August 2021

Back to School

It’s that time of year — students and teachers are getting ready to go back to school! At JamPlay, school is always in session and the classroom is always virtual. This month we’ll be getting back to basics, digging into music theory, highlighting beginner lessons, exploring practice plans, and so much more. Let’s get started with a few free lessons!


FREE LESSONS

We unlocked a few lessons to get you started.

Beginner Guitar

Dave Isaacs shows us the E7 minor and Am chords in this free lesson: “Your first song!”. Have fun playing along to the provided backing track!

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Click here if you’re already a member ›

Pop & Classic Rock

Lauren Passarelli starts a mini series in this free lesson: “Nice Chords”. She shares ten chords per lesson and breaks them down one by one.

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Rock Guitar for Beginners

Will Ripley wastes no time getting you playing actual music. Check out this cool riff in the style of Black Sabbath. You’ll be rockin’ in no time!

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Click here if you’re already a member ›

This JamPlay course covers the building blocks of Blues guitar for the Day-1 beginner player. If you’re looking for a fast-track to getting the fundamentals of the Blues under your fingers, then this is a great place to start! View course ›

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Featured Articles

Music Theory Madness: Video

Music theory can be intimidating. You feel like it's all connected...but how? JamPlay can help!

Play Outside of the Box With Open Tunings

Standard tuning is, well, standard. It provides incredible versatility and simplicity, but if it is the only tuning you use it can quickly start to get boring. Luckily, you don’t have to be boxed in by standard tuning.

Music Theory for New Guitarists

When you’re beginning to learn how to play guitar, it’s a good idea to get a basic grasp of music theory. You don’t have to know everything to be a good player, but knowing some will help you to make more informed choices of the notes and chords you play.

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Archived Monthly


July 2021

Summer Music Festival

The world of live music is opening back up and for those of us who love outdoor concerts and music festivals, it’s VERY exciting. So this month at JamPlay, we are celebrating our very own Summer Music Festival. Let’s explore some fun and inspiring guitar lessons that focus on Jam Band greats, iconic Rock solos, Bluegrass, Jazz, improvisation and more. Get started with a few of our favorite courses featured below!


FREE LESSONS

We unlocked a few lessons to get you started.

30 Iconic Licks of the Jam Band Greats

Michael Palmisano explores the most iconic licks in the Jam Band genre, inspired by guitarists such as Trey Anastasio, Warren Haynes, Jimmy Herring, and Jerry Garcia. Practice what you learn over JamTracks!

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Click here if you’re already a member ›

Bluegrass Rhythm Survival Guide

Tyler Grant introduces us to the techniques every Bluegrass player needs to know — popular rhythm patterns and chord progressions, a primer on increasing playing speed, and a guide to the stylistic flair of the Bluegrass greats.

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Click here if you’re already a member ›

Style of Santana

In this members only lesson series, Nick Kellie covers the dynamic playing style of iconic guitarist Carlos Santana. Get started with some scale and embellishment ideas and move on to chord progressions, soloing, improvisation, and composition.

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Click here if you’re already a member ›

Sign up for a JamPlay annual membership plan and you can choose from these 9 guitarist toolkits as part of your package. Explore toolkits now ›

Featured Articles

5 Techniques to Make Your Guitar Playing More Expressive

If learning guitar is one of your main goals or you’re getting back into it it’s important to get the fundamental techniques of playing down. From fingering chords to strumming rhythms to picking individual notes, making music with the guitar is becoming a reality.

Using JamTracks To Inspire Your Practice Routine

It’s easy to get stuck listening to (and playing) one style of music. But exploring new genres will not only make you a better, more well-rounded musician, it will help you get a fresh take on those old favorites too.

Barre Chords Unlock 1000s of Songs on Guitar

Quick! Play a G sharp chord. I’ll wait …

It’s easy to come up with a G chord but sharp chords can be more elusive unless you know barre chords.

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June 2021

Play Like Your Idols

The inspiration to play guitar can come from anywhere. But for many of us, we were simply blown away by the guitar idols of our youth and always wanted to play just like them. From Jimi Hendrix to Eric Clapton, Chuck Berry to Duane Allman and Joan Jett — the artists who influenced us the most ALL had signature sounds and playing techniques that we can learn from.

This month, we’re teaching you how to play like your idols at JamPlay. We have a ton of guitar lessons that focus on specific skills associated with the artists we all know and love. Let’s get started!


FREE LESSONS

We unlocked a few lessons to get you started.

Duane Allman

He single-handedly created the quintessential slide guitar sound that influenced a generation. Learn his technique.

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Eddie Van Halen

Everybody wants power chords! We’ll start by looking at Eddie’s rhythm playing, specifically his use of open position power chords.

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Albert King

It’s important to listen to and emulate the masters in order to understand blues language. Start with this legendary bluesman.

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Become a JamPlay member for unlimited access to 7000+ guitar lessons and 120+ artists and instructors. And right now, save BIG on annual membership plans during our Summer Sale. View membership plans ›

Featured Articles

Gear Guide: Getting the Classic Rock Sound

At some point in our lives as musicians, we’ve all gone down the rabbit hole when it comes to gear.

3 Famous Guitarists You Didn’t Know Served in the Military

When you think of your favorite rock and roll legends, you might think of rebels who didn’t quite fit in — misfits who marched to the beat of their own drummer.

Guitar Lesson: Doobie Brothers Long Train Runnin’

JamPlay instructor DJ Phillips breaks down the individual guitar parts, as well as the harmonica solo for this classic tune.

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May 2021

Take The Lead

Lead guitar is exactly what it sounds like: the player that gets to be in the spotlight. Most of the guitarists we all know by name play lead guitar: Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page, B.B. King, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Chuck Berry, Carlos Santana, Slash, Tom Morello…the list goes on.

Lead guitar is all about creating melody using single-note-based lines and double stops. The iconic songs we love usually include lead guitar solos and riffs that are instantly recognizable. To play lead, you need to master basic scales and arpeggios and specific techniques such as alternate picking, sweep picking, hammer ons, and pull offs with embellishments like bending, vibrato, and slides. At JamPlay, we have guitar courses that cover all of these skills from absolute beginner level to advanced.


FREE LESSONS

We unlocked a few lessons to get you started.

Berry’
Pickin

50s-Style Double Stops: Put a little Chuck Berry in your playing by incorporating some of the most familiar sounds in all of Rock ‘N Roll.

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Chicken
Pickin’

Ever listen to an R&B tune and notice a groovy guitar in the background that seems to peak out just enough to let you know that it’s still there? That’s “chicken pickin'”.

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Descending Blues
Scale Run

Minor blues scale with b5: this lick features lots of legato with some strategically picked notes that give the descent a free flowing sound..

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Become a JamPlay member for unlimited access to 7000+ guitar lessons and 120+ artists and instructors. And right now, save 50% on all membership plans during our Memorial Day Sale. View membership plans ›

Featured Articles

The 5 Accessories Every Guitarist Needs: Video Guide

In this Gear Guide, veteran musician Alex Scott walks you through 5 important accessories every beginner guitarist should invest in.

Bends, Slides & Hammer Ons

After a long stretch working on your guitar skills, you finally feel like you are starting to understand the guitar. But the guitar isn’t like riding a bike, you will lose those months of hard work if you're away for too long.

5 Techniques to Make Your Guitar Playing More Expressive

If learning guitar is one of your main goals or you’re getting back into it it’s important to get the fundamental techniques of playing down. From fingering chords to strumming rhythms to picking individual notes, making music with the guitar is becoming a reality.

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April 2021

Practice Makes Perfect

In March, it was all about your guitar do-over. If you came back to guitar, focused on the basics or found a new guitar genre or technique — now is the time to set the foundation with a solid practice routine.

“If you’re any good at all, you know you can be better.” ~ Lindsay Buckingham.

A strong, consistent practice routine will get you there.

This month, we’ve got you covered with courses, JamTracks, featured articles and guitarist toolkits to make your practice routine faster and more productive so you get closer to those guitar goals.


Fuel Your Practice

with FREE lessons from JamPlay artist instructors

Dave Isaacs
Establish a practice routine for chords, scales and learning music theory. 25 lessons included in this course (4 unlocked).

View free lessons ›

Will Ripley
An entire course based on easy-to-play musical examples in the style of your favorite artists. 44 lessons included in this course (3 unlocked).

View free lessons ›

Stephanie Bradley
Speed without tension: explore the most efficient ways to play faster, cleaner and healthier. 31 lessons included in this course (3 unlocked).

View free lessons ›

Featured Guitar Courses

The Art of Versatility
Instructor: Tim Stewart

The Power of 3 Notes
Instructor: Horace Bray

Create your Practice Plan with Guitarist Toolkits

Beginner Practice Plan

6 packs, 111 lessons, 15 JamTracks

View toolkit

Unlocking Rhythm Guitar

6 packs, 100 lessons, 35 JamTracks

View toolkit

Unlocking Lead Guitar

5 packs, 60 lessons, 60 JamTracks

View toolkit

Featured Articles

Create Your Practice Space: Musical Environment Matters

Your practice space can either help or harm you on your path to building a relationship with your instrument and your music.

Play Outside of the Box With Open Tunings

Standard tuning is, well, standard. It provides incredible versatility and simplicity, but if it is the only tuning you use it can quickly start to get boring. Luckily, you don’t have to be boxed in by standard tuning.

Previous Months

July 2021

This month, we are celebrating our very own Summer Music Festival. Let’s explore some fun and inspiring guitar lessons that focus on Jam Band greats, iconic Rock solos, Bluegrass, Jazz, improvisation and more.

June 2021

This month, we’re teaching you how to play like your idols at JamPlay. We have tons of guitar lessons that focus on specific skills associated with the artists we all know and love.

May 2021

Take The Lead. Lead guitar is exactly what it sounds like: the player that gets to be in the spotlight. Most of the guitarists we all know by name play lead guitar: Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton...

April 2021

Practice Makes Perfect
Last month we focused on "fresh starts", for beginner guitar players and those of you picking up where you left off. Now it's time to establish a solid practice routine.

March 2021

Guitar Player Do-Over Hopefully wherever you are the snow is beginning to thaw and there are signs of spring. Here at JamPlay, this seasonal transition is making us think a lot about fresh starts.

February 2021

Learning to Play with Feeling - You know how some guitar players just have that “wow” factor? Sure, they know all the notes and have rhythm. But there’s also a special FEELING to their playing. How do you get that?

PARTNER CONTENT

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March 2021

Guitar Player Do-Over

Hopefully wherever you are the snow is beginning to thaw and there are signs of spring. Here at JamPlay, this seasonal transition is making us think a lot about fresh starts. So many guitar players tell us that they haven’t played in awhile and are now coming back, looking for a bit of a do-over. And hey, we’re totally here for it!

In fact, we’re dedicating this entire month to Guitar Player Do-Overs. Come back to guitar, revisit the basics, try a new music genre, or learn a new skill. It’s a great time for a fresh start! Let us help you pick up wherever you left off to become the best guitar player you can be.


Fast Track Your Fresh Start

with FREE lessons from JamPlay artist instructors

Mark Lettieri
Take a Master Course from 3-time Grammy winning artist and Snarky Puppy guitarist. 33 lessons included in course (2 unlocked).
View free lessons ›

Amber Russell
Tap Into Creative Fingerstyle with renowned performer and composer. 30 lessons included in course (4 unlocked).
View free lessons ›

Dave Isaacs
Learn the fundamentals of rhythm guitar with veteran performer and musical mentor. 25 lessons included in course (4 unlocked).
View free lessons ›

Need some inspiration for your fresh start? Nothing helps get those creative juices flowing better than a new guitar. Enter here for a chance to win this Epiphone Les Paul Classic. It has a mahogany body and neck with a vintage styled “worn” ebony finish and powerful Alnico Classic PRO™ humbuckers. Giveaway ends March 31, 2021. Click here to enter the giveaway ›

Featured Guitar Courses

Rock Guitar for Beginners
Instructor: Will Ripley

Jamming in a Jam Band
Instructor: Tyler Grant

Tapping into Creative Fingerstyle
Instructor: Amber Russell

Complete Guide for Hybrid Picking
Instructor: Prashant Aswani

Explore New Genres with Guitarist Toolkits

Blues Essentials

5 packs, 71 lessons, 53 JamTracks

View toolkit

Rock Essentials

5 packs, 70 lessons, 72 JamTracks

View toolkit

Country Essentials

5 packs, 71 lessons, 78 JamTracks

View toolkit

Featured Articles

A Guide to Bass Amps: The Dos and Don’ts

The biggest, most embarrassing mistakes I've made as a bassist all revolve around bass amps and cabinets. These tips will save you a lot of money and heartache down the road.

effects pedals for guitar

4 Guitar Effects to Change Up Your Guitar Sound

Easily one of the most enjoyable aspects of guitar playing is manipulating the sound of your playing through guitar effects.

A Guide to Relative Tuning

There are many ways to tune a guitar. So many options can be daunting in the beginning so I have laid out one of the standard methods, relative tuning.

Previous Months

July 2021

This month, we are celebrating our very own Summer Music Festival. Let’s explore some fun and inspiring guitar lessons that focus on Jam Band greats, iconic Rock solos, Bluegrass, Jazz, improvisation and more.

June 2021

This month, we’re teaching you how to play like your idols at JamPlay. We have tons of guitar lessons that focus on specific skills associated with the artists we all know and love.

May 2021

Take The Lead. Lead guitar is exactly what it sounds like: the player that gets to be in the spotlight. Most of the guitarists we all know by name play lead guitar: Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton...

April 2021

Practice Makes Perfect
Last month we focused on "fresh starts", for beginner guitar players and those of you picking up where you left off. Now it's time to establish a solid practice routine.

March 2021

Guitar Player Do-Over Hopefully wherever you are the snow is beginning to thaw and there are signs of spring. Here at JamPlay, this seasonal transition is making us think a lot about fresh starts.

February 2021

Learning to Play with Feeling - You know how some guitar players just have that “wow” factor? Sure, they know all the notes and have rhythm. But there’s also a special FEELING to their playing. How do you get that?

PARTNER CONTENT

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February 2021

Learning to Play with Feeling

You know how some guitar players just have that “wow” factor? Sure, they know all the notes and have rhythm. But there’s also a special FEELING to their playing. How do you get that?

There are a variety of techniques that can help give your sound more depth. From using effects pedals to learning the fundamentals of phrasing, knowing when to use bends and vibrato, and learning how to craft melodies. JamPlay membership gives you access to all of these skills!

All month long, we’ll be sharing our favorite guitar lessons and tips for learning to play guitar with feeling.


Here’s what we’re LOVING right now:

Evan Taucher’s Event
Classical guitar is all about playing with feeling. Our LIVE event gave us a chance to sit down with award-winning classical guitarist, Evan Taucher. Get the recap ›

Fingerstyle Courses
This playing style lets you combine melody, bass lines, and harmony to create a complete, orchestral sound.
Explore courses ›

Chords for Days
Thousands of voicings for every guitar chord imaginable, as well as guitar chord charts for standard tunings and more.
View chord library ›

Featured Guitar Courses

Secrets of Melodic Rock
Instructor: Irene Ketikidi

Modern R&B Grooves
Instructor: Tim Stewart

Brazilian Flare with Blues
Instructor: Andre Nieri

Highlights from Our 2021 Guitarist Toolkits

Simple Guide to Phrasing

Unlocking Lead Guitar Toolkit (pack 5)

View toolkit

Fingerstyle Core Skills

Fingerstyle & Folk Toolkit (pack 3)

View toolkit

Blues Slide Guitar

Blues Essentials Toolkit (pack 1)

View toolkit

Featured Articles

February 2021

Learning to Play with Feeling - You know how some guitar players just have that “wow” factor? Sure, they know all the notes and have rhythm. But there’s also a special FEELING to their playing. How do you get that?

Sonic Paradoxes: 4 Genius Genre Pairings To Explore

It’s easy to get stuck listening to (and playing) one style of music. But exploring new genres will not only make you a better, more well-rounded musician, it will help you get a fresh take on those old favorites too.

These Might Just Be The Best 10 Tips For Guitar Players Ever

As a guitar teacher I hear lots of excuses, including the time-worn “I don’t have the talent.” Talent, schmalent. While we can’t all be Hendrix, you can get pretty darn close if you follow these basic guidelines.

PARTNER CONTENT

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5 Goals to Set as a New Guitarist Part 3: The Beginner Mentality

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Whenever starting something new, the gulf between what you know, and what you don’t know, and what you don’t know you don’t know, can be a big source of stress.

The deeper you dive into music, the deeper you realize music goes. A person can spend a lifetime trying to get to “the bottom” or climb to “the top” and they can drive themselves crazy in the process.

Shed Self Doubt

It’s important that on top of all your practicing you take care of your mental state as a musician. Oftentimes when people quit guitar it’s not for any lack of skill or talent. Rather, it’s self doubt. So work to shed that and know that if you didn’t believe you had it in you to play, you wouldn’t have started in the first place.

People often quit because they lose faith in themselves; or they’re intimidated by the infinite possibilities of the instrument and don’t know where to begin. As someone who has quit guitar several times, that’s always been the case for me.

Develop a Strong Beginner Mentality. Enjoy the Journey

So what is the beginner mentality? It’s accepting that one person cannot fully master anything in their lifetime. It’s accepting that you won’t play everything that can ever be played. It’s accepting that the joy and beauty in music is not found at the end, but along the way, and it’s accepting that you will always be “on the way.”

If you’ve picked up your instrument in order to be the best, you might as well put it down right now. As Qui-Gon Jinn so wisely stated: “There’s always a bigger fish.” There will always be someone who can outplay you, who knows more theory than you, who can play faster than you.

It’s not about being the best, it’s just about being good. A beginner can be good and, through hard work, consistency, and humility, you can get as far into music as you wish as long as you maintain that beginner mentality. Ready to get good, work hard and develop consistency in your play? Jamplay can help with guitar lessons from world class teachers in every genre and for every level. Get your beginner mentality set, grab your guitar and get ready to get good.

Join the more than 500,000 guitarists who have experienced JamPlay. Guitar lessons from world class instructor artists in every genre and for every interest to power up your guitar skill. Become a member today at JamPlay.com.


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Music Theory for New Guitarists

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When you’re beginning to learn how to play guitar, it’s a good idea to get a basic grasp of music theory. You don’t have to know everything to be a good player, but knowing some will help you to make more informed choices of the notes and chords you play.

Music theory is really the art of determining what notes sound good together. You could, theoretically, put your fingers on the fretboard and play any random grouping of notes together, but the sound that resulted probably wouldn’t sound very pleasing to the ears. Instead, there’s an underlying system that musical notes adhere to. Some notes sound good together; some don’t.

Starting With the Major Scale

The foundation of all music is the major scale, which will be the focus of this post. Specifically, we’ll be focusing on how to build any major scale because there’s a definitive pattern to the notes in that scale.

Before we look at the pattern, however, you need to first understand all of the notes that are available to you. Music notes use the following letter names.

  • A B C D E F G

But some of the letters have notes in between them, denoted by either a sharp (#), which means the note is higher than the note letter name, or a flat (b), which means the note is lower than the note letter name. For example, there is a note between A and B, which can be called A#, which means that it’s a half step above A, or Bb, which means that it’s a half step below B.

The complete list of note names is below.

A A#/Bb B C C#/Db D D#/Eb E F F#/Gb G G#/Ab

As you can see, there are a total of 12 notes from which you can build musical scales. Major scales, however, only use 7 of those notes plus the octave above the root note. An octave just means that the note is the same as the root note, just higher in pitch. A high A, then the next higher A, for instance. Same note, just higher in pitch.

Between each note is a half step, so A to A# is a half step. Two half steps is a whole step, so A to B would be a whole step.

The Pattern of the Major Scale

The pattern of half steps and whole steps to build a major scale is: W W H W W W H (whole, whole, half, whole, whole, whole, half). On the fretboard, you can think of each fret as one half step apart. For example, the first and second fret are a half step apart, but the first to the third fret would be a whole step apart.

Start on any note in the 12-note scale above and use the pattern to create any major scale. If you start with the note A and follow the pattern you end up with the major scale in the diagram below.

Likewise, on the fretboard, if you start on any note, you can follow the pattern of half steps (1 fret) and whole steps (2 frets) to create a major scale, as in the diagram below.

Of course, when you’re playing scales, you won’t play them just on one string. Instead, you’ll play them across the fretboard, often in a box pattern, like in the diagram below.

You can move this box pattern up and down the fretboard starting on any note on the sixth string to play any major scale.

You can play the scale up and down or play notes within the scale to create melodies that have a major sound to them. Next time, we’ll look at how to combine notes in the major scale that sound good together to create chords.

Join the more than 500,000 guitarists who have experienced JamPlay. Guitar lessons from world class instructor artists in every genre and for every interest to power up your guitar skill. Become a member today at JamPlay.com.


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