Advanced Guitar Lessons – An Essential Guide

Advanced Guitar Lessons | Rhythmic Techniques and Musicality

One of the best ways to become an advanced guitarist is to learn new rhythmic techniques which develop your musicality.

By doing this you will become a well rounded, polished guitarist!

Syncopation

To add flavour and texture to your guitar playing, it’s essential that you learn how to inject some syncopation into your rhythm playing.

Syncopation can be thought as ALL of the rhythms which aren’t placed directly on the beat.

The strong beats are beats 1 2 3 4.

Any rhythm which lies between these beats is considered syncopation.

Syncopated Rhythm Guitar Secrets

Here are a couple of advanced guitar lessons on syncopated rhythm guitar.

Exercise #1 Reggae Strumming Patterns

Syncopation features heavily in reggae music. Learning reggae music is perfect for developing your rhythmic techniques.

advanced guitar lessons

Here’s what it sounds like:

Use up strokes to make those chords ping.

Make sure that you practice this through other chords! This is a rhythm exercise, it can be used with ANY chord.

Exercise #2 Funk Rhythm

Syncopation is a HUGE part of funk music, learn this funky riff to take your rhythmic techniques to the next level.

advanced guitar lessons

Here’s what it sounds like:

Watch out for the x’s on the tab. The x’s mean you must mute those strings. Try muting the strings with your left hand to create a percussive texture.

Palm Muting With Both Hands

To enhance your musicality and rhythm, it’s essential to learn how to palm mute the strings with BOTH of your hands.

This technique can really spice up your rhythm playing.

Right Hand String Slapping Technique

If you’ve ever listened to Ed Sheeran or Jack Johnson, you’ve heard this technique.

Right hand string slapping technique is when you use the palm of your hand to mute the strings to create a rhythmic effect.

This can almost sound like a back beat when you use it correctly.

Watch this video to learn how to do this killer technique.

Left Hand Muting Technique

To improve your rhythmic techniques, it’s essential that you learn how to mute with your left hand.

Muting with your left hand creates syncopation and enhances your musicality.

The basic technique consists of this:

  • Relaxing your hand so that your fretting hand mutes the chord.

To practice this, fret a barre chord then relax your hand. Once you’ve done this, strum the chord.

This should create a thick, muted sound.

Even though this doesn’t sound great on it’s own, when you put it into a musical context.

Click play to learn how you can use this awesome technique.

Learn Different Chord Voicings

One way to enhance your knowledge as an advanced guitarist is to learn different chord voicings.

There is nothing worse than two of the same guitarists playing the same chords.

If one guitarist is playing a barre chord, you should try and play a chord which is higher up the fret board.

For example, if a guitarist was playing a A major chord you could use a higher voicing of this chord.

A great option would be to play a standard open A shape, 12 frets higher.

Like this:

A_High_Voicing_

Or play a D shape on the 9th fret (This is still an A chord!)

A_High_Voicing_D shape

It’s vital that you learn how to play a variety of different chord shapes.

This WILL make you a better guitarist.

To learn more about chord shapes go here: How To Play Lead Guitar

Advanced Guitar Lessons | Guitar Theory and Musical Keys

It’s impossible to become an advanced guitarist if you don’t have an understanding of guitar theory.

In this advanced guitar lessons we’re going to go through a few music theory concepts that will enhance your guitar playing.

Don’t run away! Most guitarists are scared of music theory, however music theory actually helps you become a better guitarist.

What is a musical key?

One of the best advanced guitar lessons you can learn is that.

A musical key is a group of scales and chords which work well together.

It’s vital that you understand how musical keys work, as this helps every other element in your guitar playing.

Everything in music can be related back to the major scale.

The Major Scale

The major scale forms the foundation of guitar theory.

For today’s example, we’re going to use the major scale in the key of C.

The notes in a C major scale are:

Each of the notes in a C major scale represents a chord.

In a major key, you’ll only ever going to have major, minor and diminished chords.

Notes 1, 4 and 5 of the major scale represent major chords.

Notes 2, 3 and 6 represent minor chords.

Note 7 represents the diminished chord.

Therefore in the key of C, the major chords are:

Harmonising Chords

We can harmonise each of these chords to turn them into 7 chords.

Chords 1 and 4 are major 7 chords.

Chord 5 is a dominant 7.

Chords 2, 3 and 6 are minor 7 chords.

Therefore in the key of C you have.

  • I – C Major 7
  • ii – D Minor 7
  • iii – E Minor 7
  • IV – F Major 7
  • V – G7
  • vi – A Minor 7
  • vii – B Minor 7 b5

Scales in the key of C Major

Most people think that there is only one scale in the key of C major.

However there are 7.

For each note of the C major scale, there is a scale which represents it.

These are known as modes.

Here are each of the modes in the C major scale :

  • C Major
  • D Dorian
  • E Phrygian
  • F Lydian
  • G Mixolydian
  • A Aeolian
  • B Locrian

Each of these are ALL have the same notes as the C major scale. However, each scale starts on a different degree of the scale.

Like this:

advanced guitar lessons

Don’t worry too much each mode, for now just learn :

  • The C Major Scale.
  • D Dorian
  • G Mixolydian
  • A Aeolian.

Once you learn these scales, try and use them in a musical context.

This is the fastest way to learn guitar scales.

Why is this useful to know?

This is useful to know as each of these guitar scales can be used over specific chords.

You can use a:

  • Major Scale over a major 7 chord.
  • Dorian or Aeolian over a minor 7 chord.
  • Mixolydian over a dominant 7 chord.

This is a fantastic way of making your guitar sound more sophisticated. If you can target specific chords, with their related scale you’ll be well on to becoming an amazing guitarist.

Bonus Tips

We’ve covered a lot of ground here, however some of the best advice we can give you is that you go out and play with other musicians.

This is the FASTEST way to becoming an advanced guitarist.

Get out into the world and interact with other people.

Nothing is more transformative for your guitar ability and musicality than playing with other musicians.

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