Private Live with Kiko on February 20th 2021

Guitar Hackers,

I hope you’re all doing great and spending quality time with your guitars (and loved ones) :slight_smile:

We continue the tradition, Kiko will be hosting the second private live of the year for Guitar Hacks paying members this Saturday, Feb 20th at 2PM EST (11AM PST, 8PM CET).

This live will be about modes and we will welcome new 7 Factor students!

As usual, Kiko will pick the top 3 or 5 most liked questions in this topic to cover during the live. So ask away! But keep the topic on composition, modes and scales this time,


Let kiko talk about the care of the muscles of the left hand and rest please!



My questions that I’ve been meaning to ask:

  1. Improvising in Functional and Non-Functional Harmony
  2. Music theory about medians, chord substitutions, and reharmonization
  3. Modes of the Melodic Minor Scale: when and how to apply
  4. Modes of the Harmonic Minor Scale: when and how to apply
  5. Dominant vs Altered Dominant: differences, when and how to apply
  6. How do you improvise when you don’t know the harmony or the chord progression beforehand?
  7. When improvising what are you thinking?

Sorry for having a lot of questions. I’m just really excited to asks these questions and it’s my first time to join the private live with @kiko. :slightly_smiling_face:

If ever, since it’s a lot, @kiko can just select 1 or 2 if possible.

Thanks a lot! :slightly_smiling_face:


During the last live it dawned on my that I don’t know shit about song structure and the function tied to certain parts within the structure. Things like: what is a chorus, what does it do to the song and how should it be positioned whitin the song? And so on and so forth.


How to connect 7 positions on the major scale when improvize or writing solos? What’s your approach? How do you practice them on daily basis?


How do you know when a song is done? I have found that I’ve written and recorded some stuff in the past (and even recently) that is great… except for the middle where I kept adding things that had nothing to do with the rest of the song and didn’t add anything. And when I record it without those sections, it’s sounds better (albeit a little less proggy). How do I not fall into this trap, or know what will make the composition better, vs adding unnecessary time to the song?

1 Like

(Separate question) How do you write an interesting melody, then come up with variations of the same thing while still having a clear “root” in the original idea?


Hey Kiko

Just wanted to understand more of how you visualize the 7 shapes on the neck. I understand and can see them but do you remap it in “real time” when soloing or do you tend to stay in that key and have the “roadmap” already laid out and just grab diatonics,pentatonics, arpeggios and the like from whats already there.
Hope Im making sense…


S’up y’all,

Kiko, I’d like to know, when composing and even when improvising, when or how to know to jump from a key to another without sounding completely detuned and out of context. And another thing, maybe related to the question, how to create different voices as in for example two guitars doing contrapunto.

I hope I explained myself correctly.

Thank you!


How to do transitions between different parts of a song and are there ways to make sure different licks and riffs will work together in a song… e.g. is it better if you are changing modes to not change the key and the tempo at the same time, so there is a common thread carrying through to the next part of the song?


I was wondering if you could take a song you haven’t learned before and map it out on the guitar. Was curious how you go about it. For me this is my biggest challenge and would be the most rewarding. That is if I can pick it up. Possible out of scope for this Saturday.

1 Like

Yo Jim

I know what you mean about the fretboard. If you have an iPhone I found a app that maps out scale by modes and key. Called guitar sp. I been cheating with it and referencing while not playing. Did I mention it’s free.

1 Like

Hi Kiko. I have about 7 months of experience. I find the three finger spread challenging and uncomfortable. Are there alternate patterns or tabs I could use not get lost following your course?


W. Todd

1 Like

Cool thanks I use a app called guitario…
It help your learn the fretboard and is super helpful. I am trying not to rely on fretboard diagrams…Playing live there isn’t a teleprompter telling you what key to play and what scales fit. :wink:
May be good in practice sessions but eventually the brace has to come off.

Hi everybody!

Since we always talk technical, I would suggest talking about
the psychological aspects of practicing:

  • goal placement
  • goal achievement
  • the feeling of giving up
  • motivation/procrastistination
  • how to recognize your progress and its worth
  • what to expect realistically

I suggest this topic because I believe that all of us can do all this practice and find our own solutions, and eventually write songs and play fast BUT we all have to deal with our motivation and we end up creating and asking a million questions hopping to find the “magical solution” that will make us create a masterpiece or shred like gods. At the end though we end up more or less the same as before each question.


Hi Kiko,

Thank you so much for putting together this amazing course. 2 months ago, I didn’t know who you were and now I am absolutely grateful that I have found out your YouTube channel and your course(s).

I have a question for the live session on Saturday, if you see it fit as a topic of discussion.

I have heard (from Paul Davis) that a secret to becoming an amazing player is to use alternate picking motion for keeping time (similar to a metronome).

Allow me to explain using an example. Let’s say a bar has 16th notes as the smallest unit of notes, the idea is that your up and down picking counts should be exactly 16 times. For the pauses and pickings that don’t need to be played, you either avoid hitting the string in those up or down motions or you mute the string to get a nice percussion effect. Paul Davis says that this should be done to get a “Funky” feel. And it does rather sound amazing when he does it. I am not sure if I am explaining it well enough. Sorry if it’s confusing!

I have not been doing this at all throughout my years of playing. And I am finding it rather difficult to rewire my brain to start doing it this now.

I would like to hear your opinion on that approach please

This isn’t specific to modes, but I’m interested in rhythmic exercises or rudiments that are useful to practice.

Maybe Kiko can touch a bit upon or give some clues on his technique for how to best practice inside picking especially on getting the pick to not hit the string on the back and down ward reverse strokes.

1 Like

I can relate to @pgescosa’s questions really well!
In particular:

  1. Chord substitutions
  2. Melodic minor modes: when to apply
  3. Altered Dominant: when to apply.

In general, how to practice these in the context of music creation or song writing, meaning the phase that is supposedly following the 1-hour workout advised by Kiko.


I would love to hear more about your strategies to create interesting licks/lines from a concept that you use pretty often : using the same note on two different strings.

I love the sound of this kind of lick but I struggle a bit to create good sounding phrases , could you reveal some of your magic tricks ? Thank you :smiley:

1 Like