Themes for Compelling Songwriting

Artist Series Guitar Course from Aaron Marshall

This course aims to unlock the creativity, and composition style of Aaron Marshall, with step-by-step breakdowns and detailed explanations.

31 Lessons

Complete course with step-by-step lessons and practice examples.


Course filmed with 6 cameras for the perfect angles.

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Tabs & Info

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Full Course Breakdown

30 lessons exclusively from JamPlay. From chord progressions and melodies, to rhythmic devices and riffs, Aaron shows you that modern guitar music revolves around thought-provoking song writing. Learn to curate elements of a compelling instrumental guitar piece, with an emphasis on effective themes and motifs.


Aaron Marshall Master Course Introduction

JamPlay welcomes instrumental guitarist Aaron Marshall for a comprehensive master course. In this first lesson Aaron discusses what he'll be covering in his master course and what to expect to get out of it.

9:21 Runtime

0.0 Difficulty

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Scale Spectacular

Even though this course centers more around practical guitar player and how to create killer riffs and hooks, Aaron still wants you to have a basic understanding of important scale concepts. This lesson will boost your playing!

9:43 Runtime

3.0 Difficulty


Introduction to Phrasing

Phrasing is the concept that transforms a guitar player into a musician. You won't be playing notes any longer, but rather making emotional and insightful musical sequences. Aaron talks about how to do it.

17:22 Runtime

3.5 Difficulty


Ringing Clusters

Aaron loves being able to utilize notes that ring out free and clear. In this lesson he talks about how to spot good areas to achieve this sound, and his thoughts on the technique.

8:36 Runtime

3.5 Difficulty


Alternate and Economy Picking

Aaron introduces the concepts of economy and alternate picking, as well as demonstrates how these techniques can be used to improve the quality of your phrases and riffs.

11:13 Runtime

3.5 Difficulty


Introduction to Hybrid Picking

Aaron introduces the concept of hybrid picking and demonstrates how he makes use of it in his music. This is a very useful, very flexible technique that all must know.

11:00 Runtime

3.5 Difficulty


Arpeggio Groupings

In this video we cover Aaron's top techniques for using arpeggios, including one of the most important aspects of all: how they are goruped.

11:36 Runtime

3.5 Difficulty


Combining Techniques

In this lesson Aaron walks you through how to combine some of the techniques taught in previous lessons to create a truly memorable riff or lead line. This is where the rubber hits the road!

7:23 Runtime

3.5 Difficulty


Dissecting a Hook

We've all heard the term hook, but what does it really mean? And more importantly, what makes a good hook. Aaron delves into the topic in this lesson.

8:53 Runtime

3.5 Difficulty


The Quintessential Intervals Riff

Aaron introduces a riff that he considers a prime exemplification of his work with Intervals. This is the main theme for the song "Touch and Go." He talks about the riff, what makes it special, and gives you some great playing tips.

11:27 Runtime

3.5 Difficulty


Inspiration 101: Start With a Riff

Lesson 11, Aaron starts to dig in to inspiration. This time you're going to start with a riff. He uses his song Sure Shot as an example.

6:34 Runtime

3.5 Difficulty


Finding a Melody

Continuing to take a look at his tune Sure Shot, Aaron discusses how to find a melody.

5:59 Runtime

3.5 Difficulty


Now Where Does My Song Go? Part 1

Now that you've got a little inspiration in the form of a melody and a riff, you might start asking yourself where the song goes from here? Aaron discusses approaches to continued song writing using Sure Shot as an example.

7:14 Runtime

3.5 Difficulty


Now Where Does My Song Go? Part 2

Lesson 14 continues the discussion on where your song goes after establishing a melody or have riffs to work with.

9:56 Runtime

3.5 Difficulty


My Song Needs a Chorus!

Using the hook to Sure Shot, Aaron discusses his approach to creating a song chorus.

8:25 Runtime

3.5 Difficulty


My Chorus Needs a Hook!

One of the biggest components of a meaningful and rememberable chorus is the hook! Aaron Marshall discusses his thought process here using Sure Shot as an example.

6:57 Runtime

3.5 Difficulty



Aaron Marshall discusses creative limitations to help aid in the song writing process. He uses "I'm Awake" as an example.

14:32 Runtime

3.5 Difficulty


Writing a Hook With One String

Keeping the subject of limitation in mind, Aaron discusses writing a hook utilizing only a single string.

10:51 Runtime

3.5 Difficulty


Writing a Chorus with Chords in Mind First

Lesson 19 is all about the process of writing a chorus. There are several ways to do so and Aaron first discusses writing the chorus with chords in mind first.

8:22 Runtime

3.5 Difficulty


Analyzing a Chord Progression for a Melody

If you've ever struggled to come up with a melody that works for a given song, a good path to take is analyzing the chords you're playing over. In lesson 20 Aaron discusses his approach to analyzing a chord progression to create a melody.

11:16 Runtime

3.5 Difficulty


More on Interesting Progressions

Using his song By Far and Away, Aaron discusses his use of interesting chord progressions.

7:07 Runtime

3.5 Difficulty


Melody in a Complex Progression

Aaron is once again taking a look at melody from the standpoint of a progression. This time he uses the same exercise in a more complex manner.

10:28 Runtime

3.5 Difficulty


Writing Arpeggio Based Hooks

One of the quickest ways to create a stellar sounding hook is to make use of Arpeggios. Aaron uses the Intervals song "Black Box" as a way to demonstrate this.

7:51 Runtime

3.5 Difficulty


Longer Sentence Structure Riffs

These riffs have multiple variations, multiple moving parts and take a bit longer to play. They are worth it though, as they add complexity and zest that you never thought possible. He takes another riff from his song "Black Box" to use as an example.

8:44 Runtime

3.5 Difficulty


Longer Sentence Structure Riffs Part 2

Aaron further explores the concept of long sentence structure riffs.

10:09 Runtime

3.5 Difficulty


Moving Riffs Up an Octave

Aaron Marshall once again uses his hit song "Impulsively Responsible" to demonstrate his killer guitar skills. This time around he uses the lead section to demonstrate how to move riffs up an octave. He talks about how and why you would do this.

12:20 Runtime

4.0 Difficulty


Putting it All Together

In this lesson Aaron puts together all of the information from the rest of this series in one long, blistering solo from the song "A Different Light." This will expand your musical mind, challenge your fingers and titillate your senses. If you are looking for a challenge, you have just found it.

28:01 Runtime

4.0 Difficulty


When Did Aaron Start Playing Guitar?

Aaron Marshall discusses when he starting playing guitar.

10:02 Runtime

0.0 Difficulty


How Intervals Got Started

Aaron Marshall discusses the origins of his band Intervals.

9:11 Runtime

0.0 Difficulty


Aaron Marshall's Musical Philosphy

Aaron Marshall discusses his philosophy to music, composing and creating art.

3:54 Runtime

0.0 Difficulty


Interview: How Did You Get into Guitar Instruction?

Aaron Marshall discusses how he got into guitar instruction and why he feels it's important.

6:45 Runtime

0.0 Difficulty

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  • Toronto, Canada
  • Playing since 1988
  • 31 lessons at JamPlay
Aaron Marshall is an independent guitarist and composer from Toronto, Canada, ultimately known by his moniker "Intervals". Since 2011, Aaron has been releasing energetic, guitar-centric compositions that have become a staple in the progressive rock world. Released in 2012, debut album "In Time" created buzz throughout the industry as a statement record, combining djent-style riffs with ear-catching melodies and hooks. Aaron then explored a full 4 member lineup with vocalist for the sophomore release "A Voice Within", before returning back to his instrumental roots for his third release. His last offering, "The Shape of Colour", is a beautiful example of modernized, instrumental composition. Labeled as a more "honest approach", guitar purists will appreciate the 6-String, Standard-Tuning, "trickless" composition style that only aims to entertain and inspire the listener. This approach is a key reason why his pedigree on the instrument should be both celebrated, and conceptualized by any aspiring guitarist.

Reviews & Feedback 98/100 with 290 ratings

Aaron is a down to earth dude. He has a way of making things more accessible.


Aaron is a great teacher! Super useful techniques!


Aaron is awesome


All of the above


All of the above!


amazing teacher


amazing teacher, very clear and concise lesson!


Awesome phrasing ideas!


coo riff


Dude is a great teacher. Well spoken.


Great concept that nobody talks about!! Awesome Aaron!!!


This is a totally awesome riff, that I loved when I first heard it, prior to signing up for JamPlay. I'm so glad that Aaron was gracious enough to show us how he plays it!


Great lesson on phrasing!


Great stuff


He has a great concepts. where can I find the tabs for the same for skipping the 3rds and all.


holy shit


I have been listening to Intervals for years and Aaron really is an effective casual instructor. Really enjoying his perspective on the instrument.


I lie your method f teaching. Easy to understand Thanks james


I like this. Vocal-sounding phrasing and ideas


Very awesome application of arpeggios!


it's just the intro...




Obviously just an intro but it sounds like this course is exactly what i was hoping for! I'm very excited to learn from this!


This is exactly what I needed. Hope to pick up some new techniques and develop some fresh sounding original songs.


Very explanatory with the points of how to compose the songs of intervals