Phish’s nimble guitarist navigates changes with ease largely because he takes inspiration from jazz greats.


Chops: Intermediate
Theory: Intermediate
Lesson Overview:
• Develop a better sense of melody by using arpeggios.
• Create tension-filled lines with the diminished scale.
• Improve your understanding of the fretboard by connecting triads.


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

Trey Anastasio is easily my biggest influence as a guitarist. Throughout a career that has spanned 30-plus years, Trey and his band Phish have touched upon a mind-boggling number of genres and blended them into a unique sound. Not only that, but today I’m a huge fan of many styles of music because I heard Phish explore them when I was a teenager.

Admittedly, before Phish came along I thought jazz was lame. But now, I love it. Phish wore the disguise of a carefree rock band, but they were the ones to introduce me to a lot of the harmonic, melodic, and improvisational characteristics that made jazz one of the great art forms of the last century. It was as if they were shoving spoonfuls of extra-healthy kale down my gullet while convincing me it was actually ice cream.

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Sometimes you need to break the rules to discover new sounds.


Chops: Intermediate
Theory: Intermediate
Lesson Overview:
• Learn how to apply the modes of the major scale in alternative ways.
• Improve your ability to pivot between modes.
• Develop a better understanding of modal improvisation.


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

Out of all the essential implements in a guitarist’s toolbox, having a firm grasp of major-scale modes might be the most important—especially for those of us who improvise.

There’s a vast array of sounds and ideas that can convey different emotions to a listener if they’re used properly. And in the realm of practice, knowing your modes is almost like a skeleton key to understanding an infinite number of other concepts. That’s a lot of power from scales that actually consist of the same seven notes rearranged in various ways.

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