Instructional Material

All Fred's books have tablature unless otherwise noted. Most have music notation too. The DVD's have PDF file/tab books (instead of paper books) that you can access when you put the DVD in your computer.

General Methods

demystifying music theory - a zoom class

demystifying music theory - a zoom class

All instruments welcome! Starting at the very beginning, you'll learn about scales, chord progressions, how songs work, the circle of 5ths, the 12 bar blues, intervals, how chords are constructed...stuff that will make it easier to learn new songs & play music with other people! It's live, so your questions will be answered immediately...and your appreciation of music will be enhanced! Fred will offer exercises to help you digest this info, and we will play songs together that are relevant to the points he's making (though only you will hear your playing). Sign up for one class or for al 5!

  • one 90 minute class$25.00
  • all 5 sessions$100.00
CIRCLE OF 5THS LESSON/PLAY-ALONG

CIRCLE OF 5THS LESSON/PLAY-ALONG

In this 70 minute video, Fred de-mystifies the amazing circle of fifths and takes you through many songs (of all genres) whose chord progressions are based on it. You can play along with him (on any chording instrument) because chord charts are displayed on the screen. As he shows how each song makes use of circle-of-fifths movement, you become aware of how helpful it is to understand this musical device: it makes it easier to learn new songs. You learn much basic music theory along the way, plus some great tunes. Fred's wife Lynn accompanies him on bass, making it a more musical experience. Tons of musical instruction in this presentation, along with Fred's musical history and anecdotes. (This doesn't download; when you order, Fred will email you the video.)

  • 70 MINUTE VIDEO$15.00
VERSE/INTROS TO THE STANDARDS

VERSE/INTROS TO THE STANDARDS

In each session, learn 6 or 7 classic songs from the Great American Songbook, in their entirety: featuring the hardly-ever-heard Verse/Intro that makes the song twice as interesting. Fred will help you with any unfamiliar chord shapes (for guitar, uke, banjo or mandolin) and you can ask questions and suggest songs for further sessions.

  • one 90 minute class$25.00
  • all five classes$100.00
GETTING OUT OF SCALE JAIL

GETTING OUT OF SCALE JAIL

In this live ZOOM CLASS, learn a whole bunch of soloing strategies for lead guitar. Whether you play rock, blues, country, bluegrass, folk, R&B or jazz, this class will expand your ability to improvise solos in a variety of ways, both scale based and chord based. If all your solos sound the same...or you would like to enhance your soloing skills...this is the class for you.

  • one 90 minute class$25.00
  • all 5 sessions$100.00
Lesson payment

Lesson payment

Now you can pay on my website, for those who don't like paypal or venmo.

  • half hour lesson$40.00
  • 4 half hour lessons$140.00
  • hour lesson$80.00
Taking Apart the Standards

Taking Apart the Standards

The live zoom class already happened so you can buy the 90-minute sessions at a reduced rate. In each session, learn 5 or 6 standards (20s, 30s, 40s tunes) and find out what makes them tick - how the chord progressions work. There are chord charts on-screen. Besides learning some great tunes, you'll learn a lot about how musicians think! Learn about the numbers system and how chord progressions make sense. Knowing this stuff makes it way easier to learn new songs and play them in any key. This is useful info for players of all instruments! You can't ask questions live, but you can email Fred with questions, andeach session is jam-packed with info...lyrics/chord charts of the tunes included. (This doesn not download; Fred will email you the lessons via Hightail.)

  • video of class$15.00
  • all 5 sessions$50.00
minilesson #4 – the Major Pentatonic (sliding) Scale

minilesson #4 – the Major Pentatonic (sliding) Scale

It's the main soloing strategy heard in classic rock and country solos besides the blues box (the minor pentatonic scale). Fred shows how to play it (in any key) and how and when to use it. The 7 minute video comes with tablature for the scale and for three classic rock solos that are based on it: Let It Be, Maggie Mae and Rambling Man. (This does not download: order it here and Fred will email it to you.)

  • 7 minute video & tab$5.00
Mini Lesson #1

Mini Lesson #1

Expand your guitar soloing horizons! In under 5 minutes, Fred shows how to make the blues box twice as valuable. You'll be able to use it to solo on non-bluesy tunes (country, pop, folk, whatever), as well as on blues and rock. Buy Fred's 1st mini-lesson for only $5.00. You'll receive the video in an email. (It doesn't download from this website.)

  • $5.00
Fretboard Roadmaps for Lap Steel

Fretboard Roadmaps for Lap Steel

Learn how to play solos, licks and backups, all over the fretboard, in any key, in several tunings, including C6, G, D, E7 and more. Easy-to-follow diagrams and instruction are included for beginning, intermediate and advanced students. 63 demonstration audio tracks of tunes and licks matching the music examples in the book are available for download or streaming online.

  • Book & soundfiles$14.95
Shortcuts For Guitar

Shortcuts For Guitar

Everyone wants to get there faster and easier. This guide from Fred Sokolow features 29 tips that save time and make you a more skillful player in any musical genre. Tip topics include: Sliding Major Pentatonics • Soloing Off Chord Shapes • Power Chords • The 12-Bar Blues Form • Turnarounds • Simplifying Chords • Finding the Relative Minor • How to Use the Capo • and so much more. These shortcuts will improve your playing and your understanding of music and the guitar, overnight. The book includes access to online demonstration audio tracks for download or streaming.

  • Book & soundfiles$14.95
vinyl circle of fifths stickons

vinyl circle of fifths stickons

This 2" stick-on clings to your guitar, uke, banjo, whatever, but has no glue that would leave a mark...it's like a window cling. Once you know how to use it, it identifies 1-4-5 chord families in every key, plus relative minors, displays common chord progressions, lets you automatically transpose (play a song in a different key than it's written) and does a lot more! Every serious player should know the circle of fifths by heart, and putting it on your axe will help you learn and memorize it. When you buy it, you'll get an email explaining its many uses in detail.

  • one vinyl cling$3.00
  • two vinyl clings$5.00
Circle Of Fifths Press-On Tattoo

Circle Of Fifths Press-On Tattoo

 

If you're not committed enough to musical knowledge to get a real circle of fifths tattoo, here's a press-on one to get you through a gig, jam session, whatever. Only lasts a few days, but maybe it'll help you learn the damn thing! Or, buy a stack of them, 3 for $5 or bigger discounts if you contact me about ordering bigger quantities.

  • One press-on tattoo$2.00
  • Three press-on tattoos$5.00
Folk Guitar Method

Folk Guitar Method

 Learn the songs and guitar techniques of the late '50s-early '60s folk boom: Don't Think Twice, Turn Turn Turn, Puff the Magic Dragon, Suzanne, Tom Dooley, Greenfields, Where Have All the Flowers Gone, If I Had a Hammer and 12 more. Lots of instruction: Learn fingerpicking & flatpicking styles, accompaniment and soloing! It's all on the CD too.

  • Book/CD$14.99
Fretboard Roadmaps for Beginning Guitar

Fretboard Roadmaps for Beginning Guitar

 Your first guitar lesson. A beginner's book that doesn't try to force you to read music: you immediately start learning to strum songs. Learn chords, picking patterns, and great tunes. Since it's in the Roadmaps format, you also learn music theory that will help you farther on up the road. Includes tab and music...and there is an appendix on learning to read music notation!

  • book/CD$16.99
 Fretboard Roadmaps for Guitar: Alternate Tunings

Fretboard Roadmaps for Guitar: Alternate Tunings

In the "Roadmaps" format, this book/CD shows you how to solo & play backup in several different tunings, whether you play blues, rock, indie, folk...any style. Get comfortable in drop D, open D, E, G, A and DADGAD tunings...play up and down the neck, chords, scales,
licks, everything you need. Lots of sample tunes in tab/music and on the CD.

  • CD and Book$14.95
Understanding Chord Progressions

Understanding Chord Progressions

Using tunes of all genres (folk, rock, blues, jazz, country) Fred teaches you how to think like a musician & understand all kinds of progressions: the 12-bar blues, standard circle-of-fifths changes, "the rhythm changes," diatonic progressions & more. It's easy to learn new tunes when you understand the theory behind chord movement.

  • DVD & PDF Book$25.00
Basic Fingerpicking

Basic Fingerpicking

57-tunes, scales, and excercises teach you to fingerpick back ups and solos in the styles of the Beatles, Fleetwood Mac, Indigo Girls, Ani Di Franco, James Taylor and etc.

  • CD & Book$14.95
Fingerpicking Guitar Solos DVD

Fingerpicking Guitar Solos DVD

This 55-minute video teaches 6 tunes (Hesitation Blues, Hey Hey Hey, Sitting On Top Of The World, etc.). Play up the neck in several keys, Standard & D tuning. W/Tab Book.

  • DVD & Book$29.95
Beginner's Fingerpicking Guitar: Ragtime, Pop, Blues & Jazz

Beginner's Fingerpicking Guitar: Ragtime, Pop, Blues & Jazz

These "ear lessons" teach tunes & techniques in the styles of famous fingerpickers.

  • LESSON 1: FOLK/POP FINGERPICKING -backup & soloing in the style of Beatles, James Taylor, Clapton, other rock & pop players who fingerpick.
  • LESSON 2: RAGTIME & RAGGY BLUES & JAZZ - classic rags & blues & jazz tunes, fancy chord progressions & turnarounds.
  • LESSON 3: FINGERPICKING UP THE NECK, TRAVIS & ROCKABILLY STYLES -learn to fingerpick all over the fretboard with moveable chords.
  • Book & 3 CDs$24.95
Beginners Fingerpicking Guitar - Folk, Blues & Country

Beginners Fingerpicking Guitar - Folk, Blues & Country

These "ear lessons" teach tunes & techniques in the styles of famous fingerpickers.

  • LESSON 1: ACCOMPANIMENT - learn backup patterns to sing with, using easy first position chords...lots of sample tunes.
  • LESSON 2: FINGERPICKING BLUES - backup & solo licks of blues pickers like Elizabeth Cotton, Mississippi John Hurt, Brownie McGhee...sample tunes.
  • LESSON 3: COUNTRY FINGERPICKING - backup & lead a la Doc Watson, Chet Atkins, etc...using easy first position chords.
  • Book & 3 CDs$24.95
Beginner's Fingerpicking DVD

Beginner's Fingerpicking DVD

An hour+ of backup picking patterns for blues, country, folk & rock, sample tunes like Nine Pound Hammer, House of the Rising Sun, Jamaica Farewell, Scarborough Fair, Tumbling Tumbleweeds.

  • DVD & Book$25.00
Dictionary of Strum & Picking Patterns

Dictionary of Strum & Picking Patterns

Over 159 picking patterns & strums, in tab & standard notation. All the grooves you need in rock, country, funk, blues, folk, bluegrass, heavy metal.

  • CD & Book$14.00
One More River To Cross

One More River To Cross

16 bluegrass/old-timey songs played & sung by Fred and his son Zac Sokolow, with the great fiddler/singer Brantley Kearns and bassist David Jackson. Guitar, banjo, fiddle, mandolin, Dobro, autoharp & bass. Includes Golden Rocket, Hard Hearted, I'm Blue I'm Lonesome, Six White Horses & more. A very friendly album!

Fretboard Roadmaps Video

Fretboard Roadmaps Video

Video version of the Roadmaps book, packed with licks, solos, scales & ideas to broaden your guitar horizons.

  • DVD w/Tab Book$16.95
  • VHS w/Tab Book$14.95
Fretboard Roadmaps, 2nd Edition

Fretboard Roadmaps, 2nd Edition

Relates music theory to the guitar fretboard, reveals "secrets of the pros" like how to play rhythm & lead in all keys, expanding chord vocabulary. Visual fretboard relationships help you play lead & rhythm all over the fretboard.

  • Book$9.95
  • Book and CD$14.95
Open Tunings for Beginners

Open Tunings for Beginners

In this 92 minute lesson, Fred covers G and D tunings, plus DADGAD, and features blues tunes (Statesboro Blues, K.C. Jones), a Dylan tune (Buckets of Rain), an old-timey tune (Little Sadie), some Keith Richards-style rock licks and more, including tips on how to improvise in open tunings.

  • DVD & Tab Book$25.00
Fretboard Roadmaps for Acoustic Guitar

Fretboard Roadmaps for Acoustic Guitar

This is similar to the Bluegrass roadmaps book, but the musical examples (in print & on the CD) demonstrate many different acoustic styles, and it's longer (80 pages instead of 48) so there are more tunes, more instruction. It's $14.95.

  • CD & Book$14.95
Better Lead Guitar Through Chords

Better Lead Guitar Through Chords

Chord-based licks are just as useful for the single-note soloist as scales; and, they’ll add color to your playing. Fred shows you how, using songs from many genres (R&B, rock, bluegrass, country, swing) like Dock of the Bay, People Get Ready, Wreck of Old 97, Avalon, Jambalaya, etc.

  • DVD & Tab Book$25.00