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...

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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



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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."



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A Rhythm Guitar Study That Just Kills It...

Rhythm guitar technique (strumming and chord learning) is often the cause of problems for a lot of guitar students. Not only are there what seems like a never-ending amount of chords to learn, but implementing those chord patterns with good feel and smooth chord changes can take a lot of work... 

This lesson explains how to establish an exercise that targets the art of strumming with performing a long series of manageable chord changes. Over time, the ability to switch chords easily while maintaining a smooth sense of rhythm guitar will become ingrained physically.


All it takes to get started with improving your technique here is to work on using just one rhythm guitar strum pattern and apply it across a lengthy chord progression (to establish endurance with performing the groove). Once you do this several times, you'll be well on your way to having a more successful level of ability to perform solid rhythm guitar.

The first step is selecting a rhythm strum pattern. Choose something fairly basic at first. Design your strum pattern so that it is manageable to strum. Have it be one that makes reasonable sense to your hand movements.

Begin by counting the phrase you select as your rhythm pattern. Play it while counting out loud, strumming it over and over until it feels smooth and easy to comprehend technically.

Write the phrase down on paper if you can. Or, try entering it into a music notation software program like Finale or Guitar Pro.

Once you've established the rhythm strum pattern, turn on a metronome or drum machine and begin applying it over a few chord changes. Below are a few examples that you can start with if you need some ideas to get you going...

Rhythm Example #1).

Rhythm Example #2).

The idea presented in "Rhythm Example #2" is the rhythm that was performed in the video demonstration. If this rhythm feels comfortable to play through, use it as a starter rhythm to work on your own studies. If Rhythm #2 feels a little too complex, try using Rhythm #1.

Once you've established your rhythm strumming pattern, (remember to only select one rhythm strum pattern), the next step is to put it into action.

You may want to begin by selecting a group of chords to work with, a harmony from a song you know, or a series of chords from within a key center. These can include any chords you wish. But, for ease of use and simplicity of application, it would be best to choose chord fingerings on the neck that you know quite well.

Develop long chord progressions, (beyond 16 bars in length), for maximum effect. As your skills get more balanced, make the progressions even longer. Whatever length you decide to establish, be sure to write out the chords on a chart, (staff paper). Do this rather than going randomly through chords. If you're following a chord progression that you've notated, (rather than randomly flipping through chords), your rhythm playing will be much better and it will feel more balanced.

As you get more proficient at playing through the chord changes of your progression, try increasing the speed and eventually you should try adding another rhythm pattern.

Learning to become better at performing rhythm guitar takes a lot of time and effort. The other part of this game is that, you'll only get so good practicing at home. The real development will come from playing rhythm guitar in a band. 

So, this means that anytime that you can get an opportunity to perform with other musicians; guitarists, drummers, bass players, piano players - just do it. That collaborative work is the road to "rhythm guitar perfection" over time.

Once your rhythm skills reach a level at where you don't need to practice these rudiments any longer, be sure to start finding new and different styles of music to study. 

Different styles of music will offer you a wide spectrum of variation when it comes to rhythm guitar. This means your horizons will branch out as you try playing; folk, country, pop, jazz, rock, punk, latin, funk, blues and many other styles.

Keep your mind open to new playing perspectives and always test different guitars, amps and electric pick-up settings to determine the most authentic sound for performing rhythm guitar in each new playing style.



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QwikRiffs #009 - Country Western Alternate-Bass Riffs "C Major"

NEW: QwikRiffs Series - Video (009)

The latest QwikRiffs video, Country Western Alternate-Bass Riffs "C Major" is available in the members area. Includes PDF handout!

QwikRiffs are available to members at Creative Guitar Lessons in the QwikRiffs Series run through collections of rhythm guitar riffs covering all types of playing styles. I cover different 'famous artist' playing approaches and I will demonstrate ideas based on rhythm guitar techniques... 

Daily Deal:

Episode #009 covers three "C Major" Riffs.

Riff one takes a look at a traditional style alternate bass note strumming riff that includes both the 5th interval as well as, the major 3rd interval of the "G major" chord.

Riff two switches the feel over to the straight-time groove with an alternate bass and filler tone idea. Fillers use scale tones to pass through one chord to the next in a smooth way.

Riff three allows for a steady 8th-note pace to work in establishing a series of continuous 5th alternates with additional accent tones. This example applies several chords and produces a very busy feel from the chord changes.

Sign into the website (or create your free members account) to join the members site. Sign up for the Basic Monthly or Premium (annual) membership to download the PDF handout for this lesson and study all of the other classes available on the website. 

Become a FREE member of the website, sign up today!



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Do All Roads Lead to Jazz?

One of the best guitar teachers that I ever had used to say that, "All Roads Lead to Jazz." What do you think of this statement? Is there any truth to it? 

The majority of new (beginner) guitar students seldom pay much attention to jazz music as they study guitar at first. Early days of guitar studies are more often than not spent learning things like; open chords, strumming of popular songs and getting used to the guitar neck.

However, after 4-6 years pass by many guitar students will often begin searching out new styles to explore and after learning about Blues and Rock, quite often their focus leads them to study Jazz. The styles unique harmonies and melody lines allows them a chance to learn many new ideas not found in more basic styles. When it comes to unique sound, Jazz is right up there on the list.


So, what is it about jazz? The style sounds different and has a lot of motion. Yet, it can be explored using most of the ideas used in Blues. The major and minor pentatonic scales will go a long way to helping a guitarist start playing jazz. But, it seems that there's a lot more to it than that.

One of the main reasons I find my own students become interested in jazz music will be the use of modes. The Dorian, Mixolydian and Lydian modes in particular are used often in jazz harmony, and students hear of these concepts with peaked interest.

Another area that leads a student to jazz tends to be arpeggios. As it stands, arpeggios are used in all styles. One of the best examples is the song "Pretty Woman," by Roy Orbison. That intro lick in his song is an "E7" arpeggio and forms a staple part of that songs main theme. But, what music style employs arpeggios in abundance? Well, that would be jazz.

One more reason that I'll find students leading their study into the world of Jazz has to do with improvisation. Early on students will tend to start their improvisational career path with Blues and Rock. However, those styles can become a little stale over time. The formats are essentially all the same and after the challenge wears off, students (who are eager for more complex work), start shifting their focus over to the more complex improv found in Jazz changes.

So, as you can tell, there are many reasons why a guitarist would find their "path" pointing into the direction of Jazz study. And, while this won't hold true for every guitarist, there will be several players who benefit from learning more complicated ideas used in jazz. Whether it's due to boredom with main-stream styles, or a quest for new fresh ideas, Jazz harmony, melody and improvisation will offer guitarists a new direction and a whole palate of new musical sounds to explore.

Personally, I do feel like this statement "Do All Roads Lead to Jazz," has some merit, but I'm curious to know your thoughts. Please leave your ideas in the comments section.



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GUITARISTS: How to Break Bad Habits - Part 02

Welcome to the second part of "Breaking Bad Guitar Habits." In this episode we're going to check out a number of more practical issues that relate to breaking bad guitar habits. 

Our focus will be on solving issues that can cause you to have lasting problems...


A serious bad habit is getting stuck within playing only one style of music. It is so detrimental on many levels. Becoming well rounded will most certainly involve branching out to other music styles. It expands your feel, your theory knowledge, your technique, sense of rhythm and so much more. By neglecting this area, you are doing a great deal of harm to your overall playing ability.

Let's test your skill for playing guitar in different styles of music. Since not doing this work is a bad habit (that many players get stuck in), expanding to other styles will be amazing to your overall ability and confidence.

Students who are only playing in one or two styles of guitar, (often times Blues or Classic Rock), are going to love trying out a collection of styles. In doing so you'll find out which ones you're good at, and which ones you may need some work on.

Country Western:

Reggae riff:

Jazz idea:

Hard Rock /Metal:

If you easily played through each of those styles with next to no effort, then you did great. If you had some slight difficulty with a couple of those riffs, then I'm sure with a little practice, you'll be able to polish up any rusty areas.

But, if every one of those riffs were tough to comprehend, and felt difficult to perform (with the right feel and dynamics), then you'll have some work ahead of you to be able to get all of these general music styles up to speed. Next, let's test another area of playing - acoustic finger-style guitar. 

Playing acoustic finger-style, or classical guitar ideas are generally weak for a lot of players. Not for all players, but many guitarists will find that finger-style is a difficult area to get really polished at, so let's test your skills with a couple of finger-style riffs, and you can find out how well you can keep up...

Acoustic Guitar - Pattern Picking riff:

Folk Finger-style riff:

If either of these finger-picked riffs caused you grief, you'll need to look into getting a little better when the pick is out of the picture and all you've got is fingers only. Finger-style is an important area of skill and having some ability for it is definitely a good thing.

The last area I want to cover is fret-board knowledge and music theory basics. This is like saving the best for last because so many guitarists blow this stuff off for years. They'll wait far too long and when it comes down to learning their fingerboards and understanding the basic elements of music theory related to the neck they feel totally overwhelmed.

So, let's run through a number of important guitar neck and theory principles, and you can gauge your skills and get a better perspective of where you're at.

- Notes across the neck
- Fingerboard regions
- Major and Minor key theory
- Scale and arpeggio concepts
- Open chords
- Barre Chords
- Other Chord Types (7th's, extended, altered)
- Chord Inversions
- Intervals

Well, this wraps up my two part video on helping you with starting to break down your bad-habits and move through them into more productive levels of study, and onto better guitar playing.

If you can start to realize the initial types of issues (to do with bad habits) along with the things that are associated; psychologically, and then, take action onto some real world playing studies, you'll not only expand your playing ability, but most importantly, you'll change how you think about learning music.

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 program, if you did, then give it a thumbs up and subscribe for more. Thanks again and we'll see you on the next video.



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GUITARISTS: How to Break Bad Habits - Part 01

If you play guitar, you probably have a few bad habits. It might be something simple like only playing music that you already know, and never venturing off to music that's foreign to you. Music that will force you to leave your comfort zone and try new ideas is extremely beneficial. This 2-part series will explore several ways that you can start breaking away from your bad habits...

Other bad habits will also often include neglecting Guitar technique. And, neglected technical issues can become problematic. These may include poor picking hand technique, or a lack of accuracy with the fretting hand. No matter what it is, once these habits settle in, they can become a real burden to your guitar playing.

If bad habits aren't addressed, they can last for years... 

So, on this episode of the "Guitar Blog Insider," we're going to discuss, "How to Break Your Bad Habits." This will be a two-part episode, so be sure to watch both segments of the program...


BAD HABIT #1). "No Plan"
The number one bad habit of guitar players is that far too many guitarists have no established plan for developing themselves on the instrument. If you have no plan, you can't accomplish much. What are you going to study? How are you going to grow? What music can you play that will be a challenge? These are all basic questions that need to be addressed if your guitar playing will expand. And, this can be an especially bad situation for a player who has no instructor and no curriculum to follow.

Start by taking out a sheet of paper and write down a few things about where you are now. Do you know the notes on your neck? Are you aware of how many sharps and flats are in the keys of music? Do you know barre chords, do you know your major and minor seventh chords? Can you perform a guitar solo? Are you good at rhythm guitar? These are basic things, but so many guitar students haven't a clue about a number of them.

Far too many guitarists do what teachers will often call "noodle." They putter around on musical ideas that are well known to them. Ideas that are easy to play. Ideas that require no real effort to perform. It might be fun, but doing this offers nothing with regard to expanding your potential. In order to get better, you've got to expose yourself to new material. And, that means ideas that you do not understand.

All it takes is making a list, and then forming a plan based upon the list.

BAD HABIT #2). "Neglect of Rhythm"
If you were placed into a 3 piece band, and you had to play rhythm guitar, how well would you do? It's a pretty simple job (as guitar jobs go). It is just, "Playing Rhythm Guitar." But, would you do alright in that band? It would mean that you'd need to know quite a few chords. You'd need to learn a couple of dozen songs. And, most importantly, you'd need to have a good sense of rhythm.

Your timing would have to be there as well. After all its rhythm guitar - right. Your sense of rhythm needs to be pretty darn good if you're going to have some success. And, if you think that you might be neglecting your rhythm guitar skills, it's probably time to start considering taking a closer look at your rhythm guitar ability.

My suggestion would be to get a drum machine and learn to play grooves in as many styles as possible. Both the Boss Dr. Rhythm DR-3 and the Boss DR-880 are fantastic. Plus, there's also the Alesis SR-16 along with the Alesis SR-18 are excellent, and they won't break your bank account.

Once you have a drum machine, run through the units presets and keep it on for hours. It'll do wonders for developing your abilities for rhythm guitar.

BAD HABIT #3). "Lack of Learning Flexibility"
If I had a dollar for every time I heard a student say, "I don't need to learn that," or "I'm not going to bother trying or learning that because Hendrix and Clapton and Gilmour they didn't know that," I would probably be able to retire right now - this minuet.

It's a little upsetting that so many guitar players are under the impression that just because some famous player didn't know how to do something, that somehow that concept is relevant. Not everybody is going to get rock-star fame when they're 24 years old like Hendrix. Or tour the world at 22 yrs. old like David Gilmour. It's so unrealistic to compare yourself for even one second to some of these guitarists.

What they knew, or did not know is largely irrelevant to you. Especially when you're trying to compare what they were doing on guitar 50 years ago, yes that was 5 decades ago.

When you look at what they knew compared to what most of us have to do just to play a weekend wedding gig today, it doesn't even compare. In fact, it is unlikely any of those players would be able to keep up to most players of today who simply work in top-40 bands.

In this era, you have to be flexible and you need to be ready to learn everything. All the theory you can, all the scales you can, learn to read, learn classical guitar, learn jazz guitar. The more you can learn the better. And, the more you learn, the more that you'll earn.

Well, that brings us to the end of part one of this two part series on "Break Your Bad Guitar Habits." In part two we're going to take a more hands on approach, I'm going to offer you some exercises that you can do to attain better technique and gain a better understanding of the neck, how notes are organized and how you can move away from the bad habits that are holding you back from playing better guitar.

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 that I've organized for the members of my website. I hope you enjoyed this program, if you did, then give it a thumbs up and subscribe for more. Thanks again and we'll see you on the next video.



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GUITAR SOLOING 008: Killer Solos with 3-Note Triads

September 15, 2017:
Lesson 008 - Killer Solos with 3-Note Triads

Performing solos using 3-note triads allows for a very interesting blend of harmony and melody. Once melody lines can be inter-changed with 3-note chords, the impact of a lead takes on a whole new dimension. 

Lesson 008 explores this idea in detail... 

As guitar players, one of the more unique sounds we have as soloists is the option of using multiple notes to create our melodic passages.

Watch the Part One Video FREE on YouTube:

PART ONE:  In example one, we study how the 3-note triad can be applied to single-note lines. A solo segment in the key of "G Major" uses two triad punches to highlight the melodic line in the solos 2nd and 4th measures. The use of 3-note chords map the lead part across each phrase producing a crisp attack to the parts of the lead that involve changes to the harmony.

Example two explores how to use 3-note triads for the fast tracking of chord changes. This is a powerful idea since the sound of rapidly moving triads (closely positioned) can produce a strong embellishment to any melody. The key of "D Minor" melody line in example two demonstrates this effect in measure four. Be sure to begin by learning all of the triads and how they flow one to the next in the example. Become clear about their fingerings and build their speed afterward using a metronome.

PART TWOIn example three, triad soloing ideas will be matched to rhythm punches in order to form a blended line between rhythm and lead. The impact of this effect within a worked out solo is very dynamic and produces a strong highlight to any part where these are applied.

NOTE: Doing "matched rhythm concepts" within any ensemble will require advanced planning between the rhythm guitarist and the lead guitarist since the parts are essentially, "worked out."

Example four studies how certain color tones in a solo can be directly focused on using target tones built using the 3-note triads. This technique is explored using a progression in "F Lydian." The focus is placed on the unique color tone of this mode, (the scale tone of "B"). In the example, we highlight the modes color tone (B) and help push the harmony of other chords across the solo. This technique is one of the best ways to zero in on the unique color tones of key centers and modes.

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



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