Lessons

A how-to on the mental and physical side of practicing.

Intermediate

Beginner

  • Develop an internal sense of rhythm and learn to sync your hands.
  • Understand how to subdivide.
  • Focus on your mental state while practicing.
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Guitar is an unusual instrument, yet somehow we human beings invented it and refined it, both technologically and artistically. There are some days when everything flows, while other days it feels like we’re complete beginners again. This is totally normal. If we really considered how much information our bodies are processing just to be alive in our version of the world, perhaps we’d be a bit kinder to ourselves about our off days and humbler about our good days! I want to share a few perspectives on the core technical aspects of playing that can be helpful to work on and remind ourselves of regularly. Let’s dive in!

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Intermediate

Intermedaite

  • Develop a better sense of harmony and rhythm.
  • Create more interesting comping patterns.
  • Learn how to outline harmony without using chords.
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The intersection between guitar and piano is ever present—and so is the potential for harmonic conflict, especially when improvising. However, guitar and piano can be a wonderful combination. Listen to the recordings of Pat Metheny and Lyle Mays, or Jim Hall and Bill Evans for stellar examples. But if your ears aren’t turned up it can be a recipe for disaster.

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Tired of playing the same old dominant 7 chords during a blues? Let’s fix that.

Intermediate

Intermediate

  • Learn what chord substitutions are and how they work so that you can get more color out of your rhythm guitar playing.
  • Use extensions on dominant 7 chords as a way of creating new substitutions.
  • Play practical examples of substitutions within various blues grooves while maintaining the standard blues harmony.
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Staying creative and phrasing musically while playing chords, especially over a blues progression, seems like an impossibility to many players. After all, most blues songs contain only three chords, the I, IV, and V. So how can you make those simple chords more interesting? The answer is by using chord substitution.

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Tension is ubiquitous in music. It’s what makes the sound of the eventual resolution so satisfying and helps lead our ears when we are playing. Arguably, the most tension-filled chord in music is the dominant 7, which can be both complex and simple. There’s a wealth of vocabulary out there for dominant chords that can be applied to nearly every genre, but let’s focus on a few licks to demonstrate how deep the sound of these chords can be.
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