Meet Your New Guitar (Guitar Lesson)

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Jim Deeming

Meet Your New Guitar

This is one whopper of a lesson. Jim starts off by introducing the guitar and its individual parts. He proceeds from there to cover proper technique for both the right and left hands. Finally, he introduces your first chord.

Taught by Jim Deeming in Basic Guitar with Jim seriesLength: 52:24Difficulty: 0.5 of 5
Chapter 1: (00:46) Introduction Jim kicks off this lesson with a demonstration of his masterful fingerstyle playing.
Chapter 2: (06:12) Meet Your New Guitar Anatomy of the Guitar

A. Headstock

The anatomy of the guitar is based on a woman's figure. It features a body, neck and a head.

The top of the guitar is called the head or headstock. The tuners are connected to the headstock. There are either six tuners on one side or three on each side. The tuning mechanisms stabilize the tuning of the guitar. When the guitar goes out of tune, these tuners must be adjusted to return the guitar back to standard tuning.

B. Tuning Machines

The tuning machines ensure that the tuning remains stable for as long as possible. Most Stratocaster style guitars feature six tuning machines on one side of the headstock. Turning the tuning machines alters the pitch or tuning of each string. Turning the tuning peg in a counterclockwise motion raises or sharpens the pitch of the string. Turning the peg clockwise lowers or flattens the pitch.

Gibson style guitars feature three tuning machines on each side of the headstock. In this case, the three tuning machines on the bottom portion of the headstock work in the opposite direction.

C. Nut

On their way to the tuning pegs, the strings pass through an object made of bone or plastic called the nut. The nut is mounted where the neck meets the headstock. However, on classical guitars, the nut is not fastened to the guitar. Rather, it is held in place by the tension supplied by the strings. The nut keeps a precise, even spacing between all six strings. It also keeps the strings at a fixed height above the fretboard.

D. The Neck

The long slender part of the guitar is called the neck. On Strat style guitars, the neck is bolted to the body. Gibson style necks are typically glued to the body.

The fretboard is glued on top of the neck. Fretboards are either made out of rosewood, maple, or ebony. Maple produces a brighter tone. Rosewood and ebony sound slightly darker.

Slits are carved into the fretboard for installation of metal strips of wire. These strips of wire are called frets. Most acoustic guitars have 20 frets. Classical guitars typically have 19. Electric guitars typically have 21 or 22 frets. Many guitars designed for hard rock and metal feature 24 frets. Ibanez has recently started to manufacture a guitar that features 27 frets.

Most guitars feature position markers on the fretboard to help keep you oriented. Most Strat style guitars feature pearloid dot inlays. The double dots indicate the 12th fret. As you continue to explore up the neck, these positions markers will become very handy. Position markers are also listed on top of the fretboard. These dots are typically very small. Classical guitars as well as guitars manufactured by the Parker company do not feature fretboard markers.

E. The Body

Acoustic guitars have shoulders, hips, and a waist. The large chamber connected to the neck is called the body. The top part of the body is called the soundboard. The bridge is connected to the saddle, which in turn is connected to the soundboard. The strings connect to the bridge at this end of the guitar. Striking the strings produces vibrations, which exit through the soundhole.

F. The Bridge

The bridge performs the same jobs as the nut at the opposite end of the guitar. The strings are anchored to the body at the bridge. It also maintains even spacing between each of strings. The height of the strings above the guitar is also maintained by the bridge.

Bridge pins securely hold the strings in place. These pins must be removed when you change your strings.

Classical and electric guitars do not have bridge pins. On a classical guitar, the strings are looped and tied around the bridge. Electric guitar strings have small steel balls on the ends that hold each string tightly against the bridge.

G. The Saddle

The bridge and bridge pins are mounted on a piece of wood called the saddle. In turn, the saddle is mounted on the body.

H. The Pickguard

The pickguard protects the body from damage. The pick will gradually damage the body over time as a result of constant contact. The pickguard prevents this costly problem from occurring.

F. Strap Pegs

Most guitars feature two strap pegs. One is typically located on the side of the body directly in line with the bridge. The other is placed close to the upper side of the neck.

Strap locks will ensure that your strap remains attached to the strap pegs. Straps have a tendency to work their way loose over time. If you are standing up while playing, you could accidentally drop your guitar to the floor and damage it. At the very least, this mishap will negatively affect your performance.

Additional Anatomy for the Electric Guitar

A. Pickups

The pickups sense the vibration of the strings. This vibration is transformed into an electric signal that passes through the guitar cable and comes out of the amplifier. Most Strats feature three single coil pickups. The other type of guitar pickup is called a "humbucker." Les Pauls feature two humbucking pickups. Humbuckers are essentially two single coil pickups that are wired together.

B. Pickup Selector Switch

A toggle switch is used to select a specific pickup(s). The positions of the toggle switch are setup just like the pickups. There are five possible pickup selections available on most Strats. Three of the positions are for each of the single coil pickups. The in between positions blend the sound of the bridge and middle pickup or the neck and the middle pickup. The bridge pickup features a bright, treble sound. The neck pickup produces a warmer, bassier sound. The middle pickup produces a middle ground sound between these two extremes. Experiment with your guitar and explore the different tones that each pickup produces. Compare the sound of a single note played with each of the pickup options.

C. Volume and Tone Control(s)

Most Strats feature a single volume knob that controls the volume of all three pickups. Les Pauls feature two volume controls - one control for each pickup.

Most guitars feature two tone controls - one for the bridge and one for the neck pickup. When the tone control is turned down, the high end or treble is decreased.

D. Output Jack

The electric guitar connects to the amplifier through a patch cable. The patch cable connects to the output jack of the guitar. Typically, the jack is located somewhere around the side of the body or the front of the body near the volume and tone controls.

E. Bridge Systems for Electric Guitars

1. Floating Tremolo - Most Strat style guitars have floating tremolos. The tremolo is the "whammy bar" that is used to lower or raise the pitch of a note. Pressing the bar downwards lowers the pitch of a note. Pulling the bar upwards raises the pitch. You cannot alter the pitch as much with this system as with a double locking system. Springs that are covered by a plate on the back of the body help maintain equilibrium and keep the strings in tune.

2. Fixed Bridge – These systems do not feature a whammy bar. They are installed on most Gibson style guitars.

3. Locking Tremolo – Refer to the "Lesson Information" section of lesson 1 from Kris Norris' Phase 2 lesson series to learn about locking tremolos.
Chapter 3: (04:50) Proper Fretting Technique Fingering Rules for First Position

Position refers to the area of the fretboard in which the left hand plays. Specifically, position indicates the fret at which the first finger plays. First position includes all of the notes played as open strings and all of the notes located within the first four frets.

Within first position, certain fingering rules must be followed. The left hand finger used corresponds with the fret number. For example, the first finger is used to play all of the notes at the first fret. The second finger frets all notes at the second fret and so on.

Left Hand Guidelines

1. Position the finger as close to the fretwire as possible without being directly over top of it. Otherwise, you will most likely produce a note that rattles or buzzes.

2. Press the string down just hard enough to produce a clear tone. Pressing too hard will result in unnecessary left hand fatigue.

Note: Jim continues his discussion of left hand technique in several of the scenes that follow.
Chapter 4: (03:57) Left Hand Technique Reading Music

A. Tablature

Guitarists read music from two types of notation. The tablature system provides a visual map of the guitar fretboard. Within, this system notes are identified by their string and fret location.

The string with the highest pitch (closest to the floor) is referred to as the first string. Moving on, the string that sits directly above is referred to as the second string and so on. The string with the lowest pitch (closest to your face) is referred to as the sixth string.

Throughout this lesson series, Jim will frequently refer to the strings by their appropriate number. For example, he may say something like "play the third string at the third fret."

B. Standard Notation

The other system of notation that guitarists use is standard notation. This system is used by every instrument in the traditional Western music system. Notes are identified by their location on the musical staff, which consists of five horizontal lines. Notes are either written directly on a line or in the space between two lines.

The musical alphabet consists of seven letter names. These letter names correspond to the first seven letters of the English alphabet (A, B, C, D, E, F, and G). After G, the musical alphabet simply repeats again from the beginning. Each of the open strings produce a specific pitch from the musical alphabet. Study the notes produced by each of the open strings listed below. Memorize them as soon as possible.

1st String: E
2nd String: B
3rd String: G
4th String: D
5th String: A
6th String: E

When the strings are tuned to the pitches listed above, the guitar is said to be in "standard tuning." Jim will discuss some commonly used alternate tunings later in the lesson series.
Chapter 5: (07:42) Basic Right Hand Technique and Using Hands Together Right Hand Technique

When first studying technique, each of the hands should be isolated. This will allow you to focus all of your attention on the mechanics of a single hand.

As a beginning guitarist, it is extremely important not to develop any bad habits early on. Pay very careful attention to the technical advice that Jim presents in this lesson. Developing proper technique will allow you to play your favorite music with a high level of comfort and confidence.

Note: Some of the following information is taken from lesson 2 of Brad Henecke's Phase 2 Speed and Technique Series.

I. Choosing a Pick

When it comes to choosing a pick, there really is no right and wrong. Picks come in a wide variety of shapes, sizes, thicknesses, and textures.

A. Pick Size / Shape

Almost all picks are made in relatively the same shape. There is a broad end and a pointed end. However, there is a wide variety of choices within this stipulation. The majority of picks are taller than they are wide and measure roughly one inch in height. A common example of this pick type is the Dunlop Tortex. However, there are other options available. For example, Fender makes a pick that is just as wide as it is round. Fender also makes picks in the shape of isosceles and equilateral triangles. Most guitarists can't stand these picks. However, System of a Down / Scars Over Broadway guitarist Daron Malakian has been known to use these picks almost exclusively. Finally, most jazz players prefer a very small pick. This allows the picking hand to be as close to the strings as possible. This is not desirable for players who frequently palm mute.

B. Pick Texture

Ideally, you want to choose a pick that is easy to hold onto. For example, many players find the Dunlop Tortex and Dunlop Nylon picks very easy to hang onto. The Dunlop Nylon picks have a convex logo printed on them that makes them easier to grip. However, players with very dry skin often find these picks difficult to hold onto. These players usually prefer picks with smoother surfaces such as picks made by Fender.

C. Thickness

Almost all JamPlay instructors recommend that you play with a medium or heavy pick. Thin picks produce an annoying clicking sound when they strike the string. They also tend produce a very weak tone. However, make sure that you do not choose a pick that is too thick. Picks that are too thick are clumsy and awkward to use. Using such a pick also puts you at a higher risk of string breakage.

D. JamPlay Recommendation

When starting out, it is best to use a pick that represents the middle of the road. Use a standard shaped pick of medium thickness. The Fender Medium and the green Dunlop Tortex are two great picks that meet this description. As you advance as a player and become more stylized, you will probably find that a certain type of pick works better for you. For example, a thicker and slightly smaller pick might work better for rapid single note lines that occur frequently in metal and jazz music. If you find yourself playing a lot of strummed acoustic music, you might want to use a thinner, more flexible pick.

II. Holding the Pick

In order to properly swing a golf club, you must first learn how to hold it. Similarly, in order to use your picking hand properly, you first have to learn how to hold the pick.

A. Method 1

When holding the pick, keep the wrist straight. Do not curl the wrist inwards or outwards. Curl the index finger inwards until the side of the finger rests directly under the fleshy pad of the thumb. The pick should be gripped between the side of the first finger and the pad of the thumb. Do not grip the pick between the pads of both fingers. This will contort your wrist into an awkward position.

Do not grip the pick too tightly! Relaxation and comfort are the most important components of proper playing technique. Hold the pick with just enough pressure so that it does not fall out of your hand. Gripping the pick tightly will result in unwanted tension in the finger, palm, and forearm muscles. This tightness will cause unnecessary fatigue. Fatigue will lead to slower playing speeds and decreased accuracy.

Note: There are two other acceptable ways to hold the guitar pick. However, they are not as widely accepted by qualified guitar instructors as the method described above.

B. Method 2

Some players, such as Metallica's James Hetfield and Krist Novoselic of Nirvana, Sweet 75, and Flipper prefer to hold the pick between the pads of the thumb and both the index and middle fingers. These players feel that this method provides them with the firmest, most stable grip on the pick. It also allows them to play with punishing heaviness.

C. Method 3

Eddie Van Halen has been known to grip the pick between the pad of his thumb and the pad of his middle finger. This method frees up his first finger for rapid tapping licks. This method is not recommended unless you play tapped licks very frequently.

Regardless of which method you eventually choose, slightly less than a fourth of an inch of the pick should extend outward from the fingers holding it. This is the only portion of the pick that should make contact with the strings. Almost all guitarists strike the strings with the pointed side of the pick. However, some jazz players such as Scott Henderson advocate holding the pick upside down. Scott holds his pick this way in order to achieve a slightly softer, darker tone.

III. Pick Angle

The angle at which the pick strikes the strings has a huge impact on tone production. Holding the pick totally parallel to the string yields the brightest tone. JamPlay instructor Dennis Hodges prefers to hold his pick this way. However, the tone produced by this method may not be ideal for you. Other instructors such as Matt Brown prefer to slightly angle the pick into the strings. This produces a slightly darker tone similar to the effect of rolling down the tone control by 1 or two settings.

The pick angle also has a profound effect on rapid picking. Some players prefer to angle the pick slightly when tremolo picking so that the pick slices through the string. Other players find this technique undesirable and choose to keep the pick parallel to the string while tremolo picking.

Note: If you do not have a "hitchhiker" thumb, you will most likely not be able to hold the pick perfectly parallel to the string. If this is the case, do not try to force the thumb into a position that is uncomfortable. The thumb should remain as relaxed as possible at all times.

IV. Picking Motion

Almost all guitarists generate the picking motion completely from the wrist muscles. The forearm only gets involved when three or more strings are strummed simultaneously. However, some players prefer to generate the picking motion between the thumb and index finger. The thumb pushes the index finger towards the middle finger to produce a downstroke. Allowing these fingers to return to their normal, relaxed position produces an upstroke. Dave Navarro is a strong advocate of this technique.

V. Fingers Not Holding the Pick

Keep these fingers as relaxed as possible. Many players prefer to curl them inwards towards the palm. Or, you can let them extend out naturally.

VI. Right Hand Position

The right hand should positioned so that the pick makes contact with the strings at around the back edge of the soundhole. This technique will produce the loudest, most satisfying tone.

VII. Picking Guidelines

Always follow the guidelines listed below when playing with a flat pick.

1. Only the very tip of the pick should make contact with the strings. Digging the pick deep into the strings will limit your speed and accuracy.

2. Economy of motion is of paramount importance to right hand technique. Move the pick just enough to produce a solid tone. Using wide picking motions will once again limit your speed and accuracy.

VII. Playing Fingerstyle

Thumb picks are used by fingerstyle players in the country, folk, and bluegrass genres. Playing with a thumbpick enables a guitarist to play a muted alternating bassline, which is a signature staple of this guitar style.

Classical players typically pluck the strings with their fingernails instead of a pick. The fingernail should extend about 1-2 millimeters beyond the fleshy pad of the fingers. The finger strikes the string at the point where the nail meets the flesh. Regardless of which style you play, the pinkie finger is seldom used.
Chapter 6: (08:09) Absolute Tuning Basics You must tune the guitar prior to every practice session. It does not matter how recently you played it. The guitar is not like a piano. The strings go out of tune much more quickly. They will slip out of tune in a matter of hours as the guitar sits in its case. Get in a habit of tuning your guitar prior to performing your daily warm-up exercises. If your guitar is not in tune, everything you play will sound bad regardless of how well you play it.

Purchasing a Tuner

Eventually, you will need to learn how to tune the guitar by ear. For now though, use an electronic tuner to help with this process. A reliable electronic tuner can be purchased at your local guitar store for around fifteen dollars. The Korg GA-30 Guitar/Bass Tuner is a great choice for beginning guitarists. This tuner also features a built-in microphone. The microphone allows you to tune an acoustic guitar without plugging a patch cable into the tuner.

Professional tuners such as the Boss TU-2 are designed for live performance situations. Chances are that you will not need a tuner of this quality to start with. These tuners require the use of two cables. They also have two outputs. One output silences the guitar signal when tuning. The other keeps the guitar amplified while tuning.

Open String Names

The tuning process begins with learning the name of the note produced by each "open" string. A string is played open when the left hand is not used on the fretboard.

The thickest string (closest to the ceiling) is referred to as the sixth string. This string produces the pitch "E."

5th string - A
4th string - D
3rd string - G
2nd string - B
1st string - E

Memorize these string names as soon as possible. This information is extremely rudimentary. A lot of what you will learn later expands upon this basic information. Notice how the lowest and the highest string are both tuned to the note E. The "high" E string is tuned two octaves higher than the lowest string.

When using the tuner, the string number or open string note name will light up as it is plucked. A meter will indicate whether the note is sharp or flat. If the meter is to the left of center, then the string is flat. If it is right of center, then the string is sharp. If the appropriate string number or pitch does not show up, the note is too far sharp or flat for the tuner to register properly. Always tune up to the proper pitch of a note. Never tune down to the appropriate note.

Note: When tuning a specific string, mute all other strings with the left hand. Electronic tuners are very sensitive devices. When a string is plucked, it begins to vibrate. This vibration can cause the other strings to vibrate sympathetically. These sympathetic vibrations will result in slightly inaccurate tuning.

If you have any sort of a floating tremolo, you have to go through the tuning process twice if not three times. When the tuning of one string is changed, the tuning of the other strings adjusts slightly to even out the tension placed on the neck. This is one disadvantage of a floating or double locking tremolo system.

The Fifth Fret Tuning Method

Tuning the "E" (Low) String

When tuning by ear, you must tune your E string with an outside source, unless you were born with perfect pitch and you can find an E note without any reference point. A piano, pitch pipe, or internet tuning tools can be used as reference points. Once you have your top string in tune, you can take care of the rest of the strings yourself.

Tuning the "A" String

As you have already learned, the fifth string produces the pitch A. Fret the sixth string at the fifth fret. This produces the note A. Match the pitch of the open fifth string to this note.

Tuning the "D" String

The exact same tuning method is once again used to tune this string. Fret the fifth string of the fifth string. This produces the note D. Match the pitch of the open fourth string to this note.

Tuning the "G" String

Again, use the same method. Simply hold the fifth fret of the "D" string and play the open third string. Match the pitch of the open third string to the note played on the fourth string.

Tuning the "B" String

The B string marks the only exception to the fifth fret method. Fret the third string at the fourth fret. This produces the note B. Match the tuning of the open second string to this note.

Tuning the "E" (High) String

Return to the fifth fret method when tuning the high E string. Fret the note E at the fifth fret of the second string. Adjust the tuning of the first string until it matches this note.
Chapter 7: (05:04) Proper Chord Playing - The C Chord Left Hand Guidelines Continued

Always follow these guidelines when fretting any chord.

1. Keep the left hand in a natural, relaxed position at all times. Do not squeeze the neck!

2. Keep the thumb perpendicular to the neck. Do not curl the thumb or bring it up over the top of the neck. Also, Do not turn the thumb so that it runs parallel to the back of the neck. This greatly limits the range of motion of each finger.

Note: There are some exceptions to this rule that will be discussed later in the series.

3. Keep all left hand joints slightly bent. Do not flatten any of the knuckles.

4. Keep the left hand fingernails as short as possible.

5. Fret the strings with the very tips of the fingers. Arching the wrist outwards will help accomplish this goal. Utilizing this technique will prevent you from bumping any of the adjacent strings. Making contact with adjacent strings will prevent them from ringing clearly.

6. Keep the wrist slightly bent.

7. Keep the palm parallel to the bottom of the neck. Do not tilt the wrist from side to side. This will limit the range of motion for each of the fingers.

Reading Chord Diagrams

A chord diagram provides a visual representation of the guitar fretboard. Chord diagrams are laid out as if the guitar is hanging on a wall or sitting up on a guitar stand.

-The vertical lines represent each of the six strings. The horizontal lines represent the frets.

-At the top of the chord chart, numbers or "X's" may be written. An "X" indicates that a certain string is not strummed as part of the chord. A "0" indicates that a string is played open. Often, the left hand fingering of a certain note is listed above the chord diagram. The numbers 1-4 correspond to each of the left hand fingers. Many of the JamPlay chord charts indicate the proper fingering for a note directly within the fretboard diagram.

-The circles or dots written within the diagram represent fretted notes.

Playing C Major

By definition, a chord is three or more notes played simultaneously. The first chord that Jim demonstrates in this lesson series is the C major chord. This chord consists of the notes C, E, and G. When this chord is written in notation, it is typically written as a capital letter "C."

This particular voicing for C major features three fretted notes and two open strings. The first finger frets the note C at the 1st fret of the second string. After fretting this string, play the third, second, and first strings individually. Ensure that each string is ringing clearly. If a string is muted or buzzing, refer back to the left hand guidelines listed above. Once all of the notes are ringing clearly, strum these three strings simultaneously to produce an abbreviated version of the C chord. Strum the notes in a steady rhythm along with Jim in the lesson video.

Master this version of the C chord before advancing to the next scene.
Chapter 8: (15:51) Finishing up the C Chord Within the full version of the "open" C major chord, the note E is fretted by the second finger at the 2nd fret of the fourth string. When this note is fretted, you might accidentally mute the open third string. If this is the case, arch the wrist outwards more to clear this string. Also, remember to fret the E note with the very tip of the second finger. Pick each of the strings individually to ensure that they are ringing clearly. Then, strum the chord in a steady rhythm with Jim at 03:26 in the lesson video. Make sure that all strings ring simultaneously. Do not roll the pick through the strings.

Next, the third finger must fret the note C at the 3rd fret of the fifth string. Adding this note requires a large left hand stretch that may be difficult for beginners, especially those with small hands. This difficult stretch can be mastered with patience and focused practice. After you have formed the chord, pick each of the strings individually to ensure that they are ringing clearly. Notice how the lowest open string is not strummed as part of this chord.

Cmaj7 Chord

If the first finger is removed from the C major chord and the second string is played open, a Cmaj7 (C major seventh) chord is formed. This chord serves as an excellent stepping stone towards playing the C major chord. When you feel ready, add the first finger back into the chord fingering.

Video Subtitles / Captions

Scene 1

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Musical Introduction from Jim Deeming.
Basic Guitar Lesson number five.

Scene 2

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Hi I'm Jim Deeming.
Instructor for

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We are actually going to get down to playing this thing today.

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I titled this lesson "Meet Your New Guitar."

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We're going to go over some basics about what the parts are.

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How it makes sound, how it makes music and then we'll start doing it.

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Let's get started with a basic anatomy lesson.

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We won't bore you to death with too much of this but things you need to know are basically what goes on in the major components.

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This is the head of the guitar and it's pretty self explanatory as to why that would be called the head.

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In the head is where the machinery exists that does the tuning of the guitar.

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The strings are anchored to the tuning pegs up here and then you can adjust the pitch of a string right here.

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If you increase the tension on a string the pitch goes up and if you decrease the tension the opposite happens.

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This is fixed once you get it in tune and typically you are not changing things up here.

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The six strings pass through this little white piece right here called the nut.

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The nut does two important jobs.

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One is it keeps a precise and even spacing between all six strings.

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The other thing that it does is it keeps the strings a very precise distance up off of the neck of the guitar which we will talk about next.

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This is your height and the spacing happens with the nut.

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The nut is usually made with bone or a very hard plastic and one other thing to know about this on some guitars when your changing strings if you

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take all six strings off at the same time sometimes these are not glued in or fastened to the guitar and they fall out.

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Watch for that when you are changing strings.

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This next section of the guitar is called the neck.

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This is where your left hand spends most of it's time and this is basically the map of the notes that you can make with this guitar.

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This is divided into individual vertical sections that you can see here and we call those frets.

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What a fret actually is, is one of these individual wires that's inlaid into the fret board.

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That's a fret but when we say play something in the first fret we usually mean that you are landing in the space just behind the first fret.

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This would be the second fret, third and so on.

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We will talk a little bit more about left hand technique in a minute.

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The neck of the guitar is attached to predictably the body of the guitar and there are several things going on here.

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First of all it's the other anchor point for the strings.

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The strings come across the bridge which similar to the nut does the same two jobs.

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The bridge preserves the height of the strings on this end and it also helps keep an even spacing between the strings so that they aren't sliding down.

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Again this is a piece that may or may not be permanently fastened to your guitar with all of the strings taken off.

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It is also a piece that on my guitar is made out of bone.

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Often times it may be some other hard plastic or nylon material.

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These are the pins that hold the strings into this next piece we are going to talk about which is the saddle.

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The bridge sits in the saddle and the saddle is basically the conductor from the strings to this piece of wood here on the front of the guitar that we call

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the sound board or the top.

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You can probably imagine if you took a guitar string snapped one end into a vice and held onto the other end with a pair of pliers and stretched it

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as tight as you could until you had a G string, play it, it's not going to make a lot of noise.

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What really makes the noise, the sound with your guitar is the connection between the vibrating string and this part of the guitar

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and most importantly the sound board.

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This connects the vibration from the strings to this rather large, flat, single piece of wood, it vibrates

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and then inside the box here the sound is allowed to escape out of the sound hole.

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All of this stuff is working together to produce the sound that you hear but these are the major parts that you need to know.

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Underneath this piece of wood there are different kinds of bracings.

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Different manufacturers use different shapes to achieve different tones and different sounds.

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The kind of wood that a guitar is made out of effects how it sounds and then also the quality of the manufacturer.

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Slightly less important but not completely unimportant to the sound of the guitar is the side and the back.

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Usually these are different wood than the face.

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On my guitar this is spruce, not laminated but a solid spruce top and this back here is rosewood

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and tends to be a darker and prettier wood on a lot of guitars it's neat stuff.

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This is a very old guitar by the way. This belonged to my dad and this guitar was made in nineteen sixty nine, it's a Gibson Blue Ridge

05:12.333 --> 05:19.396
and when my dad got it, it was setup for bluegrass strumming type of playing and it was pretty hard to play actually.

05:19.396 --> 05:20.859
Especially for me as a young kid.

05:20.859 --> 05:29.009
When I inherited this guitar a few years ago I took it in and got it setup and they did several things to make this play more like my style

05:29.009 --> 05:30.263
which is finger style.

05:30.263 --> 05:39.017
Also some of the things they did since we're talking about the string vibration needing to get connected to the bridge.

05:39.017 --> 05:48.490
The way this guitar was originally designed was to have an adjustable bridge and the bridge actually sat up on bolts inside the saddle

05:48.490 --> 05:53.110
which if you think about it is not a good connection between the bridge and the wood.

05:53.110 --> 06:03.025
When I had the repair shop put that bridge down and seat it in the wood the difference and change in sound in this guitar was simply amazing.

06:03.025 --> 06:10.385
It really is neat to see how the vibrating strings get their sound out of the wood of your guitar.

06:10.385 --> 06:12.452
It's a fantastic instrument.

Scene 3

00:00.000 --> 00:12.341
I want to talk a bit about what your left and right hands are going to be doing on this instrument now.

00:12.341 --> 00:17.867
Let's talk about some left hand techniques for fretting notes.

00:17.867 --> 00:21.536
Remember, first fret, second fret, third fret.

00:21.536 --> 00:28.641
Typically what we are going to do and this is a rule we are going to break almost immediately but for now this will get you through the basics.

00:28.641 --> 00:32.495
Your first finger will play any of the notes in the first fret.

00:32.495 --> 00:36.953
Second finger stays in this zone on the second fret.

00:36.953 --> 00:42.224
Third finger will cover the third fret and fourth finger will play anything that lands in here.

00:42.224 --> 00:44.360
That will get us by for quite a while.

00:44.360 --> 00:53.485
What we are going to do now is learn how to press down on individual strings and get a good clean sound out of it.

00:53.485 --> 00:56.875
Let me just tell you right now if you're just starting out

00:56.875 --> 01:03.771
this is one of the most difficult initial hurdles for a new guitar student is how to play those without buzzing.

01:03.771 --> 01:12.362
A couple of things that you can do right off the bat to help minimize that is pay attention to where you actually push on the fret.

01:12.362 --> 01:23.043
Remember this is a wire right here and this sticks up ever so slightly in front of the space in here you know the fret board space.

01:23.043 --> 01:30.032
Right now if I play this string open and we call it open when you're not pushing on the string at all

01:30.032 --> 01:34.861
that string is vibrating all the way from the bridge all the way to the nut.

01:34.861 --> 01:44.172
What you are doing when you are pushing on this string right here on the first fret you are basically telling the first fret that it's now the nut.

01:44.172 --> 01:48.839
The string is going to vibrate all the way from this wire back to the bridge.

01:48.839 --> 01:58.475
We're shortening the length of the string which changes the pitch of the string this changes it from an E note to an F note.

01:58.475 --> 02:02.051
Now more about pushing on these notes.

02:02.051 --> 02:08.506
There is a tendency when you're first starting out and I already told you this was going to be hard so you are going to want to try really hard.

02:08.506 --> 02:09.667
Don't overdo it.

02:09.667 --> 02:14.705
It shouldn't hurt and it shouldn't make your hands tired and sore right away.

02:14.705 --> 02:21.903
Your stamina and your endurance for playing are going to build up over time but this doesn't need to be excruciating.

02:21.903 --> 02:26.384
Start by fretting that note with your first finger on the first fret and you'll notice that I've come up almost all the way to the wire on the first fret.

02:26.384 --> 02:31.945
Start by fretting that note with your first finger on the first fret and you'll notice that I've come up almost all the way to the wire on the first fret.

02:31.945 --> 02:39.793
I'm not over the wire that would be too much and it would go dead at the end but if I'm too far back here it tends to buzz.

02:39.793 --> 02:49.081
You may have watched my video on stringing the guitar and you'll remember how I talked about a bend in the string over that nut.

02:49.081 --> 02:55.130
If you don't have that and you string it wrong and the string flies across that nut straight it will buzz.

02:55.130 --> 03:03.674
The same tendency happens when you push too far back here you are not getting a good angle over that fret and it will buzz.

03:03.674 --> 03:10.059
The closer your finger is to that fret what you are doing is bending that string at a sharper angle.

03:10.059 --> 03:15.353
That will help minimize the buzz and make it a better clean sounding tone.

03:15.353 --> 03:19.510
Again this is something you need to work through and get the feel of

03:19.510 --> 03:26.336
but you only need to press hard enough to get the note to ring without buzzing.

03:26.336 --> 03:29.842
Anything over that, that you do is going to have two problems.

03:29.842 --> 03:38.678
One is that it makes your fingers tired faster and it also has a tendency to flatten out your finger.

03:38.678 --> 03:42.742
The harder you push on something the more your finger is going to flatten out and makes it wider.

03:42.742 --> 03:49.150
If you're ham handed like I am the wider your fingers are and they are going to have a tendency to touch other strings.

03:49.150 --> 03:55.744
Actually there is a third problem as well and that is it's going to slow you down in making changes in between notes.

03:55.744 --> 03:56.929
There you go.

03:56.929 --> 03:58.995
There's three great reasons not to overdo this.

03:58.995 --> 04:03.894
The minimum amount of pressure you need to get a good clear ringing note.

04:03.894 --> 04:08.352
Then you can do the same thing in the second fret with your second finger.

04:08.352 --> 04:10.628
That'd be an F sharp.

04:10.628 --> 04:13.252
We're going to talk more about these note names in a little bit.

04:13.252 --> 04:18.917
This will be the third finger, third fret and notice where my finger is.

04:18.917 --> 04:22.795
It's riding right up close to but not over the wire.

04:22.795 --> 04:26.068
Then the fourth finger can do this.

04:26.068 --> 04:32.314
So you have open.
One, two, three, four.

04:32.314 --> 04:37.794
This is not going to sound very musical but to demonstrate now you can do the same thing on the second string.

04:37.794 --> 04:43.367
One, two, three, four.

04:43.367 --> 04:50.681
Every finger has a job and can do that job on all different strings all the way up and down the neck.

Scene 4

00:00.000 --> 00:09.973
Let's do a couple things in terms of terminology now.

00:09.973 --> 00:17.774
Tablature and most instruction that you're going to see here and elsewhere is going to refer to the strings two ways.

00:17.774 --> 00:22.093
One by a number and then also by a note name.

00:22.093 --> 00:30.800
Number wise what we think of is this little guy down here on the bottom is the first string.

00:30.800 --> 00:36.535
If you put strings on your guitar and the packages are labeled it will say this is the E or the first string.

00:36.535 --> 00:41.527
First string is always the little one down here and it has the highest pitch.

00:41.527 --> 00:50.954
Then predictably up from that it's second string, third, fourth, fifth and sixth is the big guy right here.

00:50.954 --> 00:57.363
On tablature or when I'm casually referring to play the third string on the third fret.

00:57.363 --> 01:01.960
You will know to start counting from here.
Up and then over.

01:01.960 --> 01:04.653
Third string, third fret.

01:04.653 --> 01:08.902
It's basically a map for how to find the notes.

01:08.902 --> 01:13.709
The other way strings are referred to requires a little bit of music theory.

01:13.709 --> 01:20.024
I'm going to try not to kill you with this right off the bat but there's a minimal amount that you should start learning and getting familiar with.

01:20.024 --> 01:28.825
The strings do have note names and if you're not familiar with music theory at all what you need to know is that

01:28.825 --> 01:39.296
there are seven major notes in a scale and they are all lettered: A, B, C, D, E, F and G.

01:39.296 --> 01:43.987
When you get to G you can still go higher but you start over again with an A.

01:43.987 --> 01:45.784
What that sounds like is this.

01:45.784 --> 02:00.110
We can start here with a C, D, E, F, G and we're out of letters now but we've got to go higher, A, B, C.

02:00.110 --> 02:02.339
So it's a cycling alphabet.

02:02.339 --> 02:07.030
There are some little baby steps that we will worry about later but those are your major whole notes.

02:07.030 --> 02:19.429
C, D, E, F, G, A, B, C, but listen to this that is not a chord and it is not a scale but it is standard tuning on a guitar.

02:19.429 --> 02:26.418
The trick there and the conspiracy is that they want to make sure that everybody bought guitar lessons along with their guitar so they make it

02:26.418 --> 02:30.411
a little bit tricky and they give it away with a tuning that doesn't make sense.

02:30.411 --> 02:31.944
We can fix that.

02:31.944 --> 02:39.188
This string is the E string and to help you out we've got two of those.

02:39.188 --> 02:43.623
The big one on the bottom and the little one on the top are E strings.

02:43.623 --> 02:51.192
Hopefully you're ear can hear that even though one is significantly higher than the other they are both the same pitch.

02:51.192 --> 03:10.975
Coming down from that we have the B string and the third is a G the fourth is a D the fifth is an A and the sixth is that E again.

03:10.975 --> 03:21.911
So again we have E, B, G, D, A and E.

03:21.911 --> 03:27.994
There are some other tunings and we'll explore those later but this is what's called standard tuning with the guitar

03:27.994 --> 03:35.262
and there is really nothing you can do except learn this because you need to know the names of those.

03:35.262 --> 03:39.766
Then what happens like I showed you everything is relative from there.

03:39.766 --> 03:46.802
That open E can get fretted to an F the next guy in line and from F we go up to G.

03:46.802 --> 03:54.278
So you need to know the names of those strings so that you know where other notes are relative to open position.

03:54.278 --> 03:57.831
That is the basics of where we are going with this.

Scene 5

00:00.000 --> 00:15.545
Alright here is a very short lesson on right hand technique and we'll talk more about this in a minute and later

00:15.545 --> 00:21.536
but what I want you to see is what's going on down here position wise and posture wise.

00:21.536 --> 00:30.080
In general my right hand is playing approximately over the sound hole and maybe just a little bit to the back of the sound hole right about in here.

00:30.080 --> 00:34.678
Now that's not mandatory and you can certainly move around .

00:34.678 --> 00:40.273
Here you get a different sound sort of a harp sound some people think.

00:40.273 --> 00:45.660
Back here it's more twain more of a tenor sound comes out of there.

00:45.660 --> 00:51.070
For starters you want to be about in the middle of that where there's a nice mellow even tone.

00:51.070 --> 00:55.134
Now let's talk about how you're going to hit those strings.

00:55.134 --> 00:58.013
This depends on where you want to end up.

00:58.013 --> 01:04.769
There's no right or wrong here this is a function of what your goals are with playing the guitar.

01:04.769 --> 01:12.919
If you want to do rock 'n' roll and maybe be a lead guitar player or play rhythm guitar you are probably going to use one of these.

01:12.919 --> 01:19.305
It's called a flat pick and there are many different varieties and many different thicknesses

01:19.305 --> 01:29.521
and for right now if you don't need to go into the deeper, debatable religion of what kind of pick you should use.

01:29.521 --> 01:34.327
Just know that if you walk into a guitar store and say I need a medium thickness flat pick,

01:34.327 --> 01:38.391
you are good to go for quite a while in the beginning of your guitar journey.

01:38.391 --> 01:43.754
If you want to maybe play finger style then you've got a couple choices.

01:43.754 --> 01:49.861
You can learn to play with no picks at all and this is what classical guitar players do.

01:49.861 --> 01:54.017
Fundamentally the difference between a classical guitar player and the rest of us

01:54.017 --> 01:59.056
is they would hold the guitar on this other knee and they play with no picks.

01:59.056 --> 02:07.530
That puts their fingers at a very steep angle on the fret board and they tend to play over the straighter finger sweeping motion like this.

02:07.530 --> 02:10.851
Maybe that's for you and maybe it's not.

02:10.851 --> 02:14.821
If you want to play without a pick and on this side that's fine.

02:14.821 --> 02:28.242
You are generally going to play in the same area over the strings and you can pick like most people who use one to three fingers and the thumb.

02:28.242 --> 02:36.276
The pinky unfortunately is not much of a picker. The pinky's a bad picker but what it is good for later on is an anchor.

02:36.276 --> 02:38.946
You'll see banjo players do this a lot.

02:38.946 --> 02:42.359
You'll see me do this every once in a while on a banjo style roll.

02:42.359 --> 02:48.976
It's an anchor point down there to keep your hand locked in for precise picking.

02:48.976 --> 02:55.896
It's not so helpful when you're really wailing on a guitar but when you need to be anchored and playing accurately the pinky get's this job.

02:55.896 --> 02:57.660
It rarely picks.

02:57.660 --> 03:01.097
These three fingers and the thumb though do that job.

03:01.097 --> 03:07.273
When you start out you are going to find that this may feel a little awkward.

03:07.273 --> 03:11.104
Maybe you'll have a hard time getting a good sound out of your thumb.

03:11.104 --> 03:20.485
You'll have to experiment with it and figure out what you like but typically on fingers what you'll find is that you want just a little bit of a fingernail

03:20.485 --> 03:23.782
barely hanging over the round part of your finger.

03:23.782 --> 03:30.469
Then you're almost hitting that string with a combination of skin and a little bit of nail.

03:30.469 --> 03:36.181
The nail kind of reinforces the shape of the tip of your finger and helps you pluck.

03:36.181 --> 03:39.964
Again, there is no right or wrong and there is not a lot of absolutes on this.

03:39.964 --> 03:48.671
You will find guitar players like Tommy Emmanuel who play perfectly acceptable finger style guitar with no nails at all.

03:48.671 --> 03:54.150
He has developed his calluses to the point to where he plays only with calluses on his hand and no nails.

03:54.150 --> 04:00.420
A traditional classical guitar player typically strives to have a little bit of a nail head and that's what I do.

04:00.420 --> 04:07.962
As for the thumb when you are picking with the thumb and no pick you're going to be using the fleshy part of the thumb

04:07.962 --> 04:13.534
and unless you grow that nail out substantially you're not going to get a nail bite out of that normally.

04:13.534 --> 04:22.547
What I find is that if you do grow the nail out long enough for that it's really hard to get the right striking angle unless you go classical.

04:22.547 --> 04:32.229
That is part of the reason why they do left knee and point inwards because it gives a more consistent strike between the thumb and the fingers.

04:32.229 --> 04:34.528
I don't do that.
I use a thumb pick.

04:34.528 --> 04:45.418
My favorite style is the one I've been playing along because it feels the most natural to me so the thumb now can lay parallel to the strings.

04:45.418 --> 04:46.997
It lays down all the way.

04:46.997 --> 04:55.007
My fingers are curled up in a claw position and then the thumb can play individual notes it can strum.

04:55.007 --> 05:00.580
If I need to I can grab it and play it like a flat pick.

05:00.580 --> 05:06.660
To me it's the most natural and the most versatile style but it may not be for everybody.

05:06.660 --> 05:12.813
Some people put a thumb pick on and it just feels absolutely or uncomfortable and strange to them and they can't get used to it.

05:12.813 --> 05:16.366
One more quick advantage is and this is not a finger style lesson

05:16.366 --> 05:20.708
but there's something for you to think about in terms of setting your goal of where you want to end up.

05:20.708 --> 05:27.534
You can not only play the thumb but it can do various jobs down here

05:27.534 --> 05:34.662
but some of what you may have heard me do and some of the sample songs is you'll hear a real good muted bass.

05:34.662 --> 05:42.412
There is only one way to get that and that's to have my palm laying down secretly here on the back of the strings

05:42.412 --> 05:44.292
and doing what we call a "palm mute."

05:44.292 --> 05:51.792
It's not killing the string completely it's letting it ring enough to make a tone but it takes away the sustain.

05:51.792 --> 05:59.153
If I do that, that could get old in a hurry and it's just a ringing constant drum

05:59.153 --> 06:05.933
but if you kill that just a little bit then you've got bass and rhythm both.

06:05.933 --> 06:09.096
A little bit of a punchy sound and I just think it's cool.

06:09.096 --> 06:13.902
That's my favorite style to play but you may pick something else and that's alright for the next several lessons.

06:13.902 --> 06:17.826
Now we've got to get these two hands working together.

06:17.826 --> 06:21.402
We've talked about what your left hand is doing and how to fret.

06:21.402 --> 06:27.067
We've talked about the right hand basically is over here picking approximately in this area.

06:27.067 --> 06:31.943
I think for purposes of demonstrating the rest of this I am going to go back to the flat pick.

06:31.943 --> 06:37.284
What we are doing is going to be very simple either one note or simple chords.

06:37.284 --> 06:43.019
So we've picked and for now let's focus on only a down stroke.

06:43.019 --> 06:46.153
We will add to that quickly but for now we'll play down.

06:46.153 --> 06:55.557
When you pick and when you dig into the string a little bit you'll have to get the feel of what works or not.

06:55.557 --> 07:03.498
That will be a function of how thick your pick is, what shape it is and how heavy of a gauge of strings you're playing with.

07:03.498 --> 07:08.745
You don't need to dig all the way down into where you are hitting the wood or pick guard.

07:08.745 --> 07:15.061
Just enough to get a good firm hang of it and snap it off just a little bit.

07:15.061 --> 07:24.116
This is something that we'll perfect over time with repetition and don't worry about it but listen to it.

07:24.116 --> 07:27.715
Try to listen to when it sounds well and when it doesn't.

07:27.715 --> 07:31.361
Notice a difference and experiment with it a little bit.

07:31.361 --> 07:37.676
Before we can go much farther we need to cover one other topic because I hope right now you're holding a guitar in your lap

07:37.676 --> 07:42.552
and some of the next stuff we're going to do we are going to do together and we need to be in tune.

Scene 6

00:00.000 --> 00:10.994
I'm going to give you a fast flyover lesson on tuning a guitar.

00:10.994 --> 00:15.220
There are several ways to get this done.

00:15.220 --> 00:23.045
Some instructors will tell you to go sit down at a piano, find middle C on the piano, go up two notes to the middle E

00:23.045 --> 00:28.710
and that happens to be what your E string is on a guitar on standard tuning.

00:28.710 --> 00:36.837
If you're familiar with a piano keyboard, middle C, go up two white keys, to middle E and that's this note.

00:36.837 --> 00:38.741
The E that we learned earlier.

00:38.741 --> 00:46.817
Then by counting down on a piano you can tune to your B, G, D, A and then your bottom E again in that order.

00:46.817 --> 00:52.854
So the guitar is right at and just below the middle range of a typical piano.

00:52.854 --> 00:57.707
What I'm going to advocate is that you get a tuner.

00:57.707 --> 01:05.183
Once you've got one string in tune you can tune strings relative to each other. Some people call it the fifth fret tuning system.

01:05.183 --> 01:09.455
I can show you that briefly and that is right here is your fifth fret.

01:09.455 --> 01:17.164
If you push on your fifth fret on the sixth string it should be the same pitch as the string underneath it.

01:17.164 --> 01:29.168
Fifth fret here is the same as the one under it work them in pairs except for this one you've got to drop down to four one time.

01:29.168 --> 01:36.250
That works and that's ok it will get the job done.

01:36.250 --> 01:46.211
However, I really want to encourage you to go down to the guitar store and spend thirty extra dollars and get yourself an electronic tuner.

01:46.211 --> 01:53.362
This one that I have here is a little bit more expensive than thirty dollars this is a fifty dollar version because it has a backlighting on it.

01:53.362 --> 02:02.557
When I'm tuning onstage and I don't have any control over the lighting and I may need to tune in the dark I can get it done with the backlighting.

02:02.557 --> 02:06.504
This same exact tuner without the light is only thirty dollars.

02:06.504 --> 02:12.564
What it does is it clamps on to the head of your guitar or really any stringed instrument.

02:12.564 --> 02:19.878
A mandolin, a violin, anything you need to tune and you just start playing the notes one at a time

02:19.878 --> 02:30.443
and what it does is, let me tilt this up so you can see it, it gives you a visual indicator of when you're in tune.

02:30.443 --> 02:40.868
So let's take a look at my little E string here and what you'll see is a number of arrows on one side it's not quite the same as the other.

02:40.868 --> 02:43.910
I think there are three on the left and two on the right if I'm seeing that right.

02:43.910 --> 02:47.021
It means I'm a little bit low or flat.

02:47.021 --> 02:51.317
We call that flat when you are under pitch and sharp when you are over pitch.

02:51.317 --> 02:59.281
So what I can do is barely ease up there until I get more of that three.

02:59.281 --> 03:10.031
One note about electronic tuners when you're not trying to show somebody else have it around here where you can see it and try to mute

03:10.031 --> 03:14.582
the other strings as much as possible so that the only one that's ringing is the one you are trying to tune.

03:14.582 --> 03:19.714
Some digital tuners are confused by having more than one string ringing at the same time

03:19.714 --> 03:24.543
and you will save yourself a bunch of headache by making sure you are only ringing one string at a time.

03:24.543 --> 03:32.879
Another trick with using these kinds of tuners is when you're playing in a live band environment or a noisy environment you may need to turn away

03:32.879 --> 03:38.900
from the band, turn away from the noise and get your sound hole away from the stuff that's going on.

03:38.900 --> 03:44.659
You want to get as pure of a signal from that string to your tuner and it will just work better that way.

03:44.659 --> 03:56.500
The last thing I want you to keep in mind about tuning strings is if you saw my lesson about stringing a guitar you're aware that we pull these strings

03:56.500 --> 04:01.701
across the guitar, we anchor them and then we start stretching them and that's fine.

04:01.701 --> 04:06.995
Ideally you want to start playing your guitar when the stretch is mostly gone from them.

04:06.995 --> 04:17.674
However, since they have such pressure right here on the nut and on the bridge if you have a string that's wound really tight you're too

04:17.674 --> 04:26.381
sharp and you try to back that string off what can happen is that it will just ever so slightly hang and be reluctant to slide back through there.

04:26.381 --> 04:32.418
You are basically un-stretching a rubber band when you do that.

04:32.418 --> 04:36.316
The string for a lot of reasons is less stable that way.

04:36.316 --> 04:43.351
The better way is to approach a note is to come underneath it and tune up to the pitch.

04:43.351 --> 04:50.038
If you overshoot and go high by very much and then you're starting to back down off of onto the note

04:50.038 --> 04:52.406
that is when you can start to have a lot of tuning problems.

04:52.406 --> 04:59.326
So if you miss it and you go too sharp and your tuning says you went too sharp back all the way back under the note and come up again

04:59.326 --> 05:03.180
and do it a little slower so that you don't miss it you will be a lot happier

05:03.180 --> 05:09.426
and a lot more stable with your tuning if you tighten up to the pitch rather than come back down to it.

05:09.426 --> 05:19.178
One more time I am going to run through my notes and you can tune your guitar to my guitar and we'll do the rest of this lesson together.

05:19.178 --> 05:28.558
Let's begin with the E string, the first string.
Get that pitch and as best as you can make yours sound just like that.

05:28.558 --> 05:39.188
Now we'll go on to the second or B string if you missed it and you get behind me

05:39.188 --> 05:45.294
don't worry about it you can stop the video and rewind a little bit and redo this section so we can keep on moving.

05:45.294 --> 05:50.565
Here's the B string, the second string.

05:50.565 --> 05:57.598
That's the B string.

05:57.598 --> 05:59.293
Now we'll move to the G string.

05:59.293 --> 06:07.652
Here's a little note about the G string by the way.

06:07.652 --> 06:14.919
For reasons that border on rocket science the G string is not always at perfect pitch when it sounds right

06:14.919 --> 06:24.483
and if anything at all, if you allow any variation on the G string you want it to just be ever so slightly flat from the rest of your tuning.

06:24.483 --> 06:28.268
What I typically do and this has worked on every guitar I've ever done it on.

06:28.268 --> 06:37.974
For example this tuner you remember I had three arrows on either side of center pitch this is the one time where I'll allow the G string to sit with one

06:37.974 --> 06:42.524
of those arrows missing it's just the slightest amount of being flat I can possibly make.

06:42.524 --> 06:47.726
If you have trouble figuring that out or it doesn't make sense to you don't worry about it right now

06:47.726 --> 06:57.385
but it's really true the G string is a funny critter and just ever so slightly flat open on most guitars is a good idea.

06:57.385 --> 07:04.466
If you've got the G string let's go to the fourth string or the D.

07:04.466 --> 07:17.887
Now the fifth string the A.

07:17.887 --> 07:29.589
Now the last one the big E on the bottom.

07:29.589 --> 07:42.499
Chances are pretty good that as you're changing the tension on the neck depending on the conditions of your strings and depending on your guitar

07:42.499 --> 07:49.743
if you've had to move any strings for example down low a lot now you'll need to go and recheck the top ones.

07:49.743 --> 07:51.880
It needs to all settle in together.

07:51.880 --> 07:59.658
Don't be surprised or frustrated if it takes you a couple trips through these strings to get them all right and get them all together.

07:59.658 --> 08:06.136
So if you need to stop now and rewind the video to go back through these again with me do that and I'll wait for you.

Scene 7

00:00.000 --> 00:12.178
Let's get started making a little bit of music with the guitar.

00:12.178 --> 00:14.733
We're going to work on a C chord.

00:14.733 --> 00:20.746
A chord is when we're going to play more than one note together.

00:20.746 --> 00:26.296
You saw me fret single notes here a little bit ago and we talked about how to make a good sound out of those.

00:26.296 --> 00:31.032
Now what we're going to do is put a couple of those together in a way that makes sense together.

00:31.032 --> 00:37.673
This is a C note by itself.
This is a C chord.

00:37.673 --> 00:42.270
A chord is pretty much the foundation of building music around.

00:42.270 --> 00:47.773
Usually you have music that has chords, a rhythm and a melody that goes with it.

00:47.773 --> 00:58.733
A chord is the foundation for the whole thing so we need to get to a chord and we're going to do that right now.

00:58.733 --> 01:03.701
This is the C chord and my first finger is playing the C note.

01:03.701 --> 01:06.511
This open string remember is a B.

01:06.511 --> 01:14.359
If you fretted up one into this first fret on the second string that's a C, that's a root note for this chord.

01:14.359 --> 01:18.794
Alright let's try to get a few of these at a time.

01:18.794 --> 01:25.806
Let's play the first, second and third string together with that finger right there.

01:25.806 --> 01:27.896
This is a one finger C chord.

01:27.896 --> 01:38.994
It should sound pretty good and chances are very likely on your first attempt it's going to sound like this.

01:38.994 --> 01:42.361
There's a problem isn't there?

01:42.361 --> 01:48.978
We need to learn how to fret in the middle here without hitting other strings.

01:48.978 --> 01:56.176
I think you might remember from earlier that I said one of the problems can be when you're nervous, you know this is going to be hard

01:56.176 --> 01:57.569
so you're going to try really hard.

01:57.569 --> 02:02.329
You push hard and flatten out your finger especially big hands like mine

02:02.329 --> 02:06.555
you can literally deaden strings on either side of what you are trying to fret.

02:06.555 --> 02:14.218
So ease up just a little bit as much as possible, your finger needs to point straight into the fret board.

02:14.218 --> 02:17.793
Not laying down lazy like it needs to go straight in.

02:17.793 --> 02:28.242
This may feel uncomfortable for you at first and it will come in time but try to get that finger in there and touch the string and not have any buzz.

02:28.242 --> 02:36.206
For you ladies one thing you're probably going to quickly realize is if you have excessively long nails on your left hand

02:36.206 --> 02:38.133
it's going to cause you some problems.

02:38.133 --> 02:47.490
You will have to experiment with your own hand and your guitar to figure out what you can get away with but a long nail will also cause you to push

02:47.490 --> 02:53.342
into other strings they will scratch on the fret and generally just make it harder to do this

02:53.342 --> 02:58.937
so keep your left hand nails down to a minimum and that will also help.

02:58.937 --> 03:07.784
I know I said ladies but I actually do carry a lit bit of a nail on my left hand also you might notice that and that's for a very specific reason.

03:07.784 --> 03:12.474
That's when I do pull pull-offs, I like having a little nail there to reinforce it

03:12.474 --> 03:17.164
but I have to be careful if that nail gets too long it causes problems instead of helping.

03:17.164 --> 03:22.667
Alright here we go we have three notes now on our C chord.

03:22.667 --> 03:25.662
You should be able to do that with one finger.

03:25.662 --> 03:28.263
Remember to stay up close to the wire.

03:28.263 --> 03:35.948
Don't push too hard but hard enough to where that C note should ring clear without a buzz.

03:35.948 --> 03:38.967
If you have that now look at your right hand.

03:38.967 --> 03:42.496
How are you doing with striking only three strings?

03:42.496 --> 03:46.699
That's all we want right now because that's all we're pushing down here.

03:46.699 --> 03:49.454
These three make sense together.

03:49.454 --> 03:55.723
This is a G note, our G string this the C note and that open E.

03:55.723 --> 03:57.116
Those three do go together.

03:57.116 --> 04:04.570
If you strum four and you grab that fourth string you should quickly realize that's not ok.

04:04.570 --> 04:09.167
That D, that open D doesn't fit in our chord right now.

04:09.167 --> 04:11.303
Don't play that with your right hand.

04:11.303 --> 04:12.441
Let's do this.

04:12.441 --> 04:18.989
Count with me a few beats and play those three strings with just the one finger C chord.

04:18.989 --> 04:26.033
Is it ringing clear?

04:26.033 --> 04:30.863
Are staying on rhythm and are you only hitting those three strings?

04:30.863 --> 04:35.902
That's what we want.
A little bit of accuracy and a little bit of rhythm.

04:35.902 --> 04:45.166
Try it.
One, two, three, four, one, two, three, four.

04:45.166 --> 04:54.025
Take a little time and do that and feel free to stop the video and go over that because what we're going to do now is we're going to make this chord

04:54.025 --> 04:59.574
just a little bit harder and if you're already having trouble it might get worse from here rather than get better.

04:59.574 --> 05:04.473
If you're good with this let's go farther and make a two fingered C chord.

Scene 8

00:00.000 --> 00:18.471
The next finger we want in the C chord is the middle finger, the second finger in the second fret on the fourth string right there.

00:18.471 --> 00:27.898
Now again you're going to probably realize early on that it's kind of challenging to keep the little chubby part of this finger

00:27.898 --> 00:30.266
off of the third string underneath it.

00:30.266 --> 00:38.439
What we want is to be pushing this string here, open here, pushing the string here and open here

00:38.439 --> 00:42.015
so you've got two different opportunities to see how you're fretting is going.

00:42.015 --> 00:50.234
It should ring like this.
It should all be clear and nice.

00:50.234 --> 00:53.857
Now you are strumming or picking four strings, we've added one.

00:53.857 --> 01:02.958
If you do too much down here and you pick up the fifth string you're going to find out he doesn't belong either.

01:02.958 --> 01:06.803
That's probably a jazz chord.

01:06.803 --> 01:13.141
Did you know a jazz chord is you probably just make a mistake and if you call it a jazz chord it's not a mistake anymore.

01:13.141 --> 01:16.299
For our purposes we want to play a nice sounding C chord.

01:16.299 --> 01:23.288
Four strings, two fingers, just like that.

01:23.288 --> 01:29.998
Again, you may be hearing this.

01:29.998 --> 01:38.195
That would mean your fingers are laying down too much or you're pushing too hard, you need to get them pointed straight in.

01:38.195 --> 01:42.374
If you're having trouble with that here is one way you can try to correct it.

01:42.374 --> 01:47.691
Look at where my thumb is.
We haven't talked about where this guy is supposed to sit yet.

01:47.691 --> 01:55.145
There is no right and wrong on these unless your taking classical lessons and in that case my left hand would be getting smacked with a ruler

01:55.145 --> 02:02.342
because in classical style they want that thumb down behind the neck almost like you're pushing a button back here.

02:02.342 --> 02:04.966
It's not a bad idea.

02:04.966 --> 02:13.232
What that does is it brings your wrist position around which naturally causes your fingers to point straight into the frets.

02:13.232 --> 02:19.664
That's very nice for solving the problem we're talking about.
Getting good clear ringing sound.

02:19.664 --> 02:30.228
However, the style I like to play and the style a lot of people like to play prefers this thumb up here for a stronger grip

02:30.228 --> 02:34.617
and also you can do a thumb over, you can actually fret a note up there.

02:34.617 --> 02:38.680
That's a useful thing and we'll talk about that down the road.

02:38.680 --> 02:48.339
I naturally play with my palm up against the fret and my fingers know their job well enough that they stay straight in

02:48.339 --> 02:53.471
but if you are having a problem getting clear notes you might try moving this thumb down.

02:53.471 --> 02:58.091
Watch what it does to your wrist you'll see you'll roll it out and you'll see those fingers go straight in.

02:58.091 --> 03:09.840
It may be that for starting out you need to play down here for a while until you get good sounding tones and later if you can maintain it and bring

03:09.840 --> 03:16.713
your thumb back up here and play like us rednecks then go ahead but get your tone right now that's job one.

03:16.713 --> 03:18.895
Your thumb is important later.

03:18.895 --> 03:24.355
So put your thumb where you need it to be to get these to sound right.
Let's strum these together now.

03:24.355 --> 03:26.096
I hope you're tapping your foot.

03:26.096 --> 03:33.433
One, two, three, four.
Four strings at the same time.

03:33.433 --> 03:40.678
One, two, three, four.
One, two, three, four.

03:40.678 --> 03:51.846
Now we're going to add another finger and you might see some posts out on the forums that sometimes this is where people get in trouble.

03:51.846 --> 03:59.206
This is adding enough complication and enough of a stretch in your hand that this doesn't come easy for everyone.

03:59.206 --> 04:02.643
Let's talk about where we need to get to first.

04:02.643 --> 04:04.872
We need to keep that tune that we have.

04:04.872 --> 04:14.368
Two fingers pushed down and two clearly ringing open strings and we're going to add the third finger in the third fret on the fifth string.

04:14.368 --> 04:18.966
So we have five strings of the guitar involved in this chord now.

04:18.966 --> 04:22.542
It should sound like this.

04:22.542 --> 04:28.927
Now listen carefully with that and what you should notice is we're playing a C chord remember

04:28.927 --> 04:33.965
and I told you this one is a root note, that's a C note but we've just added another one.

04:33.965 --> 04:40.002
Same note, that's the C note and that's the root note of this chord.

04:40.002 --> 04:50.985
It gives it a nice full sound and we have a little less of a problem with the next string down it's not necessarily bad.

04:50.985 --> 04:55.280
It's another E, well that should be ok because we have an E up here in the top.

04:55.280 --> 05:04.475
It's quite happily a part of this chord but having an E note down on the bottom probably doesn't sound quite right to your ear.

05:04.475 --> 05:09.606
What you normally want is you want a root note of the chord to be on the bottom

05:09.606 --> 05:13.113
and to be the first sound that you hear that anchors the sound of that chord.

05:13.113 --> 05:22.284
We'll talk about other base options later but for now we want a five string, three fingered C chord.

05:22.284 --> 05:29.263
Maybe you're hearing this.
It's a very common problem.

05:29.263 --> 05:33.581
If you're hearing that do not be frustrated you are just like everybody else.

05:33.581 --> 05:41.453
Take some time, focus on dropping maybe your thumb down to get your fingers pointed in, try not to press too hard.

05:41.453 --> 05:49.951
I think one of the problems that happens for new guitar players is the fingers are curled at significantly different positions.

05:49.951 --> 05:55.105
We've got our first finger curled almost as tight as it can go around the bottom.

05:55.105 --> 05:57.706
The middle one is kind of in the middle

05:57.706 --> 06:04.718
but then we're asking our third finger to reach most the way across the board, still be perpendicular and push that note in.

06:04.718 --> 06:09.548
I think this causes a lot of trouble for people because it feels like a funny stretch.

06:09.548 --> 06:17.187
It feels like that finger is doing something that the muscles aren't in condition to do and it will take a little practice.

06:17.187 --> 06:26.312
If you think though that flexibility is your issue what you might try doing is fretting in the opposite direction that I just taught you.

06:26.312 --> 06:32.534
Start with number three up here.
Third finger, third fret, on the fifth string.

06:32.534 --> 06:36.389
Now hold that in position and go for the next one.

06:36.389 --> 06:43.796
That's probably not much of a stretch and then add this one down here and now you might find that's where the pain is coming from.

06:43.796 --> 06:46.814
That's where I'm uncomfortable is changing that.

06:46.814 --> 06:48.695
Try fretting it both ways.

06:48.695 --> 06:54.198
Go one, two, three, come away from it and do three, two, one.

06:54.198 --> 06:57.936
If that's still a problem I've got one other option for you.

06:57.936 --> 07:03.207
Remember we did one finger chords, two finger chords and then three.

07:03.207 --> 07:10.683
There is another two finger option that may give you more of a break, something else to help you get through this phase.

07:10.683 --> 07:15.304
Do a two finger chord from up here using your second and third finger.

07:15.304 --> 07:22.014
This finger is probably tired by now let it take a break but don't strum that string because it's not part of the job.

07:22.014 --> 07:27.076
We'll get three strings in the middle.
Five, four, three.

07:27.076 --> 07:34.764
If you can do that with your right hand that's not a bad sounding chord right there.

07:34.764 --> 07:40.685
It's only two fingers, three strings and your first finger is getting a break.

07:40.685 --> 07:45.747
Then when you feel like it add your finger back on and try them all.

07:45.747 --> 07:50.158
I told you I would do this earlier.

07:50.158 --> 07:56.219
This is a foundational building block and you need to get this down before we go much farther.

07:56.219 --> 07:59.400
There is a lot of basics that work here.

07:59.400 --> 08:06.574
Proper fretting, proper hand position and you're working on some hand strength that you probably do not have.

08:06.574 --> 08:15.885
Give yourself some time, practice it and keep going over it and then when this can operate without you watching it spend some time

08:15.885 --> 08:18.323
and watch what's going on over here.

08:18.323 --> 08:23.315
Don't pinch the pick too hard.

08:23.315 --> 08:26.589
There's a lot of people that worry about what they should be doing over here.

08:26.589 --> 08:32.297
I deliberately didn't make a big deal out of that because what I want you to do is focus on the left hand.

08:32.297 --> 08:34.016
Focus on one hand at a time.

08:34.016 --> 08:37.313
This should feel pretty natural to you.

08:37.313 --> 08:44.119
If you are holding a pick right someone should be able to walk up and just almost easily pull that out of your hand.

08:44.119 --> 08:52.093
If you're gripping it with a death grip and you're getting sweaty, again, just like with your right hand, your left hand is working it too hard.

08:52.093 --> 08:54.206
Take it easy and relax.

08:54.206 --> 09:03.261
This should be a nice and just barely really at the volume that we're playing at just a little bit more than a touch across these strings.

09:03.261 --> 09:05.444
We don't need to play Led Zeppelin yet.

09:05.444 --> 09:10.831
We're just getting used to how these things sound and what touching them does.

09:10.831 --> 09:20.769
Position wise here you want that pick to be hitting, kind of dragging I guess is a good way to put it, at a little bit of a downward angle,

09:20.769 --> 09:28.686
it should slide across those strings very easily and you're holding on just enough to where it doesn't fall out of your hands

09:28.686 --> 09:33.562
but certainly you can probably see it is moving in my grip.

09:33.562 --> 09:41.410
When I push down on a string the pick is flexing up in the grip of my thumb and first finger now it's ok.

09:41.410 --> 09:51.464
Now you have your three fingered C chord, played on five strings and we're working on strumming that with your right hand.

09:51.464 --> 09:57.130
This is a very good stopping point for today but I want to give you a couple of things to think about before we're done.

09:57.130 --> 10:04.165
Repetition is your friend right now.
I know it's not very exciting but it's about the only way to get there.

10:04.165 --> 10:12.013
Remember you've got to build some endurance, you're training the muscle memory in your fingers to remember what they're supposed to be doing.

10:12.013 --> 10:14.195
Here's a little trick for you.

10:14.195 --> 10:20.279
When I teach a chord one thing I'll talk about is a chord shape.

10:20.279 --> 10:22.879
We would call this a C chord shape.

10:22.879 --> 10:31.540
This is one that you want to be very familiar with and when I see this I see a picture in my mind of what that chord shape should look like.

10:31.540 --> 10:34.094
You actually don't even need a guitar to see this.

10:34.094 --> 10:38.761
You can take this flat part of your arm and that should look like a C chord to you.

10:38.761 --> 10:40.387
That's the C chord shape.

10:40.387 --> 10:43.173
I just think in terms of that shape.

10:43.173 --> 10:48.351
Later on what we're going to be doing is we're going to add melody around that.

10:48.351 --> 11:01.771
Your pinky is still a free agent it can move around and it can play all kinds of notes and really basically stay in that chord shape.

11:01.771 --> 11:13.288
There's a reason why we're focusing hard and early to get this down and getting it clear because this will be a big tool in your tool box from now on.

11:13.288 --> 11:16.097
Then on the right hand.

11:16.097 --> 11:19.627
If you're comfortable with this already doing the basic strum.

11:19.627 --> 11:25.385
Maybe you're doing it with your fingers and thumb.
If this is you playing without a pick that's fine.

11:25.385 --> 11:29.100
Another alternative for strumming by the way is the back of your nails.

11:29.100 --> 11:34.765
You could strum it this way and that's fine too.

11:34.765 --> 11:43.890
We are looking for smoothness, a good even hit on all of the strings, consistency and enough volume.

11:43.890 --> 11:48.929
If that's not loud enough for you then you may need to go with a pick.

11:48.929 --> 11:58.554
If you're a budding finger style guitar picker and you're wearing one of these you have a couple of options.

11:58.554 --> 12:06.751
You'll be strumming with just your thumb, you should also get familiar with your finger as well.

12:06.751 --> 12:08.538
You will trade off and do both.

12:08.538 --> 12:13.275
Both have their place and they are both effective they just sound a little bit different.

12:13.275 --> 12:24.885
Before we are done for the day what I want you to think about while your practicing strumming your three fingered, five stringed, C chord is the feel

12:24.885 --> 12:29.203
and the groove of what you're playing almost always comes from your right hand.

12:29.203 --> 12:35.426
We do this and we can count that.
One, two, three, four.

12:35.426 --> 12:37.678
There's not a lot of music that sounds like that.

12:37.678 --> 12:41.556
What music tends to sound like is little variations on the rhythm.

12:41.556 --> 12:49.334
I haven't talked about an upstroke yet but I will.

12:49.334 --> 12:59.342
If you're feeling good enough with what's going on take a little liberty with your right hand and change it up to a C and then a strum.

12:59.342 --> 13:01.176
See what that feels like.

13:01.176 --> 13:09.442
Again, I'll break these down for you in a structured way coming up but to keep some spice in your playing and in your practicing right now the goal is

13:09.442 --> 13:14.759
to get some time, some muscle stamina and practice on getting the left hand down good.

13:14.759 --> 13:18.637
Experiment with your right hand a little bit and make it fun.

13:18.637 --> 13:22.375
Don't make it hard.
We're headed toward music.

13:22.375 --> 13:25.997
We're not headed toward drills and boring repetition

13:25.997 --> 13:31.871
but we have to have our bottom bricks in the pyramid need to be in place before we start building up.

13:31.871 --> 13:38.141
Just remember I guess one other beginning tip for you is how often should I practice?

13:38.141 --> 13:39.975
How long should I practice?

13:39.975 --> 13:45.199
There's no right or wrong there it's an extremely individual choice that

13:45.199 --> 13:50.865
depends on your schedule, depends on your hand strength and stamina, it depends on a lot of things.

13:50.865 --> 13:55.462
I do want to encourage you to pick your guitar up at least a few minutes everyday.

13:55.462 --> 14:00.733
Even if you don't have time for a fifteen, twenty, thirty minute practice session everyday.

14:00.733 --> 14:06.816
I have guitars everywhere and there are many times I'll pick a guitar up and play for five minutes.

14:06.816 --> 14:11.135
That's not wasted time and it's good for a lot of things.

14:11.135 --> 14:18.518
I even have an old beater guitar that I bought in a pawn shop that I carry in the back seat of the truck with me everywhere I go.

14:18.518 --> 14:24.788
If I'm meeting somebody and I've got ten minutes to sit I am perfectly comfortable getting the guitar out in the seat of my truck

14:24.788 --> 14:26.877
and spending ten minutes working on a new song.

14:26.877 --> 14:35.793
What the goal there is, is that the longer you go in between times of play you start to rapidly losing conditioning.

14:35.793 --> 14:40.228
Your calluses start to go away, your hand-eye coordination will go away.

14:40.228 --> 14:47.194
Chet Atkins said: "When he forgets to play his guitar everyday his guitar tends to forget who he is."

14:47.194 --> 14:54.183
There is some real wisdom to that so I encourage you to play everyday even if it's not a marathon practice session.

14:54.183 --> 14:58.269
I also want to encourage you to not to play until you're fingers really hurt.

14:58.269 --> 15:06.512
The first place this will be happening especially for you steel string players is on the calluses or lack of calluses on your left hand.

15:06.512 --> 15:12.154
If you play until you are really making them hurt then you are probably not going to be able to play tomorrow.

15:12.154 --> 15:19.979
I would much rather see you play in daily five minute sessions than play for half an hour one day

15:19.979 --> 15:24.066
and not be able to play the next day because you've borderline got blisters on your fingers.

15:24.066 --> 15:25.691
That's not constructive.

15:25.691 --> 15:30.938
So play whenever you can, as much as you can and still keep it fun.

15:30.938 --> 15:38.926
Remember keeping it fun is the most important thing and if you're not enjoying your guitar playing no one else around you will.

15:38.926 --> 15:42.084
That's an important factor so have fun.

15:42.084 --> 15:48.817
Get that three fingered C chord down and on the next lesson we'll add a couple more chords and a few more right handed techniques

15:48.817 --> 15:50.628
and then things will get a lot more fun.


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.

TinCanAlleyTinCanAlley replied

Hi Jim! I've had (and previously played and earned money from) a guitar since 1974 and I'm learning basic things I never knew existed! I want to play ragtime but it looks like I'm going to have to finish your course first. Excellent start and I'm really enjoying it. Thank you.

LavonjohnLavonjohn replied

I like your sense ok humor !

RCBassmanRCBassman replied

Great Lesson Jim, working on "C" doing pretty good have big hands so it makes it a little hard. found my wrist and arm get fatigued pretty fast right now, guess its an old guy thing. really enjoy and moving on to next lesson. Thanks

Irene-1Irene-1 replied

still learning my way around and hardening my finger tips I'm taking this slowly- retired -there's no rush. I like your teaching style Jim, I enjoyed the other teachers also-think I'll stay

VetteBNAVetteBNA replied

Jim, it's taken me 2-1/2 weeks to get the hang of the C-Maj chord but, by Golly, I'm doing it. Just had to tell ya 'cause I'm tickled pink about it. I was beginning to think a 68-year-old geezer was hopeless.

scannon120scannon120 replied

Very good lessons. I like the tip you gave about the ever so slightly flat open G string in tuning. Thanks !

FeorlinFeorlin replied

Thanks Jim for the great lessons. I love that you really explain everything in detail. I'm learning so much! Thanks again.

Russ777Russ777 replied

The audio dropped off about a third of the way into this lesson. (#5)

Linni85Linni85 replied

Thanks Jim for this excellent lesson! And thanks for "forcing" me to practice with a metronome :) that's how I realised I get faster... Just one question: I didn't bye a metronome but used the one on garage band on my laptop. There I chose a 4/4 rhythm and then I also need to pick how many beats per minute. I found that 70 works well in the beginning for me. Is there a standard? Or a range "normally used" so I know how fast I need to get :).

karolkakarolka replied

A heck of a lot of information in less than one hour. Thank you.

cinnamongrrlcinnamongrrl replied

Hi Jim, though I'm a total newbie to the electric guitar, and to JamPlay, this "Meet your new guitar" lesson has taught me so much already (even though you're on an acoustic). I really like your style of teaching. Well-spoken and easy to follow. Just sayin'! Thank you.

lhusemannlhusemann replied

I have an acoustic electric guitar. The strings don't connect to pins but wrap around something that looks like another bridge but it is laid flat. Can you advice? Should I have the pins put in?

zertndozertndo replied

Forgive me, but I add the below comment concerning viewing the left hand, to almost all the instructors since I don't know who reads what or if they share thoughts and ideas. I believe that my suggestion would aid the student a lot and make learning faster and more accurate.

zertndozertndo replied

Just a small suggestion that I think will help everyone taking lessons. Wouldn't it would be better if you showed the left hand view from the perspective of the guitar player and not the student. That way the student can match the fingering on the fret board and strings more accurately. No offense intended, but Steve Eulberg's fingers are pretty big and, hard to see from the students perspective, which string and fret he is actually playing. I believe this should be applied to all lessons from all teachers.

solsticestringssolsticestrings replied

Great lesson - I love the way you teach! It's easy and laid back, no stress. Oh, I'd forgotten what tender fingers felt like and the beginning of callouses. I also like that you encourage different ways to strum, and started us thinking of ways to mute the strings to give a different sound. I really enjoyed this lesson. Thank you!

drizodrizo replied

Very informative lesson Jim but there's a significant volume drop in scene 8 (9:43) that needs to be addressed.

ericw247ericw247 replied

Hi Jim, like your style of teaching, really informative and suits my style of learning. Re picks, is it practicable to play primarily rhythm guitar with a thumb pick? I find these the most natural but haven't seen to many players using thumb picks primarily for strumming.

ladygatladygat replied

I've tried a couple of instructors on here and I'm glad to have found you. I like your presenting style, which is calm, thorough and considered! I really want to learn better fingerstyle technique, and though I'm past learning the basics and am onto advanced chords, I think you have much to teach me, so I've gone back to learning basics with your vids. Really looking forward to future lessons!

harryturnharryturn replied

Good lesson. Thanks!

mariammariam replied

I am a new member to Jamplay & a new guitar student. I am so pleased to have joined. I am learning so much in my first week. I have challenges in that I have small hands and I'm teaching my fingers how to stretch so I can manage some of the extended chords. This is a fantastic way to learn & have fun while doing so. I welcome any input or suggestions regarding the small hands.

marianthedukemariantheduke replied

A huge thanks to Jim to helping me feel so comfortable and at ease while learning to play the guitar. Your lessons are clear, succinct, but very thorough and comprehensive. I wasn't sure what to expect when I started this monthly subscription with Jamplayer, but seeing the caliber of teachers on this site has made me a permanent member. These lessons are simply amazing, and more than I ever expected :)

bosmith1bosmith1 replied

Can you explain the Finger Exercise and how to use it?

cedwards3369cedwards3369 replied

Hey Jim, My goal is to learn finger picking style similar to Deep River Blues you begin Lesson 2 Scene 1. Do you recommend, for my goal, to start and stay with a thumb pick, rather than a flat pick? ~Thanks

metropolis2kmetropolis2k replied

Never mind. I guess my PC was idle too long or something. I signed out and back in and it worked. Sorry!

metropolis2kmetropolis2k replied

Hi Jim, or jamplay staff member, I really enjoy these lessons so far Jim, but scenes 4 and 5 of this particular video don't play for me for some reason. It says video not found and then a bunch of code looking stuff in the player window.

metropolis2kmetropolis2k replied

Hi Jim, or jamplay staff member, I really enjoy these lessons so far Jim, but scenes 4 and 5 of this particular video don't play for me for some reason. It says video not found and then a bunch of code looking stuff in the player window.

justinbash88justinbash88 replied

Thank you so much man i been looking for a grate teacher and you make me in joy it.

papatonepapatone replied

Thanks Jim I am enjoying Your lessens. I have been wanting to learn to play for a long time now, you are good teacher.

montesjoemontesjoe replied

Jim, out of 3 instructors I've tried you have been the most informative in instructing and supplying additional material for the lesson. Thanks.

zentazenta replied

I also like to say to Jim,Im enjoying your lessons,you go at a good pace ,thanks.

hoot48hoot48 replied

Did you notice he got the saddle and bridge backwards

zentazenta replied

have been at it for 3 weeks now enjoying it so much,my fingers are starting to get callouses im so excited

zentazenta replied

Gees my firat day is it normal for my left fingers to be so sore.

sweetbesweetbe replied

Mine are sore too. Until we build callouses I think it's normal. My left wrist is sore too. With practice I'm sure it will get better and hopefully holding the guitar in general won't feel so awkward for me, lol.

mandrew45mandrew45 replied

haha i played for hours my first time playing guitar learning a song for somebody and pushed through the pain, and then i heard this wise man when he said not to keep playing when they hurt but im used to it already. My perserverance blinded me, or stupidy..whichever one works

jeannenoeljeannenoel replied

Another great lesson. Extra thanks on discussing the the root note of the chord. I would have thought it to be the higher C. I love the depth; not just here is the chord n practice it. I've learned a bunch already.

shecutessshecutess replied

SO far out of the three instructors i have tried to learn from you are far the most informative - i like the thorough explanation of each guitar part, strumming etc, you know what you taught. I can't wait for the next lesson! wha hoo!

gregcombsgregcombs replied

Jim, interesting comment on the G string tuning. I've never heard that before. I've always had problems getting the G string to sound exactly right and now I know why. Thanks!

nmazze72nmazze72 replied

ok, I've been trying and trying and one thought went to my mind is it possible that some people just won't be able to bend the fingers like that to get the strings right....And never learn to change chords???

thittlthittl replied

No, you'll get it. Trust me, I had chords that seemed IMPOSSIBLE, I mean, my fingers just don't bend that way... But, I kept trying, and after awhile, it started sounding almost right. Then, awhile later, suddenly that chord was easy. It can be frustrating at first because it seems like your hand just can't do it, but trust me, it can. Short fingers, long fingers, skinny fingers, fat fingers, it doesn't matter. With time and practice, you can play the chords. I promise!

shaggy86shaggy86 replied

Jim thanks for the excellent lessons. One question i have in regard to the tuning is that somebody once told me a guitar can lose its tuning just by moving from one room in the house to another, is this true? Thanks, Darren.

barryrbarryr replied

True. Especially with nylon strings. Just moving the guitar from your house to another location will cause a need to re-tune

saltysalty replied

Jim, I've been playing for going on 45 years. When I was a kid growing up, we lived in a small apartment. While I was learning, I had to play softly so my pain in the ass brothers wouldn't complain. I learned to play with my thumb & fingers. Now when I play with a thumb pick or a flat pick it never sounds as good. Should I keep trying to play with a thumb pick, or is it too late for an old dog to learn new tricks? I can play Chet's style, even a great song like "April In Portugal", but It's not as loud as I would like.

barryrbarryr replied

True, especially with nylon strings. Just taking it from your house to another location would cause the need to re-tune

ormadocormadoc replied

Great session: I am having problem with my left wrist won't turn to let my fingers go straight into the strings. When I force it my elbow hurts. Any suggestion

cozynotchcozynotch replied

Jim, I am having the same problem. My left hand just refuses to be comfortable when playing the C chord.

maericmaeric replied

Have you tried altering the angle of the neck?

barryrbarryr replied

I agree on the angle of the neck. I play classical style, guitar on my left leg, use either a foot stool or a device that attaches to the guitar to raise the guitar to a level that has the head stock about at the same level as my eyes

brode45brode45 replied

Jim, I have relatively short fingers and am having trouble getting the C chord to come out clearly and is becoming very frustrating and discouraging. do you or anyone out there have any suggestions on hand position or ways to make things easier so that i can move on past this point? thanks.

tradatztradatz replied

Hi Jim - I'm having problems changing chords. Any tips? Also, between private lessons (1/2 hour each week), playing around with Guitar Pro, and now Jam-play, I tend to jump around in my lessons (Too eager to want to play real music) is this a bad thing to do?

marcpittmanmarcpittman replied

Jim I to have very large hands and can't get the clarity needed to play the C cord. I see where this question was asked before but you did not reply. I am left handed and 6' 6" do I need to give up? My fingers seem to be going strait in even though there is still 2" of thumb sticking up. If I pull my thumb down my hand has to be in a full circle I am useing a left handed guitar is there anything I can do to my fingers to lay off the other strings?

metalstormmetalstorm replied

You may want to look around for a guitar with a wider neck on it, not all of them are the same size, different brands also tend to have different sized necks with different spacing between the strings.

metalstormmetalstorm replied

Also when you say your thumb sticking up do you mean sticking up over the neck like you almost have your hand wrapped around it? if so try pressing it more into the middle of the neck when playing and your fingers will be at an angle where they wont hit other strings as much. Btw im like 6'3" so I know where your coming from but luckily my fingers arent too thick.

lorraine216lorraine216 replied

can't c magor chord, Jim, playing on Acoustic guitar only been practising this chord for about 4 days, any advice

jboothjbooth replied

Keep at it! For a new player this chord is quite a stretch and it's really important to remember that playing guitar requires dexterity and strength in the hand that most people don't think about, which can only be built with time. I think one of the things you should definitely look at is the angle of your wrist and how you hold the guitar. Try adjusting the position you are holding the guitar. Some people have luck with the guitar pointing up diagonally and using a strap, while others prefer setting the guitar on their legs and having the neck horizontal. Experiment and find what works the best for you because we are all built a bit different.

tridetride replied

Great lesson Jim! I am 43 and just picked up my first guitar. I have one question, my left hand(fingers) seems to be more at an angle when making a chord than yours, is that going to be a problem later?

rsinghrsingh replied

great lessons.

rumble dollrumble doll replied

Hi Jim. Thanks for a great lesson. I'm just starting your course of beginners lessons having also worked through Steve's beginners course too which was great. I'm finding the lessons hugely helpful and find that both yourself and Steve are brilliant at explaining things. Thank you very much & looking forward to my next lesson! :-)

Shaky TShaky T replied

Hi Jim, I'm trying to get used to using a thumbpick and I have a few questions. Do you typically use alternating up and down strokes when using the thumbpick like you would with a flatpick? Also, should the thumb picking stay on the 4th, 5th, and 6th strings while the other right hand fingers pluck the rest of the lower strings? I may be getting ahead so feel free to let me know if you cover this in more detail in another lesson. Thanks!

sintaxsintax replied

Jim. I really enjoyed your lesson. However I have rather large fingers and no matter how hard I try some chords are just not right. Is there any advice you can give for someone with "large" hands and thick fingers? The first two steps of the C chord are more or less ok. But when I place my third finger on the guitar it gets messed up. I really want to learn but it is very frustrating that its not coming out right.

cool merccool merc replied

love the lessons ,they fill in the gaps and bring it all together.

cbalowskicbalowski replied

I played bass a bit in my youth and find that I am a fingerpicker at heart. The C Chord hurts, but yet --thanks to you and 30 minutes of effort-- I can finally play a 4 note chord consistently without a buzzing sound. My hand feels stronger already, but my fingertips are still way too soft. How can I expedite the callouses while I am not playing?

Jim.DeemingJim.Deeming replied

If you are getting regular (daily) practice sessions in, I would not recommend trying to artificially accellerate developing calluses. The fact is, your fingers do need a recovery break in between practices. They will come in time. In another post I think you said you play a nylon stringed guitar. To some degree you don't need quite as thick or tough calluses for these as for steel string guitars. Hang on - you'll get there soon enough!

estabanestaban replied

Jim you are a great teacher, im excited about my guitar playing future now...I know I am going to get it..thanks

kelmilnerkelmilner replied

Jim I live across the pond from you and at 43, I thought I would always live in awe of anyone who could even remotely play an instrument. I bought my guitar on a whim and even if I never master that finger crippling first full C chord, I do at least enjoy trying with you. You seem to say what and where it hurts just as it kicks in. Really enjoying your lessons, thanks.

coullycoully replied

Thanks Jim.Marcus from down under,Australia.been playing for about 4 months now(or trying to anyway).Had a couple of lessons face to face but have found that 1/2 hr lessons go to quick.This is great to be able to come back again and again.Have found that the C cord and G cord can be the hardest at times to get right.Started electric but find that I like Accoustic more and more.You make it very easy.Thanks..

zeedrvrzeedrvr replied

nice lesson jim.first time anyone has told me what a root note was.

Jim.DeemingJim.Deeming replied

Thanks mav - and it's alright to be picky - as long as you do it with a THUMBPICK...

mav67mav67 replied

First of all let me say to Jim great lesson as always. However the reason of this post is to draw attention to a mistake made in the tabbing that comes up in scene 8. Consistantly the second fret has been shown to have no activity when in fact it is utilised in the 4 string and the 5 string versions of the C chord. Sorry if it sounds picky but I just thought that you might want to know.

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.

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

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Mary Flower Mary Flower

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

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Lesson 7 is all about arpeggios. Danny provides discussion and exercises designed to build your right hand skills.

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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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Rafael Moreira Rafael Moreira

Playing your scales and improvising horizontally on one string is a great way to visualize the scale degrees, and also a...

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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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JD teaches the pentatonic and blues scales and explains where and when you can apply them.

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David Ellefson, co-founding member of Megadeth, explains his overall approach to teaching and learning bass in this introductory...

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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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Join Andy as he takes a look at the style of one of the most influential guitarists of all time: Eddie Van Halen. In the...

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Jane Miller Jane Miller

Jane Miller talks about chord solos in part one of this fascinating mini-series.

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Straten Marshall Straten Marshall

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

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