More Blues Shuffle (Guitar Lesson)


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Hawkeye Herman

More Blues Shuffle

Hawkeye covers the blues shuffle in greater depth.

Taught by Hawkeye Herman in Blues Guitar with Hawkeye seriesLength: 13:13Difficulty: 1.5 of 5
Chapter 1: (03:28) Return to the Blues Shuffle In this lesson, Hawkeye demonstrates how the blues shuffle pattern can be transposed to any key. In the previous lesson, you learned how to play the shuffle pattern by applying a basic power chord voicing. This root / fifth chord structure alternates with the root played in conjunction with the major sixth to produce the basic blues shuffle pattern. This pattern can be played with any root note on the sixth string. For example, to play the blues shuffle pattern on an F chord, the first finger will fret the root note at the first fret of the low E string. Since the chords that comprise the blues shuffle pattern are typically played with root notes on the low E and A strings, you must memorize the note names and their locations across the length of both of these strings.
Chapter 2: (06:18) Playing the Shuffle in Different Keys In this scene, Hawkeye demonstrates how to play a blues shuffle pattern in the key of A. Remember the hand trick that Hawkeye presented in previous lessons in order to determine the I, IV and V chords in this key. Respectively, these chords are A, D, and E. You are already familiar with where the shuffle pattern must be played for the A and E chords since these chords are I and IV in the key of E. There are two practical locations for playing the blues shuffle pattern over the D chord in this key. The note D is found at the fifth fret of the A string. Consequently, the shuffle pattern can be played in fifth position with this note as the low root note. However, the open fourth string also produces the note D. Playing the shuffle pattern with the open D string in conjunction with the notes A and B on the third string enables you to play the entire 12 bar blues progression in the key of A without changing positions once! This cuts out any unnecessary fretboard movement that could potentially slow you down or lead to mistakes.

Eliminating these fretboard shifts is extremely helpful when singing and playing at the same time. Hawkeye plays through the blues shuffle while singing "Good Morning, Blues." Since his left hand does not have to move very much, he is free to devote more of his attention to singing and potential improvisation.
Chapter 3: (03:28) Shuffle Flexibility There are several ways to play a blues shuffle in the key of G. Hawkeye demonstrates the most economical way of playing a blues shuffle in this key. Once again, use the hand trick to determine the I, IV, and V chords in this key. These chords are G, C and D. Third position is the most logical place to play the G and C chords. The tonic chord is played with a rote note on the third fret of the G string. The shuffle pattern must be moved up a string for the IV chord, C. To play the V chord D, simply shift the pattern of the C chord up two frets. Using these chord voicings for the key of G requires the fewest amount of position shifts.


Video Subtitles / Captions


Member Comments about this Lesson

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Andrew HustonAndrew Huston replied on January 19th, 2015

My questions disappeared.

dicer2000dicer2000 replied on January 6th, 2015

Love it H-Eye. Are those fish hanging down off your guitar neck? Dinner tonight? Great lesson. Thanks

Hawkeye.HermanHawkeye.Herman replied on January 7th, 2015

Thanks for the message, Brett. WHat might look like a 'fish' 'totem hanging from my guitar headstock is actually a carved and painted wooden feather, (yea, sorta shaped like a fish), along with other feather 'reperesentations' on the same leather cord ... as decoration and as a personal reminder about my need to 'focus' when I play the guitar. Please do visit my web site for free guitar lessons, blues info, and my videos at youtube.com links. hawkeyeherman.com. I hope you continue to enjoy these lessons. Thanks again for the message.

rogermack50rogermack50 replied on January 5th, 2014

Hawkeye I am really enjoying your lessons and hope I can get through all 142 lessons. You have a great animated style which works very good for me. I like to read all the comments between the lessons and besides the usual stretch questions which i understand takes some time but I wonder how perfectly should I get the lesson down before moving on to the next lesson? I get the concept, understand your points and can play everything up to this lesson but don't play them perfectly. If you look at my profile I mention why guitar is important to me. Thanks for time and effort for all these lessons it is very much appreciated that someone would pass this tremendous information forward.

wayne morganwayne morgan replied on May 1st, 2014

Hawkeye love the lessons, but my fingers cant stretch like yours. is there an easier way of playing the blues shuffle until I can play the Barr chords correctly. Many thanks

wayne morganwayne morgan replied on May 1st, 2014

sry watched the rest of lesson 5 so happy thought it would be years before I could play the blues shuffle

Hawkeye.HermanHawkeye.Herman replied on January 5th, 2014

Thanks so much for your message, Roger. I appreciate your kind words about my teaching style and the information I share with my students. Please keep in mind that blues is a 'language,' and that just as with a language, it's best not to move on to the next lesson until you truly understand/grasp mentally the concept(s) being taught in the current lesson, and can at least accomplish the physical aspects of the lesson (even very slowly). Just as in learning to speak a language, moving on to the next lesson without being able to truly understand the 'grammar' and vocabulary usage in the current lesson would not be recommended, until you have the mental and physical aspects/skills well enough in mind and in 'hand' to feel comfortable about remembering the lesson's content and the physical recall of the skills/vocabulary being taught. If one moves on to the next lesson without totally understanding the concepts or skills being taught in the current lesson all one is doing is going through the motions and not truly absorbing the material, and cannot pull all of the previous information into usage ... the sum is the result of remembering the parts of the whole. THERE IS NO RUSH in learning the guitar. THERE IS NO RACE AND THERE IS NO FINISH LINE. Take your time and enjoy the process of learning/practicing/and playing. The joy is in the journey from day to day, not at some location/destination up the road. "It's a long and winding road that has no end." So just relax, enjoy the process, and don't place time constraints on your learning abilities or skills. I think it would be helpful for you to read this post that I placed in the 'forum' area some months ago, as well as the responses of my students: http://forums.jamplay.com/showthread.php?14559-Cherry-picking-lessons-serendipitous-study-habits-amp-the-concept-of-discipline ... Thanks again for enjoying these lessons, for your thoughtful approach to learning to play blues guitar, (keep it up! ;-) ... and for your service to our country. I hope you heed my advice and be sure not to add any stress or time constraints to the joy of learning/practicing blues guitar.

rogermack50rogermack50 replied on January 5th, 2014

Enter your comment here.

joe svilpajoe svilpa replied on November 6th, 2013

Hawkeye with the bars I have a real issues with lack of mobility in my pinky. I have shorter fingers and it really challenges my reach for these rhythms. Any suggestions.

Hawkeye.HermanHawkeye.Herman replied on November 6th, 2013

Thanks for the question, Joe. There are only a few 'remedies' for 'small fingers' ... one is to purchase a guitar with a fret scale that is shorter/more suitable to you hands/fingers size ... the other is to be sure and sit with your body/arms/hands in a position that maximizes your ability to stretch ... which you should be doing anyway ... sit upright, back straight, in an upright/straight-backed chair without arms or on a stool when practicing or playing, do not tuck the elbow of your fretting hand into your body, get the elbow of your fretting hand out and away from your body and get in the habit of playing with your elbow held in this manner, as it will increase the reach of your fingers. I hope this information is helpful to you and that you continue to enjoy these lessons.

pup1pup1 replied on March 8th, 2013

Hawkeye, I'm really enjoying these lesson and learning. I have the same Nation you are using but it dosent sound the same. What size strings do you use.

Hawkeye.HermanHawkeye.Herman replied on March 8th, 2013

Greetings, Bill. Thanks so much for your message and for enjoying these lessons. Please follow my lessons series in the order the lessons are presented and progress slowly at your own speed and you'll gain a strong foundation and understanding of blues music that will allow you to play/create/improvise blues freely on the guitar. My National guitar is a 1935 'Trojan' model. It has a custom (replaced) ebony fingerboard and 'suits of cards' inlay, Gibson super-jumbo frets, and the wooden 'biscuit' has had some of the wood removed so that it is more responsive, and the resonator itself has been sanded w/wet/dry sandpaper in specific spots to have a bit of mass removed as well for greater response vibration ... all of these alterations must be done by a professional luthier/guitar tech. who knows they're doing ;-) I use light gauge (.12 - .54) 80/20 bronze strings ... I sue light gauge strings because I play the guitar 'standard' style as well as for slide. Most folks use med. gauge strings on their resonator guitars ... not me ... med. gauge strings give a bigger/brighter sound when using a slide, but are more difficult to fret with your fingers. You can see me use the guitar in some of the videos, here: http://www.youtube.com/user/HawkeyeH ... please watch some of these videos so you can see how I use the techniques I teach here at JamPlay.com when I'm performing in concerts and at festivals ... try to play along with me, and 'steal' my ideas/licks/riffs. ;-) Also, there are more of my lessons, for free, here: http://hawkeyeherman.com/guitar-lessons.htm ... Thanks for traveling with me on the 'blues highway' here at JamPlay.com. I hope you continue to enjoy these lessons.

pup1pup1 replied on March 10th, 2013

Thank for taking the time to explain the changes on your guitar Hawkeye. Now I know why the neck is different then on my guitar.

Hawkeye.HermanHawkeye.Herman replied on March 10th, 2013

The neck on my guitar has not only had the fingerboard replaced, but also was recarved/reshaped and refinished to suit my needs, made a bit thinner and more comfortable. ;-) I had a lot done to restore and improve it ... but then I only paid about $350 for it back in 1980. ;-)

stan089stan089 replied on February 20th, 2013

Hawkeye your really a great teacher - only been practicing for 6 weeks - I 've good a large left hand but cant seem to get the barre chords configs. I guess it will just take more time and drills

Hawkeye.HermanHawkeye.Herman replied on February 20th, 2013

<> Thanks for the message and kind comments, Chris. Much appreciated. If you've got a big/large left hand and you're having trouble with barre chords ... it's most likely your 'posture' ... don't sit in a chair with arms when practicing/playing the guitar ... get your left elbow away from your side, folks commonly have their left elbow (when using the left hand to fret the guitar) tucked into their side ... not good ... get your elbow out and away from your side, and you'll see that this increases the reach of your left hand fingers. Barre chords are tough for everyone in the beginning ... just be patient and practice/practice/practice ... sitting on a stool or chair without arms ... and keep your left elbow out and away from your left side. This should work for you. Be sure to watch my many songs on video at: http://www.youtube.com/user/HawkeyeH ... try to play along with me, tray to 'steal' my licks/riffs/ideas ... check out the free lessons at my web site: http://hawkeyeherman.com/guitar-lessons.htm ... and lastly, but very important ... please follow my lessons in the order they are presented ... please, don't move on to the next lesson until you can do what's in the current lesson ... be patient with yourself ... play slowly and increase your tempo as you get better ... don't try to play 'at tempo' of ANY song or lick/riff/skill you're learning in the beginning ... crawl before you walk, and walk before you run. Thanks again for the kind comments. I hope you continue to enjoy these lessons.

rodgerrabbitrodgerrabbit replied on January 10th, 2013

I was torn between buying a multi-disc blues intructional series or signing up for a year with Playjam. It didn't tkae me long to figure out I made the right choice. You're awesome!!!! Thanks Rodger Smith

Hawkeye.HermanHawkeye.Herman replied on January 11th, 2013

Hi Rodger. Thanks so much for the kind comments. Yes, you made the right more! ... ;-) ... buying petroleum based products like a complete set of DVDs that you will use and learn from and then be done with and then never use again for TWICE+ the price of two months membership at JamPlay with 50 great guitar instructors in most all genres of music, and hundreds upon hundreds of hours of lessons all videotaped with 3 HD cameras and top-notch sound and editing and supplemental/material/notation ... all of which you can access any time you wish and not have to 'worry about 'storage' on a shelf or in your computer ... IMHO, it's a 'no-brainer' ... you get much more for far less money at JamPlay, it's that simple. Thanks again for your kind message. I hope you continue to enjoy these lessons.

simondosimondo replied on December 24th, 2012

Hi Hawkeye Sometimes I have trouble concentrating on the lesson cause I find myself gazing at that beautiful guitar of yours.............

Hawkeye.HermanHawkeye.Herman replied on December 25th, 2012

Simon, thanks for enjoying these lessons and for admiring my 1935 National 'Trojan' Resophonic guitar ... with special custom abalone inlays (club/heart/diamond/spade). Please don't drool on your computer while gazing at the guitar :-) I bought it over 25 years ago for $350 ... a great deal ... it has a wonderful sound, and a warmer tone than metal-body reso. guitars ... (which I also own) ... I wouldn't want to play my National 'Trojan' all of the time ... but I do play it for slide tunes and certain blues tunes ... you'll notice that there are at least two other guitars that I use in this lesson series ... just for variety ... and to show folks that you can play the blues on any guitar ... even classical/nylon string guitar ... good blues playing skills sound good on just about any guitar. Thanks again for enjoying these lessons and for 'noticing' my ole National's lovely appearance (and tone ;-) Cheers, Hawkeye

garvs83garvs83 replied on October 21st, 2012

Hawkeye, another great lesson... when practicing the suffle in a bar chord I noticed that you held the full bar chord. I find it easier to just to have my index and ring finger down. Is it ok to practice it this way??? I don't want to learn any bad habbits

Hawkeye.HermanHawkeye.Herman replied on October 22nd, 2012

I have big hands and long fingers so I have no problem with making barre chords and long stretches over multiple frets ... it is okay for you to do whatever is necessary in order to get the sound you/we are after ... this is blues, not classical music that demands a specific discipline. You will see that in some of the future video lessons in this series that I do not always fret all of the strings, but only the strings that are needed at the moment when making barre chords and in other situations. I DO explain this in the course of these lessons further into the lesson series. You can do whatever is necessary in order to create the sound/music desired ... it is about the sound produced, not the discipline of proper guitqr technique. I hope you continue to enjoy these lessons.

goodbar ukgoodbar uk replied on July 10th, 2012

Hawkeye, you're great. I love the way your jaw drops open when you deliver a pearl of wisdom tip, "so if you want to play shuffle in F it's like this, and though it doesn't need saying but I'm going to say it anyway (jaw open)if you go to G it goes like this LOL!! You are soo easy to read and it's a great quality for a tutor. I'm soo glad I dropped on JP - Greetings from £ngland

Hawkeye.HermanHawkeye.Herman replied on July 10th, 2012

Thanks for the kind comments, Richard. I never tire of playing and teaching/my passions; blues guitar ... can you tell? ;-) All my lessons are presented without notes, spontaneously, after doing a lot of planning as to order and content of the lessons ... teaching in that way/manner/ I find that I stay 'excited' and enthusiastic about what I'm doing from moment to moment ... rather than boringly spooning out the information in a rote/memorized manner. I've been fortunate to have been able to play/teach the guitar for a living for almost 40 years, exclusive of any other kind of 'work,' ... and not a day goes by that I don't thank my lucky stars for the gratifying and endless journey I've taken on the 'blues highway.' I'd love to visit the 'Dales' of Yorkshire someday ... my wife and I are longtime fans of James Herriot/'All Creatures,' etc. ... both the books and the old BBC series. I hope you continue to enjoy these lessons ... and the significance/expression/posturing of my jaw dropping 'pearls of blues guitar wisdom.' ;-)

dean1101dean1101 replied on April 12th, 2012

Hi Hawkeye great stuff I have been playing for about 20 years on and off but you have really given me direction. The only thing I am lost on in lesson 5 you mention an E flat,is that just because it is a Tone up from D Flat when really you are playing an F. Thanks

Hawkeye.HermanHawkeye.Herman replied on April 12th, 2012

Thanks for the kind comments and for enjoying these lessons, Dean. Much appreciated. My lessons are all given without my using personal notes ... so, if you have a specific question you'll have to give the the location of the area in question on the video so I can view what you are referring to ... Please give me the Scene#__, the min.__ and sec.__ where your 'issue' begins and ends min.__, sec.__ ... and I'll view it and answer your question/clarify the issue for you. Post the info I've requested here at lesson #5. Thanks. I hope you continue to enjoy these lessons. (There are free lessons at my web site HawkeyeHerman.com.)

dean1101dean1101 replied on May 1st, 2012

Hi Hawkeye thanks for your reply in lesson 5 ( 2 min to 2min:25 you mention the key of A flat and go onto talk about the 4th D Flat 5th chord E Flat your right top E string F/ F#G Flat / G/ G#A Flat / A /A#BFlat / BC / C#D Flat / D/ D#E Flat/ F Wow sorry there is an E flat I never play that chord. I just noticed after a long time away from Theory that the Circle of 5th also has the E flat in the key of A. I have some more questions but will make sure I sit down this time and nut it out first, thanks Hawkeye sorry for the inconvenience. Really enjoy your lessons thank you very much.

Hawkeye.HermanHawkeye.Herman replied on May 1st, 2012

Hi, Dean. Glad you figured it out. I believe you're 'over-thinking' all of this ... I'm not talking about the circle of fifths at all ... I'm trying to teach a very basic way of using one simple barre chord (the E/F shaped barre chord) to play a shuffle rhythm in every key. At the point in question, I'm explaining that to play a shuffle rhythm in the key of Ab you need to play the barred E/F chord with your index finger barring across all of the strings at the 4th fret, and for the Db (the IV chord in the key of Ab), you play the same E/F shaped barre chord with your index barring at the 9th fret ... and for the Eb chord (the V chord in the key of AB) you play the E/F barred chord with your index finger barring at the 11th fret. It would seem to me that you need to refresh your memory on what the I-IV-V chords are in every key ... the circle of fifths is very important and useful ... but it's not what I'm teaching here ... I'm simply teaching and training you to know what the I-IV-V chords are in every key and how to play a shuffle rhythm using a basic E/F barre chord to play the shuffle rhythm in every key. That's all there is to it ... it's all in the video ... like all of my lessons ... there is no 'hidden research' that needs to be done ... that is, as long as you've already taken beginning guitar lessons in the Phase One area and have gotten these basics down regarding learning/knowing the the I-IV-V chords in all keys and simple barre chord construction ... that's why this is called "Phase Two" ... even so, I do my best to 'fill in the blanks' for those who don't already know this information about simple barre chords and what the I-IV-V chords are in all keys ... ;-) ... I hope you continue to enjoy these lessons

franklinmoffranklinmof replied on March 3rd, 2012

What is the web site to find the Herdim Blue Nylon Thumb pick?

Hawkeye.HermanHawkeye.Herman replied on March 3rd, 2012

Thanks for the question. I use a Herco Blue Nylon Thumbpick all of the time ... acoustic and electric. That's MY choice ... that's what I like ... each player must make such 'gear related' decisions on their own, according to their needs, likes, and the sound they want to achieve on the instrument. Your question regarding the thumbpick is the most frequently asked question I get ... please be aware that there is a forum area here a JamPlay for each of the instructors to discuss general concepts, rather than information on specific lessons. Discussions and my answers/explanations on the choice of picks one uses can be found here: http://www.jamplay.com/forums/hawkeye-herman/4476.htm http://www.jamplay.com/forums/hawkeye-herman/9284.htm http://www.jamplay.com/forums/hawkeye-herman/3924.htm http://www.jamplay.com/forums/hawkeye-herman/9580.htm I will not play with any other thumbpick ... I accept no substitutes for what works for me ... that's my choice ... and if you're interested in trying out this thumbpick, here is a good place to order the Herco Flex Blue Nylon Thumbpick, if you can't find it in your local music store: http://elderly.com/accessories/items/PK3.htm I hope this information is helpful to you. Thanks again for taking the time to ask. Cheers and Best, Hawkeye

franklinmoffranklinmof replied on March 3rd, 2012

What is the web site to find the Herdim Blue Nylon Thumb pick?

donmdonm replied on February 17th, 2012

Hi Hawkeye. I am really enjoying the lessons they are the best ever. But I have one question. Is there an easier way of playing the shuffle in F, F# and G. The 5 fret stretch for these 3 keys is just about more than I can handle. Once I get to A, I good to go but those first 3 frets are pretty tough. Maybe I just have a small hand. Thanks

Hawkeye.HermanHawkeye.Herman replied on February 17th, 2012

Thanks for enjoying these lessons and for your question, Don. First of all, take a look at your posture and the ergonomics while doing the activity; Sit upright in a chair without arms. Make sure the elbow of your fretting hand/arm is not squeezed into your side, but is away from your body so that your fretting hand and fingers are parallel to the neck, not an an angle to the neck. Okay, now try to play the barre chords in question and make minor adjustments to the positions of your elbow, wrist, and fingers as I've described so that you can positively engage the strings on the neck for a clear sound. You have to fidget with this until you get the angle that is just right for the length of your fingers. Finally,there is another option; you can play shuffle in F, F#, G, by using a barred first position A chord at the 8th, 9th, 10th frets, playing the shuffle on the 5th and 4th strings. I hope this helps ... and that you continue to enjoy these lessons.

laurentlaurent replied on January 9th, 2012

Hello Hawkeye; Is it important using the barre chord to play G chord or other because it is easier to use first, third and pinkie finger in fact. Sorry for mistakes because english is not my language.

Hawkeye.HermanHawkeye.Herman replied on January 9th, 2012

Thanks for your question ... but I'm sorry to say taht I don't really understand what you area aking. All I can say is ... this is not 'classical' guitar with strict rules ... you should try tp play like I am playing i the video(s)/lessons ... and if you can't do that ... then you can play any way that you can manage to get the same sound/music out of the guitar as I'm playing/teaching is fine with me. I hope you continue to enjoy these lessons.

laurentlaurent replied on January 10th, 2012

I just want to say that when you do a barre chord e.g. a G chord you use your first finger to barre all the strings. But in fact to play a power chord in blues for me it is easier to use only three fingers; e.g. G5 chord I just use the first finger for the G note the third for the D note and little finger for the E note. In the video you barre all the chord with the first finger and then the D note with the third one and E note with the little finger : A full barre chord. I hope you understand :-)

Hawkeye.HermanHawkeye.Herman replied on January 10th, 2012

Sorry, but I really don't understand wht you're trying to share and convey to me/us. But it very much okay, it really doesn't matter ... I do what I do ... you can clearly see that in the videos ... and you'll find more about each lesson and my chord/note fingerings/fretting in the charts/notation/tablature located in the 'supplemental content' folder that accompanies each lesson. You do what you do .... if it works for you and makes the sound/tones that you are intending ... then do it your way. Fine with me. Enjoy wahtever you do!

laurentlaurent replied on January 11th, 2012

I really have to improve my english :-) no matter like you say if it sounds good it is good. Thanks a lot

Hawkeye.HermanHawkeye.Herman replied on January 11th, 2012

No problem. Your English if far better than my French, I can assure you! ;-)

byrnellbyrnell replied on December 3rd, 2011

Hawkeye your the Best teacher ever! Your lessons are so clear.. I've found my Guru! Much respect.. Thank you

Hawkeye.HermanHawkeye.Herman replied on December 3rd, 2011

Thanks so much, David. Please check out this forum post/thread: http://www.jamplay.com/forums/hawkeye-herman/11293.htm ... and read the comments, and my response. ... also don't forget to check out my web site ... www.HawkeyeHerman.com ... ther are free guitar lessons at my web site, and articles I've wrtitten on blues history and the many blues icons I met and learned from and watch my videos on youtube.com so you can see how I use what I teach here at JamPlay.com when I'm performing: http://www.youtube.com/profile?user=HawkeyeH&view=videos ... Thanks again for the kind words. I hope you continue to enjoy these lessons.

medic 215medic 215 replied on June 15th, 2011

Really enjoy your lessons been busy so have not been playing as much as I would like but it is always on my mind going over different things progressions etc.Hopefully things can slow down a bit so I can play more

Hawkeye.HermanHawkeye.Herman replied on June 16th, 2011

Thanks for the kind words about these lessons, Andrew. Much appreciated. Take your time, progress at your own speed, and follow the lessons in the order they are presented and you'll continue to expand your skills in blues guitar. I hope you continue to enjoy these lessons, my teaching 'style,' and playing the blues.

janishongjanishong replied on February 22nd, 2011

Recently I start this blues lesson, and I find your teaching is very clear and well-organized and I like it very much. I'd like to follow all your lessons. However, barre chord shuffle really beats me. My hands are very small, really small (because I'm very short). I really feel that even I practice a lot, it might be impossible for me to stretch my pinky to press on the fourth fret. If I can't overcome this, can I continue with this lesson?

Hawkeye.HermanHawkeye.Herman replied on February 22nd, 2011

Janis, Thanks for the message. I'm glad you're enjoying these lessons. Practice, and be sure to get your elbow away from your body and not tucked into your side, while at the same time keeping your fretting hand at a right angle to the fingerboard so you can get the most stretch out of your pinky as possible. Be patient, these things take time. Also, there are many aspects of blues guitar playing that do not demand your playing a barre chord shuffle with the pinky finger. Just because you might not be able to play a shuffle rhythm using a barre chord does not mean you can't play blues music. You're going to find the barre used in almost every style of music you play on the guitar. ... so you may as well start 'stretching' your abilities by playing blues music. There are 'short women with small hands' who have done very well with the guitar ... you should check out Liona Boyd and Dolly Parton ... and you'll see that being short and having small hands does not necessarily mean that you can play whatever you wish on the guitar. I hope you continue to enjoy these lessons.

janishongjanishong replied on February 24th, 2011

Thanks a lot for your suggestions and encouragement. I will try my best to do it! Thanks for providing such wonderful lessons for us!

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

You are most welcome. It's my pleasure to instruct and encourage you. ;-)

janishongjanishong replied on March 10th, 2011

Wow! It's really amazing! After you tell me to pay attention to my elbow, now I seem to realize how to stretch my pinky! I think I'm doing better now. But I still have a long way to go. I am unable to put enough strength on my index finger, so now I still can't play the barre chord. I will keep on trying! Thank you very much! And may I ask for further suggestions about how to improve the strength of my fingers? I think your suggestions have a kind of magic which will enlighten me! Thanks!

Hawkeye.HermanHawkeye.Herman replied on March 10th, 2011

I'm so glad my suggestions ere helpful to you. You can strengthen your fingers by using a 'cushy'/soft rubber ball that fits into the palm of your hand and regularly squeezing your fingertips into the ball gently. Just about any store that has toys should be able to sell you such a ball ... or you can spend more money and go to a pharmacy and purchase a ball that is made specifically for this purpose. Exercise/squeeze the ball for short periods of time, just a few minutes, a couple of times a day. I keep a ball like this in my car and I use it when I'm stuck in traffic or on a long drive. I hope you continue to enjoy these lessons.

janishongjanishong replied on March 11th, 2011

Thanks a lot! I never know a rubber ball can help strengthen my fingers! I will get that right away! Thanks!

MonetMonet replied on April 8th, 2010

Yipppeee!!! I am now SO glad I went over , and over, and OVER the basic fundamentals of chord position, and how to make movable chords, to understand them...It now makes these lessons from you SO enjoyable...understanding how to make clusters of barre chords in areas of the guitar, and being comfortable all over the neck...If my darned fingers weren't so short!!!!, But, super, to "hear that old time music"!!!!

Hawkeye.HermanHawkeye.Herman replied on April 8th, 2010

I'm happy to hear that you're succeeding and enjoying the process of learning/practicing/playing blues music. The guitar is a best friend. It's always waiting for you to pick it up and play with it. Always. Not many friends can be 'counted on' like the guitar :-) Don't worry about sort fingers .... check out Leona Boyd, or Charro, or even Dolly Parton ... all of them are diminutive ladies with small hands, and they can really play the guitar all over the neck ... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kweII04U4Rc&feature=related ... I hope you continue to enjoy these lessons Thanks again for your comments.

rohintoniranirohintonirani replied on January 28th, 2010

Hawkeye... You Rock! Enjoying your lessons.

andrewg002andrewg002 replied on May 16th, 2009

Hi Hawkeye....I think my hands are a little small....Finding it hard to stretch, especially on the lower frets. For example when I play in the key of F (bar formation) and shuffle, my fourth finger is finding it v hard to reach and hold down that B string on the 5th fret. And If you throw in chord changes at speed it virtually impossible....Any tips....or once again just perseverance?

Hawkeye.HermanHawkeye.Herman replied on May 16th, 2009

andrewg002, Thanks for enjoying these lessons. SOrry to say, the answer to your question is ... practice. EVERYONE has trouble making a barred F chord in the beginning ... and then adding the note with your pinky to play the shuffle is even harder ... but you have to learn how to be patient and keep 'stretching' your abilities ... after all, the barred F shape is/can be played for all keys up the neck, so you just need to keep working on it. There are no shortcuts ... unless you buy a guitar that has a a smaller 'scale' neck more suitable for tiny hands/fingers ... but I don't think that's the case. Just keep working on it ... if it's any consolation, when I first started playing guitar about 50 years ago it took me many months of practice before I could play a barred F chord without any 'buzzes.' Hang in there, you'll get it. Again, thanks!

andrewg002andrewg002 replied on May 17th, 2009

Thanks Hawkeye....thanks for the good tips....think it was the frustration of not getting it. Sometimes when u put the guitar down and come bk to it with a fresh mind things start to become a little clearer and start falling into place!! Do u know where the list of all the different arrangements of Tonic, Dominant and Sub Dominant chords are for my refference? Thanks again for the brilliant lessons, hints and tips!

Hawkeye.HermanHawkeye.Herman replied on May 17th, 2009

andrewg002, Thanks for the comments ... and 'new' question ... but there is no 'list' of the tonic/dom./sub dom, chords ... YOU should make such a list so that you'll better understand your question and the answer. Here the basic information; the tonic is the I chord (key chord)/the sub dom. is the IV chord/ the dom. is the V chord. In the key of G the tonic = G = I chord, the sub dom. = C = IV chord, the dom. = D = V chord. In the key of C, the tonic = C = I chord, the sub dom. = F = the IV chord, the dom. = G the V chord ... now, do what I've taught you to do in these lessons when looking for the appropriate chord in any key ... use your fingers to 'count up for the key (I or tonic chord, and figure out what the tonic/dom./sub dom. are in all the keys. There are no shortcuts lists ... you need to do this yourself so that you learn the concept of what's going on in the chord rellationships between the tonic (I)/sub dom. (IV)/and dom. (V) in all keys. This is a beginners task ... so get on it, if you need to make a list/chart, then do so ... it will be excellent practice for you in learning what the I/IV/V chords are in all keys. Have fun and enjoy the process ... because I'm not going to list all 12 keys and their tonic/dom/sub dom. chords for you ... it's easy, get on it and do it yourself, please ... you need to teach yourself this so that you'll remember these chord relationships forever. There are helpful chord charts in the 'tools' are here at jamplay.com. Have fun teaching this to yourself and enjoy the process. Cheerio, Hawkeye

nihilistenihiliste replied on May 12th, 2009

I'm not grasping how to do the shuffle with these barre chords - how can you alternate between each half if you're still holding down the barre? All I can figure is changing up the bottom three fingers, but that doesn't seem to work.

Hawkeye.HermanHawkeye.Herman replied on May 13th, 2009

nihilste, I'm not understanding your question ... Did you know that there is tablature and music for this lesson in the 'supplemental content' are directly under the lessons screen ... that shows where to put your fingers ... this is way easier than you're making it out to be ... please consult the 'supplemental material' ... and then ask me again ... Thanks.

nihilistenihiliste replied on May 13th, 2009

What I should say is that it's not clear (for me) how to rock back and forth with these chords, since in the previous lesson, barring wasn't essential - we were just holding down one string at a time. I may not be reading the tablature properly.

Hawkeye.HermanHawkeye.Herman replied on May 13th, 2009

Please look at the supplemental material ... The Shuffle in G ... you play a barre chord but don't have to put pressure down on the top four (treble) strings. If you can't play a barre chord ... then this is a good start at learning how, because you only need to put enough pressure down to fret the bottom two strings (bass strings). Please use the video controls to stop/reverse/play the video sections you're not 'getting' repeatedly. Can you play the low E string with you index finger at the third fret and the 5th string at the 5th fret with your second finger ... play that ... now lift up your second finger and place your pinky on the 7th fret of the 5 string ... that's all there is to it for the G barre chord ... do this same type of position/thing at the 8th fret for the C barre chord, and the 10th fret for the D barre chord.

nihilistenihiliste replied on May 14th, 2009

Thanks, that was exactly the kind of info I was looking for. It's extremely difficult to get that pinky over though, it's quite a leap if you want to have the other fingers ready to shuffle. Practice, practice...

rangelyderekrangelyderek replied on April 18th, 2009

UMMMMMM HMMMMMM!!!!!!!! Feeling It Baby! Feeling It!!!!

Hawkeye.HermanHawkeye.Herman replied on April 18th, 2009

rangelyderek, Glad you're 'feelin' it.' There's much more to come ... this is just the foundation for more ... please follow the lesson plan ... and enjoy the blues journey. Thanks for the comment.

chris2pchris2p replied on March 4th, 2009

Hawkeye, Your lessons are THE BEST and you are a real inspiration! Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge. I'm learning so much from your Blues Lessons. I got one problem, I can sing "Good Morning Blues" well strumming over each beat but cannot sing at all when playing the shuffle. When I try singing over the shuffle I loose the beat and the tempo. It feels similar to trying to pat your head and rub your belly the same time. I feel like I'm doing 2 different things at once but my mind can only focus on one of them. Any suggestions? Chris

Hawkeye.HermanHawkeye.Herman replied on March 4th, 2009

Chris, Thanks so much for your kind comments and for enjoying these lessons. Hey, you're normal (whatever that is ;-) ... it took me about three months of practice before I could play a shuffle and sing at the same time ... so, my advice is for you to do what I did, and what we all do ... practice until you get it ... and the practice some more. Be patient ... don't be discouraged ... try to enjoy every moment ... don't be frustrated. You'll improve in time. Thanks again.

magneticatmagneticat replied on November 15th, 2008

Hawkeye, thanks for the amazing lessons. I have been playing guitar for a while but never explored the blues in-depth, so going through your lessons is really great - I am understanding the foundation of the blues and having a lot of fun! I am actually at your turnaround lesson right now, and all is going good, with the exception of one thing. My fretting hand seems to get tired very soon when doing the shuffle rhythm using my pink for keys that do not rely on open chords. Is there some tips you can give me or should I just keep practicing and endurance will come later? Chords come out very clean and I feel very relaxed while playing, so I do not know exactly what to do. I am having the issue on my small acoustic guitar, not on my electric guitar. Thanks, cannot wait to go on with your lessons!

Hawkeye.HermanHawkeye.Herman replied on December 5th, 2008

magneticat, Thanks so much for the comments. Very much appreciated. Here's a tip that might help you left-hand fretting ... guitartists have a tendency to allow there left elbow to move outward/away from their body/too the left as they play ... keep your elbow in tighter/to the inside in front of you (but not against your side) as you play up the neck ... and you might find that your fingers fall upon the notes more easily/ergonomically. Thanks again. Hang in there with me ... the blues highway is calling us.

brimc76brimc76 replied on October 26th, 2008

Hawkeye, I just joined after a free 7 day trial got me hooked on your blues lessons. I have taken a few lessons before now but I am finding that there are many "gaps" in what I know or have played because of a certain amount of jumping around in lessons. I think the only song I learned all the way through was a Mississippi John Hurt song Can't Be Satisfied - because blues is what I'm interested in. I haven't done a lot of barre chords so stretching is what I need to practise but the temptation to jump ahead is terrific. I really needed the "walk before you run" talk early on. Thanks again for all the help. Brian

Hawkeye.HermanHawkeye.Herman replied on October 30th, 2008

brimc76, Thanks for the comment. Good to have you along for our journey down the blues highway. Please, don't skip ahead on the lessons ... I have put in a lot of time and thought into the structures of what I teach ... you need a strong foundation, first, take it one lesson at a time, moving on at your own speed ... if you jump around ... you are sure to create more gaps in your knowledge/understanding. If you follow the course as I have laid it out to you, you'll have a more thorough background and knowledge, and the tools of playing blues guitar will be more easily understood and accomplished. Please, enjoy the process ... and crawl before you walk, walk before you run ... thanks again for the comment.

gigantescogigantesco replied on October 18th, 2008

hi, thanks for the great lesson. i just got this question: you can play the full chord with the rythem of shuffle? cuase i saw that sometimes you play a full chord. and i would like to know if its possible to always play like this

Hawkeye.HermanHawkeye.Herman replied on October 19th, 2008

gigantesco, Thanks for enjoying the lessons. In reagard to 'full chord' shapes when playing rhythm ... there are no 'rules' ... I do whatever I feel like doing at the moment ... playing full chords or partial chords ... remember that I have stated in my lessons that it's generally a waste of energy to hold down/fret notes with your left hand fingers that you're not going to play with your tight hand ... especially when using a shuffle rhythm ... why burn the energy of holding down/fretting all six strings if you're on;y going to play two of them. Still ... it's up to you ... as long as you like the sound/music that the guitar is making ... creating full or partial chords is up to you. Thanks again. I hope you'll continue traveling with me on the blues highway here at jamplay.com

gigantescogigantesco replied on October 19th, 2008

Thank you very much for the quick and precious answer! i glad i joined your lessons cuase since then i fall in love to blues.

Hawkeye.HermanHawkeye.Herman replied on September 4th, 2008

burford0714, Thanks for your comment and question. Continue on with this series of lessons and I believe you'll find the answer to your question in the unit/lessons about "turnarounds." If you don't find it, let me know. Again, thanks so much.

burford0714burford0714 replied on September 3rd, 2008

Hawkeye- Thank you for the lesson it great when doing the shuffle it seams like it needs an ending how do you do that.

Hawkeye.HermanHawkeye.Herman replied on August 5th, 2008

willyabrup, So glad you're enjoying these lessons. There's much more to come, so hang in there with me. Thanks, again.

willyabrupwillyabrup replied on August 5th, 2008

Hawkeye - I'm really enjoying these blues lessons. Thank you very much!

Hawkeye.HermanHawkeye.Herman replied on July 27th, 2008

There's a "Hawkeye Live in Concert" DVD you might enjoy ... You can see/hear many of the songs on the DVD for free on youtube.com at; http://www.youtube.com/profile?user=HawkeyeH Check 'em out ... you can see/hear my blues ... in action.

Hawkeye.HermanHawkeye.Herman replied on July 24th, 2008

mclend1, Thanks for the kind comment. Very much appreciated. I never tire of playing a broad variety of shuffle rhythms ... I hope you get into it again and find lots of variations on your own ... as the mists clear even further. :-)

mclend1mclend1 replied on July 23rd, 2008

Hawkeye, I can remember instinctively playing the shuffle rhythm as kid many years ago (when I first got a guitar), but at the time not really understanding the whys and wherefores of how it worked or how it fitted in with the blues I IV V progression. I don't think I had a clue about the chord progressions, I just knew that it sounded good. Your lessons have cleared the mists for me from those days.

Hawkeye.HermanHawkeye.Herman replied on July 23rd, 2008

ronin808, Good work. Like I said in the 'shuffle' lesson, I never tire of playing the shuffle rhythm ... and variations of it ... and I've been doing it for almost 50 years ... it feels good. Be sure to practice playing this rhythm and the appropriate barre chords in all keys. It's more fun than work ... to me. Hope the same holds true for you.

ronin808ronin808 replied on July 23rd, 2008

with out a doubt my man!

ronin808ronin808 replied on July 22nd, 2008

Nice. I like the barre chord shuffle and I hit all parts with out a buzz, so I guess i am aclamating to the barre chords. Keep em coming.

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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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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Alan Skowron Alan Skowron

Alan shares his background in teaching and sets the direction for his beginning bass series with simple ideas and musical...

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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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JamPlay welcomes David Isaacs to our teacher roster. With his first lesson Dave explains his approach to playing guitar with...

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Mitch teaches his interpretation of the classic "Cannonball Rag." This song provides beginning and intermediate guitarists...

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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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Steve Eulberg Steve Eulberg

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

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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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Trace Bundy Trace Bundy

Trace Bundy talks about the different ways you can use multiple capos to enhance your playing.

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Braun Khan Braun Khan

In this lesson, Braun teaches the chord types that are commonly used in jazz harmony. Learn how to build the chords and their...

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Michael Mennell Michael Mennell

Mike introduces himself and his series.

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David Davidson David Davidson

JamPlay interviews Revocation's Dave Davidson.

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Alex Scott Alex Scott

Find out what this series is all about.

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Steve Smyth Steve Smyth

JamPlay sits down with veteran fret grinder Steve Smyth of Forbidden and The EssenEss Project. He talks about how he got...

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Joe Burcaw Joe Burcaw

Join Joe as he shows one of his favorite drills for strengthening his facility around the fretboard: The Spider Technique.

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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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Jane Miller Jane Miller

Jane Miller talks about chord solos in part one of this fascinating mini-series.

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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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