Sam Blakelock

Soloing Learning Pathway

Learn to play guitar solos that sing.

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

Qualified intermediate

Feeling bored with your soloing? We'll teach you how to solo effortlessly and navigate modes with ease.


3 months

Sam and Karl will guide you through six grades of instruction with daily practice plans and assessments.


Play spellbinding solos

By the end of this pathway, you'll be able to fluidly improvise and tell captivating stories with your guitar.


Take the next step

Once you've built your soloing foundation, take your skills to the next level with genre-specific pathways.

What you'll learn

In this pathway, you'll master the art of the guitar solo – from simple pentatonic licks to advanced modal sounds.

  • Make your solos sing with expressive techniques.
  • Address chord changes with ease.
  • Learn how to tell a story with phrasing & dynamics.
  • Decode major scale modes across your fretboard.
How it works

Your guided learning pathway

In this six-week program, Karl Kerfoot and Sam Blakelock will break down fundamental soloing techniques and concepts as you journey from simple licks to advanced modal sounds. With guided jams, daily practice exercises, and straightforward lessons, you'll know exactly what to work on at every step of the way.

Start Soloing Now

Don't think, just solo!

In this music-first grade, you'll jump headfirst into the soloing swimming pool by running through a series of core soloing concepts that'll get you playing right away.

This includes, quick ways to "play the changes", how to play in the pocket, and how to make your solos more melodic.

Bread & Butter Soloing 🍞 🧈

In this grade, you’ll build a foundational set of lead guitar vocabulary and start soloing right away.

We won't bog you down with scales here. This music-first grade is all about giving you soloing material and getting you playing ASAP.

7 Modes in 7 Days

Demystify major scale modes.

In this grade, we revisited our most popular lesson series "7 Major Scale Modes in 7 Days".

Sam has a special knack for making modes stupid simple – he'll show you exactly how, when, and (most importantly) when not to use modes.

Grade 4. Mastering the Major Scale

Continue on your modal journey with Karl as he guides you through the modes of G major.

Grade 5. How to Craft a Solo

Enough technical work and vocabulary. This grade is all about how to make your solos sing with phrasing, dynamics, and other conceptual exercises.

Grade 6. One track, three solos

Celebrate your hard work by learning how three different pro guitarists approach soloing over the same track.


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

6-Week Plan

Grade 1. Start Soloing Now

Learn by doing. This grade is all about getting you to have fun soloing.

We're with you every step of the way in this Learning Pathway. In every lesson, Sam will break down a new concept and run through mini drills with you so you can lock it into your muscle memory. To cap off each day's work, you'll put what you learned in a musical context with a guided jam session.

Day 1. How to solo in four steps

Today is not the day to overthink things! Sam will guide you through four shortcuts to lead guitar playing so you can start soloing right away. You'll learn how to use triads, the pentatonic scale, the major scale, and maj7 arpeggios as core soloing tools.

Day 2. Take it to the IV

Today, you’ll learn how to solo over a progression with two chords using ever-popular I–IV combo as an example.

Day 3. How to solo on a I7 vamp

Today’s lesson will prepare you for a typical jam situation: When your keyboard and bass player groove out on one single chord, and it’s your time to shine. Sam will show you how to avoid running out of fresh ideas after four bars.

Day 4. How to play what you hear

When we guitarists start our soloing journey, we often rely on scale shapes and choose notes based on box-shaped maps across the fretboard. However, the best soloists craft a solo using their ear. Today, Sam will show you how you can start developing a stronger connection between your ear and your instrument.

Day 5. Playing in the pocket

Today’s lesson is all about time feel. As the term suggests, timing in music has a lot to do with how music feels and less with which notes you play. Sam will guide you through this key concept with a series of drills.

Day 6. Intro to melodic soloing

Today, we’ll explore the art of sweet-sounding melodic soloing. You'll explore arpeggios, pentatonic string skipping, and one-string scales to ramp up the melodic aspects of your playing.

Performance pieces

Perform songs that incorporate the concepts you just learned in a purely musical context. Here, you'll have the opportunity to jam with a live-recorded band of pro musicians. You can submit your performance to the Pickup Music team for personalized video feedback – who said online learning wasn't interactive?!

Final quiz

Cap off the grade with a quiz to make sure you've adequately absorbed the core concepts involved.

Grade 2. Bread and Butter Soloing

Time to get some core techniques under your fingers.

Day 1. Funkin’ it up: I7 to IV7

This lesson will challenge you to step outside of your comfort zone by running you through the full Mixolydian scale, the jazz-tastic magic of chromatic notes, and 6th intervals for traveling across the fretboard.

Day 2. Those Mayer vibes

Ever wonder how the pros manage to hit the sweet spot so often with their solos? Let’s take a look at Mr. John Mayer’s handiwork. Today, you’ll discover how to augment the silky sounds of the minor pentatonic scale by outlining chord changes.

Day 3. 70s funk ‘n’ soul – IIm7 V7

70’s funk has some of the most common, must-know grooves for guitarists. In today’s lesson, you'll learn how to blend E minor pentatonic and A Mixolydian sounds to funk it up and make it soulful.

Day 4. Hard rock won’t stop

Rock heavyweights like AC/DC, Led Zeppelin, and Black Sabbath packed their songs full of spine-tingling licks and riffs that drew on the blues and minor pentatonic scales. These rock licks in this lesson are a must-know for all guitar players.

Day 5. Intro to secondary dominant soloing

Today’s lesson is designed to help you master how to play over secondary dominant chords inspired by George Harrison’s Something. Karl will walk you through three techniques to use when soloing over secondary dominant chords to keep them sounding fresh and musical.

Day 6. Khruangbin Vibes (harmonic minor)

Sometimes the minor pentatonic or natural minor scales aren’t enough when crafting a solo in a minor key. Learning the harmonic minor scale can be the antidote you didn’t know you needed!

Day 7. R&B chord soloing

What's bread without a little butter? Today, you’ll step into the velvety world of R&B to learn how to build a chord solo. In this lesson, Karl will use the certified R&B banger Best Part by Daniel Caesar ft. H.E.R to walk you through three key concepts for learning how to chord solo.


Put your skills to the test with three tasteful solos. As always, you'll have the live-recorded Pickup Music band backing you up while you solo.

Get feedback

Get personalized video feedback on your playing from the Pickup team.

Final quiz

Make sure you're ready for Grade 3.

Grade 3. 7 Modes in 7 Days

Major scale modes, demystified.

Day 1. What are modes?

More importantly... What aren't modes? Simply put, knowing how to navigate modes separates advanced musicians from beginning guitarists. Over the course of this grade, we’ll show you when and how to play them.

Day 2. C Lydian

Today, we’ll get familiar with the 4th mode of the major scale. Lydian provides an uplifting, whimsical, and all together ethereal sound. It’s constructed a lot like Ionian, but instead of a natural 4th, it contains an #4th scale degree that defines the sound.

Day 3. C Mixolydian

Today we’ll get acquainted with the 5th mode of the major scale. Mixolydian is favored by jam bands, blues veterans, psych-rockers, jazz players – you know, all the fun music to solo over! Once again, the construction is similar to Ionian. Only difference is that Mixolydian has b7.  If the modes were ninja turtles, Mixolydian would definitely be Michaelangelo. Party on. 🍕

Day 4. C Dorian

Here, you'll get acquainted with the second mode of the major scale. Dorian is a fun and jazzy minor-sounding mode. It’s one of the more popular minor modes due to its near-dominant sound, penchant for twanging tonalities, and cool jazz sensibilities. Its construction is similar to Mixolydian, but with a b3 creating its minor flavoring.

Day 5. C Aeolian

Aeolian is the most common of the minor-sounding modes. It’s the other side of the relative major-minor relationship – the yang to Ionian’s yin. If a song is in a minor key, Aeolian is the go-to scale. It’s far more common than Dorian, and its b6 gives it a touch of sadness as well as an almost-classical sound.

Day 6. C Phrygian

Two more minor modes to go! Day 6 has us exploring the third mode of the major scale – Phrygian. This dark and mysterious-sounding minor mode is a delight to solo over. Phrygian is less commonly found in Western pop music. Its exotic flamenco-inspired tonality will make it stand out from everything you'll have done so far in Grade 3.

Day 7. C Locrian

One more mode to go, the seventh mode of the major scale – Locrian. More exotic and even more adventurous than Phrygian, Locrian is the least-commonly used of the four minor modes. Thrash metal enthusiasts will be familiar with its harmonic brutality, as well as jazz players seeking to outline every nook and cranny of a standard.


Demonstrate what you've learned in a musical context by learning original solos.

Get feedback

Get personalized video feedback on your playing from the Pickup team.

Final quiz

Make sure you're ready for Grade 4.

Grade 4-6.

Cap off your modal explorations, make your solos sing, and tackle three takes on one track.

Grade 4. Master the Modes of G Major

In this grade, you'll link up with Pickup's Head of Education, Karl Kerfoot, to continue exploring major-scale modes. These lessons will challenge you to map out your fretboard while deepening your understanding of modes as they relate to different moods and sounds.

Day 1. G Ionian (pop)

Revisit the major scale in G and apply it to pop sounds.

Day 2. A Dorian (funk)

Get your minor ii chord ready, it’s time to funk it up with A Dorian. You might recognize today's funk jam, which is inspired by Vulfpeck’s Beastly.

Day 3. B Phrygian (psych rock)

Tame Impala called, he wants his scale back. This mysterious and dark-sounding mode is used in Flamenco and Spanish music. It’s one of the more “unstable” modes, which makes it great for psychedelic sounds.

Day 4. C Lydian (ethereal pop)

Time to talk about Lydian – it isn’t that different from the major scale in its construction, but the two modes have strikingly different sounds. This mode is easily accessible in that you don’t have to do a ton of shifting to access the sound.

Day 5. D Mixolydian

Run it up to the 10th fret – it’s time to dive back into the versatile (and often funky) sounds of Mixolydian.

Day 6. E Aeolian

Today, we’re digging into a minor-sounding mode to access the buttery-smooth sounds of neo-soul guitar. 🧈🎸You’re likely already comfortable with most of the E Aeolian sound by way of the pentatonic scale.

Day 7. F# Locrian (metal)

For your last lesson of Grade 4, we’re turning things up to 11 and diving back into the gritty sounds of F# Locrian.
As you might remember, Locrian is the least-commonly used of the four minor modes. Today, you'll harness Locrian via a metal song inspired by the original Doom video game soundtrack.


Demonstrate what you've learned in a musical context with more solos that synthesize what you've been working on.

Get feedback

Get personalized video feedback on your playing from the Pickup team.

Final quiz

Make sure you're ready for Grade 5.

Grade 5. How to Craft a Solo

In this grade, we'll set aside modes and other vocabulary to focus on a conceptual approach to soloing that'll turn you into a compelling musical storyteller.

Day 1. Phocus on phrasing

The most memorable solos are created using clear and purposeful phrasing, and that’s exactly what we’ll focus on today. No more scales, licks, or theory – your solos are about to get 10 times more exciting in this grade.

Day 2. Dynamic phrasing

Volume control is a hallmark of any master soloist. Today’s exercises will help you switch up your dynamic approach and keep your ideas fresh.

Day 3. Switching pickups

Electric guitarists have a wide and wonderful world of tones under their fingers. Even before introducing pedals, the pickup switch can offer a vast collection of guitar sounds that might previously have been overlooked. Learning how and when to switch your pickups mid solo is not only a vibe changer, it’s a game changer.

Day 4. Harmonic density

Harmonic density – sounds confusing, but it's a simple concept you can use to create a sense of depth and emotional resonance in your music.

Day 5. Rhythmic Density

Rhythmic density is the spice that brings a musical dish to life, infusing it with flavor and excitement. To start your exploration into rhythmic density, Karl has prepared 4 exercises that look at different ways to fill space using triplets, 16ths, quintuplets, and sextuplets.

Day 6. Register this!

Exploring the full range of a guitar's register is like unlocking a musical universe, where dynamics soar to new heights and creativity knows no bounds. Today you'll work on mastering your guitar’s full register by developing the ability to fluidly play a lick or phrase in three different pitches across the guitar neck.

Day 7. Sing it, learn it

This final lesson will take aim at your ability to sing and internalize your musical ideas. As the old saying goes, “If you can sing it, you can play it.”


Tackle new tunes to apply what you've learned in a musical context.

Get feedback

Get personalized advice on your playing from the Pickup team.

Final quiz

Make sure you're ready for Grade 6.

Grade 6. One Track, Three Solos

To cap off your hard work, you'll learn three solos penned by Karl Kerfoot, Arianna Powell, and Rafa Rodriguez. These are designed to give you insight into how different pro players craft a solo.

Day 1. Golden Mean

What can geometry do for you? Today, you’ll tackle two things: (1) A basic template for creating a guitar solo.
(2) The fundamentals of the track we’ll use for all three solos in this grade. You'll also learn how the Golden Mean concept can inform the dynamic progression of your solo.

Days 2 & 3. Karl's solo

First, Karl Kerfoot kicks things off with his solo. For each artist, you’ll be able to watch them performing their solo, talk about their process, and finally there’ll be a lesson that walks through the solo note by note.

Days 4 & 5. Arianna's solo

Days 4 and 5 are dedicated to the second of our three solos. You'll explore a whole new set of ideas over the same tune as Arianna Powell (Olivia Rodrigo, Halsey) guides you through her composition.

Days 6 & 7. Rafa's solo

A new player has entered the room. Today, you’ll embark on a new solo adventure with your guide: virtuosic guitarist Rafa Rodriguez.


Finish out the Learning Pathway with one final challenge.

Get feedback

Get personalized advice on your playing from the Pickup team.

Final quiz

Cap off your hard work and make sure you're ready to move on.

Student stories

Learn how Soloing 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


Hear from REAL students

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All-access to online guitar lessons to level up your playing.



1,426 people started a free trial in the last 30 days.

Monthly plan includes:

See what a Pickup Music membership is all about.

14-day free trial

Guided learning

Know exactly what to practice at every step of your guitar journey.

Personalized feedback

Know exactly what to practice at every step of your guitar journey.

Progress tracking

Monitor your guitar gains.

New releases every week

Never run out of lessons to work on.

Interactive TAB

Follow along with every note.

Multiple HD angles

Get an up close and personal learning experience.

Supportive community

Workshop your playing, get feedback, and perform live in our online practice groups.

Members-only forum

Unlimited personalized learning support from our team of pro guitarists.

SAVE 17%

Save $30

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
  • taking intermediate guitar players and turning them into advanced players

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.

With an annual membership, we bill you once a year up-front, and you save 17% as a result. We'll send you reminders before we bill you each year so that you don't accidentally forget about it.

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 :)

Can I cancel my membership at any time?

Yes! All you have to do is click a button on your account page. No tricks, no emails, no calls. It's a straightforward process.

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.

How do I restart my membership?

It’s easy to rejoin Pickup Music and we’d be thrilled to have you back! We even saved all of your lessons for you while you were gone on your Dashboard.

To restart your membership, simply head to this page, select the plan of your choice, and sign up with the email address you used to sign up the first time around.

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