The Great River Road (Guitar Lesson)


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Hawkeye Herman

The Great River Road

Hawkeye Herman teaches you how to play his original song, "The Great River Road," in this phenomenal lesson.

Taught by Hawkeye Herman in Blues Guitar with Hawkeye seriesLength: 16:39Difficulty: 2.0 of 5
Chapter 1: (03:00) Lesson Introduction Hawkeye kicks off lesson with a few important pieces of advice. Remember to crawl before you walk and walk before you run. Start everything you practice at a slow tempo and work your way up. If you hear Hawkeye play something fast such as the rapid strumming in the previous lesson, simply slow the exercise down to a tempo that is comfortable for you. Then, gradually work up from there. Do not increase the speed of the metronome until you can play the exercise flawlessly at the current tempo you are working on. This practice method is the best for ironing out any mistakes. Also, you will learn how to play the exercise / piece in the most efficient manner.

Also remember to visualize what is coming next in a piece of music. This rule applies to chord changes, the melody, playing a solo, etc.
Chapter 2: (11:16) The Great River Road In this lesson, you will learn a Hawkeye Herman original. This blues song is entitled "The Great River Road." The title of this song is a reference to Highway 61, which runs all the way along the Mississippi River from Minneapolis to New Orleans. Hawkeye grew up in Iowa along this stretch of highway. "The Great River Road" is the first cut from the album Blues Alive. Click here to watch a live performance of this instrumental tune.

"The Great River Road" features many blues rhythm figures that Hawkeye learned from blues great Brownie McGhee. Hawkeye has loosely based his entire fingerpicking style around the fingerstyle rhythm figures exhibited in this song.

The "Kansas City Strum"

Hawkeye demonstrates what Brownie MchGee referred to as the "Kansas City Strum." This figure begins with a hammer-on from the open G string to the major third of the open E major chord. The major third of E major is the note G#. Perform this hammer-on while simultaneously plucking the open low E string. This is followed by a simple strum of the open E major chord. This chordal accompaniment is a prime example of how sometimes the most effective blues elements are often the most simple. It doesn't take a million notes to create an effective rhythm pattern.

Adding to the Kansas City Strum

A melody line played on the B string can be added to the most basic form of the Kansas City strum. This melody pattern is a slight variation on the treble version of the shuffle pattern that you learned in the previous lesson.

Note: Open "Kansas City Strum" listed under the "Supplemental Content" tab for tablature and notation to this rhythm figure. This figure is applied to the entire 12 bar blues form.

Application of the Kansas City Strum

The Kansas City Strum works well as a lead figure or solo break. Hawkeye sings a verse of "Good Morning Blues" while playing the basic shuffle pattern on guitar. Then, he uses the Kansas City Strum as a solo break. This rhythm figure works perfectly as a solo line, because it keeps the rhythm steady in the absence of a bass player while simultaneously adding a catchy melody line.

The Kansas City Strum also serves as a great accompaniment figure for a vocal line. Listen as Hawkeye sings "Good Morning Blues" along with this rhythm at 08:40.

Tying It All Together

Through teaching "The Great River Road," Hawkeye is able to bring several of the tools that he has discussed in this series together in a single piece of blues music. As you listen to this song, notice how elements of Robert Johnson, Lightnin' Hopkins, shuffle patterns, and more are all blended together into Hawkeye's very own unique style. This is the ultimate goal to strive for with your own guitar playing.
Chapter 3: (02:25) Playing the Song Hawkeye plays through "The Great River Road" in this scene.

Note: A transcription to this song can be found under the "Supplemental Content" tab. When learning this piece, remember the three cardinal rules that Hawkeye outlined in the first scene.

1. Visualize what is coming next.
2. Don't play at a tempo that is too fast.
3. Crawl before you walk. Walk before you run.


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.


GregoryMGregoryM replied on March 19th, 2017

You're a great teacher, Hawkeye. For years I've picked up my guitar for a few minutes at a time, playing the same old songs and riffs over and over. Now I find myself improvising, mixing it up and finding my own style. Never knew I had it in me.

gerryleegerrylee replied on September 7th, 2016

Hawkeye, i just want to thank you man! That was perfect! Here in Greece, we 've got the blues too!! Thanks so much for all the ideas that you give us! Keep it up, you make me happy every day man!

lethallee61lethallee61 replied on November 28th, 2015

It's hard not to smile when I watch you play. Thank you so much for these lessons. This would have terrified me 6 months ago but now I can honestly look at this and think "You know, with some practice, I could play this." Thank you for inspiring me with that level of confidence.

austinredaustinred replied on July 18th, 2015

Cooooool!

costeffcosteff replied on February 12th, 2015

I really appreciate your advice on learning to crawl before you run and what-not. I find that when learning a new song or picking pattern that it's best to practice with bare fingers and thumbs. Once my hands have memorised the pattern I can then use the thumb pick. Thanks

bungalowbillbungalowbill replied on September 25th, 2013

Hello again Hawkeye You kind of lost me in the Great River Road at the 52 second mark of Lesson 27 in scene 3 when you say Lets play the turnaround backwards. What notes are you playing. for the turnaround for the E, A and B chords?

Hawkeye.HermanHawkeye.Herman replied on September 26th, 2013

Play the turnaround in the key of E. Now move it up the neck so that it resolves in the key of A at the 5th fret using a barre E/F chord, then move it up the neck until it resolves in B at the 7th fret using a barre E/F chord ... the relative position is the same in E and all over the neck ... using words to explain a video is really strange and difficult ... that's why we have video instruction ... you have the power to use the video controls to make me repeat anything, from a long to a short segment, a million times until you get it. In the key of E, play a simple D7 shaped chord at the 3rd fret (index finger at the 3rd fret, 2nd/3rd fingers at the 4th fret), now play it at the 3rd fret, now at the 2nd fret, and now an E chord. Backwards: play an E chord, now play a D7 chord, now play a D#7 chord up one fret, then play an E7 chord at the 3rd fret ... all but the E chord are a simple D7 shape just moved up the neck. Now play aa barred A chord and use the same relative positions to play the turnaround in A ... now play a barred B chord and do the same thing. That's the best I can do in trying to explain this is words without video. I hope this helps ... ;-)

Hawkeye.HermanHawkeye.Herman replied on September 27th, 2013

The above description applies to using a general turnaround in E, not specifically in this tune. Please be sure to look at the supplemental material on this lesson and see how a play variations of the turnaround on the bottom 4 bass strings. The music/tablature notation is fairly accurate, thanks to Matt, one of our fearless transcribers here at JamPlay.com.

bungalowbillbungalowbill replied on September 28th, 2013

The general turnaround in E is no problem. It's the one on the bottom strings that had me confused. Between watching the video and checking the transcription I finally got it ok. I know you taught the low string turnaround in a previous lesson but it just didn't sound the same when I was listening to it on the video. Thanks again for your help.

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

Glad you figured out your problem with the turnaround. It's always a good idea to check all of the supplemental material supplied with each lesson if/when you have problems/issues/questions about an aspect of a given lesson. 'Fearless Matt' does a very good job of transcribing my lessons, which is not an easy job. I hope you continue to enjoy these lessons. If you have any problems/questions/issues that are not 'answered' via the supplemental material, I always welcome your asking me about whatever the issue/problem/question is. ;-)

bungalowbillbungalowbill replied on September 10th, 2013

Hawkeye, that accompaniment/solo for Good Morning Blues is mesmerizing. I love it. I can't stop playing it. I just find it very hard to side into the B chord for the turnaround and get a clear sound. Ditto for the A so I play the A chord down at the neck as in the 5th and 6th measure but there's no alternative for the B chord. My index finger just doesn't press down hard enough to get a good sound for the 2nd, 3rd and 4th beats of the B chord.

maggiekajmaggiekaj replied on September 15th, 2013

Hi Hawkeye, I am enjoying these lessons sooooo much. You are an amazing teacher and guitarist. Your enthusiasm is contagious and I am really excited about all this stuff. I'm using so much more of the guitar now and although all is not crystal clear ie about all the different keys just yet I know it will click if I apply myself. I have a tendency to try to win the olympic 1oo meters before getting out of bed. I take you r wise words to heed about crawling and all that...I find the changes difficult, and I don't have good finger independence yet, so I must slow down. Been doin a lot of research on all the old guys of blues. Reall fascinating. great documentary about Robert Johnson on U tube Your lessons are soo well structured and so well thought out so that we are building on what we have learned and adding new skills slowly but surely. This just suits me so well. Thank you very much for these fab videos. I meet you every day and practice!!!!! Cheers form Manchester UK!

Hawkeye.HermanHawkeye.Herman replied on September 15th, 2013

Thanks so much for taking the time to let me know that you're enjoying my lessons and approach/style of teaching, Maggie. Much appreciated. There are more of my lessons, free, here: http://hawkeyeherman.com/guitar-lessons.htm ... and please don't forget to view some of my blues songs on video so you can see how I use the blues guitar techniques I teach here in these lessons when I'm performing at festivals and concerts, try to play along with me, and try to 'steal' my ideas/riffs/licks: http://www.youtube.com/user/HawkeyeH ... and since you mentioned your exercising patience and procedure ('crawl before you walk, walk before you run') ... I think you might be interested in this thread I started in the forum area about how to approach my lesson series, and the many comments of some of my students: http://forums.jamplay.com/showthread.php?14559-Cherry-picking-lessons-serendipitous-study-habits-amp-the-concept-of-discipline ... Again, thanks so much for your comments. I hope you continue to enjoy these lessons and 'traveling' with me on the 'blues highway' here at JamPlay.com.

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

Thanks for the comments, Mike. Glad you're enjoying these lessons. The B chord can be played as a barre chord at the 7th fret using an E/F shaped barre chord, and at the second fret by using an A shaped barre chord. Be patient, you need to build up the strength your index finger. Also, when making either of these barre chords, if you're playing a shuffle rhythm that is only played on the bass strings it is not necessary to hold down the treble notes in the chord. If the figure you're playing does not include treble strings, you don't have to hold those strings down and make the full chord. It's not necessary to hold down strings that are not being used in the musical figure being played. I hope this helps, and that you continue to enjoy these lessons.

bungalowbillbungalowbill replied on September 12th, 2013

Hawkeye I am playing extra slow and only playing the notes needed. It relieves the pressure and makes it easier to play. Thanks

Hawkeye.HermanHawkeye.Herman replied on September 12th, 2013

:-) You're most welcome. Glad to help, Bill. I hope you're enjoying the process and experiencing improvement in your skills.

kennfordkennford replied on March 29th, 2013

Hi Hawkeye, Really enjoyed this lesson and the two previous lessons. Problem is I listen and watch what you're doing, play that as close to your style as I can and then I take the chords and licks and wander off into my own world with them! Each lesson is a gem! Thanks again...

Hawkeye.HermanHawkeye.Herman replied on March 29th, 2013

You're most welcome, Ken. Your 'problem' is not a 'problem' ... it's called 'learning and playing blues guitar as you wish/feel it.' I hope you continue to enjoy these lessons.

kd44kd44 replied on January 4th, 2013

wow... these barre chords are so hard for me and my thick fingers.. I've tried everything.... but I have trouble getting the B string to ring. LOL> I guess this is where my stubborness can be a positive and I will endeavor to persevere LOL Love the Lesson Hawk!!!

Hawkeye.HermanHawkeye.Herman replied on January 4th, 2013

Thanks for the message and for enjoying these lessons, Ken. Very much appreciated. Barre chords are tough to learn ... but once you 'get it' ... they serve you forever ... just be sure to practice your barre chords while sitting in a chair or stool without arms ... and make sure that the elbow of your fretting hand/arm is not being squeezed into the side of your body ... get your elbow out and way from your body and you'll see that this will 'extend the reach' of your fingers on the neck ... sitting upright on/in an armless chair or stool with good upright posture and keeping the elbow of your fretting hand/arm away from the side of your body should help. Also, remember, there's no rush ... this is not a 'race to a finish line' ... be patient with yourself ... we all learn and progress at our own speed/tempo ... relax and enjoy the process ... 'it's a long and winding road that has no end' ... you improve every time you pick up the guitar to practice or play ... sometimes in very small/barely noticeable increments, and sometimes in huge leaps ... take your time and apply yourself ... and you'll improve your barre chord skills. I hope you continue to enjoy these lessons.

kd44kd44 replied on April 8th, 2013

Hey Hawk, Just wanted to let you know I met a friend of yours from Hot Springs, AR... David Hughes.. I had a wonderful time meeting him and his wife along with the rest of his family. We sat out on his deck and Played. Very nice people.

Hawkeye.HermanHawkeye.Herman replied on April 9th, 2013

Thanks for the message, Ken. David Hughes is a great guy. I had a meal a great conversation with him in Memphis this past February. I sure hope top be able to do a performance, workshop, and/or ins-chool blues educational programs in Hot Springs sometime in the future. I'm hoping David will be 'instrumental' in helping me visit and work in that lovely corner of the US. If you contact/see him again, please relay my greetings and best wishes. Cheers and best to you. Keep on pickin' the blues. ;-)

kd44kd44 replied on April 14th, 2013

Oh and one other note.. I'd like to thank you and I hope I'm not stepping out of line.. But I want to thank you for myself and for all your students here on Jamplay for your responses to our questions and your encouragement and your insight into helping us become better blues guitarist. THANK YOU. :-)

Hawkeye.HermanHawkeye.Herman replied on April 15th, 2013

You're most welcome, Ken. It's my pleasure to share what I know with others. Coming up in my own time (the 1960s), there was no such thing as the advantages of the Internet as a learning tool ... and so I sought Son House, Brownie McGee, Mance Lipscomb, Lightnin' Hopkins, Bukka, White, Furry Lewis, and many other iconic blues artists who were still alive at that time, and I met them and I learned from them directly. Those iconic blues artists took the time to teach me, and passed the 'blues torch' on to me ... nowadays, with the power of the Internet, it's my job to repay those long passed blues greats and African American culture, in general, for the music we love and for my life as a blues musician by teaching/informing others, and to pass the 'blues torch' on to others. It's my pleasure to do so. ;-)

kd44kd44 replied on April 14th, 2013

David had some discussion about a possibility that him and his wife are trying to get you here to teach these youngin's about the blues... I'll probably be in contact with David on a regular basis since my Finance' works for him LOL.. Hope to meet you in Memphis at the International blues competition this coming Jan :-)

Hawkeye.HermanHawkeye.Herman replied on April 15th, 2013

Thanks for the message, Ken. Yes, David is working on bringing me to Ark. to present my Blues In The Schools (BITS) program in the Hot Springs area. I just returned, yesterday (4/14/13) from doing a1-week blues education (BITS) program in So. Calif., near Yosemite, where I was in the elementary and middle schools all week teaching about the roots of American music (the blues) and song/lyric writing. I've been in more than 500 schools, all levels, from elementary to the college level, in 30 states and 10 foreign nations, to over 1/2 million students since I began my BITS program 34 years ago. I will be in Colorado in October to do my BITS program for a week (5 days) where I'll be in 15 (!) public school in 5 days, a 1-hour presentation in each school. I will be in the Midwest for music performance & BITS programs in early October. I have an in-school BITS residency coming up in May in Oregon. I have already been contacted in regard to my doing a similar 1-week residency in Homer, Alaska in March of 2014. My in-school programs/presentations are very popular and keep me quite busy beyond my concert/festival touring. If you're interested in having me come to Oklahoma in the future, you'll find complete information about my Blues In THe Schools (BITS) programs here: http://hawkeyeherman.com/blues_in_the_schools.htm ... if interest for this increases in your area, you can contact me by email for more information on how to acquire funding and how to go about bringing me to schools in your area. You'll find my complete contact information at my web site: http://hawkeyeherman.com/contact.htm ... thanks so much for your interest. Perhaps I'll be in OK sometime in the future ;-)

garyfdgaryfd replied on April 11th, 2012

Hi Hawkeye ... I'm on Lesson 27 ... slow but PROGRESS ... as you would say, "oh, man" ... like so many others I have gone down the books, cd's , etc path, but your lessons are far and away the best ... thank you. At the end of this month, April, I will be attending a conference in Denver and then joining a tour from Chicago to New Orleans, the "great river road"! ... something I have wanted to do for many years ... hope to take in as much music as possible on this great track ... will be in New Oleans for several days, in the French Quarter ... any advice on how I might maximise the music scene particularly jazz/blues during that time. Best regards and thanks again. Gary ... Warwick,Q, Australia

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

Hi, Gary. Thanks for the message/comments. I'm happy to hear that you'll be traveling in the States in April. I was just in New Orleans in February. Here are my recommendations: go to Frenchmen St., just off the French Qtr. and you'll see a lot of music/bars/clubs, and I recommend a club called D.B.A. and a club called Chickie Wah Wah, and of course, the world famous Tipitina's. there is a House of the Blues in New Orleans, but they rarely have actual blues music. For great food I recommend Mandina's Restaurant on Canal St., Crabby Jack's for po'boy sandwiches or Johnny's in the French Qtr. for po'boy sandwiches, the Rum House on Magazine St. for good food, and Sucre for fantastic ice cream also on Magazine St. If you really love ice cream look for the Creole Creamery, there are two locations. Stay out of the tourist trap bars on Bourbon St. in the French Qtr. ... unless you like to hang out with scads of tourists. Visit the outdoor French Market near the French Qtr. for tourist purchases like t-shirts and souvenirs rather than the shops that are everywhere. Have a great time, and a they say in New Orleans... Bon Ton Roulette ... Let the good times roll! Have a most enjoyable and safe/smooth journey and travels.

jimijetjimijet replied on January 27th, 2012

nice arrangement hawk i liked it so much i bought your cd

johnnytjohnnyt replied on February 14th, 2012

Hi Hawkeye.I so enjoy your lessons.My question is do thumb picks come in different thicknesses like flat picks do?.I'm looking for a thinner thumb pick.I have played classical guitar and have longer finger nails but I like the sound you get while strumming.

Hawkeye.HermanHawkeye.Herman replied on February 15th, 2012

Hi, John. Thanks for the question and for ordering my CD/"Blues Alive." Much appreciated. Thumbpicks come in different gauges, just like flat picks. They are also available in varios materials. Plastic is the worst and most commonly sold in stores ... You are probably playing with a very heavy plastic thumbpick that is commonly sold by music store clerks to a 'first-time' thumbpick purchaser. Plastic thumbpicks are clunky and uncomfortable and very hard to play with. I have used the same brand/type of thumbpick since 1970, when I chatted with Doc Watson after one of his concerts and I asked him about his thumbpick and ... he gave it to me. I loved it from the start and I have been using this style/model/brand ever since, as you see in my lessons. I use a Herco Blue Nylon Thumbpick all of the time ... acoustic and electric. That's MY choice ... that's what I like ... each player must make such 'gear related' decisions on their own, according to their needs, likes, and the sound they want to achieve on the instrument. Your question regarding the thumbpick is the most frequently asked question I get ... please be aware that there is a Hawkeye forum area here a JamPlay for each of the instructors and students to discuss general concepts, rather than information on specific lessons. Discussions and my answers/explanations on the choice of picks one uses can be found here: http://www.jamplay.com/forums/hawkeye-herman/4476.htm http://www.jamplay.com/forums/hawkeye-herman/9284.htm http://www.jamplay.com/forums/hawkeye-herman/3924.htm http://www.jamplay.com/forums/hawkeye-herman/9580.htm I will not/do not play with any other thumbpick ... I accept no substitutes for what works for me ... that's my choice ... and if you're interested in trying out this thumbpick, here is a good place to order the Herco Flex Blue Nylon Thumbpick, if you can't find it in your local music store: http://elderly.com/accessories/items/PK3.htm I hope this information is helpful to you. Thanks again for taking the time to ask. Cheers and Best, Hawkeye

Hawkeye.HermanHawkeye.Herman replied on January 28th, 2012

James, since you're a Lightinin' Hopkins fan, I thought you might find this article I wrote about meeting Lightnin' interesting: http://hawkeyeherman.com/pdf/Lightnin-Hopkins-BluesLife.pdf ... and perhaps this one, as well: http://hawkeyeherman.com/pdf/tale_feathers.pdf

Hawkeye.HermanHawkeye.Herman replied on January 27th, 2012

Thanks so much, James. This original fingerpicked boogie is based on what my old friend, the late blues icon, Brownie McGhee, called this his 'Kansas City Strum." Brownie was a friend and mentor of mine and lived about one mile away from me in Berkeley/Oakland, CA in the 1970's-1990. I used to hang out at his house and we'd play guitar together and he'd show me some things now and then. You will find a video version of me doing the entire "Great River Road" tune, in concert, here: http://www.youtube.com/profile?user=HawkeyeH All three of my CDs, and my DVD can be purchased at my web site: http://hawkeyeherman.com/blues_shop.htm I hope you continue to enjoy these lessons. Thanks again. ;-)

kryaxis1kryaxis1 replied on November 28th, 2011

This Kansas City strum is gonna sound great mixed in with all the other licks that you've taught me!

Hawkeye.HermanHawkeye.Herman replied on November 28th, 2011

Great! I'm glad you like it. I use it a lot. I suggest you watch my youtube.com video of my original fingerpicked blues instrumental "The Great River Road" and you'll see that much of the tune is based on this technique that I learned from the late great blues icon Brownie McGhee: http://www.youtube.com/profile?user=HawkeyeH ... you'll also find it available for MP3 download from my CD/album "Blues Alive!": http://hawkeyeherman.com/mp3.htm ... I use this fingerpicking technique as the basis for much of my blues music/songs. I hope you continue to enjoy these lessons.

ontheroad517ontheroad517 replied on April 27th, 2011

I can't get enough of this Kansas city strumming! I was wondering: is it possible to play the B7 chord in the upper neck (1st & 2nd fret) & if is, how? I've tried to transpose it, but I'm clueless...

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

I'm glad you're enjoying the "Kansas City Strum" ... me too! :-) Be sure to watch the video of my song, THe Great River Road" to see/hear what this techique sounds like in performance: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aI4SoVSgV5U Regarding the B7 chord ... did you know we have excellent resources here at JamPlay.com for such things ... look here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aI4SoVSgV5U Thanks again for enjoying these lessons. http://www.jamplay.com/guitar-chords/b7-guitar-chord.html

ontheroad517ontheroad517 replied on April 27th, 2011

Oops my English isn't precise enough today. What I meant was: how can I apply the Kansas city strumming to the B7 chord when it's played in the upper neck? (I don't know if it's really clearer °°;)

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

THere are excellent resources here at JamPlay.com that answqer your question ... please look at all of the various B7 chords here, and choose the one you want to use: http://www.jamplay.com/guitar-chords/b7-guitar-chord.html ... perhaps the one you want is the barre chord (F shape) at the 7th fret. (Your English is far better than my French ;-)

ontheroad517ontheroad517 replied on April 28th, 2011

Ok so it wasn't clearer after all lol. Let me rephrase it: in the video, you play the V chord (B7) with the bar F shape at the 7th fret and it goes : 6th string/6th fret + 3rd string/7th fret, slide to 6th string/7th fret + 3rd string/8th fret, then seventh fret for the bass & 7/9/7/10/7/9 frets for the 2nd string (as indicated in the 10th bar of the supplemental content). Now based on what I understand from the Kansas City strum, there's two part in it: first a slide or hamer on, followed by six eight notes produced by pinching simultaneously a bass & a trebble. Now my question was: if you use this shape of B7 (http://www.jamplay.com/guitar-chords/b7-guitar-chord.html ) can you apply the same pattern? and if so, how? I tried sliding from 3rd string/1st fret & 5th string /1st fret to 3rd string/2nd fret & 5th string/2nd fret but I can't find what's supposed to be next... If my question is still too confused, don't worry, I'll stick to the F shape form at the 7th fret ^^

Hawkeye.HermanHawkeye.Herman replied on April 28th, 2011

When playing the Kansas CIty strum using the F-shaped barre chord for the B7 at the seventh fret and the A chord at the fifth fret ... you should be able to do exactly what you do using the simple first position E chord ... a barred F chord is simply an E chord with a barre behind it ... so it's all the same ... just don't be concerned that when playing the barred B7 at the seventh fret and the barred A chord at the fifth fret that you're not fretting the 4th (D) string ... the 4th string is 'covered' by your index finger making the barre when playing this strum using a barre chord ... for example, for the barred B7 chord, your index finger is fretting across the 7th fret on all six strings, while your second finger plays the 8th fret of the third (G) string you third finger plays the 9th fret of the fifth (A) string, and your pinky is 'free' to play the necessary 6th note (at the 9th fret) and the 7th note (at the 10th fret ... now move this down a whole step (two frets) to do the same/similar finger position(s) with the barred A chord at the fifth fret. It's not easy to explain music/musical techniques with ... words ... I hope this clears things up for you and that you continue to enjoy these lessons. ;-)

ontheroad517ontheroad517 replied on May 1st, 2011

Ok thanks Hawkeye! I know it's really confusing to talk about musique technique, that's one of the reasons why I find your lessons so compelling; I like the 'put your fingers there, do this, and off you go' method. :-)

Hawkeye.HermanHawkeye.Herman replied on May 1st, 2011

I hope the 'musical words' I shared with you have been of some help. ;-)

ontheroad517ontheroad517 replied on May 2nd, 2011

Yes! I hope there will also be another lesson on the Kansas City strum ^^

Hawkeye.HermanHawkeye.Herman replied on May 2nd, 2011

That's possible ... but doubtful ... I thought I did a pretty good and thorough job of covering the Kansas City strum in this lesson ... what more can I teach you about it? ... how to make creative variations ...? ... finding interesting variation is 'your job' in expressing yourself. :-) I've shown how the basic concept of the Kansas City strum/technique can be built into an entire blues instrumental, my tune "The Great River Road." I would hope you take some encouragement from this and start to express your own variations ... that's what the blues is 'about' ... it 's unlikely that I'll 'extending' this lesson ... it's possible ... but unlikely. Thanks so much for enjoying the process. I hope you continue to enjoy these lessons.

rockhead13rockhead13 replied on April 20th, 2011

Hawkeye, you're a great man! You always seem to give a kind, friendly atmosphere to your lessons which has helped me a lot in learning the blues. Thank you! BTW "The Great River Road" honestly sounds like something you'd hear at a hotel in Disney World, and I mean that in a really good way. :)

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

Thanks so much for the kind comments. Very much appreciated. My advice is for you to be patient with yourself and these lessons ... follow them in the order they are presented ... please don't be tempted to 'cherry pick'/skip around ... I've given a lot of thought and planning as to the content and order of the lessons ... follow them in the order presented and you'll gain a strong/serious understanding and foundation of/in blues guitar playing and blues music. Use the video controls to repeat/replay any small moment or section of a lesson that you don't understand ... until you 'get it.' Please be sure to watch my many live performance videos so that you can see how I use the techniques I teach here at JamPlay.com when I'm performing in concert and at festivals ... try to play along with me ... and even 'steal my licks/riffs/ideas: http://www.youtube.com/profile?user=HawkeyeH&view=videos I appreciate that you like my blues instrumental, "The Great River Road." ;-) Please remember ... don't rush through these lessons ... this isn't a race to some imaginary finish line ... this is an art form and a 'language' ... progress at your own speed ... and I hope you continue to enjoy these lessons, the learning/practicing process ... and most of all, enjoying the blues. Thanks again!!!

davidldaydavidlday replied on September 11th, 2010

Hey Hawkeye - thanks for these terrific lessons and breaking them down so well into understandable chunks. Been playing the blues for several years now - but what your lessons have done for me with the different voicings and turnarounds is make the fretboard make sense. You've re-invigorated my interest in the guitar, but unfortunately, with the newfound knowledge, thats all I want to do now!!!!! The Mrs. says 'thanks a lot' - the trash man is a comin' but who cares - playin' the blues is more important than gettin' that can to the street... There's gotta be a song in there somewhere!!!!! Thanks for sharing your knowledge. DDay

Hawkeye.HermanHawkeye.Herman replied on September 11th, 2010

Thanks so much for the kind comments, David. Very much appreciated. It's most gratifying to me to know that you've got the blues bug ... the only cure is ... more blues ;-). Yes, maybe you should write a blues song ... "Trashcan Blues" ... or "Honey Do-List Blues" ... just don't let blues guitar get you in trouble with your spouse ... take out the trash when necessary and stay on your wife's 'good side' ... your guitar is always ready and waiting for you when your work is done. ;- ) Again, thanks so much for enjoying these lessons and for taking the time to let me know that you're hooked on the blues ... and for continuing to travel with me on the 'blues highway' here at JamPlay.com.

ruribarreruribarre replied on March 17th, 2010

Thanks Hawkeye, you have given me a new appreciation for blues. I cheated and skip around on your lessons and now I saw this one. Enjoyed it so much I will go back and go through all the lessons just to be able to play this. Really enjoyed the sound. Keep it coming. Thanks, Ralph

Hawkeye.HermanHawkeye.Herman replied on March 19th, 2010

Ralph, Thanks so much for the message, kind words, and for enjoying my blues guitar lessons. You can find more here (http://hawkeyeherman.com/guitar-lessons.htm). Please be sure to watch my many videos here (http://www.youtube.com/profile?user=HawkeyeH&view=videos) so that you can see how I use the techniques I teach here at jamplay.com when I'm performing in concert and at festivals. Again, thanks so much for your message.

rohintoniranirohintonirani replied on March 10th, 2010

Man, you are toooooooooo gooooooooooooodddd.... It's fun, kicking and fantastic... just love each and every lesson of yours... Never loved blues so much...

Hawkeye.HermanHawkeye.Herman replied on March 10th, 2010

Thanks so much for your kind words and for enjoying these lessons. Very much appreciated. Please don't forget to watch the many Hawkeye live videos here: http://www.youtube.com/profile?user=HawkeyeH&view=videos watch the videos and you'll see how I play this tune and many others, and many of the techniques I tach here at JamPlay.com when I'm performing. PLay along with me .... and you may even be able to 'steal' some licks/riffs/ideas from the videos. Thanks again. I hope you continue to enjoy these lessons.

ozblokeozbloke replied on February 16th, 2010

It's so great to look at other people's comments, and as someone succinctly put it, the passion and love you have for the music comes through in your teaching, it's totally infectious, you are without doubt a genius of the huge kind!! I'm practicing this, though your lessons have been made it so much easier that i've been doing it now for 2 hours and i think i've got it. MORE...MORE OB

Hawkeye.HermanHawkeye.Herman replied on February 16th, 2010

Thanks so much. You honor me, and I truly appreciate it. I'm no 'genius' ... but I certainly love the blues, have endless enthusiasm for the music, playing it, and teaching it ... and I'll do whatever it takes to find ways/means/techniques of insuring that each and every one of my students ... 100% ... 'gets it.' I'm always a student of the 'blues masters' who have gone before us, just like I want you to be. ;-)

ozblokeozbloke replied on February 17th, 2010

Thanks for your reply Hawkeye, only a real genius would deny they're a real genius!! I had a look on you tube and heard this song you've kindly taught us in lesson 27, and it sounds almost exactly the same, great video for us students to watch in 'how to perform live', great stuff. I also watched your video of you performing "Ramblin on my mind" incredible performance, i'm blown away. Now i haven't got a great voice, i just wonder how on earth i'd ever perform live if i cant sing songs like "Ramblin" or "Goodmornin blues,it's ok in front of friends, is there anyway i can help train my voice Hawkeye? OB

Hawkeye.HermanHawkeye.Herman replied on February 17th, 2010

Thanks for the kind words about my performances posted online. I start all of my festival and concert performances with my original instrumental "The Great River Road." It shows people that I can play the guitar very well ... and even talk at the same time :-) I hope you'll check out more of them. Singing is like playing guyitar, some folks are more natural at it than others, but the voice is an instrument and can be 'trained, just as your fingers can be trained to play the guitar ... it's just that 'bad singing' when you're practicing is a bit harder on your ego ... start by singing along with your favorite recordings ... try to sing with your guitar ... and the best practice of all, although very discouraging sometimes, is to sing a capella, with no instruments accompanying your voice ... this is the best practice of all. Don't worry about sounding like me, or Robert Johnson, or Lightinin' ... find your own voice ... that's what we all do ... don't copy me or anyone ... what makes a good blues song/performer is the ability to tell a story in one's own voice in one's own way on both guitar and vocals. Like anything else, practice/practice/practice. :-)

ozblokeozbloke replied on February 17th, 2010

What's a capella Hawkeye? I'll continue to 'try' to sing, i suppose it's like being good at anything, just takes practise. Although i'm only on lesson 27, I've learnt so muich, more than i could have ever believed. I've taken note of all those turnarounds in different keys, and using the "Texas A", the shuffle beat, scales, and different chord postions and the like, from all your lessons and i've written my first song in the "Good mornin blues" style, using as much of what i've learnt from your fabulous lessons. The song is a tribute to you entitles "The Hawkeye Blues"....here we go.. From Robert Johnson, to Lightnin, and the resst, I saind from Robert Johnson, to Lightnin and the rest, He's learnt the blues, he's learnt it from the best He sure is a bluesman, a bluesman through and through Yeah, sure is a bluesman, a bluesman through and through, I'm not the type of man who'd ever jest with you. Hawkeye Herman, what more can i say, Oh Hawkeye Herman, what more could you say, He'll teach ya the blues, just sign up to JamPlay..Yeah... ..he'll teach ya mean blues, just log on to Jamplay!! Now i know this little master-piece is not gonna reach critical acclaim, but you give so much pleasure in these lessons, you make me smile everytime i get you up on screen, with guitar in hand, and i just wanted to give you a little smile back. My wife is always my first audience, she laughed when i played it...anyway hope you like it OB

Hawkeye.HermanHawkeye.Herman replied on February 17th, 2010

Well, well, well ... very nice ... and thanks so much. It's most gratifying for me to see that you've become an inspired songwriter, as well as a blues guitar player. Very cool ;-) You honor me, and again, thanks so much. "A cappella" means to sing without instrumental accompaniment ... voice (or voices) alone. Cheers for the blues and for the joy of playing it like you feel it.

ozblokeozbloke replied on February 18th, 2010

I just wanted to ask you something else, if i may, i've been thinking about buying a resonator guitar. Could you give me any advice. Obviously, if you buy a vintage Dobro, you're looking at a lot of money. What would be a good brand in the medium range? I'd love to buy a really good one, but just in case i was to give up after spending all that money. Many thanks in advance Hawkeye. By the way the song only took me 15 minutes to write, but i string the song out for a good eight minutes or so, thats a lot of blues. OB

Hawkeye.HermanHawkeye.Herman replied on February 18th, 2010

Ask yourself ... why do I want a resonator guitar? Let me know your answer(s) ... and I'll let you know what to look for.

ozblokeozbloke replied on February 18th, 2010

A few reasons actually, firstly, seeing you play with one and the sound you get from it and the resonance that your guitar gives is just incredible, I'm using a semi acoustic and sometimes i just wish the sound had the more 'bluesy' sound, and the ringing of the strings after you play a chord or note/s. I also wanted to get one because i want to learn slide guitar, it's my favorite part of blues musc and i suppose i believe that a resonator would be perfect for getting those 'haunting' tones and rings from playing songs, such as 'Ramblin' by Robert Johnson, Another reason, i suppose, i just want the ability to create a 'different sound' that a resonator guitar would bring to help in both the learning and creative process. I hope i'm making sense Hawkeye? Cheers! OB

Hawkeye.HermanHawkeye.Herman replied on February 18th, 2010

All good reasons. If you're not happy with the blues sound your current guitar is giving you, maybe it's time to make a change. Keep in mind that it's not necessary to play a resonator guitar to play slide. I prefer the wood-body version for sound/tone and sustain. The metal body resonator guitars are more popular because, I believe, folks see old photos of the icons of the blues with them ... but times have changed ... in my opinion, and those guitar look great, but don't have the sustain of a wood-body guitar ... that means they're loud, but the sound goes away quickly. Be that as it may, both are good choices ... band names? Well, National and Dobro are the best known and longest in the business, but they're very expensive, whether old or new. I suggest you look into the Regal, Johnson, and other brans that are more reasonable priced. Just google . You have to get what suits your hands and ears ... and to me, that means not buying a guitar online ... you can shop for what you're looking for online ... but you need to hold and play a guitar to see what it's really like and if you like the sound and feel of it. If you find something you like 'in person' ... you might then take a chance and look for it online at a cheaper price ... even so, you're taking a chance that the one you buy online is not exactly like what you saw and tried out in a store. That's the best I can do ... for now ... if you shop around and find one you like ... yoiu can then send me a message to ask my opinion of that particular guitar brand and model. Have fun looking ... don't rush this ... this purchase should keep you happy for many years ... rushing into it is not a good idea ... you might get stuck with a guitar that you don't enjoy playing or the sound of. So, shop around, and get back to me.

ozblokeozbloke replied on February 18th, 2010

Sorry, i forgot to add, i also have one eye on the future to perform in front of an audience and i feel a resonator would push that sound out. Thanks again. OB

Hawkeye.HermanHawkeye.Herman replied on February 18th, 2010

When you perform in front of people in a pub/coffeehouse/bar there is/are almost always microphones for the voice and guitar ... PA/amplification equipment ... and 'pushing out' a sound from the guitar is not an issue if the PA and mics are properly set up ... if you're going to play on the street or in living rooms, then 'pushing out' sound is more important. Some resonator guitar, like acoustic guitar, come with a built-in pick-up ... so 'pushing out' sound is very easy in a club/pub/coffeehouse situation ... if you happen to like the sound that the pick-up puts out over the sound of the guitar au natural ... if you like the sound of the guitar without using a pick-up ... then you mic the guitar in clubs/pubs/coffeehouses.

ozblokeozbloke replied on February 18th, 2010

Thanks so much for your time in answering both my questions, it's very much appreciated. My good wife is gonna treat me to a new guitar, bless her cotton socks, am going to see one today, which apparently, is a dobro, but as you said, it's the feel of the guitar to oneself which is as important as the sound. I'll let you know how it goes, cheers again Hawkeye. OB

ozblokeozbloke replied on February 19th, 2010

I took on board what you said about choosing a resonator guitar. My wife and i went to look at one yesterday, it was a National Resorocket 2004 cutaway. Firstly, i thought the guitar was ugly, it was also second hand. I played the Robert Johnson song i learnt from you on it, and it did sound good, but it just didn't have the right feel. I think the guy was pushing for a sale, he seemed in the same category as a 'second hand car salesman' which also put me off. Alas, i didn't buy it. Maybe i shouldn't worry about the 'look' of the guitar, but being artistic, i want somw aesthetic qualities, i mean your guitar is lovely looking. Anyway, i mustn't rush as you told me, trouble is thee aren't many good music stores on the sunshine coast, so we'll have to go down to Brisbane later next week, will keep you informed. Many thanks, OB

Hawkeye.HermanHawkeye.Herman replied on February 19th, 2010

Don't let anyone try to 'sell' you a guitar. You have to like the sound/tone and playability of a guitar in order to consider buying it. And yes, thirdly, the 'cosmetic' appeal of an instrument does come into play ... after all, you have to live with and look at it more than anyone. But the 'beauty' of a guitar is, in my opinion, the 3rd thing that needs to be taken into consideration ... after sound/tone and playability. Keep looking ... shopping for a guitar can be fun ... even if it takes a long time to find exactly the right guitar for you ... you will receive a great education and familiarity with/in the sound/tone/playability/appearance of many types and brands of resonator guitars that cannot be realized by looking at guitars online. You're searching for your 'new best friend" (after your wife, of course) ... so take your time and don't be afraid to say "No." to any guitar that doesn't meet your qualifications and expectations. Take your time and enjoy the process of shopping and educating yourself, first-hand, about the 'world of resonator guitars.' It's worth the time and 'trouble.'

ozblokeozbloke replied on February 21st, 2010

Thanks Hawkeye, I just get so excited when i walk into a music shop and looking at guitars, so i'll just enjoy the process, and one will come along the gets a tick on all the criteria i have in mind, and from what you've told me. I really do appreciate your time Hawkeye, many thanks again. OB

tunelessbluestunelessblues replied on February 18th, 2010

Well i think your lessons should become a world wide standard for learning the Blues. Your teaching process is Simple, through and effective! I've even composed my first song from what you have taught me so far. The great river road is a great song! I feel like giving my job up to play guitar at the moment there just isn't enough time in the day to practice.

Hawkeye.HermanHawkeye.Herman replied on February 18th, 2010

Thanks so much. I'm so glad you're enjoying these blues guitar lessons and the learning process ... and that you've written a song. Very cool. Just don't give up your day job :-) ... yet. I hope you continue to enjoy these lessons and traveling with me on the 'blues highway of life.'

Hawkeye.HermanHawkeye.Herman replied on September 8th, 2009

I hope you'll all take the time to watch me perform this Hawkeye original fingerpicking boogie ... it will be a good guide for you to see how I do this tune in a performance situation: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aI4SoVSgV5U

kasrakasra replied on September 4th, 2009

when i reached this lesson few weeks ago, although every little piece looked familiar because of the previous lessons, i wasnt being able to even crawl. i gave my self few weeks of going back and forth through my knowledge inventory and kept practicing. tonight when i looked at it for the second time, it all added up. thank you professor

Hawkeye.HermanHawkeye.Herman replied on September 8th, 2009

kasra, Never give up hope ;-) ... your guitar is your friend, not a difficult adversary. Learning takes time ... you get out what you put in ... repetition is what we all must do in order to learn guitar skills and techniques, and to understand the theory behind how/why it all works. Take your time ... this is a life work ... not about instant gratification. I've been playing the guitar for 50 years and I'm still learning ... "It's a long and winding road that has no end." The joy is in the journey ... I hope you continue to enjoy the 'new' sounds your guitar is making. Thanks so much for being patient ... with these lessons ... and with yourself. :-)

docbarkdocbark replied on September 1st, 2009

what a delight to watch and learn from hawkeye at jamplay. i watch even when i dont have my guitar with me and always learn something. your love of what you do is contagious. thanks

Hawkeye.HermanHawkeye.Herman replied on September 2nd, 2009

Thanks for enjoying these lessons and your kind words, Dr. Don. Very much appreciated. I've been a professional musician, exclusive of any other work, since about 1975 ... and I feel blessed to have spent my entire life in music ... doing what I love ... I never forget that I get to play the guitar for a 'living' (and for fun) ... and not just work for a paycheck ... I hope that my gratitude for a full life and my love of what I do comes through in every lesson. Again, thanks so much.

docbarkdocbark replied on September 2nd, 2009

thanks, your joy shines through. need to come to chattanooga for riverbend

Hawkeye.HermanHawkeye.Herman replied on September 2nd, 2009

Doc, I'm easy to book ... please just refer the venue/producers to my web site: www.HawkeyeHerman.com I'd love to come there sometime in the future. I'll be teaching blues guitar at the brand new multimillion dollar BB King Museum and Delta Heritage Ctr. in Indianola, MS in late Sept. Ya never know, I might be in your area sometime in the future. Personal referrals always help. Thanks so much.

dash rendardash rendar replied on July 30th, 2009

I saw you playing this song on YouTube when I first started this lesson set, and thought to myself, "I can't wait to learn how to play that". Well, now I can, as a result of this extremely well-structured set of lessons. Thanks so much. :)

Hawkeye.HermanHawkeye.Herman replied on July 30th, 2009

dash, You're most welcome. Follow the lesson plan and you'll be doing more than you ever thought possible on the guitar ... teaching you to play and create freely on the guitar is my goal. You CAN do it. Just take your time, be patient with yourself, don't move on until you can understand and can accomplish what is contained in each of these lessons ... my goals is that if you follow the order of these lessons and you'll learn how to enjoy the guitar and be creative with music for the rest of your life. Thanks again for your comments and for being here at jamplay.com.

floorshakerfloorshaker replied on May 27th, 2009

Hi Hawkeye. Best lesson on Jamplay and it's all achievable because you have taught all the techniques used beforehand. Thank you so much for bringing it all together. Chris

Hawkeye.HermanHawkeye.Herman replied on May 28th, 2009

Thanks, Chris. I hope you continue to enjoy these lessons.

sandeepsandeep replied on May 19th, 2009

You are the man Hawkeye!!! This lesson was simple great!!!

Hawkeye.HermanHawkeye.Herman replied on May 19th, 2009

sandeep, Thanks. Please don't forget to go here and watch me perform this tune in concert hwww.youtube.com/profile?user=HawkeyeH and other songs ... you can learn a lot by watching how I use the techniques I teach here at jamplay.com when I'm performing. Thanks.

herironyaicaherironyaica replied on May 6th, 2009

At last I did It!!! Maybe It's not in full speed as you do, but almoust the same melody....And....Hawkeye, I've noticed you are not picking 6th and 2nd string simultaneously....or I'm wrong ?

Hawkeye.HermanHawkeye.Herman replied on May 6th, 2009

herironyaika, Thanks for the message. I'm so glad you're making good progress with this. Speed comes later. Get the fingering of the notes right first ... and play it slow ... it should sound good slow ... and you can build up speed later. Crawl, then walk, then run ;-) I think you should watch me perform this tune live in concert ... it should be helpful to you. www.youtube.com/profile?user=HawkeyeH Yes, I AM picking the bass note 6th string at the same time as the 2nd string ... keeping a solid bass happening is one of the thinks that keeps this tune infectious and 'happening.' Please, play it slow ... and get it right ... and then pick up speed as you get better at hitting all the notes. Again, thanks for your comments/questions and for enjoying these lessons.

herironyaicaherironyaica replied on May 1st, 2009

Oh Jesus! Wonderfulllllllllllllllll music.....but really difficult to do

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

herironyaica, Well, thanks so much. If you'd like to see me doing this Hawkeye original finger-picking blues tune ("The Great River Road") live in concert you can find it here This is not difficult ... play it slow ... so that you can accomplish it ... and then speed up as you get better. Crawl before you walk, walk before you run. I hope you continue to enjoy these lessons. Thanks again for your kind comments.

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

Hey, I posted the URL for the video of the song ... and it didn't show up ... let me try again: http://www.youtube.com/profile?user=HawkeyeH

herironyaicaherironyaica replied on May 2nd, 2009

thanks a lot !

currannicurranni replied on February 26th, 2009

well after 5 days, many hours changing from e to b barre chord and back, and a bit more work, changing strings and perserverance, i got this, and i even managed to start adding, subtracting,adding a bit of me, also from the video in lesson one there was some things you did, learnt those and find them great, i actually love this, i spent about 3 hours playing it today, and once i managed that 1st chord and the barres, well the song is the oyster.. rolling on we go!!!! next lesson thanks for this hawkeye cos before i even joined i saw your into lesson 1 and said " now.. i d love to play like that!" i did it in 7weeks :D

Hawkeye.HermanHawkeye.Herman replied on February 26th, 2009

currnni, thanks for the message. Congrats on your success ... on only 7 weeks, you've come a long way. I admire your ability to practice for 3 hours at a time ... that's noot easy for ome folks, but if, as you practice, you see that you're improving ... even slowly ... it encourages you to continue practicing for a longer period of time. I hope you coninue to enjoy these lessons. It will be interesting to see how much further you've come ... in 7 more weeks. ;-)

currannicurranni replied on February 27th, 2009

well,its prob just me but considering the "shite" i had to put up with the last few years i m lucky cos i can sit here for hours at a time and play my heart out, returning to music is def a release, but i do suffer, between the lightin hopkins triplets and the finger picking here, i m getting thoose nasty blisters you get when u dont use nail or finger pick ha.. but i m happy to take it..many thanks again and i hope the tour is going well.. give me a heads up before u come to europe next or better ireland maybe i can attend, i know we get blues festivals over here too...

Hawkeye.HermanHawkeye.Herman replied on February 27th, 2009

crranni, Getting blisters on your fingers is normal in the early going of guitar playing ... bear with it, and eventually the blisters turn into hardened callouses ... and their willbe no more pain, you'll have a string 'protective coating' of callouses on your fingers ... and you'll be able to play without pain for just about as long as you desire. Patience and practice ... and your fingers get stringer ... and your bliters turn to callouses. Do you remember the Beatles song where John Lennon creams out, "I've got blisters on my fingers!!!" Now you know what he's talking about. ;-) I'll be in Italy and Croatia in May/June and I'll be in France in November. Sorry to plan to be in Ireland or the UK in 2009 ... but ya never know ... if I'm to be in your region, I'll let you know.

currannicurranni replied on February 26th, 2009

i m delighted as you can imagine, though to be honest i dont imagine a road, i picture a nice irish forest haha

cbw2003cbw2003 replied on February 23rd, 2009

The song almost has a Bluegrass feel to it.

Hawkeye.HermanHawkeye.Herman replied on February 24th, 2009

cbw2003, Almost. But since I wrote it ... and I can't play much bluegrass ... it must be blues ;-)

currannicurranni replied on February 22nd, 2009

ok so my first real challenge... i m having trouble getting into those barre chords.. suggestions? will i just take a break and master what i ve already learnt while at the same time work on these difficult chord changes??? i find it hard to get into the barre chords but easy to get out.. and finger picking them.. well.. i can do it but i need to slow it so much its not even funny haha.. i play through it slow alright but i always mis the shape.. your recommendations as always are much appreciated

Hawkeye.HermanHawkeye.Herman replied on February 22nd, 2009

If you can't do it slow ... even very slow ... then you won't be able to do it fast. Play very slow and keep practicing ... there are no secrets beyond hard work and repetition ... and correcting your fingers when the notes a muffled. This takes time. Try to enjoy the learning process ... you're getting better. ;-)

currannicurranni replied on February 22nd, 2009

yes taking it as slow as possible.. i just have to get over the fact that not evrything comes in 5 minutes.. theres always a challenge waiting :D

Hawkeye.HermanHawkeye.Herman replied on February 22nd, 2009

curranni, I've been playing the guitar for 50 years ... and in that time ... very few things have come to me in 5 minutes (!) ... and I'm still working on getting better ... it's a long and winding road that has no end ... enjoy the journey ... slow ... or fast. ;-)

currannicurranni replied on February 23rd, 2009

deffo i love the challenge

thadthad replied on December 22nd, 2008

I smile too when I see you play. I feel your emotion in Blues and it's amazing. So much passion. Keep the Blues coming. I have problems to count the tempo. Thought it sounds good I cant count it only the single strums.

Hawkeye.HermanHawkeye.Herman replied on December 22nd, 2008

thad, I'm so glad you are enjoying my blues guitar lessons. Thanks so much for your comments. Keeping good tempo/time is very important in blues music, and all music. Practice by snapping your fingers or clapping along with me as I play ... you can watch many of my videos here: http://www.youtube.com/profile?user=HawkeyeH ... and be sure to tap your foot to keep time when you play the guitar. Thanks again for enjoying these blues guitar lessons.

frenjafrenja replied on November 12th, 2008

hawkeye,can you tell me what turnaround is that after first 12 bars(0.29 sec) and in which lesson was it. great lesson by the way

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

frenja, Sorry it's taken so long to respond, I've been in Europe touring for a month. The turnaround I'm playing is as follows has four 'positions':place your index finger on the third (G) string at the fourth fret and the second finger on the fifth (A) string at the fifth fret. Pluck these two strings at the same time and then play the open first string (E) with your pinky. Now, with the index finger play the third (G) string at the second fret and with the third finger on the fifth (A) string at the fourth fret. Pluck these two strings at the same time and then play the open first string (E) with your pinky. Now, playt the third (G) string open and the fifth (G) string at the first fret with the second finger. Pluck these two strings at the same time and then play the open first string (E) with your pinky. And finally, play the third (G) string at the first fret with the index finger, and the fifth (A) string at the second fret with the second finger. Pluck these two strings at the same time and then play the open first string (E) with your pinky. Add a single note walk up from the open fifth (A) string to the 1st, and to the 2nd fret and into a B7 chord, and you've got it. I hope that clears things up for you. Thanks again for your interest and enthusiasm.

Blues Guitar with Hawkeye

Found in our Beginner Lesson Sets

The blues is a distinctly American style of music. Many popular genres such as jazz, rock, and country music draw upon basic blues concepts. Consequently, it is advantageous for any guitarist to study the blues.



Lesson 1

Introduction to Blues

Hawkeye Herman introduces the blues. He explains the 12 bar blues chords and the poetic format that blues lyrics typically follow.

Length: 19:25 Difficulty: 1.0 Members Only
Lesson 2

Understanding Blues Chords

Hawkeye explains how the I, IV, and V chords are used in a 12 bar blues progression.

Length: 12:12 Difficulty: 1.0 Members Only
Lesson 3

Blues Rhythm

Hawkeye demonstrates common strumming patterns used in blues music. He also explains how country music evolved from the blues.

Length: 19:42 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 4

Intro to the Blues Shuffle

The shuffle is one of the most common rhythms used in blues music. Hawkeye introduces the most basic shuffle rhythm pattern.

Length: 18:12 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 5

More Blues Shuffle

Hawkeye covers the blues shuffle in greater depth.

Length: 13:13 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 6

The Blues Turnaround

Hawkeye introduces and explains a common blues turnaround.

Length: 7:45 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 7

Interesting Blues Turnaround

Hawkeye demonstrates various ways of arpeggiating the blues turnaround from the previous lesson.

Length: 8:08 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 8

Moving the Turnaround

Hawkeye explains how the turnaround from the previous lesson can be transposed to all 12 keys.

Length: 5:57 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 9

Turnaround in the Bass

Hawkeye explains how the blues turnaround can be played on the bass strings.

Length: 11:12 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 10

Turnaround Practice

Hawkeye provides some tips regarding how to integrate turnarounds into the context of the 12 bar blues form.

Length: 3:58 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 11

Turnarounds as Lead

In this lesson Hawkeye will explain how you can use turnarounds as a way to play basic lead.

Length: 0:00 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 12

Subtle Changes

Hawkeye demonstrates how subtle changes made to the blues shuffle can have a profound impact on the overall sound of the 12 bar form.

Length: 7:12 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 13

Blues Shuffle Variations

Hawkeye demonstrates more blues shuffle variations. He discusses playing individual notes and palm muting.

Length: 7:23 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 14

Bass Blues Shuffle

In this lesson, Hawkeye teaches a bass version of the blues shuffle that mimics a common left-hand piano pattern.

Length: 10:49 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 15

Turnaround Exercise

Hawkeye presents an exercise that will enable you to play a turnaround over the blues form in all twelve keys.

Length: 10:44 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 16

Delta Blues Turnaround

Hawkeye teaches a Delta blues turnaround in the key of A. This turnaround is played in the style of Robert Johnson.

Length: 10:45 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 17

Delta Blues Turnaround #2

Hawkeye Herman teaches a new Delta blues turnaround. This lick was inspired by Robert Johnson.

Length: 7:12 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 18

Robert Johnson Style

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

Length: 27:38 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 19

Movable Chords

Hawkeye introduces some common, movable chord shapes.

Length: 17:42 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 20

Movable Chord Review

Hawkeye reviews movable chords in this lesson. He explains how these chord voicings can be used in a practical blues context.

Length: 5:41 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 21

Basic Blues Scale

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

Length: 23:54 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 22

Passing Notes

Hawkeye builds on the pentatonic scale. He introduces "blue" notes, which transform the pentatonic scale into the minor blues scale.

Length: 12:50 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 23

Scales and Keys

Hawkeye explains how to transpose the minor pentatonic and minor blues scales to different keys.

Length: 21:18 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 24

Finding the Key

Hawkeye Herman explains how to determine the key of a blues song. This information is essential if you wish to play lead over a song.

Length: 15:31 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 25

Lightnin' Hopkins Style

In this lesson, Hawkeye will bring together much of what he has taught in this lesson series and apply it to the style of Lightnin' Hopkins.

Length: 16:36 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 26

Treble Shuffle

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

Length: 9:22 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 27

The Great River Road

Hawkeye Herman teaches you how to play his original song, "The Great River Road," in this phenomenal lesson.

Length: 16:39 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 28

Mississippi John Hurt Style

Hawkeye covers the guitar style of Mississippi John Hurt. This style makes heavy use of alternating bass lines.

Length: 14:48 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 29

Piano Blues

Hawkeye teaches an original piece called "Piano Blues." He teaches this song to further demonstrate the alternating bass line.

Length: 13:20 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 30

Blues Accompaniment

Hawkeye Herman teaches a beautiful blues accompaniment pattern.

Length: 10:11 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 31

Stop-Time Blues

Hawkeye introduces the stop-time blues rhythm.

Length: 17:21 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 32

Sweet Home Chicago

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

Length: 16:17 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 33

Eight Bar Blues

Hawkeye introduces the eight bar blues progression.

Length: 22:28 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 34

8 Bar Blues Key Transposition

Hawkeye takes the 8 bar blues material from the last lesson and explains how to transpose it to different keys.

Length: 6:39 Difficulty: 0.5 Members Only
Lesson 35

Classic 8 Bar Blues

Hawkeye teaches a classic 8 bar blues tune in the style of Brownie McGhee and Big Bill Broonzy.

Length: 25:10 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 36

Playing Multiple Notes

In this lesson Hawkeye revisits the blues/pentatonic scale and talks about playing multiple notes at the same time.

Length: 9:42 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 37

Classic End Tag

Hawkeye Herman teaches a classic blues song ending. He also explains how it can be played in different keys.

Length: 9:42 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 38

Basic Blues Slide

Hawkeye Herman covers the basics of slide technique and provides exercises to demonstrate them.

Length: 25:49 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 39

Slide Guitar and Open D Tuning

Hawkeye Herman introduces open D tuning. He explains how to play a 12 bar blues progression with a slide in this tuning.

Length: 14:56 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 40

Ramblin' On My Mind

Hawkeye Herman demonstrates the classic Robert Johnson song, "Ramblin' On My Mind" in open D tuning.

Length: 8:41 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 41

Blues Shuffle in Open D

Hawkeye explains how to play the blues shuffle in open D tuning.

Length: 0:00 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 42

Open D Harmony Shuffle

Hawkeye teaches the "harmony" version of the shuffle in open D tuning.

Length: 5:15 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 43

Open D Turnaround

Hawkeye teaches a simple blues turnaround in open D tuning.

Length: 9:00 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 44

Open D Slide Licks

Hawkeye Herman teaches some open D slide guitar licks. These licks are inspired by the song "Ramblin' On My Mind" by Robert Johnson.

Length: 8:14 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 45

Pentatonic Scale in Open D

Hawkeye Herman explains how to play the D minor pentatonic scale in Open D tuning.

Length: 4:00 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 46

Ramblin' On My Mind

Hawkeye challenges you to play "Ramblin' On My Mind" using the techniques from the past couple of lessons.

Length: 4:03 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 47

Rock and Slide Guitar

Hawkeye shows that open D tuning and slide guitar are not exclusive to the blues. He provides an exercise that demonstrates how this tuning can be used in rock music.

Length: 15:55 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 48

D Tuning Chords

Hawkeye returns to the world of open D tuning. He introduces various chord voicings and explains how they can be used in the blues.

Length: 10:00 Difficulty: 0.5 Members Only
Lesson 49

You Got To Move

In this lesson, Hawkeye teaches a classic blues song by Mississippi Fred McDowell - "You Got To Move".

Length: 9:03 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 50

You Got to Move Melody

Hawkeye Herman demonstrates how to play the melody of "You Got to Move" with a slide.

Length: 6:51 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 51

Slide Guitar and Blues Licks

Hawkeye Herman talks about playing and creating blues licks with the slide.

Length: 9:53 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 52

Elmore James Style

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

Length: 23:11 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 53

Blues Licks and Riffs

Hawkeye teaches some versatile blues licks and riffs that can be used in open D tuning.

Length: 11:15 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 54

Open G Tuning

Hawkeye Herman teaches the basics of open G tuning.

Length: 7:28 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 55

G Tuning Chords

Hawkeye gives a brief overview of chords and how they are played in open G tuning.

Length: 6:11 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 56

Blues Scale in Open G Tuning

Hawkeye gives a brief rundown of how the blues / minor pentatonic scale can be played in open G tuning.

Length: 4:48 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 57

G Tuning Accompaniment

Hawkeye talks about playing accompaniment using open G tuning.

Length: 7:44 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 58

Improvising in G Tuning

Improvisation using the minor pentatonic / blues scale is discussed in open G tuning. Hawkeye also touches on Robert Johnson's song, "Walkin' Blues."

Length: 7:26 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 59

Open G Shuffle Rhythm

In this lesson, Hawkeye Herman talks about playing the blues shuffle in open G tuning. He also shows some basic turnarounds.

Length: 10:37 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 60

Open G Shuffle Variations

Hawkeye reviews the blues shuffle in open G tuning. He demonstrates shuffle variations as well as a few licks, turnarounds, and other tidbits.

Length: 15:45 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 61

Robert Johnson Licks

Hawkeye teaches several Robert Johnson licks in this lesson. These licks are played with a slide in open G tuning.

Length: 14:40 Difficulty: 2.5 FREE
Lesson 62

G Tuning and the Capo

Hawkeye introduces the capo and explains how it can be used. This lesson is still in the context of G tuning.

Length: 10:28 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 63

Come On In My Kitchen

Hawkeye Herman showcases the power of slide guitar by demonstrating the classic Robert Johnson song, "Come On In My Kitchen."

Length: 6:33 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 64

Skip James Style

Hawkeye Herman gives a brief rundown of Skip James' blues guitar style. This lesson also focuses on playing in open tunings without a slide.

Length: 19:15 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 65

Open D to Open G

Hawkeye demonstrates how to take a song from open D tuning and play it in open G. He uses the song "No Expectations" by the Rolling Stones as an example.

Length: 10:26 Difficulty: 0.5 Members Only
Lesson 66

Drop D Tuning

Hawkeye shows you the wonders of drop D tuning and teaches his rendition of "Big Road Blues."

Length: 30:30 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 67

Statesboro Blues

Hawkeye goes over the fantastic song "Statesboro Blues" by Blind Willie McTell in Drop D tuning.

Length: 27:12 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 68

Blind Lemon Jefferson

Hawkeye discusses some history behind the great blues guitarist Blind Lemon Jefferson. He covers the song "Matchbox Blues" to provide an example of his style.

Length: 19:40 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 69

Minor Blues

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

Length: 12:53 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 70

The Capo

Hawkeye talks about the capo and its many uses.

Length: 22:32 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 71

Song Endings

By user request, Hawkeye shares ideas on how to end songs in this lesson.

Length: 21:26 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 72

Stop Time Blues

In this lesson, Hawkeye Herman returns to the wonderful world of stop-time blues. He teaches a few more ways to play in this glorious style.

Length: 17:53 Difficulty: 0.5 Members Only
Lesson 73

Eight Bar Blues

Hawkeye talks about the eight bar blues and uses some classic blues songs as examples.

Length: 26:19 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 74

Blues Mambo

Hawkeye talks all about the blues mambo in this lesson.

Length: 16:09 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 75

Movable Endings

Hawkeye explains how all the endings you've learned up to this point can be transposed to any key.

Length: 31:53 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 76

Movable Blues Scale

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

Length: 16:58 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 77

Blues Scale Lead

Hawkeye explains how the blues scale can be used to play lead in any song.

Length: 30:57 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 78

Spanning the Neck

Hawkeye explains how the blues scale can span the neck in any key.

Length: 22:09 Difficulty: 3.5 Members Only
Lesson 79

The Blues Had a Baby

Hawkeye talks about the background of rock 'n roll and how it is connected to blues.

Length: 21:42 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 80

Fun Licks

This lesson is filled with fun licks and lick techniques.

Length: 17:32 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 81

Spanning the Neck Continued

Hawkeye brings more blues wisdom to you in this lesson about spanning the neck.

Length: 18:18 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 82

Barre Chords Refresher

Hawkeye provides a few useful tips on playing barre chords.

Length: 13:18 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 83

Chord Relationships

Hawkeye discusses how the visual shapes of chords relate to one another on the fretboard.

Length: 15:06 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 84

Chord Relationships Continued

Hawkeye explains how to find the I, IV, and V chords in all 12 major keys.

Length: 8:43 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 85

Shuffle Rhythm Review

Hawkeye answers member questions on the shuffle rhythm.

Length: 16:19 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 86

Key of A Idea

Hawkeye shares an idea in the key of A that you can apply to your blues playing.

Length: 18:15 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 87

Thumbpick Vs. Flatpick

Thumbpick Vs. Flatpick: A most common question asked among guitarists is discussed in this lesson.

Length: 15:13 Difficulty: 0.5 Members Only
Lesson 88

Capo Ideas

Hawkeye shares his ideas on the capo and explains why he thinks it is important for every guitarist to own one.

Length: 18:34 Difficulty: 0.5 Members Only
Lesson 89

Everything is Movable

Hawkeye reiterates that everything is movable on the guitar and provides some fresh new ideas.

Length: 12:27 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 90

Bass Notes in Treble

Hawkeye explains how to add variety to the shuffle pattern by transferring the bass notes to the treble register and by adding palm muting. He also explains how you can create your own shuffle variations.

Length: 21:21 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 91

Treble Shuffle

Hawkeye provides more amazing tips and tricks on moving your shuffle rhythm to the treble for a unique sound.

Length: 16:50 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 92

Creating Solos

Hawkeye revisits the techniques learned in the last few lessons and explains how to tie tie them together to create solos.

Length: 9:46 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 93

Transposing Songs

Hawkeye provides some great tips for transposing any song you want to learn to a different key.

Length: 17:31 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 94

History of Blues

This exciting lesson dives into some of the earliest history of blues music and how it has shaped popular music today.

Length: 13:52 Difficulty: 0.5 Members Only
Lesson 95

Blues is the Roots

Hawkeye Herman explains why "blues is the roots, and everything else is the fruits."

Length: 8:41 Difficulty: 1.0 Members Only
Lesson 96

The Style of Hank Williams

Hawkeye discusses the history and style of Hank Williams.

Length: 17:07 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 97

The Style of Jimmie Rodgers

Hawkeye demonstrates some key aspects of Jimmie Rodgers' style.

Length: 12:30 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 98

Boom-Chicka Strum

Hawkeye demonstrates the "boom-chicka" strum and explains various ways you can incorporate it into your playing.

Length: 22:44 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 99

Fun Runs

Hawkeye Herman explains how to spice up your rhythm playing by incorporating bass runs between chord changes.

Length: 16:20 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 100

Review & Practice

Hawkeye Herman celebrates lesson 100 with a short but sweet review of what you've learned in the past couple of lessons.

Length: 6:51 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 101

Song Medley

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

Length: 13:08 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 102

Hawkeye's Favorite Licks

Hawkeye shares some of his favorite licks in this lesson.

Length: 22:35 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 103

More Fun Licks

Hawkeye teaches more fun licks to add to your blues bag of tricks.

Length: 31:20 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 104

More Licks Up the Neck

Hawkeye Herman is back with some more classic blues licks that span the length of the fretboard.

Length: 26:20 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 105

Bass Licks

Hawkeye explains the importance of playing licks over the entire neck of the guitar.

Length: 21:33 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 106

Rock Me Lick

Hawkeye Herman shares a lick that is commonly known as the "Rock Me Baby" Lick. He explains how this lick can be incorporated into a performance of this classic B.B. King song.

Length: 19:09 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 107

Turnaround Positions

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

Length: 8:19 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 108

Instrumental Themes

Hawkeye Herman talks about instrumental themes and how you can add lead fills to them.

Length: 18:03 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 109

Instrumental Themes Continued

Hawkeye continues his discussion on instrumental themes and blues.

Length: 23:42 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 110

Ninth Chords

Hawkeye Herman explains how dominant 9th chords are formed and how they can be used in blues music.

Length: 15:16 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 111

Ninth Chords Continued

Hawkeye Herman continues his discussion on 9th chords.

Length: 26:52 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 112

More Eight Bar Blues

Hawkeye Herman shares more eight bar blues knowledge in this fun and information-packed lesson.

Length: 23:57 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 113

Using a Tuner

Hawkeye shares his thoughts on tuners in this lesson.

Length: 6:38 Difficulty: 0.5 Members Only
Lesson 114

Introducing the Capo

In the 114th installment of his Blues Series, Hawkeye introduces the capo. He demonstrates how this valuable tool allows you to transpose chord voicings to various keys.

Length: 23:21 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 115

Forming Barre Chords

Having trouble getting those fingers to form barre chords? In lesson #115 of his Blues Series, Hawkeye covers some tips and techniques to help with these problematic chord shapes. Any beginner can master...

Length: 10:03 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 116

4 Up, 5 Down Applied Concept

Hawkeye explains why the adjacent strings on the guitar are tuned in perfect fourths and how this relates to left hand fingering.

Length: 18:44 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 117

Relative Chord Shapes

Hawkeye continues where he left off in lesson 116 and explains how the tuning of the guitar relates to commonly used chord shapes.

Length: 16:43 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 118

Transposing Notes / Changing the Key

Hawkeye Herman reviews important transposition concepts. Here he demonstrates how to change the key of a song so that it is appropriate for your vocal range.

Length: 20:31 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 119

All About Finger Picking

Hawkeye takes a look at this important right hand technique.

Length: 20:54 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 120

Bo Diddley Beat

Hawkeye provides a history lesson on Bo Diddley. He also demonstrates how to play the classic "Bo Diddley Beat." This rhythmic pattern appears in countless blues and rock songs.

Length: 20:15 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 121

Thematic Bass Lines

Hawkeye teaches some blues bass lines that can be applied to the twelve bar blues form.

Length: 19:04 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 122

Bass Lines Continued

Hawkeye continues on from his 121st lesson with more examples of blues bass lines for guitar.

Length: 7:14 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 123

Lead Bass Ideas

Hawkeye dives into some lead bass ideas. He demonstrates how a classic Eric Clapton riff can be used over the twelve bar blues form in any key.

Length: 12:57 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 124

Willie's Bounce

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

Length: 16:31 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 125

Finger Picking Part 2

Hawkeye continues his discussion on finger picking.

Length: 12:27 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 126

The Texas A

Hawkeye Herman teaches a version of the A chord that he calls "The Texas A."

Length: 13:59 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 127

Blues Scale: Adding the Major 3rd

Hawkeye breaks down the blues scale and demonstrates how to appropriately add the major 3rd.

Length: 26:16 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 128

Double Stops

As demonstrated in previous lessons, Hawkeye opens up the world of double stops. Hawkeye teaches some classic Chuck Berry licks to demonstrate how double stops can be used effectively.

Length: 11:53 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 129

Scrapper Blackwell

Hawkeye introduces the guitar stye of Scrapper Blackwell. He uses the song Scrapper called "E Blues" as a starting point.

Length: 20:46 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 130

Influence of Blind Lemon Jefferson

History flows deep in blues music. Hawkeye discusses the influence of Blind Lemon Jefferson. This lesson is one for the history books.

Length: 22:43 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 131

Humming and Strumming

Hawkeye opens up some ideas on how to "plan ahead" in your playing. Similar to riding a bike, you need to look forward to see where your going. Humming what you want to play allows you to anticipate the...

Length: 18:49 Difficulty: 4.0 Members Only
Lesson 132

Katrina, Oh Katrina

Inspired by the tragedy of Hurricane Katrina, Hawkeye was commissioned by the BBC to write a song about Katrina. Hawkeye demonstrates this song and recalls his thought process in writing this song.

Length: 29:53 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 133

All About the Hammer-on

Hawkeye demonstrates how a hammer-on can be used to open up doors in your playing. Hawkeye shows you how to achieve this technique and use it successfully in your playing.

Length: 24:07 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 134

The Pull-off

Hawkeye covers the pull-off, best friend of the hammer on. This technique is used to achieve the same goal as the hammer-on, yet with a completely different finger movement.

Length: 15:02 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 135

Using Hammer-ons and Pull-offs Together

Hawkeye combines lessons 133 and 134 and demonstrates some examples of how to utilize the hammer-on and pull-off techniques together to enhance your overall blues guitar skills.

Length: 10:27 Difficulty: 3.5 Members Only
Lesson 136

The Quick Change

The 12 bar form is a staple in the world of blues music. However, there are plenty of different ways to arrange it. This lesson covers what is commonly called "The Quick Change."

Length: 15:15 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 137

Starting on the IV Chord

Hawkeye demonstrates how to change up a traditional 12 bar blues progression by starting on the IV chord.

Length: 16:51 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 138

The Talking Blues

Hawkeye demonstrates yet another form of blues known as the "Talking Blues." This style is indicative of its name. It features a talking vocal style played over a I, IV, V chord progression.

Length: 24:43 Difficulty: 4.0 Members Only
Lesson 139

Utilizing 9th Chords

Need a slightly different voicing to spice up your playing? 9th chords will give your blues playing a colorful, urban sound.

Length: 24:53 Difficulty: 3.5 Members Only
Lesson 140

Minor Tuning, Major Sound

Hawkeye breaks out his slide and demonstrates how chord progressions in major keys can be played in open minor tunings.

Length: 4:43 Difficulty: 1.0 Members Only
Lesson 141

Style of Elmore James

Hawkeye offers up some tricks and techniques that Elmore James utilized in his style of playing.

Length: 25:52 Difficulty: 3.5 Members Only
Lesson 142

Style of Son House

In lesson 142, Hawkeye dives into the style of Son House. House pioneered an innovative style featuring strong, repetitive rhythms often played with a slide.

Length: 14:32 Difficulty: 3.5 Members Only

About Hawkeye Herman View Full Biography ""One of America's finest acoustic guitarists and blues educators."
Cascade Blues Association

"Herman plays with a sensitive, reflective touch that continually draws attention to his vocals, which are effectively understated and free of affectation... Herman can rock with the best of them. A solid choice for fans of traditional acoustic blues."
Living Blues Magazine

" ...plays haunting music on a mournful guitar."
Los Angeles Times

"The only thing better than hearing this live album is seeing Hawkeye Herman in the flesh. Whether adding his own spin to blues classics or offering his own songs, Herman is a one-man history of blues, noteworthy guitar player and inimitable communicator. Miss him at your peril."
Blues Access

With over 40 years of performing experience, Michael "Hawkeye" Herman personifies the range of possibilities in blues and folk music. His dynamic blues guitar playing and vocal abilities have won him a faithful following and he leads a very active touring schedule of performances at festivals, concerts, school programs and educational workshops throughout the U.S., Canada, and Europe. His original music has been included in video dramas and documentaries and in four hit theatrical productions.

In 2000, Hawkeye was awarded Philadelphia's Barrymore Award for Excellence in Theatre for best original music in a theatrical production. "Everyday Living," Hawkeye's first nationally released album from 1987, now reissued on CD, features the late blues giants Charles Brown and "Cool Papa" Sadler, and established the demand for his now long-standing festival and concert touring. His latest CDs and DVD, "Blues Alive!" (CD), "It's All Blues To Me" (CD), and "Hawkeye Live In Concert" (DVD) have been greeted with rave reviews. Hawkeye's journalistic efforts have been published in numerous national and regional blues and music-related periodicals.

In 1998 he was the recipient of the Blues Foundation's "Keeping The Blues Alive" award for achievement in education. He served on the Board of Directors of the Blues Foundation for six years. Hawkeye was inducted into the Iowa Blues Hall of fame in 2004. In September of 2005, Hawkeye composed, at the request of the British Broadcasting Company (BBC), "Katrina, Oh Katrina (Hurricane Blues)," detailing the hurricane disaster on the Gulf Coast. The song was aired to over 7 million listeners on the popular "BBC Today" program. He is the cofounder of the Rogue Valley Blues Festival, Ashland, OR.

This musician has definitely carved out a spot for himself in the contemporary acoustic blues/folk field, and has earned a reputation as one of the most accomplished artists in the genre, and audiences throughout the US/Canada/Europe have come to know and appreciate Hawkeye's talent, dedication, and captivating performances.

Acoustic Guitar Lessons

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


Mary Flower Mary Flower

Mary talks about the key of F in this fantastic lesson.

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Steve Eulberg Steve Eulberg

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

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Miche Fambro Miche Fambro

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

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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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Trace Bundy Trace Bundy

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

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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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Hawkeye Herman Hawkeye Herman

Hawkeye teaches several Robert Johnson licks in this lesson. These licks are played with a slide in open G tuning.

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Calum Graham Calum Graham

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

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Electric Guitar Lesson Samples

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


Steve McKinley Steve McKinley

Steve McKinley talks about evaluating your bass and keeping it in top shape. He covers neck relief, adjusting the truss rod,...

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Eric Madis Eric Madis

In this lesson Eric talks about playing basic lead in the Memphis Blues style.

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Brent-Anthony Johnson Brent-Anthony Johnson

Just like with the plucking hand, Brent-Anthony shows us the basics of proper fretting hand technique. In addition, he shows...

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Kris Norris Kris Norris

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

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Mark Brennan Mark Brennan

Mark Brennan teaches this classic rock song by Jethro Tull. Released on the album of the same name in 1971, this song features...

Free LessonSeries Details
David MacKenzie David MacKenzie

David MacKenzie introduces the tapping technique and teaches a fun exercise. This lesson includes a backing track.

Free LessonSeries Details
Brendan Burns Brendan Burns

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

Free LessonSeries Details
John DeServio John DeServio

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

Free LessonSeries Details
Ian Argys Ian Argys

Lesson 6 is all about the major mode. As with the other lessons you'll be taking a look at the individual notes on the strings...

Free LessonSeries Details
Evan Brewer Evan Brewer

Evan Brewer explains everything you need to know in order to get going with your bass guitar. Topics include the parts of...

Free LessonSeries Details




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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

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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 86 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
Community
Learn in Sweatpants Socially Unacceptable
Gasoline Needed $0.00 $0.00 ~$4 / gallon! $0.00

Mike H.

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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


Bill

"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 JamPlay.com. Yes, I said the words, ""enjoy learning."" It is by far the best deal for the money.



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