Peak Your GUITAR Technique - Do This Every Morning (the Sawfly)

Waking up feeling stiff in the fingers is extremely common for guitar players, especially if you were playing a lot of guitar the day before. Luckily, there's a fantastic exercise that can loosen up the hand, relax the fingers, exercise your picking, loosen your wrist and re-balance your arm in as little as 2 - 3 minutes each day...

In this lesson, I’m going to show you my favorite finger exercise to do every morning to help loosen up the hand wrist and arm along with increase the flexibility for the rest of the day. 

Like I said, this exercise is my personal favorite and it was first shown to me it was called the "Sawfly," by my first guitar teacher.

Much of what you are trying to overcome in the first period of playing for your day is the tightness that develops from both the hand posture combined with how we work our fingers. 

The "Sawfly" exercise is going to help hit these key areas and allow you to do it quickly so as not to take up much time in your day.


I want to show you a guitar technique exercise that you can do every morning, (or at the start of every segment that begins your practice day).

When you get into this, you’ll find that it will help you gain a lot more improvement to develop not only your picking, but also to develop your left and right hand coordination, and most importantly - to develop your accuracy.

This exercise was taught to me by one of my first guitar teachers, (Dave Condy) and it is without a doubt one of my favorite guitar exercise of all time, in fact it’s been a huge benefit on the path to developing my own level of guitar technique and my picking and playing accuracy.

If you adopt this warm-up exercise, I’m quite sure that you’ll also find that it will also give you a lot of benefits toward your own guitar playing so let’s get started with learning this exercise.

The nick-name that my old guitar teacher had for this exercise was, (as he called it), the “Saw-Fly.” Now, at the time when I first learned this exercise, I had no clue what a Saw-Fly was, or why this exercise was even called by that particular name.

But, as it turns out this type of bug, goes in a jagged zig-zag pattern when it is flying or when it lands on the ground.

That zig-zag pattern is one of the really unique things surrounding this guitar exercise as it gets played on the neck.

The exercise should be at first learned in one easy to access position on the guitar neck. Explore the set-up of this exercise on the fingerboard to get things started.

The layout:
Take notice of how the general layout operates between two strings with a saw-tooth pattern on the fingerboard...

When performing the pattern, you'll want to apply a zig-zag approach to how the notes will move string to string...

Once you can become clear on exactly how the layout of the Saw-Fly exercise sits on the neck, (and how you’re going to begin using this exercise as a routine), then the next stage of work is going to be moving it around.

Saw-Fly Exercise Application:
Next, let’s learn how the practice of this exercise would be established as a routine done on a daily basis.

If you put in the work toward practicing this exercise, I’d suggest doing it in the earliest part of your day. And, practice it with a more diligent application of all of the finger movements.

This exercise will go a long way to help promote several stages of improvement for building better levels of skill for both the left as well as, for right hand technique.

Study the "on the neck" examples shown below...

Example 1).
1st and 2nd string layout.

Example 2).
3rd and 2nd string layout.

Example 3).
4th and 3rd string layout.

Continue working across the fingerboard with the exercise (within this position) covering the 5th and 4th, as well as, the 6th and 5th strings. 

Then, start to move position by position along the neck laterally as well. The exercise only truly requires about 2 - 3 min. of work, done at the start of each practice session. Judge your progress after 90 days.

If you’re a guitarist who is possibly recovering from a hand injury; (such as tendonitis for example), then this exercise will offer you a great deal of help. 

For injuries, the exercise offers improvement and for the re-development of your hand and fingers so that you can start to slowly gain back the use of your playing technique once again – and do it all - pain free.

So, put this exercise to work for yourself. It will help you in many different types of ways to allow for building up your skills and giving guitar players a lot more accuracy for playing anything more clearly and more perfectly.



Join Now

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

The 22 Day Guitar Workout (NO REST)

Are you ready for a guitar workout challenge that is suitable for everyone from beginner to advanced? In this video, I’m going to show you a simple yet effective guitar workout routine that you can do for the next 22 days straight. It's so effective that it is going to help you in the most vital playing areas plus give you a jump start on getting your neck awareness, chords and rhythm up to a whole new level...

There are just 5 exercise areas in this guitar workout, each one hitting the top playing areas from each of their primary functions.

So, ask yourself... what are you doing for the next 22 days? I hope you’ll try what I show you here, because I’ve put together a 22 day guitar workout that simplifies everything.

We’re going to focus on what really counts in a guitar practice approach for players who don’t have a lot of time.


This practice routine will focus on organizing a schedule, as well as, the development of a daily cycle of work. 

The direction will be centered around playing through a 25 min. routine, and as you study you’ll want to lay out the longer term practice of this routine for 22 days.

As mentioned the routine itself will be 25 min. long and it will include; a finger exercise, a scale pattern rehearsal, a melody drill, a chord review and a rhythm comprehension drill.

After that, if you have time left over, the suggestion will be to use any remaining time to study a song that you’re working on.

So, let’s get started with our routine for this 22 day workout.

The first thing that I want you to do is organize the routine based around a schedule. 

I always like to create practice schedules, because I find that they’re the best way to keep on track with what you’re studying.

In setting up a practice routine, the first thing you’ll need to think about is the layout of your subjects. 

And, because we’re keeping everything simple, our subjects will only have one topic per study segment, and we’ll base things around five segments, operating in 5 min. chunks of time.

Sample Schedule:

The first topic will be a warm up finger exercise, next will be a scale pattern, the next idea will be a melody drill and then, a chord review and finally a rhythm drill.

Now, one other thing I like to do with these 25 min. workouts is have the tempo move from a slower pace up into a faster range and then slow down once again into the completion of the cycle.

It’s like a physical workout moving from a slow pace into intensity, then moving back down again to a cool down phase. So, with the practice routine’s schedule out of the way, let’s shift gears now over to actually doing the routine.

Exercise Topics: 

Topic 1).
Warm-up drill finger exercise. Move all over the neck.

Topic 2).
Scale Pattern exercise. Learn and then move into several other locations.

Topic 3).
Melody drill: Learn this melodic phrase and then relocate it to a few other lateral locations along the fingerboard.

Topic 4).
Chord Review: Learn this key of "D" lateral chord exercise using the "I, IV, V" chord degrees performed across the neck.

Topic 5).
Rhythm Drill: Perform this 2-bar rhythm drill at the tempo indicated. Match the duration and feel so that the phrase is as perfect as possible. Move it to a few other notes, then try performing the groove on a chord or two.

In the beginning you may find it difficult to complete each topic in a 5 min. time frame. 

That's perfectly fine, realize that you'll quite likely need to build up to the ability and skill level in order to complete the topic within 5 min.

As you get better (and your skills improve), 5 min. might not even be required, (it may be too much time - more than you need).

Alright so there you have it, again it’s simple - we’ve eliminated a lot of detail to create a focused workout that targets a number of key playing areas.

Now, the next step is to actually do this and doing workouts that are more targeted tend to not exactly be easy.

They require discipline and dedication to get through. They’ll be days where you don’t feel like practicing but just do it anyway.

It’s only 25 min. and you’ll burn through these studies one after another across the collection of 5 min. intervals – making it feel like the work will go by quickly.

Parting Thoughts:
And, as many of you already know, nothing worth having comes easy. It always takes effort to achieve. So, give this 22 day workout a try, no matter what ability level that you are.

Push your way through and if it seems difficult in the beginning, then just keep working your way up to reach your goal levels as the days progress.



Join Now

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

Do This EVERY Day | No More Embarrassing Notes

If you suffer from weak scale knowledge for composing and soloing, or perhaps if you are poor when it comes to note recognition on the neck, or maybe you cannot clearly understand the boundaries of fret-board regions for scales on the neck, whatever the reason for your unfortunate use of 'wrong' notes, you are definitely going to want to watch this video... 

I’m going to show you a two part exercise that you can do anywhere on the neck, every single day, that won’t take you very long to do and will help you to get rid of poor scale and note knowledge forever.


Understanding the structure of this exercise will require a brief discussion of the use of unison notes. The exercise operates by working around a 2-string scale layout across approx. 5 frets. It is based upon mapping out the location of unison tones within the two strings across the designated fret-range..

The exercise is focused on helping you better remember how to lock down all the diatonic notes within a specific playing region of the neck. And, when you do this, (from within these regions), you’ll start to have a much clearer understanding for how to be able to better compose or to solo in a chosen area of the neck.

A lot of guitar players, are quite likely doing something similar to this already.

However, having a system that you can put into a daily practice routine should be able to go much further toward helping you understand the notes within specific regions.

This system will definitely help players focus more and that focus will help players get away from hitting embarrassing notes. Those are the notes that you’d wish you never hit, and we don’t want that… so, we’re going to do our best with this exercise to change that!

Step 1). Establishing a Region

When it comes to practicing this exercise, the first thing that you’ll need to do with this  system is select a region on the neck for the group of notes that you’ll want to practice (within that region).

Of course, if you already have a lead part, or a solo that you’re in the process of studying, then you could certainly use that key for this exercise.

For our example though, we’ll simply use the key of, “C.”

When studying this approach, I like to start my students up higher on the guitar neck, (since that’s where most soloing and lead playing tends to occur).

The area that we’ll start within will be 10th fret to 15th fret.

Here’s how this part of the exercise works...

There are three phases:

PHASE ONE: Strings 1 and 2:
Range from 10th to 15th

PHASE TWO: Strings 3 and 4:
Range from 10th to 15th

PHASE THREE: Strings 5 and 6:
Range from 10th to 15th

Step 2). Phrase Building Exercise
Once you’ve organized the notes from the key that you’ve established, and you’ve gone ahead and based those notes across two strings, (using a span of at least three to four frets or sometimes five), then at that point you’ve successfully completed the first stage of this exercise.

The next part of this study will focus on getting more creative with the notes of the chosen region by learning how to melodically combine groups of three or more strings together and work toward a better awareness for the choices of notes that are available in the area.

Our goal will be to combine phrases so that each melodic idea will use the unison tones that are involved within the fret span.

This is excellent work and when you get into trying this you’ll start learning the framework of the region and that will help you with learning the boundaries of the fret-board a lot better so that you become a lot more clear on the exact locations of all the notes.

Let’s play through some examples of melodic phrases that I’ve created, so that you can start to better understand how to do this yourself at home…

Melodic Examples:

Example 1). 

Example 2). 

Example 3).

The ways that you can combine string sets and note patterns is pretty much limitless. 

There are dozens and dozens of different combinations that you can come up with, so it shouldn’t be much of an issue to move ahead with some really solid daily practice on this topic.

Once you’ve done a few keys up in the high register, move into the central area of the neck, and then eventually do some work down in the lower neck region as well.



Join Now

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

Most Guitar Teachers Struggle Teaching This...

Should you just sign up with any old guitar teacher who's available, or should you take a slow controlled approach to choosing the best possible guitar teacher if you want to study guitar with a private instructor?

In this post, I’m going to show you the best ways that you can use to scope out a guitar teacher and how to get the most from the money that you'll spend on your lessons.

I’m going to break out the experience of my 26 years in this business with all kinds of examples head to head so you can make sure that you don’t waste any of your money or time with guitar teachers that are inferior.

I want to share with you, some experiences that I’ve had over the years when employing guitar instructors at my studio.


Back in the mid-1990’s I was running Creative Guitar Studio with two locations and during that period I was an employer to seven guitar instructors.

One of the things that I started to notice from the opportunities that I had to sit down and interact with the students in my school, (students who were not my own personal students), happened to be that some students never received a proper initial lesson that was focused on covering the most basic principles for learning the guitar.

This would more specifically be the topic areas of; hand and body sitting position with the guitar, as well as, a effective practice philosophy.

And, it wasn't only just sitting position and hand /finger position, but also the angle of the wrist and the arm, as well as, how the body needs to become relaxed and how the player needs to adopt their own practicing philosophies as they begin setting aside the; hours, weeks, months and years of practicing guitar.

If this sounds like an area that you’ve never been properly instructed on, and if this seems like it’s a guitar playing topic that you need to learn more about, then that's good.

We’re going to discuss a collection of these ideas so that you can go forward as a guitar student and have a solid foundation for many, many years of excellent guitar practice.

The first area that students need to become familiar with is Hand Position for the fretting hand, (watch the video clip below).

Hand Posture and Position:

When I had a group of teachers working under me, and I started to realize that a lot of new students were having difficulty with a number of their basic playing ideas, I decided to start implementing a new student “Initial Lesson” technique program.

I never really gave many teaching rules to my employees, but I did start asking them to begin every new student’s very first class with a hand and body sitting and playing position technique lesson. To my surprise, almost half of my employees were quite negative about doing this... Which surprised me!

I think that part of the problem comes from how a lot of guitar teachers I’ve met are sadly just teaching to collect the fees at the end of the month.

I’ve even had one guitar teacher that I knew years ago say to me that they hated teaching, and all they do through their sessions with a student is they watch the clock for when the session is over. And, they cannot wait till their teaching sessions are all through.

So, the last thing that a teacher with that attitude will do is examine the learning curve of their students and try to notice what is working and what isn’t. Instead, they have themselves more concerned with wrapping up their classes and leaving the music studio at days end.

As you could imagine, that won’t help a student all too much – in fact it might even cause the student to quit. Hopefully, they’ll quit and find a new teacher, but the thing is that the student might quit guitar altogether.

What causes a teacher to struggle with their teaching approach? …And, is there anything that a student can do to help themselves in a situation where their guitar teacher acts as though teaching is more of an inconvenience rather that something they enjoy?

The main thing that a student needs to pay a lot of attention to is their first guitar lesson. What happens at that first class will be a good indication of what’s to come in the weeks ahead.

In my first class with a new student here at Creative Guitar, I like to find out as much as I possibly can about what the student knows at that moment. And, I always like to give them handouts, including; fingerboard note layouts, chord booklets (for the basic open and first position chords).

I also like to give new students a key signatures overview, plus I like to handout a simple scales sheet, and we’ll do several basic tests together as well.

Doing those topics will go a long way to help me figure out what kind of knowledge that a student has for; scales, guitar theory, general musical concepts and rhythm.

On the second lesson, we do a technique class covering everything about general guitar sitting positions and hand posture, as well as, wrist and arm - body posture.

After that, our guitar classes will start following the general interests of the student. But, by that point in time they’ll have all of the important foundation aspects taken care of. 

In wrapping up, let me end things off with a shortlist of 10 things that a guitar instructor should be doing for you and with you so that you’ll get the most out of the lessons.

1). First, they need to be assessing you. From the initial class, they should be like a detective. Wanting to know where you’re knowledge and skills are at.

2). Second, they should be helping you with your posture and your sitting position so that it is the most comfortable.

3). The teacher needs to understand what you want to do and where your interests are at, and they should be designing a program for you.

4). Fourth is handouts. You really should be getting something on paper to go home with. And, having a recording of the lesson is also very important. That includes Jam Tracks.

5). The fifth idea is that the guitar teacher needs to teach you how to practice. Nobody is born knowing how to practice an instrument and to learn that skill is going to be critical for your success rate.

6). Sixth is all about offering you plenty of options for learning about any topic you want to study. Good teachers will be able to generally give you lot’s of suggestions for the most effective study of any topic. Whether that’s songs or practice material.

7). Next is attendance. A teacher who takes their teaching quite seriously, will hardly ever cancel on you. If the teacher is cancelling quite often, it might be best to search out a new instructor.

8). The eighth idea is organization. An organized teacher is like gold! You’ll learn material much faster and the learning curve will be much more efficient.

9). Number 9 is testing. Good teachers will tend to push you, and they will get you to perform for them in class once in awhile.

10). Finally, number ten is inspiration. Good teachers tend to be quite inspiring people who are well-read. They have interesting stories, friendly personalities and they will often have a great knowledge base for; music, musicians and for other areas like guitar history.



Join Now

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

Make Melodies so Beautiful People will Cry!

If you are looking for a collection of proven tips to improve your ability to create melody lines so beautiful that people will start to cry when they hear them, then this video is mandatory viewing...

When it comes to beautiful highly emotional melody, there are several tips that can be applied to help you perform melodic phrases that sound better, come across as more flowing and create melody that can be applied with far more impact.

The problem is, the wrong approach to melody composing can get a guitarist focusing on something that you don’t have much control over like "shapes" or fret-board geometry.

The wrong approach can set you down the path of compromising your melodic construction. In other words, your focus gets placed elsewhere (in an unrelated direction).

When a musicians focus gets in the way of the songs harmony and the melody does not interact the resulting effect is that we end up with an incoherent melody.

In this lesson I'll show you the best ways for getting out of the hole of creating weak unconnected melody and I'll explain why these tips can work so well if applied in the correct way.


Today I’m going to run through a few of the basic elements that musicians need to keep in mind if you’ll want to compose highly emotional sounding melodies.

For most of us, we’ve (probably at some point) heard a melody that really connected with us. For example, when I first heard Joe Satriani’s album “Flying in a Blue Dream.” 

His song on that album called, “The Forgotten (Part 2),” had such a strong highly emotional melody to it, I felt like it instantly drew me in, and as a practicing guitarist I immediately felt that I wanted to learn how to play it.

The Forgotten Part 2:

If you have an interest in being able to create strong emotions through melody, I have a series of tips I’d like to share with you that can go a long way in getting you to the point of creating a beautiful melody with a songwriting approach.

Throughout this lesson I’ll be using the melody that you heard me perform at the start of the video. We’ll use it to explore a number of the important ideas that you should pay attention to. These ideas are common to emotional melodies, and they are in use across this melody.

Our end-goal will be to understand what kinds of ideas will work the best to help you with being able to create melodies like these of your own.

Before we get into discussing our tips, let's cover that melody line I composed for our lesson plan. The video breaks down each section in detail. The TAB is given for you below...

Before we begin, one of the biggest benefits that I need to state up front, has to do with the importance of keeping an ear out and listening for melody lines that pull you in and grab your attention - especially, with respect to coming across to you and others as being highly emotional.

If you hear a melody like that, learn it, analyze it and work toward duplicating those ideas in a melody of your own. That type of focus will go a long way to helping you master the art of writing emotional melody that puts across rich feelings.

The next idea I want to cover when creating strong emotional melodies is tonality. If you’re unaware of what tonality is, it simply has to do with whether a musical idea is “Major” or if it is “Minor.”

What’s interesting is that the tonality of a melody could be either one, yet it could still create strong emotion. My example piece for this lesson happens to be “Major.” But, the Joe Satriani melody that I mentioned earlier is in the minor tonality.

Each tonality will tend to color the melody line in different ways. Some people say that Major melody lines offer a more triumphant sound effect. And, others would say that a Minor ideas produce more of a sad effect.

My suggestion would be to test both tonalities and determine which direction that you would like to have your melody lean toward.

If you want a more triumphant sound, perhaps try using Major. And, if you want a more somber effect, try ideas from Minor tonality.

It's important to remember that these emotional effects are only generalizations. What or how a melody causes someone to feel, will obviously vary from person to person. But, it still doesn’t hurt to have a guideline to follow, even if it is a generalization.

The next emotional songwriting element that I want to cover has to do with applying more space to engage an emotional advantage.

When more emotion is the goal, a composer will often apply a greater length of time (duration) between the melodies notes. The length of a sustained phrase can usually offer the listener more impact across the line.

To achieve this in my example melody, I applied a 3-beat sustain on the initial note for more impact right from the beginning. Then, over the second and the third beats of each measure, I’ve secured a 2-beat sustain.

Adding this space allows for the listener to have a little more time available to be able to soak up each note.

When notes of a melody line strongly relate to the specific chord tones of an underlying harmony we have a link established between them that can create the sweetest sounding (and most melodic), tones possible.

In my example, the first note (in measure one), is linked to the underlying chords major 3rd. In the second, (as well as, in the third measure), the root note of each chord is applied across the ‘sustain period.’

Finally in the fourth measure, the 5th chord tone sustains. When you sit back and listen to the melody, you can tell, the use of chord tone targeting combined with sustain can be a very powerful ally when it comes down to creating a more emotional melody.

The final area that I want to mention actually has nothing to do with music theory. However, it is probably one of the most important elements related to creating a beautiful - highly emotional melody line.

That idea is going to be your inspiration. It is so important because without a trigger to set us into the direction of getting inspired to create something beautiful, it can be almost impossible to actually do it.

As you go forward, pay close attention in your daily life for what inspires you. Maybe it’s nature, or maybe it’s people. Be on the look-out and pay attention.

It might even be a story that was told to you, or something that you might read about in a book, or in the news. Inspiration can really be anything that strikes a nerve in you, something that perhaps pulls at your heart-strings.

The feeling you get from the experience and its impact upon you are your trigger to composing some really beautiful music.

Whatever the experience is, as long as it sends you into a state of mind where you’re emotionally charged, it matters.

Sometimes people will refer to it as a feeling like they’re, “high on life.” Whatever charges you up like that, pay attention to it, because that is what inspires you.

And, when you can tap into that feeling, you’ll be in the best mindset for being able to start creating beautiful music. Music that will most certainly inspire not only you, but music that will inspire others as well.



Join Now

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