Jonathan Boettcher, Author at Riff Ninja Academy - Page 2 of 11

All Posts by Jonathan Boettcher

Start Soloing (3/7) – The 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 this lesson, we’re going to learn three riffs which come out of the scales we’re working with, which we’ll begin to use as a basis for our improvising.

 

 

Start Soloing (2/7) – The Scales

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 this one, we’re looking at the scales we’ll be using over that progression. If you’ve been following the School lessons in order, you should already be familiar with the scales presented in this lesson. We’re using the pentatonic minor, and the three position climb. If these patterns are totally fresh to you, it would be best if you go back and review those previous lessons first.

These scale patterns provide the notes you need to improvise a solo! So the first step is to become really comfortable using just the scale in the context of the jam track – listen to yourself as you play and take note of how each note sounds with the track.

 

 

Start Soloing (1/7) – The Progression

In this series, we’re going to learn about creating solos. We’re going to start by learning the progression we’ll be working with. It’s inspired by Ain’t No Sunshine. Before we even get to the main course of this series (improvising a solo), it’s great practice to first play rhythm along with the jam track until you get very comfortable with it. Try playing the chords in different positions, work with it a bit until the progression feels very comfortable. You’ll find this really pays off when it comes time to solo over it.

The first part of the progression is two bars, and goes like this:

Am       Em   G  | Am

The second part goes like this:

Em7   |   Dm7

Under The Boardwalk: Progression

In this lesson we're going to look at the chord progression and strum pattern for Under The Boardwalk, by the Drifters. If you're looking for a fun song to play for your friends and have them sing along, this is a great choice.

For more songs like this, checkout Easy Strum Classics.

Verse chords:

Chorus chords:

Strum pattern:

Under The Boardwalk: Bass Line Riff

In this lesson we're going to look at the bass line riff for Under The Boardwalk, by the Drifters. (In case you missed the first lesson, you might want to check that one out first). You can use this for a cool intro if you want, or extend it further and use it for a whole verse too. The riffs are below - note that they are not arranged how you would play them in the song, but rather, show the riff for each chord change. You can put them into the arrangement yourself, quite easily.

For classic songs like this, checkout Easy Strum Classics.

Diatonic Minor Root 5 Scale (1 position, closed)

This is the second lesson covering different variations around playing in this position of the fretboard. Checkout part 1 on the pentatonic first.

We’re in C major / A minor.

Here’s the Root 5 Diatonic Minor Scale / Aeolian tab:

And if you want to add in the extra three notes on the 6th string (and who doesn’t?), you’ll need this:

Pentatonic Minor Root 5 Scale (1 position, closed)

The best way to learn the fretboard is one chunk at a time, until you’ve got enough to cover everything, and then you begin integrating things. In this lesson, we’re going to learn the final chunk that we need to effectively cover the entire fretboard. This is the pentatonic minor scale, root 5, 1 position closed scale. Phew! That’s a mouthful. But when you see the lesson, you’ll discover it’s just a functional name that describes what it is. Some folks call it Aeolian, and depending where your starting point is, Phrygian.

We’re in C major / A minor.

Here’s the Root 5 Pentatonic Minor Scale / Aeolian tab:

And if you want to add in the extra three notes on the 6th string (and who doesn’t?), you’ll need this:

When you’ve finished this lesson, move on to part two, and add a couple more notes to make this same pattern diatonic.

Soloing Application: Waiting on the World to Change (2/2)

This is the second in a two-part series where we’re learning an eight-bar solo you can play over John Mayer’s tune Waiting on the World to Change. You can download the jam track here. It’s in the key of B minor, and the progression is a pretty simple one, it’s four bars and has these changes:
D   Bm |  G   D
A   Bm |  G   D

In case you missed it, you can find part 1 here.

Here’s the tab we’ll be working with:

Riff 1:

Riff 2:

Riff 3:

Riff 4:

Riff 5:

Riff 6:

 

 

Soloing Application: Waiting on the World to Change (1/2)

In this two-part series we’re going to learn a solo you can play over John Mayer’s tune Waiting on the World to Change. You can download a copy of the jam track here. It’s in the key of B minor, and the progression is a pretty simple one, it’s four bars and has these changes:
D   Bm |  G   D
A   Bm |  G   D

When you’re finished this lesson, checkout part 2.

Here’s the tab we’ll be working with:

Riff 1:

Riff 2:

 

Applied Strumming 4: Triplets

This is the third in a series of lessons that all tie together, spanning several different skill categories. In this one we’re looking at applying a triplet strum pattern to a jam track which is based off a traditional 12 bar in E. Don’t forget to download a copy of the jam track used in this lesson.

Jam Track
(Right click the links below and save to your computer)

The Rest of the Series:

  1. Quarters and Eighths
  2. Adding 16ths
  3. Dotted 8ths
  4. Triplets

Applied Strumming 3: Dotted 8th

This is the third in a series of lessons that all tie together, spanning several different skill categories. In this one we’re looking at applying a dotted 8th strum pattern to a jam track which is based off the progression for Simple Man. Don’t forget to download a copy of the jam track used in this lesson.

The progression is a very simple one:  C   G   Am

Jam Track
(Right click the links below and save to your computer)

The Rest of the Series:

  1. Quarters and Eighths
  2. Adding 16ths
  3. Dotted 8ths
  4. Triplets

Looking Out My Backdoor: Part 1

In this lesson we're going to look at the chord progression and strum pattern for Looking Out My Backdoor, by CCR. This uses familiar chords, and a cool muted strum pattern that you'll be able to apply to other songs as well.

For more songs like this, checkout Easy Strum Classics.

Verse chords:

Chorus chords:

Looking Out My Backdoor: Part 2

This is the second part to our series on Looking Out My Backdoor, by CCR. This uses familiar chords, and a cool muted strum pattern that you'll be able to apply to other songs as well. In this one, we cover the key change, the change in tempo, and general arrangement.

For more songs like this, checkout Easy Strum Classics.

Key Change/Instrumental:

Verse 2:

2nd Half of Verse 2, Slowed Down:

Applied Strumming 2: Adding 16ths

This is the second in a series of lessons that will all tie together, spanning several different skill categories. Don’t forget to download a copy of the jam track used in this lesson.

In this lesson, we’ll be working with a chord progression from Don’t Think Twice – here are the changes in a very simple format:

Jam Track
(Right click the links below and save to your computer)

The Rest of the Series:

  1. Quarters and Eighths
  2. Adding 16ths
  3. Dotted 8ths
  4. Triplets

Applied Strumming 1: Quarters & Eighths

This is the first of a series of lessons that will all tie together, spanning several different skill categories. Being the first in the series, this lesson is aimed at beginner strummers. We’re going to be working with a few different progressions with the goal of helping you dial in your strumming to the beat of the song. To help this, we have a couple of simple jam tracks available at the bottom of this page.

In this lesson, we’ll be working with two chord progressions – here are the changes in a very simple format:

Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door: G / D / Am / G / D / C

With or Without You: D / A / Bm / G

Jam Tracks
(Right click the links below and save to your computer)

The Rest of the Series:

  1. Quarters and Eighths
  2. Adding 16ths
  3. Dotted 8ths
  4. Triplets

The Shuffle Chug

This is the second in a five 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! In this lesson, we're looking at using a power chord and a shuffle rhythm to produce that great chugging sound used so often in the blues.

In case you missed it, here's part 1.

Got the blues for playin' the blues? 

Check this out!​

Embellishing the Riff

Welcome to part 3 of our five part series where we're learning 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! In this lesson, we're embellishing that original riff from Part 1 by adding an extra note or two, and also by adding a little string stretch.

In case you missed it, here's part 2.

Move Up The Fretboard!

Welcome to part 4 of our five part series where we're learning 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! In this lesson, we're taking that original riff from Part 1 and moving it higher up the fretboard, to give a nice alternate riff that can be used as a substitute for the main one. This is a great way to give your song a bit more character.

Final Touches

Welcome to the last of our five part series where we're learning 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! In this lesson, we're adding a few more bits 'n pieces so you can make it sound like a complete song, and at the end, Colin slipped a little bonus in too!

5 Keys Quick Reference Cheat Sheet

Here's the download link for the 5 Keys Quick Reference Chords Cheat Sheet.

>> Click Here To Download <<
(Right Click, Save As)

In the Quick Reference booklet, you'll find easy to use diagrams for the six primary chords in each of the five most common keys used on guitar: A, C, D, E, and G. 

Ready to take your guitar playing to the next level? Checkout The Definitive Beginner's Guide to Acoustic Guitar - it's the same course Lowell is talking about below!

I am fulfilling a 40 year desire to play guitar

Well I like the fact that you have taken time to think like a beginner... I was just that as of Jan 20, 2016.

I am now a beginner with knowledge about guitar playing... can I play the guitar? No. Do I know chords? Yes, with just a little visual prompting.

I drew out the chord charts on a large piece of cardboard, and kept them in the relative major and minor groups. I took your advice and became creative in my approach.

My problem in this creative journey is muscle memory for the chord shapes... practice practice practice...

I like the fact that you have gone into the exact chords as in Sweet Home Alabama.

Colin I am totally happy with this course... oh what does one do about the left hand calluses? I look forward to the day that I am ready to play blues music. I am also fulfilling a 40 year want - to play guitar, sooo wish I had done this earlier in my life.

Thank you for your time and keep ROCKIN!

Lowell Evan Smith

Introduction to Fingerpicking (2/3)

In this lesson we’ll learn some more finger picking patterns that you’ll find commonly used in many different songs.

If you missed the first lesson, you can catch up here.

If you’ve completed this one, you’ll find the next one here.

Introduction to Fingerpicking (1/3)

Have you ever wondered why Colin has those crazy finger nails? In this lesson you’ll find out all about his reasons for that, as well as different routes you can take when it comes to finger picking. We’ll also cover a few basic patterns to get you started.

When you’re done this lesson, you’ll find the next one here.

Using The Circle of Fifths In A Chord Progression

In this lesson we’re going to look at a famous chord progression – Hey Joe – that uses the circle of fifths right in the progression. It’s a fun, powerful, and commonly used technique for building chord progressions, and definitely one you want to understand. Using fifths is a great way to change keys too.

Artist Spotlight: Jimi Hendrix (Thirds Applied To A Progression)

In this lesson we’ll take a look at one of Jimi Hendrix’s songs, Wind Cries Mary. It’s a really interesting example of how you can use major and minor thirds in a chord progression. Why does a progression of major chords end up sounding minor? Watch the lesson, and find out!

Blues Rhythms & Riffs – Inspired by Smokestack Lightning

Checkout this fun electric blues riff inspired by Howling Wolf (from Smokestack Lightning). It comes out of the E pentatonic minor scale, both the first and second positions. First we'll look at the scales the riff comes from, then we'll learn the riff, then we'll add it into a fun boogie woogie blues shuffle.

Here is the tab for the basic version of the riff, at 6:15 on the video. If you're not familiar with reading standard notation, don't worry about it, just use the TAB portion at the bottom to see where your fingers go, and use the video to learn the timing.

Do you like this lesson? Let us know what you learned in the comments below. 

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