Look beyond playing the “right” notes.

Chops: Advanced
Theory: Intermediate
Lesson Overview:
• Understand how to phrase “outside” notes.
• Learn how to add tension to speedy passages.
• Strengthen your alternate-picking technique. Click here to download a printable PDF of this lesson's notation.

In my earlier years as a guitarist, I was intimidated by the idea of expanding musical lines with notes that weren’t in the scale that was diatonic to the progression or chord I was playing over. What helped me get pass this fear? Studying how some of my favorite players incorporate non-diatonic notes in a systematic way. In this lesson, I’ll share some of the ideas I discovered. We’ll explore the concept of chromatic playing and see how you can include non-diatonic notes in your phrases. I’ll examine how a couple of my favorite players have used the chromatic concept—Steve Morse (Dixie Dregs and Deep Purple) and Ian Thornley (Big Wreck). I’ll also show you an example of how I incorporated chromatic playing into a solo from one of the songs on my latest album. Okay, let’s get started.

First off, let’s define the term chromatic. A quick internet search gives us this definition: Music relating to or using notes not belonging to the diatonic scale of the key in which a passage is written.

Read MoreShow less

Don't be scared of diminished scales.



• Understand the mechanics of the half-whole diminished scale.

• Use basic triads to break from the fear of symmetrical sounds.

• Learn how to use bebop phrasing with wide intervallic leaps.

{'media': '[rebelmouse-document-pdf 9868 site_id=20368559 original_filename="DominantChords-May21.pdf"]', 'file_original_url': '', 'type': 'pdf', 'id': 9868, 'media_html': 'DominantChords-May21.pdf'}

It's nearly impossible to improvise over a tune without hitting a dominant chord. They are ubiquitous in rock, pop, jazz, country, and nearly every other type of Western music. I'm sure you've heard the phrase about how all music is based around tension and release? Well, I want to teach out how to make the tension cooler and the release more musically satisfying.

Read MoreShow less
Get Off the Grid!

What happens when the rug of the rhythm gets pulled out from under you?

Chops: Advanced
Theory: Intermediate
Lesson Overview:
• Understand basic rhythmic elements and how to manipulate them.
• Learn to transform “vanilla" phrases into something more interesting.
• Never get bored playing over a vamp again!

Click here to download a printable PDF of this lesson's notation.

Read MoreShow less