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Chords, Keys and Relationships (Guitar Lesson)

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Steve Eulberg

Chords, Keys and Relationships

Steve introduces basic suspended, minor 7th, major 7th, and dominant 7th chords in this episode. In addition to learning these chords, you will learn how chords and keys relate. He also explains how various chords are used to accompany a vocal line.

Taught by Steve Eulberg in Basic Guitar with Steve Eulberg seriesLength: 34:25Difficulty: 3.0 of 5
Chapter 1: (1:32) Introduction Grab your equipment, get warmed up, and get ready to Jam in Steve Eulberg's 8th lesson!
Chapter 2: (9:44) Lesson Review, E Chord, Key of A First let's go over the major chords in the key of "G": "G", "C", and "D". In the key of "D" we have the "D", "G", and "A" major chords (remember the trick with your fingers?).

We also learned the different "A" shapes in the previous lesson: "A", "A Minor", "A7", "A Major 7", "A Minor 7", and the "Asus2". In order to play in the key of "A" we're going to need to add a chord: "E".

Learning the "E" Chord
Let's start with an "A Minor" chord. Simply pick up all three fingers and move them towards the top of the neck (down in pitch, higher on the neck). That's it - you now have the "E Major" chord. Here's how it should look:
  • "E" string, open
  • "A" string, 2nd fret
  • "D" string, 2nd fret
  • "G" string, 1st fret
  • "B" string, open
  • "e" string, open
With this chord, you are able to play all six strings.

Playing in the key of "A"
To play in the key of "A", you need three major chords: "A" ("I" chord), "D" ("IV" chord), and "E" ("V" chord). You now know them all!

Instead of playing in the one, four, five pattern ("I" chord then "IV" chord, then "V" chord) let's experiment with a one, five, four pattern. Moving around between these three chords will definitely help you work on your picking technique. For each chord, you are playing a different set of strings:
  • “E” chord – All 6 strings
  • ”A” chord – 5 strings
  • ”D” chord – 4 strings
Exercise & String Muting
Now let’s try to play along with Steve in a short exercise. We’re going to play the one, five, four pattern (“A”, “E”, then “D”) and throw in some string mutes. Basically, you will be picking up your fingers a bit so that the strings are muted. The strings should not be touching the frets, but should still be in contact with your fingers.

You will notice that we didn’t attempt the “string mute” technique with previous chords such as “C” or “G”. This is because we are not holding enough notes (too many open strings) for it to sound good. With “D” for instance, we are fretting three of the four notes. You can experiment with each chord to see which sound good with string mutes & which don’t sound quite right.

Chapter 3: (7:44) Chord Shape Relationship / Asus2 / E Minor / A Minor 7th / E 7th Chords If you’re at all like Steve, you learn well visually. He likes to see a picture of chords to learn them. This also helps show the relationship of chords. It is much easier for him to memorize the shapes and patterns of the chords than to memorize the theory, string numbers, and / or frets.

”A Minor” / “ E”
For instance, look at the visual diagram of an “A Minor” and an “E” chord. The finger positioning is exactly the same just towards the top of the neck one fret. Try progressing between these two chords & see how fast you can go. Doing this will help your strumming and also help you learn to keep your fingers clustered and close to the fret board. There’s no reason to lift your fingers way up between chords. This is just going to create more work for you!

”Asus2” / “E Minor”
Now take a look at the “Asus2” chord. It’s the exact same as the “A Minor” but without the finger on the “B” string. If you take that chord and shift it up towards the top of the neck one fret, you have yourself an “E” Minor” chord.

”E” Major / “E” Minor
Check out the relationship between “E Minor” and “E” Major. The “E Minor” chord is exactly like the “E Major” chord except you are removing your finger on the “G” string.

”A” Major / “A” Minor
The transition between these two chords is also quite easy. Fret your “A Minor” chord leaving your pinkie available for use. Okay, now put your pinkie in front of your finger on the “B” string on the 2nd fret. It is okay to leave your finger on the 1st fret since it’s not changing the note at all. Now, you can just remove your pinkie from the 2nd fret (your pinkie should still be on the 1st) to transition back to an “A Minor”. Pretty easy, huh?

Create an Exercise
As we continue to stress, it is very important for you to take a step outside the Eulberg Box and create your own exercises. There is no reason to follow what we suggest verbatim – it can get a bit boring. Often times the person that teaches ends up learning more because they really have to know what they’re doing instead of just following somebody else’s lead. If you create your own exercises, you are now becoming the teacher. This is a very effective way to learn. More importantly, this is a great way to change the pace of things and have some fun!

”A Minor 7” / “E7”
There are two more chords we know that have the exact same shape. Go ahead and fret the “A Minor 7” chord. This is the “A Minor” chord without the finger on the “G” string (remember, we are flattening this note a full step to achieve the “7” style chord. Okay now let’s try the “E7” chord. This is just like the “E” chord except you are again removing the middle note on the “D” string. Look familiar? Yup! You have the exact same finger structure on both the “E7” and “A Minor 7” chords.
Chapter 4: (10:40) More Chord Relations (Em 7, A Maj 7th, E Maj 7th, B Maj, B7) Let’s take a look at some more, easy chord progressions. These are in the “E” family. They don’t relate to each other with fingering as the chords in the “A” family did, but are still very easy to move between.

”A7” / “Em7” Go ahead and fret the “A7” chord. Remember, you will be holding the 2nd fret on the “D” and “B” strings and picking the five highest strings (just not the “E”). Okay, now remove your finger on the “B” string and move your finger from the “D” string to the “A” string (still staying on the second fret). Now you have yourself an “E Minor 7” chord. As you’ve noticed, this is a one finger chord where you can hit all six strings. It doesn’t get much easier than this!

”E” / “E Major 7”
The finger positioning between these two chords isn’t the same, but it is still quite easy to do. First fret your “E” chord. Now, take your finger on the “D” string and drop it down a half step (one fret). That’s all – now you have an “E Major 7” chord.

Exercise Time
Try progressing from “E”, to “Em” to “Em7”. Next, try moving from “E”, to “E Major 7”, and lastly to “E7”. Again, feel free to make up your own exercises to hop around amongst the different chords. I know it is an annoying saying, but practice surely does make perfect. The more you play & repeat these chords, the easier it will be.

A Trick to Help You Remember
It can get confusing remembering all of the different names and chords. One trick to help is to say the chords out loud. It has been proven that if you audibly say the word, you have a higher likelihood of remembering it. Think about the process your brain is going through. Instead of just using two senses: touch (playing the chord) and sight (seeing the chord), you are using three senses: touch, sight, and hearing. If you’re feeling adventurous, go ahead and lick your guitar to taste the chords as well (kidding of course, we don’t want anybody slicing a tongue on a string!).

Now that you’ve learned the “E” shapes, you have everything you need to play in the key of “A”: “A”, “E”, and “D”. Ready to learn the last chord family you need to complete the key of “E”? We just need to learn the “B” chords.

”B” Major
One easy way to play the “B” chord is to transition from an “A”. Fret the “A” using your 2nd, 3rd, and 4th fingers (leave your 1st finger free). Got it? Okay now slide that chord up two frets (the “D”, “G”, and “B” strings on the 4th fret) & place your 1st finger on the 2nd fret on the “e”. Now, just pick the highest four strings. That’s your “B” chord. This will be a bit difficult to play at first because you are fretting the guitar with all four fingers. Not only that, one finger (1st finger) is two frets away from the rest of them. It can be a touch stretch for some people. As you play more & more, your fingers will loosen up and this will become easier to play.

Don’t Leave the “B7” Hanging!
As you know with the “hand trick” Steve taught you, the “E” is the 1st chord, the “A” is the 4th chord and the “B” is the 5th chord. If you are playing in the key of “E” and end on the “B7” it is going to have a very incomplete feeling. If you go back & play the “E” if resolves the progression a bit – don’t you agree?

”B7” Chord
This is one of the more difficult chords to learn. There really isn’t too easy of a way to transition to this from another chord. A lot changes with this one. It might just be easiest to take a look at the chord & figure out what the best way for you to learn. With this chord, you are fretting the highest five strings (not the “E” string):
  • ”A” string – 2nd fret
  • ”D” string – 1st fret
  • ”G” string – 2nd fret
  • ”B” string – open
  • ”e” string – 2nd fret
Again, this is not an easy one to play. Try transitioning from an “A” or an “E” (the most similar) and see if that helps you out a bit.
Chapter 5: (4:59) Different Keys / Wrapping Up Advantages of Playing Different Keys
You can play pretty much any riff in a different key and it will sound very similar. One advantage of changing keys is to accommodate a vocalist. It may be difficult for someone to sing in the key of “G” because it is so high. If you can play in the key of “D” they might have an easier time.

One advantage to playing in “A” is the added ability to use string mutes. Since you are fretting so many of the strings, you can use this technique to add the scratchy sound between chords.

With the key of “E”, you are able to hit the low “E” string which provides a lower, more throaty sound. This can be used to play a song that you want to feel a bit heavier & darker.

Wrap Up
With the knowledge you have to this point, you can do quite a bit with your guitar. You will be able to play in different keys and play dozens of different chords. You can mix up those chords to form hundreds of progressions. Throw in some finger picking to create an even more unique sound. Believe it or not, what you’ve learned thus far is responsible for quite a few of the most popular songs you’ll hear. As you experiment, you may realize “hey, this sounds like that song I heard today”. Guess what? You are probably right. With your knowledge of the commonly used 1, 4, 5 progression, you can probably figure out more of the song on your own!

Have fun & keep on jammin’!

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.

guitar007guitar007 replied on October 26th, 2015

The tip about forming chords on the steering wheel actually work! I have done it in the past when thinking about some new chord that I had just learned.

learningmydreamlearningmydream replied on June 2nd, 2015

I hope Steve teaches us what he was playing at the end of the last video in lesson 8

learningmydreamlearningmydream replied on May 30th, 2015

Does anybody what kind of strings that Steve uses?

georgiaflygeorgiafly replied on April 27th, 2015

FYI - I see the window when using safari, but not when using firefox on the MAC. Also the video motion freezes on firefox.

Tomi1014Tomi1014 replied on November 28th, 2014

Steve isn't reading our comments or just decided to ignore us all?

Tomi1014Tomi1014 replied on November 28th, 2014

For this leason to be more effective, Jamplay needs to show a small window of the strings being played all the time. You can make the window closable if we dont want it. The student needs to see all the teacher is doing, we see the fingers in the picture but not sure the strings he is pressing

craigpoffcraigpoff replied on June 30th, 2014

Great job, Steve! I nearly wish you were "real" so we could grab a beer after each lesson. However, you make the B Natural chord looks a LOT easier than it is. B7th and Bm...ok, but B Natural...the first chord they will ask you to play in Hell! :)

StephenT48StephenT48 replied on April 17th, 2014

Good lesson. Love JamPlay. Need to spend more time in the lesson sets. I have learned a lot even though I have not even completed the beginner series.......yet.

ghisy90ghisy90 replied on January 4th, 2014

sorry but just can't understand its my first year and i need a little bit of help he's going to fast1:(

ghisy90ghisy90 replied on January 4th, 2014

Enter your comment here.

bbsingh1974bbsingh1974 replied on November 5th, 2013

I am not able to understand that where to change the chord while trying to play the song pl explain what I should do because despite learning for more than two years I am not able to play any song myself

joshs_3joshs_3 replied on April 25th, 2013

Scene 2 doesn't work. Please fix!

hatoolhatool replied on April 19th, 2013

Steve, thanks for doing a great job teaching guitar. But I have a question. Does the term "dominant" mean "major", and if not, how do you determine what is a dominant chord?

girljamzgirljamz replied on April 9th, 2013

Hey steve, this is jane, a girl actually a 60 yo woman who has played guitar for many years(30+) and is totally enjoying the 8th lesson. alot is review but guess us selftaught ones miss music theory 101. i totally am committed and look forward to learning into to advanced. thanks steve

lsmdsllsmdsl replied on March 30th, 2013

Thanks Steve for the great lessons. As a piano player I thought I knew quite a bit about chords but I never heard of a such thing as a sus2 chord. I knew about the sus4 but not the sus2. It’s going to be very interesting to find out all the things that guitar players know that piano players don’t. I also can hardly wait to learn more about finger picking. Thanks again Leonard

craigpoffcraigpoff replied on June 30th, 2014

Ah, but we can still play with ten fingers! My piano background was a huge help, already knowing the Circle of 5ths and some basic theory.

Lee TaylorLee Taylor replied on March 13th, 2013

STEVE... just a big thanks from me mate, ive just completed Lesson 8 and cant believe how much ive learnt in 1 month, ive been strumming along to chords of my favourite songs for 10yrs, but never understood all the Keys, Chords or how to put them all together, now its all making sense, your instruction is A class and im looking forward to continuing to learn new stuff as I get deeper into your lessons. Thumbs up!!

cbordeycbordey replied on February 23rd, 2013

Steve, please spend more time on strumming patterns and how to perform them. That's one area that I am currently struggling with! Can anyone offer any educational tips or is there somewhere within jamplay that offers help with this?? Thanks.

dhyanashadhyanasha replied on October 2nd, 2012

Thanks, my braincells seem to be wiring in some new pleasant surpises thanks to your suggestions. I`m smiling with you. Namaste

shadscaleshadscale replied on August 23rd, 2012

Steve, the D variations--D minor 7th, D major minor 7th, D 6, etc.--were an eye-opener for me. But I wonder if the other keys, especially A and E, have all of those variations. I'm especially puzzled about the "majopr minor" ones. I may have somehow missed these along the way, but it's hard to get back to exactly the right place to find them. And sometimes you cover them faster than I can pick them up. Thanks.

chuck seippchuck seipp replied on May 12th, 2012

Steve, If I have trouble fitting all three figures on the 4th fret does it make sense to use third finger on g and b string and second finger on d string when playing the B chord ?

joergen98joergen98 replied on August 16th, 2012

It does. But if it sounds all quiet and buzz-like, then the fingers might not be pushing hard enough. I'm also a beginner, so don't expect this to be 100% correct.

apingaping replied on April 6th, 2012

what if steve if the key is in the minor,for example if the key is in Bm,my question is what are the family chords of Bm?or what are the family pattern if the ket is in minor chord?hope that you can help me sir....

apingaping replied on April 6th, 2012

Enter your comment here.

apingaping replied on April 6th, 2012

what steve if the key is in minor key for example in the key of Bm?

nita petenita pete replied on January 17th, 2012

Steve, I can't believe how much stronger my fingers are from doing all the exercises & reviewing the chords you are teaching us. This is all coming together so much better. Thanks a million... : )

andym1andym1 replied on January 8th, 2012

Steve I really like the sound you get when you mute the strings but I can't get my guitar to sound like yours when you mute the strings. Are you going down/up and then muting the strings on the next down stroke and releasing for the next up just doesn't sound the same to me...what am I doing wrong?

telboytelboy replied on December 9th, 2011

It's coming together. I see how from major chords of D, A, E, I can with a little finger adjustment get several chords; I understand the cycle of 5 in the major/minor scales and how the dominant 7 seeks the tonic/home chord. There's no finesse, but I'll get there.

carolccarolc replied on November 29th, 2011

I'm having a heck of a time with Bm- is anyone else? Also, as much as I try, I cannot do barre chords, and I have been trying for months. Any tricks or pointers, please? I see guys do it with ease., but I can't get finger 1 (index) to lay flat on the strings. If I do, I have to push it down with finger 2, then I don't have any more strength or fingers for any other strings.

williamigriffithwilliamigriffith replied on February 3rd, 2012

Barre chords are sort of a pain for everyone on an acoustic guitar, much easier on an electric. First of all you need to have a guitar with a low action. Better guitars typically have lower actions, but it is not mandatory to have a pricey guitar. Your truss rod and saddle height can often be adjusted on most guitars to get a good action, but if the neck is out of whack, this is not possible. Another point, you don't have to hold down all of the strings, necessarily. Many chords only require the E and/or A string along with the high e string. It requires less force just to cover the ends. For example, in Bm you only need to cover the A and e with your index finger, which allows lighter pressure on the D,G and B strings which are being fretted by your other fingers. Also, you can also take some of the pressure from the barre finger with the guitar and your body, instead of all with your thumb behind the neck reacting the pressure. I am not sure this is recommended and some flimsy guitars may not like it much. An easy action is the way to start, if you don't have that, they virtually cannot be done by mere mortals.

georgelfrancis01georgelfrancis01 replied on August 29th, 2011

Hi Steve--How could I obtain a copy of the board diagram of the comparision of the E chords and the A chords. Would you consider addit it to the supplemental section. it is most helpful to visualize it..Thanks--chaplain George Francis...

greenday259greenday259 replied on August 21st, 2011

i dont what to do know lift your fingers im confused

rmonroermonroe replied on May 3rd, 2011

Does Steve even look at these questions?

Tomi1014Tomi1014 replied on November 28th, 2014

Steve isn't reading our comments or just decided to ignore us all?

muzikdocmuzikdoc replied on April 6th, 2011

Hey Steve, i understand the I !V and V well enough. But my question is this. if we are playing in the key of E, is it E major (M) -F minor (m), G-minor (m), A major (M), B-major(M) and then C-minor (m)? Does the M-m-m-M-M-m done for every key A through G? And then I am assuming that this is strictly for the I IV V, correct?

gfl23gfl23 replied on May 30th, 2008

I still don't understand how you make the "percussion" sound. Thanks.

gfl23gfl23 replied on May 30th, 2008

Also, does the "percussion" sound have to do with hitting/striking/scratching the black bar near the top of the soundhole?

anarovsky1anarovsky1 replied on March 24th, 2011

i think Steve's making 'percussion' with the help of his right hand as well; he covers the strings to silence the sound. i tried out almost everything but only that way (covering the strings with the right hand) it seems to sound right.

anarovsky1anarovsky1 replied on March 24th, 2011


shanesplayingshanesplaying replied on February 12th, 2011

Steve I've been playing there lessons since Monday and I enjoy your instructions! I look forward to playing every night when I get home. Thanks so much. As Lennon said on the WHITE ALBUM, "I got BLISTERS on my fingers!"

jackie8chjackie8ch replied on October 29th, 2010

I realy liked the string damped strum here!

gqueirozgqueiroz replied on January 23rd, 2011

Do you guys know Steve's lessons do not work for the iPad?

jboothjbooth replied on January 23rd, 2011

Yes, the only lessons that currently work on the iPad now are newer ones posted on or after November 1st, 2010. We are working on getting our full library converted but because of the amount of content it will take some time. I would guess within the next 3-4 months all lessons will be playable on the iPad, perhaps sooner, but I can't really make any guarantees. They whole site WILL work on the ipad, it's just a matter of when.

emmyluemmylu replied on September 8th, 2010

Steve, I really enjoy your lessons and have learned so much. I do have one request. I just printed out the chord diagrams and it put each one on a separate page, which means I used up tons of paper. Would it be possible to show all the diagrams dicussed in each specific lesson on the same page? Thanks.

sujoy1964sujoy1964 replied on June 18th, 2010

Steve I want to know whether it is necessary to remember the notes on fret board.

hyhunghyhung replied on June 2nd, 2010

Your scales lesson is great. It is very useful to me. Thanks

alamosgalalamosgal replied on May 20th, 2010

I stumbled on JamPlay a week ago and have been smiling ever since. My playing is certainly on the rise with your clear, structured, well-paced, and fun lessons Steve. Comparing shapes of chords across chord families is very helpful. If I'm not mistaken, I even see that moving the shape over one string allows me to go from Emaj7 and Am maj7 and back. Cool. One request is to add the strum pattern to the supplemental instruction page. It would be confirming to see the pattern(s) written out. Thanks, Steve. Your series is great!

angieangie replied on January 28th, 2010

steve you are wonderful i am learnig YEAH!!!!!!

saltysalty replied on December 17th, 2009

Steve, I have been playing the guitar since I was 12. I'm now 56 years young. For 44 years I've been playing by ear. My Dad and Uncles taught me a lot. They came from a family of 17. During the Great Depression they made their own instruments. I just wanted to tell you, I love your lessons,and I love JamPlay. My Dad and Uncles are jamming in Heaven. Their probably saying "it's about time that boy learns how to play it right". Thanks again, and keep up the great work.

mazzystarlettemazzystarlette replied on December 13th, 2009

Great lesson Steve!!!! I will have to work on that staccato pattern.

roger04072roger04072 replied on December 2nd, 2009

Steve, is there a place where I can print out the cords you've tought us. I can play them, but can't memorize their names. Also, I don't under your cord progressions. It doesn't make any sense to me. Thanks.

leftyplayerleftyplayer replied on May 25th, 2009

Awesome lesson. I'm learning so much. I didn't feel like I got the percussion thing though. I mean, I got the concept of lifting the fretting fingers up but am not getting the right sound, so something's off and I couldn't clarify from the lesson. Will keep plugging away and probably further lessons will show me that part more clearly. Thanks, Steve.

bstenzbstenz replied on August 8th, 2009

I replayed the percussion part in Scene 2 about a dozen time. I think it's DUDU-P DUDU-P for each cord. D=Down, U=Up, U-P=Up with fingers lifted. If I'm wrong maybe someone will let me know.

larry clarry c replied on July 20th, 2009

This is my 1st comment to you Steve, (mostly because I just fiquered out how to comment), but I'm having a great time and learning a ton. Can't wait till I start to play actual songs, and adding those cool add on's you always play in the intro. Talk Soon...Lar

jujumujujumu replied on June 19th, 2009

Hi Steve. I'm getting a lot out of these. I tend to be a summertime player and never seem to get over the hump, but I'm hoping after all of these years that this will be the summer. Question about the Bee Gee's song you started to play. Because it begins with Emaj7, I believe, does that mean that in order to create the other chords of the song I will use chords from the key of A? Thanks

cehodgincehodgin replied on March 3rd, 2009

More on the strumming please. It's my Mantra. Thanks.

jndaiglejndaigle replied on January 8th, 2009

Some interesting transition occur in many Bob Dylan songs. An example that is fun in the context of this lesson occurs in the bridge of his song "One More Night." the bridge goes D - C - G - Am - G - Bm- C - D. Another nice one in the same context occurs in "Lay Lady Lay," which has a bridge that goes Bm - D - G - Bm - Am - G - Bm - D - G - Bm - Am. Also, in Lay Lady Lay, you have the nice progressions G - Bm - F - Am and D - Em - G, but I guess we don't have F yet. I have been having a blast practicing these in addition to messing with arbitrary experiments.

jndaiglejndaigle replied on January 8th, 2009

Steve, I have been thinking how clever you are with hammering in the D7. Getting all that practice with D7--I have been just using D--has made it possible for me to make the B7 easily for the first time in my many years of playing. Am I missing something or do you just drop the D7 down 2 strings and drop the pinky on the high F string at fret number 2?

ZerimarZerimar replied on December 17th, 2008

I Steve, The lessons are great! Thanks. Discussion/question: I can look at a chart, and know what chords are in a specific key. However, even knowing that, I am confused on knowing what key something is written in. I used the following chords in a progression, but am not quite sure what key I wrote the progressions in. Chords I used: C, Cmaj7, Dm, Fmaj7, G, G7 E, Em, Am (not necessarily in order). Should someone be able to look at the chords I used, and know what key this is in? I think I wrote this in the key of C, but don't know for sure. Also, if something is in one key, how does one translate it to be in a different key?

mclovinmclovin replied on October 31st, 2008

when you "chuck" th Echord, do you strum all strings or just E, A and D?

jboothjbooth replied on October 31st, 2008

You can do it either way, but I believe Steve is only doing the 3 or 4 higher strings so the boom and chuck are more defined.

dash rendardash rendar replied on October 6th, 2008

That's a nice song he finishes off with...

rodwhitney49rodwhitney49 replied on June 30th, 2008

Steve, I get the 1 4 5 trick but I dont always get it right. Do I always a full step or half step per finger and how do I know if one of those three cords is a 7th, minor etc.. Help Please

jboothjbooth replied on June 30th, 2008

Well generally the way they do the 1 4 5 stuff it is always major, especially the examples given in these lessons. You just count a b c d e f g and ignore the sharps and the flats. Now, if you want to play the 5th chord as a 7th that usually sounds good. Always the 6th is a minor chord that goes well in any of these progressions. So for instance, if we were in the Key of A the 1 chord is of course A. A B C D E F G, that means the 4 chord is D and the 5 chord is E. So you could play an E7th to get that "going home" feeling and the F minor is the relative minor that can be played and sound very good in this key. Hope it makes sense!

spiderluccispiderlucci replied on April 3rd, 2008

Steve, I have to say, you are doing an alsome job at teaching guitar and I'm glad I found you guys at youtube. I do have some question about "The Chord Progressions" How many chord Progressions can you do. I notice the 1,4,5... than I saw the 1,5,4... is there a list of all the chord Progressions so I know! and when you do the chord Progressions how do you know if you have to play...example, an Am or Major or what ever. another thing you mention you can change keys.... for example, pink floyd the wall. This part I would like to be clear on please! They play 1,4,5 in the beginning it's G,C,and D than it turns around to C,F and G. I hope you understand my questions and it doesn't drive you crazy. Thanks again! spider

jboothjbooth replied on April 4th, 2008

The 1,4,5 and 1,5,4 stuff is more of a guideline then a rule. Those chords just go well together regardless of which key you are in. Lots of musicians will of course use different chords, chords outside the 'scale' or even switch keys in the song. I would just use the 1,4,5 stuff as a guideline if you really need to know a progression that sounds good in any given key.

spiderluccispiderlucci replied on April 4th, 2008

Thanks Ibooth, I always played by feel and thought maybe there would be more to it than the 1,4,5. Spider

jboothjbooth replied on April 4th, 2008

One fun thing you can try is take the 6th step of the scale and play a minor. This turns it into a relative minor and it fits in great with all 1,4,5 progressions. Or take the 1,4,5 or 1,5,4 or whatever progression you like and mix and match chords and see how it sounds, or play them all in 7th chords.

spiderluccispiderlucci replied on April 3rd, 2008

When I'm talking About the Am or A major meaning when I'm play for example, G major C, and D how do you know to make these Major or Minor.. or what ever. I just need to understand this more so it's clear. Thanks again. Spider

pbravipbravi replied on March 12th, 2008

Ooops...the chords are F,Bb,Cb

gilliangillian replied on March 18th, 2008

You were right before: F, Bb, C. The interval between IV and V is a whole tone

pbravipbravi replied on March 12th, 2008

Steve, your hand trick was very useful in visualizing the I-IV-V chord progressions. At the end of this lesson, where the chords in key of F were given (F-Bb-C), I thought I was missing something. Then it ‘clicked’; I had earlier read Brad’s rock guitar 5th lesson, where the Major scale was spelt WWHWWWH ((W)hole step, (H)alf step etc.). Now the steps tie in with the hand trick. My thanks to you and Brad for this Aha! Moment.

theheadshoppetheheadshoppe replied on December 1st, 2007

Yes, I had an "ah haa' moment. The three finger trick (is this right) it's like a tool to help you figure out which chords go or sound well together. The families you talk about. Hmmm Did I get that right? A couple of suggestions from the peanut gallery. It would really be helpful if when introducing a new chord the camera shot was higher angled low so we the viewer can actually see what string your fingers are on. Plus, an insert view box of the tab at the same time would enable me to play along. that's something that can be done in post since it's already shot. Oh! since I've gotten your attention, also you're strumming like mad and I haven't got the foggiest idea how to do that, maybe that could get a mention. The rest is super great, I love it. It's such a great pace and you teach transitions between chords. It's all gold. Grasias

springer 93springer 93 replied on November 14th, 2007

I can understand the chord side of the guitar. In this lesson Steve did some bluegrass in the key of A. what strumming pattern was he doing.

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).

Acoustic Guitar Lessons

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

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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Don Ross Don Ross

New fingerstyle instructor Don Ross introduces himself, his background, and what you should expect in this series.

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Hawkeye Herman Hawkeye Herman

Hawkeye teaches several Robert Johnson licks in this lesson. These licks are played with a slide in open G tuning.

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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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Eve Goldberg Eve Goldberg

Eve talks about the boom-chuck strum pattern. This strum pattern will completely change the sound of your playing.

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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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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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Miche Fambro Miche Fambro

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

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Electric Guitar Lesson Samples

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

DJ Phillips DJ Phillips

Learn a handful of new blues techniques while learning to play Stevie Ray Vaughn's "The House Is Rockin'".

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Alex Scott Alex Scott

Find out what this series is all about.

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Andy James Andy James

Get an in-depth look into the mind of virtuoso guitarist Andy James. Learn about Andy's early beginnings all the way up to...

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Nick Greathouse Nick Greathouse

Nick starts his series with Alternate Picking part 1. Improve your timing, speed, and execution with this important lesson.

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Mark Brennan Mark Brennan

Mark Brennan teaches this classic rock song by Jethro Tull. Released on the album of the same name in 1971, this song features...

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Matt Brown Matt Brown

Matt Brown shows off some ways to add some creativity and originality to your rock chord voicings.

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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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Braun Khan Braun Khan

In this lesson, Braun teaches the chord types that are commonly used in jazz harmony. Learn how to build the chords and their...

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David Wallimann David Wallimann

This is a crucial lesson that explains tablature, how to read it, and why it's important.

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Michael Ripoll Michael Ripoll

Michael "Nomad" Ripoll dives deep into the rhythm & blues, funk, and soul genres that were made popular by artists like Earth...

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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.

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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.

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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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