Level Up in Guitar: Develop Your Sound with Dynamics | Taylor Gamble | Skillshare

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Level Up in Guitar: Develop Your Sound with Dynamics

teacher avatar Taylor Gamble, Professional Guitarist

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.



    • 2.

      Getting Started


    • 3.

      Hammer-Ons & Pull-Offs


    • 4.

      Practicing Sliding Notes


    • 5.

      Using Your Tremolo Bar


    • 6.

      Strumming & Picking


    • 7.

      Playing Power Chords


    • 8.

      Palm Muting Your Strings


    • 9.

      Bending Notes


    • 10.

      Final Thoughts


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About This Class

Play like a pro with dynamics — the key to developing your signature sound! 

Growing up in a musical family, Taylor Gamble discovered that playing guitar could soothe her anxiety, lift her mood, and tap into her creativity. Now a professional musician who’s worked with artists like Stevie Wonder, Ari Lennox, and Victoria Monét, Taylor’s here to help you cultivate a fulfilling guitar practice of your own. 

Now that you know how to play chords and scales, it's time to add flavor to the way you play. In this welcoming intermediate class, Taylor shares the secrets of dynamics — a toolkit of techniques that professional guitarists use to add emotion, tension, and flair to their music. 

Hands-on lessons cover:

  • Playing hammer-ons and pull-offs, and properly sliding notes
  • Using a tremolo bar to play with pitch 
  • Rhythm and picking techniques to enhance your speed and accuracy 

Whether you dream of playing longing ballads, upbeat pop, or rousing rock and roll, incorporating dynamics is the key to playing with intention. Join along with Taylor and get ready to play with the way you play!

This class was created with intermediate beginners in mind, and assumes you’re already familiar with rhythmic notation, chords, scales, and using a capo. To revisit any of those skills, review the first three classes in Taylor’s Complete Guitar Learning Path


Since learning music takes time, this class is designed to complement your own self-guided practice or lessons. Taylor uses an electric guitar, a pick, a capo, a tremolo bar, an amp, a tuner, and a quarter-inch cable; follow along with whatever guitar you have access to, acoustic or electric.

Meet Your Teacher

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Taylor Gamble

Professional Guitarist


Taylor Gamble is an expert guitarist based in Los Angeles. As a touring musician, she's played with artists including Ari Lennox and Victoria Monet, and performed on Jimmy Kimmel, Jimmy Fallon, and NPR Tiny Desk, and most recently Fox’s show ‘Alter Ego’. Taylor also teaches, sharing her technique and passion for the guitar via the popular Fender Play YouTube series. 

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Level: Intermediate

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1. Introduction: It's not what you play, but how you play it. My name is Taylor G, and I am a professional guitarist endorsement vendor musical instrument. My love for guitar began at the age of 11 and has brought me to screens and stages of life for forming with artists such as Stevie Wonder, our Linux, Victoria Monet, and more. In this class, we will be discussing some ways to spice up your core again. Well, we putting everything we've learned together and adding some flair to it. During this class, we will learn hammer on and pull off how to properly slide notes, as well as the use of a tremolo bar, will then go over some rhythm and picking technique to help enhance the speed and accuracy of what you're playing. This class can be shared amongst any place, but particularly intermediate where this concept will also be broken down further. For those who are beginners, you'll need an electric guitar, the terminal arm and amp, K pole, and a quarter-inch cable. By the end of this class, you'll be able to incorporate new skills that'll add more flair to your claim. So let's get into it. 2. Getting Started: Wow, I don't know about you, but that core just gave me chills. Now we've talked about all the theory. We've gone through our case cords, AB bar chords. We even know how to play our scales. What's better than to start off with some fun. This time we're gonna be learning about dynamics and all dynamics are other variations of ways to play on your guitar. Now you're becoming a real guitarist. These things that I'm about to teach you are what make the guitar, the guitar, it makes it stand out from a piano, from the drums, from everything else. If you can just do these things, I promise you will be a bonafide guitarist. So grab your pick, your guitar, a quarter-inch cable as well as your App. Tune your guitar up, and let's get started. 3. Hammer-Ons & Pull-Offs: Let's jump straight into it and start off with what's called a hammer on and pull offs. What is the hammer on? It is exactly how the name sounds. It's literally when you hammer on to a note from another note. So let me show you an example, playing single notes. If I were to play the fifth fret of the high E string, an hour to hammer on to the six. It would sound like this. I'm literally plucking the fifth fret on the high E string. And then as that note is sounding, I'm hammering my second finger onto the next note, is creating this effect as if the note just went to another place without me having to pluck it. Again. This is a great way for you to establish some type of human feel to what your plane, rather than playing the note individually like this, I create more of a lively effect when I just hammer on. The opposite of a hammer on is a pull off. I'm gonna be doing exactly what the name is and taking that same finger and I'm going to pull it off of the sixth fret like this. So again, I'm on the sixth fret and I'm going to pluck the high E string. And while it's sounding, pull my finger off right away and more aggressively to be able to emit a sound. And that is how you perform a polar. So one more time. Okay? So hammer on, pull off. You can do the same thing with a whole step. Here we go. Hammer on, pull off. Very nice. Can I use that in cords? Absolutely. I love to use hammer on and pull off while I'm playing chords. Now this requires you to be able to play your bar chords and open position chords fluidly and have a lot of freedom with your fingers. So remember, always practice those chords, but let me show you an example. So a D major chord, I can play it regularly, or I can play a hammer on in which I'm going to take my middle finger. And I'm going to accident more cell by adding my pinky finger and hammering on to the third fret like this. And then if I want to do it in reverse, just pull off. Does like that. One more time. Again. Try with our E major. Hammer on the G string. Pull out. You want to get really fancy whether we can try it in a minor seventh chord is like this. Now of course, that requires more than two fingers to be able to perform that. But again, sounds way more lively. Regular D minor, that's barn. See it sounds way more fluid. And prettier to me. Hammer ons and pull laws are a great way to get your fingers moving when it comes to adding some spice into your course and your lines. Join me in the next lesson, we're gonna be talking about sliding notes up and down the fret board. Alright, practice up, and I'll see you then. 4. Practicing Sliding Notes: Here's another way to make transitioning between notes and chords more interesting, and that's by sliding your notes. Let me show you an example of what I mean by sliding your notes. Again, we're on the fifth fret. And all you're gonna do is slide your finger to the desired fret of your choice. Okay, So we're gonna go from the fifth fret to the seventh fret, okay? And then we can slide back. Now the beauty of sliding nodes is such a simple concept that anybody can do it. Just know exactly where you're going and practice being able to stop exactly at the desired note of your choice. Okay, now we're going to try it with two strings. I want you to bar the B and E strings and slot it up to the seventh fret, then back to the fifth fret. Here we go. Wow, that's a really cool playing there, isn't it? Now, what if we did it with a chord? What would that sound like? All I have to do is take that core shape and slide it up a whole step, and slide it back a whole step. Let's hear what that would sound like using C minor to D minor and back. Ready? Okay, C minor. We will go back. One more time. Go back. Sounds really good, doesn't it? Yes, it does. Now what if I wanted to do that with a major chord? What would that sound like? Here we are on C major and D major. Slanted bad. Very nice. Yeah, I see. You're already sounding like a real guitar is just these little techniques and you're playing can make a world of a difference. Join me in the next lesson where we're going to talk about the tremolo bar. 5. Using Your Tremolo Bar: You hear that That is me utilizing what is called the tremolo bar. Now the tremolo bar is a device that uses the bridge to move the strings back and forth by applying tension when you press down on it or you pull up on it, it's going to change the pitch of a string. However, if you lightly use it, it'll add a nice little tremolo effect or knife-like, almost vibrating or wavy effect to watch your plane. So let's try using the tremolo bar. First, we're gonna do it with a single note. This time we're going to play the B string third fret. And all I want you to do is take the tremolo bar and bend it down if you can. And then I want you to slightly bring it up depending on how your tremolo bar is set up. Some may allow you to do more than others going in either direction. However, go in the direction that your tremolo bar wants to go the most. If you find yourself having issues with your tremolo bar, take it to your nearest guitar mechanic or someone who can repair your guitar. In other words, or you can take it to a guitar shop. Typically, guitar shops have mechanics there to help you be able to fix your instrument. So B string, third fret with our index. And naturally minds wants to go down. So I want to take mine down. Now when bring it back up. I was pretty cool, wasn't it? Now, depending on how your tremolo is set up, you'll be able to do this nice effect that you kinda wave it up and down, put a little bit of tension on it back and forth like this. And that is what gives it the tremolo effect. Let's try to strings. We're going to bar the B and E strings on the third fret. And we're going to play our terminal about, we're going to bend it down, we're going to bring it back up. And then we're going to try waving it a little bit. Give you notes, a little bit of attitude. Okay, So let's bend it. Bring it back up. Let's try waving it. Very nice. Now, earlier when I was doing, was playing chords using the tremolo bar. So let's try one of our open position chords using the tremolo bar. Let's play in a major. It's bended. Bring it back. I was pretty cool, wasn't it? Let's try waving it. It gave it a little bit of flavor, a little bit of spice. Okay, now, this is commonly used when people are soloing as well. I don't know if you've ever seen people do like this. That's a tremolo bar that's doing that. What they're doing is they're hammering on and off and bending their tremolo bar at the same time. This is a classic rock technique. It's pretty cool, isn't it? Yes, it is. Okay. It does add a little bit of distortion and you'll be able to achieve that sound to practice your hammer ons and pull offs. And you'll be sounding like a rockstar in no time to practice that technique with some chords or even use it. Just playing a single note, play a couple of nodes and then add the tremolo bar here and their practice up. But remember you wanna be tasteful with it. Okay. See you next time. 6. Strumming & Picking: We talked about sliding notes, hammer ons and pull out, and we even learned how to use the tremolo bar. What about our strum hand is so special? Well, your strum hand can add a lot of possess to your chords as how you play something is almost just as important as what you play. Remember, we talked about the different strumming styles that you can use when you're playing chords, right? So we talked about the downstream and we use the g in this example. You can also use the alternate straw down, down, or even syncopated strumming when there's a disruption or an alteration and the way you strum. So let's use that in an example. Here we go. You didn't know where I was drumming next, did you got two. Another way to add some dynamic to your playing is by picking, being able to pick certain nodes in-between froms will help to enhance your chords and lines. So let's take the G-Major again as an example. So we've got, we're going to strum down strong. Now what will happen if I started picking random individual nodes in-between those drums? What would that sound like? Let's see. That sounded way more beautiful than just strumming down and down and switching it up, getting imaginative. Now the different types of picking, remember I talked about there's just straight down picking where you're just picking each note. There's the alternate picking technique in which you're going to be alternating between picking downward and picking upwards, picking down and picking up in a consistent manner. Okay. So what I want you to do is I want you to pick a strumming style, any picking style and try it while you're playing your chords. You can stay on one chord or you can try it with an entire progression, whatever you're comfortable with. Remember this is your journey. Practice this technique, and meet me in the next lesson, we'll learn about power chords. 7. Playing Power Chords: We've talked about all of our open position chords and even bar chords. But there's one more type of chord that I want you to know. And the reason I didn't want you to know this earlier is because I didn't want you to cheat, and that's called a power chord. Power chords are used a lot in rock music as well as any distorted type of genre. So metal, punk, anything that you hear that is rock based is gonna be using probably power cords. Let me show you what a power cord consists of. A power cord literally consists of the first note of the scale, as well as the fifth note of the scale. And that's so easy to find on your fretboard. So I want you to play your C, which is the a string third fret. Then I want you to go over to Fred's income down one string. This is the fifth note of your C major scale, and this works all over the fretboard using the a and D strings. Now, I want you to find the octave of C, and that's simple. It's right under the fifth note, which is the G string fifth fret. And you're just going to play these three notes. That is what's called a power cord. They work anywhere on the fretboard and they're a cheat code in the event that you don't know what a chord is. In rock music, you'll typically hear this. Those are power chords. All you gotta do is just flip on some distortion and you're ready to rock out. So go ahead and take some time and get used to power coordinate. Remember is a great way to be able to substitute a core that she may not know. All you have to note is the root and be able to find the fifth and the octave and you've got it. Join me in the next lesson, we'll be talking about Paul muting. 8. Palm Muting Your Strings: You heard that a couple of those notes were slightly muted. And that's because I was doing something called palm muting. And unmuting is, is taking the side of your strum hand, which is here, your palm, and resting it right in front of the bridge. To give you a muted string effect Sounds great with chords. And it sounds more human-like when you're able to apply it properly. Let's start with a C chord, but we're going to play a power chord, which is the first fifth, and then the octave of C. So we've got a string, third fret with our index, we've got D string fifth fret with our ring. And then we've got the G string fifth fret with our pinky. Now we're going to take our strum hand and rest the side of the poem right here. Almost like you're relaxing a little bit. Not forced, just chilling with that same hand. Work on a strum using our pick. Here we go. That's Paul muting, literally taking your palm and muting the strings. Again, this sounds great while you're playing cores. When you become more advanced, you'll be able to pick and choose which nodes and where you want to place your palm. You practice palm muting. Your strings don't always have to be vibrating all the time just because you pluck them. Remember, we're trying to add some possess to the plane. Practice that and we're gonna get into bending notes in our next lesson. 9. Bending Notes: In this lesson, we're going to be disgusting bending notes. Now what is the point of bending a note? Well, it's simple. Bending notes on your guitar helps create more of a human-like feel while you're playing. The tension behind when you bend allows the listener to be able to feel what it is that you're trying to play or what you're trying to say. So let's try bending our notes with the G string, fifth fret, Okay, we're using our ring finger. So get set. We're going to pluck our note. And we're going to bend it upward and come back down. Now as you notice, my thumb kinda came over the neck as I was bending to give me more strength to be able to bend. Okay. Let's try one more time. Sounds pretty cool, right? And an example if our soloing, you see how I put a little bit more tension on it rather than just going. Or, or. This technique is classically used when playing solos or melody lines as again, at evokes more emotion and gives the listener more tension when you're playing, they're better able to feel it. Why? Because they're feeling that string being bent, Oh my god, is taken out of its original pitch and then it's coming back down. That is what I call musical expression. And that's what makes the guitar so unique. I hope you learned a lot with this. Take it, have fun and run with it because you're gonna be using this technique a lot. 10. Final Thoughts: That was a lot to consume in such a short amount of time. But I'm confident in you that she'll be able to take these techniques and really start to sound like a real guitarist. All of these techniques are techniques that I personally like to use to make my playing more expressive and to have fun. Again, we're trying to communicate what it is that we will say in words. But on our instrument. And these are great ways in order to achieve that for your class assignment, I want you to take two of these techniques and make up a chord progression. Or you're more than welcome to take one of the songs that's in class resources. And try to apply at least two techniques to your plane. Record yourself and upload it into the project gallery. I am so excited for you on your journey. You've come so far. Don't stop now, meet me in the next class. Will you officially receive your stamp as a guitarist?