Keith Richards-ism (Guitar Lesson)

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Brendan Burns

Keith Richards-ism

Brendan Burns discusses how open G tuning and chordal embellishments are key components of Keith Richards' guitar sound.

Taught by Brendan Burns in Style of The Rolling Stones seriesLength: 23:00Difficulty: 2.0 of 5

Video Subtitles / Captions

Member Comments about this Lesson

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

xmortenxxmortenx replied on February 18th, 2017

Awesome teacher! :)

pomegranathpomegranath replied on September 26th, 2015

I learned Beast of Burden in standard tuning. You think it's actually in open g?

DDeBoyDDeBoy replied on April 7th, 2014

Thanks for the great lesson Brendan. Playing in open G tuning really nails down the Stones sound and to me actually makes playing their songs easier.

stuartwhostuartwho replied on September 16th, 2013

As others have said, a great lesson. But looking at the 'start me up' tab (on the full series in other lessons) I see an e flat/ b flat chord on the 3rd bar with a challenging fingering (x3554x). Is this right or a typo (it sounds really strange when I finally make my fingers do it. Thanks.

Brendan.BurnsBrendan.Burns replied on September 16th, 2013

Did you check the tuning on the TAB? The "A" string is dropped down to a "G."

stuartwhostuartwho replied on September 16th, 2013

Also , any general comments on amps, setting etc to get the tone would be greatly appreciated. Stu

Brendan.BurnsBrendan.Burns replied on September 16th, 2013

In regards to amps... I think 1960's Tweed's were the preferred choice of Keith and company. Here's a neat video of his amps from the 2007 tour:

airportstoamsterdamairportstoamsterdam replied on June 30th, 2013

Hey Brendan have you ever heard "Mind Over Matter" by Nolan Strong and the Diablos? It's an R&B tune from 1962 that uses this exact style of riff as a kind of turnaround after the bridge. Makes me wonder if Keith knocked off that one riff and used it as the basis for the whole Stones sound.

Brendan.BurnsBrendan.Burns replied on July 1st, 2013

Whoa! You are absolutely right. It's such a great sound!

criscokiddcriscokidd replied on March 21st, 2013

Good foresight on how to approach the playing style of the R/S. This segment is what I really wanted to get from JamPlay. Thanks Brendan. Here is a video I put together of some local musicians doing their tribute to R/S. Think ya might get a kick out of it.

tracydarrelltracydarrell replied on December 6th, 2012

This is what I love about guitar,there is always something to learn.The distination is the goal but the path there,is exciting.T

3deeder3deeder replied on March 22nd, 2012

dude, check it out.. someone lopped off the top of your guitar. great lesson laddie.. Keith lost his E string. You can play without an integral part of the guitar still attached. Rockin.

Brendan.BurnsBrendan.Burns replied on March 24th, 2012


aquiguillermoaquiguillermo replied on February 12th, 2012

Enjoying lesson very much !!! Thanks and regards.

snowdadsnowdad replied on February 2nd, 2012

Great lesson! I having been learning to play a little in open G. You provide a lot of insight into this great tuning.

maxjubermaxjuber replied on July 11th, 2011

Thanks for the lessons brendan, I've just discovered your stuff on jamplay and love all of it.

juliancbyrdjuliancbyrd replied on July 3rd, 2011

This is great Keith is Rock and Roll!

eandy5000eandy5000 replied on July 3rd, 2011

glad to see Brendan back Loved his Hendrix, intervals and tiny triad lessons. He has really boosted my playing

mennomenno replied on July 3rd, 2011

To bad i need to sleep sometime otherwise i would be doing this 24/7

panama400panama400 replied on July 2nd, 2011

I like the guitar pro files.

panama400panama400 replied on July 2nd, 2011

I just found this set. I use Matt Browns lessons as my theory ( I approach Matt’s lessons like I would college). This set will be my Friday night practice probably with a beer. The Stones “sound” is one of my favorites.

Brendan.BurnsBrendan.Burns replied on June 23rd, 2011

Thanks for all the kind comments. I love this series. More to come soon!

usemlabusemlab replied on June 23rd, 2011

excellent one... never played open chords, this is opening a new world... thanks mate

mennomenno replied on June 23rd, 2011

great guitar

marshall laneymarshall laney replied on June 23rd, 2011

I keep at least one of my 13 guitars in Open G always - for slide & Stone's stuff, this was a fantastic lesson Brendan ! You explained things that even though I play in open G I had not hought of - like the triad , sus4, & 6th etc I just played away & did not think about it.Definitely some food for thought ! I'm also reading Keith's book "Life" & it is a fantastic read too , highly recommended !

GlenBGlenB replied on June 22nd, 2011

Fantastic! Thanks Brendan

stratmusicstratmusic replied on June 22nd, 2011

Great lesson Brendan!! Your teaching style is excellent.

medic 215medic 215 replied on June 22nd, 2011

Great lesson nice to see a visual as I have read about this technique but was not quite sure what was meant thanks a lot.Keith was and is heavily influenced by the blues

fredz483fredz483 replied on June 21st, 2011

Amazing lesson!

Brendan.BurnsBrendan.Burns replied on June 22nd, 2011

Thanks! There are many more to come. I think I talked about this for two days.

robabrobab replied on June 21st, 2011

Brendan great lesson. I am just reading Keith Richards bio and he talks about how loves drop G tunning.

Brendan.BurnsBrendan.Burns replied on June 21st, 2011

Awesome, what are you reading about Keith?

robabrobab replied on June 21st, 2011

I believe Ry Cooder taught him about drop G tunning and he fell in love with it. The rest of the book is just drugs and alcohol. You wonder how can the guy still play the guitar. Love The Stones!!

pencilneckpencilneck replied on June 21st, 2011

This is a fun grip :). I saw it the first time in We Will Rock U he does it on 14th fret.

Brendan.BurnsBrendan.Burns replied on June 21st, 2011

Yeah, Brian totally does that. He also uses in "Tie Your Mother Down."

robabrobab replied on June 21st, 2011

Would love to see a lesson in the style of Angus Young. This lesson on Keith Richards is one of the best lessons and easy to follow. Thanks for another great lesson.

Brendan.BurnsBrendan.Burns replied on June 21st, 2011

Yes! I would love that too!

gaud2029gaud2029 replied on June 21st, 2011

there is no legal problem with those tabs.. ?

Style of The Rolling Stones

Found in our Beginner Lesson Sets

Brendan Burns takes an in-depth look at the guitar styling of legendary rock band The Rolling Stones. Specifically, Brendan breaks down the techniques and conceptual ideas in Keith Richard' and Mick Taylor's playing.

Lesson 1

Keith Richards-ism

Brendan Burns discusses how open G tuning and chordal embellishments are key components of Keith Richards' guitar sound.

Length: 23:00 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 2


Brendan explains some Stones-eque chord progressions that utilize the open G chord shapes from the previous lesson. He also introduces the concept of secondary dominant chords.

Length: 21:13 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 3


Brendan Burns begins to discuss the rhythmic tendencies that occur in The Rolling Stones' playing. Specifically, he demonstrates and discusses the use of anticipations.

Length: 11:42 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 4

Blues Aspects

Brendan Burns discusses how The Rolling Stones incorporate blues elements into their songwriting and guitar playing.

Length: 25:25 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 5

Open Chord Embellishments

Brendan Burns discusses the use of open chords and their embellishments in The Rolling Stones' playing.

Length: 42:22 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 6

Lead Ideas

Brendan Burns discusses how The Rolling Stones borrowed ideas from players such as Chuck Berry to create their own unique lead guitar ideas.

Length: 14:55 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 7

Minor Pentatonic Concepts

Brendan discusses how The Rolling Stones utilize the minor pentatonic forms in their lead playing.

Length: 25:55 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 8

Major Pentatonic Ideas

Brendan Burns demonstrates how The Rolling Stones use the major pentatonic scales in their playing.

Length: 26:53 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 9

Bending Concepts

Brendan Burns takes an in-depth look at the bending techniques used by The Rolling Stones' guitarists.

Length: 41:04 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 10

Minor Chord Bending

Brendan Burns finishes up his look at The Rolling Stones' bending concepts with a lesson on bending minor chords.

Length: 14:21 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 11

Intervals and Oblique Counterpoint

Brendan Burns demonstrates The Rolling Stones' use of diatonic third and sixth intervals as well as oblique counterpoint in their lead ideas.

Length: 17:18 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 12

Putting It Together

Brendan Burns wraps up his style of The Rolling Stones series with a discussion about how to add all of the lead elements together.

Length: 13:36 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only

About Brendan Burns View Full Biography Brendan has been passionate about music since childhood. He began his studies on trumpet, in elementary school, and then moved to guitar as a teenager. He holds a Bachelor's Degree from Berklee College of Music, and has studied with Norm Zocher, Joe Stump, Bret Willmott, Bob Pilkington, Jay Weik, Tim Miller, & Charlie Banacos.

While at Berklee, Brendan was a member of the Music Mentoring Program, teaching private lessons to gifted high school students. He is currently teaches, and is chair of the guitar department at Brookline Music School. Brendan also teaches guitar for Tune Foolery & privately at his home in Cambridge, MA.

Along with educating, Brendan plays out often as a Solo Guitarist, performing standards, pop, and classical repertoire. He has recorded and played with the chamber-fusion band Ra Quintent, and as well as Vessela Stoyanova's Eastern Stories Under Western Skies Project. Brendan also performs as a leader, director and sideman for various Boston art-rock projects, and is former member of MIT's Gamelan Galak Tika.

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