Play This Riff for 1 min. and See Why it's so Much FUN!

If you want a fun addictive guitar exercise that's also incredibly melodic to play, (an exercise that will have you spending hours in a day creating awesome riffs), then you have to watch this video. That is not some kind of a joke by any means. This exercise is easy and it's a TON of FUN...

The exercise I'm talking about is called an open string drone, and it's not only great fun, but it's also a great way to invent cool sounding riffs, (plus it's also excellent for learning your key signatures and your scales). What could be better!

If you are able to commit to a consistent (but short effort), with this drone string exercise, you will be amazed at how much better your knowledge of musical keys as well as, all your scales will become.

 In just a short period of time you'll be able to combine more focused attention to lateral scales, key signature theory, (even modes), along with having tons of fun being musically creative... What could be better.


This lesson hits the topic of drone string playing. Performing riffs using an open drone string can be a ton of fun. And, it can be great for your scale and key practice as well.

Doing open string drone riffs involves keeping a constant open low string ringing while playing scale ideas above it.

Inventing your own original drone-riffs using open strings is not only great for creativity and musicianship, but it also works out very well for including all kinds of other guitar playing and music theory skills into your studies too.

It is fantastic for guitar players who are still learning their scales, learning Modes, learning how to hear the sound of key signatures, and learning the neck.

Plus, drone riffs are also great for learning about general harmony, which when you add it all up makes this exercise rank as one of the best exercises that you can practice.

Let’s get things started with a quick explanation about what exactly that it is we are doing when we establish open string drone riffs on the guitar.

When our guitar is tuned to standard tuning, (E, A, D, G, B, E), we have low open strings of the “6th-string “E,” the 5th-string, “A” and the open 4th-string of “D.” This means that we can create Major or Minor tonality sound that is based upon any one of those open strings.

Those open string sounds can then be combined with performing the scale that we want to associate to the open string.

For example, let’s say that we take the open 4th string “D” and we simply play the open “D” string underneath the notes of the “D Major” scale based upon our open 3rd-string. We’d end up with this…

Example 1).
Open "D" drone with  "D" Major Scale

This "drone" sound is obviously a lot of fun to riff out on guitar. It produces simple yet melodic 2-note harmony, and if you’re a student who’s new to learning scales, this will go a long way in helping you understand the notes of a scale on the neck.

But, we’re certainly not done! In fact, we’ve only just started with this unique sound of playing drone string ideas. Let’s add a secondary note from the key of “D Major” into the mix and we’ll set out to build another layer of harmony.

When we take our key of “D Major” (3rd-string scale from the first exercise), and we add on more notes from the “D Major” scale that exist on the next guitar string, (for this example, it’ll be the 2nd-string), what happens is that we end up harmonizing the 2nd and 3rd guitar strings into small 2-note chords performed under our 4th-string open “D” drone.

Let me play this for you so that you can hear how this gets organized along the span of the neck. Since this idea is very simple, you can learn it quickly and start jamming riffs with it right away. Here’s how it all works.

Example 2).
Open "D" 4th-string drone with harmonized "D" Major Scale
Key of "D" Major sound

Before we move into a brand new concept with our drone string practice, I wanted to mention that you could certainly move beyond the 2-note chord sounds from our previous example and add a third tone into the mix.

Adding a 3rd tone (by harmonizing our upper-string scale into dyads), would create a larger sound above the open 4th-string drone note of “D.”

What do next involves opening up a whole new sound using this Drone approach, and what I’m talking about involves the world of “Modal” playing.

Before we get started, I would like to mention that even if modes are a topic that you really don’t comprehend right now, there’s no need to be concerned at this point.

In our next example all we’re going to do is add the 5th-string open underneath the “D” Major scale notes found upon the 3rd-string.

At home, (as you study and expand upon this approach), you can try including any open string that you want, with any scale you want played above it.

If you have some basic theory knowledge, try to use whatever theory knowledge that you do understand right now to figure out the mode that is being performed. Otherwise, there's no reason to worry about any advanced music theory at this point.

Basically, if you don’t know what mode is being played, then just have fun performing the scales and playing the drone note underneath. Instead, focus on making some nice music with what gets created out of the result of doing this.

So, with that said, let’s check out what it sounds like to have a 5th-string open “A” note played under a 3rd-string “D Major” scale and create Mixolydian mode.

What we'll do is keep our “D Major” scale off of that 3rd-string for now, but underneath it, we’ll add an open 5th-String “A” to create the sound of “A Mixolydian,” mode.

Example 3).
Open "A" 5th-string drone with harmonized "D" Major Scale
Result: "A Mixolydian"

Let’s take our Modal approach even one step further by returning to the sound of our two-note “D” major scale harmony. But this time, we’ll add in our 6th guitar string’s open “E” to establish a brand new sound for the mode of “E” Dorian!

If we include the low 6th-string open “E” in the bass as a drone note, and then perform the sounds of the “D Major” scale above that open string, we end up with the modal effect of “E” Dorian. Here’s what that sounds like with those Two-note chord patterns we had just learned from within our second example.

Example 4).
Open "E" 6th-string drone with harmonized "D" Major Scale
Result: "E Dorian"

Now you have some practice with the sound of these different drone string approaches to using the “D Major” scale drone riffs, and, you also understand how to add a series of small 2-note chords to create an even larger harmony.

During the lesson we’ve also introduced how to make up some different modal effects as well. So, at this point it’s time for you to go and put all of this information to good use.

Carry on with these ideas and start inventing your own original open string drone note sounds.

It's completely up to you where to go from here. Your next move could be something simple like using the key of “A” and the key of “E” with scales performed above the open 5th and open 6th strings.

Most importantly, start taking all of this drone information further into even more directions. For instance, try using a capo on the neck to offer some alternative keys and variations to the open string drone notes.

Plus, we can’t leave out the incredible sound that we would get from tuning the guitar into all kinds of different open tunings. Open string tunings are pretty amazing for this approach, so definitely spend time trying tunings like; "Open D," "Open G," or "Open C."

This approach is not just fun - the best this about it is that you don’t need to train up to a high level of music theory, or posses a crazy technical stage of playing guitar to apply it. All this idea really comes down to - is being creative and having fun!



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3 Exercises for PERFECT Acoustic Intros...

If you are going to do acoustic guitar intro practice then you better make sure it’s as close to perfect as possible. In this video, I’m going to show you 3 perfect acoustic guitar intro exercises that will instantly improve your acoustic intros... 

These ideas will help to work your open string sound, your suspended and extended chords, as well as, your scale and arpeggio lines.

Once you begin putting these ideas to work the exercise selections will offer new concepts that will make a big change to your phrasing, your acoustic style and your overall sound.

Make no mistake, training on these acoustic intros does not have to be a compromise. I’ll show you exactly how to build bigger, better sounding intros regardless of whether you have very much experience or not.


I am happy to bring to you a collection of “Perfect” Acoustic Guitar intro Exercises that you can start doing right away.

These exercises are not only straight-forward to take in and start using, but the best part is that they will expose you to some important acoustic intro playing that will be excellent for helping you develop sounds that apply things like; 

  • Lush open string ideas
  • New ways to generate extended harmony
Plus we’ll also cover some ways of adding scale and arpeggio filler lines that work great for new ideas, and they will go a long way to help lead you toward some really cool sounds for your intro parts.

The first idea that I want to cover involves adding in open strings around smaller fretted intervals along the span of the guitar neck.

Now, there really are no concrete rules to doing this (other than, if… ‘what you establish’ as interval shapes sounds really terrible, maybe you might want to shift up or down a few frets until you discover an interval pattern that does work well against your selected open strings).

Of course, theoretically, you’ll want to keep in mind that when you work within key signatures that have fewer sharps or flats – those keys will offer you more open string possibilities.

Let's run through an example of doing an exercise like this.

I’ve taken a small 2-note “A Minor” interval in 5th position and added - open 5th and open 2nd strings around the interval. Plus, I’ve included a small 2-note “C major” shape above it - in 9th position.

After that, to fill up the impact of those sounds, I’ve also got an open “G Major” chord, as well as, another open “C” and an open “D” harmony as well.

Here’s how it all sounds when all of the parts come together as a riff…

click the above image for full-screen

The second “acoustic guitar intro exercise” that I have for you works around planning out the application of extended and suspended chords.

These colors of harmony are quite rich, and when they get used within an intro, they work fantastic for establishing a dreamy – lush musical effect that will help grab the attention of your listener.

This will help bring the listener into a particular mood for the piece of music that you’re composing. Now, I’ve created an example for you to try that uses some suspended 2nd and suspended 4th chords along with an extended chord of Major 6th.

This exercise begins from a 5th position “D” suspended 2nd chord, and that chord is lasting for the entire measure. The next measure is taking us into the sound of an open position “C” suspended 4th that moves out of the suspension into a “C” Major chord within that same bar of music.

In the 3rd measure, we have an “F” major 6 chord show up with an arpeggiated play through and that chord takes us into our final measure where we have a “Bb” suspended 4th chord moving over into a “Bb” major barre chord.

Here’s how the entire progression sounds when everything comes together.

click the above image for full-screen

The 3rd exercise that I have for you involves including the sound of passing lines built from scales and arpeggios that are related to the key signature of the underlying harmony.

I’ve created an example for you that demonstrates how to approach this type of an exercise. The example is in the key of “A Minor” and it works through this type of sound using “A Minor” scales and some arpeggios that are related to the key.

You’ll find this style of intro used a lot. So when you work on exercises that explore this type of sound, you probably won’t find it very difficult to apply this stuff into a composition.

In this phrase, we’re starting out with a sound of just a couple of tones taken out of an open position, “A Minor” chord. From there, we’re applying scale tones from the 2nd position, “A Natural Minor Scale.”

That scale acts as a way to connect up into the next chord which will be highlighted by way of ‘major triad arpeggios’ from the 4th string root to cover a “G and an F” major chord.

The sound of the “A Minor” harmony returns with another scale run in the third measure. And, to wrap up the phrase a couple of 2-note intervals are used to highlight the sounds of a “C Major,” as well as, a “G Major” chord.

Here’s how it sounds when all of the parts come together...

click the above image for full-screen

Spending time to work through these exercises will help you to start toward some very good changes to the way you approach "acoustic guitar intro sections" in your music.

You’ll find that your daily practice in this area will help you with improving your ability to use ideas like; lush open string sound effects, along with extended and suspended chords, plus you'll learn how to begin adding in those single note scale and arpeggio phrases.

These techniques will go a long way toward having major differences occur with respect to your acoustic guitar intro parts.

After a few weeks of doing this, you’ll start noticing some great things start to happen!

If you’d like to learn more about topics like this one and many others, join my members site as a free member and start looking through my, “Guitar Courses.”

I’ve spent over 25 years working with hundreds of guitar students creating thousands of detailed step-by-step guitar lessons for both my website members and my private students.

The result is the most comprehensive guitar course that covers every aspect of beginner to advanced playing ideas to help you improve your playing.

If you join my site as a Premium member, you’ll receive a FREE copy of my popular Guitar Technique eBook.

My Guitar Technique eBook is 28 pages of jam-packed exercises, drills and studies for mastering all of your technical skills at playing Guitar.



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We Used this One Guitar App for 30 Days

Would you like to learn how to build a whole other level of guitar neck awareness? Well, there is a way to help you get better with your note names, with your intervals and even to begin understanding your guitar chords, guitar licks – or basically anything involved with how your notes sit on the neck...

If you want to build a better understanding for notes and intervals all over the neck, then I’m going to ask you to include this one guitar neck web-app into your training for at least 30 days. The best part is the app is 100% FREE to use!

The web-site URL is:

All you’ll need to do is take any shape that you're studying into the Guitar Neck Generator. The shape could be from a chord, a lick, a scale or a riff - it does not matter.

One you've added the notes onto the neck generator, just plot out all their names and intervals onto the fingerboard to learn more about the idea. It's that simple!


This FREE web-app will help you to apply various tools within the work-space and the tools found within the workspace will help you to quickly expand your fret-board knowledge.

In the video, I show you in detail how this one guitar web-app will not only help to increase your understanding of notes and intervals, but you'll also be able to transpose your ideas from the results of the neck generator anywhere along and across the entire fingerboard!

All you need to do is start adding the notes from anything that you are practicing into this Neck Generator and treat it as an exercise.

Use the Neck Generator as a supplement to your daily neck training over the next 30 days and the results will literally blow you away!

The "Guitar Scientist - Neck Generator" is an absolutely fantastic web-based app that was developed by guitarist and web-designer Jay Motta.

His web-site's neck app is without any doubt the best online guitar neck layout application web-site that I’ve ever seen or used!

For most guitar players, we generally start out by learning our chords, our riffs and licks by way of fretting shapes and patterns – or simply put – by just learning where to place our fingers on the neck.

And, while doing that is perfectly fine when you’re just starting out, it unfortunately doesn’t get deep enough into how our licks operate from a more “Guitar Theory” stand-point.

What I mean by that, is we don’t often enough actually learn what the intervals are, or what the note names are.

But, here’s the good news, Jay's web-site, (the “Guitar Scientist”), can take you up into that next level of learning the guitar neck very easily.

And the best part, incredibly enough, this web-site is 100% FREE. No fees to use, no login, no credit-card access!

Seriously, you won’t believe what this site does and all the developer asks for is a voluntary donation (if possible) to be able to help him support the continued expansion of this online interactive guitar neck web-app project.

The Basic Workspace Layout

Now that you have a basic idea for how the web-site works, I’d like to give you some direction for actually using it so that you can get the most out of the tools that it has for you.

I used this web-site myself over the last 30 days with a number of my own students (here in the studio), and I’d like to share with you a few things that I found worked very well when it came to the study of different Guitar Theory ideas. 

The site is excellent for organizing neck topics like; learning chords, understanding scales and licks, and developing fast ways to integrate those ideas directly onto the guitar neck.

Learning a I-IV-V:
I want to begin with something really common, and that is learning the relationship of notes from chords and how they relate back over to the key that you’re playing your song in.

For most guitar students, the chords that they play are fairly isolated. So, the student generally doesn’t know the notes of the chord and they don’t understand how a series of chords will relate back to a key signature.

Let’s use the Neck Generator to take a look at a basic 1-4-5 chord progression in the key of “A Major.”

Chord Functionality in a Progression

Lick and Riff Development:
Another area that students will often have trouble with - is understanding exactly what the notes are for a lick or a riff that they’re practicing.

But, with the Guitar Scientist - Neck Generator you can layout all the tones from any riff or lick and start learning exactly what the notes are that you’re dealing with.

Plus, you can re-locate those notes into other regions and also build other scale patterns that are related to those notes.

Let me demonstrate how easy it is to do something like this with the Neck Generator.

Re-Organizing Scales and Licks

As you can tell, this web-site’s guitar neck generator is really quite amazing for learning notes, learning intervals, transposing guitar lines, and just basically expanding upon any chord or any scale idea that you come up against while learning the guitar.

The Guitar Scientist - Neck Generator can help guitar players to better understand pretty much anything being worked on. Over time, students can more fully comprehend how (whatever it is that’s being practiced), could operate across the entire fingerboard within any musical key on the neck.

When I first discovered this application, (and I started using it with my own students), I just used it as a way to help my students better understand note names as well as note location.

As time went on, I started using it for; intervals, for transposing, and for helping my students better comprehend the way that notes are organized - along with - how valuable it is to always understand the intervals being used to create all of our scales and chord qualities.

It's come to be a "go to" app here at Creative Guitar Studio! Thanks jay, you've build a really fantastic web-app for guitar players world-wide!



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4 Steps to Silky Smooth Melody...

If you want silky smooth melody lines then you need to start by avoiding the common mistakes people make when practicing this area. In this video, I’m going to show you the fastest way to get your melody lines to flow smoothly and the 4 steps that you need to take in order to make sure you don’t get hung up along the way...

Today we’re talking about developing smoother scales, and smoother melodic lines. For most players, this is a priority area that guitar players really want to get better at.

The average guitarist doesn’t just want to have scale knowledge alone. We want that knowledge to translate into smooth melody. But, I’ll tell ya it’s not as easy as it sounds.


When guitarists study the neck and the scale patterns, (along with how all of that information will come together in a smooth way), they quickly realize that there is more going on than just learning a couple of Pentatonic licks, or a few box pattern scale shapes.

Really smooth guitar playing is a combination of four practice concepts that all come together to create a way of playing a melody that is both “smooth” and “seamless.”

The best part is that the overall practice formula for this smooth melody technique can be applied to the performance of any melody that you perform.

STEP 1). 
The first idea I want to discuss is technical control. It’s almost impossible to have smooth playing if your technique is not fully developed.

Achieving this will come down to having a routine that is maintained as a part of your daily practice. Having a solid routine of doing technical drills is what will work for you day by day to improve your technical control.

When developing your technique, use a metronome, and have a series of technical exercises that you do every day for promoting better left and right hand strength and better control.

Learn other techniques as well, like; Hybrid picking, finger-style, and legato. If you’re similar to a lot of players out there and you have weak hands, I have an excellent study to try.

It’s something I learned from guitarist, “Tony MacAlpine,” many years ago. This exercise promotes finger strength, improved legato, and better fretting accuracy.

Here’s how the exercise works...

Legato Study:

Practice Tip:
Move this exercise all over the guitar fingerboard into every location and off of every string set possible.

STEP 2).
The second area has to do with realizing that all melodic and scale training is not the same. If you want smooth sounding scale lines you need to focus on a portion of your daily practice on generating scale patterns across the neck that actually promote those sounds.

This means that you need to practice inventing passages that flow through scale tones horizontally along the fingerboard in very smooth and connected manner.

Achieving this will involve developing scale layouts that connect with longer fret-board lateral ideas and they’ll generally use phrasing tools, like; slides, hammer-ons and pull-offs.

Below is an example of something like this using the, “A Minor” scale…

In position "A Minor" scale pattern:

 Along the neck version of the "A Minor" scale pattern:

Practice Tip:
Learn to re-organize every scale shape that you try on guitar. Test layouts that travel ascending and descending as well as, up the neck (toward the body) and down the neck (to the head-stock).

The 3rd idea involves how you’re performing guitar lines and the mental state that you’re in as you’re playing them.

If you don’t achieve the right mind-set, you’re not going to have the right flow to your sound, (which will affect the end result of how your music comes across to the listener).

Smooth musical flow takes a lot of training and awareness, plus it also involves learning about how other guitar players phrase their lines.

Once you start having this, you can take what you enjoy about every melodic phrase and incorporate those ideas into your own playing - to build your own style.

One of the best things I remember hearing Joe Satriani say is how much he benefited from playing along to drum loops and prior to jumping into a part with the drum beat, how important is was to count in.

This is something that a lot of students don’t do. So, if you’re one of those players who never does a “count into a part,” try this exercise I have for you.


Play the lick below the first time with no count, then play it again with a “count in” to help better connect with the musical feel /flow of the idea.

Example Lick:

Practice Tip:
Learn the lick and then learn to count into the lick performing the part perfectly. Then, use a drum loop to develop the feel for the lick at a higher level. If you do not have a collection of good drum loops, there's a nice free collection available from Goran Grooves.

RECORD YOURSELFThe final area (for working on creating more smooth melodic ideas in your playing), involves learning to develop a phrase over a group of chord changes and then record yourself playing the phrase and then listen back.

This is where a loop pedal might not really be the best recording tool and you may want to instead use some type of Audio Recording Workstation. One of the best free recording workstations out there is called Reaper. (

Reaper is a popular open source recording software that works excellent for doing multi-track recording. And, when you practice doing recording sessions - layering parts will really help a lot with gaining that 3rd person perspective for how good your playing is coming across on the play-back of your work.

Let me help get you started by offering up a chord progression that you can try the recording process with. After learning the progression, you can go ahead and record it.


I also have a short melody for you to try as well. Work on recording the melody (below) once your chord changes are laid down into your multi-track session.


Recording Tip:
Working with recording software (like Reaper) will generally involve purchasing some out-board gear such as microphones, cables, stands and possibly a mixer of some kind. One of the easiest ways to get started is with the Focusrite Scarlett - Audio Interface Bundle. For the price point and quality of this set-up, it really can't be beat!

Now, let’s re-cap what we’ve covered in this lesson. The first step to smooth playing is obviously to make sure that you’re constantly working on your technique.

Good smooth technique is critical to having good smooth sound.

Next, is to practice re-organizing the basic in position scales (that you learn from most text-books out there), and change them over to scales that operate in a more horizontal way.

Third, is to get into the right mindset for the music. Working with a drum loop and counting in is an excellent way to do this since your mindset for musical feel is so closely tied to your connection to rhythm.

And, finally, creating recording sessions in a multi-track environment and playing them back for a new perspective of your own playing is one of the most enlightening things you can do for your guitar skills.

All too often students will think that their playing is coming across one way, only to listen back to a recording of themselves and realize that they need to revisit their sound in some other way.

It’s all about tightening up and coming together smoother on those recordings. Doing that work is absolutely fantastic for your smoothness with melodic lines!



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