Blog

Guitar Solo Dynamics

Dynamics in Guitar Improvisation  There is lot more to playing great guitar solos than just wiggling fingers and melting faces.  Great soloists infuse emotionality into their improvisation.  One very effective and oft overlooked way of imbuing feeling into a solo is through dynamics, how loud or soft you play.  Varying your dynamics gives your solo

21 Dec 2020
/

Guitar Solo Phrasing 3: Unconventional Play/Rest Combinations

How To Improvise Intriguing Guitar Phrases Now that we have learned how to improvise conventional phrase lengths as well as how to reverse those phrase to challenge the audience’s expectations, we can begin adding even more unusual play/rest combinations.  By using odd-bar combinations and groupings longer than the typical four measures, we can really throw

18 Dec 2020
/

How To Prepare A Song For Performance

“I Played It Better At Home”:  Social Facilitation & The Ledger System I hear this flustered defense on a near-daily basis.  A student, after practicing their assignment into a virtuosic show-stopper at home, now can’t seem to produce the same results in their lesson.  Something about playing in front of me makes them nervous, they

14 Dec 2020
/

Guitar Phrasing 2: Reversing the Play/Rest Combinations

The “Rest/Play” Approach In our previous lesson, we learned the most conventional two and four measure phrase play/rest combinations.  These phrase combinations will take you a long way; solos need to have some level of conventionality in order to be recognizably musical.  Using only familiar phrasing might render your solos bland, however.  In order to

12 Dec 2020
/

How to Solo Over Chord Changes

Improvising Over Chord Changes  When beginning to improvise on the guitar, students almost invariably learn what is called a “key-centered” approach.  This entails determining the key of a song or chord progression, then using its corresponding scale as a pallete with which to improvise.  This is a useful and entirely valid approach that guitarists at

10 Oct 2020
/

Lydian Mode

Lydian Mode Formula W W W H W W HF Lydian F G A B C D E F Intervals R M2 M3 +4 P5 M6 M7 P8 Characteristic Pitches: NoneCharacteristic Progressions: I-II or I-VIIm The mode built off the fourth degree is an soaring, ethereal mode. While it technically doesn’t have a characteristic avoid

24 Aug 2020
/

Structuring Song Sections: Two Progressions Per Section

Structuring Song Sections: Two Equal Length  Progressions Per Section While repeating one progression for the entirety of a verse, chorus, or bridge can be quite effective, adding a second progression to a section can have interesting effects.  This technique can be used to provide contrast or push the song into a new section, or both. 

24 Aug 2020
/

Minor Arpeggios

12 Jul 2020
/

Major Arpeggios

12 Jul 2020
/

Harmonic Rhythm

Harmonic Rhythm  When coming up with a chord progression, many less experienced songwriters fail to value the rhythmic placement of the chord changes as much as other elements.  However, when and how often a chord change occurs has a dramatic effect on the overall perception of a chord progression.  The frequency and rhythmic placement of

07 Jul 2020
/