Riff With You (Guitar Lesson)

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Phil Keaggy

Riff With You

Phil offers up a spacious lick in the key of E that works well as an ending to a solo.

Taught by Phil Keaggy in Phil Keaggy Master Course seriesLength: 1:52Difficulty: 3.0 of 5
This spacious, non-linear lick is soothing to the ears. It takes place over a sitting E major chord. It can work especially nicely as an end to a thoughtful solo, but Phil uses it with a variety of other tasty phrases to illustrate the potential and versatility. What’s particularly unique about this lick is its ability to fall as it climbs and ultimately arrives.

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Phil Keaggy Master Course

Found in our Beginner Lesson Sets

Take the opportunity to explore a Master Course from one of the best musicians to grace the guitar. A JamPlay.com exclusive, this 45 lesson course will cover the songs, techniques, and styles that have defined the history of Phil Keaggy. With 45 years of touring and 70+ studio albums, Phil is one of the most admired guitarists in music. If you are a Phil Keaggy fan, this course was designed for you. Engineered to cover everything from acoustic rhythms and melodies, to electric guitar effects and leads, we cover the signature styles of Mr. Keaggy.

Series IntroductionLesson 1

Series Introduction

Welcome to the Phil Keaggy Master Course! In this series introduction, Phil shows and tells us what we can expect from this course. Get ready for a wide range of styles, flavors, and techniques!

Length: 7:03 Difficulty: 0.0 Members Only
Interview with PhilLesson 2

Interview with Phil

Phil sits down with JamPlay for a candid interview about himself and his playing.

Length: 7:25 Difficulty: 0.0 Members Only
Tools, Career and :AdviceLesson 3

Tools, Career and :Advice

From nail care to reminiscing about his vast recording and touring career, Phil Keaggy discusses it all. He also shares advice for aspiring career musicians, talks about how his faith has influenced his...

Length: 23:23 Difficulty: 0.0 Members Only
How to PracticeLesson 4

How to Practice

Phil shares his insights in to practicing, how he goes about it and provides anecdotes to help you practice more effectively.

Length: 3:13 Difficulty: 0.5 Members Only
Where Inspiration Comes FromLesson 5

Where Inspiration Comes From

Phil discusses inspiration, where it's found and how you can take almost anything around you and use it to inspire your own creativity.

Length: 8:49 Difficulty: 0.5 FREE
Chord Voicing VariationsLesson 6

Chord Voicing Variations

Phil is famous for his unique chord voicings. He loves the rich, somewhat dissonant colors he can achieve by exploring different ways to play chords. In this lesson, he shows us his approach to finding...

Length: 8:50 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Using Effects with Electric GuitarLesson 7

Using Effects with Electric Guitar

Phil's use of effects in his sound is artistic in and of itself. In this lesson he demonstrates some of his signature effects. You'll get a clear idea of how he creates some of his legendary electric guitar...

Length: 9:05 Difficulty: 3.5 Members Only
Adding Riffs to Chord StructuresLesson 8

Adding Riffs to Chord Structures

In this lesson, we watch and learn as Phil takes a pretty routine and basic chord structure, and adds a little spice to it to make it a full blown riff!

Length: 3:51 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Following Chords When SoloingLesson 9

Following Chords When Soloing

Unique chord progressions require unique note choices when soloing. Here, Phil strategically targets certain notes that work over an atypical chord progression.

Length: 6:06 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Left Hand Chord StretchesLesson 10

Left Hand Chord Stretches

Getting those chord voicings that Phil talked about in a previous lesson requires a good bit of hand dexterity. In this lesson Phil gives us a challenging progression, along with some thoughts and exercises...

Length: 7:46 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Altered TuningsLesson 11

Altered Tunings

Watch and learn as Phil not only uses an altered tuning in this song, but switches to another tuning in the middle of the piece!

Length: 6:01 Difficulty: 3.5 Members Only
Picking Hand DevelopmentLesson 12

Picking Hand Development

Phil is uniquely qualified to talk about picking hand development. Having endured many challenges in this area, Phil tells us his story of overcoming those challenges, and gives you a closeup look at...

Length: 8:26 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Using Multiple Capos, Part 1Lesson 13

Using Multiple Capos, Part 1

In this lesson, Phil demonstrates how he uses multiple capos to create specific moods and colors within songs. He then uses looping to create a fantastic piece that will have your head spinning and your...

Length: 10:56 Difficulty: 3.5 Members Only
Using Multiple Capos, Part 2Lesson 14

Using Multiple Capos, Part 2

If you've ever used a lever capo, you know they can be a mechanical, yet musical addition to the guitar. In this lesson, Phil demonstrates not one, but using two lever capos at the same time!

Length: 4:43 Difficulty: 3.5 Members Only
Do it For You:  Fingerstyle ExerciseLesson 15

Do it For You: Fingerstyle Exercise

Phil teaches a descending line that incorporates a simple fingerstyle technique.

Length: 3:15 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Cascading FingerpickingLesson 16

Cascading Fingerpicking

Phil offers up a cascading lick that functions as a great introduction to fingerstyle playing.

Length: 2:18 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Morphies Law:  FingerstyleLesson 17

Morphies Law: Fingerstyle

Phil teaches a a folk-based fingerstyle line derived from his song Morphies Law.

Length: 4:26 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Two Handed TappingLesson 18

Two Handed Tapping

Phil demonstrates the two handed tapping technique and discusses it's uses.

Length: 3:29 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Farewell:  Two-Hand TappingLesson 19

Farewell: Two-Hand Tapping

Phill offers up another piece that focuses on the two hand tapping technique. This time you'll be incorporating a capo at the same time.

Length: 2:37 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Alternate Tunings and Time SignaturesLesson 20

Alternate Tunings and Time Signatures

Phil demonstrates and discusses his approach to using altered tunings and time signatures.

Length: 1:11 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Alternate Tunings:  DADGADLesson 21

Alternate Tunings: DADGAD

Phil demonstrates and discusses his use of the DADGAD tuning.

Length: 2:46 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Alternate Tunings:  E, B, C#, G, B, ELesson 22

Alternate Tunings: E, B, C#, G, B, E

Phil has another lesson and discussion on alternate tuning here. You'll be looking at examples in the tuning EBC#GBE.

Length: 3:11 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Adaptations of an E ChordLesson 23

Adaptations of an E Chord

Phil demonstrates and discusses the ability to move the basic E chord around the fretboard as a way to develop a song.

Length: 3:41 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Looping - Reverse EffectLesson 24

Looping - Reverse Effect

Phil demonstrates a simple walking line that, when reversed and looped, sounds like a traditional Irish flavored tune. He talks about how he discovered the reverse effect and plays chords and rhythm over...

Length: 2:39 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Looping - One Man BandLesson 25

Looping - One Man Band

Be the drummer, the bass player, the rhythm guitarist and the lead guy; do it all with a looper and a keen sense of how to weave parts together while giving them their own space. You’ll see a complete...

Length: 3:53 Difficulty: 3.5 Members Only
Looping - PercussionLesson 26

Looping - Percussion

Zero in on acoustic guitar percussion techniques and ideas! Some of what you’ll see is conventional and some of it is downright wacky, but Phil brings it all together. Learn how to smack that guitar,...

Length: 8:45 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Graceful Sweepy BendLesson 27

Graceful Sweepy Bend

It’s bluesy and quirky. This lick played over an E dominant sound packs a lot into a little space with a tasteful sweep into an ‘on again off again’ bend that you can’t help but experiment with. Phil...

Length: 3:52 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Arpeggio With StyleLesson 28

Arpeggio With Style

The main run or arpeggio that Phil showcases here is based on a B minor sound and provides an excellent way to climb quickly and target that sweet spot note that the listener is aching to hear. You’ll...

Length: 3:06 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Pentatonic AnimalLesson 29

Pentatonic Animal

Phil blends classic pentatonic phrasing with a bit of an arpeggiated flare over an E minor sound. As demonstrated, the timing of the sequence over a groove can be felt out and tweaked quite a bit depending...

Length: 1:20 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Bloomfield StyleLesson 30

Bloomfield Style

Inspired by legendary 60s-era guitar playing from Michael Bloomfield, this passage is packed full of jazzy dorian fun! The main lick during the first 3 measures of the passage sets the mood and the motif,...

Length: 2:25 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Riff With YouLesson 31

Riff With You

Phil offers up a spacious lick in the key of E that works well as an ending to a solo.

Length: 1:52 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Souther StyleLesson 32

Souther Style

Phil discusses and demonstrates a passage originally adapted from Pianist Richard Souther.

Length: 2:37 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Turn It AroundLesson 33

Turn It Around

Phil teaches an unconventional blues turnaround centered in the key of E.

Length: 1:18 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Falling Up the StairsLesson 34

Falling Up the Stairs

Phil teaches a three note per string scale and feels like you're "Falling Up the Stairs."

Length: 2:49 Difficulty: 3.5 Members Only
Strongly Not ResolvedLesson 35

Strongly Not Resolved

Knowing what to do with a diminished chord is not easy. In this lesson, Phil shows us how to set up a diminished chord that resolves nicely to another chord.

Length: 1:11 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Coming Full CircleLesson 36

Coming Full Circle

This lick has a mellow, ascending sound that is all Phil. The dynamics of this are key to making it sound just right!

Length: 3:05 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Back in TimeLesson 37

Back in Time

This riff is based around the good ol' pentatonic scale. While not as flashy as earlier licks, it has a nice flowing rhythm and descending nature that the ear immediately gravitates towards.

Length: 1:58 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Stomp On ThisLesson 38

Stomp On This

Here's a classic Phil sounding lick. There's a swampy country-rock or southern-rock flavor to this one, and it will allow you to practice the intonation on your bends!

Length: 3:04 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
My WorldLesson 39

My World

This riff centers around the intervallic spacing of the rhythm guitar part. Then Phil loops the rhythm part and adds some very tasteful solo guitar lines. An all around great track!

Length: 3:58 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Love DivineLesson 40

Love Divine

This lesson contains a very Beatlesque rhythm part from Phil, along with an extremely catchy lead solo. See how you can do at both of these parts!

Length: 2:10 Difficulty: 3.5 Members Only
Lord Have MercyLesson 41

Lord Have Mercy

Here’s a straightforward, swampy blues groove with a little flare. Set in the key of E, it’s perfectly positioned to take advantage of open strings both with an E drone and with numerous opportunities...

Length: 2:53 Difficulty: 5.0 Members Only
Not Passing ByLesson 42

Not Passing By

This passage nods its head to many classic riffs and is a perfect example of a lead-based riff that is working perfectly with target chords. In other words, you’ll be playing rhythm and lead at the same...

Length: 2:33 Difficulty: 5.0 Members Only
Love Does Not FearLesson 43

Love Does Not Fear

Boogie on with this riff! Get in the groove over an E pedal tone and practice using the pentatonic scale to pull away from the bass note while maintaining the strong E presence and the boogie feel. This...

Length: 1:52 Difficulty: 5.0 Members Only
Not Nothin to PlayLesson 44

Not Nothin to Play

This is pure pentatonic lead riffage! It’s the attention to phrasing that makes it so juicy. You likely already know the notes. Hone in on Phil’s attention to detail as he walks down the A minor pentatonic...

Length: 2:47 Difficulty: 5.0 Members Only
Fly on the wallLesson 45

Fly on the wall

Volume swells, contemplative space, and chordal voice leading are among the many themes present in this phrase. Learn to put the chord patterns together first, then connect them with the subtle melody...

Length: 3:47 Difficulty: 4.5 Members Only
Live Event ArchiveLesson 46

Live Event Archive

As a special treat we have included the archive of the Phil Keaggy Live Event. Join us as he demonstrates some of his favorite techniques, answers questions, and talks about his upcoming album.

Length: 73:02 Difficulty: 4.0 Members Only
Phil Keaggy

About Phil Keaggy View Full Biography

Phil Keaggy is perhaps one of the most admired guitarists in music today. His fans range from those who aspire just to be able to play Keaggy's mistakes, to professional musicians who have been strongly influenced by his style. And in between are those who don't play guitar, yet find solace in his beautifully penned lyrics and memorable melodies.

Phil's solo career has spanned more than 40 years, and has included over 60 solo albums, both vocal and instrumental, 8 releases with his band, Glass Harp, as well as numerous duets and trio albums. One of the most sought after studio guitarists, Phil also continues to sell out concerts all over the United States, with his ever-changing style, ranging from rock-and-roll to fully orchestrated instrumental compositions.

Born on March 23, 1951 in Youngstown, OH, the ninth of ten children, Phil grew up in a home filled with music. On Phil's 10th birthday, his brother, Dave returned home with a Sears Silvertone guitar. That's when the magic began.

Phil spent most of his younger days involved in music, and at the young age of 13, he joined his very first band, the Keytones. He later went on to join such local groups as The Vertices, The Squires, and the Volume Four, who later changed their name to New Hudson Exit.

But it wasn't until 1970, when Phil's band Glass Harp (with childhood friend John Sferra on drums, and Dan Pecchio on bass) recorded their self-titled first album that people really began to take notice of this incredibly gifted guitar player. Glass Harp gained more popularity in the Ohio area, opening for such bands as the Kinks and Yes, and even performing at the prestigious Carnegie Hall in New York City. Over the next few years, they recorded two more albums entitled "Synergy" and "It Makes Me Glad."

By 1972, Phil saw his life going in a different direction, and made the tough decision to leave Glass Harp and pursue a solo career. His first solo album, "What A Day", was recorded in just a week's time during January 1973. He married his sweetheart Bernadette that summer, and the following year, they moved to Upstate New York and joined a Church community called Love Inn.

During his years there, Phil took a break from recording his own music. It wasn't until three years later in 1976 that Phil would record his second solo album, "Love Broke Thru", which was soon followed by a string of albums, including the acclaimed instrumental album, "The Master And The Musician."

With the Christian Music industry really beginning to grow, Phil won his very first Dove award in 1988 for his instrumental album, “The Wind and the Wheat. Phil's second Dove Award came in 1992 for his Celtic-influenced, "Beyond Nature". Each year from 1998 to 2001, Phil has dominated the "Instrumental Record" category at the Doves, winning for "Invention", "Acoustic Sketches", "Majesty and Wonder", and most recently "Lights of Madrid". For three years in a row, Phil was voted one of the top fingerstyle guitarists by Guitar Player Magazine readers.

These days, Phil Keaggy continues to delight audiences all over the US performing primarily acoustic shows, and occasional concerts with a band. He is aware that God gave him a calling to deliver the Gospel through his music, and for over 40 years, Phil Keaggy has been grateful to do just that, and will hopefully continue to do so for many years to come.

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