Starting Fingerstyle (Guitar Lesson)

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Steve Eulberg

Starting Fingerstyle

Steve introduces you to the world of fingerstyle guitar by teaching a few exercises and an orignal tune called "Porch Swingin'."

Taught by Steve Eulberg in Fingerstyle Guitar seriesLength: 38:00Difficulty: 3.0 of 5
Chapter 1: (00:42) Introduction Steve introduces the fingerstyle lesson series with an original composition entitled, "Porch Swingin." This piece appears on Steve's great new album A Piece of It All. Stop by to check out this tune as well as other music Steve has written. Several of his albums are available for download on the site.
Chapter 2: (08:09) Beginning Fingerstyle "Porch Swingin" exemplifies many of the musical and technical components that will be discussed in this lesson series. In this lesson series, you will learn the techniques essential to playing with your fingers. Fingerstyle playing involves learning a whole new set of right hand mechanics. However, many of the right hand concepts you have learned should not be forgotten. Relaxation techniques and proper posture that you learned from Steve's Phase 1 lessons become even more important when playing fingerstyle.

Steve briefly introduced fingerstyle techniques in Lesson 6 of his Phase 1 series. Before proceeding to the bulk of this lesson, review all the exercises and concepts presented in this lesson. In the current lesson, Steve takes a brief moment to review some of the basic concepts from Phase 1 Lesson 6.

Labeling of Right Hand Fingers

Left hand fingerings are frequently written into many musical scores. Each left hand finger is represented by a number. Similarly, the appropriate right hand fingering often appears in a score. Each finger on the right hand is abbreviated by a letter. These abbreviations are used to indicate a specific right hand fingering in a piece of music. The official abbreviations for each finger are as follows:

Thumb: P
Index Finger: I (for index)
Middle: M (for middle)
Third Finger: A (for anular)
Pinky: C (This finger is rarely ever used.)
In order to make the exercises in this lesson easier to understand, Steve has abbreviated each right hand finger as follows:

Thumb: T
Index Finger: 1
Middle Finger: 2
Third Finger: 3
Pinky Finger: 4
Exercise 1

The thumb is the most commonly used finger in fingerpicked pieces. The thumb usually plays the low bass notes of chords. In many fingerstyle passages, the thumb works in conjunction with one or more of the other fingers to play two simultaneous parts. Steve has devised a basic exercise that will get your right hand acquainted with these techniques. This exercise lays the foundation for playing the alternating bass line with your fingers.

Note: Open the "Supplemental Content" tab for tablature and right hand fingerings to all three parts of this exercise.

Begin by forming an open A chord with the left hand. The thumb and first finger alternate playing in this exercise. The first note in the exercise is the bass note A. This note should be played with T. Then, the high E string is plucked with the first finger. Then, another bass note is played. This time, play the low fifth of the chord, E. Alternating between these two bass notes creates the sound of the alternating bass line. Steve plays this exercise at a very quick tempo. However, we recommend that you play the exercise extremely slow. Speed is not an issue at this point. Focus primarily on applying good technique and solid tone generation.

In fingerstyle passages that involve playing arpeggios (chords whose notes are plucked successively rather than simultaneously) the right hand fingers typically pluck the following strings:

Thumb: plays the three bass strings
Index: plays G string
Middle: plays B string
Third: plays high E string
A. Part 1

Repeat the previous exercise. This time however, pluck the G string with the first finger instead of the high E string. This will get you acquainted with proper right hand arpeggio fingering.

Then, play this exercise using the other two right hand fingers.

B. Part 2

First, alternate between a bass note and a B string note played by the middle finger.

C. Part 3

Then, alternate between the bass and high E string. Finger 3 plucks the high E string.

Variations on This Exercise

It won't take long before you are bored with this basic exercise. At 4:50, Steve demonstrates a more complicated version of the exercise. Instead of alternating between the thumb and just one finger, Steve adds another finger to the exercise. Now the pattern sounds much more interesting. This exercise follows this repeating four note pattern:

Thumb plays A string.
1 plays G string.
Thumb plays low E string.
2 plays B string.
Note: Steve also demonstrates how to add the third finger to this pattern at 6:20.

Here's the appropriate right hand fingering for this variation: T, 1, T, 2, T, 3, T, 2. This particular variation will take a lot of patient, slow practice if you are just beginning to play fingerstyle.

Apply the arpeggio patterns presented in this scene to chord progressions you already know. Instead of simply strumming the chords, play these arpeggio patterns. These patterns add some needed forward movement to the rhythm.
Chapter 3: (03:18) Fingerpicking, Alternating Bass and More Alternating Bass Lines

The exercise in the previous scene is an example of an alternating bass line. An alternating bass line occurs when the bass note of a chord alternates between the root and fifth. In the case of the A chord, the pattern alternated between the root A, and the fifth, E. Eventually, you will need to be able to play any chord using the arpeggio patterns learned in the last scene. Begin by practicing the patterns presented in the previous scene with all of the open chord shapes you know.

Note: Steve covers alternating bass lines in greater detail in his Phase 2 Bluegrass series. We recommend you check out these lessons for more information on this topic.

Chapter 4: (11:24) Another Fingerstyle Exercise Exercise 2

Note: Open the "Supplemental Content" tab for tablature and right hand fingerings to this exercise.

The second exercise in this lesson is designed to enhance synchronization of the hands. In the previous exercise, the left hand remained stationary, while the right hand fingers moved from string to string. In this exercise, the opposite occurs. Right hand fingers remain stationary while the melody shifts in the left hand.

The main purpose of playing fingerstyle is to play two lines simultaneously. Usually, these two parts consist of a melody and chordal accompaniment. However, a melody is often combined with a bass line in some instances. The first part of the exercise gets you acquainted with playing this type of an arrangement.

Begin by forming an open G chord. Alternate the low G note with a note on the B string. There are three notes that comprise the melody on the B string: B, C, and D. Fret each of these notes with the following left hand fingers:
D: Pinky
C: First Finger
B: Open String
Exercise 2, Part 2

Note: Open the "Supplemental Content" tab for tablature and right hand fingerings to this exercise.

The second part of this exercise takes the bass line/melody to a new level. Now, the low G bass note is alternated with the entire open G major scale! This exercise is quite difficult due to the fact that it requires a lot of tricky brain/hand coordination. When you begin to practice the exercise, play it as slow as humanly possible.

Note: If necessary, take this time to review the G major scale in open position.

Steve frets the entire G chord while playing this exercise. However, this is not necessary. Instead, plant only your third finger on the low E string. This enables you to play the melody more comfortably.

Begin by plucking the low G note with the thumb. In between bass notes, the G major scale is successively played. For example, after the first bass note is played, the first note of the G major scale is played (open G). Then, another bass note is played. Next, the second note of the scale is played. This pattern continues until tonic is reached again in the melody. Then, the scale descends back down to tonic.

Pay VERY close attention to the right hand fingering of this exercise. The 1 finger plays all notes on the G string. 2 plays all notes on the B string. The 3rd finger plucks all notes from the scale on the high E string. Repeated practice of this exercise will enable you to play it without having to think about which finger you are using.

Basics of "Porch Swingin"

Note: Open the "Supplemental Content" tab for tablature to this song.

Steve introduces you to the techniques necessary to play the tune "Porch Swingin™." This tune involves a concept that Steve introduced in Lesson 6 of his Phase 1 series. It involves simultaneously plucking two notes at the same time with the right hand. The thumb plucks a low bass note while the first finger plucks a note on the G string. The thumb and first finger pull towards each other in a pinching motion to simultaneously pluck both notes. Steve refers to this as the "pinch technique."

This tune features a pedal tone played on the high E string. A pedal tone is a note that remains constant throughout a passage while the accompanying harmony changes.

The intro chord progression to the tune is built around a very basic right hand pattern. The pinch technique occurs. The plucked pedal tone follows. Last, the bass note is repeated with the thumb.
Chapter 5: (06:14) Learn Porch Swingin Steve refers to the fingering introduced in the last scene as "pinch, pluck, thumb." The right hand plays this fingerstyle pattern for each chord. Notice how the introduction begins with a rapid hammer-on from the open G string to G# at the 1st fret. The hammer-on is played as a grace note. This means that the first note in the hammer-on is played so quickly that it receives no rhythmic value.

The introduction begins with an E chord. The subsequent chords in the first half of the intro function as embellishments of a basic E7 chord sound. On his dry-erase board, Steve has labeled this part of the introduction as "E7." You have an opportunity to play this section along with him at 1:15.

Next, the introduction modulates (changes keys) to the key of A. When the E7 section repeats, the chord shape at the 3rd fret slides back down to the second fret. When the key change occurs however, the 3rd shape slides up a fret to the 4th fret. This 4th fret shape consists of the notes G#, B, and E. These notes form an E chord in first inversion. E is the dominant of A. As a result this chord sets up a transition into the key of A. The subsequent section of the introduction embellishes an A7 chord. Consequently, Steve has labeled this section "A7" on the dry-erase board. Practice this transition along with him at 1:50.

The right hand fingering must adjust slightly to play the A7 section. Your right hand second finger must now perform the "pinch" portion of the "pinch, pluck, thumb." Also, the thumb now plays the bass note on the A string.

Like Steve recommends, isolate each of these sections when you practice them. This will increase your focus, and maximize your practice time. Work on transitioning from the E7 section to A7 once you have mastered each individual section. After the A7 section, the introduction repeats again from the beginning.
Chapter 6: (07:58) Rest of Porch Swingin At the beginning of this scene, Steve gives you an opportunity to play the entire introduction to the tune along with him. Whenever you play with other musicians, rhythm is always the most important aspect of the performance to focus on.

A7 Section Variation

Instead of playing the high E string as a pedal note during the A7 section, other, more colorful options are available. The high E must be used as a pedal tone over the first chord (A7). Then, apply a brand new chord shape to the remaining chords. For example, fret the high E string at the 2nd fret once it's time to change to the second chord. You are now playing B, D, and F#. This forms a Bm triad. Use this same shape when sliding up to the next chord (Cm). You may find that the transition from A7 to Bm is quite difficult. If so, drill this chord change repeatedly until it becomes more comfortable.

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.

WalmerbWalmerb replied

I just love Porch Swinging, such a laid back piece of music. I think fingerstyle is going to be my facourite.

mardiemardie replied

thank you so much for doing this lesson

PrithveePrithvee replied

What's the root and the fifth in a chord?

Rocker816Rocker816 replied

Hey Steve! not sure if you'll see this or not, but I love all of your lessons! Can I find finger picks? I'm unable to grow my nails out, as I am in medical school, and it makes surgical technique/examinations a bother... Played guitar for a long time, just learning classical, and my fingerpads (obv) don't create the same tone that nails do! What are your thoughts!?

karenblueskarenblues replied

Have you tried Alaska picks? They fit under 1/8 in of fingernail and you still use the pad of your finger on the strings. You tube has videos on them.

braventopbraventop replied

great lesson .. i could vamp on this for hours ..


The first few measures of Porch Swingin are indicated by an E7 chord. None of them are E7. I'm confused???

Rocker816Rocker816 replied

That's the overall tonality, not necessarily the specific cord being played. Meaning: if someone were to drone over an E7 while you played them few measures, they'd sound complementary. Hope that makes sense, because that always used to bother me in tab books until i understood it!!

jet3rryjet3rry replied

Enjoying this! I have small hands and find it's easier to use my finger for the low E string rather than my thumb.

cesp19cesp19 replied

Steve it would be helpful to know the other chords in the sequences other than the a7 and e7

waldo48waldo48 replied

Steve I love the finger picking lessons. Just a quick question. In the Porch Swinging lesson you use your thumb for the low E string. I'm finding it easier to use my first finger fort E7 part of the song rather than my thumb. Is there any problem doing it this way Peter

blissingerblissinger replied

I've got it! I just can't keep up with you. I need a way to forward to the 2nd part of the lesson where you just play the piece, with no further explanations, so I can run through it with you a 100 times. Don't know how to do that.

billydubonbillydubon replied

It's not just you but it seems hard determining when you are going by the tabs or not. I try to match what you are doing to the tab and it doesn't seem to match.

guitar8guitar8 replied

Steve, I'm really enjoying your lessons. Your teaching ability is subtle with a great sense of humor. You are thorough and to the point on how you want your students to progress by sending us to our shed to work on hand and finger skills. Keep it going and thanks:!)

guitar8guitar8 replied

Enter your comment here.

chrisvoochrisvoo replied

is a bit too fast...i can't follow..

orangeloverorangelover replied

Just a beginner myself, but I think Steve is using his thumb on the low E string to play different bass notes, instead of just playing a open low E all the time.

andreamariaandreamaria replied

Hey Steve, thanks for your lessons. It´s what i was looking for, but there were no teacher in germany who displained that like you. I have spent a lot of money in teachers, but after a few lessons, it was boring, because they always wanted me to do what they like. Funny but i had to lay Alle meine Entchen or Alle Vögel sind schon da. Now i know: Here i am at the right place.

dhyanashadhyanasha replied

Hi Steve, thanks again, after a few days òf studying this lesson, I`m ready for the next one.

ajamesajames replied

Ha ha! 00:25, how did your hand grow so rapidly?

gimangiman replied

Much fun but have to discipline my right hand by repeating repeating repeating repeating.....

sdearsdear replied

Very nice...but very tough to see the cords..

alancomstockalancomstock replied

Steve can you put up the chord you are playing in a chord box like a lot of the other instructers do, so we see it, it makes it more informative instead of trying to see where your fingers are on the fret board? Thank you

alancomstockalancomstock replied

Enter your comment here.

chava meyerchava meyer replied

He says play g chord in the fourth part, but he's not! I'm so confused! He says play G chord, but then he moves his first and forth finger.. i played the video like a millon times

eddieiguana1eddieiguana1 replied

Great teacher though your fingers are large and its hard to see what you are doing. Could you get smaller fingers ? lol. Keep up the good work.

steveeulbergsteveeulberg replied

alas, never have I had the svelte, slender fingers!

lonewolflonewolf replied

I've waited for a very long time to ask this question - hoping that the problem might correct itself. No such luck. My chording finger tips are flat, sore and caliced. Are they supposed to be this way? I practice/play every day. Am I pressing to hard to get that rich string tone? Is this just par for the course? What?

revcarevca replied

My question is the same as that of Francoise - should I be trying to get comfortable with that thumb on the low E string? It is more difficult with a small hand. Love the song.

francoisefrancoise replied

Steve, is there a particuliar reason to use your thumb instead of finger 2 and 3 at the beginning of the song? Thanks for your answer

coribillcoribill replied

Steve - I am enjoying the song, the learnings, and the pace of the lesson. Well done.

yellowkidyellowkid replied

There had to be a better way to explain what you were doing with your left hand with that first part, I had to play it over 20 times to figure out what you were doing, and saying "4" when you should have said "3" and not correcting yourself didn't help!!

yellowkidyellowkid replied

I've stopped and played that three notes on the thumb 50 times and I still don't know what you're doing. Are you always using the thumb on three strings? Very confusing.

yellowkidyellowkid replied

I somehow got two lessons mixed up!! Anyhow today it's going better. I've been talking guitar with the young fellow at the library. He suggested that if your left hand got tired holding the chord, forget about it while you just use your right hand to do the exercise.

skyyrainskyyrain replied

Steve, my question is - Why do you wrap the thumb vs. just finger the notes with an A7 pattern? Not sure it matters either way as long as the notes are played correctly. Your thoughts,

gtarbeastgtarbeast replied

this is so off topic but isnt this the guy that was in the movie RELIULOUS the guy that owns the religious memoribilia named STEVE BURG. they even have the same accent.

bumpoobumpoo replied

I enjoy the lessons only wish they could be sped up a little. There is always the pause button for those who need to take is a litttle slower.

rohintoniranirohintonirani replied

why am i shifting from E to A? Is it for the song "Porch" or is there a sequence that I am following?

nikolaivnikolaiv replied

steve I want to learn spanish guitar and its been hard to find lessons on it online so i was wondering if you would be interested in adding a new genre spanish guitar to i just find it funny that jam play has hawiian lessons and not spanish guitar if you would be willing to do that I would be very thankful thank you!

edmarsh57edmarsh57 replied

ok--the light is starting to break through--this is fun but challenging for those of us (me at least) who are musically challenged.

edmarsh57edmarsh57 replied


skaterstuskaterstu replied

Great lesson Steve... I love this fingerstyle stuff and you are a great teacher too!

rumble dollrumble doll replied

Just a anyone else having problems when printing out the accompanying tab etc? It doesn't matter if I set it to portrait or landscape it misses some of the tab/music off. Very, very frustrating as I'm having to draw in what's missing which is a bit time consuming. If I go with portrait it misses some down the right side obviously, but if I set it to landscape it misses off the last couple of bars of tab. It's really annoying as it has 3 pages to supposedly print off & the first one is just a blank page with the JamPlay logo at the top (which is a waste of paper) & the 3rd page has nothing on it (it doesn't have the bit of missing tab as you might think it would). So what you get is the main body of the music or excercise on page 2 but with some missing. SIGH!!

criscusackcriscusack replied

Well I don't have any formatting issue (I just save the tab off as a jpeg so I can see Steve and the tab at the same time), but I think the tab is wrong. On the A Chord, Steve says to sometimes hold down 1st string at 3 and 4. But the tab shows it open throughout except when you're doing 1st/2nd on 5th fret. Or is it just me?

whitebomberwhitebomber replied

When you go to print, choose "print preview". From there see if you have a dropdown box, for scale, along the top where you can pick the size. Using the dropdown, see if there's a choice called "shrink to fit". This should do the trick.

rumble dollrumble doll replied

Hmmm, I just had a look & can't find the 'shrink to fit' option. I looked in all the drop down boxes for paper size/orientation etc. However, there are some different paper size option so maybe if I set it to print to a smaller size of paper even though I am really using A4 perhaps it will shrink it to fit. Thanks again.

whitebomberwhitebomber replied

Just checked a PC with Internet Explorer and it also has the "shrink to fit". So I guess if you are using IE6 and want to upgrade, that should work also. Although if you aren't too into computers, it's probably best to go with Firefoox.

whitebomberwhitebomber replied

Sorry meant to say, checked a PC with Internet Explorer version 7, and it had the "shrink to fit" option...

whitebomberwhitebomber replied

I always forget I'm using Firefox. If memory serves, Internet Explorer 6 does not have the "shrink to fit" option. So that might be why you aren't seeing it. I do think that IE 7 does but I'm not sure. You could download Firefox, just google "Firefox download", and you should see a link to the Mozilla site. It's a quick and easy install, then you can use Firefox when going to Jamplay, and you should have the "shrink to fit" option. Just remember to choose File --> Print Preview to be sure the "shrink to fit" is chosen.

rumble dollrumble doll replied

Thank you! I will try that. I'm no computer whizz-kid I'm afraid! Thanks again :-)

rumble dollrumble doll replied

I've just watched this lesson through a second time & some of it is starting to sink in. I think I'll need to watch it through at least another couple of times. I get a bit lost trying to follow sometimes as my brain won't process what Steve is doing fast enough. I certainly got lost on the bit with the G chord, but perhaps I'll get it next time. One thing I'm really getting a bit confused about is when you are making the shape of a chord, but playing fingerstyle (not strumming), should I be trying to generally keep that chord shape, apart from moving one or two fingers away to some different notes, until the piece of music states a chord change or do you only keep the chord shape for that first couple of notes. I get confused & start to get in a muddle because I am thinking that I'm supposed to be keeping the chord shape but then it all changes. I'm not even sure I am explaining what I mean here. Think I'll go make a nice cup of we do in England when we have a crisis!! Lol.

rumble dollrumble doll replied

Really enjoyed this lesson & intend to spend some time on this. I love Steve's lessons. My brain won't work fast enough though to keep up so I often end up sitting out when I should be trying to join in but perhaps I just need to watch it over & over again. Have printed out the tab so I can practice!

bossanova003bossanova003 replied

When playing A major chord, does thumb alternate between first 3 bass notes ,( open E, A and D strings) while picking the bottom three with other fingers ?!? or does thumb only pick low E and A only? Thanks

jboothjbooth replied

Hello, the open E is part of the A chord, so if you wish to throw that into your alternating bass line that is A ok! I do however recommend starting with the A, as in my mind it sounds better starting on the root bass note of the chord. You can go from A to E to A to E, or A to D to E, or any other such pattern you like. Find what sounds good to your ears and run with it.

hverdinhverdin replied

Hi Steve .i love the porch swing lesson ,I just wanted to know ,yousaid you would finish teaching the song and maybe I missed it .where is it in the lesson? Thanks

jboothjbooth replied

Should actually be up by the end of the week. We just finished it :)

jackie134jackie134 replied

Well I kept on practising and really enjoy playing this tune. It is great Steve! Thanks. Yes working with the tab was really helpful.

wintermutewintermute replied

as I am working to figure this out, I find that I have to go PAINFULLY slow, and look at my fingers...I am starting to get it. While it's tough to see Steve's fingers, look at the tab, and listen to what he says "Thumb-1-Thumb-2..." I'm finding Steve an very good teacher (this is only my 2nd lesson) but already I feel I am making progress. Oh yeah, you should also try the exercise in different chords (like G) -- it helps with the monotony. Keep it slow at first, and give yourself some time...

jackie134jackie134 replied

Section 4 Oh dear Steve! I agree with Celeste. This really is very difficult to understand and it is difficult to actually see what you are doing. The music is great and I am going to persevere and really try and get it!!! Any help greatly appreciated! Jackie

jboothjbooth replied

Have you looked at the tab? It helps enlighten a bit since it is often hard to tell what is going on in the video.

greenogreeno replied

I listened to the whole song from your album and I love it! Will you be teaching the rest of it in another lesson?

jackie134jackie134 replied

17/11/07 Well I carried on practising last night and have obviously been working at it during the night, because when I woke up I had more of an idea on what to do. So I am going over the lesson again bit by bit and looking at the tabs and practising and I am beginning to play it! So it is possible to get the hang of it.

celesteceleste replied

Steve your going to fast when you name off the chords and strings your confusing me. The fingerpicking style I know from childhood but not much else was retained. It must be like riding a bike but you can still fall down!

jboothjbooth replied

Steve will answer this later I'm sure, but really there's no set amount of time, you'll just have to practice till you can get it. It's kind of a brain twister training your fingers to work independently, but when you get it.. that's a skill you will have for your entire life. I would just make it part of your practice session until you can get it down right. Once that is done the rest of the lessons should be much easier :)

chordiechordie replied

Probably the most asked question. I have been strumming for about 13 years but wanting to learn to finger pick with more than two fingers which I am doing just now. ( freestyle where my fingers are playing any strings while holding a chord) I am finding this very useful, although I am finding it a bit confusing with the alternating the thumb going from A toE while using the other fingers to pick the bottom strings. I was just wondering how long after a lot of practice it should take before I should be able to do it ok. I know I am impatient sometimes. I have been trying this for half hour non stop and still cannot get my thumb and fingers to work together. Can it be that some people just cannot do it?. I am not going to give up on it, I have years ahead of me to learn. Hopefully it will not take that long. In your opinion as an instructor, how long if you were face to face with someone would it take until you got very impatient and thought " he will never do it". cheers.

Fingerstyle Guitar

Found in our Beginner Lesson Sets

Fingerstyle guitar is the classic art of playing the guitar solely with the fingers. Fingerstyle playing opens up a whole new realm of possibilities on the guitar.

Starting FingerstyleLesson 1

Starting Fingerstyle

Steve introduces you to the world of fingerstyle guitar by teaching a few exercises and an orignal tune called "Porch Swingin'."

Length: 38:00 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Matteo CarcassiLesson 2

Matteo Carcassi

Steve Eulberg teaches you to play Op. 60 (No. 1) composed by Matteo Carcassi.

Length: 42:00 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
House of the Rising SunLesson 3

House of the Rising Sun

Steve teaches a fingerstyle arrangement of "House of the Rising Sun" by Animals.

Length: 29:00 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Freight TrainLesson 4

Freight Train

Steve covers some of the fingerstyle techniques created by Elizabeth, or "Libbis" Cotten.

Length: 24:00 Difficulty: 3.5 FREE
Planxton's Farewell Part 1Lesson 5

Planxton's Farewell Part 1

Steve Eulberg teaches you how to play his original piece "Planxton's Farewell." This is part 1 of a 2 part lesson.

Length: 34:00 Difficulty: 3.5 Members Only
Planxton's Farewell Part 2Lesson 6

Planxton's Farewell Part 2

This is part 2 of the fingerstyle song "Planxton's Farewell." In this lesson Steve teaches you the second half of this beautiful tune.

Length: 22:00 Difficulty: 3.5 Members Only
Drop D TuningLesson 7

Drop D Tuning

Steve discusses drop D tuning and how it is used. He also teaches an original song in this tuning called "Neither Lion Nor Lamb."

Length: 30:00 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Porch Swingin' Part 2Lesson 8

Porch Swingin' Part 2

Steve Eulberg teaches the second half of his beautiful fingerstyle piece, "Porch Swingin'."

Length: 30:21 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Five Foot Two (fingerstyle)Lesson 9

Five Foot Two (fingerstyle)

Steve teaches a fingerstyle version of the classic song "Five Foot Two."

Length: 29:54 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Operator IntroductionLesson 10

Operator Introduction

In this lesson Steve shows how to play the introduction of the classic Jim Croce song, "Operator," in a fingerstyle fashion.

Length: 22:21 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Operator VerseLesson 11

Operator Verse

Steve returns to the beautiful Jim Croce song, "Operator," in this fingerstyle guitar lesson. This time around he demonstrates the verse.

Length: 12:58 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Operator ChorusLesson 12

Operator Chorus

Steve finishes up the Jim Croche song, "Operator." He covers the chorus and brings the entire song together.

Length: 9:55 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Alternating BassLesson 13

Alternating Bass

Steve uses the classic childrens song, "Paw Paw Patch" to demonstrate how an alternating bass line can be played within a fingerstyle arrangement.

Length: 15:42 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
We Wanted a KingLesson 14

We Wanted a King

Steve Eulberg teaches a beautiful fingerstyle arrangement of his original song, "We Wanted a King."

Length: 36:31 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Building the ThumbLesson 15

Building the Thumb

Steve Eulberg guides you through a series of exercises meant to improve the dexterity and independence of the thumb.

Length: 12:52 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Mixing Up the FingersLesson 16

Mixing Up the Fingers

Steve Eulberg mixes up the fingers to create a dynamic fingerstyle exercise.

Length: 12:48 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
ChopsticksLesson 17


Steve Eulberg explains how to play the classic song "Chopsticks" using fingerstyle technique.

Length: 12:18 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Advanced ChopsticksLesson 18

Advanced Chopsticks

In this lesson, Steve Eulberg teaches an advanced version of "Chopsticks."

Length: 8:11 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Ode To Joy Part 1Lesson 19

Ode To Joy Part 1

Welcome to the first lesson in a 3 part series on the song "Ode To Joy". Steve has arranged a very unique fingerstyle lesson that starts from square one. This 3 part series can really help any beginner...

Length: 10:32 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Ode To Joy Part 2Lesson 20

Ode To Joy Part 2

In the midst of this three part lesson series, Steve continues his "Ode To Joy" song lesson by introducing a parallel movement. This will demonstrate a "skip a string" technique with the picking hand and...

Length: 7:25 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Ode To Joy Part 3Lesson 21

Ode To Joy Part 3

In his final lesson in the three part series of the song "Ode To Joy", Steve adds a few more additional fingerstyle techniques to the mix. By adding a harmony and a D string drone note, this will complete...

Length: 10:43 Difficulty: 3.5 Members Only
Thumb Builder #1Lesson 22

Thumb Builder #1

In direct response to a common issue seen in his live Q&A, Steve crafted the following group of 9 lessons devoted to "thumb building". Learn all 6 variations of the exercise Steve teaches and practice...

Length: 16:38 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Thumb Builder #2Lesson 23

Thumb Builder #2

The second installment of Steve's Thumb Builder lessons continues to build your finger and thumb coordination with multiple pattern variations.

Length: 8:40 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Thumb Builder #3Lesson 24

Thumb Builder #3

Join Steve for the third installment in his Thumb Builder lessons. Keep pressing on and you should be finding that the mechanical movements are becoming more and more natural.

Length: 10:33 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Thumb Builder #4Lesson 25

Thumb Builder #4

It's time to challenge yourself by adding more fingers to the mix! Instead of just responding to the thumb with one finger, you'll be using different fingers on different strings.

Length: 8:42 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Thumb Builder #5Lesson 26

Thumb Builder #5

Things are getting a little more complicated and a little more challenging as Steve marches through some more thumb building exercises. Keep up the hard work and practice!

Length: 6:42 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Thumb Builder #6Lesson 27

Thumb Builder #6

Steve continues to build up muscle memory and coordination. In these exercises, the thumb is gonna start jumping around along with the fingers.

Length: 9:16 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Thumb Builder #7Lesson 28

Thumb Builder #7

Part 7 of Thumb Building Bootcamp! Good job for making it this far! Things keep getting more challenging, but you should definitely be noticing a marked improvement in your finger-thumb coordination...

Length: 8:03 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Thumb Builder #8Lesson 29

Thumb Builder #8

Steve introduces a handful of new patterns to keep on building up that thumb.

Length: 7:53 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Thumb Builder #9Lesson 30

Thumb Builder #9

Good work! You've made it to the final installment of thumb builder exercises. Learn some of the patterns that Steve commonly uses in his own playing.

Length: 6:48 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Walkin' Down the TrailLesson 31

Walkin' Down the Trail

Sometimes we hear the word exercise and it just sounds like work... That probably won't be the case when you listen to the exercise Steve teaches in this lesson. It will take some work, but you'll walk...

Length: 19:30 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Frere Jacque FugueLesson 32

Frere Jacque Fugue

In this lesson, Steve takes the familiar Frere Jacque and teaches how to play it in a round on the guitar.

Length: 6:28 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Michael, Row Your Boat AshoreLesson 33

Michael, Row Your Boat Ashore

Turn this classic folk tune into a beautiful fingerstyle arrangement.

Length: 13:24 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Steve Eulberg

About Steve Eulberg View Full Biography An Award-winning multi-instrumentalist and singer-songwriter, Steve Eulberg weaves mountain and hammered dulcimers with a variety of unusual instruments to create thought-provoking, smile-inducing, toe-tapping acoustic experiences.

He has sung and composed for religious communities, union halls, picket lines, inter-faith retreats, mountain-top youth camps, as well as the more familiar venues: clubs, coffeehouses, bookstores, festivals, charity benefits and showcase concerts.

Born and raised in the German-heritage town of Pemberville, Ohio, Steve was exposed to a variety of music in his home. Early piano lessons were followed by trumpet in school band, and he became self-taught on ukelele and guitar and harmonica. Mandolin was added at Capital University where, while majoring in History, he studied Ear Training, Voice and took Arranging lessons from the Conservatory of Music.

While at college, he first heard hammered and mountain dulcimers, building his first mountain dulcimer just before his final year. Seminary training took him the west side of Denver where he built his first hammered dulcimer. With these instruments, he was able to give voice to the Scottish, English and Irish traditions to which he is also heir.

Following marriage in 1985 to Connie Winter-Eulberg he settled in Kansas City, Missouri. There he worked cross-culturally in a church of African-Americans, Latinos and European Americans, with music being a primary organizing tool. He moved with his family in 1997 to be nestled beside the Rocky Mountains in Fort Coillins, Colorado.

Founder of Owl Mountain Music, Inc. he teaches and performs extensively in Colorado and Wyoming with tours across the US and the UK. He delights in introducing the “sweet music” of dulcimers to people in diverse settings and in addition to his own recordings, has included dulcimers in a variety of session work for other musicians.

In 2000 he was commissioned to create a choral composition featuring dulcimers for the Rainbow Chorus in Fort Collins. It was recorded in the same year (BEGINNINGS). He is currently at work on a commissioned symphony that will feature hammered dulcimer and Australian didjeridu.

Eulberg passionately believes that music crosses cultural and language barriers because music builds community. Influenced by a variety of ethnic styles, his music weaves vital lyric with rap, rock, folk, gospel and blues. Audiences of all ages respond well to his presentation and to his warm sense of humor.

Steve is a member of Local 1000 (AFM), The Folk Alliance, BMI and BWAAG (Better World Artists and Activist's Guild).

Lesson Information

Acoustic Guitar Lessons

Acoustic Guitar

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

Phil Keaggy Phil Keaggy

Phil discusses inspiration, where it's found and how you can take almost anything around you and use it to inspire your own...

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Greg Greenway Greg Greenway

Greg kicks off his series telling a little about himself and introduces the C9 tuning.

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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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Jim Deeming Jim Deeming

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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Eve Goldberg Eve Goldberg

Eve talks about the boom-chuck strum pattern. This strum pattern will completely change the sound of your playing.

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Don Ross Don Ross

New fingerstyle instructor Don Ross introduces himself, his background, and what you should expect in this series.

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Marcelo Berestovoy Marcelo Berestovoy

Marcelo teaches the eight basic right hand moves for the Rumba Flamenca strum pattern. He then shows you how to apply it...

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David Isaacs David Isaacs

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

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Mitch Reed Mitch Reed

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

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Kris Norris Kris Norris

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

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David MacKenzie David MacKenzie

David MacKenzie introduces the tapping technique and teaches a fun exercise. This lesson includes a backing track.

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Will Ripley Will Ripley

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

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Tony MacAlpine Tony MacAlpine

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Dave Weiner Dave Weiner

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

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Tosin Abasi Tosin Abasi

Tosin explains some of the intricacies of the 8 string guitar such as his personal setup and approach to playing.

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Sarah Longfield Sarah Longfield

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Mark Lettieri Mark Lettieri

We're still working in the double track universe in lesson 22. In this lesson Mark discusses taking a large chord and breaking...

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Brendan Burns Brendan Burns

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

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Guthrie Trapp Guthrie Trapp

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

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