Ok OGLWithme, I thought your suggestion on a video of this nature was a good one – so I put one together. I realized though as I was editing this that it’s next to impossible to cover everything that needs to be covered with the 10 minute constraints that you have with YouTube, but I tried to cover the basics to give you an idea of at least my thought process for how to approach something like this. The important thing to remember is that 1) determine which key you’re going to do it in, 2) pick out the melody in a way that you can work into the chords that you have to play and 3) work out the bass / rhythm part underneath the melody. That formula really works for most all fingerstyle compositions. Hopefully (if nothing else), this gets your creative juices flowing a bit and you try composing something. Start with a common melody, something like “Jingle Bells” or “O’ Susanna”, and then work your way up to something more complicated.
Oh, I mentioned this at the end of the video but if you’re trying to create a melody fingerstyle guitar composition like this and just can’t seem to make it work, post the explanation up on YouTube and then link to it in the forum here and I’ll help you out. Don’t be embarrassed to do that either (although you may want to turn comments off on YouTube because people can be ruthless), we’re all at different levels of learning so it’s ok if you’re struggling – there would be thousands of other people out there that are stuck at the same place just like you are.
Fingerstyle Guitar Lesson - Create a Composition
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peter w says
could you TAB this lesson?
This is an awesome video Brian -thank you. Continuing to strive to pick that melody with the chords. I’m excited to be brave enough to attempt it <<<No longer afraid of this guitar -thank you for all your ongoing advice !! 🙂
AWESOME!!! Thank you! 🙂 Helped me a lot—I’m gonna start with an easy melody I play well and work up from there!
I am so glad I found you Brian. this is the stuff I would love to learn. I shall practice.
Hmmm… You’re the 4th or 5th person I’ve talked to about this. Let me check w/ YouTube and see what I can do about this. I want these videos viewable in Europe as well as that’s a large part of my audience. Thank you for pointing out.
Video not available for users in Europe? :-(
“Some YouTube content partners choose to make their videos available only to certain countries.”
I would really love to see this lesson.
Thanks Brian. I’m looking forward to being able to watch your new video.
I’m glad to hear that shutting out your Europe audience is not what you want. I hope you can solve this problem with youtube. Thank you for your efforts.
That makes me whishing to picking again.. thanks Brian!
This lesson has been invaluable to me. I’ve wanted to learn to finger-pick for a long time and this is the perfect venue for me. I’ve been practicing for about 3wks. I’m not there yet, but i’m definitely headed there. I wish i’d have made a video of day 1 and compared it to now. Thank you Brian!
I followed along w/u on this lesson after taking a few days off(to let my fingers heal some, plus just to step away for a little bit), and for the 1st time i actually sounded somewhat like the same thing u were doing…WooHoo! Baby steps.. very incouraging
@miky2times - Glad this is starting to click with you - I have plans to do lots of finger style lessons like this over the next 3 months. I’m no Chet Atkins when it comes to fingerstyle, but hopefully I can show some of the basics to get people picking that way - I’ve just recently become comfortable with the thumb pick and would recommend that if you’ve never tried it.
I can´t get it in germany. Why not?
@leonmicha: google says the video could contain GEMA licensed music and the GEMA does not granting google the rights to play it in Germany (I think it’s because google doesn’t pay enough to the GEMA for playing “their” songs).
The GEMA (“Society for musical performing and mechanical reproduction rights”) is a performance rights organization from Germany.
Richard G says
I really like your open style of tuition. Simple explanations and enthusiasm always does the trick. I’ve admired your electric blues lessons, but can I ask you for more Acoustic fingerstyle blues etc. please.
I have played l_ead for years. The reason I can pull it of and sound good is because I have a great rhythm player.this is the best site for guitar knave found. Thanks. For the great rhythm. Lessons. Ropinrick lh lh!
This is awesome! I have always been searching for a lesson similar to this. I actually often when I’m bored pick out a random melody and add some bass notes to it, but all that came out was a terrible mixed-up song. So your lesson kind of put the elements I was striving for and made them into perfect sense. Thanks!
I really like the concept of teaching how to compose a style rather than play a song. My question is can you explain how to harmonize with the melody? is it in thirds or something else? I know the alternating base is usually a I-V alternating. I like learning these things in the nashville numbering system because it is so portable to any key. Thank you and I look forward to more chet style lessons.
Technical advice for users in Germany:
to be able to watch the blocked free videos (GEMA-license-problem) of activemelody.com in Germany on youtube, you can use e.g. proxy-addon for Firefox like proxtube (https://addons.mozilla.org/de/firefox/addon/proxtube/)
The plugin uses webproxys in US and is legal.
Finally I can watch Brian’s great tutorials again.
hey braian i am really grateful ! you have learned me alot and i love you for doing what you do! and I appreciate everything you do! and you know jimi hendrix whit hey joe I whood really appreciate if you can do the aner of learnen me that solo! / johan wald from SWEDEN!!!!
Sup. Sweet picking. Europe ban bad. picking… good!
Brian. this was an amazing piece of lesson, must say an inspiring one… I was trying something like this but was not able to get the rhythm part correct and was looking for some help. I have posted the tab here. It would be a great help if i hear from you. Thanks a bunch.
Below is what the straight melody looks like in the key of C. I am just not able to get an interesting composition created using the melody and the chords.
C C C C C C Am G G Dm7 F G7 C
Really useful! Thanks.
country boy says
I’m trying to learn this song but I cannot figure out how you are finguring the D chord. You play the G then to C back to G then to D??? Or are you not playing a D???? Please help me on this.
Say we have a melody ( key of C ) , but we don’t know exactly what chords to accompany it with. Would the appropriate candidate chords be ones that emphasis 3rd and 5th intervals?
I have just recently discoverd your web site active melfody .com I think its a great site. I am playing guitar for the last year and your lesson have helped me a great deal. I have to admit sometimes I am struggling I just get stuck in the same old rut and keep playing the same old thing. I took up trying to play the guitar when I retired from work I was always interested in music and singing I am sixty eight years old mebe to old? anyway thanks again I will keep trying.
Dr T says
Good stuff!! Nice going, Brian. After age 70 this is a little harder.
Is there a spot in your lessons where I would progress sequentially?
Amazing lesson. Any chance we could get the tabs for your rendition of this song. It’s very enjoyable. Thank you so much!
This may not the be the most appropriate place to enter the comment, but here goes:
In my estimation, there’s often a basic concept missing in learning guitar:
The idea of fleshing out a song’s melody.
It seems to me that often people who try & play lead,
noodle around with some nice licks which nonetheless can often be a little generic.
Meaning, that most guitar solos wind up sounding a lot like every other guitar solo.
I’ve always found that the tag line in a guitar part is one of the first I used to gravitate towards. I suppose that’s natural to do. Somehow it makes me think of an orchestral timpani player whose life focus is the crescendo.
A big deal in learning a song (my opinion, anyway) is finding the actual melody & that’s not always a skill that largely “self-taught” beginners or dabblers who pick up a lesson here & there, find readily.
Johan L says
This was extremely fun! I’m going to apply this process to kids songs my daughter likes and “Chetify” them all!
One question though, and I already know there no “right” or “wrong” here, but I can’t help noticing you use your index finger to play the Chet-bass in this video. I prefer to alternate with my thumb. Do you see any benefit by using your index in any way?
Stefan Z says
I found this lesson badly taught: no finger by finger explanation, not showing the right hand (and the least he could do is to place camera better to see the left hand) and explaining chords. If I have to figure that out by myself there is no point for me to pay for the lesson. And finally he is not teaching the true Atkins style (thumb on E, D and G). If I want to learn Atkins style I want to learn the right habits. Otherwise do it with the index finger, but do not mention Atkins, please.
Stefan Z says
The explanation was as bad on YT, as I described it above, that’s why I decided to purchase the online premium access. But to my disappointment I did not find tablature nor better explanation on his web page. I am extremely dissatisfied with his business model.
Terry E says
could you please supply the tab for this lesson LEG 010 (Twinkle twinkle little star) . It was an inspired rendition which I thoroughly enjoyed.
Kindest Regards ,
Robert Burlin says
How about a 2021 version of row row row your boat in the create your own melody style and fashion similar to this but more advanced.