Basic Blues Slide (Guitar Lesson)

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Hawkeye Herman

Basic Blues Slide

Hawkeye Herman starts his journey into the world of slide guitar. He covers the basics of slide technique and provides exercises to demonstrate them.

Taught by Hawkeye Herman in Blues Guitar with Hawkeye seriesLength: 25:49Difficulty: 2.5 of 5
Chapter 1: (00:46) Lesson Intro Hawkeye Herman along with the rest of the JamPlay staff hope that you are enjoying the Phase 2 Blues series of lessons! In the next several lessons, Hawkeye will demonstrate how to play slide guitar in standard tuning as well as open tunings such as open D and open G.
Chapter 2: (06:22) Example and Technique Hawkeye kicks off Scene 2 with a performance of "Long Distance Call" by Muddy Waters.

Note: A complete transcription of Hawkeye's performance can be found under the "Supplemental Content" tab.


Notice how Hawkeye begins the song with a double stop lick from the E minor pentatonic scale. This lick was first introduced several lessons ago. This double stop consists of the notes G and B played on the first and second strings. A quarter step or microtone bend is applied to both notes in the double stop to give it a distinct blues flavor. Next, the bass version of the turnaround follows the lick.

Verse Section

"Long Distance Call" follows the basic 12 bar blues form in the key of E major. Over the tonic chord, Hawkeye frequently applies a common blues slide lick from the E minor pentatonic scale. This particular lick is played in a steady eighth note triplet rhythm. Notice how he plays this lick in two different octaves.

Introduction to Slide Guitar

A. Slide Guitar Set-up Tips

Playing with higher action is extremely beneficial when playing slide guitar. If you play slide with low action, unwanted noise from the frets will occur.

You must also be aware of your guitar's neck radius. Guitars necks either have a flat radius or a round radius. Most Fender guitars such as the Telecaster and Stratocaster have a round neck radius. The strings on these guitars arch across the fretboard. Gibson guitars such as the Les Paul and SG have a flat neck radius. It is slightly easier to play slide on a guitar with a flat neck radius. Flat necks allow you to lay the slide completely flat across every string. Consequently, you do not have to adjust the finger holding the slide when moving from one string to the next.

B. Choosing a Slide

1. Material

Slides are typically made from one of three different materials. Glass, metal, and porcelain slides are the most common. Each material produces a distinct tone. Guitarists such as Duane Allman, Bonnie Raitt, and Joe Walsh prefer glass slides because of the rich sustain that they produce. The thickness of the glass is directly proportional to the sustain length. Glass slides also produces the warmest tone. Metal slides are also very popular among blues, rock, metal, and country guitarists. Metal produces a brighter, much more aggressive sound than glass. They create a much dirtier sound due to the extra string noise that they produce. Finally, porcelain slides produce a tone that is a sort of middle ground between metal and glass. These slides produce the least amount of string noise. Aerosmith's Joe Perry typically plays with a porcelain slide.

2. Size

Slides come in a wide variety of lengths and thicknesses. Regardless of which material you choose, the slide should not extend past the second knuckle of the finger that you play slide with. You also want to make sure that the slide is not too loose or too tight.

3. Hawkeye's Preference

Hawkeye prefers to play with a small stainless steel slide. He inserts a piece of felt inside the slide to absorb sweat. The felt also takes up some space within the slide to ensure that it fits snugly around his pinkie finger. Some slides actually come with felt already inserted inside. Otherwise, it must be added with glue or some sort of thin, double-sided adhesive tape.

C. Which Finger Do I Use?

The finger used is strictly a matter of preference. Most players favor the pinkie finger, because it frees up the other three fingers for playing chords and single notes without the slide. However, famous guitarists such as Son House, Duane Allman, and Warren Haynes have been known to use the third finger. Bonnie Raitt typically uses her middle finger when playing slide.
Chapter 3: () Proper Slide Technique - Play Lightly A. Slide Angle

Make sure that the slide rests directly on top of the strings. Do not angle the slide. If you do, you will hear the sound of the slide scraping across the bottom of the fretboard and neck. Rest the slide only on the strings that you are playing. If you cover all six strings, but do not pluck them, unwanted string noise will result. Keep the slide parallel to the strings at all times. When playing a note, the middle of the slide must rest directly over top of the fret. If you place the slide where you normally fret a note, the note will sound flat.

Be careful not to let the "paralax view" throw you off. A paralax is the apparent difference in location of an object when it is viewed from two points that do not occur on a single, straight line. Sometimes the slide is slightly past the fret when you think it is directly over it. This results in a note that sounds slightly sharp. Use your ears to guide you and tell you what is in tune. This will come with time and diligent practice.

B. Play Lightly

Lay the slide across the strings as lightly as possible. You want to avoid the sound of the slide traveling across the frets. This also causes a decrease in resonance, tone, and sustain. Having higher action definitely helps in these areas. Higher action also minimalizes unwanted string noise.

C. Vibrato

Practice sliding up to the 12th fret across the entire length of the fretboard. Apply a vibrato to the 12th fret note. Shake your finger back and forth while keeping the thumb fixed to the back of the neck. When performing a double stop combined with vibrato, you must keep the slide parallel to the frets. Otherwise, one of the notes will sound out of tune.

arious musical situations call for different types of vibrato. The distance you move the slide determines how wide the vibrato is. The speed at which you move your wrist determines the rate of the vibrato.

Applying Slide Guitar to the E Minor Pentatonic Scale

The minor pentatonic scale is used very frequently to create slide guitar licks. Hawkeye demonstrates one such lick at 05:10 in the lesson video. This lick utilizes the "open" position pattern of the E minor pentatonic scale. It concludes with a long glissando slide up to the note E at the 12th fret of the first string.

Practice the ascending and descending forms of the E minor pentatonic scale as well as the minor blues scale with the slide. Hawkeye demonstrates this exercise with the minor pentatonic scale at 07:32 in the lesson video.

The lick that Hawkeye plays within the context of the Muddy Waters song uses some patterns of the minor pentatonic scale that have not been discussed yet. Tablature to these patterns can be found under the "Supplemental Content" tab.
Chapter 4: (07:31) Slide Technique and Demonstration When playing slide, you must apply left-hand as well as right-hand muting techniques. Right-hand muting will be discussed in future slide lessons.

Left-Hand Muting

Drag one or more left-hand fingers behind the slide to mute the strings that you are not playing. This will eliminate unwanted string buzz and sympathetic vibrations that muddy up the sound. These noises become even more noticeable when playing electric guitar. However, you may want to allow the additional strings to ring in certain situations to create an ambient effect. Hawkeye plays slide this way almost all of the time.
Chapter 5: (02:19) Slide and Muddy Waters Style Hawkeye concludes this lesson with another performance of "Long Distance Call." A slide lick derived from the E minor pentatonic scale is inserted in between vocal phrases.

Final Thoughts

Learning to play slide guitar is almost like learning how to play the guitar all over again. Even very advanced players struggle when first trying to play slide guitar. Be patient with this new technique. With proper practice and solid instruction, you will master this technique in no time. Always remember Hawkeye's cardinal rules of music when playing slide. Visualize where you are going next. Do not place all of your focus on what you are currently playing. Also, crawl before you walk. Walk before you run. Do not begin your adventure into slide guitar by trying to play all of Duane Allman's improvised slide solos. Start with basics such as playing through scales and simple exercises.

Additional Resources

For more information pertaining to slide guitar, check out the following books:

1. Electric Slide Guitar - book / cd by David Hamburger (Hal Leonard Corporation)
2. The Slide Guitar Book by Fred Sokolow (Hal Leonard Corporation)

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.

andrenegraoandrenegrao replied

thank your, Hawkeye, a real teacher, building a solid background in order for us to play and appreciate all aspects of the blues. Got myself a slide and it sounds great.

pgarnerpgarner replied

Another great lesson. Kudos.

blake23blake23 replied

i also dont use the muting technique, iv always like that cat scratch muddy waters sound you get without dragging your finger. its nice seeing other people do too! great lesson

chrisshields2000chrisshields2000 replied

Hi Mr Hawkeye loving traveling down the blues highway with you from down under in Australia. Just picked up my brass slide from the music store today and been practicing with it all day...for some reason I can't get the smile off my face :). Cheers Chris

Hawkeye.HermanHawkeye.Herman replied

Thanks so much for the kind words and for enjoying my lessons, Chris. I hope that smile never leaves your face. ;-) May I suggest you view some of the many blues songs that I have posted on youtube ... try to play along with me, it's good practice, and try to 'steal' my ideas/licks/riffs ;-): ... and please be sure to check out/explore my web site for more free guitar lessons and blues history information: ... I hope you continue to enjoy these lessons. Also, I travel/our globally ... I would love to perform in "Oz" ... I have shared the stage with one of Australia's finest blues guitars, Fiona Boyes, here in the US ... (do check her out if you don't know who she is) ... there are a number of great blues fests in Australia, and if you'd like to see me perform and/or teach at a fest in your area, just take a minute to go to their web site and send an email message to the production team letting them know you'd like to see me 'down under.' It's far more effective if you request and refer them to me ( that if I try to convince them to schedule me to perform and or teach. "Ticket buyers' have more leverage and influence than my sending them an 'application.' Thanks again for your kind comments and for 'traveling' with me on the 'blues highway' here at I hope the information I share with you via these lessons serves your guitar playing .... forever. ;-)

chrisshields2000chrisshields2000 replied

Thanks for the heads up about Fiona. Will do re the jamming, and "borrowing" licks, love the history articles you posted, and I just finished emailing the Sydney Blues and Roots Festival. Keep up the great work. Cheers Chris

Hawkeye.HermanHawkeye.Herman replied

Thanks so much for emailing the Sydney festival, Chris, I really appreciate it. ;-) If festivals in the US can bring Fiona here to perform, why not Hawkeye H. to Oz??? ;-) Here's a photo of Fiona Boyes and I sharing the stage on THE best blue gig on the planet ... The annual Legendary Rhythm & Blues Cruise on the Caribbean Ocean, a week long floating mega-blues festival that sells out quickly with blues fans from all over the planet very shortly after the tickets go on sale ... after all, the ship is huge, but can only hold about 2,500 blues fans: ... Fiona is an awesome fingerpicking guitarist and fine original songwriter. She has a Maton guitar endorsement. She performs at festivals in Oz, some concerts, and bar gigs ... watch for her ... go see her perform ... she's a lot of fun and very friendly, like most Aussies ;-), and say "Hi!, from Hawkeye Herman and his wife!" (She'll flip her lid if you do. ;-) She's won numerous Aussie music awards and I consider her (and her hubby) as good friends: ... you can watch her on youtube, as well. Glad you've been exploring my website ... thanks for doing so... lots of guitar lessons you might be interested in there, tab for slide/Elmore James ;-) ... put that new brass slide to good use ... and if you look through the 'Photo galley' you might see some familiar iconic blues faces ... besides a multitude of photos of my own 'ugly puss.' Gotta run, as I'm off to Alaska for 3 weeks to concert tour and teach next Sunday, and I've got a lot of prep. and packing to do. Thanks again for referring me to the Sydney roots music event. It's worth a try ... and maybe I'll see ya in-person in your corner of the globe ... sooner than later. Thanks for your support. G'day, mate;-)

jamesedmondsjamesedmonds replied

Hawkeye there's a problem with the video lesson 3 & 4. The video locks up?

jamesedmondsjamesedmonds replied

Cheers hawkeye

Hawkeye.HermanHawkeye.Herman replied

I hope the issue is cleared up soon, James. Thanks for letting the JP admin. folks know. Cheers and Best to you, my friend, HH

Hawkeye.HermanHawkeye.Herman replied

Thanks for the input, James. Much appreciated. If you're having a technical problem(s) with any video lesson(s) you need to inform the admin./tech. team by clicking on the 'bug' button at the top of the home page and informing them of the issue you're having. Sorry, (but thank goodness ;-) I have absolutely nothing to do with the technical aspects of ... I'm a bluesman/educator ... and I know nothing about the tech. aspects of running this site ... I assure you, the admin./tech. team will appreciate your input and they will respond to your issue(s)/problem(s) in a very expedient manner and 'fix it' if it needs 'fixing' ASAP. Thanks again for the message. I hope you experience no other difficulties with my lesson series in the future. Cheers and Best, Hawkeye ...

gharringtongharrington replied

I was disciplined until lesson 38. I play a classical style guitar with nylon on 1, 2, and 3. Is it possible to play slide style with nylon strings? Or, do I need a 2nd guitar? I would like to buy and try one if you say a slide is doable on 'guts". Thanks, I have learned a ton from you and have skipped ahead to pick up new material that can be played on any guitar e.g. sight relationships are killer lessons as is the lesson on finding the relative minor 6th to play any song using the blues scale.

gharringtongharrington replied

Thank you Hawkeye. 10-4 I'm getting a slide and return to lesson 38 to pick up where I left off. I can't get enough. Very impressive to get such help so quick. I am very encouraged and playing the blues scale across the neck and seeing stready technique progress. Your bite sized lessons are very satisfying.

Hawkeye.HermanHawkeye.Herman replied

Happy to oblige, Gary. Glad you're willing to try slide on your present guitar and seeing where it takes you. ;-) I try to respond to comments/questions ASAP ... but between April and Sept. I'm a bit slower in responding due to festival/concert touring. Stick with the program, be patient with yourself, and enjoy the process of learning/expanding your playing. I try to keep my lessons under 25 minutes long ... in hopes that folks can 'absorb' the information more readily in smaller increments. Be sure to watch some of my many videos at: ... so you can see how I use the many techniques I teach here online when I'm performing at festivals and in concert. try to play along with me and 'steal' my licks/riffs/ideas. Also, there are free guitar lessons at my web site, as well as many original articles I've written about blues history and the many iconic blues musicians I met and learned from over the years: ... Thanks for 'traveling' with me on the 'blues highway' here at

Hawkeye.HermanHawkeye.Herman replied

Greetings, Gary. Thanks so much for the message/question and for enjoying these lessons. I encourage ALL to follow my lessons in the order they are presented as I've given a lot of thought as to the order and content of each lesson in order for all of my students to gain a strong foundation and understanding of blues guitar music without holes/gaps in one's knowledge. However, if you 'need' to 'skip around'/'cherry pick' through these lessons ... well, do what you must in order to keep progressing ... I understand your question and reason for skipping over the slide lessons in regard to your playing a 'classical' nylon string guitar ... however, you should be aware that you can play slide using a 'classical'/nylon string guitar ... but you must have a very delicate touch with the slide and understand that it won't project nearly as loudly as steel stringed guitar ... but that shouldn't stop you from giving it a try. Go for it. It's NOT necessary for you to buy a 'special guitar'' for slide ... blues music, including slide, can be played on ANY guitar. I get asked a lot of questions like yours ... be sure to visit the 'Forum' area where folks post general questions for open discussion: ... you'll find a lot of questions/answers/discussion about the topic you inquired about. Check out ... Classical guitar & blues: ... Resonator guitar recommendations: ... New Republic Resonator - String Question: ... Resonator guitar decided on hawkeye: ... My first slide! It's fun as hell!: ... Metal Slide, Open-D: ... String gauge on a resonator: ... Resonator guitar decided on Hawkeye: ... Resonator bridge: ... It's most gratifying for me to know that you've 'learned at ton' from my lessons. Thanks so much for the kind words. My advice is for you to try playing slide on your nylon string guitar ... if, after a while, you find like/enjoy playing slide and want to invest in another guitar, with steel strings, for slide playing ... keep in mind that you can do so on a very cheap beginners steel stringed guitar because low action is not really necessary for playing slide guitar ... a cheap guitar with somewhat high action (somewhat unplayable for standard playing) can work well for slide. Look through the forum posts and you'll see that others have asked about this ... you certainly don't need to have an old resonator guitar like mine to play slide guitar ... all you need is ... any guitar ... and a willingness to give it a try. I hope this information is helpful to you and that you continue to enjoy these lessons. ;-)

gillesgilles replied

Hello Hawkeye, this is Gilles from Paris again. I first wrote to you I think in april to express my gratitude and appreciation. Well, I have been disciplined and practicing steadily. Though I learn other songs and pieces besides , I have kept to your lessons and gotten to lesson 38. I was feeling pretty good, able to play some blues, combine and use all that you have taught, apply it to different blues songs I want to play ... Just great. Then came lesson 38 and the reason I am writing is that I need a little encouragement here. Frankly, I am experiencing difficulties with the slide. I had never attempted it before and am surprised at how difficult it is - at least for me- to get a reasonably pure and musical sound. After feeling I had made a lot of progress, relatively speaking of course, it feels like being a beginner again. I was a little reassured when at the very end of the lesson you mention that many good players are back to square one when taking up the slide, but I guess a little more in that vein would be appreciated. Anyway, I'm certainly not giving up and tremendously enjoying learning so many blues songs made available by your very sound and efficient teaching, while tackling the slide. Thank you again and maybe see you in Paris in the fall ? Take care Gilles

Hawkeye.HermanHawkeye.Herman replied

Gilles, Thanks for your message. Yes, I will be at BLues sur Seine in MAntes la Jolie beginning on NOv. 4th. I will be performing in concert and in schools, as well as presenting a two-day seminar for musicians an teachers. There might be more information here: I will post my schedule of performances here soon. Gilles, we all learn at our own speed/pace. Why are you so impatient with yourself in regard to learning to use a slide? Especially after I specifically took the time to say that even an advanced player has early difficulty in learning to use a slide. Learning to play the guitar is a 'life's work' ... there is no end to the road of learning ... please put your anxieties about your 'failure' to learn to play with a slide 'overnight' to rest ... and understand that it doesn't matter how long it takes. There is no clock running that is counting the minutes/hours/days/months/ years that it takes to learn ... anything ... the only 'clock that is running' is the one in your head ... that causes you the frustrations that you are exhibiting. Could you please put the 'time element' aside and enjoy the process of learning and improving little by little by little on a daily basis. Why put limitations on yourself in regard to time. Are you in a hurry? Rome was no built in a day .... nor was ever a good slide player built in a day. Please relax ... and stop putting pressure on yourself and setting yourself up for disappointments by assuming that there is a time element involved in the learning process and in achieving success. Time is a creation of mankind ... and not a tangible 'thing.' The encouragement I give you is that we all must learn at your own pace/speed ... there are those who learn much faster than you, and there are those who learn much slower than you ... and even so, it doesn't matter. Are you playing the guitar for the enjoyment of learning and making music ... or are you learning to play the guitar as part of a 'race' to some non-existent finish line? There is no race, and there is no finish line ... there is only the joy of playing the guitar and improving day by day, some time in leaps and bounds, and sometimes in very small in increments. Every journey begins with the first step ;-) Thank you for being more patient ... with yourself. ;-)

gillesgilles replied

Well, Hawkeye, I have to bow down at the wisdom of your words which go beyond music and apply to any learning process and indeed to life itself. The irony is that whenever I teach in my own field (writing, creative process etc) that's exactly what I tell students ! I guess my involvment with music relatively late in life (I'm 51) has been sort of a delayed love affair and I must be in some sort of hurry ! Thank you, you are absolutely right and to the point. Blues has a lot to do in its spirit with humility, eh ? Hoping to meet you and share in Paris. It is so much fun and joy playing music !

gillesgilles replied

PS : Oh, and that's exactly what I did : i gave it a rest and today my slide playing sounds much better.

Hawkeye.HermanHawkeye.Herman replied

Gilles, Yes, thanks for understanding that ... what you teach your students ... applies to all areas of learning ... and applies to the teacher, as well. :-) Thanks again.

ozblokeozbloke replied

i must admit, i've jumped ahead a little, was feeling a bit down and disheartened with my blues playing, i guess i just want to be good now and not have to put in all the hard work!! So to cheer myself up, i had a go at your slide basics lesson. I just wanted to ask, what's the difference between the E blues scale and the Em pentatonic scale? Can you play either? Many thanks, will go back tomorrow to where i jumped from, just needed that extra lift. Did you ever get disheartened when you were first trying Hawkeye? OB

Hawkeye.HermanHawkeye.Herman replied

The 'E blues scale' and the 'Em pentatonic scale' refer to the same scale.

ozblokeozbloke replied

Am so disheartened, am almost on the verge of giving up, my month's membership runs out in a week, so not sure if its worth me buying another months membership. It's not in anyway to do with your teachiing, you are magnificent, just very down on myself. Did you ever feel that way learning the blues?

ozblokeozbloke replied

I'm sorry to sound like a depressive, i just hoped you'd have some words of wisdom. Cheers. OB

Hawkeye.HermanHawkeye.Herman replied

It's taken my whole life to get to where I am now. When you watch me, or Lightnin' Hopkins, BB King, T-Bone Walker, Eric Clapton, Bonnie Raitt, Fiona Boyes, or any professional blues musician play the guitar and perform you are watching the entire culmination of what they know and have experienced in life and on the guitar in that moment. You do not see the hours of playiing and practicing that went into that person being who they are now ... and you want to become like that professional musician/performer in a few months or years. And you are dissatisfied with your progress in that direction and disheartened by the reality that you have to learn at your own pace, whatever that pace may be. Isn't it wonderful how the guitar and the blues can come together to help us see the realities of life ... and be able to accept and rejoice in those realities ... and keep moving on. You wrote a blues song about me ... why not take the opportunity at this time to tap your feelings and write a blues song about yourself and your current blues dissatisfaction in regard to not learning as fast as you'd like to learn, how you continue to stand in your own way by putting limitations on the amount of time it takes to learn something. BB King is 84 years old, and he's been playing the guitar since he was about 12 years old ... that's 72 years of guitar playing ... I could write a blues song, "There's Only One BB King," that goes, "I've been practicing and playing guitar for 50 years, and I still can't play like BB King." "I've been practicing and playing guitar for 50 years, and I still can't play like BB King." "If I don't sound like BB soon, I'm gonna give up on the whole damn thing!" :-) Sorry, but I'm a longtime bluesman/musician, and my 'words of wisdom' are best expressed in song/music. I hope you find this response comforting and encouraging.

ozblokeozbloke replied

You are the top man Hawkeye, just needed a well earned, blues boot up the backside!! You have many people writing and sending you e-mails so i'm quite flattered that you remember i wrote a song about you, wow!! I shouldn't have spent so long on the internet yesterday and watching eric clapton, lightnin, son house (if that's the correct spelling), my mind just said "Forget it mate", but what you said is true, sometimes we know we're being silly and just need to have somebody say it out loud, thank you so much Hawkeye, normal service will be resumed shortly!

ozblokeozbloke replied

P.S.....i feel very embarrassed!!

Hawkeye.HermanHawkeye.Herman replied

No need to feel embarrassed. You're not the "Lone Ranger" ... We all put ourselves under unrealistic pressures at time in our lives. Take a deep breath ... Exhale ... and keep on keeping on ... at your own pace. ;-)

ozblokeozbloke replied

Thanks for that. When i joined jamplay, at the beginning of feb, i saw the introduction of you playing 'the great river road' and i thought to myself, i'd love to play like that! I can play your song now and add variations of my own. I can do turnarounds in every key along the fret board. I can play 'lightnin' style adding lead into my play, i can use Robert Johnsons "Texas A" chord (the king of the moveable chords) and add it into songs!! All this since i joined jamplay at the beginning of feb!!! You see Hawkeye, even though i've been in australia for five years, and haven't touched my guitar in all that time (maybe once or twice), i'm actually learning quite quickly, so i dont know what my problem was!!! My wife and i have been married 5 years and are buying a 'special' present for each other,....of course i got her a diamond necklace and she is buying me a new's a National resonator, an "Estralita Deluxe" so i'm over the moon right now! Thanks again for your words of encouragement, not only are you my blues mentor, but now you've become "Uncle Hawkeye" too lol!! Cheers. OB

Hawkeye.HermanHawkeye.Herman replied

You're most welcome. Enjoy your new guitar. The Estralita model is very similar to my "Trojan' model ... yours will have nicer looking veneer wood on the top. Cheers for what you've learned in such a short period of time ... it took me years to learn that amount of material ... I had to go dig it out of books and blues musicians in those days. Keep up the good work. You should find new inspiration by having a new guitar. :-)

sendbahtsendbaht replied

Wow Hawkeye hope your tour in Europe was a success. Knowing you what ever came you way you made the best of it. I've been bad. I've been doing pretty good not skipping ahead but I finally have. Stopped into a music shop here in Chiang Mai, Thailand and bought a mental slide. Stuff it with some t-paper and it fits perfect. So, have slide in hand and skipped a few lesson to get to this one. This is great, oh how fun!!!! I will retrace my steps to follow up on lessons skipped. Just wanted to turn myself in.:)))

Hawkeye.HermanHawkeye.Herman replied

Great. Glad you've got a slide that fits your needs. You can always make your own out of a piece if copper tubing ... found in the plumbing department of hardware stores ... the only problem with copper is that it needs to be polished regularly to get rid of the oxidation that can coat the surface and hinder a clean sound. I hope now you can really enjoy exploring slide guitar. :-)

Hawkeye.HermanHawkeye.Herman replied

Thanks for your comments ... and honesty. Much appreciated. You can skip around in the lessons, and still learn a lot ... but doing so can hinder your 'complete understanding' of the blues and create gaps in your knowledge/musical foundation ... so if you do skip around, I hope you'll also always go back and 'stay with the program' ... be patient ... and try to follow the plan as I've layed it out ... at the inexpensive price you're paying to subscribe to these lessons ... I believe you should be patient and not 'cherry pick' the lessons ... good lord, you can watch 100 lessons in a month for less than I'd have to charge you for 1 (one) in-person guitar lesson (or for a lesson from any music store or guitar instructor) ... so why 'cheat yourself' out of information that's coming your way for so little money. :-) I hope you continue to enjoy these lesson ... via the lesson plan ... or via 'cherry -picking' .... either way, I'm glad you're here at with me.

sendbahtsendbaht replied

Yes Sir you are correct on all accounts. Just I was so excided to find this slide in a dark plastic form age that I had to try it out. I bet it was in the store for many years. It was only 7 lesson jump but I will listen to you and go back now. Thanks for all your help.

Hawkeye.HermanHawkeye.Herman replied

Are you saying you have a plastic slide? ... I've never seen a plastic slide that worked or sounded as good as a metal or glass slide. If this is so, let me know how it's working for you.

sendbahtsendbaht replied

Sorry, what I meant was.... I walked into this little guitar shop, I asked for a slide, he digs around and pulls out this slide. I can hardly see though the colored old age plastic. But looking close I could see a metal slide. I told the guy to open it and if it fits I will buy it, just like my luck it fit. So it is a metal slide. I threw away the old dirty package it came in. After some cleaning it looks like new. Now, "take me to the station" :))

souloffsouloff replied

Thanks for the intro to slide. It's something I never tried and enjoyed playing with a thermometer case so I look forward to picking up a slide. Is there anyway to put the lyrics to the example songs you play in the supplemental materials or is there a copyright issue? It would be a nice time saver not to have to go google lyrics each lesson. Thanks again. I've played for 30 years and my guitar playing is definitely unstuck which is great fun.

Hawkeye.HermanHawkeye.Herman replied

Thanks for the comments. Glad you're enjoying the slide guitar lessons. I don't do the supplemental aspects of my lessons ... we have great guy named Matt who does all of that ... so you could request our admin. folks to have Matt do so (as if he doesn't have enough to do with notation all of the instructors lessons ;-) ... googling lyrics is fast and easy (and almost instantly gratifying) ... type in the correct song title and the word lyrics after the title ... and you can copy and paste the words into a word document on your own ... that's what I do whenever I need lyrics. Sorry, that's the best I can do for you from here. I hope you continue to enjoy these lessons.

nycbeijingernycbeijinger replied

Hi Hawkeye, Could you please explain the E minor scale in this lesson? I have the first three strings as 12-10, 12-10, 12-9 but am not sure of the fingers to use or what frets and fingers to use on the 4, 5 and 6 strings either. By the way, am really impressed with you going into the schools to bring the kids the blues. cheers, Patrick

Hawkeye.HermanHawkeye.Herman replied

The notes/frets to play are: on the high E string = 12 and 10, B (2nd string) = 12 and 10, G (3rd string) = 12 and 9, D (4th string) = 12 and 9, A (5th string) = 12 and 9, low E sting (6th string) = 12 and 10. If you're not playing these notes using the slide, then you should use your third (ring) finger at 12th fret on all the strings and the index finger on all of the notes/frets that are on the 9th or 10th fret on each of the strings. Yes, I'm now in Mississippi teaching in schools and performing at the brand new BB King Museum. I've been going into schools to teach/perform blues music for over 30 years, and have been in over 500 schools, all levels from elementary to college level, in 25 states, 8 foreign countries, and to over 1/2 m,illion students. I love going in tot he schools and explaining the msuic and it's history to students of all ages. "Blues is the roots, and everything else is the fruits." Thanks for you question and kind comment. I hope you continue to enjoy these lessons.

nycbeijingernycbeijinger replied

Thanks for the notes and your time, Hawkeye. Keep up your good work in the schools, too. :)-

Hawkeye.HermanHawkeye.Herman replied

My pleasure to help. I hope you continue to travel with me on the 'blues highway' here at

wutangwuwutangwu replied

yeah i just realized you talked about it in the lesson. you called them "ambient sounds". i really like the sound. don't ever change your way of doing it!

Hawkeye.HermanHawkeye.Herman replied

wutangwu, Thanks for the comment. I won't change my style ... I met and was taught by the old guys, Son House, Bukka White, Furry Lewis, Mance Lipscomb, John Jackson, etc. ... and the 'cleanliness/purity' of the sound by damping behind the slide was of a lesser concern for them ... rarely used ... and as a result, for me, too. I appreciate the clean sound ... but I like the "haunting' sound better. As a matter of fact ... check out the LA Times quote here: .... Thanks again for your message and appreciation for the music.

wutangwuwutangwu replied

that sound makes me think of an old shack in the everglades...a swampy area perhaps. i think i actually like the aftersound that comes after the slide even sounds haunting!

Blues Guitar with Hawkeye

Found in our Beginner Lesson Sets

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

Introduction to BluesLesson 1

Introduction to Blues

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

Length: 19:25 Difficulty: 1.0 Members Only
Understanding Blues ChordsLesson 2

Understanding Blues Chords

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

Length: 12:12 Difficulty: 1.0 Members Only
Blues RhythmLesson 3

Blues Rhythm

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

Length: 19:42 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Intro to the Blues ShuffleLesson 4

Intro to the Blues Shuffle

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

Length: 18:12 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
More Blues ShuffleLesson 5

More Blues Shuffle

Hawkeye covers the blues shuffle in greater depth.

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

The Blues Turnaround

Hawkeye introduces and explains a common blues turnaround.

Length: 7:45 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Interesting Blues TurnaroundLesson 7

Interesting Blues Turnaround

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

Length: 8:08 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Moving the TurnaroundLesson 8

Moving the Turnaround

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

Length: 5:57 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Turnaround in the BassLesson 9

Turnaround in the Bass

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

Length: 11:12 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Turnaround PracticeLesson 10

Turnaround Practice

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

Length: 3:58 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Turnarounds as LeadLesson 11

Turnarounds as Lead

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

Length: 0:00 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Subtle ChangesLesson 12

Subtle Changes

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

Length: 7:12 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Blues Shuffle VariationsLesson 13

Blues Shuffle Variations

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

Length: 7:23 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Bass Blues ShuffleLesson 14

Bass Blues Shuffle

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

Length: 10:49 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Turnaround ExerciseLesson 15

Turnaround Exercise

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

Length: 10:44 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Delta Blues TurnaroundLesson 16

Delta Blues Turnaround

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

Length: 10:45 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Delta Blues Turnaround #2Lesson 17

Delta Blues Turnaround #2

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

Length: 7:12 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Robert Johnson StyleLesson 18

Robert Johnson Style

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

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

Movable Chords

Hawkeye introduces some common, movable chord shapes.

Length: 17:42 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Movable Chord ReviewLesson 20

Movable Chord Review

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

Length: 5:41 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Basic Blues ScaleLesson 21

Basic Blues Scale

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

Length: 23:54 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Passing NotesLesson 22

Passing Notes

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

Length: 12:50 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Scales and KeysLesson 23

Scales and Keys

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

Length: 21:18 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Finding the KeyLesson 24

Finding the Key

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

Length: 15:31 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lightnin' Hopkins StyleLesson 25

Lightnin' Hopkins Style

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

Length: 16:36 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Treble ShuffleLesson 26

Treble Shuffle

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

Length: 9:22 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
The Great River RoadLesson 27

The Great River Road

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

Length: 16:39 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Mississippi John Hurt StyleLesson 28

Mississippi John Hurt Style

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

Length: 14:48 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Piano BluesLesson 29

Piano Blues

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

Length: 13:20 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Blues AccompanimentLesson 30

Blues Accompaniment

Hawkeye Herman teaches a beautiful blues accompaniment pattern.

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

Stop-Time Blues

Hawkeye introduces the stop-time blues rhythm.

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

Sweet Home Chicago

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

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

Eight Bar Blues

Hawkeye introduces the eight bar blues progression.

Length: 22:28 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
8 Bar Blues Key TranspositionLesson 34

8 Bar Blues Key Transposition

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

Length: 6:39 Difficulty: 0.5 Members Only
Classic 8 Bar BluesLesson 35

Classic 8 Bar Blues

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

Length: 25:10 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Playing Multiple NotesLesson 36

Playing Multiple Notes

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

Length: 9:42 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Classic End TagLesson 37

Classic End Tag

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

Length: 9:42 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Basic Blues SlideLesson 38

Basic Blues Slide

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

Length: 25:49 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Slide Guitar and Open D TuningLesson 39

Slide Guitar and Open D Tuning

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

Length: 14:56 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Ramblin' On My MindLesson 40

Ramblin' On My Mind

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

Length: 8:41 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Blues Shuffle in Open DLesson 41

Blues Shuffle in Open D

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

Length: 0:00 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Open D Harmony ShuffleLesson 42

Open D Harmony Shuffle

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

Length: 5:15 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Open D TurnaroundLesson 43

Open D Turnaround

Hawkeye teaches a simple blues turnaround in open D tuning.

Length: 9:00 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Open D Slide LicksLesson 44

Open D Slide Licks

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

Length: 8:14 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Pentatonic Scale in Open DLesson 45

Pentatonic Scale in Open D

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

Length: 4:00 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Ramblin' On My MindLesson 46

Ramblin' On My Mind

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

Length: 4:03 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Rock and Slide GuitarLesson 47

Rock and Slide Guitar

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

Length: 15:55 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
D Tuning ChordsLesson 48

D Tuning Chords

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

Length: 10:00 Difficulty: 0.5 Members Only
You Got To MoveLesson 49

You Got To Move

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

Length: 9:03 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
You Got to Move MelodyLesson 50

You Got to Move Melody

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

Length: 6:51 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Slide Guitar and Blues LicksLesson 51

Slide Guitar and Blues Licks

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

Length: 9:53 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Elmore James StyleLesson 52

Elmore James Style

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

Length: 23:11 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Blues Licks and RiffsLesson 53

Blues Licks and Riffs

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

Length: 11:15 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Open G TuningLesson 54

Open G Tuning

Hawkeye Herman teaches the basics of open G tuning.

Length: 7:28 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
G Tuning ChordsLesson 55

G Tuning Chords

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

Length: 6:11 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Blues Scale in Open G TuningLesson 56

Blues Scale in Open G Tuning

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

Length: 4:48 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
G Tuning AccompanimentLesson 57

G Tuning Accompaniment

Hawkeye talks about playing accompaniment using open G tuning.

Length: 7:44 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Improvising in G TuningLesson 58

Improvising in G Tuning

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

Length: 7:26 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Open G Shuffle RhythmLesson 59

Open G Shuffle Rhythm

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

Length: 10:37 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Open G Shuffle VariationsLesson 60

Open G Shuffle Variations

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

Length: 15:45 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Robert Johnson LicksLesson 61

Robert Johnson Licks

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

Length: 14:40 Difficulty: 2.5 FREE
G Tuning and the CapoLesson 62

G Tuning and the Capo

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

Length: 10:28 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Come On In My KitchenLesson 63

Come On In My Kitchen

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

Length: 6:33 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Skip James StyleLesson 64

Skip James Style

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

Length: 19:15 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Open D to Open GLesson 65

Open D to Open G

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

Length: 10:26 Difficulty: 0.5 Members Only
Drop D TuningLesson 66

Drop D Tuning

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

Length: 30:30 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Statesboro BluesLesson 67

Statesboro Blues

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

Length: 27:12 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Blind Lemon JeffersonLesson 68

Blind Lemon Jefferson

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

Length: 19:40 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Minor BluesLesson 69

Minor Blues

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

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

The Capo

Hawkeye talks about the capo and its many uses.

Length: 22:32 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Song EndingsLesson 71

Song Endings

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

Length: 21:26 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Stop Time BluesLesson 72

Stop Time Blues

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

Length: 17:53 Difficulty: 0.5 Members Only
Eight Bar BluesLesson 73

Eight Bar Blues

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

Length: 26:19 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Blues MamboLesson 74

Blues Mambo

Hawkeye talks all about the blues mambo in this lesson.

Length: 16:09 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Movable EndingsLesson 75

Movable Endings

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

Length: 31:53 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Movable Blues ScaleLesson 76

Movable Blues Scale

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

Length: 16:58 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Blues Scale LeadLesson 77

Blues Scale Lead

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

Length: 30:57 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Spanning the NeckLesson 78

Spanning the Neck

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

Length: 22:09 Difficulty: 3.5 Members Only
The Blues Had a BabyLesson 79

The Blues Had a Baby

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

Length: 21:42 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Fun LicksLesson 80

Fun Licks

This lesson is filled with fun licks and lick techniques.

Length: 17:32 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Spanning the Neck ContinuedLesson 81

Spanning the Neck Continued

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

Length: 18:18 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Barre Chords RefresherLesson 82

Barre Chords Refresher

Hawkeye provides a few useful tips on playing barre chords.

Length: 13:18 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Chord RelationshipsLesson 83

Chord Relationships

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

Length: 15:06 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Chord Relationships ContinuedLesson 84

Chord Relationships Continued

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

Length: 8:43 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Shuffle Rhythm ReviewLesson 85

Shuffle Rhythm Review

Hawkeye answers member questions on the shuffle rhythm.

Length: 16:19 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Key of A IdeaLesson 86

Key of A Idea

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

Length: 18:15 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Thumbpick Vs. FlatpickLesson 87

Thumbpick Vs. Flatpick

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

Length: 15:13 Difficulty: 0.5 Members Only
Capo IdeasLesson 88

Capo Ideas

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

Length: 18:34 Difficulty: 0.5 Members Only
Everything is MovableLesson 89

Everything is Movable

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

Length: 12:27 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Bass Notes in TrebleLesson 90

Bass Notes in Treble

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

Length: 21:21 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Treble ShuffleLesson 91

Treble Shuffle

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

Length: 16:50 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Creating SolosLesson 92

Creating Solos

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

Length: 9:46 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Transposing SongsLesson 93

Transposing Songs

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

Length: 17:31 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
History of BluesLesson 94

History of Blues

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

Length: 13:52 Difficulty: 0.5 Members Only
Blues is the RootsLesson 95

Blues is the Roots

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

Length: 8:41 Difficulty: 1.0 Members Only
The Style of Hank WilliamsLesson 96

The Style of Hank Williams

Hawkeye discusses the history and style of Hank Williams.

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

The Style of Jimmie Rodgers

Hawkeye demonstrates some key aspects of Jimmie Rodgers' style.

Length: 12:30 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Boom-Chicka StrumLesson 98

Boom-Chicka Strum

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

Length: 22:44 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Fun RunsLesson 99

Fun Runs

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

Length: 16:20 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Review & PracticeLesson 100

Review & Practice

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

Length: 6:51 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Song MedleyLesson 101

Song Medley

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

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

Hawkeye's Favorite Licks

Hawkeye shares some of his favorite licks in this lesson.

Length: 22:35 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
More Fun LicksLesson 103

More Fun Licks

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

Length: 31:20 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
More Licks Up the NeckLesson 104

More Licks Up the Neck

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

Length: 26:20 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Bass LicksLesson 105

Bass Licks

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

Length: 21:33 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Rock Me LickLesson 106

Rock Me Lick

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

Length: 19:09 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Turnaround PositionsLesson 107

Turnaround Positions

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

Length: 8:19 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Instrumental ThemesLesson 108

Instrumental Themes

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

Length: 18:03 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Instrumental Themes ContinuedLesson 109

Instrumental Themes Continued

Hawkeye continues his discussion on instrumental themes and blues.

Length: 23:42 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Ninth ChordsLesson 110

Ninth Chords

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

Length: 15:16 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Ninth Chords ContinuedLesson 111

Ninth Chords Continued

Hawkeye Herman continues his discussion on 9th chords.

Length: 26:52 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
More Eight Bar BluesLesson 112

More Eight Bar Blues

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

Length: 23:57 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Using a TunerLesson 113

Using a Tuner

Hawkeye shares his thoughts on tuners in this lesson.

Length: 6:38 Difficulty: 0.5 Members Only
Introducing the CapoLesson 114

Introducing the Capo

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

Length: 23:21 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Forming Barre ChordsLesson 115

Forming Barre Chords

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

Length: 10:03 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
4 Up, 5 Down Applied ConceptLesson 116

4 Up, 5 Down Applied Concept

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

Length: 18:44 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Relative Chord ShapesLesson 117

Relative Chord Shapes

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

Length: 16:43 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Transposing Notes / Changing the KeyLesson 118

Transposing Notes / Changing the Key

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

Length: 20:31 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
All About Finger PickingLesson 119

All About Finger Picking

Hawkeye takes a look at this important right hand technique.

Length: 20:54 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Bo Diddley BeatLesson 120

Bo Diddley Beat

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

Length: 20:15 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Thematic Bass LinesLesson 121

Thematic Bass Lines

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

Length: 19:04 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Bass Lines ContinuedLesson 122

Bass Lines Continued

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

Length: 7:14 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lead Bass IdeasLesson 123

Lead Bass Ideas

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

Length: 12:57 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Willie's BounceLesson 124

Willie's Bounce

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

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

Finger Picking Part 2

Hawkeye continues his discussion on finger picking.

Length: 12:27 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
The Texas ALesson 126

The Texas A

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

Length: 13:59 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Blues Scale: Adding the Major 3rdLesson 127

Blues Scale: Adding the Major 3rd

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

Length: 26:16 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Double StopsLesson 128

Double Stops

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

Length: 11:53 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Scrapper BlackwellLesson 129

Scrapper Blackwell

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

Length: 20:46 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Influence of Blind Lemon JeffersonLesson 130

Influence of Blind Lemon Jefferson

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

Length: 22:43 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Humming and StrummingLesson 131

Humming and Strumming

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

Length: 18:49 Difficulty: 4.0 Members Only
Katrina, Oh KatrinaLesson 132

Katrina, Oh Katrina

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

Length: 29:53 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
All About the Hammer-onLesson 133

All About the Hammer-on

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

Length: 24:07 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
The Pull-offLesson 134

The Pull-off

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

Length: 15:02 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Using Hammer-ons and Pull-offs TogetherLesson 135

Using Hammer-ons and Pull-offs Together

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

Length: 10:27 Difficulty: 3.5 Members Only
The Quick ChangeLesson 136

The Quick Change

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

Length: 15:15 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Starting on the IV ChordLesson 137

Starting on the IV Chord

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

Length: 16:51 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
The Talking BluesLesson 138

The Talking Blues

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

Length: 24:43 Difficulty: 4.0 Members Only
Utilizing 9th ChordsLesson 139

Utilizing 9th Chords

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

Length: 24:53 Difficulty: 3.5 Members Only
Minor Tuning, Major SoundLesson 140

Minor Tuning, Major Sound

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

Length: 4:43 Difficulty: 1.0 Members Only
Style of Elmore JamesLesson 141

Style of Elmore James

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

Length: 25:52 Difficulty: 3.5 Members Only
Style of Son HouseLesson 142

Style of Son House

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

Length: 14:32 Difficulty: 3.5 Members Only
Hawkeye Herman

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lesson Information

Acoustic Guitar Lessons

Acoustic Guitar

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

Maneli Jamal Maneli Jamal

Tapping is a great tool that can be used to create the sound of two guitars without ever having to pluck a note! The tricky...

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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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Danny Voris Danny Voris

Lesson 7 is all about arpeggios. Danny provides discussion and exercises designed to build your right hand skills.

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Mark Kailana Nelson Mark Kailana Nelson

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

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Alan Skowron Alan Skowron

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

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Amber Russell Amber Russell

Playing fingerstyle requires the ability to play different techniques at the same time. This of course, is not always an...

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Don Ross Don Ross

New fingerstyle instructor Don Ross introduces himself, his background, and what you should expect in this series.

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Justin Roth Justin Roth

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

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Mary Flower Mary Flower

In this lesson, Mary Flower introduces herself and her playing style. She also discusses essential blues listening.

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Erik Mongrain Erik Mongrain

Erik expounds on the many possibilities of open tunings and the new harmonics that you can use in them. He explains what...

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Electric Guitar Lesson Samples

Electric Guitar

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

Nick Greathouse Nick Greathouse

Nick starts his series with Alternate Picking part 1. Improve your timing, speed, and execution with this important lesson.

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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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Andy Whitehead Andy Whitehead

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

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David Davidson David Davidson

JamPlay interviews Revocation's Dave Davidson.

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David Ellefson David Ellefson

David Ellefson, co-founding member of Megadeth, explains his overall approach to teaching and learning bass in this introductory...

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John March John March

Take a new look at the fretboard and learn where to find a voicing that works. There are techniques that simplify the fretboard...

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Will Ripley Will Ripley

Join Will Ripley as he gives us all the details of his series, "Rock Guitar for Beginners". You'll be playing cool rock riffs...

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Dave Weiner Dave Weiner

Dave "David J" Weiner returns with a lesson on how to play with style and attitude. He covers all the basic techniques you'll...

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Kenny Ray Kenny Ray

Albert Collins brought a lot of style to the blues scene. In this lesson, Kenny breaks down Albert's style for you to learn.

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