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Songwriting Satisfaction: The Importance of Connecting With Your Audience

Songwriting Satisfaction: The Importance of Connecting With Your Audience

Today’s post is a reminder for me of why I started writing songs…the same reason Robin Williams’ character in “Dead Poets Society” was enthusiastic about poetry – to woo women! Granted, the (young) woman effectively wooed by my lullaby in this video is my daughter.

Some day I may have a more commercial type of success. But even now I can say that at least one of my songs totally hit the mark and connected with my intended audience. This simple lullaby will probably never make the Billboard top 40, but knowing I connected has already given me enough of a taste of success to keep trying.

Whether you’re writing for fun or profit, connecting with your intended audience is one of the most important success factors in songwriting. This is something I try to do with every song – with varying levels of success. 🙂

Have you written something that totally connected with your audience in a way that makes a great memory? Does it give you the drive to keep writing more?

Leave a comment below and let us know how that played out?



Standard Tuning Part II: Tuning Using Relative String Pitch

Here’s my second “how to tune a guitar” video filmed a couple years ago. It’s a short tutorial on how to tune a guitar when you don’t have a tuner, applying the knowledge of how each string should sound relative to the other adjacent strings.

Leave a comment below to let us know your favorite method for tuning a guitar. If there’s anything we can do to help you learn, let us know that too.

Peace, and happy pickin’!


5 Minute Guitar Lessons Fake Book – How to Fake Hank Williams “Jambalaya on the Bayou”

Hank Williams was a true master musician who had the gift of connecting with people. Jambalaya (on the Bayou) was a straight forward song about a man looking forward to good times, good food, good drink, all in the company of the woman he loved.

Craig from lays out the basic strum pattern and chord progression to help you fake this song and make it your own. So get out your guitar and get ready to pick and sing along.

Who ‘dat down there in da bayou?!?!?!?

(Dude! I feel Cajun, already!)

Comment to let me know!

Peace and happy Pickin’!


Fake Any Song Lesson 3: I, IV and V, Three Chords You Need to Know

Here’s the final installment of how to fake any song in 3 lessons.  Craig shows how to find the root (I Chord), and then identify the IV and V chords of any song, enabling you to fake your way through thousands of country, rock and roll and other popular songs.

I’ve tried to pack as much into these three short lessons as possible to help you pick up the basics of playing guitar as quickly as possible. While it will take some practice for a brand new guitarist to pick up these skills, I think I’ve provided the bare-bones basics of what it takes to fake your way through a whole lot of songs, and have fun doing it.

I know how helpful understanding the concept of I, IV and V was to me when I began to understand music theory. When I grasped it and finally wrapped my brain (and my ears) around the way the chords worked, my ability to pick up songs improved dramatically. Please comment below to let me know what you think.

If you find the content helpful, be sure to subscribe to our guitar lesson email newsletter using the form on the right of the page. I’ll be sure to keep you in the loop as we add more lessons, tips and tricks to make it more fun for you to play – as quickly as possible.

It’s totally free and your 1st issue will include a starter guide to the 5 songs you can fake today using the techniques I discussed in these three lessons.

In case you lost the links to the other two lessons in the series, here they are again:

Fake Any Song – Lesson One: Open D Tuning

Fake Any Song – Lesson Two: How to Strum A Guitar


And Happy picking!


Coming Soon – The 5MinuteGuitarLessons Fake Book – You Pick the Songs

It’s been a busy year or so with a crazy amount of project work in my day job, so I haven’t had much time to work on new lesson content. But over the last several months, I’ve taken some some time to stock up on studio gear and a new and improved video creation arsenal. I’ve also jotted down a few ideas for the next steps for through the end of the year.

The next 5mgl project will be a series of lessons (and possibly a printable or printed manual) showing how to fake 10-25 popular songs. I’ve got my ideas of what songs to include, but to make this more useful to the folks who check out this site, I thought I’d ask for a little help – FROM YOU! (more…)

5 Steps to Curing Writer’s Block

Here’s a re-post of an article I wrote a few years back on Overcoming Writer’s Block.  I was going through some of my notes, and found this helpful in getting past the blank page.  Hope you find it helpful, too!

– Craig

Songs just don’t materialize out of thin air – most of the time. For most great lyrics, someone has spent considerable time writing, revising, gathering feedback and rewriting to build their masterpiece. Writing is work, and it’s not always easy.

I’d like to say (more…)

Fake any Song – Lesson 2: How to Strum a Guitar

Howdy from scenic Ponder, TX, and welcome back to  Today’s post is the 2nd lesson in our series on how to fake any song in 3 lessons.  It deals with the basics of strumming, and gives a few patterns to use when faking songs in 4/4 and 3/4 time.  This is especially important for beginners to grasp, since more complex rhythms we’ll learn later will require a strong foundation in basic strumming.  That is, if you don’t get this part right, it’ll be a LOT harder to learn anything really technical down the line.

So grab your favorite 6-or-12-string, enjoy the video, and spend a little time practicing the basics.

Don’t forget to check out the practice aid here!

Thanks for watching!

Rock on!


Standard Tuning Part I: Using an Electronic Tuner

Thanks for the feedback on the Open D tuning video.  Since viewing the post last week,  a few of you have emailed to ask for tips on tuning the guitar to standard tuning.  There are several ways to do this.  The most common is to use an electronic guitar tuner.

Anyway, I filmed a short example of how to do this using my Korg GT3 tuner I’ve had for years.

The practice aid can be found here: Standard Tuning Part I: Using an Electronic Tuner

Over the next couple weeks, in addition to the “Fake any Song…” series, I’ll add a couple others to the tuning topic, showing methods to tune your guitar, even when you leave your tuner at home.

As always, please feel free to post comments to let me know how you like the video.



Fake Any Song – Lesson 1: Open D Tuning

I’ve been working on a series of videos aimed at taking a complete newbie through faking almost any straightforward pop/rock/country song in 3 lessons. This is the test of my “get good enough fast enough, and you’ll stick with it longer” theory. My hope is that you’ll be able to take these lessons, learn the basic skills, and open the door to a lifetime of fun with the guitar.

There are really only two fundamentals of faking a song. The first is playing the rhythm (strumming or picking). The second is forming the chords (making shapes on the fretboard). I think the best way to teach skills is in isolation. New players shouldn’t be distracted by complicated chord shapes while learning to strum. If you can learn to play the rhythm, and get a few reps under your fingers, you’ll be ready to add some simple chord work, and voila!

So this video is the first of the three “Fake any Song” lessons. The focus is on open tuning. (It’s really the fourth in a series on tuning – the rest will be coming soon). In my mind, it’s almost a prerequisite to learning the fundamentals of rhythm guitar. It sets you up for success with rhythm, by simplifying what you’ll be doing with your fretboard hand.

Take a look, give it a whirl, and post a comment to let me know what you think!

Update 2/8/10: The practice aid for this lesson can be found here: Practice Aid: Open D Tuning

Look for the rest of the series soon – Lesson 2:How to Strum a Guitar, and Lesson 3: Unlocking I, IV, V

Rock on, my friends!