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Pivoting Techniques

Module 1 

Writing on the Guitar

 Songwriter exclusive

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Pivoting Techniques 

1. What are you going to learn? 

This course delivers a specific skill set of guitar techniques, the pivoting techniques, to help you develop very creative guitar accompaniments in your songs. It is part of the creative guitar school songwriting modules.

You will learn to make melodies with chords to match the emotional variations of the vocal line, to enjoy yourself even more in music,  and open a pathway that will allow your inner creativity to flow seamlessly and therefore take your songs to a world class level. 

2. What will you be able to do afterwards?

After you have finished the course, the next time you see a Dm chord, you will no longer just strum it, but make it sound like what the pro piano player or orchestra would do, behind the vocalist of a song. 

You will never play a standard chordal shape in the same manner. Your first impulse or option, will no longer be to strum all the strings at the same time, but to choose from other better sounding shapes to create melodic lines that define the groove, the chord and harmonic context.

You will be able  to accompany with more or less intensity, playing chords with one note, two notes or three at a time, with more or less rhythm,  in lower or higher registers, and always creating beautiful melodic lines. 

And, you will also be able to apply the pivoting techniques, in different styles, with different guitar sounds, in different modes and keys.

3.  Does this ever happen to you? 

  • Don’t you get tired of always playing your typical chords in the same manner?
  • Have you ever felt that a song is boring and thought that adding a new section would solve the problem but it didn’t? 
  • Do you ever feel the need to play a second verse with more power but you do not know how to? 
  • Have you ever taken your new song to your band, and when they play it, all the accompaniment sounds like just one big sonic mass of chords, where you cannot hear what you play, and need to crank up your guitar or vocals? 

I must say… all the previous has happened to me a lot, and that is why I developed the pivoting techniques that I will share with you. 

3.1 How can you solve these problems and many more?

So, how can you solve these problems and many more? By applying my pivoting techniques, adding extreme melodic value to your accompaniment, reinventing your selected chords and making them pulsate, come alive. 

As a result, your accompaniment will sound clearer, groovier.  It will make the song sound more interesting. Furthermore, the accompaniment can now be louder in the mix and not have to sit in the boring background.  

You will be able to repeat sections of a song and never get tired of them, as you will learn to create variations, to match the emotional contour of the vocal line in the soft and extreme emotions. 

4. How does the course work?

4.1 What do you need to know to take the course?

This course is for songwriters and guitarists of all levels. The examples are written with tabs and standard notation. But, you will further benefit, if you know how to read standard notation. 

You must have an understanding of basic open string chords.  It will also be beneficial if you can sing songs and play chords at the same time,  and, if you can play along the recorded original tracks of your favourite songs.

Have you taken the prerequisite test to see where you are, and to find out what else you would need to work on before signing up for the course ? If not please do so. 

4.2 The Prerequisite Test

Before we begin, we’d like to learn a bit about your level of guitar playing. 

In order to follow the course and benefit from it you need to have:

  • A basic understanding of how to read, both music written with tabs and standard.
  • A thorough understanding of basic open string chords.  
  • The ability to sing full songs and play chords at the same time.
  • Transcriptions skills: the ability to hear a melody, play it on the guitar and write it in tab or music notation.

To see where you are, and to find out what else you would need to work on before signing up for the course please do the following two assignments:

  • Download this track and pdf file. ( insert link)
  • Learn the melody and chords.
  • Record your own version of both melody and accompaniment, and submit as an mp3 file to
  • Write the melody with tabs and rhythmic notation and submit to
  • Submit a recording ( mp3 file to of you playing another song of your choice. You have to decide what the word play a song means to you. 

Thank you, and have fun!

Pivoting techniques

4.2 Course flow

The course lasts twelve weeks and is divided into thirteen video lessons of approximately five minutes duration each. I will deliver the first two lessons in the first week. 

Please follow each video with its transcript in the text section of each lesson. The text version also has the scores and the download links. 

4.2.1 What to do every week ?

Each lesson is unlocked on a weekly basis. 

You need to:

1. Complete all weekly assignments by the deadline, to have active access to the new lesson. 

2. Sign up every week, (check emails, announcements)  for the google hangouts session with the teacher two days prior to the session. There are only ten spaces per session. Please submit your questions via our google group category at least 24 hours before the session. If you cannot make it to the session, do not worry as you will have access to the video of such session, that I will leave in our group google drive folder.

3. Participate in the  group google forum and review your classmates’ questions and assignments.

Please read the course index to understand the specific lesson layout and timetables.

4.3 Assignments

Every weekly lesson has a set of assignments. You must complete them all in a satisfactory manner,  in the same week, to be able to progress and have access to the next lesson. If you do not complete the assignments, you will no longer be able to participate actively in the group. 

There are four types of assignments in each lesson

  1. Skill Test: A quiz of multiple choice questions to help you understand the topic. This assignment is self assessed.
  2. Play along with me:  A selection of examples for you to play along with, to learn and copy a technique. Memorise all chords, shapes, combinations and repeat all the play along examples until you can fluently play with me at the same time. If you struggle,  slow down the tempo using the button on the video settings, but, before moving on to the assignment section, you need to have mastered all play along examples.
  3. Create your own:In this assignment you create your own examples to develop specific techniques. You will need to record them, so you will need access to recording equipment, for example a smartphone. You must submit your recording to our google group forum for peer review and interaction. 
  4. Inspire: And last but most important is the inspire assignment. You will compose your own examples with vocals or lead, to prove your mastery level. You will need to record this assignment, but in this case, you will need a multitrack digital recorder as garage band or similar. You are required to submit to the teacher via our group google drive. Look for your gmail invitation to join. 

4.3.1. Grades

You will only receive grades for the Inspire assignments. These you must submit to the teacher by the group google drive. 

Each completed inspire assignment will grant you a skill certification.Once you have finished them all  you will receive the final certification called Mastery of Pivoting Techniques.

5. How will you learn and master the Pivoting Techniques

You will learn to master these techniques in four stages:

  • Stage 1: In stage one you will learn between four or five different shapes of the seven chords in the C major scale. You will also learn to easily transpose these shapes to other keys as D and E , with the use of a capo. 
  • Stage 2. In stage two, with the objective of creating an accompaniment to the vocal line,  you will learn to create melodies with all these shapes, with the top, middle and bottom notes of the chords.
  • Stage 3.  In stage three you will learn to play the chords with one, two or three notes, ostinatos, pedals, added 7ths, stepped melodic lines, combinations and variations, to match the groove and the desired intensity of your accompaniment.
  • Stage 4. I stage four you will Master this knowledge by combining all tools and creating your own accompaniments. 

5. Steps to take before commencement

1. Sign up for the starting date  

Once you have submitted your prerequisite test and have been accepted, sign up for your desired starting date. ( view announcements or follow this link)

2. Pay

You will then receive confirmation and an invoice for payment of the course. Once you have paid, you will receive an invitation by email to join your google group forum and another email to your introductory video. 

3. Get familiar with 

You will need a gmail account and practice how to use your google group, the google hangout, google calendar for events and how to submit files through google drive before the course starts. Note that you should have the same gmail account for your youtube, google drive, google group and google calendar services. 

6. Help 

7.1 Question and answer sessions

Once a week, (check emails, announcements) sign up for the google hangouts session with the teacher two days prior to the session. There are only ten spaces per session. Please submit your questions via our google group category at least 24 hours before the session. If you cannot make it to the session, do not worry as you will have access to the video of such session, that I will leave in our group google drive folder.

7.2 More help

If you need extra help these are your options:

  1. You will not be left alone in your learning. Please submit all your questions to the google group forum, help category
  2. Premium support: Extra one on one 30 minute paid consultation, available on a weekly basis for all creative examples. (View prices)
  3. Do you need to talk to me? Please send me an email to

Thomas Lorenzo

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