Become a more effective player and learn to better express yourself on the acoustic guitar in Berklee Online’s Acoustic Guitar Techniques course. You’ll learn to strengthen your rhythmic strumming, use of alternate tunings, and fingerstyle playing. This course features in-depth exercise techniques directed at improving your fluency, tone, dynamics, and control.

You’ll start by learning to play sparse and partially improvised strumming textures, in addition to ones that are dense, regular, and groove-based or ones that are unusual such as offbeat triplets. You’ll then cover topics related to alternate tunings, including how to play and write with open major triad tunings, how to play modal sounds in open tunings, and how to use a variety of more complex tunings beyond major triads.

The course also explores how to practice techniques for fingerstyle melodies and arpeggios, and how to organize and track your fingerstyle technique workout. You’ll learn how to include a melodic line in a Travis pick guitar part, and how to play variations and increase the fluency and groove of your Travis picking. You will also learn how to play a contrapuntal piece – one with several melodic lines happening simultaneously.

Acoustic Guitar Techniques uses a multi-faceted approach, combining video demonstrations, listening to recorded music, analysis, practice with play-along tracks, and access to several different notational and pictorial systems, so that each student can assimilate the material in a comfortable and effective way. Artists featured in the course include Joni Mitchell, The Black Crowes, Nick Drake, the Rolling Stones, Crosby Stills and Nash, Elizabeth Cotton, Fleetwood Mac, Simon and Garfunkel, Indigo Girls, James Taylor, Leo Kottke, Dan Fogelberg, the Grateful Dead, Stevie Ray Vaughan, and the Allman Brothers.

By the end of the course, you will be able to:

  • Play and compose in a variety of non-standard tunings, know what each sounds like, and understand why they sound the way they do
  • Use a variety of practice techniques to refine your fingerstyle playing and strumming technique
  • Employ increased control, evenness, and fluency in your playing
  • Understand how to phrase a multi-voiced fingerstyle piece
  • Refine your right-hand position and be able to make educated decisions about it through knowledge of the pros and cons of various positions
  • Connect your technique and position with the tone you get from the instrument
  • Play and compose using a variety of rhythmic and contrapuntal devices, from offbeat triplets in strumming to Travis picking in fingerstyle
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