10-Week Lesson Guide

Screen Shot 2014-10-28 at 3.56.06 PMLike a college quarter, or a phase at Musician’s Institute, STELAR and the Harmony and Theory sections are designed to be gone through in ten weeks. You don’t have to do it in 10 weeks. Actually, most players take many months to complete the system because they are busy with work, school, etc. So feel free to take it at a slower pace but keep moving forward. You will see a major improvement in your soloing, but as you continue your learning and growing as a musician this material will grow with you, it’s designed to be used over and over.

First Rule: Do not let this material overwhelm you. Pick out phrases and licks that fit your level and style. DO NOT do every single lick, phrase or all the material offered in each lesson. I’ve included a broad range of material to encompass many different levels and styles so pick what’s best for you. Select enough to keep you moving forward but do not get overwhelmed. If you are a newer player or even an old pro be sure to check out the Essential Classics in STELAR! These licks are ubiquitous in Rock Metal and Blues and are not too difficult.

Basics are most important! You can always tell how good someone is by how well they do the simple things. The guitarists who are able to stick it out through the constant repetition of the basics are the ones who become great. If you’re getting frustrated or having trouble keeping up, then my guess is you are doing okay. Just hang in there, keep doing the exercises the best you can, don’t quit! Take satisfaction in the fact that you are hanging in there, not whether or not you can tell if your playing is getting better. I promise your playing will get better! The greatest guitar teacher I ever had, Howard Roberts, told me, when you feel your on a plateau, that’s when you are progressing the most!

Tip: That feeling you have when you are not satisfied is very important to help drive you to be the best you can be! Adjust this system to fit your own needs but stick with it. Feel free to skip around if you wish.

Prepare to become a better guitarist!

  1. Organization is important: To practice effectively and utilize this system you need to be somewhat organized. Download and print this Worksheet to keep track of your week to week progress: Shred Worksheet. Here’s a sample I’ve filled out to help you: Sample Worksheet.
  2. Keep a notebook with your worksheet, tabs, and other material if you’ve chosen to print them, or just try to keep it organized on your computer, maybe a folder on your desktop called Shred Guitar with sub folders for the different sections. Keep the jam tracks there too, and on your, phone or MP3 player.
  3. Don’t hide your guitar away. Keep it in an obvious location, a place where you’ll see it all the time. You’re more likely to pick it up and play if it’s staring you in the face.
  4. Practice: The goal here is to break your practice time down into sections. To get the most out of this program you should practice a minimum of 1 Hour per day, 5 days per week. But by all means you can do more than this if your schedule allows.
  5. Devote some time, maybe 10-15 minutes, to warming up with skills from the Power Tools Section. The Ten Minute Workout (Power Tools Section) is a great daily exercise, it’ll build picking, legato and vibrato motor skills.
  6. Then devote, maybe 15 minutes to the Harmony & Theory section, each lesson has exercises.
  7. Then at least 30 minutes of improvising over the Jam Tracks in STELAR. This should also include learning new licks each week. Remember, keep track of the new licks you are learning. Tip: Give licks and phrases names and keep a list! This simple trick will help you build your vocabulary. When you’re practicing you want to look at your list and think “oh yeah, I haven’t tried that one for a while.”
  8. Be sure to include practice time while you’re watching TV or hanging out with friends.This is a great time to work on your picking, vibrato and other motor skills where you don’t need to focus your brain. I find a great time to practice motor skills is while watching sports on TV, especially because there’s no music score during sports shows to get in the way.
  9. I’m challenging you to work hard, but remember the pizza theory and the juggling theory. Don’t bite off more than you can chew or try to juggle too many balls at once.
  10. STELAR and Harmony & Theory are broken down into separate weekly lessons and include a lot of licks and phrases. Just learn enough to keep you moving forward. One or two new licks a week may be enough.
  11. If you feel like you need more of a challenge, try learning new licks or work on a Classic Solo, but stick with the lessons. If you feel comfortable with the Harmony & Theory lessons for a given week, it’s okay to move onto the next week’s lessons.
  12. The Licks O’ The Week and Classic Solos are a bonus and are here to help you build your vocabulary and learn some cool solos. Go ahead and peruse them and work on the ones that you think match your style and fit into your vocabulary. I will continue to add more to the Essential Classics LOW series, these are really important and not too hard.

Above all, enjoy playing your guitar every day, and the deep, rewarding feeling of working to master an instrument!

Videos: We have formatted our videos so you can fast forward and rewind at will. Depending on your internet speed it may take time for some videos to load. If you do a speed test the videos should work great if your internet is 2.5 mbps or faster. 4G will be great. Some of the faster 3G should be okay too.

Rock on!


  1. guitarist4jc says:

    Glad I found these lessons. They have been very good and well organized. Your a great teacher!!


  2. Steve says:

    I really liked my vox, but sold it to a buddy; I now use this, its a hybrid vintage modern… I love the tone!

    Sound great, but it has a spring and smaller foot pedal which may take some getting used too….


  3. Sloflo says:

    Paul, Can you please put up Mean Street? thank you. Doran

    • phanson says:

      Thx SloFlo!! Regarding Mean Street, I know the intro, tapping on the 12 fret with thumb and index, Omg, it’s really hard!! I’ll need to practice that a bunch, I’ll keep that one in mind!

      I think for the next Classic Solo I may add the opposite difficulty level next, the David Gilmour solo on “Time”. It’s so cool and not too hard and so classic!!

  4. dillivered says:

    Roger Hodgson is another great player! Those 70s guys were so full of soul!

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