Jonathan Boettcher, Author at Riff Ninja Academy

All Posts by Jonathan Boettcher

Two Position Solo Scale (R5 Major + Minor)

Here’s a really useful extension to the Root 5 Major scale pattern – instead of carrying through we can simply transition up into the relative minor pattern and get a little more use out of the fretboard. This extension is really useful for changing patterns, or even just to use for soloing!

Using Thirds in a Solo: Twist and Shout

In this lesson we’ll learn a short two-bar phrase that can be used as a solo in the Beatle’s song Twist and Shout (just loop it 4 times and you’ll have the full 8 bars you need). It’s not exactly as they played it because they created this sound using two guitars, but that makes for a great little study on the use of major and minor thirds and how those patterns work on the fretboard. The whole solo uses thirds played in double stops (that means both notes are played together).

A major takeaway from this lesson is how the major and minor thirds pattern works on these strings. If you can connect with that, that’s more valuable than simply learning a one-off solo you might use here and there.

Connecting Chords with Bass Lines in Progressions

In this lesson we’ll look at a number of song examples where a passing note (and sometimes filled out to be a chord) has been used to create a bass line in a chord progression. Are there other songs that come to mind that are like this too? Let us know in the comments below.

The Joker – Steve Miller 1/3

In this three-part series, we'll learn how to play and arrange The Joker by Steve Miller into a fun one-guitar performance. We're using simple chords, G, C, and D, however with an added twist in that we're tuned down a full step. 

The Joker – Steve Miller 2/3

In this three-part series, we'll learn how to play and arrange The Joker by Steve Miller into a fun one-guitar performance. We're using simple chords, G, C, and D, however with an added twist in that we're tuned down a full step. 

Sitting On The Dock Of The Bay 1/2

In this two-lesson series, we’re going to look at the arrangement for Sitting On The Dock Of The Bay, a famous Otis Redding song. In this lesson, we’ll also learn a little bass line that really adds some authenticity to the progression, sounds cool, and is fun to play as well.

Sitting On The Dock Of The Bay 2/2

This is the last lesson in our two-part series on Sitting On The Dock Of The Bay, by Otis Redding. In this lesson, we’ll look at the progression for the bridge, as well as how we can use bar chords at different places throughout the song to add some variation. If you’ve struggled playing bar chords before, you’ll find some helpful tips in here that might just make all the difference for you!

Soloing Application: Can’t Find My Way Home (2/2)

This is the second of a two-lesson series where we’re looking at a song called Can’t Find My Way Home, by Steve Winwood and Eric Clapton. In part 1, we learned the rhythm and chord progression.

In this lesson, part 2, we’re going to look at a solo you can play over this progression. Be sure to practice this with the jam track!

You can download the jam track here.

Here’s the tab for the solo:

Soloing Application: Can’t Find My Way Home (1/2)

This is the first of a two-lesson series where we’re looking at a song called Can’t Find My Way Home, by Steve Winwood and Eric Clapton. In part 1, we’re going to learn the rhythm, because you should always be very familiar with the chord progression before you solo over it. When you’re finished this lesson, head over to part 2 for the solo.

You can download the jam track here.

The track is in the key of D, and you can see the progression and picking patterns below.

Pedal Effects: Wah-Wah Rhythm – Stir It Up

Wah-wah pedals can be used for all kinds of things. In essence, a wah-wah pedal is just a glorified tone knob, like what you have on your guitar. However, they usually have a greater tonal range than the knob on your guitar (some are adjustable), and of course, they offer the incredible convenience of being foot-controlled!

As such, wah pedals open the door to all kinds of new tricks. Today we’re going to look at applying a wah pedal to rhythm, specifically. We’re going to use a simple jam track, based on Stir It Up, by Bob Marley.

Adding A Better Strum

In this lesson, we’ll build on what you’ve learned already, and add a more interesting strum pattern so this progression begins to sound more like a song.

If you need a refresher on the chords, those diagrams are down below as well.

If you’ve got questions or comments, please leave them down below. If you’re ready to take your guitar playing to the next level, checkout the Definitive Beginner’s Guide To Acoustic Guitar.

A Cool Electric Blues Riff For Beginners

This is the first in a four part series where we'll learn a rhythm and riff inspired by Mannish Boy by Muddy Waters. This was designed for straight-up beginners, so we'll try to move slowly!

Take Your Blues Playing To The Next Level

If you've got the blues for playin' the blues... 

Checkout Easy Blues For Beginners Today!

Integrating Diatonic Scales

This is the second lesson in a series of two lessons dealing with integrating patterns all across your fretboard. If you haven’t completed the pentatonic lesson yet, you should do that one first, as this one builds on some things presented in there.

Download the tabs for the lesson here.

Integrating Pentatonic Scales

This is the first of a series of two lessons covering pentatonic and diatonic integration. You’ll discover how to use very few patterns, and yet still get where you want to be on your fretboard.

Download the tabs here.

When you’re finished this lesson, move on to the diatonic one next.

Slow Blues Guitar Solo Challenge 1/5

Welcome to Day 1 of our 5 Day Challenge! Today we're going to look at two different scale patterns that will not only lay the foundation for the solo we learn this week, but also for all the solos you'll play afterwards on different songs. The scale is SO important! Don't forget to grab a copy of the jam track and tab below. 

Slow Blues Guitar Solo Challenge 2/5

It's day 2! I hope you've been practicing your scales, because today we're diving right into the riffs, and they really relate closely to those scale patterns. 

Slow Blues Guitar Solo Challenge 3/5

After today you're more than halfway through! We're learning more riffs, and taking this solo a few bars further. If you need to review any of the previous lessons, the links are here:

Day 1 | Day 2

Slow Blues Guitar Solo Challenge 4/5

Alright, you're nearly there! We're learning more riffs again today, and taking this solo a few bars further. If you need to review any of the previous lessons, the links are here:

Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3

Slow Blues Guitar Solo Challenge 5/5

This is it! The last lesson in our 5 day challenge! Congrats for making it this far, today we're going to wrap it all up and complete the solo. 

If you enjoyed learning this solo, I can help you take your soloing so much further, using this exact same process, in my Ultimate Blues Solos course. This challenge is actually the perfect primer course to lead into the larger one. 

Click here for Ultimate Blues Solos 

Vertical Riffs Tricks 1

Think of the riffs in this lesson as a mere skeletal outline – you can really modify them in a hundred ways to make them your own and to fit whatever song you’re playing – the most important thing to take from this lesson is the notes in the two scales we’re working with: diatonic and pentatonic, and how to apply them. Once you’ve got those notes in your head, you can mix’n match to your hearts’ content!

Here’s the jam track for the lesson:

Diatonic Tab:

Pentatonic Tab:

Vertical Riffs Tricks 3

In this lesson we’re going to be working in the key of E major, but soloing out of a C# minor scale. The jam track is just a “chug” on an E chord, which gives us lots of space to work with. Focus on learning the notes from the scale, because they are literally all you need to know to create sweet riffs with this style of soloing.

Here’s the jam track for the lesson:

Vertical Riffs Tricks 4

This is the second of two lessons (here’s part 1) working with the C# minor scale in the key of E major. In this one, we’re breaking from the one-string approach and extending elsewhere in the scale pattern, while still using the open B string as the drone. Keep in mind that B is the V of E, so it is a great choice for a drone in this key.

Here’s the jam track for the lesson:

Solo Tab:

Start Soloing (4/7) – More Riffs

In this series, we’re going to learn about creating solos. In part 1, we covered the progression for Ain’t No Sunshine that we’re working with. In part 2, we started working with two different scale patterns over the jam track. In part 3 we learned three very generic, usable riffs that you can twist in many, many different directions.

In this lesson, we’re going to add some more riffs to keep building our repertoire!

 

 

Soloing Application: Stir It Up

In this lesson we’re going to learn an eight-bar solo for the song Stir It Up. Here’s the jam track. The progression is eight bars long, and looks like this:

A | A | D | E
A | A | D | E

Because we’re in the key of A major, we’ll be soloing in the relative minor which is F# minor. We’ll be using all those great scales you’ve learned in previous lessons; the pentatonic minor, the diatonic minor, and the three position climb.

Here’s the tab for the riffs we’ll be learning – each bar contains a separate riff:

1 2 3 11

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