Beginning Guitarist Jumpstart

Learn 4 easy chord shapes, some strumming patterns and start playing 100s of your favorite tunes right away!
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  • Lectures 22
  • Length 2.5 hours
  • Skill Level Beginner Level
  • Languages English
  • Includes Lifetime access
    30 day money back guarantee!
    Available on iOS and Android
    Certificate of Completion
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About This Course

Published 10/2015 English

Course Description

Beginning Guitarist Jump Start, is a system that cultivates the natural and instinctual way we already understand and use music and applies it to learning four easy to finger chord shapes, some basic strumming patterns and has you instantly playing dozens of real songs that you will be proud to share with family and friends and eventually audiences and bandmates.

In this course you will learn:

  • 4 easy to finger chord shapes
  • warm up exercises that will have you smoothly changing from chord to chord
  • strumming patterns that that are easy to master and sound great
  • charts & instruction to play over a dozen songs, including blues, rock, country, pop and even jazz tunes
  • a system for mastering the form and changes for any song
  • a song structure that gives you instant access to 100s of songs in every genre of American popular music
  • a chord progression that gives you instant access to 100s of songs in every genre of American popular music
  • and much, much more

Students will be encouraged to ask questions, submit video performances for review and suggest songs and other content to be added to the course. You'll get timely responses, encouragement and useful tips and feedback.

What are the requirements?

  • Students will need a guitar and pick and some familiarity with the material taught in my course, "New Guitarist Guidebook & Checklist."

What am I going to get from this course?

  • Fret four easy to finger chord shapes and move from one chord to the next smoothly.
  • Master several blues, rock, country, jazz and pop strumming patterns.
  • Play the 10 songs introduced in the course and be able to play hundreds, even thousands of their favorite tunes.

What is the target audience?

  • This course is intended for new and returning guitarists who want to jumpstart their guitar playing journey by playing real tunes real fast!

What you get with this course?

Not for you? No problem.
30 day money back guarantee.

Forever yours.
Lifetime access.

Learn on the go.
Desktop, iOS and Android.

Get rewarded.
Certificate of completion.

Curriculum

Section 1: Introduction To & Preparation For This Course
03:35

I have used this system to teach hundreds of my guitar students to get going playing real tunes real fast. Sure, there's lots more to learn, but I have found that when new and beginning guitarists start their guitar playing journey with being able to play and share songs they are interested in learning, it really, well, jumpsuits their guitar playing adventure. You'll be inspired to go further and deeper after completing this course. So let's get going!

05:51

Everyone understands and uses music even before they start learning to play an instrument. This course begins with that natural, instinctual and intuitive sense and provides a progressive set of tools, concepts and exercises that will have you playing real songs real fast!

Section 2: Let's Get Started!
03:36

In this lesson we’ll learn how to use a very helpful tool called a chord grid. A chord grid is a diagram that shows you the chord name, which fingers are used and what frets and strings to place them on. The grid looks like the fingerboard of our guitar with the nut at the top, the high E string at the far right and the low E at the far left with the first five frets crossing them.

Looking at a chord grid for the first chord taught in this course, the G Major or “Beatles G” we see that it is an open position G Major chord, which means it is a G Major chord with open strings. We finger it with our third finger fretting the second string at the third fret, our fourth finger fretting the third fret of the first string, our first finger fretting the second fret of the fifth string and our second finger fretting the third fret of the sixth string.

17:42

In this lesson we'll learn our 1st easy to finger & fret chord shape, the "Beatles G." We'll also learn our 1st strumming pattern and warm up exercise and how to keep our place in an exercise or song by understanding where the down beat is and where the on and off beats are.

In the next lesson we'll apply all this to learning our first songs. Yes, that's right, some songs can be played with just one chord!

If you you have any questions, leave them in the comments.

08:17

You may recognize this tune from the movie, "Oh Brother, Where Art Thou." It's a beautiful old-time tune that we'll be playing in no time! Pay attention to the form and strumming pattern and remember to sing along as you practice the tune!

If you like, record a YouTube video of yourself playing a song and/or warm up exercise and put the link in the comments section. I'd love to see and hear how you're doing!

06:02

In this lesson we’ll review the "Beatles G" (which is just a G Major chord voicing with a rich, full sound), and learn a C Major chord voicing called Cadd9. Don't worry about the "add9!" This is just a bright, slightly jazzy C Major shape. We'll learn how to switch between these two chords and go over warm up exercises to prepare us for our first two chord songs in the next lesson.

BTW, you may notice that my outfit and studio looks different! This is the third version of this course. I am always updating and improving it, but reuse videos when they are still relevant!

08:58

Two easy songs that use just the “Beatles G” & Cadd9 chords are “Kookaburra Sits in the Old Gum Tree” and “I’ll Take You There” by the Staples Singers. These songs are frequently played in other keys, but in the key of G, which is what I’ll demonstrate, the “Beatles G” is the I or “tonic” chord and the Cadd9 is the IV or “sub-dominant” chord.

Download the chord charts and lyric sheets for those tunes and we’ll walk through them together. These arrangements and strumming patterns are purposefully easy, but still fun to play and will get you used to playing and hearing the three basic elements of music (melody, harmony and rhythm), together. As we dive into more repertoire in the upcoming sections of this course we will learn more about song structures and learn more sophisticated strumming patterns that you can come back and apply to these tunes. For now, I just want to give you some “real life” musical application for the chords we’ve just learned and warmed up.

If you like, record a YouTube video of yourself playing a song and/or warm up exercise and put the link in the comments section. I'd love to see and hear how you're doing!

Do you know any other songs that use only the I and IV chords (or can be reduced to just those two chords)? I’d love to check them out in the comments!

03:33

In this lesson we’ll learn a new chord, a new warm up and a couple of tunes that we can play with just the “Beatles G” and Dsus4.

Our next chord is the Dsus4. This is a chord built off of the fifth note of a G major scale and is often referred to as the V chord. The V chord often lead back to the I chord, which in the key of G is the G major or “Beatles G” chord. Let’s look at how to finger the Dsus4 and some warm up exercises that use the “Beatles G” and Dsus4. We’ll then look at two simple tunes, the American folk song “Down In the Valley” and the Caribbean folk tune “The Banana Boat Song.”

11:47

Two songs that can be played with just the “Beatles G” and Dsus4 chords are “Down In the Valley” and “Banana Boat Song.” In the key of G, which these tunes are arranged in, the “Beatles G,” or G major chord is the I (or tonic), chord and the Dsus4 is the V (or dominant), chord.

Download the chord charts and lyric sheets for those tunes and we’ll walk through them together. These arrangements and strumming patterns are purposefully easy, but still fun to play and will get you used to playing and hearing the three basic elements of music (melody, harmony and rhythm), together. As we dive into more repertoire in the upcoming sections of this course we will learn more about song structures and learn more sophisticated strumming patterns that you can apply to these tunes. For now, I just want to give you some “real life” musical application for the chords we’ve just learned and warmed up.

If you like, record a YouTube video of yourself playing a song and/or warm up exercise and put the link in the comments section. I'd love to see and hear how you're doing!

Do you know any other songs that use only the I and V chords (or can be reduced to just those two chords)? I’d love to check them out in the comments!

04:56

In this lesson we’ll learn a warm up exercise for I – IV – V progressions in the key of G.

A chord progression is a sequence or series of chords in or within a song that establishes a tonality, major or minor, and a key which is based on the I or tonic chord. There are thousands of songs that employ only the I, IV and V chords and many, many other songs can be easily reduced to these three chords. This is sometimes referred to as the “three chord trick.” In the key of G these would be our Beatles G (I), the Cadd9 (IV) and Dsus4 (V).

You should open up the PDF that accompanies this lesson and, if possible, print it out for reference.

Section 3: The Blues
04:32

Most of the songs that we’ve introduced so far have a song structure that is just verse after verse sung to the same chord progression (sometimes called a strophic form). “Banana Boat Song” also includes a chorus, a section with a repeated set of lyrics and a refrain, some words (“Daylight come and me wanna go home”), that are found in each verse (and in the case of “Banana Boat Song,” the chorus as well).

A very popular form used American music is the 12 bar blues. As the name implies it is made up of 12 measures and, in it’s basic form, the I, IV and V chords. The melodic or lyrical structure of a 12 bar blues often follows a predictable AAB pattern with a line sung over the first four measures that is repeated in the second four and followed by a new line in the last four that answers or comments on the repeated lines.

Understanding the blues is a gateway to American music. The 12 bar blues form is a ubiquitous in American music. As the name implies, it originated the blues, but is frequently used in the music that follows and is informed by it, including jazz, country and rock. To make sure we understand the form, let’s go to a screencast and take a look at it.

(Screencast)

Demonstration in quarter note and eighth note strum.

07:27

We’ve talked about the three basic elements of music; melody, harmony and rhythm, and how they all are hung on a form or song structure like a 12 bar blues. As we get into songs or repertoire, we’ll start out with songs based on the 12 bar blues form that use the chords we’ve learned so far. These songs will all have melodies we can sing, the lyrics, and we will be using strumming patterns based on the shuffle rhythm. Rhythm is a very visceral element of music. We feel it in our bodies. To play good rhythm we must first “put it in our body,” “feel it” and then “express it” through a strumming pattern. Let’s look at some basics for doing this with a shuffle rhythm.

The shuffle rhythm is the heartbeat of American music. Obviously it is the foundational rhythm of blues music, but it also provides the basis for swing in jazz music, gives country music’s “boom chuck” rhythm its loping, galloping quality and injects energy and drive into rock and roll.

The shuffle is built on common or 4/4 time. Each measure has 4 beats, but we put an accent on beats 2 and 4 (sometimes called the backbeat). (Demonstrate with muted strings, quarter note and eighth note strum). Playing a shuffle rhythm with a eighth note strum is very “straight” and common when employing a shuffle rhythm to a rock or country tune.

To achieve a bluesier shuffle rhythm we subdivide every beat into a triplet. (Demonstrate triplet count, “one-and-a, two-and-a, etc). The first and third beat of each triplet are played while maintaining an accent on the back beat (beats two and four). This can be done with a down up strum (demonstrate), or a “double down” strum (demonstrate). This kind of shuffle is sometimes called a “gapped triplet” or “swung eighth” feel.

07:01

The blues is the essential American music because it has had such an impact on all American music that comes after it. The 12 bar blues form, chord changes, melodic structure and articulations and shuffle rhythm either inform or are used outright in American jazz, country, rock and gospel music. It seems the natural place to start applying what we’ve learned so far.

We’ve already looked at the most basic chord changes used in a 12 bar blues. There are three very common variations that I want to introduce here, as we will see them frequently. You should pull up the PDF attachments that accompany this lesson and print them for reference.


Finally, because the 12 bar blues form and changes are repeated many times as the song’s story unfolds, we will frequently use something called a turnaround, a chord or sequence of chords in the last or last two measures that lets everyone know that we are going back to the top of the 12 bar blues form. There are dozens of ways to play a turnaround, but the easiest and most common is simply to play the V, our Dsus4, in the very last measure each time we intend to repeat the form. This is sometimes called a “kick chord,” because the V chord creates a lot of tension that “kicks” us to the I, or “Beatles G” chord at the top of the form. When we play the last verse we simply replace the turnaround or “kick chord” with the I chord.

06:34

Perhaps the best known blues song of all time and an anthem within the Chicago blues scene (at least while I lived there). This tune is frequently requested at gigs and popular at jams. In addition to applying to variations of the 12 bar blues changes, we'll add a special rhythmic device called "stop time" and the turnaround chord.

09:14

“Honky Tonk Blues was written and recorded by Hiram “Hank” Williams, Sr. in 1952. Hank Williams was an early country music star and remains one of the most influential songwriters and recording artists in that genre to this day.

In this tune we’ll introduce the most identifiable country rhythm, the “boom chuck” and expand it to the “boom chick-a” rhythm. This song can be played by following the basic 12 bar blues form and changes we introduced in an earlier section that is attached to this lesson. You should have it available along with the lyric sheet that is also attached here.

09:57

Although most often associated with Elvis Presley, “Hound Dog” started as a blues tune written in 1952 by the famous song writing team Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller for blues artist Willie Mae “Big Mama” Thornton. Her version was a #1 single for seven weeks. Many cover versions were recorded before Elvis’ in 1956. My arrangement is based on the lyrics Elvis sang, but you should really track down and listen to “Big Mama” Thornton’s!

This tune follows the form and changes of the first variation of the basic 12 bar blues which, if you haven’t downloaded already, is attached to this lesson along with a lyric sheet. You should have both available as we walk through this song.

Section 4: A Few More Three Chord Songs
11:08

We don’t know the true origins of “When the Saints Go Marching In,” but it most certainly began as a spiritual number and probably played at a slow, solemn tempo. However, due largely to the recording by Louis Armstrong in 1938, this tune has become a hot jazz standard closely associated with Armstrong’s hometown of New Orleans, Louisiana.

14:15

Not only is "Amazing Grace" the most well known gospel song of all time, it is amongst the best known songs of all time. It was written by John Newton, an English sailor and slave trader who later became an ordained minister and first published in 1779. It has been adopted and adapted by all denominations and a staple in folk music as well.

It is written in ¾ or “Waltz” time and follows a 16 bar Strophic form.

This lesson will look at several ways to strum in 3/4, including a simple quarter note strum, a Down Down Downup strum, a boom chuck chuck, and variations including aboom chuck chicka and boom chicka chicka rhythm.

Section 5: Adding In The Em7 Chord
02:45

Our last chord shape is our only minor chord, Em7 which is the VI chord in the key of G (sometimes written in lower case, vi, to indicate minor). This chord is the "relative minor" chord of G major (and G is the relative major of an Em chord. The 7 after the Em indicates that a D (the flatted 7th of Em), is added to the Em triad. this gives the chord a "jazzy" more sophisticated sound.

01:58

Adding a fourth chord creates a bunch of new warm up possibilities, but the most popular by far is a chord sequence called "the 50s progression."

04:18

These are just a few of the hundreds (more accurately thousands), of songs that use the 50s progression. Some tunes use this progression within the songs overall progression, but many use it exclusively. If you know of more, please share them in the comments!

04:18

These are just a few of the hundreds (more accurately thousands), of songs that use the 50s progression. Some tunes use this progression within the songs overall progression, but many use it exclusively. If you know of more, please share them in the comments!

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Instructor Biography

Scott Perry, Vintage Blues Guitarist & Teacher

I am a vintage blues guitarist and teacher from Floyd, VA.

I have been a professional musician all of my adult life and currently teach 45 students each week and perform as a solo and with various duos and bands in and around my hometown of Floyd, VA.

I believe that music is a language and, like everyone's first spoken language, it is best learned in a natural, instinctual and intuitive way and is used to communicate emotions, tell stories and exchange ideas. Music, at its best, is a collaborative effort, not a competition and it is best cultivated in that spirit.

I teach in the lesson studio and from the bandstand. Learning to play music and sharing it makes us all happier and healthier. It also builds community and encourages curiosity and tolerance, helping make the world a better place.

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