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Movable Chords (Guitar Lesson)


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Hawkeye Herman

Movable Chords

Hawkeye introduces some common, movable chord shapes.

Taught by Hawkeye Herman in Blues Guitar with Hawkeye seriesLength: 17:42Difficulty: 2.0 of 5
Chapter 1: (08:12) Movable Chords Many people think that barre chords are the only movable chord shapes. This is simply not true. Many voicings such as the open C7 shape and the open B7 shape can be transposed to other areas of the fretboard.

Hawkeye demonstrates this concept by starting with a basic open C major chord. This chord does not work as a movable voicing due to the open G and open high E string. However, if you convert this chord into a C7 chord and omit the open notes played on the sixth and first strings, you have turned this chord shape into a movable voicing.

To convert an "open" C chord into a C7 chord, simply fret the note Bb with the pinkie finger at the 3rd fret of the G string. This Bb note is the b7 degree of the C7 chord. The b7 note converts a major chord into a dominant seventh chord. The third finger on the fifth string frets the low root note of this chord. This note will name the chord. The root note is also doubled on the second string.

When sliding this chord shape up the fretboard, the open high E string can be added to some of these chords to create some interesting voicings. For example, it works great with a D7 chord. When the high E note is added, this chord becomes a D9 chord. Both the high and low E strings can be played against E7, since E is the root note of the chord. The high E can also be played with F#7 and A7. E is the b7 note of F#7. In relation to A7, E is the fifth of the chord. Adding the high E to a G7 chord creates a G13 chord.

Note: For more information about adding open strings to moveable chord shapes and the chords that result, check out the lesson entitled "Colorful Chord Tension" from Brad Henecke's Phase 2 Classic Rock series of lessons.

An alternating bass line can be played with this chord voicing by simply switching the third finger from the fifth string to the sixth string. This switches the lowest bass note of the chord from the root to the fifth. For more information about the alternating bass line, please check out JamPlay's bluegrass lessons. The C7 chord shape is combined with an alternating bass line in the classic rock song "Wooly Bully."

Note: fretboard diagrams for all of the chords presented in this lesson can be found under the "Supplemental Content" tab.
Chapter 2: (09:28) Using Movable Chords 12 Bar Blues Exercise

Hawkeye demonstrates how the basic shape of the C7 chord can be used within the context of a 12 bar blues progression in the key of E. Pay careful attention to where the I, IV, and V chords are played in this key. Remember that the root note of this chord shape is played on the fifth string by the third finger.

Note: Tablature and notation to this exercise can be found under the "Supplemental Content" tab.

Extra Practice

Once you have mastered this exercise in the key of E, transpose the exercise and practice it in all 12 keys.

The chords within this progression can also be arpeggiated to create an altogether different texture. Hawkeye demonstrates this idea at 01:29 in the lesson video. Experiment with different arpeggio patterns and rhythmic variations. Notate and memorize all of the variations that you like.

Converting B7 into a Movable Shape

At this point in the lesson series, you are already familiar with the basic B7 chord shape. The 5th, 4th, and 3rd strings from this basic are frequently played as a movable, three string voicing. The entire voicing can be shifted up the neck by muting the open B string. The B note is dissonant when played in the context of certain chord structures such as Bb. However, just like the C7 shape, this note may be desirable with chords such as E7 and G7. B is the fifth of E7 and the third of B7.

Practice with the B7 Chord Shape

Practice playing a 12 bar blues in all 12 keys using this chord voicing. The second finger on the 5th string frets the root note. This note names the chord. Remember to visualize the next chord that you are going to. Also, similar to the previous exercise demonstrated in this lesson, experiment with various arpeggio patterns within the progression. This will open up new ideas and possibilities within the 12 bar blues form.

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.


h3adcrashh3adcrash replied on August 24th, 2014

Thank you so much for this lesson, I (again) learned a lot. Honestly, it is almost more fun to watch your videos than playing the blues by myself ;) I really enjoy your enthusiasm and dedication to blues music, it motivates and supports me in terms of staying focused and practicing. I am truely glad that I found your excellent lessons on Jamplay. Best regards from Germany!

bungalowbillbungalowbill replied on June 30th, 2013

Hawkeye I listened to the original and it's identical to yours but I still keep getting to 14. The way I'm counting the original song starts singing Wooly Bully at the 8th bar as you do. When they start singing Maddie told Haddie let's not take no chance it's at the 16 measure the way I counted but no matter it sounds great anyway.

Hawkeye.HermanHawkeye.Herman replied on June 30th, 2013

Glad you're enjoying the process, Bill. Learning to count rhythm/beats/measures consistently is, IMHO, the most important aspect of making music: keeping good time and being consistent in changing chord on time. ;-) For the fun of it, the chords and lyrics: http://www.guitaretab.com/s/sam-the-sham-and-the-pharaohs/276950.html ... http://rock.totaltabs.com/tablature/Sam_the_Sham_and_the_Pharaohs/Wooly_Bully_Chord_50628/ ... Movable chords are fun, fairly easy, and add variety to the sound of a song/tune. So, have fun with a true classic blues/rock hit.

bungalowbillbungalowbill replied on July 2nd, 2013

Hawkey Thanks for the links

Hawkeye.HermanHawkeye.Herman replied on July 2nd, 2013

;-) You're welcome. Enjoy!

bungalowbillbungalowbill replied on June 28th, 2013

I love that E7 drone chord. I remember Woolly Bully from the old American Bandstand days. I'm a bit confused though about how many times you play that E7. I counted 7 bars of E7 from the time you sang Maddie told Haddie. Is that right? It sounds great but it comes out to 14 bars. I don't know if I'm counting too fast or not.

Hawkeye.HermanHawkeye.Herman replied on June 28th, 2013

Glad you enjoy the 'E7 drone' sound, Bill. Please check out the original, listen close, and count out the chords for yourself: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KZJiGu6Gz8E ... try to play along with the song. I hope you continue to enjoy these lessons.

dhyanashadhyanasha replied on January 21st, 2013

Hi Hawkeye, this is fun, thanks a lot!

Hawkeye.HermanHawkeye.Herman replied on January 21st, 2013

Thanks so much, Nina. ;-) I hope you continue to enjoy these lessons.

dibdibblerdibdibbler replied on May 15th, 2012

Honestly. ive never enjoyed playing the guitar so much after following your lesson set, I skipped work early today just to get back and play, many thanks Hawkeye.

Hawkeye.HermanHawkeye.Herman replied on May 16th, 2012

Thanks so much, Jason. That's 'music' to my hears. ;-) Don't rush .. this is not a race ... there is no 'finish line.' Blues guitar is a life's journey of continual learning. I'm still learning and I've been playing blues guitar for over 50+ years. I've given a lot of thought as to the order and content of each lesson. If you patiently follow my lessons in the order they are presented, progressing at your own speed from one lesson to the next, you will gain a strong foundation and understanding of blues music that will allow you to play freely, create, and improvise blues music on the guitar ... for the rest of your life. I hope you take my advice about not rushing and being thorough before moving on to the next lesson. Blues is a 'language' ... and moving from one lesson to the next before you truly 'get it' ... or skipping around/'cherry picking' lessons is not how to learn to be fluent in a 'language.' Relax, don't rush, and enjoy the learning, practicing, and playing process ... and you'll be 'speaking' blues on the guitar better and better ... far beyond your expectations ... forever. Again, thanks for your kind message. I hope you continue to enjoy these lessons.

kryaxis1kryaxis1 replied on November 9th, 2011

the last lesson was so awesome! thanks!

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

Thanks! The information in this lesson should serve your playing and exploration for ... ever. ;-) Hope so, anyway.

dloe48dloe48 replied on May 12th, 2011

wow! This opens soo many doors! I can see how a lot of my favorite artists find their chords now!

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

Absolutely! That's why we're here ... to teach you exactly this sort of thing. I hope you continue to enjoy these lessons.

jarnold15jarnold15 replied on March 29th, 2011

John here Hawkeye...I just want to say that i am a bit of a plodder and have taken up acoustic blues guitar in my later years... i am doing the lessons in order and not always getting them down pat but i go back and review and have really started to enjoy playing..you add a very special sensibility to the knowledge you depart...I feel honoured.

Hawkeye.HermanHawkeye.Herman replied on March 29th, 2011

Thanks so much for enjoying these lessons and for your kind comments, John. Very much appreciated. I'm glad you're following the lessons in the order they are presented. I've given the order and content of each lesson a lot of thought and planning, so stocking with the 'program' is a good idea. Just take your time and don't worry about being a 'plodder' ... this isn't a 'race' to a 'finish line' ... it's there's no rush ... enjoy the learning and practicing process ... and progress at your own speed. I hope the information I share with you here brings you joy and satisfaction ... forever. Thanks again.

nycbeijingernycbeijinger replied on February 22nd, 2011

Hi Hawkeye, Great lesson. Just one question. Besides practice, practice, practice, can you please offer some tips for smoothly changing back and forth between 1st position chords like the E or A and barre and other moveable chords? I can play the barre and moveable chords well enough up and down the fretboard but stumble when changing from type to another. Thanks!

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

All of this work/practice/repetition is 'muscle memory' work. Your brain is teaching your fingers where to go ... visualization is the key ... if you''re not picturing the next chord before you move to it ... you're not actively visualizing ahead ... don't watch yourself play/practice ... be involved in the process at all times by constantly visualizing the next chord/move you are to make. That's my advice for smoother transitions from chord to chord. ;-)

nycbeijingernycbeijinger replied on February 22nd, 2011

thanks laoshi!

tenchu11tenchu11 replied on December 23rd, 2010

My fingers are in pain but its a good burn well worth it to master these chords

Hawkeye.HermanHawkeye.Herman replied on December 24th, 2010

You strengthen your fingers and understanding every time you pick up the guitar. Just don't injure yourself by overdoing it ... take a break every now and then and stretch your back, arms, hands, and fingers ... and enjoy the process of learning and playing the blues. ;-)

szedszed replied on October 2nd, 2010

Man. Hawkeye, this lesson opened my eyes! Thanks!

Hawkeye.HermanHawkeye.Herman replied on October 2nd, 2010

I'm glad to know that this lesson has opened your eyes to the fact that EVERYTHING is movable on the guitar. ;-) I hope you continue to enjoy these lessons. Thanks for your kind comment.

bmassaerbmassaer replied on August 30th, 2010

Dear Hawkeye. I find it pretty difficult to master the rhythm you present in the 12-bar blues in E (C7-shape) in this session. Maybe it's because I am still not feeling comfortable using a thumb-pick (I have been playing with normal pick for some years now). You are damping with the left hand, I realise. But when strumming the B-chord, on the damped upstroke I keep on strumming both E-strings. Even strumming the E-chord in this rhythm feels really difficult. Any suggestions?

Hawkeye.HermanHawkeye.Herman replied on August 30th, 2010

Thanks for the questions/comments. It takes about 4 to 6 hours of practice, all at once, or in increments to get used to playing with a thumbpick and have it feel like a natural extension of your thumb. Once the thumbpick feels natural to you, you can focus on other techniques. It's all about practice, there are no 'secrets' or shortcuts ... be patient with yourself ... and try to enjoy the process from day to day. I dampen the strings with my left hand a bit, and I also dampen the strings with the fleshy part/heel of the palm of my right hand. Take your time, crawl before you walk, walk before you run. You progress on the guitar every time you practice, sometimes in in big leaps, and sometimes in very small increments ... but you improve bit by bit every time you practice on the guitar ... this isn't a 'race to the finish' ... this is a lifelong work ;-)

jackoramjackoram replied on February 3rd, 2010

I was with some friends yesterday and one of them said, "yeah, I'd like to learn the guitar." To which I replied " you totally should. I love it, it's like a party in my hands." I've been on this series for almost 2 months and I LOVE it!! Thanks for turning my guitar into a hands party :)

Hawkeye.HermanHawkeye.Herman replied on February 3rd, 2010

Thanks for the comments and kind words. So glad you're enjoying these lessons ... and for referring your friends to JamPlay.com. Yes, 'it's a party in your hands' when you play the guitar ... and I can tell you this ... there ain't no party like a Hawkeye party 'cause a Hawkeye party don't stop! :-) I hope you continue to enjoy 'partying' with me on the blues highway here at JamPlay.com

kasrakasra replied on July 3rd, 2009

question question.... when you bring the B7 up the neck, when you play a B shaped E7 chord, you play all the string... I can understand that since you are playing B shaped E7, we can play both high and low E , but why are you also playing the B string? B is part of E scale? im a bit confuse in here...maybe im paying too much attention which indicated you are too good of a teacher... ive followed your lessons up to here 1 by one, step by step and last night i managed to play a smooth and nice sounding robert johnson solo... thank you Haykeye

Hawkeye.HermanHawkeye.Herman replied on July 3rd, 2009

kasra, Thanks for the comment and question. So glad you're being patient and taking these lessons in the order they're presented ... and are having good results. That's gratifying for both of us :-) Play a first postion B7 chord and move it up to the 6 and 7th fret (index on the 6th, rest of the fingesr on the 7th fret) and your B7 is now an E7 ... I'm not playing the B string ... it's open ... as you said, B is part of the E scale (the V note) ... no need to finger it. I don't know/can't explain why you think I'm playing on the B (2nd string in this position), I'm not ... the E string and the B string are played open. I hope this helps. Thanks again for enjoying these lessons.

kasrakasra replied on July 3rd, 2009

thank you professor, it did help a lot... i am not learning the minor scale :-) . . . you have prepared me so well that i can just watch a lesson and have no problem moving my fingers around...ill come back with a whole bunch of new questions soon again :P cheers

Hawkeye.HermanHawkeye.Herman replied on July 5th, 2009

kasra, I'm happy to hear that you're able to follow the lessons with no problem ... and that you're enjoying the sounds/music that your guitar is making. I look forward to any/all questions you may have in the future ;-) Thanks so much.

Hawkeye.HermanHawkeye.Herman replied on February 1st, 2009

gerndt, You're most welcome. So glad I have 'demystified' the movable chord concept for you. The guitar is built to be played by human hands and has a logical system that facilitates the fingerings of scales and chords. It's my job to open those doors of understanding for you. I'm most gratified that you are having success with these lessons. Thanks so much for your kind comments. Very much appreciated.

gerndtgerndt replied on February 1st, 2009

loved this lesson. when i was watching professional players before i always wondered, how they could memorize the differenrt ways of playing chord on the fretboard. with your explanations/your system, it's pretty easy... thank you, hawkeye!

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.


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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Peter Einhorn Peter Einhorn

JamPlay is proud to introduce jazz guitarist Peter Einhorn. In this lesson series, Peter will discuss and demonstrate a way...

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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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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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David Isaacs David Isaacs

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

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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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Rich Nibbe Rich Nibbe

Rich Nibbe takes a look at how you can apply the pentatonic scale in the style of John Mayer into your playing.

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Randall Williams Randall Williams

In this lesson Randall introduces the partial capo (using a short-cut capo by Kyser) and talks about how it can make the...

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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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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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David Wallimann David Wallimann

This is a crucial lesson that explains tablature, how to read it, and why it's important.

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Andy James Andy James

Get an in-depth look into the mind of virtuoso guitarist Andy James. Learn about Andy's early beginnings all the way up to...

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Glen Drover Glen Drover

Lesson 25 from Glen presents a detailed exercise that firmly builds up fret hand dexterity for both speed and accuracy.

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Kris Norris Kris Norris

Kris analyzes different pick sizes and their effect on his playing. Using a slow motion camera, he is able to point out the...

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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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Michael Mennell Michael Mennell

Mike introduces himself and his series.

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Dennis Hodges Dennis Hodges

Learn a variety of essential techniques commonly used in the metal genre, including palm muting, string slides, and chord...

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