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Acoustic Pop With Nomad

"How does he make his guitar sound like THAT?" Have you ever asked that question when just hearing someone strum the guitar. There is a polish and an sheen to their playing that seems like it comes straight off of a recording. This series teaches you to play with THAT sound over many examples that span popular music throughout its greatest decades, including present day acoustic pop.

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You'll learn strumming, fingerpicking, hook/melody development, colorful chord choices and options. While popular music is all over the map in terms of genres actual styles and influences, all Pop music shares one thing in common. It is popular! This may seem so obvious, but that really is the classification for popular music. Learn how to get sounds out of your guitar that sound like popular music from yesterday and today!

Lessons in this Series:

Lesson 1

Define Pop Music Please!

"How does he make his guitar sound like THAT?" Have you ever asked that question when just hearing someone strum the guitar? There is a polish and a sheen to someone's playing that seems like it comes straight from a recording. This series teaches you to play with THAT sound over many examples...

Length: 9:19 Difficulty: 0.5 Member Only
Lesson 2

The Slow Strum

Dial it back, slow it down and REALLY focus on your strumming mechanics, even if you already strum a lot! We are laying the ground work for intentional, yet free and natural sounding strumming.

Length: 12:51 Difficulty: 1.0 Member Only
Lesson 3

Be Free With It

Nomad stresses the concept of honing in on something, internalizing it, and then forgetting about it and letting your intuition and musical sense take over. This lesson takes the mechanical approach to strumming from the last lesson and puts it on the back burner. Here you get to focus on making...

Length: 14:29 Difficulty: 1.5 Member Only
Lesson 4

In Between Is A Dream

Pick up the tempo on the strumming a little in this lesson. Learn how to create a mid-tempo groove and practice improvising a bit within a planned strum pattern.

Length: 4:17 Difficulty: 1.5 Member Only
Lesson 5

The Ghost In The Stroke

When it comes to strumming, what you don't play is just as important as what you do play. Nomad explains how to add subtle, rhythmic non-strokes into your strumming.

Length: 8:26 Difficulty: 1.5 Member Only
Lesson 6

Have a Blast, Be Fast

Kick up the tempo tracker just a bit and practice some Americana style strumming. It's a challenge to make sure that you are still right on the beat - not rushing or lagging too far behind.

Length: 12:35 Difficulty: 2.5 Member Only
Lesson 7

Forward Motion

It's time to apply that age old Nomadian principle of taking what you've learned over the last several lessons, pushing it to the back of your mind and forgetting it. Let your intuition and artistic bent take over! Be careful though, we're playing fast!

Length: 21:56 Difficulty: 2.5 Member Only
Lesson 8

Fingerpickin' Good

We've spent a fair amount of time on strumming so far. Now it's time to focus on another area in acoustic popular music: Fingerpicking! Learn and apply the basics in a musical context right away with this lesson!

Length: 14:44 Difficulty: 2.0 Member Only
Lesson 9

Finger Focus

In the last lesson, the goal was to get started on fingerpicking without thinking too much about it. In this lesson, you'll get a chance to actually assign fingers to certain strings and hone in on creating a more focused fingerpicking line.

Length: 18:49 Difficulty: 2.0 Member Only
Lesson 10

Finger Families

Your fingers will now be working together, separately! Learn to strike two strings or more with two different fingers. This leads to more interesting and flowing lines when fingerpicking.

Length: 9:19 Difficulty: 2.0 Member Only
Lesson 11

Finger Roll

Work with a very specific fingerpicking pattern while using a moveable chord shape to create some interesting sounds. Focus on the fingerpicking hand!

Length: 10:18 Difficulty: 2.0 Member Only
Lesson 12


Learn a classic fingerpicking pattern that is a lot like a particular Beatles song. Get the pattern and the concept under your fingers with this lesson, and then pop over to Phase 3 and learn the whole song!

Length: 11:44 Difficulty: 2.0 Member Only
Lesson 13

Something in Common

Improving efficiency while playing your guitar is always a good thing. This lesson focuses on finding common tones and position similarities between chords so that switching between them is more efficient, and ultimately, more musical.

Length: 10:32 Difficulty: 1.5 Member Only
Lesson 14

C, We're the Same!

Ground yourself in the Key of C and "C" how many ways you can join common tones in your chord voicings for smooth transitions and consistent strumming. Try these ideas with a capo for even more fun!

Length: 12:52 Difficulty: 1.5 Member Only
Lesson 15

Common Tone Grab Bag

Now, Nomad takes you on a creative journey! Using his decades of experience in pop music, he demonstrates how to take ordinary sounding progressions and make them sound more connected and unique.

Length: 13:20 Difficulty: 2.0 Member Only
Lesson 16

From E to Shining E

Due to the many open strings that can be left to ring out when strumming all the strings, the key of E can be quite the chord playground. Nomad takes you through some of his favorite ways to get fresh and creative sounds out of this musical key.

Length: 8:06 Difficulty: 1.5 Member Only
Lesson 17


Take the key of E to the next level! Nomad presents a few more ideas that are a bit more challenging and continues the experimentation process.

Length: 7:28 Difficulty: 2.0 Member Only
Lesson 18

'A' Is for Almost Anything

The key of A is another one of those keys that can be really fun to play in! That low open A string really does the trick if you know how to use it. Nomad shares some of his favorite chord tricks in the key of A.

Length: 15:06 Difficulty: 2.0 Member Only
Lesson 19

Sounds in D

We've looked at the keys of A and E. Now we'll look at the rich and deep world of D. Using the open D string with some great moveable shapes will give you some tasty ways to harmonize your musical inspirations!

Length: 11:04 Difficulty: 1.5 Member Only
Lesson 20

Chord Flavor Grab Bag

We've spent some time focusing on what can be done in specific keys with open strings backing them. Now we are going to take some of these ideas and apply them to mini song examples.

Length: 7:42 Difficulty: 2.0 Member Only
Lesson 21

Fingerpicking Grab Bag

The last lesson took many of the chord ideas discussed in the previous lessons and got a little more "song-like" with the examples. In this lesson, you'll have a chance to contextualize fingerpicking lines in the same way. Have fun!

Length: 10:01 Difficulty: 2.0 Member Only
Lesson 22

Neighboring Melodies

Unlock the melodic potential within simple chords. Accomplish this by looking at the chord in the context of the neighboring notes in the corresponding scale. Once you combine a few chords together using this approach, your progressions AND your melodies are going to have new life!

Length: 11:00 Difficulty: 2.0 Member Only
Lesson 23

Rhythmic Variations

Sometimes strumming can get a bit boring. Sometimes fingerpicking can be a bit too calm sounding. But if you take a little strumming, a little finger technique and throw in some percussive playing, you have a really nice sounding mixture!

Length: 19:09 Difficulty: 2.0 Member Only
Lesson 24

Between the Lines

Get your pick ready and practice incorporating single picked notes into your strum patterns. You'll learn how to target key notes and further your melody sense while keeping time.

Length: 11:45 Difficulty: 2.0 Member Only
Lesson 25

Mayer May Not Be

Mix up some fingerpicking, a little slap, and some chord melodies and you have a John Mayer-tinged passage that will inspire your songwriting and grooves.

Length: 6:39 Difficulty: 2.0 Member Only
Lesson 26

His Name Was Travis

Nothing accompanies a simple melodic song idea like the Travis picking technique. Nomad covers Travis picking with both the fingers and the pick and applies it in a few different contexts.

Length: 9:43 Difficulty: 2.0 Member Only
Lesson 27

Upside, Downside

What happens when you turn a chord upside down? What happens when you rearrange the notes? You get inversions. Inversions are everywhere and though that word may sound kind of boring or clinical, the music you can create with them is amazing. Nomad shows how inversions are used in many popular...

Length: 16:28 Difficulty: 1.5 Member Only
Lesson 28

Listen to the Inversion

Look at how inversions are laid out on the lower string and then hear some ways that those inversions are worked into real musical examples. If you like the Doobie Brothers or Jimi Hendrix, you'll dig this lesson!

Length: 14:08 Difficulty: 1.5 Member Only
Lesson 29

Sound Familiar?

Nomad shares a handful of examples of inversion from various pop songs written in the last several decades. See if you can guess the artists and songs that Nomad is alluding to!

Length: 9:03 Difficulty: 2.0 Member Only
Lesson 30

Yes, Less Is More

In recent pop music, the acoustic guitar can almost sound like it has been sampled...and sometimes it has been. Nomad explains how to create modern pop hooks and demonstrates the art of leaving space.

Length: 10:42 Difficulty: 1.5 Member Only
Lesson 31

Altered State of String Tension

Get a taste of how to apply simple alternate tunings to your popular music melodies and strum patterns. It's amazing how new ideas open up when you modify just one string!

Length: 15:21 Difficulty: 1.5 Member Only
Lesson 32

Harmonious Harmonics

Learn some simple, yet artistic ways to incorporate natural harmonics into your playing. You'll add a percussive element and create some depth of range with your melodic lines if you have harmonics in the back of your mind while writing.

Length: 9:32 Difficulty: 2.0 Member Only
Lesson 33

Nothing To Do

Working in the style of Jason Mraz, Nomad offers a groovy, laid back track that will bring many of the areas of study from this series to the front and center.

Length: 4:50 Difficulty: 1.5 Member Only
Lesson 34

Tom's Petty

Learn and experience the fun in playing some flowing and free feeling strum patterns inspired by Tom Petty. Nomad provides a Tom Petty-inspired track to sink your teeth and fingers into.

Length: 6:04 Difficulty: 1.5 Member Only
Lesson 35


Learn a complete original song by Nomad called "Nomad". If you like John Mayer and catchy acoustic grooves, you'll like what you see and hear. You already got a chance to dig into the main riff on this song, but now, you'll get to put it in the context of a complete song!

Length: 8:48 Difficulty: 0.0 Member Only
Lesson 36

I'm Sorry

Hybrid fingerpicking, slaping, and some groovy strumming will have you making music with this Jam Track. You have touched on the main hook of this piece in an earlier lesson and now it is time to use it in context of an entire composition.

Length: 6:37 Difficulty: 2.0 Member Only
Lesson 37

In The Garden

Yes, there are acoustic guitars in songs that Katy Perry and the like sing over. Put the melodic hook ideas and simple part playing to work over this modern Pop track. Keep it simple... Keep it solid!

Length: 8:18 Difficulty: 2.0 Member Only
Lesson 38

Why Do I Still Love You?

Slow down and cool off for this Country-tinged travis picking track. Keeping things in context will have you playing real music and pushing your skills faster and more intentionally. Soak these tracks up and then apply the techniques you practice here to your own music!

Length: 5:57 Difficulty: 1.5 Member Only
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