Basic Blues Scale (Guitar Lesson)

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Hawkeye Herman

Basic Blues Scale

Hawkeye Herman introduces the minor pentatonic scale in this lesson, the most commonly used scale in blues lead guitar.

Taught by Hawkeye Herman in Blues Guitar with Hawkeye seriesLength: 23:54Difficulty: 2.0 of 5
Chapter 1: (01:12) Lesson Introduction Hawkeye begins Lesson 21 by reviewing some key points that he has discussed so far in the Blues series of lessons.

When playing any style of music, always remember Hawkeye's basic rules.

1. Crawl before you walk. Walk before you run. Learning to play an instrument is often compared to building a house. You absolutely must start with a strong foundation. Otherwise, the entire structure will topple over.

2. Always visualize the upcoming chord changes. Do not focus your attention on the chord that you are currently playing. Instead, look ahead to what chord is coming next. This becomes even more important when playing lead guitar. An effective lead guitar phrase outlines the chord changes by highlighting the key resolutions between two chords. How do you expect to accomplish this if you don't know which chord is coming next and where it occurs?

The Minor Pentatonic Scale

Hawkeye introduces one of the most important scales used in blues improvisation. This scale is called the "minor pentatonic" scale. This scale is minor in quality and is comprised of five notes. The prefix "penta" means five, and the suffix "tonic" means tone or note.

Note: Many blues players refer to the minor pentatonic scale as the "blues scale." However, the blues scale is actually a different scale. The blues scale adds the b5 scale degree to the basic minor pentatonic formula. This "blue note" gives the scale an overall more blues-y sound.
Chapter 2: (09:26) The Blues Scale The most commonly used scale in Western music is the major scale. This is a seven-note scale in which the tonic note is repeated at the end. Consequently, you will play a total of eight notes when playing or singing this scale.

A system of singing syllables is often applied to the notes of the major scale. This system is called "solfege." The solfege system assigns a syllable to each note in the major scale. These syllables are listed below:

1st note (tonic) - "do"
2nd note – "re"
3rd note – "mi"
4th note – "fa"
5th note – "so"
6th note – "la"
7th note – "ti"
8th note – "do"

A scale degree number can also be used to reference each note in the scale. For instance, first scale degree, second scale degree, etc.

Hawkeye demonstrates how this system can be applied to a major scale in the key of E. This scale is spelled as follows: E, F#, G#, A, B, C#, D#, E. Notation and tablature of this scale with proper left-hand fingerings can be found under the "Supplemental Content" tab.

The Minor Pentatonic Scale

A specific formula is used to spell any scale. All of these formulas are written in relation to the major scale. The major scale is written with the following formula: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 , 6, 7, 1. The formula for the minor pentatonic scale is 1, b3, 5, b7, 1. Recall the spelling of the E major scale listed above. If the formula for the minor pentatonic scale in the key of E is applied to the E major scale, the following notes result: E, G, A, B, D, E. Notice how the b3 scale degree converts the G# note in the major scale to a G natural in the minor pentatonic scale. The same principle occurs with the seventh scale degree as well. The D# in the major scale is flattened, thus making it a natural note in the E minor pentatonic scale.

Hawkeye demonstrates how the E minor pentatonic scale can be played in first position. Pay careful attention to the fingering that he uses. Remember to ascend as well as descend whenever you practice any scale.

Note: Notation and tablature to this scale with proper left-hand fingerings can be found under the "Supplemental Content" tab.

The Blues Scale

At 08:20, Hawkeye demonstrates how the minor pentatonic scale can be converted into the minor blues scale. The minor blues scale adds the b5 scale degree to the minor pentatonic scale. In relation to the key of E minor, this note is Bb. This b5 "blue note" creates desired tension and color within an improvised solo. However, due to its dissonance, you do not want to linger on this note for too long. Typically, blue notes are placed on metrically weak beats, or on beats that do not receive an agogic stress.
Chapter 3: (08:25) Learning the Scale As an exercise, practice trilling between the notes on each string within the E minor pentatonic scale. A trill is a rapid series of hammer-ons and pull-offs performed between two notes on the same string. Hawkeye demonstrates this exercise at the beginning of the current scene.

Using the Pentatonic Scale in the Blues Shuffle

At about 03:00 in the lesson video, Hawkeye demonstrates how short, simple pentatonic scale licks can be used to spice up the basic blues shuffle pattern.

Note: A transcription of the blues shuffle with these added licks can be found under the "Supplemental Content" tab.

Two Octave E Minor Pentatonic Scale

An additional, higher octave can be added to the pentatonic scale that you learned in the previous scene. The upper octave is played on the G, B, and E strings. This extra octave will give you a larger number of notes to choose from when improvising a blues solo.

Note: Notation and tablature to this scale with proper left-hand fingerings can be found under the "Supplemental Content" tab.
Chapter 4: (04:49) Remembering the Scale and Playing Blues In this scene, Hawkeye teaches a few tricks that will help you memorize the minor pentatonic scale. Two notes are played on each string in this scale. One of the two notes is always going to be an open string. The only piece of information that you must memorize is whether the second note is played at either the 2nd fret or the third fret. The low E, B, and high E strings feature notes played at the 3rd fret. All of the other strings in the pattern feature notes played at the second fret.

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.

Jsuya001Jsuya001 replied

DO-RE MI-FA -SOL-LA-SI (like yes in spanish) - DO Not DO-RE-MI- FA- SOL- LA- TI- DO That was funny

austinredaustinred replied

Love these lessons. These are my favorite on Jam Play. A really good companion lesson to these lessons are the first four lessons in Theory and Improvisation with David Wallimann.

johnlindseyjohnlindsey replied

I have 2 books on pentatonics and I got more out of this 20 minute lesson than I got from either book.

Hawkeye.HermanHawkeye.Herman replied

Thanks so much for your kind words, John. Miuch appreciated. Follow my lessons in th3e order they are presented, progressing at your own speed from one lesson to the nexrt, and you will, I believe, be pleased, surprised, and gratified by the reults of moving from one lesson to the next at your OWN speed, each lesson building on the next, and expanding your understanding, abilities, and skills along the way, Also please be sure to visit my web site, (, where there are free video and .pdf 'guitar lessons,' vist the 'oroginal articles' page for articles on blues history, and the iconic blues masters I met and learned from directly, and don't forget to check out the 'videos' link, see/view some of the over 20 blue songs in concert performances by yours truly, and you'll see how I use the informantion ane techniques I teach here at when I'm performing in concert and at music festival ... try to play along with me, it's good practrice, and try to 'steal' my licks/riffs/ideas. I hope you continue to enjoy my lessons and 'traveling' with me on the 'blues highway' here at Thanks again for your kind comments,

bungalowbillbungalowbill replied

Hey Hawkey I'm still plugging away here on Jamplay. I have played piano and back then the notes to the blues scale on the piano were the root, flat 3rd, 4th, flat 5th, 5th, and flat 7th. Why don't you include the flat 5th?

jonisenjonisen replied

Someone praised your approach in the forum, so I checked out your lessons....Thank you! I too love your approach. You are an excellent teacher. I love how you break everything down, and you make it seem easy...well, easier....I am doing as you suggested and taking each lesson one at a time... thanks

Hawkeye.HermanHawkeye.Herman replied

Thanks so much for the kind comments, Joni. Much appreciated. I love playing the guitar and sharing what I know with others, and I always try to do so in a positive and nurturing manner. Please be sure to watch some of my song/videos at youtube so that you can see how I use the techniques I teach here at JamPlay when I'm performing in concert and at festivals ... ... and there are free guitar lessons at my web site, as well ... ... Yes, I've given a lot of thought and planning as to the order and content of my lessons. Please do follow them patiently in the order they are presented, patiently progressing at your own speed from one lesson to the next. In this way you will build a string foundation and understanding of blues music that will allow you to play and improvise blues music ... for ever. Thanks again for your kind comments. I hope you continue to enjoy these lessons.

wgh369wgh369 replied

Hi Hawkeye...REALLY enjoying your lessons. Just finished the blues scale lesson and you were right about the guitar coming out of the case! Looking forward to seeing you live next time you're at the Blues and Brews Festival in Springfield Oregon. I teach as a substitute teacher and am learning your song , "The Blues Had a Baby" so I can play it for the kids. . . Thanks for everything Hawkeye!

Hawkeye.HermanHawkeye.Herman replied

Greetings, Bill. Thanks so much for the message and kind words about my lessons. Very much appreciated. I'm afraid that the Blues & Brews Fest in Springfield is no more ... Habitat for Humanity is no long producing the event ... maybe someone else will pick up the 'torch' and continue the event. Hope so. In the meantime, please do go to the "Blues In The Schools" page at my web site: ... at the top of the page you will see some active video and audio links ... please take the time to listen/view the ALL of material, as a teacher, I think you'll find those links, and the information in those links and on the entire page very useful. Also, please check out the two recent blues education interviews on my 'News' page: ... this one: ... and this one: ... I've given a lot of thought and planning as to the order and content of my lessons, I hope you're following my lessons in the order they are presented, and progressing from one lesson to the next only when you can accomplish what is in the current lesson ... in order to build a strong understanding and foundation in blues music. Thanks again for the kind comments and for enjoying these lessons. I hope we cross paths on the 'blues highway' sometime in 2013 ... perhaps at the Waterfront Blues Fest in Portland in early July. I hope so. ;-)

dean1101dean1101 replied

Love it you taught me that you do not need to over do it when playing a blues solo. The open E and open B was a scream Brilliant. Dean

Hawkeye.HermanHawkeye.Herman replied

Thanks for the kind comments and for enjoying these lessons, Dean. Much appreciated. Blues lead playing is not dependent on the number of notes one plays ... but the feeling behind each note. I hope you continue to enjoy these lessons.

dean1101dean1101 replied

Love it you taught me that you do not need to over do it when playing a blues solo. The open E and open B was a scream Brilliant. Dean

dean1101dean1101 replied

Hi Hawkeye I noticed on the attached tabs that there is no flat 3rd only natural 3rd notes or am I missing something and what does Parenthesis mean? Also on the Penatonic Tabs the are circles below the tabs like 3 then 3 with a circle. Thanks Dean

carl984carl984 replied

By the way, I'm Carl from Atlanta, GA

carl984carl984 replied

Dr. Torrance created the Torrance test for Creativity. It is used to identify kids levels of creative ability. In most states that have progrms for gifted students, there are several components to enter these programs. Usually IQ above 96%, high GPA, and this test is sometimes used. I was undergrad at North Carolina, MA in Climatology at Georgia State, PhD in gifted education at Georgia. Remain very interested in how people like yourself relate to kids, and how they get info to be retained by them. You seem to really work toward that objective. Creativity is a hard thing to identify and to rate, but is an important aspect marking intelligence.

Hawkeye.HermanHawkeye.Herman replied

Carl, thanks for the info. I don't know Dr. Torrance, maybe/likely my sister is aware of his work ... not me. If you're interested in my process ... here are two interviews about my work that were just published in Nov. of 2011: ... ... here are three very good short videos about my work: ... ... ... Thanks again for enjoying these lessons.

Hawkeye.HermanHawkeye.Herman replied

Yes, I've looked at your 'profile,' Carl ... so I hve some information about you ;-). I'm a few years older than you (67) ... but I'm not going to reture ... blues musicians (artists, in general), don't 'retire.' ;-) Besides performing professionally for over 40 years, I have been teachiing guitar for almost 35 years. My "blues In The Schools" programs have been going on since 1978, and have taken me into over 500 schools, all levels, from elementary to college level, in 28 states, 8 foreign countries, and for over 1/2 million students. Here are two very recent, 11/11, interviews about my in-school blues education programs: Blues Festival Guide mag.: American Blues News: About my in-school programs as posted here at ... and of course, for even more complete information, audio and video on my work with students ... please check out my web site "Blues In The Schools" page: ... if you visit the above page on my web site, please be sure to view/click on the audio and video items/links at the top of the page. Thanks again for enjoying these lessons and for taking the time to leave me your comments and questions.

carl984carl984 replied

Hawkeye, thanks for responding. I am following the lessons in order and have found them to be well done and very suited to my learning style. I have looked at a lot of your work in schools and am very impressed with your understanding of age levels and how to reach kids on their level. People at any age learn in different ways. Some are visual, some like to be lectured to, some like group work, some just want the info and t0 be left alone and will go at their own pace. You seem to include all of this in your lessons. Welll done. One of the higher level thinking skills would be to ask students what if questions. What if... I added this note, ....there were only 17 states, war II had not happened,...etc. Makes them think, which you make me do.

Hawkeye.HermanHawkeye.Herman replied

I appreciate your comments on education and my skills in the field, Carl. Thanks! My professor sister has been the department head of student teaching dept. in the Univ. of Iowa's School of Education for over 20 years and she has kept me abreast of teaching skills and trends. I am aware of the power of 'indirect input' at opposed to 'direct input' and one of my most valued skills is using 'guided inquiry' ... engaging the students via asking them questions rather than constantly lecturing to them ... that aspect came naturally to me. I really enjoy teaching ... almost as much as I enjoy playing and performing. The current 'buzz word' in education is 'cross curriculum' ... and in the past five years I have used blues music to teach not only music, but also history, geography, math, physic/science, literature, English/literacy, art, drama, band, and voice/chorus in elementary through college levels. Again, thanks so much for your kind comments and for enjoying these lessons. Very much appreciated.

carl984carl984 replied

Interesting way to stay up on educational trends, keep it in the family. I also taught at the college level, and specialized in teaching gifted students at the high school level. She may know of DR. Paul Torrance, who I studied with.

Hawkeye.HermanHawkeye.Herman replied

Where does/did Dr. Torrance teach? My wife got her BA at No. Ill., her MA at Western Ill., and her PHd at Univ. of Iowa. Thanks again for enjoying these lessons, Carl, and for your appreciation of my skills as an educator/communicator.

carl984carl984 replied

I did not start playing until 4 years ago, after retiring from education. At 63 I thought it would be a slow process, but I have found your lessons easy to follow and have allowed me to progress faster than with live teachers. Not that you are not alive, but you have increased my learning speed with your methods. Thanks. My question about the blues scale in this lesson: are the notes between say the 0 and 3 on the 6th string, ever played in blues?

Hawkeye.HermanHawkeye.Herman replied

Hi, Carl. Thaks for the kind comments, for enjoying these lessons, and for your question. Just a thought ... I hope you're following these lessons in the order they are presented ... I have given a great deal of thought and planning as to the content/curriculum and the order of these lessons ... patiently progress from one lesson to the next and you'll gain a strong foundation and understanding of blues music that will allow you to play freeely and improvise as you wish. The answer to your question is ... Yes, you can play any notes that are in between the scale notes on any string ... they are called 'passing tones/notes' ... you can't stay on these notes, but you can play them on 'the way' to the notes in the scale. This is the case with all notes on any instrument ... you learn the scale notes ... and then you learn how to gingerly step on the 'passing notes that are in between the scale notes for even more expression. In other words, you can play on the 1st, and 2nd frets o fthe lowest/6th string, either or both, while going from the open string and up to the 3rd fret ... or from the 3rd fret down to the open string ... but you can't 'hang out' on those notes. I hope you continue to enjoy these lessons.

goodbar ukgoodbar uk replied

Hawkeye WOW! – this has to be the most valuable lesson on the journey yet!! – you seem to have a way of dropping ‘pearls of wisdom’ into my head, sometimes when I’ve not even realized it. Richard, West Yorkshire, UK

Hawkeye.HermanHawkeye.Herman replied

Hi, Richard. Thanks so much for your kind message. Many of my students here at inform me that they've experienced what they seem to enjoy referring to as ... "Aha! moments." This is most rewarding for the students ... and for me, too. It is my purpose to open the 'doors of perception' for you ... it's your job to cross over the 'threshold' and utilize the information ... for ... well, forever. I hope you continue to enjoy these lessons. Thanks again for letting me know that my lessons are making a positive impact on your understanding of blues music and guitar playing abilities/skills. ;-)

bhadams3bhadams3 replied

I was so excited to see you involved in an educational program for the blues! I am originally from the delta south and 7! members of my family are professors, teachers, principals, etc. You are a gifted teacher, your energy and humorous teaching style have gotten me through hours of recent hard times. Thanks!at 47 yrs of age i finally "have time from work" and (irresponsibly) bought my first guitar. These lessons jumped me right into some good blues, (also learning some bluegrass licks). Growing up down south these genres were a way of the back porch so each lesson takes me home! Never stop teaching Hawkeye or you will be hunted down and given a "black and blues turnaround" !

Hawkeye.HermanHawkeye.Herman replied

Thanks so much for your kind comments, Benjamin. Much appreciated. I've been presenting my "Blues In The Schools" programs tin schools (all levels, elementary through college levels) for over 32 years ... I've been in over 500 schools in 28 states and 8 foreign nations ... to over 1/2 million students, including Memphis/Miss. Delta area schools and in Indianola, MS in schools and at the new $20 million BB King Museum/Delta Heritage Ctr. last Sept. ... you can see more about my in-school programs here: ... and please be sure to view my many videos here ... try to play along with me, and steal my licks ... you'll see how I use the many techniques I teach here at when I'm performing in concerts/festivals/schools. Don't forget there are more of my lessons, free, at my web site: ... again, thanks so much. I hope you continue to enjoy my lessons.

greenboogiegreenboogie replied


mazzystarlettemazzystarlette replied

I practice this scale all of the time. I will add the 30 30 20 20 20 30 to my 03 02 02 02 03 03 bag of tricks. Thanks Hawkeye and wife.

Hawkeye.HermanHawkeye.Herman replied

Great! I hope you're following these lessons in the order they're presented. :-) Enjoy the blues and thanks for traveling with me on the 'blues highway' here at

rockingchicagorockingchicago replied

wooooo playing the blues like i wanted to play it... thank you hawkeye

Hawkeye.HermanHawkeye.Herman replied

:-) That's what I'm here for ... so glad this is working for you. Keep it up!

adelagaradelagar replied

Absolutely incredible lesson. Such a simple concept.... and yet is like discovering a whole new world. Muchas Gracias Amigo.

Hawkeye.HermanHawkeye.Herman replied

You'll be enjoying this for the rest of your life ;-) Thanks so much.

dallendouglasdallendouglas replied

Sorry for the Confusion.NO,I'am not jumping around,which I usually do,but have made myself stay in the lesson plan. I would like a CD of Blue's Background like we studied in the begining . Keys of E A and B7 . so I can use it as a practice background for lead. In other word just a Cd of Rytrhm Background. Nopt sure there is anything so I may have a friend make make for me as I don't have a way to record,If you have any such Animal I could buy it would be Great. Thanks Dennis Thanks Again.

andylipscombandylipscomb replied

There are a few tracks here on JamPlay. On the main page, click "Teaching Tools" then "Backing Tracks." Track 50 is the 12 bar blues just as Hawkeye presents it. Tracks 5 and 7 use a very slight variation, but you can still use the basic blues scale introduced here. Hawkeye, in "Future Jamplay" it would be great if we had some simple tracks in midi format so you could speed them up or slow them down as needed for practice. Sort of a robo-bassman. This is a great lesson series. Thanks for all your work and insight.

Hawkeye.HermanHawkeye.Herman replied

> andylipscomb, Thanks for the kind comments. So glad you're enjoying these lessons. There's much more to come. As far as your input/suggestion on including midi-tracks with some of the lessons ... it's a good idea ... but I have absolutely nothing to do with the technical aspects of filming/videotaping/editing/webmastering this site ... I sit and teach the lessons in front of three video cameras ... that's what I do ... the 'team' does the rest ... I suggest you pass your suggestion along to the folks for their consideration ... I'm sure the 'team' will see this post, as well. Again, thanks so much for enjoying these lessons.

Hawkeye.HermanHawkeye.Herman replied

dallendouglas, Well, I'm glad you're not skipping around on theise lessons and are following them in the order they are presented. If you want blues rhythm tracks ... why not google it???? I just googled "free blues rhythm tracks" or "free blues backing tracks" and I came up with many options. Check 'em out. Thanks again for the comment and for enjoying the lessons. Happy 2009!

currannicurranni replied

i 1st learned this scale from Nils Lofgren who is bruce springsteens & neil youngs backing guitarist, he had a few hits of his own aswell. but i learned this a few months back but this lesson has deffo given me more uses for the 1 tool i learned a while back. i enjoyed this thanks

Hawkeye.HermanHawkeye.Herman replied

CURRANNI, You're most welcome. I appreciate your interest and comments. Much appreciated.

dallendouglasdallendouglas replied

Hawkeye, Tryingh to find the Herco #53 Nylon I like a needle in a Haystick. All the sites I have looked at opur Back-ordered I will keep looking. I have a Herco Blue Medium and it will have to do for now until I can get the one you recommended. Thanks Again

Hawkeye.HermanHawkeye.Herman replied

Dennis, thanks for the message. Glad you found the Herco blue nylon thumbpick by ordering it from your local music store. I don't think you'll be disappointed.

dallendouglasdallendouglas replied

Howdy Hawkeye, I find myseld going back over lesson we covered and I tend to get ahead of myself. I'am having some trouble with the "Thumb Pick" and I'am sure that continued practice will help. (Any Suggestions).I have always just used my Thumb alone. Thanks foir the Great lessons. Dennis

Hawkeye.HermanHawkeye.Herman replied

Dennis, It takes about 4 to 5 hours, total, to get used to having a thumbpick on ... you have to force yourself to keep it on your thumb ... whether for 15 minutes at at time, or an hour at a time, it takes a total of about 5 hours to get used to it and feel that it's an extension of your thumb and are not really conscious of it being there. If you're using a big thick/plastic thumbpick, it could take weeks to get used to using a thumbpick. The pick I recommend is the HERCO FLEX 52 BLUE NYLON THUMBPICK ... which can be found art accept no substitutes!!! This pick is light, durable, and because it's nylon, can be opened up/loosened if it's too tight, or squeezed/tightened if it's too loose. I was given one of these picks by the great Doc Watson about 25 years ago, and I have been using them ever since. Try it and you'll never use a plastic thumbpick again. Happy bluesin'.

dallendouglasdallendouglas replied

Hawkeye. Your right about the "Harmony" what do you think of the Epiphone Acoustic Electric Jumbo. It's not reallya Blues Guitar,but it sounds good. I have heard of some famous Muscians who used Epiphone's. I will check out your web site. I think I have a Mental Block when it comes to trying to play a lead in Blue's. I think I'am reading more into it than necessary. I will get it for sure. Again, this is the most fun I have had with your lessons and can see some progress daily. I have mentioned to the Jam Play people that you are excellent as sfar as I'am mconcerned. Dennis

Hawkeye.HermanHawkeye.Herman replied

Hi Dennis, Thanks for letting me and the staff know that you're enjoying these lessons. Very much appreciated. I would not categorize any guitar as a 'blues guitar' ... if you like the sound of a particular guitar when you play blues on it, then, it's a 'blues guitar.' :-) If your Epiphone Acoustic Electric Jumbo sounds good playing blues ... that's all that matters. the 'labels' put on certain instruments or brand names by others ... means little to me ... if it sounds good to you ... that's all that matters. There are great sounding/playing Epiphone guitars and crappy Epiphone guitars ... There are great sounding/playing Martin/Taylor/Gibson/Fender guitars and crappy ones. The brand name doesn't guarantee anything ;-) Don't worry about 'being crappy' playing blues lead ... you'll get it eventually ... the fun is in the journey ... the fun is in the process ... I've been playing the guitar for 50 years and I still am hungry for more information. "It's a long and winding road that has no end." I hope you continue to enjoy the blues journey .... for the rest of your life! Thanks again for your comments and enthusiasm. Happy 2009.

dallendouglasdallendouglas replied

Thanks Again, I have a good friends in California that are excellent Guitar Players with excellent recording set ups so I may just have one make me some CD's in the Chords we have covered. one friend in Covina Makes Custom Guitars which are more than I want to spend but good one's. I juyst bought a Epiphone Acoustic Electric Jumbo,but still use my Old Harmony Soverign(now 40 years old) for practice. Thanks again, Dennis

Hawkeye.HermanHawkeye.Herman replied

Dennis, Your Harmony Sovereign is a great guitar. I have a couple of them, and one in particular is superb and I used it to perform and record for over 30 years. I only 'retired the guitar when the airlines smashed it up in 2006 on a European tour. Look through my web site photo gallery and you'll see photos of it: Did you know that you can have the inside braces shaved and the bridge changed to a 'pin bridge' and it will be better than most guitar that are made today? Thanks for your enthusiasm for these blues guitar lessons.

dallendouglasdallendouglas replied

Thanks Hawkeye. Sorry to Bug you. Happy New Year. Dennis

Hawkeye.HermanHawkeye.Herman replied

Dennis, Thanks for the greetings. Noooo problem. I hope you found some blues rhythm/backing tracks online (for free), and that you are continuing to enjoy the process of learning and to keep a solid blues rhythm :-)

dallendouglasdallendouglas replied


Hawkeye.HermanHawkeye.Herman replied

dallendouglas, Thanks for the message. So glad you're enjoying the lessons. You should/con always look in the 'supplemental content' folder for more about each lesson ... there should be many chord charts to illustrate finger placement in chords throughout all the lessons, by all the instructors, here at ... look in the 'supplemental content' for all of my lessons, and the lessons of other instructors. In the lesson on this page, "Basic Blues Scale," I don't think I use or refer to any chords at all ... so I'm sorry to say that I'm not really sure what 'chords' your question is about. I hope you're watching these lessons in the order they are presented ... if you skip around in these guitar lessons, jumping at random from one to another, you will not fully understand the building blocks of the blues that I have taken the time to give/present in a very specific and logical order. Please follow the lessons in the order they are presented. If you care to clarify your question, send me another message/comment. Again, thanks so much for enjoying these blues guitar lessons.

jackie134jackie134 replied

Wonderful!!!!!!!!! Real boost to my confidence!

Hawkeye.HermanHawkeye.Herman replied

jackie1234, Super! That's my job :-) ... to empower you in music through your understanding the blues ... not to intimidate you into believing that you can't do this. Yes you can! Take your time and follow the lessons as they are presented, in order, and we will continue to the open doors to musical expression that you never thought you'd able able to accomplish. Comments like yours are most gratifying to me. Again, thanks so much.

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.

Introduction to BluesLesson 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
Understanding Blues ChordsLesson 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
Blues RhythmLesson 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
Intro to the Blues ShuffleLesson 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
More Blues ShuffleLesson 5

More Blues Shuffle

Hawkeye covers the blues shuffle in greater depth.

Length: 13:13 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
The Blues TurnaroundLesson 6

The Blues Turnaround

Hawkeye introduces and explains a common blues turnaround.

Length: 7:45 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Interesting Blues TurnaroundLesson 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
Moving the TurnaroundLesson 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
Turnaround in the BassLesson 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
Turnaround PracticeLesson 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
Turnarounds as LeadLesson 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
Subtle ChangesLesson 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
Blues Shuffle VariationsLesson 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
Bass Blues ShuffleLesson 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
Turnaround ExerciseLesson 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
Delta Blues TurnaroundLesson 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
Delta Blues Turnaround #2Lesson 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
Robert Johnson StyleLesson 18

Robert Johnson Style

Hawkeye Herman teaches more components of Robert Johnson's signature sound.

Length: 27:38 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Movable ChordsLesson 19

Movable Chords

Hawkeye introduces some common, movable chord shapes.

Length: 17:42 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Movable Chord ReviewLesson 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
Basic Blues ScaleLesson 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
Passing NotesLesson 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
Scales and KeysLesson 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
Finding the KeyLesson 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
Lightnin' Hopkins StyleLesson 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
Treble ShuffleLesson 26

Treble Shuffle

Hawkeye explains how to play the blues shuffle on the treble strings.

Length: 9:22 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
The Great River RoadLesson 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
Mississippi John Hurt StyleLesson 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
Piano BluesLesson 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
Blues AccompanimentLesson 30

Blues Accompaniment

Hawkeye Herman teaches a beautiful blues accompaniment pattern.

Length: 10:11 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Stop-Time BluesLesson 31

Stop-Time Blues

Hawkeye introduces the stop-time blues rhythm.

Length: 17:21 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Sweet Home ChicagoLesson 32

Sweet Home Chicago

Hawkeye Herman explains how to play Robert Johnson's "Sweet Home Chicago."

Length: 16:17 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Eight Bar BluesLesson 33

Eight Bar Blues

Hawkeye introduces the eight bar blues progression.

Length: 22:28 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
8 Bar Blues Key TranspositionLesson 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
Classic 8 Bar BluesLesson 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
Playing Multiple NotesLesson 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
Classic End TagLesson 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
Basic Blues SlideLesson 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
Slide Guitar and Open D TuningLesson 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
Ramblin' On My MindLesson 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
Blues Shuffle in Open DLesson 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
Open D Harmony ShuffleLesson 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
Open D TurnaroundLesson 43

Open D Turnaround

Hawkeye teaches a simple blues turnaround in open D tuning.

Length: 9:00 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Open D Slide LicksLesson 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
Pentatonic Scale in Open DLesson 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
Ramblin' On My MindLesson 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
Rock and Slide GuitarLesson 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
D Tuning ChordsLesson 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
You Got To MoveLesson 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
You Got to Move MelodyLesson 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
Slide Guitar and Blues LicksLesson 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
Elmore James StyleLesson 52

Elmore James Style

Hawkeye Herman breaks down important aspects of Elmore James' style.

Length: 23:11 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Blues Licks and RiffsLesson 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
Open G TuningLesson 54

Open G Tuning

Hawkeye Herman teaches the basics of open G tuning.

Length: 7:28 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
G Tuning ChordsLesson 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
Blues Scale in Open G TuningLesson 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
G Tuning AccompanimentLesson 57

G Tuning Accompaniment

Hawkeye talks about playing accompaniment using open G tuning.

Length: 7:44 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Improvising in G TuningLesson 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
Open G Shuffle RhythmLesson 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
Open G Shuffle VariationsLesson 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
Robert Johnson LicksLesson 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
G Tuning and the CapoLesson 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
Come On In My KitchenLesson 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
Skip James StyleLesson 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
Open D to Open GLesson 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
Drop D TuningLesson 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
Statesboro BluesLesson 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
Blind Lemon JeffersonLesson 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
Minor BluesLesson 69

Minor Blues

Hawkeye explains the chord changes used in a minor blues progression.

Length: 12:53 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
The CapoLesson 70

The Capo

Hawkeye talks about the capo and its many uses.

Length: 22:32 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Song EndingsLesson 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
Stop Time BluesLesson 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
Eight Bar BluesLesson 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
Blues MamboLesson 74

Blues Mambo

Hawkeye talks all about the blues mambo in this lesson.

Length: 16:09 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Movable EndingsLesson 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
Movable Blues ScaleLesson 76

Movable Blues Scale

Hawkeye talks about transposing the minor pentatonic scale to various keys.

Length: 16:58 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Blues Scale LeadLesson 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
Spanning the NeckLesson 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
The Blues Had a BabyLesson 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
Fun LicksLesson 80

Fun Licks

This lesson is filled with fun licks and lick techniques.

Length: 17:32 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Spanning the Neck ContinuedLesson 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
Barre Chords RefresherLesson 82

Barre Chords Refresher

Hawkeye provides a few useful tips on playing barre chords.

Length: 13:18 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Chord RelationshipsLesson 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
Chord Relationships ContinuedLesson 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
Shuffle Rhythm ReviewLesson 85

Shuffle Rhythm Review

Hawkeye answers member questions on the shuffle rhythm.

Length: 16:19 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Key of A IdeaLesson 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
Thumbpick Vs. FlatpickLesson 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
Capo IdeasLesson 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
Everything is MovableLesson 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
Bass Notes in TrebleLesson 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
Treble ShuffleLesson 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
Creating SolosLesson 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
Transposing SongsLesson 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
History of BluesLesson 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
Blues is the RootsLesson 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
The Style of Hank WilliamsLesson 96

The Style of Hank Williams

Hawkeye discusses the history and style of Hank Williams.

Length: 17:07 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
The Style of Jimmie RodgersLesson 97

The Style of Jimmie Rodgers

Hawkeye demonstrates some key aspects of Jimmie Rodgers' style.

Length: 12:30 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Boom-Chicka StrumLesson 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
Fun RunsLesson 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
Review & PracticeLesson 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
Song MedleyLesson 101

Song Medley

Hawkeye Herman demonstrates rhythmic concepts from earlier lessons by playing a fun medley.

Length: 13:08 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Hawkeye's Favorite LicksLesson 102

Hawkeye's Favorite Licks

Hawkeye shares some of his favorite licks in this lesson.

Length: 22:35 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
More Fun LicksLesson 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
More Licks Up the NeckLesson 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
Bass LicksLesson 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
Rock Me LickLesson 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
Turnaround PositionsLesson 107

Turnaround Positions

Hawkeye discusses how ideas derived from turnarounds can be incorporated into blues solos.

Length: 8:19 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Instrumental ThemesLesson 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
Instrumental Themes ContinuedLesson 109

Instrumental Themes Continued

Hawkeye continues his discussion on instrumental themes and blues.

Length: 23:42 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Ninth ChordsLesson 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
Ninth Chords ContinuedLesson 111

Ninth Chords Continued

Hawkeye Herman continues his discussion on 9th chords.

Length: 26:52 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
More Eight Bar BluesLesson 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
Using a TunerLesson 113

Using a Tuner

Hawkeye shares his thoughts on tuners in this lesson.

Length: 6:38 Difficulty: 0.5 Members Only
Introducing the CapoLesson 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
Forming Barre ChordsLesson 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
4 Up, 5 Down Applied ConceptLesson 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
Relative Chord ShapesLesson 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
Transposing Notes / Changing the KeyLesson 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
All About Finger PickingLesson 119

All About Finger Picking

Hawkeye takes a look at this important right hand technique.

Length: 20:54 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Bo Diddley BeatLesson 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
Thematic Bass LinesLesson 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
Bass Lines ContinuedLesson 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
Lead Bass IdeasLesson 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
Willie's BounceLesson 124

Willie's Bounce

Hawkeye teaches the bass line riff to his song "Willie's Bounce."

Length: 16:31 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Finger Picking Part 2Lesson 125

Finger Picking Part 2

Hawkeye continues his discussion on finger picking.

Length: 12:27 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
The Texas ALesson 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
Blues Scale: Adding the Major 3rdLesson 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
Double StopsLesson 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
Scrapper BlackwellLesson 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
Influence of Blind Lemon JeffersonLesson 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
Humming and StrummingLesson 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
Katrina, Oh KatrinaLesson 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
All About the Hammer-onLesson 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
The Pull-offLesson 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
Using Hammer-ons and Pull-offs TogetherLesson 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
The Quick ChangeLesson 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
Starting on the IV ChordLesson 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
The Talking BluesLesson 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
Utilizing 9th ChordsLesson 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
Minor Tuning, Major SoundLesson 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
Style of Elmore JamesLesson 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
Style of Son HouseLesson 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
Hawkeye Herman

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.

Lesson Information

Acoustic Guitar Lessons

Acoustic Guitar

Our acoustic guitar lessons are taught by qualified instructors with various backgrounds with the instrument.

Pamela Goldsmith Pamela Goldsmith

Pamela brings a cap to her first 13 JamPlay lessons with another original etude inspired by the great Leo Brouwer. This is...

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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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Orville Johnson Orville Johnson

Orville Johnson introduces turnarounds and provides great ideas and techniques.

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Jim Deeming Jim Deeming

Jim discusses the importance of setting goals. He provides some tips that will help steer your practicing in the right direction.

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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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Jessica Baron Jessica Baron

Jessica kindly introduces herself, her background, and her approach to this series.

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Trevor Gordon Hall Trevor Gordon Hall

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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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Kaki King Kaki King

In lesson 6, Kaki discusses how the left and right hands can work together or independently of each other to create different...

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Electric Guitar Lesson Samples

Electric Guitar

Our electric guitar lessons are taught by instructors with an incredible amount of teaching experience.

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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John Shannon John Shannon

Meet John Shannon and his approach to rhythm guitar. John discusses why he put this lesson series together and what his...

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Stuart Ziff Stuart Ziff

Stuart delves into all the different aspects of how R&B guitar has had an impact within reggae music.

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Mark Lettieri Mark Lettieri

In lesson 14 Mark debuts a thumb and fingerstyle technique used to create some separation in the bass and chords or melody.

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Tony MacAlpine Tony MacAlpine

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Tom Appleman Tom Appleman

Tom Appleman takes a look at a blues in E with a focus on the Chicago blues style. The bass line for Chicago blues is very...

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Allen Van Wert Allen Van Wert

Allen shows you the 24 rudiments crucial to developing finger dexterity. This is a short lesson but the exercises here can...

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Lisa Pursell Lisa Pursell

Lisa breaks into the very basics of the electric guitar. She starts by explaining the parts of the guitar. Then, she dives...

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Matt Brown Matt Brown

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

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Take a minute to compare JamPlay to other traditional and new methods of learning guitar. Our estimates for "In-Person" lessons below are based on a weekly face-to-face lesson for $40 per hour.

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