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Circle of Fifths (Guitar Lesson)

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Steve Eulberg

Circle of Fifths

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

Taught by Steve Eulberg in Basic Guitar with Steve Eulberg seriesLength: 15:30Difficulty: 2.5 of 5
Chapter 1: (00:37) Lesson Introduction Steve kicks off this lesson with a performance of "Five Foot Two, Eyes of Blue." The chord progression in this song features a "circle of fifths" chord progression. In this lesson, Steve explains the important features of the circle of fifths. He also demonstrates how the circle can be used to build chord progressions such as the one featured in "Five Foot Two, Eyes of Blue."
Chapter 2: (06:56) Circle of Fifths Note: Some of the following information is taken from lesson 6 of Matt Brown's Phase 2 Jazz series.

The circle of fifths strongly resembles a clock. Similar to how the face of a clock has 12 numbers on it, the circle of fifths has 12 keys. At 12 o' clock, the key of C major is listed. When writing out sheet music, every song is written with a key signature. A key signature indicates what key the song is in by listing what notes are sharp or flat within that key.

Note: Open the "Supplemental Content" tab for a diagram of the circle of fifths, the order of sharps, and the order of flats.

A. Features of the Circle

1. The Title

The circle of fifths is frequently referred to as the circle of fourths or cycle of fourths. These various titles all refer to the same diagram. The reasoning behind the two different titles is explained later in the lesson.

2. Order of Flats

At the beginning of any guitar sheet music, you will notice three features. The first symbol written on the staff is the treble clef sign. The treble clef is frequently referred to as the "G clef." This is because the circular bottom portion of the symbol indicates where the note G occurs on the staff. Guitar music is always written in treble clef. The only exception occurs when a walking bass line is arranged for 7-string guitar. There are other clef symbols. For example, bass instruments are written in bass clef. Alto clef is another common clef. The key signature follows the appropriate clef symbol. This indicates the key that the piece is in. A key signature is comprised of either sharps or flats. The key of C is the only exception. It contains no sharps or flats.

When a key signature containing one or more flats is written out, the flats always appear in the same order. This is known as the "order of flats." A flat is written on the staff to indicate that a certain note is to be flatted throughout the course of the piece. The flats follow this order: Bb, Eb, Ab, Db, Gb, Cb, Fb. It is very important that you memorize the order of flats. Develop some sort of pneumonic device to help you.

Now, take a look at the actual circle. The circle of fifths is laid out in a manner similar to that of a clock. The key of C major is always written at the top in the 12 o’clock position. This is because the key signature for C major contains no sharps or flats. If you move one section to the left of the circle (11 o’clock position), one flat is added to the key signature. This particular key signature denotes the key of F.

The note F is a perfect fourth above C. If you move around the circle in a counterclockwise motion, each subsequent key is a perfect fourth above the last. This is why this diagram is often referred to as the "circle of fourths." If you start at C and move around the circle in a clockwise motion, each subsequent key is a perfect fifth above the previous key. When moving around the diagram in this direction, you are moving in a circle of fifths.

From the order of flats, we know that the first flat is Bb. So, in the key of F, the note B is flatted. As a result, here is how an F major scale is spelled: F, G, A, Bb, C, D, E, F.

If we move one space counterclockwise from F, we reach the key of Bb Major. Notice how one additional flat is added to the key signature. The second flat in the order of flats is Eb. Thus, the key of Bb Major contains two flats-Bb and Eb. Here is the spelling of a Bb Major scale: Bb, C, D, Eb, F, G, A, Bb. As we continue to move around the circle in this direction, one flat is added to the key signature each time.

3. Order of Sharps

Return to the key of C at the top of the circle. This time we will move around the circle in a clockwise direction. Each time we move one space, one sharp is added to the key signature. For example, the first key after C is the key of G. The key of G contains one sharp. The sharps are always written in the following order: F#, C#, G#, D#, A#, E#, B#. "Fat cats get drunk at every bar" is an excellent pneumonic device that will help you remember the order of sharps.

Since G contains only one sharp, this sharp is F#. As a result, the key of G is spelled as follows: G, A, B, C, D, E, F#, G. If we move counterclockwise one space (up another perfect fifth interval) we reach the key of D. The key of D contains two sharps-F# and C#.

B. Learning New Repertoire

Every time you learn a new song or piece, first determine what key it is in. Use the circle of fifths as a reference guide to determine the key center. There are a few tricks to learn that will enable you to recognize the key without looking at the circle of fifths.

1. Trick for Flat Keys

Loot at the second to last flat written in the key signature. This flat names the key. For example, look at a key signature containing three flats (Bb, Eb, and Ab). The second to last flat written is Eb. Thus, the name of this key is Eb major.

2. Trick for Sharp Keys

Look at the very last sharp written. The note a half step above the last sharp names the key. For example, look at a key signature that contains five sharps (F#, C#, G#, D#, A#). A half step above A# is B. Thus, this key is named B major.

Look at a key signature containing three sharps (F#, C#, G#). A half step above G# is the note A. As a result, this key is labeled A major.

C. Enharmonic Keys

Some keys on the circle can be written two different ways. Keys that sound the same but are written differently are referred to as "enharmonic keys." For example, the key of B can also be written as the key of Cb major. Cb contains 7 flats. It is much easier to sight read a piece that contains 5 sharps in the key signature rather than 7 flats. For this reason, this key is typically written as B major with 5 sharps.

The pitches B and Cb sound exactly the same. They are simply written differently in a musical score. Other examples of enharmonic keys are Db/C# and Gb/F#. Since the key of Gb contains the same number of accidentals as F#, these two keys are equally common. In a jazz context however, this key is typically written as Gb.

Circle of Fifths Progressions

The chord progression in this song features the following changes: C, E7, A7, D7, G, C. This type of progression is referred to as a "circle of fifths progression." It begins with tonic chord in the key of C major. Then, the progression jumps to E7, a chromatic chord that is not diatonic to the key of C. E7 is the V7 chord in the key of A major. E7 typically resolves to some sort of A chord. In this case, it resolves to A7. A7 is the dominant chord in the key of D major. Consequently, this chord resolves to a D chord - D7. D7 is the dominant chord in the key of G. The chords continue to resolve in this manner until the home chord of C is reached.
Chapter 3: (07:26) Minor and Major Relation For every major key, there is a corresponding "relative" minor key that shares the same key signature. The relative minor scale of the major scale is referred to as the "Natural Minor" scale. This scale is built off of the sixth scale degree of the relative major scale. It is a very common compositional technique to switch from a major key to its relative minor in the course of a piece.

To start, let's examine the C major scale: C, D, E, F, G, A, B, C. As you can see, the sixth note in the scale is A. If we start and end the C major scale on this note, the A natural minor scale is formed. This scale is spelled as follows: A, B, C, D, E, F, G, A.

Look at the key of Bb. The Bb major scale is spelled as follows: Bb, C, D, Eb, F, G, A, Bb. The sixth note in this scale is G. Thus, G is the relative minor to Bb. This scale is spelled as follows: G, A, Bb, C, D, Eb, F, G.

Notice how the relative minor and major chords share two of the same notes. Listen at 01:48 as Steve compares the sound of the C and Am chords. In any major key, the relative minor chord is the most commonly used chord in progressions. You have already walked down from the I chord to the vi chord within several progressions that Steve has demonstrated in past lessons.

The I, IV, and V chords and their corresponding relative minors are the chords that are used most often in chord progressions in major keys. Besides the vi minor chord, the ii chord is the minor chord that is used most frequently.

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.

stratpaulstratpaul replied

Steve, I've also read a description of something called "stacking of thirds." This seems like a different way of looking at your "circle of fifths." Is it?

prakhar5prakhar5 replied

I am from india and i am broken in american will you be able to write hindi translation in below will be highly should be good for indians and then they learn a lot from this site...because there is no official site of guitar is in india like as awesome jamplay...thats why....please reply with positive answer

musicbydavidmusicbydavid replied

This is the best this has EVER been explained. Woot Woot

electricfeelelectricfeel replied

He explained this WAY too fast :( I am more confused now. And I would much prefer any recommended material to be readily available in the supplemental content section. I pay for jamplay so I can learn everything from the website, when I'm sitting at home practicing I'm not just going to go drive off looking for some extra book or wait for it to come from amazon. That doesn't help me at all right now. Any extra materials should be provided in the supplemental content section. But thank you for trying

davidlw66davidlw66 replied


genreconfusedgenreconfused replied

Tough lesson guys and gals. Some people have asked what the purpose is in knowing the 5th of a chord (or, what's the significance of G being the 5th of C; why do we need to know that?). Here's my 2 cents. We need to know chord progressions in order to play a song. For example, if we start a song in, say, the key of C, how do we find (know) the next note? Well, perhaps we know that the next note will often be the 4th (F, in my example), but I believe that what the Circle of Fifths is about, and what Steve is trying to explain, is that the 5th cord is the last cord (or, what he called the "Dominant") we play before returning, or resolving, to our 1 cord (or, Root note). Hope that helps.

sponservsponserv replied

Steve I love your lessons but I have to say I watched Eve Goldbergs two part lesson on theory and the circle of fifths today and felt great about understanding it. Now I watch yours and I am confused as heck.

moonny44moonny44 replied

Hi Steve I caught bits and peaces of this lesson,and not sure what is with all the theory? I realize some of if is necessary,but if you were learning some songs to play along the way I think it would it would help to keep your interest.

SodaPopSodaPop replied

Like it

SodaPopSodaPop replied

Like it

haqzafhaqzaf replied

Hi, Steve Just, I noticed in supplemental section, Under Chords, the chord shape name is showing D7. It is actually a C7 chord. Please advice some one to correct the heading.Not yet watched your lesson.Wil comment after watching the lesson.

sergiomclealsergiomcleal replied

No, it's right... it's a D7 because start on the 3th fret as indicated

joergen98joergen98 replied

It can easily be remembered by this phrase. Father Charles Goes Down And Ends Battle I learned that from my music teacher.

joergen98joergen98 replied

The "I" isn't part of the phrase. Father Charles Goes Down And Ends Battle. I think it was for treble clef. For bass I think it's reverse. Battle Ends And Down Goes Charles Father.

dhyanashadhyanasha replied

Hi Steve, thanks for great information. I don`t know much music theory and had to see this twice and pause a few times, to get it. I wrote down the scales for the major keys, and that helped me see, that the fifths in the circle really are the fifths. Thanks, I`m looking foreward to finding chords to songs and improvised melodies easier! Thanks Steve, Shashi

dhyanashadhyanasha replied

Hi Steve, thanks for great information. I don`t know much music theory and had to see this twice and pause a few times, to get it. I wrote down the scales for the major keys, and that helped me see, that the fifths in the circle really are the fifths. Thanks, I`m looking foreward to finding chords to songs and improvised melodies easier! Thanks Steve, Shashi

buehlerbuehler replied

Steve. In one of your lessons you mentioned a good book on music theory. Can you send the name and author of that book?

steveeulbergsteveeulberg replied

The one I recommend is: Edly's Music Theory for Practical People:

fidenciofidencio replied

Hi Steve! I learned a lot from this lesson! Thanks!

fidenciofidencio replied

Hi Steve! I learned a lot from these lesson! Thanks!

flightflight replied

Nice lesson, nice music, nice smile.

jkinney5jkinney5 replied

Although I've enjoyed Steve's lessons until now, I have to say this one was useless to me. He blasts through the material and seems to be assuming knowledge that I don't have from the previous lessons. This cord is a "fifth" of that one? What does that mean? Why does it matter? Why not a fourth, or a third, or a hundred and fifty seventh? What is the overall purpose of this? IMO the previous lessons simply don't lay the foundation for any of it. I think I'll be better off just Googling "circle of fifths".

steveeulbergsteveeulberg replied

Jkinney, I'm sorry this lesson didn't help you, yet. Let me know what you find that is more helpful when you google "Circle of 5ths" maybe that will help me explain it better. But here is an attempt at additional explanation: Each scale has 7 steps. The 5th step of the scale is also the name of the chord which is the 5th of that key. It is dominant and sets up tension to make you want to go home (back to the I chord.) On the circle of fifths, this chord is found one to the right of any other chord. Better?

pauljb07pauljb07 replied

You're previous lessons laid the foundation for understanding this concept just fine. The previous post didn't watch those apparently.

nita petenita pete replied

This really helps Steve. You are such a great teacher. This is a difficult lesson and I need to meditate on it (LOL) but you have made it so much more clear to me. Have never heard much of the things you taught. Thanks.

cumbusdcumbusd replied

Thanks for this great lesson. I'm the type that needs to understand the why of things and this helps me out greatly in understanding which minor chords fit into a key and several other things. An added bonus I've found is that it can help in remembering the notes on the 5th and 6th strings as the adjacent notes on those strings correspond to the notes on the wheel and their 4ths. Really brings things around full circle. Thanks!

jackson399jackson399 replied

hey can someone tell me what section i can get a clear explanation of the handy dandy chord finder?

toddwvtoddwv replied

Chapter 4 Lesson 4: The 1,4,5 pattern.

yellowkidyellowkid replied

Same question, I went back for a review and can't find it!!

jackson399jackson399 replied

hey can someone tell me what section i can get a clear explanation of the handy dandy chord finder? i just need a video tag of the section and time i can find it on.

billheiblbillheibl replied

So Steve, I saw this question earlier and I have it as well. What is significant about the 5th chord?

steveeulbergsteveeulberg replied

The 5th (or V) chord is called the Dominant chord because it pushes you back home or to the (I) chord. That is its superpower.

vh_wba89vh_wba89 replied

Fifth bottles, lol

jhenriksenjhenriksen replied

Steve, up until lesson 16, everything has been explained clearly and easy to understand. The lesson on the "Circle of Fifths" left me scratching my head. What is so significant about the fifth chord in a scale? Why not the "Circle of Thirds" or the "Circle of Sixths" ? I know from looking at the Circle that G is the 5th Chord in the C scale but why is that important? D is the second, E is the third, F is the fourth, etc. so why do we have the "Circle of Fifths"? How do I use that infomation? What am I missing?

jhenriksenjhenriksen replied

I just found a great site with a clear explanation of the Circle of Fifths. Take a look:

jkinney5jkinney5 replied

Thank you. This is a MUCH better explanation.

briangunter09briangunter09 replied

I really liked the lesson, i already knew all of it because i'm currently taking a music theory class in school and the circle of fifths is the basis for everything in there lol but he explained it well :D

blewcroweblewcrowe replied

I'm still a bit fuzzy on it. I'll have to watch it again.

mazzystarlettemazzystarlette replied

Great lesson. I will have to watch it again a few times to make sense of it all. thanks again

rockinrollduderockinrolldude replied

Hey steve, what is the reason that some of the notes have sharps and flats on them??? I dont understand how you are able to tell which notes have Flats/Sharps on them. please help!

demongracedemongrace replied

hello .. steve .. in addition I didn't understand ... why you were considering the 4th note as a flat .. and the 5th note as a sharp... please further explain..

demongracedemongrace replied

hello steve.. I was having some confusion... I studied earlier note 'b' and 'e' do not have a sharp note on them ... how come in the circle of fifths they do??

buffy136buffy136 replied

thanks Steve this is going to help me out a hole lot..I'am going to put it in practice right now..made myself a diagram with everything you said (including a hand with 6 fingers lo.) made you repeat about 6 times to make sure I understood

cehodgincehodgin replied

Hi Steve - I love your classes. I even made it through the Circle of Fifths but then didn't get the reward with the Five Foot Two Song lesson. I have found that you mention some things that I don't then see - am I missing a part of the website or something? Thanks, Charlene

kevinacekevinace replied

Steve is referring to a song he's taught in phase 3 of the site. Go back to the main members page and then click "phase 3" on the left. This is where you can learn to play songs.

nessanessa replied

Yep! And here is the direct link for anyone who is curious. Great accompaniment for this particular lesson:

shiroshiro replied

i have been having trouble all day with getting the videos to load...any suggestions? I'm using safari for mac, and it has been working up to now, but all of a sudeen the videos don't load...

toe2323toe2323 replied

Hi Steve, Who is the author of the book you mentioned "Zen Guitar"? Going to order this and the Edlys book, but was not shure which Zen Guitar book it was on Amazon since there was a few options. Thanks! Todd

kittymelmel14kittymelmel14 replied

Oh my gosh! This lesson made so many things about intervals that I've been dealing with make sense! I have to do a lot of transposing and everything you taught about this has helped me sooo much! =D It all makes sense now! Thank you so much! ^-^

ZerimarZerimar replied

Hi Steve, I have pretty much completed all of your beginning lessons. You have taught me more than I could have ever hoped for. I can actually tell people that I can play the guitar. When asked to play something, I play one of the many chord progessions I have written, and am told that I sound pretty good. I have practiced countless hours, and it is all paying off. Your guidance has been the key to my rapid improvement. You have given me great structure, and exercises to improve my skills. Thanks so much. Now a question: I am now starting to play the electric guitar as I keep playing the acoustic. To me, these are two very different instruments. Any guidance on what I need to be aware of in relation to practicing, exercises, etc. I have taken a lot of Brad's electric guitar lessons, and have enjoyed those as well. Any guidance you can give me on how to efficiently improve playing both guitars would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

steveeulbergsteveeulberg replied

Hi ErzMusic, Brad has great electric lessons so you won't go wrong there! Being accurate in finger-placement and clear about your intent with both kinds of guitar will help you. You're right there are many elements about electric guitar which change how you play...but the cross over between the two can be very creative also. For example, what if you strum continuously like acoustic while playing electric, or what if you play more sparingly on acoustic like you can on electric? Who might create a whole new genre by crossing back and forth! Steve

floorshakerfloorshaker replied

Hi Steve. Well it took Lesson 16 to do it, but my brain finally went into overload! Adding a sharp going one way, adding a flat going the other? Double flats? Aaaaarrrggghh. Still, I will just keep on going over this lesson from time to time until I get a `A-Ha' moment. I'm sure it will come. Strangely I am not down about this because I suddently realised not how little I understood about music but how much I had learned since I started lessons with you. If I had watched this lesson the first week I wouldn't have understood any of it, so that made me feel really good. Finally, will you be patenting the `Handy Dandy Chord Finder' Steve? lol Best wishes. Chris

steveeulbergsteveeulberg replied

Hi floorshaker, glad to see you're sticking with it...the reward is definitely worth it! And, let's see....patenting the handy-dandy chord finder...that IS a thought, isn't it? Cheers, Steve

hieu nguyenhieu nguyen replied

Hi Steve, thanks for the great lesson! I still have a question regarding the key of F:the rule I IV V says I should use F, B, C. However, Circle of fifths seems to say that I should play F, Bb, C, doesn't it? Could you explain this please?. Hieu

dash rendardash rendar replied

F major = F G A Bb C D E F So, I IV V gives you F Bb C. So the circle is right.

hieu nguyenhieu nguyen replied

Thank you very much!

steveeulbergsteveeulberg replied

Thanks for the feedback, Larry! I'm glad that this lesson helps some things you've been studying for a long time sink in! Have you blogged or journalled about your amazing bicycle trip? I'll love to read! Steve

larryjfrlarryjfr replied

Jam Play ... I've been away during the summer (riding my bicycle across America) it was an amazing trip from Oregon to New Hampshire, however not much time for guitar playing. The "Circle of Fifths" is an amazing lesson ... and Steve E ... did a great job on explaining it in simple terms. (Also thanks for the referral to "Edly Music Theory For Practical People" ... that should help me explain and teach it to my grandchildren, eh? With Steve's help ... I'm starting to make some "sense" of it! Especially the "virtual circle" he drew on his white board among the Circle of 5ths ... which helped me understand the "6 most common chords" including the IV-I-V example of them showing the Subdominant, Tonic, & Dominant chords, together with their relative minors ... e.g. Subdominant-IV(F), Tonic-I(C), Dominant-V(G) coupled with their relative minors: Subdominant-IV(D), Tonic-I(A), Dominant-V(E) I especially liked his review of the "shortcut" showing how to count them on your hand ... 1,4, 5. OK, OK ... enough of that ... Thanks, Steve for all your help. Larry F.

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.

The Absolute BasicsLesson 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
Your First ChordsLesson 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
Strumming TechniqueLesson 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
All About ChordsLesson 4

All About Chords

This lesson is all about the various aspects of chords.

Length: 39:00 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Chord TheoryLesson 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
Intro to FingerpickingLesson 6

Intro to Fingerpicking

Steve Eulberg introduces you to the wonderful world of fingerpicking.

Length: 51:00 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Bringing it TogetherLesson 7

Bringing it Together

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

Length: 47:00 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Chords, Keys and RelationshipsLesson 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
Barre ChordsLesson 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
Tools for GuitarLesson 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
Playing Lead and ScalesLesson 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
Hand StretchesLesson 12

Hand Stretches

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

Length: 8:12 Difficulty: 0.5 Members Only
Different GuitarsLesson 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
Changing Guitar StringsLesson 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
Timing and TempoLesson 15

Timing and Tempo

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

Length: 29:00 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Circle of FifthsLesson 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
Clearing Up ConfusionLesson 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
Review and Moving OnLesson 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
Completing LessonsLesson 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
Steve Eulberg

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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Trace Bundy Trace Bundy

Trace Bundy talks about the different ways you can use multiple capos to enhance your playing.

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Dave Yauk Dave Yauk

Learn a simple mini song that illustrates just how intertwined scales and chords really are. Dave uses a G chord paired...

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Erik Mongrain Erik Mongrain

Erik expounds on the many possibilities of open tunings and the new harmonics that you can use in them. He explains what...

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Tyler Grant Tyler Grant

Tyler Grant is back with an introduction to his new series "Classic Country Chops." In this series, Tyler goes in-depth...

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Mitch Reed Mitch Reed

Mitch teaches his interpretation of the classic "Cannonball Rag." This song provides beginning and intermediate guitarists...

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Peter Einhorn Peter Einhorn

JamPlay is proud to introduce jazz guitarist Peter Einhorn. In this lesson series, Peter will discuss and demonstrate a way...

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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.

David Davidson David Davidson

JamPlay interviews Revocation's Dave Davidson.

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Steve McKinley Steve McKinley

Steve McKinley talks about evaluating your bass and keeping it in top shape. He covers neck relief, adjusting the truss rod,...

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Dennis Hodges Dennis Hodges

Learn a variety of essential techniques commonly used in the metal genre, including palm muting, string slides, and chord...

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Tony MacAlpine Tony MacAlpine

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Nick Kellie Nick Kellie

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

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Andy Wood Andy Wood

So how does Andy Wood pick so quickly and with such precision? Level up your speed and accuracy with Andy's near-flawless...

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John Shannon John Shannon

Meet John Shannon and his approach to rhythm guitar. John discusses why he put this lesson series together and what his...

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Emil Werstler Emil Werstler

Emil takes you through some techniques that he uses frequently in his style of playing. Topics include neck bending, percussive...

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Mark Lettieri Mark Lettieri

We're still working in the double track universe in lesson 22. In this lesson Mark discusses taking a large chord and breaking...

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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

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

Chord Library

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

Scale Library

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

Custom Chord Sheets

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

Backing Tracks

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

Interactive Games

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

Beginners Welcome.. and Up

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

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

Price Per Lesson < $0.01 $4 - $5 $30 - $50 Free
Money Back Guarantee Sometimes n/a
Number of Instructors 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
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Mike H.

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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


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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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