Finding the Key (Guitar Lesson)

Get Started
What are you waiting for? Get your membership now!
Hawkeye Herman

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.

Taught by Hawkeye Herman in Blues Guitar with Hawkeye seriesLength: 15:31Difficulty: 2.0 of 5
Chapter 1: (04:50) Lesson Introduction In previous lessons, you learned the minor pentatonic scale as well as the minor blues scale. You learned how to transpose the most common fretboard pattern for these scales to any key. By now, you should have practiced these scales in all 12 keys.

In the current lesson, Hawkeye will show you how to determine the key of a recorded song. Determining the key is essential if you wish to improvise a solo along with a recording. Once you have determined the key of the song, you can then use the minor pentatonic scale and the minor blues scale in this key to generate improvised melody lines.

Playing with Recordings

Playing along with your favorite blues records is an excellent way to develop your rhythmic and improvisational skills.

Follow these steps when playing along with records.

1. Make sure your guitar is in tune. You must also know which tuning the guitarist on the recording is playing in. For example, Stevie Ray Vaughn tuned every string down a half step. Other guitarists frequently play in open tunings such as open E, open G, and open D. Occasionally, some guitarists have been known to tune the guitar down an additional 1/4 step or microtone in addition to tuning down by a half step or whole step.

2. When determining the key of the song you are trying to play along with, you must take an organized approach. Do not simply jump all over the fretboard to find the correct tonic note. Use the E strings as a guide in order to find the root note of the tonic or I chord. Ascend chromatically in half steps until you find what you believe to be the root note of the tonic chord. This chord will identify the key of the song.

3. Then, play the minor pentatonic scale in this key along with the recording to make sure that it works. If this scale doesn't work, you must start the whole process over again.

4. After working through this process several times, you will notice that finding the tonal center of a song becomes much easier.
Chapter 2: (05:01) Finding the Key Hawkeye uses two songs from his album It’s All Blues to Me to demonstrate the process of finding a song's tonal center. This album can be purchased from Hawkeye's website:

Like Hawkeye mentions, it's pretty easy to be fooled by the tonic note of the V chord. Be careful that you do not mistake the root of the V chord for the root of the I chord. It is easy to confuse these two notes since the root of the V chord is the fifth chord degree of the tonic I chord.

Once Hawkeye has found the tonic pitch of the song, A, he plays through the minor pentatonic scale pattern along with the recording to ensure that he is playing in the correct key. As a final test, he improvises some blues licks in this key to make sure it's correct.
Chapter 3: (03:40) Jamming with Hawkeye Hawkeye repeats the same process with another song from his album. This song is "Baby Scratch My Back" by Slim Harpo. "Baby Scratch My Back" was an R&B hit in 1966. This is the second cut from Hawkeye's album It's All Blues to Me.

Once again, Hawkeye ascends the first string chromatically in order to find the tonal center of the song. This particular song is played in the key of G. After he has found what he believes to be the tonal center, he continues to explore the remaining possibilities on the fretboard just to make sure that he is correct. Afterwards, he plays the G minor pentatonic scale along with the song to confirm that he has found the right key. Finally, Hawkeye improvises a solo in this key. He applies the first turnaround that you learned in this series to his solo.
Chapter 4: (01:55) Lesson Review and Final Thoughts Get Organized!

Hawkeye concludes this lesson with some final thoughts. Remember that you should not randomly search for the key of a song. Instead, take an organized approach. Begin with the open E string and ascend chromatically in half steps until you find the tonal center.

Learn from the Greats

In addition to coming up with your own blues licks, try to learn as many licks as possible from your favorite recordings. This is the best way to develop a large blues vocabulary.

Video Subtitles / Captions


Supplemental Learning Material



Member Comments about this Lesson

Discussions with our instructors are just one of the many benefits of becoming a member of JamPlay.

myjamplaysmyjamplays replied

Hawkeye is a great teacher, I would love to see gpx files for guitar pro with Hawkeye lessons

LSCalgaryLSCalgary replied

Great lessons!! Thank you Hawkeye!![email protected] replied

Ever heard of Douglas Seegars and his Swedish hit "Goin Down to the River"? I tried to use your technique from Lesson 24 to find the key. I determined it was key of A and it is written in minors but can't seem to find the chords on the neck. Any suggestions so I can play along on his YouTube? Thanks. John

MothraMothra replied

Hey Hawkeye, have you ever considered doing live webcam sessions on here? Would love to play along with you. Thanks again for the engaging and fun lessons.

will2002will2002 replied

Hawkeye, I do so wish I would have had your lessons 45 years ago! Better late than never I suppose. You are a wonderful guitar teacher. All the best to you, Will.

Hawkeye.HermanHawkeye.Herman replied

Thanks so much for your kind comments, Will I do appreciate it. 45 years ago I was already playing the blues and teaching blues guitar, but believe me, I had not developed the teaching skills to clearly explain the various concepts I had already learned and was practicing ... I have grown my guitar and teaching skills over these many years, and the clarity of these video online lessons is/are the results of that progress as a player and a teacher over the years. ;-) "Better late than never," is the right attitude to assume. I hope you continue to enjoy the process of patiently learning, practicing, and playing blues guitar ... "crawl before you walk, and walk before you run.' May 'the blues highway' always bring you great joy and satisfaction.

dbernettdbernett replied

Love all your lessons. Finding the right key is great lesson but I ran into a trap I think on finding the right key for a song. I’m listening to this song and I find that F# sounds right on. I keep moving down the neck and then B sounds right on. I know the song is in B and I know why F# sounded so good also. The B and Bm chord are right on that F# high string. See my point or am I missing something?

Hawkeye.HermanHawkeye.Herman replied

Thanks for enjoying these lessons and for your comment, David. Much appreciated. I think (and hope) that I mention in the lesson about finding the key that you should move up to neck playing one note at a time slowly, not skipping any frets until the note you play seems to match the key/tonic note of the song/recording that you're listening to ... and I thought I mentioned that the two notes that ou should be able to 'find'/locate are going to be either the I/tonic/key note and the V/dominant chord. In other words, say a song is in the key of C, but you don't know that yet and you're looking for the key by searching slowly up the fingerboard one note at a time ... well, the two notes that will 'stick out' and seem to sound correct are the I/C and/or the V/G, because the I and V chords are so closely related ... (the V chord is also referred to as the 'dominant' chord in any key for that reason), so, if the V chord 'fools' you, you try to play the song in the key of G and you find that it doesn't work, so the song must be in the key of C. It's always the V chord of any key that might fool you ... so finding the I chord and the V chord, and then trying the song out in those two keys will solve your question about which key the song on the mp3/recording/CD is in. Antorht example, if the song is in the key of A, when searching for the right key, the V chord, E chord, might fool you, but all you have to do is play the song in A and then E, transposing the chords between those two keys, and you'll have narrowed it down and found the key. I hope you continue to enjoy patiently 'traveling' with me on the 'blues highway' here at Thanks again for your comments and questions.

euroa24euroa24 replied

Thank you Hawkeye honestly within these last few lessons you've really opened up the guitar for me. I was never able to find keys, or had any clue about being able to use all the material in all keys. Awesome I'm really seeing progress and it's definitely thanks to you.

Hawkeye.HermanHawkeye.Herman replied

You're most welcome, Garett, and Thank YOU for your service to our nation and for taking the time to let me know that these lessons make a difference in your day and your Life. It's most gratifying and satisfying for me to receive a message like yours. I hope these lessons keep 'opening doors' for you ... forever.

steve1978steve1978 replied

Wow - another great lesson Hawkeye. What a great teacher. Hawkeye, you are making this stuff a lot more easy and enjoyable to learn than other musical routes I have tried. I do have a quick two questions regarding the Herco thumb pick. How effective do you think the thumb pick is for lead playing over a regular pick and why don't more guitar players use the thumb pick as it does open the hand up for a more floating guitar style that seems the best of all guitar playing styles - finger picking/hybrid/flat picking. Thanks and all the best for the future.

Hawkeye.HermanHawkeye.Herman replied

Thanks so much for the enjoying these lessons and fro your kind comments, Steve. Very much appreciated. I use the Herco Flex Blue Nylon thumbpick at all times. I don't use a flatpick at all. That's my personal choice. The nylon thumbpick works fine, for me, for lead playing. I cannot answer your question about why others choose to use a flatpick, other than you can get more speed in the rapid /up/down picking using a flatpick, generally speaking, than with a thumbpick. I use a Herco Blue Nylon Thumbpick all of the time ... acoustic and electric. That's MY choice ... that's what I like ... each player must make such 'gear related' decisions on their own, according to their needs, likes, and the sound they want to achieve on the instrument. Your question(s) regarding the thumbpick is/are the most frequently asked question I get ... please be aware that there is a forum area here a JamPlay for each of the instructors to discuss general concepts, rather than information on specific lessons. Discussions and my answers/explanations on the choice of picks one uses can be found here: I will not play with any other thumbpick ... I accept no substitutes for what works for me ... that's my choice ... and if you're interested in trying out this thumbpick, here is a good place to order the Herco Flex Blue Nylon Thumbpick, if you can't find it in your local music store: I hope this information is helpful to you. Thanks again for taking the time to ask. I hope you continue to enjoy these lessons. Cheers and Best, Hawkeye

jay garcesjay garces replied

Holy Cow! Hawkeye, you have no idea how much my enjoyment of playing has catapulted after learning this lesson. I decided to take 2 weeks off during Christmas to just go through your lessons on the blues, and after this lesson I used what I learned to play with some old BB King recordings....I'm totally blown away by how much more fun it is to play while listening. While every lesson so far has increased my love of the blues, this is definitely a milestone moment for my guitar playing! Thanks!

Hawkeye.HermanHawkeye.Herman replied

Thanks so much for your kind comments and for enjoying these lessons, Jay. Very much appreciated. It's most gratifying for me to know that your guitar playing abilities/skills are increasing/broadening/expanding as a result of these lessons. This lesson. in particular, should, I hope, have you playing along with (and learning from) your favorite blues recordings ... forever. Thanks again for 'traveling' with me on the 'blues highway' here at I hope you continue to enjoy these lessons and have even more 'catapulting' breakthrough moments that enhance your understanding and enjoyment of blues music and playing blues guitar.

jpittssrjpittssr replied

Ah HAH!!!! Finally the light came on! For a long time I have been trying to figure out this business of playing scales as lead. I could not find anywhere to tell me which scale to use. If The band is playing a standard I IV V 12 bar blues Key of E, should I use the E scale all over? Or should I follow the chord changes ans change scales accordingly? This lesson makes it clear that I can use the scale of the song KEY and play it over the entire song. Now, the question is: Can I also change scales or will I run into discords? Thanks for the lessons.

Hawkeye.HermanHawkeye.Herman replied

So glad 'the light came on' for you, James. Yours is a frequently asked question ... you can play the E scale when a song is in the key of E throughout the song, regardless of the chord changes that take place in the blues song ... and so it is for any blues song in any key. You can change the scale you're playing accorind to the changes, as well ... when the song in E goes to the A (IV) chord, you can change positions and play the blues scale in A ... this takes a lot of patience, but can expand your sound ... try it ... slowly ... and see what your results are. Don't be afraid to experiemnt on the guitar ... if it sounds 'bad' or doesn't seem to 'work' ... wll, that's how you learn ... ;-) ... we learn by making/from mistakes ... not by doing things correctly ... I hope you continue to enjoy these lessons. Thanks so much for being here at

greenboogiegreenboogie replied

Great lesson.

Hawkeye.HermanHawkeye.Herman replied


flakdogflakdog replied

You tha Man Hawkeye, I needed this lesson! Thanks

Hawkeye.HermanHawkeye.Herman replied

Thanks for the comment, Randy. Much appreciated. The message is 'make sure your guitar is in tune, and don't search randomly for the right key' ... search logically ;-) ... as I point out in this lesson. Thanks again. I hope you continue to enjoy these lessons.

snowdadsnowdad replied

Great Lesson Hawkeye! Thanks.

Hawkeye.HermanHawkeye.Herman replied

Thanks for the kind comment, Gary. I hope you continue to enjoy these lessons.

gumtreegurugumtreeguru replied

watched lesson ad there is bar talk but no actual bar. i'm unconfused. sorry

Hawkeye.HermanHawkeye.Herman replied

Ernest, Thanks for your question ... have you taken the time to click on the 'Info About This Lesson" ... ? the first 'tab' right under the lesson ... if not, I suggest you do so. I hope this helps. Again, thanks so much for enjoying these lessons.

dearlpittsdearlpitts replied

u been gone for a couple months haa

Hawkeye.HermanHawkeye.Herman replied

??????? When I'm not on tour performing I check the 'comments/questions' area here at my lessons at least four times a week and I try to respond as soon as I can. I haven't been 'absent' for more than 10 days in the past year ... not sure what you mean by your post. I hope you're enjoying these lessons and my style of teaching and playing the guitar.

Hawkeye.HermanHawkeye.Herman replied

I just videotaped many more hours of lessons for I hope you enjoy the lessons and traveling with me on the 'blues highway.'

ricardoflynnricardoflynn replied

Oooo, I'm struggling with this one. Which probably explains why my singing voice is so bad :D Is 'Leave My Wife Alone' by John Lee Hooker in the key of... G??

Hawkeye.HermanHawkeye.Herman replied

ricardoflynn, Well, struggle on, brother ;-) ... that's part of the process ... to train your ear to recognize such things as the proper key. Sorry, but I'm on tour at the moment and I don't have the time to check it out nor access to the Hooker tune you refer to ... you need to follow my instructions slowly and carefully ... while the record/song is playing you need walk up the strings trying each note of the high E string at each fret, and when you think you've got the right key, play the scale and see if it 'fits' ... you won't learn anything if I tell you the key the song is in ... be patient with yourself ... that's part of ear-training ... when it's right, you'll know it. Many, many guitar players don't sing at all ... but that doesn't hinder their ability to find the key a song is in on a recording. Keep at it. You'll get it ...sooner or later. That's what the 'process' is about ... training your ear. This should not be frustrating ... it should be fun ... like a crossword puzzle ... don't give up. You're on the right track ... hang in there. Thanks for enjoying these lessons.

cbw2003cbw2003 replied

Hawkeye, I went to YouTube and started to listen to Hawkeye Herman/Nobody Knows You When You're Down And Out. Great Song! Is this song in the key of A? This would be a great song to go over. Really enjoyed listening to it.

cbw2003cbw2003 replied

Got it. It's in the chord of C. I was going back and forth between the two. I could not understand how you were playing F if you were in the chord of C? HA! Got it, now!

Hawkeye.HermanHawkeye.Herman replied

cbw2003, That's correct. Good work. The song is in the key of C. The chords are C-E-A7-Dm7-A7-Dm7-F-B-C-A-D7-G7-C. It's a great song and one of the first blues songs I learned many years ago. Folkss love this song, and I perform it in concert and at festivals regularly. Thanks so much for your comments.

guitarfoolguitarfool replied

Hawkeye, you have filled in a lot of the blanks for me, I've been self taught for almost four years, and while learning quite a bit during that time, your lessons had my grandkids dancing to guitar music this morning....:), looking forward to the next lessons!

dancrawforddancrawford replied

Thanks Hawkeye! One more question: With regard to finding the key, I know that it goes E, F, F#, etc and on up the neck on the first string, but I get confused after that. Is that progression written out anywhere? I just want to make sure that I know when you go from one major to the next as opposed to going from one major to a sharp of that major. Thanks. DC

dancrawforddancrawford replied

Actually I found what I was looking for. Don't know if anyone else needs this info, but here it is: E, F, F#, G G#, A, A#, B, C, D, D#, E

Hawkeye.HermanHawkeye.Herman replied

dancrawford, Thanks so much. Sorry I missed that post. I appreciate your covering it for me. So glad somebody is really paying attention ;-) Much appreciated.

Hawkeye.HermanHawkeye.Herman replied

guitarfool, Thanks so much. I'm hapy to hear that your grandkids are boogie-ing to the blues. Children love the solid rhythms of the blues ... visit my in-school videos at if you get a chance. There's much more to come ... I hope you continue to enjoy the journey. Thanks again!

dancrawforddancrawford replied

Hi Hawkeye- Another great lesson, as usual. Just one question: When you found the key in each song I noticed that you played the 1, 4 and 5 chord lead parts in the same scale. How does that work??

Hawkeye.HermanHawkeye.Herman replied

dancrawford, Thanks. Glad you enjoyed the lesson. Regarding your question of my playing through the scale in one key position while the chords changed through the I/IV/V ... it works, it's what makes blues music blues music ... the five notes of the (pentatonic) blues scale are compatible with all three chords ... okay? ... I'm not going to get any more technical about it than that ... I appreciate your curiosity and asking why ... but ... just do it ... pick up your guitar and enjoy the advantage of being able to play the pentatonic blues scale over all three of the chords without have to think about much else ... be aware, that eventually in this series of lessons you will be challenge to play this same five note scale all the way up and down the neck so as to be able to explore and span the entire range of the guitar's neck ... and your brain. Thanks again ... get to it ;-)

Hawkeye.HermanHawkeye.Herman replied

Sylvia, Thakns so much ... so are you, mega-fan-tabulous ... for hangin' in there with me, learning about the blues, and enjoying the process. Be sure to visit my web site for some free guitar lessons ... ... and of course, go to (just type Hawkeye Herman into the search area), and watch and learn as I perform over 20 songs live in concert. Again, thanks so much.

SylviaSylvia replied

Hawkeye! You are just mega-fan-tablulous! ;o)

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.

Mark Lincoln Mark Lincoln

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

Free LessonSeries Details
Justin Roth Justin Roth

In this lesson Justin introduces his series on playing with a capo and dishes out some basic tips, including how to properly...

Free LessonSeries Details
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...

Free LessonSeries Details
Jessica Baron Jessica Baron

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

Free LessonSeries Details
Phil Keaggy Phil Keaggy

Phil discusses inspiration, where it's found and how you can take almost anything around you and use it to inspire your own...

Free LessonSeries Details
David Isaacs David Isaacs

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

Free LessonSeries Details
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...

Free LessonSeries Details
Mark Kailana Nelson Mark Kailana Nelson

Mark Nelson introduces "'Ulupalakua," a song he will be using to teach different skills and techniques. In this lesson, he...

Free LessonSeries Details
Greg Greenway Greg Greenway

Greg kicks off his series telling a little about himself and introduces the C9 tuning.

Free LessonSeries Details
Eve Goldberg Eve Goldberg

Eve talks about the boom-chuck strum pattern. This strum pattern will completely change the sound of your playing.

Free LessonSeries Details

Electric Guitar Lesson Samples

Electric Guitar

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

Yvette Young Yvette Young

In this lesson, Yvette breaks down a staccato tapping riff from her song, Shibuya.

Free LessonSeries Details
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...

Free LessonSeries Details
Andre Nieri Andre Nieri

Born in 1986 and hailing from Brazil, Andre showed musical inclination at an early age. Influenced by native Brazilian Jazz...

Free LessonSeries Details
Larry Cook Larry Cook

In this lesson, Larry discusses and demonstrates how to tune your bass. He explains why tuning is critical and discusses...

Free LessonSeries Details
Brendan Burns Brendan Burns

Brendan demonstrates the tiny triad shapes derived from the form 1 barre chord.

Free LessonSeries Details
Andy Whitehead Andy Whitehead

Join Andy as he takes a look at the style of one of the most influential guitarists of all time: Eddie Van Halen. In the...

Free LessonSeries Details
Stuart Ziff Stuart Ziff

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

Free LessonSeries Details
Glen Drover Glen Drover

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

Free LessonSeries Details
Alex Scott Alex Scott

Find out what this series is all about.

Free LessonSeries Details

Join over 517786 guitarists who have learned how to play in weeks... not years!

Signup today to enjoy access to our entire database of video lessons, along with our exclusive set of learning tools and features.

Unlimited Lesson Viewing

A JamPlay membership gives you access to every lesson, from every teacher on our staff. Additionally, there is no restriction on how many times you watch a lesson. Watch as many times as you need.

Live Lessons

Exclusive only to JamPlay, we currently broadcast 8-10 hours of steaming lesson services directly to you! Enjoy the benefits of in-person instructors and the conveniences of our community.

Interactive Community

Create your own profile, manage your friends list, and contact users with your own JamPlay Mailbox. JamPlay also features live chat with teachers and members, and an active Forum.

Chord Library

Each chord in our library contains a full chart, related tablature, and a photograph of how the chord is played. A comprehensive learning resource for any guitarist.

Scale Library

Our software allows you to document your progress for any lesson, including notes and percent of the lesson completed. This gives you the ability to document what you need to work on, and where you left off.

Custom Chord Sheets

At JamPlay, not only can you reference our Chord Library, but you can also select any variety of chords you need to work on, and generate your own printable chord sheet.

Backing Tracks

Jam-along backing tracks give the guitarist a platform for improvising and soloing. Our backing tracks provide a wide variety of tracks from different genres of music, and serves as a great learning tool.

Interactive Games

We have teachers covering beginner lessons, rock, classic rock, jazz, bluegrass, fingerstyle, slack key and more. Learn how to play the guitar from experienced players, in a casual environment.

Beginners Welcome.. and Up

Unlike a lot of guitar websites and DVDs, we start our Beginner Lessons at the VERY start of the learning process, as if you just picked up a guitar for the first time.Our teaching is structured for all players.

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.

Price Per Lesson < $0.01 $4 - $5 $30 - $50 Free
Money Back Guarantee Sometimes n/a
Number of Instructors 127 1 – 3 1 Zillions
Interaction with Instructors Daily Webcam Sessions Weekly
Professional Instructors Luck of the Draw Luck of the Draw
New Lessons Daily Weekly Minutely
Structured Lessons
Learn Any Style Sorta
Track Progress
HD Video - Sometimes
Multiple Camera Angles Sometimes - Sometimes
Accurate Tabs Maybe Maybe
Scale/Chord Libraries
Custom JamTracks
Interactive Games
Learn in Sweatpants Socially Unacceptable
Gasoline Needed $0.00 $0.00 ~$4 / gallon! $0.00
Get Started

Mike H.

"I feel like a 12 year old kid with a new guitar!"

I am 66 years young and I still got it! I would have never known this if it had not been for Jamplay! I feel like a 12 year old kid with a new guitar! Ha! I cannot express enough how great you're website is! It is for beginners and advanced pickers! I am an advanced picker and thought I had lost it but thanks to you all, I found it again! Even though I only play by ear, I have been a member a whopping whole two weeks now and have already got Brent's country shuffle and country blues down and of course with embellishments. Thank you all for your wonderful program!

Greg J.

"With Jamplay I can fit in a random session when I have time and I can go at my own pace"

I'm a fifty eight year old newbie who owns a guitar which has been sitting untouched in a corner for about seven years now. Last weekend I got inspired to pick it up and finally learn how to play after watching an amazing Spanish guitarist on TV. So, here I am. I'm starting at the beginning with Steve Eulberg and I couldn't be happier (except for the sore fingers :) Some day I'm going to play like Steve! I'm self employed with a hectic schedule. With Jamplay I can fit in a random session when I have time and I can go at my own pace, rewinding and replaying the videos until I get it. This is a very enjoyable diversion from my work yet I still feel like I'm accomplishing something worthwhile. Thanks a lot, Greg


"I believe this is the absolute best site for guitar students."

I am commenting here to tell you and everyone at JamPlay that I believe this is the absolute best site for guitar students. I truly enjoy learning to play the guitar on Yes, I said the words, ""enjoy learning."" It is by far the best deal for the money.

Join thousands of others that LIKE JamPlay!