Movable Blues Scale (Guitar Lesson)


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Hawkeye Herman

Movable Blues Scale

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

Taught by Hawkeye Herman in Blues Guitar with Hawkeye seriesLength: 16:58Difficulty: 3.0 of 5
Chapter 1: (08:15) Introduction Lesson Objectives

Transpose the most common "box" pattern of the minor pentatonic scale to new keys.

Review

At this point, you absolutely must have this box of the minor pentatonic scale memorized. You should also have spent a significant amount of time developing lead guitar licks within this box pattern. Hawkeye reviews the E minor pentatonic scale in open position at 00:30. If you do not already have all of the note names and their locations on the sixth string memorized, do so at this time. This information is essential to transposing the minor pentatonic scale to new keys.

Transposition

The visual pattern of the minor pentatonic scale remains the same when it is transposed to different keys. For example, to play the scale in the key of F minor, simply shift the entire box pattern up one fret. To play the scale in G minor, first locate the root note on the sixth string. It is found at the 3rd fret. Consequently, you must begin the box pattern in third position.

Position Playing / Proper L. H. Technique

When playing in any position other than first position, the first, third and fourth fingers are used to play the minor pentatonic scale. Do not barre all six strings with the first finger! Lift the first finger up when it is time to move to the next string within the scale. Leaving a barre planted will cause unnecessary fatigue. Instead, keep each finger prepared and ready above the fret where it plays. Keep the fingers as close to the fretboard at all times. This will allow you to play with maximum speed and accuracy. Remember that one of the most important elements of proper guitar technique is playing as relaxed and effortlessly as possible.

Alternate Fingerings

When playing the pattern high up on the fretboard, many guitarists prefer to play with an alternate left hand fingering. The first finger still fulfills the same job. Now, the second finger frets notes that were previously fretted by the third finger. The third finger frets notes that were fretted by the pinky before. This will help you play more accurately when navigating higher, smaller frets.

Mini Exercise at 06:08

Practice your technique by looping a descending pattern on the first two strings. Remember to follow the technique rules listed above when practicing through this exercise. The same play – relax technique must be used when ascending the scale as well.
Chapter 2: (04:06) Blues Scale Continued At the beginning of this scene, Hawkeye plays through the scale while demonstrating the proper play – relax technique with the index finger.

This is also demonstrated in the key of Cm at 02:15.

Ear Training

To develop your ear training / audiation skills, sing a scale as you play it. Also, sing the scale without guitar accompaniment. To be an effective improviser, you have to know what a line is going to sound like before you even play it. Singing your skills and melodic lines will also help immensely when it comes to transcribing music played by other guitarists.
Chapter 3: (04:37) Review Use the index finger as a reference when transposing the minor pentatonic scales to new keys. Simply find the appropriate root note along the sixth string and begin the pattern at this location. Remember to follow the proper technique rules.

Using the transposition concepts that you have learned in this lesson, practice the minor pentatonic scale pattern in all 12 chromatic keys. This is an excellent way to develop your technique as well as your transposition skills.

Also, make sure that you are regularly practicing your improvisational skills. An effective way to practice is to play along with your favorite recordings. A review of how to find the key center of a song is provided below.

Playing with Recordings

Playing along with your favorite blues records is an excellent way to develop your rhythmic and improvisational skills. To determine the key center of a song, follow these steps:

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

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

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

4. After working through this process several times, you will notice that finding the tonal center of a song becomes much easier.

Video Subtitles / Captions





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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.


sendbahtsendbaht replied on June 27th, 2013

Wow Hawkeye thanks so much for this lesson...this helps so much. I friend ed you on FB see you there too. Don Stewart..even changed my FB photo of me playing the guitar..:)) so look for it.:))

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

You're most welcome, Don. Here's another version of this lesson from the free guitar lessons at my web site: http://hawkeyeherman.com/photo_gallery/Gallery13/04.htm ... be sure to watch some of my youtube videos so that you can see how I use the information I teach here when I'm performing: http://www.youtube.com/user/HawkeyeH ... It's a good thing you mentioned friending me on FB ... I maxed out with 5000 friends two years ago, and I recently dumped out about 200 that 'needed' dumping ... I'm still very close to the maximum of friends and have over 300 people who have requested 'friend status' that have yet to be sorted out and accepted. I accepted your friend request ... had you not informed me about your request it most likely would not have happened because of so much 'traffic' in the friends request area of my FB page. I have to sort through and dump out a couple hundred more of my 'non-real' FB friends in order to fulfill the requests that are on hold, some by folks who I do know as friends. I hope you continue to enjoy these lessons. Thanks for your FB friendship and enthusiasm for the music we love. A bamboo bicycle, eh? Very interesting ;-)

daemerydaemery replied on December 7th, 2012

Hey Hawkeye! don't know if this is tha appropriate place to ask but at River Tunes you gave us some easy rules of thumb for mixing major and minor pentatonic scales and licks.. I thought you may have had a lesson on that here.. and if I missed it please direct me to it.. if not could you review a bit please? Hope all is well! Hope to be able to spend some time with you at next summer River Tunes! Dave

sendbahtsendbaht replied on June 28th, 2013

Tanks Hawkeye, will check out your youtube videos some more and your guitar site too. You are famous so i'm sure very hard to keep under the 5000 friends. I keep my FB friends to about 100...this way I can be a better "friend" and when I post a photo I get a like of "likes" and comments. I like you will clean a few out now and then. Thanks for you friendship here and on FB...ok time to practice.

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

So glad you understand my FB friends 'position,' Don. ;-) I hope you keep enjoying the process of learning, practicing, and playing the blues ... forever.

Hawkeye.HermanHawkeye.Herman replied on December 8th, 2012

Sorry, Dave ... but I'm not sure if there's another of my lessons on this subject here at JamPlay beyond what's in this lesson #76. There could be ... I just don't remember ... what's in/the content of all these lessons. ;-) I wish I could be of more help.

Hawkeye.HermanHawkeye.Herman replied on December 7th, 2012

Greetings, Dave. Good to hear from you. All's well with me ... just recently returned from a month of touring in Europe/France/Norway/Switzerland. I think the lesson you're referring to/asking about is this one @ JamPlay.com: Lesson 76: Movable Blues Scale ... http://members.jamplay.com/guitar/phase-2/lesson/913-movable-blues-scale ... hope this helps. Looking forward to seeing you at RiverTunes camp this summer. Happy Holidays!

WheelerWheeler replied on July 22nd, 2009

Hawkeye, thank you for the lessons. They are fantastic. I feel like I came a long ways in a very short period of time.

Hawkeye.HermanHawkeye.Herman replied on July 23rd, 2009

SWFL2WHEELER, My pleasure. You're most welcome. There are many more lessons to come. I'll be continuing the blues instruction in the 'phase two' area, and eventually be posting lessons in the 'phase three' area for more in-depth/song/artist specific blues techniques and styles. I hope you continue to enjoy these lessons.

iukaiuka replied on July 16th, 2009

To comment in a more practical direction, this lesson is great tool in listening to old blues tunes that have little 'scale runs' around the basic three chord progressions. Once you can hear the key the song is in, you can quickly home in on the appropriate scale to add a nice little combo of scale notes within the key. This whole series of foundation lessons is rich with things you can add to your playing that teach you practical tools you can reallly use.

Hawkeye.HermanHawkeye.Herman replied on July 17th, 2009

iuka, You 'get it." SO glad. That's gratifying for me as a teacher. Cool! You get my message. If you're watching yourself play the guitar ... you're not 'being music' ... not connected in mind, body, and spirit. That's what I'm trying to teach all of my students. It doesn't matter if you're a beginner, intermediate, or advanced guitarist ... or what kind of music you're playing ... it's about expressing yourself in the moment. Whether you're playing rhythm and just one chord, or a blistering number of notes, you should be totally connected to what you're doing. Don't be an observer of what you're doing, BE totally involved/connected with the music as you make/create it. Peter Gree, Eric Clapton, SRV, BB King, etc. all the greats are fine examples. There's only one Peter Green/Eric Clapton/SRV, etc. ... but there's also only on YOU ... practice and repeat the concepts that I teach you so that they really become a part of who you are, part of your BEING, and flow out of you like conversation. First you must replicate what I teach, and then through this repetition, eventually, you'll be able to spontaeously call on any aspect of what you've learned to express yourself. Like learning a lanuguage ... you learn vocabulary ... a word at a time ... and your vocabulary grows ... and you can ultimately express yourself freely ... you don't even have to think about it ... you just BE ... music ... and your BEING the music is what makes you an individual ... nobody can be YOU better than YOU ... in the same way that you can just speak your native tongue ... you can speak and respond within music without thinking about it. Of course, you must enjoy the process of learing ... and ALWAYS be interested in expanding your 'vocabulary.' Don't try to be Eric Clapton, or Robert Johnson, or anyone else ... accept who YOU are and revel in your own ability to speak/communicate/BE the unique person that you already are. Blues is a means of self expression ... so 'learn the ropes' ... the vocabulary ... and tell us YOUR own story and human experience in your own way through the music. Study the Masters ... learn from the Masters ... techniques ... and then paint your own Mona Lisa ... DaVinci aready painted his :-)

swampitiswampiti replied on July 10th, 2009

Hawkeye , The pentatonic is a 5 note scale, the addition of the flatted 5th inthe case of A blues scale is the D#so there are 6 notes in the blues scale any other notes make it an altered scale Thanks Swampiti

swampitiswampiti replied on July 15th, 2009

thanks hawkeye for your response to my mini- bio Im looking forward to any new videos you post Steve "swampiti" Elk

Hawkeye.HermanHawkeye.Herman replied on July 17th, 2009

Steve, You're most welcome. There are more lessons to come, yet to be posted ... and I'll be videotaping more in the next few months, some for the 'phase two' aspect ... and I have plans for many new lessons that are more advanced and specific/song oriented for the 'phase three' aspect here at jamplay. I do appreciate your being here and enjoying these lessons. I hope you continue your fine creative skills throughout your retirement and ... forever.

vikingbluesvikingblues replied on July 12th, 2009

Real gold nugget of advice in this lesson Hawkeye. Don't I wish that more teachers told us about the trick of singing and hearing the notes as you play them. It was only about a year ago I first heard of this technique and it makes a huge difference to playing lead lines and understanding the music. If it was more widely known perhaps we'd hear more players playing tunes and not just rapid fire note patterns with no phrasing.

Hawkeye.HermanHawkeye.Herman replied on July 12th, 2009

vikingblues, It's amazing to me that folks don't know about this 'technique.' Simply put, if you're not singing the notes in your head whiole you play them, then you're watching yourself play, like an audience, and not really 'being music,' but playing music. There's a big difference. All musicians, regardless of the instrument should be connected to each note that they play, thinking it as they play it. If you're watching yourself play, you're exercising technical ability but little depth of emotion. In blues music, emotion is crucial. Hum and strum/pick ... be connected to each note, think what you're playing as you play it ... don't be an observer. Thanks for recognizing this simple aspect/concept of making music that eludes so many instructors and students.

swampitiswampiti replied on July 11th, 2009

absolutely Eb in the Aminor blues scale, careless on my part even if it is an enharmonic , not that relevant to the lesson I just wanted clarity Steve Swampiti

Hawkeye.HermanHawkeye.Herman replied on July 12th, 2009

swampiti, I appreciate your input. Clarity is important, but for many folks who are not as experienced as you with musical theory ... such information can be ... 'too much' ... and intimidating ... I've been playing blues and teaching guitar for 50+ years, and I've learned that exhibiting my depth of knowledge of music and theory is not necessarily helpful to students on the beginning and intermediate levels ... I have absolutely no interest in using this forum//site to elevate myself above others ... my goal is to teach what needs to be tught in incremental steps and the appropriate level so that all understand. Mucis theory should not 'get in the way' of having success in playing the blues. It's important ... on the advanced level, to understand and be able to communicate using music theory ... but in this phase two aspect of my blues guitar lesson ... too much theory information can 'muddy the waters' rather than clarify things. As a teacher, I know you understand where I'm coming from. Thanks so much for your patience and understanding. I hope you conitnue to enjoy these lessons.

Hawkeye.HermanHawkeye.Herman replied on July 10th, 2009

swampiti, Thanks for your comments and input. I'm quite aware that the prefix/word 'penta' is from the Latin and means 5/five, as in Pentagon or pentonic minor scel (consisting of five notes. I'm showing you how to use and move the pentatonic minor scale all over the neck. The flat V note is a 'passing note' in this scale. And to be absolutely correct, you should refer to the falt 5th in the key of A as the Eb (E flat), not the 'D# ( D sharp),' as you have stated. Yes, they're the same note, but since you're being more technical than I wanted to get, you should refer to the flatted fifth in the key of A as the Eb (E flat) ... in the key of A, the five/fifth note is E, and the flat five/fifth would then be referred to as the Eb (E flat) ... D# would, even though the same note, would technically be referred to as the IV#/#4 ;-) fxpic, thanks so much for your comment and useful clarification. I appreciate all comments and questions. Thanks so much to both of you.

jkrivisjkrivis replied on July 11th, 2009

very helpful lesson Hawkeye---as usual!

Hawkeye.HermanHawkeye.Herman replied on July 12th, 2009

jkrivis, Thanks so much. I hope you continue to travel with me and enjoy the 'blues highway.'

fxpicfxpic replied on July 10th, 2009

Swampiti, The Blues Scale is made up of 5 notes, these are the Tonic ( 1) a minor 3rd (b3) a perfect 4th , a perfect 5th and a minor 7th (b7). The diminished 5th (b5) is often added to give an even Bluesier effect. The addition of the 6th note turns the penatonic blues scale into the the hexatonic blues scale. Hawkeye is the master.

Hawkeye.HermanHawkeye.Herman replied on July 10th, 2009

curranni, I'm not here because I'm photogenic, ;-), I can assure you of that! swampiti, I don't get your question, sorry ... in the key of A the pentatonic minor blues scale is A, C, D, E, and G ... that's what I'm illustraing here in this lesson ... the flatted 5th note can be used/inserted as you wish in this scale ... the flat five note is alwaus easy to find, it's between the IV and the V note, so in this case in the key of A, it's the D#/Eb.

swampitiswampiti replied on July 9th, 2009

ACD D#EG

swampitiswampiti replied on July 9th, 2009

Where is the flatted 5th? ABlues ACDD# G

currannicurranni replied on July 9th, 2009

the picture looks like u are saying.. "naughty boy!" haha just kidding... hope life is good hawkeye ;)

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.


Orville Johnson Orville Johnson

Orville Johnson introduces turnarounds and provides great ideas and techniques.

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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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Miche Fambro Miche Fambro

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

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Mark Lincoln Mark Lincoln

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

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Kaki King Kaki King

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

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Peter Einhorn Peter Einhorn

JamPlay is proud to introduce jazz guitarist Peter Einhorn. In this lesson series, Peter will discuss and demonstrate a way...

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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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Hawkeye Herman Hawkeye Herman

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

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Dave Yauk Dave Yauk

Learn a simple mini song that illustrates just how intertwined scales and chords really are. Dave uses a G chord paired...

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Stuart Ziff Stuart Ziff

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

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Tony MacAlpine Tony MacAlpine

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Allen Van Wert Allen Van Wert

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

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Emil Werstler Emil Werstler

Emil takes you through some techniques that he uses frequently in his style of playing. Topics include neck bending, percussive...

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Glen Drover Glen Drover

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

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Bryan Beller Bryan Beller

Bryan Beller of the Aristocrats, Dethklok, and Steve Vai takes you inside his six step method to learning any song by ear....

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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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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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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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Paul Musso Paul Musso

JamPlay is proud to welcome senior professor and Coordinator of Guitar Studies at the University of Colorado at Denver,...

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