Guitar Lessons

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WorshipQ Interview: Jason Houtsma of WorshipArtistry.com

WorshipQ Interview: Jason Houtsma of WorshipArtistry.com

By Jon Nicol   |  March 15, 2013

On this installment of the WorshipQ Interview, I talk with Jason Houtsma, co-founder and creative director of WorshipArtistry.com...

Free Christmas Song - MP3, chart, video lesson & how-to

Free Christmas Song - MP3, chart, video lesson & how-to

By Jon Nicol   |  December 7, 2012

Merry Christmas from Jon & WorshipTeamCoach.com!

If you want to take a few of your Christmas songs down a different route this Advent, consider using some jazz influenced arrangement. Or if you just want to learn some basic jazz guitar stuff, check this out.

The 18-minute lesson shows you how to play the changes to this jazz arrangement of God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen. To say Merry Christmas, to my blog readers, you can download the MP3 and chordchart/how-to-guide for FREE for a short-time.

And stop back frequently over the next couple weeks before Christmas. We'll be giving away more songs from the album.

And we're also running a big fat sale on the guitar book and MP3 album for Christmas if you want the whole enchilada. So don't miss that.

Slash Chords: Why Guitarists Should Play the Bass Note

Slash Chords: Why Guitarists Should Play the Bass Note

By Jon Nicol   |  October 25, 2012

It's time for guitarists to reclaim the bass note. Find out a little more why the note on the right of the slash matters...

Learning Worship Guitar May Be Easier Than You Think

Learning Worship Guitar May Be Easier Than You Think

April 12, 2012

Today's post is written by guest contributor, John Sizemore. John founded and runs GuitarZonline.com, a great resource for guitarists.

According to a survey done in 2009 over 60% of people in the world have either tried or have wanted to learn how to play guitar. This is an astonishing number considering all of the different instruments there are to play.

So, why do you suppose the guitar is so popular?

Well, what's obvious to me would be how portable it is. You can basically bring an acoustic guitar anywhere and you have a whole band so to speak. Here's a famous quote from David Gilmour of Pink Floyd

"When you strum a guitar you have everything - rhythm, bass, lead and melody."

I just love that quote because it's so true! It's an amazing instrument.

Improper Training

So if 60% of people in the world have tried to learn how to play guitar, where are they all?

Well, here's another statistic. 80% of the people who try to play guitar quit! Yup, let me say that again. 80% of the beginner guitar players out there quit. This means that only 20% actually learn how to play guitar. That's not much.

Why do you suppose that is?

Well, I believe it has to do with improper training. Let's face it, many try to learn guitar on their own through books and random videos that really don't give them a place to start. Also, many are not even taking the right guitar lessons for the genre they want to learn in the first place. This is important.

The Easiest Genres To Learn Guitar 

The most popular genres to learn for the beginner guitarist are rock, country and pop. These genres usually have easy chord progressions and are in common keys. Any other genre would just be too difficult since the styles are so distinct and require a lot of training with different scales and picking patterns.

Now, here's the good news! Modern Christian music has 2 of the most popular genres mixed together. That's right! Modern Christian music is mostly made up of rock & pop music. This makes these songs extremely easy to learn on guitar.

Let's take a look at the top 3 Christian songs on the Billboard charts in 2012 and the guitar chord shapes for example.

  • Where I Belong, Building 429- Capo on 4th Fret- Em, C, G, D & F
  • Overcome, Jeremy Camp- Capo 2nd Fret- G, C, Em & D
  • Learning To Be The Light, Newworldson- G, D, Em & C

WorshipTeamCoach
Free Resource:

Beginning Guitar:
Introduction
Lesson 1
Lesson 2

You can see with the use of a capo the top 3 songs on the billboard charts have the same chord shapes. Now, if you couple this with a few different guitar strums you could easily play today's most popular Christian songs.

If you're feeling a call to worship in music, I cannot encourage you enough to learn how to play guitar. I believe just practicing a minimum of 15 min/day you could be playing your first Christian songs fluently within a few months.

Understanding Riffs and Fills

Understanding Riffs and Fills

By Jon Nicol   |  January 23, 2012

What's the difference between solos, riffs and fills? You'll learn the difference in this guitar lesson.

Making Sense of Relative Major & Minor

Making Sense of Relative Major & Minor

By Jon Nicol   |  January 10, 2012

We guitarists love the minor pentatonic. But unfortunately, if the song is in the key of A, we can't play the A Minor Pentatonic. Well, we can. But it won't sound good...

Meet the Blues Scale

Meet the Blues Scale

By Jon Nicol   |  January 3, 2012

The minor pentatonic is to a lead guitarist what a sequence jumpsuit is to an Elvis impersonator.

Escape the 1st 4 frets...Triads 432, Part 2

Escape the 1st 4 frets...Triads 432, Part 2

By Jon Nicol   |  December 24, 2011

In this guitar lesson, we'll continue to explore how to escape the first four frets by using triads. This free video training will show you how to move triads up the neck with simple shapes...

Video Lesson: 4-3-2 Triads, Part 1

Video Lesson: 4-3-2 Triads, Part 1

By Jon Nicol   |  December 15, 2011

Here's another way to utilize triads to escape that muddy middle of the lower 4 frets. This guitar lesson uses the intro to Hillsong's Hosanna to show how triads are used worship music.

Beginning Guitar Lesson, 2

Beginning Guitar Lesson, 2

By Jon Nicol   |  December 5, 2011

After watching this video, you'll be about two-thirds the way to rock star status. Once you learn the G and C chords in this lesson, pretty much all you'll need to learn next will be "the windmill."

Jazz Guitar Training - God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen

Jazz Guitar Training - God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen

By Jon Nicol   |  November 21, 2011

A study of jazz chords using an arrangement of God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen. Free PDF and instruction sheet available to download.

Jazz Guitar Training - Hark the Herald Angels Sing

Jazz Guitar Training - Hark the Herald Angels Sing

By Jon Nicol   |  November 14, 2011

A study of jazz chords using a fun arrangement of Hark The Herald Angels Sing. Free PDF and instruction sheet available to download.

Groovin' an Old Hymn

By Jon Nicol   |  July 26, 2011

In this video, I demonstrate and walk you through a new arrangement of Blessed Be The Name. You'll learn some inversions, some walking bassline stuff and how to use the "Jimi Hendrix" chord in church. You can download the leadsheet here. And ta

Beginning Guitar Series: Lesson #1 - A, D, & E

Beginning Guitar Series: Lesson #1 - A, D, & E

By Jon Nicol   |  July 19, 2011

In this beginning guitar lesson, you'll learn how to read chord diagrams, and create three basic open chords: D, A and E. Not only will you learn how to play the chords, but by the end of the video, you'll know how to connect them without losing your place on the fretboard.

Beginning Guitar - An Introduction

Beginning Guitar - An Introduction

By Jon Nicol   |  July 19, 2011

Are you a novice guitar player, an absolute beginner, than this guitar lesson (and this series) is for you. You'll learn the basic parts of the guitar as well the three sets of numbers you need to play. If you've got a few chords down already, this video might be too basic for you, but then again, you may learn something you missed.

14 Ways To Escape the First Four Frets - #11: The Major Scale

14 Ways To Escape the First Four Frets - #11: The Major Scale

By Jon Nicol   |  June 28, 2011

In this video lesson, I dive into Position Scales - specifically G Major. "Position Scales" is an approach to playing scales by which we build a new "shape" or position scale from each note in the key. So this first G major scale is built on the root, or G. After this, you would move to the A on the 6th string (5th fret) and play the G major scale from there, and so one.

3 Notes Per String Scale

3 Notes Per String Scale

By Jon Nicol   |  June 18, 2011

Jon introduces 3 notes per string scales as a alternative to major position scales. This segment was actually cut from Jon's "Lead: Step One" training video...but it was too good leave on the cutting room floor. So it crawled to YouTube...

Chord of the Week - F#m7(4)

Chord of the Week - F#m7(4)

By Jon Nicol   |  May 18, 2011

You'll also see this chord written as F#m11, F#m7add4, etc. This is my "go-to" chord for most songs calling for F#m7. It works best in the key of A (6m) and the key of E (2m)...

Emulate Vs. Duplicate

March 27, 2011

To keep things consistent, I try to use a specific arrangement for each song in my team's repertoire. So, for example, on Everlasting God we use the Lincoln Brewster version. For Today is the Day , we opt for Paul Baloche's version of it. (Except we sp

Creating Inner Movement

February 4, 2011

Here's an excerpt from Chord Voicings for the Advancing Guitarists . It shows how to create inner movement within open movable chords.

14 Ways to Escape the First Four Frets, Part 9

December 29, 2010

Escape #8: The Ubiquitous D Shape (Part 9, Way to Escape # 8. I know, it's confusing. Just go with me here...) OK, I barely know what ubiquitous means. I've just always wanted to use it ever since I heard Steve Taylor sing " as a slave to that ubi

Top 10 Reasons to Host a Worship Guitar Workshop

September 5, 2010

//TEN// Teach your guitarists how to play something other than Stairway to Heaven. //NINE// The guitar has between 15 & 22 playable frets. The average guitarist uses only 4 of those. //EIGHT// Your more experienced guitarists

Live Events

September 5, 2010

If you're near a live worship guitar workshop, you're not going to want to miss the hands-on practical training that happens in these smaller group settings. Here are the scheduled events. Click on the city to get more information. Marque

14 Ways to Escape the First Four Frets, Part 8

August 30, 2010

14 Ways to Escape the First Four Frets, Part 8: Escape #7: Power Chords (and not just the ones your aging, AC/DC-junkie uncle uses...) Picture it: A Peavey Bandit amp sitting on my unmade bed. I plug in my shiny new, dark blue Carvin DC200 wit

14 Ways to Escape the First Four Frets, Part 7

August 8, 2010

14 Ways to Escape the First Four Frets: Part 7 [Escape #6: The Sus2 Chord] The Sus2 chord is a major triad's cooler cousin and a power chord's more sonically interesting step-sister. A Major Triad is a: Fifth Third Root The Third is a "major 3r

14 Ways to Escape the First Four Frets, Part 6

July 31, 2010

14 Ways to Escape the First Four Frets, Part 6 Read part 5 [Escape #5] Open Movable Chords There's nothing new under the sun. But sometime in jr. high, circa 1988, I slid the open E chord shape up to the 6th fret I thought I had foun

14 Ways to Escape the First Four Frets, Part 5

July 28, 2010

14 Ways to Escape the First Four Frets, Part 5 Read Part 4 [Escape #4] In much of life, theory precedes (and is often far easier) than practice. I can tell you the basic theory behind a internal combustion engine. Fuel, sparks, pistons, expl

14 Ways to Escape the First Four Frets, Part 4

July 26, 2010

14 Ways to Escape the First Four Frets, Part 4 [Escape #3 continued] ... need to read the first half ? We're in the middle of exploring barre chords as a way to escape the first four frets. If all we knew was what we discussed

14 Ways to Escape the First Four Frets, Part 3

July 24, 2010

14 Ways to Escape the First Four Frets, Part 3 Read Part 2 [Escape #3] I've always said the "F" chord is aptly named. For beginning players, it's a wall that seems surmountable. Up to this point, the newbie player has figured out how to c

14 Ways to Escape the First Four Frets, Part 2

July 22, 2010

Read Part 1 The second way to escape the first four frets is, well, gonna suck. You're not going to like this one. Let's just get that out of the way right now. The best we can hope for is that feeling you have running your tongue over your tee

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