Let's Play: "Red River Valley" (Guitar Lesson)

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Jim Deeming

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.

Taught by Jim Deeming in Basic Guitar with Jim seriesLength: 52:38Difficulty: 2.5 of 5
Chapter 1: (00:24) Musical Introduction Jim plays through a fingerstyle arrangement of "Red River Valley."

"Red River Valley" is a folk song that is known by several different names. Some other names that refer to the same melody line are "Cowboy Love Song", "Bright Sherman Valley", "Bright Laurel Valley", and "Bright Little Valley."

The lyrics to the song are listed below. Usually, the appropriate title of the song is substituted for "Red River Valley" in the third line.

Come and sit by my side if you love me,
Do not hasten to bid me adieu,
Just remember the Red River Valley
And the cowboy that has loved you so true.
Chapter 2: (02:55) Lesson Introduction "Red River Valley" is a great song to work on if you are new to playing a melodies and accompaniment figures. The melody line is comprised of very simple, straight forward rhythms. Also, the melody is played solely in first position in the key of C major. This is the easiest key to play in since it contains no sharps or flats. The chord changes to the song are relatively simple as well.

Goals for the Lesson

-Improve transitions between various chord shapes.

-Learn how to play a melody musically.

-Improve rhythmic skills by playing with another musician. In the scenes that follow, you will play the melody while Jim accompanies you with the chord progression. You will also have an opportunity to accompany Jim as he performs the melody.

Accompanying another musician while he/she plays a melody line is an equally important skill to playing a melody yourself. Remember that the melody to a piece is sacred. Do not drown out the melody line with your accompaniment. You must detach your mind from the mechanical aspects of your playing and listen to what the other person is playing.
Chapter 3: (05:48) Red River Valley Basics Chordal Accompaniment

There are a few different ways to harmonize the melody. Jim starts off with a very simple harmonization and works his way into more complicated versions.

The first chord in the progression is the tonic chord, C. Notice how Jim plays the low root note of the chord on the first beat. The chord is strummed on beat 2. Then, the lowest available fifth of the chord is played on beat three. Finally, the chord is strummed again on beat four. This alternating bass pattern is applied to every chord in the progression.

The V chord in the key of C major, G, also occurs in the progression. Notice the way in which Jim fingers this chord. This fingering is most practical within the context of the progression. If it feels more comfortable, use the alternate "bluegrass" fingering of the G chord. Both fingerings of the chord are listed under the "Supplemental Content" tab. Regardless of which fingering you choose, you must make sure that all chord changes are performed smoothly and in time.

An A7 chord occurs later in the progression. As expected, this chord resolves to the ii chord, Dm. A7 functions as a dominant chord to Dm. For A7, you can either use the most basic "open" voicing or a barre chord voicing that contains the note G on the high E string. Jim typically favors the latter option since the note G is featured in the melody line.

At this point in the lesson series, you have only learned one voicing for the Dm chord. Play this chord with the fingering that Jim demonstrates in the lesson video at 02:45.

In measure 11, a C chord is converted into C7. C7 functions as a dominant chord to F major. Add the note Bb to the 3rd fret of the third string within a C chord to form C7. Use the pinkie finger to fret this note.

As expected, the C7 chord resolves to F major in the following measure. Jim chooses to play this chord with a full barre. However, feel free to use a four string voicing for this chord if you have not yet mastered the full barre shape.

Make sure that you can play an alternating bass line with all of these chords. Jim reviews all of the appropriate bass pattern for eac chords at the end of the scene. This pattern can either be played with a thumb pick or a flat pick. You may want to practice the accompaniment with both types of picks to become a more versatile player.

Note: In later scenes, Jim demonstrates a more complicated strumming pattern that can be applied to the accompaniment figure discussed in this scene.
Chapter 4: (04:00) Chord Play Along In this scene, Jim provides you with an opportunity to play the accompaniment figure along with him. He plays through a fingerstyle arrangement of the song. This allows him to simultaneously play the melody and show you which chord you should be playing. Play the chord changes along with him to make sure that you are changing at the correct time and in the proper rhythm.

Note: Tablature to the accompaniment figure discussed in the previous scene can be found under the "Supplemental Content" tab.

Tune Time

Before you attempt to play along with Jim, make sure that you are in tune with him. Match your tuning to Jim's at 02:53 in the lesson video.

Pickup Notes

The melody begins with an incomplete measure. Notice how the melody begins on beat three rather than the first beat of the measure. Since the melody does not begin on the first beat of the measure, the first two notes are referred to as "pickup" notes. Do not come in with the chordal accompaniment until the first full measure begins.
Chapter 5: (01:10) Playing with Jim Learn and master the basic version of the chord progression listed under the "Supplemental Content" tab. Begin by playing at a very slow tempo such as 60 beats per minute. Focus on performing the chord changes accurately and in time. Once you have mastered the accompaniment pattern at this tempo, gradually work towards the goal tempo of 90 beats per minute. Once you have reached this goal tempo, return to the lesson video and play along with Jim. Remember to remain silent as Jim plays the pickup notes in the first measure.
Chapter 6: (02:09) Play the Rhythm In this scene, Jim plays the melody while you accompany him with the chord changes and alternating bass line. This forces you to fullfill the roll of timekeeper now that Jim is no longer playing the bass line along with you. If you find yourself having a hard time keeping up with the video, pause the video and practice at a slower tempo with a metronome. Remember that rhythm is the most important aspect of any musical performance.

Play the simple version of the chord progression listed under the "Supplemental Content" tab. This limits the number of chords to C, G, F, and C7. Once you have mastered this version, begin to practice the full version of the chord progression.
Chapter 7: (09:48) Play the Melody Rhythm of the Melody

The melody is mainly comprised of half notes and quarter notes. Some dotted half notes also occur. A dot adds an extra half of the rhythmic value to the note that it follows. For example, a half note is worth two beats. When a dot follows a half note, an extra beat is added. A dotted quarter note receives the value of a quarter note plus one eighth note.

Note: For additional information about music symbols and notation, refer to the Phase 2 Reading Music and Rhythm lessons taught by Jim Deeming and Matt Brown.

C Major Scale in First Position

All of the melody notes occur within the first position pattern of the C major scale. For a review of this scale, refer to the "Supplemental Content" section. All of the melody notes span a single octave from G to G. These G notes occur on the open third string and the third fret of the first string. Listen at 01:07 as Jim plays through this segment of the C major scale.

Practicing the Melody

A. Phrasing

Work through the melody a phrase at a time. The phrases are separated by two quarter note rests. Play along with a metronome to ensure that you are keeping the rhythm steady. This melody should be played with a smooth, legato feel. Each note should continue to ring until the next note is played. Imitate the way in which this melody would be sung.

B. Picking Pattern

Keep the picking pattern as simple as possible. Since the melody does not contain any fast rhythms such as eighth notes or sixteenth notes, use all downstrokes.

If you want to practice alternate picking, use downstrokes for notes played on beats one and three. Use upstrokes for all notes that occur on beats two and four.

C. Left Hand Fingering

When playing in first position, each finger has a specific job. The first finger plays all notes at the first fret. Second fret notes are played by the middle finger. The third finger frets all notes at the third fret. Typically, the pinkie finger plays all notes at the fourth fret. However, the melody to "Red River Valley" does not feature any fourth fret notes. Keep your fingers as close to these positions as possible, even when they are not playing. This will ensure that each finger is prepared to play when called upon.

D. Performing the Melody

As you perform the melody with Jim, you might get lost. Learning how to jump back into the form is one of the most valuable skills you can learn from playing with other musicians. Everybody makes mistakes. Do not stop and start over if you make a mistake. Address any counting errors or wrong notes after you have completed the entire song.

In order to jump back in after a mistake, you must learn how to divide your attention. You must focus an equal amount of attention on what you are playing and what Jim is playing. If you lose your place, figure out where Jim is playing by looking at the chord changes written above the melody. Then, jump back in. If you memorize the melody, you will have an easier time jumping back in after a mistake.
Chapter 8: (01:31) Play Along Jim provides you with an opportunity to perform the melody while he accompanies you with the chord progression. He periodically plays segments of the melody to make sure that you are staying on track with him.

Note: A backing track is included with this lesson. Instructions concerning how you should practice along with the track are listed under the "Supplemental Content" tab.
Chapter 9: (06:34) Spicing Up the Rhythm In previous scenes, you learned how an alternating bass pattern can be applied to the chord progression of "Red River Valley." Jim demonstrates how this accompaniment pattern can be spiced up by adding some up strums. Within this pattern, a bass note is still picked on beats one and three. On beats two and four, strum down then up in eighth notes.

Note: Open "Rhythmic Variation 1" under the "Supplemental Content" tab for tablature and notation to this strumming pattern.

Up Strum Technique

The up strum technique will feel very awkward at first. Following the guidelines listed below will help you master this technique.

1. Relaxation is key!

2. Only grip the pick hard enough so that you don't drop it.

3. As you alternate between down strums and up strums, change the angle at which the pick attacks the strings. This requires that you rotate your wrist slightly like you are turning a door knob. Otherwise, the pick might get caught on the treble strings at the start of an up strum.

4. Upstrums are usually easier to perform at moderate to fast tempos. If you play too slowly, you will have a higher tendency of catching the pick on the treble strings.

Drill this strumming pattern with each individual chord until you have mastered it. Then, play through the entire progression with this pattern. Do not proceed to the exercise in the next scene until you have mastered this accompaniment pattern.
Chapter 10: (01:58) Triplet Feel This new strumming variation features an extra strum on the "and" beat of one and three. This strum is played with an upstroke immediately following the bass note.

Note: Open "Strumming Variation 2" under the "Supplemental Content" tab for notation and tablature to this new accompaniment pattern.

Within a full performance of "Red River Valley, this strumming rhythm can be used in conjunction with the strumming patterns you learned in the previous scenes. Begin the first verse with a simple alternating bass line. Then, play the eighth note strums that you learned in the previous scene. Next, begin to play this new variation to build a crescendo into the next section of the song. Jim provides a demonstration of this idea at 01:30 in the lesson video. Notice how the strumming becomes busier as he progresses through the song.
Chapter 11: (05:27) Adding a Bass Run Now that you've learned some ways to vary the strumming pattern, it's time to learn some ways that you can vary the bass line. It is very common to insert scalar bass lines as a substitute for the alternating bass line. For more information about this topic, visit Steve Eulberg's Phase 2 Bluegrass series of lessons.

Jim demonstrates a common descending line that connects a G chord to a C chord. The bass notes in this passage are derived from the first position pattern of the C major scale. When developing a scalar bass line, first observe the starting root note. Then, determine the root note of the following chord. How many notes from the major scale must be used to connect these two root notes? The notes from the C major scale between C and G are B and A. When changing from a G chord back to a C chord, you can play this bass pattern in the opposite direction. Drill these chord changes while applying the aforementioned bass movement. Jim provides a demonstration of this exercise at 02:22 in the lesson video.

The same principles can be applied when playing between C7 and F. Walk up from C to F using the notes D and E.

A chromatic bass line can be played between the F and G chords. Play an F# note when changing back and forth between these chords. F# is not part of the C major scale. However, it still sounds appropriate since it creates a smooth bass transition between the F and G chords.
Chapter 12: (01:54) Optional Chords Jim explains how the harmony of the song can be improved by adding some additional chord changes. A7, Dm, and Fm are now added to the progression.
These extra chords give the progression a much more colorful sound.

Note: Open "Extra Chords and Bass" listed under the "Supplemental Content" tab . These new changes are listed above the melody line.
Chapter 13: (05:05) Alternate Bass and Hammer-Ons In the country and bluegrass styles, hammer-ons are often combined with an alternating bass line to create an elaborate accompaniment figure. The appropriate hammer-on figures for each chord are listed below.

Note: Open "Advanced Accompaniment" listed under the "Supplemental Content" tab for a complete transcription of this new accompaniment pattern. This pattern combines all of the techniques that Jim has discussed in this lesson.

Play Hammer-ons Evenly!

Make sure that both notes under the curved slur line receive the appropriate rhythmic value. Many beginning guitarists have a tendency to cut the first note in a hammer-on short. At first, pick each note under the slur line in eighth notes to hear how the rhythm should sound. Then, apply the hammer-on to these notes.

C Chord

Hammer from open A to C at the 3rd fret of the fifth string on beat one. On beat three, hammer from the low open E string to the note G located at the 3rd fret. Beats two and four feature down and up strums played in eighth notes.

F Chord

When playing an F chord with a grande barre, hammer from the low E string to the root note. This figure can be applied to beats one, three, or both. When playing the four string voicing of F major, hammer on from the open G string to the note A at the second fret. Perform this figure on beat three of the measure.

G Chord

When playing a G chord, hammer from open A to B located at the 2nd fret. This figure is typically applied to beat 3. To add extra variety, hammer from open D to E the next time that the G chord occurs in the progression. For more information about applying bluegrass style hammer-ons to a G major chord, check out "G Based Bluegrass Lick" in the JamPlay Lick / Riff Library.

Note: Use the "search" feature to locate additional lessons pertaining to hammer-ons if you need extra help with this technique. This feature is located in the upper right hand corner of your web browser.
Chapter 14: (01:19) Play Along Information Jim explains how to practice along with the backing track that is performed in the following scene. Within this track, the song form to "Red River Valley" is repeated three times.

Time 1: Jim plays the melody, you play rhythm.

Time 2: You play the melody, Jim plays rhythm.

Time 3: Jim plays a fingerstyle arrangement that combines the melody and chord changes. Practice either the melody or the chord changes during this repetition of the form. Work on whatever part is most difficult for you.
Chapter 15: (02:23) Play Along With the Full Song Jim plays through song form as outlined in the previous scene. Audio to this backing track can be found under the "Supplemental Content" tab.

More "let's play" style lessons are coming to Jim's Phase 1 series in the future. In these lessons, Jim will break down basic melodies and chord progressions and explain how to add bluegrass / country concepts to them.

Video Subtitles / Captions


Member Comments about this Lesson

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

SecondLifeSecondLife replied

Jim, I have enjoyed all of your lessons so far. I have a few more to go in your Basic Series. I plan to back up and review most of all of the lessons when I finish the Basic Series. What of the supplemental material is most important? Where do I learn music notation?

james.nichollsjames.nicholls replied

Hey SecondLife! I just wanted to let you know that to ask this teacher a question you will need to post under the "Ask a Teacher" tab to the right of the "Comments" tab. You can learn more about musical notation by copying and pasting the following link in to your browser: http://members.jamplay.com/guitar/phase-1/lesson/1276-the-basics-to-tablature-chord-charts-and-musical-notation I hope that helps!

charliebrown3393charliebrown3393 replied

there are 6 pages of music ,which page are you referring to

jjod4jjod4 replied

what sheet music are you referring to?

Bradley.ConwayBradley.Conway replied

Hey jjod4! I just wanted to let you know that you can find the sheet music / notation by clicking the "Supplemental" tab under the left side of the video player. This will bring up a list of the notation / sheet music / chord charts. Just click a file to open it and view the sheet music. I hope that helps!

jjod4jjod4 replied

Sorry, no I'm not. Going off to someone else.

jjod4jjod4 replied

what sheet music are you supposed to look at?

Laney58Laney58 replied

Jim. I would like to be able to print the lyrics with the cords on the lyric sheet. This will help me know when to change cords easier. Anyone else have this trouble.

Dnmas1028Dnmas1028 replied

anybody having issues trying to print the tab?


Yeah, I pdf is all over the place. Nothing seems to match anything.

Bradley.ConwayBradley.Conway replied

Hello O2ADDICT2! I just wanted to let you know that the PDF starts with scene #3. Then it skips from scene #3 to scene #7, then to scene #9, then to scene #12, then to scene #13. I hope that helps!

dreamsicledreamsicle replied

F & Fm are really difficult chords for my beginner hands....especially Fm. I practice everyday. But still don’t seem to be able to master these. My bar finger seems too fleshy. I have large hands.

Laney58Laney58 replied

Dreamsicle. I dont know if your still havin troubles with the Fm cord but if you put your thumb more under the neck towards the 1st string you'll be able to get the bar cords better. I also was havin the same prob,but when i changed my thumb position it just all came together.

toppingtopping replied

video is freezing up still moving on....

Jason.MounceJason.Mounce replied

Hi there Topping, please see my comment to james99 below. If you are having trouble with playback, typically making sure your browser is up to date and possibly clearing it's cache will solve a playback issue. Or using the "HD" button in the lower right hand corner to lower the video quality. If you continue to have trouble after this, please contact us at [email protected] and be specific about what is happening and where it is occurring in the lesson. We can help you further from there.

james99james99 replied

Video froze-up on 2 sections

Jason.MounceJason.Mounce replied

Hi james99. What two sections are you having trouble with and which quality setting are you viewing on? If at any time you are having technical difficulties, please contact us by either giving us a call at 877-999-4526 or sending an e-mail to [email protected] Without much information here it's hard to troubleshoot, but my first recommendation would be to simply clear your browser's cache and make sure that your internet connection is stable and has adequate bandwidth to stream the quality setting you are currently on.

dreamsicledreamsicle replied

Love your teaching style❤

BadlandBobBadlandBob replied

Hi Jim, I have enjoyed your lessons. I have been messing around on the guitar for years and years but your lessons have been a killer. I think i,m going towear out the video and my fingers going over and over. love your finger style.

Dispicable.meDispicable.me replied

Idk but I'm having difficulties for finding the notes of scene 7th 2nd melody on the sheet paper

riverman321riverman321 replied

I can play the melody I can play the rhythm cant figure out how to put the two together like you do at the end of the lesson

howpezhowpez replied

Great lesson, but I was disappointed there wasn't a tab at the end for the combined melody + rhythm fingerstyle version Jim was playing. It would be a stretch for beginners, but it could just be marked "OPTIONAL" or something. It would also be a nice little teaser for Jim's fingerstyle course...

eldenfromtneldenfromtn replied

I loved this lesson Jim, really enjoy your teaching.

socalrockrsocalrockr replied

Would have been easier to learn with guitar tab,especially for the melody,instead of guessing what notes one is playing.Also if one knew what key you were playing,it would simplify making proper chord changes,instead of guessing.The rhythm part is fairly easy to lock into,if one knows what beat to come in on.Still,you are good instructer.

larryklarryk replied

Enter your comment here.

johnmorris4johnmorris4 replied

Chapter 11 keeps freezing up

johnmorris4johnmorris4 replied

Chapter 11 keeps freezing up

simonw170simonw170 replied

Can someone show me where the supplemental content for the melody piece starts and end ….. have been working on the chords thinking that the melody should be more straight forward but the supplemental content is more confusing than the song…..

simonw170simonw170 replied

Hold on i've found it …..

randyhatchrandyhatch replied

Jim, I learned the closing lick, which is cool. I don't know the name of the chords used. The final chord before the C is a Dm shape on the top 3 strings, with the fourth string playing an F (3rd fret). It's probably not in the Dm family, so your help would be appreciated.

utgrad70utgrad70 replied

I hope future play-along lessons in this series have: * Chord changes superimposed on the videos. * Sheet music that shows the melody notes, the chord changes, and the lyrics all together. As it stands, this lesson is difficult for following along and knowing where the changes should be made.

Tom.MTom.M replied

Jim or anyone who is experienced finger-picker please help me out, When is it ok to break the pattern, I know this sound's crazy but I even see Jim stop alternateing the bass notes when he come's up to the C7 and F chords. I have hours invested and I am so frustrated because i can play guitar but I think I am either taking this too literal or I'm missing something to make that light bulb go "Bing" When im watching Jim I even see him stop alternating the bass notes when there is more melody going on than just a couple of notes. god I hope I'm making a little sense to someone, I'm so frustrated because this is supposed to be just 2 out of 5 for difficulty, that's crazy. I can play guitar and hold up in a band maybe fingerstyle is a completely different art form. I thought I played with my fingers well until I tried some of Jim's songs. Thanks for any suggestions anybody:)

Tom.MTom.M replied

i'm having fits trying to get this down,lol. I can play but obviously not fingerstyle. I have really thrown myself into acoustic and felt I should start at the beginning. what is getting me Jim is it seem's you break pattern on the chord rhythm too play the melody, so I am confused as to if this is ok. If i played along with just simple strums alternating I'm fine but when you start the melody the chords no longer seem to flow the same back and forth groove with the bass note as they do without the melody. So my question is do we break the pattern at certain times to squeeze in the melody notes? I hope this makes sense. great lesson btw

jaranthjaranth replied

This was a GREAT overall lesson set for me... perfect for becoming familiar with the thumb pic! It seemed like every time I worked on it, I got a teeny bit better, which further encouraged me. I don't feel like fingerstyle is out of my reach, but I still appreciate how tough it will be, should I decided to accept the challenge. Very enjoyable, thank you! :)

ov88ov88 replied

Great Lesson - are any more like them coming as was discussed in the last section? Thanks again.

airsurferairsurfer replied

I need help on the change from C7 to F......has anyone found he secret???

sharonathomesharonathome replied

Hi Jim. Thanks so much for this lesson, I've been working through a number of your lessons and am enjoying them very much. I've just recently started using a thumbpick when i'm playing fingerstyle - but have been going back and forth between the thumbpick and a flatpick. I have listened to your lesson on thumbpicks in the phase 2 section - my question is whether you think it's okay to go back and forth - or should i just try to get used to using the thumbpick as a flatpick for songs that are mostly strumming? I find doing a lot of strumming with the thumbpick a bit akward still.

stonebridgestonebridge replied

Really needed you to call out the chords as you played. What happened?

gatoryakgatoryak replied

That was a fantastic lesson! Going from backup to lead to backup is a super valuable skill for anyone who wants to play with other people.

gatoryakgatoryak replied

I think learning the basic chords and the alternat chords is great, too.

kjb37kjb37 replied

I am struggling with the chords when it comes from changing from C7 to F. It looks as though you are playing another chord in between. Can you tell me what chords you are playing please?

jim6044jim6044 replied

The hardest part is going from the C7 to the F chord. That's the best part of this lesson. I just have to keep at it. Thanks Jim for a great lesson.

bhadams3bhadams3 replied

Hi Jim, your lessons have been great. I listened to my father growing up and he was a huge Willie Nelson fan back to the time of first hearing him in Nashville before he was an outlaw. But I cannot play or hear this song without singing "can i sleep in your arms tonight ladY?" from the red headed stranger album. Is it the exact same song, melody etc as red river vallley?

candidoramoncandidoramon replied

my hands are small(size 4 3/8 on the tennis racket) but I'l learn the song.

dmanisdmanis replied

When strumming the C cord, I notice the open G string tends to ring out over the other strings and becomes annoying. Is there a a dampening technique I should be using to keep this open string from ringing so much? I appreciate your explanations in your lessons and find the lessons easy to follow. Thanks.

jhenriksenjhenriksen replied

Jim your style of teaching is absolutely the best. You tell us what you're going to do, then you do it, then you tell us what and how you did it and then put it all together. It's so obvious that you love what you do and that attitude is infectious. I'm really looking forward to following you and any new songs you add to this course.

mrjersrmrjersr replied

Thanks thought that was a great lesson with so much to pratice and will make me feel more like a player. Learned alot about spicing up. Now just need lots of pratice lol. Thanks

nash24nash24 replied

I wish the meody was covered a bit more with less stopping and talking about other things. Never got a grip on it all the way through.

galaxy42galaxy42 replied

I appreciate the opportunity to work with a flat pick and improve my coordination. I especially appreciate having the lyrics too.

dagmyhdagmyh replied

When selecting a finger picking guitar school, why is it so much about plecter playing?

alcoalco replied

I just tuned in and saw Verna's question. I have been playing for many years. Verna, the chords you questioned are called Slash chords and are read D7over F# (F sharp). The slash is the bass note for that chord, that is the F#is the lowest note for that chord not the D or root chord. One way to play it is 6th string 2nd fret (F#)with the 2nd finger, 2nd string 1st fret with the 1st finger and 1st string 2nd fret with the 3rd finger.

seamusseamus replied

Ahhh! I can't see when the changes are happening. The bass notes using the bottom two strings it is hard to see the change from C to G until after it happens and the n its back to C before I realise. Calling out the chords or having the chord chart on screen on that first basic lesson would take away so much frustration. Normally you are so good at that Jim.

kay burnskay burns replied

thanks JIM I always learn heaps from your style

gilbert714gilbert714 replied

Does any of these questions ever get answered?

gilbert714gilbert714 replied

I am looking fot the tabs for thei song the thumb and other fingers like the intro?? Thanks Gil

gone workingone workin replied

Question about the thumb picking: The flat pick demo shows you downs troking and up stroking in a boom chick-a. I also see you doing it in the demo with a thumb pick. I had assumed one doesn't upstroke with the thumb. So did you up stroke with the thumb on the "a" in the boom-chick-a? Or was it done with the fingers picking to get the "a" up strum? Looks like you did it with the fingers. Thanks.

gone workingone workin replied

Great lesson Jim ! I feel so thoroughly educated by the time I finish one of your lessons. Maybe our minds work the same way. But you seem to "head off at the pass" any questions I would have before I know there's an area to pay particular attention. Also, I'm especially gratified to see your use of the play along portion of the lesson(s). Yes, please break down more songs. They yield much and it gives me a formidable understanding of playing leading in to the play along wherein ll I have to really worry about is the playing to get it "perfected". Awesome lesson.

laineylainey replied

Are the "running bass" notes found in the supplemental content? I couldn't find it. Thanks!

vernaverna replied

What do chords Dmaj7/A and D7/F# written above a measure mean? Does it mean there is a choice of which chord to play? Thanks, Verna

tthaxtontthaxton replied

Is there tab somewhere showing the music played in the intro section?

jujumujujumu replied

As a way of pacing myself and not getting bored, how well do I "have" to play this song before moving on? I can follow along the simple version but always get hung up on the C7-F.

tdieudonnetdieudonne replied

I keep getting hung up on the C7 to F chord change....aaaahhhhh!!!

sv286sv286 replied

me too, that's the hardest part!

jujumujujumu replied

Have you conquered this yet? If so, how?

vernaverna replied

What does it mean when there's two chords like D7/F# written above the staff line in a measure of music? Does it mean I have a choice of which chord to play?

casacasa replied

Hi, I`m new to Jamplay and just like rumble doll am having trouble playing all the scenes. I have downloaded the latest adobe flash player, but it made no difference. i will persevere for a bit longer, because i really like the way Jim plays the guitar and would want to play more like that!!!

rumble dollrumble doll replied

Does anyone else find that the lessons sometimes skip scenes? For example in this lesson I found it skipped scenes 3 & 4 I think, then at the end I couldn't get it to play scene 15. I'm not sure if it's my PC but I find this very frustrating as I get lost off & it seems to me like I have missed some vital parts of the whole lesson. It makes you want to give up on the whole lesson as it's like you're just getting excerpts. I'm not sure if it's my PC that's doing it but if anyone knows how to resolve this problem I'd really appreciate the advice. I tried to use the back buttons to try & go back to scenes that had skipped but it just wasn't going to play ball at all. It's very annoying & frustrating, so I'd really like to resolve the problem. I'm not experienced enough in my playing to miss out scenes that will aid my learning. Also, I tried printing out some of the supplemental content & I got a whole blank page with nothing but the JamPlay logo at the top which was a bit of a waste of paper, then it only printed the first two sections of stave/tab - the last line of stave/tab just didn't print at all. Again, this may be my PC & printer, but would appreciate any advice (I did set my preferences to Landscape as I could see it would miss parts off if I printed portrait, but I didn't expect to still have some missing). A really great lesson.....IF only I could view 'ALL' the scenes!

guitarman_2009guitarman_2009 replied

I thought this lesson was great. I think that not all the menu options are printable - only the ones that pertain.

monkafellomonkafello replied

What happened to calling out the basic chord changes as you play?

marsekaymarsekay replied

agreed i was waiting for this and got left behind :(

Jim.DeemingJim.Deeming replied

You caught me. They are in the TAB though. Sorry about that!

mr mikemr mike replied

Jim, I'm new to Jam Play. In this lesson you mention the tab sheet. How do I find it?

nessanessa replied

Click on the "Supplemental Content" tab below the video.

blackriderblackrider replied

What a good way to teach this lesson. I just wish I could keep up. Incentive to work harder. Thanks for the inspiration Jim!

Basic Guitar with Jim

Found in our Beginner Lesson Sets

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

Introduction LessonLesson 1

Introduction Lesson

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

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

Choosing a Guitar

Jim gives his thoughts on purchasing your first guitar.

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

Goal Setting

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

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

Changing the Strings

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

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

Meet Your New Guitar

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

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

Learning More Chords

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

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

Right Hand Revisited

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

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

New Chords and Keys

This lesson provides additional information about chords and keys.

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

Let's Play

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

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

Alternating Bass and Chords

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

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

A Shape Chords

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

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

Basic Guitar Checkup

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

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

Notes, Scales and Theory

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

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

Chord Fiesta

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

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

Movable Chords

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

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

Proper Practicing

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

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

The Pinky Anchor

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

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

Palm Muting

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

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

Reading Tablature

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

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

Tuning Extravaganza

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

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

Let's Play: "Red River Valley"

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

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

Drop D Tuning

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

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

Let's Play: "Wayfaring Stranger"

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

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

More On Drop D

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

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

Your Friend, the Metronome

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lesson Information

Acoustic Guitar Lessons

Acoustic Guitar

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

Mary Flower Mary Flower

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

Free LessonSeries Details
David Isaacs David Isaacs

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

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Justin Roth Justin Roth

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

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Amber Russell Amber Russell

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

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Eve Goldberg Eve Goldberg

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

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Nick Amodeo Nick Amodeo

Nick explains how to play some of the most commonly used chords in the bluegrass genre.

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Steve Eulberg Steve Eulberg

Steve Eulberg does a quick review of this lesson series and talks about moving on.

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Orville Johnson Orville Johnson

Orville Johnson introduces turnarounds and provides great ideas and techniques.

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Maneli Jamal Maneli Jamal

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

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Electric Guitar Lesson Samples

Electric Guitar

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

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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Jeffery Marshall Jeffery Marshall

Welcome to Inside and Out with Jeff Marshall! In this lesson series, Jeff takes a bottom up approach to fret board proficiency....

Free LessonSeries Details
Braun Khan Braun Khan

In this lesson, Braun teaches the chord types that are commonly used in jazz harmony. Learn how to build the chords and their...

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Jeff Gunn Jeff Gunn

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

Free LessonSeries Details
Irene Ketikidi Irene Ketikidi

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

Free LessonSeries Details
Lisa Pursell Lisa Pursell

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

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Sarah Longfield Sarah Longfield

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DJ Phillips DJ Phillips

Learn a handful of new blues techniques while learning to play Stevie Ray Vaughn's "The House Is Rockin'".

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Michael Palmisano Michael Palmisano

Michael kicks off his course and explains what to expect from the course, as well as who this course is designed for.

Free LessonSeries Details

Join over 521199 guitarists who have learned how to play in weeks... not years!

Signup today to enjoy access to our entire database of video lessons, along with our exclusive set of learning tools and features.

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

Exclusive only to JamPlay, we currently broadcast 8-10 hours of steaming lesson services directly to you! Enjoy the benefits of in-person instructors and the conveniences of our community.

Interactive Community

Create your own profile, manage your friends list, and contact users with your own JamPlay Mailbox. JamPlay also features live chat with teachers and members, and an active Forum.

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.

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

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

Greg J.

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

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


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

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