Memphis Blues Lead (Guitar Lesson)

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

Memphis Blues Lead

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

Taught by Eric Madis in Electric Blues with Eric seriesLength: 10:37Difficulty: 1.5 of 5
Chapter 1: (10:37) Memphis Blues Lead The licks that Eric teaches in this lesson were popularized by guitarists such as Steve Cropper. Cropper was a studio guitarist for the Stacks record label. Cropper was not the first to use these licks, but he made them extremely popular. They can be used in a variety of genres in addition to blues. Check out the rock playing of Jimmy Page, Dave Navarro, and Joe Perry. Licks based on major and minor sixths are also very common in Hawaiian slack key playing.

Memphis Blues Overview

The Memphis blues style was pioneered in the 1920s and 1930s by the likes of Furry Lewis, and Frank Stokes. Guitar based blues bands were most popular at this time. However, jug bands were also quite popular. Gus Cannon's Jug Stompers and the Memphis Jug Band were two of the most popular bands of the time. The guitar based bands were influenced by the Delta blues and other popular southern folk styles. Jug bands combined the syncopated, terpsicorian elements of jazz with folk music.

The electric guitar became extremely popular among Memphis blues musicians around the late 40s and early 50s. Legends such as Howlin' Wolf, B.B King, Willie Nix, and Ike Turner frequently played on Beale Street - the center of the Memphis blues scene. These players left a lasting influence on the Memphis music scene that can still be heard today.

Descending Double Stop Pattern

The descending lick that Eric demonstrates is based on the E Mixolydian mode. Diatonic sixth intervals descend through the mode. This lick works well over the tonic E or E7 chord of the blues progression. The Mixolydian mode is an excellent scale choice when playing over dominant seventh chords. Even if the rhythm guitarist is playing E or E5, an E7 chord can still be implied by the overall sound of the band. Play the lick over an E bass note and you'll hear a distinct E7 chord.

Implying Chords with Double Stops

The E Mixolydian is the fifth mode derived from the A major scale. A diatonic triad can be built from each note in the A major scale. Each of the double stops used in the descending lick implies one of these triads from the A major scale. Eric translates each of the diatonic triads into diatonic sixth intervals at 05:11.

Note: Notation and Tablature to the diatonic triads in the key of A major can be found under the "Supplemental Content" tab.

Articulation and Picking

Slide into the first note to enhance the overall feel of the lick. Employ an alternate picking pattern throughout the lick. Pick the low note with a downstroke. Play the higher note with an upstroke. If youar fingerpicking, Eric suggests using the index and ring fingers. This leaves the thumb free to play optional bass notes.


When double stop is comprised of two notes notes that are a fret apart, a minor sixth interval is formed. A major sixth interval occurs when both notes are played at the same fret.


Towards the end of the lick, some chromatic notes outside of the E Mixolydian mode are used. The notes Bb and G are played at the third fret. These notes imply an Eo7 chord. Since this double stop is used on a metrically weak beat, it functions well as a passing chord between double stops implying E major and D major.

Left Hand Fingering

Many of the double stops can be fingered in a few different ways. Experiment with the fingering options that Eric demonstrates in the lesson and determine which is most comfortable for you.

Practical Applications

The lick can be split in half to create two separate licks. Isolate the first four double stops from the remaining double stops. The first segment begins and ends with diadic shapes that imply an E7 chord. At 07:40, Eric demonstrates this one measure idea.

The second segment begins with the double stop at the fourth fret that implies either E major or G#m. Both of these chords contain the notes B and G#. Eric demonstrates this segment at 08:35. You may have learned this lick as a popular turnaround in Hawkeye Herman's Phase 2 Blues Series. This lick can also be played backwards in an ascending fashion. So, you get two licks for the price of one with this segment. The ascending version can be used in the middle of a solo or as part of a turnaround. However, the descending version is a slightly more effective turnaround.

Learning these segments will give you more choices when playing a solo. Both licks can be used over a one measure segment. Or, the entire lick can be played over a two measure segment.

Now, you have a total of four new licks:

Descending #1
Descending #2
Ascending #2
Descending #1 + Descending #2

Unfortunately, the first segment does not sound appropriate when played in an ascending fashion.


All four of the licks listed above can be played in a swung eighth note pattern or in triplets. Eric provides an example of the triplet variation at 07:57. Pay careful attention to the picking pattern he uses to play this variation.

Preview of Next Lesson

Eric demonstrates how the licks from this lesson can be transposed and used over the IV and V chords (A and B).

Video Subtitles / Captions

Scene 1

00:00.000 --> 00:03.239
Hi. I'm Eric Madis from

00:03.239 --> 00:08.933
In this lesson we're going to be covering the Memphis lead to dyads.

00:08.933 --> 00:13.507
A Memphis lead is just a term that I use that I picked up many years ago

00:13.507 --> 00:20.752
and I think a lot of the reason why people call these Memphis leads is because of the popularity of Steve Cropper as a guitar player.

00:20.752 --> 00:25.140
Who is a sax studio guitar player.

00:25.140 --> 00:33.940
He popularized these little dyads.

00:33.940 --> 00:46.385
He wasn't the first person to do so, those are really older licks and they come from a certain type of theoretical background to playing.

00:46.385 --> 00:54.419
These licks that I'm about to play you and I'm about to show you are for the E seventh chord or for the E chord.

00:54.419 --> 00:58.622
Any kind of a blues situation where you are playing in E.

00:58.622 --> 01:09.907
Not E minor but either E like a shuffle E like we've done or if you're playing an E seventh chord of some kind

01:09.907 --> 01:14.852
and this would work especially well over that chord.

01:14.852 --> 01:18.962
So let's go through these Memphis leads first.

01:18.962 --> 01:27.367
Ok, we start here at the twelfth and thirteenth frets of the first and third strings, respectively.

01:27.367 --> 01:37.700
So the first one, strike the third and the first string now if you are flat picking you have one of two things either strike the first one down

01:37.700 --> 01:43.040
and the second one up or you can actually use a flat pick and a finger.

01:43.040 --> 01:49.727
If you're finger picking you don't want to use your thumb, you want to use your two separate fingers

01:49.727 --> 01:52.769
and I'll explain that later when we get more into finger picking.

01:52.769 --> 02:01.337
Ok, there's the first one, the second one we bring it down two frets to the D major

02:01.337 --> 02:08.003
and the next one what we're going to do is play on the ninth fret with both strings.

02:08.003 --> 02:14.022
So you may either play this with your index finger and your second finger or your second and your third finger.

02:14.022 --> 02:18.741
Depends on the person though many people prefer the second and third finger.

02:18.741 --> 02:22.084
Doesn't matter, whatever is comfortable with you.

02:22.084 --> 02:29.979
Now we're going to play the same thing two frets down on the seventh fret. That's a B minor.

02:29.979 --> 02:34.257
Now we're going to go down another two frets and play the major version.

02:34.257 --> 02:46.609
In other words, index finger on the first string and second finger on the third string and that's of the fifth and sixth frets, respectively.

02:46.609 --> 02:51.492
Now we're back to the minor version so we're going to have the same frets .

02:51.492 --> 02:58.798
Fourth fret on both strings, first and third at the fourth fret.

02:58.798 --> 03:04.231
Now let's just come down one fret at a time, to the third, to the second

03:04.231 --> 03:12.986
and then finally at the first fret we're just going to the third string and strike the open E.

03:12.986 --> 03:17.993
This is the same thing as this, they're just an octave apart.

03:17.993 --> 03:21.243
So let's look at this whole scale again.

03:21.243 --> 03:24.889
Twelfth fret, thirteenth fret

03:24.889 --> 03:28.740
Tenth, eleventh fret.

03:28.740 --> 03:31.688
Ninth fret.

03:31.688 --> 03:34.266
Seventh fret.

03:34.266 --> 03:37.563
Fifth, sixth fret.

03:37.563 --> 03:40.163
Fourth fret.

03:40.163 --> 03:42.078
Third fret.

03:42.078 --> 03:44.679
Second fret.

03:44.679 --> 03:48.858
And first fret or actually open and first fret.

03:48.858 --> 03:54.338
Now I call this the Memphis lead dyad scale so where does it actually come from.

03:54.338 --> 03:59.968
This works over the E seventh chord.

03:59.968 --> 04:07.444
Now if you know any theory you might know that the E seventh chord is actually the five chord or the fifth chord of the key of A major.

04:07.444 --> 04:12.668
If you don't know that don't let that bother you. It's not going to stop you from playing the blues.

04:12.668 --> 04:20.934
Certainly very few blues men of yesteryear even knew that kind of thing or maybe even cared.

04:20.934 --> 04:37.861
So don't let it bother you but for those of you who are theory intensive you should know that if you we're to play an A major scale like this

04:37.861 --> 05:02.148
and you were to build a chord from each one of those notes you would have an A major scale played in triads.

05:02.148 --> 05:10.454
Ok, so as you can hear I'm actually playing the scale. Now if you were to play a dyad, in other words, the first and the third strings

05:10.454 --> 05:15.126
in this case you're actually playing the first and the third.

05:15.126 --> 05:28.372
You have this note.

05:28.372 --> 05:42.466
These are based on the A major, B minor, C sharp minor, D major, E major, F sharp minor, G sharp diminished and A.

05:42.466 --> 05:46.285
So that's actually what you have when you're playing an E seventh.

05:46.285 --> 05:54.713
So you're playing a blues in E for that moment that you're playing E seventh, you're almost playing an A major.

05:54.713 --> 06:02.538
A lot of jazz musicians would consider it that way and would play a lot of their ideas with that kind of harmony in mind.

06:02.538 --> 06:13.358
So you may think about it as either playing an E seventh, specifically, or almost as though you're playing an A major

06:13.358 --> 06:17.468
but with E being the tonic being your central note.

06:17.468 --> 06:33.326
In any case what we want to do now is we want to look at this scale and we want to look at how we can use it.

06:33.326 --> 06:40.516
Now the first thing we want to do is break this up into groups of four, four figures.

06:40.516 --> 06:47.923
The first four.

06:47.923 --> 06:49.010
Why four figures?

06:49.010 --> 06:58.739
Well in the first place it's a really wieldy way of being able to use this entire scale.

06:58.739 --> 07:03.429
There are times in which you will have enough time to play this entire scale

07:03.429 --> 07:09.977
but a lot of times if you're playing blues, you'll only be playing your lick for one measure or two measures

07:09.977 --> 07:20.611
and you need to change the key or change your focus when the next lick comes up or as you decide to change to come up with a new idea.

07:20.611 --> 07:28.599
So to be able to really use these Memphis leads effectively it's good to be able to break them up into smaller pieces.

07:28.599 --> 07:32.848
Usually, most blues is 4/4 time

07:32.848 --> 07:44.231
and because of that if you can break your licks up into four pieces or into one measure segments you can have a very effective leg.

07:44.231 --> 07:53.910
For instance that is a one measure lick if we keep count one, two, three, four.

07:53.910 --> 08:02.204
Or if I want to play this in triplets and I want to make it 12/8 time like we've talked about.

08:02.204 --> 08:12.096
You'll notice I'm going three, one, three, three, one, three, three, one, three, three, one, three as I'm striking the strings.

08:12.096 --> 08:17.642
We call this first one descending number one.
So Memphis lead descending number one.

08:17.642 --> 08:25.663
So you'll notice it's the first four figures of that entire scale that I showed you.

08:25.663 --> 08:38.921
Ok, descending number two skips the A and goes directly to the G sharp minor so we're going to come down from the fourth fret

08:38.921 --> 08:40.496
to the first and the open.

08:40.496 --> 08:48.205
Again, that's fourth, third, second and the first open.
Now that's descending number two.

08:48.205 --> 08:56.401
A lot of you may have already used that as a turnaround, you go

08:56.401 --> 08:57.632
for that type of thing.

08:57.632 --> 09:05.364
So that really common turn around utilizes these exact same dyads that I'm speaking about right now.

09:05.364 --> 09:13.560
Now we can also play that last one backwards

09:13.560 --> 09:18.831
and I call that the ascending Memphis dyad sequence.

09:18.831 --> 09:26.540
So of our three groups of four we have descending number one,

09:26.540 --> 09:32.368
descending number two

09:32.368 --> 09:38.567
and ascending.

09:38.567 --> 09:42.213
Now some of you might be saying "why don't you use this?"

09:42.213 --> 09:48.876
If you listen to it, it sounds kind of weird.

09:48.876 --> 09:55.935
Plus it really doesn't sound very authentic so that's why I usually just don't include that in there.

09:55.935 --> 09:58.897
So it's not like we can't use those ideas at all.

09:58.897 --> 10:04.986
For instance, we have things like sliding dyads

10:04.986 --> 10:07.935
which we'll talk about more in just a few minutes.

10:07.935 --> 10:19.021
Other than that we usually don't use this first one played backwards.
We usually just play it as a descending.

10:19.021 --> 10:26.915
Descending number two.
And ascending.

10:26.915 --> 10:29.469
So those are our three groups of four.

10:29.469 --> 10:37.457
Next time when we get together we're going to talk about being able to use these in an entire sequence to play over a chord progression.


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.

Fretman1616Fretman1616 replied

Hi Eric I'm up to session 7 and Im already getting so much out of this course. You have a great teaching approach thank you

nts79nts79 replied

File is unavailable!

videorovvideorov replied

Funny close to Wanted Dead or alive

theguitarplayertheguitarplayer replied

I have a question about your guitar. Did you custom order that ES-175 because I tried to find it on the Gibson site and i could only fine one with full sized Humbuckers not the mini ones.

Tom.MTom.M replied

why should I not use my thumb, it feels so natural.

fnickeyfnickey replied

ERic why do you play 12 & 13, !0 & 11 instead of just playing 12 & 12, 10 & 10 frets

fnickeyfnickey replied

does it have to do w notes in the scale

mathew320mathew320 replied

Hi Eric. Thanks so much for your awesome approach and instruction. I was wondering if it is a bad habit to ise one finer to accommodate the minor aspects of this run. i.e., 1st ans 5rd strings on the same fret ...Is it a bad habit or if it works no worries etc.? your opinion is important to me. MT

Eric.MadisEric.Madis replied

Hi Matthew, Actually, I don't think it matters, except that you may want to be more careful then with your picking hand, so that you don't hit that 2nd string, unless it is your intention to do so....Otherwise, no problem. Many use their 2 and 3 finger on the minor, rather than the 1 and 2 as I do. Their way is good also.

rcausrcaus replied

DearEric, At 2.52min ,you said "back to the minor version". I understand that A is the 5th of E scale. However, for the purpose of the scale of E I got : E D#m C#m B A G# F#m E instead of the E D C#m Bm A E7 D# D7 E. Is it correct to say that for the purpose of playing the sets of four that you are splitting the series between ( Playing in E) E D C#m Bm and then between (Playing in A) A E7 D# D7 E. Thank you and will continue practicing regards Rama

Eric.MadisEric.Madis replied

Hi Rama, What you learned there was the E7 Memphis diads. That is, these diads relate to the E7 chord (which of course is the V7 of A major). Therefore, there are 7 diads per chord, except that for the purpose of bluesy chromaticism, we had one more diad as a passing diad (the Gm). So in E7, we use the following diads (descending) Emaj, Dmaj, C#m, Bm, Amaj, G#min (actually diminished...the same first and 3rd), Gm, F#m. That is all eight. all of those, with exception of Gm, are part of the A major scale, but relate directly to its V7 chord (E7), which we are now using as a I chord in an E blues. Does that make sense?

mathew320mathew320 replied

REPOST: Hi Eric. Thanks so much for your awesome approach and instruction. I was wondering if it is a bad habit to use one finger to accommodate the "minor" aspects of this run. i.e., 1st and 3rd strings on the same fret ...Is it a bad habit or if it works no worries etc.? your opinion is important to me. MT

nate_thegreatnate_thegreat replied

hey, can anyone give me some examples of songs that use this type of thing? I want to ingrain it into my playing.

Eric.MadisEric.Madis replied

Nate, Also, check out Shuggie Otis' work with his father (Johnny Otis)'s got a lot of Memphis leads.... Eric

Eric.MadisEric.Madis replied

Hey Nate, Although examples abound in the blues with these diads, one example of this in more popular music are the beginning of "Fortunate Son" by John fogerty (Creedence Clearwater Revival).

mjgibson59mjgibson59 replied

Also, the intro to Janis Joplin's "Piece of My Heart" uses something very similar.

gjdbgjdb replied

Hi Eric. Thank you so much for these lessons. I love your aproach. I've been playing for about a year now, but it wasnt untill i started with your lessons that my licks began to actuallly sound a bit bluesy.

rhit1991rhit1991 replied

These Memphis Blues licks are the obvious inspiration to the Bon Jovi Wanted Dead or Alive openning lick.

Eric.MadisEric.Madis replied

Those Memphis licks are all over the place! They are very versatile, simply because they are related to chord changes and keys....they are used in blues, jazz, rock, country, etc. Thanks, Eric

floorshakerfloorshaker replied

Hi Eric. I agree with Stu. You and Hawkeye - Guitar heaven! Keep up the wonderful lessons they put a smile on my face every day.

Eric.MadisEric.Madis replied

Hey There Chris, Thanks for the nice comments. We recorded a lot of lessons, going into all kinds of electric blues and utilizing all kinds of traditional and modern soloing concepts. I hope you enjoy them all. Best wishes, Eric

skaterstuskaterstu replied

Hey Eric, I love these new lessons, gonna try and do your lessons in tandem with Hawkeye's, as well as Fingerstyle stuff. Loving the first few so far!

Eric.MadisEric.Madis replied


Eric.MadisEric.Madis replied

Sure, there are some Albert King things coming up, because I recorded them with Jeff. I know that Jeff (and the whole JamPlay team) is working overtime to get those lessons up and online. I would like to do a whole Albert King series sometime. I suspect that my T. Bone Walker series will be really soon, followed by some Albert King and then a bunch of BB King also.....Plenty of Freddy King thrown in throughout the latter part of my series.

jahmerican876jahmerican876 replied

Can you please do some lessons on Albert King?

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 Members Only
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.

Calum Graham Calum Graham

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

Free LessonSeries Details
Trevor Gordon Hall Trevor Gordon Hall

Free LessonSeries Details
Rich Nibbe Rich Nibbe

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

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
Mary Flower Mary Flower

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

Free LessonSeries Details
Steve Eulberg Steve Eulberg

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

Free LessonSeries Details
David Isaacs David Isaacs

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

Free LessonSeries Details
Orville Johnson Orville Johnson

Orville Johnson introduces turnarounds and provides great ideas and techniques.

Free LessonSeries Details
Freebo Freebo

In this lesson, Freebo covers the basics of right hand technique. This lesson is essential for all up and coming bassists.

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

Electric Guitar Lesson Samples

Electric Guitar

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

Andy Wood Andy Wood

How do you sequence arpeggio shapes and create a more angular sound to your country playing? Andy Wood explains how he was...

Free LessonSeries Details
Paul Musso Paul Musso

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

Free LessonSeries Details
Billy Sheehan Billy Sheehan

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

Free LessonSeries Details
Larry Cook Larry Cook

In this lesson, Larry discusses and demonstrates how to tune your bass. He explains why tuning is critical and discusses...

Free LessonSeries Details
Jeff Gunn Jeff Gunn

Now that we have explored the various distances needed to sound artificial harmonics, will learn how to move between artificial...

Free LessonSeries Details
Alex Scott Alex Scott

Find out what this series is all about.

Free LessonSeries Details
Sarah Longfield Sarah Longfield

Free LessonSeries Details
Michael Palmisano Michael Palmisano

Michael kicks off his course and explains what to expect from the course, as well as who this course is designed for.

Free LessonSeries Details
Kris Norris Kris Norris

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

Free LessonSeries Details
Michael Mennell Michael Mennell

Mike introduces himself and his series.

Free LessonSeries Details

Join over 521125 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 127 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!