Award-winning Canadian fingerstyle guitarist Calum Graham aims to transform the average fingerstyle player into an artist. Using a modern approach to fingerstyle guitar, Calum teaches you techniques in the context of his own songs to get you on your way to composing your own beautiful fingerstyle songs.
Calum Graham brings us a modern approach to fingerstyle guitar with harmonics, hammer-ons, two handed tapping, rhythmic accents, and many other techniques designed to inspire the artistic side of acoustic guitar playing. You’ll be well on your way to creating your own fingerstyle guitar compositions!
Lessons In This Series:
Award winning, Canadian fingerstyle guitarist Calum Graham introduces his Jamplay Artist Series, which aims to transform the average fingerstyle player into an artist.
The Hedges Hammer-on Pull-off Technique
Using his song “The Nomad” Calum shows us a technique inspired by one of his biggest influences: the great Michael Hedges.
The idea of counterpart in a composition is two different lines moving counter to each other. In this lesson, Calum uses his song “The Nomad” to illustrate the use of this technique.
Right Hand Slap Technique
In this lesson, Calum shows us an energetic technique achieved by slapping the strings with your right hand. Again, this is in the context of his song “The Nomad”.
When constructing fingerstyle pieces, one must act as their own bass player. In this lesson, Calum gives an introduction to playing basslines, and shows us multiple ways to play them.
Adding Layers to Basslines
Now that we’ve learned how to execute a bassline in different ways, it’s time to layer another part on top of it! A challenging concept that will further your left and right hand independence.
Two Handed Tapping Sequence
Calum continues working us through his song “The Nomad”. This lesson is all about a two handed tapping sequence in the song, meant to strengthen our hand independence.
Various Ways to Play Melody
Adding variation and nuance to your playing sometimes consists of learning to play melodies different ways. In this lesson, Calum takes a simple melody line and plays it with open strings, then with harmonics.
A Little Orchestra
Truly artistic acoustic arrangements can almost sound as though there is a small orchestra at your fingertips. Calum is a master at this technique and uses this lesson to show you how to achieve this effect.
Call and Answer
In this lesson Calum takes a look at he traditional, time honored technique of the call and answer, putting it into a modern sounding fingerstyle passage.
As important as melody and harmony are, the acoustic guitar affords a unique opportunity to emphasize another musical element: rhythm. Calum shows us how to think of our guitar as percussion instrument or even a drum set in this lesson.
Yoga For Your Fingers
As you can probably see, playing in Calum’s style requires lots of dexterity and strength in your fingers! Well, it just so happens that he has a great set of exercises to help you gain that strength and dexterity: Yoga for your fingers!
One Man Band
Part of mastering this style on the acoustic guitar is learning how to make your guitar take on the personality of many different instruments. In this lesson, Calum shows how to incorporate different techniques that will make you sound like a one man band!
Right Hand Development
In this lesson, Calum shows some advanced right hand techniques like rasguedo, string security and string skipping.
Harmonics can be a great tool for adding flavor and uniqueness to your solo guitar pieces. In this lesson, Calum shows us an excerpt from his song “Waiting” to demonstrate the use of pinch harmonics.
Percussive Slap Harmonics
A technique that provides an aggressive percussion approach as well as a melodic uniqueness, percussive slap harmonics is a useful tool in your arsenal of artistic acoustic techniques.
Acoustic artistry involves being able to multitask on your instrument. Playing bass parts, counter melodies and melodies at the same time is a common occurrence. In this lesson, Calum gives us a passage to work on that will sharpen our multitasking skills.
Creating Internal Rhythm
Creating internal rhythm is the process of filling some of the space between melodic notes with ghost notes or passing notes to give the passage more of a rhythmic feel. In this lesson Calum uses his song “Three Way Street” as an example of how to create internal rhythm.
Utilizing Open Strings
In this lesson, Calum shows us the advantage of using open strings. As the example, he uses his song “Phoenix Rising”.
Two Handed Tapping 101
To get a little more proficient at two handed tapping, Calum shows us how to practice the major scale using this technique.
The sound of cascading harmonics is very reminiscent of a harp. In this lesson, Calum show a lick that can be used to add that quality to your songs.
Thumb Upstroke Technique
Although not as common, up and down picking strokes with the thumb can be used in fingerstyle guitar playing. In this lesson Calum gives us some pointers on how to execute this.
The CAGED Concept
The CAGED concept has helped countless guitarists over the years. In this lesson, Calum gives his take on the concept, and explores its usefulness.
All In One
Mixing certain elements together gives us a “guitar stew” of artistic techniques resulting in a complex and beautiful musical situation. Percussive guitar, harmonics and hammer-ons are on the ingredient list in this lesson.
In this lesson Calum gives us his take on the classic technique called Travis Picking. Using his song “Through the Photo Album”, he takes us into this very Tommy Emmanuel-esque composition.
Scales and Open Strings Part 1
Using open strings in your fingerstyle playing is a key technique. Not only does it allow you to achieve a nice sustain, it can also be handy for buying yourself a split second for position changes.
Scales and Open Strings Part 2
In part two of this lesson on using open strings, Calum shows us how to traverse the length of the neck playing a variation of the C major scale, using as many open strings as we can along the way.
Spice Up Your Scales
Now that we’ve used open strings to make our scales sustain more, it’s time to add yet another technique – harmonics. In this lesson Calum combines fretted notes, open strings and harmonics to achieve a very harp-like sound on the instrument.
No Tuner? No Problem!
Being able to tune your guitar without an electronic tuner is a great thing to know in a pinch, but also can help train your ear. Calum revisits some popular self tuning methods in this lesson, possibly revealing some perspectives you’ve never given much thought to!
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