Minor Chords and More (Guitar Lesson)

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Mark Lincoln

Minor Chords and More

Mark reviews the major chords and introduces the minor chords. He also covers strumming techniques in greater depth.

Taught by Mark Lincoln in Basic Guitar with Mark Lincoln seriesLength: 25:48Difficulty: 1.0 of 5
Chapter 1: (08:05) Lesson Review Before you begin this lesson be sure to review the following:
Review the names of the strings.
Review the names of the fingers.
Stretch your hands and wrists. Make sure you are relaxed!
Review and play the open major chords: A-B-C-D-E-F-G
*Don't forget to refer to the notes if you have questions about finger placement.

Chapter 2: (05:58) The Minor Chords

We've talked about playing the open major chords. Now we’re going to talk about playing the minor chords. Minor chords traditionally have a sadder, more melancholy sound, while major chords have a happier and more triumphant sound.

Play the following chords: Am-Bm-Cm-Dm

Note that Bm and Cm are often played as barre chords and may be easier for you to play as such once you become more familiar with the guitar.


This chord is constructed by placing the first finger on the B-string on the first fret, the middle finger on the G-string second fret, and the third finger on the D-string at the second fret. Remember that the "0’s" represent strings that are played "open."


This chord is constructed by placing the first finger on the high E-string at the second fret (remember that the number on the string represents the place where the string should be fretted), the middle finger on the B-string third fret, the pinky finger on the G-string fourth fret, and the third finger directly above the pinky on the D-string fourth fret. The pinky and the ring finger should "piggyback" one another so to speak. Try to keep your hands perpendicular to the neck of the guitar as much as possible to avoid "dubbing" or accidentally muting the strings. (We'll talk about dubbing more in later lessons).


This chord is constructed in the identical fashion as above only with each finger on the next higher fret So...first finger on the high E-string at the second fret, the middle finger on the B-string third fret, the pinky finger on the G-string fourth fret, and the third finger directly above the pinky on the D-string fourth fret.


This chord is constructed by placing the first finger on the high E-string on the first fret, the middle finger on the G-string second fret, and the third finger on the B-string third fret.

Chapter 3: (02:25) Listening Exercise Exercise: close your eyes and play a major chord. Then, play a minor chord. How would you describe the difference in sound between these chords? How do the different sounds affect you? What do you feel, if anything?
Chapter 4: (07:27) Strumming

Now that we've discussed how to form some chords, let's put them to use by strumming some chord progressions.

Strumming can be done with your fingers or with a guitar pick. Important factors in learning how to strum with a pick include:

2)Relax your fingers and wrist, but not so much that you drop your pick. The pick should be held between your thumb and first finger in a relaxed fashion, allowing the pick to delicately roll over the strings. Exceptions to this rule include playing scales and rocking out hardcore. The manner of strumming that I'm speaking of is geared towards strumming an acoustic guitar and perhaps accompanying yourself by singing.
3)Generate the strumming motion primarily from the wrist with limited movement from the elbow.
4)Feel the strings as the pick flows over them. Also, try this with your eyes closed.

Strum Notation

Strum notation is often expressed as a series of arrows that may look like this: up arrow or this down arrow. Hence, if we choose to use a strum which I like to call, "down down up down," it would look like this: down down up down. Let's try this strum with some of the chords that we've learned today.

*The concept of finger glue: this is an important concept when learning to play chords. Start thinking about your fingers being glued together when making your chords. Get a feel for what your fingers feel like in certain forms and try to make the chords away from the neck of the guitar. You can do this exercise (many guitar players do this compulsively!) at work if you have a minute or two of free time or even while walking or sitting in the park.

We'll use different and increasingly more difficult strums as we continue on with the lessons.

Chapter 5: (05:58) Lesson Wrap Up In this scene, Mark wraps up the lesson and gives his final thoughts. This has been a long lesson, so don't forget to go back to the previous scenes and practice! Make sure you have a basic understanding of strumming the major chords and minor chords before moving on to the next lesson.

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.

RusinatorRusinator replied on October 28th, 2017

When I go to print out the chords, the pages are not printing out evenly from page to page. I'm getting part of one chord layout of one pave the rest on the next page.

jesusantoniolopezjesusantoniolopez replied on October 11th, 2017

you talk to much. lets play a song already

delisadelisa replied on January 2nd, 2016

Strangely, Mark's chords were a half step below mine. In the last lesson (which I just finished before this one) our tuning was the same. I checked my tuning out on my piano and I'm in tune.

johnt49johnt49 replied on December 6th, 2015

As noted previously, he's a half-step down on lesson 4... annoying...

guitarjohn7guitarjohn7 replied on September 24th, 2015

Sorry, unwatchable. just downloaded latest flash and running in medium format?????? Video stalled

imonarimonar replied on August 12th, 2015

He's tuned half step down if you didn't know from all the fuzz here

wangenwangen replied on July 5th, 2015

is it just me or is your guitar tuned a bit lower?

hopestreethopestreet replied on April 28th, 2015

your guitar was not in standard tuning

TOZTOZ replied on January 22nd, 2015

Mark, Why do you have your guitar tuned in a standard E in one lesson, then when you start the next session your are tuned in Eflat?

haolejuicehaolejuice replied on October 17th, 2014

Haha I thought something was wrong with my tuning until I read the comments :D Enjoying the lessons so far!

stratpaulstratpaul replied on July 25th, 2014

I see others have asked about your E flat tuning on a few lessons. Confusing, but content of your lessons is great.

NinjaFingersNinjaFingers replied on June 1st, 2014

I'm feeling very ripped off that I needed to purchase and download GuitarPro 6 for $50 just to get everything out of this lesson.

AmyLAmyL replied on February 24th, 2014

Another question, I am brand new to guitar. So when you introduced strumming and two chords do you strum 3 down and one up or 2 down and one up. I think you say 2 but do 3. Am I hearing that correct? a little confused but I love the way you teach. Thanks

AmyLAmyL replied on February 24th, 2014

Hey mark I am having a hard time not having one finger touch another string. What do I need to do to? stand my fingers upright more?

aklestadtaklestadt replied on February 4th, 2014

Hey Mark, I'm really enjoying your lessons so far- just a quick question though. In lesson 3 you taught the B Major Chord as a three-fingered chord but then added another finger in this lesson. How do you distinguish between those two without saying "3-fingered B Major" or something like that?

nofursnofurs replied on January 18th, 2014

Hi Mark and Everyone, Not new to music but extremely new to the guitar. I was wondering if are some strength, dexterity exercises or tips you can give me to get my pinky working for playing stuff like C chord and bar chords in general. JamPlay........wonderful site!

joecraig6488joecraig6488 replied on January 14th, 2014

your very boring teacher

AaronMillerAaronMiller replied on May 1st, 2014

There are many people that like Mark's way of teaching so if he isn't for you I'd suggest looking into other teachers. We can't please everyone so that is why we don't just have 1 or 2 teachers on our site.

skankinpickleskankinpickle replied on April 29th, 2014

Wow dude get a life

darcylanedarcylane replied on February 24th, 2014

yeah get lost dude. I like this guy, he's casual and relaxing to learn from

nofursnofurs replied on January 18th, 2014

Is you comment an inside joke or are you just a really rude dude?

joecraig6488joecraig6488 replied on January 14th, 2014

your very boring teacher

JerJerJerJer replied on January 3rd, 2015

Then pick a different teacher and F off

hasstar16hasstar16 replied on January 8th, 2014

Been a while since anyone wrote and comments. Let start hear. Lesson 4 a bit confusing for me. I feel not enough time spent on minor chord development and to much time on relaxation , Every good dude etc, etc.. Why talk so much about bar chords many of us true beginners still have issues with chord development. This is my second tour going through Jam Play. I have a life outside of guitar. And if you are telling me that I have to spend an hour a day to learn guitar then I 'll never get it. For now I am giving myself 30 + mins a day and trying very hard. Also , it seems to me there was more supplemental material , now I see you have to pay for some extra downloads, what's that all about. Thanks

lramseylramsey replied on August 22nd, 2013

Hi Mark, I have a Fender guitar with a built in tuner, even though my guitar is tuned I'm getting like a half step difference in my notes from you. Is there a way to correct this?

mezmanmezman replied on September 13th, 2013

he is tuned in Eb for some reason

blissingerblissinger replied on December 10th, 2013

THANK YOU for explaining that! It was driving me nuts! I used two different tuners, still a half step off!

hannahlovesjohnmayerhannahlovesjohnmayer replied on August 2nd, 2013

Hi! I am very new to guitar and I was just wondering if when there is an "x" does that mean you dont play the string or you mute it? Thanks!

kromikromi replied on November 13th, 2013

yes, when there's an x you do not pick the particular string

goondragoon125goondragoon125 replied on July 25th, 2013

good job i think your probably the best teacher here by far but i have one question my fingers hurt like crazy while playing. what do i do.

bungalowbillbungalowbill replied on March 2nd, 2013

I know my guitar is tuned but a minor on your guitar isn't the same as on mine. How come?

cratemancrateman replied on March 23rd, 2013

Constant use of the word OK is driving me crazy, otherwise a good instructor.

amandah23_amandah23_ replied on January 21st, 2015


setneufsetneuf replied on December 11th, 2012

Mark you not in the same tune here !!

gorlofskygorlofsky replied on January 11th, 2013

He's tuned down 1/2 step in this!

amazieamazie replied on March 10th, 2014

why would he do that? I've spent an hour trying to figure out what his chords don't sound the same as mine. Argh!

donjuandonjuan replied on July 22nd, 2012

Hi Mark, I'm Donald, new to JamPlay. I like your lessons so far! I've noticed, however, that at times the audio on your lessons appear to be almost exactly a half-step lower in tuning than my recently tuned guitar (e.g., all of Lesson 4). The funny thing is that in a previous lesson where you showed us how to tune the guitar, I was exactly in tune with you. I'm using the same tuner in both cases, and I haven't chaged the tuning since then (except for minor adjustments when checking tuning on my guitar). And ideas why we might be a half-step off from each other? Thanks!

mr guitaristmr guitarist replied on July 16th, 2012

Mark, I saw all those chords you mentioned and put them in my Chord Library but when I looked at the chords, they were't the same as you showed me ? Mr. Guitarist

kromikromi replied on November 13th, 2013

Some of the chords are barre chords and Mark shows how to play them as open chords because it is easier for the beginners.

mr guitaristmr guitarist replied on July 16th, 2012

Good JOb You Rock

nole27nole27 replied on June 23rd, 2012

So when we play the B major chord should we play it like it is in this video, like it is played in the last video (lesson 3), or play it as a barr chord? Since most people play it as a barr chord is learning B Major as an open chord even necessary?

benjascsbenjascs replied on June 4th, 2012

Hi Mark, nice lessons, i like the way you explain but I have a few doubts. so basically the cord is the same for example the G , just the position of the fingers change right? and I'm trying to relate the tab page to the excersices, are we seeing an explanation of that soon? thanks for your time. all lessons I practice in a acoustic and in a electric guitar so I get the feeling of both.

hawk11nshawk11ns replied on December 28th, 2011

Hi Mark. First off, excellent job with the instruction! Very nice flow with everything! Now, I have a cutaway acoustic guitar and when I strum a chord I notice that the Low E and A strings over power the lower B and E strings severely. I am using a .76 mm (?) pick and feel that it may be way to rigid. My question is, should a pick be more flimsy for strumming acoustic and if so, what thickness would you recommend?

tidwellmmatidwellmma replied on December 15th, 2011

I have a ? about the action of a guitar....Should it be equal all the way down the fret board or is slightly higher as your fingers move down towards the body?

yitryeyitrye replied on December 11th, 2011

Thanks for the lessons Mark. Quick question, in the supplemental material for this lesson I found Guitar Pro files that don't automatically load on my system. Will you give me some insight here? Thanks again.

WpiersWpiers replied on November 30th, 2011

Hey, Mark. I'm just starting out. I'm having problems getting my fingers to stretch for dome of the chords and keeping them perpendicular to the neck. any excercises ? By the way you have a great teaching style.

rlpngoffrlpngoff replied on November 16th, 2011

Why is my tuning different than yours? I use a built-in electric tuner on my Crafter cutaway.

tershtersh replied on October 14th, 2011

Hey Mark, Thanks for the lessons! Strumming is coming along so much better. Just from you tell us to relax, breath, and let the pick do the work. Oh yeah and the rubber band metaphor has help a lot with my down up. My question is about the A major cord. I've got really big hands and I can't seem to put all three finger in the second fret without muting one of the strings. The D is the one that gets muted the most. I notice you some how tuck your third finger behind the second and I'm trying to train mine to do that. But it's hard. I'm paying attention to be perpendicular to the fret board. It's just like 1 out of twenty A majors sounds right. It's probably just practice and train my fingers but if you have any suggestions let me know. Thanks again, Tersh

thewoodman007thewoodman007 replied on August 22nd, 2011

just started your lessons Mark thanks for going slow, 48 and just starting the guitar who says you cant teach a old dog new tricks. can you tell me the Martin model you re playing. I'm a fashion Photographer from Dallas and I'm now hanging a few cool guitars on the wall along with my art. I've bought two Taylor's and a Martin. I look at these as art with function. you can check out my other hobby Making custom knives Ark with a function. www.rockriveriron.com Thanks for the great lessons EADGBE Thewoodman007

Mark.LincolnMark.Lincoln replied on August 31st, 2011

Hey Woodman! It sounds like you've got some expensive art hangin' on those walls! For the record, my Martin is an M-36 and one of my cherished babies, it's truly one of the most smooth and beautiful instruments that I've ever had the pleasure to play. Great to hear from you and I will check out your site, take care Mark

ann marryann marry replied on August 23rd, 2011

hey, thanks for your lessions! Im am from grmany and i think you are a great teacher!! But i have a question... i want to play the song "california king bed" from Rihanna and sing at the same time... i found tabs in the inernet but they doesen't sound like the original... what shell i do?

Mark.LincolnMark.Lincoln replied on August 31st, 2011

Hi Ann Marry! Tabs are often incorrect so the best way to go about learning a song is to listen to it, then see if you can find a decent tab, then listen, try to play along etc etc etc. In other words, use other tools as well as your own ears and skills to play the song. Good luck! Mark

sharuu111sharuu111 replied on August 24th, 2011

Hi Mark, Thanks for the great lessons! !Question: Can I use the tuner to test if I played a chord correctly? :) If not, how do I know if I played the right sound? Thanks!! - Monika

Mark.LincolnMark.Lincoln replied on August 31st, 2011

Hi Monika! As far as I know, tuners can only tell you if you're playing a specific tone correctly. I dont think there are full chord tuners...you may need to develop your ear a little more and also compare chords to those you're hearing in songs. A good ear is worth developing in the long run. Take care, Mark

lindseycorlisslindseycorliss replied on August 23rd, 2011

What do you have your guitar tuned to? Because mine is tuned to 440 hertz and it doesn't sound right.

kimmykimmy replied on July 30th, 2011

OK, I am glad I read the comments here because I was somewhat confused about the tuning myself. lol By the way, I really like your style of playing. Thanks...

Mark.LincolnMark.Lincoln replied on August 8th, 2011

Thanx Kimmy great to hear from you! Mark

digideldigidel replied on August 2nd, 2011

Mark, Constant use of the 'OK' causes me to stop listening and count the repeats of the word 'OK' Are you using the word because of nerves, replacement for 'umm or emm' or is it just a habit?

shnydershnyder replied on July 13th, 2011

hey man thanx for the great lessons. But why is your guitar tuned down??

Mark.LincolnMark.Lincoln replied on July 18th, 2011

Hey Shnyder, there are only a couple of lessons where I'm tuned down a half step, sorry about the confusion. Mark

m80wulfm80wulf replied on July 4th, 2011

hay mark I've been playing for about 1.5 week and i feel uncomfortable strumming but i can finger pick patterns like 5342132 really easy with 3 or 4 fingers any hints why i feel funny strumming i have tried with a pick and with out

Mark.LincolnMark.Lincoln replied on July 18th, 2011

Hey Wulf how are you? Strumming is definitely an art form in itself and often takes more practice. Why you are able to finger pick better than strum, I don't know but some things just seem to come easier than others to each person. Mark

lionriderlionrider replied on July 10th, 2011

As always Mark, very informative! You rock, mainly cause "You're good enough, smart enough, and Doggonit, people like you!"

deniseorforddeniseorford replied on June 7th, 2011

Yours and mine guitars do - not sound as though they are on the same keys here - I am tuned to 440 Guitar on the tuner - this is the first lesson where we do not sound in unison.....? thoughts?

Mark.LincolnMark.Lincoln replied on June 9th, 2011

Hi Denise, a couple of the lessons I had my guitar tuned down a half step so yes you're correct, we are not tuned the same way. Thanks for keeping me on my toes:) Mark

endzietendziet replied on April 12th, 2011

You sir are prolly the best teacher for me on the site, you seem pretty peaceful and laid back. please keep posting new stuff cuz eventually ima run outa stuff to learn from you even if its 2-4 years from now lol. I know these chords already and just looking back over them and realised, when i first started learning i made chords sound bad and Tended to mute strings or strum without any relaxation and you explained tips for it and everything, its like you know where a beginner stands and havent forgotten its awsome.

nbowmannbowman replied on September 13th, 2010

Love your lessons Mark! They are really helping me to get going on learning guitar! I especially like that you show easier formations for some of the chords (F, Fm, Gm etc.) as I don't yet have the strength and flexibility to do them. Using your alternatives allows me to still play the chords while building up my fingers to eventually learn the "proper" techniques! Keep up the great work!! Another alternative to Every Average Dude Gets Better Eventually is one that I learned elsewhere.... Eddie Ate Dynamite, Good Bye Eddie.

jarls1jarls1 replied on March 21st, 2011

Eddie Ate Dynamite... that is awesome. I'm using that one!

matt95matt95 replied on November 11th, 2010

haha, just notice you posted that one before me. lol

Mark.LincolnMark.Lincoln replied on September 24th, 2010

Hey Bowman thanks for the hilarious acronym, I'm definitely going to use that one. Thanks man! Mark

josh9999josh9999 replied on February 21st, 2011

baring is confusing

josh9999josh9999 replied on February 21st, 2011

im going back here to look back on what the chords are

hixyhixy replied on December 26th, 2010

Hey Mate..... All the blood just rushed to my head as I hit the send button on my last comment. Gravity affects us differently down here ;-) I promptly realized I was reading you one of your first comments in 2008....... Obviously standing on my head Mate......You may legally take the piss if you wish.....Love your work Man!! Keep Rockin....

Mark.LincolnMark.Lincoln replied on December 31st, 2010

Hey Hixy thanks for watching over us, we always appreciate input and any help we can get keeping things clear and concise! Good to hear from you and Happy New Year! Mark

kurakura replied on December 27th, 2010

Thank you mark for all the helpful advice! i really like the way you teach and am looking forward to learning all i can from you and to become an awesome guitarist some day! i was just wondering what kind of guitar strings you recomend using? i have a yamahe f335 guitar. thank you! jeremy

Mark.LincolnMark.Lincoln replied on December 31st, 2010

Hey Jeremy how are you? Thanks for the great feedback and for the record, I usually use Martin 80/20 Bronze wound strings. I have found them to work really well for me and I like their tone as well. Good to hear from you and Happy New Year! Mark

jeanyvesjeanyves replied on December 30th, 2010

Hey Mark! I'm really enjoying your lessons. I'm a beginner(just started last week actually), so I wonder if you have any tips on learning how to change chords faster and faster. It's seems that every time I have a like an A major down and want to change to an E major, my brain just freezes and my fingers are just left hanging in mid-air. Thanks:)

Mark.LincolnMark.Lincoln replied on December 31st, 2010

Hi Jean good to hear from you! Well...obviously the more you make changes the better you'll get at it but there are some other tricks as well. I talk a lot in my lessons about "fingerglue" which is simply the idea that your fingers, over time, form a certain muscle memory. If you can find the areas where your finger only have to change a little bit from chord to chord it can really help to speed up your changes. Remind me to show you the next time you're in my chat and Happy New Year! Mark

hixyhixy replied on December 26th, 2010

Hey Mark. I noticed your last comment on here was June 2008. I have just signed up. Are you still alive? Love you lessons. I’m in Oz (not the wizard of Oz). Noticed you may have got the high and low E wrong in your first lesson if you watch it closely as well as in your 4th lesson, the tab for B min (diagram) was one fret to the East. Don't mean to pick but thought it might help out bro. Love your work Man!! I have been playing for years (poorly) and you have l already cleared some bad habits and given me insight into the world of music....Thank you!!! Hixy

matt95matt95 replied on November 11th, 2010

my acronym for remembering the string names: Eddie Ate Dynamite GoodBye Eddie

stangmmxstangmmx replied on October 19th, 2010

His shirt looks like the fluffy shirt from Seinfeld.

Mark.LincolnMark.Lincoln replied on October 20th, 2010

Just for the record Stang, it's not a pirate shirt lol. Good to hear from you! Mark

matthewhewishmatthewhewish replied on September 17th, 2010

Hey Mark... iv'e been play for 4 day now and im finding it easy to learn the cords but i cant get a clear sound on all of them. will it i become easier as my finger get used to the cords as they start to hurt after 10 mins for play.

Mark.LincolnMark.Lincoln replied on September 24th, 2010

Hey Matt, if you've only been playing for four days and you've got the chords down I'd say you're doing really really well! Keep working on it though and the little problems like short-term fatigue will go away. Nice to hear from you! Mark

afishafish replied on September 7th, 2010

Hey, really good job with the lesson! I have one question, though. We're you in a different tuning than standard tuning, or can the tone be altered over the internet? I was getting a little startled at how my chords seemed to be a half-step up from yours.

Mark.LincolnMark.Lincoln replied on September 11th, 2010

Hey fish, yes there are a couple of lessons in here that I'm tuned down by a half a step. Hope it didn't mess you up too much! See ya, Mark

ryanhansenryanhansen replied on August 15th, 2010

Hey Mark! Great Lesson! i was wondering cold i just bar the D or is it suggested that i do it how you taught it?

Mark.LincolnMark.Lincoln replied on August 19th, 2010

Hey Ryan! I always recommend learning each chord in differen tpositions and different fingerings. The more flexible you are in this manner, the easier it will be to continue in my series. Mark

ezikaezika replied on July 28th, 2010

Hi Mark, I'm 68 female and trying to learn the guitar and you are a great teacher. Plan on accompanying our women's group when we sing at the nursing homes. Wish me luck.

Mark.LincolnMark.Lincoln replied on August 5th, 2010

Hi Ezika, great to hear from you! I think it's fantastic that you're sharing your musical skills with others and being there for them as well. You are obviously a great person and I wish you all the best. Take care, Mark

lucky15lucky15 replied on July 3rd, 2010

hey, mark I have been having a problem with chords. I can remember the positions, but not the names. will you help me out.

Mark.LincolnMark.Lincoln replied on July 5th, 2010

I think that's a tough one lucky but I can't help but recall a student of mine and how he remembered the chord names by associating them with shapes. For example, he called the f major 7 chord (tabbed as xx3210) as a playground slide, the D-chord as a triangle and so on. I don't know if this will help you but it's worth a try. Good luck! Mark

lucky15lucky15 replied on July 6th, 2010


ryanhansenryanhansen replied on July 4th, 2010


Mark.LincolnMark.Lincoln replied on July 5th, 2010

Thanx Ryan you're the best!

karlakarla replied on July 2nd, 2010

take of you nerdy hat =0

jtviolajtviola replied on May 29th, 2010

Hey Mark. Is this lesson tuned down a half step?

jtviolajtviola replied on May 29th, 2010

Nevermind. Just read another comment and you said it was.

Mark.LincolnMark.Lincoln replied on May 29th, 2010

Yes it is JT, a couple of my lessons are tuned in this fashion. Thanks for writing! Mark

merischinomerischino replied on April 20th, 2010

Hey there. Working my way through the chords. I noticed that the Bminor chord in the supplemental information is the barre chord, but in your video you showed both the barre and a version without the barre for us newbies. Would be great if I could find that version in the supplemental information or the chord library, but I can't. Just a thought.

nikovenikove replied on February 6th, 2010

Hey mark, thanks for these lessons. Finally got a start to learning to play the guitar. However, I feel I might have missed something on the way with these open chords. You have a lot of good initial major chords, but you didn't mention that an X is a string not played - i.e. how to use your right hand for playing. Did I miss something or will this follow later?

Mark.LincolnMark.Lincoln replied on February 8th, 2010

Hey Nik yes more and more good stuff to come but is there something in particular that you might want more insight into right now, how can I help you? Mark

cehodgin2cehodgin2 replied on December 22nd, 2009

Did I miss something on the tuning of your guitar in these last two lessons? My guitar is tuned by my tuner, but not to your tuning. Thanks! Love the strum stuff, by the way - many teachers don't cover this at all.

Mark.LincolnMark.Lincoln replied on December 23rd, 2009

Hey CE how are you? Yes, there are a couple of lessons where I utilize 1/2 step down tuning which is simply each string tuned down by 1/2 step. So E becomes Eb, A becomes Ab etc etc. Sorry for the confusion but it can be easily rectified if you simply tune down. Thanks for your patience! Mark

ishwarnk1783ishwarnk1783 replied on December 19th, 2009

I have been trying to learn guitar from last 10 years. So really didn't take off somehow!!! Hey Mark, your lessons are driving me everyday towards my goal. I know I have a backlog of 10 years :-). Thanks for sharing all those wonderful techniques. Its really helping me. I can see me reaching my goal in near future!!! Way 2 go Mark!!!

Mark.LincolnMark.Lincoln replied on December 21st, 2009

Hey Ish how are you? It's great to hear that you're working towards your goals, and if I can help as well all the better! Good luck my friend! Mark

guitarchrisguitarchris replied on September 17th, 2009

Mark, I can not find the paperwork for the strumming. I see the chords under the Supplimental tab but nothing for the strumming patterns. Can you help?

mopete24mopete24 replied on May 31st, 2009

for some reason i was out of tune for with you for the entire lesson. (just this lesson) i tuned up with my tuner and still same problem... hmmm anyway another great lesson!

jboothjbooth replied on June 1st, 2009

He was playing a half step down in this lesson, which means all the shapes, frets and everything are identical but the sound will be lower. Mark does this sometimes because it fits in with his vocal range better.

YucatanEdYucatanEd replied on August 5th, 2009

Thanks jbooth, I was wondering about that myself. Thanks for the clarification.

chuckjoslinchuckjoslin replied on June 16th, 2009

Hi Mark- Love your lessons and I see myself getting better! Thank you so much. Question: I've been playing drums for 25 years and wanted to learn guitar however my fingers are not long. I have trouble with the F cord. What should I do? I see guitar players all the time with small hands but I don't know how they do it. I stretch and everything and still have problems. Thanks!

YucatanEdYucatanEd replied on August 5th, 2009

Hey Chuck, I'm a beginner myself, and I have had a devil of a time with the F chord. But one neat trick that Mark puts forward in the lesson is to start with the Fmaj7 chord. So I'm using that as a jumping off point to tackle the F chord. Just starting with Fmaj7 and switching back and forth between that and the F chord over and over (and over). My fingers are starting to get used to the F chord. They're starting to get very sore too, but I guess that's good. Thanks for the tip, Mark.

Mark.LincolnMark.Lincoln replied on June 18th, 2009

Hey Chuck how are you? I notice that many people struggle with the F chord and I think it has a lot to do with muscle development. The F chord, amongst others, requires the use of muscle groups in the hand that are likely not developed, at least from a guitar playing standpoint. My experience is that over time and after doing it over and over the muscles develop and you like so many others (me included) will be able to play the F chord regardless of small hands! Don't give up my friend! Mark

efr450efr450 replied on July 15th, 2009

Easter Bunnies Get Drunk At Easter :D (high pitched to low pitched)

Mark.LincolnMark.Lincoln replied on July 16th, 2009

Thanks for that great tip to remember the names of the strings EFR! See ya, Mark

paul2020pkpaul2020pk replied on June 16th, 2009

Hi Mark, I'm getting confussed. In lesson 3 the chord (for example) was 1st finger 2nd fret E,middle & ring finger 4th fret G & B but here you (and the suplimentary content) move the strings lower and introduce the 'pinky' on an extra string. Noticed changes to other chords too - am I missing something obvious ???

Mark.LincolnMark.Lincoln replied on June 17th, 2009

Hey Paul, I'm not sure what you were looking at in the video and/or the supplemental content but regardless...you know that the B should be played like this: x24442. I can't place what part of the video you were looking at and sometimes I may have just been showing how to augment or suspend that chord. Nevertheless, remember that you can always play "pieces" of chords that are sometimes called power chords and that may be what I was showing you, I'm not sure! Either way, don't let it slow you down and thanx for the feedback. Mark

Mark.LincolnMark.Lincoln replied on June 16th, 2009

Hey Paul which chord are you talking about? I've reviewed Lesson three and am having trouble finding the stuff that's confusing you. Let me know and I'll try to help you with this problem. Thanx! Mark

paul2020pkpaul2020pk replied on June 17th, 2009

Sorry Mark I missed the most important part of my question. It was the B chord.

derecoladerecola replied on May 16th, 2009


buffy136buffy136 replied on April 6th, 2009

great teaching mark..while uploading 62% of this lesson I have notice you said OK 35 times...is it because you say it to your wife all the time :) or bad habit:) no matter,your still a great teacher thanks

Mark.LincolnMark.Lincoln replied on April 6th, 2009

Hey Buffy thanks for writing. I don't have a wife so that theory's gone right away! Perhaps I say ok so many times to calm and soothe the watcher, or perhaps me! I can't really answer that but I'm hoping that you're absorbing some of the material and not just counting words lolololo! Take care, Mark

tadpole17tadpole17 replied on February 3rd, 2009

FYI, you refer to paperwork in this lesson with the strumming patterns (i.e., arrows) on it, but I'm unable to locate it. I'm really interested in working on rhythm guitar and strumming patterns. I'm looking forward to your help in this.

jboothjbooth replied on February 3rd, 2009

Click the "info about this lesson" tablature for the writeup mark is referencing, and the supplemental content for extra useful material.

tadpole17tadpole17 replied on February 4th, 2009

Thanks! However, there's no timing indicating for the strum, just the up and down arrows...

the pistonthe piston replied on December 17th, 2008

After you set your fingers in the proper position, do you strum all six strings or just the ones you are holding down?

jboothjbooth replied on December 17th, 2008

That depends on the chord. For instance, if you are playing a C major chord, you don't want to strum the low E string as it is not part of the chord, but the other notes are. Many chords make use of open strings, but you just need to make sure to only play the ones that are a part of the chord. The chord charts can help you see which strings to play, check out the "supplemental content" tab to see the charts.

mountmount replied on September 16th, 2008

Mark, I am trying to play some of the stuff you have, I am tuned in standard E, are you tuned one step down?

Mark.LincolnMark.Lincoln replied on December 14th, 2008

Hey Mount thanks for writing! Sometimes I am tuned a half step down and I apologize for the confusion. If you tune each of your strings down a half step so each string is: from the low E string...dsharp. G sharp. C sharp. F sharp. A sharp and d sharp. Normal tuners should allow you to make these changes but we'll try to keep in standard tunings in the future. Mark

Mark.LincolnMark.Lincoln replied on September 19th, 2008

Hey Mount, thanks for writing. Yes, I have been known to tune down a half step but all lessons in the future will be in standard tuning. Sorry about the confusion. Mark

68whiskeygrrl68whiskeygrrl replied on December 1st, 2008

hey mark- i have been following your lessons and am really starting to get a hang of chords and finger placement. my problem is more with strumming. there are times when i feel like i am strumming too hard or too loud- could it be from me putting too much effort in to my strum instead of letting the pick do the work? also, what is the best angle to hold the pick at for a good, solid strum? thanks :)

Mark.LincolnMark.Lincoln replied on December 14th, 2008

Hey Whiskeygirl! The brilliant Jeff makes some good points but also keep in mind: type of pick you're using...I and many pro players that I know use light or medium picks, especially Dunlop medium picks. They're gray and perfect for strumming. Also, keep in mind, strumming/rhythm guitar is an art form and takes a light and sensitive touch played from the wrist. You may need to really relax your strum hand and play with a limp wrist. That may sound kinda funny but it's true! Really relax your wrist and allow the pick to flow gently over the strings. Let me know how it's coming along. Mark

jboothjbooth replied on December 2nd, 2008

It definitely could be. When you are playing it is really easy to put too much effort into the strum and get carried away, in the same way it's easy to push way too hard on the frets when it isn't necessary. When you are strumming try to have the pick angled slightly up when you are strumming down, and slightly down when you are strumming up so the pick moves slowly and smoothly over the strings. Also try to remember that playing loud isn't a bad thing, it can create an interesting dynamic. For instance, playing the 1st beat of a measure loud can accent the rhythm, etc. Mark also talks more about strumming in later lessons.

felipefelipe replied on August 24th, 2008

Mark, how can I use the metronome with down down up down strumming or down up strumming? I have problems with my rhytim, can help me the metronome? Thank you.

Mark.LincolnMark.Lincoln replied on September 13th, 2008

Hey Felipe! The metronome is a great tool and can definitely help you to become a better rhythm player. When you play a snap-strum or the down-up strum the metronome doesn't play two clicks, right? Just one to measure that beat, just like it does for every other beat. It just measures the same amount of time for every beat or: tic tic tic tic etc. The down-up strum then needs to fit in between the two clicks just like a single strum does. Does that make sense? Perhaps we can focus on this facet during one of the lessons and I'll talk to the big bossses about the possibility of including more on this topic. Keep at it! Mark

kevmcculloughkevmccullough replied on July 26th, 2008

Sorry, it was marked as a D6, Hal Leonard's Acoustic Guitar Method. I've been losing a lot of sleep over this! jk

kevmcculloughkevmccullough replied on July 23rd, 2008

is that Bm also an A6? I've seen that chord in leaving on a jet plane marked as A6.

Mark.LincolnMark.Lincoln replied on July 25th, 2008

Hey Kevin, just to add on to what Jeff was saying: sometimes sheet music will show chords that may or may not be correct, or they may be listed on the wrong fret (or no fret indication at all) which can be very confusing. Hopefully you aren't losing any sleep over it! Good luck, Mark

jboothjbooth replied on July 23rd, 2008

I've never seen this chord labeled as an A6, but I could be incorrect!

Mark.LincolnMark.Lincoln replied on June 12th, 2008

Hey Hedgehog, thanks for the compliments. Keep your eyes peeled for more cool stuff coming up in the next couple of weeks. Thanks and keep on rockin'

evilhedgehogevilhedgehog replied on June 6th, 2008

I love your style of teaching! You go very carefully over each finger placement, and have that wonderful big zoom on the fingers, so it is easy to see as well as hear exactly what is happening! Keep up the excellent work!

Basic Guitar with Mark Lincoln

Found in our Beginner Lesson Sets

Learning the basics of the guitar, the building blocks if you will, is an extremely important step in learning and mastering the guitar. This series is all about the basics.

Lesson 1

Guitar Basics

This lesson is all about the basics. Mark explains guitar parts, holding the guitar, and more.

Length: 13:12 Difficulty: 0.5 Members Only
Lesson 2

Tuning, Gear, and Chords

Mark begins by discussing equipment every guitarist should own. Then, he introduces chords and proper tuning methods.

Length: 17:28 Difficulty: 0.5 Members Only
Lesson 3

Chords and Strumming

Mark finishes his discussion of the "open" chords. He applies these chords to basic rhythm and strumming concepts.

Length: 17:33 Difficulty: 1.0 Members Only
Lesson 4

Minor Chords and More

Mark reviews the major chords and introduces the minor chords. He also covers strumming techniques in greater depth.

Length: 25:48 Difficulty: 1.0 Members Only
Lesson 5

Expanding Chords

Mark introduces a few more minor chords. He also provides a monster chord exercise.

Length: 16:36 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 6

Strumming Exercises

Mark Lincoln continues his discussion of chords and strumming. He introduces several new exercises in this lesson.

Length: 19:30 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 7

Music Theory and Barre Chords

Mark covers several topics in this lesson. He explains scales and barre chords. He also demonstrates how to find notes on the fretboard.

Length: 21:45 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 8

E Shape Barre Chords

Mark Lincoln covers E shaped barre chords in greater depth. Mark refers to these chords as "Type 1" barre chords.

Length: 15:12 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 9

A Shape Barre Chords

Mark covers the A Shape / Type 2 barre chords in greater depth.

Length: 17:12 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 10

Minor Barre Chords

Mark introduces minor barre chords that utilize the shape of the "open" Em chord.

Length: 13:10 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 11

A Minor Shape Barre Chords

Mark introduces minor barre chords based on the shape of the "open" Am chord. He refers to these chords as "Type 2 Minor" barre chords.

Length: 12:36 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 12

Mini Barre Chord

Mark demonstrates abbreviated versions of the "Type 1" and "Type 2" barre chords. He calls these "mini barre" chords.

Length: 17:43 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 13

A Shape Mini Barre

Mark teaches the "mini barre" version of the A major shaped barre chord. He also explains dissonance.

Length: 20:29 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 14

Minor Mini Barre Chords

Mark Lincoln applies mini-barre chord concepts to minor chords.

Length: 12:28 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 15

Guitar Technique

Mark Lincoln explains essential components of guitar technique.

Length: 15:59 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 16

Guitar Dynamics

Mark Lincoln explains how dynamics can enhance your playing. He covers topics such as volume, tempo, rests, and more.

Length: 27:48 Difficulty: 0.5 Members Only
Lesson 17

Transistion Strums

Mark Lincoln explains more about guitar technique. This time around he introduces "transition strums" and continues his discussion of liquid chords.

Length: 26:12 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 18

Harmonic Technique

Mark Lincoln explains what harmonics are and how they are played.

Length: 15:31 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 19

Expanding Liquid Chords

Mark Lincoln expands on the concept of liquid chords. He explains new chord variations and how they can be changed in mid-strum.

Length: 16:21 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 20

Spicing up Chords

Mark demonstrates how chord progressions can be spiced up by adding hammer-ons and pull-offs.

Length: 12:21 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 21

Chord Fingering

Mark explains how chord fingerings must be altered when applying "liquid chord" concepts. He also provides a few new "liquid chord" exercises.

Length: 11:10 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 22

Precision Strumming

Mark returns to the land of chords. This time around, he provides an exercise that contains four variations on the A chord.

Length: 14:28 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 23

D to D in Six Steps

Mark provides a chord progression that shifts from one D chord to another in six steps.

Length: 15:20 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 24

Chord Voicings and Construction

Mark delves deeper into chord construction and alternate chord voicings.

Length: 13:36 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 25

Quantitative and Qualitative Changes

Mark tests your guitar knowledge with a pop quiz. Then, he discusses quantitative and qualitative changes.

Length: 22:54 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 26

Quantitative and Qualitative Review

In the 26th installment of his basic guitar series, Mark reviews the quantitative and qualitative changes he presented in lesson 25.

Length: 17:34 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 27

Rhythm and Guitar

Mark provides exercises designed to make you a better rhythm player.

Length: 0:00 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 28

Expanded Rhythm Exercise

Mark Lincoln expands on the rhythm exercise from lesson 27. This time around he incorporates several C based chords.

Length: 14:31 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 29

Hand Structure

Mark discusses proper playing technique. He provides a few exercises that facilitate right hand mechanics.

Length: 17:02 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 30

Cadd9 and Dsus2

Mark provides an exercise that features two new chords - Cadd9 and Dsus2.

Length: 0:00 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 31

Finger Glue and Flexibility

In the 31st lesson, Mark discusses his "finger glue" technique. This technique improves speed and accuracy.

Length: 21:31 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 32

Reviewing Chord Changes

Mark takes a step back in lesson 32 to explain how to make quick and accurate chord changes.

Length: 22:14 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 33


Mark explains how to use the slide technique between chords.

Length: 19:24 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 34

Keeping Time While Playing

Mark reviews qualitative and quantitative changes. He explains how to keep time while performing these changes.

Length: 21:17 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 35

A Minor Progression

Mark discusses qualitative and quantitative changes within an A minor progression.

Length: 19:56 Difficulty: 0.5 Members Only
Lesson 36

Chord Transistions

Mark Lincoln discusses several techniques that can be used when transitioning between chords.

Length: 21:43 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 37

Chord Transistions Revisited

In this lesson, Mark once again covers the subject of chord transitions. This time around, he focuses on barre chords and includes several helpful exercises.

Length: 23:25 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 38

Playing Individual Notes

In lesson 38, Mark discusses how playing single notes rather than chords can spice up your playing.

Length: 22:56 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 39

Rocking Out

Lesson 39 is all about rocking out. Mark discusses some tips to take your playing to the next level.

Length: 18:08 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 40

Slash Chords

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

Length: 14:42 Difficulty: 2.0 FREE
Lesson 41

Strumming from the Wrist

In lesson 41, Mark reviews the warm-up section and provides new tips on playing adequately from the wrist.

Length: 22:09 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 42

Raising the Barre

Mark builds further on barre chord techniques and liquid chords.

Length: 17:24 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 43

Building on Your Chord Knowledge

In lesson 43, Mark discusses additional skills related to learning and playing chords, specifically "liquification" of chords.

Length: 20:42 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 44

Experiment With Playing

Lesson 44 is all about trying new things. Mark discusses experimenting with your playing in order to take it to the next level.

Length: 17:20 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 45


In this lesson, Mark once again talks about changing up chord derivatives to create a more unique sound.

Length: 20:56 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 46

Shaping the Hands

In lesson 46, Mark explains how to maximize your options by maintaining chord shapes while playing.

Length: 21:44 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 47

Precision Strumming

Today, Mark takes in depth look at strumming.

Length: 23:57 Difficulty: 1.0 Members Only
Lesson 48

Shine Like the Sun

Mark Lincoln teaches an original song entitled "Shine Like the Sun."

Length: 18:59 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 49

Changing Chords : Accuracy and Speed

Mark teaches some useful information on how to mix postures, "finger glue," and techniques to make your chord changes speedy and more effective.

Length: 30:56 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 50

Play Along with Mulitple Chord Voicings

In this lesson, Mark guides you through the world of alternate chord voicings. He teaches several shapes and shows how they can be used to enhance your playing.

Length: 23:06 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 51

Understanding Liquified Chords

Mark brings us a very appealing aspect to better understand the guitar. With his explanation of "liquified" chords, mark will explain how to move up and down the guitar to create different chord voicing.

Length: 25:32 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only

About Mark Lincoln View Full Biography Mark Lincoln was born in S. California but was raised near Portland Oregon in a town called Beaverton. When he was twelve years old, he began his journey into the realm of the creative by composing poetry and was later published in a journal called "In Dappled Sunlight." He wrote for four years until his older sister blessed him with his first guitar, an old beat-up nylon stringed classical guitar. Mark played that guitar for five years, continuing to compose his own lyrics and starting the process of matching his own words with chords that he was learning on the guitar. He learned to play chords from his friends and from music books that he both bought and borrowed. Mark cited his four biggest influences, at that point at least, as The Who, Led Zeppelin, Jethro Tull, The Rolling Stones.

Mark cites his most current influences as Radiohead, U2, older music by REM, and Peter Gabriel amongst others. He performs with two acoustic guitars, one being a six-string M-36 Martin with a three-pieced back for increased bass response, and a Guild Twelve-string which is his most recent acquisition. Mark is fond of saying that the twelve-string guitar is better because you get two guitars for the price of one, but he still plays his Martin equally as much and with the same passion.

Mark ended up in Fort Collins Colorado where he currently lives, works as a Marriage and Family Therapist, and continues to write, teach and perform music. He currently performs with a group called "Black Nelson" as well as with a number of other seasoned professional musicians including his cousin David, a virtuoso lead-guitar player. Mark has performed in many of the smaller venues in Denver and Boulder, as well as some of the larger ones including the Fox Theatre, The Boulder Theatre, Herman's Hideaway, and also at The Soiled Dove where he opened for Jefferson Starship as a soloist. Some of Mark's originals are also available for your listening pleasure on MySpace.

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Eve Goldberg Eve Goldberg

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Randall Williams Randall Williams

In this lesson Randall introduces the partial capo (using a short-cut capo by Kyser) and talks about how it can make the...

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

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

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In lesson 6, Kaki discusses how the left and right hands can work together or independently of each other to create different...

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

Nick Greathouse Nick Greathouse

Nick starts his series with Alternate Picking part 1. Improve your timing, speed, and execution with this important lesson.

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Danny Morris Danny Morris

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

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Andy James Andy James

Get an in-depth look into the mind of virtuoso guitarist Andy James. Learn about Andy's early beginnings all the way up to...

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David Wallimann David Wallimann

This is a crucial lesson that explains tablature, how to read it, and why it's important.

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Evan Brewer Evan Brewer

Evan Brewer explains everything you need to know in order to get going with your bass guitar. Topics include the parts of...

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Eric Madis Eric Madis

In this lesson Eric talks about playing basic lead in the Memphis Blues style.

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Alex Scott Alex Scott

Find out what this series is all about.

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Billy Sheehan Billy Sheehan

Billy starts his artist series off with a lesson on something he gets asked the most to explain: right hand 3 finger technique.

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Bumblefoot Bumblefoot

Guns N' Roses guitarist Ron "Bumblefoot" Thal pulls out all the stops in his blistering artist series. Dive into the intense,...

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John Shannon John Shannon

Meet John Shannon and his approach to rhythm guitar. John discusses why he put this lesson series together and what his...

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