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Introduction To The Martin Taylor Guitar Academy
This "introduction" block sets the stage for what is to follow. Put down your guitar, and enjoy learning about Martin's background, influences, and philosophy about music and the guitar. If you are anxious to get going, you can skip ahead to the "Underlying Concepts" block or even "Learn By Playing Tunes" block. Just be sure to get back and watch these important videos!
Underlying Concepts
The "Underlying Concepts" block starts very basic and progressively lays down the foundation for Martin's approach to fingerstyle guitar. Even if you are already an advanced guitarist, Martin asks that you go through all of these lessons. This block ends with Martin teaching two versions of the jazz classic "Satin Doll."
Developing Technique & Musicianship
Here we switch almost entirely to music, musicianship, and advanced techniques for making music on the guitar. To get started right, Martin teaches a simple but soulful version of his own composition "True." Martin uses this tune as reference point throughout the curriculum. More techniques flow from Martin's presentation of jazz blues, "Somewhere Over The Rainbow", and "My Romance."
Learn By Playing Tunes
Watch, listen, play. It's all here: A progressive collection of tunes that represent every skill and technique Martin employs in his fingerstyle guitar playing. For many of these tunes, Martin provides a very detailed analysis of all of the techniques employed. All of the tunes are presented with alternate camera angles (you can see exactly what Martin sees using the "topview" camera angle), and slow-motion versions. Many of the tunes have downloadable notation PDF files, though Martin prefers you to use you eyes and ears rather than the notation which can become a "crutch" and inhibit progress.
Auxiliary Lessons
This is the place where material will be placed that relates to specific topics not covered in the core curriculum, such as accompanying a singer, gear, etc.
Guided Arrangements
30 Day Challenge
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Fingerstyle Guitar Lessons: Improvisation Part 8: More Melodic Improvisation

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I'm just moving slightly outside of the
Now this is a great starting point.
Think melody, play the melody.
Now let's play it.
Take it a bit further away and.
Not only am I basing that improvisation
on the chord structure, I'm basing it on
the melody as well.
This is melodic improvisation.
Now, you can move away from that again and
then you get more kind of
outside improvisation which is another
thing again.
That's getting, just getting further and
further away from the melody, but still
based on the melody and
still based on the on the harmony, on, on
the, on, on the structure.
But we're just getting that little bit
further away every time and
jazz musicians like myself, we are melody
based improvisers.
And this is a great starting point,
whether you're tasting in jazz is more for
things that are slightly more outside.
This is a good, melodic improvisation is a
great way to really ease your way in.
When you know the, when you know the the
chord structure, the chord sequence.
You know what you can play on the, on
those notes.
Whether you use a a scale-based system or
a modal system, that doesn't matter.
But if, whatever it is that makes you
understand what notes work where and
within certain harmonic structures, it
doesn't matter what your system is.
But as long as you understand it and you
can hear it, and
it's a great way to really really to get
into improvisation.
Something you, you need to be very wary
Whatever your system is,
you've got to play in such a way that it
doesn't sound like a system.
I have a system of playing, playing music
and of the way I improvise.
But it doesn't sound so much like a system
because I incorporate
a lot of melody in what I play, in that I
always, I refer to the melody.
And I move away from the melody.
So even though I am using all those
scales, and
I'm using all those modes, I just don't
use those terms really so much.
I am making music.
Now, I don't know whether you can still
get them, but there used to be a thing,
I gave analogies earlier about, about
Drawing pencil sketches and ink sketches
and things.
I don't know whether you can still get
them, but there used to be these
things you could buy, these kits, called
painting by numbers.
And used to get a canvas.
And it had a drawing on it, and within
each little thing it had a number.
It said number 12, number seven, and then
you, you'd say right,
I've got to fill that number seven, and so
you've got that, that's that
particular shade of red, and you'd fill
that in, and you, and it worked.
And the only thing was, you'd have, at the
end of it you'd have a a painting.
You'd have an oil painting and say, oh, I
did that.
And you filled in the numbers.
But it looked like you'd been painting by
Because you'd, all you'd done is followed
the method.
Where it said, number seven, that's
You put that in.
Number 12 royal blue.
So you put, put these things.
And it works, and it's, and it's a
fantastic way to learn how to paint, but
it's called, it was called painting by
What we don't want is when you play to it
to sound like music by numbers, and
that's why when you, whatever system you
use that's fine.
Use that as your, your way of finding your
way around, your geography.
It's your map of finding your own way.
But something I notice when I was a little
kid and
I used to get these painting by numbers,
just fill them in.
And I realized when I used to look at the
picture, the picture that was on the box.
That came with it always looked fantastic.
You know cuz it was obviously an artist
that they got to do it, to fill it in.
But then they blend the artist had blended
the colors together.
And it looked wonderful.
So you had a picture of a thatch cottage
and somewhere in the south of England.
And it absolutely beautiful.
When I did it, it looked like,
right, there's a block of green, there's a
block of blue, there's a bl.
And you, we can use this analogy with,
with music.
Whatever system you're using you've got to
use that just as a means to an end.
Because if we get away from this painting
by numbers.
Once we stopped doing, just write, okay,
blah, blah, blah, that's number seven,
that's number eight, and that's number
And we can do that in improvisation.
Okay, that's a mixolydian, that's a dorian
mode, that's a.
And we, we put all those things, it sounds
like it.
So the best way I can, I can describe this
is, when that artist, that they, that
they hired, the company hired to, to paint
the picture, that painting by numbers.
Then they go to the artist, the artist
would actually
put little embellishments in there which
understood what that painting was about,
and would blend some of the colors in so
it didn't look like a block of colors.
So that's what you need to do.
When you're playing you can use all these
systems of, of chords and
modes but you've got to use them in an
artistic way.
You've got to, you've got to blend them
You can't say [NOISE] right okay?
D-minor there.
I can play a Dorian on that.
I can play a mixolydian on that.
Because it'll sound like it.
It'll sound like you're playing by
And once you can know how to use your, the
whichever system you've chosen to use,
you use that as just a way as a means to
end of making music.
And once you start doing that,
then what you're doing stops being music
by numbers and becomes art.
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