The Creative Guitarist - melodic improvisation with minor scale(s)

This is all about melody – add in cool fills and groovy riffs to your songs by looking at some at some classic examples from across the decades and explore the basics of improvisation using minor scales.  This is an online course over three lessons for average and above players.




Here we will explore how to start improvising melodic solo ideas using chord tones and fragments of minor scales and relevant modes. We will learn a melody from songs as varied as the likes of Smooth by Santana, Black Magic Woman and Autumn Leaves and use them to explore how to start improvising in the context of the song (chord progressions etc).

We will develop an understanding of the chord symbols by spelling out the notes in the chords (i.e. Root, 3rd, 5th, 7th etc) and exploring how to use those notes in a soloing context.

The lessons will roughly flow as follows:

  1. Song structure, strumming the chords and exploring different voicings of the chords. Introducing the harmonic minor scale. Chord theory/construction and we’ll practice the scales.
  2. Playing additional melodies/figures using chord and scale notes, practicing the structure. Discussion and practice of improvisation ideas over the solo and outtro parts.
  3. Learning selected lead parts and improvised ideas. Getting the sound.

Techniques such as bends, hammer ons, pull offs, tremolandos (fast picking). Performing to the backing track.

The materials will include:

  • Prep sheets
  • audio and video examples of the concepts covered
  • a comprehensive PDF document with annotated score of melody and solo suggestions
  • and possibly video snippets throughout the lessons

This is a chance to stretch out into learning a melody, improvising the melody and developing a more complete understanding of chords and how to use them to build your skill as an improviser.

We try to layer these lessons so that we cover off the more straight-forward elements early on and gradually build up to the more complex subjects. The bulk of each lesson is teaching (usually with a minimum number of questions taken along the way) but we dedicate the end slot for Q&A. With the lessons being online, assuming you are on mute, you can play along with our tutor or practise an exercise without interfering with anyone; if the tutor asks, and you’re so inclined, you can go on-screen for one-on-one coaching in front of the group.

We’ve always recognised that the real work takes place after a course and so we provide a comprehensive set of materials for home practice; these vary from course to course. Over and above learning the song(s) our objective is to give you the tools to self-improve.

A comprehensive and detailed PDF for each of the lessons which will contain everything you need for the course and some additional challenges for your own practice sessions.

Audio and video files for jamming through and practicing the pieces on the course. The videos will show close-ups of the fretting hand and the strumming/plucking hand so that you can clearly see what’s going on during the performance of the piece.

During the course we can make short videos of any discussion points any of you may have and add them to the materials if necessary.

Course suitability
This course is for relative beginners-and-above acoustic and electric guitar players up to intermediate level (check out our FAQs’ Skill levels and suitable courses). There’s something for everyone in all our courses and the follow-on materials should help in both practising the song as well as understanding and applying any techniques and relevant theory covered.

Bass players
This course, although not designed for bassists, is a fantastic opportunity for playing and practice. We do provide bass parts on some courses and always offer guidance as we go through the lessons but we don’t formally teach the bass; any interested bassists should contact us beforehand.

Call us for a chat at any time
Whatever level you are, you’ll have lots of takeaways to work on later. If you’d like to go through the course please call or email.

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