Free lessons Aids

Beginners Basic Blues Progression in C

Today I’d like to share one of the lessons / handouts I’ve created to work through with some of my beginner guitarists in relation to the legendary 12 Bar Blues.  

When looking for lesson content to get my students building on their strumming patterns and chord changing, the 12 Bar Blues is a very useful template.  In its most basic form of just 3 chords, this can be developed from the most simple rhythm of , 4 x ‘down strums’  and then adding complexity at a suitable rate.

When working with people who come to guitar playing with no experience, yet love music, this is something I have found works often, as even with Major Chords the sound of the progression is recognisable as Blues.  As the students become more learned in chords I substitute the Major Chords for Dominant 7 chords and then onto more complex chords and introduce a shuffle rhythm.  

The main focus for me with beginners is to get their hands and fingers moving around progressions once they know some chords, if they recognise the sounds they create then this is a great driver.

The handout below is also great for building in an awareness of strumming 4 times per bar and getting a feel for 12 bars and a turnaround.  Some people pick this up instinctively but not so with all learners.  I’ve found this a useful starting point!


Click Here for PDF version

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12 Bar Blues in C

Categories: Downloadable Guitar PDFs, Free lessons Aids, Lessons, Open Chords, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

New Free Resources

Hi All,

I have just added some more diagrams to my ‘Free Resources‘ page.  These are all PDF quality hand out prints and I will continue to add to them.  There are a range of things on there at the moment from Chord Charts to Guitar Diagrams.  The most recent is of a split page of Acoustic Guitar Labelled Diagram / Strings on Guitar & Electric Guitar Labelled Diagram / Strings on Guitar.  These are for students and teachers alike.  Please head over and have a look and download for your use.



Categories: Downloadable Guitar PDFs, Free lessons Aids, Lessons, notes on the guitar fretboard, teaching resources | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Free virtual play along Folk Sessions

A great one for this week!

It’s always good when my guitar students bring things to my attention that I was otherwise unaware of.  This time it is regarding free play along folk sessions on the BBC website.

For those of you interested in Folk music, all aspects and styles that is!   You can click the link below and choose your preferred Folk song choice (Reel, Jig etc…) and with your guitar at the ready you can then strum or pick along.

Playing along to music is one sure-fire way to improve your timing and stamina and appreciation of playing with something other than yourself.

These sessions have audio and also printable chord sheets.

Thanks to Jack for sending this our way 🙂


BBC Virtual Folk Sessions


See you next time


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Electric Guitar Diagram with Label Descriptions

A new week of learning as ever.

Monday’s my perfect morning to sit down at my laptop and look over how I want my guitar teaching week to begin.  This week I’ve added some descriptions to the electric guitar diagram I posted last week over at my Free Resources page.  These PDFs are nuggets of information serving use to beginners to introduce the guitar parts.   They are also very useful to those teaching who are looking for a concise reference sheet to prompt info and also to give out to their students.  If you would like any more in-depth information your choices are to 1) Message me  2) Surf the net  3) Pretend you already know everything.  I say the first two may help you find out more but 3) sometimes works!

Mainly I hope you find these as useful as I do when I’m starting to get ideas of what makes up a guitar to my students.


It always helps to have an idea of what comprises the tools you are using and getting to know.  For me I love knowing how things work and ultimately I feel more connected to things the more I understand them.  As a beginner it can induce a teeny bit of fear when something so simple as  a string breaks.  The concept of having to replace something you don’t understand can be a bit overwhelming.   Well…I say learn about it, let it break, learn what it does and how it works and get stuck in there…

Any questions just ask!

Happy learning folks 🙂

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Electric Guitar Diagram

Well after sitting honing my Illustrator skills I have completed my labelled diagram of an electric guitar.  After playing guitar for 20 years it never ceases to amaze me how much I learn and relearn about things I already thought I knew!

I’m primarily putting up the diagram with labels this week and shall follow with some descriptions of the labels very soon.  The PDF will be again on my Free Resources page to be downloaded and printed at your leisure.

Anatomy of the Electric Guitar diagram

What I have learned through doing this is how many different shapes and sizes and mere ideas of guitars are in existence.  It has made me wish to play every single one of them just to hear and feel the fine – tuning differences.  I only learned yesterday that Pythagoras was responsible for the way we use the divisions of notes in music today.  The physics of music seems to interest me greatly 🙂

My weapons of choice in electric guitar world are currently a Fender Thinline Tele ’72 which has a beautiful sound and my Jackson DK3 from my metal band and University days (this will never leave).  I’m now eyeing up everything..


Categories: Downloadable Guitar PDFs, Free lessons Aids, Music Theory, pythagoras, teaching resources, the physics of music | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Basic ‘Open Chord’ chart

This week in the world of my guitar tutoring I heard the cries for a chord summary on one sheet.  A selection of the basic open chords on a single reference sheet.  Easy to glance at and a digestible number of chords to work towards achieving.

I usually advise my beginner students to master the clean playing of these chords in order to strengthen their fingers and grasp this concept of guitar playing.  We begin to learn chords. 2, 3 or 4 at a time depending on learning pace and then we work at fitting them together and learning to move between them.   There’s usually a song or 5000 which we can learn in order to familiarise the process and have a bit of fun too between the aching fingers 🙂

Open Chords #1

The Open Chord sheet #1 is also in PDF format on my Free Resources page.   A couple of my students are left – handed and so I’ve adapted this for them in reverse format.  Anyone who is interested in this version just message me and I’ll send it on over.

Enjoy and keep strumming!


Categories: Downloadable Guitar PDFs, Free lessons Aids, Music Theory, Open Chords, teaching resources | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

#2 extra

It was brought to my attention yesterday on uploading my Notes on the Guitar Neck diagram that people have different ways of viewing guitar diagrams/tabs/chords.  I had a little think and decided to offer an alternative.  This new pdf to go alongside yesterdays one shows the guitar neck from right – left. This means the open strings are on the right hand side of the page.  Yesterdays version goes left – right with the open strings shown at the left hand side of the page.

The choice is now yours!  Head to Free Resources for them in their full glory.

Jo 🙂

Notes on the Guitar Fretboard (right to left)

Notes on the Guitar Fretboard (right to left)

Categories: Downloadable Guitar PDFs, Free lessons Aids, Music Theory, notes on the guitar fretboard, teaching resources | Leave a comment

#2: Notes on the Guitar Neck

Week 2!

In continuation of my downloadable and printable materials I have compiled a diagram of the guitar neck complete with the notes on all 6 six strings.

The guitar neck can be a bit intimidating at first but once you start to see the patterns you will find your way around it in no time.  To begin on your journey feel free to print off my guitar neck diagram. It shows the notes on the neck from the open strings E, A, D, G, B, E all the way up to the 15th fret.

Notes on the Guitar Fretboard (left to right)

Notes on the Guitar Fretboard (left to right)

The guitar frets/notes ascend and descend chromatically. Once you become familiar with the different frets and chords as actual notes (and not just shapes) you will open up a whole new understanding of the guitar as an instrument.

Any questions send me a message and i’ll help as much as possible.

Other than that enjoy and head over to  Free Resources to see what else you can benefit from in the world of Jo Bywater Guitar Tuition!

See you next week!


Categories: Downloadable Guitar PDFs, Free lessons Aids, Music Theory, notes on the guitar fretboard, teaching resources | Tags: , , , , | 6 Comments

Acoustic guitar diagram

Anatomy of the Acoustic Guitar Diagram

A taster of what’s to come..

This labelled diagram of an acoustic guitar has been uploaded onto the free resources page along with an introduction to what the parts of the guitar do and are made from. Feel free to refer to and to use these visual aids.


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2013 and free downloadable resources!

Firstly..Happy New Year!  I extend my best wishes for the creative and musical year to come.

On a recent search for some good printouts for my lessons I discovered they weren’t so easy to come by.  This spurred me on to create and develop my own resources page. I’m a dab hand at using Illustrator and thought I’d jump right in there and get this moving.  All the resources I create for my lessons will make it onto this website as downloadable PDF files.  This will be anything from guitar diagrams to chord diagrams and everything in between.  If you have any ideas for things you would like to see on the Free resources page send me a message and I’ll see what I can muster up.

We all need some good clear visual aids for learning and teaching and I promise to put some good ones up here.

Enjoy and keep practising!


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