10 Free Guitar Lessons for Songwriters Stuck in a Creative Rut

10 Free Guitar Lessons for Songwriters Stuck in a Creative Rut

Songwriters often find themselves stuck in a creative rut playing the same old chords and patterns. How do you free yourself from traditional forms? How do you break out of the box? How can you expand your palette of musical ideas? For all those answers and mega doses of inspiration, dig deep into these free guitar lessons from Christie Lenée’s Creative Fingerstyle Guitar for Songwriters.

Major Scale Exploration – Demonstration

What better way to spend your day than playing your guitar?! The best way to get better at this instrument is to find a creative and fun way to spend your practice time. Even something as basic as the major scale can be an inspiring workout if you find a way to structure your practice in a way that sounds musical. Try these approaches and then come up with some of your own fun ways to make interesting song ideas out of your practice time.

Forget What You Know – Demonstration

We’ve all heard the familiar saying “think outside the box”, but how do we force ourselves to bring a fresh ear to both our instrument and our creative process? One great way is to try playing in a different tuning. For example, let’s try playing in drop D tuning. This is a great alternative tuning to start with because a lot of the things you know in standard tuning will translate, but you’ll still find yourself coming up with creative voicings and melodies from the “newness” of the tuning.

Rhythmic Percussive Slap – Demonstration

Let’s take a look at another one of my favorite techniques: the percussive thumb slap. This is a popular bass guitar technique, but it also works great on the guitar. It’s another great way to get more creativity out of simple chord progressions you may already be playing. I’ll show you another simple example here of how this may work for you and your songwriting.

Change Bass Notes Mid Pattern – Demonstration

With a new groove and finger pattern, let’s take a look at another technique that inspires a lot of creative songwriting for me. Try changing chords (or simply bass notes) in the middle of a pattern instead of always on the top of the pattern. This is a great way to lead your listeners ear and often times helps draw you as the songwriter toward different melodies than you might otherwise come up with. Have fun playing around with this approach.

Funky G Groove Etude – Overview

In the upcoming performances I’ll be giving you a couple of nice workouts with some slides and harmonics, but remember, these exercises are just examples for you to build from. You should be taking the concepts here and applying them to some of your own progressions and grooves. That’s how you’ll find yourself turning practice time into songwriting time.

Slidin’ Spicy G Groove – Performance

Download the tab and notation for this fingerstyle guitar lesson on TrueFire.

Let’s take a look at this performance video and you have the accompanying tab and soundslice tools to loop or slow down any of the phrases you need so that you can work them up to speed. This is my application of some of the concepts I showed you in the previous videos. Learn it note for note and incorporate it into your practice time, or just use it as a springboard for some of your own creativity.

Slidin’ Spicy G Groove – Breakdown

Now I’ll break down this performance for you so you can get all the details on how this little etude came together. Remember, your practice time should be creative and fun, so hopefully some of the ideas here are a little bit new to you and maybe some of the patterns are even a bit challenging. Take the time to learn these etudes, and apply some of the concepts to your own ideas.

Try an Open Tuning – Demonstration

Once again, one of my favorite tools for creative songwriting on the guitar is working in an alternate tuning. In this case we’ll take a look at DADGAD, which is arguably one of the most popular non-standard tunings guitarists typically go to. Here again, you can employ a few simple shapes to experiment with a wide variety of harmony options and riff ideas. Being in an alternate tuning is inspiring because it’s harder to fall into the same chord shapes you may typically use in standard tuning. Have fun exploring a new tuning and seeing what kinds of song ideas it sparks for you.

DADGAD Body Boomer Study – Performance

Download the tab and notation for this fingerstyle guitar lesson on TrueFire.

Let’s take a look at this performance video and you have the accompanying tab and soundslice tools to loop or slow down any of the phrases you need so that you can work them up to speed. This is my application of some of the concepts I showed you in the previous videos. Learn it note for note and incorporate it into your practice time, or just use it as a springboard for some of your own creativity.

DADGAD Body Boomer Study – Breakdown

Now I’ll break down this performance for you so you can get all the details on how this little etude came together. Remember, your practice time should be creative and fun, so hopefully some of the ideas here are a little bit new to you and maybe some of the patterns are even a bit challenging. Take the time to learn these etudes, and apply some of the concepts to your own ideas.


Dig these free guitar lessons? Check out the full course: Christie Lenée’s Creative Fingerstyle Guitar for Songwriters