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fingers on guitar fretboard alternate tunings

A Beginner’s Guide to Alternate Tunings

It can be intimidating to change all the notes that you’ve worked so hard to learn, but the new sounds and new ideas you’ll discover make it worth the effort.

November-December 2023 Acoustic Guitar magazine cover featuring Sharon Isbin

Special Focus: Slide Guitar

Exploring Slide Guitar Outside of Blues

Explore the haunting sounds of acoustic slide guitar with this complete video guide by David Hamburger.
Learn Jontavious Willis’ Take on “Poor Boy, Long Ways from Home”
An Introduction to Bottleneck Slide

Editor's Picks

Adam Perlmutter is the editor of Acoustic Guitar magazine and has written hundreds of articles, reviews, and song introductions (as well as expertly engraving and transcribing the music for a comparable number of lessons and compositions.)

It’s impossible to choose favorites, but here are a few lessons he’s worked on recently and suggests you check out.

Get to know Adam and the rest of the team better here.

How to Warm Up Smartly
How to approach narrative solo guitar composition
Learn fretboard exercises to play beautiful, dreamlike augmented arpeggios.
Molly Tuttle smiling with her guitar on a white wall background
Molly Tuttle Breaks Down Her Technique

Explore Our Guitar Lessons by Style, Technique, or Topic

All Lessons and Songs to Play

Play a Ragtime Blues Thumb Roll

One of Blind Blake’s signature rhythmic ideas was a “thumb roll” in the bass. This quick note before the downbeat of the measure adds a unique bounce to the groove. To pull it off, let your thumb roll off the lower string, come to rest on the next one for…

Alex de grassi fingerstyle

Play a Syncopated Fingerstyle Rhythm

This asymmetrical alternating bass groups the eighth notes into two groups of three and one group of two in what is sometimes referred to as a 3–3–2 pattern by playing the bass notes on beats one, two-and, and four of each measure.


Play the Spanish Classical Song “Bolero”

Andalusian-born Julian Arcas (1832–82) was perhaps the greatest Spanish classical guitarist of his time. A composer and performer, he is best known for teaching the legendary guitarist/composer Francisco Tárrega. Arcas’s friendship with guitar builder and fellow Almerían Antonio Torres contributed to the birth of the Torres classical guitar design, a…


Acoustic guitarist Peppino D'Agostino

Peppino D’Agostino Talks About his Percussive Techniques, Unusual Alternate Tunings, and the Importance of Melody

Peppino D’Agostino’s approach to guitar incorporates the entire range of modern fingerstyle techniques—from exotic alternate tunings to percussion and two-handed tapping—creating multidimensional layers of sound that often seem impossible to execute on one guitar. But it’s his lyrical, romantic melodies, tinged with slightly exotic harmonies and delivered with a combination of emotion and fiery energy, that catch listeners’ ears and draw them in.


rhythm & strumming basics

Rhythm & Strumming Basics | Acoustic Guitar Champions

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About Acoustic Guitar lessons. Learning to play the guitar takes more than just figuring out what fingers go on which frets and which strings to pluck or pick. You need to absorb these mechanics, for sure, but you also need to know how different techniques fit together and how you can put them to use in service of making music with soul and spirit. Memorizing your favorite players’ licks and arrangements is an essential part of the process, too, but all that work doesn’t truly pay off until you’ve internalized the moves and made them your own. The players and teachers whose words and music are shared on this site understand these facets of learning and offer unique, in-depth lessons. Here, you’ll find riffs and exercises, full songs to play, technique tips, listening suggestions, and advice on how to practice as well as what to practice. We’ve been publishing high-quality guitar lessons since 1990, written and developed by some of the best guitar teachers around.