Showing posts from 2014


Aaromale is an Indian film song.  Great tune!  Here's the intro.  The song alternates between two chords E5 and A5.  The chords are slightly palm muted and strummed with a sixteenth note feel.  Each chord is preceded with a short fill (guitar lick).  Have fun!

Blues in E Finger Style

This is a traditional 12 bar (12 measure) Blues in the key of E.  All the bass notes (notes played with your thumb) are on the beat.  Keep it steady!

Up Around the Bend - Acoustic Interlude and Solo

I love this song!  It is down right classic rock!  I did my best to "acoustify" this song.  The solo is played on electric guitar.  I took out all the bends and replaced them with slides and hammer-ons to make it easier to play on the acoustic guitar.  Have fun!

The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down - Joan Baez Version

Recently a student of mine asked if we could work on this song.  It's a great folk song telling the story of the last days of the American Civil War.  In this video I am demonstrating the Intro, Interlude (part between the chorus and verses), and the Ending.  Put your capo on the first fret and strum along with me.


A Tango is a traditional partner dance that originates in Argentina.  Here is a somewhat simple tango for finger style guitar.  It is in the key of G, so be on the look out for these chord shapes: G, D, D7 and Am.  Pay attention to rhythm and stick to it, or it won't be a Tango!

Practice Tip: Tone, Technique, and Timing

It's been awhile since I last posted a practice tip.  Here's something I mention in every group class, but have not put in writing.

Here are three things that all guitarist should keep in mind while practicing.

Tone.  This is the "color" of sound. Your guitar is capable of producing all sorts of tones.  Play by the bridge and you get a sharp, metallic sound.  Play near the fret board and you get a warmer, darker sound.  Play in-between and you get a, well, in-between sound.  The point here is that you are in control of your tone.  Generally speaking, you should find a tone that is pleasing to your ears (and to those that might be listening).  How you hold your pick, how your strike your strings, and where you play along the string will determine your tone.

Technique.  This is the "how to" part of playing the guitar.  You should always strive to play with good technique.  Good technique will serve you well as you progress to more difficult music.  It's…

Norwegian Wood

Here is a simple strumming pattern that you can use for the verses to The Beatles' "Norwegian Wood". It is four measures long and I am playing it four times (slowly). Hope this helps!

Freight Train

Freight Train is a Travis Picking Style song.  I have put a little "swing" in the rhythm.  Notice when I play the E chord, I barre with my first finger to get the "f" on the first string, first fret.  If the barre is difficult, just move your first finger to the first string and then bring it back to the third string to prepare for the next measure.  Be sure to alternate your thumb on the bass notes.

I hope I am playing slow enough for everyone to join me.

Blackbird - The Beatles

By request here is a slowed down version of the Beatles' Blackbird.

I Am a Man of Constant Sorrow - Rhythm and Solo

Here are the guitar parts to Constant Sorrow.  I am playing this in E (no capo).  To play along with the  recording from the movie "O Brother, Were Art Thou," you will need to Capo the first fret.

First you will hear the intro and then a solo that I arranged to fit the chords.  This is all played very slowly, so I hope everyone will play along.

Music Theory Workshop One

Here is what we covered in Theory Workshop One and a few tips for those that were able to attend.

The Major scale is the most used scale in western music (second in line would be the minor scale).  Be sure to memorize the formula (W W H W W W H).

You should also memorize and be able to play the major scale form that was provided in your hand out.  This scale is “moveable.”  That is, you can start at any fret and as long as you play the scale in the sequence provided (on the same strings), you will hear the major scale.  The scale is named after the starting note.  For example, start on the note A and you will be playing the A major scale.

Extra Credit – see if you can come up with another form of the C major scale.

I got asked a few really good questions after class.

“Do we really need to memorize all the notes on the guitar?”  Yes!  However, this will take time.  My best advice is to start with a few notes all the guitar neck, and memorize them.  These notes will be your ‘target’ not…

Waltz (Valse)

This is a nice and simple classical style piece by Bartolome' Calatayud.  It is in 3/4 time.  Notice how the rhythm in measure one is repeated throughout the song.  To play this rhythm, I am using a (ring finger) on string one, m and (middle and index) on strings two and three, and p (thumb) on the all the bass notes.

Old Man - Neil Young Intro and Interlude

Here are my four steps to learning the intro to Neil Young's "Old Man."  Be sure to reference the video.

Before getting to the first step, Neil Young plays most of the down stroke with a partial palm mute.  Lightly touch the strings with the palm of your hand near the saddle of your guitar.

The intro has two chords - Dm7add2 and D.

Dm7add2 = xx0560
D = xx0232

Here are the four steps.

Step 1 - Do a simple bass strum on each chord.  Alternate between strumming strings three and four, and strings two and three.

Step 2 (0:15) - In this step, add down and up strokes.

(0:45) Oops, made a mistake

Step 3 (0:47) On the Dm7add2 chord, add a hammer on from the open third string to the fifth fret of the third string.  Continue the down and up strumming from Step 2.

Step 4 (1:13)  Here it is!  Add hammer ons and pull offs on the D chord along with the hammer ons from Step 3 and the down and up strumming from Step 2.

This is heard at about 30 seconds into the son…

Let Her Go Strum Pattern

As requested, here is the strumming pattern we will use in class to play along to Passenger's "Let Her Go."  This is the same pattern I use to play along to "Wish You Were Here" by Pink Floyd.

I play the pattern first up to speed and then a little slower.

Let Her Go Intro - Passenger

Here I am playing the intro to Passenger's Let Her Go.  It is played much faster on the recording.  Hopefully you will be able to follow along at this slower pace.

I have a capo at fret seven.  The bass note for the F chord is held with my thumb (over the neck).

This is a beautiful intro.  Enjoy!

When It's Time - Green Day - Acoustic Guitar Solo

This song is found on the sound track for the American Idiot Broadway Musical.  It's a simple pop song with a catch guitar solo.  The guitar solo is played on an electric guitar, but it just so happens it sounds great on an acoustic!  Here is my "acoustified" version of the solo.

Notice the open E string ringing with the notes that are sliding on the second string.

Iru Vizhi Unadhu

It's time for another Bollywood Workshop!

Here is the song Iru Vizhi Unadhu.  The song is in 7/8 time and has a cool power chord groove.  Check out the video below.