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.

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Break free from tired old patterns by rethinking your approach to shred.



• Understand how to build arpeggios from the ground up.

• Create long flowing lines that follow the changes.

• Develop a more fluid legato technique.

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My students often ask, "Exactly what is an arpeggio?" They've likely heard or read the term used by some of their favorite guitarists, but are still trying to figure out what it means. In this lesson, I want to address this question. We'll explore ways to incorporate arpeggios in our lead playing, and also discover how arpeggios can generate creative ideas that lie outside a scale-only approach to improvisation.

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