Play This for 3 Minutes and See Why Guitarists Get Addicted!

If you've ever wondered how come you haven't been able to get melody lines to help you build better phrasing, better neck awareness and greater technical skill, then you'll discover (after watching this video) that you've been missing something in your training...

In this video, I am going to explain the benefits of taking a simple melodic idea and treating it as an interval design.

Then, from both a "geometrical pattern" and an "interval" perspective, I'll teach you how to visualize any melodic exercise in a manner that will help you to get much more out of the melody than just phrasing alone.


Today we’re going to talk about a highly addictive 3 min. guitar work-out that focuses on connecting groups of notes along the neck and at the same time it helps with developing a much higher level of accuracy.

The main idea behind this workout is all attributed to analyzing the way that a melodies intervals operate across the string sets.

By incorporating this interval idea as an exercise and then applying it into your daily routine for as little as 3 min. you’re going to start to noticing big improvements in three areas:

1). The accuracy of how you play your notes
2). Improvements on how you’ll cover the fingerboard
3). Learn more about all of the notes on the fingerboard 


Let’s get into this idea by learning a five position melody (on strings 3 and 2) in the key of, “Am.”

5-position Melody / Strings 3 and 2:

Our first example melody moves along the neck covering two strings while using a small section of the, “A Minor” scale. It allows us to cover a lot of ground and do so very quickly.

By setting up the melody line from example (1) on the neck the way we did, our positions moved by quite fast. This created a sense of movement that comes across as sounding very unique musically.


Next, I’d like to cover one more example that operates around a descending pattern in the same key. This time, we’ll move from the 12th pos. down to the 7th and we’ll expand on the group of strings involved to include three strings.

5-position Melody / Strings 4, 3 and 2:

There are dozens of ways to move around the neck using this approach, and all you have to do is plan out scale segments and organize them across the strings vertically and horizontally. It’s an excellent way to apply scales across several positions very quickly.

The 3 Minute Workout:
The next direction we are going to take will have to do with how to go about practicing these ideas using a specialized 3 min. work-out method that was first taught to me by my old Music Reading instructor at G.I.T.  David Oakes.

A lot of the guitar instruction that is found online can certainly be great for offering licks and riffs to practice, but here at Creative Guitar I like to also offer you ways that will help develop the best “at home” practice as well.

Let’s go back to that first guitar melody that I had shown you (Example Lick 1). That melody was a 5-position (ascending) two string run on the guitar strings of 3 and 2.

My practice suggestion for the "3 Min. Workout" is to treat the lick idea as a pattern and play it all over the fingerboard for at least 3 min. (so get a timer and enter in the time frame and get that idea moving all over the guitar fingerboard).

Here’s a fingerboard diagram of how you can start thinking about the first lick and how you can scan over it as intervals applied to the 3 min. workout.

This type of practice gets into a more focused breakdown of each interval involved with creating a melodies fret-board movement.

In the diagram above for our first example, we’re traveling along the neck by way of a; half-step, then two whole steps and the final distance diagonally is another half-step.

Once you can visualize this pattern, you can transfer the fingering shape anyplace that you’d like to along and across the guitar fingerboard.

Watch my video demonstration of how this operates, as I show how to start moving our first example all over the fingerboard.
3 Minute Workout Demonstration:

Once you’ve become comfortable with the moveable idea that I demonstrate in the video above, move that idea all over the fingerboard for a time frame of 3 min.

That might not seem like a very long time, but I think that you’ll be surprised how long 3 min. feels when you’re timing yourself and you’re actually doing the exercise.

Once you’ve nailed down that first exercise; do the same routine with that second melody that I went over with you earlier in this lesson, (Example Lick 2).

Study the intervals on the fingerboard shown below for example lick (2). Make your judgements with regard to note distance and note flow. Then move the pattern all over the fingerboard.

Example Lick 2 - Fingerboard Intervals:

Guitar licks and riffs can be made a lot easier to understand once you take them into a study routine like the one I’ve covered here in this lesson.

This 3 min. moveable intervals exercise is excellent for organizing almost anything that you need to develop on guitar.

The 3 min. exercise period that you put into this workout will help you attain a much better level of awareness for the note locations of any melody on the neck.

Interval design study will go a long way in helping to gain a better degree of technique for playing lines that travel more laterally.

Plus, once you do this exercise several times, with all types of different licks and riffs, you’ll start noticing the benefits of this type of study, and all it takes is 3 min. a day to accomplish.

Also, it is important to keep in mind, that there are a lot of additional benefits that will come out of doing this type of work. And, one of the biggest is being able to very quickly visualize melodic ideas as unique geometrical shapes on your guitar.

Learning to see guitar melody lines on the neck as unique interval patterns will work faster than any other method for speeding up your recognition for every new idea that you’ll learn on guitar. And, new ideas on guitar will come together for you a lot faster.



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Guitar Exercise Offers MORE Than Expected! (INSTANT SONGS!)

One of the most common questions that students ask when studying music is "how can I learn to write songs?" Songwriting is no doubt one of the more challenging musical exercises. That said, it can be one of the most rewarding things to do in becoming a better musician...

When writing music, your knowledge of keys and harmony will go a long way in helping you get from nowhere to actually being able to start doing it.

The problem with songwriting however is that most often, we don't do nearly as much work understanding the world of scales, keys, harmony and how to incorporate simple melody.

In this lesson we'll learn a scale, expand it out to it's diatonic harmony and then work around applying a simple melodic idea to be able to build strong melodic connections.


This lesson discusses how to start practicing an underrated guitar exercise that if done in the way that I’m going to show you, will get you a lot more than you’d expect, (with regard to learning about chords, scales, keys and song writing).

In fact, this exercise is so valuable that I teach it to every one of my private students!

What this exercise focuses on is how to get into the development of gaining a much better understanding about; musical keys and how to take them beyond the scale, and then go past how a key is harmonized, and then head straight into applying all of that information to start making music.

Let’s jump into this by building our scale on the neck first… and we’ll do this by using a key that we don’t use very often for theory exercises.

We’re going to use the key that has 2 sharps (“F# and C#”) it’s the key of, “D Major.”

Let’s begin by learning an open position pattern for the scale of “D” Major. It’s going to be built between the 4th to the 2nd guitar strings and it sits upon the guitar fingerboard like this…

This scales notes are; 
D, E, F#, G, A, B, C#, D

Now that you have a scale pattern that you’ve learned to play on the neck for “D” Major scale, let’s start learning how to build the key of “D” Major’s diatonic harmony.

Diatonic harmony, (in case you’ve never learned this stuff), refers to the chords that exists within a key center.

Our key is “D” Major, so our Diatonic Harmony consists of chords that use the tones of the “D” Major Scale and stack scale degrees in 3rd intervals to create the keys seven chord types built off of each scale step.

Here are all of the Diatonic Chords found in the key of “D” Major.

Now that we’ve worked through the key signature, along with establishing the scale for this key of “D Major” plus we’ve worked through the harmony, our next step is to apply an simple melodic statement, (so that we can take our key and have it actually become something musical).

Let’s get into the melodic direction by first exploring a simple melodic idea that I’ve composed for you.

After learning the first idea, we’ll take the melodic idea across the Diatonic Chords that are found inside the key of, “D Major.”

This melodic statement is only an example. You can try it, modify it, make one up of all your own. 

It doesn’t matter, the important thing is that you learn how much fun it can be to apply ideas like this across any group of chords from any key you like.

So, learn the melodic statement I’ve made up for the lesson... Play it and teach it to someone else, then practice modifying how it can flow across any entire key’s diatonic harmony.

The idea of learning how to play a scale in the open position isn’t anything complex. All it takes is a basic level of picking technique and you’ll have it together in no time.

The idea that I’ve presented here in this lesson is a really valuable one because it allows for you to take that scale much further and relate it directly to all of the chords that are a part of the key signature.

We used the key of “D Major” in our example, and we learned how that scale can become a series of chords within that key.

Then, we went full-circle back to the scale (and with a very basic melodic statement), we found out that a song can quickly get composed out of the scale’s chords combined with the scales notes.

What’s really cool about this exercise is that you can do this with any key, and this type of practice is very melodic. So, build more scales, construct those diatonic harmonies, and make up some of your own original short melodies. It’s tons of fun and it’s a very musical guitar exercise!



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The Average Guitarist NEVER Gets This Right

Would you like to be able to play any type of rhythm by simply narrowing your focus and applying a pin-point beat selection process across every groove? Of course you would! ...Once you start using the method I'm about to show you, you'll broaden the way your selective awareness sees you through a groove and you'll broaden your understanding for every new rhythm (no matter how complex)... 

Using this system will allow you to gain a much higher level of ability, and you'll start analyzing rhythms with a much higher degree of focus.

Then, when you finally start performing each new groove you'll have the skill to learn parts much easier with better feel.

In this video, I'll show you how a simple idea of "rhythmic association" that can work wonders for being able to create a much higher level of awareness for your sense of rhythm.

All you'll need to do is be willing to perform a few extra stages of preparation and association prior to playing any new groove that you encounter.


Today we’re going to talk about rhythm playing with a focus on why so many guitar students can never seem to get some of the most popular rhythms correct. 

In this post we’ll focus on a couple of rhythms that always seem to cause some of the greatest difficulty. The first of these will the Blues, “Shuffle.”

A lot of guitar players tend to have trouble when it comes to developing a good understanding for playing one of the most common and important rhythms found in Blues, the “Shuffle Rhythm.”

The "Shuffle" rhythm takes a standard 8th-note triplet and changes it to where the three eighth-notes that are under the triplet symbol get modified to create a quarter-note with an eighth-note under the triplet sub-division.

Standard Triplet:

Modified "Shuffle" Rhythm:

When this modification to the standard triplet occurs, we establish what is known as the "Shuffle." The attacks for the shuffle feel are struck upon the first and final notes of the triplet figure.

For a lot of guitar students – developing the feel of the “Shuffle Rhythm,” can be a really difficult one to nail down and if you’re one of those people, then I have a fantastic solution for you that will get you performing the Shuffle Feel in no time flat.

This method is based around assigning a “count within the beat” across the full measure. This way, you’ll know (with pin-point accuracy) exactly where to assign each attack for perfectly playing the shuffle rhythm every time.

The method that we’re going to use (to help you develop the shuffle feel), involves applying the time signature of 12/8 as a way to help better more accurately understand exactly where you’ll need to attack each beat in order to create the shuffle.

12/8 time applies 12 eighth-notes across each measure. They’re generally notated on the staff as four groups of three.

One Measure of 12/8 Time:

By placing our attack on the first note of the group of three, along with the last note, we end up with the feel of the shuffle.

12/8 Shuffle Practice:

Practice doing the 12/8 Shuffle practice routine by focusing on your attacks on the first and third beats, along with the seventh and ninth. Study the groove shown below...

If you practice using this approach, you will have some space in between each shuffle idea and it will generate a shuffle that (if it were in common 4/4 time) would place the groove on the beats of one and three in common time.

Another common rhythm that can be difficult to develop is the syncopated 16th. With this groove we’ll find the pulse of the beat placed slightly off time. This gives us a groove that can be rather difficult to comprehend.

The best way to deal with these rhythms is to move through a four step process:

STEP 1):
Begin by writing out the count, and determine where each attack falls across the rhythm.

STEP 2).
Practice singing (or scatting) the spots across the beat where the attacks fall.

STEP 3).
Focus on clapping the attacks while counting the time.

STEP 4).
Grab your guitar and play the idea.

By doing this 4-step approach, you’ll develop a lot more clarity for any groove that you need to play.

Your sense of timing and your understanding for where the attacks take place will be more focused.

Also, from doing this, you’ll find it a lot easier to perform any type of complex rhythm.

Syncopated 16th grooves are mostly found in; funk, soul, hip-hop, smooth-jazz and RandB grooves. So, let’s study a syncopated example that fits with those styles.

We’ll organize the beat, apply some scat singing to the idea, and when everything makes sense, we’ll go ahead and play the example on guitar.

First, let’s do some analysis of this rhythm that I have composed for you. The groove that we have here is based upon scattered 16th-notes in common time.

Syncopated 16th Example:

At first glance the groove might seem a little overwhelming with how broken the rhythm appears across the measure. But, remember, the trick is to first organize the structure of the grooves time and feel.

STEP 1).
Organize the Time and the Count:

STEP 2).
Scat Sing the Groove 

Next, you'll want to focus on exactly where the attacks need to fall across the measure by scat singing the attacks along with counting them in your head.Be sure to use a metronome while practicing this.

STEP 3).
Clap and Count the Beat of the Groove

Next we’ll get focused on clapping the attacks while counting the time. Each attack will fall upon the exact same places as where we were scat-singing.

STEP 4).
Play the Part on Guitar
Now that we’ve organized the beats, and we’ve nailed down all the attacks through both scat-singing and counting with clapping, we’re ready to take this groove onto the guitar.

When you do this, make sure that you are singing the part to yourself at the same time as you’re playing it.

This technique (of hearing it in your head), will give you the best internal idea for the part and in the end make it a lot easier to perform.

Sometimes the first attempts that we make when trying to play through a new rhythm idea on guitar can seem as if it’s nearly impossible to fully comprehend exactly how to play the rhythm.

Often times, we can come pretty close to jamming on the rhythm in the correct way, but the odds are we’ll have a few problems until reaching perfection with the groove.

The first step with learning any new rhythm is to properly associate it. You probably noticed that right away when we worked on the Shuffle Rhythm.

Once the "Shuffle," was associated to 12/8 time, the idea of where to hit the beat became a lot easier, and the Shuffle became easier to understand too.

Syncopated sixteenth’s are more complex, but since they show up in a lot of styles, you’ll definitely need to practice applying that 4-step plan I gave you. That way you'll know how to become more capable with those more complex rhythms.

Over time, with exposure and with practice, you’ll find that learning complex rhythms will only get easier and easier to do.



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If You're a Guitar Player Over 30 Watch This Video!

There are practice mistakes that can affect anyone of any age when studying guitar. And then, there are those that are even worse when you get to be over 30 years old. In this video, I’m going to discuss the biggest guitar practice mistakes that you can make and how they are amplified when you get to be a little older...

One of the most often over-looked areas of studying a musical instrument is the student’s age. Depending upon how old you are, it’s quite likely that there’s going to be a different mind-set across the age spectrum. 

With this change in mind-set comes the consideration of a different approach when it comes to practicing guitar. Students who are 13 or 23 generally have a different range of goals compared to students who are 33 - 53, 63 or 73.

In this post I want to spend some time discussing the differences that I’ve noticed over all my years teaching guitar to players of all age classes. 

We’ll explore what it is that a guitar student who is over 30 might want to consider with respect to their attitude and their practice time.

There’s definitely a different mindset as we get on with age and so the approach to certain practice concepts might need to be considered a little more carefully.


The well-known Irish play-right, “Oscar Wilde” famously said that, “With Age, Comes Wisdom.” 

Now, that is a good statement, but what I’ve also realized is that with age also comes a lot more critical, “self-analysis,” when learning to play the guitar, (and in a lot of other areas as well).

But, the thing that you need to keep in mind here is that with age also comes a chance to become far more organized with your studies, (at least - more than a guitar student who’s younger might be).

Think about it like this, when you’re in those teenage years, or even in your 20’s there’s generally a lot less time management that’s going on with all of the hours in your day. But, as you get older, you’ll pay a lot more respect to the time that you do have, along with what you’re doing in it.

Schedule Time and Keep a Log
Time management will be a huge advantage for you when it comes down to organizing your practice time. 

So, make sure that you use this to your advantage. Schedule your practice time and keep a log of what you’re goals are for the hours that you do have. Use a Practice Schedule and apply your time in the most effective way. 

You Might Be You're Own Worst Critic
I’ve certainly noticed that older students are far more critical about themselves, and I also have seen older students tend to be a lot harder on their progress due to more intense, “self-analysis.”

As we get older, we tend to get far more concerned with “how we’re doing,” compared to a younger guitar player. 

This is often a really big issue, because anytime a student over-analyzes their progress, it’s usually for the worse, rather than for the better.

Now, this whole ‘over-analysis’ thing can end up causing some very difficult psychological effects for players to manage. 

And, you should manage them, because it can slow your learning curve.

But, there is a solution. And, it involves a four-step system:

This system is based upon your Attitude, combined with the constant pursuit of new knowledge. After that then comes the practice, ( a lot of it).

When combined, all together these three give you the performance that you’re after. 

The end goal is to reach the top of your game, which is the SKILL that you’ll need to be able to perform ideas at peak capacity! 

What Appeals to You?
The next idea that guitar students over 30 might wish to consider focusing on is the idea of their practice time as a time that they can zero in on what appeals to them the most as guitar students.

Think of it like this, when a student is a teenager (or in their 20’s), if they’re not 100% gung-ho and totally committed to becoming career musicians, then they’re generally just playing for fun and recreation.

Most of the time, their focus is placed upon learning how to play songs. And, that’s fine. There’s nothing wrong with that. But, remember, “With Age, Comes Wisdom.” 

And, as an older student of the guitar your goals will quite likely be focused in a different way.

As an older student, you'll likely consider your practice of guitar more as if it were an investment and as with any investment; you’ll want to get the most out of what you’re putting into it.

So, this will generally mean that as an older more mature student of guitar, you’ll probably want a plan of action when it comes to practicing. 

And, this will quite likely involve using a guitar method. One that covers material in a structured and organized way. You’ll want to make the most of your time and get the most out of your investment.

Well, up till now, you’ve probably noticed that “time” has been a pretty big theme of this discussion. 

And, that’s because younger players tend to rarely concern themselves (all that much), with time-frames.

A young teen or twenty-something player will be more likely to practice guitar for a while, and then they might sit around on social media, they jump over to the couch and play a few video games, they might go out for a coffee, or a movie with their friends and basically, time is their own.

But, when you’re older and you have more involved business commitments and a family, kids, grand-kids and all that… time becomes a lot more of a consideration. 

And, this is why it can be incredibly beneficial to work through every day’s practice session broken up into time frames.

Time frame management of your study topics will allow you to hit way more information and get a lot more done. 

I personally use a time-frame system that includes subjects I’m studying, the length of time I want to devote to each topic, the number of the days of the week I plan on working.

I track Tempo of each topic, I factor in my breaks for keeping my mind fresh, and I make sure that I know my subjects well enough to make a recording.

I also already know by now, that most more complex ideas that I’m working on will need at least 3-4 weeks to fully develop, so I always factor that aspect into my practice schedule as well. 

For many of you guitar students out there, over the age of 30 or 40 (or even if you’re in your 50’s or your 60’s), it’s important to understand that you’re going to have different life-styles and different levels of focus when it comes to practicing guitar.

You’ll have different commitments, there’s a possible factor of having things that affect your health. That might be something to consider, you could have concentration problems that you know you’re dealing with, or even other physical limitations.

Whatever, it is, you need to take stock of your life and your health, because as you get older they affect your ability to set aside the time that you need for practicing guitar the right way.

Even though it would be great if we could stay young forever, unfortunately that’s not a possibility. We all grow older and as the legendary American actress Betty Davis was famously quoted as saying, “Growing Old Ain’t for Sissies.”

So, take into consideration these tips I’ve shared in this discussion and use them to create a better approach to practice. One that fits your age and lifestyle in the best possible way.



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