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Learn to Arrange Songs for Guitar at Huber Guitar Studio

Have you ever wanted to play a song on the guitar, but couldn’t find any decent TAB, video, or sheet music to learn to play it? Or you found some TAB or sheet music, but it didn’t capture the whole song or the hook of the song? Maybe you want to play a song on the guitar where the original recording has no guitar at all and come up with your own version of the song. In all of these cases the issue is how to arrange songs for solo guitar or how to arrange a solid guitar accompaniment for singing along.

What is song arranging?

Song arranging is a reworking of a piece of music so it can be played by a different instrument or combination of instruments, or a musical reconceptualization of a previously composed work. As a guitar teacher, part of my job is to help students learn to arrange pop, rock, jazz, and folk songs to meet their skill level and instrumentation needs.

How to arrange songs for voice and guitar

Arranging songs for voice and guitar is a bit easier skill-wise for the guitarist than arranging for solo guitar (see below), but can still be a challenge when trying to distill a full band arrangement down to voice and guitar. Certain choices have to be made by examining the whole song and not just the guitar parts. This includes possibly listening to the bass, drum, and keyboard parts to identify the overall groove (rhythm) of the song. Frequently a rhythm guitar part on a recording may be perfect in a full band arrangement, but it may not be right for solo voice and guitar. Sometimes you may need to simplify the guitar accompaniment to make it easier to sing along with, or you might want to embellish the rhythm guitar to suit the song and make it more interesting.

How to arrange songs for solo guitar 

One of the more challenging feats for a guitarist is to create a chord-melody arrangement of a song for solo guitar where the chords and melody are played at the same time. There are several ways to accomplish this on guitar:

  • Place the melody in the higher register (1st or 2nd String) and play the chords on the strings below at the same time. This is sometimes known as “Jazz Chord Melody”
  • Strum the chords in the spaces between the melody note,  known as Folk or “Carter Style” strumming.
  • Imply the chords with a bass line played by the right hand thumb and play the melody with the right hand fingers (Folk-Blues Finger-style or Travis Picking.)
  • Using a mix of all of the above!
Learn to arrange songs like MS John Hurt at Huber Guitar Studio
The legendary Mississippi John Hurt, a master at Folk-Blues finger-style guitar.

Learn to create your own arrangement!

It goes without saying that the best cover songs are the ones that don’t try to replicate the original as much as ones that cast a new light on the song by creating a new take on it. As an artist, I always try to keep that in mind when working with students to create a new song arrangement. Learning to arrange songs and rework them to meet your own skill-set and ideas is a demanding process, but also very illuminating and can vastly improve your musicianship!

Click on the “schedule now” button to view the available lesson times and schedule a guitar lesson today!

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Now located in the Old Goucher/Charles Village neighborhood!

In March of 2017, Huber Guitar Studio moved from Hampden to the Old Goucher Historic District of lower Charles Village. Old Goucher gets its name from its proximity to the original Goucher College buildings along St. Paul St which are currently occupied by the Baltimore Lab School. We’re located on the 3rd floor of the James E. Hooper House, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, at 100 E. 23rd St.

There several music and arts related offices and studios in the building. Morphius Records, a record label and CD/Vinyl manufacturing and distribution service, is located on the first floor and Lord Baltimore Recording Studio is in the basement.  The building also houses a photography studio, a massage therapist, and a custom bike repair shop.

Parking for Huber Guitar Studio has been much improved since we moved from Hampden! Students and parents can find parking on the parking lot adjacent to the building, or 23rd St and St Paul St.

Huber Guitar Studio
Huber Guitar Studio

Above is a glimpse inside the studio where the guitar lessons take place. Below is the waiting area.

Huber Guitar Studio waiting area
Huber Guitar Studio waiting area
vending area of the James Hooper House
vending area of the James Hooper House
1st floor of the James Hooper House
1st floor of the James Hooper House
Beautiful 19th century staircase in the James Hooper House
Beautiful 19th century staircase in the James Hooper House

Guitar Lessons Tailored to Your Needs!

Custom Guitar Lessons, Tailored to Your Needs

Whether you’ve been playing guitar for years or are just starting out, personalized, one-on-one guitar lessons at Huber Guitar Studio will put you on your own path to excellence with guitar.

At your first lesson, I will sit down with you to find out where you are with your guitar playing and where you would like to go. As we go along, I hope to find out how you work best so we can develop a solid practice routine. From my many years of teaching guitar, I’ve seen that each student has different strengths, musical interests, and time frames to work with, so I hope to learn a lot about you so I can tailor the lessons to meet your needs.

If you are brand new to playing guitar, we’ll start at the beginning, but it’s important to have an idea, even at the very early stages, of your overall expectations and of what style of music you’d like to focus on. It can give you a lot more motivation, if you have some specific goals in mind!

If you’ve been playing for a while and want to take your guitar playing to the next level, I will assess all the aspects of your playing, then ask you about where you’d like to be as a guitarist and about any difficulties in the past that you’ve encountered as well as what you like the most about playing music and guitar.  My goal is to get feedback from you so that we’ll be moving in the direction that feels right for you.

I aim to make my guitar lessons as enjoyable as possible and I hope that after each lesson you’ll feel like you’ve learned something new and will feel motivated to keep your guitar playing moving forward!