The Speedway League School/The Songwriter's Grooves Project - A Guide to Singing and Playing Guitar

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The Songwriters' Grooves Project is a collaborative learning project on how singer-songwriters play their instruments. Essentially, it is a wiki of lessons on popular songs and instrumental techniques techniques (currently mostly guitar) that aim to teach you how to play the style and genre the songs belong to. The lessons are organized in a way that expands and relates the ideas between songs to help you find similar songs and develop your own creative ideas.

If you'd like to contribute, feel free to dive in and start learning or editing! Obviously you can start studying any of the lessons and post comments about your experience. Here are some other things you can do…

  • Add songs that you like to the /'unfiled songs' list or lists they belong to
  • Find existing lessons/tabs and add them to a new lesson page
  • Add a /lesson template and start filling in the blanks
  • Write a log of your experience learning a song
  • Transcribe songs and add them to your favorite tab/chart website, then link them here
  • Meet other people working on this project and offer them feedback or a hot cup of conversation!
  • Contact the project curator for more advice on what you can do to help or to offer help where it is needed!

Song Technique Serials[edit]

Each one of these serials is meant to take popular songs and teach them in order from easy to hard based on the styles and techniques players are interested in. Many artists have songs in more than one series, and these series don't strictly adhere to any genre. They will show you many facets of the same technique and their main goal is to help you find many songs that are easy to play given your ability level and give you ideas on what to progress to next.

/The Pluck and Chuck Song Series - Songs that integrate percussive thumb slaps and flicks. Songs by John Mayer, Jason Mraz, Ed Sheeran, etc

The Thumb-Picking Song Series - Using alternating bass patterns and syncopated plucking to create textures. Songs by Merle Travis, Fleetwood Mac, Paul Simon, etc.

/The Fingerpicking Song Series - Fingerpicking songs that don't fall into some other specific category or genre. Songs by James Taylor, Ani Difranco, John Denver,

/The Simple Strumming Song Series

/The Super Simple Strumming Series

/The Synthetic Strumming Song Series

/The Thump-and-Pluck Song Series - Explores Funk Slap Bass Techniques for both Bass and Guitar. Songs by Larry Graham, Flea from the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Ani Difranco, Keller Williams etc.

/The Comping Riff Song Series

/The Double Bass Technique Song Series

/The Looping Song Series

/UFAB - Ukulele For Absolute Beginners

Guitar Technique Serials[edit]

The songs you learn all have different techniques that might inspire you to learn more! Here's a plan for a series of lessons on just techniques that will improve your ability to learn songs and make them more awesome through arrangements and improvisation!

  • Guitar Technique Serials
    • Fret Hand – Overlap with Ingrid
      • Chords
      • Hybrid Positions
        • Learning through songs
        • Different Kinds of Hybrid positions
        • Adding simple licks
        • Adding Scales
        • Adding Harmonized scales
        • Moving Treble
        • Moving Bass
        • 2 Part Improvisation
        • 3 Part Improvisation
        • Shifting between hybrid positions
        • Licks in Hybrid Positions
    • Pick hand
      • The Fundamental Strokes
        • Plucking
        • Flicking
        • Slapping
        • Tapping
        • Picking
        • Percussive Strokes
      • Combination strokes
        • Pinching
        • Chucking (Flick + Rest Thumb Slap)
        • Womp (Thump + Pluck)
        • Double Thumb Techniques
      • Rudiment Grids
      • Expansion Grids

How Does It Work?[edit]

The whole project is based on the idea of teaching songs to learn techniques. Everything starts with a sequence of song lessons that is organized by the type of technique/musical style and progressing levels of difficulty. There are also lessons to teach you technique and connect you to other songs which are using the techniques you are learning.

Links that are active have content created or placed for them. Links that are not active do not have content yet but can be made fairly easily by you! You can search the internet to see what's already out there and then build your own lesson out of existing lessons! Hopefully teachers can help improve this content and add better lessons as time goes on to make this an active school for sharing everything singer-songwriters need to play better!

An absolute prerequisite to doing more complex grooves is a basic understanding of how singing/playing is mastered. If you've already done some songs where you sing and play but you're struggling to get to more advanced material, Justin Sandercoe's lesson on this subject is as good as it gets. I don't think I would have said it this well myself had I made a similar lesson!

Justin Sandercoe's 10 Step Method to SInging and Playing at the same time

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