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How to Play House of the Rising Sun by The Animals (Guitar Lesson)

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Steve Eulberg

House of the Rising Sun

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

Taught by Steve Eulberg in Fingerstyle Guitar seriesLength: 29:00Difficulty: 3.0 of 5
Chapter 1: (00:39) Introduction Music Steve starts off this lesson with the introduction to "House of the Rising Sun."
Chapter 2: (00:22) Introduction In this lesson, you will learn basic fingerstyle techniques that will enable you to play "House of the Rising Sun."
Chapter 3: (07:31) Learn "House of the Rising Sun" A repeated right hand arpeggio figure is played throughout most of this song. The arpeggio pattern follows this right hand fingering: T, 1, 2, 3, 2, 1 or p, i, m, a, m, i. Steve refers to this right hand arpeggio pattern as "the fan." When he uses this term in the course of the lesson, he is simply referring to this right hand fingering from a visual standpoint. Similar to the right hand fingerings of Op. 60 (no. 1), your thumb will play all the notes that occur on the three bass strings. The index, middle, and third finger will pluck the G, B, and E strings respectively.

To practice this arpeggio figure, isolate the right hand. Practice playing the arpeggio using only open strings. This will allow you to focus all of your attention on your right hand technique. Begin by playing the bass note on the D string in conjunction with this pattern. Then, repeat the same exercise with your thumb plucking a bass note on the A string. Finally, repeat the same process with a low E bass note. Practice this exercise as slow as you need to. Focus on control and solid tone production.

Time Signature

This song is played in 6/8 time. This means that there are 6 beats in each measure. The eighth note is counted as the primary metronomic unit. When counting a measure of 6/8, you have two available options. Most musicians prefer to count "1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6" for a slow 6/8 time feel comprised of six eighth notes. However, it is not practical to use this method when counting in 6/8 if the metronome marking indicates a fast tempo. If you are playing a fast 6/8, it is much easier to count "tri-ple-let, tri-ple-let" for a measure of six eighth notes. Counting "1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6" will leave you tongue-tied, and you won't have a clear internalization of the beat. Regardless of whether you are playing a slow 6/8 or a fast 6/8, the first and fourth beats in each measure (the first notes in each group of three) are inherently accented.

Adding the Left Hand

Once you feel totally comfortable playing the arpeggio pattern with open strings, it's time to add the chord shapes in the left hand. This song is in the key of Am. It begins with a basic open Am chord shape. Whenever this arpeggio pattern is applied to a specific chord in the song, the thumb always begins the pattern by plucking the low root note of the chord. For example, you will pluck the open A string with the thumb as the low bass note for an Am chord.

Once you feel comfortable arpeggiating the Am chord by itself, add the other chords in the progression. This progression involves the following chord changes: Am, C, D, F. Remember to play the appropriate bass note for each chord.

Pause the video, and practice all the materials presented in this scene before continuing to the next scene.
Chapter 4: (08:01) Second Half of the Song In the first half of this scene, you have an opportunity to play "House of the Rising Sun" along with Steve.

Adding the "F" Barre Chord

Note: Open the Supplemental Content tab for a chord diagram of the F barre chord.

Instead of playing the voicing for the F chord that Steve demonstrated in the previous scene, an F barre chord should be used. This allows you to move the bass note of the chord one octave lower. Moving this F bass note lower gives the overall bass line a much more powerful effect.

If you can't quite master the F barre chord yet, don't get frustrated. It will come eventually. There is another option available in the meantime. The low F note can be fretted by the left hand thumb. Bring your thumb over the top of the fretboard. Then, fret the F note with the fleshy pad of your thumb. If you have small hands, this particular chord will probably be harder for you than the actual F barre chord. Watch carefully as Steve demonstrates this fingering at about 6:00.
Chapter 5: (03:12) Spice up the Song Steve demonstrates a basic addition that can be made to the arpeggio pattern of this song. Instead of plucking the note on the high E string by itself, pluck this note simultaneously with the appropriate note on the G string. The note on the G string should be plucked with the index finger. Isolate each chord in the progression when practicing this alteration.
Chapter 5: (09:18) Walking Bass Line and Full Song A basic walking bass line can be added to the arpeggio figure of this song. This requires that you replace a note(s) in the arpeggio figure with a bass note. You are NOT adding an extra beat to each measure. When the bass line is added, you are still playing in 6/8. The first two measures feature a chord change from Am to C. On the last beat of the first measure, you can add a B bass note to create a smooth bass transition between these chords. When switching from D to F, you can add an E bass note on the last beat of the measure containing the D chord.

Whem moving from Am to E, you must add two bass notes. These notes are G and F. They must be played on the last two beats of the measure containing the Am chord.

Do not use these walking lines between every chord change. Using them too frequently will ruin their effect. Remember, you CAN have too much of a good thing.

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.

konaakaikonaakai replied

Check out Tommy Emmanuel version ( much better finger style arrangement. To much talking in this video

delawaresmissinglinkdelawaresmissinglink replied

Neil Diamond's I Am I Said is played with this fan type picking...

RonaldNorRonaldNor replied


tamotamo replied

Thank,s Steve. Should have signed up years ago

jamplayer1jamplayer1 replied

you teach perfectly. -Morganne

neilsayerneilsayer replied

Thanks so much for your lessons Steve. Just worked through this one and have been working om Flaxton's Farewell which is really beautiful. Just love learning these runs. The D to Bm run in Flaxton's is magical. Thanks again. I am learning heaps and loving it. Neil

corneliubadiu29corneliubadiu29 replied

the best teacher in the world

SodaPopSodaPop replied

That's a nice little add on with the walking bass line I've never done before.

telboytelboy replied

Steve, your're a good you're not. You're an excellent teacher. Now then, where the hell's that "h" note. ;)

tazafirioutazafiriou replied

So far, your style really works for me. Good combination of theory and playing. Keep it up!

rumble dollrumble doll replied

Excellent lesson. And just fantastic that I've finally been able to view the lesson! (currently having some real, real difficulties on JamPlay technically...NOT JamPlay's fault of course...all to do with my PC/browser etc etc but I actually managed to view this lesson...eventually). Anyway, so glad I have as it's been a great lesson & it's going to get me going a little with the walking bass lines too that I've not been able to understand before. Thanks Steve!

sandeepsandeep replied

Sir, your last lesson of Matteo Carcassi was beautiful and this one is also just as goods. Thank you very much for these wonderful lessons.

skaterstuskaterstu replied

Wow... this is a cool lesson, especially the end part combining all the elements learnt in the lesson... Fingerpicking rules!

shiroshiro replied

um...why is it not Steve Eulberg in the video? and why is it not the right song?

jboothjbooth replied

Wow, thanks for pointing that out, I have no clue how that happened but it will be fixed.

laweezelaweeze replied

I'm having trouble forming F chords and Barre chords too. Any suggestions?

shiroshiro replied

it's practice. also, try to, instead of just placing your index down so it lies flat, instead turn it a bit so that the flattest part of the finger lies against the fretboard (so basically try to turn your finger at a 30-45 degree angle). but yeah i think its mostly just doing it enough so that the muscles get strong enough.

SylviaSylvia replied

Hi! Try going from C to F open shape over and over. When that becomes comfortable do D to F over and over. Soon your fingers will remember how to do the F. Barre shape is trickier... practice E to F barred over and over using the fingers 2,3,4 for the E chord. (I still have problems with this one... but I'll get it eventually) :o) Good luck

shiroshiro replied

oh ok the 2nd part was steve. wow that was weird.

jaysanjaysan replied

Hello. I just compared by ear with the original song and i can't be sure of me but it seems to me that it's better when i play a C chord instead of playing the second A chord. So instead of playing like on the tab : Am C D F Am Am E E i play : Am C D F Am C E E I'm training to sing it too but it's really difficult with all those fingerings so for now i'm just strumming :D Anyway, i love your way of teaching. I think you're one of those rare people who got the knowledge and technique plus the wisdom to pass it on to others in ways adapted to respect the difference in learning of people. Thank you for being what you are ^_^!!!

yogamanyogaman replied

Thanks for the great lesson Steve. I've been working on this the whole day and got everything down. I can't play it at speed yet but it is really fun. Thanks.

laweezelaweeze replied

I'm enjoying your lessons, Steve. Keep up the good work!

steveeulbergsteveeulberg replied

Thanks, fallenang31, I'll try your way, too. Steve

fallenang3lfallenang3l replied

i learned the songs a looooong time ago and i play it with an other fingerpicking pattern which sounds more spicey i think. the pattern i use is: T-1-2-3-2-1-2 actually i only add another 2 to the fan pattern which of cause means i have to chance the rhythm a bit and have to go a litte faster. to me it sounds better if you want try it.

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).

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