Above is a lesson I made with Justin Sandercoe about getting started with Jazz Improvisation.

If you’re interested in this music and want to discover more about jazz and improvising then I made this website for you.

I’ve taught for over 30 years and I know how daunting and confusing improvising can seem at first.

The core of what we do here is working with you on YOUR playing. Whatever you’re into, I help you move forward with it.

Check out Mike Outram’s website ElectricCampfire.com. If you want to get some jazz lessons – this is the man. He’s who I go to when I’m trying to get my jazz chops together!”

Justin Sandercoe – JustinGuitar.com

Annual Membership

Monthly Membership

Here’s a selection of what you get…

Step-by-Step Courses

Our library of over 25 video lessons provides training and practical advice on all aspects of guitar playing, improvisation, practising, harmony and much, much more.

Guest Lessons

Our guest expert workshops give you creative ideas & practice tips from some of the best guitar players and educators in the world.


You’ll get to share ideas, get feedback, and contribute to our amazing community of like minded guitar geeks from all over the globe.


You get a private forum thread where you can get Mike’s 1-2-1 guidance  & feedback anytime you want!

Group Challenges

We regularly take on a new and varied creative challenge together. It’s a powerful, fun way to learn alongside other people.

Learn Standards

Within the site there’s tons of opportunity to get advice, ideas & feedback on playing jazz standards

Course Library

So we have around 25 Courses here for you. These are step-by-step online video guitar lessons with TAB, notation and text on topics such as:


Building a Practice Routine

The routine is designed to take you no longer than 30 minutes. It’s a series of short, highly condensed daily exercises. Some of them are simple; some are very challenging. I show you how to build each exercise so you can start using them today, and build up your control over the materials.

You’ll improve your physical and mental dexterity with the fundamentals. My goal is for you to be FLUID with the fundamental material, so you can apply it however you want.

[Also, this is actually my daily practice routine for technical exercises. I try to spend around 20% of my time working on fundamentals, and 80% on learning and playing music. So I designed these exercises to work on both the mental and physical sides of fundamentals.]


Play Better Solos

This 8 part series will help you play solos that tell a story.

It’s NOT – “Just play this scale over this chord. Ok, got it? Cool. Bye! Good luck…”

It’s NOT – “Here’s 10 Licks for Jazz.”

It’s about how to play IDEAS, how to DEVELOP your ideas, how to sound interesting, how to play a solo that sounds like a piece of music and not just a series of unconnected scales.

It’s all about being musical.


Sight Reading Foundation

In this course you’re going to build a rock-solid foundation for sight-reading on the guitar.

Plus it’s just a great foundation for music in general.

We’ll start with the fundamentals of the first 7 Major Keys, The KNOCAS, Rhythm, and Reading Skills.

And from there you’ll go through a step-by-step system that’ll build your ability to sight read confidently in the first 7 major keys around the 5th fret area.


How To Learn Tunes

In this series, I show you how to learn Wes Montgomery’s tune ‘Mi Cosa’. But it’s also about how to learn tunes.

You’ll learn how to ‘see’ the musical shape and form of a piece so that you can memorise it and produce a more musical performance.

You can apply these ideas to learn any tune. It’ll help you learn tunes quicker. And you’ll learn tunes in much more depth.


Style Study – Emily Remler

This series is an analysis of Emily’s amazing solo from the album East to Wes.

You’ll learn how to play it, what she’s doing, and how you can apply the ideas to your music.


The Triad Quest

A series of exercises to increase your triad knowledge. Getting a strong command of triads will help you to play on chord changes without having to learn a million scales.

These exercises are short challenges. As you go through this course, you’ll become more fluid with triads.

Triads are maaaaaaaaasively useful, and you should totally know them.


Expensive Voicings

In this series, you’ll learn how to get those rich open voicings you’ll hear piano players using all the time. These voicings use 4ths and upper structures.

You’ll learn from my comping examples. I’ll show you techniques and devices to add musical variety and interest to your comping.


Jazz Phrasing & Articulation

This course will give you phrasing that’s fluid – Really fluid. You’ll make the guitar, and your technique work for you rather than against you.

Most guitarists haven’t even thought about how you CHOOSE to phrase. They let the guitar dictate to them how they’re going to sound. You’ll learn how to phrase several tunes and sound like a badass :)

You’ll learn how to CONTROL the instrument and make your phrasing sound the way you want.


Quick Win Harmony Lessons

In this is a series of short harmony lessons you’ll learn one simple harmonic nugget.

Each lesson is no longer than 5 minutes, and there’s ONE actionable thing to practise for each lesson.

This is different to the other series where the lessons are super in-depth.


Harmonic Foundations

This series covers 5 common voicing types and their inversions.

You’ll learn how to play each voicing, how to play each set of inversions up and down the fretboard, how to smoothly connect [voice-lead] the chords, how to apply these voicings to tunes, and WHY you might choose particular voicings for particular musical settings.


Style Study: Kurt Rosenwinkel

In this series, I walk you through some of the features of Kurt Rosenwinkel’s playing.

My introduction to one of the modern masters of the guitar.


Unlocking the Melodic Minor Modes

You’ll learn all the Melodic Minor Modes – How to use them. Where to use them. When to use them.

I’ll show you how to get these sounds into your playing.

You’ve heard Robben Ford use the altered on ‘Help the Poor’?

Well, there are six other modes you can use too.

I’ll show you how.


Style Study: Ted Greene Solo Guitar

In this series, I walk you through how to play Ted Greene’s beautiful arrangement of ‘Hark! The Herald Angels Sing’.

We discuss how to perform a solo piece. How to bring out the sound of inner voices. How to ‘shape’ a performance.


Chord Tone Improvisation: The Gateway To Musical Connections

You’ll learn how to nail the changes to a blues using chord tones.

That’s the surface-level thing, but we go much deeper – this course is all about connecting with your bandmates.

How to get inside their heads, how to dictate the action, how to react, how to think on your feet, how to have fun in those moments of magic!


Rhythm Changes: Hidden Language

This is the start of our course on Rhythm Changes

The Community Forum

Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a place where other guitar nerds, just like you!, could go to chat about, say, John Scofield’s voicings, or Larry Carlton’s phrasing?

And you know what’d be really cool?

A place where you could get together with other human beings who are working all this stuff out, too. Maybe we could all work out a solo for one month, and share our progress, and use that for a bit of focus. And maybe get some more ideas and inspiration to keep working on it, have fun, plus a bit of banter?

Well, Holy Coincidence! Did the planets just, like, re-align themselves right now?

Because, this, my six-stringed brethren & sistren, is EXACTLY what our Forum is all about. It’s a place where you can build skills and confidence with my support.

You’ll be in our little family of like-minded guitar geeks, and they will weigh in with witty observations, motivating riposts, answers to your questions, challenges and support to KEEP YOU MOVING TOWARDS ACHIEVING YOUR GOALS.

Get Instant Access to Electric Campfire!

Annual Membership

Only $20 per month

(billed annually as $240)

Limited time offer! Save $180

Monthly Membership

Only $35 per month

Recurring payment – cancel anytime in just 2 clicks

About Mike

Hi, I’m Mike Outram – guitarist, improviser, composer, teacher, and the founder of Electric Campfire.

I’ve been a professional musician for around 25 years and have had the privilege to take part in international tours, sessions, & recordings with Steven Wilson, Carleen Anderson, Herbie Mann, Tim Garland, Theo Travis, Nikki Iles, Steve Lawson, and Laura Rossi. I love being part of a group and taking on different musical challenges.

Also, I’m Guitar Professor at The Royal Academy of Music, Trinity Laban & The Guildhall School of Music, London where (for almost 20 yrs) I’ve worked with the next generation of incredible young musicians.

A couple of years ago I started writing about improvisation, guitar playing & creativity on my blog and kept getting asked for more in-depth material. Hence this site was born and here we are!


Here are a couple of clips for you to hear so you can get an idea of what I’m about, and what I can help you with. This one is a funk/fusion band I play in called the London Horns (Track: Feelin’ Nearly Normal)

And this one is a jazz quartet from a while back. (Track: Secret Love)

Creative Jazz Guitar Lessons

The vibe here is about being more creative with your music & guitar playing, nailing the foundations, and making it happen on the bandstand. Yes, you’ll naturally find a lot of material about jazz and improvisation here, but we’re all huge fans of all things guitar and especially playing and players who use the instrument creatively. We love Derek Trucks, Muriel Anderson, John Renbourne, Guthrie Govan & Jerry Donahue just as much as Wes Montgomery, Emily Remler, Kurt Rosenwinkel, Jim Hall & Pat Metheny.

Electric Campfire is a place where all that good stuff is celebrated and we aim to share these creative sparks to inspire you.

PS: Here’s how our members are benefitting from using TEC…

“I’d definitely like to echo Neil’s comments – there’s been some fantastic stuff happening on here in the past year covering a huge amount of ground (music, memory, habits, psychology, creativity etc. etc.). It’s also been very motivating having Mike and the rest of the community pushing me to actually get on and do things – especially when they’re in areas of weakness that I’d prefer to ignore if only people would let me…

Bottom line is that I think my playing has improved more in the last year than in any other year I can remember since I’d learnt the basics and Electric Campfire has been possibly the most important thing driving and enabling that progress.”

– Mark Morley-Fletcher

“My playing has undoubtedly improved by virtue of the fact TEC has got me out of that vicious cycle of just noodling with absolutely no direction. There’s always a lesson or a challenge to take up. I really like the mix of exercises (like the triad quest, practice routine), pieces (Zhivago, Mi Cosa, Softly) and philosophy (Play Better Solos). I feel like I am moving forward again, even if it’s slowly.

I like Mike’s post on how to frame practice. My biggest challenge is the ‘do music’ part, since a full time job and two kids under 4, life in general, makes it quite difficult… but that won’t last forever! :-) So TEC is like a refuge, this is the place I can ‘do music’ consistently. I often practice or post stuff at around midnight when I really should be asleep if I want to be coherent in meetings the next day :)

My goal right now is to keep my playing ticking over until it’s easier to get out and about and do more music, specifically playing with other people. Ideally I’d really like to find some folks to play with regularly, a duo, a trio whatever…

It’s never a bad time to take the opportunity to say thanks to Mike for creating such a great site and finding the time and energy to be so on it with feedback in the comments and on the forum. It’s also fantastic to watch TEC steadily grow into such a really great community – ‘you get out what you put in’ is never truer :)”

– Neil Hodgson

“It’s great to have such a positive community feel on this site. I am loving the material as well as the feedback :-)”

– Ernest Alishan

“TEC has turned my relationship with the guitar around completely. I guess I did effectively give up too, although I hadn’t thought of it like that. Wasn’t playing music, and just picked up the guitar at random times to play whatever was in my head/fingers or to read a bit of music, but totally sporadically and with no goals in mind and no purpose. It had been like that for years I guess….

After joining TEC in June I now have:-a regular practice routine-monthly goals- more confidence on the instrument- a bunch of people to talk to about it all- interest and enthusiasm for music and sounds- a great community of like-minded students- material for a lifetime- an inspirational tutor

– Will Gibson

Overall what’s worked for me – in the sense of seeing some progress – has been having limited goals, and within them, focussing systematically and consistently on particular aspects of theory and technique. You’ve done this for me by constructing the practice routine! The videos *work” too, they’re a big help to make sure I’ve understood an exercise/lesson.”

– Kim

“The result was much better than I expected and I really feel that this is the result of working so much on my ear as I have since the Chet Baker challenge in September. It has really changed the way I listen, and the clarity of the music in my head is much more precise.”

– Esben

“I feel I have learnt much more than in any other musical activity, Mike is really a unique teacher and I am happy to be part of this site with all of you.”

– Maurizio

So that’s how this site and the community is making a difference to people just like you. Now it’s up to you. Do you want to play better, enjoy your learning & surprise yourself?

Ask yourself, what would happen to your playing if you had expert tuition & guidance plus an amazing community available to help you whenever you want?

Get Instant Access to Electric Campfire!

If you’re ready to get personalised help with your guitar playing by enrolling in Electric Campfire, simply choose your payment option below to start making a difference to your playing

Monthly Membership

Only $35 per month

Recurring payment – cancel anytime in just 2 clicks

Annual Membership

Only $20 per month

(billed annually as $240)

Limited time offer! Save $180