Learn Blues Guitar - New Lessons

New course alert. Learn the flavors of the blues by navigating the roadmap of storied bluesman throughout history. 5 artists. 40 lessons. Check out the free previews and course details.

Guitar Help for Common Issues (Page 2.6)

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.

Upstroke Without a Pick

Domovoy asked "Hi guys! Question from a beginner about playing without a pick. I'm trying to figure out how to do down and upstrokes by hand (mostly for the chorus parts of songs / bridges where the usual strumming pattern gets boring). The downstrokes, where the nails of my fingers strike the strings, come pretty naturally. But on the way up, some of my fingers (pinky and ring finger mostly) get caught on the High-E and B strings. Are there any (1) hand positions/movements, and (2) exercises that you guys can recommend to fix the problem? Many thanks! -- Dmitry."

Drop Tuning

Castline1993 asked "Hi guys. I have a couple of questions about drop tuning that i hope you can help me with. I just recently started listening to some bands that use drop tuning in all of there songs. I want to learn to play these songs but I did not want to mess with my Floyd Rose on my strat so I bought an inexpensive Epiphone Les Pual. A friend told me that I should put heavier gauge strings if I am going to drop tune. He recommended .11 or .012. What do you think? Also, these bands drop tune anywhere from B-flat to D. Will I be able to go back and forth with different tunings without needing to re-set the action and intonation? If I set everything at, let's say, Drop C tuning, would that be a "happy medium" so that I could go back and forth with ease? Thanks for your help guys. Castline1993 is out."

Open Chords

Aquariarty asked "Hi Steve, I've noticed quite a few open chords where one or two of the strings are x'd out (not included) on the diagram of how to play the chord. My question is how do you play these chords ? Especially if you're strumming, it seems impossible to miss out strings other than the 1st or 6th ? Thanks."

Tuning Down a Half Step

Onebobstirling asked "When you tune down a half or hole step do you keep playing the same cord patterns or do the patterns change to make the cord harmonically correct? Example, if you are tuned down one hole step and play an "A" cord pattern the notes that are played are BGD, not ACE."

Question on Landslide

Clarky40 asked "Is there an advantage to playing Landslide with just your middle and index fingers, with your thumb playing the lower strings, as opposed to using your thumb for just the bass note and your index, middle and ring fingers doing the rest?"

Changing Strings

Felipe asked "I changed strings to my ephiphone sg g-400 electric guitar, originally this guitar came with light gauge (0.010 - 0.046), but I installed brite wires medium light (0.011 - 0.050), now, my guitar has an excellent sound with this change on the strings, but, this change would damage my guitar in any of its parts? Felipe."

Using the Metronome

Daveclamp asked "Hi all, I'm working my way through the phase 1 lessons and I've come across the dreaded metronome! I'm only in my first week so what I'm going to ask may be covered in later lessons? Would it be possible to demonstrate actually using a metronome for a couple of songs. Could this include showing how you work out how to set it up (i.e. how to work out the beat etc by listening to a song, a couple of demos would help). Also, could you demo the use of the Jamplay metronome, especially how to use the multiple beat emphasis option? Thanks for providing an excellent service...I'll send Steve Eulberg an apple! Regards, Dave."

Other Instruments

Curranni asked "would it be an eventual hope of jamplays to eventually start introducing other instruments to jamplay, i think its the logical and next big step for this site, even as it continues to improve and grow. i would love to see a jamplay drumming, bass rthym (sorry can never spell it) and so on.. i know music is endless but it would be cool. you could also introduce interviews with instructors, guitarists famous musicians, even small documentaries and so on, that members can watch exclusively on the site, i think that would be great in addition to the fantastic job that you are all already doing, i've been playing Irish music since i was 8 and i think, gosh if this was done for Irish trad it would reach so many people around the world, so i think that's what you are already doing, why not go further i say.. you may have to up the price though its getting too good haha..."

New Guitar and Tuning

Buddy7b89 asked "My guitar is in tune but it just doesnt sound anywhere as good as the instructors guitars ive played with my amp all i can do u think its just the guitar its a cheap yamaha eg 112c?"

Jeff Healy

Hcso asked "I just wanted to say something about the late great Jeff Healy. Anyone who likes blues and rock and roll who don't know the name look him up because he was the real deal. He was blind since the age of 1 and still managed to become a legend. Playing with the likes of Stevie Ray Vaughn. I was wondering if anyone has tried to play the guitar blind folded to get the same affect Healey had to over come, and would this be an awesome way to strengthen your senses around the guitar? I would think if you can play good blind you would be able to play great without. Me I'm not to good blind folded because I look at the guitar a lot but I'm working on it. Mainly would be good for beginners I think. I like the idea. Josh."

Floyd Rose Buzz Problems

Mdpf asked "Well, a problem with buzzes has come up . It seems that every time I pick the Low E and the A string harder, it buzzes like hell. The problem goes away on the higher frets, where I can only hear a tiny buzz. Solutions? Thanks in advance."

Playing with Other Guitarists

Herronc33 asked "When playing with multiple guitars what are some tips, guidelines, or even examples of how you can make them compliment each other. I've noticed that it tends to sound muddy if you play the same thing. Thanks and God Bless, Chris."

Pedals and Multieffects

Ignacio12 asked "Hi JamPlay . Have a very good Christmas and New Year. I am having trouble deciding whether to buy some pedals because they say that it sounds better or to buy a cheaper with all the effects multi effects . Can you please help me out?"

Tuning a Half Step Down

Wcanderson asked "This question is for Mark Lincoln. I am on lesson 4 of your beginner set, and I noticed that your Martin is tuned 1/2 down. Do you prefer to play this way? What are the benefits, and is the key change weird when you play with others? Thanks."

Playing with Other Guitarists

Herronc33 asked "When playing with multiple guitars what are some tips, guidelines, or even examples of how you can make them compliment each other. I've noticed that it tends to sound muddy if you play the same thing. Thanks and God Bless, Chris."

Backing Track Recording

Toddz71 asked "I have notice when practicing with your backing tracks “jams” that they really sound high quality. I know your teaches writes these themselves, what type and brand of the equipment do they use it sounds so good! I looking for a good drum machine and recording unit. I currently have a Korg Tone works PXR4 and Digitech guitar effects. Can you recommend a particular setup; I didn’t want to spend more than a $1000-1300 if I can help it. Thanks."

Rock and the Blues

Domovoy asked "Hey guys, can you explain the Rock N' Roll - Blues connection in tangible terms? I keep reading online that "Rock N' Roll evolved from the Blues" and "Rock is based on the Blues," but nothing more specific than that. Sometimes the connection is pretty easy to hear (on a lot of Slash's stuff for example), but sometimes it isn't. It would be great if you if you could explain it in musical terms. Thanks a lot! -Dmitry."

Heavy Metal and Pedals

Jimenezr asked "A question that any of you head bangers can answer. What pedal and amp combination is better for heavy metal and rock. I have a big muff with a beginner amplifier but it doesn't quite sound the same as when Dennis plays the tunes."

Sound Frustration

Mowgli asked "I have a Lyon by Washburn Idol electric guitar, but i've been messing with teh dials forever and I just can't get it sound like David MacKenzie's it doesn't sound at all like the cool weeeeeorrrrr type sound that an electric guitar is supposed to sound like. It sounds almost like an acoustic. Am i doing something wrong or do i need to get a new amp? The amp i have came wiht the beginner starter kit thing?"

Pedals and Multieffects

Ignacio12 asked "Hi JamPlay . Have a very good Christmas and New Year. I am having trouble deciding whether to buy some pedals because they say that it sounds better or to buy a cheaper with all the effects multi effects . Can you please help me out?"

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."

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