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 5.4)

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.

new used guitar

Dallas says, "Bought a used schecter diamond series elite7 string.had esp ltd and still have. been playing 6months and I'm 48yrs old. Is this a good guitar to practice on or should i get more experience. neck is wider and i have to stretch more on chords plus i have to play up a string. makes me concentrate more.also is the 7th string tuned in B?"

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?"

Guitar Action

Jdemail78 asks, "I hear a lot about guitar action but I'm not really sure what is good or bad. I had purchased an acoustic guitar that I believe had very low action (strings were very close to the neck of the guitar) and it was very easy to play but it ended up having some issues with fret buzz and other ringing sounds that I did not like and could not get corrected at the local guitar shop. I've since replaced it with a little bit better guitar and I no longer have any fret buzz nor do I have any ringing sounds but it seems like the action is higher (strings are much higher off the neck of the guitar) and therefore, for me as a beginner, it is harder to play. My question is when it comes to an experienced guitar player (which I am not...yet...) is it good to have a guitar with higher action or lower action? What would one typically prefer? Do really nice expensive guitars come with very low action making them easy to play but don't have any buzzing issues or is it a case where as you get better, higher action is ok because your better at fretting chords and notes? My curiosity with this comes from a hope that the guitar I have now, with it's strings higher off the fret board, will slowly become easier to play as I get better and I'll become ok with the higher action because it does sound better and cleaner than the one I had with the lower action. Also, please correct me if I have the "high action" "low action" descriptions backwards."

whammy bar

Hgnative says, "When i first started playing guitar i took of my whammy bar . i want to use it now and cant seem to get the hang of it well playing any help would be appreciated and whats a dive bomb?"

metal songs

Dennis, you *expletive* rock the house, keep coming up with the hits your an awesome instructor. You and matt are the reasons I got this membership. but anyways I just wanted to request some metal music like "laid to rest" by lamb of god, or some good megadeth songs, and also a killer song would be "lonely day" by system of a down and include the actual solo in it (the solo is why I like the song). Which brings me to a question. Why don't you guys teach the guitar solo's? those are the best parts of the songs and the only solo on this site is parasite by kiss. which is still a good solo but I'd like to learn the solos to paranoid, and the trooper and shit like that. So write me back with some info about the songs I requested and the guitar solo, thanks guys peace.

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 says, "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."

Guitar Action

Jdemail78 asks, "I hear a lot about guitar action but I'm not really sure what is good or bad. I had purchased an acoustic guitar that I believe had very low action (strings were very close to the neck of the guitar) and it was very easy to play but it ended up having some issues with fret buzz and other ringing sounds that I did not like and could not get corrected at the local guitar shop. I've since replaced it with a little bit better guitar and I no longer have any fret buzz nor do I have any ringing sounds but it seems like the action is higher (strings are much higher off the neck of the guitar) and therefore, for me as a beginner, it is harder to play. My question is when it comes to an experienced guitar player (which I am not...yet...) is it good to have a guitar with higher action or lower action? What would one typically prefer? Do really nice expensive guitars come with very low action making them easy to play but don't have any buzzing issues or is it a case where as you get better, higher action is ok because your better at fretting chords and notes? My curiosity with this comes from a hope that the guitar I have now, with it's strings higher off the fret board, will slowly become easier to play as I get better and I'll become ok with the higher action because it does sound better and cleaner than the one I had with the lower action. Also, please correct me if I have the "high action" "low action" descriptions backwards."

strings

Kenrahn asks, "Hi, I'm a beginner so I would like to know what would be the best strings for this type of guitar. It's an Alvarez Model CY135. Thank You for your help. Ken Rahn"

Mark Lincoln - Singing

Ricky54326 asks, "I have a question, I was at the store the other day and I saw some spray that's supposed to help singing or something, what does it exactly do? Is it worth buying?"

Callus

Jdemail78 says, "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."

change easy song tabs into alternating bass fingerpicking song

Tommeken says, "Hello there in the far west Playing for a few months all kinds of chords for now and i learned a few lessons from Jim and Steve about finger picking. Now i wanna learn some songs my daughter recognizes so she can sing along. Is there an easy way tot change those simple melody tabs from a songbook into a nice sounding finger picking tune with alternating bass. I mean songs like Alouette, country roads, and so on... Where to begin? what should i keep in mind ? scales? chords ? greetings and thanks for all those nice lessons... Tom"

Mark Lincoln - Singing

Ricky54326 says, "I have a question, I was at the store the other day and I saw some spray that's supposed to help singing or something, what does it exactly do? Is it worth buying?"

First Guitar

Paigew says, "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?"

Small hands

Martin says, "Hi, Great website. Only problem is I'm spending more time watching than practicing!! I currently use a Epiphone Black Beauty Les Paul Custom. This is a great guitar but it has a thick neck and my hands are quite small. Could you recommend a thin neck guitar that would help any of us with small hands? I think a thin neck would certainly help. Cheers, Martin"

reading sheet music

Scando says "Hi there, I am working through a classical guitar book and have come across some annotation I don't quite understand. C.2 --- C.9 --- C.2 --- C.1 --- C.7. What do the various C's stand for? Hope my diagram makes some sense Lars"

Thumb Independence

Kenstyle asks, "How much is the thumb really independent during finger style and how much of it is super coordination with the right hand? thanks in advance!!! Love the lessons"

Guitar Action

Jdemail78 says, "I hear a lot about guitar action but I'm not really sure what is good or bad. I had purchased an acoustic guitar that I believe had very low action (strings were very close to the neck of the guitar) and it was very easy to play but it ended up having some issues with fret buzz and other ringing sounds that I did not like and could not get corrected at the local guitar shop. I've since replaced it with a little bit better guitar and I no longer have any fret buzz nor do I have any ringing sounds but it seems like the action is higher (strings are much higher off the neck of the guitar) and therefore, for me as a beginner, it is harder to play. My question is when it comes to an experienced guitar player (which I am not...yet...) is it good to have a guitar with higher action or lower action? What would one typically prefer? Do really nice expensive guitars come with very low action making them easy to play but don't have any buzzing issues or is it a case where as you get better, higher action is ok because your better at fretting chords and notes? My curiosity with this comes from a hope that the guitar I have now, with it's strings higher off the fret board, will slowly become easier to play as I get better and I'll become ok with the higher action because it does sound better and cleaner than the one I had with the lower action. Also, please correct me if I have the "high action" "low action" descriptions backwards."

whammy bar

Hgnative says, "When i first started playing guitar i took of my whammy bar . i want to use it now and cant seem to get the hang of it well playing any help would be appreciated and whats a dive bomb?"

new used guitar

Dallas says, "Bought a used schecter diamond series elite7 string.had esp ltd and still have. been playing 6months and I'm 48yrs old. Is this a good guitar to practice on or should i get more experience. neck is wider and i have to stretch more on chords plus i have to play up a string. makes me concentrate more.also is the 7th string tuned in B?"

strings

Kenrahn says, "Hi, I'm a beginner so I would like to know what would be the best strings for this type of guitar. It's an Alvarez Model CY135. Thank You for your help. Ken Rahn"

Hell's Bells

Frisa asks, "Hi Dave enjoy your lessons im having problems with the second change of song going from the c chord to the the the slide to the the second fret i use my fourth finger because i cant stretch it like you can so if you have another technique im willing to learn a long song to remember im still going over lesson also i want to learn leads from the roots of the chords what would you suggest thanks for your time and hoping you can help i have been playing along time but never had great instructions like you and jamplay have"

expensive guitars..?

Teewii asks, "hi there! im a beginner guitarist, and i bought an electric guitar from a friend for about 220$(including amp, so it was kinda cheap) even i can see that its not the best guitar in the world, but i guess its more than great for a beginner. but anyway ive been looking around the net at sites where they sell guitars, and i see many that are sold for more than 2000$ (some even more expensive). i was thinking, as i get better, i will get a new guitar, and in that case i was wondering; is there a lot of difference between expensive and "cheaper" guitars? what is different? is it just the sound? and what makes a guitar worth paying 2000$ for? please explain what a good guitar is. hope somebody can answer me. btw, this site is so great =) thanks."

nylon string guitar

Hgnative asks, "hi another question im going to buy a accoustic guitar i love classical guitar sound and i do (try) to play if i was to buy a nylon string guitar can i still play other music on this with out sounding bad like country rock are is this guitar just for classical thank you jamplay PS every time i see classical guitar music being played its on a nylon string guitar"

David Mackenzie

Hcso asks, "I'm asking you this question because you seem to know ACDC very well. When I'm playing the beginning riff to highway to hell I'm getting a real bad buzzing or squealing noise when I transition from D to the rock G chord. It's in the beggining of the song, do I need to find a new chord to try to fit it in to the song. I've tried to palm mute and I can still hear it. Josh Alloway"

Guitar Theory

Brentald asks, "Hi Steve, I am greatly enjoying your lessons...have always wanted to learn, and am making progress. I have tried in the past on my own, but I found that all I was doing was learning by rote. Someone would show me exactly what to do, and I could do it... but that was the extent of it...I couldn't improvise or put anything together on my own. I was also a bit impatient and wanted to sound like Eric Clapton after about two weeks!! Well, I know that's not going to happen sooo...I am on lesson five with you and have made great progress, just strumming chords and enjoying moving them around to produce the simple songs we've strummed so far. However, I can't read music, and in the past when chord theory has been explained to me, or I have tried to read about it, I become utterly lost and confused. I really want to do this....I am 50 years old and don't want to get discouraged again by my inability to understand chord theory....I don't consider myself an idiot...(though some may disagree!!)....I make my living flying Captain on a corporate jet....My question is this....does your experience show that things will eventually begin to make sense as I progress? I am doing fine with the physical aspect of learning, however the theory right now is like trying to drink water from a fire hose. Any advice would really be appreciated. I just don't want to get discouraged as I have in the past. I am really enjoying your lessons, and you make learning the playing part of it easy. Thanks a bunch, Brent"

My Fingers Hurt

Fire Heart asks, "Hi Steve, Jim, Anthony and all Intructor ! I have played guitar for 3 months, and I have some problem with my finger. My finger-ends is very hurt. How about that ( dangerous or something ) ?."

Chord Songbook

Mogs asks, "Hi wonder if you can help please. I've only been playing guitar for a few months and still mastering the basic chords. Somtimes this gets a little boring so I try learn a popular song to add a little fun to my practice sessions. The problem I have is how to read chord songbooks. For example I have a Johnny Cash Song 'Ballad of A Teenage Queen' the intro is written in the book as: CAPO 1ST FRET [A] Dream on, Dream on, [D] teenage [A] queen [D] Prettiest [A] girl we've [E] ever [A] seen. I understand the capo part and have it set up correctly. My question is how many times do I strum the chords ? Looking at the above is it, (A) on 'dream' only or (A) on 'dream' and 'on'. I kind of get it if theres only one word after the chord but when theres two or three I'm not sure wether I strum on each word even though it doesnt show the chord before each word. Hope this is not a silly question, but would really appreciate your advice. Thanks Mogs PS. The site is fantastic, its given me so much motivation to keep on with the practice sessions."

Shifting Chords

Dsrinath_123 asks, "Hi Steve, this is srinath here, enjoying your basic lessons. I have started learning guitar a few months back before joining jamplay, i learned a few chords and while i was doing a chord shifting i used to hit all open strings in the last beat, this is how I learned (I dont want to mention from where i learned). To explain a bit more, let me put this way, I am strumming a 4/4 eight note strum( D U D U D U D U) and two chords Dmajor and Gmajor and when I am going to shift from Dmajor to Gmajor or vice versa, I would hit all open strings at the last note(U) , but in your lesson it seems that we have to shift after the last note, i want to know whether what i am doing now is correct or not, if not please provide me some exercise to correct it. I would be very glad if my question is answered by Steve Eulberg."

Playing Lead and Scales

Larryjfr asks, "I'm just curious to see if I really heard what I thought I heard Steve say? My comment arose because I thought I was understanding the Diatonic Major Scale and Pattern, and the Two Octave Pattern and the Two Octave Pattern on the 5th string. As I was watching Steve's explanation on Scene 5 (Two Octave Pattern) and especially Scene 6 (Two Octave Pattern on 5th String) There were a couple of times Steve was talking about playing the scale on the 5th "fret" and the 6th "fret", yet, I think he meant to say, that he was starting to play the scales on either the 5th string or the 6th string. Because at the time I was watching him, he was playing the scales on 3rd fret, 5th fret and 8th frets also showing us how to always look for the beginning of the scale plus look for what is situated next to it. Also he was explaining how this Two Octave Pattern scale pattern begins on the 5th string, not the sixth string. Yet, he kept saying "playing it on the 5th fret and the 6th fret". I was a little confused ... yet ... I kept expecting him to correct himself ... and ... when he didn't ... I started questioning myself, did I misunderstand him... or ... did I miss something? Steve, thanks for the JamPlay lessons ... I've learned a lot from you is these 14 lessons! Larry F."

nylon string guitar

Hgnative asks, "hi another question im going to buy a accoustic guitar i love classical guitar sound and i do (try) to play if i was to buy a nylon string guitar can i still play other music on this with out sounding bad like country rock are is this guitar just for classical thank you jamplay PS every time i see classical guitar music being played its on a nylon string guitar"

Mustang vs. Jaguar

Laurenb asks, "Hi, I am about to buy a short-scale guitar and have played both the Fender Mustang and Jaguar in the shop and liked both. If any of the instructors have played or know about these guitars could you please tell me if you think one is better than the other in regards to tone, body shape, maintenance and overall quality? Are there any problems with either guitar in your opinion? I don't want to have to spend extra on upgrades and constant maintenance. Any advice would be much appreciated. Oh, I live in Japan so both guitars are Japan-made re-issues. Thanks, Lauren"

expensive guitars..?

Teewii asks, "hi there! im a beginner guitarist, and i bought an electric guitar from a friend for about 220$(including amp, so it was kinda cheap) even i can see that its not the best guitar in the world, but i guess its more than great for a beginner. but anyway ive been looking around the net at sites where they sell guitars, and i see many that are sold for more than 2000$ (some even more expensive). i was thinking, as i get better, i will get a new guitar, and in that case i was wondering; is there a lot of difference between expensive and "cheaper" guitars? what is different? is it just the sound? and what makes a guitar worth paying 2000$ for? please explain what a good guitar is. hope somebody can answer me. btw, this site is so great =) thanks."

Guitar Theory

Brentald asks, "Hi Steve, I am greatly enjoying your lessons...have always wanted to learn, and am making progress. I have tried in the past on my own, but I found that all I was doing was learning by rote. Someone would show me exactly what to do, and I could do it... but that was the extent of it...I couldn't improvise or put anything together on my own. I was also a bit impatient and wanted to sound like Eric Clapton after about two weeks!! Well, I know that's not going to happen sooo...I am on lesson five with you and have made great progress, just strumming chords and enjoying moving them around to produce the simple songs we've strummed so far. However, I can't read music, and in the past when chord theory has been explained to me, or I have tried to read about it, I become utterly lost and confused. I really want to do this....I am 50 years old and don't want to get discouraged again by my inability to understand chord theory....I don't consider myself an idiot...(though some may disagree!!)....I make my living flying Captain on a corporate jet....My question is this....does your experience show that things will eventually begin to make sense as I progress? I am doing fine with the physical aspect of learning, however the theory right now is like trying to drink water from a fire hose. Any advice would really be appreciated. I just don't want to get discouraged as I have in the past. I am really enjoying your lessons, and you make learning the playing part of it easy. Thanks a bunch, Brent"

No Tone

Customs123 asks, "Hello gents, I recently purchased a new guitar and can't seem to get any tone after the tenth fret. It sounds as though I'm hitting a snare drum. I'm going to take it to the local guitar tech and see what he says, but also looking for your advice. Thanks, barry Mac"

Understanding Notes

Rodwhitney49 asks, "Steve, I have been taking your lessons, and I think they are great, but I am worried that I am missing something. When you start naming off string names and notes that each finger is playing, I am lost instantly. Do i need to understand what you are doing to advance? If so, how do you recommend that I learn what it is you are talking about. I am on your fifth lesson and i am doing alright at playing what you say to play but I am not sure about my level of understanding. What do I do? Thank You For Your Help, rodwhitney49"

Arpeggios

Sauly asks, "I am an acoustic guitar player & singer in a band, there is only 3 of us & im keen to move on to electric thats more the direction i want to take my music. So i want to be able to cover rhythm and lead. Could someone put up some more information on arpeggio's ? I practice all the time but i just cant seem to get to the next level of soloing or fills around chords. Is arpeggio's the right direction?"

Fretless Guitar

Potownrob asks, "While fretless bassists are not rare, it seems there are very few fretless guitarists who play regular six-string guitars without frets. I was wondering if any of the instructors or other staff had any experience playing fretless guitar and what it was like."

tube amps

Hgnative asks, "im still new at guitar and dont understand it all (yet) my question is whats the diffrence between a tube amp and what i guess you can call a regular amp just found out about the tube amp in a magazine checked it out on the net a little the only thing they explain is the price what can be $$wow$$ i am completley iggnorent to it can anyone explain the diffrence thanks."

Rhythm Help

Fireheart asks, "Hi all Instructors ! I love music, but I can't know rhythm of songs. ( maybe Disco, balad, Fox, Rock, Surt, ... ) Can you teach me that ? How to practice it (practice my ear to listen it) ? Thanks and sorry about my bad English ! Fire Heart."

Palm Muting

Nmound asks, "Can someone give me a quick lesson on palm muting. I am working my way through various lessons (including beginner) and find much of the music i like involves this technique. Just a quick show and tell would be perfect. Thank you...Keep up the good work!!!"

Walking Bass Line

Toolfan88 asks, "what is a walking bass line? how can it be applied to guitar players?"

Chord Families

Jzcode asks, "Brad, I would like to know what chords and chord family's should I know to be considered a good Rock Rhythm guitarist? What other chords farther up the fret board should I learn that are usually not covered in beginning lessons? An example, Dmaj7 on the 9th fret. Thanks..."

Finger Positioning

Fairchildj asks, "I have just recently began with Phase I of training. One issue that I am having is that I find placing my fingers in the right frets extremely difficult for my middle two fingers. My fingers curl on each other a bit 3rd finger overlapping the 4th finger...so when I place them on the frets, the 3rd finger wants to poing back towards the 2nd fret instead of where it should be on the 3rd fret. By sliding my hand a bit, I can overcome this but I don't want to pick up a bad habit that will limit my advancement in the future...any recommendations?"

Chords Structure

Scopexs asks, "I have found chords in my chord book that can be identically fingered...C6 and the Am7. Both chords give the option of playing it with the D string fingered at the 2nd fret and the B string fingered at the 1st fret while the other strings are played open. What is confusing is why are the two chord structures the same and can be fingered the same yet are called by two different names. This is confusing when learning chords. Is there an easy explanation as to why two chord structures would be called by two different names. Thanks"

Practice Materials

Bmachiran asks, "Are there any beginning materials (books) that offer good drills that might help me structure my practice time and improve my hand strength, chord progressions and scale familiarization? Thanks, Brian"

Solo Creation

Ragdoll asks, "Hello. Long story short, I have a really big problem with coming up with solos even after seeing your response to 3jennijarre's question. Please give me tips. thank you. "

Strumming With First Finger

Caz_sk8chick asks, "I find it easier to strum with my 1st finger......i dont use my thumb and 1st finger, or a pick. Does that matter??"

Drop Tuning

Hsco asked, "What does it mean to drop tune a note? For example some tabs with say in a part of a song to drop tune D half or full step."

Tuning 6th String

Jeremybrown5150 asked, "Wow do i tune my guitar? My top string should read 6e on the tuner right? then what? my tuner keeps jumping numbers and letters."

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