Basic Guitar with Jessica Baron

Beginner Guitar Course from Jessica Baron

Jessica Baron, founder of Guitars in the Classroom, brings her very own unique series to JamPlay. In this highly interactive, easy to follow set, Jessica invites students of all ages to journey through fun, song-based instruction taught in ways she feels we best learn.

66 Lessons

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


Course filmed with 6 cameras for the perfect angles.

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Full Course Breakdown

Jessica Baron shares her passion of helping others through song-based, highly interactive guitar instruction meant to blossom your unique creativity and musicality.


Introduction to Gentle Guitar in G

Jessica kindly introduces herself, her background, and her approach to this series.

6:48 Runtime

0.0 Difficulty

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Breathing & Visualizing

Jessica takes a moment to share a breathing technique. Then, she asks you to envision who you want to be as a musician.

5:30 Runtime

0.0 Difficulty


Finding Rhythm

In this lesson, Jessica starts talking about the first building block of making music: rhythm. Using yourself as a drum, you will feel the beat and find the rhythm within yourself.

9:46 Runtime

1.0 Difficulty


Rhythm & Your Guitar

In the first part of this lesson, Jessica takes some time to explain all the parts of your guitar in detail. She then flips it upside-down and makes a bongo out of it! Grab your guitar and enjoy drumming to the beat.

14:36 Runtime

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The Right Guitar

Jessica takes some time to talk about finding the right guitar for you. She explores different sizes and talks about the correct and most comfortable sitting position.

10:03 Runtime

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Why G Guitar?

Jessica Baron discusses "Gentle G Guitar" and explains why it is such a great learning method for beginners.

9:12 Runtime

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Tuning to Open G

In this lesson, Jessica Baron explains how to tune your guitar to open G with or without an electronic tuner.

12:31 Runtime

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Guitar Stringing Part 1: Steel String

In this lesson, Jessica Baron shows how to string a steel string guitar.

11:34 Runtime

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Guitar Stringing Part 2: Classical

In part 2 of Jessica Baron's restringing lessons, you will learn how to string your classical guitar, which is a little different from a steel string.

9:36 Runtime

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Ear Training & Singing in Tune

Jessica Baron delights in sharing a fun lesson that is all about ear training and singing in tune.

21:24 Runtime

1.5 Difficulty


Vocal Warm-up Part 1

Jessica Baron shares some fun and effective vocal exercises to get you warmed up before singing. This is very important for those of you who would like to sing while playing.

14:15 Runtime

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Vocal Warm-up Part 2

Jessica Baron shares part 2 of her vocal warm-up lessons with some fun new exercises to prepare you for singing.

16:07 Runtime

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In lesson 13, Jessica Baron introduces you to strumming technique.

15:03 Runtime

1.0 Difficulty


Your First Chord

Jessica Baron introduces your first easy chord, Gsus4.

2:47 Runtime

1.0 Difficulty


All About Chords

Jessica Baron talks about patterns and chord charts. She also provides more exercises for the C note you learned in the previous lesson.

19:57 Runtime

1.5 Difficulty


Simple D

Jessica Baron introduces a new chord she calls the "Simple D" and provides a song exercise for practice.

9:07 Runtime

1.5 Difficulty


The Old Chisholm Trail

Jessica Baron teaches techniques in the context of "The Old Chisholm Trail." Learn about the pluck-down strum, practice changing from "Open G "to "Simple D," and learn about capos.

29:51 Runtime

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Simple C

Jessica introduces the "Simple C" chord and incorporates it into two fun songs, "Camptown Races" and "The Green Grass Grows All Around."

21:33 Runtime

1.5 Difficulty


Fun Strums

Jessica takes some time to show you a variety of different strums to use in your playing. She teaches the song "I'll Fly Away" to demonstrate the different feel of each strum.

19:37 Runtime

1.5 Difficulty


Two Finger C Major

Jessica Baron teaches the C major chord using only 2 fingers and provides some fun song exercises for practice.

9:21 Runtime

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Your First Minor Chord

Jessica Baron introduces your first minor chord! Learn the beautiful E minor chord and play along to "This Little Light of Mine."

17:28 Runtime

2.0 Difficulty


The Earth Is Our Mother

In this lesson, Jessica Baron provides some good, fun practice using a traditional Native American chant called "The Earth Is Our Mother."

6:53 Runtime

2.0 Difficulty


3/4 Time

Jessica Baron explains time signatures with a focus on 3/4 time. She uses fun and interactive song exercises for practice.

11:11 Runtime

2.0 Difficulty


I'm On My Way

Jessica Baron teaches one final song in open G tuning called "I'm on My Way" before moving on to standard tuning.

8:52 Runtime

2.0 Difficulty


Standard Tuning

Jessica Baron introduces standard tuning in this lesson! Be ready to tune your guitar and learn "You've Got to Move" for practice.

19:45 Runtime

2.5 Difficulty


A Minor

Jessica Baron introduces the A minor chord in standard tuning and invites you to play along to the fun song "Drunken Sailor."

9:29 Runtime

2.0 Difficulty


A Major

Jessica Baron introduces the A major chord in standard tuning. Practice it with the catchy song "A Tisket, A Tasket."

11:35 Runtime

2.0 Difficulty


D Major

Jessica Baron teaches the D major chord and "Down By The Riverside" for practice.

14:32 Runtime

2.5 Difficulty


Over the River and Through the Woods

Jessica Baron is excited to provide more practice changing from D to A7 with the fun song, "Over the River and Through the Woods."

8:29 Runtime

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The Crawdad Song

Jessica Baron teaches a new chord, B7, with "The Crawdad Song" for practice.

7:31 Runtime

2.5 Difficulty


G Major

Jessica Baron helps you play the full G major chord by using the song, "I've Been Working on the Railroad."

12:02 Runtime

2.5 Difficulty


Full C Major

Jessica Baron is excited to finally teach the full C major chord with the bluesy song "Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child" for practice.

16:52 Runtime

2.5 Difficulty


Composing Part 1

Jessica Baron takes all the knowledge you've learned throughout her series and helps you express yourself through your own compositions.

8:05 Runtime

3.0 Difficulty


Composing Part 2

Jessica Baron continues her discussion on composition with a songwriting exercise. In addition, she also takes a closer look at finger picking with one last picking pattern.

11:46 Runtime

3.0 Difficulty


Yoga for Guitar Players

In this unique lesson, Jessica presents some fantastic tips on how to prep your mind and body to be fully relaxed and ready to play and learn guitar. She provides breathing and self awareness tips as well as hand and arm stretches to get you limber and loose before you even pick up the guitar.

16:09 Runtime

0.5 Difficulty


Guitar Yoga - 90 Second Prep Routine

This lesson is essentially a compressed version of Jessica's 35th lesson, but presented in a way that will allow you to prep yourself using "Yoga for Guitar Players" within about 90 seconds.

4:26 Runtime

0.5 Difficulty


Proper Fret Hand Positioning

Proper positioning of the fret hand is key to developing correct technique and playing clean and clear chords. Jessica explains how the angle at which the guitar neck is positioned affects left hand technique.

6:07 Runtime

0.5 Difficulty


Understanding Chords: Finding the Notes

Jessica starts a mini series on understanding chords by explaining how and where to find the notes needed to build a certain chord.

14:35 Runtime

1.5 Difficulty


Understanding Chords: Where's the Root Note?

Jessica continues her "Understanding Chords" mini series by explaining how to find the root note within commonly used chord shapes.

15:26 Runtime

1.5 Difficulty


Understanding Chords: What Is Voicing?

This lesson will link all the past lesson content into one by helping you understand how to find alternate voicings of chords on the guitar neck.

13:36 Runtime

2.0 Difficulty


Nashville Number System

Using the song "Down by the River to Pray," Jessica explains what the Nashville Number System is and how it is used to quickly learn a new song.

13:46 Runtime

2.5 Difficulty


All About 7th Chords

What are 7th chords? How and where can they be used? Jessica answers these questions and demonstrates some popular 7th chord shapes.

10:31 Runtime

2.5 Difficulty


Mole in the Ground

Using the song "Mole in the Ground," Jessica applies the Nashville number system and demonstrates how to create new, unique lyrics that compliment your chord progression.

9:54 Runtime

2.0 Difficulty


Choosing Accent Chords

Utilizing Major 7th chords and a song called "The Ashgrove", Jessica will demonstrate some great tips on how to chose the right accent chord to spice up your playing.

13:57 Runtime

2.5 Difficulty


Adding a Sus 4

Jessica will demonstrate how to add a Sus 4 to a chord to change its tone. This can be used to spice up and get creative with standard chord positions.

7:49 Runtime

2.5 Difficulty


To Pick or Not to Pick?

Jessica discusses the difference in tone between playing with the pick and playing with the fingers.

21:27 Runtime

1.5 Difficulty


Bass Runs with No Pick

Jessica now presents the option of adding bass runs while utilizing the fingers to pluck and strum the strings.

11:18 Runtime

2.0 Difficulty


Tricky Chord Changes - F Chord

Jessica taps into a mini-series that demonstrates how to navigate tricky chord changes. This first lesson focuses on the F chord.

7:59 Runtime

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Tricky Chord Changes - Partial Barre F

Time to learn the tough partial barre F chord! Jessica covers many of the basics needed to help train your fingers for the shapes needed to complete partial barre chords.

11:33 Runtime

2.0 Difficulty


Tricky Chord Changes - B Minor Chord

Jessica continues to demonstrate tricky chord changes by moving on to the B minor chord.

11:58 Runtime

1.5 Difficulty


Power Chords

Power chords can be utilized up and down the entire fretboard. They achieve full bodied chord voicings that are neither major nor minor. Jessica demonstrates a few of the positions in which power chords can be played.

13:22 Runtime

2.0 Difficulty


Full Neck Movement with One Chord Shape

Jessica demonstrates how easy it is to play a full I, IV, V song by only moving the familiar E major chord shape up and down the fretboard.

9:01 Runtime

1.5 Difficulty


Accents in Blues Music

A lot of the techniques Jessica shows in this lesson can be applied within any genre of music. However, she demonstrates hammer-on and pull-off techniques and how they are applied within blues.

33:53 Runtime

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Fingerstyle Folk Blues

Jessica now dives into fingerstyle techniques, specifically Travis picking.

14:08 Runtime

2.0 Difficulty


Basic 3 Finger Picking

Jessica now works on picking hand techniques. She starts with the basics of using 3 fingers to create arpeggio patterns.

11:16 Runtime

1.5 Difficulty


Quick Chord Changes

Still working within finger picking techniques, Jessica now demonstrates how to navigate more chord changes while still keeping a steady picking rhythm.

13:19 Runtime

2.0 Difficulty


6/8 Fingerpicking

Continuing along with fingerpicking techniques, Jessica now adds the unique time signature of 6/8 into the picking rhythm. This requires adding extra finger strokes. Jessica demonstrates how to make this happen in detail.

7:04 Runtime

2.0 Difficulty


6/8 Picking Part 2

Jessica continues her 6/8 fingerpicking techniques by adding yet another step in the full picking progression. However, she will still utilizes the same song from the previous lesson.

8:00 Runtime

2.5 Difficulty


Travis Picking

Demonstrating yet another widely popular fingerstyle picking technique called Travis Picking, Jessica breaks down this technique and applies it to a very catchy song that is easy to play.

13:30 Runtime

2.5 Difficulty


Song Arrangement

It's time to apply the techniques that have been taught so far to understanding and creating a song arrangement. In this lesson, Jessica discusses how to create a song beginning and ending.

17:36 Runtime

2.5 Difficulty


Find Your Voice

Jessica presents a lesson with tips and techniques on how to find the ideal key for your voice when performing a song. From discovering your lowest note to opening a new world in higher octaves, Jessica gives you the tools to help you find your vocal range.

35:28 Runtime

3.0 Difficulty


Creativity within Song Arrangement

It's now time to learn some creative tips on how to spice up how songs are arranged. Jessica gives pointers on both singing and playing along the lines of improvisation and tempo alternations.

24:49 Runtime

2.5 Difficulty


Travis Picking Applications

Still within the topic of song arrangement, Jessica now delves into Travis picking and how it can be applied in a creative manner to compliment other techniques that Jessica has already taught.

22:50 Runtime

2.5 Difficulty


Time to Write a Song

Jessica creates a song in front of your eyes. She guides you through the steps from starting with a catchy riff or progression to developing a full song idea.

9:43 Runtime

3.0 Difficulty


Develop Lyrics Using Chord Colors

Jessica lays out a great tutorial on how to listen to chords and the emotions they evoke. This technique can easily help transform an atmosphere or mood into a full song with lyrics.

8:24 Runtime

2.5 Difficulty


Composition: Musical Contour

Jessica demonstrates how you can combine the discovery of writing a song with chords and the playfulness of creating possible lyrics over those chords. Let your mind run free with this subject!

17:03 Runtime

2.5 Difficulty

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  • Encinatas, California
  • Playing since 1965
  • 66 lessons at JamPlay
Jessica believes in making your introduction to the guitar easy and pain-free. She is a developmental educator who understands how positive early experiences can motivate us to keep learning. Jessica Baron founded and serves as Executive Director for Guitars in the Classroom, an organization that brings music making to education by integrating singing, strumming and songwriting with learning throughout the school day and across the curriculum. Jessica created the first developmental guitar instruction method and she has written six groundbreaking books in the field of music and guitar education. She believes that we are each unique musical and creative beings with individual pathways we can choose to discover and follow if we are given instruction in the ways we best learn. This vision informs and fuels her dedication to service through teaching.

Jess spent several years in California teaching music in public and private schools; she also worked for a long time as both a human development educator (at Crossroads School of Arts and Sciences) and as a private educational therapist treating children and teens with learning disabilities. These experiences, combined with Masters level training in Clinical Psychology from Antioch University helped her develop an approach to teaching music that creates access to musicality through people’s dominant learning styles while helping them strengthen the others. This, combined with her philosophy that musical learning can be fun and stress free, define her work as an author, teacher, and non-profit leader.

In addition to her years teaching in the classroom and counseling young people, Jess co-authored the highly successful MusicMakers curriculum for the Boys and Girls Clubs of America, as well as the International House of Blues Foundation’s Make an Impression guitar program. Her best-selling guitar method, SmartStart Guitar as well as her parenting book, YOUR MUSICAL CHILD: Inspiring Kids to Play and Sing for Keeps (Hal Leonard, 2004) are soon to be followed by The Green Songbook & CD from Alfred Music Publishing. This compilation of music for living lightly on the Earth is now available at

Jess lives in Encinitas with her teen-age son, Elias, their three birds, two lizards, and one ridiculously adorable dog named Homer. You might have known Jess by her published and formerly married name, Jessica Baron Turner, a last name she went by during her marriage to Eli’s dad, luthier, Rick Turner. These days she goes by Jessica Anne Baron. Jess is also an incidental songwriter, an enthusiastic gardener, a vegetarian, and lover of literature.
Reviews & Feedback 92/100 with 1606 ratings

very fun and helped my learning


i love music , always have , i am a self taught artist i paint sketch, watercolor, pastels and have been somewhat sucessful most of my life . maybe Jamplay and Jessica can help me. thanks for being there for me.


A very clear lesson with great examples.


Well, again, I was a bit like.... "I know how to tune my guitar"..using my cell phone app, hee,hee then I envisioned teaching my GGdaughter how to beat a drum... then I found out that I needed the effort to do these exercises, lol ... and now I


Jessica Baron is an excellent teacher.


All three of the above


All3 apply; she is easy to follow ????


Just what i needed to affirm. Without knowing what i wanted to play, i wasted a lot of years messing around but never getting good at anything enjoyable.


Although new to the sight (1 day), I have already received information I have been wondering about for years.


Although this was not a technical information session, the content of visualization was perhaps the most important idea that I've encountered about the guitar ever. It set an overall foundation to the whole enterprise/activity that is of utmos


G tuning sounds beautiful. So happy to learn this.


Appreciate the accessible holiday tune; thanks!


As a 60 yr old who has tried to pick up the guitar a couple times before Jessica seems to be the right person to guide me to my goal of sticking with the dream of being able to play songs with the family.


Just bought into JamPlay today, this lesson has convinced me it was not just a good idea, but a great on. Jess and her methods are going to be my entry into actually learning to play, I sure.


Awesome philosophy for teaching.


Awesome to see this kind of holistic approach available




You are getting some really nice tones from your guitar! This was a fun lesson!


consider mz baron an excellent teacher, outstanding in fact. our family is full of teachers,nlp,brain gym, brain development. Thank you cheers jb


Cool instructional regarding rhythm


could you write the lyrics with the chords above on a little black board- jpeg-it would save time and explanations THK U

Barry G

Not happy at first but coming around to liking it.


Did not expect it...but i want the very basics...and this is it.


Different, but supportive and encouraging


Doing this lesson with my daughter. I like the teacher and the way she make sus feel at ease learning.


Don´t know why, but i´ve started to cry when hearing this. Can´t even remember last i´ve cried. maybe stupid


Interesting approach. It will be interesting to experience the connection.


Loved the teacher and her approach. I deeply connected with these first two lessons. Finally found someone who answered my questions about my rhythm issues and could it be learned. I just love where she starts. It is exactly what I've needed fo


Wow! You are one smart lady. Your God given Wisdom does make understanding and learning sound fun. I'm ready, lets go. LOL


looks silly but makes sense because you have to be able to strum with one hand and place fingers on chords with the other.


Felt a little unnecesary. Having played other instruments, I understand rhythm. I only liked the last section.


For san overview I like the approach.


The best


Good place to start and think about what you really want to do. The meditation/yoga element was awesome and I connected with it.


Good Stuff


great and informative!!


This was a little more difficult for me. It was the strumming changes, and then making the chord changes, to make the music sound great.


Jessica Baron is amazing :)


Positive affirmation in lesson one!


I am hopeful that I may find a missing link between "perfection" and letting go.


Very nicely she explaining Cheers


how do i print the music out when i try to print it tells me i have now music selected to print


This is totally different than what I expected, and had I come across it a few years ago I would have turned it off and watched someone else. But after some years of meditation and having a deeper understanding of how EVERYTHING is connected I


I can understand you so well I am vary happy that I picket you