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How to Play The Entertainer by Scott Joplin (Guitar Lesson)


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Jim Deeming

The Entertainer

Jim Deeming teaches a fingerstyle arrangement of "The Entertainer," a classic piano song ported over to the guitar.

Taught by Jim Deeming in Fingerstyle Guitar seriesLength: 20:40Difficulty: 2.0 of 5


Video Subtitles / Captions





Supplemental Learning Material

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Member Comments about this Lesson

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


GravelRoadGravelRoad replied on December 22nd, 2015

I've been struggling with the tab structure for a couple days now and finally decided to read the comments - at least I'm not alone! I need a very structured tab from beginning to end. I like the fact that you are offering alternate variations and giving guitar players freedom to find what works best for them. These type of insights are also helping me understand where different chords and phrases can be played all over the guitar neck. Can you put these options at the end of the demonstrated tab with clear instructions such as "you can swap this section as an alternate for measures 24-32"? On another note, do the instructors ever read and respond to comments on their lessons? Just looking at the dates on some of these comments and I don't see that Jim ever addressed the user concerns.

stooshstoosh replied on October 11th, 2014

Is this the Chet Atkins version or your own? Did you read it or pick it off by ear? Sounds very close to the chet atkins version. Very impressive! Ok, have to practice it now!

raynobleraynoble replied on June 2nd, 2013

I came across this lesson and printed the score before reading the comments about the problems with the tab.I did a search for the tab and found this which appears similar: http://tommyemmanuel.files.wordpress.com/2008/12/chet-atkins-the-entertainer.pdf

guitarsenninguitarsennin replied on May 10th, 2013

Before people complain about the tabs being slightly incorrect, go and find the lesson set on "reading rhythms" and then you won't have to focus on playing exactly like Jim plays in the video, and can play it exactly as written on the tab. I think that's the problem here. Little syncopations that show up in the tab are throwing people off, who are just looking at the notes and not able to read the rhythm. Maybe we could have an addendum to the series and link the lesson set on reading rhythms? Fingerstyle is definitely something that is difficult to read from tabs if you're used to reading basic tabs with no rhythmic notation. Cheers.

randallbwrandallbw replied on March 24th, 2013

HORRIBLE!!!! I'm so frustrated that the tabs don't match what he's playing. I've seen this many times now! I am new to Jamplay and I will probably cancel my membership if I keep running into this.

guitarsenninguitarsennin replied on May 5th, 2013

You're going to cancel your membership because ONE tab is a bit incorrect? Dude, there is so much on the site to learn. I really think you should reconsider.

kjhowe13kjhowe13 replied on January 10th, 2013

The tab version in the supplemental data is much different than what Jim plays- any chance for an updated tab version?

cybersmythcybersmyth replied on December 1st, 2012

Is there any way to get the tabs in an electronic file, like Guitar Pro?

aquiguillermoaquiguillermo replied on November 18th, 2012

Steady on that. Thanks for this. Enjoying lessons!!

michale5michale5 replied on May 2nd, 2012

On the supplemental info tab where it offers chords to select; how does one know which ones are played in what part of the tune?

peinutzpeinutz replied on March 12th, 2012

jesus, this is frustrating.. that chord that u forgot is the most intricate part of the intro and it's not even explained or done slow

gregdaviesgregdavies replied on March 29th, 2012

Agreed peinutz, I'm struggling with this bit too. The first part of the intro is relatively straightforward to piece together, but this part where it moves to the e chord is baffling me at the moment. I notice jimcasabella below suggests it should be in the tab, but perhaps not in the right order. Could anyone perhaps point out which part of which tab contains this section in the way jim plays it?

boulevardeboulevarde replied on February 12th, 2011

I had some difficulty following the tabs at time. Not sure about the degree of difficulty, I have played finger style for 30+ years and this is definately not a 2 out of 5....I think its more like a 3.5 .. never the less its a great arrangement.. well done Jim.

danielecerradanielecerra replied on October 14th, 2010

Great, but looks like the tabs have little to do with JimĀ“s version. It would be helpful to be able to follow him on the tabs...

jimcasabellajimcasabella replied on November 13th, 2010

The TABS don't match what he is playing. Not even close. Frustrating.

jimcasabellajimcasabella replied on November 27th, 2010

I was able to ask Jim about this on chat the other night. He thinks all of the versions he plays here are in the tab. They just don't appear to be in the same order in the tab as he plays them. I am having some success learning this. It's not as hard as it looks!

millaTKmillaTK replied on October 7th, 2010

Love it! Thank you Jim!

tomorrowtomorrow replied on October 7th, 2010

Superb lesson. I know I am greedy whenever I hear this I yearn to hear Solace.whenever I hear solace I need to hear the Entertainer.I hope you can at some time consider adding a lesson on Solace, you have played Scot Joplin so well here Thanks regards

thedudethedude replied on October 6th, 2010

Nice job Jim! Although you've only got half the song here...

dahndahn replied on October 6th, 2010

This is a song you've just gotta be able to play hehe. Gonna learn ASAP. Thanks for this.

Fingerstyle Guitar

Found in our Beginner Lesson Sets

Fingerstyle guitar allows you to play the bass, harmony, and melody of a song all within the context of a single guitar part.



Lesson 1

Intro to Fingerstyle

This lesson serves as an introduction for Fingerstyle Guitar with Jim Deeming. Come on in and get started!

Length: 24:32 Difficulty: 0.5 Members Only
Lesson 2

Basic Fingerstyle

Jim demonstrates a basic fingerstyle exercise that you can use with any of the chords you know.

Length: 16:05 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 3

More Picking Patterns

Jim expands on lesson 2 and teaches several different picking patterns. He also covers the basics of muting.

Length: 14:23 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 4

Using Syncopation

Jim Deeming explains how to integrate basic syncopation into your rhythm playing.

Length: 17:00 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 5

Picking Melody Notes

This lesson is all about picking melody notes. Fingerstyle guitar really gets interesting when you combine bass, harmony, and melody.

Length: 33:00 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 6

Aura Lee

Jim Deeming teaches a fingerstyle version of the classic Civil War era song "Aura Lee."

Length: 43:23 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 7

Chet Atkins Style

Jim explains key components of Chet Atkins' guitar style.

Length: 18:12 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 8

3/4 Time and a Song

Jim Deeming teaches a fingerstyle arrangement of "Bicycle Built for Two." He uses this piece as an example of 3/4 or waltz timing.

Length: 37:34 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 9

Two Songs at Once

Jim Deeming teaches a fingerstyle arrangement of "Yankee Doodle" and "Dixie." Both songs are played simultaneously!

Length: 30:03 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 10

Open G Tuning

Jim Deeming teaches the basics of open G tuning. He also teaches a song entitled "Spanish Fandango" to show how the tuning can be used.

Length: 39:58 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 11

Carter Family Style

Jim Deeming introduces a playing style called "Carter Family Style." The technique is also referred to as "Frailing" or "Clawhammer" style.

Length: 13:07 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 12

DADGAD Tuning

Jim Deeming teaches the many wonders of DADGAD tuning.

Length: 32:25 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 13

Thumb Independence

Jim Deeming tackles the topic of thumb independence.

Length: 31:51 Difficulty: 1.5 FREE
Lesson 14

The JamPlay Song

Jim Deeming teaches a more advanced version of the aptly named "JamPlay Song."

Length: 7:24 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 15

The Wayfaring Stranger

Jim Deeming teaches a fingerstyle version of the classic song "The Wayfaring Stranger."

Length: 31:27 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 16

The Official Thumbpick Guide

Jim Deeming answers one of the most common fingerstyle questions, "which thumbpick should I use?"

Length: 13:03 Difficulty: 1.0 Members Only
Lesson 17

Fingernail Guide

Jim Deeming presents his thoughts on how to properly grow and groom your fingernails.

Length: 7:07 Difficulty: 1.0 Members Only
Lesson 18

The Entertainer

Jim Deeming teaches a fingerstyle arrangement of "The Entertainer," a classic piano song ported over to the guitar.

Length: 20:40 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 19

Arranging Fingerstyle Songs

Jim Deeming teaches the skills necessary to transform any song into a solo fingerstyle masterpiece.

Length: 37:04 Difficulty: 4.0 Members Only
Lesson 20

Arranging Fingerstyle Songs Pt. 2

Jim talks more about arranging fingerstyle songs. This time around he discusses harmonization and chord inversions.

Length: 13:35 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 21

Arranging Fingerstyle Songs Pt. 3

Jim Deeming demonstrates alternate ways to play the CAGED chords that can be very useful when playing melody and accompaniment simultaneously.

Length: 30:38 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 22

Arranging Fingerstyle Songs Pt. 4

In this lesson Jim Deeming talks about a simple way to add harmony notes to the melody section of fingerstyle songs. This technique is quite simple and can add a whole new dimension to your playing.

Length: 5:51 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only

About Jim Deeming View Full Biography Jim Deeming got his first guitar when he was only six years old. His Dad was taking fingerpicking lessons, and Jim wanted to be just like him. The Mel Bay books didn't last very long before he strapped on a thumb pick and added the Chet part to Red River Valley so it sounded better.

Most of Jim's early learning was by ear. With unlimited access to his Dad's collection of Chet Atkins albums, he spent countless hours decoding his favorite songs. They were never "right" until they sounded just like Chet. Around the age of 12, Jim heard Jerry Reed for the first time and just knew he had to be able to make that "Alabama Wild Man" sound. The styles of Chet & Jerry always have been a big influence on his playing.

More recently he has pursued arrangements by Tommy Emmanuel and Doyle Dykes, in addition to creating some of his own and writing originals.

Jim has performed in front of a variety of audiences, including concerts, competitions, weddings and the like, but playing at church has always been a mainstay. Whether playing in worship bands or guitar solos, gospel music is deep in his roots and is also the driving theme behind his debut CD release, titled "First Fruits".

Jim has been playing for about 38 years. He also has taught private lessons in the past but believes JamPlay.com is an exciting and better venue with many advantages over the traditional method of weekly 30 minute sessions.

Jim lives in Berthoud, Colorado with his wife, Linda, and their four children. Although he still has a "day job", he is actively performing and is already back in the studio working on the next CD. If you wonder how he finds time, look no further than the back seat of his truck where he keeps a "travel guitar" to take advantage of any practice or song-writing opportunities he can get.

The opening song you hear in Jim's introductory JamPlay video is called, "A Pick In My Pocket". It's an original tune, written in memory of Jim's father who told him early on he should always keep a pick in his pocket in case he ever met Chet Atkins and got the chance to play for him. That song is slated to be the title track for his next CD, which will feature several more originals plus some of his favorite covers of Chet and Jerry arrangements.

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