Freight Train (Guitar Lesson)


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Steve Eulberg

Freight Train

Steve covers some of the fingerstyle techniques created by Elizabeth, or "Libbis" Cotten. He uses her song "Freight Train" as an example.

Taught by Steve Eulberg in Fingerstyle Guitar seriesLength: 24:00Difficulty: 3.5 of 5
Chapter 1: (00:44) Introduction Music Steve provides a brief performance of "Freight Train" by Elizabeth "Libbis" Cotten. In the scenes that follow, he will explain how to play this fingerstyle classic.
Chapter 2: (10:21) Freight Train by Elizabeth Cotten Freight Train was composed by a fingerstyle guitarist named Elizabeth "Libbis" Cotten. Libbis played a right handed guitar in a left handed fashion. Consequently, the strings were strung upside down. Libbis developed her own distinct guitar style as a result. Instead of playing a bass line or lower harmony with the thumb, she used her thumb to pluck a melody line. The remaining fingers were used to pluck harmony and bass notes. This guitar style became so popular that right handed guitarists imitated it on guitars strung in the traditional fashion.

Freight Train Overview

1. The left hand does not stray from basic first position chord shapes. Steve will first explain how the harmonic accompaniment of the tune is played.

2. Within this arrangement, an alternating bass line is played along with a melody line. The alternating bass line is extremely common in fingerstyle arrangements played in the country, bluegrass, and folk styles. The next step in learning the tune is mastering the alternating bass line.

3. Next, Steve explains how to play the melody. Remember that the melody of an arrangement is sacred! It is the most important component.

4. Finally, he'll explain how to play the melody along with the alternating bass pattern.

Chord Progression

This song is played in the key of C major. The chord progression features the primary I, IV, V chords in this key (C, F, and G). Occasionally, a G7 chord is substituted for G major. A dominant seventh chord is frequently used in place of a triad when the V chord is played. A dominant seventh chord creates a stronger resolution back to the tonic chord.

A surprise chord also occurs in this arrangement. In a major key, the iii chord is typically minor. However, in this progression it is played as a major chord (E major). As you begin to practice the progression, notice how this surprise chord affects the overall sound of the arrangement.

Pay careful attention to where these chords are used as Steve plays through the arrangement at 02:48 in the lesson video. A breakdown of these chord changes is listed below.

Measures 1-2: C Major
Measures 3-4: G Major
Measures 5-6: G7
Measures 7-8: C Major
Measures 9-10: E Major
Measures 11-12: F Major
Measure 13: C
Measure 14: G
Measures 15-16: C Major

Strum through these chord changes in a steady rhythm to get your left hand acquainted with them. Next, the alternating bass line will be applied to the progression.

Alternating Bass Line

Most alternating bass lines feature the root note and fifth of each chord. Sometimes the upper octave of the chord is used. In other situations, the root and the third above it are used. Analyze these note options in terms of each chord used in the progression.

C Major: Root and Fifth - C and G
G Major: Root and Fifth - G and D
G7: Root and Fifth - G and D
E Major: Root and Fifth - E and B
F Major: Root and Fifth - F and C

Alternating Bass and C Major

When playing the open C major chord, the third finger alternates back and forth between the C note on the fifth string and the G note on the sixth string. Pluck the root note with the thumb on beat 1. Pluck the three treble strings on beats 2 and 4. On beat 3, play the G bass note with the thumb.

Note: Tablature and standard notation including the alternating bass patterns to the remaining chords can be found under the "Supplemental Content" tab.

Fingering for G major and G7

Use the "3rd Finger Root" fingering for G major when playing the arrangement. This fingering must be used in order to fret all of the melody notes on the treble strings. It's also much easier to switch between this fingering and the fingering for the G7 chord that follows it.

Practicing the Alternating Bass Line

Practice each chord individually with the accompaniment pattern described above. Then, apply the pattern to the chord progression of "Freight Train." Practice these exercises in time along with a metronome. Steve works through this exercise slowly in the lesson video. Play along with him for extra practice.

Note: Open "Freight Train Rhythm" listed under the Supplemental Content tab. The accompaniment patterns described above are applied to the chord progression in "Freight Train." Steve plays through this exercise at 09:45 in the lesson video.
Chapter 3: (04:45) Melody for Freight Train Before you attempt to play the melody within the context of the arrangement, practice playing it by itself. Learn the melody by ear as Steve works through each phrase in the lesson video. Work on one phrase at a time. If you get stuck on a certain phrase, consult the tablature listed under the "Supplemental Content" tab.

At 02:05 in the lesson video, Steve provides the accompaniment pattern to the first half of the song. Play the first half of the melody while he accompanies you. Make sure that your rhythm matches up with the rhythm that Steve sings. At 03:00, he continues on with the remainder of the song.

Next, learn how to play the melody within the context of the chord shapes used in the song. You will need to re-finger the melody when it is played within each chord shape. The index finger and pinkie finger will definitely get a workout.
Chapter 4: (01:36) Play with Steve Steve provides you with some extra practice playing the accompaniment pattern in this scene. Play the accompaniment pattern discussed in Scene 2 while Steve plays the melody. Focus the majority of your attention on keeping the rhythm steady. Make sure that you stay consistently in time with Steve. If you have a hard time keeping up, pause the video and practice along with a metronome set to a slower tempo.
Chapter 5: (05:08) Putting it Together If you have mastered the exercises presented in the previous four scenes, you are now ready to tackle the full arrangement. Pause the lesson video and practice the melody in addition to the accompaniment pattern. Tablature and standard notation to the full arrangement can be found under the "Supplemental Content" tab.

Walk-ups

Some walk-ups can be added to the arrangement to increase the overall interest level. These short melodic segments create an effective transition between the C and G chords. In addition, a final walk-up can be used as a transition from the end of the arrangement back to the top of the form.

Walk-up 1

When walking from a G chord to a C chord, a simple C major scale segment is often applied. Steve demonstrates this example at 02:09 in the lesson video.

Walk-up 2

A brief double stop lick derived from the C major scale can also be used as effective transition between the G and C chords. This lick is played in diatonic thirds on the third and second strings. Watch at 02:26 as Steve teaches this lick.

Walk-up 3

An alternate double stop lick derived from the C major scale can also be used in this context. These double stop shapes are played in diatonic sixths on the 4th and second strings. Steve teaches the lick at 03:48.

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.


fgeracifgeraci replied on April 2nd, 2016

Steve, You dropped, right away, to a G bass note, playing C maj. first bar. The "G" on second bar ? WoW.. New to me. THanks, LOve your playing.

eldenfromtneldenfromtn replied on August 3rd, 2015

much too hard for a beginner in fingerstyle, especially since I lost part of my index finger. I can't seem to get my fingers to work independently!

tasmanian deviltasmanian devil replied on June 21st, 2013

tough to follow, but it is possible. If you expect to have everything come easy, then don't play fingerstyle. Just a thought.

hefsterhefster replied on March 26th, 2013

Steve: It took me some time and hard work, but your video really walked me through this song. I'd never heard this tune before, so I learned it exclusively from your video. I still need to practice it nearly daily and have made some personal changes to the basic song, but your teaching made mw feel as if you were right here helping me through. Thanks!

charlene484charlene484 replied on February 9th, 2013

This video has been online since 2007 and, despite multiple requests for a more detailed video of how to play chords and melody together, unless I'm missing something here, no updated video has been made in more than five years. If this many people don't get it, I think the problem is with the instructor, not the students. But obviously, he's not going to listen to me if hasn't listened to anyone else.

alien_xalien_x replied on August 3rd, 2012

I've been reading through some of the comments and would like to offer a few thoughts that may be helpful. First of all, Steve is a great teacher and I do enjoy his lessons and live sessions a lot. But I do agree that this one is not too easy to follow. When I approached this tune the first time a couple of years ago (yes, it has been up here since 2007 !) I was fine with the bass pattern, chord structure, and melody lines in no time. Coming to the full arrangement though, it took me a while to realize that Steve is not using the two note alternate bass pattern, as introduced before. He is actually using a three note pattern, which is quite common, but indeed failed to mention this. The newly introduced note is used to sort of bounce off in between the two alternating notes given earlier. So the pattern (per measure) for C is changing to [C - E - G - E], for G it is [G - G (open 3th string) - D (open 4th) - G (open 3th string)] , and for the F chord [F - F (on 4th string) - C - F (on 4th string)]. For the E chord accordingly. Jim Deeming has good lessons on this kind of bass pattern in his fingerstyle section. On another note: I rather like to play the G bass pattern on strings 4,5 and 6, instead of going down to the 3rd string. This would be G (6/3) - D (4/0) - B (5/2) - D (4/0). Also a quite common approach. It feels more consistent to me, since you keep your bass and melody separated. With this in mind the full arrangement is easy to understand and follow. If you're missing the chord names on that page, just print it out and write them over the staff. Steve has all chords pointed out in the rhythm section. They are C C G G G7 G7 C C E E F F C G C and a final C in measure 16. Don't bother too much to make the connection between melody and bass in your head. This will come with time (in my humble opinion). I was most successful with working through the full arrangement (bass and melody combined) measure by measure. Hope this helps to lift some of the confusion. If not, just ignore. Again, Steve, you rock (!), but this was a tough lesson on an easy tune.

rositzkerositzke replied on June 29th, 2012

As with most of the fingerpicking lessons- for me, it's really hard to follow the video instructions and get the positions. It amazes me that the chord positions are never listed on the tabs after the instructor emphasizes chord positions to learn the tune.

acoustic woodacoustic wood replied on July 10th, 2012

Steve, You really need to add another video segment to this lesson that spends more time going through the full arrangement measure by measure. More clarification and practice is needed with the extra notes added to the full arrangement!!!!

birdmanjonesbirdmanjones replied on March 19th, 2012

I did not enjoy this arrangement. Sorry dude, but that's a pretty rough interpretation.

babowenbabowen replied on February 10th, 2012

I have read the above comments; compared to some of your other lessons, this one is incomprehensible. Sections seem missing, or there are jumps. I'll keep trying, but ...

kryaxis1kryaxis1 replied on August 31st, 2011

great lesson, thx steve! for all you having trouble with it: view the supplemental content- it's easier

revcarevca replied on May 17th, 2011

I just scanned others' comments and I'm glad to see that I'm not the only one having trouble with this lesson. Lessons 1 through 3 were taught in nice little manageable chunks - this was a big leap. The tabs look easy enough but my fingers are having a tough time with it.

jvinesjvines replied on May 11th, 2011

I like this piece and would grow tremendously IF I COULD GET IT! Would love a p-m-r-i and/or slow mo of the right hand.

mikestwmikestw replied on March 24th, 2011

Well, the tempo is just to fast for me right now. I can't get on the "F" and by the time I do Steve has moved to next chord. I do not feel he made a good instruction on how to put the bass line and the melody together... which I can play seperatly... I don't know what to do. Perhaps I'll look at next lesson and come back here in future. Plug away a little each day.

boazovedboazoved replied on November 14th, 2007

Very nicely tought !

bumpoobumpoo replied on February 15th, 2010

There needs to be another lesson that more closely demonstrates how the melody is worked in with the alternating bass. When do the chord changes take place with the melody, after all this is only the fourth fingerstyle lesson.

mrwiskermrwisker replied on March 2nd, 2011

Just keep practicing it. This was one of my first fingerstyle lessons from my private teacher and while it looks tough at first once you get it, it becomes quite easy.

tknolandtknoland replied on December 24th, 2010

Steve, I love this piece. I am struggling with what the right hand is doing. Perhaps a scene with a close-up of the right hand or additional tab info, p-m-r-i would help me. thanks for all the great work.

metropolis2kmetropolis2k replied on November 10th, 2010

tough lesson but worth it. People, listen, this is doable, just stick with it and you'll eventually pick it up. Good job Steve! You da man!

piperj2piperj2 replied on March 6th, 2010

Love the lessons Steve, and love the tune. One question, in the rhythm and alternating bass patterns we are playing with the thumb on the first and third beats, and fingers on two and four. In the full tune are we using the thumb on every beat, including on the G string, which usually is plucked with the first finger? It feels more natural that way, rather than breaking up the bass rhythm with a first finger pluck. Thanks for all of the lessons.

rumble dollrumble doll replied on February 6th, 2010

I only wish the last part where Steve teaches the full arrangement was taken step by step like the first parts of the lesson. Even if he talked you slowly through the first 2 or 3 bars would help but it's almost like the most difficult part of the lesson is skipped through very quickly. I know there's the argument that if you've worked through the basics you should then be able to work it out for yourself but sometimes beginners can get lost on what is happening & where their fingers need to be going. Apart from that, it's a great lesson & a wonderful song of course.

ktaylormusicktaylormusic replied on October 14th, 2009

On the fourth beat of measures 11 and 12 there's an F and D played together with the F chord. Is there a way to finger this keeping the F chord? I can't figure it out. On the video it looks like Steve doesn't play the F with the D, he just moves his pinky over. Okay, fine, but if that's what it is, then tab/notation need fixing. If there IS a way to finger it that does work as transcribed, I'd love to know what it is. Thanks.

rumble dollrumble doll replied on August 16th, 2009

I love the walk-ups but they're always explained so quickly that I can't get them. I've watched some lessons on You Tube in addition to my lessons on JamPlay & every time there's a walk-up they explain it but so quickly that you can't take it in. I wish they'd explain it really slowly.

rumble dollrumble doll replied on August 9th, 2009

What I really struggle with is 'when' to change the chord when playing the melody. I get in a real mix up with that. When I'm just strumming chords for rythmn I'm ok on when to change, but when your holding the chord but moving odd fingers around for the melody I just get completely lost on when to move to the next chord. I don't know if this is one of those things that is 'obvious' (to everyone else!) but I'm just not catching on to it, I'm not sure. I've printed off all the supplemental material & am looking at the 'Full Arrangement' & can get a grasp of basically what's going on but I'm unsure at which point, for example, I stop holidng the C chord & move to the G etc. The Full Arrangement print out doesn't show where the chords change. Maybe I am just not grasping what is blatantly obvious to most people! I'd love to get this song right too as it's a beautiful song.

dagchristiandagchristian replied on July 27th, 2009

I can't get from 11-12 (the F) to 13, to sound right when I look at the tab? Is it me:P Or is it a trick to get this right? :)

fsaroufimfsaroufim replied on June 29th, 2009

elizabeth cotten*

fsaroufimfsaroufim replied on June 29th, 2009

i was watching a video of elizabeth cotton performing at the age of 92 WOW WOW ... i love this song and i love this woman ..

sandeepsandeep replied on May 21st, 2009

Great lesson and a beautiful melody. I'd appreciate if there was one more scene on picking.

toe2323toe2323 replied on March 2nd, 2009

I put in a request for some more detailed/better tab like he is doing in the putting it together section, so we might get some hopefully! This song is still driving me nuts. I can play the bass/rythym together no problem, the bass/melody together no problem (after figuring out a cross between the tab that is up and adding my own tab where that did not work to the best of my ability) but I cant figure out what exactly he is doing when he puts it all together which is NOT just simply combining the bass/rythym with the melody. I hope we can get some better tab.

fsaroufimfsaroufim replied on March 1st, 2009

after reading these comments im afraid to even start this lesson haha

toe2323toe2323 replied on February 24th, 2009

The freight train tab is NOT what he is playing when you watch the putting it together section. I would VERY much like to get this tab. Steve, any chance of getting the tab up of exactly what you are doing in the putting it together section?

toe2323toe2323 replied on February 19th, 2009

Man, I have OK up until this lesson, but WOW, this is going to take some time which is good. I feel if I can get this down as far as playing the bass, melody, and ryth at the same time (like Steve is doing) it will be a big step for my fingerstyle progression in general.

cannibalcorpse524cannibalcorpse524 replied on February 15th, 2009

the transition from c to g is extremely hard. i guess is because we are not used to that long stretch from the 5th string 2nd finger and 6th string 3rd finger to that 1st string 4th finger

ccmathewsonccmathewson replied on February 6th, 2009

This is where I get pushed out of the airplane. He says "C pluck G pluck..." and, unlike every other lesson, he doesn't have the fingering listed on the board. So I have no idea of what to pluck. I mean the C and G are obvious, but the pluck is not.... Help, parachute not opening...ground getting closer...STEVE!

HelgiHeHelgiHe replied on February 11th, 2009

try clicking on freight train rhythm there you can see what he's doing

jisaacs55jisaacs55 replied on February 1st, 2009

I keep running the video over and over and it looks like some of melody you are playing is being played with your thumb instead of little finger and first finger. I hear the notes and the only thing moving is your thumb. It looks like you are getting the d,e,b,g your thumb at a different octave and then sometimes you play the notes as taught . Is this what you are doing or I seeing things. Can you make a slowed down version of the video so it would be easier to see how, when you are playing alternating bass line. It appears to be random, I have been playing a bass note, and then a melody note. I tried to get a feel for what you are doing. I have no problem playing alternating bass, or playing melody notes, I just can't get them to sound right when I put it together. Thanks Jim

jamcatjamcat replied on January 27th, 2009

Gosh! I'm having alot of trouble withe the alternating bass transition between C and G!!!!!

jboothjbooth replied on January 28th, 2009

This song is so hard !

mike13mike13 replied on January 18th, 2009

Hi. In terms of combining the thumb and the fingers for the melody, is another way to think about it essentially plucking with the thumb and one note of the melody each time? In other words, for each melody note is there a simultaneous thumb on the base? Or is the thumb moving differently and at a different rate? Thanks.

jackie134jackie134 replied on December 7th, 2008

Hi Steve! Thought I would just give an update! It is now twelve months since I posted my last update - I have still not mastered this - but I am determined too and I will!!! At least when I play it now, it does sound like the tune! and I am really pleased that I have persevered as I have learnt so much about putting a tune together and the relationship between between chords and picking out the tune - however, it is not finalised yet!! Perhaps 2009 is the year! In the meanwhile I have been working on a lot of classical pieces and getting into Hawkeye's lessons too. I think your classes have really giving me confidence to develop my guitar playing. Just wanted you to know that around the world there are people working away on the challenges you set. Freight train is a real challenge!!!

trunksxmptrunksxmp replied on September 28th, 2008

Sounds like nonsense, i dont even want to learn that

ceyeber62ceyeber62 replied on March 17th, 2008

Steve, it has been a pleasure doing this lesson. Still trying hard; thumbs up for your way of teaching.

chaspridgenchaspridgen replied on February 15th, 2008

Hi Steve, Would you please put the correct tab on the web site. It is not at all like your playing it and it is difficult enought without trying to figure out the tab. It you would list the chords for each measure it would help alot. Thanks

rarsenrarsen replied on March 6th, 2008

Hi Steve, The Tab that is listed in Freight Train is different from what you are palying; walking bass is not included. No matter how many times I repeat the video, I just can't get the pickin' right. Please post is on the web or tell me where I can get the correct Tab. Frustratedly yours, Ron

jboothjbooth replied on February 15th, 2008

The tab is a simpler version of the song. The one he plays in the video just contains extra accents that he uses within the chord structure. He wanted the tab version to be very basic / plain so the students would be encouraged to add their own accents / expirament around.

jasonplettjasonplett replied on February 13th, 2008

Great lesson. By the way not a big deal but you spelled her last name wrong its Cotten, just fyi.

maggiebmaggieb replied on January 27th, 2008

Thanks Steve - this is a really good and challenging lesson. It takes a while to master, but is worth it in the end as the technique taught is so useful, whatever style of music you want to play. Cheers, Maggie

fenton1fenton1 replied on January 21st, 2008

im thinking if a peron can half master this song.....you may have scaled a fence that once yer over......theres no looking back.......practice practice practice..

jackie134jackie134 replied on January 26th, 2008

Thanks Fenton that's really encouraging and very kind words. I must say that I am beginning to think it is coming together a bit more but I bet it is going to take me several more weeks before the train arrives!!! Have a good weekend

jackie134jackie134 replied on January 15th, 2008

Hi there! I am back again. Well I am still perservering and working with the TAB but after regular practice almost every day I am still nowhere near up to speed - as a dear, honest friend said to me " it is totally unreconisable!!). Like jcuster I can do thumb action and the melody and work through the given TAB but progress is really, really slow. I play the Carrcassi piece beautifully and have learnt that by heart. I am also learning other classical pieces and so it just seems so strange that there is such difficulty achieving this. I WILL NOT be put off and I will get it in the end but please STEVE anymore advice?? It is over six weeks now and my freight train is more like a tortoise!!! Happy New Year Jackie

jboothjbooth replied on January 21st, 2008

This truly is a hard piece to learn, play and master. I will make sure Steve comes in and checks out this thread to see if he can offer any input, but as with most things, unfortunately I think it comes down to practice and playing it slowly and not moving up in tempo until you are ready.

ortonramonaortonramona replied on January 21st, 2008

Could you do the whole thing slower. I, too, would like to see your fingerpicking pattern. I'm confused, because the tab seems different than what you've shown us.

jboothjbooth replied on January 21st, 2008

The tab is a simplified version of what Steve is playing. When he is finger icking he is throwing in accents that he and Jim have taught in later lessons (mostly just throwing in extra notes from the chord that is being strummed). The extra notes Steve is throwing in are highly "spur of the moment" and meant to be changed, improvised or played differently, which is why our tab shows a barebones version. Steve (and the other instructors) really want you to improvise to some degree as that is where you will really start to grow as a musician.

jcusterjcuster replied on January 4th, 2008

Steve, I like the tune and agree with the others that you are a great teacher but this lesson just blows me out of the water. I can do the thumb action and the melody seperately but I can't get close to combining the two. Joe

steveeulbergsteveeulberg replied on December 20th, 2007

dear jefrank, Thanks for the prompt and suggestion. Perhaps we can do another scene to make that all more clear. And working up a Tablature version is another good idea. Steve

jefrankjefrank replied on December 16th, 2007

Steve, I've gone through Level I with you, and am now following the fingerstyle sequence. I think you're a really gifted teacher, and I have loved learning from you. This lesson was the most problematic for me. You go much faster than usual (which is okay, since I can play the sequences again and again). And I agree with jackie134 that when you close the lesson, we've come nowhere near to where you are when you're playing the song. Could you add one more scene and show us the kind of picking you're doing once you get the base and the melody going? Thanks! Judy

jboothjbooth replied on December 16th, 2007

Hello, of course I will try to have steve comment on this. He told me when we were filming this lesson that the reason he played a harder version then he taught was to encourage students to play around with different fingerpicking patterns and understand that if you have the melody and bass right you can throw in a lot of interesting things of your own. I can see about having him put up some tab of a more "intense" version of the song though.

jackie134jackie134 replied on November 30th, 2007

Hi Steve! Help!!!!! I am trying to play this and understand what you have suggested with chords and melody. However, looking at what you are doing with your right hand and what it is doing it is not just the alternating thumb and the pluck and cluster that you taught in the first part. You seem to use a number of different combinations which I suppose are in line with where the left hand fingering is placed. Is the best idea for me to experiment and hope it will all fall into place or would it be best if having watched the video several time I need to learn it by the tablature and so see which notes need to be played. I am a bit lost. It is a great lesson though!!!!! I will keep perservering . Thanks in advance Jackie

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.



Lesson 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
Lesson 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
Lesson 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
Lesson 4

Freight Train

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

Length: 24:00 Difficulty: 3.5 Members Only
Lesson 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
Lesson 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
Lesson 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
Lesson 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
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
Lesson 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
Lesson 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
Lesson 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
Lesson 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
Lesson 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
Lesson 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
Lesson 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
Lesson 17

Chopsticks

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

Length: 12:18 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 18

Advanced Chopsticks

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

Length: 8:11 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 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
Lesson 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
Lesson 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
Lesson 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
Lesson 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
Lesson 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
Lesson 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
Lesson 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
Lesson 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
Lesson 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
Lesson 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
Lesson 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
Lesson 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
Lesson 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
Lesson 33

Michael, Row Your Boat Ashore

Turn this classic folk tune into a beautiful fingerstyle arrangement.

Length: 13:24 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only

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).

Acoustic Guitar Lessons

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


Mitch Reed Mitch Reed

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

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Miche Fambro Miche Fambro

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

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Freebo Freebo

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Alan Skowron Alan Skowron

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Steve Eulberg Steve Eulberg

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

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Orville Johnson introduces turnarounds and provides great ideas and techniques.

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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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Calum Graham Calum Graham

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

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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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Steve Smyth Steve Smyth

JamPlay sits down with veteran fret grinder Steve Smyth of Forbidden and The EssenEss Project. He talks about how he got...

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Braun Khan Braun Khan

In this lesson, Braun teaches the chord types that are commonly used in jazz harmony. Learn how to build the chords and their...

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Joel Kosche Joel Kosche

Joel Kosche talks about creating and composing a guitar solo. He uses his original song "Sunrise" as an example.

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Steve Stevens Steve Stevens

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

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Nick Greathouse Nick Greathouse

Nick starts his series with Alternate Picking part 1. Improve your timing, speed, and execution with this important lesson.

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Michael Mennell Michael Mennell

Mike introduces himself and his series.

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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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Daniel Gilbert Daniel Gilbert

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

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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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