Acoustic Pop With Nomad

Genre and Style Guitar Course from Michael Ripoll

"How does he make his guitar sound like THAT?" Have you ever asked that question when just hearing someone strum the guitar. There is a polish and an sheen to their playing that seems like it comes straight off of a recording. This series teaches you to play with THAT sound over many examples that span popular music throughout its greatest decades, including present day acoustic pop.

38 Lessons

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


Course filmed with 6 cameras for the perfect angles.

91% Appoval

358 of 374 of our members have given this their approval.

Tabs & Info

Download tabs, helpers, JamTracks and docs included with lessons.


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Full Course Breakdown

You'll learn strumming, fingerpicking, hook/melody development, colorful chord choices and options. While popular music is all over the map in terms of genres actual styles and influences, all Pop music shares one thing in common. It is popular! This may seem so obvious, but that really is the classification for popular music. Learn how to get sounds out of your guitar that sound like popular music from yesterday and today!


Define Pop Music Please!

"How does he make his guitar sound like THAT?" Have you ever asked that question when just hearing someone strum the guitar? There is a polish and a sheen to someone's playing that seems like it comes straight from a recording. This series teaches you to play with THAT sound over many examples that span popular music throughout its greatest decades, including present day acoustic pop.

9:19 Runtime

0.5 Difficulty


The Slow Strum

Dial it back, slow it down and REALLY focus on your strumming mechanics, even if you already strum a lot! We are laying the ground work for intentional, yet free and natural sounding strumming.

12:51 Runtime

1.0 Difficulty

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Be Free With It

Nomad stresses the concept of honing in on something, internalizing it, and then forgetting about it and letting your intuition and musical sense take over. This lesson takes the mechanical approach to strumming from the last lesson and puts it on the back burner. Here you get to focus on making your strumming natural, groovy, and unique sounding!

14:29 Runtime

1.5 Difficulty


In Between Is A Dream

Pick up the tempo on the strumming a little in this lesson. Learn how to create a mid-tempo groove and practice improvising a bit within a planned strum pattern.

4:17 Runtime

1.5 Difficulty


The Ghost In The Stroke

When it comes to strumming, what you don't play is just as important as what you do play. Nomad explains how to add subtle, rhythmic non-strokes into your strumming.

8:26 Runtime

1.5 Difficulty


Have a Blast, Be Fast

Kick up the tempo tracker just a bit and practice some Americana style strumming. It's a challenge to make sure that you are still right on the beat - not rushing or lagging too far behind.

12:35 Runtime

2.5 Difficulty


Forward Motion

It's time to apply that age old Nomadian principle of taking what you've learned over the last several lessons, pushing it to the back of your mind and forgetting it. Let your intuition and artistic bent take over! Be careful though, we're playing fast!

21:56 Runtime

2.5 Difficulty


Fingerpickin' Good

We've spent a fair amount of time on strumming so far. Now it's time to focus on another area in acoustic popular music: Fingerpicking! Learn and apply the basics in a musical context right away with this lesson!

14:44 Runtime

2.0 Difficulty


Finger Focus

In the last lesson, the goal was to get started on fingerpicking without thinking too much about it. In this lesson, you'll get a chance to actually assign fingers to certain strings and hone in on creating a more focused fingerpicking line.

18:49 Runtime

2.0 Difficulty


Finger Families

Your fingers will now be working together, separately! Learn to strike two strings or more with two different fingers. This leads to more interesting and flowing lines when fingerpicking.

9:19 Runtime

2.0 Difficulty


Finger Roll

Work with a very specific fingerpicking pattern while using a moveable chord shape to create some interesting sounds. Focus on the fingerpicking hand!

10:18 Runtime

2.0 Difficulty



Learn a classic fingerpicking pattern that is a lot like a particular Beatles song. Get the pattern and the concept under your fingers with this lesson, and then pop over to Phase 3 and learn the whole song!

11:44 Runtime

2.0 Difficulty


Something in Common

Improving efficiency while playing your guitar is always a good thing. This lesson focuses on finding common tones and position similarities between chords so that switching between them is more efficient, and ultimately, more musical.

10:32 Runtime

1.5 Difficulty


C, We're the Same!

Ground yourself in the Key of C and "C" how many ways you can join common tones in your chord voicings for smooth transitions and consistent strumming. Try these ideas with a capo for even more fun!

12:52 Runtime

1.5 Difficulty


Common Tone Grab Bag

Now, Nomad takes you on a creative journey! Using his decades of experience in pop music, he demonstrates how to take ordinary sounding progressions and make them sound more connected and unique.

13:20 Runtime

2.0 Difficulty


From E to Shining E

Due to the many open strings that can be left to ring out when strumming all the strings, the key of E can be quite the chord playground. Nomad takes you through some of his favorite ways to get fresh and creative sounds out of this musical key.

8:06 Runtime

1.5 Difficulty



Take the key of E to the next level! Nomad presents a few more ideas that are a bit more challenging and continues the experimentation process.

7:28 Runtime

2.0 Difficulty


'A' Is for Almost Anything

The key of A is another one of those keys that can be really fun to play in! That low open A string really does the trick if you know how to use it. Nomad shares some of his favorite chord tricks in the key of A.

15:06 Runtime

2.0 Difficulty


Sounds in D

We've looked at the keys of A and E. Now we'll look at the rich and deep world of D. Using the open D string with some great moveable shapes will give you some tasty ways to harmonize your musical inspirations!

11:04 Runtime

1.5 Difficulty


Chord Flavor Grab Bag

We've spent some time focusing on what can be done in specific keys with open strings backing them. Now we are going to take some of these ideas and apply them to mini song examples.

7:42 Runtime

2.0 Difficulty


Fingerpicking Grab Bag

The last lesson took many of the chord ideas discussed in the previous lessons and got a little more "song-like" with the examples. In this lesson, you'll have a chance to contextualize fingerpicking lines in the same way. Have fun!

10:01 Runtime

2.0 Difficulty


Neighboring Melodies

Unlock the melodic potential within simple chords. Accomplish this by looking at the chord in the context of the neighboring notes in the corresponding scale. Once you combine a few chords together using this approach, your progressions AND your melodies are going to have new life!

11:00 Runtime

2.0 Difficulty


Rhythmic Variations

Sometimes strumming can get a bit boring. Sometimes fingerpicking can be a bit too calm sounding. But if you take a little strumming, a little finger technique and throw in some percussive playing, you have a really nice sounding mixture!

19:09 Runtime

2.0 Difficulty


Between the Lines

Get your pick ready and practice incorporating single picked notes into your strum patterns. You'll learn how to target key notes and further your melody sense while keeping time.

11:45 Runtime

2.0 Difficulty


Mayer May Not Be

Mix up some fingerpicking, a little slap, and some chord melodies and you have a John Mayer-tinged passage that will inspire your songwriting and grooves.

6:39 Runtime

2.0 Difficulty


His Name Was Travis

Nothing accompanies a simple melodic song idea like the Travis picking technique. Nomad covers Travis picking with both the fingers and the pick and applies it in a few different contexts.

9:43 Runtime

2.0 Difficulty


Upside, Downside

What happens when you turn a chord upside down? What happens when you rearrange the notes? You get inversions. Inversions are everywhere and though that word may sound kind of boring or clinical, the music you can create with them is amazing. Nomad shows how inversions are used in many popular styles.

16:28 Runtime

1.5 Difficulty


Listen to the Inversion

Look at how inversions are laid out on the lower string and then hear some ways that those inversions are worked into real musical examples. If you like the Doobie Brothers or Jimi Hendrix, you'll dig this lesson!

14:08 Runtime

1.5 Difficulty


Sound Familiar?

Nomad shares a handful of examples of inversion from various pop songs written in the last several decades. See if you can guess the artists and songs that Nomad is alluding to!

9:03 Runtime

2.0 Difficulty


Yes, Less Is More

In recent pop music, the acoustic guitar can almost sound like it has been sampled...and sometimes it has been. Nomad explains how to create modern pop hooks and demonstrates the art of leaving space.

10:42 Runtime

1.5 Difficulty


Altered State of String Tension

Get a taste of how to apply simple alternate tunings to your popular music melodies and strum patterns. It's amazing how new ideas open up when you modify just one string!

15:21 Runtime

1.5 Difficulty


Harmonious Harmonics

Learn some simple, yet artistic ways to incorporate natural harmonics into your playing. You'll add a percussive element and create some depth of range with your melodic lines if you have harmonics in the back of your mind while writing.

9:32 Runtime

2.0 Difficulty


Nothing To Do

Working in the style of Jason Mraz, Nomad offers a groovy, laid back track that will bring many of the areas of study from this series to the front and center.

4:50 Runtime

1.5 Difficulty


Tom's Petty

Learn and experience the fun in playing some flowing and free feeling strum patterns inspired by Tom Petty. Nomad provides a Tom Petty-inspired track to sink your teeth and fingers into.

6:04 Runtime

1.5 Difficulty



Learn a complete original song by Nomad called "Nomad". If you like John Mayer and catchy acoustic grooves, you'll like what you see and hear. You already got a chance to dig into the main riff on this song, but now, you'll get to put it in the context of a complete song!

8:48 Runtime

0.0 Difficulty


I'm Sorry

Hybrid fingerpicking, slaping, and some groovy strumming will have you making music with this Jam Track. You have touched on the main hook of this piece in an earlier lesson and now it is time to use it in context of an entire composition.

6:37 Runtime

2.0 Difficulty


In The Garden

Yes, there are acoustic guitars in songs that Katy Perry and the like sing over. Put the melodic hook ideas and simple part playing to work over this modern Pop track. Keep it simple... Keep it solid!

8:18 Runtime

2.0 Difficulty


Why Do I Still Love You?

Slow down and cool off for this Country-tinged travis picking track. Keeping things in context will have you playing real music and pushing your skills faster and more intentionally. Soak these tracks up and then apply the techniques you practice here to your own music!

5:57 Runtime

1.5 Difficulty

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  • Los Angeles, CA
  • Playing since 1984
  • 133 lessons at JamPlay
Michael "Nomad" Ripoll is a consummate professional in the music industry with a list of credits and accomplishments that span decades. Best known as a masterful guitar virtuoso who has played with a seemingly endless list of the most respected names in the music world, Michael has always strived to exceed the boundaries of a traditional musician’s career by proactively seeking and securing opportunities to excel in other facets of the industry.

While he remains an artist and singer-songwriter first, Michael also operates as the Musical Director for world renowned artist and friend Kenny ‘Babyface’ Edmonds, has launched an innovative online format for guitar instruction, and has even contributed to major motion picture film scores. Working with the likes of Stevie Wonder, Sting, Natalie Cole, the American Idol Tour, the Pussy Cat Dolls, India Arie, and countless others, Michael is regarded as one of the industry’s most sought after session players and touring musicians.

Michael earned the nickname "Nomad" after he started posting pictures and videos of his travels around the globe on his website and YouTube. Follow Nomad everywhere his guitar takes him here at JamPlay and at
Reviews & Feedback 91/100 with 374 ratings

all of the above


Also easy to understand and just what I needed. Terrific! Thanks.


Awesome teacher


I want to see more of Nomad. This guy is awesome. Does he do any more lessons?


Funny and cool attitude. Informative.


Good chord progression. Very Pettyesque!


Great concepts to lock in!!


great for hybrid picking


Great lesson!


He was a good teacher and it was easy for me to comprehend.


I am really enjoying this series but the problems with the audio cutting out in most the vids is a problem!! Is this something that is going to be fixed anytime soon? Thanks ... I tried to check all three boxes but it didn't do that. I also li


I like all music, Nomad makes learning guitar fun period!


I like his added attempts at humor it's uplifting to me and makes it seem like he's one of the guy's not so serious n gets the teaching job done......


I love the crisp double hammer ons and pull offs!


I would have checked all 3 if I could. Nomad is one of my very favorite instructors on JamPlay. After taking a break I immediately signed back up as soon as I saw he had new lessons up! Always clear and concise and I enjoy all that he teaches!


The teacher seems cool


YAY !!! What i've been looking for!!!! Love the teacher and it was easy.


Love the energy and passion! Great job!


Love this instructor, fun and so knowledgable!


Michael is personable, passionate about music, and covers a wide variety of genres. Great teacher.


nice tune Nomad. progression and the bridge sound sweet. really enjoying the lessons and learning quite a bit. I like how simple you started out and have built nicely with each lesson.

Steve Y

really enjoying your lessons I am playing so much now my fingers are feeling the burn like when I first started playing nice guitar but....with no fret inlays it is a challenge to figure out where you are on the neck at times. i suppose it will


Really love these alternate chord structures!


Refreshing practice for intermediate. Thanks

bert tougas

So much fun and brilliant. You just fool around with this strumming for hours!


Sorry about that clicked thumbs down by mistake


Thank you for a very clear explanation of triads. I like the way you teach and you're fun, too! I would have checked all three options above but it won't let me.


that G to C transition!!!


The pace of the instruction is good. Instructor is encouraging.


this is great i am finding stuff i forgot.


Thorough Teacher and down to earth style of teaching. Many thanks.


ya more nomad