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Increasing the Difficulty (Guitar Lesson)

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Steve Eulberg

Increasing the Difficulty

Steve Eulberg ups the ante with a more advanced sing-along lesson. He teaches how to play and sing the song "Take It Easy" by the Eagles. Steve explains how to simplify a difficult song as you are first learning it.

Taught by Steve Eulberg in Singing with Guitar seriesLength: 12:07Difficulty: 2.0 of 5
Chapter 1: (00:08) Introduction Music Steve demonstrates the strumming pattern for the song "Take It Easy" by the Eagles.

Chapter 2: (00:24) Introduction In this lesson, you will learn the basic strumming pattern and vocal line to the Eagles song "Take It Easy." With this song, Steve takes a leap away from childrens' music to the world of popular rock. Steve has chosen this particular song to address two specific concepts. First, Steve discusses how to simply a song when first learning how to perform it. Next, he explains how to transpose any song to a new key center.
Chapter 3: (07:04) Take It Easy Intro Lick

This song starts with a basic lick that leads into the main strumming pattern. This particular lick is derived from the G major blues scale. You may already be familiar with playing licks as introductions if you have been following along with Steve's Phase 2 Bluegrass series.

Note: Tablature and notation to this lick can be found under the "Supplemental Content" tab. Also, this lick will be available soon in the JamPlay Lick Library. This section of the site is currently under construction.

The Form

This song has a repeating verse/chorus/verse form. The chords used in both sections are the same chords used to harmonize the "BINGO" melody. Steve plays through a verse and chorus so you can hear how these two parts work together within the context of the song. Notice how the verse lasts for half as many measures as the chorus.


When listing to recordings of bands such as the Eagles or CSNY, it is often difficult to distinguish the primary vocal line from the harmony vocal parts. In the case of "Take It Easy," the melody line occurs in the lowest vocal part. Then, two harmony lines are sung above this part. For extra practice, record yourself singing the melody. Next, sing the harmony parts along with your recording.


When Steve played through the verse and chorus earlier in the lesson, he applied a strumming pattern that is very similar to the pattern played on the original Eagles recording. However, when you are first learning to sing and play the song, it is important to simplify the strumming at first, so your brain isn't forced to juggle many difficult parts all at the same time. Begin by strumming whole notes at the beginning of each measure while simultaneously singing the melody line. Then, try to incorporate the strumming rhythm that Steve plays.

Note: Tablature and notation to "Take It Easy" can be found under the "Supplemental Content" tab. A simplified version of the strumming pattern as well as the version Steve demonstrates can be found here.

A Warning about Internet Tabs and Lyrics

Internet tabs are notorious for their inaccuracies. Also, problems often arise when printing them. Sometimes the chords do not line up correctly with the lyrics. What is printed on paper does not match what appears on the screen. If you wish to learn any song, make sure that the transcription is from a reliable, legal source such as JamPlay. Also, check out tablature sources such as Guitar World magazine. You can also purchase books that include tablature to all of the songs on a popular album.
Chapter 4: (03:47) Using a Capo and Changing Key In his first demonstration, Steve sings and plays "Take It Easy" in the key of G major. If you do not have a tenor or very high baritone range, this key will most likely be too high for you. The same concept applies to females with low vocal ranges. Consequently, you must transpose the song to a new key if you wish to sing it. Instead of learning a whole new set of chord shapes in a different key, you can simply use a capo to transpose these chord shapes to a different key. Steve decides to transpose to the key of B by placing the capo at the fourth fret. Notice how he still uses all of the same chord shapes in this key. The chords are voiced in a higher register. However, the key of B major is actually a minor sixth below the key of G. This will transpose all of the notes in the melody down a minor sixth, making the melody much more manageable with low voices. If you find that this key is too low for you, try the key of Db. Place the capo at the sixth fret and play the same chord shapes. This key is ideal for most baritones and mezzo-sopranos.
Chapter 5: (00:41) Demonstration As Steve plays through the verse, practice singing the vocal melody along with his guitar accompaniment. Then, he plays the chorus while singing. Either double his vocal line, or work on singing the harmony lines from the original recording. Make sure you practice all of these materials on your own and perfect them before attempting to play along with Steve.

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.

CrumbhavenCrumbhaven replied

Hey, it’s been 10 years since the capo chart was promised! Where might it be?

Bradley.ConwayBradley.Conway replied

Hi Crumbhaven! I've been using the Chord Namer Tool to find capo'd chords and notes. Just select all the notes across the fret that you want to capo, then build your chords from there. It's pretty cool because you can even mimic using 2 capos (one on top / one on bottom) for some pretty exotic chords and scales. Cheers :)

telboytelboy replied

Very Interesting. The song also suited my voice in the key of D flat, and I see how using the open G string as base then the placing the capo on the 6th fret is D flat......yet I can still play the G chords.....the theory behind that still eludes me however.

jmicklr4jmicklr4 replied

I had a question about the Em in the verse. Maybe I'm wrong but my ear keeps telling me it should be a C. Em just doesn't sound right there.

nate_thegreatnate_thegreat replied

C and Em are closely related chords, and are often substituted for each other. I haven't heard the record as of late, but it's possible that on the record the bass and 2nd guitar might be playing things that are tricking your ear. But yeah, if C sounds good to you, I say use it. C major has C, E, G and E minor has E,G, B, so there are two notes in common, which is why the substitution works pretty well.

slashmasterslashmaster replied

the lick is tabbed in supplemental content

paulkpaulk replied

Wohoo Stevie! I nailed it the full strum way- might do it live at next plug and play! It's really rubbing off on me - plus the advice at the last live chat helped. U the best! Paul

jaybirdjaybird replied

Great lesson. I was also wondering where the capo position/key chart was in the supplemental content section? I think it would be a good thing to have. thanks

csnowcsnow replied

is there anyone who finds the switch in the strumming pattern where " take it easy" starts confusing?

airbuswhizairbuswhiz replied

Hi Steve, I just love your style of teaching (don't know why I spend the money I did when I could have done this far cheaper and got more out of it Anyhow, you mentioned in the end parts of "Take It Easy" that you would put a chart in the Supplemental Content about capo positions and keys you were in, has that been inserted, and if so, where am I missing it..?? will be back to review your lessons quite frequently...thanks for taing the time to do this so expertly and in a format that even I can understand. Don (airbuswhiz)

lilwogboyylilwogboyy replied

i love your choice of song..... and ur lessons :)

maddeemaddee replied

Another excellent lesson from the "Professor"!! Thanks Steve!!

steveeulbergsteveeulberg replied

Thanks, Maddee, glad you find it helpfuL!

lilwogboyylilwogboyy replied

I do too :D

m toddm todd replied

great lesson great song. Steve mentions a lick library where we can learn the signature riff, either it's still in the "coming soon" category or this web sites smarter than I am ,cuz I can't find it. I can probably noodle it out with repeated viewings just curious as to the progress of the library

steveeulbergsteveeulberg replied

Just a preview of coming attractions at JamPlay!

jboothjbooth replied

Should be here very soon, unfortunately this lesson got done before the library!

Singing with Guitar

Found in our Beginner Lesson Sets

Singing and playing the guitar together can add another dimension to your ability as a musician and guitarist. This skill is particularly useful for those who enjoy playing rhythm guitar.

One Chord SongLesson 1

One Chord Song

Steve Eulberg launches this lesson series by teaching a one chord song. Starting with easy songs allows you to isolate your voice and guitar playing.

Length: 14:12 Difficulty: 1.0 FREE
Two Chord SongLesson 2

Two Chord Song

Steve advances to a song that features two chords. This time around you will learn "Mary Had a Little Lamb."

Length: 17:40 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Three Chord SongLesson 3

Three Chord Song

Steve progresses to a three chord song - "This Land Is Your Land." This song features the primary triads in the major tonality.

Length: 14:24 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Four Chord SongLesson 4

Four Chord Song

Steve demonstrates how to sing and play the song "BINGO." This song can be harmonized with either four or five chords.

Length: 13:10 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Increasing the DifficultyLesson 5

Increasing the Difficulty

Steve Eulberg ups the ante with a more advanced sing-along lesson. He teaches you how to play and sing the song "Take It Easy" by the Eagles.

Length: 12:07 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Learning SongsLesson 6

Learning Songs

Steve talks about some of his favorite resources for learning and discovering new songs.

Length: 8:36 Difficulty: 0.5 Members Only
Down in the ValleyLesson 7

Down in the Valley

Steve Eulberg teaches the classic folk song "Down in the Valley."

Length: 17:09 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Sunshine On My ShouldersLesson 8

Sunshine On My Shoulders

Steve Eulberg teaches the John Denver song "Sunshine On My Shoulders" in this Singing with Guitar lesson.

Length: 31:27 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Last Thing on My MindLesson 9

Last Thing on My Mind

Steve Eulberg teaches the essentials of singing and playing the song "Last Thing on My Mind."

Length: 27:39 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
How Songs BehaveLesson 10

How Songs Behave

Steve talks about how songs and tunes behave in this lesson. This information will make basic songs easier to play along with.

Length: 13:53 Difficulty: 3.0 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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