I’m Yours by Jason Mraz – Learning to Arrange for Solo Guitar

So far we have learned how each note of the C major scale feels and sounds when it is played over each chord in the progression. As you become more comfortable with these notes, you will be able to learn arrangements much more efficiently, as all the shapes will feel somewhat familiar.  In “I’m Yours,” an incredibly popular song from Jason Mraz’s 2008 album We Sing, We Dance, We Steal Things, the chord structure is our simple I V ii IV. The original is a half step lower, in the key of B major. It’s always best to start any … Read more

Can You Feel the Love Tonight Solo Guitar Arrangement

The Elton John classic, “Can you feel the love tonight,” is most famous for its feature in Disney’s The Lion King and is a massive part of many people’s childhood, so it would be amazing to be able to pull out this song on the guitar. The song’s chorus is based around our I-V-vi-IV progression but with some variations and inversions that we learned about in “No Woman No Cry.” Elton John’s compositional skills are highly regarded in the world of pop music; his use of inversions, motives, and non-diatonic chords makes for some very interesting songwriting. One notable thing … Read more

Guitar Effect Pedals – Auto Wah Pedals

The Auto Wah effect is like the lazy younger brother of the standard Wah Wah. First of all, Auto Wah pedals come in much smaller casings than a Wah Wah pedal, and second, Auto Wahs don’t require any additional control with your foot, hence the name: Auto Wah.  If you’re not quite sure what a Wah Wah pedal does yet, feel free to check out our article on the most popular Wah Wah pedals currently in the market!  While the standard Wah Wah pedals’ envelope sweep is controlled with the position of the foot pedal, the Auto Wah reacts dynamically … Read more

Guitar Effect Pedals – Tuner Pedals

In our series of articles for guitar pedals, we’ve looked at effects like Overdrive, Distortion, Delay, Fuzz, and many other fun effects. However, we’ve neglected to look at possibly the most important pedal on a guitarist’s pedal board–a tuner. Everything about your tone including your effects, amp, and pickups, will be negatively affected by an out-of-tune guitar. Someone with an awesome dirty tone (like Larry Carlton) will still sound bad regardless of playing skills if their strings are out of tune. So really, a great tone begins with having a guitar that is in tune. Guitar tuners usually come in … Read more

No Woman No Cry Solo Guitar Arrangement

“No woman no cry,” one of Bob Marley’s most famous songs, was released in 1975 as a Live single. It is proof that simplicity can be effective, as its repetitive, diatonic nature proves very catchy. Harmonically straight-forward, the song is a loop of diatonic chords, allowing the beautiful melody and carefully-crafted lyrics to be the focus. The idea of this arrangement is to harness the use of our fingers on the picking hand and to avoid any dents in your nail, which might catch onto the string. Simple chords allow us to easily arrange the song for solo guitar. Our … Read more

Guitar Effect Pedals – Looper Pedals

Looper pedals are some of the best tools or effects pedals available for guitarists as they can play many different roles. The most obvious use is to record and loop musical ideas. You can then record as many overdubs as you want over that original loop, resulting in complex and lush musical soundscapes. Using a looper pedal in this manner has helped many songwriters hash out their musical ideas before committing them to tape. Another way you can use a looper pedal is as a practice tool. While it’s always great to be able to play with other musicians, sometimes … Read more

With or Without You Solo Guitar Arrangement

In the first two lessons, we have covered the basis of C major in the first position. All the songs we will learn in the course will stay in this position. To practice what we have learned, With or without you is a great song to start with, as it uses only four chords and has a simple melody using the C major scale. Before we practice any of the songs, make sure to warm up by playing the exercise in the last lesson, in which we play the scale over each chord. With or Without You uses the progression … Read more

Solo Guitar: Combining Scales with Chords

The biggest challenge of playing unaccompanied guitar is supporting your melodies with the much needed harmony, to do this well we need to carefully arrange our melody to ergonomically fit around the chords we are playing and vice versa. The best way to get used to this is by playing all the chords of the key and slowly incorporating the scale into the chords. Each chord will already contain at least 3 notes from the scale we are using, so it is only a matter of adding the notes above and below the ones we are fretting. We will base … Read more

Understanding C Major: First Position, Chords, and Scale

We hear music in keys. Each piece of Western music can be transposed into 12 different keys, so it makes sense to learn each key centre thoroughly. C major is the simplest as it contains no sharps or flats. In relation to the piano, this scale is played on white keys only, which makes the scale visually more approachable. C major on the guitar is not always the first scale we learn, some often learn G or D. But if we are to approach the guitar in a theoretical way, it really is best to start with C major. In … Read more

Great Solo Guitarists and Solo Guitar’s Use in the Musical World

Why Solo Guitar? To play the guitar–or any instrument–unaccompanied opens up a world of opportunities from gigs and concerts to simply being able to satisfy one’s own need to play without requiring a band. In the gigging world, to be able to play unaccompanied is very inviting to venues. It is highly effective to have solo guitar as background music in a cafe or at a classy bar and is always more practical in terms of cost for the venue. One major field that solo guitarists tend to excel in is weddings. The guitar makes for a great solo instrument … Read more