Tapping into Creative Fingerstyle

Amber Russell teaches altered tunings and techniques for fingerstyle guitar.

Music should be fun and free, especially during the creative process! The goal of this course is to help you deviate from the norm to tap into your creativity. Oddly, it takes courage to take your guitar out of standard tuning. By using open tunings, you’re able to really express the feelings, thoughts, and emotions that you experiencing without the thought of chords.

With her unique method of open tunings, tapping, harmonics and percussion, you will be able to approach the guitar as if it's your first time playing. Learn more or start the course with membership

Course Details
30 Lessons
8 Hour+ Runtime
Tabs (gpx, pdf)
Playalong Tracks
HD+ Video
90 day guarantee
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The JamPlay Learning System

Like every JamPlay course, Tapping into Creative Fingerstyle features world-class instruction and a dynamic learning system to help you succeed quickly.

It's not just videos, and not just downloads. You'll get:

  • Interactive tabs, notation, and fretboard
  • JamTracks for play along practice
  • Ask-a-teacher functionality
  • Speed up, slow down and loop the video
  • Bookmark exact moments in the lesson
  • Note-taking feature
  • 4k video with multiple camera angles
  • Track progress with the progress report
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Meet Amber Russell

Amber Russell has had a diverse platform of musical outlets during her almost 20 years of composing music. In her home town of Elkhart Indiana, at age 13 she picked up the guitar after regularly watching her older brother Joe play bass in his band over the years. For the next 6 years she was an active Singer songwriter in her band Geronimo with percussionist Danielle Husky. David Guevara took over as Geronimo's percussionist in 2011. Performing and composing songs with her guitar, harmonica, and ukulele.

In the summer of 2012 she relocated to Los Angeles.She then continued her journey as a singer songwriter with her band Seropolar, with her bandmate Steve Avila for the following 3 years. They practiced and performed in Marina Del Rey/ Venice Beach area regularly. Amber worked part time hosting an artist show case and open mic in Silverlake, during this time she found a profound interest in Fingerstyle guitar.

Her solo acoustic music didn't take off until she relocated to Portland, Oregon. A city calm and collect, yet outrageous and weird enough to find the appropriate audience for her unique and eclectic sound. She currently resides in Portland and is working on a new album that should launch in November of 2019.

30 Comprehensive Lessons & Ideas

Fingerstyle guitarist Amber Russell has had a diverse platform of musical outlets during her almost 20 years of composing music, including piano, bass, vocalist and ukulele. Amber covers altered tunings for fingerstyle guitar, allowing you to tap into your personal creative sound. By doing something unfamiliar and stepping out of the boundaries of what is "safe", you can approach the guitar as if it's your first time playing, without the "reference points" and safety of the "norm".

Join Amber Russell as she conveys her unique fingerstyle guitar technique by doing something unfamiliar and stepping out of the boundaries of what is considered 'safe'. Learn the specifics on multiple harmonic techniques, over-hand tapping/strumming, and how to incorporate percussion into your music using alternate tunings. This course offers 30 lessons covering 8+ hours of material in step-by-step, digestible presentation.

Lessons in this Course

Series Introduction: Tapping Into Creativity

Amber Russell introduces us to her fingerstyle course where we will learn different technical elements that will help us tap into our creativity.

3:39 Runtime

0.0 Difficulty

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Beginner's Mind, Even for Experts!

Amber jumps right in encouraging us to think differently than we normally do about the guitar. Using a section of her song, 'Obstacles of Inspiration', we start off in DADGAD tuning with some overhand tapping!

16:23 Runtime

2.5 Difficulty

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Get Sloppy With it, Clean it up Later!

Playing fingerstyle requires the ability to play different techniques at the same time. This of course, is not always an easy endeavor! Amber gets us started on this path by having us use overhand tapping and strumming.

16:24 Runtime

2.5 Difficulty

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Cut to the Chase, Let's Talk Harmonics

Harmonics are a trademark technique when it comes to fingerstyle guitar. In this lesson, Amber not only explores a myriad of harmonic techniques, she shows us a new tuning!

23:30 Runtime

0.0 Difficulty


What is a False Harmonic?

Now we look at more harmonics, using a section of Amber's song - 'Love vs. Logic'

20:47 Runtime

2.5 Difficulty

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It's Hammer Time

This lesson pays homage to the late Michael Hedges, as we focus on very rhythmic left hand hammer ons and pull offs. This technique will allow us to add other sounds later with our right hand.

13:56 Runtime

2.5 Difficulty


Hammer Ons and Harmonics

Now let's take the hammer ons and pull offs we learned in the previous lesson and take it a step further, by adding false harmonics with our right hand.

32:37 Runtime

2.5 Difficulty


Hammer Ons Without Sounding the Pull Off

Now we look to add another modern fingerstyle technique: Percussion. Amber gets us started with a simple 'kick drum' sound on a section of her song, 'Love vs. Logic'.

14:55 Runtime

2.5 Difficulty


Is it Guitar or Piano? - Part 1

In this lesson, Amber uses the guitar in a piano-like manner, layering different parts for the desired effect. Watch and learn as she dissects a portion of her song, 'Falling Out of Love'.

16:30 Runtime

3.0 Difficulty


Is it Guitar or Piano? - Part 2

Multitasking is the theme of this lesson! As the left hand plays the melody, the right had adds the bass part, as well as strums the upper strings. But not to worry, Amber breaks it all down and show us how to add each part until we get it up to speed.

16:19 Runtime

3.0 Difficulty


Muting is Metal

We often think of palm muting as a very rock and metal technique. Amber shows us how this technique can be right at home here in the fingerstyle genre.

9:42 Runtime

2.5 Difficulty


Mute and Release

Having the ability to easily go between palm muting and not palm muting is a great technique to have under your belt. Amber shows us the mute and release technique in this lesson.

11:43 Runtime

2.5 Difficulty


Give It a Pulse

Now let's take palm muting a step further. This time we will be muting certain sections and adding a percussive 'pulse' to the riff using the palm of your strumming hand.

16:46 Runtime

3.0 Difficulty


More Fun with Harmonics

This lesson returns us to using some more harmonic techniques. Amber reacquaints us with the use of the strike harmonic, pull off harmonic and the ring finger rake harmonic.

12:30 Runtime

3.0 Difficulty


Let's Learn Portland Dance

It's time for a new tuning! Amber introduces us to her song - 'Portland Dance' and the DADF#AC# tuning.

10:55 Runtime

0.0 Difficulty


Portland Dance: Adding Percussion

To begin 'Portland Dance', it's important to first learn the pulse of the percussion first. Amber walks us through the "kick and snare" pattern that makes this song move.

10:10 Runtime

3.5 Difficulty


Portland Dance: What's After the Bassline?

Now that we have the basic percussion and bassline, it's time to add in melodic and harmonic elements of the song.

10:56 Runtime

0.0 Difficulty


Fun Percussive Riff

Of course everything is about the sounds you make to create a feeling, but sometimes we can use different techniques with the same notes to create yet another, quite different feeling. From slapping harmonics, to strumming it or plucking it, each variation adds to the desired end result.

15:46 Runtime

3.5 Difficulty


Using a Banjo Capo

Using a banjo capo allows you to explore yet another way to be creative on the guitar. Amber shows us how to combine a very different sounding open tuning, along with a banjo capo to create tonalites that are outside our normal scope of sounds on the guitar.

14:28 Runtime

3.0 Difficulty


Now Bring On the Melody

Let's add to the bassline we learned in the previous lesson, a melody that will challenge our normal habits of hand placement on the guitar. With practice, you'll be able to freely move around the 'obstruction' that is the banjo capo in no time!

14:18 Runtime

3.5 Difficulty


Another Creative Use for the Banjo Capo

In this lesson, Amber shares a technique she stumbled upon when experimenting with the banjo capo. When bending a note against the capo, it can be used to mute and accent that note to give it a unique texture.

22:28 Runtime

3.5 Difficulty


Putting Your Thumb to Work

Why should our other fingers have all the fun! Amber shows us a fun riff, and how to use our thumbs in a creative way to hold the bass notes.

24:31 Runtime

3.5 Difficulty


Partial Capo with Harmonics and Percussion

In this lesson, we will be using hammer-ons to play the bassline while keeping a steady pulse to make sure the bass line is in time. This exercise will be great to help you keep a good tempo and feel more comfortable multitasking in this way.

11:28 Runtime

3.5 Difficulty


Adding More Percussive Elements

Let's add more percussive elements by snapping the top of the guitar (as we learned in a previous lesson) and striking the lower part of the body. It's up to each of us individually to find that 'sweet spot' on our guitar, that when we strike, it resonates in the best possible way!

11:05 Runtime

3.5 Difficulty


Adding Some Two Handed Tapping

Now let's add a little tapping section to break up the verses of this piece. We are going to change our range of movement, and adapt it to the over hand tapping technique.

24:12 Runtime

3.0 Difficulty


Replacing Melody With Percussion Fill

Amber takes one of the melody sections we learned in the previous lesson, and turns it into a percussion only section. This should be a lot of fun!

12:48 Runtime

3.0 Difficulty


Finger Tapping with Both Hands

Sometimes it's the subtle techniques that can add a lot to the song! Here we follow Amber as she shows us a small tapping section. Pay attention to the length of the notes as well as some of the organization of the notes.

19:09 Runtime

3.5 Difficulty


Multitasking With Your Hands

Even though it can sometimes seem harder to play something slow, it's imperative that you learn how to multitask by playing and combining the parts at a very slow tempo. This allows your hands to catch up to your brain, or maybe vice versa!

27:25 Runtime

4.0 Difficulty


Rake Harmonics with Percussion

Now let's take the ring finger rake harmonic technique and add percussion to it. There are so many combinations of techniques to creatively explore!

21:11 Runtime

3.0 Difficulty


Sliding Octaves with Percussion and Harmonics

In our last lesson, Amber shows us how to slide octave shapes while adding percussion and harmonics.

13:22 Runtime

3.5 Difficulty