Billie Jean is a Wicked Mistress

Certainly achievable. Usually by the time you finish the course.

The trick is to get three things working. Don’t miss a note. Alternating plucking. Getting it up to speed for the fast workout.

It’s doable, but it is one of the harder songs in the whole course. The reason it gets so much attention is when it appears in the course. It’s a huge jump up in difficulty compared to what you will have learned up to that point and I think that takes a lot of people by surprise.

And, Billie Jean is such a deceptive little sh!t. It doesn’t seem hard… at first.
Then the finger twisting bites you in knuckles.


I have made good progress through all of the lessons. Muting came natural for some reason and I made it through every workout at fast. But Billie Jean has stopped me. I keep getting all mixed up, lose track of plucking and lose coordination in my fretting hand.

I made it through slow speed. I can play it at fast if I use a pick (cheating I know haha). But I was using it to get the left hand working. I have moved on to other lessons, but I am determined to nail it :slight_smile:


She’s one of my warm up exercises now. The b*tch is like putty in my hands…


I edited the original post to include a link to @Gio’s advice and video for any new folks that find this.


Made me laugh lol


I stopped here (Module 4 Lesson 6) on Wednesday night because it was getting late. I took last night off to give my fingers a break and now after checking the forums before I start lessons tonight I see this thread!!!

I’m a little frightened to try it now…


Yes, I’ve gotten to it. And yes, I understand how people get frustrated by it.

I ran though three modules prior to this (the reggae exercise for string crossing was quite fun).

First module where I had to stop the video and start working on the 4/4/2/4/2/4/2/4 sequence. And yes, it’s frustrating as hell. I know where and what to pluck and to do it on eighth notes…and I occasionally I can, for about 10 seconds. Then all hell breaks loose. My brain tells me incorrectly to skip the last ‘4’ on the 4/4/2/4 part.

Currently can do it about 90% of slow. The transition up to the ‘G’ string is not that big of a deal, but the transition back down seems to occasionally give me a bit of problems. I’m probably going to break the sequence up in half, and work on both parts separately. Work on it for the rest of the week, then move on to the next module. :slight_smile:


Welcome to the club, @Sp33dSnakr . . . we have lots of members :slight_smile:


Don’t let BJ discourage you. If you struggle to master that lesson, jump over it and finish the course. When you come back to it after you’ve completed all the other modules, you’ll be amazed at how much easier it has become.


Can do it now 95-100% on slow. I have found turning your brain off and just letting the Billie Jean force flow through you works wonders. :rofl:


@Sp33dSnakr that actually works for a lot of lessons… Many times I was able to play a workout exercise, that I was struggling with before, after I’d had a good night’s sleep. Now, whenever I’m having difficulty playing something, I just stop and return to it the next day. You might be surprised how many times that works!


Hi all, I was playing through Billie Jean with a couple other guys last week, and apparently it’s very common to play this song down a whole step (in E instead of F#). Turns out most singers don’t have Michael Jackson’s vocal range, go figure :slight_smile:

Playing it this way is actually a lot easier than the “official” way as you can use open strings, so it’s a lot less taxing on the fretting hand.

G - - - - - - - -
D 2 - 0 2 0 - - -
A - 2 - - - 2 0 2
E - - - - - - - -

Playing it in F# is still a noble goal, but this version is good to start with for anyone struggling to get the timing/pattern down. Then you can move to the original key to build up the fretting endurance, if your hand doesn’t fall off first :upside_down_face:


By Jove, you’re right, @bjams . . . :+1:



You could always capo :slight_smile:


I found my new Billy Jean. it is giving me the same trouble that Billy gave me so long ago. Just like Billy J, it is not so much trouble, but enough to be annoying.
It is a really cool little riff that is not all that difficult. but it crosses 3 strings. you only need to bar the 3 strings (G,D,A) at the 7th, and fret on the 9th of each at the proper time, as you pluck or pick the proper string.
Its another finger twister, so I have added it to my routine.

Johnny Appleseed by NOFX.

I can play this with fingers, but I may have to start playing with a pick to be able to keep up with Fat Mike. His fastest stuff is not that hard if you pick it correctly. It looks insane when you see the BPM, and the notes played, but if you PICK if correctly, it’s not that hard. You have to pre set your fingers, and then just move one finger up and down at the right time and it works out to be way easier then it sounds, and looks on paper.