Theory and Improvisation with Nick Kellie

Skill Building Guitar Course from Nick Kellie

Nick Kellie teaches the CAGED system and theory of modes based around this system of learning.

48 Lessons

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


Course filmed with 6 cameras for the perfect angles.

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Full Course Breakdown

Nick Kellie teaches the CAGED system and theory of modes based around this system of learning.


CAGED System

Nick Kellie teaches the CAGED system and the 3 point root guidelines to finding your chords.

22:29 Runtime

1.5 Difficulty


Major Triad Arpeggios

Building on the CAGED system he taught in lesson 1, Nick teaches the major triad arpeggios built off those chords.

7:13 Runtime

1.5 Difficulty


Dominant 7th Arpeggios

Nick Kellie demonstrates the dominant 7th arpeggios as they relate to the CAGED system.

9:29 Runtime

1.5 Difficulty


Major Pentatonic Scales in the CAGED System

Nick Kellie demonstrates the major pentatonic scales as they relate to the CAGED system shapes.

7:40 Runtime

1.5 Difficulty


CAGED System Major Scale

Nick Kellie demonstrates the major scales in relation to the five shapes of the CAGED system.

5:35 Runtime

1.5 Difficulty


CAGED Minor Shapes

Now that he has already covered the major CAGED shapes, Nick Kellie demonstrates the minor shapes for the CAGED system.

10:58 Runtime

1.5 Difficulty


Minor Triad Arpeggios

Nick Kellie teaches the minor triad arpeggios for the CAGED system.

5:19 Runtime

1.5 Difficulty


Minor 7th Arpeggios

Nick Kellie teaches the minor 7th arpeggios as they relate to the CAGED system.

6:39 Runtime

1.5 Difficulty


Minor Pentatonic Scale

Nick Kellie demonstrates the minor pentatonic scales as it relates to the CAGED system.

3:10 Runtime

0.5 Difficulty


CAGED Natural Minor Scale

Nick Kellie demonstrates the natural minor scale using the CAGED system.

4:29 Runtime

1.5 Difficulty



Nick Kellie discusses intervals and interval spacing on the guitar.

24:28 Runtime

1.5 Difficulty


Parent Scales

Nick Kellie discusses the three parent scales that all other diatonic scales are derived from.

10:14 Runtime

1.5 Difficulty


Harmonizing the Major Scale

Nick Kellie discusses how to harmonize the diatonic major scale.

13:19 Runtime

1.5 Difficulty


Modes of the Major Scale

Nick Kellie discusses the seven modes derived from the diatonic major scale.

22:07 Runtime

1.5 Difficulty


Phrygian Mode

Nick Kellie covers the Phrygian mode of the major scale.

6:43 Runtime

1.5 Difficulty


Lydian Mode

Nick Kellie covers the Lydian mode of the major scale.

7:37 Runtime

1.5 Difficulty


Mixolydian Mode

Nick Kellie covers the Mixolydian mode in five positions.

8:10 Runtime

1.5 Difficulty


Aeolian Mode

Nick Kellie demonstrates the Aeolian mode in five positions.

5:09 Runtime

1.5 Difficulty


Locrian Mode

Nick Kellie covers the Locrian mode in five positions.

6:20 Runtime

1.5 Difficulty


Changing Keys Using Modes

Nick Kellie explains how to change modes while improvising.

15:26 Runtime

1.5 Difficulty


Building Modal Chord Progressions

Nick Kellie discusses and demonstrates how to create modal chord progressions within the seven different modes.

28:35 Runtime

1.5 Difficulty


Chord Development

Nick Kellie discusses chord development. Taking key strategies from pianists, Nick demonstrates how playing with a single bass note can benefit your chord construction.

15:17 Runtime

1.5 Difficulty


Lick Development

Nick Kellie discusses and demonstrates how to use the licks you learn.

11:14 Runtime

2.0 Difficulty


Determining the Key

Nick Kellie demonstrates how to find the key of a song.

13:49 Runtime

1.5 Difficulty


Non-Diatonic Chord Progressions

Nick discusses and demonstrates some uses for non-diatonic chords within a progression.

7:08 Runtime

1.5 Difficulty


7th Chords

Nick explains how to harmonize the major scale with diatonic 7th chords.

11:27 Runtime

1.5 Difficulty


Soloing Over Chords

Nick explains how to use scales and modes effectively when soloing over a chord progression.

9:53 Runtime

1.5 Difficulty

View this Lesson

Modal Alterations

Nick discusses how to transpose a lick or riff into a different mode.

8:36 Runtime

1.5 Difficulty


Modal Pentatonic Scales

Nick Kellie demonstrates pentatonic scales derived from the modes of the major scale.

9:32 Runtime

2.0 Difficulty


9th Chords

Nick Kellie discusses 9th chords, how they are used, and demonstrates a few voicings to get you started.

8:35 Runtime

1.5 Difficulty


11th Chords

Nick Kellie discusses 11th chords and their applications.

4:39 Runtime

1.5 Difficulty


13th Chords

Nick Kellie discusses and demonstrates voicings for 13th chords.

6:08 Runtime

1.5 Difficulty


Dorian and Super Locrian

Nick Kellie discusses how to use the Dorian and Super Locrian modes effectively within a single chord progression.

10:03 Runtime

2.5 Difficulty


Jazz Soloing #1

Nick Kellie discusses concepts and ideas for soloing over jazz compositions.

20:50 Runtime

2.5 Difficulty


Jazz Soloing #2

Nick Kellie demonstrates jazz solo techniques for his song "30 Hour Journey."

10:50 Runtime

2.5 Difficulty


Building Chords

Nick Kellie demonstrates and discusses building chords and chordal tones from within a scale.

5:58 Runtime

2.0 Difficulty


Reading Scale Charts

Nick Kellie discusses how to read scale charts pertaining to the CAGED system of playing.

8:36 Runtime

1.5 Difficulty


Understanding Modal Playing

Nick Kellie returns to his theory and improvisation series with a lesson on understanding modal playing and separating the modes from their parent scales.

35:16 Runtime

3.5 Difficulty


Separating Modes from Their Parent Scales

In lesson 38, Nick discussed more basics on understanding modes and modal playing. In this lesson, he discusses separating your modes from their parent scales to give a more balanced and modal sound to your playing.

16:34 Runtime

3.0 Difficulty


Practical Modal Applications

Returning to his theory and improvisation series, Nick discusses how you might already being applying modal playing without even knowing it. He discusses how you can pull modal scale ideas and progressions out of the progressions your playing with or over.

9:34 Runtime

3.0 Difficulty


Scale Sequencing

Nick Kellie returns to his Theory and Improvisation series with a discussion on scale sequencing. In this lesson he discusses how sequencing in both numeric and intervalic forms can open up the scale for you in your playing.

12:17 Runtime

3.0 Difficulty


Pentatonic Scale Sequencing

Now that Nick has covered the basic concepts of sequencing scales, he covers how you might sequence within the pentatonic scale. He also discusses linear and non-linear playing.

14:17 Runtime

2.5 Difficulty


Sequencing Triads

Nick Kellie returns with another look at sequencing. Nick has been talking primarily about playing sequences using diads or intervals. In this lesson, he demonstrates sequences based on diatonic triads and seventh chords.

7:04 Runtime

2.5 Difficulty


Diatonic Seventh Chord Arpeggios

Now that you've learned how to sequence triads, Nick applies the same concepts horizontally with diatonic seventh chords and their arpeggios.

5:54 Runtime

2.5 Difficulty


Harmonizing Keys

Nick Kellie discusses how a key is harmonized and how this knowledge can help unlock playing over chords and within different keys.

15:42 Runtime

2.5 Difficulty


Backing Track Study #1

In his 46th lesson, Nick Kellie takes an applied approach to soloing over a backing track. In this lesson, he discusses ways to solo and connect scales and modes over his track "Melody of Hope".

18:47 Runtime

3.0 Difficulty


Backing Track Study #2

Nick Kellie takes a look at another backing track and discusses how to implement scale ideas over it.

15:17 Runtime

3.0 Difficulty


Scales and 3rd Intervals

In this lesson, Nick discusses how applying the third interval across a scale idea can open up melodic ideas in your playing. To get you started, he teaches the third interval pattern for all adjacent string pairs in the key of A.

10:20 Runtime

2.5 Difficulty

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  • Playing since 1992
  • 155 lessons at JamPlay
Nick was awarded the BBC Big Band Jazz awards "John Dankworth trophy for outstanding young soloist" and recorded a special show for BBC radio 2. He was invited to become a member of the Wigan Jazz Orchestra, and has played as part of the Wigan International Jazz Festival. He has played extensive gigs which include accompaniment, reading, soloing as well as styles ranging from Soul, R&B, Blues, Rock and Jazz in locations such as London, Norway, Germany and Greece.

Nick, with his professional approach towards music, brings enthusiasm and musicality to every project he is involved with. As well as being a guitarist Nick is also a fine vocalist and can sing lead vocals as well as backing vocals.

In London Nick has been involved with many projects such as Fresh Claim, which features Nick on guitar, and Jon Plotel on Bass (Billy Ocean, The Real Thing) and Vanessa Haynes band featuring members of Jeff Beck group, Eric Clapton’s Band and Allan Holdsworth’s Band. For a time Nick resided in Nashville TN where he played with many local musicians. In addition he also played in a Jazz Fusion band named "Shammah", with whom he has recorded an album.

Most recently Nick was signed to Digital Nations - part of Steve Vai's record label and has recorded an album entitled "For A Brother" with his band "Nick Kellie Band". Upon hearing the album, Steve contacted Nick with regard to a release on his own label. It has been released in the USA, Europe and Asia. As well as this, Nick is also an endorsee of Elixir guitar strings, which are world-renowned.

Nick Also contributed to around 21 issues of Europe's biggest selling guitar magazine - "Total Guitar" in his series of articles, "Techniques of the rich and famous" and "Steal their style".

Having taught at Europe's top two guitar schools, Nick was also appointed as head of the guitar department at Guitar Getaways.
Reviews & Feedback 84/100 with 136 ratings

absolute clarity!


Actually all three of the above!


Great lessons, I understand a lot mo0re of what is going on on the fret board. Thanks!


He enplanes slowly and clearly. Thats what I need. Thanks


He really broke things down so you could understand.


Helped clarify some things in my head.


I had some intro to this concept before the lesson but Nick definitely helped me understand it better. I wish I had seen this prior to our Live Chat!


I've watched a number of lessons by other instructors on the major and minor pentatonic scales, but have always wanted to know how to match them up with chords. This lesson was just what I was looking for. Nice job building on the previous less


My playing has been stagnant for a while now and this helped me look at the guitar in a way I hadn't considered before. This also explains on a basic level how one of my favorite guitar player approaches soloing sometimes. I can't wait to p


Never heard the CAGES explained that way. Made sense


nicks skill and know how are exceptional.


Nick's description of the CAGED system finally gets me to completely understand the system. Very clear simple description.


Not sure if you could add this or not but I would enjoy the instructors taking a minute and share info on the guitar and equipment they are using. It would be useful when we're looking for new gear.


Thank you Nick - great lesson


Well explained