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Memphis Blues Lead (Guitar Lesson)


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Eric Madis

Memphis Blues Lead

In this lesson Eric talks about playing basic lead in the Memphis Blues style.

Taught by Eric Madis in Electric Blues with Eric seriesLength: 10:37Difficulty: 1.5 of 5
Chapter 1: (10:37) Memphis Blues Lead The licks that Eric teaches in this lesson were popularized by guitarists such as Steve Cropper. Cropper was a studio guitarist for the Stacks record label. Cropper was not the first to use these licks, but he made them extremely popular. They can be used in a variety of genres in addition to blues. Check out the rock playing of Jimmy Page, Dave Navarro, and Joe Perry. Licks based on major and minor sixths are also very common in Hawaiian slack key playing.

Memphis Blues Overview

The Memphis blues style was pioneered in the 1920s and 1930s by the likes of Furry Lewis, and Frank Stokes. Guitar based blues bands were most popular at this time. However, jug bands were also quite popular. Gus Cannon's Jug Stompers and the Memphis Jug Band were two of the most popular bands of the time. The guitar based bands were influenced by the Delta blues and other popular southern folk styles. Jug bands combined the syncopated, terpsicorian elements of jazz with folk music.

The electric guitar became extremely popular among Memphis blues musicians around the late 40s and early 50s. Legends such as Howlin' Wolf, B.B King, Willie Nix, and Ike Turner frequently played on Beale Street - the center of the Memphis blues scene. These players left a lasting influence on the Memphis music scene that can still be heard today.

Descending Double Stop Pattern

The descending lick that Eric demonstrates is based on the E Mixolydian mode. Diatonic sixth intervals descend through the mode. This lick works well over the tonic E or E7 chord of the blues progression. The Mixolydian mode is an excellent scale choice when playing over dominant seventh chords. Even if the rhythm guitarist is playing E or E5, an E7 chord can still be implied by the overall sound of the band. Play the lick over an E bass note and you'll hear a distinct E7 chord.

Implying Chords with Double Stops

The E Mixolydian is the fifth mode derived from the A major scale. A diatonic triad can be built from each note in the A major scale. Each of the double stops used in the descending lick implies one of these triads from the A major scale. Eric translates each of the diatonic triads into diatonic sixth intervals at 05:11.

Note: Notation and Tablature to the diatonic triads in the key of A major can be found under the "Supplemental Content" tab.

Articulation and Picking

Slide into the first note to enhance the overall feel of the lick. Employ an alternate picking pattern throughout the lick. Pick the low note with a downstroke. Play the higher note with an upstroke. If youar fingerpicking, Eric suggests using the index and ring fingers. This leaves the thumb free to play optional bass notes.

Intervals

When double stop is comprised of two notes notes that are a fret apart, a minor sixth interval is formed. A major sixth interval occurs when both notes are played at the same fret.

Chromaticism

Towards the end of the lick, some chromatic notes outside of the E Mixolydian mode are used. The notes Bb and G are played at the third fret. These notes imply an Eo7 chord. Since this double stop is used on a metrically weak beat, it functions well as a passing chord between double stops implying E major and D major.

Left Hand Fingering

Many of the double stops can be fingered in a few different ways. Experiment with the fingering options that Eric demonstrates in the lesson and determine which is most comfortable for you.

Practical Applications

The lick can be split in half to create two separate licks. Isolate the first four double stops from the remaining double stops. The first segment begins and ends with diadic shapes that imply an E7 chord. At 07:40, Eric demonstrates this one measure idea.

The second segment begins with the double stop at the fourth fret that implies either E major or G#m. Both of these chords contain the notes B and G#. Eric demonstrates this segment at 08:35. You may have learned this lick as a popular turnaround in Hawkeye Herman's Phase 2 Blues Series. This lick can also be played backwards in an ascending fashion. So, you get two licks for the price of one with this segment. The ascending version can be used in the middle of a solo or as part of a turnaround. However, the descending version is a slightly more effective turnaround.

Learning these segments will give you more choices when playing a solo. Both licks can be used over a one measure segment. Or, the entire lick can be played over a two measure segment.

Now, you have a total of four new licks:

Descending #1
Descending #2
Ascending #2
Descending #1 + Descending #2

Unfortunately, the first segment does not sound appropriate when played in an ascending fashion.

Rhythm

All four of the licks listed above can be played in a swung eighth note pattern or in triplets. Eric provides an example of the triplet variation at 07:57. Pay careful attention to the picking pattern he uses to play this variation.

Preview of Next Lesson

Eric demonstrates how the licks from this lesson can be transposed and used over the IV and V chords (A and B).

Video Subtitles / Captions


Scene 1

00:00.000 --> 00:03.239
Hi. I'm Eric Madis from JamPlay.com.

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In this lesson we're going to be covering the Memphis lead to dyads.

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A Memphis lead is just a term that I use that I picked up many years ago

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and I think a lot of the reason why people call these Memphis leads is because of the popularity of Steve Cropper as a guitar player.

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Who is a sax studio guitar player.

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He popularized these little dyads.

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He wasn't the first person to do so, those are really older licks and they come from a certain type of theoretical background to playing.

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These licks that I'm about to play you and I'm about to show you are for the E seventh chord or for the E chord.

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Any kind of a blues situation where you are playing in E.

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Not E minor but either E like a shuffle E like we've done or if you're playing an E seventh chord of some kind

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and this would work especially well over that chord.

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So let's go through these Memphis leads first.

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Ok, we start here at the twelfth and thirteenth frets of the first and third strings, respectively.

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So the first one, strike the third and the first string now if you are flat picking you have one of two things either strike the first one down

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and the second one up or you can actually use a flat pick and a finger.

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If you're finger picking you don't want to use your thumb, you want to use your two separate fingers

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and I'll explain that later when we get more into finger picking.

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Ok, there's the first one, the second one we bring it down two frets to the D major

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and the next one what we're going to do is play on the ninth fret with both strings.

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So you may either play this with your index finger and your second finger or your second and your third finger.

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Depends on the person though many people prefer the second and third finger.

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Doesn't matter, whatever is comfortable with you.

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Now we're going to play the same thing two frets down on the seventh fret. That's a B minor.

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Now we're going to go down another two frets and play the major version.

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In other words, index finger on the first string and second finger on the third string and that's of the fifth and sixth frets, respectively.

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Now we're back to the minor version so we're going to have the same frets .

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Fourth fret on both strings, first and third at the fourth fret.

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Now let's just come down one fret at a time, to the third, to the second

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and then finally at the first fret we're just going to the third string and strike the open E.

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This is the same thing as this, they're just an octave apart.

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So let's look at this whole scale again.

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Twelfth fret, thirteenth fret

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Tenth, eleventh fret.

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Ninth fret.

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Seventh fret.

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Fifth, sixth fret.

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Fourth fret.

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Third fret.

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Second fret.

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And first fret or actually open and first fret.

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Now I call this the Memphis lead dyad scale so where does it actually come from.

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This works over the E seventh chord.

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Now if you know any theory you might know that the E seventh chord is actually the five chord or the fifth chord of the key of A major.

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If you don't know that don't let that bother you. It's not going to stop you from playing the blues.

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Certainly very few blues men of yesteryear even knew that kind of thing or maybe even cared.

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So don't let it bother you but for those of you who are theory intensive you should know that if you we're to play an A major scale like this

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and you were to build a chord from each one of those notes you would have an A major scale played in triads.

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Ok, so as you can hear I'm actually playing the scale. Now if you were to play a dyad, in other words, the first and the third strings

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in this case you're actually playing the first and the third.

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You have this note.

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These are based on the A major, B minor, C sharp minor, D major, E major, F sharp minor, G sharp diminished and A.

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So that's actually what you have when you're playing an E seventh.

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So you're playing a blues in E for that moment that you're playing E seventh, you're almost playing an A major.

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A lot of jazz musicians would consider it that way and would play a lot of their ideas with that kind of harmony in mind.

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So you may think about it as either playing an E seventh, specifically, or almost as though you're playing an A major

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but with E being the tonic being your central note.

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In any case what we want to do now is we want to look at this scale and we want to look at how we can use it.

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Now the first thing we want to do is break this up into groups of four, four figures.

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The first four.

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Why four figures?

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Well in the first place it's a really wieldy way of being able to use this entire scale.

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There are times in which you will have enough time to play this entire scale

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but a lot of times if you're playing blues, you'll only be playing your lick for one measure or two measures

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and you need to change the key or change your focus when the next lick comes up or as you decide to change to come up with a new idea.

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So to be able to really use these Memphis leads effectively it's good to be able to break them up into smaller pieces.

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Usually, most blues is 4/4 time

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and because of that if you can break your licks up into four pieces or into one measure segments you can have a very effective leg.

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For instance that is a one measure lick if we keep count one, two, three, four.

07:53.910 --> 08:02.204
Or if I want to play this in triplets and I want to make it 12/8 time like we've talked about.

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You'll notice I'm going three, one, three, three, one, three, three, one, three, three, one, three as I'm striking the strings.

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We call this first one descending number one.
So Memphis lead descending number one.

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So you'll notice it's the first four figures of that entire scale that I showed you.

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Ok, descending number two skips the A and goes directly to the G sharp minor so we're going to come down from the fourth fret

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to the first and the open.

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Again, that's fourth, third, second and the first open.
Now that's descending number two.

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A lot of you may have already used that as a turnaround, you go

08:56.401 --> 08:57.632
for that type of thing.

08:57.632 --> 09:05.364
So that really common turn around utilizes these exact same dyads that I'm speaking about right now.

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Now we can also play that last one backwards

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and I call that the ascending Memphis dyad sequence.

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So of our three groups of four we have descending number one,

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descending number two

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and ascending.

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Now some of you might be saying "why don't you use this?"

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If you listen to it, it sounds kind of weird.

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Plus it really doesn't sound very authentic so that's why I usually just don't include that in there.

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So it's not like we can't use those ideas at all.

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For instance, we have things like sliding dyads

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which we'll talk about more in just a few minutes.

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Other than that we usually don't use this first one played backwards.
We usually just play it as a descending.

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Descending number two.
And ascending.

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So those are our three groups of four.

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Next time when we get together we're going to talk about being able to use these in an entire sequence to play over a chord progression.





Supplemental Learning Material

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Member Comments about this Lesson

Discussions with our instructors are just one of the many benefits of becoming a member of JamPlay.


nts79nts79 replied on March 30th, 2013

File is unavailable!

videorovvideorov replied on June 22nd, 2012

Funny close to Wanted Dead or alive

theguitarplayertheguitarplayer replied on April 11th, 2012

I have a question about your guitar. Did you custom order that ES-175 because I tried to find it on the Gibson site and i could only fine one with full sized Humbuckers not the mini ones.

Tom.MTom.M replied on December 2nd, 2011

why should I not use my thumb, it feels so natural.

fnickeyfnickey replied on October 16th, 2011

ERic why do you play 12 & 13, !0 & 11 instead of just playing 12 & 12, 10 & 10 frets

fnickeyfnickey replied on October 16th, 2011

does it have to do w notes in the scale

mathew320mathew320 replied on February 22nd, 2011

Hi Eric. Thanks so much for your awesome approach and instruction. I was wondering if it is a bad habit to ise one finer to accommodate the minor aspects of this run. i.e., 1st ans 5rd strings on the same fret ...Is it a bad habit or if it works no worries etc.? your opinion is important to me. MT

Eric.MadisEric.Madis replied on May 16th, 2011

Hi Matthew, Actually, I don't think it matters, except that you may want to be more careful then with your picking hand, so that you don't hit that 2nd string, unless it is your intention to do so....Otherwise, no problem. Many use their 2 and 3 finger on the minor, rather than the 1 and 2 as I do. Their way is good also.

rcausrcaus replied on January 7th, 2011

DearEric, At 2.52min ,you said "back to the minor version". I understand that A is the 5th of E scale. However, for the purpose of the scale of E I got : E D#m C#m B A G# F#m E instead of the E D C#m Bm A E7 D# D7 E. Is it correct to say that for the purpose of playing the sets of four that you are splitting the series between ( Playing in E) E D C#m Bm and then between (Playing in A) A E7 D# D7 E. Thank you and will continue practicing regards Rama

Eric.MadisEric.Madis replied on May 16th, 2011

Hi Rama, What you learned there was the E7 Memphis diads. That is, these diads relate to the E7 chord (which of course is the V7 of A major). Therefore, there are 7 diads per chord, except that for the purpose of bluesy chromaticism, we had one more diad as a passing diad (the Gm). So in E7, we use the following diads (descending) Emaj, Dmaj, C#m, Bm, Amaj, G#min (actually diminished...the same first and 3rd), Gm, F#m. That is all eight. all of those, with exception of Gm, are part of the A major scale, but relate directly to its V7 chord (E7), which we are now using as a I chord in an E blues. Does that make sense?

mathew320mathew320 replied on February 22nd, 2011

REPOST: Hi Eric. Thanks so much for your awesome approach and instruction. I was wondering if it is a bad habit to use one finger to accommodate the "minor" aspects of this run. i.e., 1st and 3rd strings on the same fret ...Is it a bad habit or if it works no worries etc.? your opinion is important to me. MT

nate_thegreatnate_thegreat replied on November 22nd, 2009

hey, can anyone give me some examples of songs that use this type of thing? I want to ingrain it into my playing.

Eric.MadisEric.Madis replied on April 21st, 2010

Nate, Also, check out Shuggie Otis' work with his father (Johnny Otis)....it's got a lot of Memphis leads.... Eric

Eric.MadisEric.Madis replied on December 20th, 2009

Hey Nate, Although examples abound in the blues with these diads, one example of this in more popular music are the beginning of "Fortunate Son" by John fogerty (Creedence Clearwater Revival).

mjgibson59mjgibson59 replied on January 4th, 2010

Also, the intro to Janis Joplin's "Piece of My Heart" uses something very similar.

gjdbgjdb replied on August 16th, 2009

Hi Eric. Thank you so much for these lessons. I love your aproach. I've been playing for about a year now, but it wasnt untill i started with your lessons that my licks began to actuallly sound a bit bluesy.

rhit1991rhit1991 replied on July 9th, 2009

These Memphis Blues licks are the obvious inspiration to the Bon Jovi Wanted Dead or Alive openning lick.

Eric.MadisEric.Madis replied on July 24th, 2009

Those Memphis licks are all over the place! They are very versatile, simply because they are related to chord changes and keys....they are used in blues, jazz, rock, country, etc. Thanks, Eric

floorshakerfloorshaker replied on May 26th, 2009

Hi Eric. I agree with Stu. You and Hawkeye - Guitar heaven! Keep up the wonderful lessons they put a smile on my face every day.

Eric.MadisEric.Madis replied on June 26th, 2009

Hey There Chris, Thanks for the nice comments. We recorded a lot of lessons, going into all kinds of electric blues and utilizing all kinds of traditional and modern soloing concepts. I hope you enjoy them all. Best wishes, Eric

skaterstuskaterstu replied on May 8th, 2009

Hey Eric, I love these new lessons, gonna try and do your lessons in tandem with Hawkeye's, as well as Fingerstyle stuff. Loving the first few so far!

Eric.MadisEric.Madis replied on May 15th, 2009

Thanks!

Eric.MadisEric.Madis replied on May 5th, 2009

Sure, there are some Albert King things coming up, because I recorded them with Jeff. I know that Jeff (and the whole JamPlay team) is working overtime to get those lessons up and online. I would like to do a whole Albert King series sometime. I suspect that my T. Bone Walker series will be really soon, followed by some Albert King and then a bunch of BB King also.....Plenty of Freddy King thrown in throughout the latter part of my series.

jahmerican876jahmerican876 replied on May 1st, 2009

Can you please do some lessons on Albert King?

Electric Blues with Eric

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

Basic Blues Shuffle

In this lesson, Eric introduces himself and his Phase 2 lesson series. He also teaches a basic blues shuffle in the style of Jimmy Reed.

Length: 17:35 Difficulty: 1.0 Members Only
Lesson 2

Licks by Lightnin' Hopkins

Eric teaches a few popular Lightnin' Hopkins licks. These licks can be played over the blues shuffle from the previous lesson.

Length: 11:46 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 3

More Lightnin' Licks

Eric covers a few more essential licks in the style of Lightnin' Hopkins.

Length: 7:42 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 4

John Lee Hooker Licks

Eric teaches a few licks inspired by the great John Lee Hooker.

Length: 7:43 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 5

Country Blues Lick

Eric Madis explains a country blues lick he calls the "Country Blues Double Wham."

Length: 6:35 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 6

Memphis Blues Lead

In this lesson Eric talks about playing basic lead in the Memphis Blues style.

Length: 10:37 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 7

Using the Memphis Blues

Eric demonstrates how the Memphis blues licks taught in the previous lesson can be used over various chords.

Length: 5:52 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 8

12 Bar Memphis Blues

Eric demonstrates how to construct a full 12 bar blues solo by using the Memphis blues licks he taught in previous lessons.

Length: 7:25 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 9

Applying the Memphis Blues

In this lesson, Eric applies the Memphis Blues Lead to a practical blues context.

Length: 4:06 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 10

Learning A Licks

In this lesson, Eric Madis teaches two licks that can be used over an A chord.

Length: 12:16 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 11

IC Blues

In this lesson, Eric Madis teaches a type of blues shuffle that he calls the "IC Blues."

Length: 12:45 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 12

Simple Blues Lead

In this lesson, Eric talks about playing blues lead using licks you already know.

Length: 8:58 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 13

Play Like T-Bone Walker

Eric Madis begins to explain T-Bone Walker's style of playing the blues.

Length: 7:48 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 14

T-Bone Walker Lick

Eric Madis teaches a classic T-Bone Walker lick and talks about several different variations you can play.

Length: 10:56 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 15

Exploring T-Bone Walker Licks

Eric Madis introduces several new T-Bone Walker licks and explains the ways they can be used.

Length: 10:21 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 16

T-Bone Walker Licks Continued

Eric continues his exploration of T-Bone Walker licks and techniques.

Length: 9:22 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 17

T-Bone Walker Licks Wrap-Up

Eric wraps up his overview of T-Bone Walker licks and techniques in this lesson. You will be applying what you've learned in the next lesson, so be sure to practice.

Length: 10:10 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 18

Swing Blues in A

Eric teaches a swing blues progression. He teaches the progression in the key of A and explains how licks from previous lessons can be played over it.

Length: 14:17 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 19

Stormy Monday Blues

In this lesson, Eric Madis teaches the blues progression to "Stormy Monday Blues." This progression is played in the style of T-Bone Walker and Earl "Fatha" Hines.

Length: 9:49 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 20

Stormy Monday Blues Introduction

In this lesson, Eric returns to the world of "Stormy Monday Blues" to teach an amazing introduction segment.

Length: 7:21 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 21

Transition Licks

Eric Madis teaches a series of licks that can be used to transition from one pentatonic pattern to another.

Length: 9:31 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 22

Second Position Licks

In this lesson, Eric Madis demonstrates popular blues licks within the second pattern of the minor pentatonic scale.

Length: 16:50 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 23

The Thrill is Gone

In this lesson Eric talks about one of the classic blues tunes, "The Thrill is Gone," by B.B. King.

Length: 10:43 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 24

Third Position Playing

In this lesson, Eric Madis introduces the third pattern of the minor pentatonic scale. This pattern is used frequently by the likes of B.B. King.

Length: 11:27 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 25

Using Third Position

Eric Madis once again talks about third position and how it can be used. He also introduces a slew of new licks.

Length: 12:19 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 26

The Fourth Position

In this lesson Eric Madis talks about the fourth position of blues playing.

Length: 10:04 Difficulty: 1.0 Members Only
Lesson 27

Playing Strategy

In this lesson Eric talks about "strategies" to use while playing and improvising.

Length: 7:11 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 28

Alternative Blues Shuffle

Eric Madis introduces the alternative blues shuffle, which is particularly useful on guitars featuring humbucker pickups.

Length: 14:31 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 29

Freddie King Style Licks

In this lesson Eric Madis teaches licks in the style of Freddie King.

Length: 9:38 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 30

Aeolian Mode

In this lesson Eric talks about the differences between the minor blues and the "dominant" blues. He also introduces the modes, beginning with the Aeolian mode.

Length: 10:43 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 31

Locrian Mode

In this lesson Eric Madis introduces the Locrian mode and talks about how it can be used in blues.

Length: 6:58 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 32

Dorian Mode

Eric continues his series on modes. This time he covers the Dorian mode and its relation to the blues.

Length: 7:16 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 33

Modes & Minor Key Blues

Eric continues his discussion on modes in relation to the minor key blues.

Length: 9:31 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 34

Minor 7th Arpeggios

Eric Madis teaches a handful of minor 7th arpeggios in this lesson.

Length: 10:34 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 35

Dominant 7th Arpeggios

Eric demonstrates dominant 7th arpeggios in this lesson.

Length: 7:27 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 36

Applying Dominant 7th Arpeggios

Eric discusses dominant seventh arpeggios and how they can be used in blues licks.

Length: 6:58 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 37

Diminished 7th Arpeggios

Eric talks all about diminished 7th arpeggios and gives five exercises to practice.

Length: 10:20 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 38

Applying Diminished 7th Arpeggios

Learn how the diminished 7th arpeggios from the previous lesson can be applied to the blues.

Length: 12:13 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 39

You Don't Love Me

Eric teaches the catchy blues song "You Don't Love Me."

Length: 14:27 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 40

Freddie King Variation

Eric teaches Freddie King variations on T-Bone Walker licks.

Length: 7:53 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 41

Lick Exercise

Eric provides an exercise that uses previously learned licks from the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th patterns of the minor pentatonic scale.

Length: 12:45 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 42

Introduction to Modes

Eric starts you off on the right foot with an introduction to modes.

Length: 28:09 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 43

Mode Application

In this lesson, Eric explains some common blues applications for the modes of the major scale.

Length: 12:43 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 44

Mode Application Continued

Eric Madis continues his discussion on mode application concepts.

Length: 18:30 Difficulty: 3.5 Members Only
Lesson 45

Major Pentatonic Scale Ideas

Eric Madis discusses major pentatonic scale ideas.

Length: 6:09 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 46

More Lick Ideas

Eric shares some more great lick ideas that you can incorporate into your playing.

Length: 10:25 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 47

Ending Licks

Eric shares ideas on ending licks, turnarounds, and tags in this lesson.

Length: 12:41 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 48

Fill-in Licks

Eric Madis teaches some great filler licks for your bag of tricks.

Length: 14:13 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 49

Bass Lines

Eric Madis talks about some common blues bass lines that will spice up your playing.

Length: 13:43 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 50

More Ending Licks

Eric Madis teaches some classic ending licks.

Length: 16:01 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 51

Swing Blues

Eric Madis introduces the swing style of the 12 bar blues.

Length: 8:03 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 52

Classic Minor Blues

Eric Madis introduces the basics of the classic minor blues and talks about how this progression can be spiced up using simple blues techniques.

Length: 18:35 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 53

A Minor Blues in 8/8 Time

In this lesson, Eric Madis teaches a popular blues progression in 8/8 time. This rhythmic feel gives the progression a funkier or more rock-like feel than the traditional blues.

Length: 7:04 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 54

Descending Minor Blues

Eric teaches a classic blues progression he calls the "Descending Minor Blues."

Length: 11:15 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 55

Modern Block Chord Minor Key Blues

Eric Madis teaches an interesting minor blues progression he calls the "Modern Block Chord Minor Key Blues."

Length: 7:40 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 56

Detroit Chicago Funky Blues

Eric Madis teaches an amazing blues progression he calls "The Detroit Chicago Funky Blues."

Length: 9:49 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 57

Jimmy Nolen's Funky Groove

Eric Madis moves on and teaches an astonishing blues progression he dubs "Jimmy Nolen's Funky Groove."

Length: 8:41 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 58

The Bump Shuffle

Eric Madis introduces a blues style called "The Bump Shuffle."

Length: 7:27 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 59

The Bump Shuffle #2

In this lesson Eric Madis teaches a second way to play the classic blues progression "The Bump Shuffle."

Length: 4:41 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 60

Chicago Bass Groove

Eric Madis teaches a bass oriented blues progression entitled the "Chicago Bass Groove."

Length: 6:50 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 61

Blues Bass Groove

Eric Madis teaches another powerful bass groove he has extracted from the world of blues.

Length: 3:55 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 62

Blues Bass Groove #3

Eric Madis teaches another useful bass groove for blues guitar.

Length: 5:47 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 63

Blues Bass Groove #4

Eric Madis teaches another valuable blues bass groove.

Length: 4:43 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 64

Wolf's Groove

In this lesson, Eric Madis teaches a blues bass groove inspired by Howlin' Wolf.

Length: 4:31 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 65

Minor Progression Major Chords

In this lesson, Eric Madis teaches a valuable blues chord progression that he calls "Minor Progression Major Chords."

Length: 11:28 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 66

Sliding Ninth Groove

Eric enthusiastically presents a new chord progression he calls the "Sliding Ninth Groove."

Length: 5:43 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 67

Tribute Blues Shuffle

Eric pays tribute to Memphis Slim and Jimmy Reed in something he likes to call the "Tribute Blues Shuffle."

Length: 8:48 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 68

Chicago Style Funky Blues

Eric Madis teaches a blues chord progression inspired by the Chicago style of blues playing. This progression has a funky rhythmic feel.

Length: 9:51 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only

About Eric Madis View Full Biography Eric Madis is a guitarist, singer and composer, a versatile artist whose playing and compositions reflect his diverse and thorough background in American music. Whether performing in an ensemble or as a soloist, he exudes a love and a mastery of the blues that have been refined by years of experience in jazz, country, rock, and even Hawaiian music. What results are performances that include authentic renderings of old rural blues, personal interpretations of modern urban blues and jazz standards, and original music that defies strict categorization, but that draws heavily from these traditions.

Eric lives in Seattle where he leads his own ensemble, performs as a solo act and performs in the Seattle Swing Trio. He has released four CDs on Luna Records, and is currently working on a fifth. He is on the faculty of the National Guitar Workshop and Dusty Strings Music and teaches guitar privately.

Eric lived his formative years in Colorado with a family that was musical (his mother was an accomplished opera singer), and began his music study on the piano at the age of nine. He began performing shortly after picking up a guitar at ten years of age. By the age of sixteen, he was performing in Chicago-area coffeehouses. He has accompanied artists as diverse as bluesmen Big Walter Horton, Sunnyland Slim, Deacon Jones, Hawaiian luminaries Irmgaard Aluli, Kekua Fernandez, Emma Sharpe and author/poet Nikki Grimes.

He has led bands in Illinois, Texas, Colorado and Washington. He has opened shows for Robben Ford, James Cotton, Little Charlie and the Nightcats, Mem Shannon, Hawkeye Herman and author Sherman Alexie. Eric's four albums have received critical acclaim, including regional airplay and nominations from NAMA and Washington Blues Society (WBS). He has received 16 Best Blues nominations from WBS, was a finalist in the New Folk Awards at the 1981 Kerrville National Folk Festival, a finalist in the 1991 Seattle Guitar Starz competition, and has music featured on five film soundtracks. Eric has taught guitar classes at Denver Free University, University of Washington's Experimental College, Northwest Folklife Festival, National Guitar Workshop, and Canada's Guitar Workshop Plus.

Whether performing in a group or as a soloist, at a concert or a small club, teaching privately or a large workshop, Eric is a dedicated professional, with commitment to the quality of his art and to his audience.

Acoustic Guitar Lessons

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


Danny Voris Danny Voris

Lesson 7 is all about arpeggios. Danny provides discussion and exercises designed to build your right hand skills.

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Erik Mongrain Erik Mongrain

Erik expounds on the many possibilities of open tunings and the new harmonics that you can use in them. He explains what...

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Mark Kailana Nelson Mark Kailana Nelson

Mark Nelson introduces "'Ulupalakua," a song he will be using to teach different skills and techniques. In this lesson, he...

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Mary Flower Mary Flower

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

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Dave Yauk Dave Yauk

Learn a simple mini song that illustrates just how intertwined scales and chords really are. Dave uses a G chord paired...

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Jim Deeming Jim Deeming

Jim discusses the importance of setting goals. He provides some tips that will help steer your practicing in the right direction.

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Orville Johnson Orville Johnson

Orville Johnson introduces turnarounds and provides great ideas and techniques.

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Steve Eulberg Steve Eulberg

Steve Eulberg does a quick review of this lesson series and talks about moving on.

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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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Pamela Goldsmith Pamela Goldsmith

Pamela brings a cap to her first 13 JamPlay lessons with another original etude inspired by the great Leo Brouwer. This is...

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Electric Guitar Lesson Samples

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


John DeServio John DeServio

JD teaches the pentatonic and blues scales and explains where and when you can apply them.

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Daniel Gilbert Daniel Gilbert

Known around the world for his inspirational approach to guitar instruction, Musician's Institute veteran Daniel Gilbert...

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Prashant Aswani Prashant Aswani

Do you want to play more musical sounding solos? Do you want to play solos with more emotion behind them? Maybe you're the...

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David Ellefson David Ellefson

David Ellefson, co-founding member of Megadeth, explains his overall approach to teaching and learning bass in this introductory...

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Dave Weiner Dave Weiner

Dave "David J" Weiner returns with a lesson on how to play with style and attitude. He covers all the basic techniques you'll...

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DJ Phillips DJ Phillips

Learn a handful of new blues techniques while learning to play Stevie Ray Vaughn's "The House Is Rockin'".

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James Malone James Malone

James explains how to tap arpeggios for extended musical reach.

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Michael Ripoll Michael Ripoll

Michael "Nomad" Ripoll dives deep into the rhythm & blues, funk, and soul genres that were made popular by artists like Earth...

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Bryan Beller Bryan Beller

Bryan Beller of the Aristocrats, Dethklok, and Steve Vai takes you inside his six step method to learning any song by ear....

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Larry Cook Larry Cook

In this lesson, Larry discusses and demonstrates how to tune your bass. He explains why tuning is critical and discusses...

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