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Music Theory Part #2 (Guitar Lesson)

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Randall Williams

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.

Taught by Randall Williams in Lessons with Randall Williams seriesLength: 36:38Difficulty: 1.5 of 5
Chapter 1: (01:02) Lesson Introduction Lesson Objectives

-Learn the theory behind the spelling of scales and chords.

-Memorize the diatonic chords of the natural minor and harmonic minor tonalities.Discussion of Minor scales and their diatonic chords.

-Discover how a capo can be used to transpose chord voicings to a new key.

Help Us Help You!

If there are specific topics pertaining to theory that you would like covered in this series, feel free to contact Randall here on JamPlay or at [email protected]
Chapter 2: (14:12) Capo and Theory Using a Capo / Transposition

A capo allows you to transpose any material to a new key. Essentially, by clamping a capo on the fretboard, you are changing the location of the nut. With a capo, you are free to use basic "open" chord shapes higher on the fretboard. Since the location of the nut has changed, the location of what is considered to be an open string has changed as well. For example, if you place the capo at the first fret and play an "open" E shape chord, you have produced an F major chord.

Capo Use and Singing

Using a capo is especially advantageous if you are singing along with the guitar. The original key of the song may simply be too low or too high for you. In this case, you must transpose the song to a key that is more comfortable for your voice.

Moving the capo up the fretboard will transpose the song to a higher key. At a certain point, you may find a key where the melody sounds appropriate if it is transposed one octave lower.

Transposing Chord Voicings

It is not necessary to learn new chord voicings when transposing a song to a new key. The chord voicings used for the original key of the song can still be used when playing with the capo. These voicings will simply sound higher or lower in pitch since they have been transposed to a new key.

Other Advantages

If you have not yet mastered barre chords, the capo can serve as a short cut. Instead of playing barre chord shapes, simply transpose basic open chord shapes to higher portions of the fretboard with the capo.

If you are playing with another guitarist, you can play the same chord progression with different chord voicings. The contrasting timbre of the two chords creates two different tonal colors for the listener to latch onto. This is similar to creating depth within a painting. For example, one person could play the open G shape while the other guitarist is playing G as a C shaped chord with the capo at the 7th fret.

At 07:26, Randall plays a basic I, IV, V progression in the key of G major using basic "open" chord voicings. He uses voicings borrowed from the key of C major in order to play the progression with voicings that are much higher on the fretboard. This creates an interesting, contrasting tonal color with the basic "open" chord voicings.

Capo Use in Tablature

When a capo is used for a song, all of the tablature numbers are written relative to the capo. Since the capo changes the location of the nut, the fret where the capo is attached is now considered to be the location of an open string.

Placement of the Capo

The way in which you clamp the capo on the fretboard is extremely important. Similar to playing slide guitar, the capo must be positioned perfectly parallel to the frets. Otherwise, your guitar will sound out of tune. Unlike playing slide however, the capo must be placed just behind the fret instead of directly on top of the fret. In addition, make sure that the capo does not bend the strings upwards. This will also cause your guitar to sound sharp.

Capo Problems

The following information is taken from lesson 20 of Jim Deeming's Phase 1 Series. Please visit this lesson for more information.

Playing with a capo can potentially cause tuning problems. The capo must be placed in the proper location and checked with a tuner. If it is clamped too tightly or too close to the fret, it will force the string to sound sharp. To eliminate this problem, give the strings a small tug after clamping on a capo. As a result, the strings will go slightly flat and balance out the problem. It's always a good idea to check your tuning once the capo has been clamped properly in place. Just remember that the pitch of the open string has been changed when referencing an electronic tuning device.


When using a capo, the location of harmonics changes as well. For example, if a capo is clamped at the 2nd fret, the location of each individual natural harmonic is shifted up two frets.

Buying a Capo

Capos are like any other piece of gear. There are a number of different manufacturers, models, and price ranges.

Not all capos work with all guitars. For example, you may need to buy a special capo if you are playing a classical guitar or a 12 string. When shopping for a capo, take your guitar with you to make sure that it will fit the nick properly. Make sure that your guitar stays in tune when the capo is clamped on.
Chapter 3: (10:17) Advanced Chords Note: The following information is taken from lesson 1 of Matt Brown's Phase 2 Jazz Series. Please refer to this lesson for additional information.

Intro to Chord Theory

A thorough knowledge of how ALL CHORDS are spelled must be developed! The process of determining the individual notes in a chord may seem confusing at first, but it is a relatively simple task. To spell any chord, follow these basic steps:

1. Start with the Major scale corresponding to the letter name of the chord. For example, if you want to figure out the notes in C7, start by writing out the C Major scale. Even if you are spelling a minor chord, you must start with the Major scale of the chord name.

2. Determine the "triad type" of the chord. A triad is a chord containing three notes. It is also the base structure of any chord that contains more than three notes. There are four types of triads: Major, Minor, Augmented, and Diminished. Each of these triads is spelled using a different formula.

Note: The symbols that are frequently used to abbreviate these triad types are: ∆,-,+,o respectively. Thus, a CMA7 chord may be abbreviated as C∆7. Here are the formulas for these triads:

Major triad: scale degrees 1,3,5.

Minor triad: scale degrees 1,b3,5.

Augmented triad: scale degrees 1,3,#5

Diminished triad: scale degrees 1,b3,b5

Suspended Triads

sus2 - 1, 2 (9), 5
sus4 - 1, 4, 5

Note: In the lesson video, Randall mentions that "sus" is short for "sustain." "Sus" is actually short for "suspended." These chords are referred to as such because their sound leaves you "hanging" or suspended.

3. If the chord contains more than three notes, consult the formulas below.

add9 (major) - 1, 3, 5, 9

MA7: 1,3,5,7
MA6: 1,3,5,6
MA9: 1,3,5,7,9
MI7: 1,b3,5,b7
MI6: 1,b3,5,6
MI9: 1,b3,5,b7,9
Dominant 7: 1,3,5,b7

MI7(b5): 1,b3,b5,b7
o7: 1,b3,b5,bb7

Note: At 03:08, Randall says he is playing a C9 chord. He is actually playing a Cadd9 chord.
A C9 chord is spelled C, E, G, Bb. Cadd9 is spelled C, E, G, D.

Doubling/Tripling Notes

Within a voicing, one or more of the notes may be doubled or even tripled. For example, consider the "open" E chord shape. This chord contains three E root notes.
Chapter 4: (06:05) The Minor Key Note: Throughout this scene, whenever Randall says he is playing Bo, he is actually playing either a B7 voicing or a B+ voicing.

Theoretical Comparison of Minor Tonalities

In comparison to the natural minor scale, the harmonic minor scale features a raised seventh scale degree. Compare the spelling of these scales.

A Natural Minor: A, B, C, D, E, F, G, A

A Harmonic Minor: A, B, C, D, E, F, G#, A.

Key Features of Harmonic Minor

With the harmonic minor scale, the seventh scale degree becomes a "leading tone." The leading tone is the note that is one half step below tonic. The leading tone creates a stronger resolution back up to tonic compared to the lowered seventh scale degree of the natural minor scale.

Within the harmonic minor scale, an augmented second interval occurs between the sixth and seventh scale degrees. This interval sounds the same as a minor third, but is written differently in text and in notation. It consists of three half steps. Many composers avoid this interval because of its very distinct and dissonant sound.

Note: Music theory information regarding the harmonic minor scale will soon be added to the JamPlay Scale Library. This site feature can be accessed through the "Teaching Tools" button on the left hand side of the homepage.

Diatonic Chords in Natural Minor

i - minor
iio - diminished
III - major
iv - minor
v - minor
VI - major
VII - major

In relation to the key of A minor:

i - Am
iio - B diminished
III - C major
iv - D minor
v - E minor
VI - F major
VII - G major

Diatonic Chords in Harmonic Minor

i - minor
iio - diminished
III+ - augmented
iv - minor
V- major
VI - major
viio - diminished

In relation to the key of A minor:

i - Am
iio - B diminished
III+ - C augmented
iv - D minor
V - E major
VI - F major
viio - G#o

Make a careful note of which chords in these tonalities are different. The chords containing the leading tone are all different (III+, V major, and viio diminished).

In harmonic minor, the V chord creates a major stronger return to tonic because of the inclusion of the leading tone. It resolves up one half step. The sound of the harmonic minor tonality is largely characterized by this V to i dominant to tonic relationship.

Relative Major and Minor Keys

For every major key, there is a relative minor key. Relative major and minor keys are written with the same key signature.

Note: Open "Circle of Fifths" listed under the "Supplemental Content" tab.

Around the outside of the circle, each major key is listed. The key center ascends by a fifth interval each time as you move around the circle in a clockwise direction. Moving inwards towards the center of the circle, the key signature for each key is listed. On the inside of the circle, the relative minor key to each major key is shown. For example, A minor is the relative minor to C major. E minor is the relative major to G major.

The relative minor scale is referred to as the natural minor scale (Aeolian mode). This scale contains the same notes. However, the function of each note is now different. Consequently, the minor scale / tonality sounds very different from its relative major even though they contain the same notes.

Finding the Relative Minor Key

If you do not have a circle of fifths diagram handy, you can use a simple shortcut to determine the relative minor of any major key. Simply write out all of the notes within the major scale. To not neglect to add any sharps or flats that may occur in the key. Then, count up to the sixth note of the scale. This note is the root of the relative minor key. Let's use the key of Bb major as an example. This scale features two flats in the key signature. Consequently, this scale is spelled as follows: Bb, C, D, Eb, F, G, A, Bb. The sixth note of the scale is G. G is the relative minor to Bb.

In many musical compositions, the key center modulates from the relative major to the relative minor or vice versa. This happens very frequently in the classical, jazz, rock, and country genres. Switching from major to the relative minor creates a drastic change in emotional quality.

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.

Fretman1616Fretman1616 replied

Really enjoying the teaching here Randall well done Im learning music theory for the very first time

CavCav replied

Just wanted to say you teach this so good , and wow thanks. You have opened my eyes to a new way of thinking playing ect ect ect.

bartamberbartamber replied

I had to watch some of these videos four or five times.... But I finally understand. I love the idea of voicing!!! You never explained what the dots on the fret board are for.... Unless that's in another video somewhere. Thanks Randall. I really enjoy the videos. I'd love to see more on the tapping and slapping of the guitar too.

grburgessgrburgess replied

Those dots on the fretboard are to help a person quickly find what fret they are at, usually at 3, 5,7, 9, and 12 (double dots); 15, 17, 19, 21. So for example, if you know that B on string 6 is at 9th fret, it helps you find it quickly by looking for the 4th dot.

jpbluestringjpbluestring replied

That lesson really hit home for me. Thank you Randall

eunnyboyeunnyboy replied

SUS doesn't mean sustained... it means suspended. Other instructors on Jamplay have reinforced this.

frodo1mfrodo1m replied

thanx for that short dissertation on the "nashville numbering system" I have always dreaded transposing into another key, mostly by ear. Now I just number the chords find another positon on the fret board and "Have at it"

jj90jj90 replied

Hey Randall, when I didn't have the money to join Jamplay your lesson 1 on Music Theory was a free lesson which I really liked and boosted my knowledge. Now with this lesson I learned a whole lot more about how chords are build up and how to name them. Really useful, because the theory behind a chord in my opinion is more useful rather than learning all possible chords in the guitar. Why not make up your own. Anyway, just a big thanks for your lessons, I love them!

hakea333hakea333 replied

Throughly enjoying your lessons Randall. But I think you'll find that "sus" stands for 'suspended' not 'sustained'. Means much the same though. :)

playaxemanplayaxeman replied

Very nice and easy stuff

dallendouglasdallendouglas replied

Randall I just don't get the "Voiceing" and how you make the Chord chnges when moving the Capo. I think just about everyone get it except me! So you move the Capo up two frets and play (Let's say an E) but you want to chnge the Voiceing how do you know what new chord to use. Probably a simple explanation,but I don't get i??

robabrobab replied

Question? On minor chord progression, 1st minor, 2nd diminished (minor), 3rd major, 4th minor, 5th minor, 6th major and 7th major?

robabrobab replied

Keep the theory coming!!

GlenBGlenB replied

Very good! Thank you so much for sharing.

rttechrttech replied

Outstanding, I have been working on the basics of Music theory for many years. The best approach i have seen yet. More coming? I have gone through the rest of your lessons as well all of them are great! Thank you.

Randall.WilliamsRandall.Williams replied

R, just taped a whole bunch more today!

j clinej cline replied

Really good stuff. These lessons helped me fill in a few blanks. It's always good to hear others' perspective, and your approach is really well thought out and makes theory more easily understood.

Randall.WilliamsRandall.Williams replied

:) R

bagoliesbagolies replied

Thanks Randall great lesson

chasemayerchasemayer replied

Your pretty much the only guy I watch on here anymore, we need a lesson on those "fake solos" your talking about. I know I'd appreciate it. Keep up the video's though, good stuff.

tammy7689tammy7689 replied

great lessons randall...easy to understand and have fun too......are there going to be anymore theory lessons coming?

mritalian55mritalian55 replied

Great job of theory and practical use. Keep up the great work.

Randall.WilliamsRandall.Williams replied

Thanks everybody - helpful to hear. I'm going to try and publish a new book on this stuff soon - reeeeeeally easy to apply reading and theory.

graphitegalgraphitegal replied

A tedious and difficult to understand for beginners made relatively easy....and your teaching / playing style is great. More please !!

nthan85nthan85 replied

Wow these two music theory lessons really helped me understand what i've been doing on the guitar. I like your teaching style!

blueguitar420blueguitar420 replied

opened my eyes randall !

Randall.WilliamsRandall.Williams replied

PeterPAul, good call on layering tracks - the high capo thing also works like a high strung guitar. Anybody who wants more of something, post it here, I'll make sure and record more when I'm out in Colorado next. Thanks for all the feedback!

tobysmithtantobysmithtan replied

These lessons are great and I love the way he teaches. I hope he'll do a whole genre series. More please.

bamabama replied

very good lesson,keep them coming

dagchristiandagchristian replied

So funky right hand strumming :D Cool, looking forward for more lessons! Entertaining lessons!

peterpaulpeterpaul replied

Randall great lesson, some of these teachings can also be great for layering tracks on recordings. Your lessons are not only educational but entertaining as well. Keep up the good work. Looking forward to more Thanks!

espnvagineespnvagine replied

I'm lovin these.... keep em coming

aquariartyaquariarty replied

Put across so well Randall, really interesting and encouraging.

stefano ottolinistefano ottolini replied

Finally an easy and funny way to learn and most of all...understand. Great!!!

buffy136buffy136 replied

so much more fun when we understand what we are doing..hope to see more lessons from you..THANKS Mr.Williams

stratmusicstratmusic replied

Another great lesson Randall. Thanks!!!

jaybirdjaybird replied

Now I see!!! thanks

jboothjbooth replied

Oh darnit, I left the "infobar" on scene 1 blank. I'll have that fixed tomorrow morning... DOH

mkorsmomkorsmo replied


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.

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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 126 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 Yes, I said the words, ""enjoy learning."" It is by far the best deal for the money.

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