Drop D Tuning (Guitar Lesson)


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Hawkeye Herman

Drop D Tuning

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

Taught by Hawkeye Herman in Blues Guitar with Hawkeye seriesLength: 30:30Difficulty: 3.0 of 5
Chapter 1: (09:37) Introduction Hawkeye explains one of the most commonly used alternate tunings in lesson 66. This tuning is referred to as "drop D." In this tuning, the pitch of the low sixth string is dropped a full step down to the note D.

Tuning to Drop D

1. When tuning to Drop D, first tune your guitar to standard tuning. Within standard tuning, the open strings are tuned as follows:

6th string: E
5th string: A
4th string: D
3rd string: G
2nd string: B
1st string: E

2. Tune the sixth string down to the note D. This step can be accomplished by three different methods. Experiment with all three methods to determine which yields the best results for you. Most guitarists begin with one method. Then, a second method is used to check tuning accuracy.

A. Method 1

Match the pitch of the open sixth string to the open fourth string. Remember that the open fourth string produces the note D.

B. Method 2

Match the pitch of the note played at the 7th fret of the sixth string to the pitch of the open A string.

C. Method 3

Match the harmonic played at the 12th fret of the sixth string to the harmonic played at the same fret of the fourth string. The harmonic at the 12th fret of the fourth string produces the note D. This method tends to yield the best results for most players.

When using a basic, hand held electronic tuner, play the harmonic at the 12th fret of the sixth string to make sure that this note is perfectly in tune. Your tuner may be confused if you play the open sixth string when it is tuned to a low D note.

Always tune up to a pitch when tuning any string. The string will stay in tune better. Your ear also has an easier time matching a pitch if you come up to it from below rather than trying to come down to it.

Chord Voicings

When playing certain chords in drop D, the sixth string often has to be fretted differently due to the change in tuning. Or, it may simply be more practical to omit this string when transferring a chord from standard tuning to drop D.

D Major

The D major chord that you have learned in past lessons utilizes four strings. However, this chord can be played with all six strings in Drop D tuning. This is possible since the lowest string is now tuned to D, the root of the chord. The open fifth string produces the pitch A. This note is the fifth of a D major chord.

G Major

When playing a G major chord in drop D tuning, some fingering adjustments need to be made. In standard tuning, the root note is fretted on the 3rd fret of the sixth string. In drop D tuning however, this fretboard location now produces the note F. As a result, the root note must be played two frets higher.

Use the third finger to fret the root note of the chord. Fret the high root note on the first string with the first finger. Since it is almost impossible to fret the B note on the fifth string, lightly mute the fifth string with the third finger. Consequently, the third of the chord is no longer doubled.

The pinkie can also be used to fret the low root note. This enables the other fingers to play melody notes lower on the fretboard.

G7

A G7 chord can be played by omitting the note on the sixth string. The second string can be played open within this voicing. Or, the pinky can fret the note D at the 3rd fret of this string.

A Major and A7

The V chord in the key of D major can either be played as an A major triad or an A dominant seventh chord (A7). The voicings for these chord remain unchanged in Drop D. However, if you apply an alternating bass line to either of these chords, some adjustments must be made. The fifth of the chord, E, is played at the 2nd fret of the sixth string. In standard tuning, this location produces the note F#. In drop D however, this note is now E. The E note can either be fretted by bringing the thumb over the top of the neck or by simply using the first finger. If you choose to fret this note with the first finger when playing an A major triad, the second, third, and fourth fingers must fret the remaining notes in the chord.

Alternating Bass Line with D Major

Play the low D note (6th string) on beat 1. Strum the top three strings on beats 2 and 4. Play the fifth of the chord A (open 5th string) on beat 3. Hawkeye demonstrates this accompaniment at 03:50.
Chapter 2: (07:44) Drop D Tuning Tommy Johnson

A. Biography


Tommy Johnson was born near Terry, Mississippi in 1896. In 1910 he moved to Crystal Springs, Mississippi where he learned to play guitar. By 1914, Johnson began to play professionally with his brothers Mager and LeDell at local parties. Around this time, he met other bluesmen such as Charlie Patton and Willie Brown, who had a profound influence on his style of playing.

Throughout most of his career, Johnson lived in Crystal Springs but continued to tour the South. He often performed with Papa Charlie McCoy. In 1928, he signed a deal with Victor Records and soon after recorded some of his classic songs with McCoy. He recorded one additional session for Victor Records in 1928 and a session for Paramount Records in December of 1929. Although he did not record again, he continued to perform in the Jackson, Mississippi area. He died of a heart attack after his final performance on November 1, 1956.

B. Style

Tommy Johnson's recordings and performances cemented his reputation as the premier Delta bluesman of his day. Similar to other Delta players, Johnson is known for his powerful guitar accompaniment. He is also known for his unique vocal style which ranges from growls to an eerie falsetto.

C. Discography

1928


-"Cool Drink Of Water Blues"
-"Big Road Blues"
-"Bye-Bye Blues"
-"Maggie Campbell Blues"
-"Canned Heat Blues"
-"Big Fat Mama Blues"
-"Lonesome Home Blues"

1929

-"Button Up Shoes"
-"I Want Someone To Love Me"
-"I Wonder To Myself"
-"Slidin' Delta"
-"Black Mare Blues"
-"Morning Prayer Blues"
-"Boogaloosa Woman"
-"Alcohol And Jake Blues"
-"Ridin' Horse"

"Big Road Blues"

A. Listening


The way in which Hawkeye plays "Big Road Blues" is quite similar to the way that Tommy Johnson played the song. Check out the original recording here.

Hawkeye plays the song with a heavier swing feel compared to the original recording. A heavy swing feel is produced by playing a long-short rhythm for each pair of two eighth notes.

In addition, check out versions of the song performed by other musicians. Bonnie Raitt, a huge supporter of Johnson's legacy, recorded the song as well.

B. Playing the Song

"Big Road Blues" follows a standard 12 bar blues format in the key of D major.

Playing over the I Chord

Over the first four bars of the form, a bass line is played in octaves on the fourth and sixth strings. Hawkeye performs the bass line with his thumb and index finger. The notes used in the bass line (D, E, F, and F#) are derived from the major blues scale (D, E, F, F#, A, B, D). Notice how this scale contains both the minor third (F) and the major third (F#) in the key of D.

When the I chord returns in measure 7, a quick chord change between D and G7 occurs. Practice and drill this chordal figure. Hawkeye demonstrates this mini exercise at 04:10.

Playing over the IV Chord

When playing G7, the B note on the fifth string is approached from a half step below. Then, a melodic motif is played on the first and second strings within the chord.

Playing over the V Chord

At 04:35, Hawkeye demonstrates the segment that is played over the V chord, A. The notes on the 4th and 2nd strings are approached from a half step below. A melodic motif from G - F# - E is played on the first string within the V chord.
Chapter 3: (03:03) Big Road Blues Hawkeye demonstrates the song in this scene using the elements discussed in the previous scenes.
Chapter 4: (10:05) Big Road Blues Continued Analyzing the Form

Bars 1-4: Play the basic bass line riff four times.

Bars 5-6: Play the G7 riff..

Bars 7-8: Play the D - G7 chordal riff.

Bar 9 - A7 Riff

Bar 10 - G7 Riff

Bars 11-12: D - G7 chordal riff

Drop D Turnaround

Hawkeye breaks this turnaround down in the lesson video at 05:35.

A low D bass note on the sixth string is played against a chord planing figure to create the turnaround. Chord planing occurs when a chord shape ascends or descends in half steps. The visual shape of the basic D major chord is used for each chord shape in the descending sequence. Analyze how each chord functions in relation to a D bass note. The sequence resolves to a tonic D chord at the end of the turnaround.

This turnaround can be used as an effective introduction or ending to a song in Drop D tuning. Try adding an open D chord played one octave higher to the end of the turnaround when using it as a song ending.

Final Thoughts

Break this song into smaller, more manageable chunks when learning it. Work through one riff at a time. Then, string them together to perform the song. Do not try to play the whole song at once when you first begin to practice it.

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Member Comments about this Lesson

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


jw56jw56 replied on September 21st, 2013

Thanks Hawkeye- I was not familiar with Tommy Johnson - I had learned of other Delta bluesmen - and am so happy that you introduced Tommy Johnson to me. I did an internet search and found his bio on wiki - which if you scroll down also leads to a 1928 recording of Big Road Blues - its there for all your students to hear and includes the full text of the lyrics. - In addition to the guitar you can also hear his unique voice which includes his signature falsetto. I will work on this lesson- it will be a real challenge - I try to spend at least an hour a day studying and playing blues - your a great teacher Hawkeye -thank you. Jeffrey

Hawkeye.HermanHawkeye.Herman replied on September 22nd, 2013

You're most welcome, Jeffrey. My pleasure to broaden your interest in blues music. Tommy Johnson was a very important and influential blues musician ... many blues and rock musicians have recorded his songs (Bonnie Rait, Eric Clapton, Canned Heat, etc.) ... including myself ... you'll find a sample version of Tommy Johnson's still popular blues standard "Big Road Blues" from my CD "Everyday Living" here: http://hawkeyeherman.com/media/Track01.MP3 ... and Hawkeye CD information here: http://hawkeyeherman.com/blues_shop.htm ... Please remember that there are free lessons at my web site: http://hawkeyeherman.com/guitar-lessons.htm ... articles on blues history and the many iconic blues performers I met and learned from directly here: http://hawkeyeherman.com/articles.htm ... and I have posted many blues songs on video at youtube .... http://www.youtube.com/user/HawkeyeH ... please watch these videos to see how I use the skills I teach in my lessons when I'm performing in concert and at festivals ... try to play along with me, try to 'steal' my licks/riffs/ideas ;-) I hope you continue to enjoy these lessons. Thanks again for your kind comments and for 'traveling' with me on the 'blues highway' here at JamPlay.com.

Hawkeye.HermanHawkeye.Herman replied on September 22nd, 2013

... and by the way, I learned to play the music of Tommy Johnson from KC Douglas, who was born and raised in Mississippi and frequently performed with Tommy Johnson in the Jackson, MS area years before Douglas moved to the Berkeley/Oakland, CA area. KC Douglas could play all of Johnson's music, and could replicate all of Johnson's songs and licks. I met KC back in the late 1960s in Berkeley, and I used to hang out with him now and then, and he showed me how to play "Big Road Blues," "Canned Heat Blues," and other Tommy Johnson songs in Johnson's style. Also, in case you didn't know it, KC Douglas had a number of minor blues hits, one was quite popular, called "Mercury Blues," and was a rock hit by Steve Miller, and covered by many other blues-rockers. To illustrate the importance of Tommy Johnson's influence, the famous rock band Canned Heat to their name fro one of Tommy Johnson's most popular songs, "Canned Heat Blues." I was very fortunate to have learned the music of Tommy Johnson from a person who knew Johnson and performed gigs with Johnson back in Mississippi years and years before. It is my duty and 'job' to pass on the legacy of these great blues artists. I'm glad you're enjoying these lessons, and I hope you continue to do so. Thanks again for your comments.

dannycdannyc replied on March 20th, 2013

Finally perfected this song..Took me 3 times through the lessons from start to finish..phew! A journey indeed. (and almost 3 years..)

jw56jw56 replied on September 21st, 2013

Thanks Hawkeye- I was not familiar with Tommy Johnson - I had learned of other Delta bluesmen - and am so happy that you introduced Tommy Johnson to me. I did an internet search and found his bio on wiki - which if you scroll down also leads to a 1928 recording of Big Road Blues - its there for all your students to hear and includes the full text of the lyrics. - In addition to the guitar you can also hear his unique voice which includes his signature falsetto. I will work on this lesson- it will be a real challenge - I try to spend at least an hour a day studying and playing blues - your a great teacher Hawkeye -thank you. Jeffrey

Hawkeye.HermanHawkeye.Herman replied on March 20th, 2013

Congratulations, Danny. I'm glad you've 'got it.' It matter little how long it takes you to learn ... anything ... as long as you enjoy the journey and process. 'Time' is not an aspect in the learning process ... 'time' is a creation of humankind, and in music 'time' is 'tempo'/and keeping a solid 'time'/'tempo' is most important ... 'time' has nothing to do with learning process ... when it comes to learning ... there is no 'race' and there is no 'finish line' ... the element of time is an unnecessary stress factor that YOU bring to the table ... the joy is in the learning process and the journey ... 'it's a long and winding road that has no end' ... take satisfaction in your progress ... don't worry about time ... unless you want to NOT have fun and stress about how quickly you learn. Learning/practicing/developing skills are not measured in 'time' ... skills are developed/learned incrementally, and each of us learns/develops skills in 'our own time' ... there is no 'standard' time for developing skills ... it is a labor of love that exists outside of the concept of time. I congratulate you on your success and patience, and I hope you continue to enjoy these lessons and the development of your blues guitar playing skills without worrying and/or stressing how about how long it takes you to learn/develop and of those skills. The satisfaction and joy are in the journey. ;-)

rpigott42rpigott42 replied on February 14th, 2012

I just wanted to drop a note to say thank you! I am 50 and just started playing. You are definitely a TEACHER!

Hawkeye.HermanHawkeye.Herman replied on February 14th, 2012

Thanks for your kind comment, Ray. Very much appreciated. I have given a great deal of thought and planning as to the order and content of my lessons. If one follows the lessons in the order they are presented, patiently progressing incrementally at one's own speed from one lesson to the next in the order the lessons are presented one will gain a strong understanding and foundation in blues music. If one 'cherry picks' through these lessons selectively one will have huge gaps in one's understanding of blues guitar and in one's skills. Just a warning; Blues music is a 'language' ... so it follows that one would, logically, not try to study or learn a 'new' language by selectively viewing lessons in random order. ;-) I hope you are wisely viewing my lessons, beginning with lesson #1, and progressing in order through the lessons, not moving on to the next lesson until you can accomplish what is in the present lesson. This is how a 'language' is learned, and this is how my lessons are set up and how blues guitar is learned. Yes, I am a 'teacher' ... I've been playing the guitar for over 50 years and performing and teaching for over 45 years. I have been a visiting residency artist/teacher/musician in schools for over 34 years; in more than 500 schools, in 30 states, eight foreign nations, to well over 1/2 million students from elementary to the university level. I perform at/in concert venues and blues/music festivals and I frequently give blues guitar workshops at music festivals and music camps. I'm glad you are enjoying these lessons, and I hope you continue to do so. Again, thanks so much for your kind comment.

mstewart85mstewart85 replied on January 21st, 2012

This is one of my favorite lessons. I love your in depth teaching on this tune, and teaching points that can be applied all the time. Amazingly, after one sitting I'm putting much of it together. Definitely some subtleties I need to 'get' and work on. I'll be refining this one forever.

Hawkeye.HermanHawkeye.Herman replied on January 23rd, 2012

Thanks so much for the kind words and for enjoying these lessons. I do appreciate your taking the time to let me know that my lessons (and my 'style' of teaching ;-) are having an impact on your ability to play and improve. The guitar is a 'life's work' ... enjoy the process of learning and growing, and always refrain from placing 'time constraints' on your progress ;-) I hope these lessons serve your plying ... forever. Again, thanks so much for 'traveling' with me on the 'blues highway' here at jamplay.com.

mstewart85mstewart85 replied on January 21st, 2012

This is one of my favorite lessons. I love your in depth teaching on this tune, and teaching points that can be applied all the time. Amazingly, after one sitting I'm putting much of it together. Definitely some subtleties I need to 'get' and work on. I'll be refining this one forever.

donbdonb replied on September 7th, 2010

Great lesson. I can play it well enough, but when I try to sing I can only keep time for the first 4 bars. After that my timing just falls apart. I have the same problems with your version of R. Johnson's "When you got a good friend". Are there any tips for keeping the rhythm?

donbdonb replied on September 8th, 2010

I knew that was the answer, just didn't want to miss a simple technique if there was one. I love the practice, in fact I sometime need to force myself to stop and do the many other things that need to be done. Thanks again.

Hawkeye.HermanHawkeye.Herman replied on September 8th, 2010

Don, if it's any encouragement to you, many, many years ago, it took me weeks of daily practice before I could play a simple shuffle rhythm and sing at the same time. As a teenager, in high school, I would come home after school and go up to my room and practice the guitar for a couple of hours ... until my Mom called me to dinner. When I would come down to dinner my Mom would say ... "How can you do that?!!" ... "How can I do what?," I would respond. "How can you practice the same thing on the guitar over and over and over and over again? Don't you get bored?," she clarified. In all innocence (and precocious wisdom) I would respond to her question by saying, "Gee, Mom, I just keep going, practicing, until I get it right ... no matter how long it takes. When I make a mistake, I don't pick up where I left off, I go all the way back to the beginning! It has to be perfect from beginning to end, so I don't stop and restart where the mistake happened, I go all the way back to the beginning of the song/piece." My Mom would just shake her head in wonder at my tenacity and patience ... at my driving my entire family crazy by my patiently practicing ... no matter how long it took, minutes, hours, or days ... until I got it 'right.' "Too bad you don't have the same patience and sense of hard work toward your school books" she'd say. I'd just shrug my shoulders, eat me dinner, and then go back up to my bedroom and continue practicing the guitar. I've always enjoyed the 'journey' ... I hope you do too! Thanks again for your kind comments and for being patient with yourself on the 'blues highway.' ;-)

Hawkeye.HermanHawkeye.Herman replied on September 8th, 2010

Thanks for enjoying these lessons. Very much appreciated. If your guitar music 'falls apart' when you sing it's because you need to practice the guitar part even more, without singing. It's called 'muscle memory' ... the guitar part is in your brain, but not completely absorbed/learned by your fingers ... so that your fingers can go on 'auto-pilot' while you sing. It takes lots of practice and time to make this happen. Keep practicing the guitar part over and over again ... enjoy the practice, don't look at it as 'work' ... when your fingers automatically know where to go ... then you can add the vocal. This is not a 'race' to a 'finish line' ... everyone learns at their own speed ... don't put pressure on yourself to 'hurry up' and learn ... just relax and practice ... and eventually, in your own time, your fingers/ muscle memory will kick in and you'll be able to accomplish your goal of singing while you play. This happens bit by bit, incrementally, every time you pick up the guitar you improve ... sometimes in/by huge leaps, and sometimes in small bits. It's a journey ... not a race ... it's a long and winding road that has no end ... enjoy the process. You're improving every time you practice. There's no 'secret' to playing rhythm ... it's a matter of teaching your fingers what's in your brain ... the secret is repetition. When you see me perform ... or anyone perform/play/sing ... you're seeing the result of many hours upon hours of practice and repetition ... you see/hear the performance ... you don't see the time and practice/effort I've (anyone) has put into accomplishing the goal of singing and playing the song. ;-) Hang in there ... and enjoy the endless blues journey. Again, thanks so much for enjoying these lessons.

jacobstbjacobstb replied on February 24th, 2010

I have watched all of your lessons up to this and this one is absolutely my favorite lesson to date. I will be spending days perfecting it, but the instruction perfectly described each section of the song. Thanks so much, that is fantastic.

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

So glad you enjoyed this lesson. Thanks so much for the kind comment. I hope you continue to enjoy these lessons, and find yourself another "gem" of a lesson like this one along the way.

Eric.MadisEric.Madis replied on April 29th, 2009

Hey Hawkeye, nice job! Tommy Johnson lives!

Hawkeye.HermanHawkeye.Herman replied on April 29th, 2009

Thanks for dropping by, Eric. Much appreciated. I was lucky to have learned the music of Tommy Johnson from K.C. Douglas, who performed at house parties back in Mississippi with Tommy Johnson years before K.C. moved to the the SF/Oakland Bay Area. K.C. worked for many years for the City of Berkeley in the street maintenance department ... and he performed in clubs and at blues festivals up until his death. I used to hang out with him and I learned much of tommy Johnson's music from him. He was fine player, singer, and songwriter ... and probably is most famous for having written and recorded "Mercury Blues" ... which was a pop/rock hit for the Steve Miller Band ... and was sung by C&W performer Alan Jackson in Ford/Mercury television commercials years after K.C.'s death ... I'm happy to say that K.C.'s family reaped the royalties for both of these highly visible versions of his best know original song ... too bad K.C. did not live to realize the popularity and income from the song himself. Thanks again for stopping by. ;-)

aquariartyaquariarty replied on April 25th, 2009

Fantastic lesson Hawkeye, I love your teaching style, you always make everything look so doable, definitely going to give this one a go!

Hawkeye.HermanHawkeye.Herman replied on April 25th, 2009

aquariarty, So glad you're enjoying these lessons, and my 'style' of teaching. If you have problems/questions/issues, please let me know. Thanks for your kind words. Much appreciated.

jsashjsash replied on April 24th, 2009

Great stuff as usual Hawkeye. You always manage to make these lessons so accessible and enjoyable. Thank you.

Hawkeye.HermanHawkeye.Herman replied on April 25th, 2009

jsash, Thanks so much. Just doing my job ;-) ... passing on the blues torch/tradition on in as understandable a way as possible. I hope you continue to enjoy these lessons. Again, thanks so much.

mattbrownmattbrown replied on April 23rd, 2009

Supplemental Content for this lesson will be posted by early tomorrow afternoon (4/24/09). Thanks for your patience!

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.


Rich Nibbe Rich Nibbe

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

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Steve Eulberg Steve Eulberg

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

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Randall Williams Randall Williams

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

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Marcelo Berestovoy Marcelo Berestovoy

Marcelo teaches the eight basic right hand moves for the Rumba Flamenca strum pattern. He then shows you how to apply it...

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JamPlay welcomes bassist and founding member of Godsmack, Robbie Merrill. In this short introduction lesson, Robbie showcases...

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

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Orville Johnson introduces turnarounds and provides great ideas and techniques.

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

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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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Joe Burcaw Joe Burcaw

Join Joe as he shows one of his favorite drills for strengthening his facility around the fretboard: The Spider Technique.

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Nick Kellie Nick Kellie

Nick explains how to use scales and modes effectively when soloing over a chord progression.

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Steve Smyth Steve Smyth

JamPlay sits down with veteran fret grinder Steve Smyth of Forbidden and The EssenEss Project. He talks about how he got...

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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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Tom Appleman Tom Appleman

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

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Dennis Hodges Dennis Hodges

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

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Billy Sheehan Billy Sheehan

Billy starts his artist series off with a lesson on something he gets asked the most to explain: right hand 3 finger technique.

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Braun Khan Braun Khan

In this lesson, Braun teaches the chord types that are commonly used in jazz harmony. Learn how to build the chords and their...

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