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

A practice regimen that will get you sounding like John Mayer

John Mayer is arguably one of the most influential guitarists of our time and has shown this through his technical ability, songwriting skills, and paying homage to the great blues players of previous generations. Recreating his sound is something that millions of guitarists like us try endlessly to perfect. I am sure you can now see how having the right guitar and amp may not get you sounding exactly like John Mayer, it’s all about paying equal attention to technique, sound, stylistic approach, and then of course–plugging this all into the right amp! Now that we’ve covered John Mayer’s influences, … Read more

John Mayer’s Commonly Used Techniques

It may be tempting to think that all it takes to sound like John Mayer is to get the right guitar, amp, and pedal combination. If only it were that easy! While gear does play a significant role in a guitarist’s sound and playing style, what plays an even bigger role is technique. A cheap, broken guitar will still sound amazing in the hands of a master guitarist. There’s a saying amongst musicians, dancers, artists, and athletes — “Technique is everything!” Technique determines what you can play, how fast you can play it, and how consistently you can play it. … Read more

John Mayer’s Influences: How They Shaped His Playing Style, and How They May Shape Yours Too

Every guitarist experiences a common barrier at a certain point in their musical journey — we get paralyzed by the sheer number of things there are to learn on the guitar. This roadblock can leave you aimlessly practicing things that you will never put to use, zapping your motivation to play. This usually occurs when you’ve learned all your open chords, your barre chords, and a couple of solos. The question, “what next?” inevitably pops up. One great way of overcoming this hurdle is to find an artist that you look up to and model your playing after him/her. Finding … Read more

Guitar Chords: How to Progress from Beginner to Advanced Chord Shapes

One of the most common barriers that beginners face when they first pick up the guitar is the overwhelming number of chords to learn. Many will attempt to learn as many as possible without trying to master or memorize their shapes. Some may even jump into barre chords, which are notoriously difficult for beginners, before developing sufficient finger strength and dexterity. These are all recipes for disappointment and I’ve seen it happen time and time again. The truth is, when learning how to play acoustic rhythm guitar, you want to start with songs that only have three or four open … Read more

The Guitar Effects Pedals Behind John Mayer’s Wide Ranging Sound Palette

Every guitar player has a unique preference in tone, genre, brand of guitar, and even guitar picks. Other than being guitar players, you’d be hard pressed to find many similarities in our setups. However, there is one thing that binds us all together, and that is our love for guitar pedals. Regardless if you’re a bedroom guitarist or a headliner for a major festival, you likely have a decent collection of pedals, and if you don’t, you’re probably working your way towards it. So it comes as no surprise that a guitar player like John Mayer would have a very … Read more

The Guitars and Amplifiers Behind John Mayer’s Legendary Tone

John Mayer is arguably one of the most influential guitarists of our generation. While he has mentioned that he doesn’t believe that he is as impactful or creative as someone like Jimi Hendrix, the comparison between him and Hendrix is often made by fans and even his contemporaries. Don’t get me wrong though, there are actually countless guitarists out there who even Mayer himself would consider technically superior. However, we’re not just talking about technical skills here; we’re looking at a body of work that is easily digestible by the masses, yet has enough complexity to influence many young guitarists … Read more

John Mayer: How a Pop Icon Can Help You Improve Your Guitar Skills

You may know John Mayer for some of his 7 Grammy Award winning (and 19 Grammy nominated) pop and rock music, but did you know that he is one of the most versatile and influential guitarists performing today? In this series of articles, we will explore John Mayer’s music and playing style. One of the best ways to improve your own playing is to find someone to model your style after. Through studying his or her tone, technique, songs, and gear, you will find that your own playing will improve exponentially faster compared to if you were just learning songs … Read more