Fingerstyle with Don Ross

Genre and Style Guitar Course from Don Ross

Don Ross, an award-winning, Billboard-topping fingerstyle artist, will teach you everything you need to know to get started in fingerstyle guitar.

28 Lessons

Complete course with step-by-step lessons and practice examples.


Course filmed with 6 cameras for the perfect angles.

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Tabs & Info

Download tabs, helpers, JamTracks and docs included with lessons.


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Full Course Breakdown

In this series, Don Ross delivers his extensive knowledge on many aspects of fingerstyle guitar. Not forgetting beginners, he starts off his series with a manageable pace, covering the basics in-depth.


Don Ross Series Introduction

New fingerstyle instructor Don Ross introduces himself, his background, and what you should expect in this series.

3:54 Runtime

0.0 Difficulty

View this Lesson

Playing Style

Don Ross talks about the way he plays and how he got started in his particular style. He also brushes on right hand technique and thumb pick style.

14:09 Runtime

0.5 Difficulty


Finger Assignments

Don Ross takes some time to talk about where he places each right hand finger while playing fingerstyle. This is a great lesson for those who wish to fix old habits, or are just starting out in this wonderful style.

9:10 Runtime

2.0 Difficulty


Travis Picking

Don Ross talks about fingerpicking patterns with a focus on Travis Picking. He explains the pattern thoroughly and at a step-by-step pace so that it can be picked up by fingerstyle players of any level.

22:55 Runtime

2.0 Difficulty


Travis Picking Part 2

Don Ross dives into Travis Picking once more. This time, he specifically focuses on patterns for chords that have a root note on the fifth string.

14:10 Runtime

2.5 Difficulty


Travis Picking Part 3

This time, Don Ross demonstrates Travis patterns with chords that have a root note on the fourth string.

9:21 Runtime

2.0 Difficulty


Thumb and Brush

Having thoroughly explored Travis picking, Don Ross now takes some time to talk about the "thumb and brush" technique.

12:27 Runtime

2.0 Difficulty


Altered Vs. Open Tunings: Altered

Don Ross takes a couple lessons to talk about altered tunings and open tunings. In this lesson, he takes a closer look at altered tunings.

8:05 Runtime

2.0 Difficulty


Altered Vs. Open Tunings: Open

Don Ross now discusses open tunings. Open tunings get their name because the open strings are tuned to a specific chord.

18:40 Runtime

2.5 Difficulty


Open G Tuning

Don Ross talks more about open G tuning and how to make it more applicable to your playing by applying the Travis pattern you have already learned.

13:46 Runtime

2.5 Difficulty


Open D Tuning

Don Ross talks about open D tuning, how it's similar to open C tuning, and how you can incorporate it into your playing.

17:44 Runtime

2.5 Difficulty


Open C Tuning

In this lesson, Don Ross explains open C tuning. As with the G and D tuning lessons, he explains how open C compares to other open tunings, how to tune, and what it can add to your playing.

26:48 Runtime

2.5 Difficulty



Don Ross looks at DADGAD tuning in this lesson. He explores different ways to play, how to tune, and discusses why it has become so popular.

17:56 Runtime

2.5 Difficulty


Harmonic DADGAD

Don Ross takes another look at DADGAD and how you can play harmonically in this tuning.

11:19 Runtime

2.0 Difficulty


DADGAD and Travis Picking

Don Ross continues his discussion on DADGAD tuning and brings it all together with Travis picking.

10:58 Runtime

2.5 Difficulty


DADGAD Chord Voicings

Don Ross takes a final look at DADGAD tuning in this lesson. This time, he explores some great chord voicings that are sure to spice up your playing.

10:41 Runtime

2.5 Difficulty



Don Ross takes a look at a unique and beautiful tuning, CDCGAD, or in Don's words, the "Fred" tuning, and explores what can be done with it.

14:35 Runtime

2.5 Difficulty


Brooke's Waltz Part 1

Don Ross takes a look at the first part of his original song "Brooke's Waltz". This song is in the CGCGAD tuning you learned about in the previous lesson.

17:44 Runtime

2.5 Difficulty


Brooke's Waltz Part 2

Don Ross moves on and covers the second portion of his original song "Brooke's Waltz".

12:05 Runtime

3.0 Difficulty


Brooke's Waltz Part 3

Don Ross finishes up the trio of lesson on his song "Brooke's Waltz". This time around he talks about the song structure, as well as the funky behind-the-nut vibrato he ends the song with.

15:43 Runtime

3.5 Difficulty


Extending Harmony

In this lesson, Don talks about how you can use simple music theory to add colorful extensions to your chords and also create new open tunings. This is a very useful lesson for all guitarists.

18:41 Runtime

3.0 Difficulty


Upright & Locked Position Part 1

Don Ross delves into one of his sweeter melodies - "Upright & Locked Position". In this lesson, he offers a short review on the tuning he uses and teaches the first portion of the tune.

18:22 Runtime

3.0 Difficulty


Upright & Locked Position Part 2

Don Ross teaches the B section of his song "Upright & Locked Position".

8:49 Runtime

3.0 Difficulty


Upright & Locked Position Part 3

Don Ross returns to his song "Upright & Locked Position" and teaches the C part. He then talks about combining the three major sections of this song, as well as how to end it.

18:39 Runtime

3.0 Difficulty


Harmonics Part 1

Harmonics sound awesome, and no player's arsenal is complete without this versatile technique. Don introduces harmonics and talks about playing both natural and artificial variations.

13:19 Runtime

2.0 Difficulty


Slap and Brush Harmonics

Don Ross talks about "slap" harmonics and "brush" harmonics and how they can be used.

8:36 Runtime

2.5 Difficulty


The Ripple Effect

Don Ross teaches a harmonic technique he calls the "ripple effect". This technique was originally made popular by guitar legend Lenny Breau.

11:43 Runtime

3.0 Difficulty


The Ripple Effect Part 2

Don Ross builds on lesson 28 by discussing more ways in which the "ripple effect" can be used.

9:04 Runtime

2.5 Difficulty

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Don Ross

  • Montreal, Quebec
  • Playing since 1968
  • 73 lessons at JamPlay

Don has toured regularly since 1989, across Canada, the USA, a dozen European countries, Japan, Taiwan, China, Australia, Russia and India. He has played with symphony orchestras in Canada and Germany, and collaborated live and on recording with Andy McKee, Canadian singer/guitarist Brooke Miller, & Toronto bassist Jordan O’Connor. He also composes scores for television, radio and film, and does production and recording engineering for a variety of other musicians. In addition to acoustic guitar, Don also plays electric guitar, slide dobro and lapsteel guitar, voice, piano, keyboards, bass guitar and drums.
Reviews & Feedback 95/100 with 623 ratings
Jess Araujo

I like his personal tips.


A great relaxed comfortable teaching style. The lessons were just the right length and had the right amount of content so as to maximize a students learning opportunity. Very high quality lessons and worth the Jamplay subscription even if the s


Wow. Is it too much to say that Don Ross is as good a guitar teacher as he is a player? That seems impossible because he is a monster composer and player. But I've never heard a clearer, more concise and easy-to-understand explanation of DAD


all of the above!


Beautiful music; amazing teacher!


At last I am beginning to understand where to find the chords in open tunings and how they are formed Thanks Don for great lessons


Awesome! Thank you


Good advices on the nails and thumbpick, thx.


Checked all three,


Do you have too learn Travis Picking before you play like Don? I am big fan of Steve Oliver, Mark Antoine, Jesse Cook, etc. Just wonder if all these folks are starting us out on the Alternate Bass Thumb, because thats were all Finger-style sta


Don is GREAT. I am such a fan of his music, and his teaching style is close to perfection. The son of a friend of mine has taken private lessons with him. I fear I have a way to go before I would dare take his time... but someday. It's on my


Don is the SHIT!! Thank you!


Don joins Danny Gill as my go to instructors. They both make you eager to get back in their company and to learn. Confident that Don and I will get me there.


Don Ross is an exceptional teacher and of course amazing guitarist. Easy to understand and follow as he breaks the concepts down both in understanding and played SLOWLY so he can be followed. Just what I needed and I'm excited as I can alrea


Don Ross is awesome.


Don Ross is teaching me how to play guitar. I finally get it because of how he teaches it.!


Don's style of teaching is so easy to follow. When I first watched the intro to fingerpicking I thought it was way beyond my playing skills. But just after the first lesson Don made it so easy I was playing along with him! Thanks for this won


Easy to understand, just what I needed.


Easy to watch understand but putting into practice no so much but I'm going to try lol


Enjoyable lesson that progressed in a logical and understandable way. Good, easy to understand instruction.


excellent teacher


FANTASTIC TEACHER: clear instructions, perfect pacing & explanations, supportive & enabling attitude & demeanor!! Easy to understand!


First two options.


Great Guy!


Great intro to the style and tools


great layout I like how he takes time through the lesson


great lessons on Travis picking


Great lessons easy to understand from a great player too


great teacher , very nice person, and exactly the style i want to master.


Great teacher, perfect pace!


Great teaching! And he play well as he knows....


He seems to be a very nice person and experienced guitar player. I like the way he explains on how to play and where to put your fingers and such. Keep up the good work Don


This guy is great. He is very clear in his teaching and the lesson is a great refresher on Travis style picking. Love his relaxed style and the fact that he explains why he's showing you things.


I enjoyed this whole lesson set, as many on jamplay... this one was a great response to my current venture into the land of open tunings.... thanks! Don Ross is articulate and clear to understand, also he has a pleasant charisma that makes it


I felt like we got a glimpse of Don's music writing process, which I greatly appreciated.


I have loved the playing style of Don Ross for years and have always wanted to learn from him and some of his original songs. And here I am, a dream come true.


I use the finger nails that you glue on. However your method of doubling up had not crossed my mind. Great tip.


I like Don's easy voice and how he speaks the fingers in the pattern. MAybe just also touch on the syncopation part too. Thank you


I love Don's insights - they are both interesting and relevant. I always learn something when I visit Don's contributions.


I saw the excellent video on YouTube and thanks to Don’s excellent instruction, I decided to,join JamPlay.


I was able to pick this up in just one viewing. Not gonna say it was perfect but I can play it. Yay!!!


I've always enjoyed Don's music, and dabbled in DADGAD for years. I've learned more in the last ten minutes than I have in the last year. Thank you Don.


I've recently been dabbeling in a bit of DADGAD tuning, yet not been able to quite comprehend why I do what I do other then "The tab says so" This intro to DADGAD has been very helpful for me to wrap my wittwe bwain around the tuning


It's a pity that none of the intro examples are written out. In lesson 12 Don played a great Leadbelly blues @ the End.... Why no music written out for this ?