The Blues Turnaround (Guitar Lesson)


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Hawkeye Herman

The Blues Turnaround

Hawkeye introduces and explains a common blues turnaround.

Taught by Hawkeye Herman in Blues Guitar with Hawkeye seriesLength: 7:45Difficulty: 2.0 of 5
Chapter 1: (07:45) The Blues Turnaround The turnaround is one of the most essential elements in blues music. A turnaround is a brief section (typically two measures in the blues genre) that harmonically leads back to the beginning of the form. In most 12 bar blues tunes, the turnaround occurs in bars 11-12. The static rhythm of the basic shuffle pattern is contrasted by the rhythm of the turnaround as well. This rhythmic contrast also pushes the harmony back to the first bar of the 12 bar blues form. At 1:00, Hawkeye provides an example of how the turnaround lick works in the context of a 12 bar blues in E. He plays the shuffle pattern throughout the bulk of the form. When bar 11 hits, he does not continue the shuffle pattern with the tonic E chord. Rather, he substitutes the turnaround to create a more effective transition to the beginning of the form.

Note: Tablature and notation to this demonstration can be found under the "Supplemental Content" tab.

Turnarounds can serve as very effective introductions to blues songs. In addition, a lead guitarist can apply a series of turnarounds over the entire 12 bar form to produce an effective blues solo. Hawkeye will demonstrate this valuable concept in future blues lessons.

Playing the Turnaround

By now, most of you are probably familiar with the "open" D7 chord shape. By removing the open string note (D) from this chord, a movable shape is created. If you slide this basic shape up two frets, a rootless voicing of and E7 chord is formed. This is the tonic chord of a 12 bar blues in the key of E. This is the first chord used in the turnaround. Then, this chord shape descends chromatically in half steps down to a tonic "open" E chord.

Adding Variety

Since turnarounds are used so often in blues music, it is important to amass a large catalog of turnaround licks to draw from. By simply varying the rhythm of a single turnaround lick, new turnaround options are created. For example, the chords in this turnaround can be strummed in quarter notes. They can also be strummed in a triplet rhythm as indicated in the "Supplemental Content" section. These chords can be arpeggiated in a variety of different rhythms as well. Listen carefully at 03:50 to the remaining variations that Hawkeye demonstrates. Remember at all times that blues harmony is rather simple and repetitious. Varying the way in which you play basic blues elements such as the shuffle and turnaround will give your blues playing a sense of spontaneity and excitement.

Video Subtitles / Captions





Supplemental Learning Material

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Member Comments about this Lesson

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Tom2712Tom2712 replied on July 18th, 2016

You are a joy to learn from. You obviously love what you do and this is the clearest explanation of this genre I have come across. Just brilliant in your explanation, lovin' your enthusiasm, you are a natural teacher.

BrewzerBrewzer replied on February 29th, 2016

Great teacher of lessons.

hma269hma269 replied on December 16th, 2015

Great lesson Hawkeye!

bill_1961bill_1961 replied on April 15th, 2015

Hey now this is getting fun...

bill_1961bill_1961 replied on April 15th, 2015

Enter your comment here.

dorkmandorkman replied on April 15th, 2015

Great motivator you are Hawkeye. Why do you call the E7 a chord in the turnaround when it does not contain an E note. I guess the same is also for the D7 when the 4th string (base note D is not struck).

jcaputo1jcaputo1 replied on March 24th, 2016

Actually the E7 cord has the major with 4th string second fret. You can play it like that if you want

dollarbilldollarbill replied on January 10th, 2015

Hawk eye, love the lessons & can't wait to see what's next . You are very easy to follow & a joy to watch!

RollyTRollyT replied on December 21st, 2014

Nice job Hawkeye many years since I started to play the Blues just a refresher ,we don't hear much of this stuff these days Cheers.

RollyTRollyT replied on December 21st, 2014

nn

spoilerospoilero replied on June 10th, 2014

Amazing, just started yesterday to follow your course. only i can say, if you were a woman i would probably ask you to merry me! Just joke. Good job mr. Hawkeye

randwerbittrandwerbitt replied on February 3rd, 2014

I sent a video of me playing "Good Morning Blues" from my iPhone to my four adult kids. My first performance! Got great feedback but apparently I make some pretty weird faces when i play! Have to work on that. Cant wait to keep progressing. Thank you so very, very much. I watched the Super Bowl while practicing. I was better!

Hawkeye.HermanHawkeye.Herman replied on February 3rd, 2014

Thanks so much for the message, kind words, and for enjoying these lessons, Rand. I'm so glad that you're satisfied with your progress as a result of patiently following these lessons in the order they are presented and moving on at your own speed. ;-) Hey, I haven't given and lessons on 'making guitar faces' ... so glad you're catching on to that aspect of making music all on your own ... ;-) ... watch blues and rock players and you'll see that 'dynamic facial expressions' are part of the 'territory' and expected by the public. Just don't ever frown when playing! You can smile, grimace, etc., but never frown! ;-) If you want to see me making 'guitar faces ... which I am very prone to ... May I suggest you view some of the many blues songs that I have posted on youtube ... try to play along with me, it's good practice, and try to 'steal' my ideas/licks/riffs, but not necessarily my 'guitar faces' ;-): http://www.youtube.com/user/HawkeyeH ... and please be sure to check out/explore my web site for more free guitar lessons and blues history information: http://www.HawkeyeHerman.com ... I hope you continue to enjoy these lessons. Thanks again for your kind comments and for 'traveling' with me on the 'blues highway' here at JamPlay.com. I hope these lessons continue to serve your guitar playing .... forever. ;-)

randwerbittrandwerbitt replied on February 3rd, 2014

I sent a video of me playing "Good Morning Blues" from my iPhone to my four adult kids. My first performance! Got great feedback but apparently I make some pretty weird faces when i play! Have to work on that. Cant wait to keep progressing. Thank you so very, very much. I watched the Super Bowl while practicing. I was better!

Hawkeye.HermanHawkeye.Herman replied on February 3rd, 2014

Thanks so much for the message, kind words, and for enjoying these lessons, Rand. I'm so glad that you're satisfied with your progress as a result of patiently following these lessons in the order they are presented and moving on at your own speed. ;-) Hey, I haven't given and lessons on 'making guitar faces' ... so glad you're catching on to that aspect of making music all on your own ... ;-) ... watch blues and rock players and you'll see that 'dynamic facial expressions' are part of the 'territory' and expected by the public. Just don't ever frown when playing! You can smile, grimace, etc., but never frown! ;-) If you want to see me making 'guitar faces ... which I am very prone to ... May I suggest you view some of the many blues songs that I have posted on youtube ... try to play along with me, it's good practice, and try to 'steal' my ideas/licks/riffs, but not necessarily my 'guitar faces' ;-): http://www.youtube.com/user/HawkeyeH ... and please be sure to check out/explore my web site for more free guitar lessons and blues history information: http://www.HawkeyeHerman.com ... I hope you continue to enjoy these lessons. Thanks again for your kind comments and for 'traveling' with me on the 'blues highway' here at JamPlay.com. I hope these lessons continue to serve your guitar playing .... forever. ;-)

randwerbittrandwerbitt replied on February 3rd, 2014

I sent a video of me playing "Good Morning Blues" from my iPhone to my four adult kids. My first performance! Got great feedback but apparently I make some pretty weird faces when i play! Have to work on that. Cant wait to keep progressing. Thank you so very, very much. I watched the Super Bowl while practicing. I was better!

Hawkeye.HermanHawkeye.Herman replied on February 3rd, 2014

Thanks so much for the message, kind words, and for enjoying these lessons, Rand. I'm so glad that you're satisfied with your progress as a result of patiently following these lessons in the order they are presented and moving on at your own speed. ;-) Hey, I haven't given and lessons on 'making guitar faces' ... so glad you're catching on to that aspect of making music all on your own ... ;-) ... watch blues and rock players and you'll see that 'dynamic facial expressions' are part of the 'territory' and expected by the public. Just don't ever frown when playing! You can smile, grimace, etc., but never frown! ;-) If you want to see me making 'guitar faces ... which I am very prone to ... May I suggest you view some of the many blues songs that I have posted on youtube ... try to play along with me, it's good practice, and try to 'steal' my ideas/licks/riffs, but not necessarily my 'guitar faces' ;-): http://www.youtube.com/user/HawkeyeH ... and please be sure to check out/explore my web site for more free guitar lessons and blues history information: http://www.HawkeyeHerman.com ... I hope you continue to enjoy these lessons. Thanks again for your kind comments and for 'traveling' with me on the 'blues highway' here at JamPlay.com. I hope these lessons continue to serve your guitar playing .... forever. ;-)

copedaddycopedaddy replied on December 16th, 2013

Hawkeye, great lesson. From a theory standpoint, why does the turnaround include notes that are not in the key of E?

Hawkeye.HermanHawkeye.Herman replied on December 16th, 2013

Thanks so much for enjoying these lessons and for your question, Chris. One can play any note(s) as 'passing notes' in any key ... notes that are not necessarily in the key of the song ... as long as one does not 'hang' or stay on those non-key-scale notes ... just touching on those notes in passing to the notes of the scale one is in/any note can be played as a passing note in between the notes of the scale/key. All notes that are played that are not in the key, passing notes, can be used as a 'bridge' between the notes of the scale. Don't over-think the theory aspect ... just follow my instructions and enjoy the process ... the intellect/'theory' aspect will start to fit in/be understandable the more experience you gain as you work your way through these lessons. Don't ever let music theory stop you from playing the instrument ;-) and enjoying the results. I hope you continue to enjoy these lessons.

lclarklclark replied on September 21st, 2013

Great lessons! Thank you!

Hawkeye.HermanHawkeye.Herman replied on September 22nd, 2013

Thanks so much, Laura. There are free lessons at my web site: http://hawkeyeherman.com/guitar-lessons.htm ... articles on blues history and the many iconic blues performers I met and learned from directly here: http://hawkeyeherman.com/articles.htm ... and I have posted many blues songs on video at youtube .... http://www.youtube.com/user/HawkeyeH ... please watch these videos to see how I use the skills I teach in my lessons when I'm performing in concert and at festivals ... try to play along with me, try to 'steal' my licks/riffs/ideas ;-) I hope you continue to enjoy these lessons. Thanks again for your kind comments.

leonardseymoreleonardseymore replied on May 7th, 2013

lost of fun, thanks for the lesson!

Hawkeye.HermanHawkeye.Herman replied on May 7th, 2013

You're most welcome, Leonard. Thanks for your message and kind words about these lessons. Much appreciated. I think it's obvious that I love what I do, and I hope my enthusiasm and the information I've shared with you continues to serve you for the rest of your life. I've been playing and teaching the guitar for over 50 years, and I've given a lot of thought and planning as to the order and content of these lessons. Please be sure to follow these lessons patiently in the order they are presented, progressing from one lesson to the next at your own speed, only moving on to the next lesson when you can accomplish what is in the current lesson. I have posted at youtube .... http://www.youtube.com/user/HawkeyeH ... please watch these videos to see how I use the skills I teach in my lessons when I'm performing in concert and at festivals ... try to play along with me, try to 'steal' my licks/riffs/ideas ;-) In terms of the 'process' and how to go about progressing on the guitar, here's a wonderful/useful quote from the great jazz guitar player Howard Roberts: "The tempo to execute something on the guitar is the speed at which you can do it perfectly, even if that tempo is one notch above a dead stop. That way, instead of trying to do something, you ARE doing something." As you gain accuracy, you can increase that tempo, until you get to the 'final'/'goal' tempo of the material/song/scale/riff/lick. Again, thanks so much for your message and for enjoying these lessons.

kennfordkennford replied on March 13th, 2013

Hawkeye, I'm having a bit of difficulty playing the B7 at the 7th fret as I have a bit of arthritis in the left hand which restricts the movement of my pinkie. I can't effectively get the left hand pinkie to the 11th fret on the A string. I can manage to get it to the 9th and 10th fret on the B string and then slur it down from the 10th fret to the 9th on a down stroke. Same thing for the A7 at the 5th fret. Does this make any huge difference? It still sounds bluesy to me.

Hawkeye.HermanHawkeye.Herman replied on March 14th, 2013

There are no rules as to the fingering of notes in blues music ... it's about getting the sound you're after on whatever string allows the fingering skills you may have. Be sure to sit in a chair without arms when playing the guitar, sit erect, not hunched over the guitar, and most important, make sure your left elbow is out and away from your left side ... if your left elbow (the elbow of your fretting hand/arm) is tucked into your side you will restrict your ability to stretch out with your fingers on/over the fingerboard. In regard to your arthritis, I highly recommend your looking into taking the herb: curcumin (a derivative of the herb tumeric) ... I have been taking curcumin (665mg twice per day) for the past year for very bad arthritis in my hands that has threatened my guitar playing career ... in less than a year my, after only a few months of taking the curcumin, the pain and swelling in my fingers began to subside, and I now suffer very little from arthritis. Do not take 'tumeric with curcumin' ... the label on the product should read 'curcumin' as the primary ingredient. Good luck with the B7th chord stretch, with correct posture when playing the guitar, and with the healing of your arthritis. ;-)

Hawkeye.HermanHawkeye.Herman replied on March 16th, 2013

In regard to my advice about taking curcumin for arthritis ... I have nothing to do with the sales and distribution of the product ... all I know is that I've been taking curcumin for less than a year (taking one capsule of 665mg twice a day) and the arthritis/swelling of my hands/fingers/knuckles and stiffness/lack of flexibility that was threatening to end my guitar playing career has subsided considerably and I'm no longer worried about having to limit my ability to play the guitar. I have had truly amazing positive results as a result of taking curcumin. You can read more about the herb at the links below. (The best price I've found is from Amazon.com). http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000QSLHIU/ref=twister_B0013OXD3I?ie=UTF8&psc=1 http://www.iherb.com/Now-Foods-Curcumin-120-Vcaps/13441

Hawkeye.HermanHawkeye.Herman replied on March 16th, 2013

Here are the two curcumin links again ... perhaps easier to read in this format ... http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000QSLHIU/ref=twister_B0013OXD3I?ie=UTF8&psc=1 ... http://www.iherb.com/Now-Foods-Curcumin-120-Vcaps/13441

kevin.cherrykevin.cherry replied on January 13th, 2013

I'll keep it short, TOTALLY AWESOME! I love it, the funny thing is the guy who taught me bass many moons ago was teaching me mostly blues rifts based on scales and I remember the bass turnarounds he taught me, it's so cool to see the pieces fit together. I love mixing up the rhythm and like you said so long as you keep time, you can do whatever you want and change it up for each iteration to keep it interesting and keep them guessing. Guess that wasn't so short now was it. Thanks Hawkeye, I loving this course.

Hawkeye.HermanHawkeye.Herman replied on January 13th, 2013

Thanks for the message and for enjoying these lessons, Kevin. I'm glad the pieces of information are starting to fit together for you. Please be sure to follow these lessons in the order they are presented, patiently progressing from one lesson to the next at your own speed ... and you'll gain a string foundation and understanding of blues music that will allow you to play/improvise blues guitar as you wish. Also, please watch some of my music videos, here: http://www.youtube.com/user/HawkeyeH ... so that you can see how I use the technique I teach here at JamPlay.com when I'm performing in concert and at festivals ... try to play along with me ... and try to 'steal' my riffs/licks/ideas. I hope you continue to enjoy these lessons. Thanks again for you kind message.

bobnatbobnat replied on December 3rd, 2012

Thanks...for the clarity. The pieces floating around my head are starting to come together. Because of where I live, I've never been able to find a teacher so I'm self-taught. I've got skills...I can play Miss. John Hurt tunes quite well, but I've struggled with the blues theory...the unifying theme of it. Even the turnarounds confused me until I saw this lesson. Now I've been looking at a collection at E turnarounds I have and I see them all for what they are...an idea, instead of a bunch of turnarounds. Really, truly, thank you.

Hawkeye.HermanHawkeye.Herman replied on December 3rd, 2012

Thanks for the message an kind words about my lessons, BOb. Much appreciated. I've given a lot of thought and planning as to the order and content of each of my lessons. If you follow my lessons in the order they are presented, progressing from one lesson to the next at your own speed and in your own time, you will gain a strong foundation and understanding of blue music that should clarify and make meaningful/understandable many of the 'loose pieces' of blues music information that you may have 'floating around in your head' ... follow my lessons in the order they are presented, progress at your own speed, don't rush, be patient with yourself and thorough in your development of the skills/techniques I share with you in these lessons and the 'loose pieces' will start to 'fit together' in your brain and on the guitar ... and serve your guitar playing for the rest of your life. I hope you continue to enjoy these lessons.

lstelielstelie replied on August 23rd, 2012

Clear, limpid, and (rather) easy to put in practice...and over all very enjoyable.. great lesson !!

handball123handball123 replied on October 18th, 2012

thanks i am enjoying your lessons so far up to 6 watching them several times over. easy to understand, naturally will take time to play smoothly but very helpful for a slow learner like me.

Hawkeye.HermanHawkeye.Herman replied on October 21st, 2012

Thanks for the message, Ryan, I am glad you are enjoying these lessons. There is no rush in learning, take your time, learning/playing the guitar is a life work and passion and there is no reason to rush; Thanks again for the kind message.

Hawkeye.HermanHawkeye.Herman replied on August 23rd, 2012

Thanks so much for your kind comments, Luc. Very much appreciated. I will be in France in October to perform and teach, in Versailles, Lyon, Toulouse, and possibly Bordeaux, some information here: http://www.franceblues.com/?p=1637 ... perhaps I'll see you in France in a few months??? ;-) ... that would be cool ... also, please watch some of my many music videos so that you can see how I use the techniques I teach here at JamPlay.com when I'm performing in concert and at festivals ... try to play along with me ... and use my ideas/licks/riffs ... http://www.franceblues.com/?p=1637 ... I hope you continue to enjoy these lessons.

lstelielstelie replied on August 25th, 2012

Great ! I hope In can assist to your French sessions (I live close to versailles)

Hawkeye.HermanHawkeye.Herman replied on August 25th, 2012

Luc, I hope to see you in France ... the information on my 2-day seminar in Versailles is here: http://www.franceblues.com/?p=1637

xswagx xdxswagx xd replied on June 21st, 2012

Thank you Hawkeye! Your lessons are incredible , entertaining and you are a great teacher, i am so much more into blues now thnx to you!

Hawkeye.HermanHawkeye.Herman replied on June 23rd, 2012

You're most welcome. It's my pleasure to share my passion for blues music with others. THat's why I'm always smiling as I teach. I love the music and I love sharing that passion with others. The great blues songwriter Willie Dixon, who wrote famous blues hit songs for Muddy Waters and Howlin' Wolf that have been covered by the Rolling Stones, Led Zep, and so many other rock groups once said ... "Blues is the roots, and everything else is the fruits." ... well, believe it! ;-) Thanks again. I hope you continue to enjoy these lessons.

wscovelwscovel replied on January 22nd, 2012

Hawkeye- thanks for the good lessons. Finally put the words in with the rhythm and the turn around. It's been an interesting 3 (slow) steps journey into the 12 bar blues. But after these two weeks, I think I have it. Can't wait to move on to the next lessons.

Hawkeye.HermanHawkeye.Herman replied on January 23rd, 2012

Thanks for the message, Bill. Much appreciated. Just remember to progress from one lesson to the next at your own speed, moving on to the next lesson when you can accomplish what's in the present lesson. Enjoy the process of learning and practicing, as well as just playing ... and don't place any time constraints on your progress ... take your time ... move forward at your own speed ... and you'll gain a string foundation and understanding of the blues that will serve your playing for, I hope, the rest of your life. ;-)

kieranhokieranho replied on May 1st, 2012

thank you so much , this is it ,now i,m finally playing the blues thanks to you cant wait to see what can be done next to good morning blues .

Hawkeye.HermanHawkeye.Herman replied on May 1st, 2012

Glad you're enjoying these lessons. Follow the lessons in the order they are presented, patiently progressing at your own speed. Try not to 'cherry pick'/skip around ... and you'll gain a string understanding and foundation in blues music that will allow you to play freely/create/improvise ... for the rest of your life. I hope you continue to enjoy these lessons.

ryemullryemull replied on December 12th, 2011

I thought this video was quite helpful and made me understand the Turnaround thanks Hawkeye

Hawkeye.HermanHawkeye.Herman replied on December 13th, 2011

You're most welcome, Ryan. I hope you find that by patiently following my lessons in the order they are presented and progressing at your own speed from one lesson to the next that your understanding of blues music and your playing skills/abilities continue to grow and serve you well.

mattbrownmattbrown replied on December 9th, 2011

Attention folks! There's a typo in the tabs. In measure 12, the open E on the "and" of beat 1 should be an open A note. Oops!!

Hawkeye.HermanHawkeye.Herman replied on December 9th, 2011

Thanks for the heads up on the typo, Matt. Much appreciated. Thanks for your hard work and attention to detail. Much appreciated.

badsanta203badsanta203 replied on October 14th, 2011

When I started playing the guitar a year ago, i learned through "YouTube" by only learning the chords and tabs of guitar songs, not the beat and soul of a song, so at first your lessons were a total 180 degree turn around from what I'm used to and it was a great struggle to get used to this style, but i know this is what actually understanding how to play the guitar is all about, and I am am learning A LOT! thank you very much for your help and i greatly enjoy your enthusiasm for the blues and the guitar all together. I am greatly looking forward to learning more through out your lessons. oh and by the way, are those by any chance hawk feathers at the tip of your guitar? (Hawkeye, hawk feathers)

Hawkeye.HermanHawkeye.Herman replied on October 14th, 2011

Thanks for the message and kind words about these lessons, Devin. Very much appreciated. I've given a lot of thought as to the order and content of these lessons. Follow my lessons in the order they are presented and you'll gain a strong understanding and foundation in blues music, and you'll be able to play freely and improvise as you wish. Be patient with yourself, don't move on/progress to the next lesson until you can accomplish what's in the current lesson. Don't rush, this isn't a race, it's a life's work of joy. Watch some of my video at youtube.com to see how I use the techniques I teach here at JamPlay.com when I'm on stage performing in concert and at festivals, and try to play along with me, and try to 'steal my licks/riffs/ideas: http://www.youtube.com/profile?user=HawkeyeH&view=videos ... I met and learned to play blues guitar from some of the most iconic old blues artists, Lightnin' Hopkins, Brownie McGee, Son House (one of Robert Johnson's idols) , Mance Lipscomb, Bukka White (whop taught his cousin, BB King how to play), and many other blues greats. My style of teaching is upbeat and direct and is focused on getting you to play, not on my showing you how much better I am than you. I teach you just as I was taught by the blues greats who went before us taught me... with joy and appreciation for the music and with your interest in accomplishing the ability to play the blues as you feel it my main goal ... to allow you to express yourself through blues music. Check out the free lessons at my web site, as well as the 'original articles' I've written about blues history and the many fine blues performers who took the time to teach me this most gratifying form of music: http://www.hawkeyeherman.com ... I hope you continue to enjoy these lessons. Thanks again for 'traveling' with me on the 'blues highway' here at JamPlay.com.

goobstergoobster replied on April 24th, 2011

Great lesson! I Had this nailed in about 15 minutes of practice. I think there is an error in the supplemental content of the blues shuffle lesson. In the last measure you have an e note instead of an open a note in the turnaround. Video shows this as an open A note on 5th string.

Hawkeye.HermanHawkeye.Herman replied on April 24th, 2011

Glad you enjoyed the lesson, and picked up on the idea/skills quickly. Matt does the supplemental content here at JamPlay.com for all of the instructors ... if it's wrong, he'll catch it and correct it. I hope you continue to enjoy these lessons.

hsarlanhsarlan replied on January 23rd, 2011

Another great lesson Hawkeye. Thanks. If I understand well, only hardcore rule during the turnaround measures is to follow a 'chromatic discipline.' Anything else is our blue feeling. If this is true? How much blues tolerates this kinda freedom? Cheers...

Hawkeye.HermanHawkeye.Herman replied on January 24th, 2011

Once you understand how the turnaround sounds and works ''chromatically' played ... you can experiment and play the positions in random order and see what you come up with both as an ending to a verse and as segue between song verses and as improvised guitar solos. The 'rule' for blues is ... play what you feel and what you like. :-)

greenboogiegreenboogie replied on December 19th, 2010

I like this way of the actual original turnaround.Found out upgrade is 20 bucks so i might swing it in a few days as soon as i got a little bread.I gotta also find a way of Geting my 7 yr old daughter a beginners acoustic guitar and get her on the blues scene.Christas gift and yes she is getting a real guitar.

Hawkeye.HermanHawkeye.Herman replied on December 20th, 2010

Great, all around.

greenboogiegreenboogie replied on December 19th, 2010

The turnaround is important in blues.

Hawkeye.HermanHawkeye.Herman replied on December 20th, 2010

Yes, this is true ... that's why it's explained here ... and in other aspects of my blues lesson series.

flandermflanderm replied on November 7th, 2010

Hawkeye, I'm use a metronome, I'm have trouble with the count on the 12th bar. When I play 1 and 2 and 3 and 4 on the 12 bar, I'm having trouble seeing what lies where. I got this far: at the 1 and, 1=E, and=A. How does 2 and 3 and 4 and lie in the other notes?

Hawkeye.HermanHawkeye.Herman replied on November 23rd, 2010

Thanks for the question, Mark. Much appreciated ... sorry it took me so long to respond ... I've been on tour in Europe since Oct. 31st. Please look at the shuffle with the turnaround in the 'supplemental material' under this lesson. Set your metronome on a slow speed and play what's on the tablature/music. Look at measure #11: beat #1 is a 1/4 note (one full beat), beats #2, #3, and #4, are 1/8th note (triplets), you must stroke the stings three times per beat. The sound of all four beats is #1=dah, #2 =dah-dah-dah, #3 =dah-dah-dah, #4 =dah-dah-dah ... and now measure #12: beat #1 are 1/8th notes that’s are not a triplets, as are beat #2, and beat #3 & #4 is a 1/2 note ... so measure #12 would go: beat #1=dah-dah, #2=dah-dah, beat #3/#4=dah (held for two beats). So, if we just ‘look’ at it as sound rather than mathematics, measrure #11 and #12 would sound like this: #11:dah/dah-dah-dah/dah-dah-dah/dah-dah-dah/#12: dah-dah/dah-dah/dah. You have to be aware of the difference between 1/8th notes that are tied together as triplets (dah-dah-dah), and 1/8 notes that are tied together as two notes (dah-dah). I hope this is helpful and answers your question. Thaks so much for enjoying these lessons.

strat9strat9 replied on October 25th, 2010

Silly question prhaps but in your turnaround, (first one), how did you know to use the D7 shape?

Hawkeye.HermanHawkeye.Herman replied on October 26th, 2010

How did I know to use the D7 shape ... well, it was one opf the first aspects of blues that I learned from the 'old guys' who taught me ... this is a traditional music ... it's based on tools/positions that have been passed on from player to player for generations ... and in every book that teaches blues music you'll find information on turnarounds ... this is pretty common knowledge ... all a guitarist has to do is play a turnaround and everyone, even blues beginners recognize that upon hearing a turnaround as an introduction to a song that the song that is going to be played is going to be a blues song ... ain't no blues without a good turnaround. :-) Glad you got the 'message.' :-)

strat9strat9 replied on October 25th, 2010

Thanks for the turnaround lesson. That's what was lacking in my blues playing!

Hawkeye.HermanHawkeye.Herman replied on October 26th, 2010

Ain't no blues without a good turnaround. So glad you're 'filling in the blanks' in your blues playing. :-)

nash24nash24 replied on October 2nd, 2010

I love these lessons. Your teaching is awesome!!!!!

Hawkeye.HermanHawkeye.Herman replied on October 3rd, 2010

Thanks so much, tonya. If you stick with the 'program' order of lessons and don't rush, be patient with yourself, and you'll be playing blues guitar and improving your skills ... forever, I hope. Enjoy the process. Thanks again.

michael lmichael l replied on July 20th, 2010

Hawkeye: Its been wonderful for me to have found this site and especally your lessons here. I spend many hours each and every day on my guitar journey and feel I am progressing well. Your lessons are very refreshing to say the least. I own several very nice guitars but you have inspired me to purchase one more, gotta have a resonator. That blues sound through a reso just has it. I don't know what it is but its there, kinda like the very soul of the Blues is the best I can describe it. Thank you so much for the great effort you have put into these lessons. Michael

Hawkeye.HermanHawkeye.Herman replied on July 20th, 2010

Thanks so much for the comments and kind words, Michael L. Very much appreciated. I hope you continue to enjoy these lessons and enjoy learning and playing blues music for the rest of your life. You don't NEED a resonator guitar to play blues music ;-) ... but if you want/need an excuse to buy another guitar ... that'll work. I primarily use my 1934 National "Trojan" model guitar (as seen in this lesson) for slide guitar ... I very rarely use my resonator guitar for general blues playing ... some of these lessons here at JamPlay.com are an exception to that 'rule.' I like the sustain of the wood body resonator guitars better than the metal body resonator guitars (I have both styles) ... I find that the wood body is less brash and 'banjo-like' in sound than the metal body versions ... the wood body resonators have a sweeter sound and more sustain ... however, if the choice is up to you. My only recommendation is that you NOT buy a guitar without playing it first ... you should like the sound, it should feel comfortable to play in your hands, and it should be well made ... the least important consideration to me is the appearance ... (for some folks the appearance is EVERYTHING, not for me) ... if you buy a resonator guitar it should make you want to play even more. Just keep in mind that my personal choice is to use a standard acoustic guitar for most of my blues playing ... and I reserve the resonator guitar for playing slide blues almost exclusively. The resonator guitar is certainly 'eye-catching' and does have a compelling sound ... but for me personally, I would not want it to be my only guitar ... nor my first choice guitar. The resonator guitar adds variety and dynamics to my music ... a nice change of pace from the standard acoustic guitar sound that I use most of the time. Again, thanks so much for your kind message and for traveling on the 'blues highway' with me here at JamPlay.com. I hope you continue to enjoy these lessons.

maduromaduro replied on March 5th, 2010

That's it Hawkeye - I'm hooked! Used to play classical but this is just awesome. You're a natural teacher that makes it fun and easy to progress - Many thanks!

Hawkeye.HermanHawkeye.Herman replied on March 5th, 2010

Thanks so much for the kind comments E.F. Much appreciated. Welcome to 'traveling' with me on the 'blues highway' here at JamPlay. I hope you continue to enjoy these lessons.

blaster55blaster55 replied on October 17th, 2009

Getting that turnaround down, Hawkeye! Been on it a while, but nothing better than the feeling when you know it's coming together. Patience certainly is a virtue. Gettin' them spider fingers I think! :)

Hawkeye.HermanHawkeye.Herman replied on October 19th, 2009

Hi David, Thanks for the message. So glad you're enjoying these lessons and that you're exercising patience ... there's no rush ... take your time and enjoy the process. There are free guitar lessons at my web site: www.HawkeyeHerman.com I hope you continue to enjoy these lessons. Thanks again for the kind comments.

finalfinal replied on August 6th, 2009

Hei. Today, when practicing and putting things together that i have learned so far, i incidentally find my self playing the song "before you accuse me" :-) this is starting to be very ineresting.

Hawkeye.HermanHawkeye.Herman replied on August 6th, 2009

final, Thanks for the message and for enjoying these lessons. "Before YOu Accuse Me " ... is a Bo Diddley song ... originally ... not a Clapton song originally ... :-) ... and it's 'just another' great blues song ... like thousands of others ... which you should be able to play with very little trouble if you follow these lessons in the order they are presented. Skip around, and you'll still learn a lot ... but follow the order and you'll gain a strong foundation in blues music with few gaps/holes in your understanding of how it all works. Thanks for enjoying these lessons.

joehobbsjoehobbs replied on August 1st, 2009

This is the most fun I have had with a guitar lesson.

Hawkeye.HermanHawkeye.Herman replied on August 2nd, 2009

joehobbs, Thanks so much. There's much more to come ... please stick with the lesson plan as presented and you'll gain a string understanding/foundation in blues music and how to play and create blues music freely on your own. Skip around in these lessons and you'll still learn a lot, but there will be 'holes/gaps' in your 'blues foundation.' Please take your time with each lesson, enjoy the process, don't rush, be patient with yourself, and don't move ahead to the next lesson until you understand and can accomplish what I'm presenting to you in the current lesson you're working on. You're going to be having a lot more 'fun' with your guitar from now on, believe me. Thanks again.

ricardoflynnricardoflynn replied on July 25th, 2009

Hawkeye, you're the Man! I'm just heading to Lesson 7, thanks my friend.

Hawkeye.HermanHawkeye.Herman replied on July 25th, 2009

Thanks for enjoying these lessons. I hope you continue to enjoy your rapid progression in learning blues guitar ... especially if you stick to the order of these lessons. I'm giving you a strong foundation in the music so that you can freely create blues musicf on your own ... skip around and you'll still learn a lot, but there will be 'holes/gaps' in your blues foundation. Watch the videos here for good examples of how I use what I teach at jamplay when I'm performing http://www.youtube.com/profile?user=HawkeyeH&view=videos Thanks again for enjoying these lessons.

ricardoflynnricardoflynn replied on July 25th, 2009

rest assured I'm sticking to the order :) I've just completed lesson 8 and that's it for now. As tempting as it is to look at what's next I want to master playing the basic 12-bar and Blues turnaround in the different keys before going any further. If I can get the hang of that... I'll be VERY pleased.

Hawkeye.HermanHawkeye.Herman replied on July 26th, 2009

You'll get. Be patient with yourself, enjoy the sounds your guitar is making, and don't try to play too fast; crawl, then walk, then run. And always, enjoy the process. ;-)

rodgersroyrodgersroy replied on June 9th, 2009

Thank you Hawkeye, I never dreamed you would answer sp Quick. I read the longer post and I realise you are right, to jump ahead would be stupid. So I shall listen to the Master and make it one lesson a ta time, I can't thank you enough, keep going with the lessons. A new Blues Fan!

Hawkeye.HermanHawkeye.Herman replied on June 9th, 2009

rodgersroy, :-) Thanks for listening to my advice. I've been playing/teaching guitar for almost 50 years ... I appreciate your taking my advice ... the most 'expensive advice is good advice that is not taken ... stick with the program ... move at your own speed ... and enjoy the music and your new found 'abilities.' Thanks so much heeding my advice. ;-)

rodgersroyrodgersroy replied on June 8th, 2009

Hi Hawkeye, I never had much time for the Blues, because I never listened to it. However I watched one of your lessons and with the enthusiasm you teach with I was hooked. I can play the Twelve Bar Blues and the Shuffle. However when I try to sing along I lose the count and brake down. Any thoughts on how to overcome this problim. I just love your lessions, and find it hard not to jump ahead off myself. Great teaching.

Hawkeye.HermanHawkeye.Herman replied on June 8th, 2009

rodgersroy, Thanks so much for the message and for enjoying these lessons. Look at the longer message I've posted on this page ... try not to jump ahead ... if you can play the blues shuffle with no mistakes, it's okay to move on to the next lesson ... singing and playing the shuffle rhythm at the same time takes a great deal of practice ... just keep trying/practicing ... and you'll improve ... please stick with the lesson plan, as explained further on this same page ... skip around and you'll still learn a lot, but there will be gaps in your blues foundation. You have the rest of your life to improve and enjoy playing blues guitar, and singing ... be patient with yourself ... enjoy the process ... crawl before you walk, and walk before you run ... don't put too much pressure on yourself ... after all at only $19.95 a month here at jamplay ... you can afford to 'exhale' and take your time and still get a good deal ... if you came to me for private/personal blues guitar lessons it would cost you $35 for one hour (!) ... and you'd have a hard time getting me to repeat something for you 5 times, let alone 50 to a million times ... like you can do here at jamplay. ;-) Thanks again for enjoying these lessons

stopherlstopherl replied on May 16th, 2009

I'm playing for 9 months now and i never had so much fun! Love your lessons and you enthusiasm.

gerndtgerndt replied on January 6th, 2009

hawkeye, this lesson is really great. in your previous lessons, stretching my pinkie really really hurt, but bearing with you until this lesson paid off, the pain is less ... thanks for your wonderful work! uli

Hawkeye.HermanHawkeye.Herman replied on January 6th, 2009

ulrich, Thanks so much for your kind comments and enthusiasm for these blues guitar lessons. Very much appreciated. As a consultant/trainer ... you are most aware of 'teaching concepts' and the need for a strong curriculum/foundation that is meant to follow in a logical, skill(s) building, incremental order. I've been playing and teaching blues guitar for a long time ... and I've learned how to 'empower' others to freely express themselves with words and music via blues music ... IF they follow the lesson plan ('training program') in the order that I present the material (and don't skip around) ... and if the students patiently work through the fun and repetitions of each lesson until they understand and have taught their fingers (muscle training/memory through repetitions is where it's at!) to do the 'skills/blues vocabulary' I share y'all in each lesson ... before rushing on to the next lesson ... if a student can enjoy the learning process and the music that we are playing as we go ... the student will soon be empowered to express themselves in this art form. I have given a great deal of thought and planning to the methods/examples I use and the order of the lessons ... my goal in life is to give all willing students a sense of understanding for the history and fundamentals of blues music, its deep influence on other genres of music, and to teach them the physical skills to have fun and express themselves ... while encouraging them to absorb more information, further develop their skills, and be creative ... for the rest of their lives. :-) Thanks for sticking with the program ... I appreciate and am gratified at your new found ability to ... make that pinky stretch. Please put that new skill to good use ... and enjoy the blues :-)

AntonAnton replied on December 28th, 2008

I loose count on the turnaround. Too many uneven notes are played. During the shuffle its easy to count, but those chords and triplets mess everything up. :) I play it by ear and it sounds really good. But i think i would not be able to play with other musicians in such way.

jboothjbooth replied on December 29th, 2008

Force yourself to start playing with a metronome and you'll get that puppy in no time!

AntonAnton replied on December 29th, 2008

Jeff, i do use a metronome. More than that i use yours on the site :) Who was so thoughtful that decided to add a metronome to all the lessons? :) :) :) (Instead of mine "uh, well, but....", and yours "well repeat it till you get it". ;) lol )

Hawkeye.HermanHawkeye.Herman replied on December 28th, 2008

antonskv, Thanks for sharing the problem you're having. You can do this! It's a matter of repetition. Some people have to repeat an 'exercise' many many times before getting it right. You know wat the problemn is ... you loose count ... so why not put the guitar down and follow the lesson and count out loud without your guitar ... over and over again ... no guitar ... just counting and listening to the changes and relaxing completely as you do so by breathing regularly. When you are relaxed and counting and feeling the changes as they go by, enjoy it. Then pick up your guitar and play along ... breath ... don't hold your breath ... and count as you play. With practice, you can do just about anything. SO, practice :-) ... You're right, it may sound good when you play by yourself, but if you don't play the 12 bars blues ... in the prescribed 12 bar format ... other people won't be able to play along with you because you're making the chord changes whenever you feel like it ... which is fun ... but does not encourage others to join in ... unless you're as good as Lightnin' Hopkins, who I knew and learned from ... LIghtnin would change chords whenever he wanted ... and if you played with him you just put up with it. Practice they way I've described, and learn to keep good time ... and enjoy the process. This is much more fun than chopping wood or changing the oil on your car ;-)

codacciocodaccio replied on October 25th, 2008

Is there a typo at the end of the tab ? I guess the open chord is A and not E ?

codacciocodaccio replied on October 25th, 2008

I mean the open string, not open chord :)

Hawkeye.HermanHawkeye.Herman replied on July 31st, 2008

jackie134, Thanks for the comment. Keep at it. Practice. No buzzing/dead strings, just clear tones when making chords. It may not seem like it, but you improve every time you hold the guitar and practice, for a few minutes, or hours ... repetition is where it's at ... that's how we teach our fingers to do what our brain has learned. If you've got the concept clearly in your mind ... it just takes time and repetition to teach your body to respond ... like dancing, painting, woodworking, all physical tasks ... get the steps/positions solidly in your brain, and then teach your fingers/body to respond to the information in mind ... repetition ... and improvement each time you practice. Crawl before you walk, walk before you run, and enjoy the process. Thanks again.

jackie134jackie134 replied on July 31st, 2008

THanks Hawkeye - this is great! you are super! I really understand what you are teaching. The turnaround sounds good. I need to keep practicing to get the barre chords right - mind knows what wanted but the muscles aren't strong enough yet but I am getting better! Thanks from London UK Jackie

Hawkeye.HermanHawkeye.Herman replied on July 27th, 2008

There's a "Hawkeye Live in Concert" DVD you might enjoy ... You can see/hear many of the songs on the DVD for free on youtube.com at; http://www.youtube.com/profile?user=HawkeyeH Check 'em out ... you can see/hear my blues ... in action.

Hawkeye.HermanHawkeye.Herman replied on July 24th, 2008

ronin808 and mclend1, Thanks so much. There is an endless amount of music that can be played/created by learning the basic turnaround(s) ... and then 'fiddling' with them on your own ... ascending, descending, picking out notes as your so choose, fingerpicking notes as you so choose, etc. Learn the basics ... and then go for being creative. Learning the 'stock' stuff is the beginning ... then twisting and turning things as you feel ... it what blues is about. If you love the blues, play them as you please.

mclend1mclend1 replied on July 23rd, 2008

Hawkeye, your enthusiasm is infectious, another lesson to work on, maybe it'll also 'turnaround' my playing (with practice) keep up the good work, it's appreciated!

ronin808ronin808 replied on July 23rd, 2008

awesome totally awesome man!!!

Blues Guitar with Hawkeye

Found in our Beginner Lesson Sets

The blues is a distinctly American style of music. Many popular genres such as jazz, rock, and country music draw upon basic blues concepts. Consequently, it is advantageous for any guitarist to study the blues.



Lesson 1

Introduction to Blues

Hawkeye Herman introduces the blues. He explains the 12 bar blues chords and the poetic format that blues lyrics typically follow.

Length: 19:25 Difficulty: 1.0 Members Only
Lesson 2

Understanding Blues Chords

Hawkeye explains how the I, IV, and V chords are used in a 12 bar blues progression.

Length: 12:12 Difficulty: 1.0 Members Only
Lesson 3

Blues Rhythm

Hawkeye demonstrates common strumming patterns used in blues music. He also explains how country music evolved from the blues.

Length: 19:42 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 4

Intro to the Blues Shuffle

The shuffle is one of the most common rhythms used in blues music. Hawkeye introduces the most basic shuffle rhythm pattern.

Length: 18:12 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 5

More Blues Shuffle

Hawkeye covers the blues shuffle in greater depth.

Length: 13:13 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 6

The Blues Turnaround

Hawkeye introduces and explains a common blues turnaround.

Length: 7:45 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 7

Interesting Blues Turnaround

Hawkeye demonstrates various ways of arpeggiating the blues turnaround from the previous lesson.

Length: 8:08 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 8

Moving the Turnaround

Hawkeye explains how the turnaround from the previous lesson can be transposed to all 12 keys.

Length: 5:57 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 9

Turnaround in the Bass

Hawkeye explains how the blues turnaround can be played on the bass strings.

Length: 11:12 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 10

Turnaround Practice

Hawkeye provides some tips regarding how to integrate turnarounds into the context of the 12 bar blues form.

Length: 3:58 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 11

Turnarounds as Lead

In this lesson Hawkeye will explain how you can use turnarounds as a way to play basic lead.

Length: 0:00 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 12

Subtle Changes

Hawkeye demonstrates how subtle changes made to the blues shuffle can have a profound impact on the overall sound of the 12 bar form.

Length: 7:12 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 13

Blues Shuffle Variations

Hawkeye demonstrates more blues shuffle variations. He discusses playing individual notes and palm muting.

Length: 7:23 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 14

Bass Blues Shuffle

In this lesson, Hawkeye teaches a bass version of the blues shuffle that mimics a common left-hand piano pattern.

Length: 10:49 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 15

Turnaround Exercise

Hawkeye presents an exercise that will enable you to play a turnaround over the blues form in all twelve keys.

Length: 10:44 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 16

Delta Blues Turnaround

Hawkeye teaches a Delta blues turnaround in the key of A. This turnaround is played in the style of Robert Johnson.

Length: 10:45 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 17

Delta Blues Turnaround #2

Hawkeye Herman teaches a new Delta blues turnaround. This lick was inspired by Robert Johnson.

Length: 7:12 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 18

Robert Johnson Style

Hawkeye Herman teaches more components of Robert Johnson's signature sound.

Length: 27:38 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 19

Movable Chords

Hawkeye introduces some common, movable chord shapes.

Length: 17:42 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 20

Movable Chord Review

Hawkeye reviews movable chords in this lesson. He explains how these chord voicings can be used in a practical blues context.

Length: 5:41 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 21

Basic Blues Scale

Hawkeye Herman introduces the minor pentatonic scale in this lesson, the most commonly used scale in blues lead guitar.

Length: 23:54 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 22

Passing Notes

Hawkeye builds on the pentatonic scale. He introduces "blue" notes, which transform the pentatonic scale into the minor blues scale.

Length: 12:50 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 23

Scales and Keys

Hawkeye explains how to transpose the minor pentatonic and minor blues scales to different keys.

Length: 21:18 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 24

Finding the Key

Hawkeye Herman explains how to determine the key of a blues song. This information is essential if you wish to play lead over a song.

Length: 15:31 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 25

Lightnin' Hopkins Style

In this lesson, Hawkeye will bring together much of what he has taught in this lesson series and apply it to the style of Lightnin' Hopkins.

Length: 16:36 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 26

Treble Shuffle

Hawkeye explains how to play the blues shuffle on the treble strings.

Length: 9:22 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 27

The Great River Road

Hawkeye Herman teaches you how to play his original song, "The Great River Road," in this phenomenal lesson.

Length: 16:39 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 28

Mississippi John Hurt Style

Hawkeye covers the guitar style of Mississippi John Hurt. This style makes heavy use of alternating bass lines.

Length: 14:48 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 29

Piano Blues

Hawkeye teaches an original piece called "Piano Blues." He teaches this song to further demonstrate the alternating bass line.

Length: 13:20 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 30

Blues Accompaniment

Hawkeye Herman teaches a beautiful blues accompaniment pattern.

Length: 10:11 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 31

Stop-Time Blues

Hawkeye introduces the stop-time blues rhythm.

Length: 17:21 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 32

Sweet Home Chicago

Hawkeye Herman explains how to play Robert Johnson's "Sweet Home Chicago."

Length: 16:17 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 33

Eight Bar Blues

Hawkeye introduces the eight bar blues progression.

Length: 22:28 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 34

8 Bar Blues Key Transposition

Hawkeye takes the 8 bar blues material from the last lesson and explains how to transpose it to different keys.

Length: 6:39 Difficulty: 0.5 Members Only
Lesson 35

Classic 8 Bar Blues

Hawkeye teaches a classic 8 bar blues tune in the style of Brownie McGhee and Big Bill Broonzy.

Length: 25:10 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 36

Playing Multiple Notes

In this lesson Hawkeye revisits the blues/pentatonic scale and talks about playing multiple notes at the same time.

Length: 9:42 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 37

Classic End Tag

Hawkeye Herman teaches a classic blues song ending. He also explains how it can be played in different keys.

Length: 9:42 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 38

Basic Blues Slide

Hawkeye Herman covers the basics of slide technique and provides exercises to demonstrate them.

Length: 25:49 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 39

Slide Guitar and Open D Tuning

Hawkeye Herman introduces open D tuning. He explains how to play a 12 bar blues progression with a slide in this tuning.

Length: 14:56 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 40

Ramblin' On My Mind

Hawkeye Herman demonstrates the classic Robert Johnson song, "Ramblin' On My Mind" in open D tuning.

Length: 8:41 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 41

Blues Shuffle in Open D

Hawkeye explains how to play the blues shuffle in open D tuning.

Length: 0:00 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 42

Open D Harmony Shuffle

Hawkeye teaches the "harmony" version of the shuffle in open D tuning.

Length: 5:15 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 43

Open D Turnaround

Hawkeye teaches a simple blues turnaround in open D tuning.

Length: 9:00 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 44

Open D Slide Licks

Hawkeye Herman teaches some open D slide guitar licks. These licks are inspired by the song "Ramblin' On My Mind" by Robert Johnson.

Length: 8:14 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 45

Pentatonic Scale in Open D

Hawkeye Herman explains how to play the D minor pentatonic scale in Open D tuning.

Length: 4:00 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 46

Ramblin' On My Mind

Hawkeye challenges you to play "Ramblin' On My Mind" using the techniques from the past couple of lessons.

Length: 4:03 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 47

Rock and Slide Guitar

Hawkeye shows that open D tuning and slide guitar are not exclusive to the blues. He provides an exercise that demonstrates how this tuning can be used in rock music.

Length: 15:55 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 48

D Tuning Chords

Hawkeye returns to the world of open D tuning. He introduces various chord voicings and explains how they can be used in the blues.

Length: 10:00 Difficulty: 0.5 Members Only
Lesson 49

You Got To Move

In this lesson, Hawkeye teaches a classic blues song by Mississippi Fred McDowell - "You Got To Move".

Length: 9:03 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 50

You Got to Move Melody

Hawkeye Herman demonstrates how to play the melody of "You Got to Move" with a slide.

Length: 6:51 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 51

Slide Guitar and Blues Licks

Hawkeye Herman talks about playing and creating blues licks with the slide.

Length: 9:53 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 52

Elmore James Style

Hawkeye Herman breaks down important aspects of Elmore James' style.

Length: 23:11 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 53

Blues Licks and Riffs

Hawkeye teaches some versatile blues licks and riffs that can be used in open D tuning.

Length: 11:15 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 54

Open G Tuning

Hawkeye Herman teaches the basics of open G tuning.

Length: 7:28 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 55

G Tuning Chords

Hawkeye gives a brief overview of chords and how they are played in open G tuning.

Length: 6:11 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 56

Blues Scale in Open G Tuning

Hawkeye gives a brief rundown of how the blues / minor pentatonic scale can be played in open G tuning.

Length: 4:48 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 57

G Tuning Accompaniment

Hawkeye talks about playing accompaniment using open G tuning.

Length: 7:44 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 58

Improvising in G Tuning

Improvisation using the minor pentatonic / blues scale is discussed in open G tuning. Hawkeye also touches on Robert Johnson's song, "Walkin' Blues."

Length: 7:26 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 59

Open G Shuffle Rhythm

In this lesson, Hawkeye Herman talks about playing the blues shuffle in open G tuning. He also shows some basic turnarounds.

Length: 10:37 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 60

Open G Shuffle Variations

Hawkeye reviews the blues shuffle in open G tuning. He demonstrates shuffle variations as well as a few licks, turnarounds, and other tidbits.

Length: 15:45 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 61

Robert Johnson Licks

Hawkeye teaches several Robert Johnson licks in this lesson. These licks are played with a slide in open G tuning.

Length: 14:40 Difficulty: 2.5 FREE
Lesson 62

G Tuning and the Capo

Hawkeye introduces the capo and explains how it can be used. This lesson is still in the context of G tuning.

Length: 10:28 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 63

Come On In My Kitchen

Hawkeye Herman showcases the power of slide guitar by demonstrating the classic Robert Johnson song, "Come On In My Kitchen."

Length: 6:33 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 64

Skip James Style

Hawkeye Herman gives a brief rundown of Skip James' blues guitar style. This lesson also focuses on playing in open tunings without a slide.

Length: 19:15 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 65

Open D to Open G

Hawkeye demonstrates how to take a song from open D tuning and play it in open G. He uses the song "No Expectations" by the Rolling Stones as an example.

Length: 10:26 Difficulty: 0.5 Members Only
Lesson 66

Drop D Tuning

Hawkeye shows you the wonders of drop D tuning and teaches his rendition of "Big Road Blues."

Length: 30:30 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 67

Statesboro Blues

Hawkeye goes over the fantastic song "Statesboro Blues" by Blind Willie McTell in Drop D tuning.

Length: 27:12 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 68

Blind Lemon Jefferson

Hawkeye discusses some history behind the great blues guitarist Blind Lemon Jefferson. He covers the song "Matchbox Blues" to provide an example of his style.

Length: 19:40 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 69

Minor Blues

Hawkeye explains the chord changes used in a minor blues progression.

Length: 12:53 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 70

The Capo

Hawkeye talks about the capo and its many uses.

Length: 22:32 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 71

Song Endings

By user request, Hawkeye shares ideas on how to end songs in this lesson.

Length: 21:26 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 72

Stop Time Blues

In this lesson, Hawkeye Herman returns to the wonderful world of stop-time blues. He teaches a few more ways to play in this glorious style.

Length: 17:53 Difficulty: 0.5 Members Only
Lesson 73

Eight Bar Blues

Hawkeye talks about the eight bar blues and uses some classic blues songs as examples.

Length: 26:19 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 74

Blues Mambo

Hawkeye talks all about the blues mambo in this lesson.

Length: 16:09 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 75

Movable Endings

Hawkeye explains how all the endings you've learned up to this point can be transposed to any key.

Length: 31:53 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 76

Movable Blues Scale

Hawkeye talks about transposing the minor pentatonic scale to various keys.

Length: 16:58 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 77

Blues Scale Lead

Hawkeye explains how the blues scale can be used to play lead in any song.

Length: 30:57 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 78

Spanning the Neck

Hawkeye explains how the blues scale can span the neck in any key.

Length: 22:09 Difficulty: 3.5 Members Only
Lesson 79

The Blues Had a Baby

Hawkeye talks about the background of rock 'n roll and how it is connected to blues.

Length: 21:42 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 80

Fun Licks

This lesson is filled with fun licks and lick techniques.

Length: 17:32 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 81

Spanning the Neck Continued

Hawkeye brings more blues wisdom to you in this lesson about spanning the neck.

Length: 18:18 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 82

Barre Chords Refresher

Hawkeye provides a few useful tips on playing barre chords.

Length: 13:18 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 83

Chord Relationships

Hawkeye discusses how the visual shapes of chords relate to one another on the fretboard.

Length: 15:06 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 84

Chord Relationships Continued

Hawkeye explains how to find the I, IV, and V chords in all 12 major keys.

Length: 8:43 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 85

Shuffle Rhythm Review

Hawkeye answers member questions on the shuffle rhythm.

Length: 16:19 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 86

Key of A Idea

Hawkeye shares an idea in the key of A that you can apply to your blues playing.

Length: 18:15 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 87

Thumbpick Vs. Flatpick

Thumbpick Vs. Flatpick: A most common question asked among guitarists is discussed in this lesson.

Length: 15:13 Difficulty: 0.5 Members Only
Lesson 88

Capo Ideas

Hawkeye shares his ideas on the capo and explains why he thinks it is important for every guitarist to own one.

Length: 18:34 Difficulty: 0.5 Members Only
Lesson 89

Everything is Movable

Hawkeye reiterates that everything is movable on the guitar and provides some fresh new ideas.

Length: 12:27 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 90

Bass Notes in Treble

Hawkeye explains how to add variety to the shuffle pattern by transferring the bass notes to the treble register and by adding palm muting. He also explains how you can create your own shuffle variations.

Length: 21:21 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 91

Treble Shuffle

Hawkeye provides more amazing tips and tricks on moving your shuffle rhythm to the treble for a unique sound.

Length: 16:50 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 92

Creating Solos

Hawkeye revisits the techniques learned in the last few lessons and explains how to tie tie them together to create solos.

Length: 9:46 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 93

Transposing Songs

Hawkeye provides some great tips for transposing any song you want to learn to a different key.

Length: 17:31 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 94

History of Blues

This exciting lesson dives into some of the earliest history of blues music and how it has shaped popular music today.

Length: 13:52 Difficulty: 0.5 Members Only
Lesson 95

Blues is the Roots

Hawkeye Herman explains why "blues is the roots, and everything else is the fruits."

Length: 8:41 Difficulty: 1.0 Members Only
Lesson 96

The Style of Hank Williams

Hawkeye discusses the history and style of Hank Williams.

Length: 17:07 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 97

The Style of Jimmie Rodgers

Hawkeye demonstrates some key aspects of Jimmie Rodgers' style.

Length: 12:30 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 98

Boom-Chicka Strum

Hawkeye demonstrates the "boom-chicka" strum and explains various ways you can incorporate it into your playing.

Length: 22:44 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 99

Fun Runs

Hawkeye Herman explains how to spice up your rhythm playing by incorporating bass runs between chord changes.

Length: 16:20 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 100

Review & Practice

Hawkeye Herman celebrates lesson 100 with a short but sweet review of what you've learned in the past couple of lessons.

Length: 6:51 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 101

Song Medley

Hawkeye Herman demonstrates rhythmic concepts from earlier lessons by playing a fun medley.

Length: 13:08 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 102

Hawkeye's Favorite Licks

Hawkeye shares some of his favorite licks in this lesson.

Length: 22:35 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 103

More Fun Licks

Hawkeye teaches more fun licks to add to your blues bag of tricks.

Length: 31:20 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 104

More Licks Up the Neck

Hawkeye Herman is back with some more classic blues licks that span the length of the fretboard.

Length: 26:20 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 105

Bass Licks

Hawkeye explains the importance of playing licks over the entire neck of the guitar.

Length: 21:33 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 106

Rock Me Lick

Hawkeye Herman shares a lick that is commonly known as the "Rock Me Baby" Lick. He explains how this lick can be incorporated into a performance of this classic B.B. King song.

Length: 19:09 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 107

Turnaround Positions

Hawkeye discusses how ideas derived from turnarounds can be incorporated into blues solos.

Length: 8:19 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 108

Instrumental Themes

Hawkeye Herman talks about instrumental themes and how you can add lead fills to them.

Length: 18:03 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 109

Instrumental Themes Continued

Hawkeye continues his discussion on instrumental themes and blues.

Length: 23:42 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 110

Ninth Chords

Hawkeye Herman explains how dominant 9th chords are formed and how they can be used in blues music.

Length: 15:16 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 111

Ninth Chords Continued

Hawkeye Herman continues his discussion on 9th chords.

Length: 26:52 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 112

More Eight Bar Blues

Hawkeye Herman shares more eight bar blues knowledge in this fun and information-packed lesson.

Length: 23:57 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 113

Using a Tuner

Hawkeye shares his thoughts on tuners in this lesson.

Length: 6:38 Difficulty: 0.5 Members Only
Lesson 114

Introducing the Capo

In the 114th installment of his Blues Series, Hawkeye introduces the capo. He demonstrates how this valuable tool allows you to transpose chord voicings to various keys.

Length: 23:21 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 115

Forming Barre Chords

Having trouble getting those fingers to form barre chords? In lesson #115 of his Blues Series, Hawkeye covers some tips and techniques to help with these problematic chord shapes. Any beginner can master...

Length: 10:03 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 116

4 Up, 5 Down Applied Concept

Hawkeye explains why the adjacent strings on the guitar are tuned in perfect fourths and how this relates to left hand fingering.

Length: 18:44 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 117

Relative Chord Shapes

Hawkeye continues where he left off in lesson 116 and explains how the tuning of the guitar relates to commonly used chord shapes.

Length: 16:43 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 118

Transposing Notes / Changing the Key

Hawkeye Herman reviews important transposition concepts. Here he demonstrates how to change the key of a song so that it is appropriate for your vocal range.

Length: 20:31 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 119

All About Finger Picking

Hawkeye takes a look at this important right hand technique.

Length: 20:54 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 120

Bo Diddley Beat

Hawkeye provides a history lesson on Bo Diddley. He also demonstrates how to play the classic "Bo Diddley Beat." This rhythmic pattern appears in countless blues and rock songs.

Length: 20:15 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 121

Thematic Bass Lines

Hawkeye teaches some blues bass lines that can be applied to the twelve bar blues form.

Length: 19:04 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 122

Bass Lines Continued

Hawkeye continues on from his 121st lesson with more examples of blues bass lines for guitar.

Length: 7:14 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 123

Lead Bass Ideas

Hawkeye dives into some lead bass ideas. He demonstrates how a classic Eric Clapton riff can be used over the twelve bar blues form in any key.

Length: 12:57 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 124

Willie's Bounce

Hawkeye teaches the bass line riff to his song "Willie's Bounce."

Length: 16:31 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 125

Finger Picking Part 2

Hawkeye continues his discussion on finger picking.

Length: 12:27 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 126

The Texas A

Hawkeye Herman teaches a version of the A chord that he calls "The Texas A."

Length: 13:59 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 127

Blues Scale: Adding the Major 3rd

Hawkeye breaks down the blues scale and demonstrates how to appropriately add the major 3rd.

Length: 26:16 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 128

Double Stops

As demonstrated in previous lessons, Hawkeye opens up the world of double stops. Hawkeye teaches some classic Chuck Berry licks to demonstrate how double stops can be used effectively.

Length: 11:53 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 129

Scrapper Blackwell

Hawkeye introduces the guitar stye of Scrapper Blackwell. He uses the song Scrapper called "E Blues" as a starting point.

Length: 20:46 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 130

Influence of Blind Lemon Jefferson

History flows deep in blues music. Hawkeye discusses the influence of Blind Lemon Jefferson. This lesson is one for the history books.

Length: 22:43 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 131

Humming and Strumming

Hawkeye opens up some ideas on how to "plan ahead" in your playing. Similar to riding a bike, you need to look forward to see where your going. Humming what you want to play allows you to anticipate the...

Length: 18:49 Difficulty: 4.0 Members Only
Lesson 132

Katrina, Oh Katrina

Inspired by the tragedy of Hurricane Katrina, Hawkeye was commissioned by the BBC to write a song about Katrina. Hawkeye demonstrates this song and recalls his thought process in writing this song.

Length: 29:53 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 133

All About the Hammer-on

Hawkeye demonstrates how a hammer-on can be used to open up doors in your playing. Hawkeye shows you how to achieve this technique and use it successfully in your playing.

Length: 24:07 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 134

The Pull-off

Hawkeye covers the pull-off, best friend of the hammer on. This technique is used to achieve the same goal as the hammer-on, yet with a completely different finger movement.

Length: 15:02 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 135

Using Hammer-ons and Pull-offs Together

Hawkeye combines lessons 133 and 134 and demonstrates some examples of how to utilize the hammer-on and pull-off techniques together to enhance your overall blues guitar skills.

Length: 10:27 Difficulty: 3.5 Members Only
Lesson 136

The Quick Change

The 12 bar form is a staple in the world of blues music. However, there are plenty of different ways to arrange it. This lesson covers what is commonly called "The Quick Change."

Length: 15:15 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 137

Starting on the IV Chord

Hawkeye demonstrates how to change up a traditional 12 bar blues progression by starting on the IV chord.

Length: 16:51 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 138

The Talking Blues

Hawkeye demonstrates yet another form of blues known as the "Talking Blues." This style is indicative of its name. It features a talking vocal style played over a I, IV, V chord progression.

Length: 24:43 Difficulty: 4.0 Members Only
Lesson 139

Utilizing 9th Chords

Need a slightly different voicing to spice up your playing? 9th chords will give your blues playing a colorful, urban sound.

Length: 24:53 Difficulty: 3.5 Members Only
Lesson 140

Minor Tuning, Major Sound

Hawkeye breaks out his slide and demonstrates how chord progressions in major keys can be played in open minor tunings.

Length: 4:43 Difficulty: 1.0 Members Only
Lesson 141

Style of Elmore James

Hawkeye offers up some tricks and techniques that Elmore James utilized in his style of playing.

Length: 25:52 Difficulty: 3.5 Members Only
Lesson 142

Style of Son House

In lesson 142, Hawkeye dives into the style of Son House. House pioneered an innovative style featuring strong, repetitive rhythms often played with a slide.

Length: 14:32 Difficulty: 3.5 Members Only

About Hawkeye Herman View Full Biography ""One of America's finest acoustic guitarists and blues educators."
Cascade Blues Association

"Herman plays with a sensitive, reflective touch that continually draws attention to his vocals, which are effectively understated and free of affectation... Herman can rock with the best of them. A solid choice for fans of traditional acoustic blues."
Living Blues Magazine

" ...plays haunting music on a mournful guitar."
Los Angeles Times

"The only thing better than hearing this live album is seeing Hawkeye Herman in the flesh. Whether adding his own spin to blues classics or offering his own songs, Herman is a one-man history of blues, noteworthy guitar player and inimitable communicator. Miss him at your peril."
Blues Access

With over 40 years of performing experience, Michael "Hawkeye" Herman personifies the range of possibilities in blues and folk music. His dynamic blues guitar playing and vocal abilities have won him a faithful following and he leads a very active touring schedule of performances at festivals, concerts, school programs and educational workshops throughout the U.S., Canada, and Europe. His original music has been included in video dramas and documentaries and in four hit theatrical productions.

In 2000, Hawkeye was awarded Philadelphia's Barrymore Award for Excellence in Theatre for best original music in a theatrical production. "Everyday Living," Hawkeye's first nationally released album from 1987, now reissued on CD, features the late blues giants Charles Brown and "Cool Papa" Sadler, and established the demand for his now long-standing festival and concert touring. His latest CDs and DVD, "Blues Alive!" (CD), "It's All Blues To Me" (CD), and "Hawkeye Live In Concert" (DVD) have been greeted with rave reviews. Hawkeye's journalistic efforts have been published in numerous national and regional blues and music-related periodicals.

In 1998 he was the recipient of the Blues Foundation's "Keeping The Blues Alive" award for achievement in education. He served on the Board of Directors of the Blues Foundation for six years. Hawkeye was inducted into the Iowa Blues Hall of fame in 2004. In September of 2005, Hawkeye composed, at the request of the British Broadcasting Company (BBC), "Katrina, Oh Katrina (Hurricane Blues)," detailing the hurricane disaster on the Gulf Coast. The song was aired to over 7 million listeners on the popular "BBC Today" program. He is the cofounder of the Rogue Valley Blues Festival, Ashland, OR.

This musician has definitely carved out a spot for himself in the contemporary acoustic blues/folk field, and has earned a reputation as one of the most accomplished artists in the genre, and audiences throughout the US/Canada/Europe have come to know and appreciate Hawkeye's talent, dedication, and captivating performances.

Acoustic Guitar Lessons

Our acoustic guitar lessons are taught by qualified instructors with various backgrounds with the instrument.


Orville Johnson Orville Johnson

Orville Johnson introduces turnarounds and provides great ideas and techniques.

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Eve Goldberg Eve Goldberg

Eve talks about the boom-chuck strum pattern. This strum pattern will completely change the sound of your playing.

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Rich Nibbe Rich Nibbe

Rich Nibbe takes a look at how you can apply the pentatonic scale in the style of John Mayer into your playing.

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Don Ross Don Ross

New fingerstyle instructor Don Ross introduces himself, his background, and what you should expect in this series.

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Mitch Reed Mitch Reed

Mitch teaches his interpretation of the classic "Cannonball Rag." This song provides beginning and intermediate guitarists...

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Marcelo Berestovoy Marcelo Berestovoy

Marcelo teaches the eight basic right hand moves for the Rumba Flamenca strum pattern. He then shows you how to apply it...

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Peter Einhorn Peter Einhorn

JamPlay is proud to introduce jazz guitarist Peter Einhorn. In this lesson series, Peter will discuss and demonstrate a way...

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Mary Flower Mary Flower

Mary talks about the key of F in this fantastic lesson.

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Freebo Freebo

In this lesson, Freebo covers the basics of right hand technique. This lesson is essential for all up and coming bassists.

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Electric Guitar Lesson Samples

Our electric guitar lessons are taught by instructors with an incredible amount of teaching experience.


Allen Van Wert Allen Van Wert

Allen shows you the 24 rudiments crucial to developing finger dexterity. This is a short lesson but the exercises here can...

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Ian Argys Ian Argys

Lesson 6 is all about the major mode. As with the other lessons you'll be taking a look at the individual notes on the strings...

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Brendan Burns Brendan Burns

Brendan demonstrates the tiny triad shapes derived from the form 1 barre chord.

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David Davidson David Davidson

JamPlay interviews Revocation's Dave Davidson.

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Brent Mason Brent Mason

Learn Nashville style country guitar from one of the most recorded guitarists in history. Check out rhythm grooves, solos,...

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Nick Kellie Nick Kellie

Nick explains how to use scales and modes effectively when soloing over a chord progression.

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Mark Brennan Mark Brennan

Mark Brennan teaches this classic rock song by Jethro Tull. Released on the album of the same name in 1971, this song features...

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Braun Khan Braun Khan

In this lesson, Braun teaches the chord types that are commonly used in jazz harmony. Learn how to build the chords and their...

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Evan Brewer Evan Brewer

Evan Brewer explains everything you need to know in order to get going with your bass guitar. Topics include the parts of...

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