The HoustonGuitar Practice Video Library contains over 600 play-along exercises, to help you develop the skill set you need to play modern guitar styles like rock, country, blues and jazz. The idea is simple. This is your online gymnasium for chords, scales, strummings and picking. Just play what I play, until you can make your guitar sound just like mine.
Guided practice routines help students in several ways. They give structure, and a provide a goal for your practice. The student knows exactly what to practice, for how long – and this is critical – at what speed or tempo. There are movements on guitar which have to be repeated tens or hundreds of thousands of times before they become comfortable and natural. Many students never reach a real comfort level with the guitar, even though they play for years, and really try. Guided practice routines are a systematic way to attain a level of true comfort with the guitar.
One of the best features of guided practice is that ear-training is built in. The student learns to associate the sounds of each routine she or he practices with the physical movements involved. The student learns all of the precise one-to-one correlations between sounds and movements, at the level of muscle memory.
Here is an outline of the Beginner’s Lesson Program.
The Warmups Section
Easy warmup exercises for chords and scales give students, even those who have never played before, a feel for how to strum chords, and pick single notes. The purpose is to prepare students for the single-note exercises in the Open Em Pentatonic practices, and for the Alternating Open Chord practices.
Open E Minor Pentatonic Practices
Hendrixs’ Voodoo Chile and Fleetwood Mac’s Oh Well are just two of the classic rock songs, covered by numerous artists, which are based on the Open E Minor Pentatonic Scale. On guitar, this scale is a very special case, with its own set of special techniques, unlike anything else you’ll ever learn on the guitar. The combination of open strings and fretted notes makes the keys of E major (in those cases where it allows the minor pentatonic) and E minor unique. (20 Practice Videos)
Alternating Open Chord Practices
This series introduces students to ten of the most common open chord shapes. These common shapes, in different combinations, form the backbone to thousands of popular rhythm guitar parts, old, new, and yet to be written. This example walks you through a change from G Major to E Minor, using only one strum each. This simple practice lays the foundation for increasingly more complex rhythms, requiring faster changes in the left hand. (12 Practice Videos)
3 Strums Per Open Chord I (16 Practice Videos)
3 Strums Per Open Chord II (16 Practice Videos)
5 Strums Per Open Chord (42 Practice Videos @ 2 Tempos)
7 Strums Per Open Chord (32 Practice Videos @ 2 Tempos)
Bass/Down Strumming (48 Practice Videos @ 3 Tempos) Every open chord has a root string. Learning to find that root string with the pick, and then strum down is one of the techniques every competent rhythm guitarist must learn to do well. Bass/Down strumming is one of the most unforgiving of the common strum patterns, because any mistake, or any variation in the pattern really stands out. Bass/Down strums, as distinct from “Bass Side/Down” (my term), are difficult to keep going for long periods. Here’s an example of one of the fast tempos (with a half-time count). Can you play along for two minutes and ten seconds without making a mistake?
Alternating Bass Strumming (42 Practice Videos @ 2 Tempos) Every open chord has a root string, and also an alternate bass note, usually on the five-note of the chord. Once you learn Bass/Down strumming, the next step is to learn the standard alternating bass lines for each chord. This is a familiar sound, and every rhythm guitarist has to learn to play the alternating bass notes for each chord, and learn maintain the right-hand pattern over the changes. Here is one of the single-chord warmups.
There are over 70 more practices covering a variety of strum patterns over a number of different chord changes. There are also 32 practices related to the most common combination of chords and single notes in open position. This gives you a good idea of the scope of the rhythm guitar section. The final two sections of the Practice Video Library cover the most commonly-used major, and pentatonic scale positions, and common note-order variations for each, at differing tempos. Here is an example:
Pentatonic Scale Practices
(52 Practice Videos @ 3 tempos) The introduction and warmup videos for the pentatonic scale use the 2-hand picture-in-picture format. For speed practices, the picture-in-picture format isn’t necessary, since the student already knows the scale by this time. Here is an example of the pentatonic scale speed practices.
Major Scale Practices
(42 Practice Videos @ 3 tempos) The introduction and warmup videos for the major scale also use the 2-hand picture-in-picture format. Since the student already knows the scale by this time, the picture-in-picture format isn’t necessary. Here is an example of the major scale speed practices.
Open Blues Rhythm Pattern (“Five/Sixes”)
(30 Practice Videos) The open-position forms of these “Five/Six” blues-rhythm patterns are used in hundreds of popular songs, in all styles.
And there’s lots more …
The Practice Video Library also covers power chords, arpeggios, picking-techniques, finger-picking, hybrid-picking, sliding pentationic scales, 6th & 3rd runs, and more. All you have to do is watch, and play-along to master the all of the basics of modern guitar technique and ear-training.
⇒ Visit The Sample Student Lesson Page to play along with more than 30 practice videos free.