I did most my learning in the pre-internet era of guitar material availability which meant either a lot of listening to CDs (I’m not that old), buying the TAB book or score, getting someone with a better ear to teach you, or developing your own ear; also, remember that you couldn’t see how a lot of stuff was being done. Thanks to the internet, you can now learn any song or style you wish, and see exactly how it’s being done. My first port of call if I want to learn something new is not YouTube, but the Udemy platform, which has a ton of high-quality courses on pretty much any subject, and luckily for us, guitar. So, here’s a quick rundown of the best courses for learning a particular style or technique on Udemy.
Every once in a while, it’s good to look at things from a different perspective, especially if you’re stuck in a rut. In this post, we look at the mathematics of melody, or rather we’ll be using math to uncover the melodic possibilities of a set of intervals. As we shall see, and before you run for the hills, this is going to be somewhat reassuring, especially if you’d ever thought there was nothing new under the sun. A while ago we looked at a system for creating melodic guitar solos, which turned into the book, ‘Melodic Soloing in 10 Days’. What we’re going to cover here would be a great extension to the ground covered in this book. Let’s check it out.
As you would expect, Level 2 of Guitar Super System picks up right where Level 1 left off; you can check out our review of Level 1 here. As you may know, Guitar Super System follows the structure of the guitar curriculum at the Berklee School of Music, which means that what you get is the nuts and bolts of a tried and tested guitar course with many famous graduates such as Steve Vai, John Scofield, Mike Stern, John Petrucci and many others. Having enjoyed Guitar Super System Level 1, I was expecting good things from Level 2, so let’s see if it lives up to expectations.
Back when I started playing guitar there weren’t that many places you could look for guitar resources. You could either find a local teacher, teach yourself from books and magazines, work it all out by ear, or get together with friends and put your heads together. The beginning guitarist in digital age, however, is truly overwhelmed with options and resources. This is a double-edged sword as on the one hand you have all the resources you could dream of at your fingertips, and on the other hand, there are so many options that you really don’t know where to start. Don’t worry though, there are some great beginner guitar courses on the Udemy platform, and best of all they’re free! Let’s check them out.
Not enough to buy a guitar (or is it?) … But if you’ve got $50 bucks burning a hole in your pocket and you want to spend it on something guitar or music-related, we’ve compiled a list of eight things that will give you a great bang for those fifty bucks.
I like to throw a little shred guitar into the mix now and again to freshen things up, as well as learning some interesting techniques that I can apply to other genres. I noticed this the other day while watching an old Shawn Lane video, and it was something that really struck me as I’ve always incorporated this kind of thing into my practice routine, but more out of instinct than anything else. If you’ve hit a wall with your speed-picking, or can’t seem to get those fast runs flowing, this might be why. Let’s check it out.
If you haven’t heard of Udemy, it’s an online learning platform aimed at adults who want to gain or improve their skills, or explore their passions in pretty much any discipline you can imagine. The good news is that there are a ton of quality guitar courses on Udemy that you probably haven’t heard of, and the even better news is that the quality of most Udemy courses is far higher than your average YouTube trawling session. The platform itself incorporates video, audio and PDF downloads seamlessly into structured courses that you can go through at your own pace. So, if you’re tired of trawling YouTube for hours on end and want to go straight to the good stuff, let’s see what Udemy has to offer in the way of guitar courses.
I’m sure you’ve read or heard plenty of clichés when it comes to the subject of playing guitar fast, or learning to shred. When something is regurgitated and repeated so often, I begin to question its validity. Ask any guitarist (preferably one that can play fast) how to play fast and you’ll get the inevitable responses such as, ‘practice slow with a metronome’, ‘perfect practice makes perfect’, ‘don’t practice your mistakes’, and so on. While there’s some truth to every cliché, I think there’s a little more to it than meets the eye…
With the advent of the internet, and especially YouTube, there are now a plethora of backing tracks available for pretty much any tune, scale, chord progression or solo. While this is all well and good, especially for trying things out, there’s a kind of backing track that I think has a far more useful real world application than 10 minutes of going at it with A minor pentatonic. See what you think.
One of the great things about the guitar is the myriad of ways to play the same thing in various places on the neck, with different combinations of strings, as well as in different octaves. Admittedly, this does create a lot more work but it can be used to great effect to own the entire fretboard when you rip into a solo just by thinking outside the (scale) box. Let’s check it out…
I remember this point in my guitar development well. I had gotten well-versed in various pentatonic scales and the blues scale, but really wanted to start incorporating other sounds into my playing. It’s at this point that most players venture into the modes, the CAGED system, or the 3NPS system, which without a structured guide can lead to frustration and back to home sweet… pentatonics. What happens here is that the emphasis on technique, theory and patterns clouds our original objective which was to get hold of new sounds… Let’s see if we can restore the balance.
If you’ve been following this series (go to: Part 1 | Part 2), and practicing the material, you should now have more than enough patterns and concepts under your fingers to be able to get some tasty blues soloing happening over the I and IV chords. In Part 3 we’ll look at how to finish things off on the V chord, what to do with the b5, and bring it home with turnarounds.
I’ve never been a huge fan of learning licks for the sake of it because it seems like a lot of time investment for little reward. If I’m going to learn licks then I use a process such as the one we looked at in the Lick Mining article, or the one I’ll go through here, to really get the most out of taking the time to learn another player’s licks and runs. Just learning a lick for the sake of playing it, especially in jazz, won’t give you much insight into how the player created it, or why they chose that group of notes; this requires looking beyond the technical skills needed to execute it.
In Part 1 we looked at four of the most common scales used in blues soloing and how to learn them in positions. We also focused on learning the individual sounds of these scales and blending them to create more authentic-sounding blues licks and runs. While these scales are a great starting point, what we also need is some guide tones to negotiate the chord changes, a little trip down to the crossroads, and a way to really hone that transition from scales to licks that we began in Part 1.
Music takes place over a set amount of time. A piece of music isn't just a bunch of chaotic notes. It has a beginning that works its way, measure by measure, to an end. As such, one of the most essential skills for a guitarist to master is the ability to keep time. A poor sense of timing can leave you lost in the piece and will turn a great song into a hot mess.
I recently got back into blues playing, so I thought I’d share this practice routine for getting the fundamental blues scales down and incorporated into your playing. Over the years, I’ve found that if I really want to learn something, I need a systematic approach that’ll take me through to the goal I’ve set for myself. In many of my books you’ll find the same methodical, constructivist and systematic approach to learning, which is heavily influenced by also being a language teacher. In this case, we’ll apply this kind of approach to learning how to use four of the most common scales used in blues improvisation.
If you’ve ever tried to solo in an altered tuning, you probably came unstuck or ran out of ideas pretty quickly. With no predictable patterns to rely on, either your ear has to work overtime or you have to do some rapid on-the-fly calculations to find out where all the notes went. Admittedly, it’s not a skill that’s high on the must-have list of most guitarists but then there is the attraction of voyaging into unknown territory, which is what attracted me to the idea. Don’t worry, you won’t have to learn any new/crooked scale patterns to make this work, it just takes a little out-of-the-box thinking.
If you’re struggling to remember musical formulas, or if you’re at, or have ever been to, Music College, it’s probably dawned on you that there’s a ton of information to digest as far as scale, arpeggio and chord formulas go—and pretty much music theory in general. I would often get frustrated and overwhelmed by the sheer amount of stuff there was to memorize until I discovered the memory technique known as chunking. Let’s check it out.
If you’ve learned the modes using the parent scale method, which we went into in depth in this article, you might be having a hard time bringing out the sound of each mode; or if you’ve just discovered that your plain old major scale also contains seven other scales, this lesson will help you find those other scales inside the bigger pattern. In a sense the parent scale method seems to be a shortcut to modal mastery because you’re not learning them as separate scales, but… by not learning them separately, you’ve created another task for yourself: bringing out the sound of each mode. Let’s see if we can make it an enjoyable one.
I didn’t learn the bulk of my guitar knowledge from YouTube, but every now and again I come across a really insightful lesson or two which I think are worth sharing. For me there are two kinds of content on YouTube; the first is the ‘digitalizing’ of things that people have always been able to do such as learning songs, scales and whatnot; the second is ‘unseen’ content, teaching and insight into how a player thinks which was hard to come across back in the day. So after trawling though the crap, click-bait, and begging-for-subscribers videos, here are four that you might actually get something from.