Strum Patterns and Time Signatures (Guitar Lesson)


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Chris Liepe

Strum Patterns and Time Signatures

Chris Liepe lays down some grooves in this lesson! He provides instruction on rhythmic strumming patterns and time signatures such as 4/4, 3/4, and 6/8.

Taught by Chris Liepe in Basic Electric Guitar with Chris seriesLength: 21:12Difficulty: 2.0 of 5
We've made it to lesson #7 in this beginner lesson series. This lesson is not going to focus on any new chords, and not a whole of new information, but rather going to give you a chance to practice strumming the guitar. Before we get started with the application, we'll do some review.


Time Signatures
A time signature is displayed with one number over another number (4/4... 3/4... 6/8... etc...) The first, or top number is how many beats or counts there are in the measure. In a 4/4 time signature, when counting out the beat, you would count to "four". In 3/4, when counting, you would only count to "three". The bottom number refers to which note value gets the count (or beat). In 4/4, every quarter note you see is worth one beat and gets one count. In 6/8, every eighth note is worth one beat and gets one count.

Subdividing the Beat
Subdividing a beat means that you are playing more, faster notes of a certain value within one beat. These subdivisions are counted and played differently depending on what time signature we are in. In 4/4, an eighth note would be counted on the "AND" and would be exactly 1/2 of a full beat. If we were to play an 8th note strum pattern in 4/4, we would count it as 1& 2& 3& 4&. In 6/8 time, since the eighth note gets the beat, and 8th note strum pattern in 6/8 would be counted as 1 2 3 4 5 6... 1 2 3 4 5 6... etc...

Sixteenth notes in a 4/4 or 3/4 time signature are counted as 1e&a 2e&a etc... with there being 4 total divisions of the beat and each 16th note covers exactly 1/4 of the beat. in a 6/8 time signature, sixteenth notes are just counted on the "AND" and take up exactly half of one beat.

Strumming Guidelines
One of the main things that is hard to grasp when learning to strum efficiently is deciding when to play an upstroke vs. a down stroke. If you start out with the following general rule, you will do just fine:

When strumming a primarily 8th note pattern, use upstrokes on the &'s of the beats. When strumming a pattern with 16th notes, quarter and eighth note values are down strokes, and the 16th divisions are upstrokes.

In other words, a 1e&a 2e&a... constant 16th note strum would be alternating down/up/down/up. Every 1 & gets a down stroke, and everything in between gets an upstroke. If you're working with only an 8th note pattern, use alternate strumming on the 8th note. So 1& 2& 3& 4& would be down/up/down/up...

Backing Tracks

There are three tracks that come with this lesson. All are designed to give you a different way to strum along and develop your timing and technique. As you see demonstrated in the video, it can often be quite difficult to strum to a metronome. It is much easier to get a feel for strumming when playing with a track. I have provided tracks in 4/4, a 3/4 and 6/8. Make sure you are strumming and counting along where you can.

Before you try the backing tracks, look over and play through the suggested strum patterns provided in the supplemental content. You will practice all of these patterns over a G chord until you are comfortable changing chords. Once you have a basic feel for the strum patterns, take them to the tracks and apply them.

Each track changes chords exactly the same way. They all follow the CAGED order. So you will strum over a C chord, then switch to an A chord, then to a G chord etc...

Track 1: 4/4 Jam -- Each chord C, A, G, E, and D will be played for 8 measures before switching. Any of the suggested strum patterns will work over the track

Track 2: 3/4 Jam -- Each chord C, A, G, E, D will be played again for 8 measures. This track builds a little more. You'll notice that when strumming 8th notes over the 3/4 track, that the 8th notes feel a little different. This is because this track has some "swing" to it. We'll get more in to "swing" later, but for now, do your best to groove with the track and have fun!

Track 3: 6/8 Jam -- As with the last tracks, the chord will change every 8 measures. When strumming in 6/8 time, it is very easy to push the beat. Don't rush and try to think about playing slightly behind to get that laid back 6/8 feel!

Video Subtitles / Captions


Scene 1

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Hello everyone this is Chris Liepe from JamPlay.com.

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Here with lesson seven in the beginners lesson series.

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Today we are going to be talking about strum patterns.

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We've touched on this a little bit throughout the other lessons with the backing tracks and the chord progressions.

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Today we're going to dive more into it looking at creative ways to subdivide the beat and by the end of this lessons you'll have

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a pretty good idea how not just to arbitrarily strum through chords but to be intentional about what you are strumming

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so you can develop a groove.

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This is really a good lesson for electric or acoustic guitar because all of these techniques will apply to either one.

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Grab the guitar of your choice and let's get started.


Scene 2

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So let's look at this in a little bit more detail.

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We've got a couple different time signatures we're going to be working with today.

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We've got four, four, we've got three, four and six, eight.

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The bottom number is going to be which note value gets the beat.

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The top is going to be how many beats there are in every measure.

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So if we're looking at strumming four, four we are going to count it like so.

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One, Two, Three, Four.
One, Two, Three, Four.

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Three, Four would be One, Two, Three.
One, Two, Three.

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Six, Eight because we've got an eighth note on the bottom the eighth note is going to get the count.

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One, Two, Three, Four, Five, Six.
One, Two, Three, Four, Five, Six.

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We're going to be practicing today a lot with the click track so we can hear how things are subdivided.

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We're going to be going through a variety of different ways that we can strum based on the tempo that we are playing at.

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So let's get started with our first strum pattern in four, four.

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This is going to be eighty beats per minute in four, four and we're going to be playing a combination of eighth notes

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and quarter notes.


Scene 3

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So what I was doing there I was playing an eighth note on the first beat, a quarter note on the second beat, an eighth note combination on the third beat

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and a quarter note again on the fourth beat.

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That would be counted: One and two, three and four.
One and two, three and four.

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In this particular strum pattern I am using an upstroke whenever I'm playing an eighth note combination.

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One and two, three and four.

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This is a pretty basic strum pattern but this is going to get you used to counting while your playing and feeling where the beats are.

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Let's take a look at a slightly different strum pattern.

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This is going to have a quarter note on the first beat and then a group of eighth notes then a quarter note and then a group of eighth notes.

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So it's going to kind of be flopped from the last one we were doing.

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I encourage you to play along with these as well as play along with the provided click and backing tracks that are with this lesson

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which we will talk about a little bit later.

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Here's another variation.

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This is going to have an eighth note grouping on the first and second beat.

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It's going to have a quarter note on the third beat and an eighth note grouping on the fourth beat.

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So we're almost all eighth notes.

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Down, up, down, up at eighty beats per minute.

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So we are going to count eighth notes as one and, in four, four.

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We're going to count quarter notes as just the numeric value in four, four.

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Sixteenth notes we are going to count as one, ee, and, uh.

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So in the course of one beat you are going to have four different strums.

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Whenever we're playing sixteenth note groupings those are the ones that are going to be down, up, down, up.

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As opposed to when we're just playing eighth note groupings we are doing down, up, down, up there.

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These next couple strum patterns are going to feature the same tempo but we are going to be doing eighth note and sixteenth note groupings.

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So the eighth note groupings are going to be just down.

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The sixteenth note groupings are going to be down, up, down up.

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So let me play this first strum pattern with sixteenth notes and then we'll talk about it.

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So I've got an eighth note grouping followed by a sixteenth note grouping, followed by an eighth note grouping,

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followed by a sixteenth note grouping.

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Basically I am putting the accents then on the one, the two, the three, the four and the extra strums are just kind of flavor.

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So if I really slowed this down it would count like this.

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One and two ee and uh, three and four ee and uh.
One and two ee and uh, three and four ee and uh.

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When you speed that up and start accenting it, it starts to sound more just like a normal person playing.

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One and two ee and uh, three and four ee and uh.
One and two ee and uh, three and four ee and uh.

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This next strum pattern we are going to flop it around so it's similar to what we were doing with the eighth notes

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and we're going to do a sixteenth note grouping followed by an eighth note grouping, sixteenth note, eighth note.

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Be sure to follow along in the supplemental materials because you can actually see how these are written out.

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I'm using rhythm slashes to represent the strum patterns.

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As you are practicing through some of these you will be able to see not only the representation of them visually

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but you'll be able to start understanding how they sound and how they feel as you're playing them.

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I recommend starting at right around eighty beats per minute with the eighth note if the highest value you are going to is an eighth note.

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If you are going to be practicing the sixteenth note value you may want to go down to seventy beats per minute etcetera.

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Whatever allows you to be clean and in the groove with these strum patterns.


Scene 4

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Let's look at a slightly different sixteenth note grouping.

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We have basically four sixteenth note groupings but we're going to eliminate the ee out of the one ee and uh in the beat.

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So this is going to sound like this one and uh two and uh three and uh four.
One and uh two and uh three and uh four. One and uh two.

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So the E is silent.

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We're just going to let the notes ring while we're playing that.

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So one ee and uh two ee and uh three.
We're not playing the ee.

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So here is how that sounds strummed.

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We're going to have two down strokes in a row and then we're going to have an upstroke for the sixteenth note grouping.

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One and uh two and uh three and uh four.
One and uh two and uh three and uh four.

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Let's hear how that sounds with the click track.

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These things once you start getting the eighth note grouping, sixteenth note grouping feel and the quarter note grouping it's really cool to follow

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some of these strum patterns I have written out here but it's even cooler to write down your own.

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Using this theory and these methods here.

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So what I am going to do I'm just going to kind of improvise and I'm going to count out loud as I'm doing it.

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You'll be able to hear what I am doing as far as strumming and also how to subdivide the beat.

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(Listen to Chris improvise)

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So you get the idea.

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You are just kind of randomly choosing where to strum and which groupings to apply where.

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The important thing is you've got the accents in the right place so you feel like you're grooving.

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Let's move on to three, four time signature and work through a couple strumming ideas for that.


Scene 5

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Ok. Three, Four.

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Typically three, four is a lazier sound.

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Most of the time you are not going to play sixteenth note groupings you're going to play eighth note groupings but you are also going to use

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something called an eighth note triplet quite a bit which I'll explain in just a second.

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A three, four sound is going to be like this.

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One, Two, Three. One, Two, Three. One, Two, Three.
One, Two, Three.

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A lot of times three, four can tend to be slightly faster than a four, four groove but it really just depends.

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Eighth notes in a three, four grouping are going to sound like this.

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One and Two and Three and One and Two and Three and One and Two and Three and One and Two and Three.

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So this is where you get that kind of:

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Sound.

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Here are some basic strumming ideas in three, four.

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The first one I've already been playing and that's just straight quarter notes.

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If we're going to add eighth notes to that it's going to sound like this and we're going to do upstrokes on our eighth notes.

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One and Two, Three, One, Two, Three. One and Two, Three, One, Two, Three, One and Two, Three, One, Two, Three.

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We could add an eighth note on the back end.

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One, Two, Three and One, Two, Three and. (x 3)

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We can add eighth notes the whole way.

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One and Two and Three and One and Two and Three and One and Two and Three and.

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Earlier I talked about an eighth note triplet and how that's fairly common in a three, four groove.

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An eighth note triplet is going to subdivide the beat slightly differently.

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That's going to be counted as One and uh.

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Let me start the click track and I'll count it for you a little bit.

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One and uh Two and uh Three and uh (x 3).

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That's very different than doing a sixteenth note grouping and leaving out the ee because we're counting that the same but we have a group of four

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notes that we're spreading across the beat as compared to a group of three strums or three notes that we are stringing across the beat.

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Let me play both so you get the idea.
I'm just going to play one beat.

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I muted the ee.
I did not play the ee.

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On an eighth note triplet it's going to be constant .

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Each one of those three notes are equally distant from each other so there is no pause.

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One and uh Two and uh Three and uh (x 3).

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Typically we're going to strum these as down, up, down, down, up, down, down, up, down.

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Let's hear what that sounds like just strummed constantly over our G chord to a click track.

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So that's constant eighth note triplets in three, four.

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We can add these really anywhere we want.

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One of my favorite things to do is to add a regular group of eighth notes followed by a group of eighth note triplets

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followed by a group of eighth notes.

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So that would be one and two and uh three and one.

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One and two and uh three and one.
one and two and uh three and one.

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Kind of a weird sound but when played to the click it sounds kind of cool.

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There's some basic ideas in three, four.


Scene 6

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Let's talk about six, eight.

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Now as we talked about earlier the eighth note now is going to get the count.

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That means sixteenth notes are not going to be counted one, ee, and, uh anymore.

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They are just going to be counted one and.

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Hopefully that makes sense.

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In four, four since the quarter note gets one beat we count sixteenth notes as one, ee, and, uh

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but in eighth notes all the counting is shifted because we're assigning the eighth note to getting one count.

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So six, eight would be counted like this.
One, Two, Three, Four, Five, Six (x 3).

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Eighth notes would be like this.
One and Two and Three and Four and Five and Six and One (x 2).

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Accents are typically are placed in a six, eight groove on one and four.

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So really riff on one and four when you're doing it to get into the pocket.
One and Two and Three and Four and Five and Six and One (x 2).

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Here are a couple of ideas.
(Listen as Chris play examples)

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What I was doing was basically taking out sixteenth note groupings or taking out a sixteenth note every once in a while

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to give a little bit of a pause as long as my accents are in the right place we're in good shape.

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One very common thing to do in six, eight is to have the very first note of each grouping a little bit longer.

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So you're going to be doing instead of just One and Two and Three and Four and Five and Six and.

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It would just be One, Two and Three, Four, Five and Six and
One, Two and Three, Four, Five and Six.

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So you've got eighth notes at the beginning of each grouping as opposed to sixteenth notes all the way through.

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That tends to groove really well.

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If you play chord progression with it let's just do a G, C, D chord progression there chords you've already learned.

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Sometimes when you are first getting into strumming it's kind of hard to look at a strum pattern

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or try to feel a strum pattern and play it all at the same time.

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A lot of what I've had to do if I'm trying to figure out a hard rhythm etcetera is simply tap whatever I am doing out on my leg.

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Or on my chest or where ever and get that kind of groove in my hand without having to worry about the guitar.

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Let's go back to one of the other strum patterns we were working on

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which was the sixteenth note, four, four, strum pattern where we were deleting the ee.

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Sometimes that's hard for people to get in a strum pattern so if you simply count it first while tapping on your leg you are in good shape.

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I'm going to tap this out and then I'm going to strum it so you can see the drill going back and forth here to get these things ingrained

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in your body as well as in your mind.

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You're able to do that able to count it without having to necessarily think about strumming.

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Sometimes this is really helpful when getting triplets to.

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All the strum patterns I covered today are in the supplemental content.

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I encourage you to slow them down and look over them.

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A quarter note we are talking about the notation now. A quarter note is going to be a stand alone slash.

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An eighth note is going to have a bar between two different notes connected as an eighth note grouping.

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A sixteenth note grouping is going to have two bars at the top and is generally going to be in groups of four.

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Especially when your talking about four, four.

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Also there are going to be three backing tracks associated with this lesson.

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Each in different time signatures.

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What we are going to be doing with them is going through our caged chords our major chords for a number of different measures.

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You'll have the opportunity to play with drums, bass, synths, etcetera and exercise some of these strum patterns.

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They are also going to be at a variety of different tempos so instead of just practicing to a click track

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you can practice to an actual groove in six/eight or an actual groove in four/four.

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Also look over the supplemental materials to find different chord progression suggestions that you can use when practicing these to a click.

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The backing tracks are going to be going through our caged system in order which we covered in our first couple of lessons

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when you were learning your basic chords.

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You're going to be starting with C and then moving to A then G then E and D.

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The focus when practicing through these chords is not necessarily switching your chords quickly.

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Obviously you want to play the chords cleanly but the focus here is we're going to be dwelling on say a C chord for a number of measures

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to give you a chance to really focus on your strumming hand.

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Then we're going to be moving on to the different chords in the caged system.

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Once you've got that down we can start applying different chord progressions and it starts to become a little bit easier.

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Hopefully you'll enjoy this lesson on strum patterns.

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Keep going with the rest of this series and hopefully you'll continue learning.

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See you next time.


Member Comments about this Lesson

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


phalobluezzphalobluezz replied on March 28th, 2017

i suck at this cant get my hand to do it

jmar7941jmar7941 replied on January 12th, 2016

Chris, man i'm lost on this lesson it all sounds the same to me. I had the 4/4 down. Is there something else i can do to understand?

hickhhickh replied on October 14th, 2015

Liking your teaching so far Chris! Now granted, I already know most of what we've been through up to this point (Lesson 7). However; you're teaching style seems to be what I've been looking for. Thank you.

PRSPRS replied on July 13th, 2015

Thanks Chris!

playingthebluesplayingtheblues replied on November 3rd, 2014

hi chris going over the times really understanding the eight notes and 16 notes as well as the triplets which is used in the blues which is my favorite music best regards john

seugeneseugene replied on February 28th, 2014

Hey Chris. Fantastic lessons so far. I have learned so much more than I was driving to Nashville and paying $25.00 for a half hour. I do still struggle with the A cord with a bar but I will eventually get it.

allie7allie7 replied on November 30th, 2013

This is great, Chris. Thank you.

ishtheheroishthehero replied on October 14th, 2013

Nice Prestige

great ggreat g replied on October 9th, 2013

Hi Chris Thanks again for the lesson but its kinda hard for me to cope up immediately but I am learning about groupings I need to practice hard. Thanks again.

macdemacmacdemac replied on May 1st, 2013

Gday Chris, Thanks for the lessons. Can you help me with one concept though? I am struggling to understand 6/8 timing. You describe the timing as "the 8th note gets the beat" but it appears on the count of 4. What am I missing? I suppose I am not understanding what the "8th" note means. If you could elaborate I would appreciate it.

jeff_steezyjeff_steezy replied on January 16th, 2013

Just a quick question. Earlier on in your series you taught the G chord as a three finger chord. On the 6th, 5th, and 1st string. In this video I noticed you have your 3rd and 4th finger and the 2nd and 1st strings. Or at least it looks that way. Can you let me know if Im doing the G chord correctly. Thanks!

nepalmypridenepalmypride replied on October 15th, 2012

Hi Chris, you have finally become one of my favorite teacher in jamplay. I am a self-taught guitarist and I derive most of my theories from eastern music and try to compare and make use of those in these lessons. I have hard time in understanding one of the concept and shockingly, even from your such a great lesson, I am not clear on that. I can grab and play all the rhythm patterns you have played but I cannot still understand properly the time signatures. For example, what is the differences between 4/4, 3/4 and 6/8? My understanding is the numerator determines how many beats are in the measure/bar. For eg., 4/4 has 4 beats in a measure, 3/4 has 3 beats and so on but what about the denominator? I don't exactly envision what differences it would make to have 3/3 instead of 3/4? This might make this clear what happens if I have 3/3 time signature instead of 3/4? Can you please clarify this. Thanks for the awesome lessons.

festergutsfesterguts replied on October 2nd, 2012

God this lessons is boring, confusing and uninteresting it just makes me not want to try.

Chris.LiepeChris.Liepe replied on October 5th, 2012

It looks like from reading some of your other comments on my lessons, that my teaching style and this series might not be for you. Why don't you try a different teacher and see if they work better with your learning style.

ibeobideibeobide replied on June 17th, 2012

From the Lesson 4 notes: The top number on the time signature tells you which note takes up one beat. Now in Lesson 7: The first, or top number is how many beats or counts there are in the measure. In a 4/4 time signature, when counting out the beat, you would count to "four". In 3/4, when counting, you would only count to "three". The bottom number refers to which note value gets the count (or beat). I think there is a mistake in the last notes. Thanks,

pastashellpastashell replied on November 28th, 2011

I want that guitar bad man ! Might actually make me play better

justg720justg720 replied on September 4th, 2011

What guitar are you using?

Chris.LiepeChris.Liepe replied on September 6th, 2011

Ibanez S Prestige

sloppybeefsloppybeef replied on August 14th, 2011

Chris - Thanks for the great lessons. Also, I really appreciate the well organized supplemental material.

Chris.LiepeChris.Liepe replied on August 15th, 2011

you're welcome!

ratfaceratface replied on March 5th, 2011

hey chris. on the suplamental content I want to listen to the track and look at the tablature at the same time. how can i do that. Thx

mtbluesmtblues replied on February 22nd, 2011

WOW! Great lesson Chris. THANK YOU! Maybe you could add some muting in your patterns (or maybe you do that later).

jam4jkjam4jk replied on September 22nd, 2010

Thank you for excellent lesson,explanation and illustration are in good n balanced enough to learn with fun without forwarding single second.It's awesome.

lordzeagerlordzeager replied on June 29th, 2010

Hi Chris! Thanks for the lesson. In the scene 3, you played: a group of 8th notes, 16th notes, 8 notes and then another 16th group (third measure as shown in the basic strum patterns PDF). Can I played the 8th group note as DOWN UP (on the first and third beat) instead of DOWN DOWN as you explained? The way I understand, its because you played the 16th notes as D/U/D/U, then you have to play the 8th note as D/D. Thanks Chris!

Chris.LiepeChris.Liepe replied on July 1st, 2010

yes, you can play them that way if you want. For me it depends on the tempo of the song, and the groove I'm trying to create. I find that when 16th notes are present in a strum, I can create a tastier groove by playing my 8th note groupings as D/D. As you get to playing faster tempos, you may find it easier to use this method. hope this helps!

andyrobertsandyroberts replied on May 14th, 2010

Hi Chris Thanks for the reply Please dont misunderstand me; all the lessons ive looked at on this site; yours included are excellent. They say 1 picture can tell you more than a thousand words and I use them frequently when I teach. I also learn much quicker from them. I know that 1 and 2 and....... means strum down on the number and up on the "and", but wondered where the a&e came from, do the symbols have a significance outside of your lesson, ie would I use it with other instructors? Keep up the good work and all the best Chris Andy

Chris.LiepeChris.Liepe replied on May 17th, 2010

the "1e&a" jargon is the 'understood' way to count 16th note groupings. I'm not really sure where it came from. I learned it years ago when taking piano lessons. But, yeah, other teachers would count in the same way. You may hear another instructor say something like "play this on the "and" of 3" or something etc...

andyrobertsandyroberts replied on May 12th, 2010

Like royreddy I'm a bit confused here. Maybe I'm a bit stupid, but I need to understand rather than just follow. Once I get my head around things, I'm ok. You explain the 3/4 4/4 8th's, 16th's etc and I understand what youare saying. You play the example and I can copy what you have done. But - for me - I would have lked some info as to why youre doing what your doing and what doesthe a&e stand for - where did it come from, what does it mean etc. In the supplemental info it would have been helpful to show up arrow down arrow for each example rather than chord tab and musical notation that does not instruct me which direction to strum. This site looks fab and I don't want to criticise within my first couple of days, but this confused me and knocked my confidence a bit.

Chris.LiepeChris.Liepe replied on May 13th, 2010

that's good feedback! I will be sure to include upstroke/downstroke markings on future tabs when specifically addressing strumming. I will also watch the markings in the supp content to make sure it clearly relates to what is being done on the video. thanks for speaking up! One thing to remember with some of these beginner lessons, is that they are designed to get you playing and jamming quickly so that you can start applying practical things on the guitar. I don't get in to too much of the "whys" a whole lot yet... that will come with later lessons that are focused more on theory. So don't get discouraged! If you are able to track with the lesson, and eventually play along, you're right where you need to be! Also, since you're newer to the site. If you have questions regarding a specific technique or part of a lesson, but sure to check the Live Q&A schedule where a good deal of the instructors have regular 'live' hours each week and are available to answer questions, interact directly with you via webcams and expand on their lesson content. Hope to see you there! Chris

royreddyroyreddy replied on May 5th, 2010

Scene 3 calls for Rhtyhm slashes in the Supplemental material to represent the Strum pattern. I can't see them, where are they? I appreciate that you have included GP5 files, these are very useful. For example adjusting the tempo.

Chris.LiepeChris.Liepe replied on May 5th, 2010

Instead of rhythm slashes, I just illustrated all of the different rhythm/strum patterns over a G major chord in the supp materials. I made that change after filming the lesson.

jaysonjohnjaysonjohn replied on May 5th, 2010

The audio jam tracks are a great idea to practice what you taught in this lesson. Thanks Chris

Chris.LiepeChris.Liepe replied on May 5th, 2010

You are welcome!!

raoelraoel replied on May 5th, 2010

cool

Basic Electric Guitar with Chris

Found in our Beginner Lesson Sets

Chris will guide you through the world of electric guitar in this series.



Lesson 1

Introduction to Your Electric Guitar

Chris Liepe talks about the absolute basics of the guitar, including tuning, the guitar parts, and proper technique.

Length: 23:21 Difficulty: 0.5 Members Only
Lesson 2

Playing Your First Chords

Chris Liepe introduces you to your very first 2 chords, E and A. Since this is your first chord lesson, Chris also introduces a backing track for you to slowly play along with. Practicing in this manner...

Length: 28:54 Difficulty: 0.5 Members Only
Lesson 3

3 New Chords: Complete the CAGED Method

Here in lesson 3, Chris teaches the C, G, and D chords. Once you have mastered the chords taught in this lesson and the previous lesson, you will have learned the CAGED method of remembering open chord...

Length: 12:22 Difficulty: 0.5 Members Only
Lesson 4

The Basics to Tablature, Chord Charts, and Musical Notation

Chris is back with his most information packed lesson to date. In this lesson, you will learn how to read tablature, chord charts and musical notation. All of these tools will drastically help you in your...

Length: 25:38 Difficulty: 1.0 Members Only
Lesson 5

Introduction to the Concept of Scales

Chris Liepe is back in lesson 5 with an introduction to scales. In this lesson, you will learn how to play up and down simple scale patterns.

Length: 13:55 Difficulty: 1.0 Members Only
Lesson 6

Barre and Minor Chords

In this lesson, Chris introduces minor chords and barre chords.

Length: 25:23 Difficulty: 1.0 Members Only
Lesson 7

Strum Patterns and Time Signatures

Chris Liepe lays down some grooves in this lesson! He provides instruction on rhythmic strumming patterns and time signatures such as 4/4, 3/4, and 6/8.

Length: 21:12 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 8

All About Intervals

Intervals, Intervals, Intervals! Chris Liepe explains what they are, where they are found, and how to play them in this lesson.

Length: 14:07 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 9

Intervals Pop Quiz

Sharpen your pencils and grab your guitar. It's pop quiz time. Chris Liepe adds to his beginner lesson series with a quiz on intervals. This is a hands-on lesson that will undoubtedly improve your ears....

Length: 15:39 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 10

Triads: Everything You Need to Know

Chris Liepe breaks through his 10th lesson with a detailed discussion of triads. Dig in and take these triads for a ride!

Length: 24:14 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 11

Effect Pedal Mini Series

This lesson begins a mini-series on effects pedals. Chris breaks down routing and how effects work with each other.

Length: 8:20 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 12

Effect Pedal: Compression

The compression effect pedal is one of the most misunderstood pedals around. Chris Liepe finally sheds some light on the subject. By explaining all the different options and sounds this pedal can create,...

Length: 14:12 Difficulty: 1.0 Members Only
Lesson 13

Gain Stacking with Overdrive and Distortion

Chris Liepe is back with the 3rd installment in his Effects Pedal mini-series. He explains the concept of "gain stacking" by combining an Ibanez Tube Screamer and a Boss DS-1 Distortion pedal.

Length: 7:54 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 14

Effect Pedal: Delay

Chris Liepe adds yet another lesson to his effect pedal-mini series. Here he covers the delay pedal. This effect that operates on the principles of time and rhythm. Use this pedal to add depth to your...

Length: 19:52 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 15

Effect Pedal: Chorus

Chris Liepe quickly demonstrates the chorus pedal with some 80's style licks. This pedal can create a deep and rich addition to solos or add the illusion of multiple guitars.

Length: 3:28 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 16

Understanding Key Signatures

Key Signatures! How do they relate to one another? Chris Liepe explains them in lesson 16 of his beginner series. Getting familiar with your key signatures will help pull everything together that has been...

Length: 15:21 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 17

Chord Harmony Basics

Chris Liepe demonstrates how to take a key signature (the set notes within a key) and stack 3rds on top of a root note to form chords. With the help of a modulating backing track, this should be a fun...

Length: 30:02 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 18

Technique Basics: Alternate Picking

Chris explains and demonstrates the very basics of alternate picking. He also provides simple exercises to develop the technique in your own playing.

Length: 16:03 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 19

Technique Basics: Legato Playing

Chris details and demonstrates the fundamental movements and suggested left hand position for legato playing -- specifically hammer-ons and pull-offs. He also provides exercises for developing the technique.

Length: 16:11 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 20

Technique Basics: Palm Muting

Chris talks about proper palm muting and discusses potential snags when first attempting the technique. He offers a number of exercises and patterns to help palm muting become a part of your rhythm playing.

Length: 9:22 Difficulty: 1.0 FREE
Lesson 21

Technique Basics: Hybrid Picking

Hybrid picking can add a fresh dimension to your chord and rhythm playing. In this lesson, Chris briefly covers how to get started with hybrid picking and offers two exercises that you can use to apply...

Length: 6:27 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 22

Major Scale Positions in G (Part 1)

Chris talks about what it means to play in position and teaches three of the five "CAGED" major scale positions in the key of G.

Length: 12:44 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 23

Major Scale Positions in G (Part 2)

Chris continues in his teaching of the five basic "CAGED" major scale positions in the key of G.

Length: 11:39 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only

About Chris Liepe View Full Biography Chris Liepe was born on September 17th, 1981 in Portland OR. His first instrument was piano which he pursued until discovering his love for the electric guitar in high school. He became fans of such groups as Soundgarden, Collective Soul and U2 inspiring him to start singing, songwriting and helping others in their musical endeavors with teaching, co-writing and album production.

Having moved to Colorado with his family, he began gigging, recording and teaching in a number of music stores as well as out of his apartment until deciding to pursue music full time. He moved to Denver, CO to complete a Bachelors in Music Technology and was then hired on by Sweetwater Productions, a division of Sweetwater Sound and one of the largest, most successful recording studios in the Midwest.

Chris spent nearly 4 years at Sweetwater as a producer, recording engineer, studio musician and writer. During this time he had the privilege of working with many artists including Augustana, Landon Pigg, Jars of Clay, and Mercy Me. He also wrote for and played on numerous independent albums and hundreds of radio/TV commercials.

Wanting to get back to his favorite State in the world (Colorado) and feeling the urge to 'go freelance', Chris moved to Greeley, CO and opened his own recording and teaching studio. He continues to write and produce music for artists and agencies and is happy to be among the proud JamPlay.com instructors.

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


Mark Lincoln Mark Lincoln

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

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Dave Yauk Dave Yauk

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

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

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Miche introduces several new chord concepts that add color and excitement to any progression.

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Jim discusses the importance of setting goals. He provides some tips that will help steer your practicing in the right direction.

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

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


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

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Stuart Ziff Stuart Ziff

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

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Billy Sheehan Billy Sheehan

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

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John March John March

Take a new look at the fretboard and learn where to find a voicing that works. There are techniques that simplify the fretboard...

Free LessonSeries Details
Joe Burcaw Joe Burcaw

Join Joe as he shows one of his favorite drills for strengthening his facility around the fretboard: The Spider Technique.

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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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David Davidson David Davidson

JamPlay interviews Revocation's Dave Davidson.

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Andy James Andy James

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

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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...

Free LessonSeries Details
Matt Brown Matt Brown

Matt Brown shows off some ways to add some creativity and originality to your rock chord voicings.

Free LessonSeries Details




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