Memorial Day Sale - Save 75%
1 Month. 2 JamTrack Packs. $5 Bucks.

Best deal of 2017 expires in .

Using Tablature and Learning the Fretboard (Guitar Lesson)

What are you waiting for? Get your membership now!
Mark Brennan

Using Tablature and Learning the Fretboard

Before we start rocking, Mark goes over some tools and training necessary to every beginning guitarist.

Taught by Mark Brennan in Basic Electric Guitar seriesLength: 12:52Difficulty: 1.0 of 5
Chapter 1: (04:43) Lesson Intro and Tab Basics I. Reading Tablature

The tablature system is a short hand method for writing out musical notation. Tablature provides a graphic representation of the fretboard and where notes are located in relation to it. Tablature is a short hand method of writing out guitar music. This system utilizes numbers and symbols instead of notes. In this lesson, Jim explains how to interpret the symbols and terminology used in the tablature system.

A. Lines

Unlike the musical staff, which features five lines, the tablature system uses six lines. Each line represents a string on the guitar. Tablature written for seven string guitars features 7 lines. The lowest line (closest to the ground) represents the low E string (fattest string). The top line represents the high E string (smallest string). The tablature staff is upside down compared to the way that the guitar is actually held.

B. Numbers

The numbers written on the tablature staff indicate fret locations. For example, a "1" written on the lowest line indicates that the low sixth string should be played at the first fret. A "0" represents a string that is played open. An "x" indicates that a string is muted by the left hand. This is accomplished by lightly resting any finger on the string to prevent it from vibrating.

C. Spacing / Stacking

Tablature frequently omits the rhythmic component of a song. The horizontal spacing between two notes provides a guitarist with a general idea of the rhythmic relationships between notes.

A chord is indicated by tablature numbers that are stacked on top of one another.

D. Tuning

Often, the tuning of each string is indicated to the left of the tablature lines. Tablature works just as well regardless of what tuning you are playing in.

II. Additional Tablature Symbols

The following information regarding tablature symbols is taken from lesson 19 of Jim Deeming's Phase 1 series.

Tablature is not a very standardized way of writing out music. Publications may notate certain things such as bends or harmonics differently. Often, a legend is provided in magazines or at the back of a publication to help you determine what each symbol means.

A. Chord Symbols

Often, chord names are written above the tablature. However, there are infinite possibilities for chord voicings. You must still look down at the numbers indicated on the lines to determine which voicing is utilized.

Fingerings for chords are often provided within standard notation. They are seldom used in tablature. When used in tablature, they are typically written in parenthesis.

B. Hammer-ons and Pull-offs

Hammer-ons and pull-offs are written with a curved line connecting two different pitches. If the first number is lower than the second number, a hammer-on is indicated. If the second number is higher, play a pull-off. Often, multiple hammer-ons and pull-offs are combined together with a single curved line.

An "h" is written above the curved slur line to indicate a hammer-on. A "p" is frequently written above the slur line to indicate a pull-off.

C. Bends

An arrow written above a pitch indicates a string bend. This arrow also indicates how the bend begins and how it is concluded. The interval for the bend such as a 1/2 step, whole step, 1 1/2 steps, etc. is often written above the arrow.

Some publications write bends very similar to slurs. Two notes are connected with a curved line. Instead of writing an "h" or "p" between the notes, a "b" is written to indicate a bend. The first number represents the note that the bend is applied to. This note is bent up to the pitch of the second note.

There are number of different ways in which a bend can be performed. Each type of bend is written differently in tablature. Refer to each type of bend listed under "Supplemental Content" tab for a representation of how each bend is typically written in tablature.

1. Pre-bend: The string is bent up to pitch. Then the note is plucked.

2. Bend and Release: The string is plucked and bent simultaneously. Once the specified pitch is reached, the fretting hand returns the string to its normal position.

3. Gradual Bend: The string is plucked then gradually bent to pitch over a specified note duration.

4. Bend on the Beat: The string is plucked and bent simultaneously.

D. Slides

There are several types of slides as well. Typically, a slide is indicated by a slash mark. A backslash indicates an ascending slide. A forward slash indicates a descending slide.

1. Position Shift-Pick both notes connected by the slash mark.

2. Slur Slide-A curved line is written above the slash. The first note is picked. The second note is not picked.

3. Slide Out-Pick the note, then slide in the indicated direction.

4. Glissando-Gradually slide over the rhythmic duration that is indicated in the attached notation above.

E. Vibrato

Vibrato is indicated with a squiggly line. A fat squiggly line indicates a wide vibrato. A normal sized squiggly line indicates a moderate vibrato.

Note: Check out David MacKenzie's Phase 1 series for tips concerning how to perform a vibrato. For help with performing a vibrato on a nylon string guitar, check out lesson 1 from Danny Voris' Phase 3 set.

F. Harmonics

Harmonics are typically written in angle brackets. There are three types of harmonics: artificial (harp), natural, and tapped (slapped) harmonics. The type of harmonic is abbreviated above the brackets. Natural harmonics are abbreviated "N.H." Artificial (harp) harmonics are abbreviated "A.H." A lowercase "t" above angled brackets indicates a tapped harmonic. Pinch harmonics are abbreviated with "P.H."

Note: Refer to the Phase 2 Tips and Tricks series with David Anthony to learn how each of these harmonics can be performed. Refer to lesson 4 of the Metal series with Dennis Hodges to learn about pinch harmonics. These harmonics are not covered in the Tips and Tricks series.

G. Ghost Notes

When it can not be clearly determined whether a guitarist actually played a specific note on a recording, a "ghost note" is written in parenthesis. Ghost notes frequently occur as a result of sympathetic vibration. Sympathetic vibration is common when playing with a high gain setting.

H. Optional Notes

Optional notes are typically written in parenthesis as well. Usually some written instructions are written in conjunction with them such as "play notes in parenthesis on second repeat only."

I. Tied Notes

Notes that are tied are written in parenthesis too. A tie indicates that the rhythmic duration of a picked note is extended by the length of the additional note that is tied on. The tied note is not picked.

III. Advantages of Tablature

Tablature provides beginning guitarists who cannot yet read music with an opportunity to learn basic songs and exercises. Also, techniques that are idiomatic to the guitar such as bends, whammy bar dives, hammer-ons, and pull-offs are easier to read in tablature than standard notation. Finally, a single note can be played in a variety of locations on the guitar. Tablature shows exactly where each note should be played.

IV. Limitations of Tablature

Unfortunately, tablature omits several of the important features that are present in standard notation. The rhythmic element is frequently left out when tablature is written. Rhythm is the most important aspect of music. Without it, music becomes chaotic noise.

In addition, musicians that play other instruments cannot interpret guitar tablature and apply it to their specific instrument. On the other hand, standard notation applies to every instrument. Standard musical notation is a universal language that musicians of all cultures understand.

Consequently, tablature is only useful if you already know what the piece of music is supposed to sound like. If you are able to learn the rhythms from a recording successfully and accurately, then tablature is very helpful.

V. Importance of Reading Sheet Music

The following information is taken from lesson 1 of Matt Brown's Reading and Rhythm series.

-First and foremost, learning to read music will make you a better player. Reading skills will enhance the overall musicality of your playing. Continuing with these lessons will make you sound better. Period. After all, isn't that the goal we're all after?

-If you can't read music, you cannot interpret written music or tablature properly. This is due to a lack of understanding of how notes function with one another from a theoretical standpoint.

-It is impossible to learn music theory without basic reading skills.

-Musicians that play other instruments don't use tablature. You cannot communicate with these musicians without reading skills.

Visit the Reading and Rhythm Series to learn how to read standard notation. Both Jim Deeming and Matt Brown teach lessons in this section. Begin to read music as soon as you possibly can. You will not regret it down the road!
Chapter 2: (08:09) Learning the Fretboard and Wrap-up Note: Open and print the document entitled "Notes on the Fretboard." This document is located under the "Supplemental Content" tab.

At this point, you have already learned the note names for each of the open strings. Now it's time to begin learning the locations of the remaining notes on the fretboard. Learning the notes of the fretboard will become extremely important as you begin to learn scales, chords, melodies, and basic music theory. Do not be overwhelmed by the number of notes listed on the diagram under Supplemental Content. Mark explains a simple pattern that will enable you to identify the note produced by each string / fret location on the guitar.

Half Steps and Whole Steps

The distance between two adjacent notes in the musical scale is measured in increments called half steps and whole steps. These distances are also referred to as semitones and tones respectively. A half step represents the distance between two adjacent frets on the guitar. For example, the notes located at the 1st and 2nd frets on the high E string are a half step apart. A whole step occurs between notes that are located two frets apart.

Look at the low sixth string on the fretboard diagram. When played open, this string produces the pitch E. The note F is located at the first fret of this string. Consequently, the distance between the notes E and F is one half step.

Natural Notes

The natural notes are the notes within the musical alphabet that are not written with an accidental sign. Sharp (#) and flat (b) symbols are the most common types of accidentals. The natural notes are played on the white keys of a piano keyboard.

Once again, study the note names located on the lowest string of the fretboard. Where are each of the natural notes located?

open: E
1st fret: F
3rd fret: G
5th fret: A
7th fret: B
8th fret: C
10th fret: D
12th fret: E

The notes E and F are located one fret away from one another. The same is true of B and C. Subsequently, these pairs of notes are one half step away from each other. This statement is always true regardless of which string you are playing on. The remaining notes within the musical alphabet are located one whole step away from one another.

The Octave

As you can tell from the diagram, the pattern of notes repeats again at the 12th fret of each string. The 12th fret marks the beginning of the upper octave available on each string. Once you've learned the appropriate note names for each string up to the 12th fret, you have successfully memorized the note names for the entire fretboard. The note names simply repeat once again at the 12th fret.


Memorize the locations of the natural notes along the sixth string. Since the first string is also tuned to E, the natural notes are located at the same frets on this string.

Location of E Notes

Mark typically teaches the remaining notes of the fretboard by comparing them to the location of all the E notes. Learn and memorize the locations of the following E notes.

6th string / open
5th string / 7th fret
4th string / 2nd fret
3rd string / 9th fret
2nd string / 5th fret
1st string / open

E Note Exercise

Set the metronome on the left side of the browser window to a moderately slow tempo such as 70-80 beats per minute. Beginning with the open low E string, play all of the E notes you just learned in a sequential fashion. Hold each note for the value of a half note or two counts. Once you have reached the highest E note (open first string), descend back down through the E notes until you reach the open sixth string. Watch at 06:05 as Mark provides a demonstration of this exercise.

E Notes at the 12th Fret and Higher

Remember that the upper octave of every note on the fretboard is located 12 frets higher on the same string. With this in mind, determine the location of the remaining E notes that are located at the 12th fret or higher. Simply add 12 to the fret numbers utilized in the previous exercise. Then, repeat the exercise described earlier with this new set of E notes. Mark demonstrates the location of these notes at 06:44 if you need some help.

Repeat this exercise each day with a different note. First, start with all of the natural notes (A, B, C, D, E, F, and G). Then, work on the locations of the sharp / flat notes. Be patient with this process. It will take a while to memorize all of the natural note locations. Do not be intimidated by the process. If you work on a note at a time, you will memorize the entire fretboard in the most efficient manner possible.

Chromatic Notes

Every chromatic note (note written with a sharp or flat) has two different names. At this point, all you need to know is that the name used for these notes is dependent upon the key that you are playing in. A detailed theoretical explanation concerning this idea will be provided later down the line.

Questions about this Lesson

As always, if you have any questions pertaining to this lesson, feel free to email Mark or leave a comment in the lesson or his forum. Thanks for watching!

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.

lupenkolupenko replied on March 9th, 2017

After three years of trying to play, this lesson gave me my first real insight to the fret board. Thanks for the learning methodology.

wildwebwestwildwebwest replied on July 7th, 2016

This is a very helpful guide. I like it. Thank you.

BIGAVT85682BIGAVT85682 replied on May 7th, 2016


Guitar TracksGuitar Tracks replied on August 10th, 2015

My goal is to learn scales or notes that can play along making tracks of my own music or along with songs: Michale W. Smith A New Halleluiah song and so on, notes sounding correct in the correct key. Notes up and down the neck of the guitar or across the fret board.

kelvinjohnsonkelvinjohnson replied on May 31st, 2015

mark we know 0 means open string but what is the other numbers on the STRINGS mean not the fret board numbers on top 1 fret 2 fret 3 fret 4 fret. This is on the tablature reading. Thanks

buriedaliveburiedalive replied on August 23rd, 2015

Hello kelvin, I'd like to help answer that but I can't understand the question very you mean the measures? the numbers above the fretlines? I think those are for timing of the music...

Mike1982Mike1982 replied on April 7th, 2015

I'm really enjoyig these lessons but the videos are very buggy. Some of them the video and audio are off. This one the video freezes while the audio keeps going. Anyone else having these issues?

jboothjbooth replied on August 24th, 2015

Have you tried lowering the video quality from high to medium or low?

dinomaster606dinomaster606 replied on August 23rd, 2015

yeah happens to me once in a while too. Completely shutting of your browser and reopening it helps sometimes. But sometimes it doesn't :/ also make sure adobe flashplayer is up to date!

rpa924rpa924 replied on January 5th, 2015

I need to utilize a larger screen and it would be helpful if the videos were high def. Thanks

amishjimamishjim replied on December 24th, 2014

Kind of wish there was a metronome on this page so I could pause video and practice. Or be able to read the section that lists the frets for the natural notes with the metronome going. It says there should be one on the left of the browser, maybe Opera isn't displaying it?

themonsterthemonster replied on January 31st, 2015

you can use your cellphone, there are a lot of free metronome apps.........

amishjimamishjim replied on December 24th, 2014

Kind of wish there was a metronome on this page so I could pause video and practice. Or be able to read the section that lists the frets for the natural notes with the metronome going. It says there should be one on the left of the browser, maybe Opera isn't displaying it?

atiumatium replied on March 16th, 2014

Hey Mark, Really enjoying your lessons so far! But in the Table, what does it mean if there is an O or an X or nothing over strings?

theroostercruzertheroostercruzer replied on March 29th, 2014

O means it's an open string and X means string is muted.

the_ANTIDRUGthe_ANTIDRUG replied on January 9th, 2014

Good, simple approch to the fretboard

rcatonrcaton replied on December 1st, 2013

how do I print out the fret board?

multispeedmultispeed replied on January 12th, 2014

hello, go to the supp. cont. check the box on the right on top of supp. con. on the printer sign....hope it helps... greetings

georgebraingeorgebrain replied on March 4th, 2013

Thanks for these great lessons Mark, I have learned alot. And I hope to go see your band play when it's in the Cleveland Area. But I do need some help. I understand tab but I am very slow putting it together in my head. I'm a 60 some year old newbie, maybe that's my problem, but I'm really stuck on getting my speed up. Do you have any more helpful hints up your sleeve that might help? Thanks

brads dragonsbrads dragons replied on February 6th, 2013

I'm finding memorising the Fret board incredibly difficult, especially at my age. I'm 40 years of age and it just seems very hard remembering them all. I'm not giving up that's for sure but the Fret board has me fretting just a little... ;)

amishjimamishjim replied on December 24th, 2014

They say it takes longer for us old guys to learn. Just keep pickin n grinnin, my friend. It'll come to ya :D

wv_wilsonwv_wilson replied on February 9th, 2013

And now you know the true reason it is called the Fret Board.

apjamplayapjamplay replied on February 4th, 2013

Just joined Jamplay having picked up an electric guitar for the first time ever a few days ago. Really like your delivery and methodical progression of your lessons. One thing I'm confused on. You make the point about learning the natural half steps between E/F and B/C. Not 100% sure how you are playing these. With the half step between B/C are you fretting both the B and C together on the the 6th string Low E? If yes, how can you do that with the half step between E and F because the F is the first note on the board with the only way to achieve E being to leave it open, so both can't be played together??? Or am I confused? Is the natural half between E and F achieved by playing the Low E on 1st and 2 fret simultaneously. Can't quite see where your fingers are on the vid.

apjamplayapjamplay replied on February 4th, 2013

Ah. Figured it now I've come back after a break. They are not notes as such. It's just making the point to remember the two naturals by playing E/F B/C to get them fixed in the mind. I hope :-)

motownmike73motownmike73 replied on January 27th, 2013

Learning this Im finding alittle hard due remembering the fret board numbers i have to count looking down on them making this harder

justlackszazzjustlackszazz replied on December 28th, 2012

Enjoyed the lesson! I'm excited to finally start getting some theory under my belt. Locating the E notes was very helpful for me.

carveruapehucarveruapehu replied on December 7th, 2012

What does Oh2 mean & 2p0

justlackszazzjustlackszazz replied on December 28th, 2012

h indicates a "hammer-on" technique p indicates a "pull-off" technique Therefore you wouldn't pick those notes, just hammer on or pull off. I'm sure there are lessons on these techniques for more information :)

haqzafhaqzaf replied on November 5th, 2012

Hi, Brennan, My first vist to your lessons site. Before I, begin my lesson,I realize that suplemental tabulature contents are below your video. I can't view the contents along your video lesson. Is it possible the tabulature window pan be side by side with your lesson window?Two windows side by side intead of up and down format.thanks

nickdxxnickdxx replied on October 29th, 2012

Hi Mark- I'm confused- I am not seeing on the supplemental material the 6th string only being used to play the different chords by going up whole or half steps. My drawings are using all the strings on the tab, not just the 6th or low E

nickdxxnickdxx replied on October 29th, 2012

(at 2:01 on video)

bearrabbit39bearrabbit39 replied on September 4th, 2012

on the notes coming up the neck 7 and 8 fret is it b and c or b and c#/Db

MarkBrennanMarkBrennan replied on September 5th, 2012

On the low E 6th string (and also the top E 1st string), the 7th fret is B, the 8th fret is C, and the 9th fret is C#/Db.

joski64joski64 replied on August 30th, 2012

Really enjoyed the lesson..I have to study the tabs more to fiqure this out...I am going to practise the notes to get my eye /hand coordination as! this ain't easy

andreau007andreau007 replied on July 30th, 2012

Hey Mark, I was just wondering if, on tablature, you only strum the strings with frets indicated on them? Or do you strum all of the strings and just mute if so indicated by the 'x'? I greatly enjoy your teaching mthod and intend on continuing your lessons, thank you.

MarkBrennanMarkBrennan replied on July 31st, 2012

Hi Andrea......if there are no numbers on the strings of the tab, do not strum or pick these strings. If there is an x, then this string is strummed or picked but muted.

murrayhmurrayh replied on July 9th, 2012

Hi Mark 40 + and just starting must be mad. Great lessons The question I ask is which finger do you use for each note?

Shawn2774Shawn2774 replied on June 23rd, 2012

This is a great lesson, Mark! I have been working with other instructors and I was getting lost. I kept saying that i need to understand the fretboard to have the instrument make sense to me and I feel strongly about the progress I have made in the last week since watching this lesson. The memorization is not easy, but I am making progress.

tmcctmcc replied on May 12th, 2012

the fretboard that I have pictured looks wrong

nickdxxnickdxx replied on October 29th, 2012

I too am not seeing on the supplemental material the 6th string only being used to play the different chords by going up whole or half steps. My drawings are using all the strings on the tab, not just the 6th or low E

stratoplayastratoplaya replied on April 16th, 2012

Mark, Can you post a image showing where the notes are located on frets 16 through 22?

stergulcstergulc replied on March 20th, 2012

Hi Mark I have a Line6 Spider IV 15 practice amp. After listening to your lesson I'm confused with my volume contronls. I have a Master Volume control which I understand the function of. I have another Channel Volume control grouped with my gain, bass, treble and mid buttons. What's the difference between ths control and the master control? Thanks. Great lessons by the way!

wolfie0925wolfie0925 replied on February 4th, 2012

I am not getting the supplemental material on the screen when i clikc on it

eviemeviem replied on March 7th, 2012

Fretboard! OMG!

cyborgrabbitcyborgrabbit replied on December 28th, 2011

The easiest way for me to remember the fret board is to keep in mind that E and B have no sharp. Every half-step goes E to F and B to C. Then with all the other notes it's A to A# and C to C# and D to D# and F to F# and finally G to G#.

johnnyph12johnnyph12 replied on April 20th, 2012

right, i remember cuz the simpsons have a band called the B Sharps

daristanydaristany replied on December 28th, 2011

Hi Mark, I am practicing the E note across the fret board as discussed in your lesson #3 scene #2. I get the proper "E" note except on my 4th string and my 2nd string. For some reason those strings are playing the "F" note when I pick (2nd fret 4th string) or (5th fret 2nd string). I have a tuner on my amp (Fender Mustang III) and the tuner shows "D" and "B" when I pick these strings open. What am I doing wrong?

oceanestarsoceanestars replied on December 19th, 2011

i don't get it the fretboard, what are you doing when you put your metronome ?

iqgrayiqgray replied on November 28th, 2011

Hi Mark, question so should I learn the fret board first before moving on, I am a beginner.

MarkBrennanMarkBrennan replied on November 29th, 2011

Work on learning the fretboard as you move along with other material....lessons, song, riffs, etc.....spend a portion of your practice time learning the fretboard, but definitely work on other stuff too.

pldavenportpldavenport replied on November 6th, 2011

Hello Mark. I am a 51 year old guitarist who is mostly self taught. That means lots of gaps in knowledge and lots of bad habits to break. I am enjoying the lessons so far but can already tell I have lots to learn. Looking forward to getting past that ceiling that I hit many years ago and have never been able to get past.

ellenarocksellenarocks replied on October 18th, 2011

My guitar is also left handed.

ellenarocksellenarocks replied on October 18th, 2011

Hi Mark, I am a south pole guitar player and am looking forward to learning all I can.

maems1maems1 replied on October 18th, 2011

Hello Mark, really nice to meet you!!!! thanks for the lessons, those are really helpful!,I´ve been playing for a number of years now, but never learned like this, I´m on the basic tab lesson and really enjoying it, I have a question about the technics of, like bending, slide etc, What video do you recommend best to learn those? I coudn´t find you on the genre 2, that´s why I ask. thanks for your time and again thanks for the lessons!!

gerdengerden replied on October 9th, 2011

Hey Mark, I am very new to guitar and I have a question that I'm probably getting ahead of myself on but I see a lot of in TAB. How is a chord that has un struck strings (D & G strings) in the middle played? Is this a picking technique yet to be discussed?

tim65tim65 replied on October 2nd, 2011

Wow, I love your lessons. I've tried a couple of other teaches, but you're the best for me. Thanks.

nimeshahirnimeshahir replied on September 29th, 2011

Hi Brenan. nice lecture. Having trouble with fret 9 string 3. Its making more dull when I press over this string. Any suggestion?

SteveP1961SteveP1961 replied on June 19th, 2011

This has to be the hardest part thus far....I am doubt

lebonglebong replied on May 4th, 2011

Hi there Mark. I like the lesson on the fretboard. However, i have been wondering what i can unlock by learning the fretboard? The usual i answer i get when i ask this question is you can improvise. However, i am really quite unsure what that means? Are there any other advantages to learning the fretboard?

MarkBrennanMarkBrennan replied on May 5th, 2011

Hey you learn information that relates to theory i.e chords, chord formations, chord structure, scales, and improvizing...the more you know the notes on the fretboard the better. Espcecially the low 5A and 6E strings, as many moveable chord formations locate their roots on these strings (basic barre chords and pwoer chords would probably be the first you'd encounter). Many players don't Pay muxh attention to theory and don't bother to learn the notes and they are successful. A lot of what you learn and memorize is based on geometric shapes and fingering patterns. But knowing where the notes on the fretboard I think can be invaluable as you learn the guitar. It's really helps when memorizing ,music least learn the two bottom strings really well. Good luck, Mark

paige12paige12 replied on May 2nd, 2011

hi, I'm a little confused on the fret board and I wondered if your able to help me. thanks

paige12paige12 replied on May 3rd, 2011

I get it now I just wasn't looking at it right thanks

paige12paige12 replied on May 2nd, 2011

I don't know if my last message sent so if it didn't get fretboard all that much and it's still a little confusing so I was wondering if you can help me with that. thanks

ganderboyganderboy replied on April 18th, 2011

Hey Mark, when I pick the 6th and 5th string it vibrates on the other frets. Like a rattling. I have tuned the strings. Any ideas?

MarkBrennanMarkBrennan replied on April 21st, 2011

Sounds like your action on the bass side of your fretboard is too low. I would take it to a godd guitar tech to get a setup. He'll adjust the action and the intonation....Mark

wrvondwrvond replied on March 28th, 2011

Hi, I printed out the fretboard from the supplemental material, but try as I might, I can't get past the idea it is upside down. If I turn it over, of course, the labels are all upside down, though on the correct strings. Am I correct, or just confused? If I'm right, can we get this thing fixed? As an aside, I feel I have learned a great deal in a very short amount of time. This method of teaching/learning seems to be better than I dared hope. Thanks!

MarkBrennanMarkBrennan replied on March 28th, 2011

Hey Warren.....This view of the fretboard should work for you. it is really the view of the fretboard from your perspective when you're playing, assuming you play right handed. It's like laying the guitar down on your lap. The low E6 string is closest to you. Let me know if you have any more problems....Mark

wrvondwrvond replied on March 28th, 2011

Mark, I see that now. It works fine if I lay the chart on the floor at my feet, rather than hang it on the wall. Thanks!

jentesnoeckjentesnoeck replied on March 6th, 2011

hi mark, do you need to put your finger in the silver thing on your guitar or onn the bown background when doing a note?

MarkBrennanMarkBrennan replied on March 6th, 2011

Place your finger right next to the fret wire. but not on it.

mastergutairplayer20mastergutairplayer20 replied on January 6th, 2011

im confused i thought you needed to learn chords first to play because in my book it says it is eaiser and i dont know where to start notes or chords?

MarkBrennanMarkBrennan replied on January 18th, 2011

Work on both for variety.....if you had to choose, though, start with the single note stuff...Mark

mastergutairplayer20mastergutairplayer20 replied on March 1st, 2011

i really wanna lean but it doesnt seem to click how long does it take to get the hang of it

MarkBrennanMarkBrennan replied on March 1st, 2011

Everyone progresses at a patient, one step at a time, even if it's baby steps.....what don't you get?

micklskotmicklskot replied on February 11th, 2011

When playing the notes on each string, what are the rules for which fingers to use to play those notes? I noticed in the video that playing the E note on each string you used different fingers. I was just wondering which fingers to use on each string. Thanks...

MarkBrennanMarkBrennan replied on February 11th, 2011

For this practice method for learning the notes, you can use any finger. I would give equal time to all the left hand fingers to help build strength in all fingers.

wahea1wahea1 replied on February 15th, 2011

mark, i am going through lesson 3 and you mentioned the the E note on string 5 is at the 7th fret. The supplemental fret diagram shows E on string 5 @ the 5 fret. Unless i am looking at it wrong!

wahea1wahea1 replied on February 15th, 2011

never mind, i just figured i was looking at the strings inversely

kriegerzkriegerz replied on January 6th, 2011

hey mark your gutar lessons are working but i have the smallest amp ull ever see and my electric guitar is a starters guitar and i cant dod the stuff u can do so its relly complicated so i was wondering how to make it sound better and play better

kriegerzkriegerz replied on January 7th, 2011

and easyer

MarkBrennanMarkBrennan replied on January 18th, 2011

This takes time and patience. And diligent practicing. Do things that you can handle and understand. Don't get frustrated of bored. And keep in mind that everyone progresses ant there own pace.....hang in....Mark

lovekebablovekebab replied on January 5th, 2011

Hey Mark, in the supplemental section, under Reading and Using Tablature, the G string is shown in the diagram as 21---3, but should be listed as 32---3 if I'm not mistaken.

MarkBrennanMarkBrennan replied on January 6th, 2011

The 21---3 fingering is correct. It's the easier way to grip this chord. The more difficult grip (and the best wasy) is 32---4.

tom mcnamaratom mcnamara replied on January 5th, 2011

Mark, I know the placement of fingers 1,2,3,4 in the first position, but don't know the placement as I work up the fretboard as in learning the placement of the E's or working up on the E string. Can you let me know the proper placements. Thank you.

rushanerushane replied on December 19th, 2010

I just signed up today. When I try to print the suplemntal material it cuts off in the middle of the 9th fret. Do you know what the printer preferences need to be set to so it can print the whole thing

danmansfielddanmansfield replied on December 29th, 2010

change your printer settings to Landscape orientation and it should work

nkiller60nkiller60 replied on December 25th, 2010

is the E's on the string critical on knowing and playing the guitar?

MarkBrennanMarkBrennan replied on December 28th, 2010

Absolutely.....if you prefer to learn a string at a time.....start with the E6, then learn the A5. Knowledge of these strings is invaluable fro learning the roots of moveable chord forms.

daynierdaynier replied on December 19th, 2010

Mark, I've got a 4 string bass and I'm a little lost on where to go with this lesson.

olivecorduroyolivecorduroy replied on December 6th, 2010

hi Mark....i like the lesson on learning the fretboard and i understand how to get the notes memorized but i do have a i move up the fretboard and start hitting the notes, how do i know which finger to use?....thanks, george

black5black5 replied on November 1st, 2010

Hey! I was wondering whether it's okay to learn the fretboard by memorizing one string at a time? Just the natural notes first of course. Do you think that method is good for learning the fretboard?

MarkBrennanMarkBrennan replied on November 5th, 2010

One string at a time is a good way to do this.....I would focus on the 5th (A), and 6th (E) strings, so you will learn the roots of power chords and moveable chord forms.

bajaprov150bajaprov150 replied on June 23rd, 2010

Mark, this lesson of learning the notes on the fret board down to the eleventh fret is new to me and very helpful. I have only been playing notes on the first four frets in the music I have been playing from my Fender Guitar Method music book. I will learn the notes on the fret board. Thanks

raoelraoel replied on April 20th, 2010

the easiest way(for me) to learn the fretboard was by just remember the notes a-b-c-d-e-f-g ,then you'll take each string their name for example (the fat E string)than going just like e-f-f# and so on but by remembering that only the B and the E notes don't have sharps its a way I think is easiest (sorry if someone else mentioned the same thing earlier,but I just wrote it)hope this helps you ,please correct me if I am wrong,Thanks

hdryderhdryder replied on April 12th, 2010

Hi Mark, the tab lesson has me a little confused, which may be a major contributor to my lack of knowledge after all the time I've been trying to play the most heavenly instrument on earth. I get the lines =the strings, the numbers=fret numbers; I don't get the up-side-down staple looking figures at the end of the tab on this lesson?? Thanks, Terry

MarkBrennanMarkBrennan replied on April 13th, 2010

Hey Terry.....those are Rhythmic notation marking used when notating rhythm on tab. The short lines under the notes indicate half notes (2 beats). The longer lines indicate quarter notes (1 beat). The lines connected with beams (look like staples) indicate eighth notes (one-half beat)

simonfarrugiasimonfarrugia replied on March 13th, 2010

Hi Mark - great lesson. i have started learning the fretboard also and am worndering how can i make the link from the fretboard to reading music - will this be covered in your lessons? thanks Simon

guitarladyguitarlady replied on March 8th, 2010

Hi Mr. Brennan This is about my 6th or 7th time working on the E notes of each string on the fretboard and i'm getting a little frustrated because I'm not remembering when the 5th frets and 9th frets are and I'm having trouble getting my fingers to the right place at the right this normal to have this much trouble? How long will it take before I start getting things right? Thanks April akak Guitar lady!

bern16bern16 replied on March 3rd, 2010

Hey mark, In learning the freetboard, would you recomend learning one note first and the learn the next notes by counting up or down from the first note? Or do you think that learning them individually works better without thinking much of the relation to them. thank you

MarkBrennanMarkBrennan replied on March 4th, 2010

Hey Bernardo....I would suggest you learn the "natural" notes first (no sharps of flats) might do them in the order fo C Major...c,d,e,f,g,a,b....then move onto the chromatic notes (notes with sharps and flats.

toddschimmeltoddschimmel replied on February 26th, 2010

Hey Mark I have a Viper and my Guitar only has two dont know what they are called but it pick up the vibrations from the string and they are together so where should i pick the string at, on top of both of them or just infront of them. Sorry i am just learning like your lessons

MarkBrennanMarkBrennan replied on February 28th, 2010

Those are your far as where to pick: anywhere along the string actually. You'll notice that you get different tones whne pick at different spots. When you pick near the bridge the tone is brighter. If you pick near the fretboard, it's a more mellow sound. For now, pick at a spot where your pick won't hit the pickup itself. I would start off between the two pickups....Mark B.

Ross5150Ross5150 replied on February 28th, 2010

Thank you for the tip for learning the notes on the fretboard. I've been playing for about 15 years and it will be nice when I can locate the notes anywhere on the fretboard. This method is working well for me.

xrockettexxrockettex replied on January 18th, 2010

I am past confused. None of this makes sense. I know the numbers tell us which fret, but it makes no sense! What do we strum? What do we do!? I don't get it at all & I've already been to 3 sites -.-

MarkBrennanMarkBrennan replied on January 20th, 2010

Hey Janet...sorry for the confusion. You pick the string that the number is on. For example if there is a 1 on the top line of the tab you put your left hand index on the first fret of the top E string (the string closest to the floor) and you pick just the E string. If you have several numbers stacked on top of each other you pick (or strum) the strings that these numbers are on, and no other strings. If there is no number on the string don't pick that string. Hope this clears it up for you.....let me know. Mark B.

elguitarelguitar replied on January 10th, 2010

Mark, question re the excercise in which we learn the notes on the fret board. For example, the E in the first 12 frets: should we try to use the same finger you use for each note. You change from string to string and fret to fret. Thanks.

elguitarelguitar replied on January 10th, 2010

Oops! I see the answer below. Thanks. Love the lessons.

michael55michael55 replied on December 29th, 2009

Mark, Please give me your opinion on "memorizing" notes and chords from songs as opposed to truly reading sheet music. Many years ago I would practice notes/chords from songs until I had in effect memorized them. My instructor at the time was not pleased...... Thanks, Mike

MarkBrennanMarkBrennan replied on December 31st, 2009

Hey Mike.....there are definite positives to being able to do both. Reading sheet music/tabs/chord charts enables you to play music your not familiar with or haven't memorized. It's also a way to "document" any original music you write, to be able to share with other musicians. Memorizng music is without the music. It's nice to get on a stage to perform and not having the sheet music in front of you distracting the audience.. you want to have a repetiore of tunes in your head for impromtu jams, too. I say, read it, then memorize it. Mark B.

michael55michael55 replied on January 1st, 2010

Thanks Mark, That makes sense!

jhancejhance replied on December 13th, 2009

i have an old gibson melody maker but would like to move up to a better electric guitar. This old gal has been around the horn. Any suggerstions. I am still a mildly advanced beginner. having picked up the guitar again after a long 20 yr break

MarkBrennanMarkBrennan replied on December 15th, 2009

How about an SG....Epiphone, or if you can afford it, a Gibson.

jhancejhance replied on December 16th, 2009

thanks for your prompt reply. i am thoroughly enjoying your lessons. joe h

jeremynsharonjeremynsharon replied on October 14th, 2009

hello mark im have a hard time understanding what you mean when you say play in the key of e or any other key what does it mean to start in the key of ?

MarkBrennanMarkBrennan replied on October 15th, 2009

Hey Jeremy...The key note is the note which a particlur scale starts on. So, for example in the ley of have a major scale that starts on the note E. And the chords of the key are built off that scale. If you check out my lessons 6 and 7, this should start to make sense...Mark B.

jeremynsharonjeremynsharon replied on October 16th, 2009

thanks ill look at them

zarry777zarry777 replied on October 12th, 2009

With every lesson that you teach should we spend a week on that particular lesson and learn something new or try to master that lesson and then move on.

mikey1159mikey1159 replied on September 15th, 2009

excellent lesson mark. thank you!

brkmrtnbrkmrtn replied on September 11th, 2009

I played guitar for quite a while and even in some bands growing up but I always played by ear. Now im coming back to the basics and kind of starting over. One question I have is how does tuning effect note placement on the fretboard? Right now Drop D is a pretty popular tuning method but I dont know if this changes anything or not.... Thanks!

brkmrtnbrkmrtn replied on September 11th, 2009

Sorry, cant delete my post and found my answer below >

metalicbirdmetalicbird replied on August 29th, 2009

Hi Mark, your lessons are fairly easy to follow along with, however I am having trouble with the Tablature. I seem not to be understanding what the numbers on the strings are to represent? Also, would you reccomend any excersises for soft fingers to toughen the tips? My ffingertips are killing me!

MarkBrennanMarkBrennan replied on August 30th, 2009

The lines on the tab represent the six strings. The top line is for the 1st string (E), the string closest to the floor. The bottom line is for the 6th String (E), closest to the ceiling. The numbers on the lines are the fret numbers, 0 being the open string, 1 being the first fret, 2 being the second fret, and so on. As for your fingers, start with extra light gauge strings, and make sure your action is set properly. If it's too high, it'll make it tough on your fingers. Be patience and let your callouses form. Everybody goes through this process when starting off...good luck, Mark B.

metalicbirdmetalicbird replied on August 31st, 2009

Thank you Mark. I that makes more sense. I apparently just didn't hear that part and make the connection in the video.

pake22pake22 replied on August 25th, 2009

Hey Mark, Im from the UK and ive just signed up after watching the free lessons, ive bought a fender squire affinity and a small amp to get me going, im not very tall and I have small hands so I find that sometimes im pressing two strings at once, do you see this a lot and will this stop as my left hand becomes stronger?

jndaiglejndaigle replied on August 19th, 2009

Mark. In practicing the notes, do you recommend doing one note, say E, for a few minutes per day for a few days, then adding a second note and do both for a few days, then a third, etc? Or is it better to do a few rounds of E, a few rounds of F, a few rounds of G, etc. Or is it better to just do E a few minutes a day until I can do it in my dead sleep and get it right every time before moving to F? I'm sorry to be so detailed, but I really want to start this right and not get ahead of myself.

pake22pake22 replied on August 25th, 2009

Hey Mark, Im from the UK and ive just signed up after watching the free lessons, ive bought a fender squire affinity and a small amp to get me going, im not very tall and I have small hands so I find that sometimes im pressing two strings at once, do you see this a lot and will this stop as my left hand becomes stronger?

MarkBrennanMarkBrennan replied on August 21st, 2009

I don't think there's a hard fast rule as to how to do this. If you feel good about staying with one note til you get it, that's cool. As you get more comfortable with a note, increase the tempo of your metronome. I might suggest to you that you try a different note each day. Might take away the monotony.

jndaiglejndaigle replied on August 22nd, 2009

Sounds good. Thanks. Will try a coupe ways and see what works best.

jndaiglejndaigle replied on August 19th, 2009

Mark, I was a little surprised at how high up the action is set on the Epiphone Les Paul. It is set according to factory specs at the 1-st and 12-th. The action is not quite as easy as n my 1973 Martin D-35. If I lower the action at the bridge, I get a little 5-th string buzz at the first few frets . Are Les Paul style guitars usually set up like this or should I immediately take it to a technician to have the action checked immediately?

MarkBrennanMarkBrennan replied on August 21st, 2009

I would get a setup by a good guitar tech. He'll get the action set properly, and get the intonation right, too.

nigel griffithsnigel griffiths replied on June 24th, 2009

Hiya Mark, It is hello to you from the UK! I started yesterday with your lessons & am really up for it. A friend has lent me a Yamaha Pacifica but I really should get my own!.....can you give a couple of suggestions for a 'starter' guitar....£300/$400 Thanks!!

MarkBrennanMarkBrennan replied on June 24th, 2009

You can get a real Stratocaster (not a Squier), or a nice Epiphone Les Paul....lots of choices in that price range...go on line, check EBay, too. Try the Musician's Friend web site, or Sweetwater.

jndaiglejndaigle replied on August 19th, 2009

Why thumbs up? I was so happy to see the recommendations. When I looked at this comment last night, I had just tried out my new Epiphone Limited Edition Les Paul Studio Deluxe Electric Guitar, which had just arrived by UPS yesterday afternoon!

nigel griffithsnigel griffiths replied on August 3rd, 2009

Hi Mark, What about this guitar: Would this be suitable for a beginners guitar? There is just something about it that I really like the look of.... Thanks !

MarkBrennanMarkBrennan replied on August 4th, 2009

An Epiphone SG would be a great choice...especially as a starter. That's a great guitar.

farmboyphilfarmboyphil replied on August 16th, 2009

Hey mark! watched your free lessons just signed up, looking forward to seeing what you got :P

redkidredkid replied on July 29th, 2009

Hey mark. My question is about memorizing the fretboard. I was thinking if I memorized Frets 3, 5,7,9,12,15, 17 first, then everything in between those frets second, would it make meorizing faster? It's just a though. I'd like to hear feedback on it.

mauricemaurice replied on July 13th, 2009

hi mark, thanks for your lessons, they are really interesting. I have some problems with sitting in the right position tho and i hope you can further advice me. I am quite tall ( 6'1) and have long arms so when I follow the advice given my right shoulder is not relaxed and starts hurting. but in order to relax it my perfect position would be to play with the right hand on the fretboard ( 17th fret ish ). When I'd put the guitar on my left leg ( sit straight etc...) then It would be good for my right shoulder/ hand as well but my left hand then is a bit too tense. hope that all makes sense and you can help me ? cheers

rogerdawg77rogerdawg77 replied on July 22nd, 2009

hi their!this is my first time ever tryin to play,so i know its gonna be very hard, but im here for the challenge!!

MarkBrennanMarkBrennan replied on July 14th, 2009

Hey Maurice....might I suggest you put on a strap and stand while you play. Get the guitar at a comfortable spot, maybe angle it a bit, andthen when you sit....keep the strap on. Not sure this will help....let me know. Mark B.

redkidredkid replied on July 29th, 2009

Wow, I had the same problem, it really helps THANKS ALOT.

galiligalili replied on July 24th, 2009

Hey Mark, My question is on reading the TAB,. Could you explain more about the measures and rythm notation? Thanks G

MarkBrennanMarkBrennan replied on July 28th, 2009

Hi galili....when rhythmic notation is combined with the tab staff, it works just like rhythm notation on a standard notation staff. But that's a whole other "can of worms" that I don't think I'l open at this time. You need to learn rhythmnic notation...whole notes, half notes, rests, use of flags and stems, rests, etc. That would fill a whole lesson......which is what I might just do. Stay tuned ...Mark B.

efr450efr450 replied on July 14th, 2009

Hello there, I know you recommended the metronome u have, thought i'd chime in w/ the one ive got as i absolutely love it. Its the Korg MA-30 and it has the same features you mentioned as well as the ability to tap out the tempo (in case you dont know it by number but you do by hearing it) and u can use it to tune because it can play specific notes. The display on it and the needles movement is also gorgeous and helpful. thanks for listening, Ethan

dsusakdsusak replied on July 4th, 2009

hello mark, which amp would you suggest for more of a floyd/gilmore sound. i am a beginner with a clapton strat and just a fender side kick amp. i know from your lesson that tube would be best but should i be looking more toward the fender blues,twin reverb or...... i'm not planning on more then 600-700. do you have any suggestions on used gear. also i would like to say it was a pleasant surprise to find you as a teacher here, gilmore being my choice of styles. dwayne from olmsted township

goudisgoudis replied on June 18th, 2009

One of my questions that has always plagued me during guitar playing is which fingers should be used per situation. In this simple example where you are playing "E" across the fretboard. How would you know to use the 4th finger as you get closer to the 12th fret? I Never would have done that automatically. Is that wrong or have I developed some awkward habits? How do you approach this problem or what is the general theory in finger placement? Thanks

MarkBrennanMarkBrennan replied on June 24th, 2009

With this exercise, fingering is not important. The focus is learning where the notes are on the fretboard. We'll focus more on fingering when learning chords and scales and riffs to songs, etc....this is really an execise in memorization. Use whatever fingering is confortable to you with this.

tammy7689tammy7689 replied on May 19th, 2009

hey mark..great lesson...i just want to knw if this is a good way to learn the fretboard...i look at it like this...the notes for guitar is a-g so if the 6th string is a E then i just go in order...e,f,g,a,b, long as i remember the w^h step rule then this should be a good way to learn rite? or should i do it a certain for the sharps and flats i think about it like this..if you have a f then go a half step it will be a f# or if your going backwards it would be a Gb...i would really like your advice on this theroy before i try to learn this way

MarkBrennanMarkBrennan replied on May 19th, 2009

Hey Tammy....what you're saying is can go up each string by each muscal letter name and learn each string in a linear fashion...just remember that the natural half steps are e-f, and b-c. You might want to try learning the notes on the E6, A5, and D4 strings this way because the roots of moveable chords fall on these strings. So as you learn moveabe chords forms (power chords, barre chords, etc.) you can locate the root of the chord. But learning the notes on the fretboard as described in this lesson is a great way to learn any given note up and down the fretboard on any string. Spend a little time on each note...start with the naturals and move to the chromatic notes. As to your other question....F# and Gb are the same pitch. The theory term for this is they are said to be "enharmonic", meaning same pitch. What you call the note depends on the key your in. In the key of G, the note will be called F# (G A B C D E F# G). In the key of Db it would be Gb (Db Eb F Gb Ab Bb C Db). Notice that you spell a scale alphabetically. Hope this makes sense to you...let me know......Mark B.

bailed11bailed11 replied on May 12th, 2009

Mark, I just wanted let you know your leasons are awesome. I am currently working out of town in OH and have been picking around on an acoustic. I resently purchased a Fender Strat at the local music store in Fairborn. After watching your videos, I am starting to finaly catch on. Thanks!

kfranklinkfranklin replied on April 22nd, 2009

i have just watched this lesson and this question goes for all lessons, what is a suggested way to integrate the various bits of knowledge you give us in each lesson into an everyday practice regimen, because if i just keep watching videos i will very soon have not only info overload but be missing or not using what has been shown to me in your videos. I hope i am explaining what i am trying to say here well enough. I realize that as a studen here on jamplay we have to be somewhat a self starter and not need hand holding but also as a person who has never played a instrument before i do need some kind of guideline to use to practice every day or else i probably wont be practicing what is necessary for a progression of my skills. if i have confused you as to what i am asking let me know i will try to write a more detailed explanation . Thanks Knox

MarkBrennanMarkBrennan replied on April 22nd, 2009

Hey Knox..good question. I think tha basic way to approach practice is to spend part of your practice time working on technique....scales, chord progressions, exercises. And then you work on your repitiore....songs, or signature riffs from songs. This way you will gradually become more proficient on you instrument with your technique, and you'll be getting tunes together to jam with.....let me know if this sufficiently answered your question....Mark B.

lucretialucretia replied on April 13th, 2009

How many octaves are there on the fretboard?

MarkBrennanMarkBrennan replied on April 13th, 2009

From the low 6th string E, to the 12th fret E on the to E string..that's 3 octaves. Beyond that depends on how many frets you have. If you have 24 some electrics do, you then have 4 full octaves.

baileychamblee1996baileychamblee1996 replied on April 5th, 2009

alright your gonna think im crazy but i really have no clue what tabuture is...what is it?

MarkBrennanMarkBrennan replied on April 6th, 2009

Bailey..check out the lesson. I think I explain it pretty well. Get back to me if you still don't get it...Mark B.

andy_allyandy_ally replied on April 3rd, 2009

Mark, as others have said this bite-sized approach to learning the fretboard is fantastic. Really makes me feel like not only can I learn to play but have some strong knowledge in how music theory is applied to the guitar itself.

boozerar223boozerar223 replied on March 8th, 2009

Hi Mark, Im a lefty in a right-handed world. will this affect my reading of tablature ? Will I have to reverse everything? Im a pure beginner and am learning fast , but you make mention of being well schooled in tablature for your upcoming lessons... I dont really understand it all that well. i'll watch this lesson a couple extra time and see if I get it. Thanks

MarkBrennanMarkBrennan replied on March 9th, 2009

Hey Jody....the tablature will work the same for a lefty...your first string E (closest to the floor) is the top line of the tablautre. Your sixth strig E (closest to the ceiling) is the bottom line of the tab. The fret numbers are the same as a righty.....good luck, talk to you soon....more good stuff to come. Mark B.

csutherland97csutherland97 replied on February 26th, 2009

Mark, ive been practicing playing the natural notes down each string. I can go up and down each string fine but if i just try and play a specific note randomly i am getting lost on the fretboard. Is this something I should worry about before moving on or is this just going to come to me with the further lessons. I am really trying to master each lesson before moving foward.

MarkBrennanMarkBrennan replied on March 3rd, 2009

Hey Chris....learning the fretboard I think is an ongoing process while learning scales and chords and reading music. Try working on just the natural notes (no sharps of flats) first and stay within the first 12 frets, it just repeats an octave higher at the 13th fret. As you learn a new scale memorize the notes of that scale. When you learn new chord forms, memorize the notes of the chords.

6chain6saw66chain6saw6 replied on February 16th, 2009

hi mark.i was just wondering how to make my guitar whine?

MarkBrennanMarkBrennan replied on March 3rd, 2009

Lots of crunch and attitude.....good tone with lots of sustain and emotion in your playing....if that all makes sense...Mark B.

mkevacmkevac replied on February 13th, 2009

There are a lot of guitar tunings (standard, drop-d, etc.). Do experienced players know ('remember') notes on fretboard from each tuning? Or is it just matter of experience and it is not so important where is every and each note by 0.5 sec latency?

MarkBrennanMarkBrennan replied on March 3rd, 2009

When you're in an open tuning, I think it's a matter of learning and memorizing the shapes of the chord forms, and learning the fingerings of the scales that you want to use...not really a matter of learning every individual note of the tuning....Mark B.

bdhannabdhanna replied on January 24th, 2009

Great approach on learning the fretboard. Been playing off an on for years and no one has suggested "learning" the fretboard yet, certainly not early - and it makes perfect sense to do it. I'm adding this to my practice routine. Thanks!

chrisv1013chrisv1013 replied on January 20th, 2009

Hi Mark - I'm about to begin learning the notes on the fretboard. As I begin to learn all the E notes, I was wondering if I should be using any particular fingers for each of the notes as I move down the strings. I was trying to note your fingering on the video, but couldn't quite tell.

jboothjbooth replied on January 20th, 2009

I think it's important for this exercise to remember the note names more then anything, as when these notes occur during natural playing they won't all be occurring with the same finger. If you want to make an exercise out of it play first finger 1st fret, 2nd finger 2nd fret, 3rd finger 3rd fret and 4th finger 4th fret. when you get to the fifth fret play it with your first finger and repeat the pattern.

jmastrojmastro replied on January 2nd, 2009

Hi Mark, i like the lessons but i am having trouble with the tablature just a little bit. If you could, please submit

thejakewagonthejakewagon replied on December 27th, 2008

Hey mark, just joined the site on the back of watchin one of your free demo lessons and i have to say im impressed so far and i havent even got so far in the lessons as to have to actually play my guitar, just been listening to your basic tuning and amplification stuff but even at that i feel like im already losing some of my bad habits. Keep up the good work my friend, the world becomes a better place every time someone new picks up a guitar!

georgemorageorgemora replied on December 9th, 2008

This is my first day, I have much to learn. George Mora

georgemorageorgemora replied on December 9th, 2008

I believe that I can learn from you Mark. I will practice what you are teaching. George Mora

iguathoriguathor replied on November 19th, 2008

Nice fretboard exercise! I'm looking forward to finally gaining mastery of it by doing it this way a little every day. Thanks!

dfindledfindle replied on August 27th, 2008

Mark, I like the lessons... keep them comming. I am a beginner and have been going through several of the JamPlay instructors beginners series and learn something new every time. You were the first to introduce the entire fretboard and go over the amp which are really helpful in understanding my equipment. My fingers are just starting to get callous. I am not jumping ahead, but really look forward to learning the Floyd songs you post. Any plans for some old Genesis tunes? I must get to Ohio to see your PF tribute band...I can point and tell my friends "there is my guitar instructor".

MarkBrennanMarkBrennan replied on August 14th, 2008

It's a 1994 Tom Anderson Classic...swamp ash body w/ translucent white finish, maple neck, rosewood fretboard.

VinnyBVinnyB replied on August 15th, 2008

I can't put into words how gorgeous that guitar is in person, holding the damn thing is a whole other story......perfection.

jaronjaron replied on August 14th, 2008

Is the guitar that Mark uses a Tom Anderson guitar? If it is, can you tell me what model it is?

Basic Electric Guitar

Found in our Beginner Lesson Sets

Mark's Phase 1 series will take you through the basics of playing electric guitar.

Lesson 1

Series Intro - Guitar Parts and Tuning

Mark introduces his Phase 1 series and covers some fundamental electric guitar basics.

Length: 30:12 Difficulty: 1.0 Members Only
Lesson 2


Mark provides a detailed overview of amplification. This lesson has some great info for any electric player.

Length: 33:55 Difficulty: 1.0 Members Only
Lesson 3

Using Tablature and Learning the Fretboard

Before we start rocking, Mark goes over some tools and training necessary to every beginning guitarist.

Length: 12:52 Difficulty: 1.0 Members Only
Lesson 4

Right Hand Technique

It's time to get some sound out of your guitar. Mark begins with picking hand technique.

Length: 31:34 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 5

Left Hand Technique

Mark explains proper left hand technique from the ground up.

Length: 10:36 Difficulty: 1.0 Members Only
Lesson 6

Natural Notes in the 1st Position

Mark teaches you all of the natural notes played in first position. He uses two classic melodies to supplement this information.

Length: 25:42 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 7

The C Major Scale - 1st Position

It's time to learn your first scale - the C major scale in first position. Mark also explains how the major scale is constructed.

Length: 21:31 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 8

Chords in C major - Part 1

Mark covers 7 basic chords in the key of C major.

Length: 35:14 Difficulty: 1.0 Members Only
Lesson 9

Chords in C major - Part 2

Mark expands on chords in C major by showing full forms of the chords you learned in Part 1. He also teaches you the chord progression to a familiar tune.

Length: 25:00 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 10

Power Chord Primer

It's time to start making some noise by using power chords and palm muting. Mark gives you the framework to start rocking with the 12 bar blues progression.

Length: 36:43 Difficulty: 0.5 Members Only
Lesson 11

Open Position Minor Pentatonic

Take your knowledge of the notes in the first position and start jamming on a simple pentatonic riff.

Length: 14:34 Difficulty: 1.0 FREE
Lesson 12

Blues Scale Basics with Hammer-ons, Pull-offs, and Vibrato

Let's build on lesson 11 with an extended discussion of the pentatonic scale. For lesson 12, we'll simply add one note to the minor pentatonic scale to give us the famous minor blues scale. We'll also...

Length: 36:27 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 13

Movable Power Chords

Mark explains how to finger power chords and how they can be moved anywhere on the fretboard. He also shows an exercise that will help you remember the name of each power chord.

Length: 16:28 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 14

Rhythmic Notation Part 1

Mark Brennan explains rhythmic notation, tempos, time signatures, note values, and more in this lesson.

Length: 32:14 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 15

The Key of G Major

Mark explores the key of G major in this lesson. He covers the first position pattern of the scale and explains how it can be harmonized in thirds.

Length: 33:22 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 16

Chords of G Major

Mark teaches the basic chords of G major as well as some other exercises to get you acquainted with this key.

Length: 34:28 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 17

The Key of D Major

Mark explains the basics of D major.

Length: 25:00 Difficulty: 1.0 Members Only
Lesson 18

Chords in D Major

Mark takes you through the chords of D major and explains some new ones that you haven't encountered yet.

Length: 35:00 Difficulty: 1.0 Members Only
Lesson 19

More Movable Power Chords & the Circle of Fifths

Mark continues his discussion of power chords. This time around, he explains the circle of 5ths and demonstrates some power chord progressions that illustrate this concept.

Length: 33:18 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 20

The Movable Minor Pentatonic Scale

Mark teaches the 1st box of the minor pentatonic scale.

Length: 32:31 Difficulty: 1.0 Members Only
Lesson 21

The Minor Blues Scale Transposed to A

Mark explains how you can transpose the pentatonic pattern covered in lesson 20 to the key of A minor. He also shows the "lower extension box" and "home plate box."

Length: 26:09 Difficulty: 1.0 Members Only
Lesson 22

Blues Boogie Shuffle

Mark teaches the difference between straight eighth notes and the shuffle feel.

Length: 42:33 Difficulty: 1.0 Members Only
Lesson 23

Amplification Part Two

In response to member requests, Mark added another amplification lesson to his growing phase 1 series. In this lesson, he compares 3 classes of amps from entry level models all the way to a Mesa Mark V.

Length: 40:45 Difficulty: 0.5 Members Only
Lesson 24

Introduction To Improvisation

In this lesson, Mark teaches some blues licks that can be used when improvising over a 12 bar blues progression.

Length: 24:01 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 25

The Key of A Minor

Mark covers the key of A minor.

Length: 29:36 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 26

Two Movable Major Chord Forms

Mark teaches two movable major chord forms and gives many examples of how to practice playing them.

Length: 26:10 Difficulty: 1.0 Members Only
Lesson 27

I-IV-V Progression Revisited

Mark Brennan shows you how to apply the chord forms learned in lesson 26 to a I-IV-V progression.

Length: 21:52 Difficulty: 1.0 Members Only
Lesson 28

Movable Dominant 7th Chord Forms

Mark Brennan continues his teachings on movable chord forms. In this lesson he shows the dominant 7th chords and how to use them in a 12 bar blues progression.

Length: 19:49 Difficulty: 1.0 Members Only
Lesson 29

Movable Minor and Minor 7th Chord Forms

Mark Brennan teaches these minor chord forms and how they are movable up and down the fretboard. He also shows how to use these chords in common progressions.

Length: 21:29 Difficulty: 1.0 Members Only

About Mark Brennan View Full Biography Mark Brennan, born August 12th, 1954 in Cleveland, Ohio, began playing guitar at the age of 10. His first influences were from the Ventures and the British Invasion, especially the Beatles and Rolling Stones. Shortly afterwards he was playing in rock bands with his brother on drums, developing his ear by learning songs straight from records. Playing in a band became a passion.

In high school, he grew to love acoustic and classical guitar. He spent time playing acoustic music, influenced by The Eagles, CSN, Dan Folgelberg, James Taylor, Joni Mitchell, etc. In the 70's, he headed a very popular Cleveland band, The Brennan-Cosma Band, which played a variety of acoustic and rock music, along with originals. He also took up classicalguitar, and began developing his fingerstyle technique.

Mark is a graduate of Cleveland State University (1980), with a Bachelor of Music in Classical guitar performance. He also studied Music Composition, and took many Music Education classes. After graduation, he began his private teaching career, teaching electric, acoustic, and classical guitar, along with music theory. He taught in various studios and guitar shops throughout his career, and currently has a private practice at his home in Fairview Park, Ohio.

In the 80's Mark took an affection to Progressive rock. With his band Polyphony, he was influenced by the music of Yes, Genesis, Kansas, ELP, Styx, along with a set of prog rock originals.

Currently, Mark is in the regionally successful Pink Floyd tribute band Wish You Were Here. The band performs faithful renderings of the Floyd classics spanning their entire catalog, along with a strong visual stage show. Here, Mark displays his command of the David Gilmour style.

Mark is excited to be part of's fine roster of teachers. He's looking forward to extending his 35 years of performing and teaching experience to the JamPlay members. His philosophy is about developing a passion for guitar and being the best musician you can be; being true to yourself and developing a personal style, and truly expressing your heart through your music.

Acoustic Guitar Lessons

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

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.

Free LessonSeries Details
Mary Flower Mary Flower

Mary talks about the key of F in this fantastic lesson.

Free LessonSeries Details
Trace Bundy Trace Bundy

Trace Bundy talks about the different ways you can use multiple capos to enhance your playing.

Free LessonSeries Details
Mitch Reed Mitch Reed

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

Free LessonSeries Details
Kaki King Kaki King

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

Free LessonSeries Details
Freebo Freebo

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

Free LessonSeries Details
Hawkeye Herman Hawkeye Herman

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

Free LessonSeries Details
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.

Free LessonSeries Details
Nick Amodeo Nick Amodeo

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

Free LessonSeries Details
Pamela Goldsmith Pamela Goldsmith

Pamela brings a cap to her first 13 JamPlay lessons with another original etude inspired by the great Leo Brouwer. This is...

Free LessonSeries Details

Electric Guitar Lesson Samples

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

Steve Stevens Steve Stevens

Steve Stevens shows some of his go-to licks and ideas while improvising over a backing track he made.

Free LessonSeries Details
Daniel Gilbert Daniel Gilbert

Known around the world for his inspirational approach to guitar instruction, Musician's Institute veteran Daniel Gilbert...

Free LessonSeries Details
James Malone James Malone

James explains how to tap arpeggios for extended musical reach.

Free LessonSeries Details
Tom Appleman Tom Appleman

Tom Appleman takes a look at a blues in E with a focus on the Chicago blues style. The bass line for Chicago blues is very...

Free LessonSeries Details
Kenny Ray Kenny Ray

Albert Collins brought a lot of style to the blues scene. In this lesson, Kenny breaks down Albert's style for you to learn.

Free LessonSeries Details
Prashant Aswani Prashant Aswani

Do you want to play more musical sounding solos? Do you want to play solos with more emotion behind them? Maybe you're the...

Free LessonSeries Details
Emil Werstler Emil Werstler

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

Free LessonSeries Details
Will Ripley Will Ripley

Join Will Ripley as he gives us all the details of his series, "Rock Guitar for Beginners". You'll be playing cool rock riffs...

Free LessonSeries Details
Stuart Ziff Stuart Ziff

Stuart delves into all the different aspects of how R&B guitar has had an impact within reggae music.

Free LessonSeries Details

Join over 473034 guitarists who have learned how to play in weeks... not years!

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

Unlimited Lesson Viewing

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

Live Lessons

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

Interactive Community

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

Chord Library

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

Scale Library

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

Custom Chord Sheets

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

Backing Tracks

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

Interactive Games

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

Beginners Welcome.. and Up

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

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

Price Per Lesson < $0.01 $4 - $5 $30 - $50 Free
Money Back Guarantee Sometimes n/a
Number of Instructors 82 1 – 3 1 Zillions
Interaction with Instructors Daily Webcam Sessions Weekly
Professional Instructors Luck of the Draw Luck of the Draw
New Lessons Daily Weekly Minutely
Structured Lessons
Learn Any Style Sorta
Track Progress
HD Video - Sometimes
Multiple Camera Angles Sometimes - Sometimes
Accurate Tabs Maybe Maybe
Scale/Chord Libraries
Custom JamTracks
Interactive Games
Learn in Sweatpants Socially Unacceptable
Gasoline Needed $0.00 $0.00 ~$4 / gallon! $0.00

Mike H.

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

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

Greg J.

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

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


"I believe this is the absolute best site for guitar students."

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

Join thousands of others that LIKE JamPlay!