The study and practice of employing upper pedal points is an extremely valuable technique for the harmonic guitarist.

In many tunes melody notes are sustained, often at the end of a phrase. While those melody notes are ringing it’s a nice touch to add a chord below it, or play a single note or contrapuntal fill.

This class is an in-depth study of the many possibilities and textures a player can employ below an upper pedal.

Whether it’s melody playing, soloing, comping, composing/arranging or chord melody playing, developing the techniques to improvise below a pedal point is worth its weight in gold.

This class features 77 useful exercises over important progressions that cover the many harmonic and melodic scenarios a guitarist faces when incorporating upper pedals.

The five chapters of the class include (but are not limited to) these subjects:

  1. Tunes Rhythm Changes, Blues and Solar using lower lines played in contrary motion as well as III-VI-II-V-I patterns with bop lines beneath a pedal.
  2. Diatonic Cycles using inner line motion below pedal points
  3. Open String Pedals on the upper half of the instrument
  4. Triad Enclosures: Approach note patterns that resolve into triads beneath an upper pedal
  5. Parallel Intervals below sustained melody notes


Working with upper pedal points will expand ones chord vocabulary and technique while adding to the player’s palette of textures on the guitar.

Once the concepts and techniques are in the mind and fingers than true improvisation can transport them to another level, beyond exercises, into art!

  • Running time: 2 hours, 13 min.
  • 21 pages of PDF examples in standard notation and TAB

Complete Pedal Points Series from Steve Herberman

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Class Content

Pedal Points Part 4: Upper Pedals 02:13:00

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