Proper Practicing (Guitar Lesson)

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Jim Deeming

Proper Practicing

Jim Deeming explains how to create a productive practice routine. Make sure you aren't wasting needless time!

Taught by Jim Deeming in Basic Guitar with Jim seriesLength: 30:00Difficulty: 1.5 of 5
Chapter 1: (00:34) Introduction Music Jim kicks off another fine Phase 1 lesson with some introductory fingerstyle music. Make a careful note of some of the techniques Jim uses. He frequently uses the nail of his index finger to strum chords. These chords are played in conjunction with a low melody line. Then, he momentarily shifts the melody to the upper voice. When this occurs, he plays a low, palm-muted bass line.
Chapter 2: (04:34) Proper Practicing Earlier in this lesson series, Jim stressed the importance of setting some long-term goals. For instance, what guitarist do you want to emulate? What styles do you want to do play? Do you want to give professional, public performances or just play for your own enjoyment? These long-term goals help give you a sense of what you should work towards. Now, Jim discusses the importance of setting some short-term goals. The best way to reach your short and long-term goals is by establishing a daily practice routine. Within this practice routine, you must know the proper way to practice something in order to receive the most benefit. In this lesson, Jim provides some tips that will help you get the most out your valuable practice time.

Consistency Is Key!

Always remember that you will receive the most benefit from short, frequent practice sessions opposed to long marathon sessions. There are several reasons for this. First, the average human being can only retain mental focus for a span of roughly two hours at a time. If you practice for longer than two hours at a time, your practicing will become much less focused, and you won't get as much out of it. Frequently, practicing a musical instrument is compared to training for an athletic event. If you don't maintain a consistent training schedule, your muscular and cardiovascular systems will not receive the maximum benefit of this training. The same statement can easily be applied to playing any musical instrument.

Practice Your Mistakes and Weaknesses

Jim explains a very problematic scenario that is quite common. When learning a new piece of music, many students have the mentality that they must blast through the piece from beginning to end. When these students hit a difficult spot in the song or piece, they simply plow through it in hopes of reaching the end. This is a prime example of what you should not do when practicing. Practicing in this way causes you to reinforce your mistakes and bad habits. Instead, spend your practice time working on problematic sections. Practice them slowly and carefully. However, you want to make sure that you don't spend all of your time working on just one section of the piece. Many beginners make the mistake of practicing the beginning portion of a song until they master it. As a result, the quality of the second half of the song pales in comparison. The problem with developing a good practice routine is finding a good balance between learning new things and perfecting things that you already know.

The Buster B. Jones Philosophy

Guitarist Buster B. Jones argues that you shouldn't ever practice. Instead, you should simply play the guitar. This philosophy does have its merits. You should spend a significant time noodling and having fun with the guitar. However, this philosophy really only works for advanced guitarists that already possess a wide base of guitar knowledge. As a beginner, most of your time playing the instrument should be devoted to structured practice.
Chapter 3: (09:54) Ideal Practice Session In this scene, Jim provides an example of a practice session built around a specific short-term goal. Prior to each practice session, you must determine what you need to work on, so you are not simply noodling and wasting time.

Hypothetically, you may be working on playing a I vi IV V progression in the key of G major. The chords involved in this progression are G, Em, C, and D. Watch closely while Jim demonstrates this basic progression. Notice how the C and D chords are only played for two beats each.

For the sake of this lesson, let's pretend that you are having a difficult time switching from C to D in a short period of time. What's the best way to practice such a transition? If you keep repeating this awkward chord change the same way over and over, you are only rehearsing and reinforcing your mistakes. Instead, you must practice this chord change by analyzing it and breaking it down into its most basic components. For instance, analyze where each finger needs to move. The third finger must jump from the 3rd fret of the fifth string down to the 3rd fret of the second string. Isolate and slowly practice this finger movement. Repeat this process with the other two fingers involved in these chords. Go as slow as you need to. Focus on accuracy. Don't worry about proper rhythm at this point. This practice method will effectively program your fingers with the proper muscle memory. Finally, set the metronome to a slow tempo in order to play this chord change in proper rhythm. Start as slow as you need to. Then, gradually increase the tempo as you feel more comfortable.

After you master this chord change, you must insert it back into the context of the piece or exercise that you are working on. Start by adding the chords to the progression that occur before and after this difficult switch. Loop and practice these chord changes. Then, loop and practice the entire section.

Being Your Own Critic

The most important skill to possess as a musician is the ability to recognize when you are playing something incorrectly or something that doesn't sound quite as good as it should. This will alert you of areas that you need to work on.
Chapter 4: (07:41) Using a Metronome The metronome is the single most important resource available to you when practicing. Rhythm is by far the most important aspect of any musical performance. For this reason, it should come to you as no surprise that the metronome is such a valuable tool. Constant practice with a metronome will improve your playing ability by leaps and bounds within a relatively short period of time.

Like Jim mentions, many musicians dislike playing with a metronome. There are several reasons for this widespread aversion. The constant clicking or beeping sound can become quite annoying after only a few minutes. This problem is avoidable. Many metronomes are built with a wide variety of sounds pre-installed. This allows you to choose the sound that is most pleasing to you. Many beginners are simply not use to the metric rigidity that the metronome provides. As a result, trying to play along with a metronome can be a very frustrating experience. The only way around this problem is through frequent, focused practice.

Whether you like to play with a metronome or not is totally irrelevant. If you want to progress on your instrument and improve your rhythm, you absolutely must spend a large amount of practice time playing along with a non-human timekeeping device. Remember this simple rule: If you can't play a song or piece of music along with a metronome, you can't play it. There are no ifs, ands, or buts. Many inexperienced musicians consider practicing with a good drummer an acceptable substitution for playing with a metronome. Practicing with a good drummer is not enough. Playing with a drummer will improve your rhythm. However, regardless of how good the drummer is, he or she is still a human being. NO ONE can keep a perfect, metronomic beat over the course of more than about thirty or forty seconds.

Recording Music

Rhythmic problems will rear their ugly heads in the context of any musical performance. However, they are most noticeable on any sort of recording. Jim shares a personal story that illustrates this point perfectly. When music is recorded, the musicians play along with a "click track." A click track is essentially the same thing as a metronome. Usually when music is recorded, all of the tracks or parts that appear on the recording are not recorded simultaneously. Rather, they are usually recorded individually or in small groups. For example, the bassist, guitarist, and drummer typically will lay down the basic groove together. Then, additional guitar, bass, percussion, and vocal parts are added on top. The click track ensures that all of the musicians are rhythmically on the same page. The click track also enables you to record sequenced sounds such as a programmed drumbeat.

Practicing with a Metronome

Many of you may be wondering what to practice with a metronome. The answer is simple: everything! Practice everything that you are currently working on with a metronome as much as you can possibly stand it. It may be hard and frustrating at first, but it gets much easier the more you do it. Eventually, you'll become so accustomed to playing with a timekeeping device that you'll feel totally lost if you don't have it.

If you haven't previously used a metronome, start back at the beginning of this lesson series. Play everything that Jim has taught you thus far. Chord progressions that feature an alternating bass line are a great place to start, because the rhythm retains a constant quarter note pulse. Remember to start the metronome at a very slow tempo. Once you completely master a chord progression at a slow tempo, move the metronome up one notch. Then, repeat the same process.
Chapter 5: (06:45) Practicing and Moving On The JamPlay Philosophy

The entire JamPlay website is built around the multi-instructor approach. This enables you to learn a wide variety of topics from a wide variety of teachers. Also, this approach allows you to learn the same topic from a fresh new perspective. For example, Jim, Aaron Foltz, and Steve Eulberg primarily gear their lessons toward students that are interested in learning bluegrass music. As you explore the site, you will notice that multiple instructors have taught lessons regarding the same topic. If for example you have completed Jim's lessons regarding "A shaped" chords, do not skip over other teachers' lessons that pertain to the same topic. You may discover information that another instructor didn't mention. Or, another instructor might explain a topic in a way that makes more sense to you. Finally, if you notice that more than one teacher has taught a particular subject, you can safely assume that it is a topic of great importance. Consequently, extra time should be spent watching these lessons.

How Long Should I Practice?

The answer to this question depends entirely upon the individual. Everyone is different. Some people have more time available than others. In addition, some people have longer attention spans than others. However, almost all music teachers agree that a minimum amount of half an hour must be spent every day in order to make any noticeable improvement. On the other extreme, most professional musicians spend about four or five hours a day playing or practicing. Saxophonist Charlie Parker practiced close to twelve hours everyday seven days a week. Guitarist Steve Vai also maintained the exact same routine for a number of years.

If you're a beginner, start with thirty minutes each day. After a couple of weeks, reflect on how this practice schedule works for you. From this point, you can make any necessary adjustments. If you find that you experience cramps or pain by the end of a thirty minute session, you may need to temporarily decrease the length of your practice sessions. However, you may just be playing with poor technique. Regardless, playing the guitar should never be painful. Once you advance to a fairly intermediate level, playing the guitar should not even feel uncomfortable. If it is, you are definitely doing something wrong. Lastly, keep in mind that playing a steel string acoustic is much more demanding on the finger muscles and calluses than an electric or classical guitar. This factor may cause you to make some adjustments to the length of your practice routine.

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Supplemental Learning Material



Member Comments about this Lesson

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

Acheron2010Acheron2010 replied

very valuable lesson. Would like to see this one as lesson 4 or 5, something right after learning the first one or two chords. Answers many questions on approaching practice. Thanks.

O2ADDICT2O2ADDICT2 replied the metronome is excellent advice BUT...if you're teaching a chord progression to newbies is does not help to have you flying all over the place with your picking. Stick to the lesson and don't confusion people!

LSCalgaryLSCalgary replied

Great lessons Jim!

Prevol108Prevol108 replied

Great advice!!

stevenvlstevenvl replied

This is great advice! (es. from 5:00....)

ScSmithScSmith replied

Yes - I'm having fun but my finger tips Never build good, strong calluses. I practice on and off during a day or evening but my fingers aren't long enough for a lot of barr chords. I do better with standard chord play. I'll keep trying. Thanks for everything Jim.

fsmatthew1985fsmatthew1985 replied

try finger scretching, look it up on youtube

Sleuth86Sleuth86 replied

Jim's suggestion about breaking the lessons up into portions and just working on the trouble areas is a good one. I've had nothing but trouble with that F barre cord, trying to get it to even play all 6 strings.I finally took his idea of muscle memory and just repeated that one section in a prior lesson, going back and forth between C and F (barre) until I finally got it to work. Great tip about muscle memory and making sure you are teaching your fingers to do it properly, not teaching them to do it wrong each time.

johnmorris4johnmorris4 replied

Great information brought up in this lesson.

BuffyLOLBuffyLOL replied

Very good and helpful lesson, thank you Jim :-)

marksbarabasmarksbarabas replied

I'm at a point where I know the cord fingering and am practicing changes and clean sound. Is it proper to substitute simply cord exercises with learning and practicing using a song instead? Or should I stick with exercises until I become proficient in changes and quality of sound?...thanks for the great instructions Jim!

ricorico replied

is it ok to try to learn bass guitar while learning acoustic at the same time?

jackwestjackwest replied

I know I'm a Johnny (or Jack) come lately here, but I just wanted to say that this is an extremely valuable lesson. I had heard much of this but could use the reinforcement, and enough new info that it was especially helpful. GREAT focus for a video lesson.

3cav3cav replied

G'day Jim, Neil here from Australia, my first love in the guitar/blues harp world is blues and that is all I intended to learn but when I heard you playing Waltzing Matilda I thought there could be a lot to be learn t with this finger style method and incorporate it into my blues playing. I am returning to the guitar after 30 years of not playing and it is amazing how quickly I am playing the chords from 30 years ago. In the last lesson I watched you stressed the importance of the dexterity of the little finger of the left hand. I unfortunately broke that finger and have lost a lot of movement, is this going to be a big problem in the upcoming lessons when we start playing the melody?

sumbluessumblues replied

Very good info Jim,My daughter wanted me to teach her guitar,but in all honesty it has taken me YEARS to get where I'm at and it stems from poor practice,so not only is this great for her but for me as well thanks.

mebalonmebalon replied

hey how would yuo do the bm chord

bcgaraybcgaray replied

I just wanted to thank you for all of your Great lessons. I have been away from playing for 35 years and recently decided to get back into it. I'm determined to learn finger picking the proper way. Chet Atkins was always a favorite of mine. Although I never learned to finger pick even though I played for more then 10 years. But that is about to be corrected. This lesson made me think how important it is to evaluate problem areas and how to correct them. Thanks again Jim please keep up the GOOd work. Bruce Raykowski

tlemketlemke replied

JAMPLAY SUGGESTION: Can our loops be saved (A - B) for return play in combination with the Return Markers? Would be nice for practice when returning to the same lesson...

natalie jenningsnatalie jennings replied

THANK YOU. You have really helped me get back into what I love...playing music. This lesson is a constant reminder of how I need to slow down sometimes!

jboothjbooth replied

That's a good suggestion. What I would recommend doing right now though is just setting markers where you want your start and end point of your loop to appear, then just add the loop later to correspond with the regular markers. It's not perfect, but it helps :) Just FYI the markers are the gold star below the video.

tbuztbuz replied

This has been a lesson worth coming back to a few time just to remind yourself how to keep your self on track. thank you.

chuckarchuckar replied

You put alot of work into making this a simple and easy lesson to understand, but what a difference it makes. As soon as I finnished watching the lesson applied it to a song I was having problems with and saw an improvement. Thank you, this is one of the most benificial lessons I could have taken.

sittingbullysittingbully replied

you are heaven sent bro

jnc51jnc51 replied

That was an excellent lesson. I've been lost and inconsistant in my practice sessions. I tend to play beginnings of songs that I'm good and but never play it through because I get lost or have a trouble spot. I'm going to start recognizing those trouble areas and working on them. another thing I need to do is use the metronome. I'll probably refer to this lesson often. Thanks Jim

ShannonBShannonB replied

Thanks so much for a great set of Lessons Jim!

daryl davisdaryl davis replied

Great advise on how and what to practice. I have been playing guitar for some time and I have always wanted to get better and people would tell me to practice practice practice. If you don't know what to practice you are not going to learn any more. The site is great and I am finally geting some direction I needed. Also I started out with Steve and went through the phase one very quickly then I went through a couple of your phase 2 stuff and learned that I need to go over some more basics and decided to go thru hyour phase one also. I am glad I did. I have gone thought about 4 intructors so far on this site and you are all very good on how to teach. Keep up the good work. PS are you going to add some more Arlo songs, I recognize the city of New Orleans on your intros, love to learn some of his songs.

joseefjoseef replied

Parts of this should be put at lesson 2 or 3

DeseratDeserat replied

I agree. Seems kind of far along to just now be covering how to practice.

rbennettrbennett replied

what would you reccomend for songs to play. right now i only work on scales and chord progressions. thanks. rgb

revansrevans replied

this was very positive and practical. i really appreciated it especially the use of the metronome. i bought one but it sits around, now i understand how to use it. having been a high school teacher and coaching athletics for many years and i especially appreciated your structure. that connects with me. i see jamplay as my coach and it makes sense for me to see what we are going to do and then this is how we will do it, and then practice it. i played guitar many many years ago but gave it up when i started teaching. so i just want to learn to learn to play well for myself now that i am retired. this lesson was a pep talk and helped me focus my practicing better. thanks.

rumble dollrumble doll replied

Jim. Thanks for another great lesson. So far, I have not been using a metronome & I know I need to start using one. I have no excuse as I have at least 2 on my PC in various software progs. I'm also going to really take on board what you have said about practising properly. Sometimes, I just thrash something out because I know it & it's easy but at the end of the day that's not going to keep me moving on & improving in my's just being lazy instead. I tend to be a bit lazy at times & can lack motivation but I know I have to start thinking carefully about what I'm doing in my practising. Thanks! :-)

efr450efr450 replied

I was the same way haha, had one on the comp. I went out and bought a Korg MA-30 though for one song i was learning (wanted the metronome to be perfect timing-wise) and i've started using it, mostly because its physical and i had to pay money for it (dont want my money to be wasted heh).

matthias siebermatthias sieber replied

great lesson!

pthomp01pthomp01 replied

Jim, this lesson is key to learning to play. I have taken lessons, on and off for a few years. In the few weeks that I have been taking your course, I have learned more than any time before. Most private instructors don't have a syllabus. I've had instructors that start the lesson with "well what do you want to do today". Not very helpful. Thanks for doing this and keep up the high quality of the lessons.

gerrygerry replied

Very Helpful lesson, thanks Jim.

mclovinmclovin replied

but when you'd like to learn a new song, but you can't hear how the re strumming, how are you suppouse to do then?

marsekaymarsekay replied

Ha the metronome even makes it sound cooler. awesome.

jenniferchristinemusicjenniferchristinemusic replied

I am having fun! Thanks for this as well as your other lessons, you're a great teacher!

noeyedeernoeyedeer replied

Jim, it may or may not be a coincidence that you used the C to D chord change as an example of how to work on problem areas. I have been trying to teach myself for just over 3 years now, and that is one problem i still have (also G to D) even though i can play more complicated stuff ok. I will definitely try working on it as you suggest

malcmalc replied

Hi Jim thanks for a most valuble lesson i think the best advice i was given when i started to learn guitar ( it came from a first class classical guitarist0 There is no substitute for slow practice and the metronome really is your friend you have just reinforced that so thanks again love your lessons regards malc

ferrari79ferrari79 replied

I'd like to say that in my opinion.... (take it like a grain of salt). This lesson came at exactly the appropriate #. I was doing pretty good following along with the previous 15 lessons. But I wasn't spending the time that is actually needed on certain ones. Some of the lessons, I seem to have grasped fairly good. Where others, I didn't LEARN what I could from them. This lesson has caused me to take a break from proceeding forward. I'm going to take the time necessary to really get the previous sessions, "perfected". ( within reason. :) ) Thanks for all you time, Jim. I hope to one day be able to pick up a thumbpick with some confidence!

skaterstuskaterstu replied

This is a cool lesson, and has inspired me to start looking at other instructors lessons. I have been focusing entirely on Steve's lessons, which are superb, but I think mixing it up with other instructors is a good idea. Not quite sure why this is lesson 16, as this is the perfect lesson for a total beginner if you ask me. Thanks Jim, so far the two lessons that I have viewed of yours have been extremely informative and I look forward to going through the other material that you have. I love JamPlay... quite possibly the best money I have ever spent, especially seeing as I was drunk when I signed up.

ryanj34ryanj34 replied

Thanks for the metronone lesson. I have owned one for a year but never could figure out how to use it. We have even discussed using one at our Syracuse guitar Leauge, but I still didn't get it. Your lesson nails it.

tommekentommeken replied

well thank you very much for the metronome lesson..i downloaded "fine metronome" and it works great to play along with it. Now im forced to change between chords in time. nice way of teaching and perfect use of language so even belgium people understand.

tommekentommeken replied

well thank you very much for the metronome lesson..i downloaded "fine metronome" and it works great to play along with it. Now im forced to change between chords in time. nice way of teaching and perfect use of language so even belgium people understand.

burford0714burford0714 replied

Jim are you going to teach lead?

mbeurymbeury replied

for a while i had trouble switching from C to D (which you used as an example) and a friend told me to just use the barre chord form (but i didnt, kinda felt like i was cheating) but whats your opinion on doing things like that?

Jim.DeemingJim.Deeming replied

Being familiar with more than one form of a chord is a good idea. Learn the easiest one for you first, so you can enjoy playing, but don't stop working on the other versions. You'll want them all someday.

hgnativehgnative replied

is it ok to mix diffrent styles like rock bluegrass ?

Jim.DeemingJim.Deeming replied

As far as I'm concerned, you can mix any two styles of music in the world you want, as long as one of them is not rap. ;) I happen to think that a good upbeat bluegrass tune with a drumset and amplified acoustic guitar is a kick in the pants. But look out - whenever I show up at a bluegrass jam with an amp, they throw me out on my ear.

przyrembelprzyrembel replied

Great lesson. I learn some of the informations while learning piano, but this was twenty-eight years ago, so I lost much of them. But after this refreshing instructions an some new infos remember it again. Every newbie should take this lesson! Great job, Jim.

cdawsoncdawson replied

Scene 5 rocks! Another great one from Deeming... if you guys aren't paying attention here, you just aren't getting your money's worth.

Basic Guitar with Jim

Found in our Beginner Lesson Sets

Fingerstyle master Jim Deeming teaches you the basics of guitar playing. With over 30 years of experience teaching and playing, Jim will definitely start you in the right direction. This is a great series for beginners and guitarists looking to refresh their knowledge.

Introduction LessonLesson 1

Introduction Lesson

In this short lesson, Jim Deeming will introduce himself and talk about his upcoming lessons.

Length: 6:12 Difficulty: 0.5 Members Only
Choosing a GuitarLesson 2

Choosing a Guitar

Jim gives his thoughts on purchasing your first guitar.

Length: 7:09 Difficulty: 0.5 Members Only
Goal SettingLesson 3

Goal Setting

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

Length: 11:00 Difficulty: 0.5 FREE
Changing the StringsLesson 4

Changing the Strings

Jim Deeming walks you through the process of changing your strings. He gives some excellent tips on this important process.

Length: 41:09 Difficulty: 0.5 Members Only
Meet Your New GuitarLesson 5

Meet Your New Guitar

Jim introduces proper playing technique. Then, he explains how to play your first chord.

Length: 52:24 Difficulty: 0.5 Members Only
Learning More ChordsLesson 6

Learning More Chords

Jim teaches you the 3 primary chords in G major. He also explains how chords relate to specific keys. A great lesson!

Length: 39:15 Difficulty: 1.0 Members Only
Right Hand RevisitedLesson 7

Right Hand Revisited

Jim discusses a plethora of right hand techniques that are essential to guitar playing.

Length: 35:19 Difficulty: 1.0 Members Only
New Chords and KeysLesson 8

New Chords and Keys

This lesson provides additional information about chords and keys.

Length: 19:08 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Let's PlayLesson 9

Let's Play

This lesson is all about playing. Jim will start you off playing a song. You will have the opportunity to play along with him.

Length: 20:10 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Alternating Bass and ChordsLesson 10

Alternating Bass and Chords

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

Length: 40:54 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
A Shape ChordsLesson 11

A Shape Chords

Jim covers all possible fingering options pertaining to the basic open A chord shape.

Length: 17:42 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Basic Guitar CheckupLesson 12

Basic Guitar Checkup

Jim talks about the future of his Phase 1 guitar series and where to go from here.

Length: 4:18 Difficulty: 0.5 Members Only
Notes, Scales and TheoryLesson 13

Notes, Scales and Theory

Jim delves into basic music theory. He starts from square one in this lesson.

Length: 29:00 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Chord FiestaLesson 14

Chord Fiesta

Jim Deeming invites you to a veritable chord fiesta. He demonstrates common dominant and minor chord shapes.

Length: 43:00 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Movable ChordsLesson 15

Movable Chords

This lesson is all about movable chords. Learn the importance of barre chords and other movable shapes.

Length: 40:00 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Proper PracticingLesson 16

Proper Practicing

Jim Deeming explains how to create a productive practice routine. Make sure you aren't wasting needless time!

Length: 30:00 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
The Pinky AnchorLesson 17

The Pinky Anchor

Many guitarists use their pinky as an anchor. Jim explains the pros and cons of this technique.

Length: 9:00 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Palm MutingLesson 18

Palm Muting

Jim discusses an important technique--palm muting. He explains how palm muting is used by flatpickers and fingerstyle players.

Length: 7:00 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Reading TablatureLesson 19

Reading Tablature

Jim Deeming covers the basics of reading guitar tablature. Knowledge of tablature will help with JamPlay lessons as well as learning your favorite songs.

Length: 21:12 Difficulty: 1.0 Members Only
Tuning ExtravaganzaLesson 20

Tuning Extravaganza

Jim explains various tuning methods. He provides useful tips and tricks that will ensure that your guitar is sounding its best.

Length: 31:45 Difficulty: 1.0 Members Only
Let's Play: Lesson 21

Let's Play: "Red River Valley"

Jim is back with another "let's play" style lesson. He teaches the classic song "Red River Valley" and encourages you to play along.

Length: 52:38 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Drop D TuningLesson 22

Drop D Tuning

Jim Deeming introduces drop D tuning. Drop D is a popular alternate tuning used in many styles of music including rock, fingerstyle and blues.

Length: 25:25 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Let's Play: Lesson 23

Let's Play: "Wayfaring Stranger"

Jim Deeming breaks down the song sections to the classic tune "Wayfaring Stranger".

Length: 29:20 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
More On Drop DLesson 24

More On Drop D

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

Length: 6:27 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Your Friend, the MetronomeLesson 25

Your Friend, the Metronome

Jim Deeming discusses how to use a metronome for practice, skill building, and speed building.

Length: 24:02 Difficulty: 1.0 Members Only
Jim Deeming

About Jim Deeming View Full Biography Jim Deeming got his first guitar when he was only six years old. His Dad was taking fingerpicking lessons, and Jim wanted to be just like him. The Mel Bay books didn't last very long before he strapped on a thumb pick and added the Chet part to Red River Valley so it sounded better.

Most of Jim's early learning was by ear. With unlimited access to his Dad's collection of Chet Atkins albums, he spent countless hours decoding his favorite songs. They were never "right" until they sounded just like Chet. Around the age of 12, Jim heard Jerry Reed for the first time and just knew he had to be able to make that "Alabama Wild Man" sound. The styles of Chet & Jerry always have been a big influence on his playing.

More recently he has pursued arrangements by Tommy Emmanuel and Doyle Dykes, in addition to creating some of his own and writing originals.

Jim has performed in front of a variety of audiences, including concerts, competitions, weddings and the like, but playing at church has always been a mainstay. Whether playing in worship bands or guitar solos, gospel music is deep in his roots and is also the driving theme behind his debut CD release, titled "First Fruits".

Jim has been playing for about 38 years. He also has taught private lessons in the past but believes is an exciting and better venue with many advantages over the traditional method of weekly 30 minute sessions.

Jim lives in Berthoud, Colorado with his wife, Linda, and their four children. Although he still has a "day job", he is actively performing and is already back in the studio working on the next CD. If you wonder how he finds time, look no further than the back seat of his truck where he keeps a "travel guitar" to take advantage of any practice or song-writing opportunities he can get.

The opening song you hear in Jim's introductory JamPlay video is called, "A Pick In My Pocket". It's an original tune, written in memory of Jim's father who told him early on he should always keep a pick in his pocket in case he ever met Chet Atkins and got the chance to play for him. That song is slated to be the title track for his next CD, which will feature several more originals plus some of his favorite covers of Chet and Jerry arrangements.

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

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Amber Russell Amber Russell

Now we look at more harmonics, using a section of Amber's song - 'Love vs. Logic'

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Miche Fambro Miche Fambro

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

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Mark Lincoln Mark Lincoln

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

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Mary Flower Mary Flower

In this lesson, Mary Flower introduces herself and her playing style. She also discusses essential blues listening.

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Electric Guitar Lesson Samples

Electric Guitar

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

Steve McKinley Steve McKinley

Steve McKinley talks about evaluating your bass and keeping it in top shape. He covers neck relief, adjusting the truss rod,...

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Tony MacAlpine Tony MacAlpine

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Andy Wood Andy Wood

How do you sequence arpeggio shapes and create a more angular sound to your country playing? Andy Wood explains how he was...

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Emil Werstler Emil Werstler

Emil takes you through some techniques that he uses frequently in his style of playing. Topics include neck bending, percussive...

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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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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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Steve Smyth Steve Smyth

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

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Lita Ford Lita Ford

Lita Ford, guitarist for The Runaways, presents a fantastic and in depth series on what it was like and what it took professionally...

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Irene Ketikidi Irene Ketikidi

Dynamics can be a key component to becoming expressive with your melodies. Irene applies some dynamic expressive techniques...

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Paul Musso Paul Musso

JamPlay is proud to welcome senior professor and Coordinator of Guitar Studies at the University of Colorado at Denver,...

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Unlimited Lesson Viewing

A JamPlay membership gives you access to every lesson, from every teacher on our staff. Additionally, there is no restriction on how many times you watch a lesson. Watch as many times as you need.

Live Lessons

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Chord Library

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.

Scale Library

Our software allows you to document your progress for any lesson, including notes and percent of the lesson completed. This gives you the ability to document what you need to work on, and where you left off.

Custom Chord Sheets

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.

Backing Tracks

Jam-along backing tracks give the guitarist a platform for improvising and soloing. Our backing tracks provide a wide variety of tracks from different genres of music, and serves as a great learning tool.

Interactive Games

We have teachers covering beginner lessons, rock, classic rock, jazz, bluegrass, fingerstyle, slack key and more. Learn how to play the guitar from experienced players, in a casual environment.

Beginners Welcome.. and Up

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

Take a minute to compare JamPlay to other traditional and new methods of learning guitar. Our estimates for "In-Person" lessons below are based on a weekly face-to-face lesson for $40 per hour.

Price Per Lesson < $0.01 $4 - $5 $30 - $50 Free
Money Back Guarantee Sometimes n/a
Number of Instructors 128 1 – 3 1 Zillions
Interaction with Instructors Daily Webcam Sessions Weekly
Professional Instructors Luck of the Draw Luck of the Draw
New Lessons Daily Weekly Minutely
Structured Lessons
Learn Any Style Sorta
Track Progress
HD Video - Sometimes
Multiple Camera Angles Sometimes - Sometimes
Accurate Tabs Maybe Maybe
Scale/Chord Libraries
Custom JamTracks
Interactive Games
Learn in Sweatpants Socially Unacceptable
Gasoline Needed $0.00 $0.00 ~$4 / gallon! $0.00
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Mike H.

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

Greg J.

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

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


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