Licks by Lightnin' Hopkins (Guitar Lesson)

Get Started
What are you waiting for? Get your membership now!
Eric Madis

Licks by Lightnin' Hopkins

Eric teaches a few popular Lightnin' Hopkins licks. These licks can be played over the blues shuffle from the previous lesson.

Taught by Eric Madis in Electric Blues with Eric seriesLength: 11:46Difficulty: 2.0 of 5
Chapter 1: (01:42) Introduction Welcome back to the Phase 2 Electric Blues series with Eric Madis. In the last lesson, Eric explained how to play a basic blues shuffle in the style of Jimmy Reed. This type of shuffle is used in Reed's song "Baby What You Want Me to Do" as well as countless other blues songs.

Eric kicks off the current lesson with some Lightnin' Hopkins style licks in the key of E. These licks can be played over the blues shuffle that you learned in the previous lesson. Countless blues guitarists have borrowed these licks and used in them in their own music.

Soloing Strategies

There are two different approaches to playing a solo. A brief overview of both approaches is provided below. Eric will cover each approach in greater detail as the series progresses.

Approach A

The first approach involves playing a single scale over an entire progression. For example, the E minor pentatonic scale can be used over an entire 12 bar blues progression in the key of E major.

Approach B

The second approach involves playing off of the individual chord changes. Scale and arpeggios choices change for each chord in the progression. This method allows you to highlight important resolutions that occur between each of the chords. If you are playing by yourself, always use the first method. This method allows you to outline the chord changes with your lead lines. As a result, the listener is able to hear the chord changes even though a second guitarist is not present.

In this lesson, Eric uses the latter approach. The licks that he demonstrates can be used over the tonic E chord.
Chapter 2: (01:00) Lightnin' Hopkins' Bass Lick Lightnin' Hopkins Biography

Hopkins was born in Centerville, Texas in 1912. He discovered his passion for the blues at an early age when he met blues legend Blind Lemon Jefferson at a church picnic. At this point, he began to take lessons from his older cousin, Alger "Texas" Alexander. After working as a farm hand and a few unsuccessful attempts at a music career, Hopkins was discovered by Lola Anne Cullum of Aladdin Records. Soon after signing to Aladdin, Hopkins moved out to L.A. where he began his career accompanying pianist Wilson "Thunder" Smith.

In the late 40s, Lightnin' decided to return home to Texas. During the late 40s and 50s he expanded his career by recording prolifically under the Gold Star Records label. He recorded somewhere around 1000 songs throughout his career. Hit songs such as "Model T Blues" were recorded during this time. By the end of the 50s, Hopkins' performance and massive recorded catalog gained him a wide audience with blues fans. Other than the occasional performance in the Midwest, Hopkins rarely performed outside Texas. However, a broader performance schedule was soon to follow.

Folklorist Mack McCormick worked to bring Hopkins' music to a wider audience. McCormack provided him with opportunities to perform for integrated crowds in California and Texas. Hopkins' success continued to grow after a performance at Carnegie Hall on October 14, 1960. Soon after, Lightnin' signed a deal with Tradition Records. Masterpieces such as "Mojo Hand" were recorded on this label. By the early 1960s Lightnin' Hopkins cemented his reputation as one of the most talented bluesmen in the world.


Hopkins' style is characterized by his signature fingerstyle playing. His style includes lead guitar elements, percussive elements, and bass lines played simultaneously with a vocal line. Most of his music follows the standard 12 bar blues progression. However, his guitar and vocal phrasing was very loose. Hopkins sang in a conversational, half-spoken voice.

Bass Lick

Like many blues licks, this lick combines notes from the minor and major pentatonic scales. The basic lick consists of a three note motif derived from the E minor pentatonic scale. In the next scene, Eric explains some additions that can be made to the lick.
Chapter 3: (01:12) Adding a Hammer-on An optional trill or hammer-on can be tagged onto the lick. Hammer or trill between the notes G and G# on the third string. G# is part of the E major pentatonic scale. Keep the E note ringing on the fourth string while performing the hammer-on / trill. The whole lick can be concluded with a quick upstroke on the open E and B strings. Eric demonstrates the entire lick at the end of the scene.
Chapter 4: (01:36) Lightnin's Sliding Lick This lick uses notes from the E minor blues scale. This scale is formed by adding a b5 "blue" note to the minor pentatonic scale. In relation to the key of E minor, the b5 note is Bb. This note is usually used as a passing tone between the notes B and A in the scale.

Pay careful attention to the left hand fingering that Eric uses to play the lick. This fingering will allow you to play the lick with maximum speed and accuracy.
Chapter 5: (02:35) Lightnin's Seventh Chord Setup This lick begins with a similar motif to the lick taught in the last scene. This time around, instead of playing a descending line on the G string to close the lick, the lick outlines a rootless E7 chord. This chord shape is based on the visual shape of the "open" D7 chord. Make sure that all notes to continue to ring throughout the lick.


An optional vibrato can be applied to the E7 chord at the end of the lick.

Note: Some of the following information about vibrato is taken from lesson 22 of Dave MacKenzie's Phase 1 Basic Electric Guitar Series. Refer to this lesson for additional vibrato information.

Vibrato is a technique that adds feeling, expression, and a distinct personal identity to your playing. Vibrato is a pulsating effect resulting from rapid variations in pitch. At this point, you are probably very familiar with string bends. A vibrato can be thought of as a rapid sequence of small bends and releases.

Essentially, when vibrato is applied to a note, a guitarist is mimicking the sound of the human voice. Singers frequently apply this technique to long sustained notes or to the last note in a phrase.

Your Identity as a Guitarist

Vibrato is one of the most important components of a player's individual style. Many guitarists can be identified by their vibrato alone. These players have a very distinct and controlled vibrato technique. There are several ways to perform a vibrato on guitar. Spend significant time practicing and experimenting with each until you find what sounds best to you. Beware! It may take several years before you find the vibrato that is perfect for you.

Vibrato Factors

The two main factors that influence the sound of vibrato are speed and pitch. Speed refers to how quickly the note is pulsating. Pitch refers to how far the player bends the note away from the pitch that the vibrato is being applied to.

Ways to Perform Vibrato

A. Whammy Bar (Tremolo)

A vibrato can be produced with a whammy bar as a substitute for fret hand vibrato. A whammy bar vibrato sounds very different from a vibrato produced by the fret hand.

The whammy vibrato is most easily produced on guitars that feature a floating or locking tremolo system. The Paul Reed Smith tremolo is an example of a floating tremolo. The Floyd Rose tremolo is a double locking system. This means that the strings are locked in place at the bridge and at the nut. Floating and locking systems allow you to raise the pitch up or down. Tremolo systems that do not float above the body of the guitar will only allow the player to lower the pitch with the tremolo bar. Vibrato is possible with this system. However, your options are more limited.

B. Vibrato from the Wrist

Similar to bending strings, performing a vibrato from the wrist requires that you bring the fret hand thumb up over the top of the neck. The strong thumb muscle combined with the wrist provide the leverage necessary to produce a strong vibrato. Shake the wrist back and forth like you are rapidly opening a doorknob to produce a vibrato. Most blues players prefer this method.

C. Horizontal Finger Vibrato

This type of vibrato is used by classical guitarists. Rapidly wiggle the finger back and forth from side to side. Do not move the string up or down! This technique is quite similar to the way that other string players such as violinists and cellists perform vibrato. A much more subtle vibrato is produced with this method.

Types of Vibrato

A. Slow, Relaxed Vibrato

Joe Walsh from The Eagles has a very slow, relaxed vibrato. His solo in "Hotel California" provides some excellent examples of his vibrato style. When Joe Walsh performs a vibrato, it is very subtle. Other players with wider, faster vibratos are far less subtle.

B. Wide, Intense Vibrato

Players such as Angus Young and B.B. King play with a faster, wider vibrato sound. Listen to any B.B. King recording, and you'll instantly hear what Dave is talking about. This style of vibrato is much less subtle. It instantly jumps right out of the speakers. The vast majority of electric blues players prefer this technique. This technique is favored by roughly 3/4 of the rock and roll population as well. B.B.'s hand oscillates back and forth in a motion similar to turning a doorknob back and forth.

If possible, watch a live performance of B.B. King. Notice how wide and exaggerated his wrist movement is when adding vibrato to a note.

C. Zack Wylde Style of Vibrato

Many modern metal players such as Zack Wylde have taken the B.B King style of vibrato to a new extreme. Zack has a very wide and very fast vibrato.

Practicing Vibrato

Make vibrato a daily part of your practice routine. Practice this technique with all four fingers in a variety of fretboard locations. It is much more difficult to manipulate and shake the strings as you move closer to the nut.

Practice vibrato in very small, focused intervals of time. Otherwise, if you practice this technique in large increments of time, you will most likely loose your focus and will not receive the maximum benefit from your practice time.
Chapter 6: (03:37) Lightnin's Seventh Chord Arpeggios The lick demonstrated in this scene is often used as a turnaround or an intro to the 12 bar form. The entire lick is played over a sustaining low E pedal tone. It begins with the rootless E7 arpeggio demonstrated in the previous scene. This shape is slid down one half step to form an Eo7 chord. Since E is still ringing in the bass, these notes form an Eo7 chord instead of an Eb7 chord. This lick is used in countless blues songs such as the Hendrix classic "Red House."

The lick is played in triplets in 4/4 or it can be played in 12/8 time in eighth notes. In 12/8, eighth notes are placed together in four groups of three.

Usually, the lick is followed by another lick to create a logical, complete thought. Watch at 02:32 as Eric tags a cliche blues double stop onto the end of the lick.

Video Subtitles / Captions

Scene 1

00:00.000 --> 00:22.813
Hi. I'm Eric Madis with

00:22.813 --> 00:31.334
In the last lesson we worked on the Jimmy Reed shuffle.
We'll call it "Baby what you want me to do" for lack of a better title.

00:31.334 --> 00:35.096
That's actually one of his better known tunes but he has a lot of other tunes that went the same way.

00:35.096 --> 00:45.567
In this lesson we're going to focus on licks that you can play on that particular song and we're going to focus on licks in E for right now.

00:45.567 --> 00:48.655
Now a lot of times people ask me :

00:48.655 --> 00:57.734
"When you play ideas in blues, play a scale in blues or if you play licks do you play just over one chord

00:57.734 --> 01:02.819
or do you play over all three chords as if they're separate keys?"

01:02.819 --> 01:09.924
Actually, there are a number of different strategies in playing the blues

01:09.924 --> 01:15.357
and it's important for players to learn how to play over the different types of strategies.

01:15.357 --> 01:24.153
So one strategy would be to play everything as if it were in the key of one or the key of E and the other strategies are to play over the chords.

01:24.153 --> 01:33.441
If you're playing by yourself which a lot of you will be, you're going to want to play over the chords.

01:33.441 --> 01:38.502
That way you can actually hear the chord changes happening even if you don't have accompaniment.

01:38.502 --> 01:42.636
So I'm going to teach you with that type of strategy in mind.

Scene 2

00:00.000 --> 00:07.117
The first lick that we're going to work on is this Lightnin Hopkins bass lick.
It's very simple.

00:07.117 --> 00:17.017
What we're going to do is we're going to strike the low E, then fret with our ring finger on the third fret of the sixth string

00:17.017 --> 00:23.762
and then fret with the second finger on the second fret of the fourth string.

00:23.762 --> 00:28.217
Now notice that I did lift up the ring finger after I played it.

00:28.217 --> 00:31.684
So in other words, I didn't hold it down.
I went…

00:31.684 --> 00:43.485
But I did keep the E, the fourth string second fret in motion.
In other words, I want to keep that sustaining.

00:43.485 --> 00:46.439

00:46.439 --> 00:49.003
So that's the basic lick there.

00:49.003 --> 00:52.635
E, G, E.

00:52.635 --> 00:55.944
I'm going to give you just a minute to work on that.

00:55.944 --> 00:58.465
Again, I'll show it to you.

00:58.465 --> 01:01.331
Don't forget to take the ring finger off.

Scene 3

00:00.000 --> 00:04.655
Ok, now we're going to add something to that Lightnin Hopkins base lick.

00:04.655 --> 00:12.759
This will be called a hammer-on, it'll be the major third or a G sharp.
In this case, G sharp is the major third of E.

00:12.759 --> 00:17.354
So what we're going to do is we're going to play the lick as we did before

00:17.354 --> 00:25.898
and while that E is sustaining we're going to strike A, the third string with an upstroke.

00:25.898 --> 00:33.011
Ok, if you're playing with your fingers you just pick with your finger.
If you're playing with a flat pick you want to pick upwards

00:33.011 --> 00:41.499
and hammer-on straight up and down, putting the pressure directly on the string.

00:41.499 --> 00:42.567
On the major third.

00:42.567 --> 00:48.287
So again, let's look at this.

00:48.287 --> 00:53.971
If you want to follow through sometimes you can cut it off like that with a nice little upstroke.

00:53.971 --> 01:04.624
Now all I did was I struck the two top strings or actually the three top strings with an upstroke and then I stopped the sound with my left hand.

01:04.624 --> 01:10.359
So let's look at the whole thing again.

01:10.359 --> 01:12.507
I'm going to give you a minute to work on that.

Scene 4

00:00.000 --> 00:05.352
Ok. So now we've got Lightnin Hopkins base lick with the hammer-on

00:05.352 --> 00:10.298
and that little slapback thing and now we're going to do another Lightnin Hopkins lick.

00:10.298 --> 00:14.725
This one is called Lightnin's sliding lick and you'll see why.

00:14.725 --> 00:22.381
You'll take the second finger and you'll slide from the second fret of the third string up to the fourth

00:22.381 --> 00:31.764
and then the index finger will play the third fret of the second string and notice that I picked the second finger up.

00:31.764 --> 00:34.029
I didn't leave it down there as a chord.

00:34.029 --> 00:40.075
I picked it up and now I'm going to put it back down where it was and I'm going to take the index finger

00:40.075 --> 00:46.181
and I'm going to walk down that third string from the third fret, to the second

00:46.181 --> 00:57.303
and nothing on the open there and then land with the second finger on the second fret of the fourth string.

00:57.303 --> 01:00.425
Ok. Again, let's look at this very slowly.

01:00.425 --> 01:06.903
Slide the second finger from the second fret to the fourth of the third string.

01:06.903 --> 01:18.826
Index finger on the second string, third fret and back down to the third string, walking down the third string with the index finger.

01:18.826 --> 01:26.142
Open third string and land with the second finger on the fourth string, second fret.

01:26.142 --> 01:34.408
Let's run through that one more time.

01:34.408 --> 01:36.265
Now you try it.

Scene 5

00:00.000 --> 00:03.100
Good, so now you've got Lightnin's sliding lick.

00:03.100 --> 00:12.573
Ok. So now we're going to take some other licks that branch off or are a different variation of that sliding lick.

00:12.573 --> 00:20.421
In other words, what I'm trying to do is give you a strategy where when you move your hand in a certain direction

00:20.421 --> 00:24.810
or when you slide a note you have more than one option and that's what we're going to work on.

00:24.810 --> 00:35.560
So what we're going to do is take the Lightnin's sliding lick but we're going to stop with the second note

00:35.560 --> 00:41.086
and we're going to leave both of those notes as a chord this time.

00:41.086 --> 00:48.841
Strike the third string again and then take the ring finger and put it down on the fourth fret of the first string.

00:48.841 --> 00:52.041
Now you're probably saying "hey, looks like a D seventh chord."

00:52.041 --> 00:59.175
Yes, it's a D seventh chord brought up two frets, makes an E seventh.

00:59.175 --> 01:01.334
Which is the one chord of this key.

01:01.334 --> 01:12.805
What that is, is a seventh chord setup.
I call that the Lightnin's seventh chord setup.

01:12.805 --> 01:18.168
Now that particular lick itself will lead into other licks.

01:18.168 --> 01:25.436
So let's run through it one more time, I'm going to give you more time to work on it

01:25.436 --> 01:28.036
and you can vibrato a little bit if you want.

01:28.036 --> 01:34.878
Ok. So, we were working on the seventh chord setup and notice that I vibrato-ed that.

01:34.878 --> 01:37.084
Let's talk a little bit about that.

01:37.084 --> 01:43.933
The vibrato is accomplished by the turn of your wrist.

01:43.933 --> 01:50.597
You know when you open a doorknob you will turn the doorknob often to the left.

01:50.597 --> 01:57.284
It's that same kind of wrist movement you will use to get that vibrato in this case.

01:57.284 --> 02:02.300
In this case you'll need to bring your thumb around the side of the neck.

02:02.300 --> 02:08.267
Not too far, but have the thumb so that you can exert pressure against the side of the neck

02:08.267 --> 02:20.643
and hold the fingers into place and then what happens is you twist, you turn like this, in this direction.

02:20.643 --> 02:22.333
Giving yourself that vibrato.

02:22.333 --> 02:27.534
So if you're wondering how to get that vibrato, it's a wrist vibrato and that's how you accomplish it.

02:27.534 --> 02:35.080
Why don't you try it a second with the seventh chord setup.

Scene 6

00:00.000 --> 00:07.836
So the next lick we're going to do is a series of arpeggio's based on that seventh chord setup.

00:07.836 --> 00:16.031
They'll be the E seventh arpeggio.

00:16.031 --> 00:25.365
And we're going to bring it down a fret which makes an E diminished, seventh arpeggio.

00:25.365 --> 00:37.648
So again, what we have is the E seventh arpeggio and I'm picking this one, two, three and you know, consecutively first, second, third strings.

00:37.648 --> 00:45.608
What I'm using is upstrokes with my right hand if I'm flat picking.

00:45.608 --> 00:51.168
If you're a finger picker you can just use your fingers.

00:51.168 --> 00:58.584
Which in themselves are upstrokes.

00:58.584 --> 01:09.079
Down a fret gives you the E diminished seventh.

01:09.079 --> 01:16.859
So this is really common type of blues lick and we hear it in a lot of different country blues and even in urban blues.

01:16.859 --> 01:21.907
Now just to clear up one little bit of music theory for you.

01:21.907 --> 01:27.740
Why when we take the E seventh and we move it down a fret is it not an E flat seventh?

01:27.740 --> 01:35.347
It is an E flat seventh but the idea here is that you're playing it over an E base.

01:35.347 --> 01:41.709
So if you can see this chord here, you will see that it's still the E seventh chord.

01:41.709 --> 01:43.775
With an E here at the base.

01:43.775 --> 01:50.323
If I bring this chord down but still keep the E in the base.
That's an E diminished chord.

01:50.323 --> 01:56.383
That's why we refer to this second lick here or this second chord down as a diminished chord.

01:56.383 --> 02:04.997
An E diminished chord instead of just an E flat seventh and it's in that context in blues, you'll notice this quite a lot in blues.

02:04.997 --> 02:09.618
So that's why I call it the E diminished seventh.

02:09.618 --> 02:15.896
Ok, so let's run through the E seventh arpeggio, chord arpeggio's one more time.

02:15.896 --> 02:23.204
So we have the E seventh.
One measure.

02:23.204 --> 02:30.643
One measure of the E diminished seventh.
Back up to the E seventh.

02:30.643 --> 02:36.805
Then typically follow with something like that.

02:36.805 --> 02:48.647
So this is a very common type of blues technique and we want to try to develop this with some authenticity.

02:48.647 --> 02:52.455
The first thing we have to know is what is the timing we have.

02:52.455 --> 02:57.586
It's that one, two, three, one, two, three.
Well it's the 12/8 time that I've been taking about, it's triplets.

02:57.586 --> 03:02.114
One, two, three and that one, two, three happens over one beat.

03:02.114 --> 03:16.077
So if you want to think of it as one, two, three, four, two, two, three, four you get the idea that the three beats fall over one beat.

03:16.077 --> 03:22.416
So that's why we call it 12/8 time as opposed to just 4/4.
It's very common in the blues.

03:22.416 --> 03:26.340
So those are our seventh chord arpeggio's.

03:26.340 --> 03:32.238
We're going to come back in the next lesson and do some more Lightnin Hopkins licks.

03:32.238 --> 03:37.509
So until next time, thanks again.
This is Eric Madis with


Supplemental Learning Material



Member Comments about this Lesson

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

Eric.MadisEric.Madis replied

Hello My Friends, I know that, on YouTube, there have been numerous comments regarding the fact that, on this Lightnin' Hopkins licks lesson, I am not playing in his style (fingerstyle, monotonic bass with the thumb, melody with the forefinger). This lesson was to show some of his actual licks and not his style. For his style, drop into my JamChat session any Monday between 11am-1pm (PST) and I will teach that style to you. In identifying these licks as Hopkins licks, I was only acknowledging where I learned them. The fact is, these licks are neither unique to Hopkins or anyone else. They are simply important basic licks in the language of the blues. Thank you all for watching this lesson!

AntonHannibalAntonHannibal replied

Great stuff! -To me it would be much easier if you played the licks trough, before you start explaining them. Then I would know what I'm gunning for. :)

AntonHannibalAntonHannibal replied

-And play it in real time in the end with a count in, so I understand the timing of the lick. :)

rogermack50rogermack50 replied

I liked the licks but after showing us the shufffle in the series opening, then getting these licks, I thought it would have been best to show how they work within the shuffle. Now I know 3 new licks but don't know how the work within the shuffle etc. In fact the last lick learned seems to need something to complete it, it just hangs there. So I hope this series is not another piece of work that skips over important steps like how it works together...

skaterstuskaterstu replied

I have to agree... Eric is a good teacher, his fingerstyle series does this well.. but I remember tackling this series way back in 2009 and I got frustrated at learning a bunch of licks that I didn't really understand where their place was. Not easy when you are just graduating from beginner and you are not a natural.

myjamplaysmyjamplays replied

another great lesson Eric, your a great guy and a very good teacher. thanking you Eric.

harry soldgtlharry soldgtl replied

Thanks Matt, Playing for a couple of years and while trying to find a style found music by Lightnin' Hopkins. Just by chance searched the Jam Play site and found your lesson. Really enjoyed it and look forward to your series.

harry soldgtlharry soldgtl replied

Enter your comment here.

grahamggrahamg replied

I don't get those triads on the 1,2 and 3 strings. I understand why the D7 is a D7 because it has the open d as the root but moving that shape down the neck makes no sense to me as there no longer is a root note in the chord. How can E7 be E7 for example without an E anywhere in the chord? Great lesson series by the way.

Eric.MadisEric.Madis replied

In music it is possible to have chords that are lacking one (and sometimes even more) notes. However, in this case, although the E7 triad is only a triad and lacks the root note, the root note on the 6th string is not only implied, but in an ensemble situation, it is actually present. But theoretically, you could also consider this triad to be a G#m triad. In this context though, it is E7.

Eric.MadisEric.Madis replied

Thank you for your question and your kind words. - Eric

warlagwarlag replied

Great lesson! I intend to complete all your lessons in this section! Keep up the great playing Eric!

Eric.MadisEric.Madis replied

That is good to hear. Thank you for your kind words. - Eric

anotherjoshuaanotherjoshua replied

eric is great!!!!!!

Eric.MadisEric.Madis replied

You are too kind! Eric

dorjedorje replied

This is a really fun lesson. Thank you for doing this! How cool is it play just a little of Lightning Hopkins stuff :)

Eric.MadisEric.Madis replied


rkm62rkm62 replied

yes, life after hawkeye. ive tried some other teachers but now the search is over after the hawk. fantastic. you make it so easy to learn. thanks.

Eric.MadisEric.Madis replied

Thank you!

sarge666sarge666 replied

video not working??

mpaynempayne replied

I had that problem and then i just refreshed the page and it worked

daniefvwdaniefvw replied

The program worked well until I tried Lesson 2. It takes a long time to open and most of the lessons woun't play. can someone give me advice?

mayersucksmayersucks replied

hi eric- i have a really hard time with improvisation, and ive been playing for nearly three years! any tips on how i could use these licks for improv? Thanks a lot- Nishant

Eric.MadisEric.Madis replied

Improvising takes a while! Even just acquiring techniques does not make a person a good improvisor. In order to be a good improvisor, you need to put yourself in a position to practice that constantly. Whether that is jamming with a friend (or friends), or playing along with a looping station, or playing along with your favorite records. Three years is not much time. If you work at the language of music, building up your vocabularly and practicing applying it, depending on how much you do practice, you can begin to see some noticable results in about 5 years.

thehornet74thehornet74 replied

Eric. Finally a teacher that explains things clear and concisely. Very much enjoying going back to the roots of guitar in these wonderful lessons. Thank you sir:)

Eric.MadisEric.Madis replied

Thank you, Hornet!

greyskiesgreyskies replied

Thanks, Eric! I really enjoy the way you explain the material in your lessons. Ok, enough typing..I gotta practice ;0)

Eric.MadisEric.Madis replied

Thanks, Coffeenut!

nash24nash24 replied

I love your lessons. Your teaching is awesome. Thanks!

Eric.MadisEric.Madis replied

Thank you very much kind sir. Eric

hutchhutch replied

Very well explained and it's fun to piece the licks together and then experiment with other combinations.

Eric.MadisEric.Madis replied

What you are saying is very true (about piecing the licks together). Thanks for your kind words...

beeho15beeho15 replied

I really enjoy your lessons. Your an excellent teacher. thank you

Eric.MadisEric.Madis replied

Thank you very much. Take care, Eric

carindamcarindam replied

Eric, very nice!!! enjoyed your lesson...Great!!!

Eric.MadisEric.Madis replied

Thanks for your kind words, and thanks for saying hello. Eric

marshall laneymarshall laney replied

That was great Eric really beautiful blues with a lot of feeling nice blues guitar you have too - I was playing along with my Jackson which is not exactly a blues guiatr I guess but... I look forward to your future lessons with great interest.

Eric.MadisEric.Madis replied

Thanks Marshall. Nothing wrong with a Jackson. That is a great guitar. It is not the guitar that makes the music, it's you bro. And I have heard guys with Jacksons tear your heart out with blues. Not common, I know. But any good guitar can work well. Good luck. - Eric

moppenrowmoppenrow replied

Hey Eric, Thanks for the lesson. I like the licks on their own, but curious as to fitting them into the shuffle. I am new to this, and am experimenting. My assumption would be be upon the chord changes as you suggest. Any tips would be appreciated. Thx. David

Eric.MadisEric.Madis replied

David, Right you are. Remember that a shuffle is a very simple, straight ahead rhythm and the chord changes fall right on the 1st beat of each measure, so that helps you to build your licks upon those chord changes. - Eric

skaterstuskaterstu replied

Hi Eric, Just getting started with your tutorials.. really very good stuff. Love the licks big time. A quick question. Should be learn the licks using a metronome and pass the 120 bpm as stated on the tab? Also, will you add to these tutorials with some slide lessons? I have been playing along to the tutorials with my acoustic, but think maybe its time to bring out the electric so I can do the bendy licks. Thanks for the great lessons Stuart

Eric.MadisEric.Madis replied

Hi Stuart, Thanks for the kind words. I am not a big believer in practicing licks with a metronome, althought certainly that cannot hurt you. I am a big believer in immersing yourself in the music first, so that it is in your memory and you understand how it is supposed to sound. Definitely break out the electric, if you have one. The first few lessons are fine for acoustic. But upcoming lessons are really best for electric. Yes, I would love to teach bottleneck slide. I intend to return to the JamPlay studios in the not-so-distant future to do more lessons and may do slide at that time. Best regards, Eric

skaterstuskaterstu replied

Thanks Eric... I broke out my electric and really loved doing the Lightning Hopkins slide with bend... it's pretty exciting because I thought bends would be difficult, but I got it down pretty quickly (although I still need practice to pick up speed). Now I have found a phase 2 I am gonna stick with and work through. In the past I have jumped around a bit, not knowing what to do... but I am gonna combine this electric blues with some of the acoustic fingerstyle... as much as I love the electric, I love the acoustic too. Looking forward to ploughing through your 50 or so lessons. Keep 'em coming!!! Thanks Eric, Stu

currannicurranni replied

eric i m loving your guitar haha. may i ask what else do you have and like to play!?!

Eric.MadisEric.Madis replied

Hi Niall, Well, I have other electric and acoustic guitars...and I play a bunch of slide guitar also. Thanks for checking in with me. Best regards, Eric

nonoborinonobori replied

Hey from Japan Eric. I picked up a guitar after a break of 40 years to keep arthritis at bay :) Great lessons. cheers, Dave

Eric.MadisEric.Madis replied

Thanks Dave, and welcome back! Eric

floorshakerfloorshaker replied

Hi Eric. Just wondering if you will be having your own thread on the forum soon? Great lessons and keep on injecting little extra licks and tricks as it is fun trying to add them to my playing.

Eric.MadisEric.Madis replied

Hey Floorshaker! I am not sure yet....I will discuss this further with my friends at Jam Play, but thanks for your support and interest! Eric

petepete replied

Great lesson but I'm a little confused. In the video you say that it's better to play licks over the different chords if your playing by yourself, but in the supplemental content it says its better to play in one key. Can you clarify this?

Eric.MadisEric.Madis replied

Hey Pete, Yes, I did not write the supplemental. Whether playing solo or with others, it is always best to keep the chord changes in mind and use them to develop ideas. Otherwise, you end up with more of a "rock" way of thinking, which is playing in one key. I will contact Jeff about that discrepancy. Thanks! Eric

galenogarbegalenogarbe replied

I really liked your Lessons. I just got my 7 days free pass from This site is awesome. Very well structured and I cna learn exacly what I want to learn. For sure I will subscribe. Just a question: How often do you add more lessons?

jboothjbooth replied

There's not a regular schedule, but we have roughly 40 lessons from Eric already filmed and waiting in the editing que, so you will see them popping up regularly. If you like the blues be sure to also check out DJ Philips, Hawkeye Herman and our upcoming blues teacher Mary Flower... it's a great time for blues lovers on JamPlay :)

mattbrownmattbrown replied

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

Eric.MadisEric.Madis replied

Thanks, Matt!

currannicurranni replied

aw man i cant wait to try this gotta love lightnin hopkins!!

Eric.MadisEric.Madis replied

He was really great.....I had some friends who used to play with him (and called him "that nasty old man").

currannicurranni replied

eric have you ever listened to townes van zandt? i d love to learn brand new companion which was his very country blues style song, but i can never work out his picking. if you do some phase 3s would you consider it??

Eric.MadisEric.Madis replied

Why yes, I have heard (the late) Townes Van Zant! I don't know that song that you mentioned, but I will check it out.

J.artmanJ.artman replied

Fantastic lesson, Eric. You must be a humble, tiny fella, that guitar looks very big on you. Fantastic playing. I'm in no way a blues fan. Thats not to say I don't appreciate it, but I generally don't listen to it very often because of the similarities between so many tunes. But, you have turned me on to this so called 'City Blues'. I really enjoy your playing. Keep the lessons coming!

Eric.MadisEric.Madis replied

Thank you for the kind words, my friend. Humble and tiny? Well......I don't know about the first. I am actually 5'10" and average build.....the reason why that guitar looks big is because it is big (by some standards). It has a 16" lower bout. I think a lot of the electrics many people see these days are solid body and/or are relatively small in size. But, the bigger the guitar, the bigger the heart!

jboothjbooth replied

It's actually a pretty massive guitar :) I would hate to engage in combat with Eric!

evilhedgehogevilhedgehog replied

another awesome lesson! thank you, and keep it goin! :)

Eric.MadisEric.Madis replied

Thank you! I hope you enjoy the upcoming ones. We really progress quickly from here......

Electric Blues with Eric

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.

Basic Blues ShuffleLesson 1

Basic Blues Shuffle

In this lesson, Eric introduces himself and his Phase 2 lesson series. He also teaches a basic blues shuffle in the style of Jimmy Reed.

Length: 17:35 Difficulty: 1.0 Members Only
Licks by Lightnin' HopkinsLesson 2

Licks by Lightnin' Hopkins

Eric teaches a few popular Lightnin' Hopkins licks. These licks can be played over the blues shuffle from the previous lesson.

Length: 11:46 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
More Lightnin' LicksLesson 3

More Lightnin' Licks

Eric covers a few more essential licks in the style of Lightnin' Hopkins.

Length: 7:42 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
John Lee Hooker LicksLesson 4

John Lee Hooker Licks

Eric teaches a few licks inspired by the great John Lee Hooker.

Length: 7:43 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Country Blues LickLesson 5

Country Blues Lick

Eric Madis explains a country blues lick he calls the "Country Blues Double Wham."

Length: 6:35 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Memphis Blues LeadLesson 6

Memphis Blues Lead

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

Length: 10:37 Difficulty: 1.5 FREE
Using the Memphis BluesLesson 7

Using the Memphis Blues

Eric demonstrates how the Memphis blues licks taught in the previous lesson can be used over various chords.

Length: 5:52 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
12 Bar Memphis BluesLesson 8

12 Bar Memphis Blues

Eric demonstrates how to construct a full 12 bar blues solo by using the Memphis blues licks he taught in previous lessons.

Length: 7:25 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Applying the Memphis BluesLesson 9

Applying the Memphis Blues

In this lesson, Eric applies the Memphis Blues Lead to a practical blues context.

Length: 4:06 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Learning A LicksLesson 10

Learning A Licks

In this lesson, Eric Madis teaches two licks that can be used over an A chord.

Length: 12:16 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
IC BluesLesson 11

IC Blues

In this lesson, Eric Madis teaches a type of blues shuffle that he calls the "IC Blues."

Length: 12:45 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Simple Blues LeadLesson 12

Simple Blues Lead

In this lesson, Eric talks about playing blues lead using licks you already know.

Length: 8:58 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Play Like T-Bone WalkerLesson 13

Play Like T-Bone Walker

Eric Madis begins to explain T-Bone Walker's style of playing the blues.

Length: 7:48 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
T-Bone Walker LickLesson 14

T-Bone Walker Lick

Eric Madis teaches a classic T-Bone Walker lick and talks about several different variations you can play.

Length: 10:56 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Exploring T-Bone Walker LicksLesson 15

Exploring T-Bone Walker Licks

Eric Madis introduces several new T-Bone Walker licks and explains the ways they can be used.

Length: 10:21 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
T-Bone Walker Licks ContinuedLesson 16

T-Bone Walker Licks Continued

Eric continues his exploration of T-Bone Walker licks and techniques.

Length: 9:22 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
T-Bone Walker Licks Wrap-UpLesson 17

T-Bone Walker Licks Wrap-Up

Eric wraps up his overview of T-Bone Walker licks and techniques in this lesson. You will be applying what you've learned in the next lesson, so be sure to practice.

Length: 10:10 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Swing Blues in ALesson 18

Swing Blues in A

Eric teaches a swing blues progression. He teaches the progression in the key of A and explains how licks from previous lessons can be played over it.

Length: 14:17 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Stormy Monday BluesLesson 19

Stormy Monday Blues

In this lesson, Eric Madis teaches the blues progression to "Stormy Monday Blues." This progression is played in the style of T-Bone Walker and Earl "Fatha" Hines.

Length: 9:49 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Stormy Monday Blues IntroductionLesson 20

Stormy Monday Blues Introduction

In this lesson, Eric returns to the world of "Stormy Monday Blues" to teach an amazing introduction segment.

Length: 7:21 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Transition LicksLesson 21

Transition Licks

Eric Madis teaches a series of licks that can be used to transition from one pentatonic pattern to another.

Length: 9:31 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Second Position LicksLesson 22

Second Position Licks

In this lesson, Eric Madis demonstrates popular blues licks within the second pattern of the minor pentatonic scale.

Length: 16:50 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
The Thrill is GoneLesson 23

The Thrill is Gone

In this lesson Eric talks about one of the classic blues tunes, "The Thrill is Gone," by B.B. King.

Length: 10:43 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Third Position PlayingLesson 24

Third Position Playing

In this lesson, Eric Madis introduces the third pattern of the minor pentatonic scale. This pattern is used frequently by the likes of B.B. King.

Length: 11:27 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Using Third PositionLesson 25

Using Third Position

Eric Madis once again talks about third position and how it can be used. He also introduces a slew of new licks.

Length: 12:19 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
The Fourth PositionLesson 26

The Fourth Position

In this lesson Eric Madis talks about the fourth position of blues playing.

Length: 10:04 Difficulty: 1.0 Members Only
Playing StrategyLesson 27

Playing Strategy

In this lesson Eric talks about "strategies" to use while playing and improvising.

Length: 7:11 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Alternative Blues ShuffleLesson 28

Alternative Blues Shuffle

Eric Madis introduces the alternative blues shuffle, which is particularly useful on guitars featuring humbucker pickups.

Length: 14:31 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Freddie King Style LicksLesson 29

Freddie King Style Licks

In this lesson Eric Madis teaches licks in the style of Freddie King.

Length: 9:38 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Aeolian ModeLesson 30

Aeolian Mode

In this lesson Eric talks about the differences between the minor blues and the "dominant" blues. He also introduces the modes, beginning with the Aeolian mode.

Length: 10:43 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Locrian ModeLesson 31

Locrian Mode

In this lesson Eric Madis introduces the Locrian mode and talks about how it can be used in blues.

Length: 6:58 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Dorian ModeLesson 32

Dorian Mode

Eric continues his series on modes. This time he covers the Dorian mode and its relation to the blues.

Length: 7:16 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Modes & Minor Key BluesLesson 33

Modes & Minor Key Blues

Eric continues his discussion on modes in relation to the minor key blues.

Length: 9:31 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Minor 7th ArpeggiosLesson 34

Minor 7th Arpeggios

Eric Madis teaches a handful of minor 7th arpeggios in this lesson.

Length: 10:34 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Dominant 7th ArpeggiosLesson 35

Dominant 7th Arpeggios

Eric demonstrates dominant 7th arpeggios in this lesson.

Length: 7:27 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Applying Dominant 7th ArpeggiosLesson 36

Applying Dominant 7th Arpeggios

Eric discusses dominant seventh arpeggios and how they can be used in blues licks.

Length: 6:58 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Diminished 7th ArpeggiosLesson 37

Diminished 7th Arpeggios

Eric talks all about diminished 7th arpeggios and gives five exercises to practice.

Length: 10:20 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Applying Diminished 7th ArpeggiosLesson 38

Applying Diminished 7th Arpeggios

Learn how the diminished 7th arpeggios from the previous lesson can be applied to the blues.

Length: 12:13 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
You Don't Love MeLesson 39

You Don't Love Me

Eric teaches the catchy blues song "You Don't Love Me."

Length: 14:27 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Freddie King VariationLesson 40

Freddie King Variation

Eric teaches Freddie King variations on T-Bone Walker licks.

Length: 7:53 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lick ExerciseLesson 41

Lick Exercise

Eric provides an exercise that uses previously learned licks from the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th patterns of the minor pentatonic scale.

Length: 12:45 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Introduction to ModesLesson 42

Introduction to Modes

Eric starts you off on the right foot with an introduction to modes.

Length: 28:09 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Mode ApplicationLesson 43

Mode Application

In this lesson, Eric explains some common blues applications for the modes of the major scale.

Length: 12:43 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Mode Application ContinuedLesson 44

Mode Application Continued

Eric Madis continues his discussion on mode application concepts.

Length: 18:30 Difficulty: 3.5 Members Only
Major Pentatonic Scale IdeasLesson 45

Major Pentatonic Scale Ideas

Eric Madis discusses major pentatonic scale ideas.

Length: 6:09 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
More Lick IdeasLesson 46

More Lick Ideas

Eric shares some more great lick ideas that you can incorporate into your playing.

Length: 10:25 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Ending LicksLesson 47

Ending Licks

Eric shares ideas on ending licks, turnarounds, and tags in this lesson.

Length: 12:41 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Fill-in LicksLesson 48

Fill-in Licks

Eric Madis teaches some great filler licks for your bag of tricks.

Length: 14:13 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Bass LinesLesson 49

Bass Lines

Eric Madis talks about some common blues bass lines that will spice up your playing.

Length: 13:43 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
More Ending LicksLesson 50

More Ending Licks

Eric Madis teaches some classic ending licks.

Length: 16:01 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Swing BluesLesson 51

Swing Blues

Eric Madis introduces the swing style of the 12 bar blues.

Length: 8:03 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Classic Minor BluesLesson 52

Classic Minor Blues

Eric Madis introduces the basics of the classic minor blues and talks about how this progression can be spiced up using simple blues techniques.

Length: 18:35 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
A Minor Blues in 8/8 TimeLesson 53

A Minor Blues in 8/8 Time

In this lesson, Eric Madis teaches a popular blues progression in 8/8 time. This rhythmic feel gives the progression a funkier or more rock-like feel than the traditional blues.

Length: 7:04 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Descending Minor BluesLesson 54

Descending Minor Blues

Eric teaches a classic blues progression he calls the "Descending Minor Blues."

Length: 11:15 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Modern Block Chord Minor Key BluesLesson 55

Modern Block Chord Minor Key Blues

Eric Madis teaches an interesting minor blues progression he calls the "Modern Block Chord Minor Key Blues."

Length: 7:40 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Detroit Chicago Funky BluesLesson 56

Detroit Chicago Funky Blues

Eric Madis teaches an amazing blues progression he calls "The Detroit Chicago Funky Blues."

Length: 9:49 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Jimmy Nolen's Funky GrooveLesson 57

Jimmy Nolen's Funky Groove

Eric Madis moves on and teaches an astonishing blues progression he dubs "Jimmy Nolen's Funky Groove."

Length: 8:41 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
The Bump ShuffleLesson 58

The Bump Shuffle

Eric Madis introduces a blues style called "The Bump Shuffle."

Length: 7:27 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
The Bump Shuffle #2Lesson 59

The Bump Shuffle #2

In this lesson Eric Madis teaches a second way to play the classic blues progression "The Bump Shuffle."

Length: 4:41 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Chicago Bass GrooveLesson 60

Chicago Bass Groove

Eric Madis teaches a bass oriented blues progression entitled the "Chicago Bass Groove."

Length: 6:50 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Blues Bass GrooveLesson 61

Blues Bass Groove

Eric Madis teaches another powerful bass groove he has extracted from the world of blues.

Length: 3:55 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Blues Bass Groove #3Lesson 62

Blues Bass Groove #3

Eric Madis teaches another useful bass groove for blues guitar.

Length: 5:47 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Blues Bass Groove #4Lesson 63

Blues Bass Groove #4

Eric Madis teaches another valuable blues bass groove.

Length: 4:43 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Wolf's GrooveLesson 64

Wolf's Groove

In this lesson, Eric Madis teaches a blues bass groove inspired by Howlin' Wolf.

Length: 4:31 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Minor Progression Major ChordsLesson 65

Minor Progression Major Chords

In this lesson, Eric Madis teaches a valuable blues chord progression that he calls "Minor Progression Major Chords."

Length: 11:28 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Sliding Ninth GrooveLesson 66

Sliding Ninth Groove

Eric enthusiastically presents a new chord progression he calls the "Sliding Ninth Groove."

Length: 5:43 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Tribute Blues ShuffleLesson 67

Tribute Blues Shuffle

Eric pays tribute to Memphis Slim and Jimmy Reed in something he likes to call the "Tribute Blues Shuffle."

Length: 8:48 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Chicago Style Funky BluesLesson 68

Chicago Style Funky Blues

Eric Madis teaches a blues chord progression inspired by the Chicago style of blues playing. This progression has a funky rhythmic feel.

Length: 9:51 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Eric Madis

About Eric Madis View Full Biography Eric Madis is a guitarist, singer and composer, a versatile artist whose playing and compositions reflect his diverse and thorough background in American music. Whether performing in an ensemble or as a soloist, he exudes a love and a mastery of the blues that have been refined by years of experience in jazz, country, rock, and even Hawaiian music. What results are performances that include authentic renderings of old rural blues, personal interpretations of modern urban blues and jazz standards, and original music that defies strict categorization, but that draws heavily from these traditions.

Eric lives in Seattle where he leads his own ensemble, performs as a solo act and performs in the Seattle Swing Trio. He has released four CDs on Luna Records, and is currently working on a fifth. He is on the faculty of the National Guitar Workshop and Dusty Strings Music and teaches guitar privately.

Eric lived his formative years in Colorado with a family that was musical (his mother was an accomplished opera singer), and began his music study on the piano at the age of nine. He began performing shortly after picking up a guitar at ten years of age. By the age of sixteen, he was performing in Chicago-area coffeehouses. He has accompanied artists as diverse as bluesmen Big Walter Horton, Sunnyland Slim, Deacon Jones, Hawaiian luminaries Irmgaard Aluli, Kekua Fernandez, Emma Sharpe and author/poet Nikki Grimes.

He has led bands in Illinois, Texas, Colorado and Washington. He has opened shows for Robben Ford, James Cotton, Little Charlie and the Nightcats, Mem Shannon, Hawkeye Herman and author Sherman Alexie. Eric's four albums have received critical acclaim, including regional airplay and nominations from NAMA and Washington Blues Society (WBS). He has received 16 Best Blues nominations from WBS, was a finalist in the New Folk Awards at the 1981 Kerrville National Folk Festival, a finalist in the 1991 Seattle Guitar Starz competition, and has music featured on five film soundtracks. Eric has taught guitar classes at Denver Free University, University of Washington's Experimental College, Northwest Folklife Festival, National Guitar Workshop, and Canada's Guitar Workshop Plus.

Whether performing in a group or as a soloist, at a concert or a small club, teaching privately or a large workshop, Eric is a dedicated professional, with commitment to the quality of his art and to his audience.

Lesson Information

Acoustic Guitar Lessons

Acoustic Guitar

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

Jessica Baron Jessica Baron

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

Free LessonSeries Details
Don Ross Don Ross

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

Free LessonSeries Details
Amber Russell Amber Russell

Now we look at more harmonics, using a section of Amber's song - 'Love vs. Logic'

Free LessonSeries Details
Justin Roth Justin Roth

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

Free LessonSeries Details
Robbie Merrill Robbie Merrill

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

Free LessonSeries Details
Jim Deeming Jim Deeming

Jim discusses the importance of setting goals. He provides some tips that will help steer your practicing in the right direction.

Free LessonSeries Details
Calum Graham Calum Graham

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

Free LessonSeries Details
Mitch Reed Mitch Reed

Mitch teaches his interpretation of the classic "Cannonball Rag." This song provides beginning and intermediate guitarists...

Free LessonSeries Details
Maneli Jamal Maneli Jamal

The acoustic guitar is basically a big wooden box, so it makes sense that it sounds pretty good as a drum! Learning how...

Free LessonSeries Details

Electric Guitar Lesson Samples

Electric Guitar

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

Tosin Abasi Tosin Abasi

Tosin explains some of the intricacies of the 8 string guitar such as his personal setup and approach to playing.

Free LessonSeries Details
DJ Phillips DJ Phillips

Learn a handful of new blues techniques while learning to play Stevie Ray Vaughn's "The House Is Rockin'".

Free LessonSeries Details
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...

Free LessonSeries Details
Tony MacAlpine Tony MacAlpine

Free LessonSeries Details
Dan Sugarman Dan Sugarman

Dan Sugarman gives us an introduction and preview to his series - Sugarman's Shredding Revolution.

Free LessonSeries Details
Alex Scott Alex Scott

Find out what this series is all about.

Free LessonSeries Details
Rafael Moreira Rafael Moreira

Playing your scales and improvising horizontally on one string is a great way to visualize the scale degrees, and also a...

Free LessonSeries Details
Steve Stevens Steve Stevens

Steve Stevens shows some of his go-to licks and ideas while improvising over a backing track he made.

Free LessonSeries Details
Rex Brown Rex Brown

Dive into the playing of Rex Brown. As the bass player for Pantera, Down, and Kill Devil Hill, Brown's real world experience...

Free LessonSeries Details

Join over 521273 guitarists who have learned how to play in weeks... not years!

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

Unlimited Lesson Viewing

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

Live Lessons

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

Interactive Community

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

Chord Library

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

Scale Library

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

Custom Chord Sheets

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

Backing Tracks

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

Interactive Games

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

Beginners Welcome.. and Up

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

Take a minute to compare JamPlay to other traditional and new methods of learning guitar. Our estimates for "In-Person" lessons below are based on a weekly face-to-face lesson for $40 per hour.

Price Per Lesson < $0.01 $4 - $5 $30 - $50 Free
Money Back Guarantee Sometimes n/a
Number of Instructors 128 1 – 3 1 Zillions
Interaction with Instructors Daily Webcam Sessions Weekly
Professional Instructors Luck of the Draw Luck of the Draw
New Lessons Daily Weekly Minutely
Structured Lessons
Learn Any Style Sorta
Track Progress
HD Video - Sometimes
Multiple Camera Angles Sometimes - Sometimes
Accurate Tabs Maybe Maybe
Scale/Chord Libraries
Custom JamTracks
Interactive Games
Learn in Sweatpants Socially Unacceptable
Gasoline Needed $0.00 $0.00 ~$4 / gallon! $0.00
Get Started

Mike H.

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

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

Greg J.

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

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


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

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

Join thousands of others that LIKE JamPlay!