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Blues Greats & How They Play

After reviewing some basics when it comes to the Blues, Hawkeye shares his knowledge from personal experience and one-on-one encounters with some of the greatest classic blues players ever to play! Learn some licks and hear fascinating inside information about some of these players that only a man who was there could deliver!

View Free Lesson View Hawkeye's Bio

Hawkeye Herman delivers the goods and discusses stylistic traits of some of the greatest classic Blues players in history. Get some basics out of the way and then dive in to the styles of B. B. King, Blind Lemon Jefferson, Lightning Hopkins, and more!

Lessons in this Series:

Lesson 1

Study The Blues Greats!

You've taken Hawkeye's Blues and Songwriting lessons here on JamPlay, and now it's time to join Hawkeye in looking at specific aspects of some of the most influential blues guitar players of all time. The simple and quick ideas in this series will deepen your appreciation for these musicians...

Length: 3:30 Difficulty: 0.5 Free Sample Lesson
Lesson 2

Choose Your Slide

Many of the classic Blues greats used a slide in their playing. Hawkeye goes through the many types of slides available and helps you choose one that is right for you.

Length: 18:17 Difficulty: 1.0 Member Only
Lesson 3

Pick Up Your Capo

A capo for Classic Blues? Well, Hawkeye uses a capo to keep classic blues phrasing and ideas the way they were originally played while being flexible for the singer who is performing along side him. Learn how to use a capo in this way.

Length: 16:05 Difficulty: 1.5 Member Only
Lesson 4

Play In Any Key

Alright, now that you're more comfortable with a capo, you'll get to see how they did it in the old days. Take simple chord shapes and move them around. You'll learn a few tricks to help you know exactly what you are playing.

Length: 14:21 Difficulty: 1.5 Member Only
Lesson 5

Spanning The Neck

The old blues players didn't play in 'positions' as we think about them today. They just played what felt natural. This lesson will explore a way to use more of the neck while getting that familiar classic blues sound.

Length: 28:41 Difficulty: 2.0 Member Only
Lesson 6

Easy Fingerpicking

Hawkeye delivers an extremely simple way of getting started with fingerpicking. Anyone can do it. Even if you have no experience! Add this to the classic blues player's toolbox

Length: 25:06 Difficulty: 1.5 Member Only
Lesson 7

Country & Folk Backup.

Before you are a lead bluesman, you gotta know how to accompany other artists. Hawkeye covers a common backup rhythm style and teaches a pattern to go along with it!

Length: 19:24 Difficulty: 1.5 Member Only
Lesson 8

Shave And A Haircut

Learn how to implement one of the most common rhythm patterns ever! Work it into your blues playing.

Length: 23:55 Difficulty: 2.0 Member Only
Lesson 9

Blind Lemon Jefferson

Learn the style and essence of the best selling blues artist of the 1920s. Blind Lemon Jefferson has a bit of a Country feel to his playing.

Length: 9:17 Difficulty: 1.5 Member Only
Lesson 10

T-Bone Walker

Get a taste of the style of the guitar player who gave legends like Clapton and B. B. King their start! T-bone walker is an amazing blend of genres and techniques and a blast to study!

Length: 13:58 Difficulty: 2.5 Member Only
Lesson 11

T-Bone Walker, Lead

The last lesson focused primarily on Walker's rhythm style. Get a start on learning some tell-tale T-Bone licks in this lesson!

Length: 18:49 Difficulty: 3.0 Member Only
Lesson 12

B. B. King

B. B. King was one of the most original and influential Blues guitar players of all time. Learn his hand shake and approach to vibrato here!

Length: 12:21 Difficulty: 1.5 Member Only
Lesson 13

Albert King

You will know Albert King by his bends. His style, like many of the blues greats, is unmistakable. Learn how to bend like Albert King.

Length: 15:34 Difficulty: 1.5 Member Only
Lesson 14

Buddy Guy

Get an overview of the lyrical style of Buddy Guy. Sometimes he plays a lot of notes and sometimes his style is very sparse, but his sense of timing and intuition is unmatched! Learn two key licks in this classic style!

Length: 14:11 Difficulty: 1.5 Member Only
Lesson 15

Jimmy Reed

Learn the bedrock blues rhythm made popular by Jimmy Reed. He wrote so many great tunes that have been covered over and over again. He laid the groundwork for so many Blues musicians to come!

Length: 20:05 Difficulty: 1.5 Member Only
Lesson 16

Cool Papa Saddler

Cool Papa knew what it meant to have taste. Other, younger players would often share the stage with him and try to cut heads with him by blazing through a bunch of notes. But Cool Papa stayed calm and collected. He was about milking a note for everything it was worth!

Length: 12:59 Difficulty: 1.5 Member Only
Lesson 17

Muddy Waters

So many of the recognizable turnarounds and lead hooks come from Muddy Waters. You only have to listen to Waters along side modern Blues players to hear the influence. Learn a few Muddy Waters tricks here!

Length: 26:13 Difficulty: 2.0 Member Only
Lesson 18

Magic Sam

Learn a lick from one of the guys who defined the role of lead guitar in Classic Blues. Magic Sam could play it all, but he knew when and how to phrase also!

Length: 21:22 Difficulty: 2.0 Member Only
Lesson 19

Lightning Hopkins

Sam "Lightning" Hopkins was one of the original Texas Bluesmen. Once upon a time, Hawkeye got to sit down with Lightning and take a guitar lesson and how he's passing the baton.

Length: 31:11 Difficulty: 2.0 Member Only
Lesson 20

Brownie McGhee

Part of one of the most popular guitar/harmonica duos of the Classic Blues. Hawkeye used to help Brownie with his groceries and in return, he got to take lessons from him. Learn a fingerpicking style from a man who got to take lessons directly from Brownie McGhee!

Length: 26:40 Difficulty: 2.0 Member Only
Lesson 21

Tommy Johnson

Who could forget Tommy Johnson in Hawkeye's must learn list of Blues greats! See how Hawkeye breaks down key aspects of Johnson's style and gives practical ways to practice in the style of Tommy Johnson!

Length: 14:58 Difficulty: 1.5 Member Only
Lesson 22

Robert Johnson

Learn the important aspects of Robert Johnson's music from a broad point of view. Look at turnarounds and the importance of focused practicing!

Length: 17:39 Difficulty: 2.0 Member Only
Lesson 23

More On Robert Johnson

Take the turnaround that you learned in the last lesson and practice moving it around to different keys. It makes for a nice constant blues riff as well!

Length: 16:26 Difficulty: 1.5 Member Only
Lesson 24

Robert Johnson & Slide

You've been treated to several tastes of Robert Johnson's style. Now see and hear how he uses slide in only the way a classic Bluesman can!

Length: 17:44 Difficulty: 2.0 Member Only
Lesson 25

Elmore James

Meet a relative of Robert Johnson and an acoustic Blues player who plugged in his guitar... And one of the early guys to do so. He played a lot of Robert Johnson's licks but with some more beef behind the notes!

Length: 31:27 Difficulty: 1.5 Member Only
Lesson 26

Boogie Woogie Piano Blues

Playing guitar with the influence of other instruments does great things for your playing. Learn how to emulate blues piano playing on your six string!

Length: 11:40 Difficulty: 0.5 Member Only
Lesson 27

Around The Neck

One of the great things about learning the Blues, and learning guitar for that matter is that so many things are moveable! The early Blues players knew this and Hawkeye shows you how to take advantage of this in an easy-to-understand way!

Length: 7:12 Difficulty: 1.0 Member Only
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