Zoom Class – Lead Guitar Improv 101

Get ready to improve your improvisation skills with my Zoom group class, Lead Guitar Improv 101. In this six-week class, you’ll connect with me and others online using Zoom to complete lessons and take steps toward playing better guitar solos. I’ll show you how to take licks and phrases from familiar solos and repurpose them over other tracks. You’ll learn to think and play musically instead of just playing up and down scale patterns. I’ll discuss ways you can improve your tone and technique. You’ll receive a weekly summary email with links to all the resources you need to practice, such as notation, fretboard diagrams, backing tracks, and recordings of the Zoom sessions.

Lead Guitar Improv 101 provided the perfect foundation for me to kickstart my journey to improvisation. From introducing major and minor pentatonic scales to teaching chord tone soloing and utilizing arpeggio shapes, the course equipped me with essential techniques to begin crafting my own solos. If you’ve ever been told to learn other people’s solos and incorporate their ideas into your own playing but didn’t really know how to apply that approach, Desi will teach you how. Thanks to this course, I now have a solid foundation to build upon as I continue to develop my own approach to playing lead guitar.”

-Dion S.

When are the classes?

You can choose between two class days and times:

  • Wednesdays 7-8pm Central April 17-May 22, 2024.
  • Thursdays 12-1pm Central April 18-May 23, 2024.

Go to my scheduler page, choose one of the classes, and then set your timezone to see the class times in your area.

How much does the class cost?

$270 ($45 per session for six weeks)

What will you be doing in the class?

I’ll take portions of solos from familiar songs, analyze them to see how they work in the key and over the chord changes, and then show you how to use those same ideas over other tracks. Songs I’ll pull from include “Let It Be” by The Beatles, “The Thrill Is Gone” by B.B. King, and “Mother” by Pink Floyd, just to name a few. When you base your improvisations on phrases like this, you stop playing up and down scale patterns and express yourself more musically. 

Each week, I’ll have a few examples prepared for you. I’ll demonstrate how those examples can work over various backing tracks in different keys. You’ll be provided tablature and neck diagrams you can print. You’ll practice by playing with backing tracks you can stream or download. 

I’ll have lead line examples in major and minor keys and blues examples that mix tonalities. You’ll play licks in pentatonic patterns and full major/minor scale patterns.

“Desi Serna’s Lead Guitar Improv 101 class was a terrific course that helped me think differently about how to approach soloing. There are many great takeaways over the brisk six weeks as Desi analyzes the structure of many popular solos we all know and love. These great solos don’t happen by accident and Desi shows us how and why the lead lines work so well in relation to the chord changes happening underneath. Desi is a patient and experienced instructor who, much like the Wizard of Oz, allowed us to peek behind the curtain to solve the often mysterious puzzle that is the fretboard. By building incrementally week-by-week, he helped us connect the dots and become better, more knowledgeable players.”

-Joe R.

What are the requirements for the class and how advanced will the lessons be?

In order to participate in this class you must:

  • Be familiar with pentatonic and major scale patterns
  • Be able to use articulations such as slides, hammer-ons, pull-offs, and bends
  • Know how to play some riffs and solos already

I will keep the material somewhat simple because I’ll have students who are at various levels, but everyone will come away with good ideas regardless of their experience. If you’re a more experienced lead player, I’ll explain ways you can take things farther.  

Is this strictly for electric guitar players?

I’ll be using an electric guitar, and my examples involve string bending and the use of effects such as overdrive, reverb, and delay. That said, the improvisation approach applies to any instrument, and you can apply it to an acoustic guitar if you’re willing to deal with the limitations.

Will I need to participate during the classes?

Participation during the classes is optional. You’re welcome to participate and interact or tune in with your video and audio turned off. 

What if I can’t make a class?

You’re not required to be present each week. All sessions will be recorded and made available to participants afterward for review or in case of absence.  

“I knew that understanding music theory is essential to taking guitar playing to another level. Yet I found it hard to apply theory effectively to playing. This class bridges that gap with a clear and simple approach using skills-oriented lessons. Desi guided me to a destination that could take months of trial-and-error and analysis if I were on my own.”

-Teddy T.