Posted: April 14, 2014 by phanson in Tips & Tricks

Screen Shot 2013-11-21 at 10.49.10 AMSTELAR is here! For paid subscribers we have upgraded the Improv section with STELAR, a Comprehensive System for the Rock, Metal and Blues Soloist! If you’re a Tips and Tricks member you can check out a free, full STELAR segment at the Free Lessons tab above right.

STELAR is a system that will help you play better solos! After teaching and playing for 40 years, I’ve determined six areas; Scales, Timing, Expression, Licks, Apply and Repeat: “STELAR”. These principals will help you play better, refine your own signature tone, improve your all-around musicianship and just plain have more fun!

-Scales are a road map of notes available in any given soloing situation. It’s a fact, you could play any note any time you want, but having a map helps you negotiate over the fingerboard and gives you reference points.

-Timing is the way you fit those notes into the music. Being aware of all your basic timing options helps you decide how you want to play the notes.

-Expression gives what you play meaning! What makes a melody so compelling, or a performance? It’s the human quality you add. Expression is unique to every individual. 

-Licks are the vocabulary in the language of rock, metal and blues. From BB King to Eddie Van Halen, we all use many of the same basic, essential, classic vocabulary. Like speaking, although we all use the same words and phrases, we each have our own individual style. 

Apply the scales, timing, expression and licks over jam tracks at different speeds. This sounds simple but it’s the most powerful thing you can do to build your skill. Like going to a foreign country being forced to speak the language. You get better at something by doing it.

Repeat. Repetition is the secret weapon of mastering anything from martial arts to cooking. If you repeat the principals above regularly, you will become a master!

The Improv section at was the first part of this site that I created. The time has come for an upgrade. I’ve been working hard on STELAR, the Improv section’s replacement for about six months and it’s here! It includes about thirty videos and hundreds of pages of tabs. There are five segments, each including three jam tracks at different speeds and tabs. STELAR roughly follows the original improv section and each segment includes about six new, short, hi-def videos. Each video is based on one of STELAR’s principals: scales, timing, expression and licks.

The Licks videos and tabs are very extensive because guitarists come in so many levels and styles. Something brand new is a lick category that you’re going to love, “Essential Classics” or “EC”. These are phrases that are universal to rock, metal and blues. They are not hard to play but they are ubiquitous. Virtually all soloists use EC licks, they will make you sound authentic and pro! In addition, each segment contains a video on timing and a video on expression. Rhythmic phrasing, vibrato, raking, sliding, harmonics, bends, and putting emotion into your playing.

Here is the Scales video from STELAR’s Phrygian Scales segment. Rock on!



  1. Hitlist says:

    Paul, can’t wait, this sounds great. I am glad that you are putting in the time and effort to fortify the site with new content and new training techniques.

  2. RoKh says:

    It’s actually Scales/Chords/Arpeggios/etc for the first item :)

    • phanson says:

      Yep Roman, under Scales, also “harmony and theory” is important! Why do the scales work? But I abbreviated it all so it falls under the “Scales” category.

      In each scales category I cover why the scales work, which scales you can use and how. But I put a lot of materiel into the licks category. Especially the new Essential Classics licks! Most of the arpeggios I cover fall into the licks category, the way you use them are very much like licks.

      Just a couple more videos to edit. Btw all the tabs are redone as well!

      Rock on!

      • RoKh says:

        It will be super exciting to see the new material! I really like your new video format and the flying V sounds and looks awesome! Are you playing through an amp or a simulator?

        Any chance you’ll teach again in person after you are done putting finishing touches on STELAR?

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