Alternating Bass and Chords (Guitar Lesson)

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Jim Deeming

Alternating Bass and Chords

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

Taught by Jim Deeming in Basic Guitar with Jim seriesLength: 40:54Difficulty: 2.0 of 5
Chapter 1: (15:56) Learning New Chords Welcome back to the Phase 1 guitar series taught by Jim Deeming!

Review / Check-up

-Thus far, Jim has explained how to play each of the chords in the CAGED system. At this point in the series, you should feel very comfortable with each of these chords. You should also be fairly comfortable with the chord change exercises presented in the previous lesson. These exercises feature I, IV, V progressions played in the keys of G, D, and A major. Continue to practice these progressions with a metronome to ensure that the chord changes are played smoothly and in time.

-When strumming a chord, always remember to strum from the appropriate root note. Do not let your right hand get sloppy when practicing difficult chord changes.

-In the previous lesson, Jim also explained how the primary chords relate to one another within a key. This information is extremely important! If you are confused by the I, IV, and V chords and how they are used, be sure to write in for extra help.

-Jim has stressed the importance of rhythm throughout the series. The best way to improve your rhythmic skills is through constant practice with a metronome. Tap your foot along with the beat. To further internalize the pulse, count the rhythm out loud.

-Jim has demonstrated how to separate the root note from the rest of the notes in a chord when performing an accompaniment pattern. This technique was applied to accompaniment patterns in 4/4 and 3/4 time. These basic accompaniment patterns will be used as a basis for the alternating bass pattern presented in the current lesson.

Current Lesson Objectives

-Extend the vocabulary of chords beyond the CAGED system. These new chords remain within first position.

-Apply an alternating bass line to I, IV, V progressions in the CAGED system.

F Major Chord

Most beginners struggle with this chord. As a result, you will probably need to devote more practice time to F major in order to perfect it.

The F chord features four fretted notes. No open strings are played. The fifth and sixth strings are omitted when playing the F major chord.

As you first attempt to play the F chord, do not concern yourself with the note played on the first string. Focus all of your attention on the three notes located on the fourth, third, and second strings. Once you have mastered this abbreviated version of the chord, you are ready to tackle the four string barre chord version.

A barre occurs when a single finger frets two or more adjacent strings. In the case of F major, the index finger frets both the first and second strings at the 1st fret. You must straighten the tip joint of the index finger in order to perform this barre. Also, the first finger must remain perpendicular to the fretboard.

Additional F Chord Tips

The following information is taken from lesson 2 of Matt Brown's Phase 2 Rock series. Refer to this lesson for additional help with the F chord.

When first learning this chord, place your third fingers on the fretboard before the barre. Keep your fingers as close to the fret wire as possible. Then, without moving your second and third fingers, place the barre down. Keep your first finger parallel to the first fret. Do not angle it. Make sure that the fleshy pad of the first finger is fretting these two notes rather than the side of the finger. When you place the first finger down, your second and third fingers should not move at all.

Also, you must follow proper classical technique guidelines. Keep your fingers bent and relaxed at all times. Do not flatten any joints except the tip joint of the index finger. Even though the thumb is not used to actually fret a string, it is the most important factor when fingering the F chord. Keep the thumb perpendicular to the middle of the neck. Do not angle it sideways or bring it up over the top of the neck.

The problems that arise when playing the F chord are a result of a lack of flexibility and finger independence. Thus, you must enhance your abilities in these two specific areas in order to master the basic F chord. There are several technical exercises that help immensely with this process.

In order to increase your reach development, work on the finger stretch exercise that Dennis Hodges demonstrates in his first Phase 2 Metal lesson. This exercise will provide you with the left hand reach necessary to play the pesky F major chord.

Converting E Major into an F Barre Chord

Jim demonstrates how the E major chord can be converted into a movable barre chord at 06:18 in the lesson video. The fingering utilized for the fretted notes must be changed. The third finger now frets the note played on the fifth string. The pinkie finger plays the E root note on the fourth string. G#, the note played on the third string, is now fretted by the second finger.

Next, slide each of these fretted notes up one fret. Finally, the first finger must barre the strings that were once played open. This barre is performed at the first fret. In order to barre the sixth, second, and first strings, the first finger must barre all six strings. In a sense, the first fret has now become the nut within a six string F barre chord.

This barre chord shape can be transposed anywhere on the fretboard. For example, when this chord shape is played in third position, it becomes a G major barre chord. Jim demonstrates this concept at 10:35 in the lesson video. The lowest root note within this chord shape is located on the sixth string. By memorizing the names of the notes along the low sixth string, you can play any major chord in the musical alphabet.

Note: Open the "Supplemental Content" tab for a list of the notes on the sixth string and their corresponding fretboard location. Begin this learning process with the natural notes (notes that are not written with a sharp or flat).

Full F Major Barre Problems

Most beginning students encounter the same two problems when learning this chord. The first problem is an issue of finger reach. This problem can be solved by practicing the finger stretch exercise demonstrated in Dennis Hodges' first Phase 2 Metal lesson. Second, most students have problems getting the first and second strings to ring clearly. They have issues with performing a full or "grand" barre across all six strings.

When playing the F chord with a full barre, a few technical issues must be addressed. Similar to the basic F chord, the thumb has by far the most important job when playing an F chord with a full barre. It provides the leverage necessary to fretting the chord. Once again, make sure that the thumb is perpendicular to the middle of the neck.

When you first start to work on this barre chord, place the second, third, and fourth fingers on the fretboard prior to laying the barre down with the index finger. Make sure that these fingers do not move at all from their current position while applying the barre with the index finger.

Although the index finger must cover all six strings with the barre, it is not actually used to fret the notes on the fifth, fourth, and third strings. Instead, playing this barre properly requires that the index finger applies the most pressure at two specific points. Since this finger is really only used to fret the sixth, second, and first strings, it must apply the most pressure at these two points on the fretboard. Keeping the first finger as close to the fretwire as possible will help accomplish this task. When you feel like you have your fingers (including the thumb) positioned correctly, pick each string individually to ensure that they all ring properly with a clear tone.

If you are experiencing difficulties with this chord shape, practice it higher on the fretboard. This chord shape is easiest to play around the 5th through 7th frets. Your fingers do not have to stretch as far since the frets are smaller. Also, you do not have to depress the strings at such a steep angle as you move farther away from the nut. Once you feel comfortable with a B major barre chord played in seventh position, gradually slide the shape backwards. Continue to perfect the barre chord in each position until you reach the dreaded first position F barre chord. Working through this process will enable you to perfect this chord in the most efficient manner.

Practicing Barre Chords

Mastering new chords, especially barre chords, can be a very difficult and frustrating process. When learning any new chord, practice it in very short intervals. Due to the frustrating nature of learning new chords, your focus will dwindle very quickly. Practice a new chord for five or ten minute intervals at a time. Then, practice something totally different for a while that is less frustrating for you. Block the tricky chord out of your mind while doing so. When you return to the troublesome chord, you will hopefully have a fresh new perspective and a clear state of mind.

Chord Change Exercises

Once you have mastered each version of the F chord, begin to practice switching to and from this chord with the chords that you have already learned. Strum in a steady rhythm along with a metronome. Strive for seamless rhythm and left hand transitions.

The shape of the C chord is very similar to the F chord. Consequently, these two chords are a logical beginning step to this process. This chord changes happens very frequently in the key of C major. The fingering for G major is relatively similar as well. All three of these chords feature the third and second fingers held in a similar configuration. Once you have mastered these changes, try some of the more awkward changes such as D to F.

Minimum left hand movement is key when performing chord changes. Keep all left hand fingers as close to the fretboard at all times. Do not curl any fingers underneath the fretboard.

I, IV, and V Chords in C Major

Respectively, the I, IV, and V chords in this key are C, F, and G. Remember that the I, IV, and V chords are derived from the first, fourth, and fifth scale degrees of the major scale with the same letter name as the key. The C major scale is spelled C, D, E, F, G, A, B, C. The first, fourth, and fifth scale degrees are C, F, and G. Consequently, the I, IV, and V chords are C, F, and G major.
Chapter 2: (07:23) B Chord, Transitions and More B Dominant Seventh (B7)

In the previous scene, Jim explained how the F barre chord is based on the basic visual shape of the E major chord. This time around, the visual shape of the C major chord is used as the basis for a B7 chord.

This time around, the basic shape of C major is moved closer to the nut instead of away from it. When this occurs, the C note on the second string must be played as an open note. The fingering of the notes on the fifth and fourth strings must also be changed. In addition, two new notes are added to the visual chord shape on the third and first strings.

The B7 chord contains four fretted notes and one open string. A low root note is played at the 2nd fret of the fifth string. Fret this note with the second finger. The note D# is fretted by the first finger at the 1st fret of the fourth string. On the third string, the third finger frets A at the 2nd fret. The second string is played open to produce another B root note. Finally, the pinkie finger frets F# at the 2nd fret of the first string. The low sixth string is omitted from this chord.

Most beginners have problems producing a clear tone with the second string. Remember to arch your wrist outwards in order to keep this string ringing clearly. Pause the lesson video at exactly 01:31. Notice the arch of Jim's left wrist and fingers.

Also, this chord poses some difficulties since all four fretting fingers must be used. Consequently, many beginners struggle when first switching between this chord and other chords.

Dominant Seventh Chord Overview

Up to this point, all of the chords discussed in the lesson series have been triads. Remember that a triad is a chord comprised of three notes. Within a triad, one or more of these notes may be doubled in a different octave. For example, the F major barre chord from the previous scene contains three F notes in three different octaves. Dominant seventh chords contain four distinct pitches. The B major triad is spelled B, D#, F#. The B7 chord adds an additional A note to this formula.

I, IV, and V Chords in E Major

The E major scale is spelled E, F#, G#, A, B, C#, D#, E. The first, fourth, and fifth scale degrees are E, A, and B. Consequently, the I, IV, and V chords in this key are E, A, and B major. Frequently, when the V chord is played, a dominant seventh chord is substituted for the basic triad. In terms of Roman numerals, this chord is written as "V7."

I, IV, V Exercise in E Major

Practice playing a I, IV, V7 progression in the key of major using the B7 chord that you just learned. Jim demonstrates this exercise at 02:43 in the lesson video. Remember to use the 2, 3, 4 or the 2, 1, 3 fingering for the A chord when switching from E to A. These fingerings are the most practical within the context of this progression.

C7 Chord

Begin with the fingering for the C major chord. Then, add the pinkie finger to the 3rd fret of the third string. The inclusion of this Bb note converts C major into a C7 chord.

Compare the sound of the C major chord and the new C7 chord. How would you describe the difference? Like Jim points out, the C7 chord sets up an effective transition to the F major chord.
Chapter 3: (12:40) Alternating Bass Note: Tablature and standard notation to all alternating bass examples can be found under the "Supplemental Content" tab.

The alternating bass line is an extremely important component of the country, bluegrass, blues, and folk styles. It also plays a large role in many fingerstyle arrangements played in these genres. Learning and mastering the alternate bass line is an important stepping stone towards Jim's Phase 2 Fingerstyle Series.

C Chord with Alternating Bass

The rhythm for this accompaniment pattern is played in steady quarter notes in 4/4 time. The low C root note is played on beat one of the measure. On beat two, the four highest strings are strummed. On beat 3, the third finger must release from the root note to fret the note G at the 3rd fret of the sixth string. On beat 4, the four highest strings are strummed once again. The bass line alternates back and forth between the notes C and G.

This pattern can played with an alternate left hand fingering. By re-fingering the C chord, the third finger no longer has to jump from string to string. Use the third finger to fret the G note on the sixth string. Now, the pinkie frets the low root note on the fifth string.

In 3/4 time, the bass note of the chord alternates every other measure. On beat one of the first measure, the low root note is plucked as expected. The chord is strummed on the remaining two beats. Then, the bass note changes to G on beat one of the next measure. Once again, the chord is strummed on beats 2 and 3.

A Chord with Alternating Bass

No left hand movement is required when an alternating bass line is applied to an A chord. The bass line simply alternates back and forth between the A note on the fifth string and the open E note on the low sixth string. The chord is strummed on beats 2 and 4.

G Chord with Alternating Bass

The alternating bass line for G major must change, because the root note is played on the lowest string. This note is plucked on beat one of each measure. The B note on the fifth string is plucked on beat 3. As usual, the chord is strummed on beats 2 and 4.

E Chord with Alternating Bass

The alternating bass pattern for E major is quite similar to the pattern used for G. The bass line alternates between the notes on the sixth and fifth strings.

D Chord with Alternating Bass

The root note of this chord is located on the fourth string. Pluck this note on beat 1. On beat three, the open fifth string (A) is played. Strum the chord on beats 2 and 4.

F Chord with Alternating Bass

The alternating bass line that is applied to F major is dependent upon whether the six string version or the four string version is used. For the six string version, the bass alternates between the low root note on the sixth string and the note C fretted on the fifth string. Within the four string voicing, the third finger must move in a similar manner to the C chord. The root note on the fourth string is plucked on beat 1. Then, the third finger travels to the fifth string to fret the note C on beat 3. Make sure that the other fretting fingers remain firmly in place while the third finger moves.
Chapter 4: (03:40) A Minor and More Alternating Bass Exercises

Note: Tablature and standard notation to these exercises can be found under the "Supplemental Content" tab.

These new exercises apply an alternating bass line to some of the I, IV, V progression exercises presented in Scene 2. Work through these exercises in the keys of C, A, G, and D major. The key of E can be left out for now since Jim has not yet explained how to perform an alternating bass line with the B7 chord.

A Minor Chord (Am)

Learning the Am chord is quite easy once you have mastered the 2, 3, 4 fingering of the A major chord. The fingering for these chords is quite similar. Begin with the 2, 3, 4 fingering of A major. Then, lift the fourth finger from the second string. Play the note C at the 1st fret of the second string with the first finger. An Am chord is now formed.

Am Chord with Alternating Bass

The alternating bass pattern for Am is the same as A major. The bass line alternates between the root note on the fifth string (beat 1) and the open sixth string (beat 3).

Video Subtitles / Captions

Scene 1

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Hi. I'm Jim Deeming, instructor for
Welcome to lesson ten.

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Today we're going to go beyond the CAGED chords we've talked about up until now, the C. A. G. E. and D.

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That's an excellent foundation, we're going to build a lot of things on that but we need to go just a little bit farther.

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To review you should be getting very familiar by now with these chord shapes.

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The C…

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E… and D…

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So those are the things you want to pay attention to, the shape of the chord, how many strings are ok to hit with your right hand

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because remember sometimes it's not all of them.

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Then remember we've talked about keys and which of those chords go together.

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The three keys that we know so far are the key of D.

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When D is our key chord, it's the one chord.
Remember when we talked about roman numerals.

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Number one is D, it's four chord is a G, the five chord is an A and back to one is an D.

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So our keys are built on one, four, five when you go through the musical alphabet of letters A through G and then start over again.

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Hopefully you're getting familiar and comfortable with that by now.

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We've also for every chord that we've learned now we've paid attention to the fact that is has a root note.

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So when you're strumming these usually the lowest note that you want to hit is a root note of that chord.

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So the root note of a D chord is a D note, in this case it's a D string.

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The G has a G on the bottom.
The A has an A on the bottom.

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E has an E on the bottom.
C has a C root note.

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Hopefully you're comfortable with all of those and remembering that you are using it every time that you play these chords.

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Ok, we've also talked about timing.

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Right hand remember sets the groove, sets the timing, sets the feel so as you've been faithfully tapping your foot when you're practicing.

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

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We've talked about how this is 4/4 time and then there's a little variety of that you can do it's 3/4 time.

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Where each measure, each repeating pattern only has three beats instead of four.

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It sounds like this:
One, two, three, one, two, three, one, two, three, one, two, three…

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Ok, now the CAGED chords that we've talked about up until now are all what I've showed you and it's in first position and by that

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what we typically mean is your first finger is in the first, fret, second finger, second fret, third finger, third fret, fourth finger, fourth fret.

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For the most part.
This is the zone we've been playing in down here, first position.

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If we were to slide up, move the first finger up to the third fret and then start building chords here we would call that the third position.

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We're not going to go there yet because there's a couple things we need down here in the first position to round out the rest of our chords.

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We have five chords in three keys.

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If we can add a couple more chords we can get a couple more keys out of this and really be in business.

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However these two are not typically thought of as being in the C. A. G. E. D., caged system.

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What they actually are, they're the beginnings of how we actually use those chord shapes to do other things with them.

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Let me show you what I mean by that.

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First we're going to introduce the F chord, the F is considered a first position chord

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but it's actually, probably the most common bar chord everyone learns first.

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We have a problem, this wonderful chord called C and if you're into music theory you probably love this key because there are no sharps or flats.

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It's all straight up C, D, E, F, G, A, B, C.
No sharps or flats.

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That's the one chord.

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The five chord for this is our old friend the G but we don't know the four chord for this key yet.

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C being number one, D, E, F.
F is new to us.

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Where do we get an F from down here in the first position?

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Here's an F note or here and to build a chord down here that we can use that is an F chord, we're going to need to learn about bar chords

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and that's a word that strikes fear and dread in the hearts of guitar students everywhere.

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It's not that bad, we're going to ease into it a little a give your hand a chance to develop and you can bite this off in as big of chunks that you can handle.

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What it is thinking in terms of our CAGED system what this is, is we're taking our friend the E chord.

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What's next after an E? An F.
If you slide that up half a step.

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Well this is the beginning of our F chord.

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So here's the E and the three notes that we've fretted are in the F chord.

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Unfortunately, no one else around it is correct for this chord.

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That's an E chord actually but it's not an F chord.
So what we need to do is fill in the gaps.

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Here is all a bar chord is, I'm going to cheat a little bit and change how I'm fretting the E chord. See this?

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That's an E chord still but what's happening is, I'm going to slide it up to where it makes an F and I wish the nut would come with me

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but it doesn't move so I'm going to make my own nut right there with the first finger.

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When we talk about a bar chord what we typically mean is we're barring across the entire fret and then playing one of our old friends,

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one of the CAGED chords right in front of it.

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I'm making that look a lot easier than it's going to be for a beginning guitar student so let's back up a step now and look down here.

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If I were to play a little E chord, say this much. Here's the full E chord, focus on the first three strings for a minute.

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If you want to take that up to the next fret, this guy's going up here, and these two open strings need to go to here.

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Some people call this a partial bar.

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What we're really going to do is make a baby bar chord here but we're only going to bar two frets.

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What I'm hoping is that if this is hard for you you're first finger might be able to handle two at a time rather than all six.

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So if you get those two.
The first and second string in the first fret and then add this.

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Whoops only play three please.

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That's a little three string F chord.

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If that's ok for you, try adding this third fret.
That's going to feel like a bit of a stretch I'm fairly certain.

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There's a four string F chord and by the way what we just picked up is an F note.

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That's makes a pretty good, complete sounding F chord.

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Now if you want to go build the rest of it remember our old friend the E chord was a six string chord it's the full boat, everything you've got.

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So if you're going to bar it you've got to bar all six of them.

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So maybe the thing to do is go back and try playing the E chord like this and see if you can get that fingering, that picture it's a little bit different looking

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than you might have learned on your E chord, see if you can get that fretted and then bring it up and bring the nut with you.

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Typically the first problem spot other than hand cramps,

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the first problem spot on a full bar chord like this for some reason is almost always the second string.

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I think it's because your bar, if you analyze what you've got here your finger kind of wants to curl

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and you're really pushing hard to get the big F on the bottom and that's good and you've got an F on the top.

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That's actually two octaves, here's the middle, we have three F's in that F chord

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and as you're laying your finger down here as hard as you possible can to try to build this bar there should be a little bit of an arch there.

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Well the arch would be the worst then right in the middle but we don't notice that

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because we've got other strings fretted but where that arch rats us out is on the second string down here, the old B string where it might tend to buzz.

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I don't know how to help you fix that other than be aware of it and build some muscle strength up over time.

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Check by the way and make sure that you're fretting this relatively closely to the wire fret.

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If you get too far back in the fret you will have trouble.
It's very hard to fret especially right next to the nut.

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That's what a barred F chord looks like.

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What we've done is we've taken the E, slid it up and brought the nut with us.

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Just to give you a little glimpse of what's coming.

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This one goes all the way up the neck as do all bar chords, that's why we like them.

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If you know the names of these notes on this first string for example then you know how to build a chord for every one of those notes.

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Watch this.

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Open on the sixth string is our E string and open this chord, let's fret it this way for now, that is our E chord.

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Open E string, now if I know this is an F and I bar that and I play that chord there, I've got an F chord.

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After F comes G, A, B, C and now I automatically know a chord for every one of those.

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Here's E, F, G, A, B, C and the same thing is going on here.

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We’ve got a C note on the bottom, we're barring this and playing the E shape, the CAGED E shape right in front of that bar.

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Not forgetting that you're probably new to this and your hands may be getting tired, work into this easy

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and you'll probably notice that the lower down on the fret that you're playing the harder some bar chords are to do.

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That's typically because you're getting closer to the nut and you're having to bend the strings at a little harsher angle coming off of the nut.

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Especially in that first fret.
There's really not a shortcut here.

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Exercise, practice and repetition are what are going to get you through bar chords.

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I wanted to get you to this one though because the F on here is really important.

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Lots of songs, lots of guitar songs and lots of sing along songs, C turns out to be a nice key to be in.

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Also for the reason that I told you before, there are no sharps or flats in it.
C is a key that you need, F is the toughest part about it.

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So for now if a four string F chord is what you can do that's fine.
You can still strum that.

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If you can get all six of them even better.

13:16.649 --> 13:27.329
Ok, take some time with your new bar chord the F, work on transitions, remember that just learning the chord picture

13:27.329 --> 13:30.371
and learning how to fret it is only half the battle.

13:30.371 --> 13:36.826
What you need to be able to do is transition in and out of that chord from somewhere else and to somewhere else

13:36.826 --> 13:41.145
So for example look at your C chord here.

13:41.145 --> 13:46.346
Probably one of the most common transitions you're going to be doing is from C to F.

13:46.346 --> 13:57.096
Doing our minimal movement analysis one thing we can see is that this finger is already in the fret that it needs to be in so all it needs to do is flatten out

13:57.096 --> 13:58.745
and get ready to do a bar.

13:58.745 --> 14:02.878
This finger is already where it needs to be, doesn't need to move at all.

14:02.878 --> 14:08.566
This one just drops down one and this one tucks underneath here.

14:08.566 --> 14:14.255
That looked like that went by fast for you I'm sure but if you do this yourself think it through.

14:14.255 --> 14:18.040
Ok, I know what this one looks like, I know what this one looks like.

14:18.040 --> 14:22.799
Who moves and who doesn't and what is the minimal amount of movement I can do.

14:22.799 --> 14:32.064
This one stays put, this one flattens out, we're already almost there, drop, we're good.

14:32.064 --> 14:37.779
From an F to a G we've got to move a couple of them here.

14:37.779 --> 14:50.178
This one comes back off and we're glad because that's tired already, this goes here so watch what that looks like here, not a lot of movement

14:50.178 --> 14:54.914
but don't when you lift your bar, don't be tempted to really wing it off of there

14:54.914 --> 14:59.976
because you're tired and can't wait to get rid of it that's a lot of unnecessary movement.

14:59.976 --> 15:07.708
There's a song called "Doctor Guitar" and it's made in the key of C.

15:07.708 --> 15:27.839
It's a really fast song and it's a good way to practice these transitions and it looks like this.

15:27.839 --> 15:31.252
There's more to it than that but you can see that especially in bluegrass.

15:31.252 --> 15:44.487
Minimal amount of movement because if you start thrashing around down here you're going to run out of time to get the transitions done.

15:44.487 --> 15:56.561
Ok, here we now have C and either the small version or the full version of an F and your friend the G chord.

Scene 2

00:00.000 --> 00:17.403
Ok, now the F chord that you just learned remember is one of our friends from the caged system with a bar behind it.

00:17.403 --> 00:22.557
Now we're going to learn one more chord and we're going to take a caged chord, namely the C chord

00:22.557 --> 00:28.966
and instead of barring it we're going to do something a little bit different, we're going to drop it down behind the nut a half step.

00:28.966 --> 00:31.334
What we're going to need is a B chord.

00:31.334 --> 00:41.272
If you want to play in the key of E, remember that nice, big, ringing six string E chord, that's also a nice key to play in

00:41.272 --> 00:47.378
but the one chord in E makes the A chord the four chord.

00:47.378 --> 00:55.644
The five chord then needs to be a B.
Keep your alphabet in mind: A, B, C, D, E, F, G and repeat back to A.

00:55.644 --> 01:04.352
So if E is number one: E, F, G, A, we have that one.
B we need for a five chord.

01:04.352 --> 01:12.139
What we're doing, it's going to look like this it's a five string chord and we start down here.

01:12.139 --> 01:28.276
Here's a B note on the root and then we're going to go first fret, fourth string, second fret, third string and second fret first string.

01:28.276 --> 01:32.757
It's kind of stacked up in there, that's what it looks like

01:32.757 --> 01:40.489
but before you try to hard to build this chord I want you to understand why it's related to the CAGED chords that you already know.

01:40.489 --> 01:47.362
What it is, is it's taking the C chord and dropping it down a half step.

01:47.362 --> 01:54.440
Obviously you can't play down here the nut's in the way but if you can hear that

01:54.440 --> 01:59.618
that's the beginning of the C chord you can probably hear that's the beginning of a B chord.

01:59.618 --> 02:04.425
The only problem is some open strings around it don't work so we have to do some other things.

02:04.425 --> 02:11.901
We're going to trade positions here, this could be our C chord, we're dropping that down.

02:11.901 --> 02:17.079
The same two notes , the same position, now we'll pick this up.

02:17.079 --> 02:28.944
So you can see on the chord chart what's going on here but again, the most important thing for you to know right now is this is a modified C shape chord.

02:28.944 --> 02:31.034
What we've done is we've taken the C shape

02:31.034 --> 02:39.485
and if it were possible we're dropping it behind the nut a little bit, we're making the adjustments necessary to do that.

02:39.485 --> 02:50.630
So this is what the E chord family sounds like…

02:50.630 --> 02:59.430
A lot of songs use this key, again, it's handy for singing a lot of songs in and so this is a chord shape that you're going to need down here.

02:59.430 --> 03:13.780
Working the transitions, notice my middle finger isn't having to move, these two are almost kind of reversing roles there.

03:13.780 --> 03:17.355
This one's going up a string and this one's going down a string.

03:17.355 --> 03:24.994
That's not too hard and then add the pinky, everything else is open down there and no sixth string yet.

03:24.994 --> 03:35.025
It's looks a little strange probably to you but it's actually not a hard chord to fret well but it's

03:35.025 --> 03:43.105
because all four of your fingers have a different job to do it can be hard to get there in a hurry until you get familiar with the shape.

03:43.105 --> 03:51.696
Again, focus on getting there to and from the E chord first, then try it from your A chord.

03:51.696 --> 04:01.239
This is one of the times when it's nice to be fretting the A chord this way because now you're, look how easy that is.

04:01.239 --> 04:10.898
This finger doesn't move, each of these two fingers goes away one string and we add the first finger. That's not bad.

04:10.898 --> 04:30.611
Ok, take some time and work on those transitions in the key of E.

04:30.611 --> 04:39.829
This is our new root note, a B.
For a B chord.

04:39.829 --> 04:50.453
Ok, now in addition to the CAGED chords: C. A. G. E. D.
You've got two more that let you play in two more keys.

04:50.453 --> 05:06.381
We've now added the key of C because we know the F chord now.
We've added the key of E because now we know a B chord.

05:06.381 --> 05:13.672
Ok, that's going to cover a huge percentage of what you're going to do down the road in the first position.

05:13.672 --> 05:16.481
It's time for a little bit more music theory now.

05:16.481 --> 05:23.145
Up until this point all of the chords we've covered with one exception, maybe you've caught it.

05:23.145 --> 05:25.815
All of them are what we call major chords.

05:25.815 --> 05:38.168
This is a C chord, proper name C major, as opposed to a C seventh.
Hear the difference there?

05:38.168 --> 05:47.226
A seventh chord adds a little attribute to a chord that makes it sound like we're about to transition to something else. Listen to this.

05:47.226 --> 05:59.045
We're playing along in the C chord, we're about to go to the F, hear that hint?
Here it comes.

05:59.045 --> 06:01.994
That's a seventh.

06:01.994 --> 06:10.863
Any chord can have this happen but right now all I've taught you is the major chords with one exception and that's the very last one we did.

06:10.863 --> 06:25.073
The difficulty in taking this C chord and sliding it down and fretting some notes here, there's not much good else we can do with the third string here.

06:25.073 --> 06:33.501
Most people make that note right there like I taught you but what's actually happened is we've just made this a B seven chord.

06:33.501 --> 06:37.076
This is not really a B chord.
It's a B seven.

06:37.076 --> 06:47.177
Really the nearest true B chord is a bar chord and we'll get to that later, this is A B seven, it works very nicely for the key of E.

06:47.177 --> 07:00.760
So that's a seventh but everything else has been a major chord.
This is a C major. This is an A major.

07:00.760 --> 07:07.888
G major.
E major and D.

07:07.888 --> 07:14.505
Ok, there are varieties like sevenths and minors that we're going to get to before very long

07:14.505 --> 07:23.816
but what I want you to understand though is that's the building blocks for the first position that we have so far, is major chords.

Scene 3

00:00.000 --> 00:17.891
Now, what I'd like to talk you through next is some options for making these chords a little bit more musical.

00:17.891 --> 00:24.555
Giving your right hand some more options with how you play or accompany something else.

00:24.555 --> 00:37.720
Remember when we first started learning chords we had this strumming and we talked about how quickly that gets old, it drives you crazy after a while.

00:37.720 --> 00:51.155
So we broke it up a little bit and started doing bass, strum, bass, strum.
Then we added an upstroke.

00:51.155 --> 00:58.701
So we have some options now but there are even more and there are options for every one of these chords you know now

00:58.701 --> 01:01.487
and that's what's called an alternating bass.

01:01.487 --> 01:13.468
If you're still in the stage of getting comfortable with these shapes and transitioning, this next little phase in here might throw you.

01:13.468 --> 01:19.227
But you might find that you like it and it might push you to practice more so at least have a look. Here's what we're going to do.

01:19.227 --> 01:26.424
Starting with the C chord playing a C bass note…

01:26.424 --> 01:34.574
We're use to this but what if we could do something different on the bottom, I don't know if you notice but this starts to get old again.

01:34.574 --> 01:41.795
We don't want old in our music.
We want variety, we want some control over what it sounds like.

01:41.795 --> 01:57.399
Does this sound better to you if we do this?
A little bit more variety. We call that an alternating bass.

01:57.399 --> 02:05.734
So what we're doing is we're allowing our left hand to make a slight modification to the chord shape that we know.

02:05.734 --> 02:17.622
It's still the same chord but we're going to pick up first a C bass and a G down here.

02:17.622 --> 02:20.646
This doesn't work to play…

02:20.646 --> 02:30.759
That's not quite what we want at the bottom all of the time but when it's alternating like this that makes musical sense.

02:30.759 --> 02:37.493
It's like you have a bass player in the background helping you out.

02:37.493 --> 02:48.220
In 3/4 time you can do this…

02:48.220 --> 02:49.963
So there's some options there also.

02:49.963 --> 02:59.808
So what I'm going to walk you through now is what modifications do we need to make to the chords we already know to setup an alternating bass.

02:59.808 --> 03:14.391
The one beat, for now, we will always still keep on the root of a chord.
So in what I just showed you, C will always be…

03:14.391 --> 03:19.615
You want to keep the start note with and make the root note the one beat.

03:19.615 --> 03:25.257
One, two, three, four. One, two, three, four.
One, two, three, four.

03:25.257 --> 03:33.268
So for C we're allowing the third finger to alternate back and forth between these two.

03:33.268 --> 03:39.537
There's another way to get this done and actually if you've been watching you've seen me sneak it in here once in a while out of habit.

03:39.537 --> 03:44.529
You can actually fret a full six string C chord.

03:44.529 --> 03:53.027
We don't teach it that way initially for strumming because it isn't quite what you want to hear.

03:53.027 --> 04:04.420
Having the G on the bottom and all the time, you don't want that there.
Sometimes it's ok but not all the time so we want to alternate.

04:04.420 --> 04:21.068
By doing all of them at once you're not having to do this.
This requires left hand movement to get that pace, this is rock steady.

04:21.068 --> 04:24.272
Why wouldn't you want to do this all the time, right?

04:24.272 --> 04:31.168
The reason is because we are all headed towards finger style guitar right?
Everybody wants to do that.

04:31.168 --> 04:40.572
You need melody notes.
The only finger that is really freed up much to do that is your pinky.

04:40.572 --> 05:02.482
So by getting the ring finger to do double duty on the bass, the pinky is freed up. You know this song, that's how he does it.

05:02.482 --> 05:12.025
But we need the bass down here doing this, that's the train.
So that's why we want the option of doing both.

05:12.025 --> 05:29.625
If I'm trying to drown out noisy banjo players in a bluegrass jam session, I want to be as loud as possible.

05:29.625 --> 05:36.663
Alright. That's a big sound but be careful what you're letting ring down here.

05:36.663 --> 05:43.768
So there you go.
This is alternating bass for the C shape chord.

05:43.768 --> 05:47.983
Let's go somewhere else.
Next in the cage is the A chord.

05:47.983 --> 05:52.825
This one is nice and easy because we don't have to do anything left hand movement at all.

05:52.825 --> 06:04.574
This is an A bass, A chord.
The other bass note that works, right there on the bottom, that's easy.

06:04.574 --> 06:10.449
The hardest job is getting the right hand to hit the right string on the bottom.

06:10.449 --> 06:17.938
You don't even need tablature for that one.
You already know your A shape, get the bottom one.

06:17.938 --> 06:23.301
We don't want the bottom note ringing all the time but it's a fine bass note to alternate into.

06:23.301 --> 06:28.979
Next in the cage is G.

06:28.979 --> 06:31.963
Now we have a problem here if you see that coming.

06:31.963 --> 06:39.800
That's our root note, that's the one we start with, there's nothing lower than that and we're already at the bottom.

06:39.800 --> 06:46.788
This is where we change our right hand pattern and we alternate the other way.

06:46.788 --> 06:49.715
We alternate up on the three beat.

06:49.715 --> 06:55.241
It goes one, two, we're still holding to that rule.
One beat is still on the root note.

06:55.241 --> 07:01.975
One, two, three, four.
One, two, three, four.

07:01.975 --> 07:08.628
Ok, it still works.
If you're doing this…

07:08.628 --> 07:18.589
It's a rhythmic thing and it's a bass note thing and the fact that you’ve changed directions, it still works musically.

07:18.589 --> 07:22.374
Again, no left hand movement is required to pull that one off.

07:22.374 --> 07:23.953

07:23.953 --> 07:32.418
Next after the G in the cage is the E chord and this one is going to do the exact same thing.

07:32.418 --> 07:38.501
This is the sixth string is our root note, since we're doing our one beat on the bottom already

07:38.501 --> 07:41.984
we don't have anywhere to go except for up to hit a different string

07:41.984 --> 07:52.399
Happens that this B note that is already there underneath it works fine.
It's E, B, E, B.

07:52.399 --> 08:06.795
The same exercise for the right hand which is bass note, strum, bass note, strum and then changing strings on the one and the three beats.

08:06.795 --> 08:09.256
Ok, next is the D chord.

08:09.256 --> 08:12.020
Now we're going to do something a little bit different.

08:12.020 --> 08:19.566
We're going to start where we always did but clear down here on the fourth string you're going to want to alternate back down again

08:19.566 --> 08:22.283
but not all the way to the bottom, only to the fifth.

08:22.283 --> 08:41.847
On our fourth string, here's the alternating pattern right here…
So in strumming, let's do it with a flat pick here for just a minute…

08:41.847 --> 08:48.813
That has a really nice sweet sound to it, the D chord is really nice.

08:48.813 --> 08:55.059
It has a lot of ring to it, it's a very bright, clear, light tone, there's no big notes in this one.

08:55.059 --> 09:04.579
Practice that alternating bass and again, on this one, no movement on the left hand.

09:04.579 --> 09:12.752
It's all up to the right hand to hit the right strings.

09:12.752 --> 09:16.444
What other chords do we have down here?
We just learned the F chord.

09:16.444 --> 09:24.547
What you do down here depends on whether you're playing half of an F chord or the full thing, we'll start with the three finger version.

09:24.547 --> 09:35.881
Here is our F root for this version, if you want to do an alternating bass down here you can with the same movement trick we did on the C chord.

09:35.881 --> 09:52.670
Here's our alternating bass.
Down to a C note. F, C, F, C…

09:52.670 --> 10:02.259
Now, things that you have to pay attention to when you're lifting and moving the finger like that on either the C chord or the F chord.

10:02.259 --> 10:07.158
You have to be careful of what your right hand is doing.

10:07.158 --> 10:16.818
If you notice right now the way we started out with our C note in the root we could strum everything else.

10:16.818 --> 10:22.622
So it's almost a lazy right hand job.
Once you get this one right everything else is easy.

10:22.622 --> 10:30.972
Once you lift this finger and go down here though that's not true anymore because then you've got an open A string underneath that.

10:30.972 --> 10:38.634
If you strum all six chords you are going to have a bit of an oddball in there.
That is not even quite jazz.

10:38.634 --> 10:47.829
So this one can be lazy and full.
Five, Fifth string, all the rest of them

10:47.829 --> 10:52.241
Now sixth string you just got to skip that five because we are not fretting it.

10:52.241 --> 11:03.247
Same thing applies on the F chord when we're doing this one.

11:03.247 --> 11:10.932
When this guy is pulling out of position and going up here we are leaving an open string over here that is not happiness.

11:10.932 --> 11:16.807
So don't strum that new string that you've just opened up.

11:16.807 --> 11:24.519
It may help you on your strumming pattern to have, to actually lift your hand just a little bit. It's almost a…

11:24.519 --> 11:32.970
This one, drop it that's fine but here get a little bounce in your right hand if that helps you think of it that way.

11:32.970 --> 11:47.542
You can see what my right hand is doing here, it's lifting rather than just falling through because we're very likely to hit a wrong note there.

11:47.542 --> 11:53.579
Same on the C chord.

11:53.579 --> 11:57.944
There's no substitute for practice and repetition, you're just going to have to get used to this.

11:57.944 --> 12:08.615
Unless you've got a strong left hand, you've got them all down here.
All six strings in which case, this is exactly the same as the E chord.

12:08.615 --> 12:22.744
Remember we are doing a six string bass and a fifth string alternate.
Same thing here.

12:22.744 --> 12:28.433
How long can you hold that?

12:28.433 --> 12:41.389
What you just saw me do is what I'd like you to work on next.

Scene 4

00:00.000 --> 00:18.680
These chords should all be familiar to you, the keys are familiar to you so the next drill, the next practice is go through all of them.

00:18.680 --> 00:25.111
Get your own picking bass going.

00:25.111 --> 00:37.185
And in every key.

00:37.185 --> 00:48.052
Let's see what else, we know A.

00:48.052 --> 00:50.583
So review C. A. G. E. D.

00:50.583 --> 00:57.177
Review all of the keys that you know, all of the chords and from now on when I teach you a new chord

00:57.177 --> 01:01.147
or a new variation of a chord we're going to go through the following things.

01:01.147 --> 01:06.209
We're going to talk about the shape of the chord.
We're going to talk about the position of the chord.

01:06.209 --> 01:14.150
We'll talk about what are acceptable alternating bass notes and where you have to move to get them if necessary

01:14.150 --> 01:19.003
and then whether or not it's an acceptable bar chord if it's not already a bar chord.

01:19.003 --> 01:25.411
So here's an example of the kinds of chords we're going to start learning next as we need them.

01:25.411 --> 01:34.277
We're going to go on and do other things in addition to chords but for example let's say in the next song I might teach you an A minor chord.

01:34.277 --> 01:43.774
Ok. Minor chords have their own characteristics, remember when I said sevenths to me sounds like a transitional chord.

01:43.774 --> 01:50.252
We've been on a C for a while about to go somewhere else, seventh gives us a hint, we're about to move.

01:50.252 --> 02:03.802
Minor chords sound like this…
They tend to have a sad song maybe, a more serious tone.

02:03.802 --> 02:10.976
This is an A chord…
This is an A minor chord…

02:10.976 --> 02:13.368
It's very useful.

02:13.368 --> 02:21.076
Now when I teach you a new chord I might show you things like this, here's how you fret it, first, third, second finger.

02:21.076 --> 02:26.022
There's your root note, even on a minor chord we keep a root note.

02:26.022 --> 02:44.882
A major, A minor still has an A in the root note, that's what it sounds like and here's what the bass notes are. Same as an A chord in this case.

02:44.882 --> 02:53.288
Oh and by the way this is a perfectly acceptable bar chord if you want to fret it this way and bring the nut up with you,

02:53.288 --> 03:02.917
we can go all over the place and do this.

03:02.917 --> 03:05.030
So what I'm trying to get you to think about is this,

03:05.030 --> 03:12.088
is why we've spent so much time focusing on chords shapes, why we focused so much time on the C, A, G, E, D shape

03:12.088 --> 03:20.547
and why we've talked about alternating basses and subtle variations and how you move your hand down around here.

03:20.547 --> 03:25.330
It's because now we can take off from there and build all kinds of chords.

03:25.330 --> 03:30.392
Any chords that we need to support the songs that we want to do.

03:30.392 --> 03:38.193
That's going to be it for this lesson.
Spend some time reviewing bass notes, chord shapes and transitions.

03:38.193 --> 03:39.540
I'll see you next time.

Member Comments about this Lesson

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

krismoekrismoe replied on January 5th, 2017

Enjoying your lessons

georgebanketasgeorgebanketas replied on December 17th, 2014

Loving these lessons. Jim you are an awesome teacher!!! One question about the alternating bass notes. This might be in theory that I have not caught on to yet but when alternating the bass notes will it always be the root and fifth?

cesp19cesp19 replied on April 24th, 2014

Jim, I still dont really get the reason behind the B7, is it just to show the position?

barneyboybarneyboy replied on January 28th, 2014

Hi Jim, Could you tell me how you keep your fingers at such a right angle to the guitar neck when doing the F chord? Mine always want to angle toward the nut. Cheers, Steve in the UK.

harry hharry h replied on January 13th, 2014

Mr. Deeming, learning the cord progressions, alternating base helped me spot some cords on a waltz beat song sung by Tom Jones, a Bob Dylan song called when 'When the Deal Goes Down". So, does that give you any idea how old I am? Haven fun, slow but appreciate your help.

chriscamchriscam replied on March 8th, 2013

Awesome, ... but I'll need to practice this every day for a month or so

sinsengsinseng replied on January 26th, 2013

About the transition from E chord to G chord. What if my pinky finger and the ring finger are short? I having a hard time to reach the E with my ring finger and the pinky for e. Any hope for this?

hoovarminhoovarmin replied on January 13th, 2013

Fantastic lesson! I'm making a commitment to play the F as a bar chord from here out. Never realized I could play a C with little finger on G. Really learned alot. Thanks, Jim!

TampaTonyBTampaTonyB replied on July 8th, 2012

New to Jam Play about a week there any way to see responses from Jim on many of these great questions? Or is there some other page I need to go to. The lessons are great Jim. It has me building a whole new practice session around the chord transitions and scales. Thanks so much. Barre chords are kicking my butt. However, with enough practice I know they can be mastered. Just keep pluggin'. Tony B.

blueshadow501blueshadow501 replied on February 4th, 2012

Slowly it's coming back and so far I have learned a lot. Thanks. The bar F I am still working on, I used to be able to do it, but now anymore. I will continue on with the course in progress but work on my bar chords as I go. My speed is slowly coming back, but still not there and accuracy is still shot but getting better. Looking forward to the next one.

2xcowboy2xcowboy replied on December 28th, 2011


sherchanrock72sherchanrock72 replied on December 5th, 2011

Good lesson man, appreciate that !

joelhunnicuttjoelhunnicutt replied on November 12th, 2011

Question regarding using a pick. I am able to do the lessons fairly well while using my fingers to strum, but when I put on the thumb pick, things go south fast. Should I practice only with a pick to get that to improve or continue to use my fingers to master to lesson quicker?

enoughstanenoughstan replied on October 12th, 2011

Jim your lessons are great, but it seems I am lacking behind and not sure why... Is there anything like the secrete of easy learning that can burst my interest... Am excited to be playing and singing someday....

joelhunnicuttjoelhunnicutt replied on November 12th, 2011

I know what you mean. The last couple of lessons have been harder, so I have had to moderate my expectations. I am giving them a week of practice and the next lesson even it I don't feel like the previous one is quite mastered. It is keeping me moving forward

gaetz1956gaetz1956 replied on December 8th, 2009

Jim, I am 54 years old and attempted playing guitar for several years on and off. I can strum and play several chords decently. My question is: Can I ever look forward of playing a decent fingerstyle guitar? Gaetan

JellyrollJellyroll replied on March 22nd, 2011

I hope so, I'm 76..........

wanda j lwanda j l replied on February 15th, 2011

I'm having trouble with the F barre chords, I don't have the strength in my finger. Will it get easer in time? I'm old so I don't have much time,lol

sherchanrock72sherchanrock72 replied on December 5th, 2011

I would say keep practicing and will get it in shorter time if u get more interested in learning the F barre chord.I know its hard at first but will get it.

garywaggonergarywaggoner replied on September 25th, 2010

JIm can you give us a lesson on Dr. Guitar song spoken of ?

vacordavacorda replied on August 25th, 2010

Hi Jim, Just curios why you have to pick the 5th string in D when you are doing the Alternate Bass picking when 5th string in D is supposed to be dead.

frankoo411frankoo411 replied on November 14th, 2009

is it true that the root note is always the first note. or can it be another note in the cord can only hide from music theory for so long. so im going back to deal with it. the more i learn the more cofusing it becomes. the 1,4,5 cord is that a combo for a certain style or all music. i wouldnt think you could adheard all the time or you would be stuck in those cords. im slow when it comes to this kind of stuff. i have no problem with cords or even playing song its theory that gets me

thewatcherthewatcher replied on November 5th, 2009

Jim, I'm a 65 yr old beginer. I started back in the 50's but quit due to lazyness. I've learned more in 10 lessons with you than I learned in 2 yrs back then. What I need to know, are there stretching exersises for the left hand I can do to help me reach some of the cords. 65 yr. old hands don't work like they use to. thanks Dave

victo99victo99 replied on July 23rd, 2009

I am really having a lot of trouble with the effing F chord as per usual. It's one reason I quit taking guitar lessons with a live teacher I cannot STILL do the F chord in any shape or form. How will I ever be able to continue on? Are there exercises for this? Is there any hope, when in 2 years I couldn't do a "clean" f? Sigh.

efr450efr450 replied on July 18th, 2009

Hello there Jim, great lesson by the way, i just have a couple theory questions. Is the reason why you are alternating to the G on the 2nd and 4th beats from C when playing the CM chord because the 2nd and 4th beats are the weak beats? I know there are 2 weak beats but I cant remember which is which haha. Also, when I try alternating to the open E string instead of fretting a G it just sounds off and I don't quite understand why. If I remember correctly having the E in the base would put the chord into first inversion instead of root position (or 2nd inversion with the G), is first inversion really weak when playing a 1 or something? Thanks, Ethan

musikkikiesmusikkikies replied on July 17th, 2009

Jim - I'm loving your teaching style. Thank you. I appreciate the way you give "homework" - things to practice constantly in order to improve our playing. Also, not a lot of fluff commentary.

matthias siebermatthias sieber replied on May 20th, 2009

I'm stuck at this lesson at the moment, because I can't even get the "small" F barre chord right.

matthias siebermatthias sieber replied on May 20th, 2009

nevermind... it's working now... more or less :)

knicholsknichols replied on December 11th, 2008

Jim, I just signed up for JamPlay a week or so ago and am going through your lessons, one a day. I really love the sequence of your lessons and am finding them very helpful. Since I didn't ever take guitar lessons, I have "gaps" especially in music theory. You explain everything very well and in managable bites.

rumble dollrumble doll replied on September 27th, 2008

I really enjoyed this lesson & found it extremely helpful & useful. Thanks Jim. Can anyone explain something that's been bugging me for some time. From watching Jim make the full barre chords it looks to me that you should hold down all 6 strings when barring across all 6, in other words all 6 need to be held down/fretted. However, what baffles me is when you look at a chord diagram for this sometimes only the low E, high E & the B string are shown to be held down/fretted. It looks like the A, D & G are supposed to be left open (which would suggest you have to curve your finger so that those strings would be left open). This is very confusing as other diagrams show all strings to be held down. Can anyone shed light on this one for me? I have even seen it shown where the low E, high E & one of the middle strings appears to be held down (yes, on the barre for the index finger!). How on earth would you be supposed to do that, lol? If the idea is that by showing the low E & high E as fretted to indicate the barre of all 6 strings, then why do they then add in the B aswell? I really would appreciate an explanation of this. Thanks so much.

mocoffeemocoffee replied on October 25th, 2008

I would be happy to help. Can you explain which barr chord you are referring to. Thanks.

jboothjbooth replied on September 27th, 2008

Generally you hold down all the fingers, but if you have another finger being played on the same string you don't really need to label it as being played on the chord chart. For instance on the E shape barre chords, the 2nd, 3rd and 4th fingers, on the strings they play a chord chart doesn't necessarily need to show those strings as depressed. And on the A shape and C shape chords you don't want to play the low E string.

rumble dollrumble doll replied on September 28th, 2008

Hi. Thank you for the reply. I really appreciate that & I understand what you mean. :-)

meganmegan replied on June 29th, 2008

This is great beginning lesson. Gives lots of challenges in a holistic way. Especially appreciated the explanation that C7 wants to resolve to something (the tonic - F) and indicates a transition. Learnt lots and was very entertained. Thanks Jim. Just fabulous!

phxsoonerphxsooner replied on June 19th, 2008

Why is it B7th and not just B?

phxsoonerphxsooner replied on June 19th, 2008

Never mind. Didn't watch long enough.

karatekidkaratekid replied on March 24th, 2008

I' having a really hard time trying to play the F barre Chord. I cannot seem to get that first finger position to hold down those 3 strings. Can you give some suggestions as this is frustrating so early on.

andyandy replied on December 26th, 2007

It seems Jim that you will be going to alternating bass while adding melody notes ; I wanted to ask if you would consider going through at half speed for some of these songs especially when there is any syncopation involved; I tend to get off on the timing; also would there be a way to count out the ands ( ie one +2+) Thanks Jim for all you have done andy

Jim.DeemingJim.Deeming replied on January 14th, 2008

Andy, thanks for your comment. I will be dealing with alternating bass and melody in the fingerstyle lesson series rather than here. But I will try to make sure I run some slow tempo takes on everything!

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.

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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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Orville Johnson introduces turnarounds and provides great ideas and techniques.

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Mitch teaches his interpretation of the classic "Cannonball Rag." This song provides beginning and intermediate guitarists...

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

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Nick Amodeo Nick Amodeo

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Steve Eulberg Steve Eulberg

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Mary Flower Mary Flower

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

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

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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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Prashant Aswani Prashant Aswani

Do you want to play more musical sounding solos? Do you want to play solos with more emotion behind them? Maybe you're the...

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David Ellefson David Ellefson

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

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

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Dennis Hodges Dennis Hodges

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

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John DeServio John DeServio

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

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