Music Theory and Barre Chords (Guitar Lesson)

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Mark Lincoln

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.

Taught by Mark Lincoln in Basic Guitar with Mark Lincoln seriesLength: 21:45Difficulty: 1.5 of 5
Chapter 1: (02:16) Lesson Introduction and Review Welcome back to another lesson with Mark Lincoln! Before moving on with the lesson, please do the following:
Warm-up the hands.
Stretch the fingers.
Play the open major chords
Play the open minor chords
Review the exercises from last week.

We've been talking about strums and the technique it takes to play chords smoothly. Please review last week's lesson so you will be prepared for today's as well as upcoming lessons. We're going to shift gears a little, and if you feel as though you are falling behind, don't feel bad! Just review, practice diligently, and you'll get caught up to speed.

Chapter 2: (08:00) Notes, Half Steps, and Whole Steps

Within the musical alphabet, there is either a space of a half step or a whole step from one note to the next. Half steps and whole steps translate into one fret and two frets respectively. So, if I say to move up the neck one half step, it means to move up the neck by one fret. If I say to move up the neck by a whole step, it means to move up two frets.

You are holding down the A-string on the second fret as such (for whatever chord you're playing): B_X_

If you want to move that finger up a half step, then your fingering would look like this:


If you wanted to move that finger up a whole step, then your fingering would look like this:


"Up" on the fretboard always indicates that the note is getting higher or ascending. "Down" indicates the note getting lower or descending. This concept will be become increasingly more important as we continue our discussion. So, a half step is equal to one fret, and a whole step is equal to two frets. In music, there are spaces or steps in between notes. In fact, there are half steps and whole steps that always occur in between certain notes.

Half Step Rules of Thumb

There are only two places where half steps occur naturally in the musical scale. Between the E and the F. Between the B and the C.

Type 1 / E Shape Barre Chords and Steps

Here is the E Major Chord


If you wanted to play the F chord, it would look like this:
F Major

Notice how each note in the E chord just moved up a half step, or one space on the fretboard. The "1's" at the first fret indicate that this chord should be played as a barre chord where the first finger stretches across all six strings. We'll talk more about barre chords as we continue. For now, pay attention to the change in movement of your hand on the fretboard. E and F are divided by a half step.

Chapter 3: (08:43) A Shape / Type 2 Barre Chords and Steps

Now let's talk about changing between B and C using the "Type 2" or A shape barre chords.

Here is the B major chord:

If you wanted to play a C chord with a barre, this is what it would look like:

C major

Again, notice how each of the notes that we're holding down moved up by a half step. Continue to look for patterns like these in music as the fretboard is riddled with more spacial relationships.

Chapter 4: (02:45) Final Thoughts

So, to summarize today's lesson, half steps occur between the E and the F, and the B and the C. Whole steps occur between every other set of two adjacent notes in the musical alphabet. A whole step is equal to the space of two frets on the guitar. Become very familiar with these facts as future lessons will hinge upon them.

Video Subtitles / Captions


Member Comments about this Lesson

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

AZLAN47AZLAN47 replied

This is so logical and thus I can grasp the patterns...finally. Up to now I have been trying to just learn the barre chords in random order...durrh... Thanks, Mark :)

ScSmithScSmith replied

This really helps. I'm finally getting it. Duh.

ScSmithScSmith replied

Should we then play the Am the the same fingers? I guess so. Kinda undoes things for me. Oh well!

oldfart62oldfart62 replied

the audio cuts out at 3:03 of scene 3

mankey87mankey87 replied

for some reason he reminds me the school principal guy on south park lol

plasticwaffleplasticwaffle replied

Im so glad Marks lessons are still here...I miss him teaching here.

Timg2011Timg2011 replied

Mark Im having trouble with the type 1 barre cord doing a f cord holding my first finger to cover the first fret how many strings were you holding down on that second example E and B or just the low E string I cant tell in the video lesson thanks.

panterasmashpanterasmash replied

Hey Guys, Very easy to understand how these all fit together, but I'm having a REALLY hard time making my fingers bend for the Type 1 A Major barre chords. Like my fingers will literally not let me play it without muting a string entirely. Any suggestions? Are there just certain people who can't have their fingers bend that way?

grburgessgrburgess replied

put your hands on top of someone playing the chord that you want to play to really feel the way they are forming it and using their muscles - subtle control that they are exercising.

dcspecialistdcspecialist replied

Ok... This is the lesson where I had my = MIND BLOWN moment after being a self-taught novice for a few years....

steveson17steveson17 replied

this is was the most amazing guitar lesson I had so far.. it was incredible for me to know that all chords are so related... really really liked it

kajurajkajuraj replied

Mark, You are actually the best. The best thing is that you are so diverse and always focus on being creative.

brian coonbrian coon replied

Mark, I am a self taught beginner, the theory you provide is fantastic. You are an excellent instructor. Thank you so much.

tobberuptobberup replied

Hi Everyone. If you want to get started learning every note on the fretboard, download fretboard warrior on your iphone. Am not sure it exits for Android but look it up. This program allows you to learn the notes on one string at the time and as you get better you can be quizzed on the entire fretboard. It helped me a lot. So use it as a supplement to your guitar practice. Tobberup ;)

smatt65smatt65 replied

Mark, Half steps only between the B and C, and E and F. I've played on and off for years and one thing I always struggled with, and agonized over is how in the world do people that read music learn each and every "single" note on each string. I've looked at individual note diagrams and just couldn't see the pattern for some reason. But then you mentioned the half steps only between the B and C, and E and F. A big fat light bulb went off in my head. Kudos my friend for being a great guitar teacher. Nobody has ever told me that one simple thing. This just opened a huge door for me in my playing.

mr guitaristmr guitarist replied

Hey Mark, when you make a barre chord F, do you barre bottom strings and top string at same time?

fastballfastball replied

when I am trying to barre across all 6 strings I am getting less that quality sounds I have tried mashing down harder on the neck but I am still not getting the correct sound what do you suggest I try HELP

jeffmack44jeffmack44 replied

On the Chord List in the SUpplemental Material there are 4 B chords listed, two of which are identical. I the E chord really played sometimes with the 2,3 and 4 fingers on the ninth fret? This is almost impossible for me to crowd my fingers into this configuration! The 2,3,4 finger config on the Type II is in general almost impossible for me to do. Is this a common and impotrtant pattern to master?

maxwell123maxwell123 replied

my 3rd finger doesn't bend past the 2nd knuckle at all, so i keep touching the e string doing the a chord... what should i do?

rawoofeenrawoofeen replied

okey okey okey just kidding:)u're awesome

rivdillrivdill replied

I love guitar, your awesome and funny haha

renata12renata12 replied

You should see my 2 year old daughter stretching just like you. Hilarious. :)

renata12renata12 replied

You should see my 2 year old daughter stretching just like you. Hilarious. :)

renata12renata12 replied

You should see my 2 year old daughter stretching just like you. Hilarious. :)

spurs20fansterspurs20fanster replied

Great lesson Mark...i do have a question however..If i can do an open C chord, why would I care to reproduce it elsewhere on the fretboard? Doesnt it sound the same anyways? or any other chord for that matter unless I'm an octave higher/lower? I'm sure there's a good reason, just need you to shed some light..

tjwiebetjwiebe replied

i was going to ask the same question but thought i would scan the forum to see if it had already been addressed. thanks for the question - and thanks, mark, for the answer.

Mark.LincolnMark.Lincoln replied

Your welcome TJ I hope all is well, Mark

Mark.LincolnMark.Lincoln replied

Hey Spurs how are you? My answer to your great question is a resounding Yes!!! It's incredibly important to know where other positions of the open chords are for the following reasons: 1)playing chords in different positions does produce a different sound, sometimes a very different sound 2) Playing in different positions will help you to gain a closer familiarity of the fretboard and the scales that naturally come with that familiarity 3) Variety-having a more intimate knowledge of the various positions that chords are played will make playing more fun for you (especially down the road) and will make your sound as a player more interesting and diverse. There are more reasons but I'm hoping that will give you enough to chew on for right now! Thanx for the great question!!! Mark

infanti2006infanti2006 replied

Hey. Mark , I WAS the one ,that asked about,the sounding of guitars ,if you would not mind running that by me again please. i know the part about half step and whole steps.But could you please simplify it a little more understanding. for a layman. in the field of music thank you. gabe

Mark.LincolnMark.Lincoln replied

Hi Gabe, the best way to simplify the idea of half steps and whole steps is to remember that there are only two notes, and two chords as well (the same rule applies) that have only half steps, or one fret between them: B to C and E to F. The rest of the notes and chords have whole steps, or two frets between them. Does that make better sense? Mark

wolfiesmithwolfiesmith replied

Hi Mark. Really enjoying your lessons and after years of having a guitar but not being able to play I'm now making progress. This lesson has really opened up the guitar for me, great to be able to work out where chords are along the neck. I'm having a problem on the F chord using a full barre and was just checking if on the 'easier' version is the first finger holding down both the 1st and 2nd strings on the first fret? I'll continue practising the troublesome full barre but it'd be nice to play the easier one at times if only to give my ears a rest :o) Thanks for all your help.

Mark.LincolnMark.Lincoln replied

Hey Wolfie how are you? Yes, you can definitely use the smaller F or what I call the mini barre but you should also continue to try the full barre chord as this will inevitably help you to build the necessary strength in your hand. Great to hear from you! Mark

krobinson5krobinson5 replied

I am amazed at how many lights you can turn on. Are should I say Aha moments? Good job.

brandtjbrandtj replied

Great lesson, Mark. Do you have any advice on where to put your thumb on the neck for maximum comfort and sound while doing barre chords?

Mark.LincolnMark.Lincoln replied

Hey Brandt how are you? Thumb placement is a subjective issue and some players insist on keeping it straight up and down behind the neck but...I think it's important to find a comfortable spot for you. I usually have my thumb at a slight diagonal depending on the barre chord but you'll need to experiment and find the right most comfortable spot for you. Hope that helps Mark

endzietendziet replied

Type 1 barre chords came easy thanks to you, so did the Amaj with the 3rd finger, but it kinda hurts my finger to do it, should i just toughen up or does it adapt?

Mark.LincolnMark.Lincoln replied

and yes...your fingers will toughen up and strengthen up as well as you continue to play. ML

parnold45parnold45 replied

Whoops, make that a 'trial' membership not a 'trail'

Mark.LincolnMark.Lincoln replied

Hey Flames how are you? A good finger strengthening exercise to get you ready to play both the Type 1 (E shaped) and Type 2 (A shaped) barres is to play your open E and A major chords using your 2nd 3rd and 4th fingers, and avoiding using the first finger completely for those. This will gradually force the muscles and tendons to strengthen and barres will come easier. Good luck! ML

parnold45parnold45 replied

Mark, I really enjoyed this lesson and all the others of yours that I have done so far. In my previous attempts to learn barre chords I have failed miserably. The way that you have presented it makes me feel like I could actually learn them, but what do you advise - stopping the lessons now until I master the chords, or doing both (ie continuing the lessons and redoing the lesson here until mastered)? Again, thanks for the great site, I am on a trail membership but I plan on joining with a 1 year membership tomorrow.

Mark.LincolnMark.Lincoln replied

Hey Arnold welcome aboard my friend! If I were you, I would continue to work on barre chords as well, assuming you have the time to work on your other priorities. Good luck and nice having you bro! ML

jarls1jarls1 replied

Just a thought for you (other student) ~ as it is working for me ~ make use of all the instructors and take their lessons as well as Mark's. I am currently learning from 5 instructors. It is one of the super extra duper advantages of Jamplay -> I get to learn the same material from many different angles and different styles of teaching. It also helps with the boredom of working through a stuck point.

parnold45parnold45 replied

Thanks jarls, I've been doing that and found a lot of great information.

fromflamesfromflames replied

Hey Mark! I began playing about 2 years ago and learned some barre chords, although i never really understood the theory behind them - now i do! I'm struggling with the Type 2 because i was used to play it with the 1st finger fretting the barre and the 2nd, 3rd and 4th fingers on the D, G and B string separately - Any good exercises for that kind of barre other than just doing them? A thing about the theory which i think could help some people (maybe it's too complex) but for me it helps to look at a musical keyboard with notes on, that way you can compare it to the guitar :)

guitarsimguitarsim replied

Hey Mark, I understand the half steps and whole steps great, but I can't do the "slant" on the barre chords at all. Should I continue with the lessons while working on the "slant"? Or should I practice the slant until I can do it consistently, and then continue with the lessons. Thanks

Mark.LincolnMark.Lincoln replied

Hey guitar, if I were you I would simply continue working on the lessons and continue to practice the slanting A technique. Eventually you'll find it will get easier and easier. Mark

chordlesschordless replied

hey mark my third finger just doesnt bend back enough to get the type 2 barre chord is this gonna be a problem down the road or is there some other way i can play it. thanks

Mark.LincolnMark.Lincoln replied

Hey chordless how are you? Yes, there are other ways to play those chords but...make sure that even if you play that type of barre chord in another way, keep working on the slanting barre as well. One day be able to do it if you keep trying so don't give up! Mark

cobhcfan1cobhcfan1 replied

hey mark, i understanded the WHOLES AND HALFS perfectly, but the barre chords....i cant stretch my fingers very good??

Mark.LincolnMark.Lincoln replied

Hey Cob you may need to do some stretching exercises the likes of which are available in various different lesson sets. Simply stetching gently between the fingers though can be a great aid when attempting barre chords. Mark

mark carltonmark carlton replied

This is the first time I have understood the simple theory of half steps and whole steps! Thank You, Mark

Mark.LincolnMark.Lincoln replied

No problem Mark (fellow Mark) glad I could help you, man! See ya, Mark

ishwarnk1783ishwarnk1783 replied

Hey Mark. I am confused. I was going to music store in January for Guitar lessons. The instructor told me that between Note B&C and E&F it is always considered as a "WHOLE" step and there is no "HALF" step between these notes. How do we look at it? Thanks so much. --Ish

Mark.LincolnMark.Lincoln replied

Hi Ish how are you? Flat out....they're wrong! Between B and C and between E and F are one fret changes or half steps, just like you thought! I'm not sure who you're talking to down there but they don't seem to be familiar with simple theory. Stick with us here Ish and we'll take care of you! Mark

ishwarnk1783ishwarnk1783 replied

Hey Mark. Thanks for the reply. I stopped taking private lessons few months back. Thats where they taught me this confusing theory. I am sticking to JamPlay. Thanks so much!! --Ish

romeof1romeof1 replied

Hey Mark, thanks for all your guidance in these lessons. I was wondering why the type 1 bar chords required the bar to be made one fret before the chord, while the type 2 bar chords had the bar 2 frets before the chord. Thanks so much!

Mark.LincolnMark.Lincoln replied

Hey Romeo, thanks for writing! Well without going into too much detail about the nature of chord construction, what you need to look at when you're delving into the "why's" of how a chord is constructed you simply need to look at what notes go into a particular chord. For example, tear apart an "A" major open chord on the second fret and you will have the notes E, A and C#. Now look at the notes in an Amajor barre chord, and you'll find the same notes as well. So the best answer I have for your question is the shape of the chord is dictated by the notes contained therein. Does that make sense? Mark

romeof1romeof1 replied

Thanks so much for the quick reply. That actually makes alot of sense. Thank you so much!

mazzystarlettemazzystarlette replied

Mark, This was an excellent way to explain barre chords. E type 1 and A type 2. I went in to the music store last January for a month of guitar lessons (by this time I was ready for barre chords). My instructor did not explain barrre chords like this, he placed more emphasis on memorizing chord shapes. The way you explain it makes much more sense to me because I am already familiar with my music alphabet. Thanks a bunch.

Mark.LincolnMark.Lincoln replied

Hi Jamie! Thanks I really apprecaite the great feedback as well as your interaxction on the Q and A's! Talk soon! Marky Mark

lee66047lee66047 replied

Mark, all the lessons are going great. I am having a dickens of a time getting a proper sounding barre chord. I can get the first finger to lay flat, and I get get the other three to curve but to get all four working together.....well its not happing. Is there an exercise I could do? Does the elbow have to be in a particular place, or the thumb?

Mark.LincolnMark.Lincoln replied

Hey Lee how are you? Sometimes it can take a little bit to get bar chords down but...stretching out your hands and wrists can sometimes help especially in lieu of the fact that the bar chords on the lower frets are wider. Warming your hands up and doing gradual stretches can be even more helpful. If you are still having problems it's probably just a matter of time before you'll inevitably be able to form those chords correctly. Good luck! Mark

rockinrollduderockinrolldude replied

GRRRREAT LESSON! It really, ROCKS! Im not really new to barre chords, but I am very new to music theory, seeing as my other guitar teacher didnt teach me much. So, feeling as if I was in a scorching desert and the only thing that could quench my thirst was good music theory, I came and watched this series of lessons. I found it amazing how , from understanding that the only half steps were from E-F and B-C, Im now able to tell what every main note on the guitar is ( as in, every note that isnt flat or sharp). Thank you so much for simplizing this part of the theory! I love the way you teach, in my words, I would say its quite extatic and exuberating (if that is a word). Thanks again!!! Im excited to learn some more music theory from your other Basic Lessons.

spiderluccispiderlucci replied

Hi Mark, I see your trying to explain the "E form" when going to the F chord. Why don't you tell them about the CAGED Theory. This will make it painless to remember and very easy! You already told everybody about open chords. These are the Forms they need to remember. C,D,E,F,G,A,B The only thing is they need a little video for them to see. not everybody will understand what i'm saying here but you will. Thanks for reading. Steve

maygolfer32maygolfer32 replied

Mark, is it ok to use my pinky finger to bar the 3 strings for the A-shape instead of my ring finger. This feels much easier for me and more natural. My pinky bends right in there. Is this ok or will it lead to problems down the road. Thanks

bennashbennash replied

Hey Mark.. For once I have found my fingers to be quite maliable... This has been a journey... I wanted to check what you were doing though. Am I right in seeing that the bar on the type 2 chords goes two steps down from the third finger. so the bar is on the second fret whilst the ring finger covers strings on the 5th fret. Also you aren't using the bar. You just use your 1st and 2nd fingers... is that right... thanks steve.. great teaching... Ben

jboothjbooth replied

If you were playing the type 2 barre chords on the 2nd fret, you would be playing on the 4th fret I believe :) Also, it's important to remember that with each barre chord you can not play the entire thing, depending on the strength of your fingers, which mark sometimes does. He will cover this concept a bit more in the later lessons on "mini barre" chords, so you may wish to check them out.

triathletechinktriathletechink replied

Dude your funny, the Potato chip- Andy Griffith comment had me laughing

ronriverronriver replied

Mark, I've got the type 1 barre chord working pretty well. It feels natural to me to use my thumb to squeeze the neck behind the fret where the number 1 finger is making the barre. Is that OK? If so, is there something comparable for positioning my thumb or palm on the back of the neck to help play the open A chord with just my third finger? Thanks.

Mark.LincolnMark.Lincoln replied

Hey Ron, thanks for writing in. If you're having a lot of success with the Type 1 Bar chords and your thumb feels comfortable where it is, then run with it. The more comfortable your hand feels with a particular chord, the more likely that you'll be able to play it successfully and quickly. Keep it up! Mark

dominoguydominoguy replied

very well explained mark, but i really struggle to do the ring finger a chord with out fretting the high e string.

Mark.LincolnMark.Lincoln replied

Hey Domino, thanks for writing. Doing the "slanting" A technique (if My assumptions are correct in what you are talking about) or playing the open A chord with just your third or ring finger, is definitely a challenging skill to acquire. You're touching the high E-string, yes? Sometimes, moving your hand forward and up so that your hand is able to curve more around the neck of the guitar, can facilitate this exercise. Try then to push harder on the ring finger so that you make cleaner contact with just the three strings that you are intending to hold down. This definitely takes practice and hand strength but will come in time to the dedicated. Don't give up on it! I have found that after trying certain things that were difficult for me for some months (or even years!) I finally found that I could do it. Guitar is like that. Just keep at it and don't worry so much if you dub out the E a little, it'll come in time. Mark

flyrerflyrer replied

Thanks Mark Great lesson

mingofallsmingofalls replied

Mark, thanks for this lesson, I was struggling with why some Maj Chords had no flats/sharps, and others did, this helped me understand things alittle more clearly! Great Lesson! More, More!!! lol 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.

Freebo Freebo

In this lesson, Freebo covers the basics of right hand technique. This lesson is essential for all up and coming bassists.

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Calum Graham Calum Graham

Award winning, Canadian fingerstyle guitarist Calum Graham introduces his Jamplay Artist Series, which aims to transform...

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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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Danny Voris Danny Voris

Lesson 7 is all about arpeggios. Danny provides discussion and exercises designed to build your right hand skills.

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Mark Kailana Nelson Mark Kailana Nelson

Mark Nelson introduces "'Ulupalakua," a song he will be using to teach different skills and techniques. In this lesson, he...

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Mitch Reed Mitch Reed

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

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Dave Yauk Dave Yauk

Learn a simple mini song that illustrates just how intertwined scales and chords really are. Dave uses a G chord paired...

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Maneli Jamal Maneli Jamal

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

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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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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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Electric Guitar Lesson Samples

Electric Guitar

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

Mark Lettieri Mark Lettieri

In lesson 14 Mark debuts a thumb and fingerstyle technique used to create some separation in the bass and chords or melody.

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Brendan Burns Brendan Burns

Brendan demonstrates the tiny triad shapes derived from the form 1 barre chord.

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Sarah Longfield Sarah Longfield

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Alex Scott Alex Scott

Find out what this series is all about.

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Steve McKinley Steve McKinley

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

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DJ Phillips DJ Phillips

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

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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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Kris Norris Kris Norris

Kris analyzes different pick sizes and their effect on his playing. Using a slow motion camera, he is able to point out the...

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Chord Library

Each chord in our library contains a full chart, related tablature, and a photograph of how the chord is played. A comprehensive learning resource for any guitarist.

Scale Library

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

Custom Chord Sheets

At JamPlay, not only can you reference our Chord Library, but you can also select any variety of chords you need to work on, and generate your own printable chord sheet.

Backing Tracks

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

Interactive Games

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

Beginners Welcome.. and Up

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

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

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Number of Instructors 128 1 – 3 1 Zillions
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Structured Lessons
Learn Any Style Sorta
Track Progress
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Accurate Tabs Maybe Maybe
Scale/Chord Libraries
Custom JamTracks
Interactive Games
Learn in Sweatpants Socially Unacceptable
Gasoline Needed $0.00 $0.00 ~$4 / gallon! $0.00
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