'Billie Jean' lesson is a giant step in the beginner course!

The concepts seem to be right in line with what we’ve been doing, but the slow workout feels pretty darn fast! I need to treat that as the challenging fast workout for a while, I think. I felt like I was doing just fine up till now.


I’m trying it daily since the lesson with different emphasizes in practice. Left hand, right hand, tightness etc. It gets better every day (and faster :wink:)
It’s a nice “fallback” to check how far you have come with your playing.


LOL welcome to the forum @stewarts, and now you have met our resident b*tch Billie Jean. Do a search on the term “Billie Jean” and you’ll see you are not alone.


I remember how difficult Billie Jean was for me when I was taking the course… so difficult that I finally gave up and skipped that one so I could get on with it.
I finally conquered her after I finished the course, but that was only because I had quit trying to play with tab and was playing from the musical notation instead (much easier).
Now, BJ is part of my warm up routine when I begin my daily practice :smile_cat:


I’m not moving ahead yet; just doing fingering practice on that riff. I’ve only been doing the lessons as practice (oh, the working life…), but this is definitely an incentive to be more regular about it.


In case you need some inspiration from what others have gone through…

Billie Jean is a Wicked Mistress


Billie Jean is the lesson that has me so irritated that I’m kicking and screaming against progressing on the actual lessons, rather than noodling, teaching myself, and picking up tricks 3rd hand. In no way, shape, or form is this a problem with the course or with Josh. It’s entirely in my head. I just hate this lick so damn much.


Just about everyone (myself included) has trouble with She Who Shall Not Be Mentioned. Just move on and you’ll see that when you get toward the end of the course and try again you’ll be able to get it. :slightly_smiling_face:

Here’s a little tip to make it easier on you… try playing it on the second position on your neck instead of the first position.
What I mean is, instead of playing the F# on the 4th fret of the D string, start on the 9th fret of the A string. It’s still an F#. You play the exact same pattern, but in a place where it’s easier to play (IMO). It’s the same octave, just a wee bit thicker sounding.


F# C# E F# E C# B C# would look like this in the tablature:

A9 E9 A7 A9 A7 E9 E7 E9

For the next phrase (Bm) you just move everything up a string.

Once you get this lick under your fingers on the second position, you can go back to the first position and you’ll magically find it to be much easier.

like as said, it’s the same octave in either position, it just sounds a bit thicker in the second position.



So I just went back and tried to play it for the first time in a few months. And tried it on the first position, as taught (need to establish baseline). And I can play it now lol. I’ll try it your way, too, on second position. That’s a good tip. Thank you.

The other thing bothering me is learning the theory, learning the notes. 30 years ago I played trumpet (and was pretty good. And was good enough to be able to teach my oldest son a few years ago, where his band teacher couldn’t get through to him). But now… Just another mental block, reading the bass clef and my right fingers keying the valves… Big chunk of why I’ve been playing by ear instead of reading the sheet.

Time to rewire the vegetable (seriously, who decided that running electricity through a vegetable would work?)


Well done!

FWIW it’s much easier for me to play in first position.

But I hate it now and don’t even play it as a warm-up any more. I never liked the song to begin with, and obsessive practicing after Mod 4 killed it for me :slight_smile:


Billie jean…, my wrist go numb even ive been excercising maybe because i dont have much arm stamina for this song, but if i play L.A. Woman, Riders on the storm, Dean town, my hands is not hurt even thought the song is pretty tiring, i cant play billie jean full song without resting my left hand (fretting hand) does anyone know how to build arm stamina?


Ahhh, you thought it was about string crossing or something? That lesson is about humility my friend…

It taught me to just push forward and come back to things later. Plus you can play it EVEN SLOWER just need an online metronome…

I can still play the darn thing from memory. It kinda became my finger exerciser… Can’t enjoy listening to the song anymore though.


Haha, spot on. BJ was the first fast workout that I had to skip. Up until then everything went swimmingly, and I was really pleased with my progress, but then BJ gave me a reality check. (And then My Sharona, and Higher and Higher, and the entire slapping module…) I think it was around module 12 when I was finally able to play it comfortably on fast tempo.

Yep, that too. That’s why I’m staying well away from my favorite songs for the time being.

1 Like

I’ve played this riff in the exact same way and it is like playing a completely different lick. its amazing how much easier it is. @PamPurrs