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The Talking Blues (Guitar Lesson)


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Hawkeye Herman

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.

Taught by Hawkeye Herman in Blues Guitar with Hawkeye seriesLength: 24:43Difficulty: 4.0 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.


daviiiiidaviiiii replied on April 10th, 2017

Cool lesson, but please tune your guitar the next time!

jliebsjliebs replied on August 31st, 2013

Great lesson. Forced me to clean up my alternating bass work. Much appreciated. I am very well aware that there are only four more lessons to go. I started this last September so while I am proud of all the progress I've made I am certainly saddened to be nearing this short term end. You know I sincerely hope to see you adding more to the jam play content soon. You have been the best guitar instructor I have ever had and as you know I've certainly passed that along to jam play admin. Any chance of you doing live sessions? Hope to see and hear more soon. In the meanwhile I'll keep asking. Thanks so much for all your help. I will continue to stop by your website and steal what I can from you ;)

Hawkeye.HermanHawkeye.Herman replied on September 3rd, 2013

Thanks so much for your comments, Jon. It's most gratifying for me to know that these lessons have had a positive impact on your playing skills. I have many more lessons planned for Phase Two and Three area of JamPlay, it's just a matter of if/when the JamPlay admin. folks decide to schedule me to do more videotaping of lessons. I have been asked by many students, and JamPlay admin. about the possibility of my doing live lessons, but my frequent touring prevents me from scheduling regular live online lessons. I appreciate your suggestion of my dong so. Perhaps, in the future, especially during the winter months when my touring schedule is more sporadic, it might be possible for JamPlay and I to find the time to 'squeeze in' some live lessons. So, please keep a (hawk) eye out for any announcements on the general members' page of my presenting live lessons. Again, thanks so much for taking the time and patience to work your way, as I suggest, systematically/incrementally through my lessons series. I do hope to tape more lessons in the future, and I hope that your kind words, support, and encouragement help influence JamPlay to expand my lessons and availability. Please keep picking, grinning, and 'stealing' whatever you can from me. ;-) Again, thanks so much for 'traveling' with me on the 'blues highway' here at JamPlay.

nycbeijingernycbeijinger replied on July 27th, 2011

Hi, Hawkeye. Maybe as an adjunct to this lesson you could talk a little about developing stage presence since some of us may become performers? How should one act on stage? Sit, walk around, talk to the crowd, dance, clothes, etc., etc.

Hawkeye.HermanHawkeye.Herman replied on July 27th, 2011

Thanks for the comments, Patrick. Stage presence is an individual choice /application. I would have to see somebody perform in order to make suggestions about improving their stage presence. Some folks are comfortable sitting down, some like to stand, some folks are good story-tellers and some folks are better at just singing/playing the music and not speaking much to the audience in between songs. Without seeing and hearing somebody perform the only advice ('rules' ...?) I would give is to make yourself as comfortable as possible when performing, take control of the venue/playing environment just like it's your own living room be energetic yet relaxed and 'at home' and natural on stage and your audience will be more receptive to your music/performance. Be yourself on stage and offstage ... that's what makes each of us an individual person and an individual/unique musical personality. Be yourself and do what comes naturally to you. ;-) As an example, watch these Hawkeye guitar lessons and then watch me perform in concert on videos at youtube and you'll see that I'm the same person when I'm performing as when I'm teaching, as well as 'offstage' .... perhaps I'm just a bit more naturally energetic and animated when I'm teaching and performing than I am in daily life. I hope you continue to enjoy these lessons.

2feeet2feeet replied on March 5th, 2011

Hawkeye, thank you for responding. I bought some nylon thumbpicks. It's taking some getting used to, but I think they'll work well for me. I get a much clearer bass note when playing finger style. The only down side is that mistakes are much more audible...LOL This website is really a great value.

Hawkeye.HermanHawkeye.Herman replied on March 5th, 2011

Thanks for the message and for enjoying these lessons, Mark. I hope the nylon thumbpick is comfortable and helps your playing. Here's my forum post about thumbpicks ... just in case you missed it ... http://www.jamplay.com/forums/hawkeye-herman/4476.htm ... I hope you continue to enjoy these lessons.

donbdonb replied on February 23rd, 2011

I cheated!! I skipped ahead when I saw this lesson title, “Talking Blues”. I have a picture of a 1939 Harmony guitar that was my father-in-laws posted on my profile. I only heard him play it a couple of times. He was a truck driver, and while driving one time he “talked” a couple songs into a tape recorder that he knew how to play on this guitar. It was a great recording. Sometimes when he had gotten into traffic he’d have to stop, and you could hear the change in the engine sound when he started “talking” again. He had learned a few songs and chords in the navy, and one of them was this Tex Williams song, Smoke, smoke, smoke that cigarette! I have not heard it since, but the chorus always stuck in my head. The other one he “talked” was “I had but fifty cents” which I just recently heard Ricky Skaggs talking about in an interview with the same fond memories I have with both these songs of my father-in-law. The tape as well as he are long gone, but the memories I have aren’t. I’m excited to learn this song. I’ll go back to lesson #77 now!

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

"Smoke, Smoke, Smoke That Cigarette" Written by Merle Travis and Tex Williams Now I'm a feller with a heart of gold And the ways of a gentleman I've been told The kind of guy that wouldn't even harm a flea But if me and a certain character met The guy that invented the cigarette I'd murder that son-of-a-gun in the first degree It ain't cuz I don't smoke myself And I don't reckon that it'll harm your health Smoked all my life and I ain't dead yet But nicotine slaves are all the same At a pettin' party or a poker game Everything gotta stop while they have a cigarette Smoke, smoke, smoke that cigarette Puff, puff, puff and if you smoke yourself to death Tell St. Peter at the Golden Gate That you hate to make him wait But you just gotta have another cigarette Now in a game of chance the other night Old Dame Fortune was a-doin' me right The kings and the queens just kept on comin' round And I got a full and I bet 'em high But my bluff didn't work on a certain guy He just kept on raisin' and layin' that money down Now he'd raise me and I'd raise him I sweated blood, gotta sink or swim He finally called and didn't even raise the bet So I said "aces full Pops how 'bout you?" He said "I'll tell you in a minute or two But right now, I gotta have me a cigarette" Smoke, smoke, smoke that cigarette Puff, puff, puff and if you smoke yourself to death Tell St. Peter at the Golden Gate That you hates to make him wait But you just gotta have another cigarette (Ah, smoke it! Hah! Yes! Yes! Yes!) The other night I had a date With the cutest little girl in the United States A high-bred, uptown, fancy little dame She loved me and it seemed to me That things were 'bout like they oughta be So hand in hand we strolled down lover's lane She was oh so far from a cake of ice And our smoochin' party was goin' nice So help me cats I believe I'd be there yet But I give her a kiss and a little squeeze And she said, "ah, Marty, excuse me please I just gotta have me another, cigarette" And she said, smoke, smoke, smoke that cigarette Puff, puff, puff and if you smoke yourself to death Tell St. Peter at the Golden Gate That you hate to make him wait But you just gotta have another cigarette

2feeet2feeet replied on February 9th, 2011

awesome lesson Hawkeye! I love the sound of talking blues songs. I was previously taught bass - strum with a flat pick. I like the sound you get with the thumb pick & strumming with your fingers. I'm going to the music store to get a thumb pick.

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

Thanks for the kind words, Mark. PLease don't rush off and buy just any thumbpick ... read this first: http://www.jamplay.com/forums/hawkeye-herman/4476.htm ... plastic thumbpick are clunky and difficult to get used to and use ... PLEASE ... read the message at the posted link first ... and, for your information, since you're a Doc Watson fan, I've been using this particular style of nylon thumbpick since 1970 ... I saw Doc Watson perform twice at a very small venue in San Francisco and I spoke with him at length ... I noticed the blue nylon thumbpcik he was using and he told me that he loved this thumbpick and used in all the time ... and he gave me two of them. I've been using them ever since. Please go back and look at the post I've put up the link to, and also the comments by others here at JamPlay.com who have purchased the Herco Flex Blue Nylon thumbpick ... accept NO substitutes ... that's my opinion. Thanks again. I hope you continue to enjoy these lessons.

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.


Miche Fambro Miche Fambro

Miche introduces several new chord concepts that add color and excitement to any progression.

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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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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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Nick Amodeo Nick Amodeo

Nick explains how to play some of the most commonly used chords in the bluegrass genre.

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Calum Graham Calum Graham

Award winning, Canadian fingerstyle guitarist Calum Graham introduces his Jamplay Artist Series, which aims to transform...

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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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Mark Lincoln Mark Lincoln

Lesson 40 takes a deeper look at slash chords. Mark discusses why they're called slash chords, and how they are formed.

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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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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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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.


Rex Brown Rex Brown

Dive into the playing of Rex Brown. As the bass player for Pantera, Down, and Kill Devil Hill, Brown's real world experience...

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Lauren Passarelli Lauren Passarelli

Lauren Passarelli offers up her wisdom on purchasing a guitar. She also includes information regarding proper setup and care....

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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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Kenny Ray Kenny Ray

Albert Collins brought a lot of style to the blues scene. In this lesson, Kenny breaks down Albert's style for you to learn.

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Matt Brown Matt Brown

Matt Brown shows off some ways to add some creativity and originality to your rock chord voicings.

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John DeServio John DeServio

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

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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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Chris Liepe Chris Liepe

Chris brings his ingenuity to this lesson on the American folk song called "Where Did You Sleep Last Night?" Also known as...

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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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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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