Spanning The Neck (Guitar Lesson)


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Hawkeye Herman

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.

Taught by Hawkeye Herman in Blues Greats & How They Play seriesLength: 28:41Difficulty: 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.


leprecomleprecom replied on April 18th, 2017

You take requests? Woo Hoo! As a former bass player and "lover of the low" I have been trying to figure out how to play that menacing blues sound that is heavy on slide on the low strings. Any pointers? Thanks in advance.

blackdog9966blackdog9966 replied on November 21st, 2015

Another great one thank you hawkeye

cynr2cynr2 replied on November 10th, 2015

Thanks good lesson

Blues Greats & How They Play

Found in our Beginner Lesson Sets

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!



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....

Length: 3:30 Difficulty: 0.5 FREE
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 Members 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. ...

Length: 16:05 Difficulty: 1.5 Members 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...

Length: 14:21 Difficulty: 1.5 Members 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...

Length: 28:41 Difficulty: 2.0 Members 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 Members 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 Members 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 Members 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 Members 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 Members 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 Members 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 Members 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 Members 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...

Length: 14:11 Difficulty: 1.5 Members 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 Members 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...

Length: 12:59 Difficulty: 1.5 Members 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...

Length: 26:13 Difficulty: 2.0 Members 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 Members 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 Members 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...

Length: 26:40 Difficulty: 2.0 Members 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 Members 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 Members 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 Members 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 Members 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...

Length: 31:27 Difficulty: 1.5 Members 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 Members 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...

Length: 7:12 Difficulty: 1.0 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.

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