Right Hand Revisited (Guitar Lesson)

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Jim Deeming

Right Hand Revisited

Proper right hand technique is extremely important. Until now, you have focused mainly on forming chords with the left hand. The right hand is coming back with a vengeance in this lesson. Jim gives some tips and tricks regarding the strumming hand. He explains how the right hand affects the basics of rhythm and timing.

Taught by Jim Deeming in Basic Guitar with Jim seriesLength: 35:19Difficulty: 1.0 of 5
Chapter 1: (13:46) Right Hand Revisited As discussed in the previous lesson, the right hand is mainly responsible for controlling the rhythmic feel of the music. Simply stated, the right hand drives the groove. Without the groove, a musical performance ceases to be effective. When playing guitar, always keep your listener's perspective in your mind. Would you want to listen to a performance that is rhythmically sloppy?

Lesson Overview

At this point, Jim has discussed two basic strumming patterns. He has demonstrated how to strum a chord in steady quarter notes and in steady half notes. In the current lesson, he explains how to add interest to a strumming pattern by altering these basic patterns.

Exercise 1

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

This exercise features a chord progression that consists of the G, C, and D chords. The same chord progression was played in Exercise 2 in the previous lesson. Now however, the strumming pattern of the exercise is changed. Breaking up the monotony of the strumming pattern adds much needed variety to this accompaniment figure. The rhythm for this exercise is played in steady quarter notes in 4/4 time. On beats 1 and 3, the lowest root note of the chord is picked. On beats 2 and 4, the remaining strings within the chord are strummed. Be careful that you do not pick the lowest root note on these two beats.

Practice this strumming pattern with each individual. Then, switch between the chords while maintaining the new strumming pattern. Remember to tap your foot along with the click of the metronome. Also, count the beat out loud.

Note: For additional practice, play the exercise along with Jim in the lesson video at 06:50. At first, Jim plays each chord for two measures. At 07:55, he plays each chord for one measure.

Flatpicking Basics

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 available options. 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. In addition, 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 hard rock and metal 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 a 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. Rapid strumming is quite difficult with a heavy pick. 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 green Dunlop Tortex and the Fender Medium 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

Many parallels can be drawn between the act of shaking someone's hand and holding the guitar pick. 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 two of 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.

The tightness of your grip on the pick also has a large bearing on volume. Holding the pick with a tight grip will produce a louder, more deliberate tone. Inversely, a light grip on the pick will produce a softer tone.

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 by Jim in the lesson video.

B. Method 2

Some rock 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. Many modern bluegrass flat pickers also use this technique.

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.

When strumming chords, the angle of the pick must change slightly. When performing a downstrum, the pick must be tilted slightly towards the floor. When performing an upstrum, the pick must tilt in the opposite direction.

Note: Jim discusses the upstrum in detail later in the lesson.

IV. Picking Motion

Almost all guitarists generate the picking motion completely from the wrist muscles when playing single notes. 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.

IV. 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. Jim prefers the latter method when strumming chords with a flat pick. When playing rapid single note lines, he often rests these fingers on the pickguard. However, many guitarists argue that it is not appropriate to anchor any of the fingers on the body of the guitar.
Chapter 2: (06:49) Proper Right Hand Technique Proper Playing Posture

Playing the guitar properly begins with proper posture. Proper posture involves the entire body. Remember that the entire body is one system. One part affects everything else. Playing with proper posture will enable you to play with the greatest ease and comfort. Improper posture results in poor playing technique and potentially career-ending injury.

Sitting in a Chair

Do not sit in a chair with arm rests. This will prevent you from holding the guitar in a comfortable position. Also, do not sit on a very soft chair or couch. Otherwise, you will sink in to the cushioning. This prevents you from playing with proper posture.


The legs are the foundation of the body and proper posture. Any structure requires a solid foundation. Always follow the following guidelines regarding proper leg positioning.

1. Never cross your legs. It limits circulation. It's awkward. Most people do this just to raise the guitar higher. That's why you should always wear a strap instead!

2. Keep the feet about shoulder width apart. When playing sitting down, keep them parallel. When standing up, you may find it more comfortable to keep one foot slightly in front of the other. This is perfectly acceptable. However, leading too much with one foot can cause back issues that affect the shoulders. This tension can spread to the hands and affect your playing.

3. The groin area and feet should form an isosceles triangle (two equal sides). The ancient Egyptians understood that the triangle is the strongest geometric shape. Consequently, you must position the base of your body in this formation.


Keep the shoulders relaxed and loose at all times. Don't shrug them at all. Your arms should feel like they are hanging effortlessly from your body. Do not lift your right shoulder to bring your right hand closer to the strings.

Do not lean over so that your face is closer to the fretboard. Keep the spine as straight as possible at all times. Playing slouched over for extended periods of time will hurt your back.

The Strap

Always wear a strap regardless of whether you are playing sitting down or standing up. This is true of both electric and acoustic guitars. Raise your left hand slowly until the bicep no longer must use any force to raise the arm. Adjust your strap so the neck meets your left hand at this position. Play with the strap adjusted the same way regardless of whether you are standing up or sitting down. Pay no attention to rock guitarists who play with the guitar slung down around their knees. This is very improper posture. It makes playing the guitar much more difficult.

Positioning the Guitar

The guitar should remain flat against your body. Do not let the guitar tilt down your leg. This will make it hard for your left hand to play chords and scales. A lot of students complain that they cannot see the fretboard as easily when the guitar is flat against their body. You will get over this in time. Use the dots on top of the neck to help orient you if necessary.

Choosing the Right Guitar

Don't play a guitar that is too big, bulky, or heavy for you. Many players run into back and shoulder problems from playing heavy guitars such as Les Pauls night after night. Similar problems may result from playing a large hollowbody or acoustic guitar. Most likely, these problems will not manifest themselves immediately. It may take decades for the issue to come to a head. However, they could eventually knock you out of commission for a long time. Why would you do anything that could potentially lead to injury?

A Few Thoughts on Muscle Memory

Muscle memory plays a very important role in playing accurately. With repetitious practice, the finger muscles gradually build up memory. Muscle memory will allow you to find the proper string with the right hand or the proper fret with the left hand without looking.

As a beginner, it is perfectly acceptable to watch your hands to ensure accuracy. However, you will gradually want to develop the ability to play without looking. There are several specific reasons for this. Down the road, you may find yourself playing in a poorly lit venue. In this situation, it might be very difficult to monitor your hands. Second, if your eyes are not focused on your guitar, you are free to make important visual cues with the other musicians you are playing with. You can also acknowledge the audience by making eye contact. Finally, it is impossible to site read a piece of music if your eyes are focused on the guitar.
Chapter 3: (03:54) Timing, Music, and the Right Hand All of the strumming patterns that Jim has demonstrated thus far have been played in 4/4 time. You may have seen 4/4 at the beginning of a piece and not really understood what it meant. 4/4 is a particular type of time signature. The top note in a time signature indicates how many beats are in each measure. The bottom number indicates which note value receives the beat. This is where things get confusing for many people. Simply memorize the note value that is indicated by each bottom number.

16: Sixteenth Note
8: Eighth Note
4: Quarter Note
2: Half Note
1: Whole Note

Thus, 4/4 indicates that each measure consists of four quarter notes. Or, the sum of the rhythmic values within the measure add up to a total of four quarter notes.

Sometimes 4/4 time is indicated with an upper case letter "C." Before Johannes Gutenberg invented the printing press in about 1439, it was much easier to write a "C" legibly than writing 4/4. "C" stands for "Common Time." This traditional indication of 4/4 time is still frequently used today.

Exercise 2

When the bass note and subsequent strums of a chord are placed on different beats, the overall feel of an accompaniment pattern is drastically changed. Within this exercise, Jim plucks the lowest root note of the chord on beat 1 of each measure. The remaining strings in the chord are strummed on beats 2, 3, and 4 of each measure. This exercise is demonstrated at 01:24 in the lesson video.

3/4 Time or "Waltz" Time

This signature indicates that there are three quarter notes in each measure. 3/4 time can be a little bit tricky, because there is an odd number of beats per measure. The waltz is an example of a common rhythm played in 3/4 time. In a waltz rhythm, the first beat of each measure is accented. This gives the rhythm a steady "oom pah pah" sound.

Exercise 3

This new accompaniment pattern is played in 3/4 or waltz time. The lowest root note of each chord is plucked on beat 1 of each measure. The remaining strings in the chord are strummed on beats 2, and 3. Watch at 02:47 as Jim demonstrates this new strumming pattern. Play this exercise in time with a metronome. Tap your foot along with the beat. Also, count the beat out loud. Count "1, 2, 3" for each measure. When playing in 3/4, be careful that you do not add an extra beat to each measure!
Chapter 4: (11:09) The Upstroke In addition to strumming chords in a downwards direction, chords can also be strummed in an upwards direction. This technique is referred to as the "upstroke" or "upstrum." Typically, upstrums are used on metrically weak beats or within syncopated strumming patterns.

Follow the same basic right hand guidelines discussed in Scene 1 when performing an upstroke. The strumming motion is still generated from the wrist and forearm muscles. Remember to maintain a relaxed grip on the pick. Otherwise, the pick might get hung up on one of the strings. In addition, the angle of the pick must tilt slightly in the opposite direction in comparison to a downstroke. This is accomplished by turning the wrist in a manner similar to turning a door knob. Watch Jim in the lesson video for a clear demonstration of this technique.

Practice the upstroke with a G major chord. Make sure that the pick travels across all six strings. Practice the same exercise with the C and D chords as well. With these chords, right hand accuracy becomes even more important. Do not strum the low sixth string when strumming a C chord. You must avoid the fifth and sixth strings when strumming a D chord.

Exercise 4

A. Rhythm

Exercise 4 is played in 4/4 time. The rhythm of this exercise combines quarter notes and eighth notes. An eighth note receives the value of half a quarter note or one eighth of a measure in 4/4 time. Play this exercise along with a metronome while tapping your foot. Count "1, 2, 3, 4 and" along with each measure. The word "and" is used to count eighth notes that occur on upbeats. Often, a "+" symbol is substituted for the word "and" when a specific counting rhythm is written out.

B. Exercise Directions

The lowest root note of the chord is strummed on beat 1 of each measure. On beat 2, the remaining strings within the chord are strummed. A downstrum is applied to the "downbeat" of beat 3. Finally, a single down strum is applied to the downbeat of 4. An upstrum is applied to the "and" beat of 4. Be careful that you are only picking the lowest root note of the chord on beat 1 of each measure.

C. Strumming Indications in Notation

In sheet music, two symbols are used to indicate the strumming direction for a particular chord. A box with one side missing represents a downstroke. A pointed triangle symbol indicates an upstroke.

Exercise 5

Throughout this exercise, the low root note is no longer isolated from the remaining notes in each chord. The full chord is played with each strum. Quarter notes are played on beats 1 and 3. A group of two eighth notes is played on beats 2 and 4. Count "1 2+ 3 4+" for each measure. The appropriate strumming pattern for this rhythm is indicated in "Supplemental Content."

Exercise 6

Once again, the bass note is no longer isolated from the remaining notes in each chord. The full chord is played with each strum. Quarter notes are played on beats 1, 2, and 3. A group of two eighth notes is played on beat 4. Count "1 2 3 4+" for each measure.

Muting Techniques

The right hand can further alter the feel of an accompaniment pattern by applying various muting techniques. Jim provides a brief preview of this concept at 07:05 in the lesson video. The right hand can apply a technique called palm muting or it can muffle the sound of the strings altogether. These techniques will be discussed in greater detail in later lessons.

Review / Final Thoughts

-When playing guitar, the right hand is the timekeeper. It controls the rhythmic feel or groove of the music.

-Rhythm is the single most important aspect of music. It's what makes people bob their heads, dance, or start a mosh pit. Without solid rhythm, the audience will not enjoy your playing. Remember to consider the audience's perspective at all times.

-The best way to improve rhythm is through constant practice with a metronome.

-You must have a solid rhythmic foundation regardless of which styles you wish to explore.

-Guitarists with perfect rhythm are always in high demand.

-Perfect rhythm is important when it comes to playing lead guitar as well. The rhythm guitar skills that Jim teaches in this series will transfer directly to your lead guitar playing.

Video Subtitles / Captions

Scene 1

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

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Welcome back for the next installment in phase one of beginning guitar.
Today's lesson is going to be titled "right hand revisited."

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Up until now we've been going through is learning chords, chord shapes,

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how to make transitions, how to fret these things without having dead strings or buzzing these strings.

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Up until now the right hand has basically has been a work horse for us that's jus t provided a means to train the left hand in it's job.

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Today we are going to talk more in detail about what the right hand is really doing for us and what some of our options are.

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Regardless of what chords you are playing down here or what melody notes you're playing with your left hand

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the right hand has the biggest job in controlling what the feel of the music is that you're doing.

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It controls the tempo.
It controls the rhythm.

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If there's a particular rhythm pattern that you're doing.
It actually drives what I would call the groove.

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I've been asking you to tap your foot as we practice, well the foot tapping is a direct connection to what your right hand should be doing.

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It can have a lot of effect on the feel of a song and whether or not it stays on time and with the band or with the singer, whatever is going on.

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This is important even when you're playing by yourself or with someone else.

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Try to play your guitar keeping in mind the perspective of the person who's listening to you.

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If you listen to someone else play an instrument and the tempo is wandering around and not steady it's actually distracting.

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It takes away from the music in a pretty substantial way.

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So we tap our foot and that keeps that right hand going at a tempo at a driving tempo if necessary.

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Some songs are more flowing

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but for right now we are learning to count, we're working on our rhythm and we want a pretty steady metronome feel out of this right hand.

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Just doing the strumming like we've been working on can get a little old pretty quickly and by now you should be wanting some variety.

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So today we are going to get the variety from the right hand.

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Alright real quickly, first let's make sure that you're with me on our chords.

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This is the G chord, root note here is the G note and that's a G chord, plays all six strings.

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The next one not very far away is the C chord, a five string chord.

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Underneath that is a four string chord, the D chord.

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Today we are going to look at what we can do to put a little bit of feeling, some life into those three simple chords.

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What I'm going to do is I'm going to jump over to a flat pick for a minute.

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Partially just to demonstrate to you that what I'm about to teach you even though it's right hand specific still holds true regardless of your style.

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If you're playing finger style with no pick, if you're playing with a thumb pick like I do, or a flat pick.

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What we're going to talk about next applies to all styles.

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I guess first we can talk a little bit about at this point in your guitar journey what should you be doing.

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It has a little bit to do with where you are going, what style you want to play.

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If you're going to play more of a softer, flowing, folk style you probably don't need a pick and you'll want to be using your fingers.

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If you have aspirations to be rhythm style guitar player, a more aggressive strumming style you're going to want some kind of a pick.

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Either a thumb pick or a flat pick, probably a flat pick like this

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and maybe you're headed for finger style greatness in which case the thumb pick is the obvious choice.

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What we're going to do, whichever pick you use or lack of pick you use we're going to break this down.

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Again, thinking in terms of how many strings we're using for each chord and where our root note is.

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So let's deal with the G chord first and that's a big one it uses all six and remember the root note is down here on the bottom like it should be.

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Now think about this, rather than counting out four.
One, two, three, four.

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On the same tempo and on the same timing, 4/4 we call that we'll put a little bit of life into this by breaking up what the right hand is doing.

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We're going to start by only picking that bottom note and then strumming the other five and it would sound like this.

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

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That gets a little more interesting to the ear than just repetitively strumming.

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This has a ringing drone to it which is fine in the right situation but you probably don't want a song full of that.

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So by breaking it up there's half as many rings to it but we're doing something on every beat.

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One, two, three, four.

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You're going to get a little bit of drive to this without overwhelming the listener and that's a good thing.

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We can do the same thing now on our old friend the five string C chord.

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Remember again, this is the root note, it's also the lowest note we play in this chord so let's start there on the five on that C note and strum the rest.

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You can probably guess where we're going.
With the D chord you can do the same thing.

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It's a four string chord at this point and the root note that we're playing

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the lowest note we're allowing to be hit here, the fourth string is a D note so there's our root. So here we go.

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Here we go.
We got them all now. Try this with me if you can.

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

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C, two, three, four.

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Only five strings.
D, two, three, four.

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One, two, three, four and back home to the G.

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Alright, I bet that sounds a little more interesting to you than this.

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It's the same tempo, it's the same chords the left hand doing the exact same thing but the right hand is completely changing the feel of the music.

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Ok, alright, now let's work a little bit more on that.

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We're going to change this up just a little bit, I want you to work on the transition faster, in other words spend less time on each chord.

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We'll do four beats on each chord.
One, two, three, four.

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

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One, two, three, four.

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This may be a tough touch for you because what's probably going to need to happen by now is this guy's in training now.

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Boot camp for the right hand.

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Hopefully your left hand is getting far enough along that maybe you can fret those notes without looking at the left hand.

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Or maybe you need to go over for a little peek while you make the transition then come back over and focus on our right hand.

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Alright, peek, keep that chord and focus on what strings you're hitting.

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Alright, how's this feeling?
People have varying results over here so don't be discouraged.

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If you're using a flat pick like I am right now. Let's talk a little bit about the grip, the position and what the strum looks like.

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First of all

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most people will play with the sharpest point of the pick typically shaped like this, most of them are tear dropped instead of this little flat head on

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here but the main idea is there's the relatively sharpest point out here and generally the assumption is that's what you're going to play with.

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However, there are a lot of, especially high speed flat pickers, bluegrass flat pickers, have started using one of the more rounded shoulders of it.

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It's not particularly too important which one you do but try them both if you like, see what feels more comfortable to you.

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They'll both get the job done.

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Just because of old habit and the way I started to learn I still use the sharp point.

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The next thing to talk about is exactly how you hold it.

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You're curling up your first finger here to provide a flat spot that's going to roughly run at a right angle to your hand.

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So it's got a place to sit and now we're simply pinching it down with the thumb.

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Now how hard you pinch it is another question.

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Again, if it hurts you're doing it too hard, you should not be cramping over this

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and in fact at a normal playing grip somebody should be able to walk up and pull that pick right out of your hand.

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Obviously you don't want to drop the pick while you're playing but experiment with and find out how light of a grip you can get away with.

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Without dropping the pick and what's actually going on in the hood is that pick is coming up just a little bit, he's snapping up off of my finger.

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For strumming now is what I'm talking about.

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This is not for high speed flat picking yet but for strumming how hard you pinch that pick

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is another one of those subtle details down here that drastically effects what the sound is that you get.

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Typically you can assume that the tighter you grip the pick and the more rigid the pick becomes the louder it is.

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In fact ease up and do that exact same strum and I let it flop a little bit, it's a little softer.

11:08.755 --> 11:15.860
So part of how hard you grip is determined by what you want to hear.

11:15.860 --> 11:22.919
Volume in particular is what's affected by that but also it's going to feel a lot different on the strings.

11:22.919 --> 11:30.906
You can imagine that if you are gripping it tight it holds that pick more perpendicular, strikes the string harder which is why we get

11:30.906 --> 11:38.731
the louder volume but then it requires more push of your hand to get it across the strings.

11:38.731 --> 11:52.221
That's great if you're trying to play over the top of a banjo player and you want to drown him out.

11:52.221 --> 12:04.342
That's fine if that's what you need to do but when you're learning accuracy and trying to get the feel of how do I separate a bass note from a strum.

12:04.342 --> 12:09.845
We don't need big volume right now and we're probably better off with a little bit more relaxed grip.

12:09.845 --> 12:19.332
Focus on accuracy for right now, we'll go kill those banjo players later.

12:19.332 --> 12:29.037
Now what you also might not be able to see without looking up close is what's happening as I strum down.

12:29.037 --> 12:34.935
I am very deliberately allowing the pick to tilt down at an angle.

12:34.935 --> 12:43.340
Again, remember when I talked about if we grip it hard that pick is rigid and sticking in there, by loosening my grip and letting that pick flap,

12:43.340 --> 12:49.213
you can see what is happening is that picks tipping and it's coming across the strings at an angle.

12:49.213 --> 13:00.172
It's easier to push it across the strings, there's less resistance and less volume but you're not fighting it and that's ok because when you get done

13:00.172 --> 13:06.952
and you get down to the bottom you have enough grip to where it comes back, it's a pointer.

13:06.952 --> 13:08.740
Think of your pick as a pointer.

13:08.740 --> 13:12.246
I've got to dive in here on the right string for the bass note

13:12.246 --> 13:20.907
but say it's the D, I actually have to come in with enough accuracy to land above the D string, hit it

13:20.907 --> 13:25.202
and then stop for one beat and then follow across the rest of them.

13:25.202 --> 13:37.346
So think accuracy for a little bit not hard attack and it is ok then for your pick to be just a little bit loose in your fingers, going for accuracy.

13:37.346 --> 13:47.051
It's ok to look right now and because of that let's briefly talk about posture.

Scene 2

00:00.000 --> 00:12.411
Normally when you hold the guitar and you're playing, the guitar is in an almost upright position.

00:12.411 --> 00:19.400
You're looking across the top, your left hand has got these wonderful dots unless you're a classical player.

00:19.400 --> 00:24.508
They take those away because playing classical guitar should be harder and that's one of the ways they do it.

00:24.508 --> 00:29.964
So this is the view that you are used to seeing except when you're trying to learn.

00:29.964 --> 00:34.120
I've got to see where that first string is to get on the right one.

00:34.120 --> 00:41.620
Oh, I need to look down here and see all these strings so that I know I'm picking the right one, ok.

00:41.620 --> 00:44.964
That's ok right now but don't let it become a bad habit.

00:44.964 --> 00:52.905
Once in a while, sit up straight and realize that your hand,

00:52.905 --> 01:02.587
one of the things it has to get into it's muscle memory is where up and down, almost without looking is that fourth D string.

01:02.587 --> 01:10.296
Alright, you need to find that and if you watch in slow motion what you'll see I just did.

01:10.296 --> 01:18.724
I reached right up underneath there with my fingers on that E string and I know what that gap feels like.

01:18.724 --> 01:25.504
If I had to dive in from out here and go right in, oh I hit it, I didn't expect to.

01:25.504 --> 01:31.216
Usually that's hard to do without some kind of an anchor and we'll talk more about anchors here in a minute.

01:31.216 --> 01:36.672
The difference between looking for where to strike

01:36.672 --> 01:43.058
and knowing where to strike is when things are going to start to get comfortable for you down the road.

01:43.058 --> 01:46.262
Don't be frustrated if you know for right now you have to look, ok.

01:46.262 --> 01:53.459
Take your time, get it right and give this hand time to feel for you where that fourth string is.

01:53.459 --> 01:57.731
Alright that will come with time.

01:57.731 --> 02:01.933
We're only doing down strokes by the way, forget that thing that I just did.

02:01.933 --> 02:11.221
Alright, down, not too hard allow that pick to flap a little bit, not enough to fall out of your hands but not a death grip.

02:11.221 --> 02:19.766
Note, strum. Note, strum.
Note, strum. Note, strum.

02:19.766 --> 02:37.644
Alright, so what we're doing is bass note, strum, bass note, strum and actually right now we're only doing the root note as a bass

02:37.644 --> 02:42.451
but even later we're going to fancy that up a little bit to make it even more interesting.

02:42.451 --> 02:47.350
This is where you should stop and get to a level of comfort.

02:47.350 --> 02:52.573
Your left hand already knows it's job, right?

02:52.573 --> 02:59.747
You've got your chord shapes, those pictures in your mind, you've worked on the transitions

02:59.747 --> 03:07.270
and hopefully with getting to be less and less eye contact you should start to feel those.

03:07.270 --> 03:09.853
It's not perfect yet, I know that.

03:09.853 --> 03:17.144
Don't panic but it should be coming along and today we're looking at the right hand, so work on that.

03:17.144 --> 03:19.164
Do some repetitions of this.

03:19.164 --> 03:27.337
One, two, three, four.
One, two, three, four.

03:27.337 --> 03:34.395
One, two, three, four.
One, two, three, four.

03:34.395 --> 03:36.694
Alright, that's with a flat pick.

03:36.694 --> 03:42.122
If you are a naked finger picker, you're probably using your thumb at this point.

03:42.122 --> 03:59.211
Same applies, you're just getting that note with your thumb…

03:59.211 --> 04:04.498
If you have the thumb pick, right now all we're doing is treating this like a glorified flat pick.

04:04.498 --> 04:17.408
Alright, you can do it loose like this or you can pinch it like the flat pick.

04:17.408 --> 04:22.307
I'm just going to talk about that briefly because if you're going to follow me into the next phase

04:22.307 --> 04:26.672
we're going to be going into finger picking and I will continue to use the thumb pick for that section.

04:26.672 --> 04:31.409
Doing this job with the thumb pick, people have mixed results in.

04:31.409 --> 04:36.749
Thumb picks tend to be compared to a flat pick.

04:36.749 --> 04:44.063
I mean you can buy heavy gauge thick flat picks but most beginners start out with a medium thickness pick.

04:44.063 --> 04:52.584
If you do that with a thumb pick it's almost like grabbing right off the shelf the heaviest gauge, thickest flat pick.

04:52.584 --> 05:07.562
So when you pinch it over here, you've really got ahold of the hammer and you will have to ease up a little bit to make that work.

05:07.562 --> 05:09.907
Actually if I were doing this,

05:09.907 --> 05:18.871
if I were playing something that musically required that, my first response without thinking about it would be just do the thumb.

05:18.871 --> 05:26.301
Anchor down here with these other fingers that helps accuracy, gets the job done

05:26.301 --> 05:34.683
and my thumb all by itself is controlling the volume by rotating over at an angle.

05:34.683 --> 05:46.200
To adjust, like we talked about before with the flat pick the angle of that pick has a lot to do with the volume and the attack.

05:46.200 --> 05:51.935
Think of that with the thumb all by itself.

05:51.935 --> 06:00.805
So what we just covered applies to all three styles.
Naked, flat pick or a thumb pick.

06:00.805 --> 06:06.909
Work on a bass note and a chord, keep thinking about what you're doing.

06:06.909 --> 06:16.965
This is a root note with the same name of the chord we're playing and we're getting bass note and a strum.

06:16.965 --> 06:24.558
One, two, one, two, one, two, one, two.

06:24.558 --> 06:26.926
Take some time with that, think it through

06:26.926 --> 06:33.474
and then get a little bit comfortable with that idea and now I'm going to add something else into the mix.

06:33.474 --> 06:38.536
Again, talking about right hand and feel and what it does to a song.

Scene 3

00:00.000 --> 00:17.240
Ok, what we've been doing up until now is typically called 4/4 time and here's your little main music theory lesson for the day.

00:17.240 --> 00:26.689
What 4/4 time means is that there are four beats to a measure and each beat gets one fourth of a note.

00:26.689 --> 00:31.843
So, one, two, three, four.
Those are quarter notes.

00:31.843 --> 00:34.653
Ok, you have the whole measure is four.

00:34.653 --> 00:39.715
One, two, three, four and you notice that's when I started counting over again.

00:39.715 --> 00:48.817
That's four beats and each one of those beats we call a quarter note that's a quarter of a measure if you want to think of it that way.

00:48.817 --> 00:54.412
At it's simplest sound it's just a boom, chick.

00:54.412 --> 01:00.519
One, two, three, four.
One, two, three, four.

01:00.519 --> 01:07.369
One, two, three, four.
One, two, three, four.

01:07.369 --> 01:13.496
Now when you hit the bass and where you put an emphasis can change the feel a little bit.

01:13.496 --> 01:23.387
So what if you did one, bass note and three strums?
You still end up with four in a measure but it sounds a little different.

01:23.387 --> 01:29.145
One, two, three, four.
One, two, three, four.

01:29.145 --> 01:34.973
One, two, three, four.
One, two, three, four.

01:34.973 --> 01:40.824
One, two, three, four.
One, two, three, four.

01:40.824 --> 01:44.029
One, two, three, four.

01:44.029 --> 01:51.041
I would say that's a little softer maybe or a little bit more of a sustaining ringing sound than what we were doing.

01:51.041 --> 02:00.627
That might be more country than you like.

02:00.627 --> 02:11.099
The point is if both of those even though they feel a little bit different those are 4/4 time quarter note and 4/4 time songs.

02:11.099 --> 02:16.114
You can make a change here that you're probably familiar with by ear

02:16.114 --> 02:21.083
and maybe you've never learned what it is and it's one that we call 3/4 time.

02:21.083 --> 02:22.964
Some people would call it "waltz time."

02:22.964 --> 02:35.154
Think about this, now there's going to be only three beats to a measure but every beat still gets the one tick.

02:35.154 --> 02:37.406
So what we're going to do is count to three

02:37.406 --> 02:41.028
One, two, three.
One, two, three.

02:41.028 --> 02:43.838
and start over at three instead of four.

02:43.838 --> 02:48.459
What that sounds like musically is this.
One, two, three.

02:48.459 --> 02:52.615
One, two, three.
One, two, three.

02:52.615 --> 03:00.788
One, two, three.
One, two, three.

03:00.788 --> 03:06.407
So that's a little bit different feel again but what we're doing is just getting right hand practice here.

03:06.407 --> 03:12.699
Bass, strum but we're varying when we hit the bass and how many strums we do.

03:12.699 --> 03:17.180
One, two, three.
One, two, three.

03:17.180 --> 03:24.332
Or maybe we do one, two, three, four, one, two, three, four.

03:24.332 --> 03:25.864
Or maybe we do this.

03:25.864 --> 03:30.578
One, two, three, four.
One, two, three, four.

03:30.578 --> 03:38.124
The point of this and what I'd like you to try is not going to last very long in terms of being interesting but think through.

03:38.124 --> 03:42.814
This right hand has a lot of control over what this guitar sounds like

03:42.814 --> 03:47.783
even though the left hand has now started to look like he's at the back of the class.

03:47.783 --> 03:52.915
He only knows three chords that's all we've done but we're starting to get a lot of different sounds out of this.

Scene 4

00:00.000 --> 00:14.570
I'm going to go ahead right now and talk a little bit about upstroke with the pick.

00:14.570 --> 00:23.022
We've strummed down whether we're doing a bass note or a strum

00:23.022 --> 00:31.009
and remember that I told you if you keep that grip a little bit easy, a little bit light it allows that pick to lay down.

00:31.009 --> 00:35.583
Imagine now what's going to happen if I want to come up.

00:35.583 --> 00:48.490
First of all when a guitar is picked in upward stroke there's a definite difference in the way it sounds

00:48.490 --> 00:56.919
and this is true whether it's an acoustic guitar, on electric this is a different attack on the instrument that changes how the string sounds.

00:56.919 --> 01:04.906
You could say it's a little bit more abrupt, a little bit more aggressive.
That's not necessarily always true but typically is.

01:04.906 --> 01:18.187
It's also very often used in what we would call syncopation where we're doing some things that are not quite on the beat.

01:18.187 --> 01:34.794
Remember here's our beat, one, two, three, four, one, two, three, four.
How about this?

01:34.794 --> 01:38.997
What I'm doing there to get that little syncopated upstroke

01:38.997 --> 01:47.634
is giving it a little bit of a sassy punch is throwing an upstroke right in front of a regular down beat.

01:47.634 --> 01:52.650
I can tell from the expressions on the forums that this sometimes throws people for a loop

01:52.650 --> 02:00.208
because their pick is pointed down, they get used to doing this and trying to come back up, I can tell what happens.

02:00.208 --> 02:09.426
That pick is already at an angle, it hooks on that string and just won't come up until you've got a lot of pressure and then it's not right.

02:09.426 --> 02:11.075
It just doesn't feel good.

02:11.075 --> 02:16.833
Keep the same thing in mind for the upstroke that we talked about with the down stroke.

02:16.833 --> 02:24.983
That is don't have death grip on this thing, allow the pick to sweep across in the direction it's traveling

02:24.983 --> 02:29.086
which means coming up you're going to let it flap the other way.

02:29.086 --> 02:35.239
Flap is a bad choice of word, it's going to lay over a little bit.
We won't be sloppy about this necessarily

02:35.239 --> 02:46.338
and again the same principle applies, if you hold that pick straight in there as you're coming up it's just as rough as if you're going down.

02:46.338 --> 02:57.761
So to exaggerate to come down the strings you're laying across a little bit with the pick this way, coming up you're laying it this way a little bit.

02:57.761 --> 03:09.670
Alright, you'll have to experiment with that and what you may find is that your intensity on the first few tries is to not hit all of the strings.

03:09.670 --> 03:18.581
That's going to feel a little bit differently there after we’ve been doing a few downstrokes.

03:18.581 --> 03:50.755
So we’ll roll across all six smoothly. 
And then you can do…

03:50.755 --> 04:07.760
All I’m doing there is what we were doing before. Bass, then all of those strings and then letting it drag just a little bit up on the last stroke.

04:07.760 --> 04:17.489
Now pay attention to the rhythm of that because its not just One, Two, Three, Four. We’ve added an off beat or an eighth note in there.

04:17.489 --> 04:21.691
And the way that is typically counted out is this:

04:21.691 --> 04:30.527
Instead of going One, Two, Three, Four. 
What we would say out loud is One, Two, Three, Four AND

04:30.527 --> 04:36.239
One, Two, Three, Four AND 
One, Two, Three, Four, AND

04:36.239 --> 04:42.038
One, Two, Three, Four AND 
One, Two, Three, Four, AND

04:42.038 --> 04:45.010
One, Two, Three, Four, AND

04:45.010 --> 04:49.189
And is an eighth note and they’re all fractions, folks.

04:49.189 --> 04:55.923
They’re all fitting in there, you’re dividing a measure into four equal parts so those are quarter notes. That's what we’re giving the whole

04:55.923 --> 05:02.935
One, Two, Three, Four, those are quarter notes, the four beats that make up a measure.

05:02.935 --> 05:13.105
Now we’re sticking notes in between every quarter note so you have to divide one of those quarter notes, you have an eighth then

05:13.105 --> 05:19.978
One, Two, Three, Four AND
One, Two, Three, Four AND

05:19.978 --> 05:29.629
When you hear that AND, and you feel that little sandwiched note in between there, that's an eighth note, its double time I guess you could say.

05:29.629 --> 05:35.457
And it naturally falls into learning an upstroke because what's going on over here, we’ve got

05:35.457 --> 05:42.817
One, Two, Three, Four
One, Two, Three, Four

05:42.817 --> 05:53.567
So it naturally works out, in between each one of those, your hand has to travel back up here anyway to do it again. Well, double your pleasure.

05:53.567 --> 06:06.106
Hit the strings on your way back.

06:06.106 --> 06:11.191
Now did you hear what I just did? I left that bass note thing out of there and we still had a little bit of fun with it.

06:11.191 --> 06:27.305
Alright, instead of doing 
One, Two, Three, Four.

06:27.305 --> 06:46.066
We went back to that, whole thing but we made it interesting with a little syncopated eighth note.

06:46.066 --> 06:53.341
Watch what can happen here, I’m going to pick up the tempo just a little bit but what I’m going to do is what we call a little bit of muting in here.

06:53.341 --> 07:01.004
That's another right hand technique and I’m not going to go into it a lot other than I want to stimulate your thought process for even how much more

07:01.004 --> 07:17.559
your right hand can feed how this guitar sounds.

07:17.559 --> 07:24.680
Very simply what's going on here, right there 
One, Two.

07:24.680 --> 07:39.192
I left off the three beat and hit it on the three AND upbeat. Sneaky little things but really this hand looks to you like its just going up and down

07:39.192 --> 07:48.665
but under the covers I’m choosing when I hit the strings and when I don’t, I’m laying down every once in a while to mute the strings.

07:48.665 --> 07:53.356
We’re going to get to more of this later, so don’t feel like that was an entire right hand lesson

07:53.356 --> 08:00.786
but pay attention to the fact that this hand has got a lot of power over here and has a lot to do with how things sound.

08:00.786 --> 08:10.144
Okay, another way you can think of it, another term you will hear is it's the groove. What I’ve been saying is tap your foot and get that…

08:10.144 --> 08:17.690
This is the groove. This is what makes you feel the music.

08:17.690 --> 08:28.093
When your foot is tied to your right hand and your right hand is staying on rhythm, you can make people feel that.

08:28.093 --> 08:38.720
If you’re just over here doing this, unless you’re doing a lullaby, people won’t want to hear you.

08:38.720 --> 08:54.021
Especially if you're not on a steady tempo. Be a clock, be a metronome, be steady, tap your foot so that your body is getting into it instead of just your fingers and hands.

08:54.021 --> 09:04.586
Its really, really critical. You can get so mentally engaged into trying to make all of this work that you forget its supposed to be music or it stops feeling like music.

09:04.586 --> 09:15.801
I promise if you keep that foot going, even if its hard to do right now, I can tell you from personal experience, the times that I have let that go and stopped doing this.

09:15.801 --> 09:23.370
I’ll go back and listen to what I did and say
"Man, you were all over the map on tempo and I can tell because it doesn’t sound as good."

09:23.370 --> 09:31.892
If you’re feeling it, all of the way through you instead of in your wrists and hand, it sounds better and it feels better.

09:31.892 --> 09:36.025
Music does have a feeling to it if its played well and that's the goal.

09:36.025 --> 09:45.776
I want you to enjoy it while you're playing and you want the people who are listening to it to enjoy it also and this is one of the most fundamental building blocks of doing that.

09:45.776 --> 09:54.878
We’re going to go on and do some other things other than just rhythm guitar but let me just give you another tip for further on down the road in your guitar journey.

09:54.878 --> 10:06.441
You will be a better, I think, no matter what style of guitarist you decide to be, I think if you have a solid foundation of rhythm guitar

10:06.441 --> 10:12.455
and you understand rhythm and beat and staying on beat.
First of all you’ll be in demand.

10:12.455 --> 10:21.302
Every one wants and needs a good rhythm guitar player, there are a lot of bad ones out there and they can carry a band or not and its a good skill to have on your resume.

10:21.302 --> 10:31.564
But I think even if you go off and want to be a lead rock and roll guitar player, a guitar hero master or if you want to play finger style guitar or classical guitar,

10:31.564 --> 10:40.806
the more its wired into your foundation to play on time, to play with a beat and feel that beat you will be a much better player on down the road.

10:40.806 --> 10:42.965
And again, you will enjoy it a lot more.

10:42.965 --> 10:56.362
Okay, we’re going to wrap up here. After this tape stops, take some time, play with your three chords

10:56.362 --> 11:07.554
and play it with downstrokes, upstrokes, play with 4/4 time, 3/4 time and do two things
count out loud and tap your foot.

Member Comments about this Lesson

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

TorbenljTorbenlj replied on March 5th, 2017

A lot of very very useful information :-) Thanks Jim, this is great.

valeeboyvaleeboy replied on August 16th, 2016

Please explain Phase 1 lesson 5, 2:30 minutes how you do fingerpick while playing chords

MusicLadyMusicLady replied on May 9th, 2015

Thank you so much for the great lessons. I am 68, retired and just now taking up the guitar which is something I've always wanted to learn. Your lessons are very clear and your concepts are easy to follow. Thanks again, I'm pleased with the outcome I'm developing.

karolkakarolka replied on March 10th, 2015

Thank you for the time spent on using the pick. Great motivation for turning that metronome on during practice!

JustmealsoJustmealso replied on January 22nd, 2015

Just started on Jamplay and viewed other instructor's lessons but they didn't seem to fit what I was looking for until I looked at Jim's lessons. At age 75 I need the lessons to be directly related to my goal. I don't have to take lessons that in the end do take me where I want to be. I just want to play melodies for my own enjoyment. Jim's lessons appear to be doing that. Thank you

bartamberbartamber replied on December 27th, 2014

I've played guitar for a couple years now and even play at church. This is very informative and nice just to fall back and watch beginner stuff. Always learning something new. Really appreciate your teaching!

solsticestringssolsticestrings replied on December 27th, 2013

Very enjoyable, informative lesson, Jim. Off to soak my left hand in hot water again. I'm finding using a pick very awkward and will have to just get accustomed to it. Thanks again, looking forward to the coming lessons!

fferrarafferrara replied on December 16th, 2013

Enjoying your lessons Jim. 30 yrs since taking lessons as a kid learning from a classical teacher. One are I seam to have lost a lot was chord structure and keys. I've taken several lessons on JamPlay and look forward to running through many of yours getting my passion to play again with a lot of dust wiped off! I enjoy your style and ability to mix up strumming options and systoles making even the simple 3 starter chords into a real base to build on. Well done.

roger37roger37 replied on October 14th, 2013

Hey, Jim. Took lessons for one year plus and was not getting very far, instructor had me all over the map so I'm enjoying your lessons and your style very much. As far as the thumb pick is concerned, I have been using a flat pick .73 and picked up some thumb picks and see the difference right away. While I would like to stay with finger picking I tried filing the inside of the finger pick with a fine file and using a gage to the same thickness of the .73 and the tone sounds the same to me, looking forward to the rest of your classes.

alanjohnfrancisalanjohnfrancis replied on October 20th, 2013

Hi Jim, I bought a guitar when I was 14 and tried to learn from a book which was what you did back in 1977 when there was no internet. Needless to say I didn't get very far the whole summer and kind of gave up. Now I've just turned 50 and my daughter is taking lessons I've taken up the challenge again. I'm really enjoying your lessons, they're excellent and have already gone much further than I did back in 1977. Looking forward, I'll be sticking with your lessons as I find your style of teaching much easier to follow than most of the other teachers on Jamplay. Not to say I've not learned anything from them, but the way you approach the subject just makes it easy for me to pick up. Keep up the good work.

akakieakakie replied on July 11th, 2013

It sounds to me like your upstrokes are "swung" a little. That is, the pattern is dotted eighth and sixteenth, more or less. Is that worth mentioning or just over analyzing a beginner's lesson?

chrishaarhoffchrishaarhoff replied on January 30th, 2013

Ive just started with Jamplay and Im really enjoying this style of learning, particularly with you Jim. The right hand has thrown a whole new twist into the story and my question is this...The upstroke seems to delay your changes and Im wondering how does one squeeze the change so quickly in between the up and down stroke. Does one perhaps start the chord change during the upstroke?

janfjanf replied on January 25th, 2013

I became sidetracked during the holidays and am just starting up again. It is a little thing but I very much appreciate the overlay of the chord fingering . Have done some other instructors and find it delays progress tomhave to double check chords. Having it right there is great. I find I know the chords but the reinforcement is just that! Also, a retiree taking time to finally try to master the guitar for my own pleasure, I appreciate Mr. Demmings style of teaching. I am enjoying this process and hope everyone else is, too.

lewislc3slewislc3s replied on January 11th, 2013

Jim, lesson #7 scene 3 is very good it gives me confidence. THANK YOU !

hoovarminhoovarmin replied on January 11th, 2013

Great lesson, I never knew of the anchor points until this lesson. Very helpful, thanks.

vericonvericon replied on October 1st, 2012

Pity about the excessive wcho on the sound. However, it is a well taught lesson which if practiced as often as suggested, can only improve the student's skills.

Don.SDon.S replied on September 19th, 2011

I find myself resting the guitar on the underside of the first knuckle of my index finger on my fret hand. I'm working on applying some pressure on the top of the lower bout of the guitar with my right elbow joint to keep the guitar lifted off my fret hand. Sound about right?

okcpickerokcpicker replied on February 20th, 2012

Great lesson, Jim does a great job teaching but I wish the video team would mic his voice better. Sounds like they are using the camera mic instead of a real mic. Others on Jam Play do this and it's irritating.

kerryokiekerryokie replied on August 23rd, 2011

Great lesson. Changing chords is still a struggle for me but it'll come I know. This has really helped with strumming especially the upstroke. I still have a bit of trouble using the pick. It sounds harsh so I end up using just my hand

jklinderjklinder replied on July 5th, 2011

I can't tell you how frustrated I am. My fingers are so short and fat, I have a terrible time changing chords. I could only change between C and G 21 times in a minute. In order to change as fast as you suggest (even 60 beats per minute), I'll have to change three times as fast. Do I continue to practice these two chords every day until I can get up to a change per second before I watch the next video? It's so frustrating.. ~Jim K.~

dwiarpdwiarp replied on August 25th, 2012

i was the same and practised every day four or five times a day. It just clicked with practise. I was so frustrated I didnt go near the guitar for three days. Now it seems a lot easies. Thank you Jim you are so good at instructing....

ovationloverovationlover replied on May 31st, 2011

Hello there Sir. Just wanted to say that I am learning allot from you. I really enjoy your laid back style of teaching and I love your playing! I'm wondering though, do you have any advise on how to handle the upstroke for someone who doesn't use a pick? Thanks again.

ovationloverovationlover replied on May 25th, 2011

Hi Jim, Im a new player and i really like your style of playing and teaching but i was really lost on this lesson.

mathcoachmathcoach replied on April 6th, 2011

I'm retired and just started playing the guitar. Your tips are very helpful--especially warming my hands (I have some arthritis) in warm water before I play. It makes a difference. I may not sound very good now but I am having fun. Thanks for the great lessons.

lilybu22lilybu22 replied on April 6th, 2011

hi!The lesson was really helpful and good but Im just wondering what you are doing with your hand to mute the strings?

saddlemansaddleman replied on March 27th, 2011

Hi Jim, Been working on your lessons for about a year now. Your teaching style is the best I have ever seen. Wish I could have started here some 50 years ago. Do you ever plan to do 'City of New Orleans' as one of your lessons? Heard a snippet of it in the second intro to this lesson. Great work. Love it

jamplaygaryjamplaygary replied on March 5th, 2011

Very detailed explanation. Great teacher.

gorillamangorillaman replied on February 19th, 2011

I have been plucking about for about a year... om and off. Nothing structured. Learned all the open chords and can move between them but not painlessly. I look forward to continuing with your style of lessons. They are very detailed and leave nothing out. I even find now that some of my chord transitions were buzzy and I hope this will force me to be more accurate. I have tried L&M Guitar but found it too indepth and lost interest after a half dozen lessons or so. I am hoping to learn fingerstyle and rhythm guitar from your teachings. So far I have picked up a few habits I have to address. Back to basics is always good... Humbling as well.

mrjersrmrjersr replied on October 30th, 2010

Hello Jim, You dd a great joj. Seems I lost a lesson, timming music and the right hand. Can switchcords no problem just need my right hand to learn to be better. Was looking forward to it. Maybe if you find it you could let me know. Thanks and again You do a great job.

mlapiamlapia replied on October 7th, 2010

Hi Jim, I'm new here and I just wanted you to know that I appreciate your teaching style. Please keep the lessons coming.

joseefjoseef replied on May 7th, 2010

I find myself coming back to this lesson in all keys, for I, IV, V practices...great to learn your transitions effectively too....I do it daily in a different key or several....thanks Jim Deeming you're a great teacher.

alcoalco replied on February 19th, 2010

Just read Dimitri Pink comment (3/08) on playing a gig and memorizing songs. I too always have trouble with memorizing and when playing a gig I bring a music stand and my gig book (play book). I play standing and the music stand is set at chest level so I still have eye contact with the audience. I will also tape certain songs or a song list onto the top of my guitar. Most listeners don't even notice this and it helps keep the music flowing.

gdmcelroygdmcelroy replied on January 26th, 2010

Jim, Could you cover a little bit more about how to mute strings with hand. In my case, I feel I am actually rotating the hand a little bit to mute and I am not sure if this correct or I am developing a bad habit. Greg

gdmcelroygdmcelroy replied on January 22nd, 2010

There are guitar players. Then there are guitar players who try to teach. And finally, there are guitar players who are also teachers. You sir are in the last group. I find your lessons cover the subtle basics that others miss. You explain things so well and in a logical way and sequence. This is critical in a video lesson step-up like this. My initial goal is to play rhythm guitar. I plan to stick with your lessons as long as I can.

calebfcalebf replied on December 19th, 2009

I am a total newbie here. As mentioned in the lesson I want to work toward an end goal. I am trying to decide if I should try the finger pick right from the start. Could you go into any more detail about your personal opinion about people starting with it? I know you addressed it in the lesson but would like to hear your personal thoughts not just the "greater wisdom"? Thanks Jim

patrpatr replied on December 16th, 2009

jim- u are the only instructor that i can hear--mabye need to get external speakers or mabye u can instruct the other instructors on how to make their voices and guitars audible like yours. i only play rt hand using my thumb but i guess i will eventually have to try and use plectrum-find your lessons very good--how long b4 i can play like some of ur introductory stuff is a bit of a case of ''dream on'' ? but i will keep trying.

cervandocervando replied on October 12th, 2009

Hi Jim! I just want to thank you for your great lessons, I'm sure I'll keep learning a lot with you! Thanks again.

TangletomsTangletoms replied on April 21st, 2009

Hi Jim, have just joined playjam after first learning fingerstyle 20 odd years ago, then many years without playing. You have really inspired me to relearn and I am finding your lessons extremely helpful, my original teacher didn't show me half the basics even though I could at one time play chet atkins tunes! Look forward to progressing with you. Many thanks for being there! x

jrfloridajrflorida replied on January 31st, 2009

hello jim, i am left handed but am learning to play right handed just wondered if you had ant tips to help me more with the right hand,it's hard being left handed and get that right hand to work, thanks. i've tried a left handed guitar and it seems wierd?????

tomorrowtomorrow replied on October 21st, 2008

Hi I wondered why,because fretting is so difficult,it wasn't usual to fret with the right hand,this lesson has enlightened me thanks

joe1950joe1950 replied on December 26th, 2008

I appreciate how you spent time talking about the details of pick technique.

rumble dollrumble doll replied on September 20th, 2008

Damn! I'm gonna have to watch this lesson all through again...I got carried away playing & didn't stop, LOL!

chachochacho replied on September 6th, 2008

Hi Jim, I have just joined Jamplay because for 2 years it's been very slow progress in learning the guitar with various dvds and websites. For two years I have always used my fingers and thumb for strumming because the pick almost seemed impossible to use on the up stroke. You are the only teacher I have seen that seems to have an understanding to what problems we might have and you seem to highlight them and teach us to overcome them. Most of the other teachers seem to think that if they show us how to do it, we will be able to do it with out a problem. Jim after searching for years to find good lessons from a good teacher, I think you are the man, you get top marks from me. Keep up the good work.

dalcorndalcorn replied on August 14th, 2008

I sure would like to see more lessons on the right hand technique. I don't yet know how to get from this lesson to like what you do in Scene 1 at about 11:50; not the finger-picking run at the end -- just the smooth strumming that mixes bass note picking, down strokes, and up strokes. When I do that stuff it sounds really harsh. I'd love to see some tips on how to practice this kind of stuff -- exercises and such.

vanessataylor45vanessataylor45 replied on July 25th, 2008

Thanks Jim! I learned more in 2 weeks of Jamplays lessons than I did in 2 months taking lessons from someone else. Keep up the good work. Are they going to add other courses for stringed insturments such as the banjo or mandolin? This would rock!

Jim.DeemingJim.Deeming replied on July 28th, 2008

Vanessa - thanks for the kind words! I think JamPlay is very focused on guitar for the forseeable future, but I've been known to break out a banjo once in awhile and who knows what might lurk in the closets of other instructors - so watch out!

dimitri pinkdimitri pink replied on March 22nd, 2008

jim, recently i played on st. pats day at a local bar(30 min. set) and despite getting lost a couple time trying to read tab it was worth it. ( i have been asked to put a set list together and a cd to cover 4 hours) I'm a lot overwhelmed and struggling with committing to a date by which i can have my material put together. I need some tips on memorizing songs (the song book feels like a barrier between me and connecting to the audience) and i need a list of songs you think would go over well and how to put them in order and advice on how to perform. I feel confindent i can learn most tab and have a very soulful voice- i would like to emulate jason miraz, john mayer, and jack johnson with a tommy emmnuel stevieray vaughn guitar mix (thanks for your time i look forward to your response) i would really love to be able to make some cash while playing. It would also help in paying for your lessons every month lol thanks again -dimitri in kansas city

Jim.DeemingJim.Deeming replied on March 26th, 2008

Dimitri - Wow, that's a tall order. 4 hours is a long set. From your artist list, and the fact you can sing, you'll put together an entirely different show than I do. But here's a few thoughts: 1. 4 hours is a marathon, I don't care who you are. You didn't mention the venue, but I have a hard time imagining an environment where you can't get away with repetition every hour or two. 2. You are right - to the extent you can get away from reading music you'll increase your connection to the audience, which is critical for reasons I'll mention next. 3. You positively will not hold everyone's attention for 4 hours. Or 2 hours. Likely not even 1 hour unless you're a superstar and a headline act. Get used to the idea that the audience may drift in and out of paying attention to you, and adjust your set accordingly. If people want to chat, back off and give them some light background music. If you catch someone's eye and they start getting into it, give that person your attention and play right to them. If the whole crowd gets into it, pour on the gas. I don't know how to help you memorize songs - for me it's sheer repetition. The only thing I have written down is my list of songs, usually organized by genre and tunings. Figuring 3 minute songs, plus a little bantering or introductory break between songs, you'll probably be putting out 10-12 tunes an hour. For a 4 hour set, I would schedule a 10 minute break every hour. Best thing you can do to get ready to perform is perform. Play everywhere you can as often as you can, and tune in to your audience. Keep what works. Understand why the others don't work. They may not need to be tossed, just revamped. Hope this helps. There's a ton we could talk about.

rdmtbrdmtb replied on March 1st, 2008

wow this lesson just made dawn break over Marbelhead! AWSOME lesson most i have learned yet!

erk1024erk1024 replied on January 29th, 2008

Terrific lesson. I've been looking all over for a good introduction to strumming. Lessons (on other sites) the instructor will say "you can just do *this* to make it sound more interesting" and then they will some some very complicated strum pattern ... and you're instantly lost. '-)

Jim.DeemingJim.Deeming replied on February 6th, 2008

Thank you!

megarotmegarot replied on February 5th, 2008

This has been a nice lesson to break up a regular strum. I love learning different strumming patterns, even made up my own but for something as basic as just hitting the bass note, this is the first instruction lesson I've seen... and boy have I seen my share of video lessons.

Jim.DeemingJim.Deeming replied on February 6th, 2008

Thanks for the kind words! I'm glad you're enjoying the lessons.

Jim.DeemingJim.Deeming replied on November 13th, 2007

blackdouglas, I'm not seeing where the video jumped - can you tell me what scene and timestamp it was at? Thanks.

blackdouglasblackdouglas replied on November 12th, 2007

I sort of got lost on the rythem at the end. It just jumped a bit and I got lost. I'll try watching a third time and see if I can get it. Otherwise, I really enjoy your lessons. Can you take it on from lesson 7?

jboothjbooth replied on November 13th, 2007

New lessons are coming this week :)

Jim.DeemingJim.Deeming replied on October 14th, 2007

Thanks for the kind words evny! Watch for more lessons in the future on right hand technique - both strumming and fingerpicking.

evnyevny replied on October 12th, 2007

Hello, Jim. I'm new here and I really wanted to post and tell you how much I enjoyed this lesson. I took guitar lessons as a child for a couple of years and I think the combination of boring lessons and a horribly unplayable guitar discouraged me. I'm also left handed and took my lessons right handed. I'm not going to start over trying to play left handed but I know my right hand needs a lot of work. This lesson is very helpful and my goal is to be able to finger pick.

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.

Lesson 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
Lesson 2

Choosing a Guitar

Jim gives his thoughts on purchasing your first guitar.

Length: 7:09 Difficulty: 0.5 Members Only
Lesson 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
Lesson 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
Lesson 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
Lesson 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
Lesson 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
Lesson 8

New Chords and Keys

This lesson provides additional information about chords and keys.

Length: 19:08 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 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
Lesson 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
Lesson 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
Lesson 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
Lesson 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
Lesson 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
Lesson 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
Lesson 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
Lesson 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
Lesson 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
Lesson 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
Lesson 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
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
Lesson 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
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
Lesson 24

More On Drop D

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

Length: 6:27 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 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

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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Robbie Merrill Robbie Merrill

JamPlay welcomes bassist and founding member of Godsmack, Robbie Merrill. In this short introduction lesson, Robbie showcases...

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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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Freebo Freebo

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

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Erik Mongrain Erik Mongrain

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

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Jessica Baron Jessica Baron

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

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Mary Flower Mary Flower

Mary talks about the key of F in this fantastic lesson.

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Alan Skowron Alan Skowron

Alan shares his background in teaching and sets the direction for his beginning bass series with simple ideas and musical...

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Danny Voris Danny Voris

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

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Tom Appleman Tom Appleman

Tom Appleman takes a look at a blues in E with a focus on the Chicago blues style. The bass line for Chicago blues is very...

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Michael Mennell Michael Mennell

Mike introduces himself and his series.

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Steve Smyth Steve Smyth

JamPlay sits down with veteran fret grinder Steve Smyth of Forbidden and The EssenEss Project. He talks about how he got...

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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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Danny Morris Danny Morris

Hone in on your right hand and focus on getting in the groove. You'll only play one note during this lesson, but it'll be...

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Nick Kellie Nick Kellie

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

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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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Joe Burcaw Joe Burcaw

Join Joe as he shows one of his favorite drills for strengthening his facility around the fretboard: The Spider Technique.

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Steve Stevens Steve Stevens

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

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

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

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

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

Greg J.

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

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


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