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Your 12 String Guitar (Guitar Lesson)

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Mark Lincoln

Your 12 String Guitar

This lesson covers all of the basics and history of the 12 string guitar. Mark also provides several exercises that will get you started on your way.

Taught by Mark Lincoln in 12 String with Mark seriesLength: 45:01Difficulty: 2.0 of 5
Welcome to the first lesson in the Phase II 12-string lesson series! In this series we'll discuss the history of the 12-string, the rudimentary construction of a twelver, different ways to tune it, ways to maximize the sound and resonance that can be produced from the guitar, as well as other issues concerning style of play and technique. Some of you may already have a 12-string that you've been strumming, while others of you are perhaps contemplating acquiring one. Either way, this series is designed to help the brand new fledgling 12-string adventurer on his/her way, as well as the seasoned 12-string aficionado to further develop skills and look in different directions for novel approaches.

Keep in mind that there will be some crossover with topics central to playing a 6-string as well, but after all, they're all guitars and will therefore have certain common characteristics amongst them. Playing the 12-string will almost always put a new spin on techniques that you may have been using on a 6-string and will likely force you to make some adjustments in the manner that you approach the guitar both physically as well as mentally. One good example of this is the fact that your callouses will undoubtedly change, grow, and expand to accommodate the increased load on the fingertips. But let's not get ahead of ourselves before we gain a fundamental understanding of the 12-string guitar. First and foremost, let's look at the history of the 12-string.

12-string History
The 12-string guitar first appeared in America right before the beginning of the 20th century, although the name of the first luthier to accomplish such a feat is unknown at this point. There are two predominant theories about the mysterious designer's identity:
1. The first theory is that an Italian luthier designed the first 12-string. The origins of this theory emanate from the long-standing history of Italian instruments bearing double courses of strings (like the mandolin) and that a curious and experimental Italian luthier took it upon himself to attempt a similar yet, novel design with a guitar.

2. The second and perhaps more predominant theory revolves around the belief that the first 12-string originally came from Mexican music. Instruments like the Tipple and the Charango have their origins in Latin American culture and both feature double course variants on the 6-string theme. Regardless of where the 12-string came from initially, or who designed it, the 12-string has made its way into our hearts and into modern music. It can be found in some of the most familiar and memorable pieces of music including "Stairway to Heaven," "Hotel California," and "Walk Right In" amongst others.
12-string Guitar Construction
Due to the increased pressure and tension of having 12 strings rather than 6, the 12-string guitar incorporates bulkier and heavier construction than that associated with many 6-strings. A good example of this is the use of the truss rod or rods, which are located inside the neck of the instrument and provide stability against the tension of the strings. Once strings are tightened, the neck will naturally tend to bow forward. The truss rod counteracts the force and helps keep the instrument in tune. The ideal or correct position of the rod will vary from instrument to instrument and will vary as well with the player's style.

There are various different types of truss rods, some of them being adjustable while others are not. There are dual-action truss rods which can add relief as well as straighten the neck of the guitar. There are also duel truss rods (not to be confused with the dual action variety) which are more commonly found on basses and yes, you guessed it, some 12-string guitars. Duel rods are laid side-by-side inside the neck and provide twice the strength of the singular variety.

Bracing is another facet of construction that changes from a six to a twelve but only in incremental ways. Bracing patterns are really similar (if not identical), but slightly larger pieces of wood are used in the 12-string bracing, giving it extra strength and support. Larger bridge plates are used as well on the 12-string to accommodate the extra pressure from the increased number of strings.

Body size and fingerboard width are also larger in 12-strings than their 6-string compatriots, but these differences might be more attributable to an increase in resonant space/volume production and an accommodation of the increased number of strings, respectively. In general though, 12-string guitars tend to be bigger and beefier so they can handle the increased number of strings and commensurate increased amount of pressure on the guitar.

There are a number of ways to tune the 12-string guitar. We'll discuss some of them and incorporating them into practice over the course of this series. But let's start with the standard tuning, shall we? Keep in mind that the string diameters listed are based on utilizing light strings, and each string company may have different dimensions for their strings. The important thing here is to recognize that the strings on a 12-string guitar are grouped in two's and the two highest sets (high E and B) are drone strings, or rather the identical pitch. The four other sets (G, D, A and E) are also the same note but set at an octave apart. Here's how they should be tuned from highest to lowest strings:
1: High E at .012" or .30mm in diameter

2: High E at .012" or .30mm in diameter

3: B at .016" or .41mm in diameter

4: B at .016" or .41mm in diameter

5: G at .025" or. 64mm in diameter

6: G at .01" or .25mm in diameter

7: D at .032" or .81mm in diameter

8: D at.014" or .36 mm in diameter

9: A at.042" or 1.07mm in diameter

10: A at .02" or .51 mm in diameter

11: E at .052" or 1.32mm in diameter

12: E at.03" or .76mm in diameter
Notice how the thicker string of the octave pairs goes in the bottom slot (or more accurately on the high side, towards the high E string). 12-strings usually have specific sized grooves in the nut as well, which give you the proper places to put the strings. So, if they don't seem to fit properly, then you've likely strung the guitar incorrectly. In lieu of the fact that there are twelve strings, it most certainly does take longer to tune and you should always allot more time to make sure that you are in proper tune. 12-strings are notorious for having tuning problems, and this is due in part to the fact that there are more stings to tune. However, it's also due to the increased pressure on the bridge plate and the sensitivity of the instrument. Consequently, less expensive 12-strings may be more prone to tuning issues than their more expensive counterparts. But enough talk...let's play the guitar!

Let's get a feel for the 12-string with some simple chords, shall we? Please make sure that you're in tune and you can either strum these exercises with a flat pick, or simply with your hand if you choose. Here are some chords to get started with:
Please play the four chords listed above. Get comfortable with the increased thickness of two strings (yes, you should be strumming both of them at the same time) as well as the wider diameter of the neck. It takes many people who are accustomed to six-string guitars a little bit of time getting used to the differences between the two, so give yourself a chance to acclimate to the physical differences between them.

Exercise 1
Play along using the four chords with me. I'm using a "down, down-up, down" strum pattern, but watch the video carefully if you're not clear on how this rhythm should be played. Play along with me as I strum this simple progression. Although you know these chords and may be saying "do we really have to go through this easy stuff again?," keep in mind that you may very well need to redevelop your "feel" for chords on the 12-string since you're dealing with twice as many strings and a broader fingerboard.

Exercise 2
Eyes Wide Shut - Close your eyes and try this exercise again. Play along with me, but no peeking! Pay attention to the difference in the feel of the increased number of strings on your fingertips as well as the change in distances between the strings.

Exercise 3
Play Along - Now we're going to take the chords used above and go off in a slightly different direction with them. We'll still be using the Em7 and D chords but this time we'll be using:
Instead of A, and:
instead of C. You'll likely notice in the video that I'm not moving my pinky from the B-string at any point in this exercise. This is what I call "pinning," and I'm simply leaving my finger in place to facilitate the changes and make the progression easier. This can be helpful especially if you're finding yourself struggling to make changes and simply need to focus on getting used to the change from a 6 to a 12-string. Try to pin your pinky like I'm doing " Play along with me.

Exercise 4
Play the exercise again with your eyes closed. Again, pay attention to how different the chords and spacing are from the feel of a 6-string. Try to develop an innate awareness of the feel of the 12-string as this will help you gain better control and technique over time.

Alright, how are you doing with this stuff so far? Are you beginning to develop more of a feel for the increased pressure on the callouses as well as the wider fingerboard? Do your fingers hurt...a little? Keep in mind that you will probably need to increase the pressure on the strings in order to make clean contact with the fretboard. Subsequently, you may also feel some discomfort in your fingertips as your callouses grow and expand to accommodate the new load of pressure. You will likely feel discomfort for a while as your callouses thicken and grow.
Let's try a new set of chords. This time, we'll incorporate some barre chords. Barres can be particularly tough on the 12-string and can take some extra work to get comfortable with. Here are the next chords: F#m, D, A, E.
Exercise 5
Play along using the progression F#m, D, A and E. Make sure that you're making good contact with the fretboard and avoiding any buzzing or muting of the strings. Watch the video to learn the appropriate strumming pattern. Are you getting a good feel for what it takes to fret a barre chord on the 12-string? It takes a little more effort doesn't it? Repeat this exercise over and over until you start to get a good smooth transition between the barre chord and the open chords, and then back into the barre. This is an important element of playing the 12-string that you'll likely need to work on.

Exercise 6
Yes, you knew it was coming...Now play the exercise again with your eyes closed! Really pay attention to the distances your fretting hand needs to travel in order to make a smooth transition between the barre and the open chords as well as between the open chords themselves.

Now let's step it up, shall we? Playing the A-shaped barre chords (or what I like to call Type 2 barres) can be challenging on the 6-string but even more so on the 12. You'll need to have a well-developed ring finger/slanting A finger to be able to fret these chords cleanly and without muting. This next progression will incorporate some A-shaped barres with open chords and will, over time, help you to build more finger strength on the 12-string. Here are the next chords: C, G, Bb and F.
C (3rd fret)
G (3rd fret)
Familiarize yourselves with these chords and try to get as comfortable as possible with playing the barres. As I stated before, there's no doubt that you will need to develop some additional finger strength to fret some of these cleanly.

Exercise 7
Some strum patterns use alternating forms from chord to chord and we'll be incorporating this type of strum into the exercise. Play the above chords using the strum: down down-up-down down up-down down-up-down where the underlined down indicates the first strum on the second and fourth chord. So, the first and third chords get: down down-up-down and the second and fourth chords get down up-down down-up-down. Watch me in the video for more on this if you're confused about the pattern.

Play Along - Join in with me as I play the progression. Again, avoid muting the strings or fret buzz. I know, without a doubt in my mind that some of you will have some buzzage! Keep in mind that you can get away with not playing the high E-string on the A-shaped barre chords. Many people simply mute that string (many people do it automatically anyway), so if you're finding that you're just not able to play that string, don't let it impede your progress in the exercise. Also, if you're hearing strings being muted or some buzzing occurring, and you can't pin down where it's coming from, pluck each string individually until you identify where the problem is coming from. You should be able to apply more pressure on the string(s) in question and produce a clearer sounding chord.

Exercise 8
Close your eyes on this one, my friends! Simply do what you've been doing in the last few exercises. Pay attention to the feel of each chord and the amount of distance that you need to move in order to hit the next chord cleanly. You can watch your hands at first to make sure you're chording on the right frets. Then, when you feel you're ready, shut 'em!

Word - As we begin upon our journey into the novel and exciting world of the 12-string you'll likely notice that we're focusing on exercises that build strength in the hands, especially the chord hand. This is an extremely important step in lieu of the fact that the next lessons will build upon these initial exercises and the work that you're doing now. So, please make sure that you're doing these exercises thoroughly and getting them down! I hear many questions about how long one should spend on each lesson and although the answer to this is ultimately up to you, keep in mind that the more comfortable you are with these exercises, the more comfortable you will be with the upcoming and increasingly more difficult ones.

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.

scannon120scannon120 replied

Great lesson Mark, thanks !!!

graham_hgraham_h replied

Great Lesson,I just recently acquired an Ibanez semi-hollow body 12 string after not having my Ovation 12 for about 25 years, WoW !!! I's good, because it's motivating me to practice !!! I found the lessons getting easier actually when we started the second position bar chords, I guess my chubby fingers are more suited for the "A" root bar chords, but that's JMO, I'm stoked, Play On !!!

the chupacabrathe chupacabra replied

Hey Mark. Been a while, but I am back on Jamplay. Just picked up a Seagull s12. Really like it. My question is a lot of what I read online suggests keeping it downtuned. What are your thoughts on that since you have a sweet expensive guitar. Do you keep Guilda downtuned?

gary graminskigary graminski replied

I enjoyed the first lesson, especially being able to print out the exercises. I did find the strumming patterns created some confusion, except for the final two exercises. Practicing the chord changes for a week helped. Now on to lesson two. Thanks, Gary

sherilynriverasherilynrivera replied

Hi Mark! Thanks for the great video. I sing a lot of Latin music and would like to learn some good 12-string strums that could accompany those different styles. I realize that's a pretty broad spectrum but would be excited to get some ideas.

Mark.LincolnMark.Lincoln replied

Hi Sherilyn! Latin music is awesome and hot, I like it too! Are you able to come into my live chats as maybe we could address some of your questions and interests on a one to one basis? Mark

nycbeijingernycbeijinger replied

Greetings from Beijing. Good lesson! I picked up a sweet used Gibson Songwriter a few days ago and your lessons are just what the doctor ordered. Was surprised at first that the chords didn't sound as well on the Gibson as when playing my six-string and that the wider neck made for needed changes in hand positioning. Was glad to see that's par for the course, though, and think your exercises will remedy that soon enough. Hopefully there more lessons in the works?

Mark.LincolnMark.Lincoln replied

Hellllo Beijing! Thanks for the great feedback! I'm not sure about when I might be posting new lessons but feel free to tune in to my live chats if the time change is allowing, thanks! Mark

hereticsound666hereticsound666 replied

hey mark i just wanted to take a peek at this lesson to understand how 12 strings work, and i have a question why do the tabs only have 6 strings?

Mark.LincolnMark.Lincoln replied

Hey Jake! Tabs usually only have 6-strings because the string names are the same for the second set (usually) on the 12-string. ML

november9november9 replied

Mexico is not in Latin America, IT'S IN NORTH AMERICA!!!!! My GOD!!!

rolfi10rolfi10 replied

From Mexico to Argentina is Latin America. It has nothing to do with the other division (north, central and south). It isn't about the location of the country. Get a book, ok?

hereticsound666hereticsound666 replied


curlywirlycurlywirly replied

Hi Mark, I've really only ever played a 12 string but always ended up frustrated because I couldn't play the songs I wanted to play, mostly because bending notes is too hard or breaks the strings! Also when I've played other 6 strings I'm crap because I fret the strings too hard. Anyway this is great and I'm looking forward to more. I'm 47 now and the 12 string still "sends me." :) Thanks again

Mark.LincolnMark.Lincoln replied

Hey Curly nice to hear from you! Yes, the 12-string is an awesome instrument and really not geared towards bending strings, as much as a 6-string at least. I think it's more suited as a solid strumming type of instrument that provides a full range of sound. Either way, I'm glad to hear that you're getting into it, welcome to my little world! Mark

rohintoniranirohintonirani replied

Can you play a normal six string guitar cover song on a 12 string?

Mark.LincolnMark.Lincoln replied

Hey Ro! Yes you most certainly can play a six string but it won't likely sound quite the same, good question though! Mark

imoussalliimoussalli replied

Got my Seagull S12 today!! so before doing anything else I am going to watch your lessons .

Mark.LincolnMark.Lincoln replied

Hi Ingrid! Those are great guitars so you've got a solid instrument to get going on this series. Good luck! Mark

barry12barry12 replied

fantasttic lesson keep it up loved it

Mark.LincolnMark.Lincoln replied

Thanx Barry great to hear from you! Mark

jamiejjamiej replied

Those were good lessons. I have my third 12 string, a Takamine EG523SC which I play in church settings. These lessons were a great help in reinforcing basic techniques. There is nothing like a 12 string for that sweet, full bodied sound!

djrohrerdjrohrer replied

I apologize if this entry turns into more of an essay than a forum post, but I’m working under the assumption there may be many people out there who are in the same situation as me, having played the guitar for several years, but having no experience at all with the 12-string and, more to the point here, with no 12-string to play. Based on Jeff’s and Mark’s answers to my previous post on June 19th, and given the fact that my budget doesn’t support buying a Guild like Mark’s, I had two options: either buy a budget 12-string that would probably be a disappointment, or see what I could find out there in used axe land. I started at my local sound studio, because I trust the owner’s opinion. He said he doesn’t get a lot of 12-strings in, and when he does, they go fast because a lot of people are looking for them. He showed me the only one he had in at the time, which was a cheap Rickenbacker knockoff. The action on it was so high, I don’t think any human being could put those strings to the frets. In fact, he wouldn’t even let me play it because he said it was really only fit to be a slide guitar. He did, however, take me into the back and let me play a high end Breedlove that his background player keeps there. This was the first time that I had ever touched a 12-string, but the action was great and I was able to get a pretty good sound out of it. So now I don’t know whether to envy Mark’s Guild or the Breedlove more. Anyway, he gave me one other piece of advice, which was that if you set out to buy a used 12-string, one thing to keep in mind is that when you take account of the stress on the neck, you may need to tune a cheaper guitar down a half step or even a whole step in order to keep everything together, and in order to avoid breaking the octave G string, which apparently is a pretty common problem. Then you capo back up to get your standard tuning. Armed with that information, I hit the internet to see what I could find. Some of what was out there was overpriced, some was just junk, and there was one guitar that I was interested in but it got sold before I checked on it. Finally, on craigslist, I found a guy about an hour away from me who had a used Yamaha FG-420-12A for sale. I did some research and found that Yamaha stopped making this particular guitar in 1994, but that people who owned them generally had a pretty good opinion of them. I met the seller and what I found was that, although this was a budget guitar when it was made, it has held up well. It tunes to standard tuning and still has a decent action. Nothing like the Breedlove, of course, but still very playable. I can even get bar chords to work up to fifth position, and more may be possible as I get accustomed to playing it. The bottom line here is that, while it took some grunt work, in the end I was able to get a decent guitar, a pretty crappy case and a nice J. Garcia guitar strap for $90, and I’m set to follow Mark through the rest of the series. So, it can be done. Again, my apologies for the length of this post, but I hope the info helps some other aspiring 12-stringers out there.

linacartolinacarto replied

Hey Mark, you're a wonderful teacher, I love watching your videos and I wanted to say thank you for this series on the 12 string: it's something rare to find and people get discouraged because they don't find someone to explain clearly pros and cons of this kind of guitar. And moreover I wanted to tell you that your web site is the best I've ever seen: I've wandered around the web and did many trials on guitar sites and yours is the most complete and serious I've ever seen. When I'll have the possibility I'll upgrade to premium. You're the best.

djrohrerdjrohrer replied

Mark, I've always loved the sound of the 12-string, but never had the gumption to try it. This has me thinking of giving it a go. There are a lot of us out here, though, who can't afford a $2600 Guild, much as we'd like to have one. A little checking on line tells me that Dean, Seagull, and Yamaha (I'm sure there are others) all have acoustic-electric 12-strings in the $500-700 range. Do you have any recommendations for a decent, reasonably priced 12-string? Or would you consider doing some reviews on any of these?

Mark.LincolnMark.Lincoln replied

Hey DJ how are you? There are a couple of reviews on 12-string guitars on the site although the brands you're naming are all good brands to be quite honest. I didn't just go out and buy the Guild initially I have a Takamine that I've had for 15 years that I bought used and it's served me well for all that time. Seagull 12's are great for sure and I wouldn't necessarily rule out buying a nicer guitar that's been previously owned especially if it's been well taken care of. Good luck with your search! Mark

jboothjbooth replied

I will say, at least in my opinion, it feels like a cheap 12 string is a lot worse to play in comparison to a cheap 6 string. This is what is keeping me from buying one as well :( I dont wanna spend $1k plus but i've been pretty underwhelmed by the ones I played below that price range. Keep in mind my hands are pretty small (and TINY fingertips) so a poorly made 12 string is nearly impossible for me to play smoothly, you may have better results if your hands are bigger, stronger and have more meat on the tips.

Mark.LincolnMark.Lincoln replied

To be honest JB, I think if you really started to play a 12-string on a regular basis your teenie fingertips would "man-up" pretty quick and that would no longer be an issue! MarkyMark

jboothjbooth replied

Probably, but unfortunately I really don't have an interest in the 12 string so that prolly won't happen :) Love the way it sounds but just doesn't fit my style of play. In fact I'm gonna get a classical guitar because that's what I am all about :D

mattbrownmattbrown replied

Ah Mark...It's been too long since we've seen a lesson from you! I must say that I'm pretty jealous of Guilda. Guild acoustics are my favorite.

Mark.LincolnMark.Lincoln replied

Hey Matty what's up?!? Yes I love Gilda but frankly I have a Takamine 12-string that I've been playing for years that still cranks out the sweet sounds so...sometimes good buys are out there in the least obvious places, right? Good to hear from you bro, ML

dallendouglasdallendouglas replied

Mark, This is Fantastic. I pulled my "TAK" 12 string out of the closet and am anxious to ghet going with this. The tuneing messes me up so I will pay particular attentionn to that. Beside rythm I can hear 12 string as a great background for SOLO 6 string. Thanks (Dennis)

Mark.LincolnMark.Lincoln replied

Hey Dennis how are you? Sounds like you pulled that puppy out of the closet just in time! Great to hear from you my friend, Mark

dodsiedodsie replied

Very excited about this series Mark. I just had my old (early 70's) Yamaki 12 string fixed up after years and years on the shelf and it sounds way better than it ever did. Great timing!

Mark.LincolnMark.Lincoln replied

Thanks Dodsie and great to hear from you! The best to you on your 12-string journey, Mark

linacartolinacarto replied

Wonderful set of lessons!!! Compliments! ... How do you arpeggiate on a 12 string? and what about tapping?

Mark.LincolnMark.Lincoln replied

Hey line...we will be talking more and more about arpeggios as the series develops although tapping is really not something I do a lot of, especially on the 12-string! Mark

12 String with Mark

Found in our Beginner Lesson Sets

The 12 string guitar is known for its full and unique sound. In this lesson series, you will learn everything you need to know about your instrument. Topics provided include history, tunings, chords, picking, exercises and much more.

Your 12 String GuitarLesson 1

Your 12 String Guitar

This lesson covers all of the basics and history of the 12 string guitar. Mark also provides several exercises that will get you started on your way.

Length: 45:01 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
12 String TechniquesLesson 2

12 String Techniques

Mark Lincoln teaches valuable techniques for the 12 string guitar. He implements these techniques in several exercises.

Length: 36:31 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Chords & StretchingLesson 3

Chords & Stretching

Mark Lincoln shares some fun exercises that will help you warm up and nail a few tough chords on your 12 string guitar.

Length: 43:40 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Mark Lincoln

About Mark Lincoln View Full Biography Mark Lincoln was born in S. California but was raised near Portland Oregon in a town called Beaverton. When he was twelve years old, he began his journey into the realm of the creative by composing poetry and was later published in a journal called "In Dappled Sunlight." He wrote for four years until his older sister blessed him with his first guitar, an old beat-up nylon stringed classical guitar. Mark played that guitar for five years, continuing to compose his own lyrics and starting the process of matching his own words with chords that he was learning on the guitar. He learned to play chords from his friends and from music books that he both bought and borrowed. Mark cited his four biggest influences, at that point at least, as The Who, Led Zeppelin, Jethro Tull, The Rolling Stones.

Mark cites his most current influences as Radiohead, U2, older music by REM, and Peter Gabriel amongst others. He performs with two acoustic guitars, one being a six-string M-36 Martin with a three-pieced back for increased bass response, and a Guild Twelve-string which is his most recent acquisition. Mark is fond of saying that the twelve-string guitar is better because you get two guitars for the price of one, but he still plays his Martin equally as much and with the same passion.

Mark ended up in Fort Collins Colorado where he currently lives, works as a Marriage and Family Therapist, and continues to write, teach and perform music. He currently performs with a group called "Black Nelson" as well as with a number of other seasoned professional musicians including his cousin David, a virtuoso lead-guitar player. Mark has performed in many of the smaller venues in Denver and Boulder, as well as some of the larger ones including the Fox Theatre, The Boulder Theatre, Herman's Hideaway, and also at The Soiled Dove where he opened for Jefferson Starship as a soloist. Some of Mark's originals are also available for your listening pleasure on MySpace.

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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 126 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 Yes, I said the words, ""enjoy learning."" It is by far the best deal for the money.

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