections that's what makes your playing human.

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I know we strive to be perfect and accurate and everything

08:58.098 --> 09:06.364
but honestly if you listen to boot legs of your favorite band or something, it's the little screw up that they make that just makes you smile and that's

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the thing when you're jamming that song with your friends and you make that screw up and everyone just looks at each other like yeah, you got it.

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You got the screw up.

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Yeah, there's nothing wrong with screwing up.

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That said, try and do your best.

09:19.018 --> 09:24.057
Don't try and screw up but if it happens it's ok, you're human so it's alright.

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It gives it character.

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Let's try eight now.

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Feel it.
Divide in your head.

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Play to that.
Have it a little bit behind.

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Too far behind.
There we go.

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What you should be thinking about is those down beats, those little, the metronome hits and when you land on them being behind them.

10:25.925 --> 10:33.587
So you're playing, you're playing, you're playing, you're playing but where you're connecting to those you want to be behind it.

10:33.587 --> 10:39.694
So it's sort of a weird thing to focus on like normal you focus on just you know, just playing the scale.

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You want a piece of your own mind to be thinking about that beat.

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There you go.

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Cool, so yeah let's work on that.

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It's not about your hands, it's not about all of that, it's about what your feeling and connecting to that and connecting that to the rhythm

11:30.183 --> 11:32.134
and really getting in touch with it.

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Getting in touch with the beat that you're playing to and then just pulling back and not jumping in front of it.

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It's tricky, it's tough and it's not something you really see, it's something you feel.

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So it's not really something I can truly demonstrate.

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I can just tell you about it and then you have to try it and find it and good luck!

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Good, thanks for watching.


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.

deMuffinMandeMuffinMan replied

It's amazing how much can be learned from letting up a bit. Not only did I find this outstanding for really feeling rhythm, but also for focusing on how it feels to play a note, the pressure your fingers apply and using the spaces in between the notes to really listen to how the note sounds.Great job with this lesson and series!

LSCalgaryLSCalgary replied

Bumblefoot ROCKS!! I love his teaching style! :)

efecheverriaefecheverria replied

This is one of the best teachers on JamPlay

redskywhisperredskywhisper replied

This could be renamed "Meditation for guitarists"

Darien_DMTShamanDarien_DMTShaman replied

Best lesson i've ever seen. Beyond stoked to utilize this, helps with maintaining steady flow. Thank you!

studiobuddystudiobuddy replied

best lesson ever !

keltiebrucekeltiebruce replied

Oh this is great. So much fun. Learning a whole bunch

philmanphilman replied

Like his style

slayer1987slayer1987 replied

I like his teaching style

rufus wrufus w replied

Hay. Great lesson made me realize what i was doing wrong thanks

mupchu777mupchu777 replied

Unfortunately a needed class... I practiced this when learning my scales... very very necessary

CraigMR76CraigMR76 replied

Great stuff!

buckeyestevebuckeyesteve replied

Great lesson!

jobloskijobloski replied

Great teacher! Put me at ease!

tangohuntertangohunter replied


Bumblefoot's Artist Series

Found in our Beginner Lesson Sets

Unconventional... Diabolical... Just plain crazy! Learn a fresh, quirky and MUSICAL approach to extreme guitar playing!

Series IntroductionLesson 1

Series Introduction

Guns N' Roses guitarist Ron "Bumblefoot" Thal pulls out all the stops in his blistering artist series. Dive into the intense, yet seemingly effortless, playing style of a true legend in our time. Learn...

Length: 4:21 Difficulty: 0.5 FREE
The Drummer Is King!Lesson 2

The Drummer Is King!

Of all the crazy antics and skills you'll learn in this series, learning your place in the rhythm section may be the most important and arguably the most difficult! Learn the importance of playing behind...

Length: 19:07 Difficulty: 3.5 Members Only
Focus on the RhythmLesson 3

Focus on the Rhythm

Now try taking the concepts learned in the last lesson and apply them to chords and strumming. The physical differences between playing chords and single notes provide an interesting challenge when staying...

Length: 13:58 Difficulty: 3.5 Members Only
Do You Have an Accent?Lesson 4

Do You Have an Accent?

Make sure you're thinking and playing behind the beat...Check! Now Bumblefoot makes sure you are thinking about each note and each beat you play. Just like the spoken word, good guitar playing is punctuated....

Length: 9:54 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Why...Yes I Do!Lesson 5

Why...Yes I Do!

Now that you've practiced playing with accents at a basic level, learn this blazing sequence in C major and put your chops to the test!

Length: 9:38 Difficulty: 4.0 Members Only
Sweeping SensationLesson 6

Sweeping Sensation

Done much sweep picking? Whether you are experienced in this technique or brand new, this exercise will dramatically improve your coordination and hand synchronization while sweeping. This isn't your average...

Length: 7:48 Difficulty: 4.5 Members Only
Sweep it under the RugLesson 7

Sweep it under the Rug

Take the same ascending drill from the last lesson, move it around a bit more, and reverse it. It's even harder going down! Take it slow!

Length: 10:43 Difficulty: 4.5 Members Only
Sweep Up More Stuff!Lesson 8

Sweep Up More Stuff!

Slackers beware! Bumblefoot introduces another picking variation and connects the ascending and descending sweeping patterns for one mind and finger boggling exercise. Whatever you do, DON'T CHEAT! Practice...

Length: 11:59 Difficulty: 5.0 Members Only
Mental MultitaskingLesson 9

Mental Multitasking

A seasoned guitar player can have multiple active channels going in his mind at once. That's what helps the masters play a rhythm and a melody line at the same time. That's what makes singing complex melodies...

Length: 8:14 Difficulty: 3.5 Members Only
Huh? Two Scales at Once?Lesson 10

Huh? Two Scales at Once?

Put mental multitasking to work with your hands. Practice playing a simple C major scale, but play it in a round. Start it, and then while continuing to play it in sequence, start it again!

Length: 4:07 Difficulty: 3.5 Members Only
One Step Ahead of Your Hands!Lesson 11

One Step Ahead of Your Hands!

Sharpen your mind like a samurai sword with this exercise! While playing one note, think and speak the next note you will play. Practice this to a metronome with different note values...EEK!

Length: 12:17 Difficulty: 4.0 Members Only
Does Your Left Know What Your Right Is Doing?Lesson 12

Does Your Left Know What Your Right Is Doing?

Here's one more brain tearing exercise! Practice playing different rhythmic groupings with each hand at the same time. Then, try to talk while you're doing it! Make these mental multitasking lessons part...

Length: 7:01 Difficulty: 4.0 Members Only
What Do You Have on Tap?Lesson 13

What Do You Have on Tap?

Get a brief tutorial on proper tapping technique. Then, it's off to Bumbleland! Dive into 2 finger right hand tapping phrases, string skipping, and more!

Length: 10:06 Difficulty: 4.0 Members Only
I'll Take Two of What She's Having!Lesson 14

I'll Take Two of What She's Having!

Take 2 hand and 2 right hand finger tapping to the next level. Don't forget rhythm! Rhythm is still important when notes are flying by!

Length: 6:36 Difficulty: 4.0 Members Only
Now Let's Go Tap DancingLesson 15

Now Let's Go Tap Dancing

Take the last two crazy lessons on tapping, and make them a bit more musical. As with the sweeps, DON'T CHEAT! Make sure your playing is clean and calculated at whatever speed you are playing.

Length: 14:56 Difficulty: 4.0 Members Only
Be a Bit AbnormalLesson 16

Be a Bit Abnormal

With this lesson, Bumblefoot delivers the first of a handful of ways to take what you may already be comfortable with and add some quirkiness. This segment focuses on changing the harmony in the major...

Length: 10:20 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Blues it Up!Lesson 17

Blues it Up!

Bumblefoot alters the major scale a little further and roasts it over a simple blues shuffle. Dive in and see what's cookin'!

Length: 5:23 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
The Note Before the NoteLesson 18

The Note Before the Note

Do you like the pentatonic scale? Are you maybe a little tired of being limited by it? If so, this lesson is for you! Learn a VERY simple way to spice it up!

Length: 6:47 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Read Between the FretsLesson 19

Read Between the Frets

Join Bumblefoot for another great way to disguise and spruce up your standard pentatonic ideas!

Length: 4:43 Difficulty: 3.5 Members Only
I'm All In!Lesson 20

I'm All In!

Before...Between...Now you can add a note after each note played on each string in your pentatonic scale. Practice all three options over the track and work on adding some other embellishments such as...

Length: 7:09 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only

About Bumblefoot View Full Biography "Making music has a greater purpose - anything I can do to help others, I try to do."

-Ron "Bumblefoot" Thal

I love spicy food - working on recipes for my own line of hot sauces. Been upping my tolerance - currently at 7,100,000 Scoville Units (that's 3x stronger than commercial-grade pepper spray weapon) If anyone asks me about Scoville Units, I'll bore them for a half-hour talking about capsaicin molecules, habaneros and heat measurements.

One time in Japan, I stayed up 43 hours straight doing gigs, interviews, instructional videos and going to clubs.

I take oral hygiene and fire safety seriously.

As a kid, I'd lay the guitar on the ground and play Bach pieces with two hands and one foot. Been a while since I tried that.

When I can, I like to do home improvement stuff - mostly drywall and electrical, some simple plumbing. Last thing I did at my house was install recessed lights in the ceiling going to a dimmer, and put in a new bathroom sink and faucet.

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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 125 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
Get Started

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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