Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Acoustic Guitar Lick in D

This is an acoustic guitar lick in D ( sounds in E with the capo) with a capo on the second fret. If you don't have a capo you can just play the guitar tab as written. I've been experimenting a little more with the capo lately and just stumbled onto this little lick and liked it so thought I'd share it. Note the triplets in the third measure. I find this piece sounds best when you let the notes rings as much as possible.

capo 2nd fret

capo 2nd fret

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Beginner Bluegrass Lick in C

This is a basic bluegrass guitar lick in the key of C. It starts with some hammer-ons using a partial
C chord and finishes up with a run using notes from the C Major Scale. Please note the lick is played with a capo on the second fret so it sounds in D. You can also play this without a capo.

Capo on Second Fret

Monday, September 17, 2012

A Happy Capo Lick

This is just a fun little guitar lick with the capo on the second fret. I liked it because it was happy sounding. Hope you enjoy it. Cheers.

Bluegrass Guitar Lick in the Key of G

I've been bitten by the bluegrass bug it seems and have been playing a lot of acoustic guitar in the last few days and soaking up the sounds of some bluegrass greats like Tony Rice, Mark O'Connor and Doc Watson. The level of technical ability and musicality these flat-pickers have is astounding and can terrify a relative newbie to the genre like myself. Not mention the fact that a lot of these guys are multi-instrumentalists.On the flip side a lot of even the hardest flat-picking music sounds great at slower tempos.  I strongly suggest you dig into some traditional bluegrass standards by these players. I am determined to learn ( at my own tempo of course) either Mark O'Connor's or JP Cormier's version of "Dixie Breakdown". 

If your not quite ready for "Dixie Breakdown" here is a little guitar lick of my own in the key of G that is played in the first position and pretty basic. Note that the repeating figure in the first three bars changes slightly in the fourth measure. I also personally like the directional change from forward to reverse in the last two bars with the notes on the A string. Hope your enjoy this. Happy Pickin!

Bluegrass Guitar Lick in C

A little bluegrass guitar lick in the key of C. Mainly alternate picking with a few hammer and pulls thrown in. The repeating open D note in the eighth measure can be tricky but I think it sound cool.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Bluegrass Guitar Lick in G

I've always loved flatpicking on an acoustic guitar. Some of the best flatpickers are bluegrass players. I've only dabbled with some basic bluegrass playing for acoustic guitar but its a great way to get your alternate picking in shape no matter what style of music you play. This is a guitar lick in the key of G. I've incorporated some hammer on and pull-offs into this lick but you can also use strict alternate picking if you prefer.

For the triplet in the middle section at bar 4 I find it easiest if you start the hammer on with your index finger and shift positions later. Alternatively you could fret that note with your second finger. See what feels best to you. When your reading the tab or notation listen to the music in the video. The guitar lick has three distinct sections. The first on ends at the open G string in bar 4. The second begins with the triplet in bar four. the the last section begins where the first slide starts in the last bar. Listen closely and you will hear the accents that bring out each section.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

St. Anne's Reel for Guitar

This is a traditional piece arranged for acoustic guitar by Scott Nygaard from acoustic guitar magazine. The guitar here is based in drop D tuning. I've decided to build up a repertoire of some acoustic songs and this is the first song I picked. I've just memorized it yesterday. I find personally if you start at the end of the piece and work backwards it makes memorization easier. Currently acoustic guitar university is having a free month of lessons so you can check out lots of great songs arranged for acoustic guitarists both flatpickers and fingerstyle players. You can check out the site at

You can download a tab for this guitar piece and see a video of Mr. Nygaard playing it at:

For the record I'm not affiliated or endorsed by Acoustic Guitar Magazine. Although I do enjoy the publication.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

A Celtic Style Guitar Lick

This is a Celtic Style guitar lick in G.  Follow the video for the rhythm as the tab is more of a guide for the notes played. The rhythm is a bit looser feel so don't be tied strictly to the written notation or note values in the guitar tab. Let the open strings ring out and aim for a happy, upbeat feel. Hope you dig this have a great weekend. Cheers.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Guitar Lick - Open String Pull-offs

This is a guitar lick based around open strings and pull offs. We being with a section centered around the open D string which repeats twice then a similar lick is played based around the open G string. The notation in the guitar tab is a rough guide listen to the music for a better idea of the phrasing. Have a great weekend.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The Darkness - "Everybody Have A Good Time" Guitar Solo Contest

Just messing around trying to get back into guitar playing after a break to watch the Olympics. Hope you dig this. Cheers. It's pretty fun to play over so grab your guitar and give it a shot yourself. I stuck mainly to the A Major scale because that sounded best to my ears.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Another Wide Interval Guitar Lick

Another wide interval guitar lick. Tuned down a half step if you want to play along ( same goes for the last one too - forgot to mention that). A lot of octaves in this pattern and based around the D Major scale. I also enjoy this pattern with lots of distortion and letting the notes ring together but it can be a little cacophonous for some so I thought I demonstrate it with a cleaner tone and some delay.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Wide Interval Guitar Lick

I've always loved the sound of wide interval guitar licks. This guitar lick is based around the C major scale.
For some beautiful examples of these type of guitar licks in a band context check out the Red Hot Chili Peppers. "Scar Tissue" is a good example of a song based around a wide interval guitar lick. On a different note the last post talked about inspiration and creativity. I just wanted to let everyone know I came across the playing of an awesome guitarist named Nels Cline. Do yourself a favor if you have never heard his playing and check him out on youtube. He currently plays with the band Wilco and has played with Banyan ( he does a really wicked 'Maggot Brain') but it is his own material I found the most interesting. Anyway he has a really great combination of so called traditional technique and more experimental elements that I think a lot of people will find interesting and hopefully inspire you to create new sounds with your own instruments. I've read that he has recorded on over 150 albums so I've got lots of great playing to check out.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Creativity and Inspiration for Guitarists

In my opinion there are few things that drive creativity more than inspiration. An inspired artist will create sometimes a seemingly effortless flow of new material while an uninspired counterpart with equal talent will toil for years with meager output. Inspiration can be finicky though at least for me. I tend to recoil at the thought of trying to force music or art and take things as they come. It's easy though to use this philosophy as an excuse to stay inactive and unproductive or just plain lazy.

A great way to rekindle inspiration to create music is to listen to different instruments and genres of music outside of your comfort zone or the style which you mainly create within. As an example I've posted a guitar lick that uses an altered tuning meant to capture the drone overtones you'd hear on a sitar or similar instrument with sympathetic vibrations. The tuning for this guitar lick has every note tuned down to Db. Please note every note is detuned so DO NOT increase the tension on the strings to hit the Db or they will break. For some notes the detuning can be significant and using a heavier gauge string will reduce the "spaghetti" feel of the slackened strings. Anyway here is the guitar lick I came up with. On a related note if you'd like to explore world music has a course starting tomorrow online that is free and looks quite interesting. You can read more about it here:

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Soloing over last progression

In this guitar lick we look at soloing over the last progression using the D Dorian mode which is comprised of notes  from the C Major scale. You could also think of it as the D Minor Pentatonic Scale with an added E note. The main shape for the solo is based around the first shape of the D Minor Pentatonic scale with the addition of the E note. Here is the video and tab to follow along. Guitars are in standard tuning. Drums courtesy of Sonoma Wireworks Riffworks Instant Drummer.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Triad Shapes for Guitar

Triads are made up of the root, third and fifth of a chord. In this guitar lick I've created a chord progression in the key of C that utilizes triad chord shapes on the top three strings of the guitar. The chords are Dm/Am/G/F Em. The best example of triad use in modern guitar playing that I can think of is by the Red Hot Chili Peppers. There are a lot of tracks from 'Californication' and 'By the Way' where John Frusciante employs the use of triads to add depth and interest to the chord progressions in many of their songs. Triads are also used frequently in Reggae guitar playing because the smaller chord shape is better suited to the muted and staccato style found in a lot of Reggae guitar music. In the next few examples we will look at how to solo and add more guitar parts over this progression to demonstrate how the basic triad part works within the context of the musical piece as a whole.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Jazz Guitar Lick over Rhythm Changes

I've decided to learn a respectable amount of jazz guitar in 2012. I've started by focusing on some Charlie Christian solos because they are a reasonable speed and melodically and rhythmically are less intimidating than more modern jazz. Charlie Christian solos also swing mightily and are beautiful pieces of music. The first song I tackled was "Rose Room" from "Genius of the Electric Guitar". The solo had a lyrical quality and I was quickly humming along to it. It that spirit I've tried to come up with a little jazz guitar lick over the first four chords in the standard Bb Rhythm Changes. BbMaj7/Gm7|Cm7/F7

I really haven't delved into much jazz scale theory so I tried to incorporate chord tones and used passing chromatic notes that I liked. I think it what came out was a pretty cool sounding guitar lick. Certainly doesn't swing as much as I'd like but I'm  just beginning to get a handle on this.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Learn Blues Guitar Solo in A with Tab & Video

This is a blues guitar solo in A. The backing track was provided by Jimihaynes  this track is used by permission of the author. Please note that this track is in STANDARD tuning. This track is based in A Minor Pentatonic is a 12 bar blues progression. It utilizes a sliding 6ths at the start. This was originally part of the old video guitar lessons site that is now being migrated into this blog.