Open Tuning Part 2 (Guitar Lesson)

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Randall Williams

Open Tuning Part 2

Randall Williams returns to the world of open tunings to talk about open d, open g, and open c. He also give tips on slide guitar and playing in these tunings.

Taught by Randall Williams in Lessons with Randall Williams seriesLength: 41:30Difficulty: 2.0 of 5
Chapter 1: (01:17) Lesson Introduction Lesson Objectives

-Review important Open D concepts
-Learn the basics of open G tuning and open C tuning.
-Learn basic slide guitar technique.
-Play Randall's arrangement of "You're Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go" by Bob Dylan.

Make sure you are in tune with Randall before you continue with the lesson. A breakdown of open D tuning is provided below.

6th String: D
5th String: A
4th String: D
3rd String: F#
2nd String: A
1st String: D

Review of Chord Shapes

At 00:25, Randall reviews the important chord shapes that he introduced in the previous lesson. Remember that the chord he calls the iii chord is actually just an inverted version of the I chord. It is not an F#m chord!
Chapter 2: (07:13) Using D Tuning "You're Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go" by Bob Dylan

Randall demonstrates his interpretation of this song in Open D tuning at 01:30 in the lesson video. Tablature to this demonstration can be found under the "Supplemental Content" tab.

Right Hand

A basic right hand arpeggio pattern is applied to each chord in the progression. Refer to the tablature when learning this repeating pattern.

Left Hand

Randall uses the voicing options discussed in the previous lesson for the the I, IV, and V chords (D, G, and A.) A major II chord (E) is also used in the song. Randall chooses to play this chord with a barre chord voicing.

Spicing up the Bass

Notice how Randall adds diatonic bass movement to the progression while playing over the tonic D major chord. Essentially, he is using scalar segments in the bass line to connect the I chord to the next chord that follows in the progression. Simply descend the scale on the sixth string while maintaining the right hand arpeggio pattern. This creates a scalar bass line played over top of a static D major chord.

This song can also be played with a slide. In this scenario, barre chord voicings must be used for each of the chords.

Introduction to Slide Guitar

A. Slide Guitar Set-up Tips

Playing with higher action is extremely beneficial when playing slide guitar. If you play slide with low action, unwanted noise from the frets will occur.

You must also be aware of your guitar's neck radius. Guitars necks either have a flat radius or a round radius. Most Fender guitars such as the Telecaster and Stratocaster have a round neck radius. The strings on these guitars arch across the fretboard. Gibson guitars such as the Les Paul and SG have a flat neck radius. It is slightly easier to play slide on a guitar with a flat neck radius. Flat necks allow you to lay the slide completely flat across every string. Consequently, you do not have to adjust the finger holding the slide when moving from one string to the next.

B. Choosing a Slide

1. Material

Slides are typically made from one of three different materials. Glass, metal, and porcelain slides are the most common. Each material produces a distinct tone. Guitarists such as Duane Allman, Bonnie Raitt, and Joe Walsh prefer glass slides because of the rich sustain that they produce. The thickness of the glass is directly proportional to the sustain length. Glass slides also produces the warmest tone. Metal slides are also very popular among blues, rock, metal, and country guitarists. Metal produces a brighter, much more aggressive sound than glass. They create a much dirtier sound due to the extra string noise that they produce. Finally, porcelain slides produce a tone that is a sort of middle ground between metal and glass. These slides produce the least amount of string noise. Aerosmith's Joe Perry typically plays with a porcelain slide.

2. Size

Slides come in a wide variety of lengths and thicknesses. Regardless of which material you choose, the slide should not extend past the second knuckle of the finger that you play slide with. You also want to make sure that the slide is not too loose or too tight.

C. Which Finger Do I Use?

The finger used is strictly a matter of preference. Most players favor the pinkie finger, because it frees up the other three fingers for playing chords and single notes without the slide. However, famous guitarists such as Son House, Duane Allman, and Warren Haynes have been known to use the third finger. Bonnie Raitt and Dean DeLeo typically use the middle finger when playing slide.

D. Slide Angle

Make sure that the slide rests directly on top of the strings. Do not angle the slide. If you do, you will hear the sound of the slide scraping across the bottom of the fretboard and neck. Rest the slide only on the strings that you are playing. If you cover all six strings, but do not pluck them, unwanted string noise will result. Keep the slide parallel to the strings at all times. When playing a note, the middle of the slide must rest directly over top of the fret. If you place the slide where you normally fret a note, the note will sound flat.

Be careful not to let the "paralax view" throw you off. A paralax is the apparent difference in location of an object when it is viewed from two points that do not occur on a single, straight line. Sometimes the slide is slightly past the fret when you think it is directly over it. This results in a note that sounds slightly sharp. Use your ears to guide you and tell you what is in tune. This will come with time and diligent practice.

E. Play Lightly

Lay the slide across the strings as lightly as possible. You want to avoid the sound of the slide traveling across the frets. This also causes a decrease in resonance, tone, and sustain. Having higher action definitely helps in these areas. Higher action also minimalizes unwanted string noise.

F. Vibrato

Practice sliding up to the 12th fret across the entire length of the fretboard. Apply a vibrato to the 12th fret note. Shake your finger back and forth while keeping the thumb fixed to the back of the neck. When performing a double stop combined with vibrato, you must keep the slide parallel to the frets. Otherwise, one of the notes will sound out of tune.

various musical situations call for different types of vibrato. The distance you move the slide determines how wide the vibrato is. The speed at which you move your wrist determines the rate of the vibrato.

G. Left-Hand Muting

Drag one or more left-hand fingers behind the slide to mute the strings that you are not playing. This will eliminate unwanted string buzz and sympathetic vibrations that muddy up the sound. These noises become even more noticeable when playing electric guitar. However, you may want to allow the additional strings to ring in certain situations to create an ambient effect.

H. Additional Resources

For more information pertaining to slide guitar, check out the following books:

1. Electric Slide Guitar - book / cd by David Hamburger (Hal Leonard Corporation)
2. The Slide Guitar Book by Fred Sokolow (Hal Leonard Corporation)
Chapter 3: (07:47) Adding Notes When an "open" D major chord is played in open D tuning, remember that the root is tripled. The fifth is doubled and the third string is the only third present in the open chord. Use these note locations as reference points as you build chords in this tuning.

Building Chords

Remember that a major chord is spelled using the 1, 3, and 5 of the major scale of the same letter name. The D major scale is spelled D, E, F#, G, A, B, C#, D. A D major chord is spelled D, F#, A.

To form chords with additional extensions, use the formulas listed below. Remember that the formula for the chord is always derived from the major scale regardless of the quality of the chord.

Sus2 ("suspended two" or "suspended second")

Note: Remember that the abbreviation "sus" is short for "suspended" not "sustained."

Formula: 1, 2, 5
Dsus2: D, E, A


When building a voicing, any combination of the notes D, E, and A will form a Dsus2 chord. So, the number of available Dsus2 voicings on the guitar are almost limitless.

Note: the chords that Randall demonstrates as Dsus2 chords are not actually Dus2. He is actually playing a Dadd9 chord.

Add9 ("major add nine")

Formula: 1, 3, 5, 9 (The ninth is the same note as the 2, just one octave higher.)
Dadd9: D, F#, A, E

Sus4 ("suspended four" or "suspended fourth")

Formula: 1, 4, 5
Dsus4: D, G, A

Note: the chord that Randall demonstrates as a Dsus4 is not actually Dsus4 but rather Dadd11.

Add11 ("major add eleven")

Formula: 1, 3, 5, 11 (The eleven is the same note as the 4, just an octave higher.)
Dadd11: D, F#, A, G.

Major Sixth Chords

Formula: 1, 3, 5, 6
D6: 1, 3, 5, 6

Major Seventh Chords

Major seventh chords can be written with different abbreviations. "MA7" and "maj7" are both acceptable abbreviations. "Major" may also be written out short hand with a triangle symbol.

Formula: 1, 3, 5, 7
Dmaj7: D, F#, A, C#

Dominant Seventh Chords

Formula: 1, 3, 5, b7
D7: D, F#, A, C
Chapter 4: (13:48) Open G Tuning When learning a new tuning, it is absolutely necessary that you start with the most basic concepts regardless of your ability level. You must first learn how to tune the guitar to this tuning. If you have a floating tremolo system installed on your guitar, you will encounter several difficulties. When one string is tuned down, the strings on the opposite side of the bridge will go sharp to maintain an equal balance of tension. Consequently, you must tune each string multiple times to ensure that all of the strings are tuned to the correct pitch.

In open G, the strings are tuned to the following pitches. These notes comprise a G major triad.

6th: D
5th: G
4th: D
3rd: G
2nd: B
1st: D

Notice how the fifth (D) is tripled in this tuning. The root is just doubled. There is only one third (B). Another important feature of this tuning is that the lowest string is tuned to the fifth of the chord (D) instead of the root.

Many alternate tunings involve tightening a string to a higher pitch. In open G however, every string that is altered is tuned down. Follow the steps listed below when tuning to open G.

Note:This not the only way to tune your guitar to open G. However, this is the method preferred by most guitarists.

1. Tune your guitar to standard tuning.

2. Lower the pitch of the sixth string to match the pitch of the open 4th string. This string produces the note D. You may find it helpful to match the open D string to the harmonic played at the 12th fret of the 6th string. This puts both D notes in the same octave.

3. Match the pitch of the 1st string to the pitch of the open 4th string. Use the harmonic played at the 12th fret of the fourth string to keep the notes in the same octave. You can also use the pitch of the note D at the third fret of the 2nd string as a reference point when tuning the first string down.

4. Next, match the pitch of the 5th string to the pitch of the open 3rd string. Once again, you may want to match the harmonic at the 12th fret of the 5th string to the open G string so that both notes are played in the same octave.

5. Leave the 4th, 3rd, and 2nd strings in the tuning that they are in (D, G, B). These notes are part of the G major triad.

6. Strum an open G major chord across all six strings to ensure that your guitar is in tune. If your guitar sounds out of tune, check back through each individual string to see if you made any errors.

When matching the pitch of one string to another follow this process:

1. Pluck the string that is already in tune.

2. Pluck the string you want to tune. ONLY pluck it once.

3. Use large turns of the tuning key to adjust the pitch. Tuning in smaller increments makes tuning much more difficult.

4.Use an electronic tuner to check your accuracy.

5. Stretch the strings out and tune again. By tuning three strings down a full step each, the tension on the neck is significantly reduced. The guitar needs some time to adjust to this new tuning. Strings have memory and will want to return to the pitch that they were previously tuned to. Stretch them out and re-tune them to give them a new memory.

6. Always tune up to pitch. Never tune down to it. Refer to Jim Deeming's 20th Phase 1 lesson for more information on this topic.

Advantages of Open G Tuning

When the guitar is tuned to open G, the open strings form a G major chord. This feature provides several advantages. This tuning allows you to play many chord voicings that are not possible or practical in standard tuning. Also, familiar chords produce a different tone when played in another tuning. Open tunings can also help you bust out of a rut. Playing in an alternate tuning will essentially force you to re-learn how to play the instrument. This will hopefully generate some new inspiration and a new outlook on the instrument.

In addition, open tunings are much more conducive to playing slide guitar. All of the notes that comprise a major chord align themselves along a single fret in an open tuning.

Open G Chord

By strumming all of the open strings together, an "open" G major triad is produced. It should be noted that this chord is played in second inversion. An inversion occurs when a chord tone other than the root is played as the lowest bass note. In this case, the fifth of the chord, D, is played as the lowest note. When the third of the chord is played in the bass, the chord is in first inversion. When the fifth is the lowest note, the chord is in second inversion.

The next logical step is to determine where the I, IV, and V chords can be played in this tuning. This will enable you to play some basic chord progressions and songs. You already know how to play the I chord, G major.

Movable Barre Chord Shape

The open G major chord can easily be converted into a movable major barre chord shape. The IV chord, C can be played as a barre across the 5th fret. Then, the V chord D can be played as a barre chord up two frets from C at the 7th fret. Simply barre the first finger across all six strings to create this barre chord shape. The sixth string can be omitted so that the chord is played in root position instead of second inversion. You may want to use the second finger as a clamp to help the first finger hold all six strings down under the barre.

In order to transpose this chord anywhere on the fretboard, you must know where the half steps and whole steps occur within the musical alphabet. The root note fretted by the first finger determines the name of each barre chord. This root note is located on the fifth string.

Review of Diatonic Chords in the Major Tonality

I - Major (G)
ii - Minor (Am)
iii - Minor (Bm)
IV - Major (C)
V - Major (D)
vi - Minor (Em)
viio - Diminished (F#o)

Remember that the bVII is often used in major key progressions. In relation to the key of G major, the bVII chord is F major.

Non-Barre Chord Shapes

Randall builds chord voicings in open G tuning using a thought process similar to open D tuning. He begins by finding the lowest root note which is located on the fifth string.

The next step is to find the third of the chord. The third is located on the second string. For major chords, the third is played at the same fret as the root note. The minor third is located a fret below the root note. Within these voicings, the fourth string is muted by the second finger. The third and first strings are played open. The inclusion of these open string notes creates some interesting voicings as the basic shapes are moved up and down the neck. A listing of the diatonic voicings in G major are listed below.

I - G major

ii - Am11

Randall's chord building trick does not work for the iii chord. Rather, it produces a G/B chord.

IV - Cadd9

V - Dadd11

vi - Em7

bVII - F6

The viio chord can not be built using the formula above.
Chapter 5: (06:14) Using C Tuning The open strings in this tuning form an open C major chord. This chord is spelled C, E, G.

The strings are tuned as follows:

6th: C
5th: G
4th: C
3rd: G
2nd: C (This string is tuned up.)
1st: E

Tuning to Open C

Begin with your guitar in standard tuning. Then, follow the steps listed below.

1. Match the pitch of the 6th string to the C note located at the 3rd fret of the 6th string.
2. Match the pitch of the open 5th string to the pitch of the open 3rd string.
3. Match the pitch of the 4th string to the C note located at the 3rd fret of the 5th string.
4. Match the pitch of the 2nd string to the C note located at the 3rd fret of the 5th string.
5. Stretch out the strings that have been tuned to a different pitch.
6. Repeat steps 1-4.
Chapter 6: (03:46) Chords in C Tuning Movable Barre Chord Shape

The open C major chord can easily be converted into a movable major barre chord shape. The IV chord, F, can be played as a barre across the 5th fret. Then, the V chord, G, can be played as a barre chord up two frets from F at the 7th fret. Simply barre the first finger across all six strings to create this barre chord shape. You may want to use the second finger as a clamp to help the first finger hold all six strings down under the barre.

In order to transpose this chord anywhere on the fretboard, you must know where the half steps and whole steps occur within the musical alphabet. The root note fretted by the first finger determines the name of each barre chord. This root note is located on the sixth string.

Non-Barre Chord Shapes

Randall builds chord voicings in open C tuning using a thought process similar to open D, and open G tuning. He begins by finding the lowest root note which is located on the sixth string.

The next step is to find the third of the chord. The third is located on the first string. For major chords, the third is at the same fret. It's located back one fret for minor chords. The fifth string is muted by the second finger. The third and fourth strings are played open. Similar to open G and open D, interesting chord voicings result from the inclusion of these open strings. A breakdown of these voicings are listed below.

I - C major
ii - Dm11

Randall's chord building trick does not work for the iii chord. Instead, the chord building formula produces a C/E chord.

IV - Fadd9
V - Gadd11
vi - Am7
bVII - F6/9

The viio chord cannot be built using the formula above.

The third finger can be used to double the root note on the fourth string. When this occurs, some of the chords are slightly changed.

I - C
ii - Dm11
IV - F
V - Gadd11
vi - Am
bVII- Bb6/9
Chapter 7: (01:177) Final Thoughts This concludes Randall's introductory discussion of open tunings. You are now equipped with the tools to explore these tunings in greater depth and write your own songs. Feel free to experiment and discover new sounds.

As always, if you have any comments, questions, or suggestions for Randall, feel free to drop him a line here at JamPlay or at [email protected]

Video Subtitles / Captions


Member Comments about this Lesson

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

ChordAddictChordAddict replied

This is the best lesson. Randall is a legend

marvellousmarvellous replied

Thanks, I loved the Open Tunings lessons. As I mentioned in my email directly to you, I'd love to do some Open C work in chord inversions. I'd also love to see more supplemental work explaining some of the chording and how to create variations. Marvin

vortigernvortigern replied

It would be great if you had an inset screen with the chords showing on a virtual guitar, if you know what I mean ?

eicoguyeicoguy replied

Great series - really making sense of some things that I have learned bits and parts of over the years. Very well structured.

coulsonwrightcoulsonwright replied

Hi I really enjoyed the open tunings, I have tried them before but your explanations helpeds me a great deal. can you use a capo and turn open d into e, and open g into open a. I am going to try it. Thanks

kenbkenb replied

Well that was a first! I did lessons one through four in one sitting which is amazing for someone who says theory gets in the way of enjoyment. I wanted to say I really enjoyed it and wish I had come across a teacher of your calibre earlier in my 61 years! Thanks again. I look forward to more - particularly the right hand rhythms.

mercenarymercenary replied

Hey Randall since your in C tuning Could you please teach us Ocean by John Butler :) Its my new years resolution to learn that song!

Randall.WilliamsRandall.Williams replied

Mercenary, Thanks for that - I didn't know him at all. The good news is that the chordal parts are really straightforward, and similar to the way I teach the method. It'd take me a while to figure it out, but I recommend getting the chordal parts right, then adding the melody riffs one by one. Start with the first one, and get it nailed by the end of January. Give yourself another month for the second. Deal with the tapping later - it's a whole 'nother beast.

mercenarymercenary replied

I cant see the slide part in the video?

carls241carls241 replied

Great lesson, thanks Randall. The guitar makes much mores sense after watching this and your music theory lessons.

Randall.WilliamsRandall.Williams replied

Yep, Right hand coming soon. Thanks Matt for doing all the supp. content for me - it was too much!

smwag2000smwag2000 replied

I also need some help with nailing the right hand pattern. So I am hoping the upcoming lesson breaks it down.

mattbrownmattbrown replied

Hey everybody! I don't think I'll have the supplemental content done for this one until Monday. There is A LOT to do. In the meantime, try to figure out as much as you can by ear. Thanks for your patience!

peterpaulpeterpaul replied

Randall, Killer lesson! keep bringing it on. Thanxs

bobgratoonbobgratoon replied

Hey Randall, great lesson! But u talked about a lesson for the right hand. Is it a one thatu gave? Because I'm really not sure what lesson you're talking about and I would need some help with the right hand pattern. Thanks

jboothjbooth replied

They are coming up, they were filmed sequentially after this lesson. The lessons on the short-cut / cut capo lessons will be coming up first, with the first one online tomorrow actually.

Lessons with Randall Williams

Found in our Beginner Lesson Sets

Randall Williams is a dynamic, powerful, classically trained acoustic musician who interest is found in the dynamic and relevant world of folk. One of Randall's specialties includes the style of cut or partial capo.

Useful Music TheoryLesson 1

Useful Music Theory

In his introductory lesson, Randall Williams discusses music theory in a useful and practical context. This knowledge will be required for his future lessons.

Length: 26:39 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Music Theory Part #2Lesson 2

Music Theory Part #2

Randall Williams returns with the second part of his lesson on useful music theory. In this lesson, he talks about using a capo, ornamenting chords, and the minor scales.

Length: 36:38 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Open TuningLesson 3

Open Tuning

In this lesson Randall introduces the concept of open tuning. He will talk about how open tunings work as well as how they alter your chords and scales.

Length: 31:48 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Open Tuning Part 2Lesson 4

Open Tuning Part 2

Randall Williams returns to the world of open tunings to talk about open d, open g, and open c. He also give tips on slide guitar and playing in these tunings.

Length: 41:30 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Partial Capo for Total BeginnersLesson 5

Partial Capo for Total Beginners

In this lesson Randall introduces the partial capo (using a short-cut capo by Kyser) and talks about how it can make the life of a beginner easier.

Length: 12:46 Difficulty: 0.5 FREE
Partial Capo Part 2Lesson 6

Partial Capo Part 2

In this lesson Randall returns to the world of the partial capo (or cut-capo). He covers additional right hand techniques and a few sample songs.

Length: 18:00 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Partial Capo Part 3Lesson 7

Partial Capo Part 3

Randall returns to the world of the partial capo. In this lesson, he talks more about playing songs and chords. He also introduces a second capo.

Length: 9:41 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Partial Capo Part 4Lesson 8

Partial Capo Part 4

Randall returns with the fourth part of his partial capo for total beginners lesson set. Randall introduces more right hand patterns and talks about playing with a disability.

Length: 11:28 Difficulty: 0.5 Members Only
Randall's ToolboxLesson 9

Randall's Toolbox

Randall Williams shares his technique toolbox in this lesson. He explains over twenty different rhythmic patterns that can be applied to a chord progression.

Length: 27:38 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Randall's Toolbox Part 2Lesson 10

Randall's Toolbox Part 2

Randall shares part two of his toolbox mini-series.

Length: 25:47 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Partial Capo TechniquesLesson 11

Partial Capo Techniques

Randall Williams shares many new ideas in part one of his Partial Capo Techniques mini-series.

Length: 38:25 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Partial Capo Techniques Part 2Lesson 12

Partial Capo Techniques Part 2

Randall Williams shares part two of his fantastic Partial Capo Techniques mini-series.

Length: 16:30 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Partial Capo Techniques Part 3Lesson 13

Partial Capo Techniques Part 3

Randall shares part three of his Partial Capo Techniques mini-series.

Length: 19:29 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Partial Capo Techniques Part 4Lesson 14

Partial Capo Techniques Part 4

Randall Williams continues on to part four of his exciting Partial Capo Techniques mini-series.

Length: 29:34 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Partial Capo Techniques Part 5Lesson 15

Partial Capo Techniques Part 5

Randall concludes his Partial Capo Technique mini-series.

Length: 32:08 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Exploring Songs Part 1Lesson 16

Exploring Songs Part 1

Randall Williams explains and performs the song "Causeway" by Daithi Rua.

Length: 8:24 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Exploring Songs Part 2Lesson 17

Exploring Songs Part 2

Randall Williams takes a look at his original song "Stronger For Your Flame" and offers a wonderful performance.

Length: 10:18 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Exploring Songs Part 3Lesson 18

Exploring Songs Part 3

Randall Williams shares an inspiring, original song called "Draw the Line."

Length: 6:06 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Exploring Songs Part 4Lesson 19

Exploring Songs Part 4

Randall Williams shares his beautiful original tune, "Praying for Land" in this lesson.

Length: 7:50 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Exploring Songs Part 5Lesson 20

Exploring Songs Part 5

Randall Williams teaches his original song "Ghost in the Machine."

Length: 9:37 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Exploring Songs Part 6Lesson 21

Exploring Songs Part 6

Randall Williams shares his touching original song, "I Will Come For You."

Length: 8:38 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
PerformingLesson 22


After sharing many great tunes in his Exploring Songs mini-series, Randall Williams says a few words about performing.

Length: 10:29 Difficulty: 0.5 Members Only
Short Form SongwritingLesson 23

Short Form Songwriting

Randall Williams creates a song with you from scratch in this fascinating lesson about short form songwriting.

Length: 31:18 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Singing with the GuitarLesson 24

Singing with the Guitar

Randall Williams presents his introductory lesson on singing with the guitar.

Length: 10:36 Difficulty: 1.0 Members Only
Singing with the Guitar Part 2Lesson 25

Singing with the Guitar Part 2

Randall explores more singing topics in this lesson. He provides sample exercises and encourages you to sing along.

Length: 26:15 Difficulty: 0.5 Members Only
Exploring Songs Part 7Lesson 26

Exploring Songs Part 7

Randall Williams shares another beautiful original tune called "Guatemala" in this lesson.

Length: 6:55 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Songwriting Part 1Lesson 27

Songwriting Part 1

Randall Williams continues his exploration on songwriting. In this particular lesson, he focuses on musicality and the creative process.

Length: 14:39 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Songwriting Part 2Lesson 28

Songwriting Part 2

Randall Williams continues his discussion on musicality and creating songs.

Length: 23:34 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Songwriting Part 3Lesson 29

Songwriting Part 3

Randall continues his discussion on songwriting in part 3 of his songwriting mini series.

Length: 21:06 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Songwriting Part 4Lesson 30

Songwriting Part 4

Randall Williams concludes his mini-series on songwriting in this lesson.

Length: 13:24 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Randall Williams

About Randall Williams View Full Biography He felt that classical music lacked the inclusiveness of folk music, and that the inevitable division between performer and audience was unbearable. And so Randall returned to the world of traveling with his guitar, writing songs in train stations and sleeping on couches, then singing and playing on street corners, cafï, and pubs. For a time he lived aboard a 20' sailboat that he bought for $800, teaching himself how to sail by single-handing through the Baltic and North Seas with his guitar sleeping in the berth beside him at night. He wrote a book about the trip, which begins with the story of almost getting squashed by a tanker before dawn one morning in the North Sea.

He moved to North Africa, then set off across the Sahara by hitching with locals - bouncing through a minefield on the way that made his mother have bad dreams. He loved the adventure, but he missed the music.

In 2005, Randall returned stateside to scrounge up a career as a performing songwriter, hoping it wasn't too late. So far, it hasn't been. As the "Partial Capo Guy," Randall has written two books for Hal Leonard, recorded a DVD for Kyser Musical Products, and given workshops at some of the biggest festivals in United States. As a performer, Randall has been a finalist in the Founder's Title and Mid-Atlantic Song Contests, A regional finalist at Kerrville, a showcase artist at Northeast and Midwest Folk Alliance, and at the International Folk Alliance in Memphis, and an Audience Favorite at the Falcon Ridge Folk Festival. His 2007 live release, "One Night in Louisiana" made a respectable dent in the folk DJ charts (One single, "Lebanon," was #8 in May,) and he's generally a nice guy to have around, capos or not.

Randall is as much at home in a Bangkok slum or a Senegalese village, at the Kennedy Center in D.C. or the Fine Arts Palace in Brussels sandwiched between a twitchy orchestra and a full house, or shoeless on the floor of your living room. Randall has sung in a dozen languages in over 35 countries.

Lynne Andrews: "When Randall left the confines of classical music largely behind, they lost a great talent, but the world gained a good friend - a friend who will tell its stories with grace, compassion, humility and humor."

Randall began playing guitar seriously in 1988, and played his first open mic one year later. Randall kept playing and learning more and more. Randall began teaching guitar in 1992, while studying musical composition, analysis, and performance. Randall got his undergraduate music degree in 1996, then studied flamenco for about a year (1997) before beginning studies at the royal conservatory of music in mons, belgium.

From 1998 to 2001, Randall studied voice, analysis, and harmony at the conservatory, with classical guitar lessons on the side for about 6 months. Randall's undergraduate study and the conservatory courses added a degree of musical structure to his improvisational ability, and gave him a strong music theory base. He recieved the premier prix for concert singing from the conservatory in 2001.

Randall's most recent discoveries: how to build a structure for creating chords in open tunings, and learning how to structure placement of partial capos in standard and alternate tunings.

Lesson Information

Acoustic Guitar Lessons

Acoustic Guitar

Our acoustic guitar lessons are taught by qualified instructors with various backgrounds with the instrument.

Pamela Goldsmith Pamela Goldsmith

Pamela brings a cap to her first 13 JamPlay lessons with another original etude inspired by the great Leo Brouwer. This is...

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Alan Skowron Alan Skowron

Alan shares his background in teaching and sets the direction for his beginning bass series with simple ideas and musical...

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Calum Graham Calum Graham

Award winning, Canadian fingerstyle guitarist Calum Graham introduces his Jamplay Artist Series, which aims to transform...

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Mark Kailana Nelson Mark Kailana Nelson

Mark Nelson introduces "'Ulupalakua," a song he will be using to teach different skills and techniques. In this lesson, he...

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Freebo Freebo

In this lesson, Freebo covers the basics of right hand technique. This lesson is essential for all up and coming bassists.

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Miche Fambro Miche Fambro

Miche introduces several new chord concepts that add color and excitement to any progression.

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Trevor Gordon Hall Trevor Gordon Hall

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Marcelo Berestovoy Marcelo Berestovoy

Marcelo teaches the eight basic right hand moves for the Rumba Flamenca strum pattern. He then shows you how to apply it...

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Orville Johnson Orville Johnson

Orville Johnson introduces turnarounds and provides great ideas and techniques.

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Electric Guitar Lesson Samples

Electric Guitar

Our electric guitar lessons are taught by instructors with an incredible amount of teaching experience.

Nick Kellie Nick Kellie

Nick explains how to use scales and modes effectively when soloing over a chord progression.

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Horace Bray Horace Bray

Horace provides a short etude on how to practice connecting the different shapes of the G Major open triads. This helps you...

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Stuart Ziff Stuart Ziff

Stuart delves into all the different aspects of how R&B guitar has had an impact within reggae music.

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Yvette Young Yvette Young

Now that you're right hand is more limber and controlled, it's time to work on the left hand. This left hand exercise will...

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Michael Mennell Michael Mennell

Mike introduces himself and his series.

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Eric Madis Eric Madis

In this lesson Eric talks about playing basic lead in the Memphis Blues style.

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Bryan Beller Bryan Beller

Bryan Beller of the Aristocrats, Dethklok, and Steve Vai takes you inside his six step method to learning any song by ear....

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Jane Miller Jane Miller

Jane Miller talks about chord solos in part one of this fascinating mini-series.

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Join over 521273 guitarists who have learned how to play in weeks... not years!

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Unlimited Lesson Viewing

A JamPlay membership gives you access to every lesson, from every teacher on our staff. Additionally, there is no restriction on how many times you watch a lesson. Watch as many times as you need.

Live Lessons

Exclusive only to JamPlay, we currently broadcast 8-10 hours of steaming lesson services directly to you! Enjoy the benefits of in-person instructors and the conveniences of our community.

Interactive Community

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 128 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
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"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


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