Beginner Guitar Amp Recommendations (Updated 2021)

Learn about beginner guitar amplifiers, software modeling, and my top recommendations for each.  Amplifiers can change the sound of the guitar more than the guitar itself.  Today’s beginner amps can model expensive tube amplifiers for […]

AP-014: How do I measure signal latency?

Question How do I measure signal latency to improve my real-time use of modeling software? Answer If you use modeling software like Amplitube in real-time, you will need to understand signal latency. The round-trip latency […]

AP-013 What are your Favorite Exotic Chords?

Question What are your personal favorite 3 “exotic” or less commonly known guitar chords that you recommend for intermediate/advanced guitarists? Answer Exotic chords usually require a special rule to use it well. I don’t recommend […]

LRT-033 Double-Stop Riff

Learn a fun two-bar double-stop blues riff. This one is all about a blues rhythm with a swing feel.  You’ll notice that the open-string double-stops in the first measure use staccato to give a short, noticeable sound. In […]

LRT-032 ii-V-I Modal Lick

Learn some modal Jazz guitar licks over the ii-V-I progression. This lick is played over a standard ii-V-I Jazz chord progression in the key of C.  The lick uses modes of the C major scale. […]

Ex-022 Octave Scale

Practice your Octaves in unison with this simple exercise!  Octaves help you become more mobile on the fretboard and aware of what you’re playing.  I believe they are one of the most beneficial fretboard concepts […]

LRT-031 Bending Rock Riff

This rock riff starts with a slow bend that catches your attention followed by a droning droning open E with a melody played over top.  I love how it has a 90’s feel. I want […]

Ex-021 Alternate Picking Sixteenth Notes

Practice your alternate picking over sixteenth notes with this exercise. Sixteenth notes are great for alternate picking because they must be played quickly and alternate picking helps you play faster!  This one focuses on four […]

LRT-030 Palm Muting Solo

Learn another rock solo from Francesco Cagnacci.  This one uses several different techniques, but it starts with a palm-muting lick followed by some nice runs.  Enjoy this one.

Ex-020 Combining Alternate and Sweep Picking

Improve your technique and speed by combining alternate picking and sweep picking.  In the following exercise, you will combine alternate picking lines with sweep picking lines in both directions (ascending and descending). When ascending, notice […]

LRT-029 Slow Groove

Get your groove on with this fun-to-play slow groove at 70bpm.  This is a riff that you want to feel as you play it.  It really sets a mood. In regards to your playing, you […]

Ex-019 Efficient Speed Picking Exercise

Practice economy and sweep picking and other concepts in this efficient speed picking exercise. This exercise is efficient because it crams all of the following into one exercise: G major scale with 3 notes per […]

LRT-026 Rock Solo

Learn this fun rock solo with licks that use staccato, slides, and bends.  It is played as a fast tempo in the key of D, which has two sharps in its key signature.

Ex-018 Horizontal Ladder Exercise

Improve your fretboard knowledge with this rut-breaking ladder exercise from my upcoming book on learning the fretboard.  This exercise can be applied to any sequence of notes, such as a scale, mode, or arpeggio.

AP-008 How Do I Memorize Songs?

Question I started my music course this week and had to play a song from memory. I struggled to recall the chord progression without my safety net. Any advice on how to improve this please?

Ex-017 Speed-up Tapping

Practice your hammer-ons and pull-offs mixed with some finger tapping with this exercise by Milan Trickovic.  The true purpose of this exercise is to work on tapping technique and speed building by mixing it with […]

LRT-025 Hard Rock Speed Lick

Crank up the speed with this classic hard rock speed lick in the style of many hard rock/metal guitarists.  This one uses hammer-ons and pull-offs on sixteenth notes and triplets at a torrid 160bpm pace! […]

AP-007 Why are chords major or minor?

Question Why are chords called major chords or minor chords? ~Tony Answer Major and minor chords have a difference in one particular note, the third.  Let’s look at how it gets that name through a […]

LRT-024 Rhythmic Rock Riff in E

This fun rhythmic rock riff will have you playing bends, staccato, eighth notes, and sixteenth notes in the key of E.  What I love about this riff, by Charles Gervase, is that he uses the same […]

AP-005 – Why do guitars have dots?

Question I am a rank beginner to the guitar. I am trying to learn the function of the fretboard. The guitar I have borrowed is classical with 12 frets. How do I transfer what I […]

LRT-023 Pentatonic Blues Solo

Learn a complete blues solo based on the pentatonic scale, written and recorded by Francesco Cagnacci!  Included is the full audio and backing track. Before the solo starts, the track plays through the rhythm part for […]

LRT-022 Jazzy Blues Turnaround

Learn a jazzy blues turnaround in the key of C.  In this turnaround, the chord progression is I-vi-ii-V-I.  The I-vi-ii-V is common in the last two bars of a 12 bar blues.

LRT-021 Prebend Pentatonic Lick

Learn a pentatonic lick that uses a prebend then shift it down by a fifth. This lick requires you to nail the prebend cleanly. Practicing with a lick like this puts the technique into a […]

Ex-014 Repeating Bass Two-Octave Scale

Practice two-octave scales in a unique way while practicing your picking technique.  This exercise is a great way to practice two things at once.  This exercise is a great way to learn a scale so […]

LRT-020 Power Chord Rock Riff

Play some power chords with palm muting in this power chord rock riff by Milan Trickovic.  This lick uses a standard eighth note rhythm.  When you change chords, you will notice that the chord is […]

LRT-018 Blues Rock Solo

Why bother with a lick when you can play an entire solo.  Have fun with high tempo blues/rock style solo using the F minor pentatonic scale.  It was written and recorded by Francesco Cagnacci.

LRT-017 Blues Ride Rhythm

This rhythm is an absolute must-learn for any guitarist who wants to play the blues.  Play along or jam with this blues rhythm. This progression is played in the key of E.  This rhythm uses […]

Ex-013 Sweep Picking ii-V-I

Learn to sweep pick a ii-V-I progression in this exercise using the tritone substitution to play faster. This exercise uses three chords based on the A form (rooted on the 5th string).  In the key […]

LRT-016 A Minor Rock Riff

This week’s riff is written and recorded by Charles Gervase. He shows us an A minor rock riff.  This one has an off-beat syncopated feel as he accents the up-beats, especially on the sixteenth notes. […]

LRT-015 Metal Riff Video

In this riff, Martin Mitkov teaches you how to play a metal riff for a song from his band, Demezia. This riff uses sixteenth triplets, alternate picking, and an alternate tuning (B-E-A-D-Gb-B). Please note that […]

Ex-012 Fretting Combinations Exercise Set 3

This is the third of eight sets of chromatic exercises.  It is a continuation of Ex-009 Fretting Combinations Chromatic Exercise Set 2.  It continues to work your fretting hand, but with new combinations.   This exercise […]

LRT-012 Southern Rock Shuffle Riff

Learn this fun southern rock riff to add to your repertoire.  This 4-bar riff is comprised mostly of a 2-note A power chord using a shuffle rhythm.

LRT-011 Slow Blues Ending in G

Enjoy this popular slow blues ending.  If you modify the last measure to a V chord, you can use this as a turnaround instead of an ending.  This turnaround is given in the key of […]

LRT-010 Sixteenth Note Run

Enjoy this fast and fun sixteenth note run written and recorded by Charles Gervase.  If you look closely at this lick, it does not fit the mold of a common scale.  The first measure uses four […]

Guitar Cable Recommendations

Learn how to choose a durable cable that also gives you the best tone.  I will also give you my top 3 recommended guitar cables.

Ex-010 Alternate Picking Exercise

Practice switching strings while alternate picking with this exercise.  When practicing alternate picking, most people can quickly learn the basic motions (down, up, down, etc).  The hard part comes when you switch strings and skip strings.  This exercise […]

Chord Construction

This is a complete guide to chord contruction with simple rules that broke me out of my playing rut.  You’ll learn how to construct chords using two methods, how to name chords, how chords relate […]

LRT-006 Funk Rhythm Riff

This riff uses an Em7 and some palm muting to create a funky rhythm.  You’ll notice the classic sixteenth note Funk rhythm. The audio and a backing track are included below.

LRT-005 Rock Riff

This rock-styled riff uses the blues scale in E and a shuffle feel.  You’ll notice that the Root (E) and minor seventh (D) are prominently used.  In the last two measures, you’ll hear the minor […]

Modes

Learn how and why to use the modes in this lesson.  They’re as easy to play as the major scale, but you need to know how they work to play them correctly.  This lesson will […]

Greensleeves

Learn my traditional fingerstyle arrangement of Greensleeves in the key of C.  This is a classic that every guitarist can use to impress.  Played in open position, It primarily uses C, G, and Am chord […]

LRT-002 Funky Blues Riff

This riff only uses four notes plus a couple 1/2 step bends.  It has a nice funky blues edge to it.   This riff was written and recorded by Charles Gervase.

How to Practice the Guitar

When asked, how I practice the guitar, I tell people that the secret is to practice a little each day.  The hardest part is staying motivated and focused.  Practice is all about putting the work […]

12 Bar Blues

Learn the 12 Bar Blues in style.  This lesson covers the traditional, quick change, and shuffle blues.  It includes the first chords you should know and some substitutions that you can try.  I even cover […]

Where to Buy Guitar Gear

I often get asked where I buy my guitars. I’ve purchased 11 guitars to date. I have purchased them from small local stores, large retail stores, online, and from private parties.  I’m going to give […]

Guitar Tuner Recommendations

One of the most important accessories to buy is a digital guitar tuner. Digital Tuners Digital tuners are any type of tuner that uses electronics to tune your guitar.  There are two basic types: a […]

Song Construction

In this lesson, you’ll learn how to construct the song, Romance Anonimo.  It is a beginner fingerstyle song that is great for demonstrating how you can construct a fingerstyle song from a simple melody into a harmonized […]

Beginner Silent Night

This is an easy beginner version of silent night. It is played predominantly in the second position, with a shift to the fifth position in measure 17.

Ex-006 Simple Chord Change Exercise

This is a simple exercise that you can do for about 1 minute. It can easily be fit into anyone’s practice or warmup schedule.  You will need a metronome and two chords that will challenge […]

Twas the Night Before Rocking

A few years ago, I adapted the lyrics to “Twas the Night before Christmas”. I hope you enjoy it! Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the stage Not a strummer was strumming, not […]

Glossary of Guitar Terms

Accent An emphasized note Accidental A symbol used to raise or lower the pitch of a note in standard notation. The symbol is either a sharp (♯), a flat (♭), or a natural sign (♮). […]

List of Chord Formulas

(♭ = flat ♯ = sharp) Major I – III – V Major 6 I – III – V – VI Major 6 add 9 I – III – V – VI – IX Major […]

List of Alternate Tunings

Standard Tuning EADGBE Drop D DADGBE Drop D down 1/2 step D♭A♭D♭G♭B♭E♭ Double Drop D DADGBD DADGAD DADGAD Open D Major DADF♯AD Open A Major EAC♯EAE Open E Major EBEG♯BE Open G Major DGDGBD

Ex-005 Fretting Combinations Exercise 2

This exercise expands on the Fretting Combinations exercise. This exercise will train both your fretting hand and your picking hand by playing all the fretting combinations and all the picking combinations. The picking combinations are […]

Ex-004 Fretting Combinations Exercise 1

The goal of this exercise is to improve the speed of your fingers when playing on a single string in a given fretboard position.  The example below shows the 6th string in 1st position. Place […]

Ex-003 Finger Strength Exercise

This exercise has three steps and can be done on any string and in all fretboard positions Step 1 – Place all four fingers on adjacent frets of a string. Step 2 – Lift two […]

Ex-002 Alternate Picking Exercise

The goal of this exercise is to improve the speed and accuracy of your alternate picking. Go slow enough to play it perfectly before increasing the speed. The following picking combination should be used: d, […]

Ex-001 Fretting Hand Exercise

The goal of this exercise is to make each finger on your fretting hand as smooth and independent as possible. The fingers of the hand do not move equally well. This exercise helps you overcome […]

Arpeggios

An arpeggio is a succession of chord tones. When you play a solo, you try to focus on the chord tones of the progression that you are playing over. Sometimes you might stray away from […]

Harmonics

Harmonics are played every time you pluck a note. Most of the time, however, you do not hear them. What you hear is the fundamental (sometimes called the first harmonic). The fundamental is the loudest […]

Alternate Tunings

This lesson teaches you how to approach learning alternate tunings.  I will also discuss a few alternate tunings, why they’re useful, and my approach to using them.

DADGAD

DADGAD Tuning is a popular alternative to standard notation. It is tuned by taking your guitar in standard tuning and dropping the 1st, 2nd, and 6th string a whole step down. You can do this […]

Determining the Key

I am going to show you how to find the key when you have just a written piece of music in standard notation and also when you just know the chord progression. Determining the Key […]

Drop 2 Chords

Drop 2 chord voicings are formed by taking a chord and then dropping the next to the highest note, or voice, to the lowest note of the chord. Similarly, there are drop 1, drop 3, […]

Ear Training

Training your ear is something that is extremely valuable but hard to acquire. You cannot train your ear by just reading. It requires that you can hear the differences in sounds. After you play a […]

Transcribing Tips

Everyone wants to know how to transcribe but no one finds out so here we go. These are really tips and tricks because there is no other way than to listen to the song and […]

Transposing

Learn how to transpose songs using three different methods.  Transposing is an essential skill for any musician.  This lesson will tell you why you need to know it and provide step-by-step guidance on  how to do […]

Minor System

If you know your chords, and you know your patterns, then this lesson will benefit your playing immensely. Knowing how chords and scales relate to each other helps you to find them more easily than […]

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