Black by Pearl Jam Lesson

Learn to play Black by Pearl Jam on JustinGuitar!

View the full lesson at Black by Pearl Jam | JustinGuitar

Justin - BEST SINGING YET! This is your wheelhouse for singing! Got me thinking that your voice probably fits with Dave Mathews Band as well. Anyway, gave me a better appreciation for Pearl Jam. Thanks!

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This guy’s great for non song lessons, but no beginner would have any idea how to play these songs based on this video You can’t even look up the music elsewhere since he uses a simplified version.

I am still a beginner but find this video/lesson very usefull. I also have the beginner songbook that features this song, great help.

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Maybe having the songbook helps. Either way, we aren’t told a strumming pattern. We aren’t told how many measures for each chord, exactly when to switch, etc. I think if we had 100 beginner players watch this video and then tell them to play Black, there’s no way 99 of them don’t immediately fail. He moves way too fast, doesn’t break anything down, and then skips to different chord progressions without telling you were they fall, etc. I’m guessing paying for the app would make this lesson usable, which is probably the point this free video.

And yes, I realize this is a free lesson, so I shouldn’t complain, yada yada. But if the lesson is unusable by a noob without the paid app then it’s really just an ad for said app. Which I think is a valid complaint.

At 5:57 Justin Clearly explains the strumming pattern

At 2:52 Justin Clearly talks about the chords progression and how measures of each

You can pause video and rewind them.

You can’t learn a song by watching a video once.


Sorry, no dice. He talks vaguely about “feeling” the strumming pattern, but nothing really concrete.

He gives the measures for the verse in the beginning, but not the chorus He half sings about measures as he plays the chorus but its hard to follow.

He doesn’t break it down at all. I can stop and start all I want but if there isn’t a break down, then there isn’t a break down.

A noob could watch it a hundred times and still not be able to play the complete song without the app and song book

Don’t get me wrong he’s a good teacher overall. I’m just giving feedback on this song lesson. But based on how good he is at step by step instructions on non song lessons, I find it hard to believe he couldn’t be less obtuse.

Thanks for making playing guitar more fun. It is a hobby.

I learned the simple version of this song from Justin’s lesson, and listening to the song, in my first month or two of playing guitar. If you don’t like the lesson, hit Google and find a different one.



Ken, we welcome feedback and opinions here in the Community. Our Community Etiquette and Rules serve as a guide to how we participate in this Community.

Your comments are crossing the line in a few places and inviting others to respond in kind.

I’d ask you to review the guidelines. All are welcome here but behaviour needs to be appropriate.

For others please rather flag topics if you feel things are crossing the line. I think that is preferable to getting into back-and-forth exchanges.

On this occasion I am going to make a few edits to clean things up where I feel it is necessary.

@Richard_close2u @LievenDV apologies, meant to and then didn’t loop you in.


I think that Justin said it best in the Learn More section below the video:
“But, as always, I recommend that you stay aware of your guitar level. It’s always a good idea to start simple and then bring some other techniques to get comfortable with the basic stuff.”

This song lesson is listed as a Grade 1 song and for those who are at that level, based on looking back at the video, my recommendation is to mostly focus on the 2:00 mark to about the 5:35 time point in the video. After that, more complicated implied chording is demonstrated and then free form strumming and push strumming are introduced and advanced barre chord version of the song.

You can listen to the other parts of the video and you could even try to play other other sections of the video, but be aware that you may not have the technical skills to play those parts of the video if you are at the Grade 1 level.

I will add that Justin strums about 1 chord per measure in the beginning progression, but sometimes he adds an up strum or up and down strum at the end of the measure, I guess to break the monotony, but you could do just one strum per measure for a chord. Justin counts 4 beats per measure, but it could be hard to see by looking at Justin’s strumming hand since he does a little bounce at the bottom of the strum in this video, but if you look at his left knee you can easily count the 4 beats per measure.

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I personally think Justin’s song lesson videos are a brilliant educational tool in the JG curriculum, since each video is a lesson on moving from beginning chord progressions and strumming to more advanced approaches to a song. It is what keeps drawing me back. I’ve dedicated my Grade 2 consolidation to reviewing all the Grade 1 and 2 videos, especially those linked to songs in the beginner 1 and 2 songbooks, so I may appear in some of the song discussions in the next 3 months.

I wanted to add a note on the beginner song progression in the video. Justin uses a C/G slash chord when he calls out a C chord, probably because it sounds good in the context of the song. In other song videos Justin has mentioned when he uses an alternate chord, so I wanted to point it out in case a Grade 1 beginner wonders why their C chord doesn’t match the C chord Justin is playing.

I’ve loved this song for what feels like a lifetime so was totally stoked to see this in the L5 song list.

Not only do I now know how to play it… but now I’m apparently also licensed to go turn up the gain on my amp and fire in a overdrive pedal right? Gnarly!!!

That descending outro phrase with the D6, Cmaj7 and Em sounds epic on my accoustic.

Best lesson yet :+1:

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YES! He needs to do some DMB stuff! I need to know how to play Satellite and Crash into me and I trust no one but Justin to get it right!

Thanks for this lesson. I’d been playing a simple open-chords version of this for a while and this helped me push myself to a new level. Awesome.

As for other Pearl Jam songs. Yellow Ledbetter. Also very loose and simple in the basic version, but endless possibilities to embelish. And the intro is gorgeous.


This is something you have to work on . You don’t just look at video and play the song you need to put the work in and practice. There is no on strum pattern try different patterns and play til it sounds good. If you are that new maybe you might want to practice different strumming patterns and timing . Justin explains this song very well ,I watched this and been practicing it and even posted me playing it on this site . I am a new player and I know that the question what is the strumming pattern for this song is the wrong question.

I tried this song more than a year ago when I was still fumbling around with every aspect of playing in time. I’ve been working on more power chord’s lately and think this could sound great with some power chords and distortion. I might give that a try this week. I agree that people get too caught up in strumming patterns. It’s better just to feel what sounds good to you as an artist. Thanks for putting the post comments on top with your reply. Great song.


Great lesson, I especially love mixing the lead + rhythm on the outtro.

My suggestion for a new PJ song would be Yellow Ledbetter, definitely! The solos in this song have always felt out of reach for me. So maybe Justin can make them more manageable…