Instant Guitar Solos [with Chord Sandwiches]

Playing a guitar solo, even the most simple of guitar solo, can kind of be an issue for a lot of guitarists. Maybe it's a lack of scale knowledge, maybe they think that the learning curve of soloing is extremely complex taking years to master...

The reality is that becoming a great soloist will take awhile and there will be a lot to learn along the way. But, if you want to be able to play a simple solo, in a relatively short period of time, and learn a collection of notes that will work all the time - every time... There is a fun and easy playing approach that will help to quickly build solos, and for fun we'll call it, "chord sandwiches."

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The idea of the "Chord Sandwich" involves taking the tonic (also called the "ONE Chord") of the key that you're in, and you just use it as a 7th quality chord shape to base your simple guitar solo around.

For example, if I was in the key of "E major" and I wanted to play a solo in that key, all I'd have to do is simply learn the shape of an "E maj7" chord and base my solo around those notes. That chord shape becomes my "Chord Sandwich" and it automatically gives me all of the perfect tones required for performing my guitar solo. 

My guitar solo will be in the key of "E major." And, that means I need to know the shape of an "E Maj7" chord pattern. Now, luckily this is a super easy to learn shape, here's how the shape looks on the fingerboard...

With our "Chord Sandwich" shape, we've got a nice juicy group of notes to chew on that'll sound fantastic no matter where we play them and no matter when we play them. Here's an example of the chord sandwich idea in action over a basic, "E Major," chord progression...

Next, we'll do something really simple. We'll add the Octave of the root, into the chord sandwich. Think of it like adding a piece of lettuce or a slice of tomato... and that extra topping is going to give the sandwich a little more juice. It's an easy tone to add in and it's going to allow us one more note to play against those other chord tones when we make up our solos. So, let's jam a solo again, with that additional note of the octave as a new topping.

Next let's add in some more toppings to our sandwich. How about adding in some pickles or some roasted peppers? How about some cucumbers, shredded carrots or some mushrooms? Well, maybe not, but we can start with a great extra musical topping, the chord extension of a 9th.

The 9th extension is a great chord extension that'll really jazz up the tasty licks we'll create with our chord sandwich, it's basically going to give our sandwich a little more zing. The 9th is located one whole step above the root of the chord. And, you'll for sure want to remember to include the 9th's upper register octave as well. Okay, so let's jam another solo now, with this new 9th topping added to our chord sandwich...

Okay, we're really making progress with this sandwich idea now... But, let's take things a little further yet... Think of how good a sandwich is when you really go all out and add some extra mayo, roasted garlic, parmesan cheese and mustard, maybe some black peppers...

Well, I've got the extra musical topping for you and it's the 13th extension. And, here's where you can add it in. It's located a whole-step back from the 7th chord tone...

Now, we've really got a killer sandwich going here. We've got the 7th chord, that additional octave... we've got that 9th added and we've got the 13th as well. This is fantastic. So, jam-out one last time using everything. All the sandwich toppings...

I hope you had fun with this lesson - I also hope you learned a few fun ideas (and sorry if I made you a bit hungry from all that sandwich talk).

This method is a great way to hit excellent notes when you're playing any simple solo. All it takes is the 7th chord quality of the progression. And, keep in mind that all of this works exactly the same when you're in minor keys as well.

Thanks for joining me, 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...

And, 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. I hope you enjoyed this video, if you did, then please like this video and subscribe for more. Thanks again and we'll see you next time.



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2 Easy Arpeggios to Learn Right Now

Arpeggios can be a weak area for a lot of guitar students, and this is lousy because the application of an arpeggio within a solo sounds very cool and that means if you're not using them, you're missing out... 

On this weeks "Guitar Blog Insider" we're going to make a study of two easy to play arpeggios that you can learn right now. Once you learn these, you'll find that they will most certainly change your guitar playing for the better.

If you're like a lot of guitar players, you probably haven't actually spent very much study time learning arpeggios. Even worse, many of you may not even know what an arpeggio is! That's okay, because we're going to help you fix that.

In this lesson, we're going to learn two very common arpeggio shapes that you'll be able to put into use right away. So, if there's an absence of arpeggios in your playing, I'm going to help you out with two shapes that'll put an end to that forever. Let's get started...

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Arpeggios are essentially the notes of a chord, so if you take any chord pattern and organize the notes from the region of the neck that's associated to a chord pattern, then you'll have access to an arpeggio pattern that fits around that chord shape. Another way of looking at it is that an arpeggio is every second note of a scale.

If you take a scale like "A Minor," the notes of "A, C, E," would be your basic triad arpeggio, and then if you added on the note of "G" you'd have (what's called) a 7th-chord arpeggio.

Let's get started with our first pattern, "The 5th string Major Triad" Here's how it looks on the neck...


Alright, now that you have your major arpeggio pattern organized on the neck, let's check out the equivalent Minor pattern based upon the same region of notes...

If you're familiar with basic chord quality theory, you'll already know that major chords convert to minor chords by way of lowering the third chord tone. In the case of a "C Arpeggio," the third is an "E" note, (when the chord is major), so if we wanted, "C Minor" arpeggio, all we have to do is lower the "E" down to an "Eb."

Based on this lowered third idea, let's take our pattern from the major quality, (we'll lower the 3rd), and run through the new shape for the "Minor" arpeggio...


So, there ya go, now you have two arpeggio patterns that are not only incredibly popular (and easy to play), but they're also easy to memorize and that means you'll be able to get them into your guitar playing as quickly as possible to be able to start making music with them.

As always, I'd be interested to hear your thoughts on all of this in the comment section, thanks for your time, and we'll catch up again next week on my other channel, for another episode of the, "Guitar Blog Insider."



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Lesson 006 - Melodic Contrast Through Dissonance

August 18, 2017:
Lesson 006 - Melodic Contrast Through Dissonance

Normally we strive to hit the correct notes found in the established key center. However, performing scale tones that exist outside of the key (outside notes), can also work in certain styles of music... 

How outside notes are applied will depend primarily upon the way they are phrased. This lesson explains how to start including the interesting sound of outside scale tones in both major and minor keys...

PART ONE:  In example one, a key of "A Major" melody (ex. 1a), is used to demonstrate how a basic diatonic, (in key), melody can be transformed into a melody line that includes non-diatonic phrasing, (ex. 2b). By using a simple technique called, "Approach Tones," an 'approach from below' method shows how non-diatonic tones can be included as embellishments upon the original line from example (1a).

Example two introduces chromatic principles as another non-diatonic technique. Chromatic phrasing includes runs that are generally made up of a linear row of non-selective tones traveling in half-steps. The example (2a) melody starts with a diatonic melody line in the key of "G Minor." Then, in example (2b), the melody is re-worked to include a series of chromatic tones. The new phrase takes on another dimension of sound, yet maintains the same rhythmic duration as the original example.

PART TWO: The example three melody line is based around the sound of an "A Dominant 7th" chord. This offers us the primary scale type of "Mixolydian." However, when altered scale is brought into the mix the unique blend of Altered scales dissonance brings in a lot of sour colors that create an interesting dissonant effect.

Example four includes two final strategies for melodic contrast through dissonance. The first of these are the application of "digital" (sometimes called modular) scale patterns. And, the other is a similar principle that is known as "symmetrical scales."

The use of digital /modular scale patterns is achieved through first creating a pattern of notes and then transferring that pattern across other string sets, (see example 4a). Guitarist "Dimebag Darrell" used these patterns in many of his solos. And, guitarists Paul Gilbert, along with Scott Henderson also apply these shapes.

The last example (ex. 4b), contains a short melodic line using what is probably the most popular symmetrical scale used by jazz guitar players, the "Diminished Scale." The notes of the Diminished scale include both #5 and b5 altered tones surrounded by a minor 3rd and major 7th. It also contains a major 2nd and major 6th with a perfect 4th. The color is very unique and its symmetrical shape and altered character can provide an excellent opportunity for melodic contrast through dissonance.

Paid members can download the handout along with the MP3 jamtrack in the members area at:



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Are You Smart Enough to Ace this Guitar Test?

When I meet new players, one of the things that I always like to do is become familiar with where they're at as guitar players. So, over the years I've organized an "11 Question" guitar test that not only helps me but it also helps the student better understand where they are as guitar players... 

Watch the Video:

So, let's run through those 11 Q. now, and I think this will be helpful for you too.

Question 1). How long do you practice guitar each week? How many days? And, in that period what are you studying?

Good Answer: 5 days per week, between 1.5 to 2.0 hrs., Scales, Intervals, Chords, Arpeggios, Reading, Improvisation, Transcription, (learning songs)

Question 2). How well do you know the notes on the neck? Can you play a single tone across the entire fret-board, (for example "G")?

Good Answer: Can play groups of the "G" tone across several strings between open and the 7th fret.

Question 3). Can you perform at least three different shapes of the Major or Natural Minor scale (not pentatonic) across the fingerboard in different keys? For example; play a "G Major" scale in 2 places, then an "A Minor."

Good Answer: The student can perform them smoothly in time.

Question 4). How well can you perform Major and Minor chords both at the open position, (chords that include open strings), as well as, playing chords along the fingerboard? For example; play "G Minor," "C Minor," "Eb Major," and "Bb Major," in four different fret-board positions across the neck.

Good Answer: The student can perform them (some hesitation is fine).

Question 5). Can you perform three different chord voicing patterns of any in position, (no open chord versions), for chord types of, "Major 7," "Minor 7," and the "Dominant 7."

Good Answer: The player has at least one chord type of each chord quality that they know on the fingerboard.

Question 6). Play this progression with me... |G / / / | C / / / | D / / / | G / / / |

Now make up your own rhythm and then, replace the "G and C" chords Minor.

Finally, change keys so that the progression is in the key of "D."

Good Answer: The player can play the progression and replace the minor chord types. If transposing is difficult to do, that's alright.

Question 7). Perform three different arpeggio patterns of any type anywhere on the fingerboard, (do not use open strings).

Good Answer: The player knows at least one arpeggio pattern.

Questions 8). Build at least three different Major Scales along one string using the major scale formula.

Good Answer: They can build at least one and they know the formula.

Question 9). Can you name 4 different "Major" key signatures and state the sharps or flats found in each key.

Good Answer: They can name at least two keys.

Question 10). Can you name three different time signatures and explain how to count the beat in each of them?

Good Answer: They can name one or two and explain the basics of how to count in the time signature.

Question 11). Can you explain the number of beats and demonstrate note durations of; Whole, Half, Quarter, Eighth and Sixteenth.

Good Answer: They can understand these durations, know the beats and demonstrate what each value is in time.

I hope that you found this brief guitar skills test interesting and I hope that it perhaps gave you some insight as to how I conduct an intake of a new student here at Creative Guitar Studio.

Thanks for joining me, 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...

And, 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.

I hope you enjoyed this video, if you did, then please like this video and subscribe for more. Thanks again and we'll see you on the next video.



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Incredible East Indian Scale - GUITAR - RAGA [Charukeshi]

East Indian scales and melodies, (called "Raga") sound amazing. The pattern I will be showing you is based upon Mixolydian mode. This scale is mostly major, but it contains a b6 and a b7 tone.  It is often referred to as the Hindu Scale and is built from the 5th mode of Melodic Minor, (Mixolydian b6).

Off of a "C Root" you have "C, D, E, F, G, Ab, and Bb." I'm going to be using it off of a root of "D" so that I can maintain an open 4th guitar string, (a "D"), in the bass for a drone pitch...

Watch the Video:

The first thing I want to run through with you is how you can set-up this Indian scale on the neck. Let's begin by looking at this scale in position from a 12th fret / 4th guitar string "D" tonic note...

"D" Charukeshi (4th string root - in position)

click the image to enlarge full-screen

Now, let's change the perspective a little by taking the scale more along the neck. To do this (in a way that will also allow us some room for our bending), we'll be laying out this scale along the 2nd string.

"D" Charukeshi (along the 2nd string root off of the 3rd fret)

click the image to enlarge full-screen

Alright, now that we've covered the notes and how they look in TAB, the last thing we'll do is plot this out so that it's a geometrical pattern along our second string. So, here's that along the neck scale again, but this time, shown as a geometrical pattern on our fret board along the 2nd string...

"D" Charukeshi (2nd string root - along the neck pattern)

click the image to enlarge full-screen

The study that I'm going to suggest you pursue are two main ideas; 1fast slides along the neck, as well as, 2bends at the half-steps of the scale. So, those bends would be at the 7th to 8th frets, and at the 10th to 11th frets.

My overall suggestion for practice of this scale would be to record a jam track of something simple like a droning "D" open string and study applying the fast along the neck slides (we discussed), and (most importantly) those half-step areas for the bends that make the scale really sound cool and give it that real East Indian effect.

Thanks for joining me, 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...

And, 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. I hope you enjoyed this lesson, if you did, then please like this video and subscribe for more. Thanks again - we'll see you on the next video.



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ACOUSTIC GUITAR 005: Rhythm Comping Technique

Acoustic Guitar 005:
Rhythm Comping Technique...

Comping is a chord performance term that is more related to the piano than it is to the guitar. On the guitar a "chord comp" is an all together pluck that substitutes the more common strumming that guitarists tend to make across the strings.

Where the strum is generally applied with a pick (using a downward and /or upward rake motion) in a staggered sweep across the strings, comping is different. The chord comp is performed with the thumb and fingers plucking all at one time. The comp is more like an "all at once" pluck attack. Comping simulates the sound of how a chord is performed on the piano.

In example one, an introduction to comping is outlined using two demonstrations. In example 1a, the emphasis is placed upon tracking the fingers of the comping hand to follow along specific string sets. The thumb remains consistent upon the 4th string open "D." The index, middle and ring remain at the upper three strings of 3rd, 2nd and 1st. In example 2b, the bass note plucked by the thumb alternates from the 6th to 5th guitar strings. The interior chord plucks remain consistent across the 4th to 2nd guitar strings using the index, middle and ring fingers.

Example two focuses on further improving the accuracy of the right hand. The study in example 2a, has the plucking hand thumb mapping notes performed on the 4th guitar string while the index and middle are plucking on the 3rd and 2nd strings. Example 2b is an isolation exercise in where the same strings, (5th, 4th, 3rd and 2nd), are all plucked together in a slightly syncopated rhythm.

PART TWOThe second part of the lesson introduces comping used in its most popular style, acoustic jazz. Many electric jazz players will also use comping, with some guitarists applying the comping idea using hybrid picked technique. Any of these picking techniques (finger plucked or hybrid) will work fine for electric or acoustic comping. This lesson plan will however focus entirely upon the acoustic finger plucking style.

In example three, the basic approach of using comping to perform jazz chord voicings is covered with a jazzy progression in the key of "D Major." The interior notes of each chord are isolated to the 4th, 3rd and 2nd strings. However, the bass tones are shifting between the 5th to 6th strings.

In example four, jazz comping across a collection of chords and intervals in the key of "D Minor" showcases the ability for chord comping to perform well across a variety of strings and a variety of different chord designs. Chord punches and double-stops are combined in the first two measures. And, at the end of the progression a rapid set of 7th-chord movements round out the remaining measures. This final group of chord changes highlights the strength of how fluid the application of guitar chord comping can be at punching through chords both quickly and effectively, (high note accuracy).

ACOUSTIC GUITAR 005: Rhythm Comping Technique

Related Videos:

Rhythm Comping Technique... 

ACOUSTIC GUITAR 004: Travis Picking Accompaniment Style

ACOUSTIC GUITAR 003: Using Chords as Templates



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

Developing Rock Solid Musical Conviction

I'm sure that you've had times in where musical phrases you played came across with incredible confidence. So, what's up with that?

I remember when that first happened to me. I was a teenager, playing on stage and I was playing a solo in the key of "G Minor," and things were just perfect. Every note, every idea I heard in my mind came out absolutely perfect. It felt amazing and it was a taste of what I could connect to in a natural way musically. So, this week we're going to discuss, "Developing Rock Solid Musical Conviction." on the Guitar Blog Insider...

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The super dedicated crowd of guitar players, are not just musicians they strive to make everything they do art. They're artists. They have very serious ideas for their music, very committed ideas for their careers and they plan out ways for how they are going to get everything they do out to the public. They know that if they can get their music projects out to enough people, and if they can prove to everyone who comes in contact with their work. If they can prove that they're serious and that they have conviction, they'll be able to gain fans. And, in this era of YouTube, Instagram, Snap-Chat and FaceBook, if you have a loyal fan-base of just 25 - 30,000 people. You'll do very well. It doesn't take a lot.

One of the main principles of a strong conviction to something is developing a commitment to your project. And, this is an area that far too many musicians fail in. What I mean here is that lets say that you've got a music project and some of the people involved (haven't said anything), but they personally think that the project is crap. Maybe they're working in it because it pays them some money, but overall, they think the songs and the gigs and the whole thing is - well for lack of a better word, they think it's all shit. Now, if you've been around the block a few times, you already know that this isn't rare, it's almost a fairly normal thing with a lot of music projects. Someone in the project isn't into it. And, unfortunately a lot of money is wasted because of a lack of conviction from members of a project.

So, as a musician with a dedicated project, (whatever that project is), you need to always ask yourself a very important question. "Do you believe in what you're doing?" This has to do with the bands you're in, the music you're playing, the music you're writing, the music companies you're building, do you completely believe in what you're doing?

Because the level that you do, the level of your conviction to every project will translate over to how you impact people. No conviction, translates to poor impact. Poor impact means weak fan-base and weak results. And, this is true with everything. With bands, with gigs, with your social media, with your students, what you make for selling, everything. If you don't have conviction for it, if instead you think it's crap, you won't sell that idea to an audience.

Keep in mind something I said earlier... in this era of YouTube, Instagram, Snap-Chat and FaceBook, if you have a loyal fan-base of just 25 - 30,000 people. You'll do very well. Because if you can convert a majority of those fans to pulling in just 50 cents a person a day, that's around $12 - 15,000 a month. If you get 50,000 fans that's going to be around $25,000 a month. But, you can't do that without a fantastic product and you can't create an amazing product without conviction to what you're doing.

If you enjoyed this video and you want to learn more about what I do as an online guitar teacher, head over to my website at and get your FREE lifetime membership...

And, when you want more, you can always upgrade to either a Basic, or a Premium lesson package and start studying the guitar course. Yes, I have a guitar course online. So, I hope to see you on the website soon. Bye for now.



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