GUITAR SOLOING: LESSON 009 - Stronger Phrasing with Call & Response

September 29, 2017:
Lesson 009 - Stronger Phrasing with Call and Response

The technique known as "Call and Response" is a concept that is often explained as something that occurs between more than a couple of musicians. One of the players in a group will set out an initial statement, (the Call), while another musician in the group replies to that statement, (the Answer). 

Lesson 009 explores this idea in detail... 

The examples in this lesson will work well to improve your your lead playing. Each example will build on ideas like; phrasing into similar and different resolution tones, application of the technique around diverse rhythms, and applying "Call and Response" method to chords.

Watch the Part One Video FREE on YouTube:

PART ONE:  In example one, a key of "F major" phrase focuses on chord tone resolution where the chord tone of the initial statement points in a similar manner to the chord tone of the secondary (response) statement. Each phrase highlights the tone of "A" from the key and resolutions to this particular tone are of central importance to the example. 

Example two relies on phrasing and resolution once again. However, this time a different resolution tone is the focus. The melodic idea is performed within the key of "G Minor" and guides the listener into two different resolution tones between the "Call" statement and the "Response." The "Call" statement points to the key's fourth interval, the "C" tone. And, the "Response" statement points to the key's seventh interval, the "F" tone.

PART TWO: In example three, we are focused upon the application of more diverse rhythmic patterns. Our call and response phrase is operating in the key of "D Minor" over a punchy 16th-note pattern. The point of resolution operates against a similar tone principle, pointing at "C" tones. The use of arpeggio lines is also a serious part of this example. Chord outlines using arpeggios bring in both the Call as well as, the Response statements, ("Dmin7" and "Bb major" arpeggios).

Example four adds small chords to the call and response phrasing technique. The advantage of using smaller chord types allows for more rapid melodic movement while maintaining harmony arranged to suit the phrasing. In the example, a key of "D Major" call and response statement demonstrates how a series of well arranged diatonic triads can create a strong call and response phrase over four measures.
Paid members can download the handout along with the MP3 jamtrack in the members area at:



Join Now

The SECRET Link to Lead GUITAR Range...

Far too many guitar players only understand how their lead licks, phrases and runs exist in a single fretting area. 

This is generally due to the fact that the player doesn't understand that their lead guitar ideas can also exist in several other areas of the neck...

Once the guitarist understands how to "re-locate" their guitar licks into other areas of the neck, new patterns will start to emerge and they will become a normal part of their playing technique.

This lesson breaks down the concept of expanding fret-board range through working across the neck with every lick you know. With every new guitar pattern, performed in new fretboard regions, will come fresh ideas for eventually dominating the entire fingerboard.


Think of any guitar lick that you know right now. It could be a blues lick, a rock phrase, anything. If you can't think of one, or you just don't know any licks right now you can use my example lick provided below in example lick #1.

Example Lick #1).

Now that we've established our foundational lick to work from, let's re-locate this lick to another fingerboard location. Since the starter lick from example #1 is in the lower region of the neck, let's re-organize it into someplace else on the frets. If you're not sure on how this works, take a look at example lick #2.

Example Lick #2).

As you can tell, the phrase from example #1 is now re-located into another fingering range on the guitar neck. This new location lays out the notes slightly different. The options of how the fingerings set themselves up is going to introduce a new sound. The other aspect is how the notes shift to other string sets. This also changes the tonal color of the lick too.

Let's take the lick into one more fingering range. Have a look over the location shown in lick #3 below. Here we can tell that we're running out of strings and out of room on the neck. So, the fingering drastically alters in this new location. Make a study of this layout as shown below in lick #3.

Example Lick #3).

Just because we've run out of room for the octave range of this lick doesn't mean that we're done exploring further options with this lick. There's one more idea we can use to take this line even further yet. The final concept involves moving the lick up an octave into a brand new tonal range. Try out this process by performing the lick's new location and octave range in example #4 below.

Example Lick #4).

Playing licks over and over within the same finger locations doesn't have to be a downer for you as a player. All you need to do is take any guitar solo or lick that you're currently playing and re-locate it into a few other places of the neck. You don't even need to know notes or scales to do this. All it takes in a few minuets work and a decent ear.

Listen to where one note is located from within your current lick and test how it can move up along the fingerboard. Here is a good tip, the notes most often are relocated up 4 or 5 frets along the neck span on the next string lower. It's easy to do this and the pay-off is fantastic for your guitar abilities.



Join Now

Guitar Technique in Less than 3 Minutes

Guitar technique can be challenging. Accuracy and perfect execution of ideas need to be practiced for a very long time in order to master them. Add to that the study of non-musical guitar drills can be boring. Put it all together and you've got a recipe for disaster.  So, what's the answer to great technique?

Great guitar technique doesn't have to be a chore. If technique is practiced the in the correct way (using an efficient system), your skills can flourish and your playing can become incredibly accurate over time. All it takes is the right study approach.

Daily Deal from Amazon Prime:

Join me on this video lesson where I demonstrate an easy to execute "3 minute" technique study that will burn away hours of technical guitar frustration.


- Fretting Hand Accuracy:
This exercise operates by jumping through two-note intervals established upon the 5th and the 2nd guitar strings. The intervals include an Octave and a Major 3rd.

Using the 5th and 2nd guitar strings, establish a position on the fingerboard and perform an octave with 3rd and 1st fingers, then switch to a displaced major 3rd with the 2nd and 4th fingers. Drop the major 3rd down a 1/2 step and perform another major 3rd with the 1st and 3rd fingers, and wrap things up with another octave using fingers four and two.

Perform the exercise using a metronome and allow the movements to happen quickly with the tempo based at a slower speed. Move the exercise all around the guitars fingerboard.

-Left and Right Hand Picking Coordination:
This study operates between two adjacent guitar strings and can be moved anywhere along and across the guitar fingerboard.

Begin within a fret-board position and perform notes from a lower string up to a higher adjacent string. For example; begin on the 6th string 5th fret, then play on the 5th string 6th fret. Switch back to the 6th string and play the 7th fret. Then, play the final note back again on the 5th string's 8th fret.

Repeat the exercise across all string pairs vertically using a metronome. When you reach the upper two strings, (2nd and 1st), switch the order and reverse the drill descending back down the fingerboard.

- Independence Fixed Finger Exercise:
This study is a fantastic finger switching drill for developing individual finger independence. Begin within a position lining up all four fingers upon the guitars third string. Line up all four fingers along the third string to establish the position and remain fixed there as your start to this exercise.

The first fingering switch movement operates by jumping fingers 1 and 2 from their position on the third string over to the 2nd and 5th strings. Do this several times. Then, return back to the initial established position on the third string. Continue along doing the finger switch movement with fingers 2 and 3. Then, with fingers 3 and 4.

Use a metronome to keep a steady pace and to maintain a consistent feel as you switch fingers.

These studies will go a long way in helping to promote accuracy and independence. It will take time, so be sure to include a short workout using these concepts on a daily basis. Study these drills for only a few minuets (the suggested time frame is 3 minuets). After the drills are completed, take a short break and move on to perform other ideas related to your daily study routine.

If you need some help getting sorted with designing a practice routine, be sure to have a look through my "How to Practice" guide.



Join Now

Guitar Chord Practice Breakthrough (Amazing 3 Step Method)

Are you often frustrated when it comes to learning the fingering pattern of a new chord type? If so, this amazing 3-step chord practice routine will help you nail down any chord fingering in almost no time flat...

Chord fingerings can be overwhelming. We all realize that. And, learning chords can be especially crazy for us when we get a new song from our band mates, and we need to learn the finger pattern of a chord that is completely foreign for next days session.

This lesson will help tremendously when it comes to learning new chord patterns. The patented, (just kidding, it's not patented), "3-Step" breakthrough approach used in this lesson plan will help you to:

- memorize a new shape
- develop muscle memory for your fingers
- allow you to quickly start moving the new shape anywhere around the guitar neck.


STEP ONE: Shape Association for the Fingers
In simple terms a chord pattern is a fingering shape that we need to learn on the guitar neck. The pattern will involve strings and it will involve fret-span (2, 3 or 4 frets - perhaps more). However, the pattern is also a geometrical design.

Once the geometrical design of the chord is committed to memory, the recall that you build in your mind (of that chords geometrical design) will need to be quick in order for your mind to pull-up the shape when needed.

Begin by looking over the shape of a typical 4th string root "Dominant 7th" chord pattern.

What do you notice about the above pattern? How do the fingerings compare to chords that you already know? Are there any blatantly obvious designs in the pattern? Any diagonal lines, or box shapes? How about triangles or diamond shapes? Look for anything that will stick in your memory so that you can recall this pattern quickly when you need it.

Start performing the fingering. Place you hand into the shape then release it. Do this repeatedly over and over.

NOTE: This concept was covered in my popular lesson plan titled, "Master Any Chord on the Guitar (the On /Off Switch)" If you have never watched that lesson, take a moment out right now to study that lesson plan.

STEP TWO: Re-location of Chord Patterns Vertically
In order for chords to be well associated under the fingers all around the neck on any string group the chord pattern has to be developed with excellent muscle control.

To achieve this, you can slowly begin relocating the chord design along the fingerboard vertically. For example, the chord pattern I gave back in step one of the 4th string root Dominant 7th voicing, could be re-located from the 4th-string over to the 5th.

In the diagram below notice how the chord shape from step one has now been re-located over to the 5th string. The shape is exactly the same, but keep in mind that the chord type has changed from Dominant 7th to "Major 7th."

Chord patterns operate geometrically along and across the guitar. The patterns are made up of different designs, and once the design is "programmed" into your memory and into your physical motor-skills, you'll be able to move the chord anywhere around the neck with ease. Practice moving the design that we've been studying around the neck vertically. Use a metronome to maintain smooth flowing movements.

STEP THREE: Re-location of Chord Patterns Horizontally
The final step to this process will be taking the chord shape along the neck laterally. Moving the pattern from fret to fret horizontally. The chord shape during this part of the exercise will become highly stabilized under the fingers.

One of the key components to a strong fretting ability with the hand and fingers is the ability to lock the fingers into a chord shape and then move that shape around the guitar neck. Once the hand gets used to jumping into the chord shape effortlessly, the chord pattern can be called upon at any instance when needed in a song.

Use a metronome at this stage to really nail down the chord movements so they're perfect. And, pay a lot of attention to learn how the chord feels under your fingers as it moves along and across the fingerboard. This will allow you to perform the chord easily and develop a strong sense of muscle memory for the shape.

This 3-step process isn't an "instant cure" it will take time, but the chord shapes will develop under the fingers quicker than any other "trial and error" method out there.

The biggest problem when it comes to moving chords along the guitar is recall. And, this includes both mental recall (of the pattern) and physical recall. Once a player can move a chord from one location to another with ease, their hand technique masters the feel of the chords layout and their mind masters the recall of the chords pattern.

These areas of mental and physical recall are precisely what this unique 3-step process helps with. Once you can do this chord exercise along the fret-board, the chord patterns will drop on the neck with ease. All it takes is the application of the three steps. If you'll do it you'll get it... If you don't - you won't.


Join Now

The First Steps to Playing Over Advanced Chord Changes

Are you frustrated when it comes to playing over complex chord changes? Does leaving diatonic harmony blow your mind? 

Well, this lesson will help you come to terms with the first steps for playing over more advanced chord changes...

Learning a practical common sense approach that will be helpful for understanding how to play over more advanced chord changes is the key to nailing this topic. Once you gain the proper processes for bridging the learning gap, you'll be able to understand this world of advanced chord progressions.

Even if you have absolutely zero knowledge for advanced chord progressions, you'll be able to use these ideas to go through a study routine that breaks down playing lead lines over even the most complex of chord harmony.


Most rock, folk, pop, and country songs operate in the "diatonic" key center. This means all of the chords are built from notes of the key signature.

For example, if a pop group writes a song composed within the key of "A Minor" (a key that has no sharps or flats), every note in their melody and all of the chords in their song will exist free of any sharps or flats. The song would be considered "Diatonic."

These diatonic progressions are actually quite easy to play solos over since they only require one scale to create melody. The scale of the key is used to compose or improvise lines that will easily relate to the underlying chord changes.

When a song is composed that does not sit within one single key, that song would be considered as, "Non-Diatonic." A song that operates as non-diatonic will have more advanced progressions for the musician to deal with. The chords must be viewed "on the spot" and that makes them more difficult to perform melodies over.

Each chord in the more advanced "non-diatonic" progression must be understood as individual ideas, removed from a group harmony. This will mean that to play over progressions like this concepts such as modes and arpeggios will need to be applied.

The example below is an example of a group of chords that does not exist within a standard key center. Each chord may have some remote ties to the harmony of other chords around it, but as a group, the chords are all quite unique.

Example Progression:
Learn to play the chord progression given below.

click on the above image to enlarge full-screen

Across the chord changes, there exists some relationship to the "Am7" chord with the appearance of the "E7" resolution chord. However, the other chord changes are coming from all over the spectrum and share little to no harmonic ties to the key center of "A Minor." This is a very good example of a group of advanced chord changes.

The difficult part of playing over advanced chord changes is dealing with the rapid changes occurring through unrelated chord types. When a chord progression is diatonic, the chords all relate to one scale and one key. So, this makes lead playing easy. If the song is in "G Major" then you can simply perform the "G Major" scale over the entire progression.

However, when we encounter advanced chord changes, we need to switch scales and use arpeggios so that we can follow the chord movements with tones that will match. It isn't easy to do and requires a lot of training.

Scales and arpeggios are the way to achieve success with this method. If you learn all of your arpeggios, (major, minor, augmented, diminished, and dominant), you will have the tools to be able to cover even the strangest of chord progressions.

Another area of practice should be learning how other guitarists perform over chord progressions like this. By lifting off other solos and melodies that use advanced chord changes, you'll learn an incredible amount from how the lines were formed.

This work will help you move forward with establishing your own way of playing over advanced chord progressions.

Take a moment out of your day, and learn how to perform the melody I've composed for the advanced chord changes given up above.

Example Melody:
click on the above image to enlarge full-screen

Work on the melody lines composed for the chord changes shown in the above progression. These chord movements are more advanced non-diatonic ideas and the chord harmony must be followed using modes and arpeggios. Spend time studying how each phrase is connected and begin trying to invent some ideas of your own. As you get better at the established lines in the example, you'll find it easier to invent your own original ideas.

If the sound of advanced chord progressions seems interesting to you, spend some time breaking down the process for learning the theory, chord patterns, scales, modes and arpeggios involved with making this sound come alive. Start by making-up some of your own advanced chord progressions and study several jazz standards as well.

Once you start to understand some of the basics involved with these chord progressions, and once you've learned to play over some advanced progressions, develop a routine for studying other peoples solos over complex changes.

One band that you may want to start studying is Steely Dan. Their chord changes definitely fall into this category, and their music is certainly something worthwhile to spend time learning from.



Join Now

ACOUSTIC LESSON 008: Acoustic Guitar Technique Exercises

Acoustic Guitar 008: 
Acoustic Guitar Technique Exercises...
Technique is crucial for acoustic guitar players. Whether we're playing on a nylon string classical guitar, or on acoustic steel-string, clarity and good right and left hand control are a must. 

In this episode of Acoustic Guitar, we're going to run through ten exercises to boost your acoustic skills...

Watch the Video:

In example one, our focus is on the application of in-position isometric drills. The studies use 2-note chords for developing slow and steady movements between the interval shapes. The movements will help with attaining smooth finger response for excellent finger layout.

Example two works with multiple string chord patterns for improving plucking hand technique. The fingerstyle note-tracking method in each exercise helps with improving the accuracy of fretting hand skill. Three and four string exercises will help establish solid note tracking while improving the feel of handling larger fret-span stretches

PART TWOThe exercises in example three are all fixed finger drills. These studies help a guitarist develop more control for holding one note while others are used to perform a melodic line. The idea is to develop enough control for holding down one note while others are performing a separate melodic idea on another single or group of strings.

Example four applies two technique exercises for the better development of both sustain and for single-tone plucking. Exercise example 4a, is a note sustain idea that promotes the use of chord tones played as arpeggios. Major and dominant 7th chords use the "let ring" method of chord tone sustain to allow for a resonating sound. Exercise example 4b, is a single note line plucking drill. It uses a group of tones that operate across three strings in a triple meter feel.

Related Videos:

Acoustic Guitar Technique... 

ACOUSTIC LESSON 007: Inversions for Acoustic Songwriting 

ACOUSTIC GUITAR 006: Chord Strumming with Grid Systems

ACOUSTIC GUITAR 005: Rhythm Comping Technique



Join Now

Guitar Chords | F Chord | Guitar Notes | G Chord | C Chord | D Chord | Guitar String Notes

Do Guitar HUMIDIFIERS Actually WORK?

Do you use Guitar Humidifiers? Or, if have you ever used them in the past? Even bigger question is do they actually work to protect your guitars wood from cracking or warping?

Personally, I've tried using them (many years ago), probably 30 years ago (or more), and I found that they did little to nothing for any my guitars... So, I quit using them. 

They were honestly too much effort (and too much maintenance) to keep soaked with water. In fact, I have two guitars that have never seen the use of a guitar humidifier, (one I've had for 30 years and the other I've had for 20 years). They both play fine and I've never had any issues with them whatsoever.

In this episode of the "GuitarBlog Insider" we're going to discuss whether "Guitar Humidifiers" are useful devices, or if they're just a device selling Wishful /Magical Thinking.


What humidity is, how does it affects us, our homes, and how does it affect guitars. Now, I'm no scientist or anything, but from searching across several websites it would seem that humidity is quite a simple concept. It just a measurement of water-vapor in the air, and as the air changes outside it slowly changes in our homes.

According to the atmospheric science service, there's two types of humidity, Relative and Absolute. Absolute is the more precise, and we would need a controlled environment to determine that. It's the mass of water vapor divided by mass of dry air. The problem is, that in a typical residential house, this is always changing. So, to compensate for that, we'll tend to more often hear about "Relative Humidity."

Relative humidity means we take a current reading of absolute humidity at a given moment in time and compare it to the highest possible air temperature which is outside, then from there we create a ratio of the both of them.

All you really need to understand about these humidity measurements is that humidity is always changing, and it's changing rapidly. Too rapid to actually calculate. So, that's why when we hear about humidity levels in the news and weather reports, we hear relative humidity.

What does this mean for wood and guitars. Well, since humidity is always changing, we need to determine what a common indoor humidity level might be and what might happen once it's adjusted seasonally. So, if we take a typically cold winter season, the heat from our indoor furnace causes humidity levels indoors to be lower.

Humidity levels in summer time, are different again, (especially if a rain storm is coming in July). In a summer rain, the humidity will rise up higher, than on a cold day in January when the heating system is running and the warm heated air in a house is drying out the indoor air.

So, throughout a year, we'll experience large variations in humidity. Even in one day we'll have a lot of variation. And, depending where you live, the variations can become quite extreme, or they can remain fairly constant.

For example if you live in North Dakota, USA, (like a good friend of mine does), the winters will be very, very dry indoors and the summers will be very hot and extremely humid on some days. This is probably one of those environments that might cause a guitar problems, or maybe not, because the indoor air is climate controlled.

The humidity in North Dakota in September is normally between 70 to even 90%. What if you lived in Palm Desert California like a student of mine, as well as, my cousin who lives out there. Palm Desert has extremely low humidity pretty much all the time. Usually around 40-45% - it's a desert.

So, would that affect the guitar? Well, nobody I know in North Dakota or in California has ever used a guitar humidifier on any of their guitars and they've never had any issues with them either. So, what this might mean, is that there's a lot to be considered when it comes to indoor air temperature relative humidity, (which according to pretty much every home heating and air conditioning service website - home air is quite static between 40-45% at 24 deg. celsius. or 75 deg. fahrenheit).

According to several websites including Taylor guitars, Hoffman Guitars (and many others), the ideal humidity a guitar needs to be kept at is approx. 45%. which surprisingly is exactly the normal humidity level of indoor environments at 24 deg. celsius or 75 fahrenheit.

So, I'm not sure how a guitar humidifier is going to make a lot of difference if a guitar is simply kept in the home out of the case in the open. But, let's say perhaps that guitar humidifies work. We'll give them the benefit of the doubt here... Let's say soaking a very small sponge with some water (probably less than 1/2 an ounce of water), lets off enough water vapor, that it somehow effects the relative humidity of a room, or a guitar case and that it works to protect the guitars wood from cracking.

The big question would be, How could it possibly do that? If outdoor air is fluctuating and indoor air is kept at a acclimatized air temperature of around 24 deg. celsius, we're going to have at least around 42% humidity (in most climates) at the lowest level anyway. Still the big question is how can a tiny little sponge (with less than a half an ounce of water) going to make any much difference?

If there's someone out there who can explain how a 1/2 ounce or less of water in a very small sponge or gel is going to effect a guitar significantly, or effect room relative humidity enough to keep wood from splitting, I've love to hear the details on that.

I can understand a room, that has temperature and humidity controlled, like rooms you'll find in a museum, or even a wine room in a million dollar home. Or, humidifier machines, that produce humidity in a room, pumping out a gallon of water every 3 hrs.... I get that. But, I've never kept any guitar I've ever owned in a room like that, and I've never used any type of guitar (or any other humidifier unit) for any period on any of my guitars, and I've never had any issues.

I'm opening it up to all of you on YouTube. I'd love to hear your opinions. Please comment on whether guitar humidifiers are functional pieces of gear, or if they are just selling wishful /magical thinking.

If you want to learn more about what I do as an online guitar teacher, then head over to my website at and sign up your FREE lifetime membership. When you want more, you can always upgrade to either a Basic, or a Premium lesson package and start studying the guitar courses I've organized for the members of my website.

As I said, I'd be interested to hear your thoughts on all of this in the comment section below... if you enjoyed this video, give it a thumbs up and subscribe for more. Thanks again and we'll catch up next week for another episode of the, "Guitar Blog Insider."



Join Now