RGT Registered Guitar Tutor


I started playing the guitar at 13 and studied classical guitar with Jonathan Priestley I've taken part in masterclass sessions with Carlos Bonell and perform as a classical guitar soloist.

I love all things guitar and along with classical guitar play and teach electric guitar across many styles - country, rock, blues, and jazz being my favourites.

A full time guitar tutor for 10 years I have a genuine passion for guitar education and have a wealth of professional experience as a player/teacher working in both Schools with the Derbyshire Music Service and as a private teacher.

If exams are your thing, I have great success in helping students get their grades; ABRSM, Trinity Guildhall, Rockschool and RGT.
I have an enhanced DBS check and am a member of the
Private Guitar Lessons

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Lick of the week

By Noel Hathaway 01 Dec, 2017
This week is about moving along the fretboard in an efficient yet harmonically interesting way. 

The underlying chord for the lick is G so the G major scale would work well, however as its country a hint of blues would add character, so a flat three or flat 7 - B flat/F - would make a welcome appearance.
Rather than think and play the G mixolydian scale along the neck, I'm using an idea called arpeggio substitution to achieve a similar goal. This is achieved by taking the G major triad - G B D - and moving it down a tone to F major - F AC.

This may leave you thinking 'what?' however in the key of G this F triad gives us the flat 7, 2/9 and the 4/11th tones.
Importantly this colours the underling G chord so that it sounds like G7/G add9 and G sus4.

The lick moves along the neck alternating between the two triads F / G until it reaches the 12 position, there's then a chromatic move up to the D on fret 15 of the B string with a steel type whole tone prebend from tones 2 to 3 (A-B) to make a G chord sound.

Below are the triad shapes - mainly C and A forms of F and G.

Have fun.

By Noel Hathaway 24 Nov, 2017
This week we start where we left off last time - the key of G and another look at using minor third jumps along the neck of the guitar to create some 'outside' sounds.
It can take a while for your ear to get used to the sound created by these jumps -  notes seemingly grating against one another. The temptation can be to not carry licks like this to the conclusion but to think that you've made a mistake and to stop or bail out early to more familiar sounds.
Licks like this though are designed to give a sense of tension/unease and its rather satisfying to get to the end and hear the resolve to a 'home' sound, in this case the G7 implied by the last double stop.

The lick starts in the A form of G major - 6-flat7-3-root(g) then flat7 to root but this time via a pull off to the open third string.
Then coming down into the C form of G major via some more pull off's and into the descending minor third intervals. (A minor third interval is four frets). I see each of these as being from the C shape of G, E and D flat major.
The lick then ascends in a similar way to last weeks, finishing with double stops coming to rest on G7.

Again don't think too much about the theory concentrate on seeing the lick inside the chord shapes as you work through it. Hopefully ideas like this can inject new life into your guitar playing and encourage creativity.

Have fun!
By Noel Hathaway 17 Nov, 2017
This weeks lick is about how to get between positions to avoid becoming 'boxed in'.
There are lots of ways you can do this but here I've opted for moving a lick along the fretboard in minor thirds. As there are no open strings in this lick it can be moved to other keys very easily.

  • The lick starts with a dominant arpeggio over the D form of G major - (3, R, 7, 5).
  • There's then a flat 5 move - D flat to approach the 4th - C before going to the Flat 3  - B flat and starting the run back along the fretboard.
  • I'm seeing it as using the E forms of G - B flat - D flat chords. picking out the bluesy minor/major third and seventh  inside each shape.
  • This gets us to the A form of G at the eighth position.
  • The lick finishes with a slide into the G form covering frets 12 to 15 and some thirds using strings 1 and 2 to work back to the A form of G.
The theory behind it makes it sound very dry but I'm just trying to give some context rather than simply impress with a flashy lick.
Country guitar perhaps only second to jazz is about harmony and exploiting the relationships between intervals.
Here is a G major scale: G A B C D E F G - perhaps more usefully though it can be thought of as 1 - Major 2 - Major 3 - Perfect 4 - Perfect 5 - Major 6 - Major 7 and Octave.  Its worth looping a G chord and playing each note against this static chord to hear the characteristics of each 'step' as they move away from the home sound G, try saying each interval too before you play it to internalise it - all notes are not equal!

By Noel Hathaway 10 Nov, 2017
This weeks lick in the key of E major is in the style of Albert Lee and is fairly reminiscent of the way he moves between different CAGED forms of a chord - the use of chromatics and Sixths, although he is a master at using double stops too to move around the neck and get into and out of chords during a progression.
  • Bar one: a chromatic walk from the major third G# to the Fifth B. It then moves to the D shape of E - minor third/major third, G - G#.
  • Bar two: working inside the C shape of E, there's a minor/major move again then using sixths to move down the necking to the A shape of E.
  • Bar three: A shape of E, a minor pentatonic idea sliding into the G shape briefly
  • Bar four: back to the A shape revisiting the minor pentatonic idea before resolving to the E note.
The fun could carry on, you could find ways to work your way back up the neck to the open position E or continue down the neck to the E shape at fret 12...

Download PDF.

Till next time...
By Noel Hathaway 03 Nov, 2017
This weeks lick is all about outlining the chords in a progression during a solo. Hopefully in a way that avoids lurching from one to the next but connects together to provide movement and interest.

There are three chords here: E, A and D major. Over the E chord is a an E major arpeggio with an added minor third - G which is used as an approach note to the major third - G#, a very common country guitar idea the flat 5 is also used to add tension, but I've chosen to ignore it for this one. I have though used the flat 7 in a couple of places - even though the underlying chords would be just regular major voicings.

The lick moves through the first position E shape and then slides into the D form next to it.
Over the D chord is a line that outlines a D7 sound - played using the A shaped D at fret 5 as a guide.
Over the A chord are three inversions of A moving up the guitar neck to the E shaped E chord at the 12 fret.
the lick then descends back through the  G shaped E chord on the other side.
By Noel Hathaway 27 Oct, 2017
Circular licks are very satisfying to play. Players such as Albert Lee and Daniel Donato make them their stock in trade.
This weeks lick is in C and starts with a C chord - E form at the 8th position, this is hybrid picked with a little palm muting to the 6th string. You could just use the double stops instead but the Root note on the 6th string holds it together so do try and get it in.
The lick then descends to the next door G form of the C chord via a flat 7, flat 5, flat 3. (B flat, G flat and E flat). midway through bar 2 is a walk through the major pentatonic before sliding back into the E form of the C chord - back home!
The lick finishes with the C blues scale over the E shape C chord to round off the lick. 
There are a number of theory things going on here but try to just see the underlying chord shapes for now. When you have it down try moving it to other Keys.

Have fun!
By Noel Hathaway 24 Oct, 2017
This TeleTuesday started out as an exercise I have been doing recently. Ive been taking a dominant arpeggio, Root - major third - fifth - flat seventh and playing it as Root, flat 3 - major 3, flat 5 - 5, 6 - flat 7. Phew! The practise part was holding the root note over the entire sequence, so developing the fretting hand, its proved rather tricky to do at speed so Ive had to build up the speed gradually so as to not 'learn' my mistakes.
In the key of C the C arpeggio would be C - E flat - E, G flat - G, A - B flat. Below are two arpeggio shapes and fingerings for the I chord C and IV chord F.
By Noel Hathaway 22 Oct, 2017
When the subject of which guitar style to study has come up have you ever found yourself thinking the following?

"Classical guitar - Oh that's not for me, Classical music's  not my thing"

"That's all notated music right... I'm not a reader."

"It's all Spanish and Flamenco stuff - repertoire from  composers long gone..."

These are some of the typical responses I've come across, below though are my thoughts on the instrument and why you should consider taking it up.

Classic/Classical guitar is a term used to describe the form of it - its design, materials and construction as well as many of the techniques that allow players to express themselves on the instrument.  True, it does cover some of the repertoire for it. Bach, Mozart, Tchaikovsky and Vivaldi to name a few are transcribed for 6 strings - 3 of which are nylon.  But there's nothing wrong with that, many of their works sound amazing when played on the guitar.

In its relatively short life composers and players have brought elements of Spanish and Latin folk music to it - as well as Jazz, Bebop, Blues and World music. If you can name it - it can and has been played on the 'classic' guitar, just check out the work of Carlo Domeniconi, Leo Brouwer or Richard Charlton.

To separate music and instrument and associate yourself with only one type of music making makes no sense - music is music whatever means is used to make it.

Okay but what is it and should I learn to play it?

To me the classical guitaris a 6 stringed guitar featuring 3 nylon strings, which help give it its characteristic sound. It has a form which has not changed considerably since its inception, but - just as with all things change does occur even if its not immediately obvious.

As a style of music making it incorporates World music, influenced not only by consumable music but also Jazz, Blues, Rock, Metal, Latin and all things in-between. The repertoire includes music from composers long gone to those alive and creating today.

Yes Classical music is available to study and play, and yes much of it is in notated form, however there isn't a rule that says that you have to study just the classics and reading music, well its a great skill that opens many doors so why not give it a chance. There are alternatives if you don't get on with it...

Personally I have learnt so many techniques that transfer to other guitar styles, benefitted greatly from playing the diverse repertoire for this instrument and learning about and from its great practitioners.  Although I have played Classical guitar for a long time, I have only scratched the surface and am still excited by the possibilities in terms of repertoire and technique. Examples of my playing can be found  here , they are from some time ago and hopefully when time allows I will be able to post more recent pieces.

There is more to the classic guitar than the name suggests and I would encourage anyone thinking of taking up the guitar to maintain an open mind, let go of preconceptions and embrace this wonderful member of the guitar family.
By Noel Hathaway 19 Oct, 2017
This weeks Lick, takes place over two forms of G, (E & G) - see diagram below. It follows on from TeleTuesday_17.10.17 , there are open strings where possible and the lick descends at a steady 1/8th beat through the E shaped G chord. I guess you can also think of it as the first shape of the minor pentatonic.  The star here though are the double stops which are tritones rather than the usual thirds. I think Redd Volkaert makes use of these a lot - check out his spot in ' Pre-Cluster Pluck '.
A tritone is a literal description, the distance between each note is three tones. There are ghosted percussion sounds in-between each double stop for that chicken pickin' feel.

Hope you have fun!
By Noel Hathaway 16 Oct, 2017
A bit of a workout for both hands. This weeks TeleTuesday is a little in the style of Albert Lee, and moves between three CAGED shapes of the C major chord - E, G and A7. If you can see a chord you can see an arpeggio and a scale, and so chords are really useful way of getting about the fretboard.

Licks that use open strings can be played with just a pick, but work best with hybrid picking - Pick, M and A fingers. The aim is to hear all of the notes ringing over each other so don't rush it at first.

Download a PDF here , Have fun!
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