RHYTHM GUITAR: Double-Stops & Single Note Melody

In this rhythm guitar series video lesson I explain the use of two-note chords, (known as Double-Stops & also sometimes called Dyads), and I discuss how to combine them with single note melody lines to create interesting supplemental guitar parts.

This approach is great if you are a second or third guitarist in a band or if you are doing recording and want to loayer additional guitar parts on top of pre-existing tracks.

Handout materials, as well as, jam track MP3's (2 MP3's) are available from off of my website, just follow the link below:
Double-Stops & Single Note Melody

God Bless Ye Merry Gentleman - Christmas Carol Guitar Lesson

In this video lesson I explain how advanced beginner's and intermediate students alike can develop a straight forward arrangement of the classic Christmas carol, "God Bless Ye Merry Gentleman."

For a FREE chart and further information please follow the link below to my website:
God Bless Ye Merry Gentleman

Beginner Level: Rhythm Guitar Basics - Part 1

Part One of this video lesson covers the basics of quarter-note and eighth-note rhythms. The focus is simple strum patterns. Part two of this Rhythm Guitar Series (available off of the Creative Guitar Studio website), examines syncopation and anticipation in rhythmic feel. If these terms are unfamiliar to you; Syncopation is the accenting of weaker up-beats. And Anticipation, is the act of placing a chord just before where you would expect to hear it.

For the complete handout package, and the 9.5 min. Part-2 video please follow the link below:
Rhythm Guitar Basics - Part 2

Deck the Halls - Christmas Carol Guitar Lesson

The famous Christmas Carol, "Deck the Halls."

In this video lesson Andrew explains how advanced beginner's and intermediate students alike can develop a straight forward arrangement of the classic Christmas carol, "Deck the Halls."

The Tab for this lesson is available on our website, just follow the link below:
Deck the Halls - Christmas Carol Guitar Lesson

Understanding Jazz Harmony - Part Two

Developing Lines for the II, V, I Progression:

Lines can be established for this series of chord changes based upon either scales or arpeggios.

The II chord in Major key jazz turnarounds is "Minor 7th." The V chord is "Dominant 7th." By performing the Dorian Mode off of the root of the two-chord we can achieve a solid selection of tones for covering these changes. Another option is covering the changes with arpeggios.

In minor keys we see a II chord showing up as "Minor 7 (b5)" and the V chord being "Dominant 7th." In this tonality we can cover these changes with the "Harmonic Minor" scale built off of the root of the "I" which we resolve toward. As with the Major key "II - V" we may also cover these chords with the appropriate arpeggios.

An excellent video I would highly suggest on this subject is by, "Jimmy Bruno." It is called; "No Nonsense Jazz Guitar."

O Christmas Tree - Christmas Carol Guitar Lesson

Andrew Wasson of Creative Guitar Studio discusses the famous carol, "O Christmas Tree."

In this video lesson Andrew explains how advanced beginner's and intermediate students alike can develop a straight forward arrangement of the classic Christmas carol, "O Christmas Tree."

Understanding Jazz Harmony - Part One

Analysis of the II V I Progression:

The chord movement known as the; "two," "five," "one," is by far the most popular jazz chord movement out there. Most of the jazz standards contain this cycle of chords. It's popularity is on the same level as the 12-Bar Blues set of chord changes.

To fully understand this concept we must develop a firm grasp of the notes found in each chord and how they operate reflecting the strength of the resolution from the "two," to the, "four," and finally to the home chord, (the, "one").

Andrew Wasson of Creative Guitar Studio discusses this chord movement strategy in detail in this first video on the chord movement of the popular, "II," "V," "I," jazz chord progression.

An excellent book I would highly recommend on this topic is; "The Jazz Theory Book," by Mark Levine. It is a solid resource for all improvising musicians regardless of instrument or stylistic direction.

Silent Night - Christmas Carol Guitar Lesson

Christmas Carol Guitar Lesson with Andrew Wasson from Creative Guitar Studio.

In this video lesson Andrew explains how advanced beginner's and intermediate students alike can develop a straight forward arrangement of the classic Christmas carol, "Silent Night."

Get the Tab for this lesson on our website:
Creative Guitar Studio Christmas Silent Night

How to Play Slide Guitar

Slide guitar playing is a great way to introduce a very hip tone into your style. Whether you choose a glass or metal slide, the color of this sound is something that can't be overlooked. Often at Creative Guitar Studio student's will ask which slide they should begin with; i.e., glass or metal. It is a decision that lies with the player. Both have their unique tonal properties. And, only after trying both will a guitarist be able to truly make their decision.

Luckily, slides are inexpensive to purchase. So, buy a few types and see what you prefer. I normally suggest that players new to slide try a short glass slide with a thick sidewall. Jim Dunlop company makes a nice one; the short - small glass pyrex (212). Metal slides tend to be heavier and might work best for the middle and ring fingers for most guitarists. Glass is far lighter and will work better with the pinky for most folks.

To develop the slide technique players need to decide upon which finger they prefer placing the slide. Test all fingers. Many players have a misconception walking into playing with a slide that they "must" use the slide on one particular finger. This is simply not the case. Any finger (aside from index) should do. Bonnie Raitt & Joe Walsh play slide with it on their middle fingers; Duane Allman & Derek Trucks use their ring; Sonny Landreth, Johnny Winter and Ry Cooder all play slide using their pinky fingers. So, test and see what works best.

Watch the video lesson for a whole host of other slide details, tricks and tips!

Lydian Mode: Part 1 - Harmony Analysis

The scale structure and harmonic analysis of the Lydian Mode:

Lydian is a seven tone scale found by creating tonic from the basic major scales' fourth degree. The result when analyzed, is a major tonality scale with a raised 4th step.

The 4th degree acts to produce a good deal of unstability in the scales structure. This can result in some difficulty for those new to the scales' sound in terms of resolving to tonic. The emotional effect of Lydian is often referred to as a, "moving away," feeling. This effect can take considerable time and practice to master.

Guitarist Joe Satriani is often credited with masterful use of the Lydian mode in his songwriting. His piece, "Flying in a Blue Dream," employs the use of Lydian mode from the outset of the song. Other pieces using Lydian mode include; "Maria," by Leonard Bernstein and, "Here Comes My Girl," by Tom Petty.

Guitar String Bending Technique

This week a viewer has a question about string bending technique...

"I looked through all of your videos and could not find one about bending. Id like to see you do a video all about bending technique."
Doug - San Diego, CA. U.S.A.

Bending guitar strings with excellent technique, style and accuracy involves work on three important areas:

1). Bend Types: There are two categories here; Standard Bends and Pre-Bends. Each category has sub-categories, such as, (but not limited to), sustain and release concepts.

2). Pitch Accuracy: Bending a note to a wrong note is still a wrong note. However, tweaking notes out of pitch for short durations, (as in; 1/4 or 3/4 increments), can yield very interesting effects.

3). Practice Exercises: In order to achieve great results with bending, players need to practice various bend styles as well as, pitch accuracy.

The instructional video contains solid explanations of all of the above points.

Enjoy & Please consider following my Blog!
- Andrew Wasson

Guitar Theory: Voice Leading & Chord Inversions - Part 2

In this second follow-up video to, "Music Theory: Chord Inversions," we will examine the actual use of inversions. This concept is generally reffered to as, "Voice Leading."

VOICE LEADING is the study of smooth chord connection and melodic bass lines. It is called voice leading, due to the fact that, just as in music for the voice, the individual lines, (or voices), of a harmony of a composition can lead, (or connect), smoothly by way of the nearest available tone.

Music Theory: Chord Inversions - Part 1

There are five important concepts involving the proper learning of chord inversions, they are;
1). VOICING: The arrangement of the notes of a chord in vertical order above the bass note.
2). CHORD INVERSION: Voicing a chord tone other than the root in the bass.
   a). ROOT POSITION: The voicing of a chord with the ROOT as the lowest tone (in the bass).
   b). FIRST INVERSION: A chord with the THIRD in the bass.
   c). SECOND INVERSION: A chord with the FIFTH in the bass.
4). HOW TO FIND ROOT POSITION OF AN INVERTED CHORD: To nd the root of an inverted chord when written on the staff you must rearrange the notes until they are stacked in 3rd intervals. The lowest note will be the root.
5). SLASH CHORDS: In modern musical notation, inverted chords are represented by the symbol, known as a slash chord.

Tapping Guitar Technique (Two-Hand)

Andrew Wasson of Creative Guitar goes over the two-hand tapping guitar technique. Tapping usually incorporates pull-offs or hammer-ons, where the fingers of the fretting hand will play a sequence of notes in synchronization with the other hand (tapping hand).

The technique is often associated with Eddie Van Halen and his songs "Erruption" and "Hot for Teacher." Although many other styles of guitarists use this technique (including Acoustic players) it is mostly considered and associated with Rock guitar. And, it is almost always seen performed on an electric guitar with distortion.

Restringing an Acoustic Guitar

Andrew Wasson from Creative Guitar Studio walks viewers through the removal and replacement of the strings on an acoustic steel string guitar.

Necessary Workshop products Include the Following:
Steel Wool & Woodwind Bore Oil

Bass Guitar Lesson: Part 2

This lesson will help guitarists new to the world of bass and beginner to intermediate bass players perfect better plucking hand technique.

Guest instructor, "Steve Silver," discusses practice exercises for alternate finger picking development, double-stop and chord playing, as well as, Slap/Pop bass technique in the style of Victor Wooten.

Songwriting Series - Part 3

In this video Andrew examines the solo composition concepts that can help guitarists create solid guitar solo sections in their songs.

To download a FREE jam-track of this songwriting example song's solo section, please follow the link below:

Songwriting Series - Part 2

This lesson continues our songwriting series covering the analysis of various songwriting ideas used to create a typical pop/rock song.

In this video Andrew examines the scales that can help create strong melody lines for vocals or instrumental use.

To download an MP3 Jam Track for practicing the construction of your melodies, follow the link below:

Songwriting Series - Part One

This video begins a three part series covering the analysis of various songwriting ideas used to create a pop/rock song.

The example piece was written by Andrew for the instructional series and contains several sections in it's layout.

In this video Andrew examines the songs key signature, use of harmony and the layout of harmony through the various sections of the piece.

To download a Powertab chart for this video lesson, follow the link below:

Guitar Technique: Harmonized Melodic Lines

To Download the FREE jamtrack and Powertab file follow the link below:

The act of harmonizing a melody is not at all difficult to do once you are aware of a few basic concepts.

1). Guitar players will need to know their key signatures, as well as the notes found in scales associated with the basic major and natural minor. These other scales include, but are not limited to the modes and the other common forms of minor; including the Harmonic and Melodic minor scales.

2). Learning the shapes of the various scales on the fingerboard is also quite an integral element of harmonizing melody lines. This knowledge allows the guitarist to be able to trace the interval of the harmony being followed. For example; if the guitarist wanted to track a series of third intervals through a key, the speed with which this could be accomplished would mostly be dependent upon their knowledge of scales on the neck.

3). Aside from a solid understanding of the full scale patterns, players must also understand individual interval shapes. The various shapes for 3rds, 5ths, 4ths, and octaves are quite similar around the fingerboard. However, new patterns are present between strings three and two. This is due to how the guitar is tuned and how the intervals alter between these strings.

To develop the ability to harmonize melodies is an important musical concept for guitarists to master. Obviously the key to success is practice, so download and study the examples below. Most importantly, write a melody of your own and work out a harmonized line. You might also like to consider recording it and composing an alternate interval idea to complement the primary and secondary lines.

Guitar Technique: How to Practice Scales

To download the Handout and a FREE MP3 Jam Track simply follow the link below:
How To Practice Scales:
STEP 1). I strongly suggest starting with a 4-5 day practice plan. Each day work on new keys and study the scales all over the fingerboard.

STEP 2). Memorize the layout of the scales pattern. Get the scale up to a level where you do not need to look at your handout papers.

STEP 3). After memorizing the scale, turn on a metronome. Work through several durations such as; Eighth's, Sixteenth's and Triplet variations. Constantly turn the metronome faster to improve your technique.

STEP 4). Move along the fingerboard up one shape and down the other. This combined verticle and horizontal practice will produce fantastic results when you turn your focus toward improvising and composing.

STEP 5). Apply scale sequencing to the scale shapes.

STEP 6). Work on creating melody with jam tracks.

STEP 7). Study the Pentatonic and Arpeggio shapes along with scales.

MUSIC THEORY: Understanding Key Signatures

When musicians talk of scales, or even a piece of music as being in a certain key; i.e., this song is in the key of, F Major... they are defining the key signature and tonality off of the tonic note, (the, tonic, is the key note of a scale), and the specific notes (and to a lesser extent the chords), found within the piece. The altered tones found in the scale are the signature, the tonality is the key's center, (or Key Center).

For example:
If we say a certain melody is in the key of
G Major, then the melody is made up
of notes from the, G Major, scale;
G, A, B, C, D, E, F#.

The tonic note, (or first note - key note), of the scale is; G, but the key center is G Major.

Key signatures are given at the beginning of a piece of music. They are shown as the appropriate sharps or flats on the staff for the prescribed key. The sharps and flats are indicated between the clef and time signature. When placed on the staff in this manner we call this the, Key Signature.

For more details on this post (including a FREE handout) follow the link below and visit the Creative Guitar Studio website for this lesson plan:


Andrew Wasson of Creative Guitar Studio answer's a viewers question...

"I'm bored of the chords I know. I started doing a little research on chords and I found out you could play any one chord all over the neck. Then, I ran into something called The, CAGED," system and for the life of me, I cannot find a video lesson that explains it thoroughly.

I was wondering if you could do something on that topic. I'm sure many people would find this information very helpful, along with myself."

Thanks in advance,
Dan - Allentown, PA.

The "C.A.G.E.D. System" addresses the idea of how a set of five open position chords (many guitarists learn early on in their playing days) can be re-fingered and then moved-out along the entire fingerboard. This creates a series of chords based upon the originals which are completely movable.

An important second step with this idea is to examine how octaves operate inside these chord types. Once a student can understand how the octaves lay themselves out, then students can begin practice of scales and arpeggios as well as other types of chords using the framework initially established with the learning of the C.A.G.E.D. System.

- Andrew Wasson
Creative Guitar Studio

Comping & Hybrid Picking Rhythm Guitar Techniques

Q: "I have played guitar for 3 years and strumming with a pick is all that I mainly do when it comes to the playing hand. I have tried strumming with my fingers but, I prefer a pick. I keep hearing of two techniques that do not make sense to me and none of my friends who play guitar around where I live know much about them, because they all do not use a pick.

The techniques are called the, Hybrid technique, and the, Comping technique. I have read a few things online and watched a few YouTube videos about each one, but since I trust your knowledge and teaching abilities above most others, (because you went to G.I.T.), I would really like to hear you explain each one of these in a video."

Thank you very much,
Hector - Cordoba, Argentina

A: It is important to take a good look at the techniques of Comping and Hybrid Picking together, since the two techniques play off of other. Plenty of demonstrations as well as practice exercises are discussed in my 17 min. video guitar lesson.

The comping technique has to do with accompaniment rhythm guitar. Made popular by jazz guitar players performing typical chord progressions that are encountered in most jazz tunes.

When it comes to applications around Rhythm Guitar the Hybrid Picking technique works extremely well to fill in melodic statements during comping of the accompaniment performance of rhythm guitarists. The Hybrid approach also offers double-duty since it has amazing applications for very fast lines (that would sometimes be next to impossible to perform by flat-pick alone).

- Andrew Wasson

Guitar Technique: String Skipping

Andrew Wasson of Creative Guitar Studio answers a viewers question...

From Mark: YouTuber; soblindwhobuddy

Q: "Would you be able to do a video on string skipping like the sweep picking video, (which I found incredibly helpful). I know there are other people with string skipping videos on you tube but the way you do your lessons, they always come across really well."

Kind regards,
Mark U.K.

A:  When it comes to this technique I actually think of it in two different ways...

I think of, "String Crossing Technique," as going between two different strings, while performing non-repetitive melodic lines.

I think of, "String Skipping Technique," as performing a repetitive pattern of notes for a riff in a song's section, (intro., verse or chorus melody. i.e., "Sweet Child of Mine").

The video lesson contains detailed information along with close-up views to help students better understand this information.

- Andrew Wasson

A Quick "Top 5" List of "Must Learn" Improvising Concepts

Andrew answer's the question:

"I am totally stuck when it comes to improvising. I have spent a lot of time practicing scales and also learning about keys and Music Theory. I have also worked through several books that teach guitar licks all over the fingerboard. I have good technique, I have learnt how to play fast lines, tapping, sweep picking, etc. but, I still just cant seem to play a nice long melody during a solo. When I listen to top-notch players like Steve Vai or just good all around guitar players such as David Gilmour they seem to have a flow to their playing that I just cant seem to obtain. Can you please help me with a few tips on this topic."

Thank you,
Donald - Las Vegas, NV.

Andrew goes over a quick "Top 5" list of Improvising Concepts:

1). Learn scale patterns as well as octave templates. Practice for hours to gain a solid technique for them all over the guitar neck.

2). Listen to the solos of great guitar players, and try your best to understand their use of space and economy in their solos. Also, spend time listening to other instruments as well as vocal melody lines. Do a good deal of Transcription work also.

3). Understand that feelings and emotions play a huge role in developing solos that capture a listener’s attention. When you feel inspired... PLAY GUITAR!

4). Master the use of phrasing devices such as; slides, bends, legato, vibrato, double-stops, harmonics... etc.

5). Understand the relationships between scale degrees and the chords being performed at a given point in time. Work very hard at developing the ability to target specific notes as you play. It takes awhile to learn how to do well... but it's worth the effort once you begin to see the results!

Dorian Mode Masterclass - Part 3

This video lesson will cover further analysis of the Dorian Mode. The focus of this video will be upon the appearance of non-functioning minor chords.

Reggae Guitar Lesson Style & Performance

I have been asked to join a reggae band, but I have very little experience playing reggae guitar. I would like to know the following…

- What is the correct strum direction? Is it up or down, I’ve heard
differing opinions on this. Can you please clarify.

- When it comes to soloing what are the main scales that players
use in this style?

- Sometimes in Marley tunes I hear a muted scratch technique.
Can you please explain this technique.

- What are the main chord types used and how many strings are
usually played? Some of the songs I have to learn have thin
sounding chords, but other songs have very full sounding chords.

Any help you could give me on this subject would be very much appreciated including artists I should start paying attention to.

Thank you,
Jared from Flagstaff, Arizona U.S.A.

Andrew Wasson of Creative Guitar Studio covers "How to Play Reggae Guitar Style."

GEAR REVIEW: Acoustic Guitar Amplification

Andrew Wasson of Creative Guitar Studio goes through his acoustic guitar rig in response to:

"I hope you can help me with my acoustic amplification. I have been playing amplified acoustic nylon string guitar at a few banquets and wedding ceremonies over this past summer. And, I have had poor results overall with amplifying my acoustic guitar. I play a Nylon String Yamaha CGX-171. It has a piezo pickup & a condensor mic with an built-in onboard pre-amp. I have tried playing it through a few rented Fender Acoustic amps; (the Fender Acoustasonic 30), which is a 30 watt amp with an 8 speaker. I also tried renting the Fender Acoustasonic Junior; which is a 40 watt amp with two 8 speakers and I even once rented the Fender Acoustasonic SFX II which is an 80 watt amp and has an 8 driver a tweeter and a 6 side-mount speaker.

While the Fender SFX-II sounded the best out of the bunch - overall the quality of my live sound (to me personally) still does not come across as very full and/or rich sounding. I was wondering if you could go over your acoustic guitar set-up and let me know what gear you use for doing your acoustic guitar gigs.

Thank you very much,
Donald Calgary, Alberta Canada

Andrew covers everything from passive transducers to his speakers, pre-amp and rack gear.

Common Jazz Situations

Q: Can you give me a good idea of what is involved with learning to play jazz. I’ve read that there are common chord changes to jazz music and to get good at the style there are quite a number of chords to know. A video on what chords are important, as well as what chord progressions I can begin to practice would really help me a great deal.

- George

Andrew examines the most popular practice directions for practicing jazz chord types and voicings. He also explains what students new to the world of jazz guitar can do to develop a good sense of the popular chord progressions that are used in jazz music.

EAR TRAINING Level 1 - Memorizing Intervals

Andrew answers this weekend's question about how to understand and practice relative pitch as well as the differences between Perfect Pitch and Relative Pitch...

Viewers Question:
Q: What is relative pitch - is it the same, or different than perfect pitch. Also, which one is best to learn as a guitarist and can you give any tips for practicing ear training techniques.

- Martin

A: Perfect Pitch is the ability to recognize the actual tonal name of a note from only hearing the given note being played; i.e., Knowing that a note just performed was actually an "Eb."

Relative Pitch is the ability to recognize the intervalic distance between two notes; i.e., Hearing an "F" note then hearing an "Ab" after one another, and knowing that the interval between them is that of a Minor 3rd.

Andrew discusses the way musicians can develop a keen sense of relative pitch through a series of association exercises.

GUITAR THEORY: Scale Degrees and Modes

Andrew answers this week's question from off of his website about how to memorize scale degrees and modal ideas...

1). What, if any, is a logical, expeditious way of memorizing scales and their degrees for both soloing and playing chord progressions.

2). How do modes work with chord progressions?

3). How can you mix modes with scales to create interesting improvisations over progressions?

- Christian

Music Reading: Reading a Notated Melody

Andrew discusses the principles of reading a notated melody from off of the music staff. Included topics covered in the lesson are; Clef sign, Key Signature sign, Time Signature symbol, Note layout, pitch relationship to the guitar, and fingerboard concepts involved in learning to read music notation (no tab) on guitar.

Rhythm Guitar: 16th-Note Funk and Soca Grooves

The response from Andrew Wasson of Creative Guitar Studio to;

"I have just started playing in my first band and I feel that my rhythm guitar skills are weak. Can you offer me any suggestions for what I can practice on to help my rhythm guitar get better. I have a pretty good idea of the general rhythms in music, like; eighths, sixteenths and triplets, but I find I have trouble maintaining the groove in a really smooth way through an entire song during a band rehearsal."

Thank you,

Andrew discusses the way guitarists can quickly improve their rhythm guitar skills by applying sixteenth-note exercises, (such as those used in Funk & the Caribbean Soca music).

Music Reading: Understanding the Music Staff

The response from Andrew Wasson of Creative Guitar Studio to;

Was hoping that you could help me with the topic of Music Reading.

I have absolutely no understanding of reading music. So, I will just go over what I have been researching so far...

- Ive learned that music is read off of the Music Staff.

- The staff is composed of 5 lines and 4 spaces.

- The lines are named from the bottom going upwards; E, G, B, D, F. (mnemonic = Every Good Boy Does Fine)

- The spaces are named again from bottom going up F, A, C, E (spelling the word FACE).

- There are 5 note durations:
Whole = 4 beats,
Half = 2 beats,
Quarter = 1 beat,
Eighth = 1/2 a beat
Sixteeth note... (but, I have no idea what it looks like or what it does).

This is all I know. Ive heard that the lines on the staff represent strings on the guitar. If so, how come there are six strings on a guitar and five lines on the staff.? And, if the lines are the guitar strings, what do the spaces on the staff represent?

I am having a very difficult time understanding this. I have been watching your videos and I am hoping that you could help me to understand all of this.

- Shane

Andrew discusses the principles of the music staff including; Clef sign, Key Signature sign, Time Signature symbol, Note layout, pitch relationship to the guitar, and fingerboard concepts involved in learning to read music notation on guitar.