Songwriting, composing, and arranging go hand in hand with playing the acoustic guitar. In these lessons you’ll find instruction and inspiration for developing your own voice as a writer—whether you’re getting ready to write your first song or your hundredth.
When used properly, a looper pedal can transform the sound of your acoustic guitar into something new and beautiful, while making your performances more dynamic.
Mark Erelli, Shawn Colvin, Anaïs Mitchell, Martin Sexton, and Anthony da Costa talk about technique for guitar accompaniment in their songs
As a songwriter, do you stick to your guns and your own songs—or cave and just deliver the hits everyone can sing along with? There’s a healthier way to look at covers: as a creative vehicle that can actually enhance rather than compete with your songwriting.
In this lesson, guitarist-composer Charlie Rauh teaches how he used the writings of Anne Morrow Lindbergh in writing new music for solo guitar.
Even if you’re accompanying a song with one guitar, you can create the same kind of journey on your instrument that a full band arrangement would.
From interlocking rhythms to wide, piano-like harmonies and melodic counterpoint, two guitars—skillfully and tastefully employed—can cover a tremendous amount of musical territory.
Creating a full-fledged duo sound doesn’t necessarily require playing anything tricky or fancy.
Explore what Pete Seeger, citing Woody Guthrie, called "the genius of simplicity."
Vary your fretting- and picking-hand technique to create accompaniment parts that are more dynamic, supple, and nuanced, both harmonically and rhythmically.
There’s no formula for constructing a bridge, but taking a close look inside some classic songs can help you get started.
The bVI chord is most often heard in edgy rock tunes. One function of the bVI is to lead to the V, before resolving to the I. You can hear this in J.J. Cale’s “Cocaine.”
One good way to defamiliarize a familiar song is to switch the key, putting it into a different register and zone on the guitar.
The guitar can do much more than accompany your voice and fill in the chords—it can spark ideas and help guide you throughout the process of developing them into complete songs
The chord trinity known as I–IV–V is one of the most useful theoretical concepts for any musician. The I–IV–V is a skeleton key for countless songs in folk, country, rock, blues, and beyond, revealing the basic similarities of, say, “Louie Louie,” “Ring of Fire,” “Man of Constant Sorrow,” and “I Fought the Law.”
If you’re working on a song that uses the I, IV, and V, try substituting the bVII for the V to give the progression a different feel.