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Guitar Help for Common Issues (Page 3)

View our archives of member questions. Before our introduction of Live Courses, we would field questions from our members are record video responses from our pool of teachers. This is the result! Please be aware, some of the video quality in these questions is quite poor, but the knowledge is still valuable.

Eric Clapton Style

Gigantesco asked "I am wanna start playing the blues and i would like you to try explain some of Clapton style like his special licks or even strat with his unplugged album for the blues players and the acoustics guitar owners. Thank you."

The Pinky Anchor

Bgremel asked "A comment and a question. I played a lot in college (late 60's), and picked my guitar up again a year ago. Never had a lesson and hacked along quite nicely - strumming and fingerstyle. Found Jamplay by accident and decided to learn how to play, as opposed to hack. The first lessons were old news to me, but I still learned some good things. Looking forward to improving my playing. So far I've already gotten my money's worth and I'm only to lesson 4! I find the advertising before each lesson an irritating waste of my time - I've already signed up. How can I skip these things? Secondly, how can I skip through lesson segments to view the part(s) of a lesson I want to review? For example if I want to review something in the 3rd video segment of a lesson, how do I skip the first 2? Finally, in the videos your right hand fingers never touch the face of the guitar. For strumming this is fine, but I always anchored my 4th finger on the face of the guitar. This provided a positive reference for the location of the strings for my other fingers. Bad technique, or OK? Thanks Bob"

Hand Cramps While Playing

Scallywag asked "First off I want to thank you guys and gals at Jam-play for the wonderful opportunity you give everyone to learn to play so many different styles, but most importantly we can communicate with you directly and get answers to those nagging questions.... My question pertains to PAIN! No, I’m not talking about fingertip pain, that’s expected. What I’m talking about is pain on my right hand about 1 inch directly below my pinky over the crease of the palm. (I’m left handed so the pain is on my right hand….) Is the problem due to tendons or muscles or both and what is the best way to recover? Note: I’m a newbie and practiced the chromatic cords for 2-1/2 hours in a single session."

Fingerpicking and Classical

Anton30 asked "If I'm using a traditional fingerpicking style, what are some of the benefits of learning the classical method of guitar playing also?"

Finger Exercises

Lucasholland asked "Hello, in lesson 2 of his Phase 1 lesson set, Steve Eulberg teaches a chromatic scale finger exercise. I'm using that exercise as part of my practice routine to improve my finger strength and accuracy and also to warm up. When I play the exercise on the low E string, is it okay for the palm of my hand or the part where my first finger connects to the palm of my hand to touch the bottom of the neck of the guitar (often muting the high E string)? When I consciously try to avoid muting the high E or my hand touching the neck at the bottom of the neck I have to flex my wrist more (by moving my thumb down) which makes me feel tension in my wrist. When I play chords or finger pick stuff (e.g. normal, day-to-day song playing) my hand doesn't touch the neck down there so the high E string does not get muted. Thanks and keep up the good work. Lucas"

Song Writing

Aseee asked "Ok I've looked all around the web and asked questions on many forums and had very few good answers. I want to know how to write a song? Preferably, do i create the music first or the lyrics."

Walking Up and Down

Anton30 asked "Could you explain walking up and down between chords? I know a few exercises to do this but I'm not really sure why the chords are called what they are and what makes this work. Thanks."

The Pinky Anchor

Bgremel asked "A comment and a question. I played a lot in college (late 60's), and picked my guitar up again a year ago. Never had a lesson and hacked along quite nicely - strumming and fingerstyle. Found Jamplay by accident and decided to learn how to play, as opposed to hack. The first lessons were old news to me, but I still learned some good things. Looking forward to improving my playing. So far I've already gotten my money's worth and I'm only to lesson 4! I find the advertising before each lesson an irritating waste of my time - I've already signed up. How can I skip these things? Secondly, how can I skip through lesson segments to view the part(s) of a lesson I want to review? For example if I want to review something in the 3rd video segment of a lesson, how do I skip the first 2? Finally, in the videos your right hand fingers never touch the face of the guitar. For strumming this is fine, but I always anchored my 4th finger on the face of the guitar. This provided a positive reference for the location of the strings for my other fingers. Bad technique, or OK? Thanks Bob"

Hand Cramps While Playing

Scallywag asked "First off I want to thank you guys and gals at Jam-play for the wonderful opportunity you give everyone to learn to play so many different styles, but most importantly we can communicate with you directly and get answers to those nagging questions.... My question pertains to PAIN! No, I’m not talking about fingertip pain, that’s expected. What I’m talking about is pain on my right hand about 1 inch directly below my pinky over the crease of the palm. (I’m left handed so the pain is on my right hand….) Is the problem due to tendons or muscles or both and what is the best way to recover? Note: I’m a newbie and practiced the chromatic cords for 2-1/2 hours in a single session."

Fingerpicking and Classical

Anton30 asked "If I'm using a traditional fingerpicking style, what are some of the benefits of learning the classical method of guitar playing also?"

Other Instruments

Heavyd asked "Why only guitar lessons? it would be intresting with some lessons on other instruments."

Finger Exercises

Hello, in lesson 2 of his Phase 1 lesson set, Steve Eulberg teaches a chromatic scale finger exercise. I'm using that exercise as part of my practice routine to improve my finger strength and accuracy and also to warm up. When I play the exercise on the low E string, is it okay for the palm of my hand or the part where my first finger connects to the palm of my hand to touch the bottom of the neck of the guitar (often muting the high E string)? When I consciously try to avoid muting the high E or my hand touching the neck at the bottom of the neck I have to flex my wrist more (by moving my thumb down) which makes me feel tension in my wrist. When I play chords or finger pick stuff (e.g. normal, day-to-day song playing) my hand doesn't touch the neck down there so the high E string does not get muted. Thanks and keep up the good work. Lucas

Tuning Down and Power Chords

nrm3304 asked "I'm trying to tune my guitar one half step down, but I am having trouble doing it by ear. I was wondering if you had any suggestions? Also, I see a lot of guitar players playing power chords with 3 fingers. I learned to play both 2 note and 3 note power chords with just 2 fingers. Should I play them with 3 fingers? Thanks."

Cleaning the Guitar

Metalmachine asked "Hi, i was just wondering how often should i clean my guitar. I play everyday for about 3 hours and i have a epiphone g 400 sg. I also would like to know how often should i change my strings on my guitar thanks, metalmachine."

Looking for Band Members

Heavyd asked "Hey, i would like to get some advice on how to find band members? Where shall I look after them? "

Playing on Odd Time Signatures

Opus asked "Hey Guys Im new here awesome site. I'm interested in playing inn odd time signatures. Exercises that would develop my ability to count and play at the same time. Any suggestion? Thanks."

Learning How to Solo

Ianb63 said "Hi all and thanks to Jamplay for a truly wonderful site. You guys are all amazing. After quite a few years of frustration alot of the theory has started to make sense at last. I know, and understand all twelve key signatures and there relative minor scales. I can play all the scales in five different patterns on the neck. I also know every note on the guitar neck by name. Chord theory makes sense to me and i understand how they are constructed. Modes took a while to get my head round, but i got there in the end. Given all this knowledge you would think i would have no trouble improvising, but in fact i am really struggling. My problem is this. If i concentrate on where i am on the guitar and what i want to play, i lose track of where i am in the chord progression i am following. If however i concentrate on counting the beat, i can keep track of the chords but then i cannot keep my focus on where exactly i am on the neck and it all goes to pieces. Any chance of a lesson to simplify the process and build n on how to up to it in stages....Thanks Ian"

Chord Fingering (C#M9)

Mike4370 asked "Hey Jamplay, im trying to play a song called "No Air". I have the sheet music and can pretty much play it all the way through but there is one chord that's giving me trouble... a C#m9. Can you give me a few different ways to fret this chord? Thanks."

Fretting Hand Technique and Keeping Fingers Straight

Art snyder wrote "How do I straighten my fingers when I press all 4 fingers on the low e string...my first finger points too far the the left so that I am fretting it with the outside not front of the finger...are there exercises that would help...Art."

Fast Fingerstyle Picking

Kenstyle asked "What is proper protocol for playing eight notes or faster on the same string when using fingerstyle? are you supposed to develop "same-finger"speed with each individual finger? or should another finger sneak on to the string and do a two-fingered run? It seems i cant go much faster than quarter notes (obviously this depends on the tempo of a song) if i use only one finger, i.e. i can only use "upstrokes". Apologize in advance for my confusing question. This question might be appropriate for Steve or Jim D."

Question About Modes

Fenderboy "Hi I started to learn more about musical theories and i have learned about modes and i have question so basically if the song starts with chord, for example if the song started with D chord then will the d be my ionian scale ,and e be dorian f# will be phygian and so and so is that correct? and like for yngwie malmsteen uses harmonic minor then is it basically like playing harmonic minor instead of aeolian scale?"

Walking Bass Lines and Speed

Ambcons asked "For Steve Eulberg, I've found very hard to improve my bass line (Level 2). What is the best way to practice? I'm trying it with metronome (slowww time) with a "pick"(is it right?) and without it (only with my right hand). It's also difficult to know the timing to do the walking bass and remain synchronized with metronome in a 4/4 time after changing to the next chord."

Finding the Key

Mikelly asked "Hi Jamplay Team I'm fairly new to this website as a subscribed member & enjoying it very much, the teachers so far that i have watched lessons on are "Awesomely" talented in the way they are so very explanative.....keep it comin!:) I have searched the Q&A's and the forums to see if i can find this topic without success, so i thought it would make a good video lesson.. How many time has a guitar player (beginner/intermediate) listened to a song on the radio or even on a CD and run to pickup the guitar to see if they can play along with it....only to find they can't find a chord that will match what is on the song....? I play Electric guitar but this can also apply to acoustic My Question......what are the different ways at an "instant moment" of finding the "Key" or the chords that will match this song so we just don't get the thoughts of "Oh Well" thats just another song i can't play yet! Hope you have understood my question fully & can use this in a lesson as i'm probably not alone when it comes to hearing a song & want to jam along with it:) Kind Regards Mike Adelaide."

Starting a Band - Which Instruments?

Teddy15711 asked "Hi, I would like to start a band. Which instruments should I have in the band?"

Playing on Electric and Acoustic

Nrm3304 wrote "I've been playing guitar for about 6 months now. I started out with an acoustiuc and then bought an electric. I find myself playing the acoustic more. I will learn new stuff on the acoustic, but I find it hard to play on the electric. I'm mostly having strumming issues. I don't know what to do. I like playing both guitars. Do you have any suggestions to make the electric easier to play?"

Metronome Use and Strumming

Felipe asked "This question is for Mark Lincoln how can I use the metronome with down down up down strumming or down up strumming? I have problems with my rhythm, can help me the metronome? Thank you. Felipe."

Finding the Key

Mikelly asked "Hi Jamplay Team I'm fairly new to this website as a subscribed member & enjoying it very much, the teachers so far that i have watched lessons on are "Awesomely" talented in the way they are so very explanative.....keep it comin!:) I have searched the Q&A's and the forums to see if i can find this topic without success, so i thought it would make a good video lesson.. How many time has a guitar player (beginner/intermediate) listened to a song on the radio or even on a CD and run to pickup the guitar to see if they can play along with it....only to find they can't find a chord that will match what is on the song....? I play Electric guitar but this can also apply to acoustic My Question......what are the different ways at an "instant moment" of finding the "Key" or the chords that will match this song so we just don't get the thoughts of "Oh Well" thats just another song i can't play yet! Hope you have understood my question fully & can use this in a lesson as i'm probably not alone when it comes to hearing a song & want to jam along with it:) Kind Regards Mike Adelaide."

Left Hand Position

Lucasholland asked "Hello JamPlay, I just got an electric guitar and I'm 100% comitted to making this thing talk. Now the problem is my left hand. I can play chords just fine but doing my finger exercises on the lower 3-4 strings (E,A,D, sometimes even G) hurts my hand, my wrist and my entire forearm to the point where I have to stop playing. This happens after a couple of seconds. I know that this is a sign that my left hand technique is severely flawed. Here's what I've tried to do so far: - I have tried using a strap to put the guitar at an angle. Doesn't help. - I have tried different thumb positions behind the neck. No luck. - I know not being relaxed is a part of the problem but surely something else must be wrong. I really want to learn how to play guitar but I'm starting to think about giving up on it because of my problems. If I had any good teachers near me I would've started taking private lessons by now but that's not an option. PLEASE help! Lucas."

Technique Question

Lucasholland asked "Hey guys, in addition to my other open Q&A I've got another question: When playing (especially on the low E string) should there be a gap between my hand and the neck or is it okay for my hand to touch the neck (and to mute the high E) while doing my exercises on the low E string. I realize that it's not okay for the high E to be muted when you're playing a chord that needs that note but in other situations (like finger exercises) is it okay for that to be the case or is it a bad habit I should correct? Thanks, Lucas."

Harmonic Question

Gregory Gage asked "Hey guys I had a question about harmonics and wanted to know if you could give me some help i don't completely understand how to to make that sound and its really hard because my instructor isn;t being specific, please help me out."

Song Writing

Impulse asked "Hello, I would like to ask about song writing because I put a band together and we can only play other bands songs but I would like to write my own song, also I'm a metal player. Dennis you rule."

Wrist and Forearm Pain While Playing

Lucasholland asked "Hello, I think there's something wrong with my technique. Even after playing very short periods of time, my left wrist and forearm (and sometimes my thumb as well) become really tense and I find it very uncomfortable to play. Yesterday, I practises for 2-3 hours (according to my mother, I didn't really notice...) and now my left wrist and to a lesser extent also my left forearm are in a terrible state. I realise that some of it might have something to do with muscle strength not being quite there yet, but surely playing guitar shouldn't hurt your wrist and forearm! Here's what I'm planning to do: 1. I'm gonna get a second strap button installed so I can wear a strap to angle my guitar. Also, I'm gonna have the action lowered and I'm gonna use lighter gauge strings. 2. I'm gonna warm up before playing, stretch my fingers and my wrists. 3. I'm gonna try to relax while playing, not push down too hard on the strings. Is there anything else apart from the things listed above that I can do to fix the problem? Thank you very much in advance and keep up the great work, Lucas."

Down Picking and Speed

Seppo asked "Hi everybody! I've been trying to play some easy metal song like Walk from Pantera or for whom the bell tolls from Metallica, but I've had some problems with fast downpicking parts. I can't keep up with the speed, just playing the open E string fast is hard for me. I was wondering if I might have something wrong with my technique, 'cos the upper part of my right arm gets painful easily from fast downpicking. Sorry for bad grammar and thanks for helping! :)."

Learning Other Things

Heavyd asked "Hello, ive been playing guitar in maybe 2-3 years, and i started out with blues and very soft rock, but now i'm playing metal and hard rock. is there anything that i specifically should go learn, for these genres? like Anugs Young(AC/DC Ofc) use blues? please respond."

Thumb and the Neck

Pajammer asked "Hi Steve! IM having trouble keeping my thumb on the back of the fretboard. While practicing the chromatic scale it getin the way. Any suggestions?"

Metronome Use and Strumming

Felipe asked "This question is for Mark Lincoln how can I use the metronome with down down up down strumming or down up strumming? I have problems with my rhythm, can help me the metronome? Thank you. Felipe."

Walking Bass Lines and Speed

ambcons asked "For Steve Eulberg, I've found very hard to improve my bass line (Level 2). What is the best way to practice? I'm trying it with metronome (slowww time) with a "pick"(is it right?) and without it (only with my right hand). It´s also difficult to know the timing to do the walking bass and remain synchronized with metronome in a 4/4 time after changing to the next chord."

Wrist and Forearm Pain While Playing

Lucasholland "Hello, I think there's something wrong with my technique. Even after playing very short periods of time, my left wrist and forearm (and sometimes my thumb as well) become really tense and I find it very uncomfortable to play. Yesterday, I practices for 2-3 hours (according to my mother, I didn't really notice...) and now my left wrist and to a lesser extent also my left forearm are in a terrible state. I realise that some of it might have something to do with muscle strength not being quite there yet, but surely playing guitar shouldn't hurt your wrist and forearm! Here's what I'm planning to do: 1. I'm gonna get a second strap button installed so I can wear a strap to angle my guitar. Also, I'm gonna have the action lowered and I'm gonna use lighter gauge strings. 2. I'm gonna warm up before playing, stretch my fingers and my wrists. 3. I'm gonna try to relax while playing, not push down too hard on the strings. Is there anything else apart from the things listed above that I can do to fix the problem? Thank you very much in advance and keep up the great work, Lucas."

Down Picking and Speed

Seppo asked "Hi everybody! I've been trying to play some easy metal song like Walk from Pantera or for whom the bell tolls from Metallica, but I've had some problems with fast downpicking parts. I can't keep up with the speed, just playing the open E string fast is hard for me. I was wondering if I might have something wrong with my technique, 'cos the upper part of my right arm gets painful easily from fast downpicking. Sorry for bad grammar and thanks for helping! :)"

Bellying

Floorshaker asked "Hi guys! First of all thank you from England, UK, for a fabulous website. It really is great and Steve Eulberg is the best teacher I could imagine having. Second, I have just treated myself to a Martin HD-28P and it has a certain amount of bellying below the bridge. I was told that this was something to be expected on a 20-year-old Martin but should I just keep an eye on it, get it checked regularly by a luthier or get it sorted out straight away? I have heard that Martins are prone to this, but how much bellying is acceptable and when should I start to panic? Thanks, and keep up the great work. Chris."

Violin to guitar transition

Ricky asked "Hey again JamPlay, this is my 3rd Q&A. I have been playing the violin for 7 years, so I know all the scale theory. I just seem to have a hard time memorizing chords.. do you have any idea how i can use my knowledge of the violin and easily adapt to the guitar? Obviously I have time signature, key signature, etc all down i just have a hard time bringing this knowledge over to the guitar. Please help and keep up the good work -Ricky54326"

Tabs and Chords

Dear Jim, Just recently I joined jamplay.com. And here is my first question. How do you read tabs that are written like this: [Intro] C C Am G/B G/B C G Am I close my eye G Dm7 A7 G/B only for a moment, and the moment's gone. C G/B Am All my dreams G Dm7 Am pass before my eyes, a curiosity. D/F# G Am Am/G Dust in the wind. D/F# G Am All they are is dust in the wind. I know that you must listen to the song and then play the chords, but I just cant seem to get the strumming right. As i said I just joined the site 2 days ago but I like it very much. Its more organized and the instructors like you seem to point out the beginners mistakes better then on my old website. Regards, Yordan Ivanov

Violin to guitar transition

Ricky54326 writes: "Hey again JamPlay, this is my 3rd Q&A. I have been playing the violin for 7 years, so I know all the scale theory. I just seem to have a hard time memorizing chords.. do you have any idea how i can use my knowledge of the violin and easily adapt to the guitar? Obviously I have time signature, key signature, etc all down i just have a hard time bringing this knowledge over to the guitar. Please help and keep up the good work."

Strumming Technique, Holding the Pick Question

Lucas Holland writes: "Hello, I'm trying to improve my strumming, using a pick. I know how to hold the pick but I'm still having some problems: 1. Should I angle the pick when striking the strings? If I angle it (upwards for downstrokes, so that the tip is pointing to my face, downwards for upstrokes, so that the tip of the pick is pointing to my belly), it seems to be easier but the pick sometimes moves out of position. If I hold onto it too hard, my hand ends up hurting. 2. How hard should I strike the strings? Thanks, Lucas "

What are triads?

Philman writes: "Hello there, I would like to learn about triads, 1st 2nd and 3rd inversions can somebody at Jamplay.com help me out. Thank you for your time and great site."

Master of Puppets Solo

Fenderboy writes: "Hi, I'm working on Metallica's Master of puppets solo 2. When it starts, there are some really fast notes on it. I don't really get it how to do this. When I play it, there is limitation of speed. I think there might be a special fingering. Please please give me some tips about this solo... Have a great day!! :)"

Playing Metal Lead

Akelley asked "Im sorry if you got my other form of this question first but i just saw the other Q and A solo questions and that brought attention to me. in the three videos you guys just talk about solo stuff. can you show some moe techniques and things like that. im in a metal band and have no clue how to write a true metal solo. what key of what scale should I play, or maybe what arpeggios?"

Tuning Down a Floyd Rose Tremelo

Guitarguy asked "Hi this is for dennis. My Ibanez has a Original Floyd Rose tremelo system. While i was getting my strings done at guitar center, they asked what tuning i wanted. I said that i wanted D tuning(so i can play children of bodom lol). The guy told me my guitar wasnt made for "Down-tuning". so my question is, is there anyway i could tune down? thanks a bunch METAL FOR LIFE JAMPLAY ROCKS! GuitarGuy"

John Mayer Style picking

Kenstyle asked "I'm curious about John Mayer's technique in this youtube video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YPvkSo1itgc&feature=related. He uses his thumb and index finger throughout the song and the net effect of this technique is that it sounds like a strum with a pick. Any help would be great. Thanks! Ken"

Barre Chords and the A13 Chord

Midnightryder29 asks "I've been taking d mac's basic guitar lesson's. I'm learning a lot. I watch the one on basic notes,chords, arpeggios and I was trying a A13 cord but the bottom string or 1st sting keeps coming up flat. I was just wondering if you have any suggestions. Thanks keep up the good work.

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