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3 Day Live Course with Don Ross

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Thumb IQ is a 3 day, intensive workshop about getting the most out of your thumb, and break out of pattern picking. This course will help you gain more independence between bass lines, and bring out your inner voice and melody.

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Don Ross is the only person to twice win the US National Fingerstyle Guitar Championship, and is considered a top-tier talent, educator, and composer. Hailing from Montreal and studying at Toronto's York University, Ross' work has inspired millions across the globe, with 16 album releases, which include many live recordings of his powerful playing style.

Get access to this live course with a full JamPlay Membership, which includes access to all past live courses and over 5,000 on-demand lessons. This also includes all teaching tools, chord and scale libraries, along with gear giveaways, teacher reviews, and daily live lessons.

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Free Lesson Examples for this Course

About our Live Courses

We have upgraded, revamped, and organized in-studio, live weekly workshops broadcasted in 1080p. These focused, task-based workshops include full tablature, interactivity with the instruction, and even homework each week. We are bringing live, educational instruction into the next generation with this platform.

5,000 Lessons

In 2016, we completely re-engineered our recording studio with top of the line gear, including a full suite of 4k cameras complimented by a new audio outfit. The result is beautiful live streams to your computer, in qualities as high as 1080p!

79 Instructors

Each live course is supplemented with full tablature, music notation, and even backing tracks. Our live lessons are focused, planned, and even give you homework options on how to improve and look forward to the following week.

Live Lessons

Our staff fields questions from the audience throughout each section, and opens the "classroom" up for questions throughout each course. You also have the ability to call in live with your own video stream!


Our live platform has been a major focus over the past 18 months, and we are very excited to fully unleash it's capability! Attend any of these courses with a full JamPlay subscription and get the benefit of full interaction with our instructors in a focused, planned course. We even have the ability to field your questions with live video call in!

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Full Course Schedule

And of course, we keep everything, so if you miss a week you can always watch our archive of live courses. Tabs, backing tracks, and a full course PDF are provided for students, along with homework for each week! Interact with other students along with the instructor and get the instruction you need to advance your playing.

Date Topic

Session 1

9/9/16 at 5pm EST Get Access

Machine-Gun-Style Picking

Welcome to Thumb IQ! We'll start with looking at my piece "The Is-Ought Controversy," which is in Drop D tuning. It's a piece that owes a lot of its inspiration to the sounds of West African percussion as well as the "machine gun" style of fingerpicking p

Session 2

9/9/16 at 7pm EST Get Access

16th-note Fingerwork

In this session we will take a look at section 2 of the song "The Is-Ought Controversy." This song is a great exercise for thumb IQ and thumb independence, and Don will explain why!

Session 3

9/9/16 at 9pm EST Get Access

West Africa Meets Leo Kottke

In this session we will take a look at section 3 of the song "The Is-Ought Controversy." Don will wrap up the segment on this song and make his final points regarding thum independence in drop d tuning.

Session 4

9/10/16 at 12pm EST Get Access

Simple Bass & Triplet Feel

Next we'll move on to my piece "The First Ride." The most important part of this song is how it makes use of a totally independent thumb. Don will talk about how to achieve this and use the song as a template for practice. We'll also explore the uniquenes

Session 5

9/10/16 at 3pm EST Get Access

Taking Advantage of Rich Harmonies

In this session we will move on to the second segment of "The First Ride." Get ready to take your thumb to the edge of exhaustion!

Session 6

9/10/16 at 6pm EST Get Access

Polyrhythms

We return to "The First Ride" to learn the 3rd segment. We will focus on how to use this song as an exercise to practice your thumb independence.

Session 7

9/11/16 at 12pm EST Get Access

Funk Feel & Syncopation

Now we are moving on to our third song example. This will once again serve as the perfectbedrock for the improvement of thumb technique. This song is from my piece "Tight Trite Night" and is a bit more funky! This one is in standard tuning.

Session 8

9/11/16 at 3pm EST Get Access

Rolls and Brushes

Get your thumb out and get ready to go. In this sesion we learn a different segement of "Tight Trite Night" to practice our thumb picking.

Session 9

9/11/16 at 6pm EST Get Access

Altered Voicings in Funk Feel

We take a look at another segment of "Tight Trite Night" and show how you can imnprove your thumbpicking. Then Don will issue his final toughts on the series and tips and tricks for moving forward.