Strumming Exercises (Guitar Lesson)

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Mark Lincoln

Strumming Exercises

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

Taught by Mark Lincoln in Basic Guitar with Mark Lincoln seriesLength: 19:30Difficulty: 1.5 of 5
Chapter 1: (01:56) Welcome Back and Review Welcome back to the basic guitar series with Mark Lincoln! Before you move on with the lesson, be sure to do the following:
Warm-up the hands
Stretch the fingers.
Play the open major chords.
Play the open minor chords.
Chapter 2: (02:46) Strumming

We've talked about the formations of the open chords at some length, so let's talk a little more about playing those chords.

Strum notation often looks like this: down up down up etc where each arrow represents either a downstroke or an upstroke. Also, remind yourself of the rubber band technique where the down-up motion or down up should be done in one motion or a snap motion. Keep in mind that your picking hand should be relaxed. Let the pick flow over the strings. Do not grind the pick into the strings. On the other hand, be careful not to grasp the pick so loosely that it falls out of your hand. There is a balance here that you will need to find for yourself and your own playing.

Don't forget to relax! If you're finding that you're getting frustrated or stressed by playing, then set the guitar down. Take a couple of deep breaths and try again. Keep in mind that ALL OF US struggle at times and have to work on our playing diligently.

Chapter 3: (07:34) Exercise 1

In this exercise, we're going to pick a few chords and practice strumming them. Here are the chords for the exercise:

Em C G D

If you need to review how these chords are fingered, do so now.

Here is the strum that we will be using: down down up down or down down-up down, so the middle two strums (the down-up) would be the "snap" strum or the "rubber band" strum. Play the strumming pattern once for each chord listed above.

Okay, try it! When you watch me in the lesson video, you will notice that I am playing just two notes of the C chord and two notes of the G chord. I'm doing this to simplify the exercise and make the transition between chords a little easier for you at this time. Once you've mastered the changes with the chords at hand, then you can play the full versions of the chords as illustrated beforehand.

Remember what I said in the previous lesson about experimenting. Don't be afraid to step outside of your comfort zone and attempt things that may be difficult for you. Otherwise, you may be limiting yourself and your potential for greatness.

Strum the chords while keeping the following in mind:

1)Make sure your guitar is upright and comfortable in your lap. Many players prefer to play with a strap even when sitting down in order to hold the guitar in a comfortable position.

2)Relax your strum hand remembering the ideas I mentioned previously in the lesson. Let the pick flow over the strings.

3)Listen!!! I can't emphasize this enough. Listen to the sound coming out of the guitar. If you are hearing notes that are being muffled or just non-existent then play each note individually in the chord (pluck each string separately) until you find which finger is the culprit. Then, hold that finger down more firmly. Yes, it hurts at first, especially if you’re playing a steel-string guitar. This is just an unfortunate part of the process. If it hurts too much, then stop, massage the finger until it feels a little better, then continue. Remember, in terms of developing calluses, no pain equals no gain!

4)Try to keep your fingers perpendicular to the fretboard to prevent fingers from touching strings they should not be touching. Try to arch your wrist outward to ensure the fingers are perpendicular to the fretboard. Your ultimate goal in chord formation is to place each of the fingers as close as possible to the fret without actually touching it. Each string must be held down with enough pressure to produce a solid tone.

5)Breatheeeeeeeeee!!!!!!! It is of the utmost importance that you relax and breathe during playing. The more relaxed you are, the easier the guitar is to play.

Chapter 4: (00:50) Relaxing Be sure to relax! Playing the guitar while stressed out may affect your playing negatively and reduce the enjoyment of the instrument you love. If you are simply not in the mood for playing, put the guitar down and come back later.
Chapter 5: (01:39) Exercise 2

In this exercise we're going to pick four new chords and a new strum. Here are the chords for the exercise:

Am F Bm G
Again, if you need to refer to the notes for the chord structures, do so now.

The strum for this particular exercise looks like this:down up down up down up down up or down-up down-up down-up down-up. This exercise will give you another opportunity to practice the "snap strum." Play each chord four times where down up is equal to one. Watch how I do it! Again, pay attention to the sound that is coming out of your guitar and make the necessary adjustments as you play.

Chapter 6: (01:38) Exercise 3

In this exercise, we're going to pick another combination of four chords. Here are the chords for the exercise: D E A G.

The strum for this particular exercise looks like this: down down down up or down down down-up where your snap strum is the last strum. Practice all of the exercises in this lesson until you develop a mastery of the chords that we’re using and have become more familiar with strum notation and the process of strumming itself. We'll work more on all of these rhythm guitar aspects in the weeks to come.

Chapter 7: (01:36) Final Thoughts You've made it through another lesson! Before moving on to the next, be sure to practice the chords and strumming patterns in this lesson. Building a house requires a solid foundation. Playing the guitar is no different. Learning strumming, chords, and other basic principles might seem boring but they are absolutely critical to becoming a skilled player. See you next time!

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.

efrenishefrenish replied

im motivated at 54

brainroverbrainrover replied

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brainroverbrainrover replied

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brainroverbrainrover replied

Way too much talking. I want to get to playing a song!

MTMalsMTMals replied

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MTMalsMTMals replied

Never mind...I found the charts in Supplemental.

MTMalsMTMals replied

Hey Mark, I'm working on your DDUD exercise (10,000 times) and except for your quick flash of finger your recommended finger positions for A,Bm,E,Dm,Em,Fm to G. I can find them on line but if you included these in the print outs it would be very helpful. i.e. there are several ways to do F and Bm. Need the ones you instruct or prefer. Thanks (Mike)

gannablegannable replied

really struggling forming the F chord and I cant transition cleanly to the B minor chord

rossvzrossvz replied

Hey Mark, the notation for these is wrong- you show quarter notes for the first exercise but that's not what youre playing, same with exercise 2- it shows 8th notes, but you're actually playing 16ths (1e...2e...3e...4e..)

russellrockerrussellrocker replied

I see he's tuned back up to standard tuning today. Why does he keep switching back and forth?

dpprofessordpprofessor replied

Mark Really, it is "OK." It's all "OK." I love the lessons, but the barrage of "OKs" sometimes drives me nuts. After a while, it's all I can hear. OK?

denycedenyce replied

This is my problem i got it down just i have to learn how to move my fingers to the next chord so Im not able to do it as fast Im working on it thou

earlofscarbsearlofscarbs replied

hi mark, new to Jamplay and loving it. I also have same query as larsmohrnielsen with regard to strumming seem to take a slight break after the 2nd Up strum, so pattern becomes down, down, down, up...rather than down, down up down. cheers

alijeealijee replied

can you tell me an easy way to play D chord.. im facing difficulties to get clear sound of D chords...

Mark.LincolnMark.Lincoln replied

Hey Alijee! The only (and best) way I know to play the open D chord is to put the 1st finger on the G string second fret, the middle finger on the high E second fret and the ring finger on the B string 3rd fret. Does that help??? Mark

larsmohrnielsenlarsmohrnielsen replied

Being told that my strumming hand has to be constant and even mowing like one, and, two,and, three,and four, etc.. Your snap up strum and pausing after the up strum does not fit into my counting ??? what have I got wrong and whats is "the counting" ? :/

larsmohrnielsenlarsmohrnielsen replied

Sorry placed this reply wrong :(

larsmohrnielsenlarsmohrnielsen replied

Being told that my strumming hand has to be constant and even mowing like one, and, two,and, three,and four, etc.. Your snap up strum and pausing after the up strum does not fit into my counting ??? what have I got wrong and whats is "the counting" ? :/

Mark.LincolnMark.Lincoln replied

Hey Lars how are you? Are you able to come into one of my live chats because then I could see exactly what you're doing and perhaps help to clarify some strum issues with you directly?...Mark

intune2intune2 replied

Hi Mark...I am wondering about two things. First off, I play the D major with my 1st finger on the high E and 2nd finger on the that ok or should I switch them back? Secondly, on Exercise 1 (Em, C, G, D) are you strumming all strings? I am trying to not strum the high E on the C, etc. (like we were taught)....this right? Hope this isn't confusing....thanks :)

intune2intune2 replied

Ok..just read your reply to another member about playing all the strings it. Still wondering about if playing the D chord the way I do is ok though...thanks!

larsmohrnielsenlarsmohrnielsen replied

Being told that my strumming hand has to be constant and even mowing like one, and, two,and, three,and four, etc.. Your snap up strum and pausing after the up strum does not fit into my counting ??? what have I got wrong and whats is "the counting" ? :/

jarls1jarls1 replied

Just a note: the chord diagram in the supplemental content has the Bminor at the 14th fret, which is not what I think you want. Thanks for the fantastic instructional videos. I do think you are excessive in the take home work. :^>

dmandrewsdmandrews replied

Hi new to the site.. I played sorta when i was young and your right it was soooo much easier. . I am getting very frustrated mostly because I have smaller hands and really have problems with the stretches. also I don't seem to be able to press the first string, firsts fret hard enough. I have made my first finger so sore and i have tried liquid bandages . The other fingers are fine ...slightly sore but not bad..any suggestions..maybe should try nylon strings?

Mark.LincolnMark.Lincoln replied

You could switch to nylon strings but...I would probably just take a couple of days off and give your fingers a rest. Also, do you use antibacterial soap to wash dishes? That can take a toll on fingers as well. You can also switch to lighter strings on your guitar over the long haul, this might help to alleviate some of the stress on your fingertips but keep this in mind, over time you will form tougher callouses and this problem will go away:) Mark

Mark.LincolnMark.Lincoln replied

Hey Jarls how are you? Sometimes the supplemental content and the lessons are slightly off and thanks for letting us know! As far as the "homework" is concerned, you can do as little or as much as you want depending upon your schedule, you won't be penalized lol!

pcgolferpcgolfer replied

Mark, I in remote area of Iowa and can only use books. The light bulb went off in lesson 4. I am trying to play every chord I cant lets without using my index finger... say A Minor. I can toggle back and forth from A to A minor instantly I also have my index finger for a trailing Major E and C. It also let's you bar... which I am now doing. Does it make sense to try playing as many notes as you can without your index finger?

Mark.LincolnMark.Lincoln replied

Hey Golfer, in general it is good to build in that sort of flexibility that you're doing without the index finger, as long as you can play with the index as well lol. Keep it up! Mark

josh9999josh9999 replied

Hey mark im pretty sure i got my guitar tuned,AWESOME;)

josh9999josh9999 replied

Hey Mark i finally got good enough that i thought i could get to this lesson.Getting better progress.:)

sdelleyazsdelleyaz replied

Hi. Great lessons. I'm really struggling with the Bm & Cm chords (I watched the earlier lesson where Mark introduced them). The strings being held by the first finger always seem to sound wrong. Anyone found any other lessons that cover these 2 chords. Maybe it's just from being 40 ;-) but I still feel like I'm doing something basic wrong with how I'm holding the strings to the fretboard - probably related to stretching out for the 2nd & 3rd finger, but I can't seem to get it fixed. Anyone have any other variations to these 2 chords that are working for them?

betsyagarbetsyagar replied

Cm and Bm give me trouble too, but I think it's a matter of repeating them until your finger muscles get used to them. I changed the down down up down exercise to insert a Cm or Bm between every other note so that I learn to transition to them from any other chord. It's hard work!

Mark.LincolnMark.Lincoln replied

Hey Betsy! I realize tht some of this can be hard work but after a while it gets easier and easier until finally you'll have that Eureka moment "I got it!" Mark

gentechgentech replied

Hey mark, Great strumming exercise. I've started using my iphone to record my exercises, and even though the recording quality is not great it lets me hear if I'm strumming with my metronome, aswell as the quality of my strumming and chord transitions. Any tips for a student who needs to work on timing besides using a metronome?

Mark.LincolnMark.Lincoln replied

Hey Gen how are you? Yes, I think using the I-phone is a great idea and another thing you can do to work on timing is to play along with songs that you're into. That way you have a built-in metronome as well as other guides within the song that can help you to develop good timing. Good luck! Mark

imantuimantu replied

Hi Marc, enjoying your lessons so far just a question about your simplified chord strumming exercise. Are you paying all the other cords as open cords except for the D chord. A noob question I know but I am a noob :P

Mark.LincolnMark.Lincoln replied

I think you mean all the other chords except for the B chord, right? Mark

imantuimantu replied

sorry for the confusion what I meant was all the strings when playing the simplified cords or are some muted as they would be with the regular notes

Mark.LincolnMark.Lincoln replied

No you usually will not be playing all six strings of the guitar unless you're playing an E or a G chord. You need to look at chord construction and how playing certain open strings that are not intrinsic to that chord can change the overall name and structure of that chord. For example, if you play a D chord and strum the low E string (accidentally or otherwise) you now have what you might call a "slash chord" and the chord would now be D/E. In other words,you added in a note not normally found in D major and thus changed the chord. Mark

imantuimantu replied

Thanks Mark that makes complete sense

steve_o12steve_o12 replied

Am F Dm G will get you Mr.Jones counting crows just a heads up

Mark.LincolnMark.Lincoln replied

Thanks Steve and Counting of my most favorite bands! Good to hear from you...Mark

davidk132davidk132 replied

Hey Mark, great series. I just got my hands on a dreamy acoustic Crafter that has a big booming sound :) However I'm noticing when I do the open chords I get a lot of overtones and sympathetic vibration that bounces all over the place. Since I'm being good and not looking ahead, is this an issue that should be remedied by palm muting or LH muting? What lesson do you get into more muting? Thanks, David

motttramlzrdmotttramlzrd replied

Hi, loving the lessons, feel real improvement, thanks. A question, lesson 6, scene five - the chords you play are different to the chords in the supplementary content (AmFBMG). Any chance the right chords could go on, I've tried looking at you fingers but it's sometimes a little difficult to see. Cheers Richard

Mark.LincolnMark.Lincoln replied

Hey Richard how are you? Yes, the chords I'm playing are Am F Bm and G regardless of what it says in the supplemental content. Is that what you wanted to know? Mark

motttramlzrdmotttramlzrd replied

'Thanks. Should my first finger be on both the B and high E string or just one? Cheers Richard

Mark.LincolnMark.Lincoln replied

Hey Richard what's up? Your first finger should be playing the note (the tonic or root) that corresponds with the chord you're playing so if you're playing a B-chord then the low note or bass note you should be holding down should be a B or 2nd fret on the A-string, if you're playing an F# (for example) then your first finger should be holding down an F# note, or low E string 2nd fret. Does that make sense? Mark

mrbill1956mrbill1956 replied

Hey Mark I have really enjoyed your lessons so far. A question though. In lesson 6 scene three you say we are to use the down down up down strum but you are counting down down down up in the exercise. Am I miss counting the strum

Mark.LincolnMark.Lincoln replied

Hey Bill how are you? Keep in mind the whole idea of phrasing and if you think about each set of d du d as one phrase or set of strums then you may also notice that the last down stroke in the 1st phrase can easily become mixed in with the beginning of the next phrase. Subsequently, the next phrase would become d d du. Is it possible that this is what's happening when you're strumming? Mark

gray owlgray owl replied

Hi Mark! Strumming has always been a stumbling block for me these lessons are giving me much insight. Thanks

Mark.LincolnMark.Lincoln replied

Thank you oh wise grey owl and I'm glad you're enjoying the lessons! Mark

patrick carbajalpatrick carbajal replied

hey mark. i've been in jamplay for almost a month. It has really taught me a lot. I have one question though. Are the tips of your fingers suppose to hurt a little in the beginning? Now my fingers are kinda hard at the tips and i think are starting to crack a little. Is this normal?

Mark.LincolnMark.Lincoln replied

Hey Pat how are you? Yes it's perfectly normal to experience some discomfort on your fingertips when you play especially when you play a steel-string guitar. You might want to use some moisturizer though if you're getting cracking but make sure that you work it in thoroughly before you put your fingers back on the fingerboard. Thanks for writing! Mark

gibson22gibson22 replied

I see this lesson is back in the 2008 hehe,great lesson;I thank strumming is a lot of guitarist week point ,and this lesson will get you started ,thanks on the time you have taken to show use,I no strumming is my week piont .

Mark.LincolnMark.Lincoln replied

Hey Gibson how are you? Yes, that lesson was filmed a little while back but I hope to be able to help you with your strumming as well. I know many people struggle with that but all it takes is a little practice! Mark

piranhamanxxxpiranhamanxxx replied

Hi Mark! Great lessons so far and i seem to be moving forward at a nice pace. Im getting a lil bit confused re the strumming pattern: D, D-U, D Or what you are calling the snap strumming. I've played drums on and off for years so am quite used to counting as i play. As a drummer we often count 1-2-3-4- for quarter note beats or 1-&-2-&-3-&-4-& for 8th note beats or 1e&a2e&a3e&a4e&a for 16th note beats and so on and so on. when it comes to the timing of the snap strum, how does it fit in to the above timing/counting methods Im sorry if this has been covered elsewhere but i have a tendency to be playing 1-2-3-4- or 1&2&3&4 with up and down strums after the lessons from steve eulberg and would just like a lil clarification for my overheating brain thx in advance] Nick

Mark.LincolnMark.Lincoln replied

Hey Nick how are you? Please top off your brain coolant, we don't want you to melt down man! Keep in mind that often times when it comes to strumming one strum may likely last longer than another and subsequently you'll have an eighth note with a sixteenth note, or a quarter with an eighth note. This is the case as well with the snap-strum since you're not playing each strum the same amount of time. Does that make sense? Mark

benrod78benrod78 replied

great lesson

guitarchrisguitarchris replied

Mark I found the strumming patterns later on the lesson. Thanks

romeof1romeof1 replied

Hey Mark, thanks so much for your lessons. I was just trying to understand the difference between the strumming pattern in the first excercise and the strumming pattern in the third excercise. I played both clips back to back and they sound the same to me. Is there really a difference between the two and how can I differentiate when i'm playing. Thank you!

Mark.LincolnMark.Lincoln replied

Hey Romeo how are you? I guess I'm a little confused as the first strum exercise is the down down-up down and the second is simply down-up....I'm not sure which you are confusing. Please clarify your question and I'll do my best to answer it for you. Thanx for the feedback! Mark

tdszevztdszevz replied

Chapter 5 only has black video...(but the audio is functioning) And a question: Ive been playing guitar for a while(only from tabs) but im definately learning from this. But one thing has accured to mee, me right hand(biceps) gets wery tired from the snap strum. Is this somthing that will fix it self in a while or am i doing somthing wrong with my technique?

Mark.LincolnMark.Lincoln replied

Hey TD thanks for checking in with me. Many people over rely on their arms for strumming. Try using your wrist more when strumming the guitar. You may want to join me in one of my live Q and A's because we often talk at length about playing from the wrist and this might benefit you as well. Also, stretch out a little before playing this might help the fatigue in your arm as well. Good luck! Mark

hpsports72hpsports72 replied

Thanks for your hard work. Mark. I am really enjoying your video lessons.

Mark.LincolnMark.Lincoln replied

Thanks for the great feedback HP much appreciated! Mark

tundelltundell replied

Hi Mark, I am really enjoying your strumming lessons. Could I ask you how to hold the pick, because I was praticing with the pick between my thumb and index finger with both soft pads in contact with the pick. Then a friend told me that this was wrong and it should be held with the side of my index finger and with the soft pad of my thumb. I did try this but it feels very clumsy but it looks like you are holding it this way in your lessons. Can you give me some advice on the correct way before I pick up some bad habits......many thanks.

spiderluccispiderlucci replied

if your still confuse... spider

Mark.LincolnMark.Lincoln replied

Hi Tundell thanks for writing in. I tend to hold my pick between the inside of my first finger and the flat portion of my thumb. That's the way that works for me best but I think that each person should find a place that feels comfortable to them AND where the pick is working correctly so....holding the pick firmly between thumb and first finger but loosely enough so that the pick can flow over the strings. If you don't allow the pick to flow over the strings gently it can produce a harsh grating which is usually undesirable both to the player and the audience-whoever that may be. Good luck and let me know how it works out! Mark

spiderluccispiderlucci replied

hi everybody, Mark is doing a good job for the beginners.... however, so he doesn't lose a bunch of people. I'll explain a little Music Theroy to you.... this way you understand it a little better. 1 quarter note = 1 beat. so for example, in Exercise 1. starting with the E -minor chord. Down, down,up,down. The 1st beat would be down, the 2 beat down, 3rd up,4th down. now onto eighth notes = 1/2 beat. eighth notes beamed together = 1 quarter note. in exercise 2 these are eighth notes. Starting with Am Only the beat will go like this... 1&2&3&4& so the srumming will go with the beat like this... Down,Up,down,up,down,up,down,up The & are the up. REMEMBER THAT. any questions just ask. Thanks for reading. Steve :)

tadpole17tadpole17 replied

My concern is the timing for the strums -they don't match with the scores. It'd be helpful to match the strums to a count to develop rhythm.

spiderluccispiderlucci replied

hi tadpole17, your not making yourself clear. However, i may be able to clear things up for you. 4/4 Top Number = how many beats in each Measure or Bar. Bottom Number = what kind of note gets the beat. "Qauter notes that Mark is putting there is a good example. each quarter note = 1 beat. anymore questions, just ask. Steve

Mark.LincolnMark.Lincoln replied

Hey Steve, sorry about all of the confusion with some of this stuff. Between you and I, the reason why I list strum patterns instead of getting into the specifics and logistics is because there are beginner-beginners on the site and if I start talking with a lot of technical jargon then I know I'll lose a bunch of people. I am glad for folks like you though who are fielding questions for other members. Thanks for all of your help and insight! Mark.

spiderluccispiderlucci replied

hi Mark, Like the strumming Lessons your giving. However, i do have a question about the quarter notes that your using for this lessons. I was told quarter notes = 1 1/2 beat. I feel that the person that says his a teacher and know his theroy but i feel it's incorrect and i believe a qauter note = 1 beat. get back to me soon! Thanks again. Steve

bheaphybheaphy replied

Great teachings man.

sk8bugsk8bug replied

Hi Mark, thanks for the reminder to relax & breathe. I forget to do that sometimes!

juscajusca replied

the exercises seem out of order than what is shown on the video.

jboothjbooth replied

Which ones do you see that are out of order? I just checked over them and they seem to be in the correct order as far as I can see. If you could let me know where the error is i will correct it ASAP.

jboothjbooth replied

I believe what happened was is he talked about Pattern #3 a bit, and then moved o n to the other exercise which still uses the "down up" pattern. Also keep in mind you can play any of these exercises using any strumming pattern, and this is actually probably a really good thing to do as it will make you better with your chords and strumming.

ricardobricardob replied

The first and second strumming on the suplemental comment seem to be incorrect.

chachochacho replied

Hi Mark, I really enjoy your strumming exercises, it's exactly what Ive been looking for (here comes the but), but I have noticed that on lesson 6 you give an exercise with the F chord, which is a really difficult chord for a novice but in your earlier chord lessons your F chord is the easy version which does not bar the b and e string. So it would be difficult for a beginner to do the dreaded f chord strumming exercise. Is it in a later lesson, so I can see how you teach the F chord barring the b and high e strings.

jboothjbooth replied

Hello! You can see a full listing of different F chords (including the one you describe) here :)

chachochacho replied

Thanks for the reply, I have seen the chord via your link. It's just not an easy chord to play and it would be good if Mark showed us how to play such a difficult chord before giving us an exercise using that chord. It's just an observation and not a complaint as I really like Marks lessons.

jboothjbooth replied

Oh, I see Chacho, thanks for the clarification, it definitely is a hard chord, unfortunately I don't think there's too much that can be done for it because practicing. The chord is very dependent on hand strength, so if you are having issues with it the absolute best thing you could do is practice it. This one is even harder then other E shape barre chords because it is so close to the nut. One thing to also keep in mind is that if you are having excessive problems with full barre chords, the action on your guitar could be too high, so you may want to think about having your guitar setup if problems persist.

felipefelipe replied

Hi Mark!! when you use down - up strumming, in the up motion, how many strings do you play for each chord? Please explain it, because when I use down - up strumming, on the up motion it´s seems I play E high string and B string. Thank you for your help.

Mark.LincolnMark.Lincoln replied

Hey Felipe, nice to hear from you. The "up" strum should strum the same strings as the down strum but this is really not the most important facet of strumming. As long as you are keeping time and the basic structure of the song is remaining intact, you could strum one string or two or three.....that's why I call the down-up motion a snap strum because it should be in one motion. Does that make sense? Try it out strumming any of a number of strings on the way back up but keeping the timing in mind more than anything. Let me know what you think! Mark

maccmacc replied

it would be helpful to us rank beginners if you could repeat the strum pattern for maybe 1 or 2 minutes with the camera on your strumming hand. Then I can play along with you to try and learn the rhythm.

Mark.LincolnMark.Lincoln replied

Hey Macc thanks for writing in. We'll try to give you "rank" beginners (geez don't be so hard on yourself!) more of a chance to see the strum patterns in the future. Are you becoming more familiar with the strum notation? These can also be a great help when learning new strums but I also learn better sometimes when things are visually accessible so I understand your plight. Keep at it and remember that we're all still learning the guitar, that's the beauty of it. Take it easy, Mark

dpm24dpm24 replied

Today i was trying to listen to the teachers and the video kept stopping and being interrupted I don"t know why? I am wondering if there is a streaming problem

jboothjbooth replied

try changing your quality setting to medium or low.

mingofallsmingofalls replied

Keep the lessons coming Mark, I'm learning so much about stumming! Thanks dude! JamOn

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.

Guitar BasicsLesson 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
Tuning, Gear, and ChordsLesson 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
Chords and StrummingLesson 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
Minor Chords and MoreLesson 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
Expanding ChordsLesson 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
Strumming ExercisesLesson 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
Music Theory and Barre ChordsLesson 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
E Shape Barre ChordsLesson 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
A Shape Barre ChordsLesson 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
Minor Barre ChordsLesson 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
A Minor Shape Barre ChordsLesson 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
Mini Barre ChordLesson 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
A Shape Mini BarreLesson 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
Minor Mini Barre ChordsLesson 14

Minor Mini Barre Chords

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

Length: 12:28 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Guitar TechniqueLesson 15

Guitar Technique

Mark Lincoln explains essential components of guitar technique.

Length: 15:59 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Guitar DynamicsLesson 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
Transistion StrumsLesson 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
Harmonic TechniqueLesson 18

Harmonic Technique

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

Length: 15:31 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Expanding Liquid ChordsLesson 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
Spicing up ChordsLesson 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
Chord FingeringLesson 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
Precision StrummingLesson 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
D to D in Six StepsLesson 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
Chord Voicings and ConstructionLesson 24

Chord Voicings and Construction

Mark delves deeper into chord construction and alternate chord voicings.

Length: 13:36 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Quantitative and Qualitative ChangesLesson 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
Quantitative and Qualitative ReviewLesson 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
Rhythm and GuitarLesson 27

Rhythm and Guitar

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

Length: 0:00 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Expanded Rhythm ExerciseLesson 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
Hand StructureLesson 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
Cadd9 and Dsus2Lesson 30

Cadd9 and Dsus2

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

Length: 0:00 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Finger Glue and Flexibility 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
Reviewing Chord ChangesLesson 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
SlidingLesson 33


Mark explains how to use the slide technique between chords.

Length: 19:24 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Keeping Time While PlayingLesson 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
A Minor ProgressionLesson 35

A Minor Progression

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

Length: 19:56 Difficulty: 0.5 Members Only
Chord TransistionsLesson 36

Chord Transistions

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

Length: 21:43 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Chord Transistions RevisitedLesson 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
Playing Individual NotesLesson 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
Rocking OutLesson 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
Slash ChordsLesson 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
Strumming from the WristLesson 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
Raising the BarreLesson 42

Raising the Barre

Mark builds further on barre chord techniques and liquid chords.

Length: 17:24 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Building on Your Chord KnowledgeLesson 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
Experiment With PlayingLesson 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
DiversifyingLesson 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
Shaping the HandsLesson 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
Precision StrummingLesson 47

Precision Strumming

Today, Mark takes in depth look at strumming.

Length: 23:57 Difficulty: 1.0 Members Only
Shine Like the SunLesson 48

Shine Like the Sun

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

Length: 18:59 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Changing Chords : Accuracy and SpeedLesson 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
Play Along with Mulitple Chord Voicings 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
Understanding Liquified ChordsLesson 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
Mark Lincoln

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.

Lesson Information

Acoustic Guitar Lessons

Acoustic Guitar

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

Tyler Grant Tyler Grant

Tyler Grant is back with an introduction to his new series "Classic Country Chops." In this series, Tyler goes in-depth...

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Rich Nibbe Rich Nibbe

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

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Mary Flower Mary Flower

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

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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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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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Evan Taucher Evan Taucher

In the classical guitar world, there seems to be a lot outdated instructional advice. And while this type of information...

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David Isaacs David Isaacs

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

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Mark Lincoln Mark Lincoln

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

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Hawkeye Herman Hawkeye Herman

Hawkeye teaches several Robert Johnson licks in this lesson. These licks are played with a slide in open G tuning.

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Electric Guitar Lesson Samples

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

Horace Bray Horace Bray

Horace provides a short etude on how to practice connecting the different shapes of the G Major open triads. This helps you...

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Michael Mennell Michael Mennell

Mike introduces himself and his series.

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Andy Whitehead Andy Whitehead

Join Andy as he takes a look at the style of one of the most influential guitarists of all time: Eddie Van Halen. In the...

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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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Irene Ketikidi Irene Ketikidi

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

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Guthrie Trapp Guthrie Trapp

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

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Sarah Longfield Sarah Longfield

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Dave Weiner Dave Weiner

Dave "David J" Weiner returns with a lesson on how to play with style and attitude. He covers all the basic techniques you'll...

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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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