Paul Davids – Acoustic Adventure – Bring Your Acoustic Guitar to Life
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Bring Your Acoustic Guitar to Life
Learn the “crème de la crème” of various styles and techniques, spice up your playing, and have more fun practicing than ever before
From the Studio of Paul Davids
Rotterdam, The Netherlands
I didn’t always love the acoustic guitar as much as I do today.
But over time, as I started to learn more and more acoustic styles and techniques, I really grew to love playing it.
Once I gradually discovered some of the fun things to play that deeply resonated with me, the acoustic guitar really came to life in my hands.
For example, as I learned more about fingerpicking, I was able to make the acoustic guitar sound like nothing else – from playing meandering arpeggiated chords, to playing chords and melodies at the same time!
Also, I learned that the acoustic guitar can be so much more than just a vehicle for strumming a few cowboy chords we probably all know.
It can actually sound like an entire band, complete with bassline, a rhythm section, chords, and melodies… all hidden in one instrument, waiting to come out.
And once I found fingerstyle blues, I had a whole new language with a rich history within guitar music that was not only emotionally expressive and fun to play, but also made me understand much of today’s music in a far deeper way.
It’s all of these things that, together, brought out the best of the acoustic guitar for me.
From that point on, I found myself wanting to play my acoustic guitar as often as I could – even more than the electric – simply because the things I could play were just so much fun.
So, over the coming paragraphs, I want to share with you how I found the things that brought the acoustic guitar to life for me, and how you can learn these things, too.
Because even if you don’t realize it yet, there are tons of incredible things you can already play if you’re at an intermediate level, as long as you know where to find them.
But first, I want to talk about an important question many guitar players ask themselves…
Why Learn the Acoustic Guitar?
Now, maybe you already know the answer, since you already pick up your acoustic guitar regularly.
Maybe you already know the simple joy of just taking it off the stand, and sitting down to play without any expensive pedals or amps – with nothing between you and the six strings of your guitar.
Maybe you’ve already fallen in love with the genuine, direct sound that no electric instrument can match – feeling the resonance of every note you play throughout your body, making the sound not only warm and beautiful, but also very personal.
Or, you might still be in the process of discovering the richness of the acoustic, as I was at one point in time.
The important thing I didn’t always understand is this:
The acoustic guitar is not just the “little brother” of the electric guitar, it’s a beautiful instrument that has stood the test of time in its own right.
From long before the birth of blues in the Mississippi Delta nearly one hundred years ago, right up to modern-day studio recording sessions for artists across many genres, the acoustic guitar remains as relevant today as it was decades ago.
And so, when you go deep into exploring the styles and techniques available on the acoustic guitar, you won’t just sound great and have a lot of fun bringing your guitar to life…
…You’ll also become a better, more versatile and well-rounded guitarist in two important ways:
1. Getting a deeper understanding of modern music
Through learning the different styles and techniques the acoustic has to offer, you’ll become familiar with the history of the instrument, and the ways that several older styles have blended to influence the music of today.
For example, over the last century the acoustic guitar played an important role in bringing the blues to life, and blues became an integral part of how guitar music developed.
So, by becoming more fluent in playing the blues, you won’t just learn to play traditional blues tunes – you’ll also get an innate understanding of the greatest modern guitar songs that have a bluesy influence.
And that means when you hear a new song that you love, it’ll be so much easier to understand the sound you’re hearing, and how it translates to the guitar.
For instance, when I learned more styles of the past, I was able to understand so many things I’d been hearing in my favorite music, from Eric Clapton, Paul Simon and John Mayer, to The Beatles and Fleetwood Mac.
2. Develop your own sound
When you become familiar with a variety of techniques (like different styles of fingerpicking, palm muting, bass, chords and melodies played together, percussive slaps, muted strums, and more), it gives you so much more opportunity to play music that expresses what you want to say.
It’s like going from just learning a few words, to actually speaking a language fluently.
Instead of feeling limited to campfire-style strumming, you can mix in whatever techniques feel right to set the mood in a particular song or setting.
And that means you can create “magical moments” with your guitar, where you’re suddenly playing something amazing without even giving it too much thought.
But more importantly, you will have the broad repertoire needed to create your own sound…
Because the more techniques and styles you learn, the more ability you will have to pick and choose the ones that resonate the most with you personally.
And it’s the process of choosing those particular elements that will allow you to move past copying others, into creating your own individual identity as a musician.
So, there are plenty of reasons to learn the acoustic, and anyone wanting to become a better and more well-rounded guitarist would do well to invest more time learning it.
But what’s the best way to do it?
Knowing What to Learn
Of course, the first part of learning any kind of guitar is learning the foundations, such as correct posture and fundamental techniques, the basic chords, some scales and maybe even some music theory.
But for those who have passed the beginner stage and are already more intermediate players, the next step towards fluency on the acoustic guitar will be practicing a variety of new styles and techniques.
Now, in a perfect world, you’d go on and explore all of them – playing as much as you possibly can and learning everything…
But we also have to acknowledge, not all techniques and exercises are created equal.
There are certain things within each style or technique that are just more fun to play.
These are the things that will give your playing that little “extra.”
The things that you will enjoy the most, and will want to play over and over again.
They are the “treasures” of the acoustic guitar, the styles and techniques that really bring out the best of the instrument.
Now, while certain things are highly personal in taste, I’ve also learned that there are some things that resonate with everybody (and this is true for virtually every style and technique).
And the good news is, once you’re an intermediate player, most of these things are actually already well within your reach… with a bit of practice, of course.
But the tricky thing is knowing where to find that stuff.
So, let me share with you…
A Map to the Best Stuff
At this point, I feel incredibly lucky to have discovered plenty of “treasures” on the acoustic.
But I didn’t always know where the really cool stuff was.
I spent lots of time exploring the many styles of acoustic playing, from the twangy heart of blues to the timeless tunes of 60s rock and contemporary pop.
During that time I also encountered more than one thing that didn’t resonate with my personal style.
But I patiently pursued the acoustic guitar, slowly discovering one good “nugget” after the next.
In the end, it was a journey that took me well over 15 years – and it’s still going!
I was able to do this and invest this much time because I was lucky enough to be a full-time musician and teacher. But of course, not everyone has that much time.
So, I decided to create a course to help other guitar players discover the coolest and most fun elements of the acoustic guitar – without having to spend 15 years finding them.
The course is like a map for guitarists, with all the hidden treasures marked on it.
The course will help you discover the rich history of the acoustic guitar, and the styles and techniques that have shaped its timeless appeal…
It’ll give you the chance to try some of the best stuff I’ve found, so you can eventually use these elements to craft your own unique sound…
And it’ll let you have a ton of fun while you learn new ways to get the most out of your acoustic guitar.
I can’t wait to share it with you!
Hi, I’m Paul Davids
’ve got a music degree in guitar from Rotterdam Conservatory and spent over a decade teaching private guitar lessons to students of all ages and styles.
These days, I share my love of guitar with people all over the world through my YouTube channel, with over 2 million subscribers.
A few years ago, I created my first online guitar course, called “Learn, Practice, Play,” so that I could give more in-depth instructions (compared to my YouTube videos). It was so successful that I followed it up with an intermediate course called “Next Level Playing.”
These two courses created a clear step-by-step path for learning guitar – from the very beginning, through to a solid intermediate level.
With this third course, I show intermediate players how to get the most out of the acoustic guitar.
It’s an incredibly personal course and was tons of fun to put together – a start-to-finish celebration of the acoustic guitar.
Introducing… ACOUSTIC ADVENTURE with Paul Davids
My course for intermediate guitarists is designed to help you bring your acoustic guitar to life while learning the “crème de la crème” of various styles and techniques, so you can spice up your playing and have more fun practicing than ever before!
Choose Your Own Adventure
Unlike my other courses, this course has no set order you need to follow. Instead, you’ll have freedom to explore whatever style or technique you feel like playing, whenever you want to play it.
Not only will you choose for yourself what skills you’d like to work on each day, you’ll also be able to choose your own level of challenge within each area of study. The lessons will be arranged in order of difficulty (from easiest to most challenging) so that you can take on big goals in manageable steps.
So, whether you’re looking for something that you can already play easily, or want to take on a new challenge, you’ll always be able to choose your own path.
Learn Through Immersion
Every skill or technique in Acoustic Adventure is taught through beautiful and incredibly fun original songs and exercises (written by me!).
Just as we become fluent in a language by speaking it, rather than just reading the dictionary, you will become fluent on guitar by playing new things in songs that sound great.
That way, you’ll not only get some great techniques under your belt; you’ll also come away with lots of tunes you can pull out at your next get-together.
Grow as a guitar player while having fun
Acoustic Adventure gives you the “map” to explore a wide variety of styles and techniques and lets you decide for yourself what to take on.
While working through the course, you will:
Bring out the best of your acoustic instrument
This course will be taught entirely on the acoustic guitar, because so many of these techniques and styles evolved through acoustic playing, and because it’s the best type of guitar to play by yourself. I’ll show you how to get the best sound (and overcome some common acoustic challenges) on the instrument so you can have the clean and resonant sound you’ve always wanted.
Get familiar with many techniques and styles
The “greats” of guitar were all able to define their sound by first getting to know the foundational techniques and styles from the past 100 years. In this course, you’ll become comfortable playing many of those styles, so you can take your playing further – whether you’re playing the greatest hits of modern guitar, or creating your own personal and unique sound.
Practice more than ever before
When you dive into this self-directed adventure, every piece you learn will be a great tune to play for your friends and family. You’ll find yourself playing more and more without even trying to, just because you’re having so much fun – and the extra practice will make all the difference in becoming a better player!
Here’s What You’ll Learn Inside Acoustic Adventure
The 68 lessons inside the course are grouped together in five different “venues”. Each one has its own focus and flavor, so you can explore whichever techniques and skills you’re in the mood for that day.
In this venue, you’ll learn all the picking patterns you need to feel comfortable playing fingerstyle guitar – one of the coolest and most rewarding playing styles on the acoustic.
Some of the things you’ll learn in this venue:
- The basics of a solid fingerpicking technique
- Essential picking patterns and techniques for adding variations
- Multiple styles of fingerstyle blues in different keys
- Travis picking and pedal tones
- Playing melodies on top of chords
- Plucking, slapping, and bass notes to create a “rhythm section”
The House of Rhythm
Go beyond “campfire strumming” with lots of great techniques that will make the guitar swing like never before!
We’ll cover the following (among many other things):
- My best tips for keeping time
- Using different techniques to create a rich and dynamic rhythm sound, like a muted/percussive strum to simulate a snare drum, palm muting, and more
- Adding walking bass lines to “walk” from one chord to the next
- Adding variety with passing chords, extensions, and rhythms to get the most out of playing chords
- The classic rhythm of the 12-bar blues
Add a new layer of interest to songs with flatpicking, a magical ingredient for guitar playing.
A little taste of what you’ll practice in this venue:
- Using licks and riffs to fill the gaps
- Economy picking vs. alternate picking
- Adding embellishments to chords and songs, using pentatonic scales in various positions
- Creating an interesting sound with barre chords, fast runs, pull-offs, and hammer-ons
- Mixing scales like major, pentatonic, and even Mixolydian!
Time to jam! Play original songs I wrote especially for this course, covering the techniques you’ll learn in the other venues.
A few of the things you’ll get to play:
- A piece in 6/8 based on triads and inversions, with a cool chromatic descending bass
- A film soundtrack style piece to set the mood, with bending and syncopated rhythms
- An extended version of my “legendary” Travis picking song, with a B-part I’ve never taught before!
- A classic bluegrass tune with fast runs and blues notes, mostly using the Mixolydian mode
- A slow blues with the “thumpin’ string method,” to spark the imagination
Need a quick refresher on guitar fundamentals and music theory? Then head here!
Some of the things we’ll cover:
- The basics of strumming, picking, and getting the sound you want
- Open pentatonic shapes, and major and minor scales
- The classic I – IV – V progression
- How to use pentatonic boxes for every chord
- The step-by-step strategy for a precise percussive slap
Is this course right for you?
You’ll know Acoustic Adventure is a good fit for you if…
- You want to become more versatile and well-rounded across different musical styles, but don’t know where to start…
- You’ve been looking for some ways to add variety and “spice” to your playing, to take it beyond just strumming the right chords…
- You have an acoustic guitar but haven’t been able to make it sound as rich and clear as you’d like to…
- You’ve always wanted to learn the fingerpicking techniques used by guitarists like John Mayer, Mark Knopfler, John Fahey, Doc Watson, or Tommy Emmanuel, but didn’t know how to approach learning them…
- You’re ready to take your guitar playing up a notch, but haven’t felt inspired to put in the practice time…
If any of these sound familiar, then Acoustic Adventure will be the perfect self-directed journey for you to embark on, even if you haven’t played your acoustic guitar in a while.
In my decade of teaching private studio lessons, I learned by experience that there are some pieces that literally every student just loves to play.
Every song in this course is that kind of piece.
In a way this is my most personal course; while my other courses taught fundamental things everyone needs to learn, this course is based entirely on what I think is fun to play.
And because Acoustic Adventure is created around my own taste as a guitarist, it is also the course that I’ve enjoyed making the most.
It is exactly the kind of course I wish I’d had access to 15 or 20 years ago.
So if you’re ready to get the most out of your acoustic guitar – and you really want to bring it to life – I hope you’ll join me on this adventure.