Guitar Tricks: Experienced Lessons

Table of Contents


Alternate Picking

Alternate Picking: Level 1

Intro to Alternate Picking (1:15)

  • In order to play faster, you need new techniques. Good to learn this from the start

Alternate Picking Technique

  • Diff players angle their picks diff ways
  • Some hold thumb and middle finger, etc.
  • Experiment and see what works for you
  • Use your wrist. Small, effective movements so you don’t get tired.

Alternate Picking Exercise #1: 8 Times Each String

  • Just pick 8 times up and down on each string. You can open strings or mute them. Slow tempo.
  • Shoot for even spacing/rhythm.

Alternate Picking Exercise #2: Fretting Notes Too (1:07)

  • Do the same thing as before, now with chromatic scale going up four half steps and then switch to the next string.
  • Develops motor skills for advanced picking.

Alternate Picking: Level 2

Alternate Picking: Level 2 Intro

  • Will talk about different ways to pick

Same Notes, Different Sound

  • You can mute by placing your RH palm on the back near the bridge. You can pick closer or farther from the bridge.
  • Practice all your picking exercises in different ways (as listed in above bullet)

Alternate Picking Exercise #1: Double Up Chromatic

  • Practice with a metronome!
  • Play each note twice: down, up. Go up the scale chromatically, then go back down.

Alternate Picking Exercise #2: Back & Forth (0:53)

  • Start on open E, pick once, then go chromatic up to the pinky, then back down. E-F-F#-G-G#-G-F#-F
  • Then do the same on each string.

Alternate Picking Exercise #3: Where’s My Dexterity?

  • Play E-F-E-F, then F-F#-F-F#, then so on and so forth with all four fingers on all of the strings.


  • Practice all these exercise BOTH with palm muting, without palm muting, close to bridge, far from bridge, and WITH metronome!

Bending – Country

String Bending

Tips for String Bending (1:35)

  • Put your middle finger down on the fret before the fret you’re bending with the ring finger, to give more control
  • Use index finger to block the other strings, put pinky on the note right next to it

String Bending Lesson 1 (1:33)


String Bending Lesson 2

String Bending Lesson 3

String Bending Lesson 4

String Bending Lesson 5

String Bending Lesson 6

String Bending Lesson 7

String Bending Lesson 8

String Bending Lesson 9

String Bending Lesson 10

String Bending Lesson 11

String Bending Lesson 12

String Bending Lesson 13

String Bending Lesson 14

String Bending Lesson 15

String Bending Lesson 16

Useful Tips On 2nd String Bend Positions


B-Bender Guitar

Prebending Strings

Prebending Strings: Using This Trick in Licks


Bending – Rock

Boost Your Rock Bending!

Bending & Vibrato

Bending & Vibrato in Rock

Tools of Emotion: Tried & True Techniques


Finger Picking

Travis Picking Simplified

Travis Picking Simplified: Introduction (2:20)

  • Travis picking is in blues, jazz, country, folk, ragtime
  • Alternating bass, (rotating thumb) 2 bass notes for each chord is the key to the travis picking

Travis Picking Simplified: Gear & Tone (0:36)

  • Works on any kind of guitar

Beginner Orientation & Terminology (1:52)

  • 6th string = lowest, bottom string. Numbered sequentially from there.
  • Using four fingers, not pinky, but pinky will NOT rest on guitar.

Physical Hand Positions (2:03)

  • The Position is the holy grail of finger picking
  • Rest thumb (slightly bent, higher up/closer to fret than the other fingers) on 6th string, first finger on third string, second finger on second string, third finger on first string. Fourth finger hanging out next to third finger not doing anything
  • You get a natural egg/oval shape

Basic Simplified Picking Pattern (8:33)

  • Focus just on RH not LH so brain gets clear clean info to learn faster
  • 6,5,4 strings are our bass notes
  • We are going to practice: 6th string with thumb, 2nd string with 2nd finger, 4th string with thumb, then 3rd string with 1st finger, and repeat that pattern.
    • Think: thumb-2-thumb-1 or 6-2-4-3
    • NTS: 3rd (ring) finger is resting against its string but not plucking
  • Middle Travis Pattern: Now practice with the 5th string as the bass.
  • High Travis: Then practice with bass note on the 4th string
    • Keep your hand in the SAME POSITION, move your first (index) finger away, and pick the high notes with the third (ring) and second fingers!
  • These three positions will cover virtually every chord you know!

Counting Rhythm (2:23)

  • Counting is least taught subject. But important. 1 and 2 and 3 and 4 and.

Simple Right-Hand Exercise (4:35)

  • Build muscle memory. 2 bars of low, then middle, then high, then back down.
  • Feed it into your brain slowly and ACCURATELY. STAY IN POSITION. Mind your breathing, people tend to stop breathing when using brain hard.
  • Play this a thousand times, accurate and clean to build muscle memory. Actually 1000 times!

Hazards and Warnings: Tension (4:45)

  • People tend to build tension when using small muscles of hand.
  • Speed and accuracy come from relaxation.
  • A claw is a symptom of tension. Don’t PULL the string. Watch out for paddle fingers too (joints are not curved)
  • Another bad sign is “teacup pinky” where pinky is sticking out straight. Stay loose. Keep an eye on shape of the hand to watch out for these. If you’re making mistakes, you’re playing too fast or in tension.
  • When your hand gets tired, it tries to recruit larger muscle groups. Don’t let it do that, take a break.
  • Keep breathing while you play!

* Exercises With Chords: Three Keys (11:53)

  • 14571 progression in three keys
  • First, two bars of G, C, G, D7, start over
  • Then D, G, D, A7
  • Songwriters, this can affect what key you choose to play, as the chords are high or low depending on where they are on the guitar
  • Now start with E, A, E, B7
  • To be a better picker, you need a clean LH

Getting Up To Speed (5:00)

  • Practice the 3 positions back and forth
  • Speed is a function of relaxation! Breathe!
  • Breathe, and as you exhale, speed up. Speed up when you RELAX.
  • Every time you do this you can hit faster speeds. Shoot for accurate, clean, even.


Acoustic Fingerstyle Blues, Step-by-Step


Fingerpicking Instrumental: Rainy Spring Day


Acoustic Fingerpicking Step-by-Step, Level 2


Acoustic Fingerpicking Step-by-Step, Level 1C


Acoustic Fingerpicking Step-by-Step, Level 1B


Acoustic Fingerpicking Step-by-Step, Level 1A

Getting Started: The Four-Step Pattern (4:06)

  • Only using thumb and 1st and 2nd finger, plant the last two fingers on the wood of guitar.
  • You can buy a finger pick to mimic a fingernail
  • Use the Travis pick pattern, don’t use different fingerings

Changing Chords, with the 4-Step Pattern (4:07)

  • Practice the pattern with chords that have different bass notes

2-Chord Practice Drill #1 (5:30)

  • Alternate between am and em
  • Start slow and speed up. When you start to lose it, go back to slow.

2-Chord Practice Drill #2 (5:22)

  • Now alternate DM and AM

3-Chord Practice Drill (5:15)

  • GM, CM, and DM = practice all 3 bass notes

All the Pretty Little Horses (song to play!) (4:37)

  • am, em, and GM. Only one measure per chord as you go through.

Simple Gifts (song to play!) (4:55)

  • GM and DM

Build Your Speed: Practice Drill #3 (5:14)

  • CM and FM7
    • FM7 is the CM shape, moving the two lower notes over one string each.
  • Just keep doing this and increase speed slowly

Build Your Speed: Practice Drill #4 (6:09)

  • am, CM, em, am
    • Note: never move the third finger. For the em, use the index finger to play the second to last string

The Wabash Cannonball: Prep & Practice (4:41)

  • DM, GM, A7

Wabash Cannonball (song to play!) (4:53)

  • Same as above

Let’s Slant the Rhythm! (2:11)

  • GM Dotted rhythm (syncopation)
  • Practice on a CM, then a FM, then any other chords

Play it Folky (3:48)

  • D7 and A7, with syncopated R

Play it Jazzy (4:54)

  • AM7, DM7
  • Play it doubles (2 measures each) then singles (1 measure each)

Play it Bluesy (5:05)

  • EM, A7, B7

Hush Little Baby (song to play!) (3:25)

  • DM, AM, DM, that’s it

Build Your Speed: Practice Drill #5 (3:42)

  • am, em =  great chord shape relationship, easy to chord change so you can focus on speed. 2 measures each, then singles (1 measure each) as you increase speed.

Build Your Speed: Practice Drill #6 (4:53)

  • GM, CM, GM, DM, syncopated. This will give you practice with all 3 bass notes

Freight Train Blues (song to play!) (4:32)

  • EM, A7, EM, B7, EM = standard 12 bar blues pattern


Hammer-ons and Pull-offs

Hammer-Ons & Pull-Offs in Rock

Hammer-Ons & Pull Offs

Harmonics – Pinch and Natural

Harp Harmonics

Introduction to Pinch Harmonics

Harmonics: Pinch & Natural

Hybrid Picking

Hybrid Picking Primer

Basic Hybrid Picking Exercises

Hybrid Picking Progression in A

Hybrid Picking Exercises: One Finger

Left Hand

Left Hand Technique for Absolute Beginners

Left Hand Training



Legato and Staccato: Musical Articulation

Palm Muting

In the Palm of My Hands

Palm Muting: Improve Your Right Hand

Back for More: The Return of Palm Muting


Slapping Techniques for Guitar

Slide – Bottleneck

Blues Slide Guitar Techniques

Blues Tone: Odds and Ends

Strumming – Basic

Strumming Technique

Strumming in Rock

Acoustic Strumming Step-by-Step, Level 1

Basic Strumming in 3/4 Time

Better Strumming

Basic Strumming in 4/4 Time

Strumming – Boom-Chick

This Cowboy Rides Again

Boom Chick Fingerpicking

Boom Chick Blues

Boom Chick Blues II

Sweep Picking

Introduction to Sweep Picking

Sweep Picking Series 1: The Basics

Sweep Picking Series 2: Expanding the Sweep

Sweep Picking Series 3: Basic Applications

Sweep Picking Series 4: More Applications

Sweep Picking Series 6: More Advanced Applications

Advanced Sweep Picking 1


Tapping: Level 1

Tapping: Level 2

Tapping: Level 3

Tapping: Level 4

Touch Technique

Stanley Jordan Style Touch Technique

Touch Technique 2



Trill Drills


Blues Vibrato

Playing with Feel in Blues

Whammy Bar

Whammy Bar from the Beginning

3 Whammy Bar Blues Tricks




Warmup Stretches

Building Pinky Strength & Dexterity


Spider Legs Warm-Ups: Great Finger Exercises!

7 Great Warm-up Exercises

Chord Change Drills in 6 Must-Know Keys

Scalar Exercises


Finger and Picking Technique Exercises

Speed Building

Finger Exercises

Speedy Ideas Series 1: Building Speed


Walking Into Chords

Un-CAGE the Chops: CAGED System Technique Exercise

Basic Hybrid Picking Exercises

Hybrid Picking Exercises: One Finger


Bread and Butter Blues Licks Series 1

Blues Workouts

Sequences and Practice Techniques

Pentatonic Major Scale Exercises

Pentatonic Minor Scale Exercises


Metal Rhythm Workout

Metal Rhythm Workout II

Metal Rhythm Workout III


Classical Single String Exercises

Basic Chord Exercises



Beginner Scales and Chords

C Major Scale for Beginners

A Minor Scale for Beginners

C Minor Scale Exercises for Beginners

Simple Chords Group 1: Intro to C Major & G Major

Simple Chords Group 2: Intro to A Minor & E Major

Introduction to Barre Chords for Beginners

Seamless Chord Changes for Beginners

Full Chords Group 1: A, D, and E

Full Chords Group 2: C, F, and G

Full Chords Group 4: A, D, and E Minor


The Major Scale

Pentatonic Scales: Boxes & Frameworks

The Blues Scale

Breakin’ in the Blues Scale

Major Scale Patterns Series 1

Minor Scale Patterns Series 1

Scales Into Solos: Minor Pentatonic

Scales Into Solos: Major Pentatonic

Practicing Major Modes

Exotic Scales


Extracting the Power!

Two-Note Chords

Double Stops: How They Work

Open Chords: Rhythm and Embellishments

Campfire Chords With Character

Introduction to Minor 7th Chords

Walking Into Chords

Introduction to Dominant 7th Chords

Alternative Chord Voicings

Beyond Power Chords

Barre Into Jazz Chords

The All Chords Exercise


10 Ways to Play Arpeggios

Triads, Inversions, Arpeggios, and Extensions

The Connecting Game

Arpeggiation in Rock

Combining Scales Chords

Scales and Chords Relationships

Using Scales to Connect Chords Exercise 1

Using Scales to Connect Chords Exercise 2

Introduction to Improvisation for Beginners

Improvisation in a Major Key

Improvisation in a Minor Key