Picking Melody Notes (Guitar Lesson)

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Jim Deeming

Picking Melody Notes

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

Taught by Jim Deeming in Fingerstyle Guitar seriesLength: 33:00Difficulty: 3.0 of 5
Chapter 1: (09:59) Picking Melody Notes Jim kicks off Lesson 5 by demonstrating the possibilities of fingerstyle guitar. This arrangement of "Leader of the Band" features a bass line and melody played simultaneously. You have already learned the basic principles of performing an alternating bass line. In this lesson, Jim explains how the index, middle, and ring fingers can be used to play a melody line in conjunction with a bass line.

Review of Previous Materials

Thumb Independence

Up until this point, the thumb has remained independent from the other fingers. The thumb typically strikes a note on a beat when the other fingers are not playing. "Thumb independence" is used in this type of accompaniment pattern. Jim demonstrates such an accompaniment at 00:54 in the lesson video.

Adding Chords

The rhythm of an alternating bass pattern always remains the same. In a previous lesson you learned you that chords can be plucked on various beats in conjunction with a bass line. For example, chords can be plucked on beats 1 and 4 or on beats 2 and 3. This combination of bass and chords creates a stronger accompaniment pattern.

Adding Syncopation

In the last lesson, you learned how to vary this basic accompaniment pattern by adding syncopation. Syncopation is produced by plucking chords on the "and" or weak beats of a measure.

Note: If you have not yet mastered all of the concepts listed above, review the previous lessons at this time.

The next step in your fingerstyle training is to include a melody line within an accompaniment figure. Jim plays through an arrangement of the song "Freight Train" by Elizabeth "Libbis" Cotton to illustrate this idea. He plays the chords, a bass line, and the melody all within a single arrangement.

"Finger Splits"

A "Finger Split" occurs when the fingers pluck the strings at different times opposed to simultaneously plucking a blocked chord. An arpeggio is one example of this concept. In this lesson, Jim will demonstrate how arpeggios can be combined with an alternating bass to create exciting new accompaniment figures.

Exercise 1

This exercise features a two note alternating bass line. On beats 1 and 3, the root note of an "open" C chord is plucked. On beats 2 and 4, the third of the chord is plucked on the fourth string. On the "and" beats of 1 and 3, the index finger plucks the open G string. The middle finger plucks the second string on the "and" beats of 2 and 4. This arpeggio / alternating bass pattern is relatively simple and easy to play. Yet, it creates a complex sounding accompaniment figure.

Practice this figure very slowly at first with a metronome. Focus on keeping the functions of your fingers coordinated. At first, practice the bass line by itself. Then, add in the functions of the other fingers. Also, make sure that the bass line is palm-muted. Play without palm muting at first. Then, add it back in. As you become more comfortable with the exercise, increase the tempo. You will need to use this accompaniment figure to play songs in various tempo ranges.

Thoughts on Fingerstyle Technique

Within the folk, country, and bluegrass styles, the third finger is not used around 80% of the time. Within these styles, the third finger is only used to play a blocked chord such as in the accompaniment figures that you learned in previous lessons. This technique is very similar to how banjo players play fingerstyle. Most banjo players use the thumb, index, and middle fingers exclusively.

Some fingerstyle players such as Steve Howe prefer to use a flatpick instead of a thumb pick to play this style of music. Click here for a performance example of this technique. Since his index finger is holding the pick, the second and third fingers must pluck the chords and melody line.

The right hand techniques listed above are very different from the right hand technique utilized by classical players. Within this style, the third finger is frequently used to play arpeggio lines, chords, and melodies.

Exercise 2

This exercise is very similar to Exercise 1. The bass line remains the same. However, the middle finger now alternates between the second and first strings. On the "and" beat of 2, the second string is played. The middle finger plucks the first string on the "and" beat of four. This alternation requires some additional mental and physical coordination. Most classical players would pluck the note on the high E string with the third finger. Practice the exercise using both fingerings.

Once again, play the bass line by itself. Then, add in the index and middle fingers.
Chapter 2: (06:51) Harder Picking Pattern Exercise 3

This exercise applies a three string alternating bass line to Exercise 1. You will see this type of alternating bass line in countless fingerstyle arrangements. Here is a breakdown of the thumb's function on each beat. Once again, the bass line is applied to an "open" C major chord voicing.

Beat 1 - root note
Beat 2 - third of chord (E note played on the fourth string)
Beat 3 - fifth of chord (G note played on sixth string)
Beat 4 - third of chord

In order to play this bass line within an "open" C major chord, you must alter the left hand fingering of the chord. The pinkie now plays the root note on the fifth string. The third finger plays the G note at the 3rd fret of the sixth string. Or, you can alternate your third finger back and forth between the fifth and sixth strings. This leaves the pinkie free to play melody notes.

Practicing the Exercise

At first, practice the bass line by itself. Then, incorporate the index and middle fingers. Practice this exercise very slowly. It requires a great deal of concentration and coordination. If you begin to feel frustrated with the exercise, take a break and practice something else. Come back to the exercise later when you are relaxed.

Exercise 4

This is the hardest exercise of the lesson. However, this exercise will not seem too difficult if you have already mastered the three previous exercises. In Exercise 4, a three string alternating bass line is applied to the arpeggio pattern in Exercise 2.

Applying the Exercises to Other Chords

Practice all of these exercises with a variety of chords. Begin with the IV and V chords in the key of C. Respectively, these chords are D major and G major. Next, go through the remaining chords in the CAGED system. Finally, apply the exercises to a I IV V progression in each of the CAGED keys. Play each chord for a total of two measures.

Jim demonstrates a few of the exercises with an "open" G major chord. Pay attention to the left hand fingering that he uses for this chord. This is the most practical fingering for a G chord when playing progressions in the key of C. When switching from C to G or vice versa, the second and third fingers do not need to move very far.
Chapter 3: (16:25) Leader of the Band Sample Jim uses the intro to "Leader of the Band" by Dan Fogelberg to demonstrate how the exercises from the previous scenes fit within a practical musical application.

Key of the Song / Chord Progression

The original recording of the song is played with a capo at the the first fret. This transposes the song to the key of Ab major. Jim teaches the song without a capo in the key of G major. The chord progression features the I, ii, IV, V7, and vi chords in this key. Respectively, these chords are G, Am, C, D7, and Em. Chord charts with proper fingerings can be found under the "Supplemental Content" tab.

Bass Line

This song features an alternating bass line played between two strings. Reference the tablature to see which two strings are used in the bass line for each chord. Sometimes the root and fifth of the chord are used. The root and third are played with other chords.

If a three string alternating bass line is applied to the arrangement, the song loses its signature character. The melody of the song is relatively active. When the melody is combined with a three string bass line, the overall arrangement sounds way too busy.

You can play the bass line over the D7 chord in one of two different ways. You can alternate between the root and fifth of the chord on the open fourth and fifth strings. Or, you can use your thumb to fret the third of the chord, F#, at the 2nd fret of the sixth string. Within this option, pluck F# on beats 1 and 3. Then, pluck the open root note on beats 2 and 4. The latter option is notated under the "Supplemental Content" tab. Compare both options within the context of the song to determine which option sounds best to you. Do not simply choose the option that is easier to play! You will frequently need to use the thumb in alternating bass lines and various chord progression as you progress as a player.

Since the first string is not used within the melody line, you do not have to fret the low F# note with the thumb. Instead, the chord can be re-fingered. Watch at 11:10 as Jim demonstrates this alternate fingering.

Additional Harmony Notes

An additional harmony note is occasionally added to the arrangement. A third string note is played on the "and" beat of 3 whenever a melody note is not played. The inclusion of this note helps to round at the accompaniment pattern.

Right Hand Fingering for the Melody Line

The melody line is played with the index and middle fingers only. You do not need to use the third finger in this arrangement. For the most part, the index finger plucks notes on the second string. The middle finger plucks all melody notes on the first string. Alternate between the index finger and the middle finger when two eighth notes are played consecutively on the same string.

Double Hammer-ons

A hammer-on figure is incorporated into the accompaniment in measure 8 to create an effective transition to the verse section of the song. This double hammer-on figure may take a some getting used to if you are new to this technique. Leave the third and pinkie fingers planted on the sixth and first strings throughout these measures. This will help keep the left hand component as simple as possible.

Practicing the Arrangement

Practice the bass line and melody separately. Then, play them together. Make sure that there is a nice balance in volume between these two parts. Remember that the melody is always sacred. Consequently, it should be placed in the foreground. The bass line should be played quietly in the background. Palm muting the bass line will help create an effective balance in volume and tone between both parts.

Play Along

Pause the lesson video and learn the arrangement. Once you can play it at tempo, return to the lesson video and play along with Jim at 14:15.

Preview of Upcoming Lessons

In the following lessons, Jim will explain how to play melodies and accompaniment figures in 3/4 time.

Video Subtitles / Captions


Supplemental Learning Material



Member Comments about this Lesson

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

Petehunt123Petehunt123 replied

up till now this course was pretty straight forward but the last section in this lesson is a big stretch, going from travis picking to playing the melody etc - very tough!

josesitojosesito replied

I am sure having fun with your lessons never thought finger picking will be that exciting. Thanks

jgperryjgperry replied

Great lesson, hopefully in the future, you will teach the entire song, "Leader of the Band".

stevenvlstevenvl replied

Who is Jeff?

foxboyfoxboy replied

That's a rather steep learning curve going from the regular Travis picking patterns to the melody in between.

Petehunt123Petehunt123 replied

I thought exactly the same thing !

GravelRoadGravelRoad replied

I really enjoyed building up this picking pattern and converting into a song - awesome. Thx

vincentfamvincentfam replied

Got it! I have completed this section. It is important to learn this song "leader of the band" a bar at a time, and probably assign separate individual fingers on the right hand to stings 1, 2, and 3 for the melony notes. This instructor is great because he sets out the basic play pattern and requires that you follow up by reading the music sheet and playing the lesson again until you finally get it.

cutchincutchin replied

Enter your comment here.

cutchincutchin replied

Where do i find the TAB notation for this lesson Leader of the Band?

rrgardnerrgardne replied

Great job Jim, I really appreciate you taking it one step at a time. I am coming along well. Thank You!

MartinoilsMartinoils replied

Hi Jim, great lessons, thanks. I have been playing about ten months now. I am interested in learning blues, electric and acoustic, acoustic fingerstyle, and some blue grass country. I put in about 2-3 hours a day. Divided between electric, your fingerstyle lessons, fingerstyle blues with Hawkeye and some beginning blue grass with Steve E. On jamplay. What do you think about this approach? It seems to me that since I am at the beginning stages of these styles that they are all connected, but I don't want to be wasting time. I would like and value your opinion. Let me also add that I am 60 years old and have been a proffesional arist( oil painting) all my life and that I do play blues harmonica fairly well. Thanks

alancomstockalancomstock replied

Enter your comment here.

jaredleejaredlee replied

thanks for these great lessons

brusbrus replied

Hi Jim. I'm very happy with your classes and learning a lot. Great way to teach. I can do this exercise quit quick now, but the thing is that I think I'm not getting my thumb on autopilot. It's like if I memorized the sequence of notes (bass included) but can't feel it really even though it sound perfect. Is it a matter of practice and making it "mine"? Thanks!!!

pcallisonpcallison replied

I cannot seem to get the coordination when picking the melody and keep my base thumb going......are there lessons (drills) to help me train left and right hands to keep base going in melody?

zappafreakozappafreako replied

Ive been at this for a week now & nearly there but Dam its hard to coordinate Thumb indep + rhythm..but im determined

sojvaisojvai replied

The Chapter 1 video is missing, no matter low/medium/high. Has anyone run into the same problem?

zappafreakozappafreako replied

Thanks Jim now my thumb has independence & my other fingers are the chicks he's bringing home :)

phil65phil65 replied

is it possible to have the tab's on guitar pro 6; it's easier for me to train myself

jeriann3jeriann3 replied

Love this song Jim, you have an awesome way of teaching... am learning things I've always just dreamed of.... thanks!

tonigreertonigreer replied

Hi ,looks like some time since anyone commented here. I love this song. it is just the right challenge for me. Is there anyway you would teach the rest of the song??I was disapointed when it was only the intro

tommylamtommylam replied

I can't keep the tempo and melody together is so hard for me Iwill try let see

tommylamtommylam replied

I can't keep the tempo and melody together is so hard for me Iwill try let see

metropolis2kmetropolis2k replied

Wow ... I guess this will take an enormous amount of hard practice to get that Leader of the Band intro under control. My brain just isn't yet able to separate fingers from thumb. I will get it one day though. Just gotta keep keepin' on :)

rositzkerositzke replied

ughhh!! this is brutal!!! like starting over on the guitar!

nickonicko replied

Im totally disappointed with your poor explanation in scene 3.

frohnecfrohnec replied

I play the bass lines fine. Then I play the melody fine. Then I try to put them together even at 100 beat and it is if I had a frontal lobotomy.

gordrgordr replied

When I read the tab - the melody notes in bar 1 - D, G, E Bar 2 - D, C, B Bar 3 - E, G Bar 4 - D, E, D, C, B. When I watch the video, Jim says, the melody note(s) are E, D, C and B. Where is the G? Incidental note, syncopation before the chord change, is that in Bar 1 between the D and the G. I am confused - please help.

never too oldnever too old replied

If you are having trouble with Leader of the Band, skip it and go on to Aura Lee. I wish I had done that before I spent so much time on it.

hilaryhilary replied

I like this lesson. Just wish my "a-hah" moment would get here...

hilaryhilary replied

...A-Ha! :)

onceupononceupon replied

I can finally do it well now... Then I listened to the song for the first time through youtube. It is such a beautiful song.

pkingpking replied

nice one took a while to get it but one day it clicked a lovely feeling after a lot a work well worth it thanks jim

joseefjoseef replied

Anyone know where to get the rest of this song (Leader of the band) in fingerstyle tabs?

mike omike o replied

I can't find the tablatue for Leader of the Band under Supplemental Content. Was it removed?

jboothjbooth replied

We have the part that Jim demonstrates in the supplemental content called "Leader of the Band." It's only the intro though, not the full song.

joseefjoseef replied

By the way I had a nightmare the other night: I dreamed that all my fingertips were cut off and bleeding on my right hand...makes me wonder if i've been playing too much guitar maybe? Nahhhhh never enough. Jamming on with Jamplay. :D

joseefjoseef replied

By golly , I think i'm getting the hang of it...i'm so impressed with myself...and you too of course Jim, couldn't do this without you there to teach it so well. Thank you soooooo much for giving me this gift of music at my fingertips :D

arrtvandelayarrtvandelay replied

I'm a less mediocre player thanks to you, Jim.

ninehamsninehams replied

this is great. Thanks Jim

alicealicealicealice replied

Finally getting the hang of this. Thanks Jim. One thing though, can you fix the tab to show your style cause I cant figure out the fingering for the final hammer on.

clarke1966clarke1966 replied

Wow, that became much more difficult when I added the third finger!

dannyw7982dannyw7982 replied

Really good lesson, hard to get used to and took alot of repetitions but great when it finally clicked. Actually first real lesson where my fingers are beginning to read tab in english as im sure they used to think it was chinese :) Thanks alot Jim

jblay11jblay11 replied

jim, how long does it take for my callouses to harden to a point that I can hold the chord down for a reasonable time

floorshakerfloorshaker replied

Hi Jim. Leader of the Band is a beautiful song and I can recommend going on YouTube and getting the lyrics and the tune (both on there) and listening to Dan (God rest him) playing it himself. The chord shapes are easy and it is a pleasure to play. Thanks for recommending it to us. Chris

jaymosley79jaymosley79 replied

does the version that Jim plays in the intro have a few more notes than as written in the tabs?.

jaymosley79jaymosley79 replied

never mind.

davfradavfra replied

Could somebody please tell me what the fingering is for the D chord in lesson 5?

jaymosley79jaymosley79 replied

What Does C/G for chords in Tab

jboothjbooth replied

It's just a variation of the C chord with the G played in the bass note. Basically imagine if you were playing the C shape regularly, but you placed your third finger on the 3rd fret of the low e string, and your 4th finger on the 3rd fret of the A string. I think in the context of the song though when it says C/G it's mostly because of the alternating bass note while playing the C chord.

dash rendardash rendar replied

Aaargh, Leader of the Band is killing me! Must... keep... trying...

Sam.MichelleSam.Michelle replied

Keep pushing you will get it. it took me three weeks LOL..

burford0714burford0714 replied

when playing a new song,do you play the notes as 8ths ?

mikepopemikepope replied

Never mind ! I got it !!!

mikepopemikepope replied

Jim: You mention in Phase 2 / Lesson 5 that you use your thumb as base line, your index and middle finger for rhythm. You encourage us to get used to using the ring finger as part of the rhythm line. You didn't mention which finger you usually use for the melody line, and I can't really tell from watching the video. Could you go over that for me ? Thanks !

mikepopemikepope replied

Jim: Marvelous program ! You mention several times in "5 -Picking Melody Notes" to look at the Tablature. Not a computer genius here...where do I find the Tab for this ?

jboothjbooth replied

Click the tab below the video that says "supplemental content." In that section you will find tablature, chord charts and other material related to the lesson.

learnerlearner replied

This is great stuff. I've been playing chords for yrs, and always wanted to do something different. Jim seems to be able to focus on the important points. One thing, Can someone clean up the Tab so it matches the way Jim plays it.

brucembrucem replied

The last eighth note of the last three meausres w/the hammerons; music and tab say E (open 1st string) but this doesn't sound like Jim's version nor does it sound "right"; help on this??

Jim.DeemingJim.Deeming replied

Bruce, you are right. Leave those open E 16th notes out completely and play the preceding notes as a quarter note. I'll get that fixed as soon as possible. Good catch!

mr_lawmr_law replied

hey this was an awesome lesson, where abouts can I get the info for freight train? That sounded awesome

jboothjbooth replied

Steve shows a basic version of freight train in his fingerstyle guitar series.

jefrankjefrank replied

Actually, now that I look at it and listen to you more closely, the tabs are kind of a mess.

jefrankjefrank replied

Great lesson, Jim! You play those A minor an E minor chords in the 5th and 6th measures differently from the tabs, though, right?

tclowertclower replied

Great teacher. Would like to see the rest of the song though...anywhere I can find the tabs?

fenton1fenton1 replied


artlartl replied

I agree, great lesson, and I love hearing you play. one question, I am having trouble following the pattern you use in scene 2 when you go to the G and use three bass notes. Would it be possible to see the tab for this? Thanks, Art

greenogreeno replied

Now we have to pay attention! Great lesson, Jim. Finally getting into the meat of this thumbpicking stuff. Looking forward to more.

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.

Intro to FingerstyleLesson 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
Basic FingerstyleLesson 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
More Picking PatternsLesson 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
Using SyncopationLesson 4

Using Syncopation

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

Length: 17:00 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Picking Melody NotesLesson 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
Aura LeeLesson 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
Chet Atkins StyleLesson 7

Chet Atkins Style

Jim explains key components of Chet Atkins' guitar style.

Length: 18:12 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
3/4 Time and a SongLesson 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
Two Songs at OnceLesson 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
Open G TuningLesson 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
Carter Family StyleLesson 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
DADGAD TuningLesson 12


Jim Deeming teaches the many wonders of DADGAD tuning.

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

Thumb Independence

Jim Deeming tackles the topic of thumb independence.

Length: 31:51 Difficulty: 1.5 FREE
The JamPlay SongLesson 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
The Wayfaring StrangerLesson 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
The Official Thumbpick GuideLesson 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
Fingernail GuideLesson 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
The EntertainerLesson 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
Arranging Fingerstyle SongsLesson 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
Arranging Fingerstyle Songs Pt. 2Lesson 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
Arranging Fingerstyle Songs Pt. 3Lesson 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
Arranging Fingerstyle Songs Pt. 4Lesson 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
Jim Deeming

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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Danny Morris Danny Morris

Hone in on your right hand and focus on getting in the groove. You'll only play one note during this lesson, but it'll be...

Free LessonSeries Details
DJ Phillips DJ Phillips

Learn a handful of new blues techniques while learning to play Stevie Ray Vaughn's "The House Is Rockin'".

Free LessonSeries Details
Brendan Burns Brendan Burns

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

Free LessonSeries Details

Join over 505024 guitarists who have learned how to play in weeks... not years!

Signup today to enjoy access to our entire database of video lessons, along with our exclusive set of learning tools and features.

Unlimited Lesson Viewing

A JamPlay membership gives you access to every lesson, from every teacher on our staff. Additionally, there is no restriction on how many times you watch a lesson. Watch as many times as you need.

Live Lessons

Exclusive only to JamPlay, we currently broadcast 8-10 hours of steaming lesson services directly to you! Enjoy the benefits of in-person instructors and the conveniences of our community.

Interactive Community

Create your own profile, manage your friends list, and contact users with your own JamPlay Mailbox. JamPlay also features live chat with teachers and members, and an active Forum.

Chord Library

Each chord in our library contains a full chart, related tablature, and a photograph of how the chord is played. A comprehensive learning resource for any guitarist.

Scale Library

Our software allows you to document your progress for any lesson, including notes and percent of the lesson completed. This gives you the ability to document what you need to work on, and where you left off.

Custom Chord Sheets

At JamPlay, not only can you reference our Chord Library, but you can also select any variety of chords you need to work on, and generate your own printable chord sheet.

Backing Tracks

Jam-along backing tracks give the guitarist a platform for improvising and soloing. Our backing tracks provide a wide variety of tracks from different genres of music, and serves as a great learning tool.

Interactive Games

We have teachers covering beginner lessons, rock, classic rock, jazz, bluegrass, fingerstyle, slack key and more. Learn how to play the guitar from experienced players, in a casual environment.

Beginners Welcome.. and Up

Unlike a lot of guitar websites and DVDs, we start our Beginner Lessons at the VERY start of the learning process, as if you just picked up a guitar for the first time.Our teaching is structured for all players.

Take a minute to compare JamPlay to other traditional and new methods of learning guitar. Our estimates for "In-Person" lessons below are based on a weekly face-to-face lesson for $40 per hour.

Price Per Lesson < $0.01 $4 - $5 $30 - $50 Free
Money Back Guarantee Sometimes n/a
Number of Instructors 125 1 – 3 1 Zillions
Interaction with Instructors Daily Webcam Sessions Weekly
Professional Instructors Luck of the Draw Luck of the Draw
New Lessons Daily Weekly Minutely
Structured Lessons
Learn Any Style Sorta
Track Progress
HD Video - Sometimes
Multiple Camera Angles Sometimes - Sometimes
Accurate Tabs Maybe Maybe
Scale/Chord Libraries
Custom JamTracks
Interactive Games
Learn in Sweatpants Socially Unacceptable
Gasoline Needed $0.00 $0.00 ~$4 / gallon! $0.00
Get Started

Mike H.

"I feel like a 12 year old kid with a new guitar!"

I am 66 years young and I still got it! I would have never known this if it had not been for Jamplay! I feel like a 12 year old kid with a new guitar! Ha! I cannot express enough how great you're website is! It is for beginners and advanced pickers! I am an advanced picker and thought I had lost it but thanks to you all, I found it again! Even though I only play by ear, I have been a member a whopping whole two weeks now and have already got Brent's country shuffle and country blues down and of course with embellishments. Thank you all for your wonderful program!

Greg J.

"With Jamplay I can fit in a random session when I have time and I can go at my own pace"

I'm a fifty eight year old newbie who owns a guitar which has been sitting untouched in a corner for about seven years now. Last weekend I got inspired to pick it up and finally learn how to play after watching an amazing Spanish guitarist on TV. So, here I am. I'm starting at the beginning with Steve Eulberg and I couldn't be happier (except for the sore fingers :) Some day I'm going to play like Steve! I'm self employed with a hectic schedule. With Jamplay I can fit in a random session when I have time and I can go at my own pace, rewinding and replaying the videos until I get it. This is a very enjoyable diversion from my work yet I still feel like I'm accomplishing something worthwhile. Thanks a lot, Greg


"I believe this is the absolute best site for guitar students."

I am commenting here to tell you and everyone at JamPlay that I believe this is the absolute best site for guitar students. I truly enjoy learning to play the guitar on JamPlay.com. Yes, I said the words, ""enjoy learning."" It is by far the best deal for the money.

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