Phil Keaggy

Phil Keaggy

Phil is a Guitar instructor at

Phil Keaggy is perhaps one of the most admired guitarists in music today. His fans range from those who aspire just to be able to play Keaggy's mistakes, to professional musicians who have been strongly influenced by his style. And in between are those who don't play guitar, yet find solace in his beautifully penned lyrics and memorable melodies. Phil's solo career has spanned more than 40 years, and has included over 60 solo albums, both vocal and instrumental, 8 releases w... (more)

Phil currently offers 46 guitar lessons at JamPlay, with 46 lessons in our Artist Series.

Phil Keaggy's contribution to JamPlay

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The History of Phil Keaggy

Take the opportunity to explore a Master Course from one of the best musicians to grace the guitar. A exclusive, this 45 lesson course will cover the songs, techniques, and styles that have defined the history of Phil Keaggy. With 45 years of touring and 70+ studio albums, Phil is one of the most admired guitarists in music. If you are a Phil Keaggy fan, this course was designed for you. Engineered to cover everything from acoustic rhythms and melodies, to electric guitar effects and leads, we cover the signature styles of Mr. Keaggy.


Series Introduction

Welcome to the Phil Keaggy Master Course! In this series introduction, Phil shows and tells us what we can expect from this course. Get ready for a wide range of styles, flavors, and techniques!

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Interview with Phil

Phil sits down with JamPlay for a candid interview about himself and his playing.

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Tools, Career and :Advice

From nail care to reminiscing about his vast recording and touring career, Phil Keaggy discusses it all. He also shares advice for aspiring career musicians, talks about how his faith has influenced his playing, and sheds light on how to turn inspiration into creation!

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How to Practice

Phil shares his insights in to practicing, how he goes about it and provides anecdotes to help you practice more effectively.

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Where Inspiration Comes From

Phil discusses inspiration, where it's found and how you can take almost anything around you and use it to inspire your own creativity.

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View this Lesson

Chord Voicing Variations

Phil is famous for his unique chord voicings. He loves the rich, somewhat dissonant colors he can achieve by exploring different ways to play chords. In this lesson, he shows us his approach to finding these unique tones.

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Using Effects with Electric Guitar

Phil's use of effects in his sound is artistic in and of itself. In this lesson he demonstrates some of his signature effects. You'll get a clear idea of how he creates some of his legendary electric guitar sounds!

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Adding Riffs to Chord Structures

In this lesson, we watch and learn as Phil takes a pretty routine and basic chord structure, and adds a little spice to it to make it a full blown riff!

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Following Chords When Soloing

Unique chord progressions require unique note choices when soloing. Here, Phil strategically targets certain notes that work over an atypical chord progression.

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Left Hand Chord Stretches

Getting those chord voicings that Phil talked about in a previous lesson requires a good bit of hand dexterity. In this lesson Phil gives us a challenging progression, along with some thoughts and exercises to get your hands to stretch for those wild chords!

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Altered Tunings

Watch and learn as Phil not only uses an altered tuning in this song, but switches to another tuning in the middle of the piece!

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Picking Hand Development

Phil is uniquely qualified to talk about picking hand development. Having endured many challenges in this area, Phil tells us his story of overcoming those challenges, and gives you a closeup look at some of his picking hand techniques.

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Using Multiple Capos, Part 1

In this lesson, Phil demonstrates how he uses multiple capos to create specific moods and colors within songs. He then uses looping to create a fantastic piece that will have your head spinning and your foot tapping!

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Using Multiple Capos, Part 2

If you've ever used a lever capo, you know they can be a mechanical, yet musical addition to the guitar. In this lesson, Phil demonstrates not one, but using two lever capos at the same time!

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Do it For You: Fingerstyle Exercise

Phil teaches a descending line that incorporates a simple fingerstyle technique.

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Cascading Fingerpicking

Phil offers up a cascading lick that functions as a great introduction to fingerstyle playing.

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Morphies Law: Fingerstyle

Phil teaches a a folk-based fingerstyle line derived from his song Morphies Law.

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Two Handed Tapping

Phil demonstrates the two handed tapping technique and discusses it's uses.

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Farewell: Two-Hand Tapping

Phill offers up another piece that focuses on the two hand tapping technique. This time you'll be incorporating a capo at the same time.

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Alternate Tunings and Time Signatures

Phil demonstrates and discusses his approach to using altered tunings and time signatures.

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Alternate Tunings: DADGAD

Phil demonstrates and discusses his use of the DADGAD tuning.

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Alternate Tunings: E, B, C#, G, B, E

Phil has another lesson and discussion on alternate tuning here. You'll be looking at examples in the tuning EBC#GBE.

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Adaptations of an E Chord

Phil demonstrates and discusses the ability to move the basic E chord around the fretboard as a way to develop a song.

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Looping - Reverse Effect

Phil demonstrates a simple walking line that, when reversed and looped, sounds like a traditional Irish flavored tune. He talks about how he discovered the reverse effect and plays chords and rhythm over the line that he has reversed.

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Looping - One Man Band

Be the drummer, the bass player, the rhythm guitarist and the lead guy; do it all with a looper and a keen sense of how to weave parts together while giving them their own space. You’ll see a complete breakdown of how Phil builds his loops and lines, one step at a time! This is a gem of a lesson that lets you inside the head of one of the masters of the “one man band!”

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Looping - Percussion

Zero in on acoustic guitar percussion techniques and ideas! Some of what you’ll see is conventional and some of it is downright wacky, but Phil brings it all together. Learn how to smack that guitar, use cut up credit cards, and create grooves that are easily looped. You’ll also see how to layer static chords over a catchy passage. There are several separate musical examples that should inspire an endless amount of creativity with a looper effect!

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Graceful Sweepy Bend

It’s bluesy and quirky. This lick played over an E dominant sound packs a lot into a little space with a tasteful sweep into an ‘on again off again’ bend that you can’t help but experiment with. Phil goes back and forth with his phrasing choices, works the beat and demonstrates ways to bend the ears, strings and fingers with this one.

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Arpeggio With Style

The main run or arpeggio that Phil showcases here is based on a B minor sound and provides an excellent way to climb quickly and target that sweet spot note that the listener is aching to hear. You’ll hear it demonstrated as a fast flurry, ending inside slightly different contexts over the groove. You’ll also get to hear it broken down a bit so that you can drop it into your own material. It’s a very versatile lick!

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Pentatonic Animal

Phil blends classic pentatonic phrasing with a bit of an arpeggiated flare over an E minor sound. As demonstrated, the timing of the sequence over a groove can be felt out and tweaked quite a bit depending on the flavor of the overall lead. It’s played as a setup to a melody and as a blistering run that ends strongly on a downbeat. Try both approaches for an added challenge!

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Bloomfield Style

Inspired by legendary 60s-era guitar playing from Michael Bloomfield, this passage is packed full of jazzy dorian fun! The main lick during the first 3 measures of the passage sets the mood and the motif, and then Phil masterfully demonstrates how to expand on the lick while retaining familiarity throughout.

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Riff With You

Phil offers up a spacious lick in the key of E that works well as an ending to a solo.

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Souther Style

Phil discusses and demonstrates a passage originally adapted from Pianist Richard Souther.

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Turn It Around

Phil teaches an unconventional blues turnaround centered in the key of E.

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Falling Up the Stairs

Phil teaches a three note per string scale and feels like you're "Falling Up the Stairs."

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Strongly Not Resolved

Knowing what to do with a diminished chord is not easy. In this lesson, Phil shows us how to set up a diminished chord that resolves nicely to another chord.

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Coming Full Circle

This lick has a mellow, ascending sound that is all Phil. The dynamics of this are key to making it sound just right!

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Back in Time

This riff is based around the good ol' pentatonic scale. While not as flashy as earlier licks, it has a nice flowing rhythm and descending nature that the ear immediately gravitates towards.

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Stomp On This

Here's a classic Phil sounding lick. There's a swampy country-rock or southern-rock flavor to this one, and it will allow you to practice the intonation on your bends!

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My World

This riff centers around the intervallic spacing of the rhythm guitar part. Then Phil loops the rhythm part and adds some very tasteful solo guitar lines. An all around great track!

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Love Divine

This lesson contains a very Beatlesque rhythm part from Phil, along with an extremely catchy lead solo. See how you can do at both of these parts!

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Lord Have Mercy

Here’s a straightforward, swampy blues groove with a little flare. Set in the key of E, it’s perfectly positioned to take advantage of open strings both with an E drone and with numerous opportunities taken to pull off to key tones. The universal appeal of this lick is that you can use parts of when riffing over any E blues song.

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Not Passing By

This passage nods its head to many classic riffs and is a perfect example of a lead-based riff that is working perfectly with target chords. In other words, you’ll be playing rhythm and lead at the same time when you learn to play this snippet of Phil’s. It’s also a great way to apply the pentatonic scale in a more interesting context.

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Love Does Not Fear

Boogie on with this riff! Get in the groove over an E pedal tone and practice using the pentatonic scale to pull away from the bass note while maintaining the strong E presence and the boogie feel. This is another great example of combining strong rhythm and lead ideas into one lick.

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Not Nothin to Play

This is pure pentatonic lead riffage! It’s the attention to phrasing that makes it so juicy. You likely already know the notes. Hone in on Phil’s attention to detail as he walks down the A minor pentatonic scale.

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Fly on the wall

Volume swells, contemplative space, and chordal voice leading are among the many themes present in this phrase. Learn to put the chord patterns together first, then connect them with the subtle melody that joins them together.

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Live Event Archive

As a special treat we have included the archive of the Phil Keaggy Live Event. Join us as he demonstrates some of his favorite techniques, answers questions, and talks about his upcoming album.

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