Melanie Faye
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Neo-Soul Learning Pathway

Become an expressive neo-soul guitarist in 3 months.

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Unlimited access for $14.99/mo
WHo it's for

Intermediate guitarists

Looking to add neo-soul spice to your rhythm & lead skills? This course will help you level up in a BIG way.

Time

3 months

Melanie and Sam will guide you through 6 grades of ultra-guided instruction and daily practice.

Outcome

Buttery-smooth playing

By the end of this pathway, you'll have the silky sounds of neo-soul guitar locked under your fingers.

JUST THE START

Take the next step

Once you've mastered neo soul, keep progressing with advanced Master Classes and guided pathways.

What you'll learn

From fundamentals to advanced techniques, capture the iconic sound neo soul in your rhythm and lead playing.

  • Make your guitar sing with expressive embellishments
  • Stank up your soloing with neo-soul vocabulary
  • Learn how to play like iconic neo-soul guitarists
  • Get custom feedback on your playing
How it works

Your guided Learning Pathway

In this 3-month Learning Pathway, Melanie Faye and Sam Blakelock will take you on a journey through all things neo-soul guitar.

Fundamentals

To kick things off, you'll build a foundation by learning essential neo-soul techniques as they apply to rhythm and lead playing.

Grade 1 consists of seven gradually-paced days. The lessons are suitable for intermdiate guitarists and qualified beginners.

Building up

In Grade 2, you'll continue building out your neo-soul foundation.

Our goal with these first two grades is to get you playing right away so you can have fun and incorporate these lessons into your unique playing style.

Neo soloing

In Grade 3, you’ll step into the spotlight as you learn the art of lead guitar through the lens of neo-soul.

The skills you learn here will enable you to improvise stank face-inducing guitar solos with an iconic neo-soul sound.

Grade 4. Extended Soloing Applications

Take your soloing skills to the next level and unlock your fretboard by exploring new scalar territory.

Grade 5. Studying the Legends

Behind every great guitarist lies a lineage of musicians who have inspired and informed their playing. In this grade, you'll learn how to play like some of neo soul's most iconic guitarists who have defined the genre.

Grade 6. Six Neo-Soul Solos

To cap off the Learning Pathway, we'll put the focus on making music with six tasty neo-soul solos for you to sink your teeth into.

Curriculum

Stay focused with this step-by-step learning program designed by our expert team of music educators.

3-MONTH Plan

Grade 1. Fundamentals

Take your first steps into the world of neo-soul guitar.

Day 1. Introduction to neo-soul feel

Get acquainted with the world of neo soul and learn about what it means to play with feel.

Day 2. How to play neo-soul chords

What makes neo-soul harmony so alluring? You'll learn that secret today as you add a bag of tasty neo-soul chord shapes to your chordal vocabulary.

Day 3. Easy minor pentatonic soloing

Want to know the secret to a great neo-soul solo? It's not fancy vocabulary. It's all about feel, and we'll prove it with today's lesson as you add some secret expressive sauce to the minor pentatonic.

Day 4. Double stops 101

Beef up your melodies with this essential technique that blends rhythm and lead playing.

Day 5. The music theory of neo soul

A little theory goes a long way when it comes to navigating the world of neo soul. We'll make it quick & easy, don't worry.

Day 6. Adding feel to your soloing

Remember, it's not about what you say – it's about how you say it. Here, you'll continue to work on expressive techniques that'll breathe life into your soloing.

Day 7. Recap and history

Review what you learned, and join Sam Blakelock for a lesson on the roots of neo soul.

Performance pieces

Once you work through the lessons, we have 10 silky-smooth neo-soul songs for your to choose from. These are designed to take what you learned and put it in a purely musical context. The best part? We have live-band backing track videos so you can get a taste of what it's like to play neo soul LIVE.

Once you ace a performance piece, you'll have the opportunity to submit a video of yourself playing it to our team of professional guitarists for custom feedback on your playing.

Final quiz

To cap off the Grade, you'll complete an interactive quiz that'll ensure you're ready to move on to Grade 2.

Grade 2. Building up

Continue building your foundation by exploring a diverse set of jam-ready concepts.

Day 1. How to develop your feel

Developing proper feel is key to becoming a convincing neo-soul guitarist. To kick off Grade 2, you'll drill through expressive techniques that will seriously sharpen your skills.

Day 2. The four levels of neo-soul chords

Now that you have some fundamental neo-soul shapes in your pocket, we'll show you how to take them to the next level. You'll start with bar chords, work on expressive embellishments, add in some passing chords, and incorporate a backbeat to really drive things home.

Day 3. How to write neo-soul chord progressions

Scratching your head at how a neo-soul guitarist composes a song? We'll walk you through the theory of neo-soul harmony with three seriously colorful progressions.

Day 4. How to play neo soul with the major scale

Today, you'll add two notes to your pentatonic soloing foundation and explore lead guitar techniques as they relate to the major scale.

Day 5. Double stops and thirds

Take your double stops to the next level and learn how to harness thirds in your playing.

Day 6. Minor-key songwriting

While the major scale is the center of our Western music theory universe, learning how to view neo soul through the lens of minor keys is essential. Why? Become most songs are written in minor keys to achieve that smooth and alluring sound.

Day 7. Recap and history

Review what you learned, and join Sam Blakelock for a lesson on the history of neo soul.

Performance pieces

Once you work through the lessons, we have seven silky-smooth neo-soul songs for your to choose from. These are designed to take what you learned and put it in a purely musical context. The best part? We have live-band backing track videos so you can get a taste of what it's like to play neo soul LIVE.

Once you ace a performance piece, you'll have the opportunity to submit a video of yourself playing it to our team of professional guitarists for custom feedback on your playing.

Final quiz

To cap off the Grade, you'll complete an interactive quiz that'll ensure you're ready to move on to Grade 3.

Grade 3. Neo soloing

Put the spotlight on lead guitar as you dive into essential melodic vocabulary.

Day 1. Pentatonic scales

Pentatonic mastery is fundamental to every style of guitar soloing – neo soul is no different. To kick things off, we'll dive even deeper into how you can bring the pentatonic scale to life.

Day 2. Major and minor scales

Explore both sides of the coin! You'll learn about relative keys and how you can harness them in your soloing.

Day 3. The altered scale

Now it's time to enter the big leagues. The intriguing sounds of the altered scale play a big role in neo-soul guitar. Today, you'll get acquainted with the scale and learn how it's birthed from an altered-dominant chord.

Day 4. Combining minor and altered

You're only getting more powerful here! In this lesson, you'll learn how to blend the minor scale with your new altered vocabulary.

Day 5. Tasteful techniques

We'll stop to take a breather from all of that vocabulary to remind you that all the fancy scales in the world won't do you any good if you can't make them come to life with feel!

Day 6. Adding chords to solos

Next up, is a detour into jazz land as we explore the art of chord-inclusive soloing. This is an advanced technique that you'll recognize from iconic jazz guitarists like Joe Pass, Ted Greene, and Lenny Breau.

Day 7. Recap and history

Review what you learned, and join Sam Blakelock for a lesson on the history of neo soul.

Performance pieces

Once you work through the lessons, we have seven silky-smooth neo-soul songs for your to choose from. These are designed to take what you learned and put it in a purely musical context. The best part? We have live-band backing track videos so you can get a taste of what it's like to play neo soul LIVE.

Once you ace a performance piece, you'll have the opportunity to submit a video of yourself playing it to our team of professional guitarists for custom feedback on your playing.

Final quiz

To cap off the Grade, you'll complete an interactive quiz that'll ensure you're ready to move on to Grade 4.

Grades 4, 5 and 6.

In the last half of your neo-soul learning journey, you'll explore advanced soloing techniques, learn to play like the greats, and cap off the course with some extremely fun soloing.

Grade 4. Extended Soloing Applications

Day 1. Pentatonic positions 2

Continue on your quest to pentatonic mastery.

Day 2. Expanding major and minor scales

Here, you'll build out your scale maps and feel your fretboard really start to unlock.

Day 3. Altered position 2

Today, you dive back into the alluring sounds of the altered scale. Plenty of guided practice exercises and jamming to be done here!

Day 4. Minor + altered position 2

Rome wasn't built in a day! Neither is your soloing skill set. Your hard work will pay off here, and we'll make the process fun along the way.

Day 5. Tasteful techniques

Now that you've done some serious scalar digging, we'll work on making it sound neo-soulful!

Day 6. Adding chords to solos

Here, we're back to the land of chord-melody soloing with extended applications to spice up your soloing.

Day 7. Recap, history, and connecting positions

You'll know the drill by now. On Day 7, we recap and get a history lesson. But wait, there's more! We have a bonus lesson on how to really smooth out your soloing by connecting scale positions.

Performance pieces

As with the previous grades, you'll cap off this grade choosing from 10 songs that we'll challenge you to learn. You'll once again have live-band backing tracks and an opportunity to get custom feedback on your playing.

Final quiz

To cap off the Grade, you'll complete an interactive quiz that'll ensure you're ready to move on to Grade 5.


Grade 5. Studying the Legends

Day 1. Spanky Alford

Join gospel guitarist TJ Whitelaw as he walks you through how to play like Spanky, whose playing has an overwhelming influence on neo soul. He’s the archetypical father of the style, fusing gospel and R&B sounds to create the neo-soulful sound we all love.

Day 2. Jonathan Dubose and quartet guitar

Here, TJ Whitelaw will break down Dubose's style, whose singular approach to chording structures, rhythm, and lead lines is foundational to the neo-soul style.

Day 3. Erick Walls

Today, we're joining back up with Melanie as she gives us an inside look into the stylings of one of her favorite players: the wide-ranging Erick Walls. His mastery of slides, whammy-bar vibrato, drop-2 voicings, and top-three string combos have had a massive influence on Melanie's playing.

Day 4. Eric Gales

New day, new Eric! Gales is another master whose playing has had a profound impact on Melanie's style. His playing has that rare “best of both worlds” quality – there’s a deep soulful expressiveness, while also a very high ceiling of technical ability. Toss in some really lyrical vibrato and it all comes together to make up his amazing style.

Day 5. Isaiah Sharkey

The man. The myth. The master. Isaiah is a monstrous player – so much so, that he's John Mayer and D'Angelo's guitarist of choice. If there's only one guitar player you listen to when learning neo soul, it’s Isaiah. The way he fuses gospel chords and harmonies over modern grooves is remarkable. Sam Blakelock breaks it down for you in this lesson.

Day 6. Melanie Faye

Today, we check out the style of your very own neo-soul mentor, Melanie! Her playing took the internet by storm a few years ago, and she's since become an in-demand artist whose unique guitar-driven sound we're following very closely. Melanie breaks down her favorite techniques today.

Day 7. Mateus Asato

By now, your neo-soul know-how and swag level are at an all-time high. Oslo-based producer and guitarist Nicklas Myhre will close things out with some pro tips as he dissects the style of Brazilian guitarist and Instagram sensation, Mateus Asato.

Performance pieces

As with the previous grades, you'll cap off this grade choosing from 11 songs that we'll challenge you to learn. You'll once again have live-band backing tracks and an opportunity to get custom feedback on your playing.

Final quiz

To cap off the Grade, you'll complete an interactive quiz that'll ensure you're ready to move on to Grade 6.


Grade 6. Six Neo-Soul Solos

Day 1. Nicklas Myhre-type beat

Today, we’ll write a solo over a Nicklas Myhre-produced beat from his neo-soul Master Class.
Sam will guide you through different soloing approaches and help you build a framework to write your own memorable solos.

Day 2. Minor solo

Today you’ll focus on how to use your improvisations to your solo-writing advantage by playing a solo with intention over a simple form.

Day 3. Lofi solo

Today we’re going to access a hypnotizing lofi aesthetic and build a solo in that dimension. Lofi beats have become ubiquitously beloved by instrumental musicians, songwriters, and anyone with a pile of work to focus on. The beautifully imperfect atmospheres provide a trancelike vibration and help creatives achieve a flow state.

Day 4. Major solo

We’re here again and ready to keep the creative writing habits flowing. Today, simplicity will serve you as we learn to craft an ear-worm hooky solo.

Day 5. Stevie Wonder-type solo

Today, we’ll tackle writing a solo in the style of Stevie Wonder’s Isn’t She Lovely. We’re finding ourselves today at the crossroads of familiarity, fun, and challenging. Isn't She Lovely is an uplifting, ultimately pleasant, and unmistakable hit, but for all its charm, it does call for a bit of prep work to get inside the changes.

Day 6. Acoustic R&B jam and solo

One more chance to try crafting a memorable melodic solo. Today is the tenderest of all – we’re getting into acoustic R&B jams, so you can serenade your lover even if you don't have access to electricity.

Day 7. Submit your solo

Today, you’ll pick one of six songs to write your own melodic soul solo over and video yourself crushing it.


Performance pieces

As with the previous grades, you'll cap off this grade choosing from 10 songs that we'll challenge you to learn. You'll once again have live-band backing tracks and an opportunity to get custom feedback on your playing.

Final quiz

To cap off the Learning Pathway, you'll complete an interactive quiz that'll ensure you're ready to move on to new material.

Student stories

Learn how Neo-Soul Learning Pathway has helped real guitarists break through their playing plateau and realize their potential.

“My favorite part about Pickup Music is probably nerding out in the forum with everyone. Just knowing you have a creative community to reach out to if you have any questions or you're stuck in a rut.”

Vicki Huang

United States

"I would highly recommend Pickup Music to pretty much anyone who has been playing for a few years and doesn't feel like they are getting better any more."

James Harrod

United Kingdom

“One of the things that's been the most fun for me has been the SongSquad challenges... connecting with other people in the Pickup Music community on Instagram and just encouraging each other as we're learning songs and practicing.”

Vin Thomas

United States

"Pickup Music really helped me push my musical boundaries."

Wytse Hokwerda

Germany

Hear from REAL students

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Follow along with every note.

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Get an up close and personal learning experience.

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Frequently Asked Questions

If your questions aren’t answered below, please chat with us.

Is Pickup Music right for me?

Do you feel like your guitar playing has hit a plateau? 

Are you stuck in a guitar rut where you're just playing the same old chords and licks?

Are you looking for fretboard freedom?

At Pickup Music, we specialize in:

  • taking beginner guitar players and turning them into intermediate players
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How do we do it? 

  • First, we ask you a few questions to figure out exactly what skill level you’re at. 
  • Second, we ask you to commit to a series of Master Classes and Bootcamps that focus on specific techniques. These comprehensive week-by-week courses are the best way to get your playing to the next level. 
  • Third, we get you to track your progress on your personalized learning dashboard.

Finally, we give you support and feedback through an exclusive members community and live practice group sessions with other members. This focused approach to learning guitar will help you bust through the beginner basics, break out of the intermediate plateau, and level up your playing.

This guided learning approach is the fastest way to make real progress on the guitar.

What makes Pickup Music better than other guitar lesson sites?

We're glad you asked! So many things:

  • Pickup Music gives you week-by-week guided learning. This is so important for making progress and getting out of the beginner plateau. Instead of just making you watch a video of an instructor talking about how they play guitar, we break things down for you on a daily and weekly basis.
  • Each daily lesson is accompanied by practice exercises where the instructors play along with you - almost like they're sitting right beside you. This eliminates the guess work so you know exactly what you need to focus on to make real and lasting progress with guitar.
  • Our lessons take you beyond the basics. Most online guitar lessons are good at teaching new guitarists the easy stuff. Pickup Music goes beyond that to help advanced-beginners and intermediate guitarists break through to the next level.
  • Our teachers are the best new and modern guitarists in the world. You'll find touring musicians, professors of music, and virtuosos from every genre to guide you through your guitar journey.
  • We have an extensive library with over 1,000 lessons across most genres for every type of guitarist. This means we have the right learning pathway for your unique starting point and preferred style of playing.
  • Pickup Music lessons are jam-packed with features to enhance your learning experience. This includes interactive TAB, multiple HD camera angles, backing tracks, and extensive course notes. All of this is designed to speed up your learning so you can achieve real results in your playing.  
  • We keep it fresh - we drop new lessons every. single. week. Plus, we're always striving to make each new lesson better than the last.
  • Pickup Music is a supportive and welcoming community. This is the place to connect with fellow guitarists, get feedback, and grow together.

What's included in my Pickup Music membership?

Everything! You’ll have unlimited access to every lesson on Pickup Music from every instructor. That means every Bootcamp, Master Class, SongSquad, Licks Package, 5-Minute Lesson... we could go on, but you get the idea. It's an all-inclusive membership for one affordable price.

How long are the lessons? How long will it take me to complete them?

Pickup Music's lesson plans are designed to suit the amount of time you have available to practice.

Only got a few minutes? Try our 5-Minute Lessons to quickly add a new skill to your toolbox.

Got half an hour? Try one of our Essential Lick Packages or SongSquads to expand your vocabulary in different genres.

Got a couple of days? Try a Master Class with one of our world-renowned artists. Each class is broken up into short, digestible modules focused on one topic. We encourage you to complete the exercises for each lesson video before moving on to the next one because the lessons typically build on each other.

Ready to really commit to a multi-week program? Try one of our Bootcamps. Over 6 weeks, these detailed courses will take you on a day-by-day journey to master each level in the genre. Bootcamps include daily practice exercises so you know exactly what to focus on. These courses are the best way to make lasting progress.

Whichever approach you choose, we recommend building the exercises you learn into your daily practice schedule. The best way to improve as a guitarist is through a consistent practice routine rather than sporadic, longer  sessions. Learning guitar is a day-by-day, life-long journey!

I'm brand new to guitar. Is Pickup Music the right choice for me?

Absolutely! We make learning the guitar made fun & simple – the way it should be.

Too many people get frustrated with guitar because they develop bad habits and poor technique. Avoid these costly and time-consuming mistakes by taking Pickup Music's structured and step-by-step approach to learning guitar.

You'll start with Pickup Music's introductory program Guitar for Complete Beginners. Over three weeks, we break down everything from simple chords and melodies to rhythm and lead playing. By the end of the program, you'll be able to play any simple pop or rock song (and even write your own).

Most importantly, we make sure you don't get stuck in the beginner's plateau - a common pitfall for guitarists who are just starting out. You'll keep making progress through Pickup Music's guided Bootcamps. These programs are designed to quickly take you from a beginner player to an intermediate one who feels comfortable across the whole fretboard.

What the difference between the annual and monthly plan?

The only difference is that the annual plan saves you $30 a year.

Both options come with a free 14-day trial. That means, we won't charge your card for the first 14 days - you can cancel anytime before then.

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With the monthly membership, you pay month to month. It's a subscription, so we bill you each month until you cancel.

Cancelling your plan at any point is very easy to do online - no tricks, emails, or phone calls required. Just click a button on your account page.

Is a Pickup Music membership worth the money?

When you first start learning guitar, it's okay to bounce around with random free lessons on YouTube and searching for TABs online. 

That approach is going to make you an OKAY guitar player, but it's not going to help you take that leap to becoming a serious guitarist - a player who can:

  • Play naturally, without thinking about every move
  • Jam with friends and learn their favorite songs quickly.
  • Blast through that beginner level, break out of the intermediate plateau, and start playing like a pro!

To become a serious guitarist, you need a clear learning pathway to get to the next level. You need to free your mind and unlock your fret board - you can do this with Pickup Music's expert step-by-step instruction. Having this clear learning pathway is  key to making real progress on the guitar.

What about the price? Is it worth it?

Private lessons will cost you about $50 per lesson or $2,600 a year. Going to a music academy will cost you about $40,000 a year.

A Pickup Music membership costs just $150 for the whole year. That works out to 41 cents a day!

Signing up for a Pickup Music membership also means that you can stop wasting your time and effort trying to guess what you should practice next. Our guided programs eliminate the guess work so you know exactly what you need to focus on each day and week to make lasting progress with guitar. This will increase your efficiency and speed up your progress.

Is it easy to cancel?

Absolutely! You can cancel at any time (although we'd be sad to see you go). Cancelling is easy, no tricks. Just go to your account page and click a button.

You won't be charged anything if you cancel during your 14-day free trial.

If you cancel after your 14-day trial, you won't be billed again at your next billing cycle. Your membership will remain active until it expires on the day it was originally set to renew.

Once your membership expires, you will no longer have access to the classes you were enrolled in during your time as a member, but you can easily restart your membership at any time. Just log in to your account and renew a monthly or annual membership to pick up where you left off.

Can I buy lessons individually?

We don’t sell lessons individually. But the good news is you get access to every single lesson on Pickup Music through the one membership. If you’re only interested in one lesson, you could purchase a monthly membership and cancel when you’ve finished it – we have a hunch you’ll want to stick around though :)

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You won't be billed again at your next billing cycle. Your membership will remain active and you'll continue to have access to the site until your membership expires on the day it was originally set to renew.

You can easily restart your membership at any time. Just log in to your account and renew a monthly or annual membership to pick up where you left off.

Note: Once your membership expires, we'll save your progress on your Dashboard if you decide to rejoin at a later date.

How does the 14-day free trial work? What is your refund policy?

Your credit card won't be charged for the first 14 days
When you first sign up to a Pickup Music membership, your credit card will not be charged for 14 days. That means that if you decide to cancel within 14 days of signing up, you won't pay anything.

If you decide to cancel after that, you won't be charged at your next billing cycle
That means: if you’re a monthly member, you won’t be charged for the next month. If you’re an annual member, you won’t be charged for the next year.

We don’t offer refunds for payments that have already gone through. But if you choose to cancel, you will retain full access to the membership until it expires on the day it was originally set to renew.

Will I be automatically charged each month / year?

The membership is a subscription. After the 14-day free trial, you'll be automatically charged monthly or annually (depending on which plan you choose). We send you reminders before your annual subscription renews so you don't accidentally forget about it. You can easily cancel by turning off auto-renew at any time in your account page.

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