When learning to play the guitar, there are many paths one can take. One of these is learning to play the acoustic guitar. Composing and performing music on the acoustic guitar is a unique beast in and of itself. There are so many styles, techniques, and applications for this instrument, it’s hard to know where to begin when learning!
In his course, The Art & Craft of Acoustic Guitar, Clive Carroll opens you up to some of the acoustic guitar styles that he gravitates toward.
Here are nine video acoustic guitar lessons from the course. But, for the full course, check out Clive Carrol’s The Art & Craft of Acoustic Guitar on TrueFire!
Acoustic Guitar Lesson – Promise of Spring – SECTION 2: Overview
Promise of Spring’ features a cascading melody, over an alternating bass pattern played with the thumb. It also focuses on playing chord changes smoothly without disturbing the rhythmic flow. There is also a bridge section within the piece where the chord changes are syncopated and played more quickly.
Acoustic Guitar Lesson – Broken Arpeggio Groove: Practice Study 1
Here’s a short exercise focusing on chord changes whilst maintaining a solid arpeggio groove with the picking hand. This aspect of playing can easily be overlooked but it is essential to the rhythmic flow. In other words, if the front row of your audience aren’t tapping their feet, it’s not their fault! Keep the groove solid and they’ll be tapping without realising!
Acoustic Guitar Lesson – Single String Melody: Practice Study 2
In this exercise the bass alternates between strings six and four whilst a predominantly first-string melody sings over the top. The count is the same as the ‘Broken Arpeggio Groove’ exercise but it feels different when the fingers pluck consecutive melody notes on the same string as opposed to arpeggio notes.
By the way, sorry my counting in the video is a little off with the ‘and’ of beat 4. That’s me trying to talk and play at the same time! Once you’ve mastered this exercise, try playing it and reciting your shopping list out loud at the same time. The ultimate challenge!
Acoustic Guitar Lesson – Promise of Spring: Performance
I wrote “Promise of Spring” back in the late 90’s after listening a lot to one of my favourite singer/songwriters, Nick Drake. When I recorded this on my first album, ‘Sixth Sense’, I used a Gibson Hummingbird and there was a cooler vibe when I tuned the guitar down a whole tone. Try it on your guitar and see if it feels and sounds rich and resonant. The tuning would be: C,G,C,F,A,D. For this learning video though, it’s in standard drop D!
Acoustic Guitar Lesson – Promise of Spring – A Section: Breakdown
There’s a lot of info here! Firstly, this segment talks about counting yourself in before playing a single note. This is a great idea in general as it can help to overcome performance nerves.
You are also going to focus on the volume difference between bass groove and the upper voices.
There are tips about difficult stretches for the fretting hand, an exercise to overcome barre-chord challenges, and using the back of the thumb nail in the bass for single string groove.
Acoustic Guitar Lesson – Promise of Spring – A Section Variations: Breakdown
This is a short demonstration about creating echos, or variations, of the melody in the middle strings or alto area of the guitar. It’s fun to do but it’s not essential to the piece. Remember that the most important factor is to stay in time.
Acoustic Guitar Lesson – Promise of Spring – Bridge: Breakdown
The bridge section of “Promise of Spring” focuses on a contrasting picking-hand pattern to the other sections of the piece. I have broken down the chord shapes in detail for you here and there is a run down of the Outro.
In addition, towards the end of this clip there is a very useful one-bar exercise that is easy to pick up but tricky to master! It can help so much with voice independence in general. Give it a try!
Acoustic Guitar Lesson – Reed All About It!: Performance
In 2019 I was asked to write a piece that needed to have a country feel with an element of funk, and had to be at a certain technical level. All in all, not the easiest commission! The first person who came to my mind was Jerry Reed!
I hope you enjoy the music and that the technical aspects covered are beneficial to your own playing. I think sitting in front of all those cameras at Truefire made me play it at a fair nip on the metronome scale. The tempo here is the absolute max. Slower is good!
Acoustic Guitar Lesson – Eliza’s Eyes: Performance
This piece was requested by many players for inclusion on my Truefire course. I wrote it circa 2009—Eliza is the name of my daughter. I hope you enjoy learning it!
Digging these free video acoustic guitar lessons? Check out Clive Carroll’s The Art &. Craft of Acoustic Guitar.