We Wanted a King (Guitar Lesson)

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Steve Eulberg

We Wanted a King

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

Taught by Steve Eulberg in Fingerstyle Guitar seriesLength: 36:31Difficulty: 2.5 of 5
Chapter 1: (00:17) Musical Introduction Steve begins lesson 14 by playing through the introduction section to his original composition entitled "We Wanted a King." In the scenes that follow, Steve provides in-depth instruction pertaining to this song.

Note: A complete performance of this song can be found in JamPlay's "Entertainment" section. This section can be accessed from the left-hand side of the homepage.
Chapter 2: (00:56) Lesson Introduction "We Wanted a King" is a Christmas song that Steve composed several years ago. It features many of the techniques that you learned in the lessons detailing Steve Croce's "Operator."

Listen to Steve's full performance of the song several times before attempting to learn it. You will have a much easier time learning the song if you are familiar with how it should sound.
Chapter 3: (11:45) Song Introduction The section that Steve demonstrated in the first scene serves as the introduction and chorus sections to the song. songs introduction and interlude between the chorus and verse sections.

Chord Progression

"We Wanted a King" is played in the key of D major. The chord progression features all of the familiar chords in this key. The I, IV, V chords are utilized throughout the song. Respectively, these chords are D, G, and A. The relative minor chords to the I, IV, and V chords (Bm, Em, and F#m) are also used. In the key of D major, these minor chords are labeled vi, ii, and iii.

Hammer-on Figure

The intro begins with a hammer-on figure that is applied to an "open" D major chord. Within this figure, the fourth, third and first strings are plucked with the right hand. Hammer-ons are played on the third and fourth strings at the same time. Pay careful attention to the left hand fingering that Steve demonstrates in the lesson video. Notice how the third finger remains anchored throughout the figure. Keep the rhythm of the slurs even. Each note is played as an eighth note.

Performing two hammer-ons simultaneously may take some getting used. Remember that the volume of a hammer-on is determined by the velocity at which the left-hand fingers travel towards the fretboard. If necessary, loop this figure until you have it mastered.

Playing over G

In measures three and four, a basic melody line is played within an "open" G major chord shape. This melody is performed on the third and fourth strings. Use the fingering of the G chord that Steve demonstrates in the lesson. This fingering must be used in order to incorporate the melody line.

Measures 5 and 6

Some rapid chord changes occur in measures five and six. Measure five begins with the ii chord, Em. An F# bass note is played on the "and" beat of two to create a smooth bass line between Em and the IV chord, G. The V chord, A, is anticipated at the end of the fifth measure.

Inverted chord voicings are played at the end of the sixth measure to establish a strong resolution back to the tonic chord, D. A chord is inverted when the root of the chord is not played as the lowest note. In this case, the third of each chord is used as the lowest note. When the third is played as the bass note of a chord, the chord is said to be in "first inversion."

String Squeaks

During the final two beats of measure six, string squeaks will be produced as you slide your first finger along the fifth string. To eliminate these squeaks, do not slide up the fretboard with the first finger! Instead, release the pressure applied to the fifth string after each note is plucked. Slide each note fretted on the second string to keep the overall sound smooth and connected. Since the second string is not a wound string, it will not squeak in the middle of a finger slide.

Play Along

Practice the introduction on your own. Make sure that you can play it in time with a metronome. Then, return to the lesson video and play along with Steve at 09:35.
Chapter 4: (10:04) Interlude During the interlude section, double stop figures comprised of diatonic sixth intervals are combined with open strings to create unique chord voicings.

Note: Open the second page of "We Wanted a King." This document can be found under the "Supplemental Content Tab.

Study the chord shape that occurs in measure 27. An open G note is inserted in the middle of a partial D major barre chord. The inclusion of this note transforms the D major chord into Dadd11. In relation to D, G is the fourth or eleventh scale degree. Notice how a simple melody figure is combined with this chord to create necessary interest in the absence of the vocal line.

In the following measure, an open G note is inserted into a C major barre chord. Since G is the fifth of the chord, the name of this chord does not change. Once again, a melody is played on the first string in conjunction with the chord.

As expected, the open G note is played within the next chord, Em. G is the third of an Em chord. The melody line played in conjunction with this chord implies the sound of an Em7 chord.

The interlude section concludes with a descending chordal figure that begins in measure 34. This time around, an open E note is combined with each diatonic sixth figure. Analyze how this note functions in relation to each chord in these measures. Refer to the transcription provided under the "Supplemental Content" tab for each official chord name.
Chapter 5: (01:55) Slow Play Along Practice the interlude by yourself. Then, return to the lesson video and play it along with Steve. Make sure that you are playing all of the rhythms correctly and that you are not playing any wrong notes.

At this point, you may know a certain section better than the others. If you get lost, wait for the familiar section to come around again. Then, jump back in.
Chapter 6: (09:54) Song Verse Note: Open pages 3 and 4 in the "Supplemental Content" section for notation and tablature to the first verse of "We Wanted a King." The second verse features different chord changes. The second verse spans pages 4 and 5.

I. First Verse

A. Chord Progression

You will have a much easier time learning the verse section if you first analyze its structure. A simple IV to I progression repeats twice over the first four measures. Respectively, the IV and I chords are G and D. The next three measures feature a ii V I progression. The ii V I progression is one of the most commonly used progressions in jazz, rock, pop, and folk music. In the following measure, a D7 chord is used to set up a strong resolution back to the initial IV to I progression.

Measures 51-53

In measures 51-53 of the song transcription, the harmonic rhythm increases. Harmonic rhythm refers to the rate at which the chords change. During these measures, the chords change every two beats instead of once a measure. Notice how a D/F# chord is utilized on beat 2 of measure 51. The bass note of this chord creates a smooth line between the G major and E minor chords. During measure 52, an E minor triad is converted into an "open" Em7 voicing. On beat 3, simply lift your third finger from the fourth string to convert Em into Em7.

Measures 54-60

Measures 54-57 feature a return to the IV to I progression that occurs at the beginning of the verse. Once again, this progression is repeated twice. Then, the same chord changes that occur in measures 51-53 are repeated again in measures 58-60. The first verse concludes with the V7 chord, A7. This chord resolves to the tonic D major chord that begins the chorus section.

B. Right Hand Patterns

Throughout the entire verse section, the right hand arpeggio patterns are improvised to add variety. However, Steve typically plucks a blocked chord when the IV chord, G, occurs in the progression. The tablature / notation listed under the "Supplemental Content" tab provides one possible way of arpeggiating the verse progression. Do not limit yourself to these patterns. Develop your own arpeggio patterns as well.

II. Second Verse

A. Chord Progression

The second verse features a different set of chord changes from the first verse. The beginning of the second verse features a repeating ii V I iii progression in the home key of D major. Respectively, these chords are Em, A, D, and Bm. Each repeat of this progression lasts for a duration of four measures.

In measures 82-84 the harmonic rhythm increases. This brief section imitates the increase in rhythm that occurred in the first verse. However, different chord changes are utilized this time around. These measures feature a bass pattern that descends in step-wise motion within the D major scale. The bass pattern resolves to the ii chord, Em, in measure 85.

The second verse concludes with a vamp between the A and G6/B chords. A final A major chord is strummed and held in measure 92. This chord resolves to D major at the beginning of the final chorus section.

B. Right Hand Patterns

The right hand arpeggio patterns are improvised throughout the second verse as well. For the most part, Steve utilizes the same arpeggio patterns for the second verse. For example, compare the way he arpeggiates a G major chord in the first verse to the way he arpeggiates an Em chord in the second verse.

III. Outro Section

Note: Open page 7 of the song transcription listed under the "Supplemental Content" tab for tablature and notation to the outro section.

Chord Progression

This section features some chord voicings that you may not be familiar with. In measure 122 of the transcription, a G/B chord occurs. This chord consists of a standard "open" G major chord with the note B played in the bass on the fifth string. Be careful of the rhythm in this measure. All of the chord changes occur on the upbeats.

Measures 124-130 feature a melody line played on the first string. In order to incorporate this melody into the chord progression, some unusual chord voicings must be used. Refer to the chord diagrams listed on the first page of the song transcription for proper fingerings to these chords.
Chapter 7: (01:35) Lesson Wrap-up As you practice through "We Wanted a King," focus on the parts that are the most difficult for you. You will most likely find the interlude and outro sections to be more challenging than the introduction, chorus, and verse sections.

This song features some techniques that may be new to you. Contrary movement, interior movement, bass walks, and guitar melodies are all present in this song. Do not feel discouraged if you do not master the song right away. If you are new to these techniques, it will probably take a month or two before you feel comfortable with all of the subtle nuances included in the song.

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.

stephenkingstephenking replied

Please take more time to explain and play it slower to make sure everyone can follow, It tends to go to fast in you're lessons. :/

sanibelsanibel replied

Pretty! I'm wondering what kind of finger picks you are using?

skaterstuskaterstu replied

Please make more for this series Steve, I am finding these fingerpicking lessons really amazing for my guitar skills.

steveeulbergsteveeulberg replied

Good point, Jeff!

steveeulbergsteveeulberg replied

Thanks, Matt!

mattbrownmattbrown replied

Beautiful song, Steve! Good stuff!

jboothjbooth replied

Yeah, I totally agree. The great thing about this song is if you don't sing the lyrics you have a beautiful fingerstyle arrangement for any time of the year :)

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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