SPARKLES – Cool Harp Harmonics – Full Tutorial With TAB – Fingerstyle Guitar

Harmonics are a cool effect on the guitar and I try to incorporate them as much as I can in my originals and arrangements. This etude I composed includes natural and artificial harmonics. It also includes a technique that I call, harp harmonics. It gives the impression of a harp.

These are all techniques commonly called extended techniques. Extended techniques involve producing sound with an instrument in an unorthodox way.

I hope you enjoy this teaching video. You can see more like this at my guitar school found on my website.

Little Red Riding Hood for Guitar and Narrator

I decided to compose guitar music for the Grimm Fairy Tale, Little Red Riding Hood, because I thought it would be fun. I started this project back in October (2019) and finished writing it about a week ago. I got sidetracked with other projects which is why it took so long.

Throughout this piece I use a lot of different extended techniques for the guitar to try and create various moods. At times I pluck the string to the left of my left hand fingers, I hit the fingerboard with my right hand, I strum notes over the sound hole and so on. I hope you enjoy it. I don’t have the best voice to be a narrator but since I am stuck at home because of the virus, that is really all I’ve got.


Etude 8 (Improvisation)

I am currently writing a set of 8 etudes for the guitar. Each of them includes some kind of an extended technique. This particular one uses a slide which isn’t used a lot in the classical guitar literature. I have always loved the sound. Check this video out…

And if haven’t already checked out the famous Messiahsez, by all means do…

There were a couple surprises that I found sounded interesting in my improv. The first was that when the slide is used with tremolo it produces a pretty cool sound. Also, artificial harmonics can slide around with a slide. Often before writing a piece I will improvise around on an idea or two. That is what I am doing in this video.

Backwards Guitar

I’ve always loved the sound of reversing the sound of the guitar. It has a strong attack and a rather quick decay. When that is reversed it has a certain emotional quality that appeals to me. For this one, I wrote the melody first, rewrote it backwards, played that version and then reversed the audio. It was quite the process.

Etude #6 Work-in-Progress

Currently working on my 6th etude. My goal is to write 10 etudes. I am writing these for a couple of reasons: to make me a better guitarist and to explore the different sounds (extended techniques) you can get from the guitar. For this one I am incorporating tapping. This technique involves “tapping” a right hand finger on the fingerboard to produce a sound which is usually followed by pulling off to an open string or a note with the left hand. Eddie Van Halen made this technique popular in his piece, “Eruption”…

Eddie Van Halen was/is a HUGE influence on me. Pretty sure if EVH had never been born I would have been a recorder player instead of a guitarist.

Here is what I’ve got so far….

You can listen to it here…

I recorded this last night and I worked on the piece some more today so the audio doesn’t quite match up to the score.

Subject change…..

Last weekend I played the South Haven Jazz Festival. My combo was made up of myself and two Lake Michigan College students (where I teach) and my oldest son. It was a blast and the weather was perfect. Here are a few pics from that concert (courtesy of Marissa Hoard)

Change of subject………

Friday was an AMAZING day because it was hot and muggy and I was able to go golfing. Golfing is pretty much my most favorite thing to do ever and I live in Michigan where in late September the weather can not be great so that fact that I went golfing on Friday and it felt like summer was…….let’s just say it was perfect.

Change of subject (last time)….

I’ve not been good lately with listening to the Buckethead pikes. In my book, Buckethead is a genius and I want to check out all of his pikes (all 200+ of them!!). Last week I finished the 44th one. I keep a list of what I have listened to on my phone as well as songs from the pikes that I like a lot and will want to check out again.

That’s all I’ve got for today.


Etude 4

I am currently composing 10 etudes for the classical guitar. I am writing them for myself, to become a better guitarist, and I am also composing them for anyone interested in incorporating new techniques in their playing. Extended techniques are a great way to increase the expressive nature of this beautiful instrument.

If you would like to learn more about extended techniques please visit my my extended techniques page.

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