Breaking Down the Blues, pt. 5: The Major Pentatonic Scale

This is the fifth part in my series on the system behind playing the blues on the guitar. In this part, I’ll talk about the role that the major pentatonic and major blues scales play when soloing over a blues progression. The other parts in the Breaking Down the Blues series are: Part 1: The […]

Close up of electric guitar player's hands

Exercises to Keep Your Lead Playing in Shape

Being a guitarist is a lot like being an athlete. A certain amount of practice has to go toward general maintenance of your playing on both a physical and mental level. You have to do exercises that will keep your skills in a state of readiness, so that when the time comes to go out […]

Breaking Down the Blues, Pt 4: The Minor Blues Progression

This is the fourth part in my ‘Breaking Down the Blues’ series. In the previous parts, I covered the 12 bar blues progression, the extended box pattern of the blues scale, and I demonstrated some blues licks. Here are links to the previous parts: The Blues Progression The Blues Scale 5 Tasty Blues Licks In […]

Breaking Down the Blues, Pt. 3: 5 Tasty Blues Licks

This is the third part in my ‘Breaking Down the Blues’ series. In part one, I went through the blues progression, common variations of it, and how to put it together in any key you want. Part two covered the blues scale, it’s most common patterns on the neck of the guitar, and how to […]

Correct hand positions for bar chords on the guitar

How to Position Your Hands for Bar Chords

Bar (or barre) chords often present a huge difficulty to beginner guitarists. Almost every student I have struggles to some extent when they are first learning to use bar chords in the songs they play. Even though it can be tough to get a grip on these types of chords, they are incredibly important to […]

Guitarist singing

Tips for Learning to Sing and Strum Chords

Being able to sing while playing the guitar is a great skill to have. In fact, I’d say that having at least a basic ability to sing while strumming chords is a skill that any experienced guitarist should have. Learning to do it is tricky at first, though. It involves developing some basic pitch control […]

Picture of a train wreck

The Art of Making Mistakes

Believe it or not, there is a fine art to making mistakes when playing the guitar. Mistakes are, to some extent, inevitable. No matter how good you get at the guitar, mistakes will always be part of the experience of playing. Skilled guitarists make mistakes smoothly. Often their mistakes are hardly noticeable to the listener […]

Creating your own exercises for the guitar

Creating Your Own Exercises for the Guitar

Looking back at my development over the years as a guitarist, an important skill that I acquired was the ability to create my own exercises that target whatever I want to improve on at the moment. This is a skill that most advanced guitarists eventually develop. It’s incredibly helpful to be able to this because […]

Free Resources on the Web for Guitarists

The web is bursting with resources for the aspiring (and experienced) guitarist. A quick web search for any guitar related topic will return a trove of sites. There are a handful or sites and resources out there that I’ve found to be particularly useful for both developing as a guitarist and for teaching. So, I […]

Playing vs. Practicing

Whenever you pick up your guitar, it’s important to be aware of whether you are planning on ‘practicing’ or ‘playing.’ These are two distinct mindsets that will determine a number of things: how you think and feel while playing, whether or not you try to fix mistakes, how critical you will be, and so on. […]