Tools for Guitar (Guitar Lesson)

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Steve Eulberg

Tools for Guitar

Steve explains how basic tools such as the metronome, capo, and picks aid your guitar playing. Enjoy!

Taught by Steve Eulberg in Basic Guitar with Steve Eulberg seriesLength: 27:12Difficulty: 1.0 of 5
Chapter 1: (0:52) Introduction Back for some more Eulberg action, eh? Good for you! You should be proud that you’ve come this far. Most people would have given up quite a while ago. By now you should be able to play some pretty decent music! Grab your guitar, warm up, and prepare for Steve Eulberg’s 10th lesson!
Chapter 2: (8:11) Metronome In this lesson we’re going to take a look at three different tools commonly used by guitar players: metronome, capo, and finger picks.

This device is used to keep track of time and rhythm. A high quality, electronic metronome typically costs only about $20 in a store. It is a great tool that you can use to make sure you are staying in a decent rhythm. Some players will think they are playing well and come to realize they’re speeding up & slowing down between certain parts of their song. The metronome is not a very forgiving device. If your timing is off, it will certainly let you know it.

You can control many elements on a metronome. You can control the tempo which is the beats per minute. If you have the tempo set to 80, then there will be 80 beats per minute. You can also control the timing. Not everything is in 4:4 time. You can change to 3:4 time for instance. Instead of 4 beats per measure, there will be 3 beats per measure.

Timing During Songs
A common mistake for beginners learning a song is that they will change their tempo based on their comfort level for that part of the song. You may be able to play the chorus perfectly but struggle when it comes to a different part of the song. Most people will tend to play the chorus fast & then slow down for the other part that is more challenging. For onlookers, it is quite obvious that you butchered that part of the song. We recommend slowing down the entire song (even the part you can play fast) so that your timing is consistent throughout. The “fast part” played slow may not feel as impressive, but at least the whole song will keep proper timing, ultimately sounding better.
Chapter 3: (8:43) Using a CAPO Another great tool for guitar players is a capo. This device clamps on to the neck of your guitar and holds a certain fret of strings down. Essentially you are moving the nut towards the bridge of your guitar.

This device allows you to easily change the key that you’re playing in. Perhaps the chords you are playing on the default configuration are a bit too low for the person singing the song. You can simply slide the capo on a higher fret and move your song to a different key. Pretty cool, huh?

You might think “Hmm this could be the solution to my inability to play barre chords”. Unfortunately, the capo does not slide around like your finger does with barre chords. This will not work as a substitute. It looks like you’re going to be stuck practicing & mastering barre chords all on your own, muhaha!

As far as moving the capo around to change keys is concerned, it’s not quite as easy as just moving it & playing the same chords. Let’s assume you put the capo on the 5th fret. The “G” you are playing really isn’t a “G” anymore. You are now playing in the key of “C”. How this effects your playing is a bet more advanced. This will be covered in another lesson all together.
Chapter 4: (8:56) Finger Picks The last type of tool we’ll take a look at is finger picks. There’s not a ton to explain here. The concept is very simple. These pieces will go over your finger tips to create a harsher picking action. Instead of the soft pads of your fingers plucking the strings, you’ll have the metal of the finger picks striking the strings. This will create a much more abrupt sound.

Beyond the traditional style of finger picks, Steve highly recommends “Alaska Picks”. These types fit over your nail & basically create an extension of your nail. These allow your fingers to feel the strings more so than the traditional picks that cover the pad of your fingers. By feeling the strings, you are able to have more control over your picking. Try out some finger picks at your local music store & see if you think they’re something for you. Until next time, keep on Jammin`!

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.

guloguloguyguloguloguy replied on October 21st, 2014

Note: when using a Capo, One must fine-tune the guitar after installing the Capo, because it will slightly alter(increase) the string tension, and so, the guitar will go slightly out of tune. [I bought one of the "SNARK" tuners, and it works pretty good!] Thanks Steve!!! For All Your Great lessons!!! You have a very patient, easy going style! = I hope you'll have some more advanced lessons awaiting too! ... [I'm eager to learn more about the various ways to use Scales, Modes, Chord progressions, various fingerpicking techniques, , etc., etc.!]...

bluedekabluedeka replied on January 4th, 2015

guloguloguy, you are exactly right. Your guitar will be pretty consistent with the adjustments needed, so if you practice putting your capo on and fine adjusting the tuning, you can do it much quicker in a live group setting since you'll know which string(s) will need the adjustments.

BarsymesBarsymes replied on December 4th, 2012

For those of you on a budget, but have a smart phone. Plenty of free metronome and guitar tuning apps!! Use these both all the time and don't have to carry extra gear around.

kryaxis1kryaxis1 replied on August 27th, 2011

Just got my Alaska piks yesterday, they're awesome!

ferhispanoferhispano replied on July 11th, 2011

Worth it, even in the simple things

aredshawaredshaw replied on June 15th, 2011

That music you played to end the last part of the lesson was beautiful. I played it over and over and learned most of it. Is that a known song or did you make it up?

perry2perry2 replied on September 30th, 2010

Capos are great tools, but check your guitar neck for damage when using a new one. A smooth neck is a happy neck. Some capos concentrate the pressure in one place and put a dent in the back of the neck. Others have weird chemistry in the foam or plastic that can attack the finish. Most of the bad capos are no longer on the market. So far, my G7th capo has behaved itself.

metropolis2kmetropolis2k replied on September 26th, 2010

I will have to pay my local music store a visit and get a tuner, metronome, fingerpicks. Already have the capo. Thanks for the very interesting lesson, Steve.

tifosotifoso replied on August 29th, 2010

Of no real importance but Steve mentions that the version of Silent Night he has puts it in Bb. A great number of pop songs, "standards", etc. are arranged for dance band or orchestra. When so arranged, the most common keys are F (one flat in the scale) and Bb (two flats) because those are the "open tuning" keys of most woodwind and brass instruments. For example, there are clarinets and French horns in Bb and F (high tuning). Guitars in ordinary tuning are in E in open tuning. We can change the open key with a capo. Most wind instruments can change slightly by lengthening the tubing. Oboes are stuck with whatever ill wind they blow (which is why the entire orchestra tunes to A on the oboe.) Now, if Alex Trebek asks, you know.

cjd playercjd player replied on July 21st, 2010

Steve, the Italian names for the different tempos are printed right on the front of your metronome.

sebololosebololo replied on March 28th, 2010

Steve!!! You're a God! I have never used capo before and don't ask me why:D and this is great and so simple. I'm able to play and sing all my favourite songs now. Before I was struggling with most of them because of my voice intonation:D Thanks Steve HEAPS!

mazzystarlettemazzystarlette replied on December 13th, 2009

Another great lesson. It is good to know that I am not the only person who first tried my fingerpicks backwards LOL.

mallorcajimmallorcajim replied on December 27th, 2009

I did that too. I kept hooking the strings. I declared the finger picks "useless" and threw them away. Now I'm felling pretty silly!

thatgatorguythatgatorguy replied on September 7th, 2009

Steve, I've always been confused about the capo. As you said you can use the capo up and down the fret boadr depending on how low/high your voice is, and still use the same cords. But, you also said that as you move up the fret board a "G" sounds like an "A". That's what confuses me. I'm looking at the song book Road Tesred by Bonnie Ratt and the song "Louise" tells you to capo at the 2nd fret and play the song in "G". It sounds better to me (with my voice) not to use a capo. When I look the song up on the internet it's always in "C" or "E". I just don't get it. Hugh

lespaul305lespaul305 replied on May 31st, 2009

i never knew what capo was... seems really cool, thanks Steve

petermcgpetermcg replied on January 25th, 2009

Where is the video capture for this lesson? i.e. his chart showing capo effects.

millaTKmillaTK replied on August 20th, 2007

Yes, I've seen that you use alaskapik in your video... the only problem is that I've never seen them in any store here in my hometown... but I've never asked for them, so it could be that they're not displayed... I'm going to check in the next few days... or else I'll buy online from the US! finger nails is not an option for me, because I also play the piano (luckily, much better the piano than the guitar... or I'd have wasted the past 24 years of my musical life...) Btw.... I'm soooooo happy! In the past, I had never praticed scales on the guitar... I had just been playing what I wanted to learn... but, as a piano player, I know that if you want to improve you *have* to do technical exercises... so, since I'm taking this more seriously, now I play the harmonic, the first position pentatonic and the blues scale many, many, many times a day... ane YESSSS!!!! It is showing!!! This morning (I'm so addicted that I play scales after breakfast, just before going to work) they really came out smoother!!! :cool: thank you thank you thank you!!!! ;) millaTK

toe2323toe2323 replied on January 21st, 2009

I am getting a "video stream not found" notice when I try to take this lesson. Will this be up and going again soon? Thanks

jboothjbooth replied on August 28th, 2007

Milla, I do the same thing :) Based on Steve's advice, I'll practice the scales up and down the neck over and over and over, and I'm definitely noticing my dexterity and speed increasing.

steveeulbergsteveeulberg replied on August 19th, 2007

Thanks for the feedback millaTK, the "traditional" metal fingerpicks always messed me up because I couldn't feel where I was on the strings--these days some include a little hole so you can "feel" the string through it. I still prefer Alaskapics™ because it feels more natural, my finger strokes the string and the "extension" of my nail gets the clarity. Real nails would be best, but probably won't ever happen for me. Cheers! Steve

millaTKmillaTK replied on August 14th, 2007

ok, now I have to find them... they looked so useless that I had given them to my cat for playing... I have to find the secret place where she puts all of the picks that disappear...

millaTKmillaTK replied on August 14th, 2007

gee!!!! the piiiiiicks!!!! I wore them upside down... that's why I couldn't play with them!!!! :D thank you Steve!!!!! Your lessons are always worth watching!!! millaTK

Basic Guitar with Steve Eulberg

Found in our Beginner Lesson Sets

Phase 1 Acoustic Lessons with Steve Eulberg is a great place to begin your journey as a guitarist. With over 30 years of playing experience, Steve appreciates the importance of beginning your guitar training the correct way - no bad habits! These lessons are not just for acoustic players. Electric guitarists will receive the same benefits from this lesson series.

Lesson 1

The Absolute Basics

You will learn the parts of the guitar and how they function. Steve also discusses the importance of technique.

Length: 45:09 Difficulty: 0.5 Members Only
Lesson 2

Your First Chords

Three simple chords will literally enable you to play millions of songs. In this lesson, you will learn the primary chords for the key of G.

Length: 40:00 Difficulty: 1.0 Members Only
Lesson 3

Strumming Technique

Now that Steve has taught some chords, he will go over the proper methods of strumming and right hand technique.

Length: 42:00 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 4

All About Chords

This lesson is all about the various aspects of chords.

Length: 39:00 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 5

Chord Theory

Steve explains how basic triads are formed in this lesson. He also explains the relationship between scales and chords.

Length: 40:12 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 6

Intro to Fingerpicking

Steve Eulberg introduces you to the wonderful world of fingerpicking.

Length: 51:00 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 7

Bringing it Together

Steve starts to weave the strings of the past lessons together.

Length: 47:00 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 8

Chords, Keys and Relationships

This episode delves further in the realm of chords, scales, keys and the relationships between them. You will also learn some new chords.

Length: 34:25 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 9

Barre Chords

This lesson covers power chords and barre chords. You will learn how these chords are formed and how to apply them.

Length: 38:24 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 10

Tools for Guitar

Steve explains how basic tools such as the metronome, capo, and picks aid your guitar playing. Enjoy!

Length: 27:12 Difficulty: 1.0 Members Only
Lesson 11

Playing Lead and Scales

This lesson gets you into the basics of playing melodies on the guitar. Playing melodies and solos is often referred to as "lead guitar."

Length: 45:00 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 12

Hand Stretches

Steve demonstrates some great stretches for the hands, wrists and upper arms.

Length: 8:12 Difficulty: 0.5 Members Only
Lesson 13

Different Guitars

Steve discusses the difference between the steel string acoustic, classical, and 12 string guitars.

Length: 12:00 Difficulty: 0.5 Members Only
Lesson 14

Changing Guitar Strings

This lesson is all about changing guitar strings. This process can be very frustrating, but it doesn't have to be. Learn some great tips from Steve.

Length: 37:00 Difficulty: 0.5 Members Only
Lesson 15

Timing and Tempo

Steve Eulberg delves into the wonderful world of rhythm and time signatures.

Length: 29:00 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 16

Circle of Fifths

Steve Eulberg introduces the Circle of Fifths. He demonstrates a song that features a Circle of Fifths progression.

Length: 15:30 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 17

Clearing Up Confusion

In this lesson Steve attempts to clear up some confusion with previous lessons. He will talk about reading tablature, note names, chord names and more.

Length: 15:52 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 18

Review and Moving On

Steve Eulberg does a quick review of this lesson series and talks about moving on.

Length: 12:44 Difficulty: 2.0 FREE
Lesson 19

Completing Lessons

Steve answers the popular question, "When should I move on to the next lesson?" by sharing his personal goals and some important advice.

Length: 6:19 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only

About Steve Eulberg View Full Biography An Award-winning multi-instrumentalist and singer-songwriter, Steve Eulberg weaves mountain and hammered dulcimers with a variety of unusual instruments to create thought-provoking, smile-inducing, toe-tapping acoustic experiences.

He has sung and composed for religious communities, union halls, picket lines, inter-faith retreats, mountain-top youth camps, as well as the more familiar venues: clubs, coffeehouses, bookstores, festivals, charity benefits and showcase concerts.

Born and raised in the German-heritage town of Pemberville, Ohio, Steve was exposed to a variety of music in his home. Early piano lessons were followed by trumpet in school band, and he became self-taught on ukelele and guitar and harmonica. Mandolin was added at Capital University where, while majoring in History, he studied Ear Training, Voice and took Arranging lessons from the Conservatory of Music.

While at college, he first heard hammered and mountain dulcimers, building his first mountain dulcimer just before his final year. Seminary training took him the west side of Denver where he built his first hammered dulcimer. With these instruments, he was able to give voice to the Scottish, English and Irish traditions to which he is also heir.

Following marriage in 1985 to Connie Winter-Eulberg he settled in Kansas City, Missouri. There he worked cross-culturally in a church of African-Americans, Latinos and European Americans, with music being a primary organizing tool. He moved with his family in 1997 to be nestled beside the Rocky Mountains in Fort Coillins, Colorado.

Founder of Owl Mountain Music, Inc. he teaches and performs extensively in Colorado and Wyoming with tours across the US and the UK. He delights in introducing the “sweet music” of dulcimers to people in diverse settings and in addition to his own recordings, has included dulcimers in a variety of session work for other musicians.

In 2000 he was commissioned to create a choral composition featuring dulcimers for the Rainbow Chorus in Fort Collins. It was recorded in the same year (BEGINNINGS). He is currently at work on a commissioned symphony that will feature hammered dulcimer and Australian didjeridu.

Eulberg passionately believes that music crosses cultural and language barriers because music builds community. Influenced by a variety of ethnic styles, his music weaves vital lyric with rap, rock, folk, gospel and blues. Audiences of all ages respond well to his presentation and to his warm sense of humor.

Steve is a member of Local 1000 (AFM), The Folk Alliance, BMI and BWAAG (Better World Artists and Activist's Guild).

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