Choosing a Guitar (Guitar Lesson)

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Jim Deeming

Choosing a Guitar

Jim gives his thoughts on purchasing your first guitar.

Taught by Jim Deeming in Basic Guitar with Jim seriesLength: 7:09Difficulty: 0.5 of 5
Chapter 1: (7:16) Choosing a Guitar This lesson is an absolute must-see for anyone who is interested in beginning to play the guitar. This lesson is also highly recommended for parents who may be shelling out the cash for a child’s first instrument.

Acoustic Vs Electric
Around the early 60's it became a popular notion that every beginning guitar student should first learn on an acoustic. Parents with little or no musical experience spread this idea. Although the logic behind this argument is understandable, the argument bears little truth. This false argument gained popularity for several reasons. Starting a child on an acoustic guitar cuts out the expense of equipment such as an amplifier and a patch cable. However, since the electric guitar is far more popular than its acoustic counterpart, the price of a typical entry level electric is more affordable than the typical entry-level acoustic. In addition, many companies such as Fender sell a combination package that includes the guitar, amplifier, patch cable, and electronic tuner at a very affordable price. Many parents prefer to buy their child an acoustic because it is a quieter instrument. Parents in the 60's associated the sound of the electric guitar with the eardrum busting tones of Pete Townsend and Jimi Hendrix. These parents failed to realize that an electric guitar's volume level is controllable. Also, most practice amps are outfitted with a 1/4" headphone jack for silent practice. Finally, many parents believe that it is much easier to learn the basics on an acoustic guitar. This could not be farther from the truth. Due to lower tension and action of the strings, it is far easier to learn solid fundamental technique on an electric guitar.

There is only one good reason to choose an acoustic guitar for your child's first instrument. A child should start on an acoustic guitar ONLY if the music that he/she desires to play is primarily performed on an acoustic. If you are planning to buy your child his/her first guitar, work together with your child to conduct thorough research. As a result, you will both sleep soundly knowing the best possible selection was made.
Buying a guitar is a lot like buying a car. Regardless of whether it’s the first or fifth car you’ve bought, you still have to do your homework. Before you hit the streets to find a new guitar, there are some necessary preliminary steps that must be taken.
1. First, you must determine a price range.
Roughly all guitars (with the exception of classical guitars) fall into three price range categories. However, price is not always an accurate indicator of quality.
A. $0-450: Beginner Quality
B. $450-950 Intermediate Quality
C. $950+ Professional Quality
2. Narrow the field.
You must form a general idea of the ideal instrument. Jim gives you some great tips to get this process started.

A. Observe Your Heroes
This is the single best piece of advice for anyone looking for a new axe. Whose guitar sound do you admire most? What guitar does he/she play? Do many of your favorite guitarist play the same guitar or a similar type of guitar? When choosing your first guitar, you most likely won’t want to shell out the cash to get the same guitar your heroes play. However, it’s a great idea to take some notes regarding the features that these guitars have. This way, you can look for a less expensive model that resembles the ideal sound you are looking for.
B. Set Some Preliminary Goals
Do you want to perform publicly or just play for your own personal enjoyment? This has a large bearing on which guitar you should eventually choose.
C. Don’t Stress Out!
Choosing a guitar should be an enjoyable process. Regardless of your price range, there is a great guitar out there for you. For example, Matt Brown owns several professional quality guitars. He owns a PRS Custom, a Gibson Les Paul Standard, and a G&L ASAT Special. However, his no. 1 guitar is a beat up Mexican Strat he purchased for only $200. Keep in mind that the price tag is not always an accurate indicator of quality.
D. Philosophical Points on Music Education
Many parents believe that music education is a mandatory part of every child’s educational development. As Jim mentions, if a child does not have the guitar in his/her heart, music lessons will become a constant battle from start to finish. Many teachers (Matt Brown is one example) outright refuse to teach students who are forced into lessons by their parents. These students typically put in the minimum amount of practice necessary for the first few weeks of lessons. Then, once a parent grows tired of enforcing adequate practice time, the child withdraws and ceases to learn anything. Many of these parents choose a very inexpensive instrument for a child knowing that he/she will not play it for very long. If a child is playing an instrument that is of slightly higher quality, he or she may stand a better chance of sticking with music longer.

On the other hand, if a student is really driven to master the guitar, no obstacle can stand in his or her way. Jim Deeming is a perfect example. His first guitar was of extremely low quality. Regardless of the quality of the guitar, Jim played could not put it down during his first few years of practice.
3. Where to Shop
Over the past few decades the retail industry has undergone some drastic changes. The retail music industry is no exception. Gigantic chain retail stores have replaced multiple small businesses across the globe. Although giant stores such as Guitar Center or Sam Ash sell equipment at lower prices, the customer receives less quality per dollar spent. Instruments at these stores are not cared for at all. Once an order is received into inventory guitars are simply taken out of their cases and thrown on the walls. From this point they are handled daily by numerous customers who typically have no interest in buying the instrument they are test-driving. As a result, guitars diminish in quality the longer they hang on Guitar Center’s walls. Also, the sales representatives in these stores are rarely knowledgeable. Lastly, customer service and satisfaction is not a high priority, because the sheer volume of customers is simply unmanageable.

We recommend that you shop for your first instrument at a store that is not part of a large retail chain. Ask a respected professional in your area where he or she shops. For example, the Drinking Gourd Music Store in Dayton, Ohio is a long standing favorite among professionals living in the Midwest. When a guitar arrives at a store of this quality, professionals carefully inspect the guitar for any possible defects. A full professional set-up is then performed. Key issues such as the quality of fret installation are also addressed before the guitar is hung on the wall. From the moment a customer walks in the store, he or she receives excellent customer service throughout the entire sales process. This excellent service continues after the guitar has been purchased. The salespeople at these stores are often professional players themselves. Their superior knowledge of the instrument enables them to help each customer find the perfect guitar.

Video Subtitles / Captions

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Hi. I'm Jim Deeming.

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Instructor for

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I want to talk to you for just a few minutes about choosing a first guitar.

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If you haven't bought one already or you are contemplating buying one for a young student there may be some things you want to think about.

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There may be some things you are kind of worried about.

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I just want to give you some things to think about before you head out to the guitar store.

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First of all the most important thing is to keep in mind your goals and where you want to end up when you begin being

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a more accomplished player and I can't think of any better way to do that than to have hero's.

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Know what success sounds like I guess is the bottom line.

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The internet via YouTube or sites like Rhapsody are really easy ways to expose yourself to endless arrays of guitar styles, guitar players.

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I want to encourage you to spend a lot of time thinking about where you want to go and what you want to do with the guitar.

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Would you want to play in a rock band?
Would you want to play solo finger style guitar?

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Maybe you just want to play on your own for yourself for some relaxation and entertainment.

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It's a good idea to have that clearly in mind before you start.

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Obvious choices on guitar are whether to go with an Acoustic or an Electric.

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If you decide to go with an acoustic then you've got choices of nylon string versus steel string.

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You have choices on whether you want to be able to plug it in and amplify it or not, does it need a pickup, things like that.

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It helps to know where you are going with the guitar to make those kinds of decisions.

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However, my overall message in this video is going to be don't stress about this to the point to where it makes you miserable.

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There are a lot of fantastic , low cost beginner guitars out there and even if you pick one you don't stay with for a while,

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you should be fine to get through basic lessons and find out if the guitar is really for you or your child.

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I do want to talk a little bit more about choosing an instrument for children from a philosophical perspective.

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Many parents have the opinion that a child should learn an instrument and it doesn't matter what instrument it is

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and it doesn't matter whether the child wants to or not.

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Some people consider music theory and music appreciation to be as essential as mathematics.

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If that is your particular idea then I would recommend staying with an instrument that is just a little bit more expensive if you are going to insist

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that the child stay with it whether they enjoy it or not it will up your chances a little bit that they will stick with it.

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My contention would be though that if the guitar is in the heart of the child and isn't going to be terribly influenced by whether you

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spend one hundred dollars or five hundred dollars on the guitar.

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For the sake of their hands and for the sake of playing long term you might spend more money that way.

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If the child is showing the interest and the initiative you almost can't stop them.

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That's where I came from.

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I had a ukulele at the age of five and a guitar by the age of six and I was spending countless hours listening to my dad's Chet Atkins records.

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I knew where I wanted to go and what I wanted to sound like.

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Just to give you an idea this little gem was my first guitar.

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It is thirty years old. I imagine my folks got this at a garage sale or Sears, I don't even know.

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It is laminated everything probably cheap plywood, terrible construction and it buzzes and it sounds horrible

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and I could not begin to tell you how many hours I spent on this guitar because I wanted it so bad.

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So don't get to thinking that you will ruin your child's music career forever if you don't pay top dollar for an expensive guitar.

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Manufacturing quality even though they may not be beautiful and even though they are not a lifetime guitar, manufacturing prices have come

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down to the point to where you can go to the checkout lane at WalMart spend a hundred dollars

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and easily get a student through there first year of playing if not longer.

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There are some diehards out there that are cringing at me saying this but I contend that if the love of the guitar is in the student they will want it

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bad enough that they will outlast any lower end guitar that you buy them.

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Some basic things that you don't want to do is buy a guitar that is obviously defective, if it's buzzing excessively or if the action is just so

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ridiculously high that it's hard to push the strings down that would be a bad idea.

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In general most of the guitars that you are going to find that are aimed at students are going to be relatively playable

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and will get you through the first phase until you are ready to commit with a bigger investment.

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The basics as I mentioned are common to all of the guitars whether you play an acoustic or an electric, nylon or classical

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the fundamental mechanics of playing guitar all start out the same.

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If you're not certain where you want to end up you just know you want to get started.

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Again, another reason not to panic over the kind of guitar to buy.

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A one hundred to two hundred dollar typical acoustic guitar will get you through chords, scales, the right hand basics, how to fret notes without

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buzzing, building up your hand strength and getting the basic idea of how these instruments actually make music.

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An entry level guitar is plenty good enough.

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With that being said I want to encourage you to go ahead and get started.

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I would tend to avoid buying sight unseen Ebay material.

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If you know what you're looking for and you know a lot about the guitar you are bidding on that's probably fine

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but I think it would be a good idea for a student or a new player to actually touch an instrument before buying it.

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That's probably a minimum requirement.

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Guitar stores should have guitars priced in the entry level range and yeah you could even get away with a WalMart guitar for a little while.

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Don't worry about it, have fun.

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You're about to embark on a musical companion that will hopefully be with you the rest of your life and enjoy it don't stress about it.

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Thank you.


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.

gregmchurgregmchur replied

Jim I like what you said the desire is more important than the guitar When I was younger I played guitar a lot but I have not played in over 26 years I eventually sold the guitar . Just recently I found an electric guitar in the garbage It was a cheap guitar but I was amazed that I remembered at least 3 or 4 songs Finding that guitar rekindled that spark and I plan on getting an epiphone dr 100

GirlybearGirlybear replied

Great lesson. I have to agree with you. When I was young I started out on my grandfather's Kalamazoo that was in pretty bad shape but I did not care, I had the desire to play. From there my dad bought me a cheap Seagull and now years later I have a Yamaha FS TransAcoustic. So one does not need the best starting out, no matter how old they are. They just need the desire. Great lesson.[email protected] replied

Thanks for the great advice Jim, a couple of years ago I picked up a brand new Yamaha FGX700SC Acoustic/Electric guitar from my local Guitar Center. It's been sitting in a nice hard case ever since. I took it out a couple of weeks ago, changed the strings on it, and have been looking around youtube for instruction. I decided to join jamplay today and chose you as my beginning guitar teacher for two reasons, #1- you play the acoustic guitar and eventually I would like to do some finger picking, and #2- you look like someone who has worked hard with their hands all your life and your no nonsense/but gentle approach to learning to play the guitar has appealed to me.

JWK-410JWK-410 replied

Please cancell my membership now 8/19/2016, I will make the fimal monthly payment this month. Thank you, James w. Keith

JWK-410JWK-410 replied

I will make the final monthly payment this month 8/2016 of $19.99. please cacill my membership now 8/19/2016. thank you. James w, Keith

slpchachaslpchacha replied


Ykraina2012Ykraina2012 replied

I took over my dad's guitar that I actually got him for Christmas. It was one I got off of amazon. It was a bad choice. I went and bought a new nut and worked on the action, but even then it was so frustrating to play. I went to GC and got a cheap Mitchell just a few days after and it made a world of difference. Its actually enjoyable to play on and its motivating.

myjamplaysmyjamplays replied

love your 1st guitar jim so cool you still have it.

billydubonbillydubon replied


reoringoreoringo replied

I just purchased a new Fender Sonoran SCE Wildwood IV purpleheart acoustic/electric. From the reviews i have seen it should be an excellent instrument. :)

gershgersh replied

I have an entry level Fender acoustic guitar. It was inexpensive, and I thoroughly enjoy it. I relate to the overall message of this lesson- don't stress about it, have fun.

hhgovhhgov replied

Talk Talk Talk

garrett24garrett24 replied

If anyone is thinking about getting an electric guitar a Fender strat starcaster is a great cheap guitar to get you started playing

zulrangzulrang replied

Great suggestion on Drinking Gourd Music Store in Dayton, Ohio. I happen to live there!

tonyrosanatonyrosana replied

Much like Jim I still have the guitar that my parents bought me 30 years matter the shape or style it will always be the "first" guitar!! No matter how little you spend, it will appreciate in "sentimental value!!"

thedudethedude replied

Excellent advice Jim! All you beginners out there -remember one thing: it's not the guitar it's the player and how bad she/he wants to do it. Forget about spending a lot on your first guitar - go out and buy something that you wouldn't think twice about bringing to the park or on the bus. Then you'll really play it.

jon4th4njon4th4n replied

what kind of guitar would you recommend me to buy under 350 dollars?what brand and model?

thedudethedude replied

seagull's are great - try maybe the s6 folk

lwalshrnclwalshrnc replied

Love the beginner guitar. I had one, too and so true. Doesn't matter if person wants to play!

dumakdumak replied

I would agree - unless your child knows they want to play classical/fingerstyle, it is going to be easier for them to learn on an electric. Don't start on an electric with a "whammy bar" - you'll find that when you start bending strings, it will make the other strings change their pitch as well. Plus they are harder to tune. I have also found that I normally do not even bother to plug the electric in when practicing - with medium strings it is loud enough. The minimum volume on an acoustic is going to be *much* louder. If you need a steel-string acoustic for fingerstyle, pay careful attention to the neck width. If you can't easily play a nice, clean open A chord on a guitar with a 1-11/16" neck, you probably want to find something a little wider. Someone mentioned Seagull, which are a nice sounding, affordable guitar with a 1.8" neck on most models. Blueridge has an even wider-necked parlor style guitar. The small difference in neck width is really quite noticeable in practice. Go mainly for feel and durability when starting out - buy a Gibson/Fender/Martin, and you are wasting half your money on name.

kevinmckevinmc replied

I agree, a cheap guitar is fine if you want to get started, no reason to spend a fortune on something that you dont know you will like. I used to play years ago and stopped for 10 years or so. I was on my 2nd electric guitar (had this thing against acoustics for some reason...) and now i want to get back into it i found my flying V as nice as it is... is not the easiest thing to practice on, so i went out and brought a real cheap acousitc guitar ($60 i guess in US terms) sure it buzzes a bit, sounds not great, but it works, it makes the right sounds and i would recommend an acoustic to any one quite simply because its a "pick up and play" instrument, electrics you got to drag the amp, plug it in, some times they too noisy so you need headphones... with the acoustic i can just grab it play a few tunes while i am waiting for my dinner to cook. My flying V is for showing off, my acoustic is for practice... although am quite tempted to go out and spend a lot more ($500) on a nice acoustic soon :)

strake9strake9 replied

What a cool cat! Ive never heard such an informative intro to guitar in the aspects of quality and price and how that should not be an issue if the student wanting to learn has the heart for it granted the guitar acquired is not an unplayable and just miserable piece of wood with strings. "Happy with what you have to be happy with" (King Crimson)

Don.SDon.S replied

I started playing, or rather learning, guitar a year ago today. If only I knew then what I know now about purchasing a guitar I'd have a lot more room in my closet. I finally found what works best form me and my meaty fingers after discovering Seagulls and their wider necks. Makes chord forming more rewarding for me.

Jim.DeemingJim.Deeming replied

A child in that age bracket is almost certainly going to need a reduced sized guitar, commonly referred to as half or three-quarter sized guitars. He or she should be able to sit comfortably with the guitar on their lap, and the body of the guitar should be small enough that their right arm can rest comfortably over the top and have the hand rest over the hole. If they have to strain to reach the whole, try a smaller guitar.

rockstar69rockstar69 replied

What size of a guitar should be used for a child (age 3 - 7), a full size versus smaller size

myjamplaysmyjamplays replied

a baby taylor would be perfect for anyone.

Basic Guitar with Jim

Found in our Beginner Lesson Sets

Fingerstyle master Jim Deeming teaches you the basics of guitar playing. With over 30 years of experience teaching and playing, Jim will definitely start you in the right direction. This is a great series for beginners and guitarists looking to refresh their knowledge.

Introduction LessonLesson 1

Introduction Lesson

In this short lesson, Jim Deeming will introduce himself and talk about his upcoming lessons.

Length: 6:12 Difficulty: 0.5 Members Only
Choosing a GuitarLesson 2

Choosing a Guitar

Jim gives his thoughts on purchasing your first guitar.

Length: 7:09 Difficulty: 0.5 Members Only
Goal SettingLesson 3

Goal Setting

Jim discusses the importance of setting goals. He provides some tips that will help steer your practicing in the right direction.

Length: 11:00 Difficulty: 0.5 FREE
Changing the StringsLesson 4

Changing the Strings

Jim Deeming walks you through the process of changing your strings. He gives some excellent tips on this important process.

Length: 41:09 Difficulty: 0.5 Members Only
Meet Your New GuitarLesson 5

Meet Your New Guitar

Jim introduces proper playing technique. Then, he explains how to play your first chord.

Length: 52:24 Difficulty: 0.5 Members Only
Learning More ChordsLesson 6

Learning More Chords

Jim teaches you the 3 primary chords in G major. He also explains how chords relate to specific keys. A great lesson!

Length: 39:15 Difficulty: 1.0 Members Only
Right Hand RevisitedLesson 7

Right Hand Revisited

Jim discusses a plethora of right hand techniques that are essential to guitar playing.

Length: 35:19 Difficulty: 1.0 Members Only
New Chords and KeysLesson 8

New Chords and Keys

This lesson provides additional information about chords and keys.

Length: 19:08 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Let's PlayLesson 9

Let's Play

This lesson is all about playing. Jim will start you off playing a song. You will have the opportunity to play along with him.

Length: 20:10 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Alternating Bass and ChordsLesson 10

Alternating Bass and Chords

Jim teaches you a few more commonly used chords. Then, he discusses a technique known as the alternating bass line.

Length: 40:54 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
A Shape ChordsLesson 11

A Shape Chords

Jim covers all possible fingering options pertaining to the basic open A chord shape.

Length: 17:42 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Basic Guitar CheckupLesson 12

Basic Guitar Checkup

Jim talks about the future of his Phase 1 guitar series and where to go from here.

Length: 4:18 Difficulty: 0.5 Members Only
Notes, Scales and TheoryLesson 13

Notes, Scales and Theory

Jim delves into basic music theory. He starts from square one in this lesson.

Length: 29:00 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Chord FiestaLesson 14

Chord Fiesta

Jim Deeming invites you to a veritable chord fiesta. He demonstrates common dominant and minor chord shapes.

Length: 43:00 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Movable ChordsLesson 15

Movable Chords

This lesson is all about movable chords. Learn the importance of barre chords and other movable shapes.

Length: 40:00 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Proper PracticingLesson 16

Proper Practicing

Jim Deeming explains how to create a productive practice routine. Make sure you aren't wasting needless time!

Length: 30:00 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
The Pinky AnchorLesson 17

The Pinky Anchor

Many guitarists use their pinky as an anchor. Jim explains the pros and cons of this technique.

Length: 9:00 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Palm MutingLesson 18

Palm Muting

Jim discusses an important technique--palm muting. He explains how palm muting is used by flatpickers and fingerstyle players.

Length: 7:00 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Reading TablatureLesson 19

Reading Tablature

Jim Deeming covers the basics of reading guitar tablature. Knowledge of tablature will help with JamPlay lessons as well as learning your favorite songs.

Length: 21:12 Difficulty: 1.0 Members Only
Tuning ExtravaganzaLesson 20

Tuning Extravaganza

Jim explains various tuning methods. He provides useful tips and tricks that will ensure that your guitar is sounding its best.

Length: 31:45 Difficulty: 1.0 Members Only
Let's Play: Lesson 21

Let's Play: "Red River Valley"

Jim is back with another "let's play" style lesson. He teaches the classic song "Red River Valley" and encourages you to play along.

Length: 52:38 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Drop D TuningLesson 22

Drop D Tuning

Jim Deeming introduces drop D tuning. Drop D is a popular alternate tuning used in many styles of music including rock, fingerstyle and blues.

Length: 25:25 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Let's Play: Lesson 23

Let's Play: "Wayfaring Stranger"

Jim Deeming breaks down the song sections to the classic tune "Wayfaring Stranger".

Length: 29:20 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
More On Drop DLesson 24

More On Drop D

Jim Deeming takes another, more focused look at drop D tuning.

Length: 6:27 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Your Friend, the MetronomeLesson 25

Your Friend, the Metronome

Jim Deeming discusses how to use a metronome for practice, skill building, and speed building.

Length: 24:02 Difficulty: 1.0 Members Only
Jim Deeming

About Jim Deeming View Full Biography Jim Deeming got his first guitar when he was only six years old. His Dad was taking fingerpicking lessons, and Jim wanted to be just like him. The Mel Bay books didn't last very long before he strapped on a thumb pick and added the Chet part to Red River Valley so it sounded better.

Most of Jim's early learning was by ear. With unlimited access to his Dad's collection of Chet Atkins albums, he spent countless hours decoding his favorite songs. They were never "right" until they sounded just like Chet. Around the age of 12, Jim heard Jerry Reed for the first time and just knew he had to be able to make that "Alabama Wild Man" sound. The styles of Chet & Jerry always have been a big influence on his playing.

More recently he has pursued arrangements by Tommy Emmanuel and Doyle Dykes, in addition to creating some of his own and writing originals.

Jim has performed in front of a variety of audiences, including concerts, competitions, weddings and the like, but playing at church has always been a mainstay. Whether playing in worship bands or guitar solos, gospel music is deep in his roots and is also the driving theme behind his debut CD release, titled "First Fruits".

Jim has been playing for about 38 years. He also has taught private lessons in the past but believes is an exciting and better venue with many advantages over the traditional method of weekly 30 minute sessions.

Jim lives in Berthoud, Colorado with his wife, Linda, and their four children. Although he still has a "day job", he is actively performing and is already back in the studio working on the next CD. If you wonder how he finds time, look no further than the back seat of his truck where he keeps a "travel guitar" to take advantage of any practice or song-writing opportunities he can get.

The opening song you hear in Jim's introductory JamPlay video is called, "A Pick In My Pocket". It's an original tune, written in memory of Jim's father who told him early on he should always keep a pick in his pocket in case he ever met Chet Atkins and got the chance to play for him. That song is slated to be the title track for his next CD, which will feature several more originals plus some of his favorite covers of Chet and Jerry arrangements.

Lesson Information

Acoustic Guitar Lessons

Acoustic Guitar

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

Jessica Baron Jessica Baron

Jessica kindly introduces herself, her background, and her approach to this series.

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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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Jim Deeming Jim Deeming

Jim discusses the importance of setting goals. He provides some tips that will help steer your practicing in the right direction.

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Evan Taucher Evan Taucher

In the classical guitar world, there seems to be a lot outdated instructional advice. And while this type of information...

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Maneli Jamal Maneli Jamal

The acoustic guitar is basically a big wooden box, so it makes sense that it sounds pretty good as a drum! Learning how...

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Freebo Freebo

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

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Nick Amodeo Nick Amodeo

Nick explains how to play some of the most commonly used chords in the bluegrass genre.

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Steve Eulberg Steve Eulberg

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

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Randall Williams Randall Williams

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

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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.

Irene Ketikidi Irene Ketikidi

Dynamics can be a key component to becoming expressive with your melodies. Irene applies some dynamic expressive techniques...

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Steve Stevens Steve Stevens

Steve Stevens shows some of his go-to licks and ideas while improvising over a backing track he made.

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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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Jeffery Marshall Jeffery Marshall

Welcome to Inside and Out with Jeff Marshall! In this lesson series, Jeff takes a bottom up approach to fret board proficiency....

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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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Brent-Anthony Johnson Brent-Anthony Johnson

Just like with the plucking hand, Brent-Anthony shows us the basics of proper fretting hand technique. In addition, he shows...

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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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JD McGibney JD McGibney

Now that we’ve set ourselves up to be in a soloing mindset, let’s break down an actual solo. For this exercise we are...

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Mark Lettieri Mark Lettieri

In lesson 14 Mark debuts a thumb and fingerstyle technique used to create some separation in the bass and chords or melody.

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Andre Nieri Andre Nieri

Born in 1986 and hailing from Brazil, Andre showed musical inclination at an early age. Influenced by native Brazilian Jazz...

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

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Unlimited Lesson Viewing

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

Live Lessons

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

Interactive Community

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

Chord Library

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

Scale Library

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

Custom Chord Sheets

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

Backing Tracks

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

Interactive Games

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

Beginners Welcome.. and Up

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

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

Price Per Lesson < $0.01 $4 - $5 $30 - $50 Free
Money Back Guarantee Sometimes n/a
Number of Instructors 128 1 – 3 1 Zillions
Interaction with Instructors Daily Webcam Sessions Weekly
Professional Instructors Luck of the Draw Luck of the Draw
New Lessons Daily Weekly Minutely
Structured Lessons
Learn Any Style Sorta
Track Progress
HD Video - Sometimes
Multiple Camera Angles Sometimes - Sometimes
Accurate Tabs Maybe Maybe
Scale/Chord Libraries
Custom JamTracks
Interactive Games
Learn in Sweatpants Socially Unacceptable
Gasoline Needed $0.00 $0.00 ~$4 / gallon! $0.00
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Mike H.

"I feel like a 12 year old kid with a new guitar!"

I am 66 years young and I still got it! I would have never known this if it had not been for Jamplay! I feel like a 12 year old kid with a new guitar! Ha! I cannot express enough how great you're website is! It is for beginners and advanced pickers! I am an advanced picker and thought I had lost it but thanks to you all, I found it again! Even though I only play by ear, I have been a member a whopping whole two weeks now and have already got Brent's country shuffle and country blues down and of course with embellishments. Thank you all for your wonderful program!

Greg J.

"With Jamplay I can fit in a random session when I have time and I can go at my own pace"

I'm a fifty eight year old newbie who owns a guitar which has been sitting untouched in a corner for about seven years now. Last weekend I got inspired to pick it up and finally learn how to play after watching an amazing Spanish guitarist on TV. So, here I am. I'm starting at the beginning with Steve Eulberg and I couldn't be happier (except for the sore fingers :) Some day I'm going to play like Steve! I'm self employed with a hectic schedule. With Jamplay I can fit in a random session when I have time and I can go at my own pace, rewinding and replaying the videos until I get it. This is a very enjoyable diversion from my work yet I still feel like I'm accomplishing something worthwhile. Thanks a lot, Greg


"I believe this is the absolute best site for guitar students."

I am commenting here to tell you and everyone at JamPlay that I believe this is the absolute best site for guitar students. I truly enjoy learning to play the guitar on Yes, I said the words, ""enjoy learning."" It is by far the best deal for the money.

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