Learning More Chords (Guitar Lesson)

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Jim Deeming

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!

Taught by Jim Deeming in Basic Guitar with Jim seriesLength: 39:15Difficulty: 1.0 of 5
Chapter 1: (01:23) Intro Music Sit back and enjoy Jim's performance of "The Entertainer" by Scott Joplin.
Chapter 2: (06:59) Review and G Chord Lesson Objectives

-Review important left hand concepts discussed in the previous lesson.

-Review the fingering for the C chord.

-Learn the G major and D major chords.

-Learn simplified versions of the G, C, and D chords.

-Discover how these chords relate to one another and how they function within a specific key.

-Apply music theory concepts and new chord shapes to practical, musical exercises.

Visualizing Chord Shapes

When learning any new chord shape, it is important to be able to visualize its basic fretboard shape. In later lessons, the same shape may be used to play a new chord in a different fretboard position. For example, at 01:08, Jim demonstrates how the basic visual shape of the C chord can be converted into a movable, "barre" chord. (This concept will be covered in detail in a future lesson.)

Review of the C Chord

The C chord involves three fretted notes and two open strings. Both the third and first strings are played open. Remember that the open sixth string is not strummed as part of this chord. The fretted notes are played by the third, second, and first fingers. Study the chord diagram provided under the "Supplemental Content" tab for a review of where these fingers should be placed on the fretboard.

As you advance as a guitarist and learn new chords, periodically review the left hand guidelines discussed in the previous lesson to ensure that you do not develop any bad habits. These guidelines are listed below.

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.

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

4. 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.

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

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

7. 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.

8. Keep the wrist slightly bent.

9. 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.

Checking Left Hand Accuracy

Once you have formed a chord with the appropriate left hand fingering, you must check the accuracy of your technique. Pick each of the notes in the chord individually to ensure that they are ringing with a strong, clear tone. Then, strum the notes simultaneously as a chord. You should not hear any buzzing or muted notes.

Strumming Exercise

Once you have mastered the left hand component of the C Chord, it's time to add the right hand into the mix. In most guitar music, the right hand plays the role of time keeper. The right hand keeps the rhythm steady by strumming in a specified rhythm. Do not neglect the importance of rhythm and the right hand!

Note: The following information pertaining to rhythm is taken from lesson 1 of Matt Brown's Phase 2 Reading Music and Rhythm series.

-Rhythm is the single most important aspect of music. If you can't play something perfectly in time, then you can't play it. As a result, you should spend the majority of your practice time perfecting rhythm. This task can be accomplished in a variety of different ways. The important rule to remember is to practice with a metronome as much as possible. Playing along with recordings is also great practice.

-Rhythmic skills are essential to playing with a group of other musicians. As a guitarist, you can't simply say: "I'll just play along with the drummer. After all, the drummer is responsible for the rhythm." This is a horrible mindset to have. YOU must be responsible for rhythmic perfection at all times. That way, if the drummer is playing incorrectly, you can address the issue as needed.

Strumming Exercise Directions

1. Form the C chord with the left hand.

2. Set your metronome to a relatively slow tempo such as 70 beats per minute.

3. Strum the C chord in a steady quarter note rhythm. Each strum should perfectly coincide with the click of the metronome.

4. Tap your foot along with the metronome. This will help you internalize the pulse. In turn, your rhythm will become more accurate.

5. Count the beat out loud while strumming the chord. Count "1, 2, 3, 4" for each measure.

G Major Chord

A. Root Notes

Almost every chord in Western music has a "root" note. The root is the note that names the chord. For example, the root note of a G major chord is G. Interval relationships within the chord are based on this root note. There are three G notes within the G major chord that Jim demonstrates in the lesson video. These notes are located on the sixth, third, and first strings.

B. Left Hand Fingering

This chord voicing features three fretted notes and three open strings. The third finger frets the root note G at the 3rd fret of the sixth string. The note B is fretted by the second finger at the 2nd fret of the fifth string. On the first string, another G note is fretted by the pinkie finger at the 3rd fret. Remember to keep the third and second fingers arched. This will prevent you from accidentally muting the open fourth string. The pinkie finger must be curled tightly into the fretboard in order to keep the second and third fingers arched. Study Jim's left hand technique. Imitate his technique with your left hand fingers.

Use the left hand guidelines listed above when fretting this chord. Also, work through the left hand accuracy check-up to ensure that all notes are ringing clearly. Finally, apply the strumming exercise listed under the C chord to the G chord.
Chapter 3: (04:34) Proper Fingering and Changing Between C and G When switching back and forth between the C chord and the G chord, the third and second fingers do not have to move very far. Recognizing these types of finger movements will help immensely as you begin to practice chord changes.

Alternate Left Hand Fingering for G Major

An alternate fingering can be used to play the G major chord. Within this fingering, the open strings remain the same. However, the fretted notes are played by different left hand fingers. The root note on the sixth string is fretted by the second finger. The first finger frets the note on the fifth string. Finally, the third finger or the pinkie finger frets the note on the first string.

The fingering option used for the G chord is usually dependent upon the other chords used in the progression. For example, the first fingering that Jim demonstrated is much more practical within the context of a progression that includes the C chord. Further down the road, you will encounter some chord progressions in which the alternate fingering for the G chord is the most practical. For now though, do not deviate from the initial fingering that Jim demonstrates in the lesson. Check out lesson 9 from Mark Brennan's Phase 1 series for more information on this topic.

C to G Exercise


Tablature and notation to all lesson exercises can be found under the "Supplemental Content" tab.

Begin the exercise with a C major chord. Strum this chord for a measure in a steady quarter note rhythm. Then, change to the G chord and repeat the process. Continue to switch back and forth between these two chords. At first, you will most likely have to leave a pause between chord changes as you adjust your left hand fingering. However, the primary goal of this exercise is to eliminate the pause between chords. As you continue to practice the exercise, this pause will become shorter. Strive for even rhythm and smooth chord changes. Once you can seamlessly change between these chords, play the exercise along with a metronome. Set the metronome to a relatively slow tempo to begin with, such as 60 beats per minute. Remember to tap your foot along with the metronome to internalize the pulse. Also, count the beat out loud.

Musical Road Signs

A repeat sign occurs at the end of the fourth measure. Once you reach the end of this measure, repeat the exercise from the beginning.

Note: For extra practice, play the exercise along with Jim at 03:50 in the lesson video.
Chapter 4: (11:48) Playing Tips and the D Chord D Major Chord

In comparison to the C and G chords, many beginners find the D chord to be slightly less challenging. The left hand fingers do not need to stretch nearly as far. The first finger plays the note A at the 2nd fret of the third string. A root note is fretted by the third finger at the 3rd fret of the second string. Finally, F# is played by the second finger at the 2nd fret of the first string. The open fourth string (D) is played open. The fifth and sixth strings are omitted from this chord. Consequently, right hand accuracy becomes very important when playing D major.

When first learning this chord, place the first and second fingers in position first. Then, without moving these fingers, place the third finger on the fretboard. You must develop some independence between the second and third fingers in order to master the D chord. This comes with patience and daily practice. If you experience pain or cramping in your fingers at any point, immediately take a break. Return to your practice session once your fingers have recovered.

Chord Relationships

At this point, Jim has demonstrated how to play three chords: G, C, and D. For every major key, three primary chords define the harmonic relationships within the key. G, C, and D are the primary chords for the key of G major. The music theory behind this concept will be discussed in a future lesson.

Listen as Jim plays these chords in the following order: G, C, D, G. You've probably heard this familiar chord progression in countless popular songs over the years.

G, C, D Exercise

Follow the guidelines listed under the C to G Exercise as you play through this new exercise. Focus your attention on creating smooth chord changes and keeping the rhythm steady. You will mostly experience the greatest difficulty when changing from C to D and from D to G. If this is the case, spend extra time drilling these chord changes.

When you feel ready, play the exercise along with Jim in the lesson video. At 08:24, he plays the exercise at a moderate tempo. He performs the exercise in half notes at 08:36.
Chapter 5: (03:49) Playing the Chords Together Accompaniment Exercise

Within this exercise, Jim incorporates a basic melody into the chord progression that you learned in the previous scene. Your role is to accompany Jim with the chord progression from Scene 4 while he plays the melody line. Strum the chords in a steady half note rhythm. Each chord is strummed twice per measure.

When playing with another musician, rhythm is the most important aspect to focus on. You might not nail the left hand fingering for a chord on the first strum. However, you must keep the right hand moving in a steady rhythm. Simply correct your left hand technique in time for the second strum. Your primary goal should be staying with Jim at all times. If you have a problem keeping up with the initial tempo that he plays, fast forward to 02:28. Jim plays through the exercise at a much slower tempo at this point in the scene.
Chapter 6: (10:45) Chord Troubleshooting In this scene, Jim demonstrates how to play abbreviated versions of the chords discussed in the previous scenes. If you are struggling with the exercises presented in these scenes, try playing through them with the new voicings presented in this scene. Once you have mastered the exercises with the easier voicings, go back and play them with the full versions of each chord. You will most likely find these exercises a little bit easier once you have worked through this process.

Note: Open the "Supplemental Content" tab for fretboard diagrams of the chords discussed in this scene.

Simplified G Chord

This voicing for G major utilizes the three treble strings only. Use the third finger to fret the root note on the first string. The third and second strings are played open.

Simplified C Chord

Once again, the simplified version of the C chord utilizes the three treble strings. The first finger frets the root note at the 1st fret of the second string. The third and first strings are played open.

Simplified D Chord

The left hand fingering for the D chord remains the same. However, the right hand strums only the three treble strings. The open fourth string is no longer included in the chord.

Exercise 2 - Simplified Version

At 02:55, practice Exercise 2 along with Jim. This time around, use the simplified chord voicings that Jim just demonstrated.

Also, go back to Scene 5 and play through Exercise 3 using these new chord voicings.

Questions and Comments

If you have any questions about the materials presented in this lesson, feel free to write in to Jim. You can either send him an email or leave a question in the "Comments" section of this lesson. You can also leave a question or comment for him on the JamPlay Forum. For additional help, check out the Phase 1 lessons taught by other teachers. These lessons may give you a fresh perspective on playing chords.

Video Subtitles / Captions

Scene 1

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Pretty music

Scene 2

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Hi I'm Jim Deeming.
Instructor for JamPlay.com.

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Welcome to the next lesson in phase one.

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Today we are going to review what we just talked about and then we're going to add a couple more chords

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and talk about what a key is which is how chords relate together and get a little bit closer to being able to play a song.

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First let's review what you did with the C chord in the last lesson.

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Remember we talked about getting a picture of the chord in your mind.

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The C chord is the one that looks like this.

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Your fingers are curled up, spread out.

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First finger in the first fret, second in the second fret, third in the third fret and the strings are: two, four and five.

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C chord looks like that.
Sounds like this.

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We don't play the sixth string at this point on this chord and then we refer to this as the C chord.

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The chord shape is going to become important later on when we start playing bar chords

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because this shape is one that will slide up the neck as a shape behind the bar chords. We'll get to that later.

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For right now fingers one, two and three.

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Check to make sure that everybody's ringing clearly with no buzzing, that we're not killing any of our open strings underneath and if you need to

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go back and review some of the trouble shooting tips that we talked about in terms of keeping those open and clear.

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If your hand is starting to hurt when you're doing this back off a little bit, make sure that you're not squeezing too hard

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or trying to hold it too long without moving your hands.

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That can certainly cause cramping and discomfort and there is no need for that.

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Let's go ahead and review that C chord together, strum it a few times.

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We're going to count it out, hope you're tapping your foot.

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One, two, three, four. ( x 5)

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Regardless of what kind of pick you are using or if you're not using one at all.

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Right now we are focusing on strumming all five strings and getting them clear.

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We're going to talk more about right hand technique in a little while.

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We are more worried right now about left hand chord shapes and left hand technique.

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That's your C chord.
It's one of your best friends.

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We're going to add another one though.
Next is the G chord.

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It is called that because the root note is the G and that comes from this note right here on the bottom and actually this one on the top.

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So the G chord has lots of G notes in it.
Here's another one in the middle.

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So there's three occurrences of the root note in this chord.

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Here is what the rest of it looks like.

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That might look a little tough and it's going to feel a little strange when you do it but to review and point it out in detail here is what we are doing.

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Third finger in the third fret like you would expect, on the sixth string.
Second finger in the second fret, on the fifth string

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and then the pinky is curled up pretty tight and hitting the third fret on the first string.

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This is a chord that uses all six strings.
It makes a very big bluegrass ringing sound.

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It's a powerful sounding chord and in fact you almost, later on, you will be working to control how much that chord is ringing.

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For right now, same as with the C chord review what you need to do to keep these from buzzing

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and let the open strings ring through like they should.

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Remember to fret your notes slightly close to the fret in front of where you are at.

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For example: in the third fret this third finger is not in the middle it's a little bit forward closer to the fret.

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Same with the second a little bit forward and then the pinky which you may not see underneath what I'm doing under here.

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It's in the front half of the third fret and pressing that one down.

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Again, don't go too hard on this if it's uncomfortable relax a little bit.

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Focus on getting your fingers in the right position first and then apply the pressure.

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Don't wear your fingers out and try to create one day calluses it doesn't work.

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Here is your G chord.
All six strings.

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Strum it through.
There's a nice ringing sound to it.

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If you're having trouble let's break it down.

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Some of the things that might be going on: this is a tight curl on your pinky, that may feel awkward for you

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or you might feel like with that kind of a curl you might not feel like you have enough pushing power to fret that note.

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That will just come with time.

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One of the things you might try though to get into this chord.
Try wrapping that pinky first and roll up from here.

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Opposite of what I showed you when I was demonstrating the chord.

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Lay your pinky down and now start to stretch your hand over and get those other two.

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It may be that the way you approach a chord might help you stretch into position until your hand gets used to it

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and you get some more strength and more calluses.

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Or try it the other way.
One, two and three.

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I think most people will find that's a harder way to go into this chord.

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If you anchor that pinky first that's the finger that least wants to do what you are asking it to do.

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This is a really tight one hundred and eighty degree turn right here and that can give you a little bit of trouble.

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Then of course as we talked about before

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you are not pushing too hard, you haven't flattened out your fingers, this one is not killing the one underneath it, make it nice and clear don't lay

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down on it and kill the one underneath it and then this guy needs to leave an open underneath it without killing it.

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Get your finger perpendicular as much as possible to the fret board and then all you can do from here is just practice it and keep trying.

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Again, do not do it until it hurts.

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Take a break once and a while, stretch your hand out and then come into it again.

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Now we are going to cover quite a bit and what seems like a lot in this lesson.

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Feel free at anytime to stop the tape, back up and go over this again.

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That's one of the great things about the way JamPlay works is that you can stop when you need to and take a break or review something

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and I encourage you to do that.

Scene 3

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Now just for review let's go back to the C chord.

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We've still got that one ringing nice and clear and then the G chord.

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I hope you see something on your own between those two chords.

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Watch this transition again.

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There is a very specific reason why I taught you to fret the notes on a G chord in this shape.

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There's other ways you can do it.

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The way I was taught when I was really small was this way.

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That also works and in fact I use it. I will show you during the course of my lessons several different ways to fret each chord and I do use them all.

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There's usually one that is the most common one or the one I use the most.

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If you're playing a long jam session

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and your hands are getting tired one of the ways you can prevent cramps is to switch around how you're fretting these notes.

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It's all legal.
There's no hard and fast rules here.

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The rule is don't kill strings and don't hurt your hand so whichever one is more comfortable for you is going to be the one that you settle on

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but watch this again.

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We came from a C chord and we need to pull off a transition here relatively smoothly and quickly

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and going from that C chord to this new G chord, there's not a lot of movement there.

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I pay attention to which fingers are moving to where and what's the minimum amount they can possibly move to get the job done.

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If you notice all you're doing from the C chord, these two fingers stay in precisely the same shape, they stay in the same fret,

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they both just lift up and move down a string.

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Pay attention to that because that's actually something that's saving you time, saving you effort

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and it also helps you remember where you're going next.

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This is a pretty smooth transition.

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All we're doing is this. That's the biggest part of the job.
Two of the notes are done. This one comes up, this one goes down.

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That's a nice transition between those two chords and then you probably can tell they're related.

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These chords are in the same key and we'll talk more about that in a little bit.

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Here you go.
C. G.

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This will be a place where I encourage you to stop the tape and take a little time doing exactly this.

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Strum four times on a C.
Then a G four times.

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At first you will need to pause a little bit and find your fingers and that's ok

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but what your goal is here is to have that right hand stay on the same rhythm.

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You're going to be tapping your foot and you're going to be counting and there's going to be no pause between those chords.

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That's success. That's what we're going for.

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Again, focus on the fact that there's not a lot of movement here.

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The shapes are new to you. The calluses are new to you but what's going on down here is a relatively minimal amount of movement.

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Teach your mind to think that way.

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This is not hard it is just new and that you fix with practice.

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What I'd like you to do now is practice off the tape and do it exactly like this or do it with me if you'd like.

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We're going to count four strums on each chord and switch back and forth.

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It goes like this.

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One, two, three, four.
One, two, three, four.

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One, two, three, four.
One, two, three, four.

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One, two, three, four.
One, two, three, four.

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Again, the goal is this hand becomes a metronome it's doing the same pace and it's not waiting for lefty over here to get the chord change done.

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When you've got that done or you're really close come back and undo the pause button and we'll move on.

Scene 4

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Ok. I hope your C and G chord are coming along nicely by now.

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However, if they are not I want you to hang with this lesson a little bit longer because near to the end I will be going through what I'll call a

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trouble shooting section and we'll also take a look at some simpler versions of the chords.

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This will be a good idea for maybe younger players with smaller hands if you need to start in smaller bites than what we're dealing with now,

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I will show you that before the end of this lesson so hang in there if you are having trouble

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If you've got this smooth and going good, great, because we're going to throw another chord at you right now.

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What we've done is we've got two so far and they are related but we really need one more because most songs are made up out of three chords

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and the truth so we need one more and what we're going to do is we are going to add the D chord and it looks like this.

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It sounds like that.

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This is the smallest chord we've learned actually in terms of numbers of strings.

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In this one I am only playing the four strings that are the highest or the smallest.

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One, two, three, four.

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You could get away with the fifth string but ringing all together it almost doesn't make sense for what we're doing right now, we'll get to that later.

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Four strings and pay attention to the shape.

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Again, if this helps you get completely away from the guitar, get your fingers in that shape and just learn to think like this.

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You should be able to put a D shape on a spoon if you want to.

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It's a picture to get in your mind and now I'll break it down for you in detail of who's playing where.

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On the third string, second fret is the first finger.
Now I told you we were going to break that rule before very long didn't I?

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First finger plays in the first fret, second in the second and third and so on and we're already breaking that rule.

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First finger has to go here because the second finger is also in the second fret.

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They are just on different strings.

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This is on the third string, this is on the first string.
Both in the second fret.

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Then the third finger is back in his home position on the third fret, on the second string.

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You can see on the chord chart what this looks like and this is the picture that you'll get used to seeing in your mind when you want a D chord.

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Now let's talk about where those root notes are, this open string that we're ringing is the D string, that's the fourth string.

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So that's the root note.

02:51.507 --> 02:55.733
Then there's another D right here, that's what your third fingers playing.

02:55.733 --> 03:04.046
Again, we have snuck in two occurrences of the root note.
The D note in the D chord.

03:04.046 --> 03:09.154
So here we go, it sounds like this.

03:09.154 --> 03:19.208
Again, there may be some stretches going on between your fingers that you are not used to doing

03:19.208 --> 03:26.057
and what I find and what most beginning students find is that usually the trouble involves these two fingers right here.

03:26.057 --> 03:33.928
Whether you're trying to ask this one to play down and this one to play up or trying to get them to spread a little bit.

03:33.928 --> 03:40.499
These just aren't real nimble fingers, so again, let's fret it one note at a time.

03:40.499 --> 03:47.372
Get those two down first just like we learned it and then this might feel uncomfortable right here

03:47.372 --> 03:52.155
but this finger is trying to push past this joint right here and get that D down.

03:52.155 --> 03:57.403
If that doesn't help you go the other way.

03:57.403 --> 04:04.276
Get this one first and maybe this one next a little two finger version and then make your stretch.

04:04.276 --> 04:08.432
Look how that turns your wrist by the way.
Roll up over the top of that.

04:08.432 --> 04:16.466
I encourage you to try that on any chord that you are having trouble with rather than trying to grab the whole thing all at once do it one finger at

04:16.466 --> 04:26.262
once and usually from either one to three or try it in reverse and see if that doesn't help you get into the chord.

04:26.262 --> 04:32.949
Here we are. This is actually one of the easier chords to do.

04:32.949 --> 04:37.314
Probably because it's smaller and involving fewer strings and I think

04:37.314 --> 04:44.396
because of the natural curvature of your hand because they're all in a similar location here and the curve stays about the same.

04:44.396 --> 04:49.829
Usually I don't find many people having too much trouble fretting these without buzzing.

04:49.829 --> 04:58.026
If there is going to be a problem it will most likely be the third finger laying down on top of this note and killing it.

04:58.026 --> 05:04.248
You just need to get that curve, get it perpendicular and again, don't press too hard.

05:04.248 --> 05:05.827
Don't press until this hurts.

05:05.827 --> 05:11.005
If it's hurting either on your fingertips or if you're cramping, stop.

05:11.005 --> 05:15.811
You're not going to learn anything and it's not going to help you play through pain or discomfort.

05:15.811 --> 05:22.266
Now let's talk about why we learned this chord next.

05:22.266 --> 05:32.204
We started with C, then we learned the G, now we're learning the D.

05:32.204 --> 05:40.052
I'm going to play them for you in a little different order and I want you to listen for the beginning of what might start to sound like music to you.

05:40.052 --> 05:50.547
Start with a G chord, C, D and then back to G again.

05:50.547 --> 05:55.539
I hope that makes some musical sense to you.
It sounds like we took a little trip and ended up back at home.

05:55.539 --> 06:01.553
G, C, D, G.

06:01.553 --> 06:06.615
What we have done is we just played the three major chords in the key of G

06:06.615 --> 06:15.252
and that's why we started with these chords because they are in the first position, lots of open strings, they are relatively easy and they go together.

06:15.252 --> 06:32.968
Remember with each chord it changes how many strings you are playing with that right hand so let me give you a tip to help you remember that.

06:32.968 --> 06:39.725
Starting with G you are playing them all starting with that G note on the G chord

06:39.725 --> 06:45.135
and that's something you want to make stick in your mind also, that's a G note.

06:45.135 --> 06:50.197
When you see that shape and you see that third finger right there your mind needs to say G.

06:50.197 --> 06:54.608
That's a G chord, it's one of your best friends so make a lot of money with that chord.

06:54.608 --> 06:57.278
Then C is next.

06:57.278 --> 07:02.433
We went the other way now and dropped these two, this guy went to a C note by the way.

07:02.433 --> 07:10.235
This is the A string. A, B, C.
C, alright.

07:10.235 --> 07:20.776
By the way we were talking about this is a six string chord well this is now a five string chord and then you remember what the D is.

07:20.776 --> 07:22.378
D is only a four string chord.

07:22.378 --> 07:29.622
What you can tell your right hand to worry about is the first chord, play them all.

07:29.622 --> 07:37.331
Second chord only play five and on the last chord only play four.

07:37.331 --> 07:44.413
Right in order.
Base note here, base note here, base note here.

07:44.413 --> 07:51.657
Spend some time thinking about that because what we are trying to do is make this hands job as easy as possible

07:51.657 --> 07:54.165
so that you can focus over here for a while.

07:54.165 --> 08:11.510
Alright now it's time to take some time working on the transition between those chords and connecting it with playing the right amount of strings.

08:11.510 --> 08:14.946
One, two, three, four.

08:14.946 --> 08:24.048
One, two, three, four. One, two, three, four. One, two, three, four.

08:24.048 --> 08:36.284
One, two, three, four. One, two, three, four. One, two, three, four. One, two, three, four.

08:36.284 --> 08:38.792
If that's too fast for you do it at half speed.

08:38.792 --> 08:45.177
One, two, three, four. One, two, three, four.

08:45.177 --> 08:51.398
One, two, three, four. One, two, three, four.

08:51.398 --> 08:59.153
Now take some time, work on those transitions and always remember to watch for where your fingers are moving from and to.

08:59.153 --> 09:05.329
Remember for the first transition these two drop down.
This one lets go and this one goes down.

09:05.329 --> 09:12.156
So if you look far enough back here you don't see movement at all it just looks like these little guys are hiding but they've dropped down.

09:12.156 --> 09:14.106
Very little movement there.

09:14.106 --> 09:23.556
The D is a little bit more of a change but this guy is staying in his zone here, dropping down to there.

09:23.556 --> 09:28.641
That may be something for you to try.

09:28.641 --> 09:32.565
Just go back and forth between those two.

09:32.565 --> 09:46.566
This is a principle for you to use really when you're learning any new technique, new song, especially when you get into a new arrangement.

09:46.566 --> 09:52.255
You're trying to learn something that's difficult maybe it's a big run, maybe it's a chord transition.

09:52.255 --> 09:58.547
Don't fall into the trap of trying to learn a whole song or the whole version all at once.

09:58.547 --> 10:10.203
If you identify a spot that's giving you trouble slow down and just break it down into a little loop of the troubled area and work back and forth.

10:10.203 --> 10:17.842
I'm going to talk to you about something more than once in phase one and that's something called muscle memory.

10:17.842 --> 10:22.486
What you're trying to do right now is teach your fingers how to ride a bicycle.

10:22.486 --> 10:26.247
You need to get to the point to where when I think G chord

10:26.247 --> 10:32.447
and my mind knows what that picture looks like my fingers know how to get there without stopping and thinking.

10:32.447 --> 10:40.852
That's not as far away as you think but it is several repetitions away so practice in between these transitions.

10:40.852 --> 10:48.305
It's teaching your muscles where your fingers should go so that your muscles can do it in theory without your brain.

10:48.305 --> 10:59.404
Muscles have memory of their own they know where to go so that your brain can send the command not the instruction manual.

10:59.404 --> 11:02.957
It's a lot faster that way when your fingers know where to go.

11:02.957 --> 11:08.390
So take a little time.
One, two, three, four.

11:08.390 --> 11:18.142
One, two, three, four. One, two, three, four. One, two, three, four.

11:18.142 --> 11:25.943
Any of those transitions that give you trouble in that little loop work back and forth between those two.

11:25.943 --> 11:30.401
Or maybe it's here.

11:30.401 --> 11:42.661
You're learning what the shapes look like, your muscles are learning the road map between those two chords until it's automatic.

11:42.661 --> 11:47.235
Take some time to do that now and we'll come back and do something fun with this.

Scene 5

00:00.000 --> 00:18.796
Ok, now you've got three chords in the key of G starting with G, C, D and G.

00:18.796 --> 00:21.969
I hope the transitions are coming along nicely for you.

00:21.969 --> 00:28.401
Now what I'd like you to try is I'm going to play a little something here and I'd like you to strum with it.

00:28.401 --> 00:42.866
We're going to have some G strums, C strums, then we'll go to the D chord and to make it more interesting

00:42.866 --> 00:51.806
I'm going to do something a little bit more rhythmic with also a bit of a melody to it so that it sounds a little more like music.

00:51.806 --> 00:57.123
The idea here if it's more fun for you to practice this you'll get more repetitions in

00:57.123 --> 01:02.347
and a little farther down the road in getting that muscle memory trained in both your hands.

01:02.347 --> 01:33.252
So what I'm about to do in this tempo:
One, two, three, four. One, two, three, four and it will sound like this.

01:33.252 --> 01:46.881
What I'd like you to do while I'm playing that is go One, two, three, four. One, two, three, four. One, two, three, four. One, two, ready go!

01:46.881 --> 02:05.410

02:05.410 --> 02:17.809
How'd that go for you?

02:17.809 --> 02:21.434
We can do it again and maybe I'll go a little bit slower for you this time

02:21.434 --> 02:24.917
and you can rewind back and forth for the one that's at the right tempo for you.

02:24.917 --> 02:53.337
Let's slow it down a little bit. One, two, three, four.
One, two, three, four. One, two, three, four. One, two, three, four.

02:53.337 --> 03:03.832
Ok. Meanwhile you've been doing full strums, working on transitions on your left hand,

03:03.832 --> 03:17.578
telling your right hand that here we do six strings, drop one out and do five, drop one out and do four and then all of them again.

03:17.578 --> 03:20.619
There's your first song.

03:20.619 --> 03:25.310
I honestly have no idea what it's called. I just made it up here with Jeff behind the camera.

03:25.310 --> 03:32.856
The idea is you should be able to start thinking that chords do go with other things.

03:32.856 --> 03:37.964
It's important to be on time, on rhythm and play with somebody else.

03:37.964 --> 03:41.795
I really think that's an excellent building block to work on.

03:41.795 --> 03:45.626
Spend some time on this part of the video and see how you do.

03:45.626 --> 03:49.225
If you're having trouble stay tuned because I've got more for you.

Scene 6

00:00.000 --> 00:10.751

00:10.751 --> 00:21.748
By now you've got three chords, a little bit of a pretend song to practice with me on and maybe you've gotten this far in the lesson and you're

00:21.748 --> 00:29.666
about to toss your guitar in the fireplace because this is hard, it hurts, it doesn't feel natural and maybe it's just going slower than you would like.

00:29.666 --> 00:32.592
Alright let's talk about that for a second.

00:32.592 --> 00:34.867
Remember what we've said.

00:34.867 --> 00:40.277
This is new to your hand, the stretching is new and your calluses are not quite there yet.

00:40.277 --> 00:49.008
Maybe if you're a smaller player and you feel like this is a great big neck and it's hard to reach around it, this is a lot at once and I understand that.

00:49.008 --> 00:56.113
Time will improve this, the basics are all right here, what you need to know

00:56.113 --> 01:04.239
but if it's just so much that your practices are having to be really short because it's too quick or you get tired out or frustrated.

01:04.239 --> 01:05.493
Whatever the case may be.

01:05.493 --> 01:11.832
Let's take a look at a little bit of a shortcut that we can take now and ease up a little bit.

01:11.832 --> 01:17.010
Let's start with that big bad G chord.
All six strings.

01:17.010 --> 01:20.051
That is a mouthful.

01:20.051 --> 01:29.780
That is a big chord and if that stretch particularly this one right here is giving you a bad time, let's back off and turn that into a little chord.

01:29.780 --> 01:31.707
That looks like this.

01:31.707 --> 01:39.788
We'll play with the third finger back where it belongs on the third fret and that's all we're going to do and we're only going to play three strings.

01:39.788 --> 01:45.917
This is a little baby G chord alright.
Three strings.

01:45.917 --> 01:49.656
What we've done is we've taken the work load off of the left hand

01:49.656 --> 01:53.649
and we've told the right hand listen you better only hit three strings

01:53.649 --> 01:57.922
because if you start wandering around you aren't going to like what we get.

01:57.922 --> 02:01.753
So three strings only and one finger over here only.

02:01.753 --> 02:08.231
That's your baby G chord and guess what?
We have a baby C chord we can put with this.

02:08.231 --> 02:14.523
It's also only one finger, it's a C note by the way.
This was a G note, here's our C note.

02:14.523 --> 02:27.363
Three strings only for your baby C chord and if your right hand stays in bounds over here and only plays three strings it sounds pretty good.

02:27.363 --> 02:34.097
If the right hand wanders it's a little bad.
So three strings only.

02:34.097 --> 02:40.645
Then with the D chord, I'm sorry, there's not a lot we can do with that but you can drop it to a two fingered version.

02:40.645 --> 02:48.144
That's really tiny but this chord is not usually one that gives people trouble.

02:48.144 --> 02:51.906
So let's try three string version of all of those.

02:51.906 --> 02:58.361
This is our G.

02:58.361 --> 03:07.122
Our C, one finger on the first fret on the second string.
Take a look at the chord chart.

03:07.122 --> 03:10.001
Our little baby C chord.

03:10.001 --> 03:12.579
Then the D. Let's go ahead and get them all.

03:12.579 --> 03:22.586
It's not too bad. They are recognizable, you can still tell it's the key to G and you can do that with the song that I played for you earlier.

03:22.586 --> 03:29.807
Same thing works, go back and play the song with just these and get these transitions down.

03:29.807 --> 03:39.234
Now if that's too much of a small step for you or that helps and you want to go a little farther then we can add more.

03:39.234 --> 03:45.118
You could try adding those two.

03:45.118 --> 03:51.225
Remember the big G chord looks like this so maybe that ring finger is the one giving you trouble, start here.

03:51.225 --> 03:54.614
Leave this one out of the picture.
No big string on the bottom.

03:54.614 --> 03:58.678
Ok, that works.

03:58.678 --> 04:00.326
That's a G chord.

04:00.326 --> 04:05.644
What we're trying to do right now is ease your left hand into this if it's too much at once.

04:05.644 --> 04:08.689
There's a nice four string version of the C chord.

04:08.689 --> 04:14.471
Remember the full one looks like this.
Let's leave that ring finger out because it's the trouble maker.

04:21.390 --> 04:29.307
So now we've got four and five string versions of everything and it looks like this.

04:29.307 --> 04:37.295
Four strings on our C.

04:37.295 --> 04:43.448
Now the D, it's easy.

04:43.448 --> 04:48.161
Then back to five strings.

04:48.161 --> 04:56.636
Now go back for all of them and get that ring finger back on the job when you're ready.

04:56.636 --> 05:08.292
I'll say it one more time.
Don't play until it hurts.

05:08.292 --> 05:14.561
It takes time for your calluses to develop and people get a lot of questions about what these things really are

05:14.561 --> 05:21.713
because my calluses right now you can see from the playing I'm doing.

05:21.713 --> 05:24.337
You can see indentations in the tips of my fingers.

05:24.337 --> 05:29.445
It's not painful and it's not uncomfortable but they don't have to look nasty either.

05:29.445 --> 05:36.016
A couple hours after I'm done playing your finger reshapes itself and they're done.

05:36.016 --> 05:38.454
Mine don't tend to be dry.

05:38.454 --> 05:46.371
Calluses don't have to be dry, flaky, nasty looking things it's just basically a toughened up portion of your skin that can handle this.

05:46.371 --> 05:51.897
If you're playing a nylon string guitar this should go a little bit faster for you.

05:51.897 --> 05:56.054
It doesn't quite require the calluses that these do for two reasons.

05:56.054 --> 06:01.046
One is the strings are not as abrasive and second of all the strings are softer.

06:01.046 --> 06:03.530
It's easier to fret a note without buzzing

06:03.530 --> 06:10.310
and you end up finding out that it requires a lot less mashing your finger into the string to make a good sound.

06:10.310 --> 06:14.304
If you're playing with a steel string plan on this taking some time.

06:14.304 --> 06:17.972
Don't be impatient with it and do not play until it hurts.

06:17.972 --> 06:24.265
If you play until it hurts what tends to happen is your technique will actually get worse.

06:24.265 --> 06:30.557
You stop learning good things and you start learning bad habits that you'll have to undo later so I really don't encourage that.

06:30.557 --> 06:38.568
In terms of dealing with your hands cramping that's obviously a muscle strength and stamina issue.

06:38.568 --> 06:47.577
We talked about this in an earlier lesson but pay attention to your thumb position as you're fretting these chords.

06:47.577 --> 06:54.217
You'll notice as I play my thumb waves up here a lot and I get away with that

06:54.217 --> 07:02.623
because I have the hand strength to do it and my fingers relatively know how to fret strings without too much buzzing going on.

07:02.623 --> 07:09.797
So I can get away with that.
Plus it's nice to be able to reach over the top and fret a bass note that way.

07:09.797 --> 07:11.585
I do it on purpose.

07:11.585 --> 07:13.466
However, when you're learning

07:13.466 --> 07:21.825
or if you're taking strict traditional classical style they will ask you to drop your thumb down like it's on a button behind the fret

07:21.825 --> 07:28.233
and one of the advantages of that is that it opens your hand up, it points your fingers straight into the fret board

07:28.233 --> 07:35.524
and it actually puts your muscles in a little bit different position so you can switch back and forth .

07:35.524 --> 07:43.395
If you're starting to cramp trying to do this drop that thumb, try some of your repetitions in a little bit different position.

07:43.395 --> 07:50.580
In my opinion that's not confusing because you will use different hand positions anyway.

07:50.580 --> 07:55.433
Just like I talked about earlier you will use different ways of fretting a chord.

07:55.433 --> 08:00.425
One day you might play a G like this another day you might play a G like this.

08:00.425 --> 08:05.046
As I said, you're not breaking any rules that is using what works.

08:05.046 --> 08:09.736
Sometimes what works is what sounds right.

08:09.736 --> 08:14.287
Sometimes what works is when you get tired and you have to move to keep playing.

08:14.287 --> 08:23.482
That also works it's the same notes and the same jobs getting done so don't be afraid to experiment a little bit with positioning your hands.

08:23.482 --> 08:33.071
I think probably the biggest mistake beginners are inclined to make is because playing guitar is hard work and you've got to try really hard so

08:33.071 --> 08:39.990
what you do is you get tense and you push too hard or you squeeze too hard and that will hurt in a fairly short order.

08:39.990 --> 08:47.188
So if you're having hand cramps go back through the next time you practice and consciously focus on relaxing.

08:47.188 --> 08:59.564
Take a little loop through our circle of chords, maybe make one trip and when you get back home to the G chord take your fingers completely off

08:59.564 --> 09:04.626
the guitar and stretch them out a little bit, give them a break and then go again.

09:04.626 --> 09:06.855
That actually has two advantages.

09:06.855 --> 09:17.837
One is it gives your fingers a rest and second of all it forces your fingers to start thinking, I came from clear down here and I have to get to a G chord.

09:17.837 --> 09:21.901
Did I know where to go?
How good is that picture in my mind?

09:21.901 --> 09:27.404
How good is the muscle memory to find that chord when you've come from completely somewhere else?

09:27.404 --> 09:33.998
It's got two advantages and that's a nice exercise to work on and it'll probably minimize the cramps you're having.

09:33.998 --> 09:38.595
If your cramps are really bad, what works for me and your mileage may vary

09:38.595 --> 09:46.791
but one thing I like to do before or after I practice just take my hands and stick them in the hottest water possible they can stand.

09:46.791 --> 09:55.684
Which really has the effect of nothing more than warming up and loosening up your muscles and tendons and that can help to.

09:55.684 --> 10:03.416
Experiment with that but most of all caution, caution, caution be careful you are not overdoing this.

10:03.416 --> 10:06.203
Don't stress about this.

10:06.203 --> 10:10.637
Guitar playing is supposed to be fun and relaxing even when you're learning something.

10:10.637 --> 10:16.047
If you're in pain back off and take a deep breath and try to enjoy it.

10:16.047 --> 10:25.149
Ok. I hope the troubleshooting section helps you a little bit if it does not one of the things I like about JamPlay

10:25.149 --> 10:32.396
is that you can write in to me or one of the other instructors and say " I'm still frustrated, I'm still having problems

10:32.396 --> 10:37.318
and describe what the problem is that you're having and we can answer it on the forum or even in another video.

10:37.318 --> 10:39.222
Let me know how you're doing.

10:39.222 --> 10:43.518
Work on those transitions and I hope to see you again on the next lesson.

10:43.518 --> 10:44.586
Thank you very much.


Member Comments about this Lesson

Discussions with our instructors are just one of the many benefits of becoming a member of JamPlay.

guitarfixer2006guitarfixer2006 replied

Paced very nicely as if you are in a private classroom with me. I can repeat the parts of the lesson as I need; at age 70 I need a lot of repeating! This sooooo much better than in person instructor.

tovala1969tovala1969 replied

Hi I'd love to know what you were doing on the part of the song that you were playing (when we were accompanying you).

moul2moul2 replied

Video quit half way thru!

RCBassmanRCBassman replied

Jim great lesson, little issue with the G so I found that the pinky has a mind of its own so I've moved to the alternate and it seems to work fine. I'm going to work on this for a while before I move on.

stevelewstevelew replied

Excellent Great review for this old guy

janislbjanislb replied

Jim--As a 68 year old beginner, I am really enjoying your lessons. You are easy to follow.

VetteBNAVetteBNA replied

Hey Jim, great lesson. One trouble for me is that I've got meaty, small hands so I play the G-chord with little finger on the treble E, #2 (middle) finger on the low E, and the forefinger on the A string. Makes transitions slow but I can play the chords. Am trying, however, to make the correctly-shaped G-chord with these old 68-year old hands. No arthritis, fortunately, so I'm hoping they eventually get it. Thoughts?

porca soltaporca solta replied

can we have the intro music tab/sheet?

joemgulledgejoemgulledge replied

I lose audio on a lot of these lessons, am I doing something wrong?

MTMalsMTMals replied

Just finished all of Jim's DADGAD 1-13 lessons in Tools. What a great teacher. Looks like, for me at least, progress can be made sticking will all of Jim's lessons. Thanks Jim. I've go all of your tab sheets in a folder on my desktop.

karolkakarolka replied

Great lesson! The amount of time I spent on it really paid off. Thanks.

crenmorecrenmore replied

I'm an old guy in my 60s and decided to learn to play the guitar. I've tried a number of instructors, each unique in his/her teaching method and approach. Yours seems the most natural for me. I actually feel as if I'm sitting there with you- and you deal with my most frustrating problem, muting other strings. I'm ham-handed and the string muting will make me put the thing down and not touch it for weeks. I hope to see more info on how you conquered it. My index and ring fingers have bulges at the top digit. No matter how easy I try to push on a string, I eventually mute another. But thanks very much for your help thus far. This works for me.

karennkarenn replied

been trying to do the C chord without buzzing for 4 weeks. Thanks for the mini version

solsticestringssolsticestrings replied

Hi Jim, As most people have stated, the use of the pinkie, ring and middle fingers for the G chord are a bit of a challenge. I find that if I start the lessons by doing the finger exercises it's a help. Oh, and the warm water bath for my left hand at the end is heavenly! I'm having a lot of fun with these lessons. Thanks again for another good one!

bob millerbob miller replied

just had to say thank you, used another instructor and got so lost, with you it's so much more fun and I'm learning Thank you,

utgrad70utgrad70 replied

In practicing the G chord, trying to put all three fingers down at the same time didn't work for me; they were all out of control. So I next tried putting the pinky down first, but the 2nd finger and 3rd finger then didn't want to cooperate (they actually were shaking a little). Finally, what worked for me was putting the 2nd and 3rd fingers down first, then the pinky was easy to put in place.

jhockenberyjhockenbery replied

Jim, Lesson 6 - scene 5 Strumming with all 3 chords together I can do slowly, but when you add the extra with right hand strumming extra strings... Do you have a close up of just the right hand. LOL this is so much fun

lofty78lofty78 replied

Is it weird that I have been using my index and middle , leaving the ring alone and using the pinky? Ive been hacking around on the guitar for 15 years and have always played this way and had no problem with chord progression... does anyone else do this?

lofty78lofty78 replied

Okay, now I get it... just a different way to play the chord and it makes sense... but it's pretty tough after so long doing it one way... my hands are aching now

junebugjunebug replied

I thought I would share my technique of learning the pinky version of the G Chord.. I began with the two finger Chord until I built up the strength of my pinky finger... I kept my third finger culed up close to my pinky until I can play cleanly each and every time I fretted this Chord.. Then I began to reach my third finger towards it's goal only as far as not to effect the clean playing of my pinky.. I found I could stretch further and further every day, the more I played.. Eventually I could reach the Low E string with my third finger and actually touch the string and not effect the clean playing of my pinky finger.. Soon I was able to put pressure onto the E string.. success.. Have patience.. Take baby steps.. It's not as impossible as it first appears...

mariammariam replied

Thanks for your input. I have small hands & the stretching to get the chords is challenging for me. I love this enough to stick with it.

cedwards3369cedwards3369 replied

I haven't looked at this lesson for about three weeks now. I just kept practicing about 30 to 45 mins every evening. Chord transitions and scales. I logged back in this evening and went through this lesson and like magic, I could play along easily. Cool, the work paid off. On to the next lesson.

pumpkinpumpkin replied

Hi Jim, You my new friend are a wonderful teacher! I have been 'playing around' with my guitar for about 2 years; however,my jam buddy relocated thus an 'empty hole' in jamming was there! And then along came JamPlay! I really love sitting here at the computer playing along with the lessons! I am somewhat of an 'antique' 70 years young and music is a profound part of my life still: vocally, piano and now the guitar. Thanks so much! To all you 'new-bies' keep up the good work!! P.S. the callous on my pinkies are gone but they shall return!

demonwolf84demonwolf84 replied

While I am able to switch chords quickly and easily. I am having an extremely hard time keeping a steady beat have tried using the metronome and get mixed up while counting, tapping and, playing trying to keep the beat any one have any tips?

wannajamwannajam replied

I've been practicing the guitar for awhile now, my boyfriend plays and been teaching me, the g and are really hard!! i can play the d but to go there from another chord it doesn't work and the g chord, OMG!!!! help!!!!!

wannajamwannajam replied

Enter your comment here.

wannajamwannajam replied

i've been practicing guitar now for awhile, my boyfriend plays, he's been teaching me, and the g and d are very difficult, i can do the d but switching from a chord to there it never works out, and the g chord, OMG!!!! HELP!!!!

rheavin84rheavin84 replied

I find that the easiest way for me to play the G chord with the 2-3-4 method is if I straighten out my pinky...only bending it at the first joint instead of at both joints. Would that be considered bad form?

stevenmstevenm replied

Enter your comment here.

alpacalypsealpacalypse replied

Well my pinky finger is acting more like a toe... It doesn't want to play that G cord! But man I'm having so much fun just practicing it! I will own the G cord so hard its going to beg for mercy and take me out for a nice dinner at red lobster.

civiljakeciviljake replied

similar to most commentor I am also finding it odd to- play the G with 2-3-4 fingers when I've learned it playing it with 1-2-3 fingers and progressing to the D without much effort. Is it preference or are you showing us this finger sequence for a reason?

BuffyLOLBuffyLOL replied

I had fun with this. But I got troubles with my pinky in the G chord. It does not want to go and press that string, hehehehe I wonder if is ok to do the other form you showed. In this exercise!!! That one works perfect.

danholtsrdanholtsr replied

I'm having some problem adjusting to your method of forming the G chord using the pinky. However, I will stick with it if I need to. Is there something down the road that this method will help me do?

gondogondo replied

That's the first time I ever saw a G fretted with the middle,ring,pinky fingers. I do a full G using all 4 fingers with pinky. That puts my ring finger on the second string as a pivot to switch to D. I've never seen anyone form a G your way ready to switch to C. But my training is more rock guitar and maybe your method works well for finger style? That's why I'm here...to master the fingerstyle.

opatijaopatija replied

Jim, Excellent lessons!! I have been messing around with the guitar for about 5 weeks. Due to your lessons, I have made great progress. The one problem that I am having is that when I lift my fingers off the strings, they seem to stick and it sounds like I am doing a minor pulloff. I don't think I am pressing too hard since I can transition easily and my hand doesn't hurt. Any suggestions? Thanks again!!

shecutessshecutess replied

I am having difficulty playing these chords. It may be because im new at this or it might be because i have a cheap guitar. The neck is too broad i notice that your guitar has a small neck at the top. CAn you please recommend a brand that is not too expensive. Thanks

GuitarneubieGuitarneubie replied

Hi Jim: Thank you so much for the lessons. I use them to supplement my lessons that I am taking. I find that you help me to fine tune my skills. I still have trouble with touching the strings no matter how low I cut my nails or how much I arch. Any other suggestions?

joeyscottjoeyscott replied

Hi i still dont understand Keys... Can someone explain it to me please?

dpprofessordpprofessor replied

I think of a key as music that is played using the notes of the scale of the name of the key. In terms of chords, a key typically uses chords based upon the notes of the scale, the most common being those based on the first, fourth and fifth notes. In G this is G, C, D. In C, it's C, F and G. The minor chords would be based on the second, third and sixth notes (in G it would be Am, Bm and Emin.

ussthornbackussthornback replied

Jim, I am enjoying your lessons. I find that on the D Chord, that it is easier for me to use my first finger on the E string 2nd Fret, my second finger on the G string second fret, and the ring finger on the B string 3 fret. will that be a problem down the road.

gondogondo replied

Enter your comment here.

gondogondo replied

I just wanted to comment about using certain fingers in certain spots for forming chords. When beginning it's common to form the D the way you have because it's the same shape as the G. However it's important to use your fingers in a particular spot to make it easier to switch from one chord to the next as you progress and get better. For example it's common for advanced players to use their ring and pinky finger instead of middle/ring to form an Em and drop the middle finger for an E. This leaves the index finger unused so you can quickly slide up the neck and bar it. Every chord has recommended spots for your fingers to make it easier to switch to different positions. 2 chords played back to back often have 1 finger in the same spot and you pivot your hand leaving the 1 finger down without lifting it. This is the pivot finger and you can switch back and forth lightning fast. FOr this reason it's recommended to practice using your fingers in the recommended positions.

ricorico replied

got the 2 finger method down, now is there a secret to the "grouping techniqe"?

panegyricpanegyric replied

Now I realize the sound I like is in the strumming pattern, not the notes, although they go hand in hand.

monzer7monzer7 replied

Hello Jim, You are an excellent teacher - you obviously found your vocation! There is no way I'll back off now. Thanks a lot.

doghousedoghouse replied

Hi Jim. You are a brilliant teacher. Question about thumb picks! They tend to be quite long and I normally cut mine down to get closer to the guitar. I also find I need to fit them twisted slightly back to avoid getting too much resistance. what do you reckon? I also think you should do a lesson on the entertainer and " dont think twice"

merischinomerischino replied

Second that vote for a lesson on The Entertainer. In fact, I'm going to go check out request fest and see if it's been added officially yet as a request.

paralipaparalipa replied

I'd like "Don't think twice" since that is finger picked but can be strumed.

hilaryhilary replied

Building muscle memory must be for young'uns. I think my finger muscles have alzheimers! D to G is taking forever!

paralipaparalipa replied

It can't bee Altzheimers...This is one of those things, like crosswordpuzzles, that HELPS memory. I'm re-learning from playing 35 years ago and , guess what, it's no easier the second time round. I suggest you try playing only in 15 minute segments. Try doing the chord changes, but 15 min. at a time.

mlapiamlapia replied


jnc51jnc51 replied

I'm really laboring on the stretch between ring finger and pinky on the G chord. I';ve always used the index finger for the G chord, but I'm open to new ways.

sandiesandie replied

Ditto. As soon as I bring my pinky into play, I seem to lose control of my ring finger. Also, I have small fingers, so even with my pinky fully curled on the top E, my ring finger is not far off horizontal to reach the bottom E. I've tried bringing my hand around to the front more, but that just hurts my wrist! Must be my age....

mlapiamlapia replied

Jim, this is a great lesson, I've finally found a teacher who balances teaching and playing!

redhawkredhawk replied

is it possible to try fingerpicking (phase 2 ) as i am learning chords and progressions, to give my right hand something to do?

grimmogrimmo replied

hi jim love your lessons so far, i only started playing this week and im finding i can make the chords ring clear but i can't change really at all between them yet, two days on the C and G chord transition, its getting there, but how long on average do you think it should take to get the hang of these ?

alcoalco replied

I have been playing for more years than I care to remember and just was looking at your teaching style which is very enjoyable. I would like to provide a tip or two. One, to remember the string names you could use Eat All Day Get Big Easy (E-A-D-G-B-E). Sometimes you may want to know quickly the 1st 3 strings. An easy way is just to remember Every Boy and Girl (E-B-G). A secong tip is that when learning chords, it may be necessary to move your entire left hand slightly forward or backward as necessary to adjust to the new chord position. In other words, it may be necessary not just to move your fingers to the new chord shape but also to adjust your entire hand so that your fingers get close to the fret bar without touching. This movement is very very small but it may help to stop any buzzing.

donb1959donb1959 replied

Jim ( or anyone that knows what they are doing =) I notice that your thumb changes very little on the upper neck. When I play the C Chord my thumb goes almost perpendicular to the neck, but it feels comfortable....just wondering about economy of motion, and technique, or maybe Im just being anal, but I wanna get it right, so I guess my question is on thumb placement. Thanks.

coullycoully replied

Just said DERrrr..........to myself after seeing the next section(scene 3).Makes more sense than what ive been shown.Going to start re-training my G cord...Thanks heaps.......

jboothjbooth replied

Yeah, there's many ways to finger it, it really depends what you are comfortable with or which chord you are changing too next. :)

fred millerfred miller replied

Question: Are we just to strum along and keep rhythm or are we expected to pick out the notes that you play. if so, I am having a hard time seeing what notes you have played. I would like to see the individual notes on the fret board as you are playing them. Is that possible?

bany_rockbany_rock replied

heyy jim, you should do a lesson of "the entertainer" !! that would be so cool

nmazze72nmazze72 replied

Yeah I'm havening trouble too reaching the the string with my pinkie and middlefinger, need longer fingers grrrrrrrrr..........but I will keep trying to get it..............great lesson Jim thanks

rabel008rabel008 replied

when im playing the c or g chord i can hear my e and b strings louder than the others..is that because their higher pitched or what?

rumble dollrumble doll replied

Another great lesson Jim, thanks. This lesson has made me try to start forming the G chord the way you teach here. I've been forming it with the other 3 fingers (no pinkie) & have become comfortable with that, even going to & from C & G. However, I can see the logic & sense in the G formation with the pinkie when going to & from the C, so I've been practising with this lesson. I think it's good to be able to use both versions. Also, this way will strengthen up my pinkie as I'd really like to learn fingerstyle. :-)

chachochacho replied

I echo rumbo's comments about the G chord. Using the pinkie for the G chord for me is like starting all over again as I have never used the pinkie for any chord. I will stick with it though.

meganmegan replied

Visited as a kind of "back to the basics thing" (err) and still found something to learn. I like the extra little bit Jim offers in taking the time to let everyone see his fingers as he plays the melodic accompaniment to the chords. So now I am off strumming and moving my fingers just like him (err) to create melody. So much fun and a good lead in to stuff going on in his later lessons.

kvdalykvdaly replied

I'm working on this new G chord shape in order to take advantage of the economy of motion. FYI - in the tab section, the G chord is listed as 320003 instead of 320004.

mingofallsmingofalls replied

Jim, you sure enjoy playing, it's all over your face. I shows how much you enjoy playing! Great instruction.

cperdue71cperdue71 replied

your an awesome teacher...G---to---D is kinda hard...

cperdue71cperdue71 replied

jim, ur a awesome teacher!!! but im having a problem with the magor G chord...and im a little young so my fingers cant reach..

cbalowskicbalowski replied

I am practicing on a nylon classical. I cannot, for the life of me, make that G chord without using the index finger -- the neck is just too wide. As another alternative, what about using the thumb to play the G note on the 6th string?

Jim.DeemingJim.Deeming replied

You can try the thumb method if you like, but I find "thumbovers" to be pretty challenging on the typical 2" wide classical necks. I'd recommend going ahead with the index version of the chord for now, and keep practicing the 2-3-4 finger version as an excercise until you get it.

cbalowskicbalowski replied

Thanks Jim. FYI...Currently I'm practicing twice per day (about 15 minutes each time) and can switch between G and C at about 30 beats per minute. Going from D to G is still quite rough. Thanks for putting time into JamPlay.

SylviaSylvia replied

LOL Jim this song sounds like "My Dingaling!!"

estabanestaban replied

Wow,a week or 2 ago my pinky finger would NOT do the C - G transition, now it will. Patience grasshopper! its a very easy way to go between these 2 chords.

flocop1974flocop1974 replied

Great lesson! Very fun and useful exercise playing along with you.

estabanestaban replied

my daughter and I are having a hard time with the index fingerless G chord, but i know it makes sense to have that index finger available to do other stuff so well keep on trying it this way.

ziehensackziehensack replied

Love The Entertainer intro. Fantastic!

Jim.DeemingJim.Deeming replied

coully - as Jeff said, there's more than one way to fret the G cord (and others). I'd recommend learning the variations as you progress, not only in the interest of economy-of-motion for certain chord changes, but also to accomodate fingering melodies or variations around basic chord shapes. Hope that helps - have fun!

coullycoully replied

Marcus from Australia again.Jim.Whats your idea about the G cord.You show 2nd finger on 2nd fret but i've been shown first finger there and then 2nd to your 3 and my 3rd to your 4th....This is what i've gotten used too????

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 JamPlay.com 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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Peter Einhorn Peter Einhorn

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

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Mark Lincoln Mark Lincoln

Lesson 40 takes a deeper look at slash chords. Mark discusses why they're called slash chords, and how they are formed.

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Justin Roth Justin Roth

In this lesson Justin introduces his series on playing with a capo and dishes out some basic tips, including how to properly...

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Maneli Jamal Maneli Jamal

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

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JamPlay welcomes David Isaacs to our teacher roster. With his first lesson Dave explains his approach to playing guitar with...

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Trace Bundy Trace Bundy

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Hawkeye Herman Hawkeye Herman

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

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Don Ross Don Ross

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

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Eve Goldberg Eve Goldberg

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

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

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Lauren Passarelli Lauren Passarelli

Lauren Passarelli offers up her wisdom on purchasing a guitar. She also includes information regarding proper setup and care....

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Nick Greathouse Nick Greathouse

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

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Lisa Pursell Lisa Pursell

Lisa breaks into the very basics of the electric guitar. She starts by explaining the parts of the guitar. Then, she dives...

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Jeff Gunn Jeff Gunn

Now that we have explored the various distances needed to sound artificial harmonics, will learn how to move between artificial...

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Andy James Andy James

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

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Tony MacAlpine Tony MacAlpine

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Andre Nieri Andre Nieri

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

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

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Eric Madis Eric Madis

In this lesson Eric talks about playing basic lead in the Memphis Blues style.

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Brent-Anthony Johnson Brent-Anthony Johnson

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

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

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

Greg J.

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

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


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

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

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