Guitar Help for Common Issues (Page 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.

Mic Video

Jaron asks, "Dear Dave and Brad, I've always seen people on Youtube mic their amps while playing a guitar. How do you mic an amp while making a video? Do you record the audio and video and then you sync them together? How does it work? I've been trying to find an answer to this question for several weeks now. I'd like to know because I will start making Youtube videos soon and I want to learn how to mic an amp for a video. Can you please help me out? Thanks."


Ricky54326 asks, "Hey guys. I just started learning some chords, and I can do the ones that are 2-3 fingers like Em, D, G, etc but once I get to like the ones that involve barring and finger independence and the such, like F#m, it gets very hard for me to do them without muting other strings. Sometimes I can't even play ones like D or G without muting my other strings either, any advice for posture? Also should i be memorizing these chords? Or just learning how to play them when i see the chord tablature? Thanks again jamplay and keep up the damn good work :) -Ricky54326"

Galloping Rhythm

Ssnowman asked "Hey guys. First I just wanna say that I love JamPlay and I've learned a lot since I've signed up. My question is about galloping rhythms, such as in the song Barracuda by Heart and quite a few metal bands. Basically, why can't I do this? Albeit, I've only been playing for 6-7 months but I actually have an easier time doing 16th notes as opposed to triplets. I just can't keep a steady rhythm for some reason. Any tips on improving in this area?"

Lynyrd Skynyrd Tone

Dalydennis7 asked "Brad and Dave, I am a beginning guitar player and have progressed quite a bit in the short time I have subscribed to JamPlay. My favorite genre of music is classic rock, especially AC/DC and Lynyrd Skynyrd. My question is that I know LS has a very distinctive tone and I am interested in knowing how to achieve that tone, especially in songs like Tuesdays Gone's distinctive lead played throughout the song. I have read TAB on it and know it is essentialy bending and single notes, but I cant get the tone right. it seems like it may be fingerpicked, but not sure. If you could give me a hint I would appreciate it. thanks dalydennis7."

Tone Nob Questions

Mike4370 asked "Hey guys, my question is about tone knobs. My guitar has a five position switch, two single coil pickups and a humbucker at the bridge, two tone knobs and a volume knob. My question is when i adjust the tone knobs I dont hear any difference in tone, why dont i hear any difference? thanks. Mike."

Cat Scratch Fever Bend

JZCode45 asked "Brad, I have not been able to get that Cat Scratch Fever Bend down at all. It seems like my attempt sound more like stepping on a 15 year old cats paw than getting that Nugget sound you get. Can you give me an idea in detail how to get this sound. Are you using any effects? The rest of the lick is going fine! Thanks....JZ."

Stereo and XLR Outputs

Jaron asked "I notice that on some guitars such as the Epiphone Les Paul Ultra 2 that it has a mono and stereo output. I also notice that acoustic-electric guitars have XLR outputs. Can you explain to me where the stereo and XLR cables plug into, do they plug into two amps at the same tim, do they plug into a PA speaker, where do they go. I would appreciate the info. From Jamplay's 14 year old user, Jaron."

Backing Track Questions

Plugy asked Hii i wanted to know if the backing track that brad uses a lot the one in lesson seven that he jams to and introduces the lesson with is available to download there is one in the supliment for the lesson but not the same as brad plays i would like to get this so i can follow the lessons as close as possible to Brad."

Learning on Acoustic or Electric

Lucasholland asks "Hey guys, after realizing that my first, classical guitar is a piece of ***** when it comes to quality, adjustability and ease of play, I've decided to stick with playing the guitar and investing some more money. I've only been playing for about a week, so I'd consider myself almost a complete beginner. I've heard a lot of people say that one should start out on an acoustic guitar because it's easier to switch to an electric later than vice versa. My guitar hero is John Mayer and I'd eventually like to be able to play both acoustic and electric guitar, like him. My question is: Is it wise to start out on an electric or should I learn to play the acoustic guitar first? Thanks! Lucas."


Mav67 asks, "Hey guys I was wondering if I could get some advise on dealing with RBS (Record Button Syndrome). I learn these tunes, get the guitar part down and practice it extensively, slowly working in the singing with it, not that I can sing worth a damn but who cares. But everytime I go to record it I turn into a retard on the guitar. Everytime I mess up one way or another, if it isn't the guitar itself, I forget lines of lyrics or miss a vocal cue or try and change to the wrong chord or miss fret a given chord or what is becoming my personal favourite, messing up the picking or strum pattern. What frustrates me more than anything is that any other time I can do this with the minimum of fuss, but as soon as that Record button is pressed, it is like my mind, my voice and my fingers are on separate planets. Any advice on this matter would be appreciated, thanks in advance."

Whammy bar

Rockerdon asks, "Dear Brad and DMAC, I have two questions. First, I have a simple guitar,a peavey predator and a peavey backstage amp(a small transtube amp). I have been playing seriously for about 2 months.I am between beginner and intermediate. I'm closer to intemediate. I have finished Dmac's beginner lessons and I'm working on Brad's Classic rock lessons. I want two add some spice to my playing. My guitar has a floyd rose double locking tremelo whammy bar system, but I don't have a wammy bar. At my skill level , could I use a whammy bar and where could I buy one? also what would be a good price for one? Also my amp has overdrive, but i want more. Would u recommend an effects box or peddle? And I tryed out a Wah Wah box at guitar center. Could I use a Wah wah peddle or box?Also would u recommend a box or peddle?Also what ould be a good price for effects and wahwahs?Thanks for all the help u can give.This Site rocks. ROCK ON!!! RockerDon"


Jc110188 asks, "I was watching David Freshman’s first lesson and I noticed his guitar had 2 different types of pick-ups. I was wondering what is the purpose of having different pick-ups and what the difference is between those pick-ups? Thanks."


Mclend1 asks, "My question is about the bridge, which on my guitar has the tune-o-matic part for adjusting the intonation and then there's further back, the metal bar piece that the ball ends secure into. What I'm curious about is the metal bar where the strings ends lie. It has two large screws for adjusting its height, and I wondered why or when would you ever adjust that or if you even need to? Does raising or lowering that bridge part effect the tone characteristics in any way? Is it generally tightened down to the body of the guitar or not, does it even matter that much? On classical/ acoustic type guitars the bridge is glued flat to the body for better resonance, so I wondered why electric guitars have a slightly different set up. As that's where the sound connects to the guitar, I guess it must do the same thing. I'm interested to know what the adjustments might do. Hope that makes sense. Thanks in advance, Matt."

Stage Fright

Abadcoverband asks, "Hey there, I'm new around here and loving the site. All the instructors are so talented and it really blows my mind that I was missing out on so much - I've had to pay high prices for tutors once a week and I've learned more in a few days here than in a month elsewhere. So thanks! :) So, on to the questions. The first one concerns scalloped frets - I'm considering purchasing the Steve Vai JEM 77VBK guitar, and I've noticed that the frets closest to the bridge are scalloped. Could you tell me a little bit about the pros and cons of scalloping, and the differences I would expect between a scalloped and unscalloped guitar? Second, I was wondering if you had any suggestions or tips to deal with improvising on the neck, and dealing with stage fright. I recently turned down an offer to join a friend's band as a lead guitarist because I'm really unsure if I could handle the spotlight and not just end up embarassing myself. Do you know of any ways to deal with performing in front of people or tips to work up to it? When I perform in front of friends I really feel the pressure and often times my mind goes blank and I mess up the verse. I've considered busking for some money downtown but again...I'm kind of a shy guy. If you had any tips for improvising a solo, say...a back-up measure to get me out of a bad situation - let's say I forget a verse, but I know in a roundabout way how it should sound - that would be great. Thanks for your time and have a great day! -Matt"

Fast Picking

StephenWhan asks, "Can you give any advice as to how to improve fast picking techniques? By way of example, I've been messing around with the intro to Iron Maiden's "Wasted Years" for a while now and find that I keep missing the string every 3-4 picks. Either I miss the string altogether, or I dig too deep into the preceding note and it throws off my rhythm. I've tried practicing without using my left hand and get fairly accurate relatively quickly, but as soon as I re-introduce the left and start depressing strings, I go right back to missing strings again. Slowing down, I'm 100%, so it's the tempo and length of the repetition that's throwing me off. Any and all help, as always, is greatly appreciated. Jam on!"


Bananachipz asks, "Hi Dave/Brad, I recently picked up a fantastic all-tube amp: a BlackHeart Little Giant 5w. Sounds amazing. It's single channel though, so in order to overdrive the preamp, I gotta crank it. Well 5 tube watts will still shake paint off the walls, and with a newborn baby, it's not a good idea. So I picked up a BOSS DS-1 Distortion pedal.. It sounds great.. But then I borrowed my buddie's Nady TD-1 Distortion pedal. This one uses a 12AX7 tube, and it sounds even better. I'm worried my GAS will kick-in :)... My question is: What distortion/overdrive pedals do you guys use/recommend? Thanks, BananaChipz"

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?"


Jdemail78 asks, "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."

Fast Fingerstyle Picking

Kenstyle asks, "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."


Jdemail78 asks, "I have a pretty simple question, I think, on the correct way to tune a guitar. I have an acoustic/electric guitar with a tuner built right into the electronics but my question would apply to any guitar with any sort of tuner. When you go to tune a string, should you give the string your tuning one good strum and then adjust the tuning peg, or is it better to continue to pick the string while your adjusting the peg? It seems like I can get a slightly different result doing it one way or the other. In the end, I think either way has the guitar pretty much in tune but I'm just curious if one way is better over the other or if it really doesn't matter. Thanks and keep up the great lessons."


John873 asks, "Lets say we are improvising in the key of G Dorian, I want to begin moving down the fretboard to get some higher notes. When i move up to the A Phrygian position do i continue to use G as my root note; or instead, do i switch to A?"


Sonofazarel asks, "When i practice scales with three notes per string such as the mixolydian position I ascend using my 1st 3rd and 4th fingers, when i descend I use fingers 4, 2 and 1. Is this going to come back and haunt me, should i push myself to use the same fingers both ways?"

Slide Guitar

Evilhedgehog asks, "I would absolutely love you guys forever if you would do a lesson on how to properly use a slide (bottleneck?) with an acoustic guitar. I know this is pretty popular in blues styles and I would greatly enjoy being shown more about how I can actually work this into practice music. The biggest question I guess I have though, is what are some popular tunings to use when utilizing a slide, or are there really any special ones?"

Fast Picking

StephenWhan asks, "Can you give any advice as to how to improve fast picking techniques? By way of example, I've been messing around with the intro to Iron Maiden's "Wasted Years" for a while now and find that I keep missing the string every 3-4 picks. Either I miss the string altogether, or I dig too deep into the preceding note and it throws off my rhythm. I've tried practicing without using my left hand and get fairly accurate relatively quickly, but as soon as I re-introduce the left and start depressing strings, I go right back to missing strings again. Slowing down, I'm 100%, so it's the tempo and length of the repetition that's throwing me off. Any and all help, as always, is greatly appreciated. Jam on!"


sonofazarel asks, "When i practice scales with three notes per string such as the mixolydian position I ascend using my 1st 3rd and 4th fingers, when i descend I use fingers 4, 2 and 1. Is this going to come back and haunt me, should i push myself to use the same fingers both ways?"


john873 asks, "Lets say we are improvising in the key of G Dorian, I want to begin moving down the fretboard to get some higher notes. When i move up to the A Phrygian position do i continue to use G as my root note; or instead, do i switch to A?"

Tuning and Measuring Notes

duaneellison asks, "Hello, I am sure there is a simple explanation but I don't understand something about tuning (well a lot of things, but that for a different question). I noticed this "problem" while trying to tune the new Squire Mini I bought for the kids. My chromatic tuner (Seiko SAT500) gave me the "green" dot for the strings - but the notes were not right and it sounded bad, bad, bad. So I went online and turned up my speakers and measured on the display the following for the different strings: E - C#2 A - F#2 D - B2 G - E3 B - G#3 e - C#4 Once I had this written down I went back to the Squire and retuned the strings making sure the display showed the same notes for the different strings. That brought everything in tune (duh) but what is the significances of the C#2, F#2, B2, E3, G#3 and C#4? I am sure it is something simple but I just don't get it! Thanks for the help and you guys have a really great site here! Keep up the good work! Duane..."

Help with Steve Vai's "Tender Surrender"

hgnative asks, "ive been working on a song by steve vai called tender surrender the chords are something else i see alot of these in acdc's music also example vai plays the 7th fret on the A string and the 9th fret on the G string i use my fingers to play this song but vai uses pick and i cant get the same tone the D string keeps ringing out this is proably easy for jam play instructors can i maybe get a video example how to mute that fricking string that would realy help thanks alot."

vox amp

Freakinrican77 asks, "Dave, I know from chatting with you that you own a Vox DA5. Just wanted to know if you could share a couple of your favorite settings on it. I like to use the Crunch 2 Style with the Chorus delay when I want an echo type of sound. I also like to use the Crunch 2 with the Flanger effect. This combination gives it a supersonic jet type of sound. Thank you for recommending it to someone in the chat room. It's been a SOUND choice."


Fret asks, "Would you please explain the cappo and when specifically one would use one. Thanks and keep up all the great lessons. -Danny"


Dakota08 asks, "Hey, recently Ive decided to switch my fingerpicking from just my fingers, to a thumbpick.And it seems like the strings I play with the thumbpick seem to overpower the sound that my other 3 fingers makes. Its almost like I cant even hear the strings I hear that I pluck with my fingers now. How do you solve that?"


Nachob asks, "Hey, i know this has nothig to do with guitar learning, but it's like the main reason any young boy like me want to play guitar like a master, so here i come: I have like four months learning guitar, and i just can't wait to get chicks all around me, how much time do you think i must practice to start getting sweet love? Wich one is a better chick magnet, the acoustic guitar or the electric one? Thanks!"

Slash chords

Slingblade asks, "do left handed people have a seemingly more difficult time with cord progression? and what does C/F mean in a song book? will that be discussed later? I really do appreciate what I have learned so far thank you. you have made my previous experience long ago forgotton. though I still have issues. I love being able to take the lesson as I am permitted. but would you recomend that I also take lessons with a music instructor that can hear and my correct my mistakes?"

Classical Guitar Strap

admira asks, "Hi. I watched Steve Eulberg say it's easy to drill holes in an acoustic guitar and screw strap buttons in it. I have a classical (nylon string) guitar, and I want to know if there's absolutely no problem doing so. Can't it damage the sound of the guitar or something like that? In addition, I noticed Willie Nelson uses a somewhat strange guitar strap, on his classical guitar, which attaches to the bottom of the guitar's sound hole. Is this considered to be a better solution for a classical guitar? Could it too damage my guitar somehow? Thank you very much, Eran."

Right Hand Hammer-Ons, Tapping Question

bator82 asks, "Hey guys, thanks for the lessons. I was just wondering if any of the instructors knew how to do hammer ons with both hands. It seems like even when I know the notes, I have a hard time getting the sustain I want when I have to hammer on with my right hand. Does it have to do with the amp's gain, the guitar's natural sustain, pickup volume and tone, or do I need a compressor, or again, is it all in the technique. If so, are there exercises I can do to help out with right hand hammer ons and even slides? Thanks in advance."

Tuning Problems with KORG Green Light

fuyu asks, "Hello! I just finished watching Lesson one and watched the video about tuning twice. I also have looked through all the current replies regarding tuning but had no luck finding an answer. I just bought my first guitar a week ago, and I have no clue if this is supposed to happen. When I tune my guitar on my KORG tuner, the LCD arm that tells me it's on tune with the green light -- but the arm also flails to the sharp and flat red lights especially when I try to tune my 5th and 6th string. Is there something wrong with my guitar? I have held tried muting the other strings while I tune a string, and it helps on the first 4 strings, but the 5th and 6th go between the green light and swings to the sharp and flat red lights as well while tuning (the light remains green in the middle however). Is this normal?"

Warm Up Exercises, Acousitc or Electric Guitar

mercenary asks, "Hey Dennis - Or other instructors - With your latest metal lesson set leeson where you show come cool awesome warm up techiniques - Can these also be applied to acoustic guitars as well? I generally play with both acoustic and an electric - and I prob assume they could be used also for electric guitars??? Thx"

Clean Sound with Barre Chords

nepatsfansc asks, "I have gotten pretty good at playing barre chords and I can get a good clean sound while playing the chord. My problem is moving between chords, whenever I do, the strings make a loud screeching sound from my fingers rubbing along them. How to I fix this? Thanks, this site is awesome- Stephen"

Guitar Travel Tips, Flying, Humidity and Altitude

nmound asks, "Hello JamPlay, I was wondering if you could provide some travel tips. Soon, I will be getting mobilized to Hawaii for a year and want to bring my Washburn acoustic with me. New York to Honolulu is quite the journey and I want my guitar to make it in one piece. One friend recommended de-tuning the strings b/c the pressure changes on a plane can make them bust. Also, is there a place on the plane for instruments as it is to big to fit in overhead compartments. Or, do I have no choice but to make it checked luggage (cringes at the thought of those careless baggage handlers)? Of course i will call the airline to get their policy, but tips from the tried and tested JamPlay instructors on their previous travels would be great. Thank You...keep up the good work!!!"

Guitar Tuning and Temperature Changes

scopexs asks, "I have been wondering about tuning and temperature. In my area it is cold in the morning and I will sometimes tune my guitar and play for a little relaxation to start my day. Later the temperature will get warmer and I have wondered if I should wait to tune my guitar. I thinking about expansion and contraction and the effect on tuning the guitar. It seems that in the later part of the day I end up having to retune the guitar down to get the proper tuning. Should I wait until the temperature levels out to tune? Thanks for you help...."

Switch Position Humbucker Pickups

swhan asks, "Hi, I play a Yahama ERG121C. It has 2 humbucker pickups separated by a single coil. I'm trying to figure out what each position of the 5 position switch does. Any help is greatly appreciated. :) Stephen"

Guitar Feedback Problems member wupnride asks: I play an Epiphone Zakk Wylde , an Epiphone custom and a strat style ESP.All have the active EMG humbuckers.I used to play through a Randall solid stae head but now I am using an EVH 5150 head and my feedback is just out of control.The only pedals that I use are a BBE Sonic Maximizer,Boss Chorus,Boss Noise suppressor,and a Planet WAves tuner. I have even tried cutting back on my amp volume and increasing my sound at the board.I have also tried cutting back on the volume at my guitar.Are there any pedals or rack mounted effects that can reduce my feed back?I really could use some good advice on this one. Thanks

Wah Wah Pedal

Smoochie1015 asks, "Dear Matt, I started playing guitar in November of 2007, and have come a long way. I want to buy a Dunlop Crybaby wah pedal but my dad doesn't think I'm ready. Can you tell when I should get one and if I'm ready to get one."

Rhythm & Treble

Mingofalls asks, "I have been experimenting with my Les Paul Standard electric guitar, and I know not all guitars are set up the same way, however, I'm wanting to know more about my 3 way Rhythm & Treble switch. When do you use Rhythm, and when do you use Treble? I have 4 knobs, two that controls the front pick ups volume and tone, and the other two for the rear pick up volume and tone. I'm confused on how to set these up when playing, when to use which one, etc... Could you shed some light on this subject? Thanks."


Mingofalls asks, "Is there any particular reason why the frets on the neck of the guitar are larger near the tuning pegs, and frets get much smaller as their going towards the body of the guitar. Also, are most guitars pretty much the same when it come to the 'number' of frets, or are their guitars with many more frets than the standard guitar? This is such a cool site, and I appreciate everyone's input. Thanks, Crisco"


Freakinrican77 asks, "My hands tend to get sweaty at times and it tends to effect my ability to switch chords. If I use talk on my hands to absorb the sweat, could it damage my guitar? I shoot pool a lot so I figured I might be able to use talc in this situation too."

Guitar Picks

Levick11 asks, "Hi, I'm having trouble figuring out what pick gauge I should use. Could someone give an explanation on the differences in gauge and style of guitar picks? I've read that thinner ones are better for strumming and rhythm playing, and thicker ones are better for speed. Is that true or is it just player preference? Thanks."

Zoom G1X

Ndjordjevic asks, "Hi, I got a ZOOM G1X guitar effect and I will appritiate if someone can give some tips and advice how to setup this pedal and get common sounds like for example in Brad's H. Leeson 1, Phase 2, Chapter 6 Chorus, Delay effect, very nice sound.... I wasn't able to setup this pedal to sound like Brad's. I have Squire Strat guitar and Fender Frontman 15g amp + mentioned ZOOM G1X"


Pnestegard asks, "I realize this is a simple question, however, I am having a terrible time holding the pic while strumming. When I am playing single strings I am fine. But while playing chords my pick tends to slip. Any help would be appreciated."


Puma_jaguar asks, "Hi My name is Saul ,im taking lessons with Steve Eulberg and im a begginer i really enjoy the lessons, i have an acoustic guitar Esteban legacy AL-100 41" and i think that the neck of my guitar is very small im not sure,the top of the neck is 1 5/8" and low is 2 1/8", i have problem when i'm playing the easy c cord ,my first finger hit the second string first fret, but when im playing part of my tip of my finger touches the first string too and it makes a buzz all the time i dont know if it is because the neck is very small and the strings are really close could you tell me, if there is a position that will help me not to make my tip touch both strings ( how will i change to easy c chord to d7th chord?) if the neck is small or how should i bend my fingers in this case? . how should i hold the guitar guitar easier? is the position of my thumb incorret ? thanks"

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