G & R Guitar Lessons

I'm Grant Schinto and I bring infectious PASSION to my guitar teaching! I specialize in classic rock and emphasize creative development & expression. A musician and singer since 1975, I started on guitar in 1978, and began teaching in 1989.

I have one job here at G & R Guitar Lessons.  A calling, really.  That calling is helping people fall in love with playing the guitar and never falling back out.

Beginners are welcome, with the minimum age to start being 7 years old and having finished grade 1 in primary school, though exceptions are considered on a case-by-case basis.

I also teach the basics (and even some intermediate to advanced level programs, depending on the genre) of heavy metal, country guitar*, pop, folk, open tunings, alternative, and jazz.

If you're interested in learning how to sing while playing the guitar, or in writing songs, or don't even play the guitar or bass but want to learn theory, I can help you as well.

I am passionate about theory, but I do not jam it down my student's throats. Instead, I use a "show don't tell" approach which I find works much better because it has the students asking for more theory (if not begging for it) because I help them reach the point where they see it as the valuable tool it can be (and because that's how I came to love and appreciate the application of music theory.)

But enough about me. Here's something to ponder:

Are you getting the whole story behind taking guitar lessons? Did you know that many myths exist that keep people from taking guitar lessons and pursuing their musical goals? One of those myths is that one must have "natural talent" to become a good guitar player. Well, having talent certainly helps, but it's only a fraction of what goes into the pie of becoming an awesome guitar player.

Give me a call, and let's get you on the road to fulfilling your musical dreams and goals!

Let's do good things together.


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Patrick H.


Hi Patrick,

This is your private student account page. It will be used to help supplement your lesson experience as well as be one way that I manage your lesson curriculum. In other words, it's as much FYI as it is FMI. Hopefully never TMI ;)"  Ongoing lists such as your "Goals" will be at the top of this page, and then you will see the lessons get "journaled", most recent date at the top to avoid excessive page scrolling once your lessons begin to add up over time:


  • (Short Term) - Play lead guitar
  • (Medium Term) - Fingerstyle work
  • (Medium Term) - Learn how to integrate lead and rhythm guitar
  • (Long Term) - To be determined




Q: What is the difference between a 7th chord and a major 7th chord?

Q: Does the same “alphabetical rule” that applies to the major scale also apply in the same way to the natural minor scale?

A: Yes, because it is RELATIVE TO THE major scale.



One great and simple (but really hard) way to test your timing skills is to set a metronome and simply clap in time in quarter notes. Just match the metronome click exactly. You have to find a way to clap at the same volume as the metronome. When your clap perfectly drowns out the sound of the metronome, that’s when you know you nailed it.

When practicing simple rhythms to the metronome, drum machine, etc. be mindful of the “inner commentary” you make as you find where you need to readjust. 

Remember how it FEELS when you’re playing it well. This pretty much applies to EVERYTHING you play.

You’ll eventually want to make this (“How does it feel?”) part of a rotating list of things to focus on. More about that sort of thing later.

Now we know that you can play single note 16th notes at 60 BPM against the metronome.  Good work!


Meeting Tempo Goals:

Generally speaking, I keep records for when you’ve “passed” something at a certain tempo goal that either you, I or both of us together have set.

For me to try to keep track of EVERY tempo goal you ever have is of course a fool’s game.

That being the case,  you can take the reigns and micromanage some of this stuff on your own.

You can do whatever you want, but I suggest (for starters) giving yourself 3 separate goals. Think of them as “tiers 1 through 3 - short, medium and long term goals."


Free Bird (or whatever) . . .   G minor pentatonic for this song . . .  For now stick to bending notes in the Pattern 1 position, and limit the notes you bend to the ones played with fingers 3 and 4.

Unless you take the absolute highest notes of the scale (Bb in this case) and bend that up to C (whole) step, all of the notes you’ll bend to should be in the scale. In other words, be conservative for now and only bend to the next note up in the scale. Some will (likely) be too hard to do because the interval is a minor 3rd (a whole + a half step).


Clean up Lesson 2 in the book. You’re very close to finishing it at the tempo goal you established for yourself.

Watch that you’re not cutting off the last note of the 1st two lines (B on the 7th fret) too early.

Work on your “blues bends” from the Free Bird jam. Have fun w/ them. Yes, work on their accuracy, but also allow yourself to get “lost” in playing that style somewhat. You want a healthy balance between “studying” (for accuracy, skill, etc.) and having fun just playing in general and keeping it fun and interesting.

TIP: You know how to figure out the notes in that scale (G minor pentatonic). That being the case, you can find OTHER whole step bends you can do while jamming over that Free Bird progression . . . 


Minor Pentatonic Scales

Develop reference points that help accelerate memorization of the 5 different patterns, such as “pattern 3 starts with 3 (whole steps on 3 adjacent strings) or how pattern 5 is “symmetrical".

Still seeing big improvements with timing and use of the metronome. Good work!

Now, see if you can keep that pinky a bit closer to the fingerboard.

Watch the tendency to drift back into playing quarter notes when you’re practicing the scale as 8th notes against the quarter note click of the metronome.

See what you can remember about the different patterns you can create and apply to the pentatonic scales. 


Make sure you understand how to do the (long-term) assignment of “building” on paper the minor pentatonic scale in the 12 keys (relative minor) that we put in your notebook.  

Be ready to show me where you’re at in terms of tempo goals w/ the minor pent. scale. Think about what I said about approaching it in 3 tiers (as a suggestion). And again, it’s LONG TERM progress we’re looking for in many cases.


Remember the time to stop recording your loop on the Free Bird outro jam is ON the first down beat of the G5 when it comes back around.


Awesome lesson! You did as good a job as I could have asked with that LONG audio recording from last week!  It was actually BETTER that you didn't yet totally grasp the whole thing re "starting with the relative minor root" because you now know a little about theoretical scales and keys as well as about accidentals.

. . . (Picking up where your above question left off) In other words, the Am scale is relative to the C major scale.

Alternate way (reference point) for finding the relative minor:

Step 1. Identify a parent major root on a given string. (Example: G on the 3rd fret of the Low E string.

Step 2. Drop down 3 frets (but only two note names) backwards on that same string. In this case you’ll land on the open E string.

That’s a quick way to “find” your relative minor to the parent major.

This is way to help learn and reinforce the difference the major scale and the natural minor scale.

Another name for the Natural Minor scale is Aeolian Mode.

And while we’re at it, another name for the major scale is Ionian Mode.

Excellent work “plotting out" the 5 patterns of the minor pentatonic scale!  SUPER WORK!!!

Start memorizing (but mostly emphasize playing) them as the 5 different patterns or forms that they are.

Start putting together your own tempo goals for the minor pentatonic scale. Do what you want in terms of the breadth of the scope you use but I highly recommend you "get good" now playing A and G minor pentatonic.


Be forewarned: The content in the audio is VERY dense. Take your time with it, prepare to take it slow and to take a lot of notes but most importantly of all DON'T TRY TO MASTER IT BY YOUR NEXT LESSON. Honestly, if you absorb 20% of it by next week you're way ahead of the game. I'll have a lot more to say about this at your next lesson.


Watch the first finger on your barre chords. It’s still leaning pretty heavily “diagonally” (at an angle pointing towards the bridge).

Just work on straightening it out. Nothing huge, but I would DEFINITELY make this part of your rows on your scoring log. Even if it’s only a few minutes a week (which is of course infinitely better than “later” or “never”).  

Add (work on) pinch harmonics. No agenda, just have fun and get good at them over time.  Put it in your arsenal of lead techniques.


TIP:  Whenever you “pass” something to satisfaction, RECORD it and save it as “proof”. I do this and it makes a huge difference. It enhances confidence and peace of mind. And when you’re my age it can be a big time saver too (because you forget you actually can do it).

“Running Down a Dream” - add a 1/2 step bend on the G that you pull off to E.

I think I said THREE chord progressions, but (and I’d have to scan your page here to be sure) I believe the assignment from the chord change/theory (Real Estate Analogy) was for you to bring me your “top 4” progressions.

But in terms of emphasizing the RHYTHMIC quality, 3 is fine for now.  In other words, the top for most interesting/best chord combinations, but also come up with 3 unique STRUMMING/PICKING/RHYTHM patterns from ANY chord progressions you come up with.




FIRST MAIN GOAL: Be able to play the entire chart as one “song” playing the G chord

SECOND MAIN GOAL: Same thing, only “split” each line into two chords now: G and Bm

Play G for the first bar of each line and Bm for the 2nd bar of each line.

To test your 8th note alternate picking strumming, set the metronome 2 times higher than where you are comfortable playing it but strum to each click on the metronome.

Example: If you think you can play it “okay” at 72 BPM but are not sure if you’re still cutting the up picked strums too short, set the metronome to 144 but play ONE STRUM PER click.  That will be easier on your brain till you make it more second nature. (Remember that it’s more important to train your brain than it is to train your hands.  Your brain is the command center. We like to think it’s all in our ears and hands, but the truth is w/out our brain being in charge our ears and hands/fingers are at a huge disadvantage.)

Once you’re more confident that your 8th note strumming is more solid at 144 (or whatever speed you choose) as described above, go back to playing w/ the metronome “normally” and see how you do. Hint: Record yourself from time to time and listen back to hear how well you’re playing in time. You don’t have to do this every week or whatever, but it’s pretty hard to overdue recording oneself and listening back to check one’s progress.



It’s okay if you have to readjust and lower tempo goals to keep your long term goals in sight. I do it all the time. Just wanted to make sure you knew that. It’s not “failure” to say, “I think I need to lower this tempo goal to 80” or whatever . . . 

Watch the range of motion in your pick while strumming. There’s a tendency to shoot past the highest and lowest strings w/ the pick. Bring it back in and try to not move further away from the strings than you have to.

RHYTHM 1 handout

FIRST LEVEL (The “first pass”): Play as is with just one chord (G)

Lines 1 and 2

Establish tempo goal for entire sheet: ____________

BLT for Lines 1 and 2: 68

Reach tempo goal (adjust if necessary)_____________


Lines 3 and 4

BLT: 68

Reach tempo goal (adjust if necessary)_____________


Lines 5 and 6


Reach tempo goal (adjust if necessary)_____________


Assignment for now:

See what you can do to clean up lines 1 through 4, and bring in lines 5 and 6 if you have time, continuing the same approach as we’ve been using during lessons.


Re "Ode To Joy"

Watch the timing going from bars 4 to 5 and 9 to 10 (basically the same thing is going on).

You come in on the “1” of bars 5 and 10.

Bars 10 and 11 require some more careful listening.

Record yourself practicing along to the tracks I gave you and play it back. Then start isolating where you hear the mistakes. Tackle them ONE AT A TIME.

Don’t rush.

You can play the minor pentatonic scale as quarter notes cleanly at 120 BPM. Now we need to train on how to play at 60 BPM as straight 8th notes.

You can add as a long term goal (I suggest making it a new line in your practice items—speed and scoring log so it’s not “out of sight, out of mind”) working on managing your finger “lift” while doing these (or any) scales.  Focus mainly on the 3rd and esp. the 4th finger for now.  This takes a LONG time to work on and should be thought of as a totally separate practice item what all you’re doing is focusing on that one specific technique improvement. Even a couple of minutes a week will eventually start to pay off. It took a while for this habit to develop so it will take a while to correct. And remember that the “default” is usually bad technique, so it’s no surprise some stuff like this needs extra attention.

The main thing here is DON’T LET IT BE A BIG DEAL.  You have PLENTY of time to fix this sort of thing.  

I would add “How to Count In Time” to your speed and scoring log as well, even if you don’t look at it one over the next 4 weeks or whatever. Keeping a list of everything you touch (within reason) is a great idea. Start thinking about this stuff all being in a permanent archive at some point. Note that you don’t even have to keep track of the speed or “score” of something like that. But listing it there will, you guessed it, keep it from suffering from “out of sight, out of mind” syndrome.

Finally, think about what I said about tactical thinking vs strategic thinking. No need to give it much though now, but reflect on it from time to time and gradually you will start having light bulbs go off where you start understanding what this means. When you get to that point, you will be way, WAY far ahead of the vast majority of guitar students out there who have never heard of this kind of thinking.


RE: Practicing The Minor Pentatonic Scale with a Metronome.

In this case (for context) we stuck with the A minor pent. scale “Pattern 1” (1st finger on the 5th fret) where  you play through all 6 string, starting on the A on the 5th fret of the Low E string and turning around at the note C on the 8th fret of the High E string.

TODAY’S TOP SPEED for playing Minor Pent “as quarter notes”  = 132 BPM

Theoretically speaking this means you “should” be able to play more or less comfortably at 66 BPM as 8th notes. (66 is half of 132)

But as we learned, it’s not quite as simple as just cutting the metronome speed in half and then playing 2 notes per click instead of one note per click.

So we slowed it down even more to set the metronome at 54 BPM with the idea being that we would work your way back up to 66 BPM as 8th notes.

Also, we made note that if we do NOT “double up” the top note of the scale that it meant you could use your first finger as a reference point for when to listen to the click of the metronome when playing it as 8th notes. 

Now is a good time to start using alternate picking. Start on a down pick and end on a down pick—the easiest way to do this is to continue to NOT double up the top note of the scale.

Basic idea = if playing quarter notes (generally speaking) use all down strokes.

Once it gets faster, switch over to 8th notes and start using alternate picking. 

This does not necessarily mean that you “can’t” use alternate picking if playing quarter notes, but it is more standard to play quarter notes (at least at slow to moderate tempos) with all down picking.

FOR NOW: Clean up the 8th notes, shoot for 66 BPM or fast but incorporate alternate picking for 8th notes.

ODE TO JOY:  Remember that 90 BMP “quarter note feel” is fast enough. No need to go to 100 unless you want to.   Use the click track versions I gave you maybe 10 minute on, and then 10 minutes off (no track accompaniment). Or alternate day. Make something up. Just whatever works.

FREE BIRD JAM:  You’re locking in with me, but doing it by memory still needs work.  So if possible record yourself playing along to the jam track and see if you can spot when your timing is not quite aligned. 


Watch the 1st finger of the fretting hand on those “Free Bird” Outro power chords (keeping it straight).


Practice the G minor pentatonic scale as prep for jamming over this progression.



Watch the fretting hand grip on chords so that you are not unintentionally bendinghe strings and hurting the pitch of the chord tones on those strings.

Some ways to do this:

Record the chords one at a time and let them ring out. This will allow you to really hear if the chords are “sounding out” properly.

A more practical way is to simply look at your fretting hand seeing if the strings are not perfectly straight 3 to 4 frets up the neck from where you’re fretting them to play the chord.    




Use your recording app to capture your best 4 progressions per the "Real Estate Analogy".

Start recording basic progressions including (suggestion) whole or fragments from the 5 progressions in the barre chord study.

Start working on applying alternate pickingon the scales WHEN YOU PRACTICE THEM so it's easy to begin incorporating into your playing. If it is too frustrating or boring, default to one single repeated note.


Chords in Major Keys:

You can continue the exercise that we did in class using the same roots as we did earlier when you were just "plotting out" the major scales.


Also, use as many keys as you want, but pick 4 random keys (to start) and come up with 4 different chords for each key, also randomly. Don't repeat any chords in the keys you're experimenting with.  In other words, 4 totally different chords. So if in G major use G, Am, Bm and D, as opposed to G, Am, Bm and Am again.

Suggested Random keys to start: Ab, D, B and E (all major).

Play around with it for a while but don't more than 20 or so groups of chords.   Then determine what your top 4 chord progressions are.

Suggestion: To keep it from getting predictable roll a die to help you make your choices.


ODE TO JOY - watch the tendency to play some of the "easier" parts faster than the rest, thereby throwing your rhythm off.



Enharmonic pitches

The effect a sharp has on a note as well as the effect a flat has on a note.

With this information coupled with prior training, you should be on the way to find and identify any note on the guitar now.

The Major Scale

The step pattern: W W H W W W H

No mixing of sharps and flats in a major scale.

The degrees of the scale (1, 2, 3, 4 etc.) must follow the alphabetical order rule.

Each letter is represented ONE TIME ONLY in the scale, except of course the root, which is repeated at the octave.

The F major scale is the ONLY major scale with only one flat in it. 

The G major scale is the ONLY major scale with only one sharp in it.


Major Scale - The only major scale with all natural notes. No accidentals. (No sharps or flats)

Each letter name gets used only once unless it's the 1 repeating at the octave.

For example, you don't have A and A# in the same scale.

Assigned: Filling in and completing major scales based on the root/tonic and step pattern only.

After that: Take each root/tonic on a separate sheet and find the relative minor--the note name of the 6th degree (note) of the major scale.  Example, the relative minor of the Key of C Major is A (A minor).



  • Drilling 4 quarter notes followed by 8 8th notes. Alternate (down up) picking on the 8th notes. Foot tapping optional, but give it a try.  Choose a tempo goal such 120 BPM.
  • I would add the "bending check" we did the other day to your items to practice. Just remember to play the note regularly a half or whole step (depending on the type of bend--limit your bends to whole and half steps for now) above the note you're bending from as an "ear check" to test the accuracy of your bends.
    • I would not push for using the metronome too much with THIS particular area of study yet. Stick to really simple stuff like we've trained on if you use the metronome.
  • Based on tapping your fingers (or something similar such as clapping), start coming up with unique rhythm patterns and then turn them into strum patterns.
    • Use them w/ the chord progressions in the barre chord and power chord work sheets as we've started doing.
      • If you have your own chord progressions that you've created you can use those too--I'd like to hear them! :)
    • Remember to include some rests like we did this evening.
    • You can also use "percussive scratching" where you strum across totally muted strings in between the rests and the basic strums.
    • You'll soon start to see there are MANY things you can do but these parameters are more than enough to keep you busy between now and your next lesson.
    • If you need to approach the chord progressions in "chunks" like we've been doing w/ the first one in the key of G major, that's fine.
    • I would add this to your speed and scoring log as well so there's no "out of sight/out of mind". You of course won't score or use a speed goal for this particular practice area (unless you can figure a way that makes sense for you).


I briefly mentioned this at a previous lesson . . .

I would like you to begin compiling a song list for me to be better able to serve you.

Submit the song information to me electronically so I can copy and paste it into your student file (a file I keep for you--not that same thing as this private account page).  It is not necessary to put them in an attached document or spreadsheet, though that's perfectly fine if it's in MS Word, Excel, or Apple Pages. But simply putting them in the body of an email will suffice.

Please make sure that you give me the name of the recording artist associated with the version you're listing. For example, don't just give me "Little Wing". I need you to specify if it's the Jimi Hendrix version, the Sting version, the Eric Clapton version, etc.

Limit it to 30 songs for now.

That's about it. Don't put limits on the style or perceived degree of difficulty.  And there's no rush. If you can only think of even just a couple of songs between now and next week that's perfectly fine.


Among other things, see what questions you might have implementing the practice and speed / scoring logs. Feel free to get started listing your stuff right away. Better a rough draft than putting it off for a "perfect" that doesn't exist. :)

And practice the hell out of those chord progressions.  Jump around from one to another and have fun. Don't "perfect" one before moving on to the next one. As you do your strumming patterns will become more fun and interesting.