This set of 15 lessons features some of the best female singer/songwriters of the 21st century.
1. Alanis Morissette - Ironic
2. Alanis Morissette - You Oughta Know
3. Amy Macdonald - Mr Rock & Roll
4. Amy Macdonald - This Is The Life
5. Anna Nalick - Breathe
6. Christina Perri - A Thousand Years
7. Christina Perri - Jar Of Hearts
8. Hailee Steinfeld - Starving
9. Katy Perry - The One That Got Away
10. Katy Perry - Thinking Of You
11. Kirstin Maldanado - Break A Little
12. Lady Gaga - Always Remember Us This Way
13. Sarah Jarosz - Edge Of A Dream
14. Sarah Jarosz - Little Song
15. Sarah Jarosz - Run Away
Lesson 1: Starving - Acoustic Guitar Lesson
Starving is a song by American actress and singer Hailee Steinfeld and American duo Grey, featuring Russian-German producer Zedd.
It features a simple progression in the key of E and uses mainly only four chords.
We take a thorough look at those chords, which start out as two finger shapes, then changes to three finger shapes and eventually full barre chords.
The picking starts relatively easy as well, using two strings, then three strings and changes to full on strumming in the chorus. Especially the latter has a heavy syncopated feel and one needs to have a strong sense of rhythm in order to get the timing right, without losing the beats.
Other than that, the picking includes percussion by tapping the strings on beats 2 and 4, and even a bit of swing feel plus an unexpected hammer on/pull off at the end of the song.
Lesson 2: Ironic - Alanis Morissette - Guitar Lesson
Ironic is a song by Canadian-American alternative rock singer-songwriter Alanis Morissette, who is also known for her powerful and emotive mezzo-soprano voice.
It’s taken from her Grammy Award winning 1995 international debut album ‘Jagged Little Pill’ and was released as the third single in early 1996.
This lesson covers the progression and the chords, including several shapes and fingerings.
We take a detailed look at the double time strumming, which also features some hybrid picking.
Lesson 3: Mr Rock & Roll
Mr. Rock & Roll is another major hit single by singer-songwriter Amy Macdonald.
This lesson takes a look at how Amy plays it acoustically, with chordshapes in the key of D (Capo VII), as well how her guitar player performs it, using shapes in the key of A.
There are only four chords, which should be relatively easy for just about anybody.
We break down the intro, and of course the strumming. This probably presents the biggest challenge to some, since it's quite fast and uptempo.
All in all, a much fun song to have in your repertoire, no matter where you are in your guitar journey.
Lesson 4: This Is The Life
Amy Macdonald is a Scottish singer-songwriter, who has sold over 12 million records worldwide.
This Is The Life, taken from her debut album (2007) with the same name, became a major hit all around Europe and is her most successful single to date.
This lesson teaches the song in the original key, C#m, which is how Amy plays it. One could also play it in the key Am, where the guitar is capoed on the 4th fret, making it a little easier.
We take a look at the uptempo strumming, including alternating bass notes to somewhat copy the bassplayer when she performs with a band. By herself she sometimes adds a little percussion, by sqeezing and releasing the strings.
The progression couldn’t be more straightforward. All in all, a sweet and short lesson.
Lesson 5: Breathe - Anna Nalick - Guitar Lesson
Breathe is a beautiful song written and recorded by American singer-songwriter Anna Nalick.
It appears on her 2005 debut album ‘Wreck Of The Day’ and was featured prominently in episodes of shows like ABC’s ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ as well as several other shows and movies.
This lesson covers the chords in the key of A, the strumming in 6/8, and the progression. It particularly takes a look at the little sus2, sus4, hammer-on, pull-off embellishments, based on how Anna’s guitar player performs it in acoustic settings.
Lesson 6: A Thousand Years - Christina Perri - Guitar Lesson
A Thousand Years, a beautiful love song, was written for the soundtrack of Breaking Dawn-Part 1 of the Twilight Saga, by American singer and songwriter Christina Perri. It features a nice melodic fingerpicking intro in 6/8 time, as well as subtle fingerpicking and a simple strumming pattern for the rest of the song. ItРІР‚в„ўs in the key of G, capoed at the third fret, and consists of open chords only, along with some nice variations and embellishments.
Lesson 7: Jar Of Hearts - Christina Perri - Guitar Lesson
Jar Of Hearts is the debut single of American singer/songwriter Christina Perri and it appeared on her EP, the ‘Ocean Way Sessions’, as well as her first album, ‘Lovestrong’. It’s a beautiful yet fairly simple piano song in 4/4 time and in this lesson we take a look at how to play it on the guitar. The song is in the keys of Eb and Cm and by capoing the guitar at the third fret and putting it in the keys of C and Am, it is very doable, since most chords will be open. We will also get into some of the little melody lines, which you can hear in the piano playing, and how to incorporate them into the guitar accompaniment. There are a few tricky chord shapes in the bridge, but it is definitely a very worthwhile song to learn. There are also a few thoughts on the dynamics of the song, which are very important when performing any musical piece.
Lesson 8: You Oughta Know - Acoustic Guitar Lesson
For those Alanis Morissette fans out there, this one will be a real treat. Perhaps her most famous song, this lesson will show you not only all the guitar parts, but the vocal melodies as well. Showcased in its entirety by using a looper pedal, you’ll not only learn every part needed to recreate the song, but also how to do that using a looper and emulate a full band, all on solo acoustic guitar!
Lesson 9: The One That Got Away by Katy Perry - Guitar Lesson
The One That Got Away is a song by American singer-songwriter Katy Perry. It appears on her best selling 3rd studio album ‘Teenage Dream’ (2010), which is the 2nd album in history to produce five number-one singles (after Michael Jackson’s ‘Bad’).
It’s very similar to her single Thinking Of You and she often performs the songs going from one into the other.
The arrangement is done in the key of E and uses all three major and three minor chords, including three barre chords, making it quite a bit more difficult than Thinking Of You. For that we discuss how to practice those by using the squeeze/release/lift-drills.
The good news is that the progression is 8 measures long and is, besides the bridge, the same all the way through.
We of course take a look at the strumming, and break down a few examples as how Perry plays it.
There is also a segment which teaches how to play the song in the key of C (Capo IV), for the ones who find the barre chords too big of a challenge.
Lesson 10: Thinking Of You by Katy Perry - Guitar Lesson
Katy Perry is an American singer-songwriter who rose to fame in 2008 with the release of her 2nd album вЂOne of The boysвЂ™.
One of its tracks is Thinking Of You and this lesson shows how Perry plays it on the guitar, whether or not sheвЂ™s performing it by herself or with a band.
The arrangement is done in the key of E, and uses only a few shapes, while leaving the two top strings open with pretty much every chord. We also take a look at the main feel of the strumming, which emphasizes several upstrokes.
Lesson 11: Break A Little - Kirstin Maldanado - Guitar Lesson
The Pentatonix have been big stars here in the US for a couple years now. Kirstin Maldanado, the lone female in the group recently put out a solo EP which included Break A Little.
The original was mostly keyboards but an acoustic version was released as well with an interesting guitar accompaniment.
The song includes fingerpicking at different speeds with unusual note groupings, and strumming at a few different speeds and intensities.
The techniques involved should be challenging enough, let alone adding the vocal part over the syncopated picking.
I want to thank my student Illeana for bringing the song to my attention and singing it as part of the lesson.
Lesson 12: Always Remember Us This Way by Lady Gaga - Guitar Lesson
Always Remember Us This Way is a song from the 2018 film ‘A Star Is Born’ and its soundtrack of the same name. It’s performed by the film’s star, American singer-songwriter, Lady Gaga.
It’s a piano ballad, but transfers easily to the guitar.
The lesson takes a look at the chords, the double time strumming and the progression. It should be doable for most intermediate guitar players, but probably challenging for beginners, due to two barre chords out of both the E and A families.
Lesson 13: Edge Of A Dream - Sarah Jarosz - Guitar Lesson
The talented singer-songwriter Sarah Jarosz, now 22 years old, has been celebrated as a roots-music prodigy since her teens, mainly for her proficiency on mandolin, banjo and guitar. ‘Edge Of A Dream’ is a lovely and dreamy song taken from her 2009 debut album, ‘Song Up In Her Head’.
It features a couple of chords and different chord shapes in the key of D, using the I, IV, V. The guitar is in Drop D-Tuning, where the sixth string is tuned down a whole step and capoed at the seventh fret. The song is in 4/4 swing-time and the challenge lies within the several melody notes which need to be picked out as well as many syncopated chord changes.
Lesson 14: Little Song - Sarah Jarosz - Guitar Lesson
Little Song is another really lovely tune by American singer-songwriter, Sarah Jarosz. It’s taken from her debut-album Song Up In Her Head. It features chords I, IV and V in the key of D, standard tuning and capoed at the 4th fret. A basic travis picking pattern for the right hand makes it very playable for those who want to take their fingerpicking skills to the next level. The lesson includes a few pointers on how to add the lyrics as well.
Lesson 15: Run Away - Sarah Jarosz - Guitar Lesson
Sarah Jarosz is a young and very talented American musician and singer-songwriter from Texas. She has already released three succesful albums and has been called a ‘songwriter of uncommon wisdom.’ She is also described as a comtemporary bluegrass prodigy. Besides the guitar, she plays the banjo, claw hammer banjo, mandoline and octave mandolin.
In this lesson we take a look at the opening track of her second album, Follow Me Down, called ‘Run Away’, which she performs on the guitar. Although it features a fairly easy chord progression, the fast travis picking pattern makes it quite challenging and good fingerpicking skills are absolutely needed to get this song down. It is played in an unusual alternate tuning: F A D G A E, where the sixth string is tuned up to F and the second string is tuned down to A. She also uses a capo at the first fret.