Soloing and improvising is often a dreaded topic by many musicians… Why is that? When improvising you are expressing yourself on the spot and most of the time you haven’t had the time to rehearse the exact thing you are playing. When you are a beginner or just still don’t have enough confidence that can be quite overwhelming. Good news is there is nothing to be afraid of. Even a bit of preparation goes a long way so here are some simple tips to get better at improvising:

1. Record yourself playing some chords on your phone

Every phone has a recording app – just press record and give it a go! Don`t think too much about it, the recording is just for yourself. You can also search on YouTube – Em, G, C or whatever keys you prefer, and use what you like as a backing track.

2. Try playing the scale that suits those chords over that recording

A good idea is to actually try all of the notes from that scale against each of the chords and see which sound you like best. Now maybe you are asking yourself the following question: which scale is appropriate to play over certain chords? Here is a hint – if it’s blues and for example it says Em Blues, then try playing the Em Pentatonic. If the song starts with a G chord and ends the same way – then it is probably in the key of G. Figuring out how to pinpoint what scales go over what licks is a quite big of a topic itself. If you want some more insight on this – comment below and Neli will gladly share some tips or record a video!

3. Skip some notes

Do this step only when you are feeling comfortable with a certain scale. Try skipping some notes and playing varied notes, even if they are completely random. Crucial here is to pay close attention to what you are playing because that is required for the next step.

 4. Repeat anything you like the sound of

By gathering combinations you like and repeating them you will be able to create your own phrases, licks and vocabulary of melodies! Experimenting is something Neli always encourages – so try going outside of the box. Don’t stick to the same scale, just remember what notes you are playing and if you like them – repeat.

And don’t forget – even though there is a lot of theory in music, it is an art! Playing what you personally like is the way to develop your own unique style, but also…

5. Play other people’s licks that you like

Listen to your favorite guitarists and try playing along some phrases that they play. This way you not only play something you for sure enjoy, but also get to play with your favorite guitarists! When you learn the lick, you can change it and make it you own. It is way more rewarding to play a lick that you personally figured out, rather than somebody else’s, but a good example can benefit you a lot.

Here is also a comprehensive video on the topic with examples from Neli:

What are you playing these days? We would love to hear or see, so tag Neli on some of her social media channels! For more tips, tricks and support on your guitar journey we invite you to join Neli’s Guitar Family and subscribe to her YouTube channel! If you need further guidance you can also sign up for a lesson HERE – the first one is 50% off!

Good news – the simple answer is “yes”! Nowadays we are quite fortunate when it comes to learning – our parents had to learn from their parents, a friend, visit classes or by ear. Today we have all the knowledge need on the Internet and it is up to us to just find it and utilize it. I encourage you to look for the sources that best suit your goals, but here are some recommendations from Neli for sources of proven quality:

Ultimate Guitar  – is a great tool to have when studying on your own as you can find a lot of great tabs there. For over 1 000 000 songs to be exact! If you subscribe to the pro version, you can open the tabs and slow down the tempo, loop the difficult bars and play along as if it’s a backing track since you can mute your own instrument. And if you don’t want to spend money, the free version is awesome too, especially when combined with the software below.

The community on UG is a very strong one – there are over 10 million registered users and the forum is always buzzing with new topics. There you can find answers to all sorts of questions and place your own. In the article section of the website you can also find tips and tricks, the latest music industry news and some useful reviews.

Guitar Pro – is a multitrack editor of guitar and bass tablature and musical scores, possessing a built-in MIDI-editor, a plotter of chords, a player, a metronome and other tools for musicians. It is not a free software – in order to continuously use it you need to invest in a license. But you have 30 days to decide if it is suitable for you with their “Try Before You Buy” offer. Guitar Pro allows you to edit your music scores and tablature for guitar, bass, and ukulele, as well as create backing tracks for drums or piano. It is a thorough yet user-friendly tool for musicians who wish to get better, compose, or simply play along.

Justin Guitar – in Justin’s website you will find lessons for all levels, tutorials for certain songs, articles on everything guitar… and more! The best thing – everything is free and accessible at all times. If you have the resources to also invest money he offers also digital courses and an app for beginners which is available for iOS. Justin is an experienced musician and excellent teacher which is why you will usually find his website in most lists for the best online guitar lessons websites.

In the adventure of learning how to play the guitar on your own, the support of like-minded people will help you a lot. That is why we are inviting you to our Guitar Family! Join us for some guitar talk, free lessons, tips, tricks and more. If you have a question the answer to which you have trouble finding – we will gladly find it for you!

Holding the guitar pick wrong is one of the most common mistakes self-taught guitarists make – and many go on years without realizing how much it is actually holding them back. Holding you pick right is a minor adjustment, which can make the biggest impact on your performance and comfort. Search no further, here we have gathered everything you need to know for the best way to hold your guitar pick.

But let’s start with…

How to NOT hold your pick

A great deal of people are holding their picks in a “cross shape” or the same way you hold a pencil (like on the image) and will try to convince you that is the proper way. Do not believe such people and avoid at all cost turning this way of holding the pick into a habit. Habits are hard to overpower and as you are progressing this will make it harder for you to play more complex music.

So here is what you should do instead…

How TO hold your pick

Below are the three steps to the correct way of holding a pick:

  1. Curl up your fingers like a hook (most importantly the index finger);
  2. Put the pick on top so that if you draw a line through the middle it would be perpendicular to your index finger;
  3. Place your thumb on top.

That’s it! By holding the pick this way you are able to strum way easier, because your hand is parallel to the guitar. What is more, this reduces the risk of straining and injuring your wrist. Intermediate players pay attention – this technique will make it easier for you to also use the palm muting technique.

Another thing you should think about is how much of your pick is poking out. Think about it this way – if you are holding a pen way back, it is very hard to actually write something. On the other hand, if you hold it close to the tip you have much more control and can write with accuracy. Same goes for your pick. If you hold it at the end you don’t have much control over it – it might even end up flying off of your hand – or you would have to apply a lot of pressure to keep it in place. If you instead hold it closer and have just a little poking out, you would be able to strum way more precisely without much pressure. But beware! Don’t hold it so close, that the strings are cutting through your fingers.


The best way to get it right is through experimenting. See what works best for you: how much of your pick should poke through, how tight you should hold it, how curled your fingers feel comfortable, what position spares your wrist most.

If you haven’t met the pick of your dreams yet, here are some links to Neli’s favorite ones:
Versatile – suitable for electric and acoustic guitars – Tortex Dunlop .88mm –
Great Grip – also versatile picks – Assorted, so you can with sizes etc. – Dunlop Jazz –
Acoustic Guitar – Variety Dunlop Pack –

This is a lesson learnt best through a demonstration so Neli`s got you covered also with a video that for sure will make it all clear:

This tip is also something you would already know, if you are part of Neli’s mailing list! If that is not the case, you can join anytime HERE. If you need further guidance you can also sign up for a lesson HERE – the first one is 50% off!

As an Amazon Associate Neli earns from qualifying purchases.

Deciding to start guitar lessons is utterly exciting. However, as the first lesson approaches, many students are wondering what they need to know before it, how exactly it will go, whether they should prepare something, and so on. In order to save you the hassle, we have gathered here everything you need to know about your first lesson with Neli!

Getting to know each other

Take your first lesson as an “acquaintance” – as important as it is for you to get to know your teacher, it is all the more important to let your teacher get to know you.

One of the first things Neli will ask you is what your experience with the guitar is so far – if you have any. Other important questions that will arise are what kind of guitar you want to learn, what styles of music you are interested in, what musicians inspire you – everything that will help Neli get an idea of ​​what kind of musician you want to be.

Remember – there are no wrong answers! If you already have some experience, do not worry at all about what level your playing is at or how much you know about music theory. If you are not sure what style you want to play yet, this also will come with time. You don’t need to know everything in advance – the reason for attending guitar lessons is that you want to develop your playing. The lessons with Neli are a place where you will learn about music, guitar and yourself.

Adjusting the guitar

After you clear these things, Neli will show you how to tune your guitar – with a tuner or by ear. You will also need to know the string names for this. If you’re still a stranger to them though, don’t worry! You’ll learn them together, and you’ll get a template that shows you where the notes on the guitar are.

Basic techniques

In this very first lesson, Neli will also teach you some basic techniques or theories. Depending on your previous experience and knowledge, these may be new chords, she might teach you how to read the chord charts themselves or introduce you to the Chromatic Scale (or a part of it). Don’t be frightened at all – everything will be according to your level.

In the meantime…

While all of this is happening, Neli will get familiar with the way you study – whether you learn better from written materials, through demonstration, or by hearing. This will allow her to design a personalized program for you, with which you will develop your skills most effectively and pleasantly.

In your first lesson, you will not learn how to become a rock star or how to play your favorite song, but you and Neli will lay a solid foundation for success. Take advantage of a 50% discount on your first lesson – sign up HERE today and start your musical adventure!

Not one or two people have found inspiration, joy, solace, and a lifelong companion in the guitar. In these 10 quotes, you will discover the feelings of some great musicians towards their guitars, and maybe a muse to start your own musical adventure with a guitar in hand. Among the quotes, you will also see part of Neli Music’s guitar collection (and one ukulele)!

“I had no aspirations to be a musician, but I picked up a guitar for two seconds and haven’t put it down since.”

Slash from Guns and Roses

“I always remember my old man saying to me, ‘If you have a guitar you’ll never be alone’ and I thought that was a very dramatic thing to say, but now that I’m 43 I’d be fucked without that thing.  It’s the one thing you can rely on every day. No matter what’s going on, you pick that up and all of a sudden everything feels all right.”

Kelly Jones from the Stereophonics

“A guitar is like an old friend that is there with me.”

B. B. King

“This guitar is such a pal. It’s a psychiatrist. It’s a doggone bartender. It’s a housewife. This guy is everything. Whenever I find that I’ve got a problem, I’ll go pick my guitar up and play. It’s the greatest pal in the whole world.”

Les Paul

“You couldn’t not like someone who liked the guitar.”

Stephen King

“I just want to be able to play and make people feel good with what I do. When you’re thinking that way, anything can happen. And, usually, what happens is good.”

Mark Knopfler

“A guitar is a very personal extension of the person playing it. You have to be emotionally and spiritually connected to your instrument.”

Eddie Van Halen

“Playing guitar is like telling the truth.”

B. B. King

Nothing is more beautiful than a guitarsave perhaps two.”

Fredric Chopin 

“Someone told me the smile on my face gets bigger when I play the guitar.”

Niall Horan from One Direction

Which of these quotes did you like most? Get more inspiration on Neli Music’s Instagram profile and YouTube channel! If you are ready for your first lesson, Neli is offering a 50% discount – sign up HERE today!

So you’ve heard about online guitar lessons but you’re not sure whether that is a good idea? You wouldn’t know for sure until you give it a try, but there are some undeniable benefits of online guitar lessons that you should consider. Online classes are not a new thing and have proven their value and effectiveness by being the preferred learning method by many. Same goes for guitar lessons! Here are 6 perks of taking your lessons online:

  1. Choose your teacher

Probably the best benefit of learning online is that you can access great professionals of your liking anywhere in the world. You can pick a teacher that’s a good fit for you personally because your choices are not just limited to the classes within your city. You can check out performances of the teacher and look for someone with a certain specialty before enrolling. That super awesome performer you saw on Instagram can be your new teacher!

  1. Flexibililty

A lot of people are interested in learning to play the guitar, but because of lack of sufficient time don’t do it. You may have a chaotic class schedule, work commitments, or other responsibilities that scare you off because you don’t believe you can fit a class in your schedule. Taking online classes will save you a lot of time – all the travelling back and forth to a specific place – which might be just the time reduction needed to fit the guitar lesson in your day.  Also, since neither you nor your teacher would have to spend time travelling you will both be more flexible when setting the time for your lesson.

  1. Cost-Efficiency

Having one-to-one online lessons wouldn’t deprive you from much of what an in person lesson would include, but you will save money. On one hand because neither you nor  your teacher will spend money on transportation and thus the fee for the lesson would be smaller. And on the other hand you can benefit actually also from the exchange rate if your teacher is in another county. For example last year Neli moved to Bulgaria – a country whose currency is cheaper than the British pound and the Euro for example. Thus she can offer her high quality lessons for a price that would be smaller than the usual rate in other countries.

  1. Individual approach

There are numerous ways in which you can learn the guitar, but in Neli’s years of experience the best way is through individual approach. In online classes it goes exactly the same as in in person lessons. The students learn best through music they personally like – and that’s what they get – tailored lessons with their favorite songs. Online it is even easier to directly exchange songs and files with exercises in real time during the lesson!

  1. Warming up and continuing to practice

In the comfort of your home you can start with the warm up before the actual class starts. This way you will not only show off your best playing to your teacher but will also get more out of the lesson. Also after you are done with the class you can just continue practicing and make sure you got everything right. You can also reach out to your teacher at any time in  between your lessons to ask for additional support.

  1. Recording lessons

If you are learning through live online sessions, with the consent of your teacher you can easily record your lessons for review at a later time. This way you will have the confidence to cover everything from each lesson on your own before continuing forward. Your teacher can also write down what you should focus on, so that you don’t get overwhelmed.

Find out even more benefits of online lessons by enrolling in one! Neli offers 50% discount of your first online lesson! Sign up for one here today! You can also start with some of Neli Music’s free YouTube tutorials like this one and this one for free.

That simple up-and-down stroke you make across the strings of your guitar, with your fingers or a pick is called strumming – a guitar technique that is important but often underestimated. It doesn’t matter if you are a pop, metal or a rock musician – at some point you are going to want to strum the guitar. The truth is also that it is relatively simple for most guitarists with even just a bit of playing experience to learn specific strumming patterns and with some practice they come very much in handy when a certain song or style requires it.

A good strumming technique is definitely a skill in the toolkit of every pro and hobby guitarist so why not add it right away? Below you will find everything you need to kick off your strumming for free – essential tips for getting the most from your strumming exercises, a worksheet with exercises for all levels and a video tutorial where you can hear and see for yourself.

So here is how you should start:

1. Get some picks.

Unless you insist on strumming with your bare fingers, you’ll need picks. They vary in thickness so it will be best if you buy a multipack with varied ones, to choose the one that suits you best personally. Once you settle on what’s most comfortable, I suggest you get some extra picks of that thickness, because you are going to lose some for sure!

It is also CRUCIAL to hold the pick right. But we have you covered on that too – here is a video on how to hold your pick that will teach you all you need to know!

2. Loosen your wrist

In order to strum the guitar correctly you should make sure you are not locking your wrist: remember always not to strum just from your elbow. You need to relax and use some wrist motion. Otherwise you risk causing yourself an injury to the elbow, or just getting tired faster.

3. Don`t stop moving your strumming hand

Your strumming hand needs to be moving at all times, even when you’re not hitting any strings for a couple of beats. This way you will save yourself a lot of worrying about whether you need to move your hand up or down next as it will already be in the correct position. It will be much easier to be in rhythm and will save you some space in your mind to think about other components of your performance.

4. No need to hit all the strings every time

Don`t let worrying over how to hit all the correct strings get you all worked up and stressed when strumming. You might think you need to hit all the strings from a chord with every strum, but that’s not the case. Just remember that less strings is always better than hitting the wrong ones and aim for the higher strings. Remember that your main job is to keep up the groove. Don`t worry, you will get it with some practice!

5. Get excited!

Yes, that’s right! More than any other guitar technique, good strumming depends on enthusiasm. The simplicity and immediacy of strumming needs a bit of enthusiasm to really bring to life any melody. If you don`t believe that, try it for yourself – once you’ve roughly learned how to strum a song, record yourself playing it. Now put the guitar down and watch a live performance of that song – one that would really inspire you. Now get back to the guitar and pour that energy into your next performance and record it again. Can you hear the difference? Now that is the enthusiasm!

Now that you know all of that you are ready for some exercises! GET THEM HERE. And do not worry on which step of your strumming journey you are – the levels here vary from 1 to 7 so there is something for you in there for sure!An image is a worth a thousand words they say, so how much would a video be? In any case, here is also a FREE video lesson on strumming to top off everything you learned so far:

Want to learn how to play the guitar? Understandable. Who doesn’t want to play the guitar solo from their favorite track or serenade a dear person with a special song? In addition to being a lot of fun, playing the guitar comes with a bunch of other benefits that you shouldn`t neglect. Such as…

  1. Reduces stress

You are having a tough day? A walk along the guitar fretboard can make you feel much better. Immersion in an activity that is enjoyable – like playing a guitar, will make you forget all the worries. Health benefits from spending some time with your guitar have also been proven – the Harvard University Health Center conducted a study on the effects of music on patients undergoing cardiac surgery and found out that ballads do indeed reduce nervousness.

2. Make friends

With a guitar in hand, you will certainly make a lot of new friendships too. Playing in a band or participating in a jam session (a concert where all the musicians present can take part and improvise) is a great way to meet new people. The common passion will bring you together with the right people – even if you don’t play together, music is a great topic for conversation that will surely bring you closer to like-minded people.

3. Become the life of the party!

With a guitar in hand and even beginner’s skills, no party will be boring if you are there! Live music makes every event special. This way you will not only provide entertainment for yourself on every occasion but also for the rest of the people.

4. Improves math and English skills

Yes, that too! Music theory is based on mathematical concepts, including how scales and chords work. So even the brief playing of several chords actually sharpens basic arithmetic skills. Reading music is also similar to a language, and in turn sharpens your comprehension skills. Furthermore, if you are looking for information on the Internet – you will find it mainly in English, which will inevitably expand your English vocabulary. But if something is not clear, you can always send a message or email – just follow the links below. 🙂

  1. Develops multitasking skills

While playing, guitarists not only develop their musical skills – they also train their ability to multitask. To be a good guitar player you will need to be able to simultaneously:

  • Read notes, chords, or tabs;
  • Listen and analyze sounds in real time;
  • Keep rhythm;
  • Play the right strings with one hand…
  • While with the other you press the strings for the right tones or create chord shapes.

And when you get to the stage, you’ll have to keep track of what’s going on and around it… Your ability to multitask will develop at the speed of light and quickly talking on the phone while stirring a pot on the stove will be child’s play! 😀

It doesn’t matter if you are in London, New York, Hong Kong, Sicily, Cairo, Sydney, the other end of the world, or near me in Sofia, Bulgaria, to start studying! Sign up for a lesson live or online here. You can also start with some of Neli Music’s free YouTube tutorials like this one and this one.

Taylor Nylon String Guitar, Guitar Lesson

When I started out teaching, I was quite lost on what to do during a guitar lesson with a new student. Over the years I have devised a method, which I wanted to share with you in case you are wondering where to start. I offer the first guitar lesson for half price as I get to know my students and the way they learn during that time. It doesn’t really take me any time to prepare as I just ask them some questions and use the materials I’m about to share with you below. I use these steps and their order can of course be changed (apart from tuning I guess – it is the most important thing tot each in my opinion).

  •  I make sure they know how to tune their guitar – with a tuner and if I have time – by ear. For that they also need to know the names of the open strings.
  • I teach them the Chromatic Scale (or a part of it), so I can evaluate how all of their fingers work independantly.
  • I see what chords they already know, and if none, then I show them some basic chords and explain how to read fretboxes.
  • Find out what music they like. This is the second most important thing. There are MANY ways in which you can learn the guitar. What better way to do it than with the songs and artists you LOVE? I believe that’s why my students progress quickly.

Here are the 2 compulsory sheets I give my students in the first lesson:

If you’d like a consultation or you simply want to start your guitar lessons, feel free to CONTACT ME with any questions.

Hope this helps and wish you a lovely day!
All the best!
Neli 🙂