Guitar Lessons

Every Wednesday we launch new, fun guitar lessons packed full of tips and insights to help you become an awesome guitarist.

  • How To Spice Up Pentatonics

    How To Spice Up Pentatonics

    • 3 Videos
    • 12 mins
    • Kieran Johnston
      • Exercises
      • Legato
      • Lick Breakdown
      • Pentatonics

      As guitar players it’s very easy for us to get stuck playing the same shapes. Instead of trying to break away from this, sometimes all you need to do is inject some new ideas and techniques to add a little more flavour into the shapes you’re already playing.

      In this lesson I’ll show you how to spice up standard pentatonic shapes by demonstrating a lick that uses a variety of techniques, I’ll break this down for you and show you how it all comes together.

    • My Favourite Keys

      My Favourite Keys

      • 4 Videos
      • 39 mins
      • Thomas McRocklin
        • Arpeggios
        • Chords
        • Improvisation
        • Scales
        • Theory

        One of the questions I get asked a lot is – what tuning are you in? I always play in standard tuning, but the way you approach chords and phrasing in different keys can completely transform the way they sound.

        This lesson gives you all the insights into my approach to playing in my favourite keys. I’ll show you how to re-train your fingers to come up with some amazing sounds based on familiar shapes and how to layer harmonics onto chords to create epic soundscapes.

      • Legato Lick Breakdown

        Legato Lick Breakdown

        • 3 Videos
        • 8 mins
        • Kieran Johnston
        • Includes Tabs
        • Exercises
        • Legato
        • Lick Breakdown
        • Technique

        Hey guys, it’s Kieran here. I’ve got an awesome legato lick which I’m going to break down and I’ve also got some cool exercises to go along with it to really build up that left hand strength. Let’s do it!

      • 3 Blazing Riffs

        3 Blazing Riffs

        • 4 Videos
        • 41 mins
        • Thomas McRocklin
          • Lick Breakdown
          • Pinch Harmonics
          • Riffs
          • Sweep Picking

          In this lesson I’m going to break down three different riffs – they use a range of different techniques which I’ll break down for you as we go through each one.

          I’ll also include loads of insights into how you can devise your own blazing riffs by working on simple ideas and elevate them to the next level!

        • Don’t Get Stuck

          Don’t Get Stuck

          • 6 Videos
          • 24 mins
          • Thomas McRocklin
          • Includes Backing Track
          • Improvisation
          • Shred
          • Tapping
          • Technique
          • Tips and Tricks

          We all know the feeling – no matter how much you practice at home, you pick up a guitar in a store or get on stage and your mind goes completely blank!

          Let’s make sure that never happens to you again! Learn these improv tips and techniques and next time you’re stuck you’ll always have something cool to fall back on.

        • Follow The Light

          Follow The Light

          • 4 Videos
          • 27 mins
          • Thomas McRocklin
          • Includes Tabs
          • Chords
          • Lick Breakdown
          • Shred
          • Technique

          In this lesson I break down one of my tracks called Follow The Light. First we’ll break down the intro and chord sections, which sound really huge and busy, but in fact are really straightforward – once you know the secrets!

          The shred part of this track can be pretty difficult though! It contains a lot of different techniques but I’ll break the whole thing down for you piece by piece. I’ll even give you an exercise to practice to help you nail the toughest parts.

        • Square Dreamz Chords

          Square Dreamz Chords

          • 6 Videos
          • 24 mins
          • Thomas McRocklin
          • Includes Tabs
          • Chords
          • Exercises
          • Lick Breakdown
          • Songwriting
          • Technique
          • Theory

          In this lesson I’m going to break down the chord progression from one of my tracks – Square Dreamz.

          But we’re going to go deeper than that… much deeper! I’m going to show you exactly how I wrote this track by using melody to lead the chords without thinking too much about theory! I’ll teach you this method so you can use it to write awesome sounding chord progressions yourself.

        • Distorted Dreams Solo Production

          Distorted Dreams Solo Production

          • 5 Videos
          • 26 mins
          • Thomas McRocklin
            • Music Production

            In this lesson I’m going to take my McRocklin & Hutch track “Distorted Dreams” and show you exactly how I produce a guitar solo for a real life track. I’m using Ableton Live, but the principles are the same for ProTools, Cubase and other DAW software.

            I’ll walk you through the entire solo piece by piece from the original recording session and break down all of the production techniques and effects used.

          • Disguising Harmonic Minor

            Disguising Harmonic Minor

            • 6 Videos
            • 27 mins
            • Thomas McRocklin
            • Includes Tabs
            • Harmonic Minor
            • Scales
            • Theory

            I use harmonic minor in a lot of my playing and I love the sound it provides, but it can also sound very corny if you overuse it so I’ve developed a lot of techniques to blend it with other complementary scales so that it sounds unique and different, without being too distinctive.

            In this lesson I’ll teach you exactly how I use harmonic minor and go into detail on some my favourite scale positions (with tabs) to show you the best fingering options available.

          • The Ultimate Picking Guide

            The Ultimate Picking Guide

            • 8 Videos
            • 30 mins
            • Thomas McRocklin
              • Exercises
              • Picking
              • Pinch Harmonics
              • Speed
              • Technique

              A lot of people approach picking as a black and white thing but the right hand is often capable of adding so much to your playing than you might think!

              In this video I’m going to go right from the top, breaking down my entire approach to picking and teaching you how properly utilise picking techniques to unlock extra expression in your playing, power in your chords and speed in your licks.

            • String Skipping

              String Skipping

              • 4 Videos
              • 17 mins
              • Thomas McRocklin
              • Includes Tabs
              • Includes Backing Track
              • Exercises
              • Improvisation
              • String Skipping
              • Technique

              String skipping is one of my favourite techniques to use, it sounds like this mysterious technique but is actually very simple and really effective in making regular scales sound completely unique!

              In this video we’re going to talk about the technique itself, I’ll break down some licks for you to practice and give you a bunch of tips on how to apply string skipping into your own playing.

            • How To Play Fast

              How To Play Fast

              • 6 Videos
              • 15 mins
              • Thomas McRocklin
                • Exercises
                • Speed
                • Technique
                • Tips and Tricks

                There are a few things people get wrong when they try to start playing at high speed, so let me show you exactly how to approach playing fast – from how to practice right up to choosing when and how to apply your new speedy techniques to your playing.

                I’ve also got a great exercise to show you and there are lots of cool tips sprinkled throughout this lesson to get you going from 0-60 in no time!

              • Drive Riff

                Drive Riff

                • 4 Videos
                • 19 mins
                • Thomas McRocklin
                • Includes Tabs
                • Includes Backing Track
                • Exercises
                • Lick Breakdown
                • Songwriting
                • Technique
                • Theory

                Today we’re going to break down a track of mine called Drive. We’re going to break down the techniques involved and show you how to use controlled, slow sweeping to create a really cool effect on the arpeggios – I’ve included an exercise that will really help you master this technique.

                I’ll also show you how you can write and come up with a concept like this by linking together simple ideas and turning them into something mindblowing!

              • Top Tapping Tips

                Top Tapping Tips

                • 10 Videos
                • 24 mins
                • Thomas McRocklin
                  • Tapping
                  • Technique
                  • Tips and Tricks

                  We’re really gonna show the fretboard the finger today – because this lesson is all about tapping!

                  I’m going to teach you all of my favourite tapping techniques and really break them down and show you exactly what’s going on, how to approach the techniques and why you’d want to use them in your playing.

                • Arpeggios Everyone Should Know

                  Arpeggios Everyone Should Know

                  • 6 Videos
                  • 19 mins
                  • Thomas McRocklin
                  • Includes Tabs
                  • Arpeggios
                  • Exercises
                  • Technique
                  • Theory

                  I use arpeggios all of the time within licks or to transition between different parts of the neck when soloing.

                  In this video I’m going to show you the major and minor arpeggio shapes that I think everyone should know, as well as some 3 octave and diminished patterns that are a bit less common but still amazingly useful.

                  I also explain the best practices for fingering these patterns, and how to think ahead when playing to ensure your fingers are in the correct position during a transition.

                • Unlocking The Fretboard

                  Unlocking The Fretboard

                  • 6 Videos
                  • 18 mins
                  • Thomas McRocklin
                  • Includes Tabs
                  • Improvisation
                  • Scales
                  • Technique
                  • Theory

                  One of the most common questions I get asked is: “How do I break out from playing the same licks right in the middle of the fretboard all of the time”

                  I’m going to show you some scales that all link up together and explain how you can use them to unlock the entire fretboard – giving you much more clarity on how to can come up with great note choices, breathe some fresh life into your playing and improve your improvisation skills in any key.

                • Don’t Be So Chromatic

                  Don’t Be So Chromatic

                  • 6 Videos
                  • 18 mins
                  • Thomas McRocklin
                  • Includes Backing Track
                  • Chromatics
                  • Exercises
                  • Picking
                  • Technique
                  • Theory

                  I absolutely love chromatics, when used in the right place they can add some crazy sounds to licks and solos!

                  When you’re practicing chromatics there are few different ways you can do it, and there are a few things that can trip you up.

                  In this lesson we’re going to talk about some of my favourite patterns to use, how to practice them and also how chromatics can really help improve your picking technique.

                • Vibrato

                  Vibrato

                  • 6 Videos
                  • 14 mins
                  • Thomas McRocklin
                  • Includes Backing Track
                  • Exercises
                  • Technique
                  • Tips and Tricks
                  • Vibrato

                  Today we’ve got a cool lesson coming up on all things vibrato…

                  It’s not just hitting a note and wiggling it – there are many different types of vibrato! In this lesson I’ll show you some of my favourite types of vibrato and explain why I like them.

                  I’ve also got some cool tips and exercises to show you to help you improve your vibrato technique.

                • WHAMMY!

                  WHAMMY!

                  • 6 Videos
                  • 16 mins
                  • Thomas McRocklin
                    • Technique
                    • Tips and Tricks
                    • Whammy

                    Going hard on your whammy bar can be a lot of fun, but not everything needs to be crazy wobbles and epic dive-bombs. You can use the trem in lots of different ways, and I like using it for subtle accents, adding expression to my playing, and creating cool rhythmic techniques.

                    In the intro you’ll see me using all of these techniques, which I’ll demonstrate and explain throughout the rest of the videos. Enjoy!

                  • Top 10 Warm Up Tips

                    Top 10 Warm Up Tips

                    • 2 Videos
                    • 13 mins
                    • Thomas McRocklin
                      • Exercises
                      • Tips and Tricks

                      Hey! So before you even play guitar, it’s really important to warm up and get yourself into the right frame of mind.

                      I’m going to show you my top 10 tips covering everything from posture, stretching, hand positioning, exercises and more, so that whenever you play guitar you’ll be at your best!

                    • Double Stoppage

                      Double Stoppage

                      • 4 Videos
                      • 7 mins
                      • Thomas McRocklin
                        • Double Stop
                        • Lick Breakdown
                        • Technique
                        • Tips and Tricks

                        I love the double stop technique – it just takes people by surprise every time! It’s such a unique sound and there’s no way to fake it, the sound has to come from the technique itself.

                        It’s quite straightforward but you do have to commit to a little bit of practice to get all of the notes sounding clear and at the right level.

                        So let’s break down exactly what it is, check out some variations of the technique and see how it sounds!

                      • Instagram Licks

                        Instagram Licks

                        • 3 Videos
                        • 8 mins
                        • Thomas McRocklin
                          • Lick Breakdown
                          • Songwriting

                          Sometimes I even surprise myself when I post a lick video to Instagram – I probably spend a total of 5-10 minutes to come up with an idea, record and post it.

                          In this video I’m going to break down a simple yet popular lick that I posted to Instagram which got a lot of positive attention. I’ll show you how I came up with the idea and then we’ll break down the lick itself an learn it!

                        • Neon Skies Solo

                          Neon Skies Solo

                          • 3 Videos
                          • 7 mins
                          • Thomas McRocklin
                          • Includes Tabs
                          • Includes Backing Track
                          • Exercises
                          • Lick Breakdown

                          In this lesson we’re going to break down the solo from one of my McRocklin and Hutch tracks – Neon Skies.

                          The cool thing about this solo is that it has a very Japanese-style sound whilst just using a standard minor scale with no alterations.

                          There’s also some interesting sections where you need to push notes through using only your left hand – and I’ll show you a couple of exercises that will help improve your technique and hand strength to help pull this off!

                        • Let’s Get Sweepy

                          Let’s Get Sweepy

                          • 6 Videos
                          • 22 mins
                          • Thomas McRocklin
                          • Includes Tabs
                          • Includes Backing Track
                          • Picking
                          • Sweep Picking
                          • Technique
                          • Tips and Tricks

                          I’m going to start off by explaining what sweep picking is and why it’s such a useful and cool technique. I’ll then show you some cool exercises that are really useful to help you learn the basics of the technique.

                          Next, we’ll break down a lick which combines multiple sweep picking techniques and I’ll teach you how to gradually build up your experience until you’re able to play it start to finish with confidence.

                          Lastly I’ll give you some tips on how you can apply sweep picking to your own playing whether that’s improvising or song writing, and a few neat tricks on how you can make your sweep picking licks sound totally unique.

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