New Chords and Keys (Guitar Lesson)

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Jim Deeming

New Chords and Keys

In this lesson Jim Deeming will teach you more chords, which in turn gives you the ability to play in different keys. This is a very useful lesson.

Taught by Jim Deeming in Basic Guitar with Jim seriesLength: 19:08Difficulty: 1.5 of 5
Chapter 1: (00:35) Lesson Intro Get tuned up and ready for a new lesson! Jim Deeming provides a brief fingerstyle performance in this introduction scene.
Chapter 2: (18:38) Chords and Keys Lesson Objectives

-Learn the remaining chords in the "CAGED" system. The CAGED system refers to the most commonly used chords in first position. Each letter stands for a specific major chord. At this point, Jim has discussed the G, C, and D chords. In the current lesson, you will learn the A major and E major chords. The visual fretboard shapes that are used to play the CAGED chords will later be converted into movable barre chord voicings.

-Learn how chords relate to one another within a specific key.

-Apply these concepts to some basic chord progression exercises in the keys of D and A major.


At this point in the series, Jim has demonstrated three chord shapes - G, C, and D. By now, you should feel very comfortable with these chords. Remember which strings are strummed within each chord. All six strings are strummed in the G chord. The sixth string is omitted from the C chord. The D chord omits the sixth and fifth strings.

You should also be able to apply these chords to the various strumming patterns discussed in the last two lessons. Remember that rhythm is the most important aspect when playing an accompaniment pattern. You absolutely must be able to perform these exercises in time with a metronome. If you have not yet succeeded in this task, keep practicing!

Primary Triads (I, IV, and V Chords)

There are three primary triads that outline the harmonic structure of each major key. A "triad" is a chord that contains three distinct pitches. The primary triads for a major key comprise the most common type of chord progression used in Western music. This progression is referred to as the I, IV, V progression.

The G, C, and D chords are the primary triads in the key of G major. The primary triads are built from the first, fourth, and fifth scale degrees of the major scale that shares the same letter name. For example, when referring to the key of G major, the G, C, and D chords are derived from the first, fourth, and fifth scale degrees of the G major scale. The G major scale is spelled as follows: G, A, B, C, D, E, F#, G.
A Roman numeral can be applied to each note in the scale based on its order. Study the list below:

G: I
D: V
G: I

As you can see, G, C, and D are the I, IV, and V scale degrees within the G major scale. The primary triads are built from these scale degrees. When referring to these chords in the context of G major, the G, C, and D chords are labeled with Roman numerals I, IV, and V respectively.

Using Roman numerals in place of chord letter names has one specific advantage. Roman numerals show the relationship between chords regardless of a specific key. Consequently, they are frequently used when transposing a chord progression to a new key.

I, IV, and V Chords in D Major

Jim applies these concepts to the key of D major at 04:10 in the lesson video. The D major scale is spelled as follows: D, E, F#, G, A, B, C#, D. The corresponding Roman numeral for each scale degree is listed below.

D: I
A: V
D: I

Thus, in the key of D major, the I, IV, and V chords are D, G, and A respectively.

At this point, you have already learned the D and G chords. Now it's time to learn the A chord.

A Major Chord

This chord features two open strings and three fretted notes. Both the fifth string and the first string are played open. The low sixth string is omitted from the A chord. The first finger frets the note E at the 2nd fret of the fourth string. An A root note is fretted by the second finger at the 2nd fret of the third string. Finally, the third finger frets the note C# at the 2nd fret of the second string.

Alternate Fingerings for the A Chord

All of the possible fingerings for A major that are detailed in this lesson are perfectly acceptable. Each fingering has its own advantages. The appropriate fingering is dependent upon the other chords that are used in a progression.

Fingers 2, 3, 4

Within this fingering, the fifth and first strings are still played open. The fretted notes occur in the same locations as well. However, an alternate fingering is applied to the fretted notes. Now, the second finger frets the note at the 2nd fret of the fourth string. The A root note on the third string is fretted by the third finger. Finally, the note on the second string is fretted by the pinkie finger. Jim finds this fingering to be the most comfortable due to the size of his fingers.

When first learning this fingering, place the fingers on the fretboard in this order: 4, 2, 3. It is usually easiest to fit these fingers into a small, compact area when they are placed on the fretboard in this order.

Fingers 2, 1, 3

The fretted notes within the A chord are now fretted by the second, first, and third fingers respectively. The vast majority of guitarists find this fingering to be the most comfortable.

Potential A Chord Problems

The A chord typically gives beginning guitarists some problems. Three fingers must be crammed into the space of a single fret. This is especially challenging for adult guitarists with large hands. Others have problems producing a clear tone with the open E string. Remember the proper left hand guidelines from lessons 5 and 6. Fret the notes with the very tips of the fingers. Arching the wrist outwards will help with this technique. Also, keep your fingernails as short as possible.

Chord Change Exercises

Practice switching back and forth between the A chord and the other chords that you have already learned. Experiment with each fingering for the A chord within this exercise. When switching from D to A for example, the 2, 1, 3 fingering works the best, because the first finger does not have to move. Always use the fingering option that requires the smallest amount of left hand movement.

Key of D Exercise

This exercise utilizes the I, IV, and V chords in the key of D major (D, G, and A). Each chord is strummed in quarter notes for one measure. Within each measure, the lowest root note of the chord is picked on beats 1 and 3. The remaining strings in the chord are strummed with downstrokes on beats 2 and 4.

Remember to practice all chord progression exercises with a metronome! Tap your foot along with the beat to internalize the pulse. Also, count the beat out loud.

E Major Chord

The E major chord is the last to learn in the CAGED system. This chord is actually one of the easiest to play in the entire guitar vocabulary.

All six strings are strummed within an E chord. The sixth, second, and first strings are played open. The second finger frets the note B at the 2nd fret of the fifth string. The third finger frets an E root note at the 2nd fret of the fourth string. Finally, the first finger frets the note G# at the 1st fret of the third string. There are no alternate fingerings to learn for this chord.

Chord Change Exercises

Practice switching back and forth between the E chord and the other chords that you have learned. When switching from E to A for example, the 2, 1, 3 fingering and the 2, 3, 4 fingering work best for A. These fingering options require the least amount of left hand movement.

Key of A Exercise

This exercise features the I, IV, and V chords in the key of A major (A, D, and E). Each chord is strummed in quarter notes for one measure. Within each measure, the lowest root note of the chord is picked on beats 1 and 3. The remaining strings in the chord are strummed with downstrokes on beats 2 and 4.

Function of the Primary Triads

Each of the primary triads carries out a specific function. The I chord, or tonic chord, serves as a musical home base. The IV chord typically returns to the I chord or precedes the V chord. The V chord typically returns back to the I chord. Jim demonstrates a common progression in the lesson video that exhibits these concepts. In the key of A major, this progression features the following chord changes: I, IV, I, V, I, IV, V, I (A, D, A, E, A, D, E, A).

Video Subtitles / Captions

Scene 1

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Jim Deeming, Instructor for plays a musical introduction to Basic Guitar Episode 8.

Scene 2

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Hello, I'm Jim Deeming, instructor for
Welcome to lesson number eight.

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Today we are going to add some more chords and fill out what we call the CAGED system.

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C.A.G.E.D. and what that refers to is the five most common first position chords that you're going to deal with

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and you may remember that we've talked all along about chord shapes.

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Those five chords C.A.G.E.D. cover the five basic shapes on which many, many other things are built.

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So that's what we're going to do today.

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First I want to review where we've been just in case you've been away for a little while.

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We've talked about three chords.

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The G chord…

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The C chord…

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And the D chord…

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So review the shapes and remember you don't even have to look at the neck of the guitar.

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These shapes should start to get familiar to you.

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The G looks like this, the C is a picture like this and the D is a picture like this.

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So thinking in terms of shapes from your birds eye view of the neck you should start to get a real good mental picture of what's going on

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and learn the names with the pictures.

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Also let's review how many strings your right hand is covering for each one of these.

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The first one the G chord is a big six string chord… and that works that way.
We have a root note, a G note at the bottom of our chord.

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The next one the C chord we don't play the sixth string it's only a five string chord at this at this point…

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and recall that we have as a root note here a C note for our C chord.

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The last one is a D chord and it's only a four string chord with a D on the bottom.

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The open fourth string is a D note and that's the D chord.

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Remember we also talked about a key for the first time in the last lesson and

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that is that basically these three chords are a family that go together, they are related to each other, with a million and one songs with those three chords.

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Slightly more than that if you play out of tune because there are a lot of bluegrass songs that you can play out of tune.

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Alright what we're going to do now is also talk about a numbering system that we can refer to chords by

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so that when you move to different keys you'll be able to figure out where you're at, how to do what we call transposing.

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When I talk about the key of G this is what's called the key chord, the number one chord if you will.

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The musical alphabet only has seven notes.
It starts with A goes through G and then repeats back to A again.

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So you have A, B, C, D, E, F, G and then the eighth note would be back at the beginning at A again.

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So when we have a G chord we're going to call it number one chord but when you're at the end of the alphabet already with a G chord

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you've got to start over again with an A, B, C, D and hopefully you caught what happened there we just went by the other two family members.

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G being one, A being two, B, C, D.
C and D are the other two characters in the family.

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So G being a one chord, C is the four chord and D is the five chord.

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A lot of times when we're talking about a key we'll refer to the one, four and five chords.

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So when we move to a different key, let's say for example we will go to D.
If D became the one chord we'd go D, E, F, G, A.

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Well there they are again, there's our family D, E, F, G, D, G and A.
Alright so D, G and A are the other chord in the key of D

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and that would sound like this.
D being the one chord now, this is our four chord, this is our 5 chord.

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So one, four and five is a pattern that you're going to see a lot, in a huge percentage of the music that you deal with.

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So in order to play the rest of the keys now that we want to talk about we need a couple more chords and let's start with the A chord.

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It looks like this, I've done another video on the A chord, question and answer because this one can give you some trouble and that's alright.

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Essentially the notes that you're after are fretting the second string second fret, third string second fret and fourth string second fret.

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These are all stacked right on top of each other and trust me when I say everyone struggles with this,

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it's not because your hand are too small or too big or your guitar isn't right for you this is tricky to do until you get used to it.

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So you may do it, a lot of guitars books will teach you: here's one, two and three, some will teach it with two, three and four which is the position I prefer

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but regardless what's going on here is within this small amount of space we've got to fit three fingers in the same fret.

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Invariably what's going to happen is they are going to end up at an angle as you can see mine are.

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Remember in our good fretting policy we always talked about trying to fret up as close to the fret as we possibly can

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but this is a case where that's just not very practical.

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You are going to have to fudge back a little bit, good that you have a nice strong finger here to press harder and make up for that deficiency.

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I encourage you to watch that other video on the A shape and the A shaped bar chords for more troubleshooting

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but one little tip here that seems to be helpful for most people.

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Start with your pinky and anchor that one first, then go next to the middle finger on the fourth string so you've kind of surrounded this cluster here

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and then stick that third one in last.

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What you're doing is really kind of squeezing those fingers together, fitting them all in

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and then always try to keep your first string the E string down here ringing open and this is a five string chord.

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So down here on the bottom, ringing open the fifth string is an A string, that give us a nice A root note for an A chord.

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One little variety you may try for fretting this is to use the two and three outside then tuck number one in behind it.

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That looks a little strange, it may be the ticket though for to get them all ringing clear and clean.

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Personally I use all of those and more because in finger style I'm always looking for ways to fret notes

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and little varieties of a chord to pick up melody lines so I actually make use of this version, this one, this one and also a little bar version of it.

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There's been some discussion on the forums about the bar chord version, the limitation there is unless you're really double jointed on your first finger

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it's very hard to get that first string to ring open underneath that bar.

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I pick it up here, another high A and that works.

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So that's the A chord and you can as with any chord learn the picture, here's what it looks like on your arm.

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That's the picture, your birds eye view, this is what you're after, lands on there, when you think A that's the picture you want to see.

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Try to begin working on transitioning into and out of the A from other chords.

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D for example would be a good one…
Here's a D chord.

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Go to the D back from the A…
Ooh you caught me ha ha ha.

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I cheated on the D.
We've learned to fret it this way.

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Making transitions easier you might of notice that I went this way instead.

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We'll talk more about this is the future but you can do it regardless of how you fret these and that's kind of nice.

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Remember when we've talked about other transitions one of the things we look for is minimal movements

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and that's a good way to practice it is to figure out when I go to the A chord which finger has to move the shortest distance if at all

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and in this case to pick up a D chord this third finger is only sliding forward one fret, that one drops down, these guys drop down one.

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So picture or focus in your mind on this third finger on this transition.
That third finger is only moving one fret and is on the same string.

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That's nice, that's why you saw me do this in this version of the chord I wanted to go there, minimizing movement again.

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There's not a right or wrong in here other than the right frets need to get pressed.

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So which finger you use you have some discretion there and in fact I encourage you to learn to do it multiple ways.

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How about a G to an A.
Remember this chord go from G.

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Ok so with picking up the A chord now we've got a key of D that we can do.
D being our one chord…

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The four chord would be D, E, F, G.

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So the G is the four chord and after G go to the beginning of the alphabet, A is the five chord.

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So here's your key of D…

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Remember those are all related and it's that same one, four and five pattern that we talked about in the key of G.

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Remember this: one, four, five. Ok, now we're doing the same thing here: one, four, five and back to one again.

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Now let's add another one straight away here and then we're going to cover another key.

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If you think about the word CAGED that I told you about C. A. G. E. D.
The one that we're missing is the E chord.

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This is actually one of the easier ones to do.

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Let's start by building it with the first finger on the first fret, third string now you're third finger is going to go on the fourth string second fret

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and the middle finger, second fret fifth string.
There's your chord picture…

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Nice, big, six string, strong sounding chord.

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Probably makes the most use out of the bottom end of the guitar of all of the open position chords.

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You've got two open, ringing strings the full range of the guitar is ringing out and think of it as a Big chord.

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Transitioning in and out from say the A chord.
Watch this.

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These two are already in the shape they need to be in, we just need to drop them both one string, lift the pinky and drop the first finger and we're there.

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This is a transition you're going to really want to have down.
Very useful, not too hard to do, big open chords.

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Ok, so with that new E chord now we can add the key of A.

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From big A our four chord what's our one chord? B, C, D and the five chord with be our E chord.

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So A, one.
D is four and E is the five chord so this key sounds like this…

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Now let's check and make sure that you caught what my bass notes are for each of those two chords they are root notes.

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The A that we talked about has a root note of an A and then the rest of the chords.

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So remember in the last lesson we worked on having a bass note and then a strum, same thing applies here .

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Base A and a strum.
Base E and a strum.

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In this case they both happen to be open strings the fifth and sixth string so the same strum patterns apply. As they have on all of the other chords.

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So your right hand job hasn't changed much today.

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Alright, what I'd like you to do at this point is take some time and get familiar with these two new shapes.

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The E and the A and I want you to review the keys that we talked about.

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Remember the word CAGED.

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Those are all of your chords down here and the keys that we now know are the key of D, remember one, four, five.

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We know the key of G, one, four, five and now we have the key of A, one, four, five.

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Alright, if you get stuck use your five fingered hand, one, four, five, rotate through your musical alphabet A through G

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and you should be able to find any chords for those three keys, even if you forget you can count them off and figure it out.

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What I prefer that you get to fairly quickly now is pictures and muscle memory and just know when I'm in the key of A…

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I need a D and I need an E to finish it off.

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I hope those chords start to have a feeling to you.

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When I said finish it off that means something to me musically.

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This is our root chord, this is home, the key we're in.

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Now we're going to go somewhere else, we're taking a little trip we're on the four chord.

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Right before we go back home though this chord to me musically says "We're heading back home" and finishing up the musical phrase.

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That's a five chord that does that.

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This doesn't apply in every song but if you think in traditional one, four, five music that's a pattern that you'll hear a lot, almost there now we're done.

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A lot of songs are written off of this pattern, just a build a little bit on the numbered chord idea

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and by the way when you see these in musical notation, typically chord numbers are written in roman numerals.

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So you would see a roman numeral one and a one V for roman numeral four and then a V for roman numeral five.

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That will almost always be in reference to the one, four, five chords in a key.

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Also one very common song pattern would be to go: one, four, one, five, one, four, five and then back home.

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So it goes like this, one, four, one, five, one, four, five.

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If you do that a little bit I bet you'll start to think of songs that fit that pattern.

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So to review today what we've covered is the meaning of the one, four and five roman numerals regardless of what key you're in.

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We've finished out the CAGED chord patterns C.A.G.E.D. and now we know all of the chords for three different keys.

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The key of D, the key of G and the key of A.
We'll be back to add some more later.

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Take your time now and practice those, in each key, practice your transitions

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and practice on fretting those clean without struggling and remember to keep it fun.

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Thank You.

Member Comments about this Lesson

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

pitbull1779pitbull1779 replied on May 31st, 2017

Excellent explanation, as always. Really love listening to the outstanding sound of that Gibson, too. Sweet sounding guitar!

wnanningwnanning replied on October 18th, 2016

Had to look three times on the family members... these videos are great!

Danny7Danny7 replied on January 25th, 2016

The new finger position for the A chord is great. This has really helped me. Thanks

mmocarskimmocarski replied on December 31st, 2015

@ Jim Deeming. I just submitted a question about "Keys". Please ignore. If I waited 10 seconds longer in the video, I would have found the answer :-) Thanks!

mmocarskimmocarski replied on December 31st, 2015

Jim, Lesson 8 "new chords and Keys" answered a question I've had for 30 years of "playing" without understanding what a "Key" really meant. This lesson alone was worth the $100 bucks I invested in JamPlay. Thanks!!!!

ScSmithScSmith replied on December 26th, 2015

This is most helpful. Thanks.

kmkaran243kmkaran243 replied on July 10th, 2015

That you Mr.Deeming, for this great video

karolkakarolka replied on April 21st, 2015

Thanks, Jim. Another great lesson. Your explanations are very clear.

juntajunta replied on February 11th, 2015

Thank you Mr. Deeming, your teaching style much appreciated.

jamsjams replied on January 11th, 2014

You make a chord by using one , three and five. So what is one, four and five?

jackphotocajackphotoca replied on October 14th, 2014

You're confusing a triad with a key.

reoringoreoringo replied on October 25th, 2013

Thanks Jim Deeming, I think youre and outstanding guitar instructor. I can relate to your style of teaching and that does, for me, make a huge difference. Keep up the good work!!!

utgrad70utgrad70 replied on September 26th, 2013

Re printing the exercise lesson, I found it easy to do with CTRL-A, then Copy Image .... and then Paste into MS Word. Then print from Word.

jandy berglyjandy bergly replied on July 7th, 2013

Jim, you are a phenomenal teacher. I am thoroughly enjoying learning from you. Thanks!

tarocattarocat replied on December 30th, 2012

My mistake. My comments below belong to the next lesson, "Let's Play"

tarocattarocat replied on December 29th, 2012

This seems to be a really good beginning guitar series even if jim doesn't respond any more. This lesson is a big jump ahead in skill level to play chord changes that can keep up with Jim's melody. Only way I have a chance is to play a "simple G" (one finger on fret 3, 1st string, strum bottom 4) otherwise I would be stuck on this lesson for a long, long time and I pay quarterly.

maedimaedi replied on November 13th, 2012

Great Lesson! thanks for the caged, key finger illustration, it made sense.

esharp045esharp045 replied on September 7th, 2012

I use my index finger to depression strings 4 & 3 and my middle finger to depress string 2 (2nd fret) for the A chord. Is this a problem?

TampaTonyBTampaTonyB replied on July 4th, 2012

Jim, as a trumpet player for 40 years, my right thumb and pinky did nothing but hold the trumpet in place. The first three fingers did all the work. Now , as a lefty guitar player, my right pinky is rebelling against independent movement. I know the answer is the same as "How do you get to Carnegie Hall....PRACTICE! Your lessons and repetition are finally starting to get it to work. Thanks for all the invaluable info you dish out in every lesson.

BuffyLOLBuffyLOL replied on April 9th, 2012

This was a very helpful lesson, thanks Jim. You are a great teacher!!!

rudy_123rudy_123 replied on April 5th, 2012

jIM JUST WANTED TO SAY THANK YOU YOUR a great teacher. Your demonstration on the A chord has helped me a great deal, and you lesson on tuning was right on. I use an electronic tuner and have had trouble with tuning until you mentioned dampening the other strings. Wow it worked great I was able to tune my guitar perfectly for the first time. Thanks again for being such a great teacher , and I am looking foward to all the next lessons with great higher hopes of finaly learning to play.

daytonadaytona replied on February 1st, 2012

This lesson was worth my $20 bucks this month.

karlmmmkarlmmm replied on January 18th, 2012

help me out here. in the practice exercise, are we up strumming on the D A C cords?

hilaryhilary replied on October 25th, 2010

I'm really having trouble wrapping my brain around the concept of playing in different "keys" (can you tell I have a background in music?). Someone 'splain it to me, please!

robyalerobyale replied on November 11th, 2011

You probably have heard that an octave is divided into 12 semitones. The semitones are essentially evenly spaced throughout the octave. When you play a major scale in any key, you start on a particular note and play 7 of the 12 semitones, starting and ending on the same note name. Here is an example of the 12 tones starting and ending on C. We don't count the higher C among the 12, since it is the start of the next 12. C, C#, D, D#, E, F, F#, G, G#, A, A#, B, C To make a C scale, we will choose the following notes: [C], C#, [D], D#, [E], [F], F#, [G], G#, [A], A#, [B], [C] Note that there is no extra note between E & F, and B & C. When the notes have an extra semitone between them, the interval between the notes is called a tone. When there is no extra note, the interval is a semitone. Here is the pattern for building a scale in any key. And by key, I mean whatever semitone you start on (in this case C): Tone-tone-semitone-tone-tone-tone-semitone. Using that pattern, you can build a scale in any key. Let's build a scale in the key with one sharp - G: [G], G#, [A], A#, [B], [C], C#, [D], D#, [E], F, [F#], [G] Or: G, A, B, C, D, E, F#, G I could go on, but I've probably gone on too much already. ;)

jboothjbooth replied on October 26th, 2010

One thing that really helped me is to stop thinking about music as "notes" as in, the a note is the a note, and start realizing that what makes music is the space between notes (the interval between a and f for example). When you change key you are just changing the "starting note" basically, but you are keeping the most important part, the interval distance between notes. I don't know if it makes sense but thinking about the distance between notes being the most important aspect of music helped me a lot.

joelhunnicuttjoelhunnicutt replied on October 31st, 2011

For some reason, I keep fingering E with the second finger on the 5th string and the third finger on the 4th string. If I keep this up will it cause transition problems later? Also I am fingering A with the index finger in the middle. That is the only way I can keep from muting or buzzing

willypdyerwillypdyer replied on October 26th, 2011

Well done - Well taught & easy to undersand: Thanks Jim !

jeannenoeljeannenoel replied on October 16th, 2011

Wow, you put the pieces together and so easily. I've been able to figure out the key but the relationships remained a mystery until now. I am very excited about where I'm headed. Thank you

theenglishtheenglish replied on July 20th, 2011

I have been playing guitar as a basic chord strummer for twenty years, but I am self-taught and have never really played around other musicians. I started these lessons because I am interested in learning more complex styles, but I am glad that I decided to sit through these early lessons. Jim, your advice on the fingering of the A chord is something that nobody had ever told me before--thanks! The previous lessons also had little gems that I didn't know either, like tuning the G string slightly flat or always tune up to the note, not down. Nice advice!

ovationloverovationlover replied on May 25th, 2011

LOL!! I am so lost!

gtjackgtjack replied on July 27th, 2010

does anyone know how to print the lessen, when I hit the print the lessen thing it just prints out the line of print this lessen, if anyone know how to I am new to this it would help me out a lot.

mathcoachmathcoach replied on April 18th, 2011

Save the lessons as a pdf file, then print from your computer's file rather than directly from the website.

hilaryhilary replied on October 25th, 2010

All I ever get is the notes and the tab #s, but it never prints out the staff lines! I've tried printing it different ways, saving it to my computer as a jpg., and printing it, manipulating my printer software, and I just can't get it to print, either!

overboardannieoverboardannie replied on March 23rd, 2011

I think you have to have a program that prints tabulature (the notes) which is a .tef type of file.

ellonysmanellonysman replied on March 2nd, 2011

Thank goodness, chord finger overlays on lessons! Excellent

gorillamangorillaman replied on February 21st, 2011

I noticed in the lesson "NO" mention of the A7 chord was heard. But when you mentioned the "Key of D" the second time (15:08 of scene 2) you use an A7 chord not an A Major???? (for the 5 position). The initial Key build is at 10:57 of scene 2. Which is right???

landonkoon1landonkoon1 replied on June 26th, 2013

I also didn't understand why he said in the key of D play a7 for 5 and then later he said A major

junesdebjunesdeb replied on August 28th, 2010

I'm like a lot of people...........I start playing and want to be professional tomorrow. I've come to the conclusion that it's just not going to happen. I enjoy the pace of the lessons. Keeps me on track. Thanks.

maericmaeric replied on May 13th, 2010

Jim, I just wanted to say thank you for all the wonderful lessons so far and the many lessons to come. You are a great teacher and your love for the guitar really shows when you play and is contagious. I just want to say thank you.

peterfittonpeterfitton replied on March 15th, 2010

The A chord is ruining my life

joseefjoseef replied on October 17th, 2009

you just game me my ah ha moment, that explains it alll....the missing link, keys, triads....fantastic, thank you...

larocquelarocque replied on October 13th, 2009

Hi Jim; I am enjoying your lessons still a little slow on the transittion from one chord to the next but I do know my chords by heart I don't have to look to know where I am but I am struggling with chord transition speed. In short I've learned a lot in three short weeks. I'm very excited about playing and learning to play. Thanks

dndtomdndtom replied on July 7th, 2009

I've always played the A chord using the following fingering... E A D G B E 0 0 2 1 3 0 Seems more natural to transition from that fingering to the D chord. Given the years of muscle there any compelling reason to change? While I have played for a while, I am looking to re-tool and get rid of bad habits.

dndtomdndtom replied on July 7th, 2009

The fingering pattern didn't come out right. :) 1st finger fretting the A note, 2nd finger fretting the E note and the 3rd figure fretting C#.

dndtomdndtom replied on July 7th, 2009

OK never mind, I shoulda watched the video through go into the pattern i described.

mistafreezemistafreeze replied on March 18th, 2009

I agree, you made the 145 progression so easy. Thanks!

kevinlo111kevinlo111 replied on January 12th, 2009

hi i was wondering if you can teach the intro that you played. thx

RosemaryRosemary replied on January 5th, 2009

Jim, I enjoyed your live broadcast. Can you tell me the name of the lovely little classical piece you played part of during the broadcast when there was a discussion about classical guitar? I've heard it many times and can't place it. I love your lessons! Cheers, Rosemary

Jim.DeemingJim.Deeming replied on January 6th, 2009

Thanks! It's called "Bouree"

ferrari79ferrari79 replied on August 28th, 2008

I've been playing the guitar for about 13 years now. Though I've never really been to serious about it. I've only basically learned intros of songs.... And a few simple songs all the way through. I never really took the time to "learn" the guitar. I've sat back and watched all your lessons so far... Even though I knew a lot of what you were saying. I've picked up a lot that I've been missing too.. Cant' wait for the next lessons!!!! Thanks for the great site!!

southbasesouthbase replied on August 22nd, 2008

Yes, makes sense to me now. Awesome!

Don.SDon.S replied on June 15th, 2008

Jim, like blackdouglas, I never quite understood the 1, 4, 5 chord progression. It makes sense now. Thanks.

dalcorndalcorn replied on May 23rd, 2008

good lesson on keys and the chords in them. like blackdouglas, i've struggled with that. now it's a lot more clear.

blackdouglasblackdouglas replied on November 22nd, 2007

Superb. I've read about 1,4&5 over the years and never understood what it meant. Intellectual dyslexia or just dumb? Anyway, thanks Jim!

max108max108 replied on November 18th, 2007

At 7:30, am I missing something or the number 1 on the graphic should be 1 fret higher?

jboothjbooth replied on November 19th, 2007

Argh, yes it should *cries to himself*

Jim.DeemingJim.Deeming replied on November 18th, 2007

Yes, you are correct. The first finger should be in the second fret on the third string - fretting the A note.

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 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.

Acoustic Guitar Lessons

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

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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Rich Nibbe Rich Nibbe

Rich Nibbe takes a look at how you can apply the pentatonic scale in the style of John Mayer into your playing.

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Mary Flower Mary Flower

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

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Dave Yauk Dave Yauk

Learn a simple mini song that illustrates just how intertwined scales and chords really are. Dave uses a G chord paired...

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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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Jim Deeming Jim Deeming

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

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Calum Graham Calum Graham

Award winning, Canadian fingerstyle guitarist Calum Graham introduces his Jamplay Artist Series, which aims to transform...

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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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David Isaacs David Isaacs

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

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Orville Johnson Orville Johnson

Orville Johnson introduces turnarounds and provides great ideas and techniques.

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Electric Guitar Lesson Samples

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

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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David MacKenzie David MacKenzie

David MacKenzie introduces the tapping technique and teaches a fun exercise. This lesson includes a backing track.

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Mark Brennan Mark Brennan

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

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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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Stuart Ziff Stuart Ziff

Stuart delves into all the different aspects of how R&B guitar has had an impact within reggae music.

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Tosin Abasi Tosin Abasi

Tosin explains some of the intricacies of the 8 string guitar such as his personal setup and approach to playing.

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Kenny Ray Kenny Ray

Albert Collins brought a lot of style to the blues scene. In this lesson, Kenny breaks down Albert's style for you to learn.

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James Malone James Malone

James explains how to tap arpeggios for extended musical reach.

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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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Guthrie Trapp Guthrie Trapp

JamPlay introduces Nashville session player Guthrie Trapp! In this first segment, Guthrie talks a little about his influences,...

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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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