When I was 19, I went on one amazing adventure.
Me and my girlfriend at the time spent a few months backpacking around Europe.
First, we got on a ferry to the Netherlands, where we were greeted at night by rain and howling winds.
From there, we zigzagged east and west through multiple countries, ultimately heading south for hotter weather.
As well as the Netherlands, we travelled through Belgium, France, and Italy (my favourite out of them all), and before heading home, finally Greece.
It was an amazing adventure.
One thing that we encountered a fair few times was the work of the great Leonardo da Vinci.
From the “Mona Lisa” in the Louvre of Paris to “The Last Supper” in Milan…
If you go to the big cities of some of these countries, it’s hard not to see his work.
…And one thing I love is a quote he said:
“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.”
After teaching guitar for many years, I have to agree.
There’s so much complicated music out there to learn, but most of the time simplicity wins.
Like it or not, that is the case.
I mean, Ed Sheeran is a megastar, but not many have heard of the great jazz guitarist, Allan Holdsworth.
That’s just one example, and even though I find Allan Holdsworth far more interesting to listen to than Ed Sheeran, most of the normal public doesn’t.
(To be brutally honest, I think I’d find Donald Duck quacking the melody to Amazing Grace more interesting than Ed Sheeran, but I digress!)
Yet, when it comes to guitar playing and teaching students, especially beginners, I’m a massive advocate of simplicity.
Da Vinci knew it.
Even Holdsworth (who played complex jazz) knew it too.
…But it seems most people teaching guitar out there or giving guitar advice don’t know this.
YouTube is plagued by complex arrangements of songs that are too hard for beginners.
In my very early days of teaching, I tried helping a few students play a few of these complex tunes, but I quickly realised they were too challenging.
Sure, they, and no doubt you, would love to play a super intricate piece of music with flourishes and fills and fancy bits…
But the fact is…
Most of us prefer playing a recognisable, exciting, and famous tune without the painstaking practice, and without the head-spinning complicated stuff.
So what’s the secret to this?
Well, when it comes to fun fingerstyle arrangements, the secret really is all about:
1 – Playing the melody
2 – Adding in the occasional bass note
Ignore all the filler notes and focus on the above.
Do that, and you can save yourself a tonne of time, learn songs faster, and have more fun.
Then, later on, you can add in all the intricate stuff, should you wish.
If guitar playing is like a renaissance painting, we need the outline of the portrait first (the melody), then the colours (the bass), and THEN the background (the filler notes).
Da Vinci didn’t start off drawing the background landscape of the Mona Lisa before he drew the lady herself.
Neither should you.
Melody first, bass second, and everything else can come a little later.
P.S. If you’ve been stuck with learning songs, especially those where you’re trying to play the melody on the guitar, the above advice should help.
For more help and specific songs to learn, you might want to check this out.
The songs still take practice and focus, of course, but the above steps have all been taken care of for you.
Anyway, this is the last email on this offer as the course is on sale until midnight tonight, Pacific Time.
After that, it goes back up to full price.
P.P.S. This post was originally taken from Dan Thorpe’s private email list. To get blog posts like this sent to you which are full of great tips to make fingerpicking, strumming, and learning guitar more enjoyable (especially if you are over 40) join Dan’s list. It’s 100% free, HERE.