Folk Guitar for Songwriters Course

Purpose and Overview

Welcome to the Folk Guitar for Songwriters Course. Here, basic folk guitar and storytelling rules. This course is for anyone who has a strong interest in the guitar as a songwriter’s tool, where the guitar is played while singing or talking.


  • Basic guitar skills (you know at least some chords and can move your hands freely)
  • Basic tuning skills (you understand how a tuner works and the notes on each string in standard tuning)
  • You know how to use Zoom
  • You have interest in writing songs on the guitar

Objectives and Goals

The goal is to give you a new appreciation for your ability to approach the guitar as a tool for songwriting using your ears, hands and imagination. You will have a variety of playing styles to draw from, and know the techniques for achieving different effects to channel the music of specific eras, genres and places. You will also learn how to choose the style of playing to fit the story your song is telling. You will hear ways to use silence and rhythm to make the story have a better chance of impacting you and the listener. We will cover the basics of Folk/Country chords, bass lines, as well as an introduction to progressions in Blues and Jazz. We also show you how to make charts for your original tunes and provide tips on how to communicate with other musicians. Lastly we expose you to a variety of rhythms and styles of folk music from around the world. Hearing the possibilities of the guitar will give you a strong foundation for your original ideas.

Supplies Needed

  • Guitar (nylon or steel string)
  • Tuning fork or clip-on tuner
  • Dedicated notebook
  • Internet to watch video lessons or attend Zoom meetings

The Series

This learning series has over 10 topics which we cover with videos and examples.

  1. Your Ears: Rather than study endless scales, patterns, and tab with our eyes–we know that our biggest tools are our ears.
  2. Altered Tunings and a Dash of the Blues
  3. Where’s the 1?
  4. Right Hand Techniques and What Fits the Song
  5.  Standard Tuning: The First Three Frets
  6. Discovering More Chords w/ Addition and Subtraction
  7. Rhythm Guitar: Density and Tension
  8. Bass Line Only
  9. Jazz Hacks & Movin’ Up the Neck
  10. 1-4-5 and 2-5-1: What’s a Progression?
  11. Making Charts
  12. Bonus: Folk Guitar from Around the World

Time Commitment

Students can expect to commit 2-3 hours per week for this course.

  • The course involves one lesson per week for 12 weeks. You can watch the videos at a faster pace if you prefer.
  • There are weekly 1-hour Zoom meetings for everyone in the course.
  • Additional one-on-one Zoom lessons to clarify material and for custom lessons, can be included as well.

To register or for more information: