How to use a capo

Here’s another lesson from my course Strum & Sing in 60 Days, teaching the basics of using the capo. My favorite chromatic tuning app (necessary for tuning a guitar with a capo on) is GuitarToolkit. Here are the notes you’ll tune your strings to for all capo positions. I’ve given all accidentals sharp names: Capo 0: 6E 5A 4D 3G …

Learn the names of the notes in this three-minute video

Do you ever knock your guitar way out of tune and, as you struggle to understand what your tuner is trying to tell you (what in the heck is a Bb or G#?), find yourself wishing you paid more attention in your childhood piano lessons? Don’t worry, I’ve got your back! In this 3-minute excerpt from my fun, innovative course, …

The key to accurate picking

Picking the right string is the hardest thing about playing guitar. How do good guitarists pick accurately? They touch their guitar lightly with their picking hand as they play. I call it BRUSHING. This is a skill that all good guitarists use, but I’ve never seen it taught outside of my studio. Learn this skill and you’ll get rid of …

The Caterpillar: The One Finger Exercise All Guitarists Should Do

This classic finger exercise will boost your strength, coordination, and flexibility. Do this every time you pick up the guitar to practice and your guitar skills will skyrocket! Wondering what else you should do when you practice? A good practice routine looks like this: 1. Warm Up – Play an easy and fun song that you know well 2. Exercise …

Song Lesson Video: “Let Her Go” by Passenger

Here's my first-ever free song lesson video: "Let Her Go" by Passenger, for beginning and intermediate guitarists who want to learn how to both sing and play the song. This gorgeous tune is already hugely popular, and now that it's the soundtrack to Budweiser's cute Super Bowl puppy-and-horse-are-buddies commercial, the hugeness will only expand. Here's the chord chart. Some background... ...

Great Backwards Moments In Rock

I love recording studio shenanigans. And one of my favorite tricks is recording backwards. This technique has a rich tradition—the Beatles made liberal use of it, Led Zeppelin was demonized for allegedly exploiting it, and, in my opinion, we are all better for it. Here is my list of Great Backwards Moments In Rock. 1. “Are You Experienced?” by Jimi …

Singalong on Phinney Ridge

My student Gary Paine leads singalongs at the Phinney Community Center on the first Sunday of the month. They’re low-key, with lots of great folk and kid’s songs, and brownies afterwards—perfect for families. Lyrics are provided. Check it out! Details: Gary takes the summer and Christmas off. First Sunday of the month at 3:30 in Jan, Feb, Mar, Apr, May, …

Blues Turnarounds

I thought all you folks who read my blog would enjoy checking out a lesson on blues turnarounds I taught my Blues Workshop students today. Included are mp3’s of each turnaround—just click “Listen.” Turnarounds, typically played during the last two measures of a blues progression, give the cycle an emphatic ending, and signal that they you’re about to head back …

Pick-Hand Flight School

Students in my recent workshop at Pick-Hand Flight School,West Point Military Academy. I didn’t take any guff from those cocky flyboys. What’s the hardest thing about playing guitar? Sore fingers? Sore neighbors? I’d say the hardest part is hitting the correct string when playing single notes. Consider the rock star up there on stage. He’s singing into the mic, so …

A Memo From the Department of Thumb Placement Correction

Today I’m going to expose what I consider the most pervasive and insidious bit of misinformation plaguing modern society. No, it’s not that Columbus didn’t discover America. It doesn’t have anything to do with racism, the environment, or politics. It’s about thumb placement. That’s right folks, Thumb, with a capitol T, that rhymes with C, that stands for CONSPIRACY! Open …