Improvisation with Daniel Gilbert

Skill Building Guitar Course from Daniel Gilbert

This series covers scale positions, arpeggios, modes, advanced blues and more! Learn creative, outside the box ways of applying your knowledge and ideas to your improvisation.

40 Lessons

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


Course filmed with 6 cameras for the perfect angles.

96% Appoval

290 of 296 of our members have given this their approval.

Tabs & Info

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


Access this course, along with all other courses with Membership.

Full Course Breakdown

Recognized around the world for his guitar teaching and playing, Daniel Gilbert offers up a unique and in-depth series on improvisation. ***IMPORTANT INFO FOR THIS SERIES*** Most instructors who use the "CAGED" acronym refer to the chord shape that scale is built off of. For example, the "C" shape actually looks like the basic "open C" chord. You can build the scale around the chord shape and you can extract the chord shape from the scale. Throughout this series, Daniel uses "CAGED" but he disconnects the name of the scale pattern from the chord shape it is based on. Instead, he attaches the name of each pattern to the NOTE NAME he begins each pattern with. This IS confusing, especially if you've learned pieces of the CAGED system from someone who teaches it the traditional way. This series by Nick Kellie provides that approach: Improv With Nick Kellie

Keep in mind, once you understand Daniel's naming scheme, the series does an exceptional job outlining and demonstrating each position as well as advancing in to some cool ways to apply each pattern and sound... particularly as the series progresses. Enjoy and stick with it!


Improvisation with Daniel Gilbert

Known around the world for his inspirational approach to guitar instruction, Musician's Institute veteran Daniel Gilbert outlines his series on Improvisation.

6:01 Runtime

0.0 Difficulty

View this Lesson

Learning Techniques

Learning can be frustrating! Daniel kicks off his series by taking you through 3 basic stages of how to learn, specifically on guitar. He provides a basic lick to illustrate how to apply these learning techniques.

13:03 Runtime

2.0 Difficulty


Scale Basics: CAGED Major Scale Patterns

Whether you've practiced a lot of scales or you are new to lead playing, Daniel's presentation of the CAGED major scale patterns is one you won't want to miss! You'll also receive valuable practice advice and a simple chord progression to play over.

11:40 Runtime

2.5 Difficulty


Scale Sequencing

Daniel shares and demonstrates a large variety of basic and advanced scale sequences and shares his philosophy behind using them in your playing.

14:59 Runtime

2.5 Difficulty


Scale Basics: Minor Scale Patterns

Daniel continues his study of "Scale Basics" by teaching the five natural minor scale patterns. He discusses the similarities and differences between the major and minor scales and takes a look at improvising over a backing track.

11:03 Runtime

2.0 Difficulty


Minor Pentatonic Patterns

Need a fresh approach to one of the most familiar and widely used scales on the planet? Look no further. Daniel teaches the five basic patterns, offers some unique sounding sequences to practice, and improvises over a track to illustrate how to blend sequences with other ideas.

10:00 Runtime

2.0 Difficulty


Major Pentatonic Patterns

Daniel teaches the patterns of the major pentatonic scale and discusses what makes this scale unique from its minor counterpart. He also shares two unconventional sequencing ideas.

8:32 Runtime

2.0 Difficulty


Starting to Make Music

Daniel wraps up his "Scale Basics" mini series by sharing a few ways to make simple scales sound a bit more interesting. Ascend one and descend another. Sequence one and play another one straight through. He talks about using scales in a musical context and demonstrates his ideas over a backing track.

8:41 Runtime

2.5 Difficulty


Basic Blues: Quick Change & Slow Change

Daniel teaches the "quick change" and "slow change" blues progressions and provides a blues comp idea that he calls "The Chicago". Play with both forms over shuffle and straight backing tracks!

10:57 Runtime

2.5 Difficulty


Blues Comping and the Blues Scale

Daniel covers one more chord-based blues comp as well as many riff-based comp ideas for the quick change blues. He then goes on to introduce the 5 positions of the Blues Scale.

13:40 Runtime

2.0 Difficulty


Major Blues Sounds and Bending

Daniel continues his basic blues mini series by discussing bending as a prominent style defining attribute of one's playing. He then takes you in to the possibly less common realm of Major Blues licks and ideas.

9:34 Runtime

2.0 Difficulty


Hybrid Blues

Daniel introduces the Hybrid Blues sound and uses two B. B. King "boxes" to illustrate some ways that it can be applied.

7:48 Runtime

2.0 Difficulty


Mixing Blues Sounds

Take the 3 distinct blues sounds you've practiced during this "Basic Blues" mini series and learn a really tasty way to apply each sound over a different part of a blues progression. Getting a grasp on the content in this lesson will set your playing apart from the rest of the pack!

9:45 Runtime

2.0 Difficulty


Major 7 Arpeggios

Daniel kicks off his "Arpeggios Mini-series" with the major 7th arpeggios. He teaches the five CAGED shapes as well as some alternate fingerings for a few of the patterns. Then, he demonstrates some of the shapes over different chords and progressions.

13:17 Runtime

2.5 Difficulty


Minor 7 Arpeggios

Learn the minor seventh arpeggio shapes and how to apply them over a couple of different chords. Apply these arpeggios over the provided backing tracks.

11:09 Runtime

2.5 Difficulty


Dominant 7 Arpeggios

If you took Daniel's "Basic Blues" lessons, you won't want to miss this lesson on dominant seventh arpeggios! These patterns provide you with a nice 'wide' sound when compared with regular scales and are an essential tool for improvising over modern blues.

11:31 Runtime

2.5 Difficulty


Minor 7(b5) Arpeggios

Finishing up the last of the seventh arpeggios, Mr. Gilbert teaches the m7(b5) patterns and demonstrates a few conventional and unconventional ways of applying them. Blues players, this lesson will rock your playing!

14:38 Runtime

2.5 Difficulty


Improvising with Arpeggios

Taking all of the arpeggios learned so far, Daniel takes you through two chord progressions and demonstrates many ways to apply the patterns musically over backing tracks.

8:48 Runtime

3.5 Difficulty


Major Arpeggios

Saving the three note arpeggios for later in his series was a strategic one. They are actually harder to play! Once you have the seventh arpeggio shapes down, start getting these shapes in your fingers!

9:47 Runtime

3.0 Difficulty


Minor Arpeggios

Daniel begins by teaching the basic CAGED minor arpeggio patterns and then shares an etude that provides a beautiful musical context with which to apply some of the shapes covered so far.

9:54 Runtime

3.5 Difficulty


Diminished 7 Arpeggios

Daniel teaches the fully diminished 7th arpeggio shapes and explores several ways of applying them over chords and progressions we use every day.

9:54 Runtime

3.0 Difficulty


Augmented Arpeggios

In this last installment of his arpeggio mini series, Daniel teaches the augmented patterns. As usual, there is a backing track provided so that you can, using Daniel's insights, practice making music out of these peculiar devices.

7:01 Runtime

3.0 Difficulty


The Dorian Mode

Modes are generally a source of mass confusion for many guitarists. If you're new to modes or struggling to apply them, Mr. Gilbert's mode mini series is for you. In this lesson, learn the Dorian patterns, what makes this mode unique, and apply it all over a backing track.

10:31 Runtime

2.5 Difficulty


The Phrygian Mode

Apply Daniel's same easy method for learning the modes to the Phrygian mode. Daniel outlines the scale patterns and teaches some short musical phrases that help drive home the unique nature of the scale. He demonstrates everything over a backing track.

9:27 Runtime

3.0 Difficulty


The Lydian Mode

Daniel teaches the CAGED Lydian patterns, some tasteful phrasing ideas, and explores some chords and progressions that are appropriate for the Lydian mode.

9:47 Runtime

2.5 Difficulty


The Mixolydian Mode

Being one of Daniel's favorite sounds, he takes extra care in explaining and demonstrating the Mixolydian mode. Learn the patterns, some musical phrases and put it all together with a backing track!

8:43 Runtime

2.5 Difficulty


Modal Jams

Daniel wraps up his mini series on modes by teaching you how to play over two different modal backing tracks. Learn how to switch between modes and keys and apply scales as well as arpeggios.

12:07 Runtime

3.0 Difficulty


Advanced Blues: Expanding the A7 Chord

Welcome to Daniel's "Advanced Blues" mini series. This is an incredibly interesting lesson about how arpeggios and scales in different keys relate to the A7 chord. If you like your blues with a bit of "outside" flavor to it, learning this material is a must!

16:53 Runtime

3.0 Difficulty


Advanced Blues: Using Triads

Daniel explores some conventional and unconventional ways to use triads over an A7 chord and an Am7 chord. When added tastefully, triads really spice up the old blues and pentatonic scales.

12:42 Runtime

2.5 Difficulty


Advanced Blues: Modes and Blues

Sticking with the 12 bar form, Daniel looks at different chords that can be used in place of the more traditional blues. He then dives deep into utilizing modes as a form of improvisation over the blues progression.

8:25 Runtime

3.0 Difficulty


Advanced Blues: "A La Carte"

Put it all together with this monster modal blues beast and Daniel's series finale. If you've been following Daniel's series and practicing diligently, this is your test... your chance to reach further... your chance to make it all come together!

10:21 Runtime

4.0 Difficulty


Advanced Improvisation

Daniel now takes this series to the next step. Here he explains where this series will take you in your improvising techniques.

3:21 Runtime

2.0 Difficulty


C-D Transitions

Daniel explains some practice techniques that will enable you to improvise over a key change of a whole step.

17:22 Runtime

3.5 Difficulty


Minor 3rd Transitions

Learn some practice techniques that will help you improvise over two different key centers that are a minor third apart.

18:31 Runtime

3.5 Difficulty


Major 3rd Key Changes

This lesson is all about intervals, specifically switching between keys that are a major third apart.

11:44 Runtime

3.5 Difficulty


Working within A Minor

In this very detailed oriented series, Daniel now discusses some unique ways to use the A minor scale to you improvisational advantage.

9:21 Runtime

3.5 Difficulty


ii-V-I Progressions

Here, Daniel covers ii-V-I progressions and explains some scale choices that can be used when improvising over them.

9:31 Runtime

3.5 Difficulty


Solo Opportunities

Still sticking within the ii-V-I progression, Daniel delves much deeper into the scale options available when improvising a solo.

15:43 Runtime

3.5 Difficulty


Minor ii-V-i Progressions

Daniel will mellow things out by demonstrating how to play over ii-V-i progressions in minor keys.

8:17 Runtime

3.5 Difficulty


Chromatic Alterations

This lesson diverts into more of a chromatic direction. Learn how to incorporate basic chromatic ideas over the ii-V-I.

11:27 Runtime

3.5 Difficulty

Let's Start. Together.

Setup your account and explore our courses, teaching tools and resources.

Get Started
  • Los Angeles, CA
  • Playing since 1971
  • 55 lessons at JamPlay
Veteran Musician Institute guitar instructor brings his 35 years of guitar classroom teaching experience to JamPlay! His playing and perspective on the guitar will help anyone excel in their journey to become a better, well-rounded musician.

Reviews & Feedback 96/100 with 296 ratings

all of the above


Excellent lesson - Thanks Daniel


Amazing! One of the most important guitar lessons I have ever had in my life.


awesome class!!!!


Clear, easy to understand, great explanation!!


Great lesson on applying the technique of visualization. Thank-you.


Great Scale Sequences for practice


I like the way he broke it down. Looking forward to looking at all the study he has.


I really like the lesson and the teacher.


I've been practicing for some time with bad technique. I needed this to bring me back on track to proper learning.


JamPlay does a super job with as many as 4 video shots and all the companion docs and media. Keep it up! Liked the ease of understanding Daniel in this series.


Very top quality video lessons.


Nice to walk away with something to practice that will apply to many things. Not just some lick.


Perfect. Very helpful


Very clear explanation. Thank you Dan


Visualization makes so much sense!


Wonderful info filled basic approach to what I need!


Wow, a logical and practical and yet fun approach to something most of us, newbies are afraid off. Much appreciated.