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LEARN to play chords, melodies, bass lines, and percussion parts SIMULTANEOUSLY!



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THE CRUX Video Lesson Course

Master the foundation of SELF-CONTAINED GUITAR
with this ALL-NEW user-friendly, self-paced video class.

Join me online for this FREE workshop!  

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(click photo or button below to sign up)


This FREE workshop includes a brief overview of the Self-Contained Guitar classes, a live STRONGHAND CHRONICLES lesson, free PDFs and a Q & A portion.  

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"unwind your Saturday, the Baritonic way"

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Self-Contained Guitar is exactly what it sounds like - a method of playing the guitar that requires no other instrument for support or accompaniment.  A Self-Contained Guitarist relies entirely on themselves for rhythm, bass, harmony, and/or lead instrumentation.  A Self-Contained approach to playing the guitar allows one guitarist to do all of the work of a band on one solitary instrument.  It may sound unrealistic and impossible to pull off such an ambitious endeavor, but it actually isn’t.  In fact, innovative guitarists such as Snoozer Quinn, Bill Harris, Luiz Bonfá, Ted Greene, Chet Atkins, Paulinho Nogueira, Stanley Jordan, Tommy Crook, Baden Powell, Elizabeth Cotten and Tuck Andress (to name but a few) have been employing a Self-Contained approach to playing the guitar for close to 100 years. 

Self-Contained Guitar version of "You May Be Right" by Billy Joel

MODULE 1 is the first chapter of Self- Contained Guitar

and is available now for those who wish to begin studying!

Self-Contained Guitar - Module 1 consists of 3 classes:


The Crux - Foundational Music Theory (currently in video production)

Picking Hand Basics - Elemental Fingerstyle Maneuvers 

Create Your Own Arrangements - Fundamental Arranging Techniques 


Self-Contained Guitar - Module 1  establishes a solid foundation

for any budding Self-Contained Guitarist.


SIDE EFFECTS  of  Self-Contained Guitar - Module 1

  • cognizant retention of the notes on fretboard

  • capability to map out and perform the major scale in any of the twelve keys

  • aptitude for building any major, minor, or diminished triad & find it on the fretboard

  • capacity to transpose or change keys of songs

  • dexterity with various fingerpicking techniques

  • ability to devise basic solo guitar arrangements from a piece of music

  • proficiency performing two separate parts (bass & melody) on one instrument 





Self-Contained Guitar - Module 1  can also help you if you are: 

  • a songwriting guitarist seeking fretboard knowledge and major scale/chord construction

  • a guitarist who prefers using plectrum as opposed to fingerpicking

  • a guitarist with solid chord/scale knowledge but wants to develop fingerpicking skills

  • a fingerpicking guitarist who wants to develop chord/scale knowledge

  • a lead guitarist who wants to enhance guitar solos with major scale/chord comprehension   

  • a songwriter/composer who wants to explore song analysis to strengthen composition skills

Self-Contained Guitar Class Menu

Private Online Guitar Lessons

I have begun teaching PRIVATE guitar lessons at NEW REDUCED RATES through an online music studio called Tunelark and I am currently accepting new students.
All skill levels, all ages welcome.  First lesson features a 50% discount.

Click either image below if you’d like to start today.



(frequently asked questions)

black and white cartoon Alex Gordon Hi-Fi head wearing a fedora, dark eyeglass frames,  shirt, cardigan sweater and goatee beard

Is Module 1 separate from Self-Contained Guitar or is it the same thing?


Module 1 is simply the first chapter of Self-Contained Guitar. Consider it your doorway to playing Self-Contained Guitar!


I visited your website several months ago and I remember Module 1 was listed as one single class.  Now I see 3 different ones listed under Module 1.  Did something change?


Yes, initially Module 1 was taught as a single class over a 6 week session.  However, it has now been split into 3 specifically focused classes:  The Crux (a video lesson introduction to music theory), Picking Hand Basics (a 90 minute introduction to specific fingerstyle techniques) and Create Your Own Arrangements (a 4 week class for creating initial solo guitar arrangements).  


I’m a beginner guitar player.  Can I learn how to play Self-Contained Guitar?


I typically recommend a ONE YEAR minimum of playing experience before beginning Self-Contained Guitar. 


Though it serves as an introduction to music theory, fingerpicking and arranging, Module 1 is largely designed for folks who have already spent time with various rudimentary guitar playing elements, such as learning basic chord shapes, switching chords, strumming or picking, string accuracy, rhythm, etc.  The finger flexibility and durability required for studying Self-Contained Guitar are things that most beginning students do not have.  Some of the stretches can get tricky for even a novice player, let alone a brand new player whose fingers may not be flexible at all.  


If you are unsure if Self-Contained Guitar is right for you or your skill level, please schedule a FREE 15 minute video consultation with me today and together we can assess your ability.


I only see Module 1 classes listed on the website. Is there a Module 2 or 3?


Module 2 classes and materials are currently in production and will be released in the summer/autumn of 2024.



Do I need to be able to read sheet music to study Self-Contained Guitar?


It is not absolutely imperative to read music to get started, but being able to read standard notation (especially reading and interpreting rhythms) is a vital component of the Self-Contained Guitar experience as you progress through the modules.  If you can’t read music and would like to, I am happy to suggest a variety of method books you can seek out to get you started.

If one is insistent on not learning to read standard notation, then I would say that it is possible (though markedly more challenging) to navigate a path forward with a combination of ear training and basic music theory.       


Why do you call it Baritonic Guitar?  Isn’t it just a baritone guitar?


Yes, Baritonic Guitar (as I define it) is all about playing a baritone guitar, but in a very particular style. Throughout the history of music, baritone guitars are very rarely used in a Self- Contained Guitar setting. Baritone guitar traditionally appears in surf, heavy metal or country & western music (to name a few styles).  Since a baritone guitar is longer in scale (anywhere from 27" to 30" in scale length) than a traditional guitar, the baritone naturally embodies a handsome low end register as well as a deeper overall sound which, in my opinion, lends itself wonderfully to the Self-Contained Guitar approach.  So when I say “Baritonic Guitar”, I’m referring specifically to a baritone guitar being played in the Self-Contained Guitar style.  

Baritonic Guitar version of "Kyrie" by Mr. Mister

I have a baritone guitar.  Do you teach Baritonic Guitar, too?


Yes.  Baritonic Guitar classes will be available on the website soon.


Is there a difference between Self-Contained Guitar and Baritonic Guitar classes? Do I need to study both?


In Module 1, Baritonic Guitar is essentially taught the same as Self-Contained Guitar.  The only difference is that Baritonic Guitar uses a baritone guitar for study and Self-Contained Guitar is taught on a traditional six-string guitar.  That said, you could easily translate one class to either instrument as long as you are mindful of the notes being in different spots on the fretboard.  So while I would say that it is not necessary to study both at The Module 1 level, later modules contain certain techniques that may not be as interchangeable.

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