How To Remember The Notes On Guitar Once And For All And Become A More Creative Guitarist In the Process

Do you want to improve your musical creativity but believe in the conventional wisdom of one’s musical potential being restricted by their natural talent? If you do, then you belong in the club of millions of musicians who have all felt the same way. When I started learning to play guitar, developing high levels of creativity in music was a big goal of mine, but unfortunately no matter what I did, nothing seemed to help me to go from hearing music in my head to playing it perfectly on guitar. This left me very depressed and disappointed, fearing that I might never be able to reach the skill level I so much wanted to attain. Sound familiar?

The good news is that musical creativity is a goal that can be achieved by anyone. If you doubt your own potential to become a creative musician and fear that you ‘lack musical talent’, think about how only people who are NOT musicians (or at least are not ‘great’ musicians) make such ignorant claims, and nobody among the world’s top guitar players believes in this myth.

However, despite the fact above, there are still several reasons why so many guitar players have a hard time improving their musical creativity. Here are a few of them:

1. The majority of musicians do not consciously plan or even know what it is they need to work on to become more creative on their instrument.

2. A lot of guitarists consider creativity in music to be an isolated practice item that is meant to be learned as a single skill, similar to learning a song on guitar or memorizing a new scale. Because of this, these guitar players look for an isolated item to play/practice on guitar to reach this goal. The truth is however, that creativity in guitar playing and music is not an individual “thing/item” that you practice, but rather a result that appears from being able to use ‘several’ guitar playing skills (that on the surface seem disconnected). Think about the process of learning to be fluent in a foreign language. To speak fluently, it isn’t enough to ONLY learn ‘a lot of words’ or to ‘only’ master the rules of syntax or ‘only’ work on your pronunciation. You must do all of these tasks simultaneously in order to develop the same command of a language that native speakers possess.

3. Too many guitar players cannot distinguish between being “musically creative” and being an “original” musician. To be original, you must have the ability to come up with musical ideas that nobody has heard or played before. Contrary to that, to be musically “creative”, all that is necessary is for you to play music that YOU are happy and fulfilled with, regardless of whether or not you are truly original. The reason why I’m emphasizing the difference between these two terms is because understanding clearly the goal that you are after in your guitar playing will help you to reach it much more quickly.

The entire list of topics that is needed for becoming a highly creative guitar player is much too broad to be covered in only one article. However, in the points below I will help you to learn how to practice one particular aspect of guitar playing which is highly important for developing musical creativity. This aspect is the ability to visualize the entire guitar fretboard. Of all the skills you need to work on in order to improve your creativity, mastering the guitar neck will help you to see instant progress in your ability to express yourself on guitar, even though (ironically) this element is rarely practiced as much as it should be. Becoming totally fluent in your visualization of the guitar will make it a whole lot easier for you to master other aspects of making more creative music.

In the rest of this article I will list for you some of the ways in which you can (and should) be practicing guitar fretboard visualization. As you continue reading the points below, consider how the practicing ideas I present are interconnected to help you develop the same general skill (of fretboard mastery) from a variety of angles.

Here is what you must do in order to completely master your visualization of the guitar neck:

Master Scales All Across The Guitar Neck

This is a skill that you need to work on separately from learning individual note names on guitar. There are some guitar players who have memorized the note names for every fret of the guitar, but have never worked on playing scales in more than one area of the guitar neck. As a result, their superior knowledge of individual notes is of limited value to them because it is not connected with a more tangible musical element of scale playing. To see exactly how this should be done, watch this guitar scale lesson on video.

If practicing scales in this way is new to you, then you can expect to see quite dramatic improvements in your creativity on guitar once you learn to play scales all over the fretboard instead of only in 1-2 areas of the guitar neck.

Learn What Chord And Interval Shapes Look Like On The Guitar Fretboard

One rarely mentioned skill that is nonetheless critically important for complete mastery of the guitar fretboard is the ability to visualize the patterns (shapes) of frets that form intervals, scales, chords and general licks you play on guitar. This will enable you to play a note on your instrument and immediately know where to find a chord, interval or scale pattern based on that note. This skill will greatly speed up (and make easier) the process of expressing yourself creatively on guitar. To understand what this means, study this guitar neck memorization lesson that will make this point more clear.

Memorize All Notes On Guitar

To become more creative when playing guitar solos or writing songs, one fundamental thing you must learn is what all the notes on the fretboard are called ALL OVER the guitar. Most importantly, you need to be able to recall the notes QUICKLY (in the same way you can recall your birthday, your phone number or other facts that you know by heart). Many guitar players make the mistake of ‘stopping’ to work on learning the notes on the fretboard further once they develop the basic ability to ‘figure out’ what a note is called after thinking about it. This is not good enough. In order to have this knowledge be usable in your musical skills, you must speed up your ability to recall the note names on the guitar neck. To see exactly how to practice this, watch this guitar neck memorization lesson on video.

Become Confident At Playing Guitar In Any Key

Due to the unique nature of the guitar, it is common for guitar players to become locked in to playing in a certain set of keys that are physically easier to play. However, this leaves a significant portion of the instrument unexplored when it comes to playing in unfamiliar keys such as Db major, F minor and others. Although you probably already know how to slide/transpose barre chords and scales to any key, there is a difference between theoretically knowing “how” to do something and actually feeling confident about playing in strange and unfamiliar keys. The good news is that by practicing to play in keys that you aren’t used to yet, it will become much easier to visualize the entire guitar neck and to have your playing feel much easier and more creative as a result.

After reading the points above, it should be easy to see that building musical creativity on guitar does not revolve around tricks or secrets that only the “naturally talented few” are born with. Although there is a lot more to the general topic of creative guitar playing than what I have time to explore in this article, the practicing steps for developing visualization of guitar fretboard can be done by anyone and the result will be a much higher level of freedom and control over expressing yourself on guitar.

To get more advice and help about developing both your mastery of the guitar neck and musical creativity, study these free guitar lesson videos:

About the author:

Mike Philippov is a guitar instructional author, professional guitar player and composer. He writes articles about the best ways to practice guitar that are studied by many musicians worldwide. To get more help with becoming a better guitar player, visit his website:

How To Become A Better Guitarist By Listening To Yngwie Malmsteen

By Tom Hess

In my opinion, Yngwie Malmsteen is one of the most important and underrated guitar players in history. In fact, I would even say that you can significantly improve your own guitar playing abilities by simply understanding the entire story behind what makes Yngwie so underrated. That said, a lot of guitarists would say that it is wrong to make the claim that I am making while coming up with objections such as:

· Other guitar players have sold more albums and have a stronger influence and importance in the music world than Yngwie Malmsteen.

· Yngwie plays too fast and doesn’t know how to play emotionally with good melody.

· Yngwie has not done anything new with his music since his early days in the 80’s.

Now, before I continue on with the rest of this article, I want to mention that the first point made above is entirely off topic to what I will be discussing (the amount of albums a guitarist sells has no impact on their overall importance in the guitar playing community as a whole). Additionally, the other two points are NOT true at all and you will find out why shortly as you read below.

My goal with this article is not to turn you into an Yngwie fan. Instead, I want you to understand the reasons behind why Yngwie is such an important figure in the history of great musicians and influence to the current (and future) generation of guitar players. Once you understand what goes into his guitar playing that makes him so great, you can then begin to utilize this knowledge to improve and enhance your own guitar playing.

Here is a small list of all the great innovations that Yngwie Malmsteen has brought into the rock and metal guitar playing community (most of which he is not commonly given credit for):

Music Composing Skills: Yngwie has brought a lot to the rock guitar community through his ability to write music that utilizes intelligent and innovative use of the foundational songwriting principles. It is true that these principles have been used for hundreds of years prior to his music; however, no one had utilized them in quite the same manner as him outside of ‘some’ jazz musicians and modern classical composers.


How can you use this idea?

The songwriting techniques that Yngwie uses are not exclusive only to his style of music; in fact, they can be used effectively in any style of music. To learn how to apply them to your particular style of guitar, check out this video about learning to put together creative guitar chord progressions.

Expressive Vibrato Technique: As far as I am concerned, Yngwie has debatably the best vibrato technique of any electric guitarist ever! That said, there are a lot of naysayers who pass over this aspect of Yngwie’s guitar playing entirely. These people focus on his ability to play fast, and disregard his vibrato altogether claiming that Yngwie’s style “lacks emotion”. Comparisons are often made to Yngwie where it is claimed that other guitarists can say more with one note than he can say with an entire solo section. However, the truth is just the opposite. If you want to hear the proof of this, simply listen to the first song on Yngwie’s album “Rising Force” and compare the sound and expressive quality of it to any other guitar players who are commonly compared to Yngwie.

As you do this, think about how the technical and specific aspects in his vibrato technique (such as the rate, depth, balance and rhythmic timing) give him the ability to play with an incredibly diverse palette of emotions while using ‘only’ one note. Compare this to the common guitar player who never truly takes the time to analyze the subtleties in their vibrato technique and cannot appreciate the difference between average vibrato and the vibrato of a virtuoso.

How can you use this idea?


When it comes to playing guitar with nice phrasing and interesting melodies, your vibrato technique is what will stand out the most. I encourage you to take note of the subtle elements mentioned above to analyze your own vibrato technique. To start with, see how big of a variety of musical expressions you can create by playing only one note and apply vibrato to it. If you are unable to utilize vibrato to create a variety of emotions in your guitar playing, you have a lot of work to do! Watch this video on how to play guitar vibrato technique and find out more on how you can improve your musical expression.

Lead Guitar Playing Techniques: Most people will give credit to Yngwie as being a highly technical guitar player (especially considering what other guitarists were playing during his time). However, most people overlook the fact that his true genius comes in the form of the variety of improvements he has accomplished in the realm of technical lead guitar playing. By merely considering this point on its own, it becomes very clear that Yngwie is of great importance to the world of electric guitar players.


The truth is, many guitar players (of Yngwie’s time) did not take the time to master all the possible guitar techniques that they could use to make music. Consider techniques such as tapping, sweep picking, alternate picking, string skipping, speed picking, not to mention subtle techniques like playing with articulation and fluent guitar phrasing. Think about how long these guitar techniques were available to be mastered before someone actually came along and mastered them all on a technical and musical level. In most cases, these guitar techniques took the span of many decades to get to the point to where they were being played at a level of true mastery. Although there were guitarists who were playing with some of these techniques at various levels of proficiency, there was no guitarist (before Yngwie Malmsteen) who had achieved a level of virtuosity for ALL of them in his guitar playing.

Yngwie was not merely ‘another shredder’, but a true pioneer when it comes to guitar technique. This is one of the most common oversights made by guitar players who mistakenly place all of the techniques he played into the all encompassing category of “Guitar technique” and move on as if there is nothing more to learn from him.

How can you use this idea?

You might not be a listener of Yngwie’s music, but even if that is the case you can still gain great insight from his ability to combine together a large variety of guitar techniques. It is crucial for you to be able to integrate various techniques in a smooth manner throughout your music regardless of the musical style you play in. Note that when I say ‘integrate’ guitar techniques, I am not referring to practicing them separately on their own like the majority of guitarists. Learn how to integrate guitar techniques together by watching this video on the topic of effective guitar practice.

Improvisation Skill: Just like a jazz guitarist, Yngwie Malmsteen has the ability to improvise music at an extremely high level. It is true that he does not commonly solo over jazz-styled harmony; however, after listening to his music it is apparent that he has total control over the emotion created in every chord he plays over. This does not mean that he simply knows “which scale fits over which chord progression”. As a master improviser, he understands how each chord will ‘feel’ in combination with what he plays (‘before’ a single note even sounds) and can quickly adapt his phrasing to create this feeling.

Additionally, Yngwie frequently improvises newer versions of his old guitar solos on a consistent basis (…and with great precision). Most guitar players simply re-play their old material in the exact same manner every time they go on stage.

How can you use this idea?

Regardless of your preferred musical style, it is crucial for your success as a lead guitar player to able to identify the emotion of each chord ‘before’ the chord is actually played. To learn how you can do this in your own guitar playing, watch this free video lesson about writing a metal guitar solo.

What is the action that you should take right now?

1. Take the time to listen to Yngwie’s songs (even if you do not particularly care for his guitar playing style). If you already like his music, grab any of his albums and go through the steps below.

2. Listen closely and identify the subtle nuances that make Yngwie an excellent guitarist (use the ideas mentioned in this article as a reference). If you are not sure how some of the more advanced musical ideas utilized in Yngwie’s playing work (such as musical expression, songwriting techniques and improvisation in different keys), locate a guitar teacher who can help you understand them in great detail and use them to enhance your own guitar playing .

3. Look into your own guitar playing to identify your level of mastery for the elements discussed in this article. Regardless of your guitar playing style (even if it is totally different than that of Yngwie Malmsteen), it is still important for you to achieve a high level of mastery for the abovementioned elements as they relate to your own style. Track your progress toward achieving mastery in these areas and do what it takes to improve in the weaker areas of your guitar playing.

By writing this article, I not am attempting to necessarily make you a fan of Yngwie; but to help you gain new musical insights that you likely have not yet considered. If you do not like Yngwie’s music after studying him in detail, that is totally fine. However, understand that by observing the subtle nuances in Yngwie’s music as described in this article, you will be able to get much more value out of the music of other guitar players. This will help you become a better guitarist and reach a new level in your overall musicianship.

About The Author: Tom Hess is a successful professional guitar player, composer and the guitarist of the band Rhapsody Of Fire. He also trains musicians to reach their guitar playing goals in his rock guitar lessons online. Visit his rock and metal guitar lessons site to read more articles about guitar playing, plus get free guitar tips and guitar playing resources.

Top Ten Reasons Why You Aren’t Making Good Money Teaching Guitar

by Tom Hess

Do you feel like you should be making a lot more money as a guitar teacher? Have you ever thought about how different your life would be if you made a lot more money in your guitar teaching business? Do you ever wonder whether or not it is really possible to make a good living teaching guitar?
Most guitar teachers would respond “Yes” to these questions and would admit that they don’t believe it is possible to build a guitar teaching business that makes an annual income of $100k or more. The truth is that it is actually very realistic to want to make 6 figures or more per year in your guitar teaching business.
Unfortunately, the majority of guitar teachers do not reach high levels of financial success; however everyone (including you) has the potential to do so if you know the right steps to take to expand your own guitar teaching business. In order to help you better understand what you must do to start making more money as a guitar teacher, I have put together 10 of the biggest reasons why most guitar teachers have a hard time making money. By reading through the rest of this article, you will be able to learn from the mistakes of other guitar teachers. The more information you gain on what NOT to do, the faster you can begin to move toward achieving your financial goals.
You are not charging enough money for your guitar lessons.
One of the biggest misunderstandings made by beginning guitar teachers is thinking that lower teaching rates means more new guitar students. Fact is, lowering the costs of your lessons not only decreases the amount of money you make from each lesson, but it also does the following:

  1. If you are charging a higher price for guitar lessons, your guitar students will naturally feel a need to get the most out of their investment. Your students will feel more motivated to practice, listen during lessons, and become great guitar players. If you charge less for guitar lessons, you are taking away a huge natural advantage from your students that can help them get all they can while working together with you.
  2. There are many potential guitar students who believe in the saying ‘you get what you pay for’. By lowering the costs of your guitar lessons, you create the perception that you are a lower quality guitar teacher.

Guitar teachers who earn a lot of money in their guitar teaching business do not lower their prices to attract new students. Instead of doing this, they focus on increasing the value of their guitar lessons as much as possible so that the price of lessons seems low when compared to the MASSIVE results and benefits their students receive.
You exclusively teach private guitar lessons in a 1 on 1 format.
A big myth among guitar teachers is that guitar lessons in a 1 on 1 format are the best way to teach (and learn) guitar. Although this format can be good in some cases, it is certainly not the only way to get good results for you students. On top of that, it is an extremely limiting format in terms of making money as a guitar teacher. A better approach is to combine various different group teaching formats together with your current 1 on 1 format. This will not only make you more money, but will also help your guitar students to reach their goals much faster than if they were taking one on one lessons only. To find out more about how to teach guitar lessons in a variety of unique formats, make sure to watch this video on how to make money teaching guitar.
You are not sure how to promote your guitar teaching business and get students on a consistent basis.
The majority of guitar teachers are only aware of a few ways to get the attention of potential guitar students. On top of that, these teachers almost always go about marketing their guitar lessons in very inefficient ways. Guitar teachers who make a lot of money in their guitar teaching businesses use many different strategies to gain new students all throughout the year. One of the major factors for their success is the fact that they do not rely on any single method to build their student base. This way, if one method turns out to not be particularly effective, they still have many others to draw from. Find out how you can become more effective at attracting students by taking this short survey about how to attract new guitar students.
You don’t know how to consistently turn your guitar students into really great guitar players.
Fact is, guitar students come to you in order to make progress and reach their musical goals. The better you are at helping them accomplish their highest guitar goals, the more new guitar students you will get through word of mouth and referrals to friends. Any highly successful guitar teacher who makes $100k+per year has a strong reputation for transforming average guitar players into great guitar players (in short periods of time). This is what helps them to build and expand their guitar teaching business. If you have a hard time getting great results for your guitar students, check out this program about how to teach guitar for a living.
You don’t make money from guitar lessons for every week of the year.
Many guitar players experience great frustration due to the fact that they do not get paid for every single week of the year…whether their guitar students show up or not. In most cases, guitar teachers think that they must either take unpaid time off or teach guitar lessons more often. However, these two options are NOT the only choices you have. In fact, it is possible to take PAID time off while also delivering great guitar teaching material to your guitar students. If done right, your students will be more than willing to pay you good money for days when you are not even there teaching them in person (yes, you read that right!). To get several ideas to help you do this in your guitar teaching business, download this free eBook for making a lot of money teaching guitar.
You are not currently implementing a solid teaching policy.
One of the biggest problems for most guitar teachers is that they do not have a solid teaching policy in place for their guitar teaching business (or they do not enforce the one they have). This has various negative side effects, including the following:

  1. It makes you seem as if you do not take your guitar teaching business seriously. Your guitar students will quickly notice this, and will respect you much less as a guitar teacher. Some students will show up late (or not at all) for lessons, re-schedule, or miss payments.
  2. Since your guitar students do not respect you as a guitar teacher, they will feel less motivated to practice the things you show them during lessons. As a result, they will make much less progress on guitar.
  3. You will need to put out a great deal of extra effort to contact students, ask for late payments and teach make-up lessons (on your own, unpaid time). This will become frustrating very quickly.

You must create and enforce a strict guitar teaching policy in order to get your students to take you seriously as a guitar teacher. This will save you A LOT of time and money, and will help you to build a positive reputation in your local area. Find out how to create a good guitar teaching policy with this free guide for making a lot of money teaching guitar.
You are not able to make a strong connection with your guitar students.
Most guitar teachers do not understand that teaching guitar is based around meeting the emotional needs of your students first. In order to reach high levels of success as a guitar teacher, it is essential that you learn how to directly communicate the following points with your guitar students:

  1. You are totally COMMITTED to helping your students reach their highest goals on guitar.
  2. You understand the struggles that they are experiencing with guitar and have had to deal with them yourself.
  3. You can identify with their current struggles on guitar and have been through them yourself.

When you build strong connections with your guitar students (and follow up on giving them the results you promised), your students will become very loyal to you. As a result, they will continue guitar lessons with you for years, and will help you make much more money.
You get in the way of your own progress.
Most guitar teachers only consider 3 different things when thinking of ways to make more money with guitar lessons:

  1. The price of their guitar lessons.
  2. How many hours they spend teaching each week.
  3. How many guitar students they have.

If you attempt to become a successful guitar teacher using the three points above, you will be MASSIVELY limiting your potential to grow your guitar teaching business. Although these three points are important, they are only a small piece of the puzzle when it comes to making more money as a guitar teacher. What would you think if I told you that you could make three or four times your current yearly guitar teaching income without charging more per lesson? Believe it or not, this is a reality for most highly successful guitar teachers. Learn how to do this by watching this video on how to make money teaching guitar.
You do not have a specific strategy that will get you from your current financial situation to earning $100k+ with guitar teaching.
The most successful guitar teachers build their guitar teaching business through extensive planning and strategy. These teachers do not rely on any form of luck, instead they work hard to implement new ideas until they manifest their own success. Unfortunately, the majority of guitar teachers simply copy what other teachers are doing in hopes that it ‘might’ work for them too. The main problem with this is that most other guitar teachers are unsuccessful, and do not make a lot of money teaching guitar. By doing the same things these teachers do, you will only be working toward mediocre results (if any). If you want to build a highly successful guitar teaching business while making a lot of money, it is necessary to seek the advice of someone who knows what you need to do to become the most successful guitar teacher in your local area.
You aren’t sure how to keep your current guitar students coming back.
The primary focus of most guitar teachers is on ‘how to find new guitar students’. In their efforts to get new students, these teachers often lose focus of keeping the students they already have. If your students are not staying with you for two years or more, this is a sign that you are struggling to keep students.
The key to maintaining your guitar teaching business is to increase your student ‘retention rate’ (how long students continue taking lessons with you). Once you know how to keep your students for longer periods of time, you will not need to keep finding new students just to replace the ones who have left in order to return to the same level of income. This will allow you to grow your guitar teaching business steadily without having to constantly worry about losing money due to decreasing student numbers.
If you identified with some of the problems I have discussed, you have become aware of some of the biggest areas you need to improve in order to earn more money as a guitar teacher. Once you have taken the time to implement the points talked about in this article, you will experience significant growth in your guitar teaching business.
Get help to expand your guitar business and make more money as a guitar teacher with these free guitar teacher resources:

About The Author: Tom Hess is a successful professional guitar teacher, composer and the guitarist of the band Rhapsody Of Fire. He also trains guitar teachers how to improve their guitar teaching methods. Visit his website, to read more articles about guitar teaching, get free guitar teacher skill assessments and guitar teaching tips.