Acoustic Videos

Acoustic Guitar Video Lessons

On this page you will find free acoustic guitar video lessons designed to take your playing to a whole new level! By watching these videos you will discover many cool and creative ways to play your acoustic guitar.

If you like these videos, subscribe to my YouTube channel below and receive regular notifications for all future acoustic guitar video lessons. 

 

Best Way To Learn Scales Guitar Video Page Pic

 

It Took Me 26 Years To See This On The Fretboard . . .

BRAND NEW: One of the biggest revelations I ever had as a guitarist of over 34 years of playing, happened back in 2016. To that point, I had been playing guitar for 26 years and had been visualising the major scale a certain way on the fretboard, a good way, or so I thought.

At an event I attended, I was shown a MUCH better and MUCH easier way to go about visualising the major scale across the fretboard. Once I was shown this it was SO obvious.

How had I not seen this for 26 years!!

It was hiding in plain sight the whole time. It wasn’t unrelated to how I had been visualising the major scale, but it made a world of difference to my playing.

In this video, you learn the very best ways to visualise scales on guitar so you can easily play and create the music you love. I am joined by Guitar Breakthrough Specialist Tom Hess, the person whose events changed how I visualised the fretboard, to discuss and demonstrate the best ways to visualise scales on guitar.

Tom Hess will do all the talking in this video, as he has the most effective and efficient ways for visualising all things on the guitar fretboard, and knows how to teach it so anyone can understand.

Learn the very best way to learn scales on guitar

 

Fret Hand Position Guitar Video Page Pic

 

How To Play Guitar With Small (And Large) Hands

NEW: In over 30 years of teaching guitar, what do you think is the most common issue students encounter?

• Changing chords cleanly
• Playing in time
• Understanding music theory
• Learning songs
• Playing fast/clean/fluently

While all these can be challenges for those learning guitar, it’s none of the above.

The biggest issue by far, at least in my experience, is something that affects EVERYTHING else that follows.

So it lies at the foundation of one’s technique and is a cause of many symptoms that follow if you don’t get it right. The issue?

Having your fretting hand in the correct position.

So many get this wrong. And if it goes untreated, it makes everything that follows much harder to do including all the things I listed above (perhaps with the exception of music theory).

If you think your fingers are too short, or your hands are too small, think again.

Over 30 years of teaching hundreds of students, I have never encountered anyone whose hands were too small to play guitar.

In this video tutorial, you learn how to get your fretting hand in the correct position when playing guitar.

If you think your fingers are too short, you MUST watch this video! You learn exactly how to place your hand on the fretboard so that everything is accessible to you in your playing. Nothing is beyond you regardless of your hand size.

Learn how to play guitar with small hands

 

Note Names Or Intervals Guitar Video Page Pic

 

How Does A C Note Sound? (A Trick Question)

NEW: Much has been said about the value of learning the note names on guitar.

And this is true, however, learning the note names is just the beginning. What lies beyond simply knowing the note names is the note function.

But what does this mean?

It means that knowing for example that the first fretted note on the second string of your guitar is a C note does not tell you anything about how this note sounds. It simply tells you that it is a C note.

But how does a C note sound?

In other words, how does this note function?

Well, a C note will sound however you want it to sound, it all comes down to the context in which you use it.

Example 1:

Pick up your guitar and form a C major open chord.

Strum the chord and while the chord is ringing through, pluck the C note (1st fret/2nd string) a few times. The C note is in the chord so this is easy to do while keeping the shape formed in your fingers.

How does it sound?

Don’t worry if you don’t have an answer.

Example 2:

Next, form an Am open chord and do the same thing.

Strum the chord and pluck the C note (1st fret/2nd string) which is also part of this chord.

How does it sound?

If you still don’t know, this is completely fine, however, you should be able to hear that the very same note now sounds different to how it sounded against the C chord.

Example 3:

Let’s go one more time. Form an F chord, which also has this C note in it, and strum the chord, plucking the C note several times as the chord rings through. The C note will once again sound different. This is because the C note, and any note for that matter, sounds many different ways depending on the context in which they are being played.

As a guitarist, you will gain much more control over your playing if you can learn the function of the notes, not just the name of the notes.

In this video, I sit down with Guitar Playing Breakthrough Specialist Tom Hess to discuss and demonstrate note names versus note functions. If any of this is confusing, don’t fret, Tom Hess has a knack for explaining this very thing that makes it easy for anyone to understand even if you don’t have a music theory bone in your body.

Learn all about intervals versus note names on guitar

 

Danny Boy Solo Guitar Video Page Pic

 

Learn This Beautiful Arrangement For Solo Guitar . . .

NEW: Danny Boy, a tune I am sure you know, is something I have come back to again and again in my playing. I have arranged it many times using all sorts of techniques including open string drones, harmonics, walking bass, and travis picking.

And while all these versions do sound nice, it really doesn’t need much more than some simple chords to accompany the beautiful melody that is Danny Boy. Sometimes you don’t even need the chords, the melody alone is enough.

In this video, you learn an arrangement of Danny Boy that is as simple as it is beautiful to play.

Learn how to play danny boy for solo guitar

 

Fingerstyle Picking Hand Position Video Page Pic

 

Having Trouble Fingerpicking Guitar? Do This . . .

Can you relate to any of the following things when fingerpicking guitar:

• Your fingers cramp up

• You feel excess tension in your picking hand

• Your picking hand fatigues easily

• There is a lack of fluency in your playing

• Your fingers feel slow to react to what they need to do

The above are all symptoms.

The problem with symptoms is that people focus on these to try and solve the issues they are having in their playing, such as fingerpicking in this case. Focusing on symptoms won’t solve anything for you. What you need to focus on is the cause of the symptoms.

This is the key to solving any issues you have with your guitar playing.

Addressing the symptoms will probably just create more problems and unintended consequences for your playing. So what is the cause of the symptoms listed above?

The most common is the fingerpicking hand position. Get this right and EVERYTHING will feel so much easier to do. Get it wrong and your playing will fall apart, collapsing like a house of cards.

With your picking hand in the right position, you will pluck the strings of your guitar with power, control, and finesse. You will play fluently and effortlessly with just the right amount of tension needed for any playing situation.

And the great news is, you can acquire the correct fingerpicking hand position in just 10 seconds, guaranteed!

In this video, I reveal to you a method that is absolutely foolproof for getting your hand in the correct position for fingerpicking guitar. If you follow exactly what I show you it will be impossible to NOT have your hand in place for easy, effortless fingerpicking.

It’s super quick, it’s easy, and works every time.

Do you have a spare 10 seconds?

Learn how to get the perfect picking hand position for fingerstyle guitar

  

Gorgeous Guitar Chords Video Page Pic

 

Are These Even Chords?

Sometimes, all you need are two notes to suggest a chord.

For example, 10th harmony.

As the name suggests, this is when you play the root note of a chord along with the note that is a 10th above. Both these combine to suggest or imply a chord as opposed to actually being a chord.

“Blackbird” by The Beatles is a great example of a song almost entirely built on 10th harmony.

It is an incredibly beautiful sound, especially when you add the drone of open strings to it.

Another incredibly beautiful sounding chord on guitar is the #11 or “Lydian” chord. Played out of context, or played “unintentionally”, this chord might sound horrible to your ears. But play it with intent and at the right moment and it is one of the most beautiful sounds you will hear on a guitar.

It provides a sense of awe, sounding heroic, hopeful, celestial, and heavenly all at the same time. It is a favourite sound of movie composers and can be heard in many films including, “E.T.”, “Back To The Future”, and “Star Wars” to name just a few.

In this video, you learn 3 beautiful sounding chords including the approach of 10th harmony and the Lydian #11 chord.

Learn gorgeous sounding chords for your guitar playing

  

Reading Chord Charts Video Page Pic

 

This Happens All The Time As A Guitar Player

You are at a party, there’s a guitar, and everyone knows you play. As the night progresses and everyone is getting more cheerful shall we say, out comes the guitar for a bit of a singalong. Somehow the guitar finds its way into your hands and a song you’ve never played before is requested (btw, this happens all the time as a guitar player whatever level you are at, pro or amateur).

So, what do you do?

1. Apologise, feeling a little embarrassed, saying you don’t know the song
2. Play the song and any other song someone cares to yell out as the night continues

It depends on one thing:

Your ability to read a chord chart.

Unlike reading music notation, being able to read a chord chart is hugely beneficial as a guitar player and musician, and it takes waaaaaay less time to build this skill compared to reading music.

No more trying to remember songs you’ve played before or balking at the ones you don’t know, reading chord charts is a skill attainable to anybody and will give you a huge sense of freedom as a musician.

However, be aware, there are some "chord charts" out there you want to avoid.

The kind that has the lyrics with chords written above. These teach you very little about reading a chord chart and will develop flaws in your sense of time and awareness.

In this video, you learn my 3 step strategy for learning to read chord charts on guitar:

1. Overview
2. Navigation
3. Playing

Not only will reading chord charts benefit you in the scenario outlined above, but it also will significantly improve your sense and awareness of time as well as your ability to communicate with other musicians.

Learn how to read chord charts for guitar

 

Great Guitar Sound Video Page Pic

 

Is Tone Really In The Fingers?

There is a debate amongst musicians that has been going on for decades that begs the question:

Is tone in the fingers?

Meaning, is it the way you play your instrument (ie. the quality of sound you bring to the notes you play), or the instrument itself, that contributes most to the sound you get?

Can a great guitar player for example, still sound great on a cheap guitar, or if you like, will an average player sound great on an expensive guitar?

Well, let’s define what we mean by “tone” first because it can take on multiple meanings in the world of music.

In this context, I am using the word tone to refer to the quality of the sound of the notes you play, the timbre if you like.

Now, while this can be different from one instrument to another (eg. a C note played on a piano will have a different quality of sound than the same C note played on a guitar), the tone can vary a lot from one guitar player to another.

So, is it the fingers that contribute to this variance in quality of sound, or the equipment you are using?

To be honest, it’s a little bit of both, depending on how semantical you want to get when defining the word “tone”. However, what I do know is, that there are many things you can do to contribute to the quality of the sound you get from your instrument, whether it’s a $50 job from the local opp shop or a top of the range guitar from your local music store.

And these are things you can implement in your playing right now, no need to go out and buy better equipment or develop a higher level of technique than you currently have.

In this video, I sit down with Rhythm Guitar Specialist Mark Turko to discuss and demonstrate how to immediately make your guitar playing sound better using super simple approaches anyone can do, whatever the quality of your equipment. The truth is many things contribute to the quality of the sound you get from a guitar from the pic you use, to how you use the pic, to the string gauge, to strumming technique, the list goes on . . .

Learn how to get a great sound when playing guitar

 

Spicy Chord Progressions Video Page Pic

 

This Makes For Some Incredibly Beautiful Sounding Chord Progressions

There is a term used to describe the nature of a certain type of chord progression in music. That term is CESH, and no, it’s not slang for the New Zealander dollar ;)

It is an acronym for:

Chromatic Embellishment of a Static Harmony

It may sound complicated, however, these progressions, at least the ones I am going to show you, are all based on the concept of CESH and are no harder to play than your average open chord progression.

CESH makes for some incredibly beautiful sounding chord progressions and is used in one of the most famous and recognised songs of all time (hint: don’t play this song in a music shop).

In this video, you learn 3 beautiful chord progressions that all are based on the CESH concept. The third example is directly related to the famous song I mentioned above. I will provide a detailed breakdown of each progression so you can apply the same concepts in your own playing.

Learn 3 spicy chord progressions for your guitar playing

 

Lead Guitar Fills Between Chords

 

Back By Popular Demand: Rhythm Guitar Lead Fills

Every time I do a video on lead fills, there is always a great response. It’s one of the most popular topics I teach, as you can tell from some of the comments I recieved on a past video:

“Such a cool sound!”

“Great video, really nice riffs!”

“Terrific lesson, it connected the dots for me on how to use triads, thirds, and double stops with a chord progression.”

Lead fills are when you play riffs in between the chords of a progression. So you play a chord, followed by a riff, before playing the next chord of the progression. It is a great way to mix lead and rhythm guitar parts together much like Jimi Hendrix, Stevie Ray Vaughan, and John Mayer do.

And after receiving this particular comment:

“Amazing video! I'd love a part 2 that explores more variations on these riffs/licks.”

I decided to create another video on lead fills doing exactly that!

In this video, you learn 3 more lead fills that you can apply to any progression you play on guitar. It doesn’t matter if you haven’t seen the first video on lead fills, you’ll be just fine with this one.

I’ll also show you a quick hack to easily convert any minor fill instantly into a major fill. It is ridiculously easy to do!

Learn how to play lead fills between the chords of a proression

 

Pentatonic Scale With Triads Video Page Pic

 

Why You Don’t Sound Like Your Guitar Heroes . . . Yet

If I were to mention the word "triads" to you, what would come to mind first?

For many, it would be chords.

But did you know that triads can also be used for soloing?

While it may not be the most obvious application of triads, it is a fantastic way to visualise the fretboard when soloing on guitar.

Better yet is to combine triads with pentatonic scales.

Now we’re talking!

Ever wonder why you don’t sound the same as your guitar heroes do when soloing with pentatonic scales? Chances are they’re sneaking in a bit of triad action.

Triads allow you to target some notes that aren’t available to you in the pentatonic scale.

Often these notes are some of the most melodic, hence seriously improving the sound of your guitar solos compared to only using the pentatonic scale.

In this video, I address and demonstrate simple ways to combine triads with pentatonic scales for great sounding solos along with other questions asked on my YouTube Channel.

Questions include, how to build a repertoire of songs you can play at the drop of a hat, as well as how to mix triads with pentatonic scales when soloing on guitar plus a whole lot more!

Learn how to combine pentatonic scales with triads for great sounding solos

 

Fast Fingers Guitar Video Page Pic

 

The Exercise That Makes Playing Guitar Easier

I want you to take your fretting hand and wiggle your fingers as quickly as you can.

Congratulations!

You can move your fingers fast enough to play anything you like on guitar. Many people mistakenly believe you have to move your fingers at lightning speed. However, the truth is, that everyone can already move their fingers just fine.

Speed is not what you are after. What you do need is finger independence.

Ever heard someone say:

“my fingers have a mind of their own”

when trying to play guitar?

Typically this means that your fingers are doing anything but what you want them to do. However, with finger independence, you DO want your fingers to have a mind of their own. When playing guitar, each finger has an exclusive job to do at any given time. Thus, you want each finger to be independent of the other so it can do what it needs to do without the other fingers getting in the way.

This is key to playing fluently and effortlessly across the fretboard.

In this video, you learn three levels of finger independence that make playing guitar much easier.

Practising these exercises for 5-10 minutes each day will show significant improvement in your playing within a week. The best part is that you can practice them anywhere, anytime, even without a guitar in your hands, making them easily accessible.

Learn how to get faster fingers on guitar

 

Sing And Play Guitar Video Page Pic

 

This Is Not Hard To Do, You’re Just Doing It Wrong

One of the big challenges many people struggle with is the ability to sing and play guitar at the same time. Yet, there are daily activities we all do that employ similar skills as those required by this task. For example:

• Walking while eating

• Driving while speaking on the phone (handsfree of course)

• Taking notes while listening to a lecture

We can do these things without a thought because we mastered each of these skills in isolation at some point in our lives. Perhaps we did not attend a class titled “How to walk and eat at the same time”, but we did learn how to feed ourselves and walk to the point that we could do both simultaneously.

And singing and playing guitar at the same time is no different, in principle.

But it can seem impossible to do, because of how you go about developing this skill.

There are two approaches you can take:

1. Trial and error by which you just try and make it work by doing everything at once (ie. singing and playing guitar) and hoping for the best

2. Follow a step by step method, that tells you exactly what to do, and the order in which to do it to guarantee you the skill of being able to sing and play guitar at the same time

If you go with option 1, you may eventually succeed, but many fall short.

Option 2 is your best bet, as long as it is a good method.

In this video, I am joined by songwriting coach Diana de Cabarrus for a detailed, almost forensic, breakdown of how to train the skill of singing and playing guitar at the same time. Diana knows exactly how to develop this skill not because she does it herself, although she does, but because she has successfully taught others to do it, and has been doing so for years.

If you follow these steps exactly as Diana lays them out for you, you will develop the ability to sing and play guitar at the same time, guaranteed!

Learn how to sing and play guitar

 

Beautiful Chord Progressions Guitar Video Page Pic

 

Chord Progressions You Think Are Hard To Play But Aren't

Whenever I play “Blackbird” by The Beatles at a gig, I always get comments on that particular song, something along the lines of,

“wow, that was amazing, you are a great guitar player”

And although I appreciate the positive feedback, there are other songs that I perform at the same gig which are way harder to play than Blackbird. However, it is this song that provokes comments such as the one above. Why is that?

Well, it is because Blackbird is one of those songs that sounds a lot harder to play than it is. Not to say it is simple, and that anyone who has been playing for a couple of months can pull it off, but relatively speaking it is a lot easier to play than it sounds.

The point is, there are many things that sound advanced and sophisticated on guitar that are actually quite easy to do.

For example, chord progressions.

There is a common misconception that advanced sounding chord progressions must be hard to play. Yes, they can be, however, they can also be easy to play. It depends on the make up of the progression.

In this video, you learn 3 advanced sounding chord progressions that are easy to play. Easier than a lot of the progressions you already know to do on guitar.

Speaking of Blackbird, the third progression you learn has all the hallmarks of this songwrapped up in one simple sequence of chords.

Learn 3 beautiful chord progressions for guitar

  

Easy Acoustic Blues Guitar Video Page Pic

 

Can You Multitask On Guitar?

No, I am not suggesting playing guitar while driving your car, but rather doing two or more things at the same time on one guitar. For example, playing the chords and the melody of a tune.

Sound hard to do?

Well, it most certainly can be, however, it doesn’t have to be. Pianists of all levels, including beginners, do this thing all the time. And while it might not be such an intuitive way to play a guitar, it can be surprisingly simple to do.

In this video, you learn an easy solo fingerpicking blues piece on guitar.

If you enjoy blues music and want to create acoustic fingerpicking arrangements that combine bass and melody parts on a single guitar, then you'll love this! You won’t even need to play a single chord!

Learn how to play acoustic fingerpicking blues

 

Beautiful Dissonant Guitar Chords

 

These Chords Sound Horrible . . . Or Do They?

In a nutshell, music can be summed up in 2 simple words, tension and release.

All music has multiple points of tension that are then released or resolved. It is the resolution, or dissonance that makes the tension work, and it’s the tension itself that makes the music. Without the tension, music would be incredibly boring.

It’d be no different to watching a movie where everything starts fine, continues that way, and ends well. No conflict, no drama, no action. Pretty boring right?

And if you watch a movie that doesn’t resolve any of the drama or conflict, then you are left feeling unsatisfied.

Music is no different. However, not all tension is equal. There are different grades of tension from mild to intense. Tension can also be drawn out or resolved quickly. There is a spectrum.

In this video, you learn chords that are full of tension and dissonance. Played out of context you would be likely to think these chords sound horrible. However, if they are used in a way that resolves the tension they sound incredible!

Note that these are not obscure chords you are unlikely to use, they appear in everyday music, including very famous songs.

Learn how to make dissonant chords sound beautful

 

Warm Up Guitar Video Page Pic

 

How To Gain An Extra 30hrs Of Practice Time  

How would you like to gain an extra 30 hours of guitar practice over a year without investing any more time into your guitar playing than you already do? Sound too good to be true?

It’s actually very easy to achieve this if you change just one simple thing, and that is how you warm up on guitar. Believe it or not, most people waste valuable practice time warming up . . . even pros do this without realising it.

A typical warm-up routine usually involves tedious exercises up and down the fretboard that sound about as musical as my tone deaf 94 year old grandfather singing the national anthem (ok, I made that up, but you get my point). Yes, these exercises do warm our fingers up, however, what a lot of people fail to realise is there is MORE we can get from a warm up session than simply preparing our fingers to play.

On the surface, this may not seem like a big deal, but stay with me here.

Let’s say you practice guitar for 20 minutes each day, with which 5 of those minutes are spent warming up.

Over a year, that’s 30 hours of warming up or 25% of your overall practice time!

Now, what if we could get more out of the time we invest in warming up every practice session?

All of a sudden that 30 hours of warming up has a much greater return on investment over time.

In this video, you learn the 3 criteria every warm up session needs, that not only get your fingers ready to play but will have you making progress at the same time.

The first of these criteria is to warm your fingers up. The other two aren’t so obvious.

Learn how to warm up on guitar

 

14 Year Old Self Video Page Image

 

3 Common Misconceptions People Have About Jamming

Here are some common misconceptions people have about jamming:

• You need to be at least at an intermediate level to jam

• You need to learn how to jam before playing with anybody

• You need to be a pro to jam

The thing is, jamming is for everybody, and the only way you are going to get any good at it is by DOING it.

Music is a language, and the best way to get fluent in any language is to immerse yourself in an environment where you can communicate that language with other people.

It doesn’t matter if it’s just for fun with a few mates, or you are preparing for a gig, jamming will significantly accelerate your progress on guitar and as a musician.

And while I did jam a lot in my early years of playing, I wish I had jammed more knowing now how much of my skills I can attribute to this one factor.

Previously, I published a video titled “5 Things I Wish I Knew As A Beginning Guitarist”. In this video, you learn 5 more things I wish I had known when first learning to play guitar. Jamming more is one of them. You will need to watch the video to discover the other four including something I was not doing until 20 years into my playing, that made all the difference in the world!

Learn 5 more things I wish I had known as a begginer guitarist

 

Beautiful Chord Progressions Video Page Pic

 

Learn 3 Simple, Easy To Play Chord Progressions That Sound Amazing!

While it may seem like you need to grow an extra finger or two to play certain chords on the guitar, there are many shapes out there that sound amazing and are easy to play. These are not your run of the mill open and bar chords, they are much more sophisticated and advanced sounding than that yet are simple to play. For example, consider the following chord progression:

E     | A     ||

Nothing special right?

In fact, it’s hardly a progression at all, more of a vamp, yet there are very simple ways you can make these 2 chords sound incredible!

How simple?

In some cases, no harder than using stock standard E and A open chords, but a MUCH better sound. How about this progression:

Am     | Dm     | E7     | Am     ||

Open and bar chords would serve this progression well and sound fine, however, there are again other chord shapes you could use that are simple to play and sound great!

In this video, you learn 3 chord progressions that use non standard, unique chord shapes that result in a stunning sound. I’ll break each example down in detail so you understand what is going on so you can take the shapes and make them part of your own guitar playing.

Learn 3 beautiful sounding chord progressions for guitar

 

Sing And Play Guitar At The Same Time 

Find It Hard To Sing And Play Guitar At The Same Time? This Is Why . . .

Singing and playing guitar at the same time is something that eludes many.

It eludes me because I can’t sing, but for many, this is not the reason. For many singing and playing in and of itself is fine when done in isolation, but putting the two together is like trying to dance with two left feet (btw, dancing is another area I severely lack in)

The problem is that many people believe that the only two things required to sing and play guitar at the same time are singing and playing guitar, which is a misconception. In reality, mastering this skill requires attention to a third element. This third element is often overlooked or unknown to many, making it seem impossible to sing and play guitar at the same time.

In this video, you learn how to sing and play guitar at the same time.

Wait, what?!

Simon who can’t sing to save his life is going to show me how to sing and play guitar at the same time? Well, no, not exactly. While I could teach you this skill, think of the overweight gym instructor training the petite gymnast to Olympic gold, I have something MUCH better in store for you!

Learn how to sing and play guitar at the same time

 

Tell My Beginner Guitarist Self Video Page Pic

 

5 Things I Wish I Had Known When First Learning Guitar

If I could meet my 14 year old self there are many things I would tell him, not the least the lotto numbers for any week between 1990 and now. Joking aside, this is the age I started playing guitar, and I didn’t have the first clue as to what to do to become any good at it.

I did recieved help from several teachers which made a big difference, however, with the knowledge I have now, there are many things I would have told my younger self that could have accelerated my learning of the instrument. Many of these things were simple and could have saved me much time.

Since time travel hasn't been invented yet, all I can do is take stock of what I currently know and implement it, as well as remain receptive to better ways of doing things. Thankfully, that is what I have been doing for many years now.

In this video, you learn 5 things I wish I had known when first learning to play guitar. Number 4 will significantly accelerate your progress, while number 5 is the main reason so many fail at playing guitar. It’s so simple but not necessarily easy to implement.

Learn 5 things I wish I had known as a beginner guitarist

 

Guitar Practice Fundamentals Video Page Pic

 

If I Could Start Guitar All Over Again I would Do This . . .

If I could go back to the pimply faced 14 year old me, walking into the music shop to buy my first guitar in February of 1990, I believe I could get to the level I am now in just half the time.

Now, I realise this might sound like an exaggeration, and admittedly it would be hard to prove, however, I have no doubt I could at least achieve this. However, there is one BIG caveat, and that is . . .

“If I knew then what I know now”

Of course, hindsight is 20/20 and I am sure if we all had the chance to go back in time, we would do things better in many areas of our lives. But as Stephen Hawking once said,

“If time travel is possible, where are the tourists from the future”

So, the next best thing is to invest time now, present day, into bettering our practice skills. If you believe practice makes perfect, think again.

Practice makes permanent, not perfect.

Only perfect practice can make perfect. Practising for the sake of practising will get you nowhere.

The good news is if you focus on the fundamentals of guitar playing, the rest will take care of itself.

People greatly underestimate how much can be done with the fundamentals of something, yet grossly overestimate what they think they can do without them.

In this video, I am joined by my good friend rhythm guitar specialist Mark Turko to discuss and demonstrate the fundamentals of practising guitar. Like myself, Mark has been playing guitar for decades and knows what it takes to get maximum results from the time you invest into your playing.

Learn how to practice guitar effectively

 

Blues Turnaround Riffs Video Page Pic

 

The Most Important Question To Ask When Playing Guitar

Whatever you may be learning on guitar, the most important question to ask yourself is:

“How can I use this in my playing” 

An equally important follow up question you need to ask yourself is:

“How else can I use this in my playing”

Asking yourself these questions takes you from simply learning an example of something, to learning the concept behind the example. The difference?

You can take the things you learn and use them yourself in your playing.

This is the whole point!

Learning examples is important and a great starting point. But it is just that, a starting point. You need to go deeper into what you learn, beyond the surface level, as opposed to a monkey see monkey do approach. This is where the true learning begins.

As the great Miles Davis once said:

“First you imitate, then you innovate”

In this video, you learn a simple blues concept. On the surface level, you can get much out of what I show you. But, the true value of this lesson lies in what I get you to do with this concept so you can take it to the next level and create chorus after chorus of beautiful fingerpicking blues music.

Learn 3 essential blues turnaround riffs for guitar

 

Learn Note Names Guitar Video Page Pic

 

The ULTIMATE Exercise For Learning ALL The Note Names on Guitar

Imagine trying to find your way around town without any kind of GPS or street directory. It would be quite difficult, right? Although you might eventually reach your destination, it would take a lot of time and effort, not to mention the trial and error involved.

Playing guitar without knowing the note names is akin to driving around town without a map. You’re essentially flying blind.

Yes, you have patterns and shapes to rely on, but without knowing the note names you won’t know where to play any of these on the fretboard. And that’s only the beginning of the many issues you’ll face as a consequence of not knowing the notes.

Just like a map saves you a load of time finding places, knowing the note names saves you a tonne of time finding things on your instrument, making playing the guitar MUCH easier and more enjoyable!

So then, why are there so many players who struggle to know where the notes are on their instrument?

There are two main reasons:

1. It looks daunting when you see a fretboard diagram with all the notes laid out. I mean, where do you start?

2. Learning notes on the guitar is often taught in very ineffective ways, leaving people even more clueless as to how to go about it than when they started.

In this video, you learn a proven method for learning to recall where all the notes are on the guitar in an instant.

And the good news is you don’t have to memorise a thing!

That’s the first mistake most people make when setting out to learn the notes, they think they have to memorise them. You don’t :)

However, what you must do is follow the EXACT method that I lay out for you and be consistent in practising it each day for 3 - 5 minutes. 

Discover a simple method for learning all the note names on guitar

 

Beautiful Guitar Chords Video Page Pic

 

Learn Advanced Sounding Chords That Are Easy To Play

When it comes to chords on guitar, looks can be deceiving.

For example, if you saw this chord in a song:

Dm6add9/A

You’d probably be like WTF!

I mean, it looks more like someone’s online banking password, right!? Yet, this can be a very simple chord to play. Not only that, but it also sounds incredibly beautiful!

It works the other way too, where chords can be a lot more than they first appear.

For example, E7, Dm, C#m.

These appear to be your run of the mill, garden variety chord types, and they are, however, play them a certain way and they sound exquisite! The fact is, some of the most beautiful chords available to you on guitar also happen to be some of the easiest to play.

In this video, you learn some of the most beautiful sounding chords I know to play on the guitar. These chords sound amazing and are easy to play. Better yet, no barring is required! You learn exactly how to fret each chord as well as examples of each being used in a variety of chord progressions.

Learn advanced sounding chords that are easy to play

 

Octave Shapes Guitar Video Page Pic

 

The Forgotten Guitar Shape - Octaves 

There is a shape on the guitar that often gets overlooked. While we are all busy working with various chords and harmonies, this particular shape flies somewhat under the radar.

But it is not to be underestimated!

It is powerful and can be used in a number of different ways to create varied effects in your playing. You’ve been exposed to the sound of this shape in many songs, yet it can be very subtle. If this sound were to be removed from a song in which it was being used, you would most definitely notice.

Ok, enough Simon, what is this damn shape you speak of!

Well, it’s . . . the octave shape!

What is an octave?

In simple terms, an octave is the word used to describe the distance or interval between two notes where one note is exactly double the pitch of the other. For example, play the low open E string on your guitar (the thick string), and then play the 7th fretted note on the 5th string. That is an octave.

Both are E notes but in a different pitch range to each other. Enough of the theory though, that is not what this lesson is about.

In this video, you learn how to use the octave shape to create amazing sounding music. I show you 3 ways to use the octave shape for 3 very different effects, some subtle and some not so subtle.

Learn how to create music using octaves on guitar

 

Rhythm Guitar Fills 1 Video Page Image

 

The Rhythm Guitar Technique EVERYBODY Loves!

Everybody loves rhythm fills!

The rhythm fills video I did a while back had the most views in the first 24 hours than any other video on the channel. And the live stream I did on the same topic is the most viewed stream to date.

Whatever style you play, everyone loves rhythm fills. They sound so tasty!

But what are they?

It’s one of those things you recognise when you hear, but may not know by name. Rhythm fills are when you essentially add lead guitar parts to a chord progression, typically when changing from one chord to another.

You can hear prime examples of this in Hendrix’s songs like “Castles Made of Sand,” “Little Wing,” and “The Wind Cries Mary,” as well as in the playing of modern guitarists like John Frusciante of The Red Hot Chili Peppers and John Mayer.

So naturally, I thought it would be worth doing another lesson on rhythm fills.

In this video, you learn 3 common rhythm fills you can apply to any progression you play on guitar. I also show you a very cool trick that will instantly double the amount of rhythm fills you can play and use on guitar.

Learn how to play riffs and licks between the chords of a progression

 

Ear Training Guitar Active Listening Video Page Pic

 

Same Same, But Different: How Musicians Listen To Music [Active Listening]

When we listen to music we either:

1. Hear the sum of all the parts, that is all the instruments together

2. Listen with a bias toward a particular instrument

As a musician, whether professional, semi-professional, or hobbyist, you want to be able to hear music from the perspective of each instrument and be able to rotate through these as needed when playing. This will help you play your own parts in time when jamming or playing along to a recording, and with the appropriate dynamic and finesse that is needed. It is also a great skill to have and use when working music out by ear. However, this is only the tip of the iceberg.

What we are talking about here is active listening.

Active listening is the art of listening to a song and being able to decipher what is going on at a micro level. For example, the frequency of chord changes, the recognition of repeating patterns within the song (strumming, melodic patterns etc) or the length of various sections of a song regarding beats and bars.

In this video, I sit down with ear training specialist Dylan Andrews to discuss and demonstrate active listening.

You learn how to listen to music as a musician and the many benefits that this will bring to your playing.

Learn how to actively listen to music

 

Instrumetal Breaks Solos Guitar Video Page Pic

 

What To Do As A Guitar Player When The Spotlight Is On YOU!

We all know the hierarchy within a band, right?

The singer gets most of the attention, then comes the guitar player, and then perhaps the drummer followed closely by the bassist.

I played in a trio for several years back in the early noughties where this hierarchy was particularly personified. Our singer became quite successful and famous through Australian Idol, and needless to say, got A LOT of the attention. So much so that the other guitarist and I would refer to ourselves as the “Chopped Liver Boys” (as in what are we, chopped liver!)

However, there is a time when the guitar needs to take the spotlight This could be when playing in a band or perhaps when backing a singer on a single guitar.

In terms of backing a singer, what do you do when the singing stops and you are left to fill the space, for example after a chorus, or perhaps an instrumental break somewhere in the song? All you have is you and your guitar, no other instruments to fall back on or to lighten the load so to speak. You are front and centre whether you like it or not, it’s your turn to shine!

In this video, you learn 3 ways to craft captivating guitar parts to enhance an instrumental break or solo within a song's arrangement. You’ll have a wealth of ideas you can draw upon when the singing stops and the guitar takes over.

Learn how to create instrumental breaks and solos on guitar.

 

Acoustic Guitar Fundamentals Video Page Pic

 

Is The Acoustic Guitar Really Harder To Play Than The Electric?

In my opinion, no.

Those who believe otherwise are typically electric guitar players who dabble a little in the acoustic. However, this is not necessarily true. If you only pick up an acoustic guitar occasionally, it will undoubtedly feel harder to play.

Conversely, acoustic guitar players may find it harder to play the electric guitar. This is because they tend to play the electric guitar with the same strength they use for the acoustic. As a result, they often play the electric guitar out of tune, as they use far too much tension when fretting the notes.

Therefore, we could say the electric guitar is harder to play than the acoustic. However, it depends on what you are more used to playing - it's horses for courses.

In this video, I sit down with Guitar Practicing Expert Mike Philippov to discuss and demonstrate the fundamentals of playing acoustic guitar.

Now Mike is an electric guitar player and a damn fine one at that. I am of course predominantly an acoustic guitarist, so it is a great opportunity to not only demonstrate the differences between the two in terms of learning but also provide you with tips and tricks for the acoustic guitar in general.

Learn how to simplify the process of learning acoustic guitar

 

Work Songs Out By Ear Video Page Pic

 

This Skill Is Better Learned Without The Internet

I can still vividly remember the moment when a friend of mine played a song on the guitar by ear with ease. It seemed like magic to me. I couldn’t comprehend how someone could listen to a song and recreate it solely by ear. It truly baffled me at the time.

However, is it really magic?

Is it really something that only a few people can do?

At the time, I would’ve absolutely believed this to be so. However, it wasn’t too long before I discovered otherwise, albeit with a somewhat ad hoc, trial and error approach.

Over time, I managed to slowly develop my ear to a point where I could almost work any song out without needing the sheet music or tablature.

Let me emphasise the word “slow” here.

I would think in today’s world with all the resources for music on the internet I might not have faired so well. I’d have most likely given in to working with online tabs that can range anywhere along the accuracy spectrum (mostly inaccurate, and sometimes just plain wrong).

I also would not have developed nearly as well in other areas of my playing if it were not for my ear. Fair to say, that this particular skill is best learned without the internet. Well, at least as far as inaccurate tabs are concerned.

In this video tutorial, I sit down with ear training specialist Dylan Andrews to discuss and demonstrate how to work any song out by ear.

This is a learned skill anybody can develop. It just takes a little patience coupled with effective strategies and methods for working the chords and notes out of a song.

Learn how to work any song out by guitar

 

St James Infirmary Guitar Tutorial Video Page Pic

 

Pianists Do This, Why Don’t Guitarists . . .

Have you ever asked a pianist to play a song for you and all you got was a single part that sounded okay but incomplete? Or indeed, have you ever heard a pianist play something that sounds like parts are missing?

The answer to both questions is a resounding no.

Why?

Because pianists utilise the full potential of the instrument by playing both the harmony (chords) and melody to a tune together at the same time. However, if you ask the same of a guitarist, they will usually only play one part of the song, even though the guitar has the same capabilities as a piano to play both harmony and melody at the same time.

So then, why is this?

Well, for one, the guitar is seen more as something that is used in conjunction with other instruments, typically drums and bass, even though it doesn’t have to be. The other is that it is perceived to be difficult to play both the chords and melody to a song on one guitar at the same time.

Despite what you may think or believe, it is a great skill to be able to play solo arrangements of songs on guitar where all you need is yourself and your instrument to sound full and complete. If you’ve been on my email list for a while now you will know I am a big advocate for this way of playing guitar. It is incredibly rewarding, sounds great, and never fails to impress.

In this video, you learn to play a piece called “St James Infirmary” in the way a pianist would approach it by combining both the chords and melody together.

Learn how to play St James Infirmary for solo guitar

 

Fingerstyle Tremolo Technique Video Page Pic

 

Is It Ok To Cherry Pick Guitar Techniques From Other Styles Of Music?

As a guitar player, it is good to be diverse.

However, this does not mean you have to go out and learn rock, blues, jazz, country, metal, and any other style of music you can think of. But, you also don’t want to put your head in the sand and only look at things that are directly related to the stuff you are into.

It is ok to “cherry pick” the best bits of other styles of music that appeal to you and incorporate these into your playing. This in turn will contribute to your own unique voice on the instrument.

Case in point, the fingerstyle tremolo technique.

This is one of the most beautiful sounds you will hear come out of a guitar and is mostly associated with classical and flamenco music. But that does not mean you can only use it in classical and flamenco music.

Far from it.

I am by no means fluent in either of these styles, but I do love the sophisticated sound the tremolo technique brings to my playing and is something I use often.

In this video, you learn all about the fingerstyle tremolo technique.

I will break it down for you step by step, making it easy to learn and easy to use. You then learn several examples of the tremolo technique applied to music. One of these examples is probably the least likely context in which you would expect to hear this technique, demonstrating just how useful it is no matter what style of music you play.

Learn the fingerstyle tremolo technique for guitar

 

Beautiful Guitar Chords Video Page Pic

 

Don’t Stick To “Meat And 3 Veg” When Playing Chords On Guitar

Imagine you are hosting a special guest for dinner and are responsible for preparing the meal.

What dish do you plan to serve?

It's highly unlikely that you'll opt for a plain and uninteresting meal such as meat and three vegetables. Instead, you'll likely aim to impress your guest with an exotic, flavourful and textured dish that they will remember for a long time

It’s the same when playing chords on guitar.

You could go with stock standard stuff like open chords and bar chords, or you could dress things up a little and play something that sounds stunningly beautiful and won’t be forgotten by those who hear you play.

Just like the good old meat and 3 veg are for your diet, open and bar chords are an essential part of playing guitar, but there is a hell of a lot more you can do regarding harmonising on the instrument.

In this video, you learn some of the most beautiful sounding chords the guitar has to offer.

They also happen to be easy to play.

How easy?

Well, certainly easier than your stock standard bar chord shapes and no more difficult than the typical open chords we all play. You learn exactly how to fret each chord as well as examples of each being used in a variety of chord progressions.

Learn how to play beautiful sounding chords on guitar

 

Travis Picking Songs Guitar Video Page Pic

 

How Long Does It Take To Master Something On Guitar?

I recently received the following comment on one of my YouTube Videos:

“I have done a lot of videos about Travis Picking. I have tried every day for a month and cannot separate my fingers from my thumb. I have done all exercises over and over but when it comes down to playing a song, I just can’t do it. Any suggestions?”

Now, a month is not a long time. And doing exercises over and over again does not necessarily mean you will get something down, as repetition alone is not the answer. Over many years of teaching, I have found students often grossly underestimate just how much work needs to go into something to get it mastered.

But what do we mean by “mastered?”

It’s somewhat of a subjective thing as it may mean different things to different people.

For me, having something mastered means you can do the thing you’ve been practicing while thinking of something completely unrelated in your mind at the same time.

In other words, you can do it without thinking.

Yet, many students berate themselves and get frustrated when they can’t do something after having only worked to a point where they can play the thing correctly but not on a consistent basis, and certainly not to a level where they don’t need to think about it.

The result?

They come away thinking they are not good enough and don’t have the talent required to play guitar, which is of course not true.

In this video, I answer questions you have asked me on the channel, including more detail relating to the comment above as well as questions on fretting chords for fingerpicking and making faster chord changes.

Join me for this question and answer session on all things acoustic guitar

 

Back A Singer Guitar Video Page Pic

 

Is This Your Guitar? I Hope Not . . .

We’ve all seen the Ed Sheehan Signature Model Telecaster, right?

If not, google “Ed Sheehan signature guitar meme”.

This is obviously a joke and succeeds in getting a laugh, at least from me. However, there are many players out there who when backing a singer, might as well be playing a guitar like this.

Why?

Because they never leave the comfort of the first 3 frets. Too many times I see guitarists backing a singer and doing little more than playing basic chords and strumming with perhaps a little bit of picking.

This is fine in and of itself, but it isn’t going to carry a whole arrangement. It gets very boring quickly with your ears becoming immune to what they hear. You need more tools under your belt so to speak if you are to create an interesting arrangement of a tune to back a singer.

And if it is just you on guitar with no other instrumentation, then it is even more important you have a variety of ways to approach this.

In this video, you learn 3 exciting and creative ways to back a singer on one guitar that won’t bore the crap out of you or your audience. Each approach is created in the context of a single guitar and a single vocal bringing depth and dynamic to the arrangement.

Learn 3 exciting and creative ways to back a singer on guitar

 

Sound Great Playing Acoustic Guitar Video Page Pic

 

If You Struggle Sounding Good On The Acoustic Guitar, Watch This . . .

Do you struggle to play acoustic guitar?

If you come from an electric guitar playing background, as I do, you will certainly notice the differences between playing an acoustic guitar versus an electric.

In a nutshell, on an acoustic:

The neck is wider,

The strings are heavier in gauge,

The body of the guitar is bigger,

And it requires more effort to sound the notes both singularly and in chords.

However, once you get used to these things, and you will quite quickly if you play acoustic guitar regularly, it can still be a struggle to sound any good.

Why?

Because despite overcoming these initial challenges, many people try to play the acoustic like it is an electric guitar. I did this for many years when I “played” acoustic guitar and would always come away feeling frustrated and annoyed at the sound coming out of the instrument.

It took me a long time to realise that despite their obvious similarities, the acoustic guitar is a different beast compared to the electric and it would require a different touch to get the sound I so much wanted to hear. On an acoustic, we don’t have things like distortion, or the same sustain an electric guitar has.

It is also difficult to execute certain techniques like bending notes for example. Because of this, when playing an acoustic guitar there are more than just the mechanics to deal with to sound good.

You need to effectively “acoustify” your playing.

In this video, I sit down with guitar practice expert Mike Philippov to discuss and demonstrate 3 ways you can approach playing the acoustic guitar for a much better sound.

If you’ve ever struggled playing the acoustic, this is the video for you.

Learn how to sound better playing acoustic guitar

 

Bass Note Connection Guitar Chords Video Page Pic

 

Who Needs A Bass Player When You Can Do This . . .

How many guitarists do you need to change a lightbulb?

Two.

One to change the lightbulb and one to explain to the bass player what's going on.

Ah, poor old bass players, they do cop it. But when you play an instrument that’s the guitar’s ugly cousin, and that you can learn in 5 minutes, what do you expect?

Ok, ok, obviously I am having a bit of fun and my tongue is planted firmly in my cheek :)

No offence to all the great bass players out there. We need you!

Or do we?

I have performed many times over the years without a bass player. And when I do, I tend to incorporate a bass component into the progressions I play (even with a bass player I do this). Essentially I am linking the chords I play with bass notes in between.

In this video, you learn how to link the chords in a progression using bass notes.

You learn simple ways to do this with common chord changes as well as songs that use bass note connections. You also learn how to do this in your own music.

Learn how to link chords together using bass notes on guitar

 

St James Infirmary Solo Guitar Tutorial

 

No One Knows Where This Sombre Tune Came From, But It Sounds Great!

I have a great little arrangement I’ve created for you of a very famous tune with a somewhat uncertain history.

No one really knows for sure the origin of this tune. However, it was first recorded by the great Louis Armstrong way back in 1928 and has been recorded by many artists since.

The tune is “St James Infirmary”, and projects a rather sombre mood.

Check out the opening verse:

I went down to St. James Infirmary,
Saw my baby there,
Stretched out on a long white table,
So cold, so sweet, so fair.

See what I mean, not exactly sunshine and rainbows is it?

No prize for guessing whether it is in a major or minor key.

In this video, you learn a great, simple arrangement for solo guitar of St James Infirmary. 

The tune is an 8 bar blues and despite the mournful, lamentable mood it projects (I’m really selling it here aren’t I), it is a lot of fun to play! It is the kind of tune you can pull out of your bag of tricks when someone asks you to play something on the guitar. Sure, they may feel a little depressed after hearing it, but they will also be very impressed :)

Learn how to play St James Infirmary Blues for solo guitar

  

Harp Harmonic Guitar Basics Video Page Pic

 

This Is Much Easier To Do Than It Looks . . .

In the age of the internet, we are exposed to some pretty amazing things as far as the guitar is concerned. As impressive as these are, I bet you’ve sat there and thought to yourself, I’m never going to be able to do anything like that!

Well, don’t be so sure.

There is one technique that is perhaps the most beautiful sound of all, and it is well within the reach of ALL guitar players. It looks difficult to do, and yes, of course, like anything you can take it to the nth degree and make it near on impossible to do if you really want to.

However, learning the basics of this incredible technique will leave anyone hearing you play in awe of what they are hearing. Hell, you’ll be in awe at the sound coming out of your guitar.

In this video tutorial, you learn this technique I am speaking of. I will show you the basics, which means, you’ll be up and running with this exquisite sound in your playing almost immediately.

Don’t be fooled by how hard it looks to do, like so many are.

Learn this incredible sounding guitar technique

 

String Muting Guitar Video Page Pic

 

The ONE Technique EVERY Guitarist NEEDS To Master

Sometimes it’s the seemingly small things that make the biggest difference to our guitar playing.

One such thing is string muting. By this, I am not referring to palm muting or muting strings to get percussive sounds, but rather the act of muting strings you do NOT want to hear when playing guitar. This is an essential skill as there are many times you are going to have to strike strings you do not want to hear when strumming chords or playing riffs.

It’s unavoidable.

Nothing sounds more horrible than the noise of unwanted string noise. Worse yet, most people are unaware of this when playing guitar.

In this video, you learn how to mute strings on guitar when playing chords and riffs. You learn simple ways to clean up your playing for that pro sound.

Learn how to mute strings for a pro guitar sound

 

Improve Fingerpicking Guitar Tone Video Page Pic

 

The Fingerpicking Question Almost No One Asks, But Should . . .

I get asked a lot of questions about fingerpicking guitar, and for the most part, they are good valid questions to be asking. However, there is one question almost no one ever asks, but should, and it is this:

How do you get a good tone or sound fingerpicking guitar?

Is it:

• The guitar you are playing?
• The amplifier you are using?
• The effects at your disposal?

While all the above will certainly contribute to your overall sound, it is still not going to be the major contributing factor to the tone you get (btw, I am using the words “tone” and “sound” interchangeably). What will contribute greatly to your tone is your fingers!

As they say, tone is in the fingers!

There are many ways you can pluck a string for a different tone or sound. It’s these subtleties (not so subtle when you hear the difference) that differentiate the pros from the amateurs. This is why a pro playing a beginner guitar will still get a better tone than an amateur playing a more expensive guitar.

In this video, you learn how to get a great tone fingerpicking guitar.

It's important to note that there isn't a single "correct" tone to aim for. Rather, the focus is on broadening the range of sounds that are accessible to you when fingerpicking.

Learn how to get a great fingerpicking guitar tone

 

Add Lead Parts To Chord Progressions Video Page Pic

 

The Man Behind Jimi Hendrix’s Guitar Playing . . .

A lot of guitar players look up to Jimi Hendrix as an inspiration, but who did the man himself consider as a significant influence on his playing?

The answer is Curtis Mayfield.

Here is what Hendrix said of Mayfield:

"The best gig was working with Curtis Mayfield and the Impressions. He was a really good guitarist! I learned quite a lot in that short time. He probably influenced me more than anyone I'd ever played with up to that time, that sweet sound of his, you know."

Hendrix wasn’t referring to his lead guitar playing here, but rather, Mayfield’s impressive rhythm guitar skills. Specifically, Hendrix admired Mayfield’s use of rhythm fills to enhance chord progressions in the songs he played.

In layman’s terms, rhythm fills are when you essentially add lead guitar parts to a chord progression, typically when changing from one chord to another. You can hear prime examples of this in Hendrix’s songs like “Castles Made of Sand,” “Little Wing,” and “The Wind Cries Mary,” as well as in the playing of modern guitarists like John Frusciante of The Red Hot Chili Peppers and John Mayer.

Every student I have ever taught this concept to absolutely loves it! Many have come to me over the years not knowing what to call it, but describing the exact sound of rhythm fills and how they want to be able to replicate the same sound in their own playing.

This video tutorial is an excerpt from a live stream I did with Rhythm Guitar Specialist Mark Turko. In it, we discuss and demonstrate simple ways to get started using rhythm fills including:

A collection of tasty rhythm fills using a variety of approaches to add to the chord progressions you play

The easiest ways to get started adding rhythm fills to a chord progression

The skills needed to create your own rhythm fills (most people show you cool riffs and fills, but nothing about how to apply this stuff to your own playing)

Plus much more!

Learn how to play riffs and licks in between the chords you play using rhythm fills

 

Best Way To Play Arpeggios On Guitar

 

Your Questions Answered [Q&A]

Whether your goal is to tour the world playing music, or simply relax and play guitar for your own enjoyment, I believe we all harbour the desire to be able to play comfortably and confidently in front of others. This might be to a single person like a friend or family member, or it could be to a room full of people. Either way, how do you know when you are ready to do this, and what are the best ways to practice to prepare yourself?

I answer this and other questions you have asked me in the latest instalment of “Your Questions Answered” on my YouTube Channel.

Join me as I address questions including:

“What are the best ways to practice arpeggios so you can actually use them to create music”

Plus,

“What are secondary dominant chords and how can you use them in your own playing”

If you ask, I will answer :)

Have your questions answered by me

 

Block Chord Application Video Page Pic

 

What To Do Next After Learning Open And Bar Chords

How many chords do you know on guitar?

Of the chords you know, how many can you actually use?

There is a big difference between knowing a chord and being able to use that chord.

For a long time, I only really knew how to use open chords and bar chords. Sure, I knew a lot of other shapes, but I was clueless about how to use them outside of the songs in which I would come across them.

I even bought a chord encyclopaedia with thousands of chord shapes and tried to learn them by memory. Yeah, that didn’t go so well, and even if it did, I was only memorising shapes not anything about actually using them in my playing which is kind of the whole point.

In a nutshell, to really know a chord, to be able to use it freely in your own playing, you’ve got to:

1. Learn and memorise the shape
2. Have many ways you can apply the chord musically

In this video tutorial, you learn 3 ways to use block chords in your guitar playing.

Block chords are a great next step after learning open and bar chords. They allow you to play the one type of chord all over the fretboard, and sound great whatever style you play.

Learn how to create great music using block chords on guitar

 

 

Ear Training Guitar Play What's In Your Head

 

The Key Ingredient For Composing Music: Hear It First, Play It Second

A key ingredient to improvising and composing music on guitar is the ability to hear what you are going to play in your head first, and then execute it on your instrument. Yet many never actually do this.

Why?

Because they simply don’t know any better. Yet, approaching improvising and composing music on your instrument in this rather ad-hoc way is akin to speaking without a filter. You know, when you speak first, think second and then regret it afterwards.

We’ve all been there, I know I have.

Playing the guitar in a random kind of way, that is NOT hearing what it is you are going to play in your head first, but rather after the fact, yields mediocre results at best.

In this video tutorial, I sit down with ear training specialist Dylan Andrews to discuss and demonstrate effective ways to train your ear so you can hear what it is you want to play in your head first before actually playing it.

If I could sum up in one sentence what you are wanting to do when playing any instrument it would be this:

To play what it is you hear in your head.

 

Phrygian Modal Progressions Guitar Video Page Pic

 

Wow, This Is Far Too Complex . . .

Here is a recent comment I received on one of my YouTube videos:

“Wow, this is far too complex - Ionian, Dorian, Phrygian, Lydian, Locrian?? modes - Is this not for virtuoso’s like Vai, Satriani, and that Swede Malmsteen with super fast arpeggios? You have scared me off - only for maestros!”

Nothing against the person who made this comment, as it is typical to misunderstand modes and their role in music However, this comment could not be more wrong.

First off, modes are for EVERYONE! Not just Virtuoso’s and “Maestros”

Modes are a fundamental aspect of music that is relevant to all musicians, regardless of their playing style, instrument, or skill level. Even if you are unaware of it, you play in modes every time you pick up your guitar to play a song. So, it pays to understand what you are doing as this leads to more control over your instrument and an increase in creativity and know how as far as what you want to be able to do with your playing.

Secondly, despite their reputation and odd names, modes are not difficult to understand if they are taught correctly. Yes, they take some time to absorb and get your head around. That’s called learning. But they don’t need to be as difficult to understand as so many people find them to be.

In this video tutorial, you learn how to play chord progressions using the Phrygian mode. Phrygian is one of the more distinct and coolest modal sounds. You learn how to construct chord progressions in this mode, plus I run you through real life examples of songs that use the Phrygian Mode.

Learn how to write and play chord progressions in the Phrygian Mode

 

Play Better Rhythm Guitar

 

Don’t Neglect This Crucial Guitar Skill . . .

Playing rhythm guitar is a crucial skill to develop, even for lead guitarists, as it's what you'll likely be doing most of the time. Unfortunately, many guitarists neglect to invest time in developing these skills beyond the basics.

It's not uncommon to come across excellent solo players who display only rudimentary skills when it comes to rhythm guitar. This creates an “unbalanced guitar diet” of sorts with all the bells and whistles, but not much foundation. It’s like eating your meat but leaving all the vegetables on the plate.

If you're only interested in showcasing your guitar skills for a brief period, such as nailing a fantastic solo, but struggle with switching back to playing rhythm guitar and sounding like an amateur, then you can stop reading now.

However, if you're looking to enhance your guitar playing abilities and sound like a pro every time you pick up your guitar to play, then I have just the solution for you.

In this video tutorial, I sit down with songwriting mastery coach Diana de Cabarrus to discuss and demonstrate how to play better rhythm parts on guitar. Forget boring strumming patterns and chords that all sound the same. You learn effective ways to spice up your rhythm guitar playing for a much more pro sound.

Learn how to create and play better rhythm guitar

 

Reading Music Notation Guitar Video Page Pic

 

Is It A Waste Of Time To Learn How To Read Music

When I first started learning guitar, I was taught to read music notation. Not only is this an incredibly boring way to learn guitar, but in a lot of cases, it is simply not necessary to be able to do it.

Now, you are going to get the usual quota of “music snobs” who no matter how much logic and reason you throw at them, will tell you you are not a real musician if you don’t know how to read music.

This is absolute BS!

Possessing the skill to read music does not necessarily equate to being a great musician, or even a musician at all. I mean, reading a movie script doesn’t automatically make me an actor, right? Yet many people spend countless hours learning to read music, only to realize that they rarely find themselves in a situation of needing to apply such a skill. It’s frustrating to then realize that all these hours could have been invested in more worthwhile activities related to one’s playing.

In this video, you learn 5 myths associated with reading music notation on guitar and what to do instead. Yes, in some cases it is necessary to read music, but in the vast majority, it is not.

Discover whether you should learn to read music notation as a guitar player

 

Fingering Technique Guitar Video Page Pic

 

Which Fingers You Use Matter A LOT!!

Getting the fundamentals of guitar playing right from the beginning can help you avoid the usual pain and frustration that come with learning to play.

One crucial aspect of this is proper finger placement for your fretting hand, which involves knowing which fingers to use for which notes. People often go with what feels easy in the moment. However, what feels easy may actually be the wrong way to fret something. Additionally, the way you finger something in one context may not work in another.

This is where “situational fingering” comes in.

You need to consider what you have just played, and what you are going to play afterwards, when deciding how to fret something on guitar. Context matters!

Choosing the wrong fingerings for guitar can lead to ongoing difficulties. It’s important to start with proper technique, even if it feels unfamiliar at first. Opting for an easier approach may cause challenges with speed, fluency, and precision in your playing.

The good news is, it is never too late to change the way you fret things on guitar. You’ll be surprised how quickly you can do this and have it feel like it has always been the way you’ve gone about things.

In this video, you learn the best, most efficient ways to fret things on guitar for clean, fluent, effortless playing.

Whether it’s single note lines or chords in a progression you learn the most logical finger choices to use for any playing situation.

 

Build Repertoire Of Songs On Guitar Video Page Pic

 

How To Learn, Recall, And Maintain 50+ Songs On Guitar

Have you ever marvelled at how effortlessly musicians can recall so many songs on their instruments? Meanwhile, others struggle to remember just two songs.

As a guitar player, you want to have a list of songs you can play at any given time, from memory. This list can evolve and change over time, no one remembers every song they ever learned, not even close, but you do want a set of songs you can play.

Depending on your goals and level this could be as few as 3 songs or as many as 50 or more.

But how do you do this?

The simple answer is to put yourself in a position where you have to play songs regularly, like a gig of some sort.

That’ll sort you out!

But this is easier said than done, and playing gigs is not necessarily everybody’s goal or desire.

In this lesson, you learn a proven method to build a repertoire of songs you can recall at the drop of a hat.

No more wanting to disappear into thin air when someone asks you to play a song on guitar. Whether it’s 3 songs or 50 songs this strategy works!

Learn how to build a repertoire of songs on guitar

 

Transcribe Melodies Ear Training Guitar

 

This Is Guaranteed To Make You A More Melodic Guitar Player . . .

As a guitar player, it is easy and common to become engrossed in learning riffs and various guitar lines. While stringing together a series of riffs can be impressive, true mastery of guitar playing requires more than that. The key to becoming a great guitarist is through developing a strong sense of melody. Your playing should be melodic at its core.

One of the most effective ways to achieve this is by learning vocal melodies on the guitar. 

This is a fantastic way to learn how melodies work, and the various elements that make up a great melody. In turn, almost by osmosis, your playing will become much more melodic and musical. Don’t worry, you can still play your favourite riffs, they’ll just sound better within a more melodic context.

In this video tutorial, I sit down with Ear Training Specialist Dylan Andrews to discuss and demonstrate the very best ways to transcribe vocal melodies on guitar. You learn the best ear training drills and exercises for transcribing vocal melodies as well as the not so good approaches and methods that are best to avoid.

Leanr how to trabscribe vocal melodies on guitar

  

Best Fingers To Use Fingerpicking Video Page Pic

 

When A YouTube Comment Is Not Enough

If you’ve been a subscriber to my YouTube channel for a little while you’ll know I answer questions asked in the comments. And while my answers do provide much value for the person asking the question, there are limitations as to the depth I can go into.

Rest assured though, if you ask a quality question in the comments, it will most likely end up in a YouTube video sometime in the near future where I can take the time to answer it in much more detail.

In this video tutorial, I will be addressing some of the questions that have been asked recently.

These include the proper finger placement for fingerpicking, tips for improving the skill of mixing strumming with picking notes, and how to effectively use a plectrum when you have a long thumbnail.

Plus much more!

Join me for this question and answer session on all things acoustic guitar

 

Memorising Songs Guitar Video Page Pic

 

Finally! Something Tommy Emmanuel Can’t Do . . .

There are not too many things Tommy Emmanual can’t do on an acoustic guitar. 

However, I do recall one time watching him on a live stream and someone requesting a song, and shock horror he couldn’t play it.

Why?

Because he couldn’t remember it.

Simple as that.

He hadn't played it in a while, so it wasn't familiar enough to his fingers.

Forgetting the songs you’ve spent so much time learning can be quite frustrating. Unfortunately, the truth is that you’re likely to forget most of the songs you’ve ever learned unless you play them regularly.

However, despite your best efforts, most of the songs you’ve learned will eventually fade away and become a distant memory among the many others you once knew how to play. While this may seem bleak, the reality is that it’s not all bad - in fact, it’s not bad at all.

Here is the good news:

• Any song you’ve learned in the past can be relearned in just a fraction of the time
• The goal is never to try and remember every song you ever learned anyway
• There are very easy and effective strategies you can use to remember the songs you’ve learned

And it’s this last point that is the topic of this video.

Trying to remember every song you’ve ever learned is neither a realistic goal nor a desirable one. However, it's important to remember the current repertoire of songs you've been practising on the guitar.

In this video, I guide you through 5 easy tips to help you remember the songs you learn. The key is to tap into the three types of memory and use them to your advantage.

Remember, your memory is like a muscle, the more you exercise it, the better it gets.

Learn how to easily memorize the songs you learn on guitar

 

Ear Training Guitar Emotions Notes And Chords Video Page Pic

 

No Matter What, You’ll Never Be Wrong

I want you to get your guitar right now and play a C note at the first fret of the second string.

What emotion does it evoke in you?

I can see the puzzled look on your face right now :)

It doesn’t really evoke any emotion, right?

This is because there is no context. The C note is ringing out without anything behind it. Therefore there is absolutely no feeling or emotion being evoked. We must have something for our C note to ring out against, for any kind of feeling or emotion to be conveyed.

For example, if you played the C note against a C chord it would sound very different compared to playing the same note over an A minor chord.

It would sound different yet again if you played the C note over a C minor chord.

Same note, different feeling.

So the C note doesn’t actually have any one emotion or feeling in and of itself, but many, depending on the all important context.

The same is true for chords.

A C major to A minor chord change conveys a particular feeling, that if you memorise, you will be able to recognise by ear every time you hear it.

However, it’s important to understand that there are no objective right or wrong answers when it comes to emotions. The only correct answer is one that truly resonates with you and immediately feels recognisable upon hearing it.

This is ear training at its essence and will enable you to be able to not only work anything out by ear easily, but have you playing much more melodically on your instrument too.

In this video tutorial, I sit down with Ear Training Specialist Dylan Andrews to discuss and demonstrate how to identify the feelings that notes and chords convey in music. Dylan offers simple techniques to recognize the emotions conveyed by notes and chords so that you can effortlessly identify them when you encounter them in music.

Learn how to identify the emotions of notes and chords you hear in music

 

Lydian Chord Progressions Video page Pic

 

Who Knew Two Fingers Could Create Such A Beautiful Sound . . .

Let me expose your ear to an incredibly beautiful sound on the guitar.

All you need is 2 fingers and a couple of seconds.

Ready?

I want you to play a G chord.

However, this is not going to be your standard open G chord.

It will be simpler than that.

To form it, place your second finger on the 3rd fret of the 6th string (thickest string).

Once in place, pick the following strings, separately, one at a time while keeping the chord formed:

6, 4, 3, 2

Next, without moving your second finger (3rd fret/6th string), add your first finger to the 2nd fret on the 2nd string and pluck the same strings, in the same order, as you did before:

6, 4, 3, 2

Now alternate between the G chord and the variation with the added finger on the 2nd string picking the strings 6, 4, 3, and 2 each time.

You are alternating between a G and a Gsus#4 chord.

The latter is part of the Lydian sound in music and portrays a very dreamy, celestial, almost heavenly sound.

In this video tutorial, you learn how to write chord progressions using the Lydian mode.

The Lydian mode is the brightest sounding mode of all. It is an incredibly beautiful sound and can be found in many songs including:

• Oceans - Pearl Jam
• Man On The Moon - REM
• Stairway To Heaven - Led Zeppelin
• Flying In A Blue Dream - Joe Satriani
• Waltz #1 - Elliot Smith

In this lesson, I also break down some of these songs to deepen your understanding of the Lydian mode.

Learn how to play and write chord progressions using the lydian mode on guitar

 

Lydian Mode Guitar Video Page Pic 

Dreamy, Celestial, Heavenly . . . A Day In The Life Of The Lydian Mode

If you’ve been to the movies you’ve heard the sound of the Lydian mode MANY times.

Typically you hear it at the point in the movie where a sense of wonder or awe is being conveyed.

Think of the theme from “E.T.” or “Back To The Future”.

This is the Lydian mode through and through.

How about “Yoda’s Theme” from Star Wars or the theme from Jurassic Park?

Again, Lydian all the way!

The Lydian mode is downright one of the most beautiful sounds in music and has been described as sounding dreamy, celestial, and heavenly. It is the brightest sounding mode, even brighter than the major scale!

In this video tutorial, you learn 3 ways to create beautiful, awe-inspiring music on guitar using the Lydian mode. Each approach gives you a different way of playing the Lydian mode, bringing much variety to your sound as a guitar player.

One way is super simple and will have you playing in the Lydian mode instantly!

Learn how to create music using the lydian mode on guitar

 

Travis Pick Guitar 3 Step Strategy

 

If You Are A Travis Picking Purist Look Away Now . . .

A little while back I did a video on travis picking and it received some “interesting” comments shall we say, including:

“Travis picking uses only the thumb and index finger”

“Real travis picking is two fingerpicking”

“Wrong! Travis used his thumb and index finger only”

I think the notion that you are not travis picking unless you only use your thumb and one finger, as Merle Travis himself did, is utter NONSENSE!

Try telling Chet Atkins or Tommy Emmanuel they are not travis picking LOL!!!

It’s akin to saying you should play Stevie Wonder songs blindfolded. Or insisting you should play Django Reinhardt solos with only two fingers because that was the only way he could play. God forbid someone takes a style and does something with it. We’d all still be playing Chuck Berry licks if no one bothered to take the style of rock n’ roll and develop it.

What were The Beatles thinking!

So if you are a Travis Picking purist, look away now.

In this video tutorial, you learn how to travis pick in 3 simple steps, using all your fingers god forbid :)

You also learn one of the most famous travis picking songs, called “Freight Train” by Elizabeth Cotten.

Side note: Cotten played the guitar upside down! So of course, if you don’t do this you know you won’t really be playing Freight Train “correctly” don’t you ;)

Learn how to travis pick guitar in 3 simple steps

 

Mixolydian Chord Progression Guitar

 

Songs Whose Keys Are Often Mistaken . . .

Do you know what key the following songs are in?

Sweet Home Alabama

The chord progression is:

| D   C  | G      || 

What key is it in?

D major?

G Major?

It’s neither.

The correct answer is D Mixolydian.

To be fair, your ear might perceive the key of G Major and you wouldn’t be wrong. It’s one of those tunes that can be perceived either as G Major or D Mixolydian, but that’s another story for another time.

The point is that it is not D Major as many people mistakenly think.

Bittersweet Symphony

How about the key of “Bittersweet Symphony” by The Verve?

The chord progression is:

| E   Bm   | D   A   ||

Is it E Major?

A Major?

There is no doubting the key of this song and it is neither of the keys above.

It is E Mixolydian.

How about one more?

I am sure you are catching on even if you don’t know what the hell Mixolydian is . . . yet, but I’m going to stretch the friendship all the same ;)

Norwegian Wood 

The chord progression is:

| D    |      |      |      ||

The key?

D Mixolydian.

But hang on, couldn’t it be D Major too?

There is only one chord after all. No, it is definitely D Mixolydian, however, sometimes you need to look beyond the chord progression itself to discover the key (something you will learn about in the video).

Ok, so what is the point of all this?

It’s threefold:

1. People mistake Mixolydian for Major keys all the time

2. Mixolydian, even with its weird name, is found in many many popular songs, particularly those in the rock genre

3. In this week’s video tutorial, you are going to learn all about chord progressions in Mixolydian

More specifically, you learn how to easily identify and create your own chord progressions in the Mixolydian mode. I also break down some famous Mixolydian songs, to help reinforce everything you learn in the video.

Learn how to play chord progressions in the Mixolydian Mode

 

Ear Training Guitar Singing Melodies

 

It May Sound Ridiculous, But Many People Play Guitar Just Like This . . .

Imagine you had no idea what was going to come out of your mouth until you spoke.

It is only after the fact that you discover what you actually said.

Do you think you might find yourself in a bit of trouble?

Do you think you would feel vulnerable with the lack of control over what you communicated to others?

It’d be a little hit and miss don’t you think?

Now, this does sound ridiculous, however, this is how most people approach playing the guitar. They play first, then hear what it is they played and hope to god that it sounded alright.

This is backward.

Rather, you want to hear first in your head what it is you are wanting to play and then be able to accurately execute it on your instrument. This is the holy grail of guitar:

To Be Able To Play What You Hear In Your Head Accurately On Your Instrument

I use to think I had a good ear for music.

Over time, I developed the skill of working songs out by ear on guitar. You could play me any song, and I could work it out just by listening to it. Now, this is a great skill to have and quite handy, however, it isn’t really what is meant by having a good ear.

Why?

Because as good as I did get at working songs out by ear, it was only ever trial and error. I would need to listen first and then find the notes on the guitar. I wasn’t able to work out where they were going to be first, I needed to play them.

Now, it may seem like magic to be able to know exactly where to go to play melodies and chords on guitar, before even picking the thing up to play. However, if you train your ear correctly, anybody can do this.

In this video tutorial, I sit down with Ear Training Specialist Dylan Andrews to discuss and demonstrate the very best ways to train your ear to be able to hear melodies in your head first, before playing them on guitar.

This is the key to developing a great ear for music and leads to complete musical freedom on your instrument.

Learn how to play what you hear in your head on guitar

 

Ear Training Guitar Sing Scales Video Page Pic

 

Scales Are Boring, This Is Why . . .

What do you think is the most important thing when learning scales on guitar?

• Learning the names of each note in the scale?

• Being able to fluently play the scale in multiple areas of the fretboard?

• Knowing lots of different scale sequences?

While all the above are integral to learning scales, the most important thing of all is being able to sing the scale.

Now, far be it from me to offer any advice on singing ;)

My voice is horrible to say the very least! I wish I could say different, but there we are . . .

However, thankfully, for me at least, we are not talking about “aesthetic” singing here. We are talking about “functional” singing.

Functional singing is when you simply pitch the note without bringing any kind of quality of sound to it as a singer would. In other words, we don’t have to make the notes sound nice, just roughly in pitch is all.

So, as we all collectively breathe a sigh of relief, or those of us who can’t sing do, let’s get back to scales.

Singing a scale is by far the best way to internalise the sound of it. Internalising the sound of a scale is crucial in then being able to create music. Yet a lot of people fail to make this transition from playing a scale to creating music.

This is one of the major reasons why scales have a reputation for being boring.

You ear is the bridge between a scale being some boring thing you must practice, to something that will form the foundation from which you will create all kinds of wonderful and amazing music!

In this video tutorial, I sit down with Ear Training Specialist Dylan Andrews to discuss and demonstrate the very best ways to learn to sing scales so you can play more melodically on guitar.

Dylan will give you some very easy exercises you can do anywhere, anytime, even without a guitar in your hand, to develop a razor sharp ear for music.

Learn how to sing scales on guitar and become a much more melodic guitar player

 

Phrygian Mode Guitar Video Page pic 

I Admit It! I Fake Playing This Style Of Music . . .

If I had twice the amount of hours in a day, I’d spend them learning flamenco guitar.It is such a beautiful style of music, wonderfully melodic and rhythmic. But there are only 24 hours in a day, and while I may yet become at least somewhat competent in this style, I’ll settle with faking it for now :)

Here’s how to do that in 3 easy steps: (you’ll need your guitar in your hands right now, no point only reading what I am about to say)

Start by strumming an open E chord, then move this shape up one fret and to strum it again, before moving it back to its open position and strumming once more. This will pre condition your ear for a flamenco sound.

Then do the following:

1. Pluck the low open E string of your guitar and let it ring through (no chord, just the open string)

2. As the low E string is ringing, play any one of the natural notes on the top string of your guitar, no sharps (#) or flats (b), just natural notes (A B C D E F G etc)

3. As you play the natural notes (in whatever order you like) pluck the low E string intermittently so it continues to ring through against the notes you are playing (no need to keep time here, you can play free of tempo)

Whenever you like, come back to strumming the open E chord as you did in the beginning.

Who said flamenco guitar was hard to play ;)

Ok, sure, there is way more to playing flamenco music to what I have outlaid above, of course. However, the beautiful sound you are hearing is:

The Phrygian Mode

Most commonly associated with metal music, the phrygian mode also happens to be one of the most common sounds used in flamenco guitar. While flamenco guitar may take years to master, modes do not, yet they confuse the hell out of so many people.

Part of the reason why is they are studied from a theory point of view only. Yes, the theory is important, however, it’s in hearing the modes and creating with the modes that leads to your true understanding and mastery of them.

In this video tutorial, you learn 3 practical ways to create beautiful sounding music using the phrygian mode on guitar. Aside from flamenco, the phrygian mode can be found in a number of styles of music including classical, jazz, rock, and metal. It is one of the darker of the modes and has a very distinct sound that is instantly recognisable to the ear.

Learn how to create music using the phrygian mode on acoustic guitar

 

Solo With Major Pentatonic Scale Q&A Thumbnail

 

This Is Well Overdue . . .

My YouTube Channel just had its 2nd birthday!

The channel is now hosting over 100 videos, with almost half a million views, close to 1000 comments, and approaching 10,000 subscribers.

In light of this, I thought it was time I created a video answering some of the many questions I have received from all of you in the comments over the past couple of years. Yes, I have answered many of these already, however I can answer them a whole lot better and in far greater detail in video form.

So that is what I have done!

In this video tutorial, I answer questions you have asked me ranging from:

“What approaches do you use for soloing with the Major Pentatonic Scale”

To:

“Does every Aussie play a Maton Guitar”

And everything in between.

Join me for this question and answer session on all things acoustic guitar

 

Get Good At Guitar Fast Application Video Page Pic

 

You Are Not A Guitar Player If You Can’t Do This . . .

What is it?

Application!

That’s it :)

In fact it is so important, it is what I do 80% of the time I practice guitar.

Application is the key!!

However, so many people get it wrong.

They believe once they have mastered something within the context in which they have learned it, they are done, missioned accomplished etc . . .

This is only the beginning!

For example, let’s say you get a riff down in a particular solo.

Great!

However, can you also:

• Play that riff in other keys/all keys

• Play the riff in multiple areas of the fretboard

• Use the riff in your own soloing and improvisation

• Alter the riff to fit other various musical contexts

• Create other riffs using the concepts behind said riff

And the list goes on . . .

If not, you have merely learned someone else’s application of something (ie. the riff) within the context in which they chose to apply it. Monkey see, monkey do etc . . .

This is ok as a starting point. As the great Miles Davis once said:

“First you imitate, then you innovate”

However, there is a big difference between being able to do something within the context you are learning it, to then being able to take that thing and use it in your own playing. I am not saying you should spend 80% of your time on application, however you should be regularly spending part of your practice time on applying the things you have been learning.

After all, to apply what you learn on guitar is the WHOLE point!

This video tutorial is an except from a live stream I did with Guitar Playing Breakthrough Specialist Tom Hess.

Ever been envious of how someone can pick up a guitar and start playing off the cuff, on the spot, and sound great?

That’s What Application Will Do For Your Guitar Playing!

In this stream, we discuss and demonstrate great ways to easily apply the skills you learn on guitar including my inside/outside application concept which is a method for easily applying concepts from the songs you learn as well as to the songs you learn.

Learn how to apply the skills you learn to your guitar playing

 

Fingerstyle Arrangement Bourree In E Minor Video Page Pic  

Listen To Me “Slaughter” Bourree In E Minor By Johann Sebastian Bach

In this video tutorial, I show you something that is sure to ruffle the feathers of the classical purists out there. I am bracing myself for some interesting and “enlightening” feedback, shall we say.

Now before I go on, let me be clear that I love classical music and have the utmost respect for it and for anyone who plays it. However, classical musicians, god love them, are very particular in how something has to be done.

God forbid if you don’t play a musical piece exactly the same way some dude did 250 years ago! (my tongue is firmly planted in my cheek right now)

However, on a more serious note, too many times great interpretations of classical pieces played by “non classical” guitarist’s are met with ignorant comments from ignorant people.

Comments like:

“I hate it when electric guitarists slaughter masterpieces from Mozart and Barrios Mangore”.

By slaughter masterpieces, I think this person means arranging masterpieces.

God forbid someone gets creative and actually interprets something :)

In this video, you learn 3 ways to slaughter . . . I mean arrange a famous classical piece called “Bourree In E Minor” by Johann Sebastian Bach. You learn how to play this piece using a variety of approaches including harmonics, lush beautiful sounding chords, and travis picking.

I do LOVE arranging music, and while I treat the music I arrange with absolute respect, I also like to do something a little different with it if the situation suits. Travis picking a classical guitar piece maybe just a little too much for some, and that is fine, whatever floats your boat.

Learn 3 unique ways to arrange Bourree In E Minor for fingerstyle guitar

 

Bourree In E Minor Guitar Tutorial Pic Video Page

 

Learn The Song That Inspired Paul McCartney To Write Blackbird: Bourree In E Minor

Today, I want to teach you a beautiful classical piece that was the inspiration behind “Blackbird” by The Beatles.

Here is what Paul McCartney said back in 1997 when asked about Blackbird and its origins:

"The original inspiration was from a well known piece by Bach, which I never know the title of, which George and I had learned to play at early age; he better than me actually.

Part of its structure is a particular harmonic thing between the melody and the bass line which intrigued me. I developed the melody on guitar based on the Bach piece and took it somewhere else, took it to another level, then I just fitted the words to it."

The well known piece McCartney can never remember is called “Bourree In E Minor” by Johann Sebastian Bach.

Both Bourree In E Minor and Blackbird barley share a chord between them. Rather, the harmony is created between the bass and melody lines in both tunes, implying the chords instead. This is what McCartney is referring to when he talks about the harmonic thing between the melody and bass line that intrigued him and lead to the creation of Blackbird.

It was this concept McCartney then took to create Blackbird.

In this video tutorial, you learn how to play Bourree In E Minor.

I break this piece down in great detail for you, revealing the two most important things you MUST take into account when deciding which fingers to use to fret which notes. 

There is a whole lot of position shifting for your fretting hand, so the fingerling you use is VITAL in getting the piece to sound fluent. However, the absence of chords makes what sounds like a really difficult piece to play, much simpler to actually do.

Learn how to play Bourree In E Minor on guitar

 

Quartal Harmony Melody Guitar Video Page Pic

 

A Unique Way To Harmonise Melody On Guitar That Will Turn Heads When You Play!

If you are an avid watcher of my YouTube videos, and reader of my newsletters, you have no doubt heard me bang on about quartal harmony several times in the past. I do so because:

1. It is a remarkably unique and simple way of harmonising notes on guitar (ie. creating chords) that sounds amazing!

2. It can be used in so many different ways resulting in vastly diverse sounding music, and is not exclusive to any particular style of playing

And in light of this, I think everyone should learn quartal harmony and have their playing benefit incredibly as a result! So with that, I present to you the topic of this video, which is of course:

Quartal Harmony!

But more specifically, a discussion and detailed demonstration of the many wonderful sounds quartal harmony will bring to your guitar playing with my good friend Tommaso Zillio of MusicTheoryForGuitar.com fame.

This video is an edit from a recent livestream myself and Tommaso did on the topic of quartal harmony. I’ve kept all the best bits for you, in an easily digestible excerpt that provides you with some very cool and unique ways to create music using quartal harmony, including some common melodies played in some not so common ways.

I wonder if you will recognise them :)

Judging by some of the comments we received on the stream, we are not alone in thinking quartal harmony really is a very unique and accessible way of playing guitar. 

Check out what some attendees had to say:

“I am playing with quartal harmony on a synth in ableton right now, and i am really learning a lot about how TENSE things can sound!!! this is so cool haha”

“OOH that is so haunting with that drone, what an incredible sound!”

“I have no other way to describe it other than sounding "different"....i'm so freaking excited to try this out! seems like a brilliant way to just turn people's ears”

Learn how to create unique and amazing music using quartal harmony on guitar

 

Unplugged Acoustic Guitar Songs Video Page Pic

 

Try This Great Hack For Creating Unplugged Acoustic Songs

Ever heard someone do an acoustic version of a song but all you hear is the original song played exactly the same way only on an acoustic guitar?

This is NOT an acoustic version of a song.

It is simply a less loud rendition of the same song. All that has changed is the instrument it’s being played on. You have to be more inventive than this when creating an unplugged acoustic version of a song.

It needs to effectively feel like a new song, like you are hearing it for the first time all over again.

There are many ways you can do this including:

• Slowing down the tempo
• Playing more open chords
• Altering the original arrangement
• Changing the key
• Playing in an open tuning
• Adding chord embellishments and extensions
• Arranging the instrumental parts for the acoustic

Ideas and concepts like the ones above have been used time and time again to create great acoustic versions of songs.

“Layla” by Eric Clapton and “Everlong” by Dave Grohl (Foo Fighters) come to mind.

In this video tutorial, you learn one extremely effective way to create an acoustic version of an electric guitar song. This particular approach has not been mentioned above, however it is perhaps one of the greatest things you can do to make an acoustic version of a song.

In this lesson, I provide you with audio recordings of side by side comparisons of the electric to acoustic versions so you can hear just how effective this approach is.

Learn how to create unplugged versions of songs on acoustic guitar

 

Dorian Chord Progressions Guitar Video Page Pic

 

The Key To Understanding Modes On Guitar Is This . . .

To truly understand a mode, you MUST understand the mode harmonised.

By harmonising the notes of the mode you create chords and progressions which provide the all important context for you to create music.

Understand harmony and you will understand modes.

Yet, most people think of and practice modes from the perspective of single notes only. That is, they try and understand the mode without considering the chords that exist within it.

It was a profound moment when I first discovered this.

Modes were just so abstract to me until I considered them from the perspective of chords and progressions. This made all the difference, and now I want you to have the same profound moment I did.

In this video tutorial, you learn how to write chord progressions using the dorian mode.

The dorian mode is one of the most common modes in music and can be found in many songs including:

• Moondance - Van Morrison
• Evil Ways - Carlos Santana
• Another Brick In The Wall - Pink Floyd
• Purple Haze - Jimi Hendrix
• Wicked Game - Chris Isaac

In this lesson, I also breakdown some of these songs to deepen your understanding of the dorian mode.

Learn how to write and play chord progresisons in the dorian mode

 

Quartal Harmony Basics Guitar Video Page Pic

 

May The 4th Be With You - How To Create Beautiful Music Using Quartal Harmony On Guitar

The typical way we play and hear chords on guitar is in thirds.

This is known as tertian harmony and is when chords are built using stacked thirds (ie. the distance of the notes in the chord are a third apart). However, this is not the only way.

In the words of Yoda:

“there is another”

And this is where the fourths come in.

Yes, I said the fourth’s, not the force :)

You’ll have to excuse me, I was born on Star Wars day (May the 4th) and cannot resist the odd Star Wars reference here and there.

So yes, we can play chords built on the interval of a fourth instead of a third for a very cool sound. This way of playing chords on guitar is called Quartal Harmony and it will produce almost any mood or emotion you desire.

Better yet, it is super simple to do.

Quartal chords are MUCH easier to play than your standard chords on guitar, furthermore, no theory is required to be able to use them.

In this video tutorial, I sit down with Music Theory Specialist Tommaso Zillio to discuss and demonstrate the basics of quartal harmony and how you can start creating beautiful ambient music in a variety of styles using it.

Learn the basics to quartal harmony for guitar

 

Lagrima Song Tutorial Guitar Video Page Pic

 

What To Do When Someone Asks You To Play Something On Guitar

What do you do when someone asks you to play something for them on guitar without notice?

Do you fumble around, trying your very best to play something that sounds like music?

Do you feel fear, anxiety, and panic rise up within you and run like hell?

Or do you confidently grab your guitar and play beautiful music for the world to hear?

While we would all love to be able to answer yes to the third scenario above, even the best players can be caught like a deer in headlights when asked to play something on the spot. I know I have before.

So what do you do?

One thing that will help is to prepare a few things in advance, which are your “go to” things when someone asks you to play something on guitar.

These “go to” things are basically a few pieces you can play through quite well and are ready to go at any point. They can change over time, they don’t have to be the same pieces all the time, however, do always have something ready for this kind of situation.

In this video tutorial, I have just the piece for occasions like this.

It is a beautiful classical fingerstyle arrangement called “Lagrima” by Francisco Tarrega. It’s one of those pieces that sounds really advanced but isn’t super hard to do and never fails to impress.

If you are not a classical guitarist, don’t worry, neither am I. However, having a few classical pieces under your fingers is always nice. They sound great, are good for your technique, and are super fun to play!

Learn how to play Lagrima on guitar

 

Learn Songs Guitar Video Page Pic

 

Most YouTube Guitar Teachers NEVER Show You This . . .

Ever watch a song tutorial on YouTube where someone breaks a tune down to help you learn it, and they painstakingly go through the process of which finger goes where?

This is boring, and incredibly unhelpful!

I can see where my fingers need to go, that is what the tablature is for. I really don’t need someone showing me this. I do understand this can be helpful for some, but it teaches you NOTHING about how to get a song down into your fingers, it’s just dealing with the mechanics.

What you need is for someone to show you HOW to approach getting a song down on guitar so you can play it effortlessly from start to finish. However, guitar teachers, including many YouTube teachers, for whatever reason don’t seem to want to show you this.

They’d rather throw fret numbers, string numbers, and finger numbers at you like you are Rain Man.

In this video tutorial, I take you through the exact process I use to get a song down on guitar.

It consists of 3 levels, all of which are essential if you:

1. Want to get the song down so you can play it in your sleep (most people fall far short of this)
2. Want to know how to get any song down on guitar

My process for learning songs consists of strategies that extend way beyond the “this finger goes on that string at that fret” approach.

These strategies are simple and effective in getting you to easily play the songs you love on guitar

 

Play Guitar With Feel And Dynamics Video Page Pic

 

Amateur Guitarists Have Only One Of These, Maybe Two, Pros Have Three Or More . . .

Sometimes the simplest thing makes the biggest difference to your guitar playing.

By simple, I mean something you can apply immediately to your playing for an equally immediate improvement to your sound. If you hear an amateur playing guitar, they will often demonstrate only one, or perhaps two levels of this thing I am talking about.

Pro players, however, will have 3 and typically many more levels of this very same thing.

And so can you, in a matter of minutes, not years!

You see, developing skills on guitar require both awareness and time. Awareness of the skill you need to work on, and then the time in which to do so. What I am talking about here requires more awareness than time to build, meaning once you are aware of it, your playing will improve immediately just by implementing it.

What is it?

Dynamics!

Dynamics refer to how loud or how soft you play the guitar.

We are not talking about the volume of your playing, but rather your touch.

Different songs will have different dynamic ranges, some are narrow while others are wide. As a musician, you want to have a large dynamic range, meaning when required you can play very softly to very loud and everything in between.

Nothing sounds more amateur than someone playing guitar at the same level of volume for an entire song. I have played with “professional” musicians before who technically are great but dynamically terrible.

It makes for a long gig, to say the least!

In this video tutorial, I sit down with Songwriting Mastery Coach Diana de Cabarrus to discuss and demonstrate how to immediately make your guitar playing sound better with dynamics. The key is to be able to play your guitar at three defining levels of volume, required for most songs, and then use these as markers for adding even more subtle levels of dynamics to your playing.

It’s so simple, but makes such a BIG difference to your playing!

Learn how to play guitar with feel and dynamics

 

Fingerpicking Guitar Mistakes Video Page Pic

 

5 Fingerpicking Mistakes Lazy Guitar Teachers Don’t Tell You, And How To Avoid Them

The lazy guitar teacher is someone who teaches you to play the guitar the way they learned.

This implies two things:

1. They somehow happened to learn guitar the perfect way and nothing could be improved
2. They are too lazy to actually bother developing their own teaching skills (this is very different to developing ones playing skills)

Avoid these teachers at all costs.

They often tell you they “teach guitar on the side” and while many are well intentioned, their methods are often outdated, if a method even exists that is.

You can be sure I will never teach like this.

Yes, there are some ways I learned that have stood the test of time, however, there are many things I teach differently too. This is because I have since learned better ways to teach such things, in other words, I work on my own playing but I also work on my teaching.

Case in point:

There is one thing I have been on about fingerpicking guitar that I thought I’d never go back on.

I was always a big advocate for never doing this one thing.

Why?

Because it will limit movement in your fingers and add tension to your playing.

Or so I thought.

Yet, here I am about to tell you it’s ok to do this very thing, and in fact probably better to do it.

In this video tutorial, you learn the 5 biggest mistakes to avoid when fingerpicking guitar including the very thing I have had a change of heart on.

 

Stage Fright Guitar Video Page Pic

 

3 Tips To Overcome Stage Fright And Performance Anxiety On Guitar

Do you ever get nervous playing guitar in front of other people?

Do you tighten up and suddenly forget everything you’ve ever learned when anyone is even within earshot of you playing?

Do you wish the earth below would open up and swallow you whenever someone asks you to play something on guitar?

Welcome!

It’s called being human and it’s ok :)

I have felt this way myself many times before and so have most other musicians. It’s known as stage fright and there are things you can do to minimise it no matter how nervous you get when playing guitar in front of other people.

In this video tutorial, you learn 3 ways to overcome stage fright when playing guitar. Whether it’s an audience of thousands or playing for a friend, there are specific things you can practice that will greatly diminish the nerves one can feel when playing in front of other people.

Learn how to ovecone stage fright and performance anxiety when playing guitar

 

Add 9 Chords Guitar Video Page Pic

  

How Can Something So “Ugly” Sound So Beautiful - Add 9 Chords

You know the story of the ugly duckling right?

I’ll spare you the details if you don’t, however the moral of the story is don’t judge a book by its cover.

The same could be said about the type of chord you are going to learn today.

But first, I want you to pick up your guitar right now and place a finger, any finger, at the 4th fret on the 4th string (ie. the D string).

I want you to play this note and the open 3rd string (ie. the G string) together at the same time.

How’s that sound?

Pretty damn “ugly” right!

Now, play the notes one after the other, separately.

Not much better, right?

There seems to be no way around it, this is one ugly sound.

Or is it? (bet you didn’t see that coming lol).

Believe it or not, nested right inside one of the most beautiful sounding chords in music is this very sound.

In this video tutorial, you are going to learn all about it within the context of add 9 chords. Add 9 chords and can be heard in many songs including “Every Breath You Take” by The Police.

Who thought something so beautiful could be born from something so ugly. It pays not to judge a book but its cover when it comes to the make up of some chords on guitar.

Learn how to play add 9 chords on guitar

 

Secondary Dominant Chords Guitar Video Page Pic

 

The One Chord That Fixes Boring Progressions - Secondary Dominants

“If you ain’t first you’re last”

Except if you are a dominant chord that is (more on this in a moment).

Have you ever learned a song, think you have the key figured out, and then come across one pesky chord that doesn’t seem to fit?

For example, an E7 in a song that is in the key of C, shouldn’t it be Em?

Argh, you think to yourself,

I thought I had this thing figured out!

However, there is a use for dominant chords that most people are unaware of. It is called the secondary dominant (yes, there is a primary dominant chord that we all use but typically don’t refer to it via this name)

And now you get the lame joke I made above lol.

In this video tutorial, you learn all about secondary dominants.

Finally, understand the chords that previously had you flummoxed when trying to fit them within the key of a song. Watch the video below to learn how to write and play better chord progressions on guitar using secondary dominants

 

Make Simple Songs Sound Great

 

The Tale Of Two Songs, Which Do You Like Best?

Have a listen to the song “Jack And Diane” by John Cougar Mellencamp.

Here we have a song that has only 3 chords yet sounds like so much more is going on. These chords are arranged on the guitar in such a way that keeps your interest as a listener throughout.

Now listen to the cover of “Last Kiss” by Pearl Jam. 

Love the band, but not their finest moment IMO.

Notice how the song starts out fine, but by the 2nd or 3rd verse you can’t help but be bored and disengaged with the tune, or at least I am.

You may disagree and that is fine :)

If you play the same old chords in the same old way throughout an entire song an interesting phenomenon occurs for both you the musician and the listener.

And that is,

Your ears become immune to what they are hearing and the impact of what you are playing loses its effect.

This is what is happening in “Last Kiss’ by Pearl Jam.

In this video tutorial, you learn how to make simple songs sound great on guitar.

I sit down with Guitar Playing Breakthrough Specialist Tom Hess and Beginner Guitar Specialist Maurice Richard to discuss and demonstrate ways to make simple songs sound great on guitar

 

Mixolyidain Mode Guitar Video Page Pic 

How To Create Music With The Mixolydian Mode

Don’t let the confusing names or the reputation that comes with modes as being difficult to understand and even more difficult to use in one’s playing discourage you.

Modes are used all the time in music.

How often?

Listen to any song right now and you will be hearing a mode of some sort.

That much!

In this video tutorial, you learn all about the Mixolydian mode and 3 ways you can access it on your guitar to create great sounding music.

The Mixolydian mode is most commonly associated with rock music and is the basis for many songs including:

• Sweet Home Alabama - Lynyrd Skynyrd
• Clocks - Coldplay
• Sweet Child O’ Mine - Guns N’ Roses
• Bitter Sweet Symphony - The Verve
• Norwegian Wood - The Beatles

Learn how to create muic using the Mixolydian mode on guitar

 

How To Make Scales Sound  Musical Video Page Pic

 

Without This, There Is No Music

I want you to get your guitar and play a C note on the 2nd string/1st fret.

How would you describe the sound?

If you have no idea, good.

The C note, or any note for that matter, played without any context is no more musical sounding than a car horn.

I was going to say a doorbell, however, this is musical as there are typically 2 notes sounded one after the other when pressing a doorbell that creates the interval of a major 3rd.

The context is the relationship of one note to the other, but I digress :)
Without context, there is no music.

If you sound a note on your guitar in isolation it is simply just a pitch, no more.

We need context, like a chord behind it for that note to relate to and express a certain emotion.

Now, take your guitar again and form a C open chord.

Strum the chord, and pluck the C note again on the 2nd string/1st fret while still holding the chord so it rings through.

How does it sound now?

There is no right or wrong answer here, however, we can now make a judgment as to how that note sounds.

I would say happy, triumphant, joyful etc.

However, this does not mean a C note always sounds this way.

Any note can create any emotion.

It depends on the all important context in which you are sounding that note.

Take your guitar once again and form an Am open chord.

Strum the chord and pluck the C note again.

How does it sound now?

Not so happy right?

I would say sad or melancholy against the backdrop of an Am chord.

Perhaps you think differently and that’s ok, the point is the emotion of that C note has now changed due to the chord you are playing it over.

This exercise is great in getting you to understand that simply learning scales on guitar does not equal music.

You need to learn the emotions of the notes within the context in which you are playing them.

In this video tutorial, I sit down with Music Theory Specialist Tomasso Zillio to discuss and demonstrate ways you can use scales to create music.

After all,

To play a scale is never the goal, to create music with it is!

You learn how to absorb the emotions of the notes you play as well as the simplest way to play any scale on guitar (not only the simplest but the most effective way of learning the emotions of each note within the scale).

Learn how to create music using scales on your guitar

 

Borrowed Chords Guitar Video Page Pic

 

This Took Me 20 Years To Learn, But It Didn’t Have To . . .

I have a confession to make. It’s kind of embarrassing.

I didn’t know what “borrowed chords” were for a very long time.

So what, you may be thinking, I don’t know what they are either.

But you need to understand that by very long time I mean 20 years, 16 of them as a teacher nonetheless!

To be clear, I would hear borrowed chords in music all the time. I would play them and learn to recognise them in a chart, however, I did not understand the concept behind them, or even the term “borrowed chord”.

You see, you can use things in your guitar playing before really understanding them, but if you can’t explain something, then you do not understand the concept behind it.

For me, it was borrowed chords.

Understanding the concept behind something allows you to use it in your own playing to its full potential. Once I understood the concept of borrowed chords everything fell into place like magic and I was able to use them to much greater effect in my own playing.

Hence the topic of this week’s video tutorial:

Borrowed Chords

Whenever you are playing a song and come across a chord you can’t place in the key, it is very likely to be a chord borrowed from another key. 

Not just any key though, a key that is parallel to the one you are in (if this makes no sense, don’t worry, it’s simple and you’ll learn all about it in the video)

A world without borrowed chords would be very boring. They are used in songs all the time and are often what makes the song sound a little less predictable to your ear (in a good way).

Learn how to use borrowed chords in your guitar playing

 

Dorian Mode Guitar Video Page Pic

 

How To Decode The Dorian Mode To Create Great Sounding Music!

Don’t let the weird name throw you.

The Dorian mode is not some mysterious sound you only hear in obscure music.

Many songs are written in the Dorian mode including:

• Another Brick In The Wall - Pink Floyd
• Eleanor Rigby - The Beatles
• Scarborough Fair - Simon And Garfunkel
• Billie Jean - Michael Jackson
• Black Magic Woman - Carlos Santana

In this video, I put a spotlight on the Dorian mode and how you as a guitar player can access it on the fretboard to create great sounding music. Each approach gives you a different way of playing in the Dorian mode, bringing much variety to your sound as a guitar player.

One way is super simple and will have you playing in the Dorian mode instantly!

Learn how to play amd create music with the dorian mode on guitar

 

Strumming And Picking Guitar Exercise Video Page Pic

 

This Exercise Feels Wrong But Works Great In Making Your Strumming And Picking More Fluent

Have you ever watched two people playing tennis?

Your head must continually move left to right so you can focus on the player currently hitting the ball.

This is what playing guitar is like for a lot of people. They constantly have to look back and forth between their picking and fretting hands to ensure they are doing what they are meant to be doing.

In other words, they have to babysit their hands.

This is no way to play guitar.

It not only looks amateur as hell, but it is also the number one reason why your playing will never sound fluent no matter how much you practice.

In this video tutorial, you learn an exercise that feels wrong but works great in getting you to play more fluently when strumming and picking chords on guitar.

People never do this exercise either because:

1. They don’t know about it
2. It feels wrong

Learn how to strum and pick fluently on guitar

 

How To Get Good At Guitar Fast Video Page Pic

 

I Changed ONE Thing And My Guitar Playing EXPLODED!

Most people believe repetition is the key to practicing guitar.

After all, as the saying goes “Repetition is the mother of all learning.”

However, although important, repetition is not the only thing that is required to become a great guitar player. If you repeat something incorrectly, you will get good at doing that thing wrong. I’ve seen this so many times over my years of teaching.

Hell, this was how I use to practice!

My intention was to become a better guitarist, but I was fighting a losing battle because my methods for practicing were mediocre at best. Simply clocking up the hours was not making me a better guitar player.

Then I changed ONE thing.

It was so simple!

And when I did, the game changed.

In this video tutorial, I show you exactly what I did to get far better results in much less time practicing guitar. If you follow what I show you in this video, you will see significant improvement in your playing within a week.

Practice does NOT make perfect, it makes permanent, so you want to make sure you are doing it right.

Learn how to get good at guitar fast 

 

Master Bar Chords Guitar Step By Step Video Page Pic

 

I Don’t Care How Small Your Hands Are, Or The Shape Of Your Fingers, You CAN Play Bar Chords And This Is How 

Why is it some people are able to effortlessly play bar chords on guitar while others struggle? We all have the same tool available to us to play bar chords, that being your hand with 4 fingers and a thumb. It’s not like some have the advantage of sprouting extra fingers or something ridiculous like that, right :)

Think about it, why would some people struggle while others don’t when it comes to bar chords?

If you are thinking it’s the size of your hands or the shape of your fingers, I can tell you this is NOT the case. I have seen far too many people with small hands and fingers effortlessly play bar chords, including kids, so that’s off the table.

If you want to believe your hands are too small go for it, but it will spell the end of any possibility of you playing bar chords. Whatever you choose to believe is true after all. If on the other hand, you want to discover the secret to finally mastering bar chords, I have just the thing for you.

In this video tutorial, I sit down with Beginner Guitar Specialist Maurice Richard to discuss and demonstrate the very best ways to practice bar chords including:

The EXACT steps required to play bar chords, and the order in which to do them (this is SO important to getting bar chords down)

The overuse of tension and how to fix this with bar chords (tension is the number one bar chord killer)

The chord push-up strategy to get all your fingers working at the same time (works like magic!)

Focusing on the areas above is THE difference between effortlessly playing bar chords and just downright struggling with them, NOT the anatomy of your hands.

Learn how to master bar chords on guitar

 

Arrange Piano Music On Guitar

 

How To Arrange Piano Music For Guitar And Become A More Creative Musician

One of the best things I ever did to become a more creative guitar player was to transcribe music from other instruments.

We all speak the same language as musicians, however, the vehicle we use to express that language is very different depending on the instrument you play. This may sound weird, but limiting yourself to the perspective of the guitar will, in turn, limit the possibilities of the instrument.

Think of a pianist for example.

The mechanics of how they express music is different to us guitar players, simply because a keyboard is very different to a fretboard.

• A pianist has the use of all fingers to play notes, we do not.

• The piano is very linear in its layout, the guitar is not (each string is effectively like a separate keyboard).

• There is only one place to play any single note on a piano, on guitar there are several options for any given note as to where to play it on the fretboard

What does this all mean?

Well, if you arrange piano music for guitar you will need to think creatively as to how to make it work because of these differences.

In this video tutorial, you learn how to arrange piano music for guitar. It is hands down one of the best ways I know to work on my creativity as a guitarist and musician. It opens up possibilities on the instrument you might not have ever considered before.

Learn how to play piano music on guitar

 

Modal Chord Progressions Guitar Video Page Pic

 

Do Modes Confuse The Hell Out Of You? This Is Why . . .

Do you find modes hard to get your head around?

Do they frustrate and confuse you?

Do you even know what modes are? (if not, keep reading because you need to know them)

Whatever the case may be, you are not alone.

“Modes are easy, I got them straight away,” said no one ever

Yet you hear modes in songs all the time whether you are aware of it or not including:

• Norwegian Wood - The Beatles (Mixolydian Mode)
• Billie Jean - Michael Jackson (Dorian Mode)
• All Along The Watchtower - Jimi Hendrix (Aeolian Mode)
• The Simpsons Theme Song (Lydian Mode)
• Wherever I May Roam - Metallica (Phrygian Mode)

They are not some mysterious mystical music theory concept no one ever uses, they are in fact fundamental to your understanding of music.

However, most people are taught modes in the wrong order, in effect, the cart is put before the horse. They learn the notes of the modes before the chords of the modes (I know I did). In fact, a lot of people only learn the notes and have no idea about the chords.

This is like trying to build a house on sand. It doesn’t matter how good your house might look on paper, it will fall apart.

Similarly, if you only look at the notes of a mode and not the chords, you’ll have no real foundation to build your understanding of modes leaving you frustrated and confused.

In this video tutorial, you learn all about modal chord progressions, what they are and how to use them. To understand modes, you MUST understand how the chords work within the mode itself.

This is where to begin.

Learn how to write play modal chord progressions on guitar

 

How To Use Scales To Create Music Video Page Image

 

Do You Really Need Scales To Create Music?

Does the following sound familiar to you:

• Scales are boring

• Every time I use scales to create music it just sounds like I am playing a scale

• When I use scales it sounds like an exercise, not music

These are just some of the complaints I’ve heard from students over the years who are trying to create music using scales. The problem is, that most people learn scales and then stop. Of course, everything you play is going to sound like a scale if that is all you have learned.

To play a scale is NOT the goal, to create music IS!

In fact, you don’t even need to know scales to create music. It’s like someone learning to recite the alphabet and then finding it hard to write anything. You have to put letters together to create words and sentences to do that.

Similarly, you need to use the notes of a scale to create music, not simply run up and down the scale.

In this video tutorial, I sit down with Music Theory Specialist Tommaso Zillio to discuss and demonstrate the best ways to begin creating music using scales.

We cover:

• The best ways to go about creating music once you know a scale

• The most important thing when it comes to creating music (this one element will make even wrong notes sound right)

• How to create music WITHOUT using scales (yes, you read that right, you don’t actually need scales to create music)

Learn how to create music using sclaes on guitar

 

How To Practice Guitar Video Page Image

 

The Number 1 Guitar Progress Killer Is . . .

Overwhelm, plain and simple.

There is so much to learn and so little time to practice.

It stops you dead in your tracks and unfortunately for some, this becomes permanent.

No guitar player is immune from feeling overwhelmed. I myself have felt this many times over years of playing, and can still feel it today. However, there is a big difference and that is, I now know what to do about it. I can get rid of the feeling of overwhelm in a matter of minutes, and so can you.

It’s super simple and easy to do!

In this video tutorial, you learn how best to organise your practice schedule so you almost never feel overwhelmed with your guitar playing. I show you exactly what I changed to get better results in less time while easily dealing with all the many things requiring your attention to become a great guitar player.

I could literally sum it up in one word.

Discover how to plan a practice schedule with zero overwhelm and maximum results

 

Arpeggios Solo Guitar Video Page Pic

 

The Only Exercise You Need To Master Arpeggios On Guitar  

I have a very specific exercise I want to show you that changed the way I played guitar. So much so, that I can specifically remember exactly where I was when I first learned it.

I was sitting in a room at a very prestigious school I was teaching at, waiting for a student to arrive.

It was a Wednesday morning in June of 2007.

That’s how significant this exercise was, I can remember all the detail around the exact time I first learned of it.

In this video tutorial, I want to show you the very same exercise for your own guitar playing. 

This one exercise will drastically improve the way you solo on guitar, using what is known as arpeggios. Most people learn arpeggio shapes, but very few really learn how to use them to create music.

Sure, you can play up and down an arpeggio and know a lot of different shapes and patterns. You can even switch between them when not under any kind of time pressure, which is useless for real life playing btw.

You need to be able to change between arpeggio shapes almost before you even realise you are doing so!

This one specific exercise will enable you to do exactly that.

Learn how to master arpeggios on guitar

 

Tips For Playing Acoustic Guitar Video Page

 

How To Get Good At Acoustic Guitar [Hint: Don’t Play It Like An Electric]

If you think acoustic guitar and electric guitar are one and the same, you’d be wrong. 

Yes, they both have 6 strings, the same standard tuning, and require the same basic technique to play. However, there are differences, some obvious and some not so obvious. If you approach playing the acoustic guitar like you would play an electric you will struggle.

In this video tutorial, I sit down with guitar practice expert Mike Philippov from Practice Guitar Now.com to discuss and demonstrate the best approaches for playing and practicing acoustic guitar.

We address topics such as:

• Mistakes to avoid when fingerpicking
• How best to practice bar chords on the acoustic
• When and when not to use a thumb pick
• Playing in open tunings
• Hybrid picking versus fingerpicking on acoustic guitar

Learn how to get good at playing acoustic guitar

 

Triad Chord Shape Guitar Video Page Image

 

12 Ways To Play Any Major Or Minor Chord On Guitar

How many ways can you play an A chord on guitar? (or any chord for that matter)

If your answer is in the single digits, I’m sorry to say you fail the test. To pass, you would want at least 12 different ways to play any chord.

Don’t feel bad though, this is not a real test,

I just made it up :)

However, it is in your best interest no matter what style of guitar you play, to be fluent harmonically speaking on the instrument, in other words:

Know How To Play Any Single Chord In Many Different Ways

Thinking you have this chord thing licked because you have open and bar chords down, is like thinking you are a mathematician because you know 1 and 1 make 2 :)

This does not cut it.

There is SO much more!

Enter Triads.

Triads provide you with a true understanding of how chords work. They opened up the entire fretboard, with no blind spots so to speak, and dramatically increase the options when playing rhythm and lead guitar parts. There are almost endless ways to use triads in your playing.

In this video tutorial, you learn 12 different ways to play major and minor triads all over the fretboard. I reveal to you a simple way to learn these chords fast.

Learn how to become a master at playing triads on guitar

 

Chord Melody Guitar Video Page Pic

 

A Simple Way To Sound Complicated On Guitar - Chord/Melody Playing

Some of the best things to learn on guitar are those that sound complicated but are relatively easy to do. A great example of this is when you play the chords and melody of a song on one guitar at the same time (much like a pianist would play a tune).

Sounds complicated right?

Well, if you can rub your tummy and pat your head at the same time, you too can do this.

All it takes is a little training.

Forget all the “I’m never going to be able to do that” examples you might see of this kind of playing on YouTube. Any style of playing can be taken to a high level, but it doesn’t have to be to sound good.

In this video tutorial, you learn my 5 step method for creating great sounding chord/melody arrangements on guitar that won’t take years to learn.

Most of what I reveal is no more complicated than what a beginner pianist would play in the first year of learning.

Learn how to create chord melody arrangements on guitar

 

Tritone Substitution Guitar Video Page Image

 

Try This Hack For Soloing On Guitar - Tritone Substitution

I love a great hack when it comes to guitar playing. These are often in the form of a shortcut resulting in a great sound.

Who doesn’t want that?!

However, we are not talking about the kind of shortcut here that is detrimental to your guitar playing.

These are not the shortcuts you are looking for.

But, the one I have for you here is.

In this lesson, you learn a shortcut to getting a very advanced sound in your guitar solos. It is a simple way to get an advanced sound, that could be unnecessarily complicated but doesn’t need to be.

Learn how to solo on guitar using the tritone substitution

 

Fingerpicking guitar technique for beginners video page image

 

The Number One Mistake Most People Make When Fingerpicking Guitar

The number one mistake I see people make all the time when learning anything on guitar is going with what feels easy to them in the moment.

This kind of logic always comes back to bite you on the butt with all kinds of flaws showing up in your playing.

The funny thing is that what appears to be the “easy” way is by far the hardest.

You just can’t see it . . . yet,

but it’s coming, in the form of:

• Sloppy technique

• Excess tension (making things harder to play, possibly causing damage to your fretting and picking hands)

• And all round average sounding guitar playing

But hey, it felt easy in the beginning, right? :)

In this video tutorial, you learn how to develop flawless fingerpicking technique from the very beginning.

Don’t be like so many and go with what feels easy when first learning to fingerpick guitar

If you already fingerpick, check this video out to make sure everything is as it should be. I still refine my own technique, and I bet you can too.

Learn how to develop flawless fingerpicking technique

 

Chord Melody Guitar Exercises And Drills Image

 

The Secret To Playing Chords And Melody On One Guitar - Pianists Do It And So Can You!

The piano is a more visual instrument than the guitar.

Want to play all the natural notes?

Hit the white keys.

Want to play the sharps (#) and flat (b) notes?

Hit the black keys.

Not so straightforward on the guitar.

Another key (pardon the pun) difference is a pianist has two hands to play notes and chords, making it super easy to sound these two things at the same time. We mere guitarists need two hands to sound a note or a chord making it more challenging to get both sounding at once.

However, it can be done.

Here is an example of such playing: Chord Melody Playing

In this video tutorial, you learn the secret to playing both the chords and melody of a song on one guitar. This is how a pianist would approach playing the guitar and is not as hard as you may think.

Learn how to play the chords and melody of a tune on one guitar

 

Lead Guitar Playing Triad Chord Shapes

 

How To NOT Sound Like You Are Playing Scales When Soloing On Guitar

Here is one of the most common things I hear from having taught people to play guitar for almost 3 decades:

“When I try and solo using a scale it just sounds like I am playing a scale”

Many people find it hard to transition from playing a scale on guitar to creating something that sounds musical with that scale.

I know I certainly did!

But what if there is a better way to sound musical when soloing that avoids scales and goes straight to the juiciness you hear in many great guitar solos.

In this video tutorial, you learn an approach to soloing that gives you direct access to all the juicy notes. This approach also gives you a kind of back door access to the scales that many find so hard to create music from.

It’s almost tricking you into using scales but in a musical way.

Learn how to solo on guitar using triad chord shapes

 

Advanced Chords For Guitar Image

 

Where To Go After Learning Open Chords And Bar Chords

Recently I had the pleasure and privilege of being a guest on Tommaso Zillio’s YouTube channel.

Tommaso is the music theory guru and runs the very successful Music Theory For Guitar website. His Youtube channel has over a quarter of a million subscribers, and he is a bottomless pit as far as his knowledge of the guitar and music is concerned.

This video is an excerpt from our Livestream discussion on simple ways to sound advanced playing chords on guitar.

You learn:

• How to play all main chord types (major 7, dominant 7, minor 7) over the entire fretboard (there is a very simple way to learn and connect these chords together)

• How to sound full and complete using these chords by simply adding the drone of open strings. You learn a very cool travis picking blues using these chords.

• How to use these chords to solo on guitar

I must apologise for the COVID hairdo I was rocking at the time lol

But if you can get past that, I know this video will seriously change the way you think of playing chords on guitar. It certainly did for me when I first learned them.

Learn how to play block chords on guitar

 

Percussive Guitar Slap Technique

 

Another Way To Play Guitar - The Slap Guitar Technique

You can pick the notes you play on guitar with a plectrum.

You can pluck them with your fingers.

However, in the words of yoda, did you know

“There is another . . .”

As in another way to sound the notes on your instrument.

How?

By slapping them!

Yes, you can sound the notes on the guitar by slapping them with your thumb.

Many people use the thumb slap for a rhythmic percussive sound, which is a very cool sound in its own right. However, what I am talking about here is more of a melodic slap, where the side of your thumb is used to sound actual notes, not just provide a rhythmic sound.

In this video tutorial, you learn the technique of sounding notes on the guitar by slapping them. I’ll walk you through the technique before showing you 3 very cool percussive slap riffs to get you going.

“Hmm, patience you must have, but slap the guitar you will”

- Yoda

A galaxy far far away

Learn how to slap the strngs of your guitar

 

Open String Riffs And Runs

 

It Almost Looks Fake - Learn This Unique Solo Technique For Acoustic Guitar

Recently I had the pleasure and privilege of being a guest on my good friend Tommaso Zillio’s very popular YouTube channel. Tommaso is the music theory guru and is always a wealth of knowledge when it comes to music and guitar playing.

This video is an excerpt from our livestream where Tommaso picks my brain about a particular concept I like to use when soloing on acoustic guitar. Tommaso has seen me perform using this technique several times in Chicago, USA, however, this is the first time I reveal to him, his YouTube subscribers, and now you, the secret behind what I am doing.

As Tommaso remarks in our stream,

“It looks like your fingers are hardly doing anything, yet I am hearing all these notes coming at me. It almost looks fake!”

In this video, I break down this very unique soloing concept for you piece by piece and then show you the simplest, fastest, easiest way to get it into your own guitar playing.

Learn this unique way to solo on acoustic guitar

 

Guitar Modes Explained Video Page Pic

 

Modes Explained: Do This First!

Let’s face it, modes confuse the hell out of people.

I don’t know anyone who hasn’t at first been totally flawed by modes and their role in music.

Why?

Well, there are many reasons, but here are 3:

• You try to intellectualise modes rather than learn their sound
• There are a billion different lessons online teaching modes a billion different ways = mass confusion
• Modes have weird names

In this video, I reveal to you the very best way to learn modes on guitar.

Most people go about this the wrong way. It’s not so much what they do, but the order in which they do it.

In this video, you learn the one thing you must do when first learning modes on guitar. It’s time to turn your brain off and open your ears.

This is the key!

Learn the best way to learn modes on guitar

 

Tap Foot In Time While Playing Guitar

 

The One Thing All Musicians Do

There is one thing all musicians do no matter the instrument they play.

What is it?

They tap their foot.

Why?

To be aware of where the beat is, and to feel the groove of the song.

Many people have trouble doing this.

As long as you have trouble tapping your foot in time with your playing, you will never truly feel the groove of the music you play, which is everything.

In this video, you learn how to tap your foot in time with everything and anything you play on guitar.

I take you through 3 levels leading to mastering the art of feeling the groove of the songs you play. Despite what you may think, this is not a timing problem, but one of coordination. It’s a little like patting your head and rubbing your tummy, tricky at first, but easier the more you do it.

Learn how to tap your foot in time while playing guitar

 

Travis Picking Video Page Pic

 

Do You Really Know What Travis Picking Is? (A Lot Of People Don’t)

I see people get this wrong all the time.

They learn the travis picking pattern, which in and of itself is a great pattern to learn because it holds the key to playing many a song.

However, learning the pattern does not equal being able to travis pick.

It is part of travis picking, yes, and has infiltrated mainstream music to become perhaps the most useful pattern to know as a fingerpicker.

However, travis picking involves a whole lot more than simply plucking a pattern.

Travis picking is the art of playing a steady bass line on the beat with your thumb while playing harmony and melody parts on the higher strings with your fingers, all at the same time.

It creates the illusion that there is more than one guitar playing.

Think Chet Atkins or Tommy Emmanuel, and you have travis picking.

In this video, I show you a side by side comparison of travis picking the pattern versus travis picking the style.

You learn songs that use the travis picking pattern, as well as a breakdown of a tune arranged for travis picking including the bass, harmony, and melody parts.

Learn what travis picking really is

 

Triad Chord Shapes Rhythm Guitar Pic

 

3 Ways To Create Music On Guitar Using Triad Chord Shapes

Recently, I released a video on triad chord shapes for guitar.

Many of you asked for a follow-up video on how to use the triads in music, as you can see by some of the comments I received:

“Another great lesson! I just found your channel last month. Following all lessons. This really helped me understand triads. Can you do a lesson showing the application of triads in songs? Can't wait until the next lesson.”

- Wayne

“This has really helped me understand triads and their inversions. Your simple detailed description of each triad and inversion is helping me visualise them in various areas of the fretboard. I would really like to see the application video for triads. Thank you for your excellent instruction.”

- Dana

“Great lesson Simon, very easy to follow for a beginner. Ideas for when to use them would help with the context.

- Stephen

So you ask, you get :)

This video tutorial is on, yep you guessed it:

3 Ways To Create Music On Guitar Using Triad Chord Shapes

In this video, you learn 3 very cool ways you can create great music on guitar using triads across 3 different chord progressions.

Don’t be someone who learns a whole bunch of chords but has no idea how to use them.

Learn how to create musci using triad chord shapes

 

Figure Songs Out By Ear Image 

Learn The Easiest Way To Figure Songs Out By Ear

As great as the internet can be, it doesn’t really do today’s guitarist much good.

But what about all the free tabs, YouTube videos and courses I hear you say.

This is the problem!

With so many readily available resources on hand, it doesn’t encourage one to use their ear to work music out. Why do this if you can search a tab up almost before you can think of the song you want to learn. All those free tabs might be tempting but it encourages today’s guitarist to bypass perhaps the greatest skill you will ever learn as a musician:

The ability to figure music out using your ear.

For me, I learned this skill out of necessity as there was no internet, and to buy a tab book cost a tidy sum of money for a 15 year old. I am so grateful to have started learning guitar before the internet was a thing. I would not have the ear I have today if I relied on free tabs online, the majority of which are inaccurate anyway.

In this video tutorial, you learn how to figure songs out using your ear.

This is a learned skill.

Anybody can do it.

It just takes a little patience coupled with effective strategies and methods for working the chords and notes out to any song.

Learn how to figure songs out using your ear

 

Double Stop Guitar Riffs

 

How To Make Your Guitar Solos Standout From The Crowd With Double Stops

Hands down one of the greatest guitar riffs of all time is the riff in the intro of “Money For Nothing” by Dire Straits.

Who hasn’t grabbed the old air guitar and rocked out to this riff.

Go on, admit it :)

But what makes this riff so great?

In part, the use of double stops. These are used throughout the riff and bring a great texture to the sound.

Double stops are when you play 2 notes together at the same time on guitar, and they sound great on elective and acoustic!

In this video tutorial, I share with you 7 very cool sounding double stop riffs for your guitar playing. Double stops will bring a texture to your guitar soloing that contrasts greatly with the single notes you play, providing much light and shade.

Learn how to play double stops on guitar

 

Hybrid Picking Guitar Video Page Pic

 

There Are Only 3 Ways To Play The Guitar

1. With a pick (plectrum)
2. With your fingers (fingerpicking)
3. With your pick and fingers (hybrid picking)

Which way is best?

Well, it depends on what you want to do.

Generally, I think it’s best to do all 3 to at least a proficient level, perhaps excelling in one or two of them. This way you become a more versatile guitar player.

For me, I excel in plectrum and fingerpicking approaches to playing guitar. My weakness is hybrid picking. However, this does not mean I don’t or can’t use hybrid picking. I’m just better at plectrum and fingerpicking approaches.

Hybrid picking is a very useful way to play guitar, even if you only get the basics down.

In this video, you learn how to hybrid pick in both a rhythm and lead guitar context. Hybrid picking allows you to easily switch between flat-picking and finger-picking styles, bringing much more versatility to your playing.

Learn how to hybrid pick on guitar

 

Triad Chord Shapes On Guitar Pic

 

To Really Understand Chords You Must First Learn Triads

In a perfect world, you would learn triads first before open chords and bar chords on guitar.

What is a triad?

Simply put, it is a 3 note chord.

They are simple to play and provide you with a more complete understanding of how chords work in theory, and on the guitar than open and bar chords ever will. In addition, triads open up the whole fretboard, giving you many more options when it comes to playing chords on guitar.

A great example of triads making an otherwise simple 3 chord song sound great and more complex, is “Jack And Diane” by John Cougar Mellencamp. Check it out and you’ll get a good example of triads at work.

In this week’s video tutorial, you learn both major and minor triad shapes and how to best train these into your playing, first by shape, then by position. Follow the methods I show you in this video, and you will forever have the triad shapes under your fingers to use whenever you like.

Learn how to play triads on guitar

 

Travis Picking Guitar Video Page Pic

 

The Most Important Part Of Travis Picking - Do This First

Travis picking is not just a pattern it is a style of fingerpicking guitar.

Many people get this wrong all the time, believing if you can play the travis picking pattern you can travis pick. However, the pattern itself, while important, is only a component of the style of travis picking.

What is travis picking then?

It is a way of fingerpicking guitar where your thumb plucks bass patterns on the lower strings, while your fingers play melodies on the higher strings, all at the same time. If you look away when someone is travis picking, you’ll swear there are at least two guitars playing.

This is very different from simply playing the travis picking pattern, as useful as this pattern is.

In this video tutorial, you learn the most important part of travis picking. Nothing else matters until you get this part down. It will all fall apart without this foundational skill in place.

Learn the best way to travispick on guitar

 

Chord Embellishments Video Page Pic 

How To Immediately Improve Your Guitar Playing With Simple Ideas - Chord Embellishments

Chord embellishments can be thought of as what decorations are to a cake.

You need the cake.

The cake is good.

But it looks and tastes much better with the decoration added.

Musically, we need chords.

Chords are good.

But they sound much better and more interesting with embellishments added, aka the decoration on the chord.

The good news is that if you can strum basic open chords, you can embellish them without improving your technical skills. It's all about utilising what you can already do on guitar, in better ways, to sound much more advanced.

In other words, an immediate improvement from simple ideas.

In this video lesson, you learn how to sound more advanced by playing simple open chord progressions on guitar, using embellishments. These ideas are simple, especially the first one, adding much more beauty, and sophistication to your guitar playing.

Learn how to embellish chords on guitar for a better sound

 

Open Tunings Guitar Video Page Pic

 

Standard Tuning Verses Open Tunings, Which Is Easier?

If we took 2 people who had never played guitar before and had one learn in standard tuning and the other in an open tuning, who would find learning guitar easier?

Answer:

The person learning in an open tuning.

Why?

Because open tunings are designed to make things easier to play on guitar.

Most people only find it challenging because it is unfamiliar, not because it is harder to play in open tunings verses standard tuning.

I get it though, it can seem daunting to alter the tuning of certain strings and lose your bearing on the instrument you’ve put so much time and effort into studying and learning.

In this video lesson, you learn a step by step method that makes the transition from playing in standard tuning to open tunings easy. The trick is to gradually introduce the altering of the strings required for a particular tuning.

Learn the easy way to get started playing guitar in open tunings

 

Blues Turnaround Guitar Video Page Pic

 

The Blues Turnaround - Learn This Famous Blues Sound

If I ask you what a blues turnaround is, you may or may not be able to answer that question for me. If I play you a blues turnaround, you are likely to instantly recognise the sound,

“Oh, that’s a turnaround” etc . . .

Almost everyone will recognise this sound, regardless of whether they play guitar or not. If you aren’t sure what a blues turnaround is, I bet you’ll know once you hear an example of one.

The turnaround, however, in and of itself is nothing that special. It’s the cool riffs that are played over the turnaround that make it what it is. Many of these riffs have been passed down from generation to generation, and as a guitarist, it is your job to collect some of these famous lines to use in your own playing.

In this video tutorial, you learn 3 classic blues turnarounds.

I will break each down for you first, however that’s not the true value of this lesson. You can watch any number of videos on YouTube that show you how to play a turnaround. It’s what I show you after you learn the turnarounds that is the real value of this lesson.

Learn how to play blues turnarounds on guitar

 

Bar Chords Guitar Video Page Pic

 

How To Play Bar Chords Cleanly On Guitar, Even If You Have Small Hands

Let’s face it, bar chords are challenging to play.

Having taught for almost 3 decades now, I’ve heard all the excuses:

• My hands are too small

• My hands aren’t strong enough

• My fingers aren’t the right shape

I’ve taught 6 year olds to play bar chords before, so unless you have hands that are smaller than a 6 year old, or stumps for fingers, you can play bar chords.

Like anything, they take practice and time.

However, practice alone won’t cut it.

It’s in the way you practice bar chords that determine whether you succeed with them, not the size of your hands or any other excuse your mind can conjure up.

In this video tutorial, you learn what I wish I had of known when first trying to play bar chords back in the early nineties. I’ll walk you through the things you need to focus on to succeed with bar chords.

The most important point of all comes at 12:30 into the video, so be sure to watch until the end.

Learn the pathway to pain free, buzz free, clean sounding bar chords

 

Minor Blues Chord Progression Video Page Pic

 

Can You Spot What These Songs Have In Common?

What do the following songs have in common?

• The Thrill Is Gone - B.B King
• Shine On Your Crazy Diamond - Pink Floyd
• Money - Pink Floyd
• I Put A Spell On You - Creedence Clearwater Revival
• Black Magic Woman - Fleetwood Mac/Santana

Answer:

They all use the minor blues chord progression.

Compared to the standard 12 bar blues, the minor blues has a slightly darker feel to it.

It can be intense, powerful, and emotionally charged.

Listen to the iconic intro to “Shine On You Crazy Diamond” by Pink Floyd for an example.

It is literally dripping with emotion!

Ok, it’s Dave Gilmour so of course it is. But you’ll see what I mean, as you will when listening to any of the songs listed above.

In this weeks video tutorial, you learn all about the minor blues progression and how to play it on your guitar. If you are familiar with the standard 12 bar blues, then it is super simple to play a minor blues.

In this lesson, you learn several variations of the minor blues evident in many songs. Understanding and learning the minor blues will expand your musical palette, making you a better guitarist.

Learn how to play a minor blues on guitar

  

Metronome Guitar Practice Video Page Image

  

Who Thought A Cash Register Could Sound Musical - The Power Of Rhythm

What is the most important musical skill of all?

For me it is rhythm and the ability to keep time.

Plain and simple.

But what about melody, you may be thinking, isn’t that important?

Yes, of course, but without melody, music can still exist.

Without rhythm and time, music cannot exist.

Case in point, before the song “Money” came along by Pink Floyd, no one would have considered the sound of a cash register to be musical.

However set it to a rhythmic pulse, and voila!

Without rhythm, you have nothing. It is the common denominator in music It also happens to be the number one frustration I have found most students have with their playing, after having taught for almost 3 decades. That is their inability to play in time.

If you can’t play in time, you can’t play anything.

It’s that simple.

One way to develop great rhythm and a great sense of time, is to practice your guitar with a metronome.

Oh no, the dreaded metronome I can hear you saying.

Relax, I’m not about to tell you to practice everything to a metronome, that would not be a good idea. However, practicing certain things to a metronome will greatly improve your sense of time and playing over all, if done correctly.

Learn 5 tips and tricks for practicing guitar with a metronome

 

Blues Rhythm Fingerstyle Guitar Video Page Pic

 

3 Ways To Play Fingerstyle Blues Rhythm Guitar

Is your guitar playing out of balance?

Do you put too much time into one area of playing and not enough into another?

For example, you invest hours into learning scales, riffs, and solos, but very little time into learning chords and rhythm guitar techniques.

It’s a little like eating all the candy but rarely touching a vegetable.

Hardly a balanced diet, right?

But I know all my open and bar chords, I hear you say, and can strum and pick my way through these.

Congratulations, you’ve passed rhythm guitar level 1 :)

But there is so much more you can do!

Considering rhythm guitar is what you do most the time when playing music, even if you are a lead guitarist, it is worth investing time into developing these skills beyond the basics. It’s not only more interesting for you, the player, but also for the people you play with, and the audience.

In this weeks video tutorial, you learn 3 ways to fingerpick your way through a 12 bar blues. Forget boring strumming patterns that all sound the same.

Learn effective ways to spice up your blues rhythm fingerstyle guitar playing in a blues context.

 

Open Guitar Chord Video Page Pic

 

EASY Guitar Chords That Sound Amazing - The Open Chord Trick

There is a neat open chord trick I learned long ago, that’ll seriously change the way you play chord progressions on guitar. Assuming you already know the basic open chord shapes, there is absolutely nothing new you need to learn to be able to apply this trick. The concept takes about 10 seconds to learn, but will give you a whole new dimension in which to use open chords on guitar.

In this video tutorial, you learn how to apply this open chord trick to your own guitar playing.

You hear this type of thing in songs often, however, it is generally underused IMO, and can be a great asset to your rhythm guitar playing.

Learn how to spice up your rhythm guitar playing with the open chord trick

 

Jazz Blues Chord Progression Video Page Pic

 

How To Convert A 12 Bar Blues Into A Jazz Blues In 5 Easy Steps

I had a student once whose name was Jasmine Hands.

Of course, her friends knew her as Jazz Hands lol!

True story.

And while I’m not about to show you my best Jazz Hands move, in this video tutorial, I show you how to convert a standard 12 bar blues into a jazz blues.

Step by step, you learn how to build a jazz blues from the ground up. It’s super simple and is a great way to spruce up the old 12 bar!

Learn how to play a jazz blues chord progression on guitar

 

12 Bar Blues Acoustic Guitar Video Page Pic

 

How Not To Embarrass Yourself When Playing Guitar

Back in 2010, I was in Japan playing at a wedding.

That night a friend of the groom came up to me with his guitar and we started jamming/performing together.

What did we play?

A 12 bar blues.

Now, if I had not known how to play a 12 bar blues that would’ve been down right embarrassing.

But what if you’re not a blues guitarist, I hear you say.

It doesn’t matter.

If you are a guitar player you need to know your way around a 12 bar blues no matter what style of music you play. It’s the universal style that you can instantly jam with someone else without having to prepare ahead of time.

Plus, it’s a lot of fun!

However, many a player gets stuck with the blues, playing the same thing over and over.

In this weeks video tutorial, I show you several ways you can approach playing a standard 12 bar blues on the acoustic guitar. Each approach works on its own, but also sounds great when mixed together. Learn how to play the 12 bar blues on acoustic guitar

 

Fingerstyle Travis Picking Riffs Video Page Pic

 

Learn 2 Of My Favourite Fingerstyle Riffs In The Style Of Tommy Emmanuel

In this video lesson, I breakdown 2 of my favourite fingerstyle riffs in the style of Tommy Emmanuel. Not only a fellow Australian and Maton enthusiast, but also perhaps the greatest acoustic guitar player of all time!

In this lesson, you learn 2 key riffs that make regular appearances in the playing of Tommy Emmanuel. I break each riff down and show you how to use them in your own fingerpicking.

Learn how to play travis picking riffs like Tommy Emmanuel

 

Jazz Chord Progression Video Page Pic

 

How To Make Your Chord Progressions On Guitar Sound Better

The most underrated and overlooked area of the guitar IMHO is harmonisation.

By “harmonisation” I am referring to chords.

Most guitar players stop at open chords and bar chords.

Sure, these serve a purpose, but if they are all you know, then you are not even close to scratching the surface of the potential the guitar has as a harmonising instrument.

Only knowing basic chords is like learning a few key phrases in another language. It might be enough to get by in some situations, but you don’t have a true understanding of that language, and you will be very limited in what you can communicate.

In this weeks video tutorial, I am going to run you through the process of “jazzing” up a simple chord progression using extensions and alterations. Chord extensions and alterations will seriously expand the scope of the sound you get from your instrument.

Learn how to jazz up a chord progression and make it sound better

 

Quartal Harmony Video Page Pic

 

4 Simple Chord Shapes That Produce Any Emotion, Mood, Or Feeling You Desire On Guitar

In this lesson, you learn 4 simple chord shapes that open you up to an incredible range of music on your guitar. You won’t typically hear these sounds in songs because most songwriters don’t even know about this approach to harmonising on guitar, or the incredible sounds it produces.

Better yet, there is no need to learn any theory whatsoever to use these chords. You don’t even need to know what the chord is you are playing. It’s like shooting fish in a barrel; dead easy, and I am going to show you exactly how to get this sound in this video lesson.

Learning these 4 simple chord shapes will enable you to:

Create beautiful ambient music producing any kind of emotion, mood, or feeling you desire

Sound like a seasoned pro musician playing chords all over the fretboard, even if you have no theory knowledge whatsoever

Apply them to any genre of music you like whether it be rock, blues, jazz, country, pop, contemporary

All this with just 4 simple chord shapes for your guitar playing

 

Fingerstyle Guitar Riffs Video Image

 

Bored With Fingerpicking? Try These Riffs In The Style Of Chet Atkins

Do you get bored fingerpicking guitar?

While there are many things you can do to address this issue, one way is to venture into the world of fingerpicking riffs.

Fingerpicking is often associated with chords and patterns, but not so much in a soloing context.

In this weeks video tutorial, I show you some great sounding fingerpicking riffs in the style of Chet Atkins.

You can use these riffs to create great sounding fingerpicking solos as well as in general fingerpicking.

Learn how to play fingerstyle riffs on guitar

 

Chord Picking Guitar Video Page Pic

 

Chord Picking - What It Is And How To Do It

What do the following songs share in common:

• Hotel California - The Eagles
• Sweet Home Alabama - Lynyrd Skynyrd
• Nothing Else Matters - Metallica
• House Of The Rising Sun - The Animals
• Everybody Hurts - R.E.M.

They all feature a technique called chord picking.

Chord picking is when you pick the notes out of a chord separately instead of all at once, like you do when strumming.

It sounds great!

However, there are rules and guidelines to follow when chord picking.

In this weeks video tutorial, I show you exactly what to do to master this must know skill for your guitar playing. You learn the ins and outs of chord picking, what to do, and what not to do. Plus I show you 3 common chord picking patterns that can be found in many songs, and how to best train these into your playing.

Learn how to chord pick on guitar

 

Fast Chord Changes On Guitar Video Page Pic

 

How To Make Fast, Smooth, Perfect Chord Changes On Guitar

We’ve all heard the saying “practice makes perfect”.

So, if I just practice I’ll become great at playing guitar will I?

If this were true, there’d be a hell of a lot more great guitar players out there.

Everyone who ever picked up a guitar to practice would become great right?

Well, if you practice something incorrectly, you’ll get really good at doing that thing incorrectly.

Therefore the simple act of practising does not make perfect.

Let’s take changing between chords for example.

Most people approach the practising of chord changes by simply repeating them over and over again and again, expecting to get better. This alone will not make you better at changing chords. It’s how you practice the changes that will determine whether you succeed with them or not.

In this weeks video tutorial, you learn 3 highly effective proven strategies to achieve fast, smooth, perfect chord changes.

 

Open String Drone Chords And Banjo Rolls Video Page Pic

 

How Would You Fingerpick This Chord Progression? - Open Drone Chords 

Here is the progression:

C | B7 | Em D | A7 | Am | D | G | ||

How would you fingerpick it?

There are two things to consider here:

1. Your fretting hand
2. Your picking hand

Most people don’t consider the fretting hand, opting for well worn, used a million times before, open chords and bar chords.

The picking hand?

Most people use typical, stock standard fingerpicking patterns.

Now, there is nothing wrong with using standard chords and patterns. The problem is if this is all you do or know how to do.

Why?

Because it’s boring as hell, and there is so much more you can do!

In this weeks video tutorial, an excerpt from a masterclass I taught in Chicago, I run you through a very cool way to fingerpick this exact chord progression.

This is one of my favourite ways to fingerpick guitar.

Learn how to use open string drone chords and banjo rolls to spice up your fingerpicking

  

Fingerpicking Guitar Pattern Video Page Pic

 

How To Simplify Your Fingerpicking And Become Better At It - The Power Of 3

Many things come in 3. For example:

• The 3 Little Pigs
• 3 Primary colours
• The 3 Stooges
• Rock, Paper, Scissors
• Past, Present, Future
• Mind, Body, Spirit
• Small, Medium, Large
• 3 Meals A Day

The list goes on . . .

Another thing that comes in 3 are the number of approaches there are to fingerpicking guitar.

Do you know what they are?

When simplified to the absolute basics, there are in fact only 3 ways you can fingerpick guitar.

Knowing these 3 ways, and training them appropriately, really simplifies ones fingerpicking making it much easier to do. Learning and becoming competent with each approach will open you up to all the fingerpicking patterns you’ll ever want or need to learn.

Learn the 3 approaches to fingerpicking guitar and how to best train these into your playing.

 

Fingerpicking Dynamics Video Image

 

3 Fingerpicking Exercises Guaranteed To Make Your Playing Sound More Musical

Have you ever experienced someone speaking in monotone?

This is when someone speaks with absolutely no expression in their voice.

It’s a real conversation killer.

Nothing is more boring and sleep inducing.

Many people tend to fingerpick their guitar the same way.

That is, they fingerpick with no consideration given to the expression of what they are playing.

All the technique in the world won’t make you sound musical.

Working on the expression of what you fingerpick is one of the most important skills you will ever work on.

In this weeks video tutorial, I show you 3 exercises guaranteed to improve the musicality and expression of your fingerpicking. You will bring dynamics and control to your playing. These are the things that separate the pros from the amateurs.

If you’ve ever wondered why your fingerpicking doesn’t sound like the recordings you hear, this may be why.

Learn how to sound muscial with your fingerpicking

 

Suspended Chords Guitar Video Page Image

 

I Bet You Know The Sound Of This Guitar Chord - Suspended Chords

One of the most famous sounds in music is the opening chord to “A Hard Day’s Night” by The Beatles. I bet you can hear this chord to this song in your head right now, clear as day.

It’s iconic.

This is an example of a suspended chord.

Suspended chords, or “sus” chords as they are known, create a sound that is like the name suggests, suspended. Listen to the opening chord of “A Hard Day’s Night” to hear what I mean.

The sound kind of just hangs there, suspended, and you are left waiting to hear what comes next. Suspended chords are a great way to make the chord progressions you play on guitar sound better.

Learn how to play suspended chords on guitar

 

10th Harmony Fingerpicking Guitar

 

How To Make Your Fingerpicking Sound Like Blackbird - 10th Harmony

Any time I’ve played the song “Blackbird” by The Beatles at a gig, people always comment about how much they love hearing the song and imply I must be a great guitarist to be able to play it.

I kind of laugh to myself when I hear this because Blackbird is not a hard song to play.

Sure, it’s not going to be a song you learn at your first guitar lesson, but relative to the other songs I play around this one at a gig, it’s probably one of the easiest, but looks difficult to play and is impressive.

But why do people love this song so much?

I’m sure there are a lot of reasons, but one main one, whether you are aware of it or not, is the fact almost the entire song is built off of 10th harmony and droning open strings.

There is not a single chord played in this song. They are all implied by 10th harmony.

This combination of ingredients, 10th harmony and open strings, always creates a sound that demands the attention of your audience.

It’s a very beautiful sound.

In this weeks video tutorial, an excerpt from a masterclass I taught in Chicago, I run you through what 10th harmony is and how you can apply the same sound you hear in Blackbird to your own guitar playing.

It is super simple, easy to play, and sounds great!

Learn how to fingerpick guitar using 10th harmony

 

Slash Chords Guitar Video Page Image 

Weird, Complicated Looking Chords That Are Easy To Play

In my high school years I was in the jazz band.

God knows why.

I had no idea what I was doing!

I was that bad I would turn myself down when we performed so no one could hear me play.

One of the many things that confused me would be these weird looking chords that were always popping up in the charts.

Chords like:

D/F#

C/G

A7/G

I would play these chords as D, C, and A7 because I had no idea what the other note meant.

Was a D/F# telling me I could choose between playing a D and an F# chord, hmmmmm . . .

I would also see these chords in the songs I’d typically play at the time too.

Songs like:

• Landslide - Fleetwood Mac
• Babe, I’m Going To Leave You - Led Zeppelin
• While My Guitar Gently Weeps - The Beatles

I eventually learned these chords had the very technical name of “slash” chords.

The thing was, although these chords looked confusing, they actually weren’t hard to play at all. And, they made my playing sound so much better! Slash chords create bass lines that weave their way through the progressions you play bringing much sophistication to your sound.

Learn how to use slash chords in your guitar playing

 

Combining Strumming With Picking Guitar Chords Video Page Pic

 

The Secret To A Great Rhythm Guitar Sound - Combining Strumming With Picking

A lot of the time when strumming guitar you are at least picking a few individual notes out of the chords you play too, . . . or at least you should be.

Combining the skill of strumming and picking notes out of a chord greatly improve your rhythm guitar sound. Your playing becomes so much more dynamic and musical as a result.

There are 5 approaches to playing through a chord progression:

• Strum only

• Pick only

• Strum with a little picking

• Pick with a little strumming

• Even disbursement of strumming and picking

And in this video tutorial, I show you a 5 step method for combining strumming with picking for a great rhythm guitar sound! The best part is, I show you how to train this so you can make up your strumming and picking combinations on the spot. This gives you complete freedom when playing through the chord progressions of a song.

Learn how to combine strumming with Picking when playing chords on guitar

 

6th Harmony Fingerpicking Guitar Image

 

How To Play A Chord Progression Without Using Chords - 6th Harmony

Have you ever tried playing a chord progression on guitar without playing a single chord?

Sounds like a stupid question right?

A little like, have you ever tried walking down the street without using your legs.

But you can you know.

How?

By using your hands instead :)

Oh, you want the answer to the first question.

This is also very possible.

Instead of playing chords, imply them.

There are many ways you can do this, one being the use of 6th harmony.

You hear 6th harmony in songs all the time including:

• Across The Universe - The Beatles
• Fortunate Son - Creedence Clearwater Revival
• Wanted Dead Or Alive - Bon Jovi

It’s a great sound!

In this video, an excerpt from a masterclass I taught live in Chicago, I show you how to take the 6th harmony and use it to imply the chords of a progression. You won’t play a single chord, but you will hear the progression and it will sound anything but predictable.

Learn how to spice up your chord progressions using 6th harmony

 

Fingerstyle Guitar Arrangement Video Page Pic

 

Multitasking For Guitar - How To Play All Parts Of A Song On One Guitar

Are you a multitasker?

For example, do you find yourself watching TV while scrolling your phone and holding a conversation with someone.

While it may not be so practical in day to day life, you can multitask on the guitar. It’s called “Chord/Melody” playing, and as the name suggests it’s when you play both the chords and melody of a song on one guitar at the same time.

Sounds complicated right?

Well, yes and no. It depends on how you approach it.

You’d be surprised how many people don’t have the first clue what the chords and the melody of the tune are, let alone put them together! They begin at the end, not the beginning, trying to learn all parts at once.

You need to know the chords and the melody intimately if you are to put them together.

In this weeks video tutorial, I take you through my 3 step process for playing chord/melody arrangements on guitar. Not only will you be able to understand existing chord/melody arrangements, making them easier to play, but you will also know exactly how to create your own arrangements of any song you like on guitar

  

Open String Guitar Melodies Video Page Pic

 

The Open String Trick - Transform The Melodies You Play On Guitar Into Beautiful Music

Open strings are synonymous with all styles of guitar playing.

They are easy to play, but often under utilised.

We all use open strings in the open position with chords and simple melodies.

But what about outside of the open position?

Can you play open strings in higher positions?

Absolutely you can!

In this video tutorial, I show you ways to create incredible almost magical sounding music using open strings.

The concept is so simple yet sounds so good!

Learn how to create beautful melodies on guitar using open strings

 

Open String Scales On Guitar Article Image

 

How To Transform A Scale From Mind Numbingly Boring To Mind Blowing

Running up and down the same old scales, the same way, over and over on your guitar is mind numbingly boring!

You’d almost have a more entertaining time watching the grass grow or the paint dry than imprinting the same notes, the same way into the neck of your guitar over and over again.

So if I was to tell you this lesson is all about playing scales on guitar, I might lose you before the end of this sentence.

But wait!

These are anything but your typical scales.

In this weeks video tutorial, I show you one simple element you can add to a scale to transform it from mind numbingly boring, to just simply mind blowing!

This element so simple.

You use it all the time, but not in the way I am about to show you.

Learn how to make scales fun to play on guitar

 

Lead Guitar Chord Rhythm Fills Image

 

Lead Guitar Rhythm Fills - How To Play Riffs In between Chords

We all know Jimi Hendrix was one of the most innovative and influential players to pick up a guitar. 

What’s not so well known, and much underrated, are the rhythm guitar skills he possessed. You might even say he was a better rhythm guitarist, or that his skills in this area were at least on par with his lead playing.

Great rhythm guitar playing is more than simply playing chords.

In fact, it’s in between the chords where all the good stuff happens!

A big part of Hendrix’s rhythm style were the fills he’d play between chords. Check out “Castles Made Of Sand” or “Little Wing” for prime examples of these.

In this video tutorial, I show you how to play tasty rhythm fills between chords just like Hendrix did.

We all know the filling is the best part :)

Learn how to play riffs in between the chords you play on guitar

 

DADGAD Blues Guitar Licks

 

How To Play Tasty Blues Guitar In DADGAD Tuning

Have you ever been late to the party on anything?

For me it’s TV shows.

It took me 9 years to watch “Breaking Bad”.

I’ve only just completed “House Of Cards”, and yes, I am the one who hasn’t seen “Game Of Thrones”

Another thing I was late to the party on were open tunings.

I’d been playing guitar for some years before I bothered to check these out.

My thinking was typical of many players:

It’s challenging enough to play guitar in standard tuning, so I’ll bypass open tunings for now, and maybe not even bother with them at all.

I eventually did get around to checking out open tunings and to my surprise, they were easy to play in.

In fact, open tunings were easier and more friendly to play in than standard tuning.

They helped me unlock chords and melodies that might have been difficult or impossible to play otherwise.

This is the general consensus of those who eventually get around to exploring open tunings, along with the regret they took so long to do so.

In this lesson, I show you cool sounding blues licks in DADGAD tuning and how to apply them to your playing.

 

Guitar Thumb Pick Video Page Image

 

Thumb Pick Verses Thumb - Which Is Better For Fingerpicking Guitar?

As guitar players it’s easy to do what feels comfortable.

However, what feels comfortable is not necessarily the best way to do something.

Most things will feel uncomfortable at first, so you need to change your thinking from:

“It feels comfortable so I’m going to do it this way”

to:

“This feels uncomfortable but it is the best way to do it, so I am going to train this way until it becomes comfortable”

And it will.

So let me lay the concrete now and give you something specific:

The Thumb Pick

Most people will tell you a thumb pick feels strange and uncomfortable to use after trying it for 5 minutes.

I’m sure it does, but this is not a valid reason for not using a thumb pick when fingerpicking guitar.

If it was, we would all be using our thumb to play because the plectrum felt uncomfortable when first using one.

Truth is, there are situations when the thumb pick is a must, times where you could take it or leave it, and times when it’s best not to use one when fingerpicking guitar.

Learn how and when to use a thumb pick for fingerpicking guitar

 

 

Percussive Guitar Techniques Anybody Can Play

I’m sure you’ve witnessed some of the amazing percussive guitar playing out there.

You know, the kind where it’s like the guitarist has grown an extra arm to be able to play all the parts that are flying past at a million miles an hour.

This is all fine and good if you have a spare 8 hours a day, and can wait a decade or two before capitalising on the fruits of your labour.

However, if you’d rather not wait until the turn of the century to be able to play some cool percussive techniques on guitar, then I have just the video for you.

If you:

Love the sound of percussive guitar and want to make this part of your playing

Want some percussive techniques that are possible to master before you, like, you know, die

Want to know how to integrate simple percussive techniques into your guitar playing for really cool sounds (without having to grow an extra arm)

Then you need to check out this video tutorial.

In it, I take you though the basics of percussive guitar playing so you can be up and running with it straight away.

What you will NOT see in this video is:

Someone trying to impress you all with ridiculous percussive guitar skills that will see you reach retirement age before being able to master what is being taught

Someone showing you really difficult percussive guitar techniques while at the same time telling you “hey this is easy” when clearly it is not, and you both know it

Someone bashing the crap out of their guitar, using all their limbs to do so, forgetting that you can actually play notes on this thing too

Learn how to add the sound of percussive guitar to your playing

 

Travis Picking Pattern Part 2 Video Page Image

 

Install Thousands Of Fingerpicking Songs Into Your Fingers With The Travis Picking Pattern - Part 2

If you can see the simplicity in something, it becomes simple.

In this video tutorial, I show you the simplicity that is hiding in the travis picking pattern, a common fingerpicking approach found in literally thousands of fingerpicking songs. Truly understanding this pattern, not just being able to play one instance of it, is like installing thousands of fingerpicking songs directly into your fingers.

Songs like:

• Landslide - Fleetwood Mac
• Country Roads - John Denver
• Let Her Go - Passenger
• Dust In The Wind - Kansas
• Little Black Submarines - The Black Keys
• The Boxer - Simon And Garfunkel
• Just Breathe - Pearl Jam

When you realise the same fingerpicking approach is used in each of these songs, and many more, they become easy to learn, and in little time.

It’s like breaking the code to thousands of songs all at once!

This is how musicians play so many songs, seemingly off the top of their head. They see the “forest for the trees”, the common traits between songs, rather than get fixated on detail.

Time allowing, you can learn all the details of a song if you want, but it is not a requirement to get a song down and to then perform it.

In this weeks video tutorial, I present part 2 of the lesson on Travis Picking.

I show you common variations of the travis picking pattern found in literally thousands of fingerpicking songs. You will learn how to train these variations into your playing to truly master the pattern, not just play one instance of it. 

Learn how to master the travis picking pattern on guitar

 

Travis Picking Pattern Guitar Pic

 

Install Thousands Of Fingerpicking Songs Into Your Fingers With The Travis Picking Pattern - Part 1

Have you ever watched someone perform and wonder how they remember so many songs?

Perhaps you’ve seen the repertoire of a band or artist and think, how do they recall so many songs.

The answer is they don’t.

Well, not quite anyway.

Sure, you need to know the basics of a tune, the chords, the form/structure, main riffs etc. However, if you really understand your instrument, this is all you need to remember to play a song. The nuanced detail can, and does change from one performance to the next. Understand the concepts behind the music and it won’t matter if you forget the detail.

For example, the travis picking pattern.

Yes, it is a pattern, but more importantly it is a fingerpicking concept behind thousands and thousands of fingerpicking songs. Truly understand the travis picking pattern and how to use it, and you will gain access to more songs than you could ever imagine.

Songs like:

• Landslide - Fleetwood Mac
• Country Roads - John Denver
• Let Her Go - Passenger
• Dust In The Wind - Kansas
• Little Black Submarines - The Black Keys
• The Boxer - Simon And Garfunkel
• Just Breathe - Pearl Jam

plus thousands more!

Yes, learn and understand the travis picking pattern and you will be able to play these songs and many more straight away. You’ll see the forest for the trees, rather than get fixated on detail. If you want to learn the details, go for it, however you won’t need to know the detail to play the song.

Leanr how to play the travis picking pattern on guitar

 

Block Chords Guitar Image

 

Spice Up Your Guitar Playing With Block Chords

We all have routines in our daily lives.

We don’t simply wake up and experience a bunch of random events. In one sense, it’s comforting and reassuring to have a routine, but in another, it can become boring and mundane.

A little like only ever playing open and bar chords on guitar.

Open and bar chords are “routine”.

Useful to know, but can become boring and mundane pretty quickly, leaving you wanting more.

So, where to after open and bar chords?

What are the next level of guitar chords you should learn for your playing?

There are several avenues you could take.

One such avenue is Block Chords

These chords, or at least the ones I show you in this weeks video tutorial, fall on the top 4 strings of your guitar.

They allow you to cover the whole fretboard with a single chord type and are great in many different musical contexts. Whether you want to create chord melody arrangements, chord solos, or simply spice up your chord progressions, block chords are your answer.

Learn how to make block chords part of your guitar playing

 

Harp Harmonic Arpeggio Patterns Image

 

The 7 Wonders Of Guitar Technique - Harp Harmonic Arpeggio Patterns

While there is some conjecture as to what the 7 wonders of the world actually are, there is a guitar technique that would undeniably make the 7 wonders of the “guitar” world hands down.

This technique is as beautiful and unique as the Northern Lights, and like the waters of Niagara Falls, results in a rapid flow of notes cascading down over you for your listening pleasure.

The technique: Harp Harmonics

The sound: Amazing!

Harp harmonics truly are one of the most beautiful, gorgeous, and incredible sounding techniques you’ll ever hear played on a guitar.

The problem is, people give up on this technique prematurely. They fail to realise just how close they are to nailing the most beautiful of all guitar techniques.

It’s like being 3 feet from gold, then suddenly giving up and walking away. Only you are walking away from a sound that will without doubt become one of the biggest game changers for your guitar playing.

Learn the most common harp harmonic patterns for playing beautiful, cascading, harp arpeggios all over your guitar 

 

Guitar Capo Tutorial Video Page Image

 

If Using A Capo On Guitar Is Cheating, So Is Using Frets

Sounds ridiculous, but it’s true.

If you think using a capo on your guitar is cheating, then the fact you have frets to know exactly where to put your fingers to sound the notes you play is cheating too. At least string players like violinist’s or cellist’s would think so, since they don’t have such a luxury on their instruments.

Of course, having frets is no more cheating than it is to use a capo, yet there is an ignorant view out there that somehow using a capo is cheating, a crutch for a lesser player if you like.

Consider the following songs:

• Here Come The Sun - The Beatles
• The Sound Of Silence - Simon And Garfunkel
• Hotel California - The Eagles
• Landslide - Fleetwood Mac
• Hallelujah - Jeff Buckley version

These songs all use a capo and would not exist, or at least be very different without one.

Rather than cheating, the capo is a tool for expanding the creative possibilities available to you on guitar. It has several purposes and in this video tutorial I show you 3 of them.

The first you will most likely know as it is the most common reason for using a capo. The second two may not be so familiar to you, but equally great ways to expand your creativity on the guitar.

Learn 3 creative ways to use a capo on your guitar

 

DADGAD Guitar Tuning Tutorial Image

 

How To Play An Extra 1,560 Chords On Guitar - DADGAD Tuning Tutorial

Here is a thought provoking quote for you:

“It’s my ball park estimate that any given tuning lets us play only about 1/6 of the possible voicing’s that the guitar allows, so by sticking to a single tuning, you will miss out on the other 5/6 of possible fingerings that are simply not playable in your chosen tuning”

- Harvey Reid (Author of The Big DADGAD Chord Book)

In other words, you are leaving over 80% of the chords available to you on the table by ignoring other guitar tunings such as DADGAD.

Think about that.

An E chord for example, can be played on a guitar in about 150-200 unique ways. Only about 20 of these are available to you in standard tuning, leaving at least 130 E chord variations on the table.

If we consider the main open chords of which there are 12, and in turn leave 130 ways of playing each of these on the table too, then there are 1,560 ways of playing these chords you’ll never know:

12 chords x 130 variations = 1,560 chords

And we aren’t even factoring into the calculation chords that aren’t in the open chord category, such as F#m, Bb, Cm etc . . .

Of course, I’m not suggesting you must know 1,560 ways to play a single chord on your guitar.

That’d be insane!

But hopefully you get my point :)

There is a massive amount of unexplored sound and creative possibilities if you only ever play guitar in standard tuning.

In this lesson, I introduce you to the wonderful sound of DADGAD.

DADAGD is a beautiful tuning, particularly for fingerpicking, and is very easy to get started with.

In the video, I show you 3 ways to create beautiful, lush sounding music on guitar using DADGAD tuning.

Learn how to play guitar in DADGAD tuning

 

Sound Better Strumming Guitar Video Page Pic

 

How To Sound Better Strumming Guitar - Forget Strumming Patterns!

Strumming patterns are not the answer when it comes to getting a good strumming sound.

They do teach you the mechanics of strumming, but not the feel. Once you have the mechanics of strumming down, it’s time to forget about patterns and focus on the sound of your strumming instead.

In this video lesson, I show you 3 ways to sound better strumming guitar.

It has nothing to do with strumming patterns and everything to do with how you strum your guitar.

Learn how to how to sound better strumming guitar

 

Guitar arpeggio solo pic

 

The Magic Guitar Arpeggio Exercise That Will Transform Your Guitar Playing - Part 1

Arpeggios tend to be a bit of a mysterious exercise for a lot of people, rather than the tool that allows you to create beautiful and melodic music.

Mysterious because people don’t know what to do with them.

An exercise, because, well, people don’t know what else to do with them :)

This is how arpeggios were to me for a long time. That is, until one day when I came across an incredible strategy for training arpeggios into my playing so I could actually use them to create music.

Before this, arpeggios were a bit of a mystery to me. I understood their purpose, but there seemed to be so much to think about and calculate when using the damn things.

It was all too overwhelming.

This strategy I came across worked like magic, and I know it will for you too.

Learn how to create great sounding, melodic music on guitar using arpeggios

 

Open G Tuning Guitar Chords Image

 

Common Myths About Playing Guitar In Open Tunings

There are several myths surrounding open tunings on guitar.

Here are some of them:

1. It’s like starting to learn guitar all over again

Really?

Do you suddenly loose the technique you’ve developed with your playing when tuning the strings of your guitar differently.

Do you forget how to hold a pick, change chords, synchronise your picking and fretting hands together etc.

2. It’s difficult enough playing in standard tuning let alone other tunings

With open tunings you typically alter only 2 or 3 of the 6 strings, so 50% or more of the instruments tuning remains the same.

It’s a new world yes, that’s the exciting part, but far from a new instrument.

3. I have more than enough sounds to explore in standard tuning

Sure, there are more than enough things to explore in standard tuning, but there are incredible sounds awaiting you in open tunings too, that will never be available to you in standard tuning.

For example, an E chord can be played on guitar in about 150-200 unique ways, but only about 20 of these are playable in standard tuning.

My point is open tunings enhance and broaden your creativity, increase the scope of sound available to you on the guitar, and are not difficult at all to get up and creating music with.

In this video, I show you 3 ways to play lush, beautiful sounding chords in an open g tuning

 

Creative Guitar Chord Progression Tutorial

 

Guitar Chord Creativity Video Series Part 2 - The “McDonalds” Of Guitar Chords And How To Spice These Up To Play Incredible Sounding Progressions

Open chords and bar chords are kind of like the McDonalds of the guitar world. Sure, you eat, you get full, but pretty soon afterward you are hungry again.

Open and bar chords will satisfy your playing appetite for a little while, but pretty soon you will be wanting more. More harmonising possibilities. More interesting, unique, and sophisticated sounding chords and progressions to get your teeth stuck into.

Today, I have a method for injecting such sounds into your playing with super simple chords, yet incredible sounding music. You’ll wonder what you were ever doing at McDonalds after being exposed to this 5 star method of creating chords and progressions on your guitar.

Learn how to spice up your chord progressions on guitar

 

Guitar Chord Creativity Tutorial Video Page Image

 

Guitar Chord Creativity Video Series Part 1 - Fifty Shades Of A

You’ve heard of Fifty Shades Of Grey, right?

Well let me present to you Fifty Shades Of A.

Ok, maybe not quite fifty, but there are many shades of an A chord you can play on your guitar.

In this first of a two part video series on guitar chord creativity, I introduce some different, more creative ways of playing an A chord. Only having the open and bar chord forms for an A chord is severally limiting to ones playing. It’s a little like an artist only having the primary colours of red, yellow, and blue to paint with. Sure, an artist could create something that looks good with this limited palette, but the possibilities would be greatly limited.

In this guitar chord series, I show a simple process that allows you to create incredible, sophisticated, and unique sounding music on your instrument. And it all begins with a single chord.

Learn how to create music using one chord on your guitar

 

Open String Guitar Riffs And Runs Video Page Image

 

How To Spice Up The Pentatonic Scale With Open String Riffs And Runs

Want to sound original with your guitar playing?

Yeah, good luck with that :)

Everything has been done already.

Originality is overrated anyway. When it comes to your guitar playing aim for excellence and authenticity, not originality.

What does this mean?

It means to take what has come before you and put your spin on it. A little like taking some old ingredients and cooking up something new. In this case, you are going to take a fingerpicking pattern known as a banjo roll, the good old well trodden pentatonic scale, and some open strings. 

Nothing all that special about these “ingredients” in isolation, but combine them together and you have a very unique way of soloing using the pentatonic scale.

This is not your typical way of soloing using this scale. You may have never quite heard the pentatonic scale like this before.

Learn how to create unique sounding solos using the pentatonic scale

 

Thumb Slap Guitar Technique Video Page Pic

 

Without This One Thing, You Have No Music. Do You Know What It Is?

What’s the most important thing when it comes to playing music? You could ask a variety of people this question and get several different answers of which all could be valid.

Is it technique?

Is it creativity?

Is it your aural/ear skills, theory knowledge?

The list could go on, but for me there is no doubt it’s rhythm.

Plain and simple.

Before the song “Money” came along by Pink Floyd, no one would have considered the sound of a cash register to be musical. However set it to a rhythmic pulse, and viola!

Without rhythm, you have nothing. It is the common denominator in music.

An extension to the idea of rhythm is groove.

Yes, you want to play your guitar in time, but you also want your playing to groove, to have feel. If your playing doesn’t groove, then nobody is going to move. It’s such a fundamental part of music, yet so many people over look this. There is nothing worse than jamming with someone who has no groove or feel to what they are playing.

In this video lesson, I will show you one way to bring an undeniable groove to the chords and progressions you play on your guitar with a technique called the Thumb Slapping Technique.

Learn how to bring feel and groove to your playing with the thumb slapping technique for guitar

 

Advanced Guitar Chords Tutorial Image

 

How To Reverse Engineer Advanced Chords On Your Guitar

Are you someone who has little to no theory knowledge and every time you see a chord like A7#5b9 you think it’s your computer browser suggesting a new password for you?

What if you could play chords like this with absolutely no theory knowledge whatsoever.

Better still, what if you could play chords like this without even realising it?

In this video, I walk you through a strategy that has you creating unique, sophisticated music on your guitar using advanced chords in a way that has them all connecting together in very musically satisfying ways. It’s the ultimate feat of reverse engineering advanced chords on your guitar.

Learn how to create unique music using advanced chords on guitar 

 

Fingerstyle Tremolo Picking Guitar Technique Tutorial 

How To Create Beautiful, Sophisticated Music With The Fingerstyle Tremolo Picking Technique

As a guitar player, it is important you don’t close yourself off to certain styles of music. Of course you will have your tastes, but narrowing your focus will have your playing sound very one dimensional.

Case in point: The Fingerstyle Tremolo Technique

This is traditionally a technique from the world of classical and flamenco guitar.

Not a classical or flamenco guitarist?

Neither am I, but I love using the tremolo fingerstyle technique. It brings such a beautiful and sophisticated sound to ones playing, and is most certainly something that can be used extensively outside of the styles of classical and flamenco music.

In this video lesson, I am going to walk you through the fingerstyle tremolo technique. There is more than meets the eye when it comes to this particular way of fingerpicking your guitar, and a secret or two you need to know in order to get it down correctly. Be sure to watch the video until the end where I share a super effective strategy that’s guaranteed to have your fingers move more efficiently when fingerpicking guitar.

What does this mean?

It means you will be able to fingerpick more fluently at greater speeds and with greater ease.

Learn how to play the fingerstyle guitar tremolo technique

  

Parallel Key Modulation Video Page Pic 

Parallel Key Modulation - How To Make A Sad Song Happy

In this video, I am going to show you how to instantly change the mood of any song. 

The concept is called “Parallel Key Modulation” and it’s not nearly as complicated to do as the name may suggest. It’s a little like the Dr Jekyll and Mr Hide of the music world, where a tune can go from sounding sad and melancholy in one moment, to bright and happy in the next, and vice versa. You do this by changing the key of a song from major to minor, or minor to major.

Parallel Key Modulation will:

• Provide you with ways of totally changing an exisiting song to make it your own when arranging tunes on your guitar

Develop your understanding of keys and how notes and chords relate to each other. This is the foundation to ALL music (kind of helpful, you know, when you want to be able to actually create music on your instrument)

Show you how to purposely and deliberately create a particular emotion in your guitar playing, instead the trial and error approach

Learn how to change the mood of a song using parallel key modulation 

 

Fingerstyle Blues Guitar Arrangement Tutorial Image

 

Fingerstyle Blues Guitar Tutorial - 5 Steps To Fingerpicking Blues On Your Guitar

Can you pat your head and at the same time, rub your stomach?

This isn’t one of those genetic things where some people can do it and others can’t, like rolling your tongue.

Anyone can do this. You just need to engage your brain with what each hand has to do, and go slowly. Before too long, you are easily patting your head and rubbing your stomach together at the same time.

In this video lesson, I am going to show you the musical equivalent of patting your head and rubbing your stomach that involves your thumb and fingers of your picking hand working together to play a fingerstyle blues guitar arrangement.

It’s kind of like your thumb is the hand patting your head, and your fingers the hand that is rubbing your stomach.

Kind of sounds weird, but if you watch the video below you’ll see exactly what I mean.

In this lesson, I am going to show you how to create fingerstyle blues arrangements on your guitar in 5 simple steps.

It’s as easy as patting your head and rubbing your stomach.

Learn how to create fingerpicking blues arrangements on your guitar

 

Harp Harmonic Guitar Lesson Pic 

Turn Your Guitar Into A Wand With The Magical Sound Of Harp Harmonics

People will be calling you a magician not a musician when extracting the exquisitely beautiful sound of harp harmonics from your guitar. You’ll feel like you have a wand in your hand, not a guitar. Harp harmonics are one of the most beautiful, magical sounding techniques you’ll ever hear played on a guitar. This technique significantly increases the scope of sound and range of expression you can get out of a guitar.

But let me tell you a little secret?

Something guitar players who use this technique don’t want you to know.

Harp harmonics aren’t that hard to play. . . really!

Yes, some time is required on your part to learn this technique, but armed with nothing more than the basics, you’ll have added a whole new dimension of sound to your guitar playing form which to express yourself.

In this video, I am going to show you how you can get started with harp harmonics. I will show you exactly what you need to do, what you should focus on, and what order you should do things in to get this incredible sound down on your guitar.

It’s not as hard as you may think.

Learn how to play harp harmonics on your guitar

 

 

How Babushka Dolls Can Help You Create Dynamic Fingerstyle Arrangements On Guitar

Are you familiar with Babushka Dolls?

These are the wooden dolls of decreasing size that are placed one inside another.

Well, just like several dolls nesting inside one another, several smaller chord shapes can be found nesting inside larger chord forms on your guitar. We call these “nesting” chords, fragments, because they are fragments of larger chord shapes.

In this video, I am going to show you how to use chord fragments to create highly rhythmic and musically dynamic arrangements of songs on your guitar.

I’ll walk you though the process of taking the harmony of a song and arranging it using chord fragments, before adding the melody from which then, a very dynamic interplay is set up between the two parts (ie. the chord fragments and the melody).

In laymen’s terms, it’s like a very interesting and dynamic conversation going on between two people, only in this case, its a conversation between the melody and chords of a song, not actual people.

And like an interesting and dynamic conversation between two people, you cannot help but be drawn in, hanging on every word, wondering what will be said next, or in this case played next.

Learn how to create arrangements on your guitar using chord fragments

 

Walking Bass Lines Guitar

 

5 Step Tutorial - How To Create A Walking Bass Line On Guitar

Ask someone if they know what a walking bass line is, and they’ll probably look at you with a blank stare, with no idea.

Play them a walking bass line and you will have their attention . . .

“Oh that’s a walking bass? I know that sound, I love it!”

Ask someone if they like Jazz, a lot of people will probably say no.

Play them a walking bass line (one of the jazziest sounds you can get) . . .

“Oh, that sounds so cool, I love it!”

Needless to say, walking bass lines are the epitome of cool, and not only can us guitarist’s play walking bass lines, we can go one better and play the chords of the progression as well, at the same time! You’ll sound like a whole rhythm section on one guitar.

Learn how to create a walking bass line on guitar in 5 easy steps

 

Fingerpicking  Patterns Guitar Image

 

What To Do When Your Fingerpicking Sounds The Same All The Time

Have you ever been, or are you currently stuck in a rut with your fingerpicking guitar playing?

Do the fingerpicking patterns you play sound the same all the time?

Are you clueless as to how to fix this?

If so, it’s most likely because you are looking in the wrong spot to fix such a problem.

The issue is not where you think it is.

Check out this video lesson, and I'll show you how to get out of a fingerpicking guitar playing rut and the key to never always sounding the same with your fingerpicking again.

 

Fingerpicking Hand Position

 

How To Get The Perfect Fingerpicking Hand Position In 10 Seconds  

You’ve heard of Steve Vai’s legendary 10hr guitar workout right? (if you haven’t, it doesn’t matter). Well, today I present to you my 10 hour, 10 minute, 10 second fingerpicking guitar workout that ensures your picking hand is in the perfect position for fingerpicking guitar, every time. 

It’s 100% fool proof, anybody can do it (even if you don’t play guitar you could do this lol), and it takes 10 seconds or less to learn, yet so many people get it wrong!

Check out this video lesson to learn how to get the perfect fingerpicking hand position in 10 seconds.