Natural Notes in the 1st Position (Guitar Lesson)

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Mark Brennan

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.

Taught by Mark Brennan in Basic Electric Guitar seriesLength: 25:42Difficulty: 1.5 of 5
Chapter 1: (02:01) Lesson Intro Welcome back to the Phase 1 Beginning Electric Guitar series with Mark Brennan! Mark opens this lesson with a fingerstyle arrangement of the classic song "Aura Lee."

Lesson Objectives

-Learn the names and locations of the natural notes in first position.

The natural notes on guitar correspond to the white keys on a piano keyboard. These notes are NOT written with accidental symbols such as the sharp (#) or the flat (b). The natural notes comprise the C major scale, which Mark will explain in the following lesson.

-Master some basic rhythms and rhythmic concepts.

-Use the aforementioned materials to play the melody to "Aura Lee."
Chapter 2: (09:07) Natural Notes on the Top 3 Strings Definition of Position

All of the notes presented in this scene are played within "first position." Position refers to the area of the fretboard in which the left hand plays. Specifically, position indicates the fret at which the first finger plays. First position includes all of the notes played as open strings and all of the notes located within the first four frets.

Within first position, certain fingering rules must be followed. The left hand finger used corresponds with the fret number. For example, the first finger is used to play all of the notes at the first fret. The second finger frets all notes at the second fret and so on.

First String Notes

The open first string produces the pitch E. The next note, F, is played at the 1st fret of the 1st string. Remember that the notes E and F are only one half step apart. The third note, G, is played at the 3rd fret by the third finger. To fret the note A located at the 5th fret, the pinkie finger must perform an out of position finger stretch.

When playing open strings, keep your left hand fingers as close to the fretboard as possible. This will ensure that they are prepared to fret notes quickly when called upon.

Proper Fretting Technique

When fretting any note, always follow the guidelines listed below.

1. Follow all left hand guidelines presented in the previous lesson.

2. Fret the note with the very tip of the finger.

3. Position the finger as close to the fretwire as possible without being directly over top of it. Otherwise, you will most likely produce a note that rattles or buzzes.

Second String Notes

The open second string produces the note B. The next note, C, is played at the 1st fret on the second string. The notes B and C are one half step apart. Then, D is played at the 3rd fret.

Once again, follow the fingering rules for first position when playing notes on the second string.

Third String Notes

When the third string is played open, it produces the pitch G. Do not confuse this note with the G note that you learned on the first string. This G note is simply one octave lower than the G note located at the 3rd fret of the high E string.

There is only one other first position note to learn on this string. A is played at the 2nd fret of the G string with the second finger.

Natural Note Exercise

Play through all of the natural notes that you just learned in a steady half note rhythm. Remember to play along with a metronome to ensure that your rhythm remains steady. Set your metronome to a relatively slow tempo, such as 70 beats per minute. Tap your foot in time with the metronome as you play.

Begin the exercise with the open G note. Then, ascend up to the A note played at the 5th fret of the first string. Finally, descend the pattern back down to the open G note.

As you work through this exercise, say each note name aloud as you play it. Combining multiple brain functions will enable you to learn and memorize the note names and their locations in the most efficient manner.


Mark plays this exercise in a "legato" style. "Legato" means smooth and connected. Each note rings directly into the next. No space is left between the individual notes. All of the notes receive the exact written value of a half note. Watch at 08:33 as Mark plays through the exercise. Imitate the legato style that he demonstrates.
Chapter 3: (06:00) Aura Lee Note: Open the tablature and notation to "Aura Lee" listed under the "Supplemental Content" tab.

Reading Rhythms

At this point in the series, Mark has not yet explained how to read standard notation. Consequently, you must determine the location of each note by looking at the tablature. To properly play in time, you must simultaneously read the rhythms indicated in standard notation.

The melody of "Aura Lee" is comprised of three different rhythmic values. Quarter notes, half notes, and whole notes appear in this melody. A solid note head connected to a straight stem indicates a quarter note. Within 4/4 or "common time," the quarter note receives the value of one beat or one click of the metronome. There are four quarter notes or four beats to a measure in 4/4 time. The half note is written with an open note head and a stem attached to it. A half note receives two beats, or half of one measure in 4/4 time. An open note head without a stem indicates a whole note. A whole note receives four beats or a full measure in 4/4 time.

Practice Time

Listen at 02:07 as Mark demonstrates the melody of "Aura Lee" at 80 beats per minute. Pay careful attention to how he plays the rhythms in this melody. Once you have watched this performance, pause the lesson video and practice the melody along with a metronome. Begin at a very slow tempo such as 55-60 beats per minute. Count the rhythm out loud as you play. In addition, tap your foot along with the beat to internalize the rhythm. Once you have mastered the melody at this initial metronome marking, increase the speed of the metronome by one notch. Repeat this process until you reach the goal tempo of 80 beats per minute.

Follow all of the fingering guidelines discussed in this lesson and the previous lesson as you practice through the melody. Also, be sure to play the melody with a smooth, legato sound.
Chapter 4: (03:18) Natural Notes on the Bottom 3 Strings The Fourth String

When the fourth string is played open, it produces the note D. This note is one octave lower than the D note that you have already learned on the second string. The next note to learn on this string is E. E is located at the 2nd fret on this string. This pitch is one octave lower than the open high E string. If you depress the fourth string at the 3rd fret, the note F is produced.

Notes on the Fifth String

The open fifth string produces the note A. The next note in the musical alphabet, B, is played at the 2nd fret of this string. Finally, C is located at the 3rd fret.

Notes on the Sixth String

Memorizing the notes on the sixth string is an easy process. The notes on the sixth string are identical to the notes on the first string. The notes on the sixth string are simply two octaves lower.

The open sixth string (fattest string) produces the pitch E. This is the lowest note possible on guitar without changing to an alternate tuning. The next note in the musical alphabet is F. This note is played at the 1st fret of the sixth string. Moving on, G, is played at the 3rd fret of the sixth string.

Bass String Exercise

Play through all of the natural notes on the bass strings in a steady half note rhythm. Begin the exercise with the open E note on the sixth string. Then, ascend up to the F note played at the 3rd fret of the fourth string. Finally, descend the pattern back down to the open E note. Remember to say each note name out loud as you play it. Also, be sure to play the exercise along with a metronome set to a slow tempo.

Six String Exercise

Once you have mastered the exercises involving the treble strings and the bass strings, combine these exercises into a single exercise. Start with the low E note and ascend up to the high A note played on the first string. Then, descend back down to the starting note. Apply all of the practice guidelines listed under the first two exercises.
Chapter 5: (04:17) Somewhere Over The Rainbow Note: Open the tablature and notation to "Somewhere Over The Rainbow" listed under the "Supplemental Content" tab.


The melody to "Somewhere Over The Rainbow" features a new rhythm. Eighth notes occur in measures 2, 6, and 7. An eighth note is written with a solid note head and a stem. A tail is connected to the stem. When two eighth notes are played sequentially, the tails of the eighth notes are beamed together. The eighth note receives half a beat in 4/4 time or one eighth of a measure. Pay careful attention to how Mark plays eighth notes to ensure that you are playing them correctly.

Technical Difficulties

This melody features some difficult string skips. These wide interval leaps occur in measures 1 and 3. Drill these measures continuously if they pose any problems for you. Also, you may want to review the string skipping exercises from lesson 4. These exercises serve as an excellent stepping stone towards difficult string skipping material.

Playing Musically

Play all melodies on guitar like a singer would perform them. Always play with energy and passion. Playing with perfect rhythm and a smooth, legato sound will drastically improve the overall musicality of your performance.
Chapter 6: (00:57) Lesson Wrap-up Over the next few weeks, work on memorizing all of the note names and their locations in first position. Also, memorize both of the melodies once you can play them successfully from the notation. Work through these materials every day as part of your practice routine.

Preview of Next Lesson

Mark will explain how the natural notes discussed in this lesson relate to the C major scale.

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.

clm123clm123 replied on February 5th, 2017

Great lessons. If I practice every day I notice how the muscle memory begins to take over. I have gone through one acoustic beginner course here and thought I would try the electric guitar beginner course. Liked your work on You and Me and Down on the Corner. Almost have all of Down on the Corner memorized. Just trying to get that five note form on the chords and the palming action down. Thanks.

srv4bluessrv4blues replied on February 27th, 2016

Is there a way to make the interactive player loop forever? ...or give a count intro? If not, I'd like to formally request those features to be added. There's not enough time to get back to the guitar after hitting play. :)

TorbenljTorbenlj replied on July 29th, 2015

Hi Mark, It is a pleasure to follow your guitar lessons here on JamPlay. You get things told and shown in an easy and understandable way. On top of that you have a pleasant appearance. I look forward to the next steps in your series. Sincerely Torben Linde Jørgensen Denmark

IanDeatonIanDeaton replied on July 18th, 2015

He is doesnt show much of the finger movements when hes playing

garfon54garfon54 replied on April 12th, 2015

No audio at the six minute point.

ATR72CaptainATR72Captain replied on July 4th, 2014

Hi Mark, thanks for your lesson series. I am taking private lessons and I thought I would get jam play to supplement my learning. I am using the Hal Leonard guitar method book one. Aura Lee is one of the songs I learned from him. It's probably been noted before that aura lee is the same melody or very is similar to Elvis Presley, love me tender. I am picking up really good pointers from you that I have not been taught by my private lesson instructor. Especially when to place and lift your finger as you play the scale to get this legato sound. One other question I had you also answered by telling us that sometimes you cannot get your fingers right up against the fret wire. I have been trying to get my finger as close as I can sometimes and pressing a little harder on the string when I cannot get my finger as close to the fret wire as I would like. is this proper technique?

jackt923jackt923 replied on March 1st, 2014

Mark, what effect or amp setting are you using to get that spaciousness in the tone?

brianwinkcbrianwinkc replied on May 31st, 2014

I have a peavey vyper vip-1 with chorus turned on. Sounds pretty close.

JoeyNuckollsJoeyNuckolls replied on April 28th, 2014

i think everone is doing all right.

JoeyNuckollsJoeyNuckolls replied on April 28th, 2014

i thick you are a good gutar player.

JoeyNuckollsJoeyNuckolls replied on April 28th, 2014

you are asom

JoeyNuckollsJoeyNuckolls replied on April 28th, 2014

you are osom

JoeyNuckollsJoeyNuckolls replied on April 28th, 2014

i am reading robin hood.

dkviddkvid replied on January 31st, 2014

Hi Mark, Can you suggest any finger stretching exercises?

javajackjavajack replied on January 12th, 2014

Mark: Sorry if you get this twice. Maybe I added it to the last lesson or didn't send it properly. I'll get on to this, I'm sure. Love the lessons but I don't read music. I've tried in the past but I rely so heavily on my ear I always fall back to mimicking what I hear. What do you suggest to stay along with your lessons. Should I really try and force myself to learn to read music or just keep leaning on my ear? I'm almost 60 and starting to play again. Started when I was 10 and played in bands but I never got to be a good player, now I want to be a good player. Give me your thoughts if you have time. Thanks, Jack T.

WsmithoneWsmithone replied on May 21st, 2014

Enter your comment here.

MarkBrennanMarkBrennan replied on January 13th, 2014

Hey Jack....I know many great players who don't read music. They rely on their ears and eyes. With video lessons and private teachers, you can learn from watching the teacher. Learning from a recording requires careful listening, and hopefully having a player showing you at the same time. Hanging with other good guitarists and jamming in low pressure situations is great. You also have to rely on your memory, too. I would at least learn how to read chord charts. Then you will be able to write down chord progressions as you learn them....good luck!...Mark

ssijohn223ssijohn223 replied on December 22nd, 2013

Mark. good lessons. Glad i'm doing this. I'm Practicing the melodies over and over. I'm having trouble hitting the A note smoothly. (Or continuously missing ) any drills to coordinate left middle finger and pick hand to play nice together?

MarkBrennanMarkBrennan replied on January 13th, 2014

Try exercises on single strings using different patterns of your four left hand fingers. One the first string at the fifth position (fret), try 1234 to start in a repetitive fashion, slow quarter notes, then try different combinations, like 1243, 1324, 1432, 1423, etc.

dariondow1995dariondow1995 replied on October 30th, 2013

Hey Mark! One question. When you play from an open string to a fret on a different string, how do you stop sound from the open string smoothly without disrupting yourself from going on?

MarkBrennanMarkBrennan replied on November 9th, 2013

Hey Darion.....You need to dampen the open string using an available left hand finger, or dampen with your right hand using palm dampening (use the side of the palm), another way that I use a lot is using the left side of your picking thumb after you pick the open string.....hope this makes sense!

blackhoofmareblackhoofmare replied on October 26th, 2013

Mark, really nice lessons. I've been fooling around for about a year now and I'm not terrible, but never really took the time to go this slowly to learn. Figured I'd go back and really build my foundation. :p took me two days to get over the rainbow down w/ the note names.. Yikes. lol

winderwinder replied on September 25th, 2013

Hi Mark, when attempting to play Aura Lee i am having a problem. When i remove my finger from 3rd string g i get an open g sound. (So i pluck once but get 2 notes). How can i avoid this?

imeraldyimeraldy replied on August 19th, 2013

Hi Mark. I'm going back to basics as I think I've picked up some bad habits. I've been playing on and off for a long time but I've tried to run before I can walk. One thing I really struggle with is using a metronome whilst playing a tune. Exercises are fine with it but as soon as I try to play a tune, it all goes wrong. I can count the beats in my head but the metronome just puts me right off. How can I change this? Love your lessons, they're just what I needed.

winderwinder replied on September 25th, 2013

Hi Mark, when attempting to play Aura Lee i am having a problem. When i remove my finger from 3rd string g i get an open g sound. (So i pluck once but get 2 notes). How can i avoid this?

chicago57chicago57 replied on July 7th, 2013

Hi Mark, Just finished lesson 6....What drew me to your style of teaching was your complete understanding of technique in comparison with being a beginner. The Some Where Over The kiddin, again you catch the essence of being a beginner...can't wait to get more..great job

skye4skye4 replied on June 19th, 2013

Mark the red numbers at the top of the tabulature, is representing the fret?

myfstssmyfstss replied on April 8th, 2013

Thanks Mark for taking the time to teach us! i feel very comfortable learning from you, you have a great way in teaching! years ago i was learning the Bass guitar and the teacher i had wasnt very good at it and i lost intrest because of that. i had felt that i just wasnt any good at it and i now know that is not true, ive been following along with your lessons and have become excited about learning the guitar, thank you again and hope to see even more from you! there any video of you and your group playing that we could see?

MarkBrennanMarkBrennan replied on April 10th, 2013

Check out or search Wish You Were Here Pink Floyd tribute on YouTube

rustyh1rustyh1 replied on November 26th, 2012

Another great lesson!

nedstarknedstark replied on July 19th, 2012

what are your amp settings... I love them

mrgibsonmrgibson replied on July 17th, 2012

Hi. Slide the progress bar with your mouse from the starting position all the way to the right till it shows 100%, then click on view your progress report. It should show up then. Do this for each individual lesson.

hjnashhjnash replied on July 17th, 2012

Hello gang, new here can some one tell me what I need to do so the progress of lessons I finished shows in my progress report. I have taken 6 lessons, my progress is 0?? Thanks

Angel74Angel74 replied on July 16th, 2012

Enter your comment here.

Angel74Angel74 replied on July 16th, 2012

Hi Mark thank you for your lesson I'm really enjoying it! just one question tough, when you play all the notes starting from the low E string and refer us to the supplemental content I think that your tab starts from the low E string 0,1,3,5 while you start playing from the low E string 0,1,3 and A string 2,3 please correct me if I'm wrong. Thanks

Shawn2774Shawn2774 replied on August 27th, 2012

When looking at the supplemental content for playing the scale from the low E string, you ignore the top line. The scale starts on the second line of written music. The first line is for explanation, but the scale starts on the next line. At least that is how I am viewing it.

neam1neam1 replied on July 4th, 2012

I don't know any of the notes on the guitar head off by heart (but have played the piano for years) so i crossed out the tabular number to force myself to connect the notes on the stave to the positions on the fretboard.

13lashj13lashj replied on March 14th, 2012

hey mark, i have a quick question. the supplemental material does not show what notes are played just the sheet music. i dont know how to read music yet so i dont know what all the sheet music is telling me

richard88richard88 replied on March 21st, 2012

it is standard sheet music as well as "tabs" under it (tablature) if you do not know how to read tabs, check out a lesson on it, it is very simple. -R.P

bigfrobigfro replied on February 23rd, 2012

uh quick question. the cord that leads from my amp to my guitar is connected, but every time I try to play it either doesn't make any sound at all or it crackles. also, how do you get your guitar to sound like that? is it from your amp? if so, what mixture of sounds do you use, like bass, treble etc. I'm pretty stuck on this lesson and it would be great to have some help from a pro.

bigfrobigfro replied on February 23rd, 2012

uh quick question. the cord that leads from my amp to my guitar is connected, but every time I try to play it either doesn't make any sound at all or it crackles. also, how do you get your guitar to sound like that? is it from your amp? if so, what mixture of sounds do you use, like bass, treble etc. I'm pretty stuck on this lesson and it would be great to have some help from a pro.

OgopogoOgopogo replied on February 18th, 2012

***Sorry this ended up being a "reply" by accident!*** Hey Mark, I just wanted to thank you for your in depth lessons. I found the last couple supplemental songs you played I had a hard time seeing which notes you were playing but when I got to reading the tab I got it figured out and now I'm able to play Somewhere Over The Rainbow for my 2 year old son. I just got my guitar last week so this is a really big step for me personally. Once I got the melody and tempo figured out I started getting really excited about playing. It's one of those milestones that almost brings a tear to your eye when you finally realize you're making real music. I can't thank you enough for teaching me how to start and now that I have I'm very eager to continue. Keep up the great work!

OoskOosk replied on February 12th, 2012

Hi Mark, Great lessons thus far! This is a more general request for a lesson from you on someday on fingerstyle playing. Several of your intro's made me realize how beautiful the electric guitar can be for fingerstyle playing. Once again thanks for your great teaching so far.

OgopogoOgopogo replied on February 18th, 2012

Hey Mark, I just wanted to thank you for your in depth lessons. I found the last couple supplemental songs you played I had a hard time seeing which notes you were playing but when I got to reading the tab I got it figured out and now I'm able to play Somewhere Over The Rainbow for my 2 year old son. I just got my guitar last week so this is a really big step for me personally. Once I got the melody and tempo figured out I started getting really excited about playing. It's one of those milestones that almost brings a tear to your eye when you finally realize you're making real music. I can't thank you enough for teaching me how to start and now that I have I'm very eager to continue. Keep up the great work!

MarkBrennanMarkBrennan replied on March 1st, 2012

Awesome!! Congratulations.........Mark

jrhrlhjrhrlh replied on January 30th, 2012

Hi Mark. I have a question that I believe someone else asked but I did not see an answer. In covering the natural notes in the 1st pos., why is the B (3rd string/4th fret) not included? Thank you in adavance.

MarkBrennanMarkBrennan replied on February 2nd, 2012

this lesson focused on the natural notes in the "open position", where we use open string notes. B is the open 2nd string, so we use that in this lesson. Later, when you learn to play a C Major scale in the second position, you'll play the B on the 3rd string/4th fret.

pgilarapgilara replied on December 29th, 2011

Mark, even thoug I have played far many years I have not had proper teaching of the guitar. When I came to the website JamPlay advised starting at the begining and that is what I am doing. I am enjoying your lessons very much. I have a question? I am working with the teaching tool games to learn the notes on the music and apply this to playing the notes on the guitar. In your teaching you teach to read the Tab music. At this point which is more import, the Tab or the note reading. I find it easier to play and read the Tab an trying to note read and play. Should I consentrate more on the Tab or on the note reading? Thanks, Paul

MarkBrennanMarkBrennan replied on January 9th, 2012

Hey Paul......It's important to learn both. there will be situations where there will be no tab in the music (older classical music, music from other instruments that you might want to learn, etc.). Most guitar music published today that you see in artist collections and magazines will include tab. But it's very important that you learn to read RHYTHMIC

MarkBrennanMarkBrennan replied on January 9th, 2012

(continued from previous post) ..rhythmic notation. Tab music combines the tab numbers for location of notes, along with the stems and beams of standard notation for rhythm.

oceanestarsoceanestars replied on December 23rd, 2011

Hi i don't get what you are doing in lesson 6 scene 4 i am like what is d again and i don't really see well what are you doing but i get aura lee :)

joelhunnicuttjoelhunnicutt replied on December 13th, 2011

Hi Mark, what effect did you use to get the sound for these 2 songs. They remind me of Mark Knopfler on "Local hero" A beautiful haunting, almost echoing kind of sound.

snowgorillassnowgorillas replied on December 13th, 2011

I have all the natural notes memorized and now were learning them in the "first postion" yet theres no second postion or third? what about the other natural notes past fret 5?

snowgorillassnowgorillas replied on December 14th, 2011

Also in the supplemental content for natural notes in the first position, it says the first postions the first 4 frets, yet it doesnt cover fret#4 string 3 B note? and what makes A so special to throw in there and not the other notes in the 5th fret? Is the A apart of the first postion and you just didnt say that or what?

mlauremlaure replied on November 26th, 2011

Strange to be starting as a beginner after playing the guitar for mayn years. But I am just learning in a very nice and clear ways all that I ´ve been missing all these years:holding a pick, learning the notes on the fret board (I have always hated music theory), getting acquainted with my e-guitar. Just catching up on all that I´ve always wished to know. I am working on Aura Lee - first of my life using a metronome and I find it difficult to have to follow the beats. I am using the Jamplay Metronome on my Ipod. Honestly I can´t see me playing all the time with a metronome. Also I find it difficult to get rid of bad habits like the bad positioning of the thumb on the neck, giving too much pressure on the strings, etc...Well, I´ll get there!

typeohavoktypeohavok replied on September 7th, 2011

I play this stuff fine when I do it by ear and reading the tabs but if play with the metronome it completely throws me off. Also at this point is really important to memorize the notes you are playing or will knowing them come naturally over time?

MarkBrennanMarkBrennan replied on November 16th, 2011

Playing with good rhythm is the most important thing. Using a metronome can be very helpful to this end. Try tapping your foot to help keep a steady. If you have naturally steady rhythm, you don't need all of this. But come time you play with a solid rhythm section (a good bass player and drummer), your rhythm has to be solid. Learning the notes on the fretboard is a process you go through with all the other stuff you learn...but the sooner you learn the whole fretboard, the better....good luck!

typeohavoktypeohavok replied on September 7th, 2011

by notes I mean the A and g and what not

typeohavoktypeohavok replied on September 7th, 2011

I went ahead and memorized them and started with the metronome real slow and finally started to play along with it. Like you say, practice practice practice.

ellenarocksellenarocks replied on October 26th, 2011

'm a left handed guitar and I have a left handed Squier and was wondering if you have any custom lessions for someone like me

MarkBrennanMarkBrennan replied on November 16th, 2011

Any of the tablature for the lessons will work for you. Just consider the teacher you're facing as a mirror image or yourself.

clemologyclemology replied on November 9th, 2011

You dont have to reply, i'm just venting frustation. At some point I just want to throw the guitar and the amp out the window into the street below and the metronome I could throw even further. It took me long hours of practice before I could play the first tune, hope it gets easier because i'm 52 and I want to play decently before I get to old to hold a guitar.

noahzarknoahzark replied on May 22nd, 2012

clem: I'm 68, be cool, it'll come soon.

MarkBrennanMarkBrennan replied on November 16th, 2011

Hang in Alain......a lot of it is perseverance. Good, focused and consistent practice is key.

eaglerockguyeaglerockguy replied on November 13th, 2011

I am new member...have looked at several accoustic/electric lessons..but overall I am liking your style and will complete the full set...Thanks.

MarkBrennanMarkBrennan replied on November 16th, 2011

I feel most of the material in this lesson will translate to acoustic guitar.

steveoguitsteveoguit replied on December 21st, 2010

I need some right hand advice. Because I wear glasses, when I look down at the strings, the 1st and 2nd strings appear blurred, so I am constantly hitting the wrong string. I have tried to strum the strings without looking at them. Do you have any advice as to how to play the correct string without looking at the strings? Other than this problem, I am really enjoying your lessons.

tim65tim65 replied on October 8th, 2011

Practice in front of a mirror. It helps a lot.

AjantisAjantis replied on March 5th, 2011

A few lessons prior, Mark spoke of how to learn to memorize the placement of the strings. You may want to check the video out again.

ilikepieilikepie replied on October 7th, 2011

Hey Mark, great lesson but I had to go over it a couple times during the second scene to get the notes down. I just started playing guitar and I think this website is by far the best thing ive had to learn from yet.

slamdogslamdog replied on September 3rd, 2011

Mark, I am 65 full of arthritis and love the guitar. Should have given much more attention to you folks a long time ago. All of the instructors are quite exceptional. I now have a fresh start for an "old fart!" Thanks for being such a wonderful instructor!!

vanman44870vanman44870 replied on September 6th, 2011

I am sooo lost! I was following you up to this point. Can't understand what you are doing? I memorized the fret board in the first position but I am not making the connection. I can't quite see where your fingers are. Tried going to the Pentatonic fret board scale and got more confused. I should't do this before bed as now I am both frustrated and trying to rack my brain to figure out what is going on here. Am I overthinking this? Help Mark!!

metalosmetalos replied on August 21st, 2011

This lesson is great, helped me understand about the way the fretboard is set up with the placement of each note and also helped me memorize the string names.

SteveP1961SteveP1961 replied on June 20th, 2011

I had this issue on Steve E. lessons....moving through the first position is not visible enough....I guess I should or am supposed to learn the fret board first in order to keep up. I realize your accomplished player, but I'm old and slow.....I'll go learn the fret board....

jboothjbooth replied on June 20th, 2011

These were our first lessons, so unfortunately the angles aren't as good as they could be. You may want to try taking a few lessons first with another teacher, such as Eve Goldberg, to learn the fretboard and then come back to Steve when this will not cause as much of an issue for you. Also, you can see the chord charts and other tools to help give visual clarity in the "supplemental content" tab under the video.

SteveP1961SteveP1961 replied on June 20th, 2011

Thank You for the reply.....I wasn't fussing. He just lost me is all....and being a beginner it's frustrating to watch masters at their best....Again thank you.....I print all supplemental content....for my off line use. It comes in very handy....I'm trying not to go from teacher to teacher, I thought Mark was informative and I could understand him a bit better on the electric side...Steve E is who I used when I'm playing my acoustic. I know it probably doesn't matter but it seems to matter to my old Again thanks for the reply..... SD Putt

hoosierdaddyhoosierdaddy replied on February 26th, 2011

Ok that's wierd...the metronome on the site slows down when i scroll down to see the tablature then speeds back up when i scroll up....???

rockawaybeach99rockawaybeach99 replied on May 26th, 2011

Yeah - I noticed exactly the same thing with the metronome when scrolling down (I'm using firefox) - will try IE to see if the same problem.

rockawaybeach99rockawaybeach99 replied on May 26th, 2011

Just recently signed up with Jamplay & really enjoying your first few lessons Mark. As an old school punk never thought I'd enjoy playing Aura Lee as much as I have while incorporating all your tips to clear & precise playing. thanks again

wrvondwrvond replied on May 15th, 2011

Mark, I have completed the first few lessons of every instructor in the Phase 1 section of JamPlay, and I must say, youdo a terrific job! Your style of instruction makes learning much less daunting. Thanks! I have found that writing the notes in pencil on the music sheet makes it much easier for me to play (reducing errors). However, I am worried this might be a bad habit. In your experience, is there a downside to doing this, or will I reach a point where I no longer need that crutch? Thanks for your help and insight..

chuck1971chuck1971 replied on April 28th, 2011

you'r good ! killer leason mark . you'r my new teacher .

duke thunderduke thunder replied on March 15th, 2011

I'm sure someone has probably asked this before, but I can.t find it. What type of guitar are you using for this lesson? I was distracted all the way through trying to read the brand on the headstock. Thanks.

fallenfallen replied on March 16th, 2011

Mark plays a Tom Anderson - very nice custom guitars!

gowings83gowings83 replied on February 23rd, 2011

Is there some way to maybe help stretch my fingers? On the 1st string notes I just cannot reach the 5th fret with my pinky, I have a hard time with even the 4th fret. This one little problem has stopped me dead on this section, the only way for me is to use my ring finger. What can I do?

MarkBrennanMarkBrennan replied on February 24th, 2011

I would continue to use the pinky so it can be developed. To reach the 5th fret A note you can shift into the second position (index over fret 2). Make sure you have decent hand position. Get the palm of your left hand more parallel to the side of the neck and strech your fingers out.

reeserudreeserud replied on March 5th, 2011

play guitar hero

bursteinmdbursteinmd replied on February 18th, 2011

Mark, Any tips or exercises to get my left hand fingers to comfortably spread across all 4 frets? I have big hands so I would think it would be easy for me yet it feels a bit awkward and contorted at times. Is this a normal struggle? That said, loving your lessons! David

MarkBrennanMarkBrennan replied on February 18th, 2011

Hey David....take another look at lesson 5. There's some good tips that might help....if not, let me know.

dr50376272dr50376272 replied on February 11th, 2011

nice simple stuff, i wonder where i can find how to learn scales? any links someone can send me?

MarkBrennanMarkBrennan replied on February 12th, 2011

I have future lessons in the series that present different Major scales....there is quite a bit of material on this website on this topic.

ratfaceratface replied on January 11th, 2011

Hi Mark. i am doing your lesson set and i understand everything until now. In the arora lee song i don't understand what the numbers are for on the tab bar on the supplamental content. i also don't understand what the counts are when playing the notes. Please help me. thanks. brent

MarkBrennanMarkBrennan replied on February 12th, 2011

Hey Brent....check out lesson 3 for an explanation on tablature. Aura Lee is in 4/4 time, which is four beats (counts) to a measure (bar)....each quarter note gets 1 beat.

tjb09240tjb09240 replied on February 1st, 2011

this is starting to be fun now that you get to play a song. the key is practice practice practice til you get the songs!

jonawaldjonawald replied on December 30th, 2010

Hey Mark, My name is Jon and I have NO musical background other than my Dad has played for years. My step-son got a electric guitar for Christmas and he can't sit still long enough to learn how to play. SO I have always wanted to play so I found Jam Play and started and I love it so far. MY only problem so far is my Left hand I can't get it to hold the right strings without touching the string beside it. Do you have any suggestions on what I cane do and practice to help with this problem or is my fingers just to big. thanks Jon

MarkBrennanMarkBrennan replied on December 31st, 2010

Hey Jon..make sure your right up on the tips of your fingers. The tip section of your finger should be straight up and down. Then find a spot on your tip where you're not touching an adjacent string. Hope this helps...Mark

darippa3131darippa3131 replied on December 4th, 2010

Hey mark! I recently started playing my guitar to the tune of your awesome lessons! The problem is i've been playing so much that the small knuckle closest to the end of my fretting pointer finger is starting to get irritated when i have to curl it to hit some notes. Am i doing something wrong? Is this common?

cbeverettcbeverett replied on November 28th, 2010

Quick question about Aura Lee from this lesson. When playing an open string such as the G in the first measure of this piece, how to you stop it from sounding as you move to the next note (C in this case)? Or is it too soon to be worrying about this type of thing?

MarkBrennanMarkBrennan replied on November 29th, 2010

As you pick the C on the second string, dampen the open G string with the side of your thumb of your picking hand.

lmf998lmf998 replied on October 31st, 2010

how much time should you put into practices and how much time should you put into fun and which songs are good for beginners thank you louie

MarkBrennanMarkBrennan replied on November 5th, 2010

Practice as much as your schedule allows. Half hour to an hour a day, every day for a beginner would be a good starting point. Ramp it up if your motivated and picking things up quickly. Learn any easy song you can find. Start with single note melodies and learn simple chord structures and progressions. Then work on scales and more involved chord progressions......and always make it fun, or maybe a labor of love...Mark

violetviolet replied on September 29th, 2010

I have very small hands and little fingers, there is no way they will even stretch comfortably over even 4 frets, is this going to be a big problem for me?

MarkBrennanMarkBrennan replied on October 1st, 2010

Hey Violet! I was not blessed with very big hands...average to smallish. I have relied an good hand position and stretching. Check out my lesson on the left hand. Try a stretching exercise up higher on the neck where the frets are not as wide. Start at, say, the fifth fret. Place your index on the top string, fifth fret, then put the middle finger on the sixth fret, ring finger on the seventh, pinky on eight. Keep all fingers down and behind the frets. Your palm should be pretty much parallel to the side of the neck. Try doing this in the same position, but on lower strings. If it's too tough of a stretch, try a higher position (maybe seven). When it starts to feel comfortable, move it down to lower positons. Don't ever think your hands are too small to play guitar. If there's the will there's a way to do it. You can also look into guitars that have necks with shorter scales, or even the smaller guitars designed for young kids......find the right guitar, and do stretching exercises. Good luck...Mark

crosstourcrosstour replied on August 16th, 2010

Mark: In Lesson 6 I finally noticed that in the sitting position you rest your guitar on your right leg, while I have been resting mine on my left leg. I use a Squier Standard Stratocaster by Fender (basically a low price Fender) which may have weight and dimensions - if not the quality - similar to your guitar. I can see how resting the guitar on the right leg makes the neck more accessible, but if throws my right arm and back off. Is it important I learn to play seated with the guitar resting on my right leg, or is this a personal preference thing? Thanks.

MarkBrennanMarkBrennan replied on August 22nd, 2010

Classical guitarists play in this fashion. If you put the guitar on you left leg, tilt the neck up a bit and this makes it very comfortable and accesible for you left hand...bring your right hand over a bit and keep your wrist relaxed, and keep your back straight. Hopefully this will make the whole thing work for you.

crosstourcrosstour replied on August 26th, 2010

Thanks, Mark. This helps, especially to learn I am not doing something wrong. Got a cheap barstool which makes it easier to rest the guitar on my right leg, after placing my right heel on the stool's horizontal support.

wreathawreatha replied on August 26th, 2010

Great stuff! These are two great easy songs.

jessman25jessman25 replied on August 14th, 2010

I like the version of Aura Lee that you played in the intro. Do you have tab available for that in future lessons?

MarkBrennanMarkBrennan replied on August 22nd, 2010

Than might be a good idea for a song lesson....

lifestarlifestar replied on July 30th, 2010

Hi Mark I am new to the guitar, I just started by "accidentally" following your lessons. For now let me comment that I have never seen such a simple but not simplistic way of learning. Thank you.

MarkBrennanMarkBrennan replied on July 30th, 2010

Thanks Chaim...good luck with your guitar carreer!

deepcscubadeepcscuba replied on July 21st, 2010

Very cool lesson! I decided to play around with Somewhere Over the Rainbow and took it up an octave, mostly on the 1st and 2nd strings. It took me up to the 7th and 8th frets where I have not played yet. I had to write out the tab, but it sounds neat after you play it the first time on the lower strings and then again an octave higher. Hope that is ok to mess around like that!

MarkBrennanMarkBrennan replied on July 27th, 2010

Absolutely! Be creative...see if you can pick it out in one of the other keys i talked D Major.

pavelkrupetspavelkrupets replied on July 25th, 2010

1st of all good lessons. I am doing a lot of right hand exercises. Was making too many mistakes and it seems to be helping a lot. Guys are there any stretching and/or warm-up exercises for fingers on the left hand? I am having problem with my #4 (pinkie). It tends to move towards #3 (they form letter V if looked from above) so if I stretch it to fret 4 it lies on it from the side and not from the above. I am not even thinking about reaching fret 5. :)) Thank you!

devin hdevin h replied on July 1st, 2010

Hello mark i have to say i am really enjoying jamplay and your lessons ive only been a member for about a week but im really liking it. for beginners i was wondering if you had any suggestions or exercises for helping increase your finger speed and if not that something to help get used to playing with the fingertips and not the finger pads thanx

devin hdevin h replied on July 8th, 2010

thanks mark thats very helpful but do you have any short songs or some exercises to help me break the habit of playing with the pads of my fingers and get used to playing on the tips.

MarkBrennanMarkBrennan replied on July 5th, 2010

Hey Devin.....your left hand position has a lot to do with playing on the tips. You probably need to get your hand around under the neck more. Lower the placement of your thumb on the back of the neck, and get more curve in your fingers. This should get you right onto the tips of your fingers. As far as finger speed goes, start slow. Let your left hand and right hand come in sync with each other. Then gradually increase speed using a metronome. As your pick speed developes, so will your left hand finger speed. Play only as fast as your can play it cleanly with good rhythm.

ishtingishting replied on June 13th, 2010

Hi Mark, I seem to be having trouble reaching the 5th fret with my pinky, I only have small hands, any tips?

MarkBrennanMarkBrennan replied on June 14th, 2010

I can relate, as I have relatively small hands too. While I still encourage you to work on stretching the pinky to the 5th fret, don't strain...just shift you whole hand up to the second position (index finger over the 2nd fret), then fret the 5th fret A with your pinky.

ishtingishting replied on June 15th, 2010

Thanks I will give it a try.

justindtjustindt replied on June 12th, 2010

where is the supplemental content for the low E, A, and D strings?

MarkBrennanMarkBrennan replied on June 14th, 2010

Thies strings are in the tab....bars 4, 5, 6, and bars 20 to 24.

lilbikerlilbiker replied on May 4th, 2010

Just a thought, is it my imagination or is that also Love Me Tender bu Elvis. Never noticed it before and I learned that song so many years ago when I first attempted to learn.

lilbikerlilbiker replied on May 4th, 2010

Sorry someone else mentioned it already. my Bad

sgkranzsgkranz replied on October 15th, 2009

Mark, this particular question was asked once before but didn't seem to have a reply posted from you that I could see and was something I was also very curious about. The question I'm referring to was posted by Kyle and was as follows: "Hey Mark, just a general question. Should we be able to play the song very well ( like aura lee for example ) before we move on to the next section or lesson." As I said, I have also been wondering how long to practice one lesson before moving on to the next. It also seems to me that trying to move to fast through the lessons might cause lesson overload and undo frustration. Thanks Stewart

pikopiko replied on November 17th, 2009

Hi, Mark, I really enjoy your lessons but one thing is keeping me awake at nights: I can play the melodies smoothly and clearly but I`m having some trouble with identifying notes as I play. I can identify each note after 3-4 seconds but doing it as play is a bit hard. I`m not sure if I should proceed to the next lesson or master the notes positions perfectly. BTW. If one plays from tabs only are those notes positions really important? I guess they are, but why? :)

MarkBrennanMarkBrennan replied on October 15th, 2009

Hey Stewart....sorry if I hadn't talked about this subject...I think I did reply to someone's question about this at one time...but no problem. I think a variety of material is a good idea. Also, you should split your time between technique and songs or sections and riffs from songs. Working on actual music prepares you for performance and technique gets you the tools to perform. I truly believe you should strive to master a particular project you're working on, but add other things into the mix and use your practice time efficiently. You have a lot to chose from on this website. Don't be hesitant to start on another project while working on another....the variety is a good thing. But try your best to master a song or an exercise to the best of your ability. If you find you can't quite get it down, come back to it. You'll be surprise that with added experience and technique and strength, what you couldn't master before, now you can. Practice, practice, practice...good luck...Mark

laurolmlaurolm replied on October 22nd, 2009

Hi Mark, once again me, another question, what is the point of knowing the natural scale, is it of any use?, will I use it in the future?, or is this basic for knowing the major scale. thanks....

laurolmlaurolm replied on October 22nd, 2009

Hi Mark, are we gonna learn the natural scale i all positions or we need to find them out?, just curious, thanks....

mikey1159mikey1159 replied on September 17th, 2009

can one's hand/s ever be considered too small/chubby to play the guitar?? :) i'm having a hard time stretching my fingers and getting them to do what i 50 so im pretty sure my fingers are not going to grow any longer...

mikey1159mikey1159 replied on September 17th, 2009

oops. i see mark has already addressed that concern. i'm not alone then :)

pake22pake22 replied on August 27th, 2009

Hey Mark, Im sure I speak for everyone when I say we appreciate how much time it takes to answer all the queries you recieve and are truly grateful you take the time to help us out, I just wanted to ask if it is possible for a guy of my age (24) to have hands too small to play the guitar? I feel like my fingers/hands are never going to get into the required positions, will this just come with practice and strengthining of my left hand. Thanks

MarkBrennanMarkBrennan replied on August 27th, 2009

Hey Chris.....I have never felt that small hand size can keep someone from playing guitar. Start by looking for a guitar with a smaller neck scale. The neck is shorter and more suited for smaller hands. There's also smaller size guitars that are available. But I have found that your hand position (left hand), can make a difference. If you get your hand and wrist around and get the plain of your palm parallel to the side of the neck, then all fingers have good access to the fretboard. Then at that point you need to stretch your fingers apart for better reach. Try this all four left hand fingers on the first four frets of any string (the lowere the string the harder). Your ring and pinky fingers should be on the tips, right next to the fretwire. Thsi is pretty good stretching exercise in itself. Now, stretch the pinky up one fret. Keep all other fingers planted. Next move the ring finger up one fret...keep the index and middle planted. Now bring up the middle finger one fret, the move the index up. Now all four fingers are in the second position. Continue up the neck in the same manner. if it's too difficult to start on the first fret, start at the fifth fret. The stretch is not so large. It's all about hand position and stretching....good luck. Mark B.

jndaiglejndaigle replied on September 13th, 2009

Mark, I'm trying this exercise. Question. When I move my pinky up one fret, I can only go about to the middle; I cannot get near the next fret wire while my other fingers are down. Is the objective to get the pinky near the next fret wire? I also have a different question on the same exercise. If I play the 6-th stringwith 1st - 4th fingers down, the first finger is not parallel to the first fret; it is curved big time, I guess because the frets are further apart than the knuckles. But, the issue is that the part of my thumb that is in the palm aches. Is that normal or am I doing something wrong with the thumb position? My thumb is natural, I think, and it is about in the middle of the back of the neck when I reach for the 6th string.

lucretialucretia replied on September 4th, 2009

I can't get my little finger's tip on the string at either the 4th or the 8th fret, it can't even reach up close to the fret, it slides back down to the previous fret and is on it's side. Is there anything I can do? P.S: I'm restarting from scratch as I've done virtually nothing because I kept getting put off by my fingers not reaching.

MarkBrennanMarkBrennan replied on September 5th, 2009

After looking at the picture on your profile, I'd say your hand position is pretty good. What you need to do is stretch between your index and middle fingers to get the index off the fret wire. Try curving your hand more, too. Hope that helps.

enzeru2k5enzeru2k5 replied on September 12th, 2009

Hey Mark, This is Adrian again coming back to this lesson. I just wanted to compliment and kinda give you an update on whats going on since I can keep myself from smiling from my progress. I've had 1 on 1 teachers before and they taught me the beginning of the musical alphabet and the natural notes. But this is the first time I have been able to comprehend all of it. It's gotten to the point where i'm finding ALL of the natural notes down the neck up to fret 12 and i'm trying to memorize them. I know this isn't a big accomplishment for some people but it is for me! Thanks for the awesome lessons Mark!

madeofsteelmadeofsteel replied on August 25th, 2009

Hey Mark. First of all, thank you for the excellent lessons. I have been learning the piano for years but never have been really excited about it. With the guitar and your lessons, it's totally different. Even practicing stuff like the right hand technique and those things is really exciting and fun to me. But there's one thing I'm kind of worrying about: I have started with your lessons (and the whole guitar thing) only a couple of days ago and so far, I've been practicing for quite some time each day. The problem is that I keep having some kind of a "numb" or "tingling" sensation in especially my index and middle finger which was there right from the beginning and does not diminish evenafter some hours of rest. Is that something common? Will it go away even if I keep practicing or should I take a few days off? And another word of encouragement, I love the way you take care of all the questions and comments here, really appreciate that!

MarkBrennanMarkBrennan replied on August 25th, 2009

Hey Maximilian...maybe your overworking you hand a bit. I might suggest that you cut back on you practice time a little bit. Remember, you're using muscles in you hand that weren't work so much as now with the guitar practicing, so maybe let up a bit and see if that helps. I think of it like weight training, where there's a gradual build up.....keep me posted...Mark B.

madeofsteelmadeofsteel replied on August 25th, 2009

Actually, the numbness is right in the fingertips where I push down the strings (not really like sore muscles). I can only guess that the nerves are not used to it, yet or that I don't have enough callus, yet. I was just wondering whether this could end up as being constant if I don't watch out. Thanks for the quick answer!

MarkBrennanMarkBrennan replied on August 25th, 2009

I think that when you get callouses on your tips it should help the problem. When I play a gig or practice for a long time my tips get sore. But that goes away after about a day or so. I would suggest you practice consistently but for shorter periods. That will build callous and let your fingers rest. Good luck...Mark B.

dwilson1226dwilson1226 replied on July 12th, 2009

Mark, excellent stuff! Thank you very much! One comment for us lefties though.... Any chance you guys could publish the supplemental information for those of us in our right minds?????? Thanks, David

rawbbrawbb replied on July 9th, 2009

great lesson mark, i think i really have the notes down especially since i understand now that all notes are a whole step apart except e-f and b-c. thanks! \m/

chrisvdschrisvds replied on July 11th, 2009

Nice intro i could swear it's love me tender ;)

MarkBrennanMarkBrennan replied on July 12th, 2009

Aura Lee and Love Me Tender have the same melody.

pierresmetspierresmets replied on July 6th, 2009

Hi Mark, sorry for my bad English, I live in Switzerland and usually speak French. Anyway, hope you will understand me ! I've read in the comments above that you are going to teach us the version of Aura Lee you played in the intro. I love this version, is it possible to have the tabs ? Take care and many thanks for all you give to us ! Pierre

kyle_ibanezkyle_ibanez replied on July 5th, 2009

Hey Mark, just a general question. Should we be able to play the song very well ( like aura lee for example ) before we move on to the next section or lesson. Thanx

stevenlisa24stevenlisa24 replied on June 19th, 2009

wow i was 'rocking and rolling' till bump i hit this lesson for some reason i can do the highest string and remember the names of the note e f g and a see then i practice the 2nd highest string and can i remember where those are NO and same on the 3rd string ahhh its driving me crazy!!!!

larazarlarazar replied on June 15th, 2009

Hello, Mark! I have a question about open strings ringing when I play single note melodies. In Aura Lee I play open string G, then fretted C on the higher second string. How do I mute G? It shouldn’t be left ringing along with the next quarter note C, should it? Same thing in 3rd measure, I play open B, then A on the lower third string, what should I do with B when its time is up and I have to play A note? In Somewhere Over the Rainbow in 4th and 5th measures there’s open G, then open A, then F on the fourth string, how should I mute G and then A? Please help!!

MarkBrennanMarkBrennan replied on June 15th, 2009

Good question Pavel. One must learn to dampen open strings while playing single note melodies. There's different ways to do this with both the left and right hands. One thing I do with my right hand is dampen the string with the side of my thumb (holding the pick) as I pick the next. An example would be after picking the open third string (G), dampen the string with the side of my thumb as I pick the C on the second string (B). Be careful not to dampen too quick...try to connect the notes smoothly. Another method would be to dampen an open string with a free finger on the left hand. After playing the open G, touch the string with your middle finger as you fret the C on the second string with your index. Again, connect the notes...dont mute too quickly. Hope this helps....Mark B.

larazarlarazar replied on June 17th, 2009

Thanks, Mark! It really helps. I guessed it, but nobody ever explained this to me properly. Would it be also all right to dampen let’s say the open B by putting my middle finger on the 2nd fret at a slight angle when I next play A, so that I’d fret A with my finger tip and at the same time dampen the B by slightly touching it with my finger pad? I love your lessons and I’m eager for more. Thank a lot!!!

MarkBrennanMarkBrennan replied on June 17th, 2009

Yea Pavel....definitely. I don't think there's an exact science to this. Basically, whateve works. Another suggestion would be dampening the open string with the same finger you fret a note with on the next lower string down....example: after playing the open B, while fretting the A on the third string (G) with your middle finger, adjust the curve of your finger to dampen the B string with the same finger...again, smooth and connected.

larazarlarazar replied on June 17th, 2009

Yeah, that's what I meant really. Thanks again, Mark, I greatly appreciate your help.

playproplaypro replied on May 31st, 2009

Awesome lessons Mark! Quick question, is the focus more on developing the finger stretch, meaning should we be trying to hold all the notes down as we play, or is it more about finger independence and fluidity of playing? Thanks.

MarkBrennanMarkBrennan replied on May 31st, 2009

Hey Ali...great question. All of these things you mentioned need to be developed as you work on your technique. The finger stretch can be developed by hoding fingers down as you practice the notes going up the you play E, F and G on the first string E, hold down the index on the F as you reach for the G with your third finger. This makes for a good exercise when working on the lower strings especially. Good hand position is important when you do this. The fluidity is what I am talking about when I explain about how to connect notes. To me playing fluid means playing smooth and legato, not choppy...all this will bring about individual finger dexterity over time. I guess all this stuff...good hand position, finger stretch, connecting notes..go hand in hand to good fluid playing. When you get your right hand technique and solid rhythm all in sync with you fretting hand, then it all starts to come together.

jstevens1973jstevens1973 replied on April 25th, 2009

Mark, I don't generally provide comment on these types of things. You are amazing in your teaching style. You are very clear and concise. I have wanted to learn guitar for years but, it has always seemed a very daunting task. With your experience you make it look easy, but bring it down to a beginner level very effectively. Your Pink Flyod expertise is a bonus! My only suggestion, when you talk about root notes, is provide a bit of explination as to what thast is. Myself, I am also trying to learn about music in general so any extra information would be a blessing. Thank you so much for providing you knowledge and obvious passion to us at such as resonable cost!

MarkBrennanMarkBrennan replied on April 25th, 2009

Hey Jeff...thanks for the nice comments. Sometimes in my lessons, I might make mention of a concept without proper explaination....for this I aplogize. I'll try to be more aware of this. As for the for the root note of a scale or's the note that the chord or scale is named. In a scale it is the first note of the scale..the number one note (known as the Tonic note). With a chord, the root is the note for which the chord is built from. With a C chord...the C is the root. Think of it as the bass note of the chord. When you strum from the root (as I often say), you strum from the C note. When you stack the 3rd note of the C major scale, E, and the fifth note, G, onto the root note C, you have a Cmajor chord.

jstevens1973jstevens1973 replied on April 29th, 2009

Wow, that actually made sense! Thanks for the reply Mark!

drenycdrenyc replied on April 19th, 2009

I just joined JAMPLAY on Monday the 13th and I LOVE this site and especially MARK and his calm and VERY CLEAR instructions!!! Great Job. It is very helpful and easy to play with his help. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE, KEEP MAKING MORE LESSONS!! THANX

buffy136buffy136 replied on April 10th, 2009

we all have are favorites, you are surly one of seem to be very calm, and that calms me...playing with you is not stressful thanks for all of your lessons I do appreciate

MarkBrennanMarkBrennan replied on September 9th, 2008

Check out the single note version in this lesson, and in a future lesson I'll teach the version I played in the intro...which is a little more advanced obviosly....fingerstyle melody/chord solo

lavellerlaveller replied on April 2nd, 2009

cant wait for that ... thats one of the things thats always confused me : how to transition from single notes to chords and back in a peice of music to make it sound more "musical".

jdelixjdelix replied on April 1st, 2009

Mark, I having trouble with getting the 4th finger onton the lower A and E cords. Any advice? I'm in the proper hand position.

gregboygregboy replied on March 25th, 2009

Hi Mark, Thanks for the lessons, they are great. The thing is that I do not want to play with a pick, I prefer to use my fingers. Is this OK

MarkBrennanMarkBrennan replied on March 25th, 2009

I would also encourage you to try using a pick, too..or even try finger picks....Mark B.

MarkBrennanMarkBrennan replied on March 25th, 2009

Hey Greg....using your fingers is fine. Try to alternate index and middle, instead of using just one finger. This way, you'll be able to increase your single note speed eventually...Mark B.

gregboygregboy replied on March 28th, 2009

Thanks very much Mark. I am using my thumb, index and middle fingers. I hope you're going to continue with the lessons. My guitar playing future depends on it. Keep up the good work. Take care. Greg,

MarkBrennanMarkBrennan replied on March 28th, 2009

You can count on it!

cmp1969cmp1969 replied on March 1st, 2009

Hey Mark. Thanks for the great lesson. I started playing by ear several years ago. I never thought about taking lessons until my 16 year old nephew started confusing me with guitar tabs and playing better than I could.

dallendouglasdallendouglas replied on February 13th, 2009

Mark, I'am trying to play the Melody in conjunction with the Chords. What are the recommended Chords forAura Lee and Somewhere Over The Rainbow.

longfordlongford replied on February 21st, 2009

Hi Mark - I'm enjoying practicing and playing over the rainbow. Do you have the rest of the song transcribed in the same way? The lessons are great. Thanks - Michael

MarkBrennanMarkBrennan replied on February 16th, 2009

Check out lesson 9....I break down the chords for Somewhere Over The Rainbow..Mark B.

bdhannabdhanna replied on February 7th, 2009

Mark, your comments about legato were great - to finger the note with your left just as you attack it with your right. No one every told me that before, but letting the note have it's full count and playing smoothly is obviously important. It will make a big improvement in my play. Thanks!

jmastrojmastro replied on January 27th, 2009

Jeez im so confused

MarkBrennanMarkBrennan replied on January 27th, 2009

John..let me know what you're confused about....I'm here to help.....Mark B.

brno32brno32 replied on January 9th, 2009

on my low strings E and A they buzz when i hold them down. Its gotten to the point where I'm grimacing in pain to hold them down and they still buzz. My other strings are fine its just the top two. What do I do?

MarkBrennanMarkBrennan replied on January 13th, 2009

You need to get your action (height of strings off the fretboard) adjusted. Try raising the bridge saddles of those two strings up a little bit. This will take away some of the rattle on the frets. I would suggest you get a complete setup done by a good guitar tech to get everything right. It's make a big difference...Mark B.

dewin32dewin32 replied on December 31st, 2008

Thanks Mark, I can now play a proper tune after many years of messing around with my guitar and PRETENDING to be Eddie Van Halen. Cheers.

georgemorageorgemora replied on December 10th, 2008

Thanks Mark, Love your lessons, This was a good lesson. George

davesnotheredavesnothere replied on November 24th, 2008

i can't tell you how much fun i had on this lesson. thank you

rudigerrudiger replied on October 21st, 2008

Love your lessons Mark. Keep them coming please

MarkBrennanMarkBrennan replied on October 22nd, 2008

Thanks can count on it.

dsilvestredsilvestre replied on September 9th, 2008

The beggining was beautiful! It was "Love Me Tender" right? You gotta teach that...

nessanessa replied on September 9th, 2008

You're in luck! It's the same tune as "Aura Lee" which he teaches in Scene 3. :)

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.

David Isaacs David Isaacs

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

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Peter Einhorn Peter Einhorn

JamPlay is proud to introduce jazz guitarist Peter Einhorn. In this lesson series, Peter will discuss and demonstrate a way...

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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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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...

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Orville Johnson Orville Johnson

Orville Johnson introduces turnarounds and provides great ideas and techniques.

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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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Justin Roth Justin Roth

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

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Steve Eulberg Steve Eulberg

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

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Jessica Baron Jessica Baron

Jessica kindly introduces herself, her background, and her approach to this series.

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Electric Guitar Lesson Samples

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

Glen Drover Glen Drover

Lesson 25 from Glen presents a detailed exercise that firmly builds up fret hand dexterity for both speed and accuracy.

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Tony MacAlpine Tony MacAlpine

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Eric Madis Eric Madis

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

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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
Evan Brewer Evan Brewer

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

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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...

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Rex Brown Rex Brown

Dive into the playing of Rex Brown. As the bass player for Pantera, Down, and Kill Devil Hill, Brown's real world experience...

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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.

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Chris Liepe Chris Liepe

Chris brings his ingenuity to this lesson on the American folk song called "Where Did You Sleep Last Night?" Also known as...

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Alex Scott Alex Scott

Find out what this series is all about.

Free LessonSeries Details

Join over 480548 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

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Interactive Community

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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.

Price Per Lesson < $0.01 $4 - $5 $30 - $50 Free
Money Back Guarantee Sometimes n/a
Number of Instructors 86 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
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Greg J.

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

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


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