Modern Country Guitar from Andy Wood

Andy Wood offers a crash course in telecaster abuse. Learn the tools to give your playing that deep fried sass that only comes from country. Check out the free previews and course details.

Guitar Help for Common Issues (Page 3.4)

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.

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.

Mic Video

Jaron asks, "Dear Dave and Brad, I've always seen people on Youtube mic their amps while playing a guitar. How do you mic an amp while making a video? Do you record the audio and video and then you sync them together? How does it work? I've been trying to find an answer to this question for several weeks now. I'd like to know because I will start making Youtube videos soon and I want to learn how to mic an amp for a video. Can you please help me out? Thanks."

Muting

Ricky54326 asks, "Hey guys. I just started learning some chords, and I can do the ones that are 2-3 fingers like Em, D, G, etc but once I get to like the ones that involve barring and finger independence and the such, like F#m, it gets very hard for me to do them without muting other strings. Sometimes I can't even play ones like D or G without muting my other strings either, any advice for posture? Also should i be memorizing these chords? Or just learning how to play them when i see the chord tablature? Thanks again jamplay and keep up the damn good work :) -Ricky54326"

Galloping Rhythm

Ssnowman asked "Hey guys. First I just wanna say that I love JamPlay and I've learned a lot since I've signed up. My question is about galloping rhythms, such as in the song Barracuda by Heart and quite a few metal bands. Basically, why can't I do this? Albeit, I've only been playing for 6-7 months but I actually have an easier time doing 16th notes as opposed to triplets. I just can't keep a steady rhythm for some reason. Any tips on improving in this area?"

Lynyrd Skynyrd Tone

Dalydennis7 asked "Brad and Dave, I am a beginning guitar player and have progressed quite a bit in the short time I have subscribed to JamPlay. My favorite genre of music is classic rock, especially AC/DC and Lynyrd Skynyrd. My question is that I know LS has a very distinctive tone and I am interested in knowing how to achieve that tone, especially in songs like Tuesdays Gone's distinctive lead played throughout the song. I have read TAB on it and know it is essentialy bending and single notes, but I cant get the tone right. it seems like it may be fingerpicked, but not sure. If you could give me a hint I would appreciate it. thanks dalydennis7."

Tone Nob Questions

Mike4370 asked "Hey guys, my question is about tone knobs. My guitar has a five position switch, two single coil pickups and a humbucker at the bridge, two tone knobs and a volume knob. My question is when i adjust the tone knobs I dont hear any difference in tone, why dont i hear any difference? thanks. Mike."

Cat Scratch Fever Bend

JZCode45 asked "Brad, I have not been able to get that Cat Scratch Fever Bend down at all. It seems like my attempt sound more like stepping on a 15 year old cats paw than getting that Nugget sound you get. Can you give me an idea in detail how to get this sound. Are you using any effects? The rest of the lick is going fine! Thanks....JZ."

Stereo and XLR Outputs

Jaron asked "I notice that on some guitars such as the Epiphone Les Paul Ultra 2 that it has a mono and stereo output. I also notice that acoustic-electric guitars have XLR outputs. Can you explain to me where the stereo and XLR cables plug into, do they plug into two amps at the same tim, do they plug into a PA speaker, where do they go. I would appreciate the info. From Jamplay's 14 year old user, Jaron."

Backing Track Questions

Plugy asked Hii i wanted to know if the backing track that brad uses a lot the one in lesson seven that he jams to and introduces the lesson with is available to download there is one in the supliment for the lesson but not the same as brad plays i would like to get this so i can follow the lessons as close as possible to Brad."

Learning on Acoustic or Electric

Lucasholland asks "Hey guys, after realizing that my first, classical guitar is a piece of ***** when it comes to quality, adjustability and ease of play, I've decided to stick with playing the guitar and investing some more money. I've only been playing for about a week, so I'd consider myself almost a complete beginner. I've heard a lot of people say that one should start out on an acoustic guitar because it's easier to switch to an electric later than vice versa. My guitar hero is John Mayer and I'd eventually like to be able to play both acoustic and electric guitar, like him. My question is: Is it wise to start out on an electric or should I learn to play the acoustic guitar first? Thanks! Lucas."

Recording

Mav67 asks, "Hey guys I was wondering if I could get some advise on dealing with RBS (Record Button Syndrome). I learn these tunes, get the guitar part down and practice it extensively, slowly working in the singing with it, not that I can sing worth a damn but who cares. But everytime I go to record it I turn into a retard on the guitar. Everytime I mess up one way or another, if it isn't the guitar itself, I forget lines of lyrics or miss a vocal cue or try and change to the wrong chord or miss fret a given chord or what is becoming my personal favourite, messing up the picking or strum pattern. What frustrates me more than anything is that any other time I can do this with the minimum of fuss, but as soon as that Record button is pressed, it is like my mind, my voice and my fingers are on separate planets. Any advice on this matter would be appreciated, thanks in advance."

Whammy bar

Rockerdon asks, "Dear Brad and DMAC, I have two questions. First, I have a simple guitar,a peavey predator and a peavey backstage amp(a small transtube amp). I have been playing seriously for about 2 months.I am between beginner and intermediate. I'm closer to intemediate. I have finished Dmac's beginner lessons and I'm working on Brad's Classic rock lessons. I want two add some spice to my playing. My guitar has a floyd rose double locking tremelo whammy bar system, but I don't have a wammy bar. At my skill level , could I use a whammy bar and where could I buy one? also what would be a good price for one? Also my amp has overdrive, but i want more. Would u recommend an effects box or peddle? And I tryed out a Wah Wah box at guitar center. Could I use a Wah wah peddle or box?Also would u recommend a box or peddle?Also what ould be a good price for effects and wahwahs?Thanks for all the help u can give.This Site rocks. ROCK ON!!! RockerDon"

Pickups

Jc110188 asks, "I was watching David Freshman’s first lesson and I noticed his guitar had 2 different types of pick-ups. I was wondering what is the purpose of having different pick-ups and what the difference is between those pick-ups? Thanks."

Bridge

Mclend1 asks, "My question is about the bridge, which on my guitar has the tune-o-matic part for adjusting the intonation and then there's further back, the metal bar piece that the ball ends secure into. What I'm curious about is the metal bar where the strings ends lie. It has two large screws for adjusting its height, and I wondered why or when would you ever adjust that or if you even need to? Does raising or lowering that bridge part effect the tone characteristics in any way? Is it generally tightened down to the body of the guitar or not, does it even matter that much? On classical/ acoustic type guitars the bridge is glued flat to the body for better resonance, so I wondered why electric guitars have a slightly different set up. As that's where the sound connects to the guitar, I guess it must do the same thing. I'm interested to know what the adjustments might do. Hope that makes sense. Thanks in advance, Matt."

Stage Fright

Abadcoverband asks, "Hey there, I'm new around here and loving the site. All the instructors are so talented and it really blows my mind that I was missing out on so much - I've had to pay high prices for tutors once a week and I've learned more in a few days here than in a month elsewhere. So thanks! :) So, on to the questions. The first one concerns scalloped frets - I'm considering purchasing the Steve Vai JEM 77VBK guitar, and I've noticed that the frets closest to the bridge are scalloped. Could you tell me a little bit about the pros and cons of scalloping, and the differences I would expect between a scalloped and unscalloped guitar? Second, I was wondering if you had any suggestions or tips to deal with improvising on the neck, and dealing with stage fright. I recently turned down an offer to join a friend's band as a lead guitarist because I'm really unsure if I could handle the spotlight and not just end up embarassing myself. Do you know of any ways to deal with performing in front of people or tips to work up to it? When I perform in front of friends I really feel the pressure and often times my mind goes blank and I mess up the verse. I've considered busking for some money downtown but again...I'm kind of a shy guy. If you had any tips for improvising a solo, say...a back-up measure to get me out of a bad situation - let's say I forget a verse, but I know in a roundabout way how it should sound - that would be great. Thanks for your time and have a great day! -Matt"

Fast Picking

StephenWhan asks, "Can you give any advice as to how to improve fast picking techniques? By way of example, I've been messing around with the intro to Iron Maiden's "Wasted Years" for a while now and find that I keep missing the string every 3-4 picks. Either I miss the string altogether, or I dig too deep into the preceding note and it throws off my rhythm. I've tried practicing without using my left hand and get fairly accurate relatively quickly, but as soon as I re-introduce the left and start depressing strings, I go right back to missing strings again. Slowing down, I'm 100%, so it's the tempo and length of the repetition that's throwing me off. Any and all help, as always, is greatly appreciated. Jam on!"

Pedals

Bananachipz asks, "Hi Dave/Brad, I recently picked up a fantastic all-tube amp: a BlackHeart Little Giant 5w. Sounds amazing. It's single channel though, so in order to overdrive the preamp, I gotta crank it. Well 5 tube watts will still shake paint off the walls, and with a newborn baby, it's not a good idea. So I picked up a BOSS DS-1 Distortion pedal.. It sounds great.. But then I borrowed my buddie's Nady TD-1 Distortion pedal. This one uses a 12AX7 tube, and it sounds even better. I'm worried my GAS will kick-in :)... My question is: What distortion/overdrive pedals do you guys use/recommend? Thanks, BananaChipz"

First Guitar

Paigew asks, "I'm buying my first electric guitar and I am stuck.I was thinking about getting a fender strat but I do not know if I am starting out to big.Do you think I should go less or stick with the strat?"

Callus

Jdemail78 asks, "I've been taking Steve's lessons for the past month and during the first week, my finger tips hurt each day I played but I kept on playing because I knew that eventually I'd build up callus on the ends of my fingers and the pain would go away. Sure enough, that happened for the most part but recently they've been starting to hurt again. Not as much when I'm done playing, more when I start playing. After I play for a little while, the pain goes away (like a numb sorta feeling) and then by the time I'm done, they are hurting again. I guess what I'm wondering is how long does this go on for? I can tell that I have callus on my fingers but some of the pain is still there. Does it ever go away completely or do you eventually just get used to it? Thanks."

Fast Fingerstyle Picking

Kenstyle asks, "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."

Tuning

Jdemail78 asks, "I have a pretty simple question, I think, on the correct way to tune a guitar. I have an acoustic/electric guitar with a tuner built right into the electronics but my question would apply to any guitar with any sort of tuner. When you go to tune a string, should you give the string your tuning one good strum and then adjust the tuning peg, or is it better to continue to pick the string while your adjusting the peg? It seems like I can get a slightly different result doing it one way or the other. In the end, I think either way has the guitar pretty much in tune but I'm just curious if one way is better over the other or if it really doesn't matter. Thanks and keep up the great lessons."

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