Blues and Scales (Guitar Lesson)

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Brad Henecke

Blues and Scales

Brad provides background information on the blues. He teaches you the 12 bar blues, 8 bar blues, and the first pattern of the minor blues scale. He examines this scale closely using scale theory.

Taught by Brad Henecke in Rock Guitar with Brad Henecke seriesLength: 48:14Difficulty: 2.0 of 5
Chapter 1: (2:23) Introduction Brad plays a 12 bar blues in E with a nice rock and roll flavor. In this lesson, you will learn how blues slowly evolved into what we now know as rock and roll. Brad will give you all of the necessary information to play a blues. He will demonstrate rhythm techniques as well as some scales. These scales are the basic building blocks to playing your own blues solos.
Chapter 2: (0:53) About This Lesson “Blues” is a catch-all term that can refer to many different things. When someone refers to “the blues,” he/she is referring to the genre of music. However, if someone says, “Let’s play a blues,” the person is referring to a specific 12 bar chord progression. This 12 bar form is quite simple. Thus, it lends itself extremely well to spontaneous improvisation. Brad will demonstrate the chords that comprise a 12 bar blues progression. In this lesson, an 8 bar variation on the standard 12 bar form is also discussed.

Brad kicks off the lesson by providing some of the reasons why he loves to play blues:

“The best thing about blues is the feeling you get when you play it.” It’s safe to say that every professional blues guitarist that has ever lived would agree with this simple statement. Blues is a relatively basic form of music. The chord progressions are very simple and repetitive. However, this enables the musician to focus primarily on conveying emotion by playing directly from the heart instead of from the head.
Chapter 3: (4:52) Learning the Blues Why Learn the Blues?
Regardless of whether you enjoy listening to blues, every rock player should spend a significant amount of time studying blues guitar.

Almost all rock guitar teachers teach their students the blues as a precursor to learning countless other skills. As mentioned in the last scene, blues is a relatively simple style of music. For this reason, the blues is a great conduit for learning basic music concepts. Learning the blues enables young students to develop there playing in several key areas:
1. Learning a blues is the most effective way to learn how to improvise a solo. The scales utilized in blues improvisation are also the most commonly used scales in rock improvisation.

2. Learning how to improvise over a blues is a great way to develop a vocabulary of licks.

3. Techniques that originally developed in the blues genre have found their way into the rock genre over the years. Techniques such as bending strings and applying wide vibrato originated from the blues.

4. Basic music theory concepts regarding scale theory and chord progressions are explained easily in the context of the 12 bar blues form.
Naming Blues Chords
Chords are referred to in two different ways. Chords are referred to by a specific letter name (C7 or GMAJ7 for example). Chords are also named based on the way they function within a given key or chord progression. Within any key, each chord has a specific function or job to do. Roman numerals are used to represent a chord and its function in a key.

Let’s examine the key of C Major to see how this works. The key of C is the easiest to start with since it contains no sharps or flats in the key signature.

The C Major scale is spelled as follows: C D E F G A B C. Each note in the scale is now given a Roman numeral based on its position in the scale.
A basic 12 bar blues progression utilizes only three chords. A blues consists of the I, IV, and V chords. In the key of C, these chords are C, F, and G.

The 12 bar blues that you will learn in the course of this lesson is in the key of A. This is the best key to start with when learning a blues. This is due to the fact that the scales used to play solos in this key are the easiest to master for beginning students. In order to determine the proper chords to use in this key, start with the Roman numeral analysis of each note in the scale. Always remember the key signature when spelling out a scale! Use the Circle of Fifths to determine how many sharps or flats are in a key. The key of A contains 3 sharps and is spelled as follows:
A 12 bar blues consists of the I, IV, and V chords. As a result, we will use A, D, and E chords for a blues in A.
Chapter 4: (10:30) 12 Bar Blues Frequently, guitarists choose to play each chord in a blues progression as dominant seventh chords (A7, D7, and E7). These chords give the progression a much bluesier feel overall. Standard major triads are acceptable, but they tend to make the progression sound rather stale. Take this time to review these basic open chord shapes.

Note: Click the “Supplemental Content” tab for fretboard diagrams of these chord shapes. You can also access these chords in Jamplay’s Chord Library.

So how do these chords fit into the 12 bar progression? Here’s a quick measure-by-measure breakdown of the chord changes.
Bars 1-4: A7
Bars 5-6: D7
Bars 7-8: A7
Bar 9: E7
Bar 10: D7
Bar 11: A7
Bar 12: E7
Bars 11 and 12 form what is called a “turnaround” progression. A turnaround is a short progression consisting of the I and V chord. The turnaround typically occurs at the end of most blues progressions. It serves as a quick transition back to the beginning of the form.

Note: Turnarounds in the Jazz genre are typically played as ii V I instead of V to I. Consult Matt’s Phase II Jazz lessons for more information.

When you begin to practice the 12 bar progression, start by strumming in simple quarter notes. Use a downstroke for each strum. Once you can play the progression accurately from memory, begin to implement some of the strumming techniques Brad demonstrates at 2:13. Brad plays the progression in all eighth notes using downstrokes. He also adds some light palm-muting to the right hand.

Notice the lazy swing feel of the rhythm. This is a crucial component of blues music. A pair of eighth notes is played as a quarter note triplet followed by an eighth note triplet. This long-short rhythm contributes to the swinging blues rhythm.

Brad also demonstrates how to play the same progression using barre chords. If you have not learned many barre chords yet, stick to the first progression for now. Slowly incorporate barre chords into your daily practice. Focus on one chord at a time. Be patient! It typically takes a student a couple weeks to master his/her first barre chord. Playing barre chords enables you to add some percussive muting effects with the left hand.

Note: Click the “Supplemental Content” tab for fretboard diagrams of these chords.

Blues Shuffle
Another popular way to play the 12 bar blues form is called the Blues Shuffle. A shuffle can describe any piece of music that features the long-short, swinging rhythm of eighth notes.

Note: A shuffle also refers to a quick rhythm in 12/8 in which the first note in a group of three receives the heaviest stress. The rhythm is subdivided into a quick triplet feel. Black Sabbath was the original master of the heavy shuffle. “United States of America” by Smashing Pumpkins is a great modern example of the shuffle.

To perform a blues shuffle, start with an A5 power chord. Fret the sixth string at the 5th fret with the first finger. Then, fret the fifth string at the 7th fret with the third finger. This is the basic A5 chord shape. Now, stretch your pinky in order to the 9th fret of the A string. This note is a major sixth interval from the root A. These basic chord shapes are used to play a blues shuffle. Watch carefully as Brad demonstrates how to play the shuffle at 6:30. Also, check out the “Supplemental Content” section for some additional help.
Chapter 5: (1:42) The Quick Change In bar 2 of the 12 bar blues, the IV chord is frequently substituted for the I chord. As a result, D7 is typically played in bar 2. Jazz musicians almost always play the IV chord in bar 2. Adding this extra chord change to the progression saves the harmony from sounding too stagnant in the first four measures.
Chapter 6: (1:37) The 8 Bar Blues The 8 bar blues contains the same chords used in a 12 bar blues. However, due to the shortened length of this form, the chord changes occur in different places. Here is a measure-by-measure breakdown of the chord changes:
Bar 1: A7
Bar 2: E7
Bars 3-4: D7
Bar 5: A7
Bar 6: E7
Bar 7: A7 (two beats) then D7 (two beats)
Bar 8: A7 (two beats) then E7 (two beats)
Note: The 8 bar blues can also be played as a shuffle. Once again use the power chord to root/sixth shapes to play this form.

Note: The 8 bar blues occurs far less popular than the 12 bar form. As a result, more practice time should be devoted to mastering the 12 bar form of the blues.
Chapter 7: (7:29) The Blues Scale Brad opens this scene with some hot licks from the A blues scale.

The blues scale is typically the scale of choice when improvising a solo over the blues form. This scale is derived from the Minor Pentatonic scale. The Minor Pentatonic scale consists of scale degrees 1, b3, 4, 5, and b7. The scale contains five notes, hence the prefix “penta” in the name of the scale. The flatted fifth scale degree (b5) is then added to the pentatonic scale to form the blues scale. This note gives the scale a characteristically bluesy quality. For this reason, the b5 is often referred to as a “blue note.”

Brad presents this scale in the key of A. It is spelled as follows: A, C, D, Eb, E, G, A. There are five different finger patterns for this scale that span the entire fretboard. Guitarists and instructors frequently refer to these five patterns as the pentatonic “boxes.” In this scene, Brad demonstrates the most commonly used blues scale box.

The first box is played entirely in fifth position. This means that the first finger does not stray from the 5th fret.

Note: Click the “Supplemental Content” tab for a fretboard diagram of this scale pattern.

When practicing through the scale, adhere strictly to the fingerings Brad has indicated. When soloing however, the notes that are played with the pinky finger are frequently played with the third finger to accommodate techniques such as string bending. The first step to take in becoming a soloist is memorizing your scales inside and out.

Brad applies a technique referred to as “vibrato” as he plays through the blues scale. Vibrato creates a pulsating effect by rapidly moving a pitch back and forth. There are a few different ways of performing vibrato on guitar. The vibrato typically originates primarily from either the wrist or the finger muscles. These muscles combine to create a steady shaking movement. Regardless of the technique you utilize, use your ears to guide your vibrato. Vibrato adds extra dramatic effect to the end of phrases. However, use this technique sparingly. You can have too much of a good thing.
Chapter 8: (6:57) The Major Scale The Major scale is one of the most fundamental units of music. Brad begins by breaking down some basic theory pertaining to this scale.

Let’s start at square 1. The musical alphabet consists of the following notes: A, B, C, D, E, F, and G. The distance between one consecutive note to the next can either be described as a half step or a whole step.

It may help to examine a piano keyboard to visualize this concept. The keyboard consists of black keys and white keys. A half step occurs between one key to the next regardless of color. Similarly, a half step on the guitar occurs from one fret to the next.

A whole step occurs between two frets on the guitar. For example, a whole step occurs between F on the 1st string and G on the 1st string. These notes are two frets apart.

Now, let’s return to the musical alphabet to apply these concepts. Make a careful note of where half steps and whole steps occur.

Between A and B: whole step
B and C: half step
C and D: whole step
D and E: whole step
E and F: half step
F and G: whole step
G and A: whole step

Many of you are probably wondering how all this theory is going to help your guitar playing. The answer is simple. All major scales follow the same pattern of half and whole steps. If you know this pattern, you can start on any given note and play a major scale.

Start with the C Major scale since it contains no sharps or flats. The C scale is spelled as follows: C, D, E, F, G, A, B, C. Take a look at where the whole and half steps occur within the scale. All major scales follow a pattern of whole step, whole, half, whole, whole, whole, half.

Note: For fingerings of five Major scale patterns, check out Matt’s Phase 2 Rock Series.
Chapter 9: (9:52) Chord Theory Brad begins an ongoing discussion of chord theory in this lesson. Learning chord theory will help you immensely in a few specific areas. This knowledge is essential to learning what scales work over certain chords when playing a solo. Chord theory is also an essential tool in forming your own chord progressions.

What Is a Chord?
A chord is a combination of three or more notes that is played simultaneously. A contains three notes is called a triad. There are four types of triads: Major, Minor, Augmented, and Diminished. Formulas are used to determine which notes comprise each type of triad.

Take another look at the C Major scale. A triad can be built from each note in the scale. These chords are referred to as “diatonic triads.” Let’s start with the first note of the scale, C. A triad consists of three components: the root, the third, and the fifth. The root is always the letter name of the chord-in this case, C. The third is the most important note in any chord. The third determines whether a chord is major or minor. 3 half steps make up the minor third interval. 4 half steps make a major third.

To find the third, count up two notes in the scale from C. Thus, the third is E. To find the fifth, count up two more notes. The fifth is G.

Now let’s move onto the next chord. Begin with the note D. Count up two notes in the C Major scale. The third is F. Count up two more to A. This note is the fifth. These notes form a D minor chord.

Here’s a breakdown of all the diatonic triads for the key of C:
I: C
ii: Dm
iii: Em
V: G
vi: Am
vii: Bdiminished
Chapter 10: (2:04) Final Thoughts In the following lesson, Brad will delve into some of the left-hand techniques essential to rock guitar playing. He will demonstrate how these concepts can be applied to the scales learn in this lesson.

Video Subtitles / Captions


Member Comments about this Lesson

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

jet690jet690 replied

Oh dear, this painful. Its supposed to be Phase 2 - very elementary.

jakeengine7jakeengine7 replied

when I practice this scale should I include the fourth finger on the G string? The scale that Brad showsand the scale at the end of the segment are different.

SteveABSteveAB replied

Awesome. The best explanation that I have seen yet on how all of this material works. This moved the ball forward quite a bit for me. Thanks!

rarebird0rarebird0 replied

I'm sure some else has mentioned it but the first blues scale is missing a note. The G sting has three notes on it.

vikrant000vikrant000 replied

nic 1.. learned something new from dis 1...

haymore37haymore37 replied

Is it just me, or is Brad not strumming all of the strings in the chord?

rockabillyrockabilly replied

I Know this isn't completely relevant to the lesson. I am having a bear of a time memorizing everything. I was wondering, how long did it take you to become a basic competent player?

petehutchpetehutch replied

Great lessons Brad! Well explained. Everything just falls nicely into place! :0) Very happy!

jnmorganjnmorgan replied

I take it back ... I have no idea what he's getting at that useful, but he is correct.

jnmorganjnmorgan replied

lesson 5 looking at it for theory. D maj is D F# A you missed the E-F with no half step.

brandonl15brandonl15 replied

hEY BRAD, when you make a scale should it go through all 6 strings or not??????

nash24nash24 replied

Good lesson!!!! Thanks!

dickieboydickieboy replied

Brad, I see you are adding a note on this scale that I have not seen before, the fourth note on the scale, A string 6 th fret. You even look like it was added in at the last second, because you over look it when you first go over the scale. What gives? Another Question: the model shows, the penatatonic Scale in A m, starting at the low E string on the 5th fret. Why is this Minor? The third note, A string 5th fret is a D natural, am I correct? And would this not be a Major chord? Sorry about my confusion, love the lessons.

Brad.HeneckeBrad.Henecke replied

The extra note that you see on the 5th string 6th fret, Is what makes it a blues scale .The extra note Is Called a (Flat 5) If I didn’t add the flat five to the scale It would be called The Pentatonic 5 note scale . Now you can see how much the two scales are alike. Why is the pentatonic scale that I’m showing called a minor scale? Good Question! The Pentatonic scale Has 5 notes. The 1st, minor 3rd, 4th, 5th. Flat 7... If you notice there is no 2nd .That means the C note on the 8th fret the 6th string is the 3rd of this scale. The distance between the 1st note (A) and the 3rd note (C) is one whole step and one half step making this scale a minor scale. If I was to raise the 3rd note (C) one fret the scale would be a Major scale .

davebenjamindavebenjamin replied

Hi Brad. Why does the blues scale in this pattern not include the flat 5th in the second repitition, i.e 8th fret on the G string?

aeallenmdaeallenmd replied

You're right, he doesn't play the 2nd Eb in the video. if you look at the supplemental content tab : blues scale, you will see that the diagram does include the 8th fret G string which is Eb

dickieboydickieboy replied

Thanks Brad, that really helps alot in understanding. Your lessons are really good!!

brett911brett911 replied

The flat 5 for the Am pentatonic would be the E flat I believe.

ultimaguitarultimaguitar replied

Hey Brad I'm still not getting the whole relative minor thing, why is it that the A minor is the relative minor

krodkrod replied

Hi Brad, I am enjoying your teaching. But I can't find a way to download those tracks you talked about in lesson 5. I looked in supplemental content; no luck.

wodabianwodabian replied

Scene 7 won't play

jboothjbooth replied

I just tested scene 7 on all quality settings and it seems OK! Are you still having this issue? Perhaps you may want to try changing quality settings down and see if it helps, or clearing your cache in case there is a corrupted temporary file chilling on your computer.

gordonweegordonwee replied

Hi Brad, Just a quick note. I think there is a typo in the supplement content with regards to the 8 bar blues. Shouldn't The second last bar read A7 D7 instead of A7 E7?

aboznyabozny replied

Hi, I am doing Brad´s lessons now that I finished with the beginner lessons by Steve Eulberg for acoustic guitar. I am not using an electric guitar but sticking with my acoustic. Still works good. I find the C shape bar chord really taxing and practice it a lot. It is hard, but with lots of work and repetition it is getting better. I am 45 years old and have been playing for 1.5 years. Barre Chords are rough on my thumb but finally I am starting to notice a small breakthrough. I do lots of repetition of the material and practice a lot. This all just for your information.

seasonedcitizenseasonedcitizen replied

Being 59 yrs. old. I havent really played guitar since the sixties. I just have began again for a different hobby. Looks like he hsan't been around the web site for a while. I really enjoy his lessons for the blues.

richtc76richtc76 replied

lol hes an awkward monkey at the end of each segment

pneumapilotpneumapilot replied

Where did the backing track go that Brad mentioned? I'm sure it must have gone to the backing track repository, but wouldn't it still be good to link to it here?

cmp1969cmp1969 replied

Question though. Each progression seems to have the same rock-a-billy feel to it. Is that just common with the 12 and 8 bar blues. Or did you just pick that particular rhythm style.

cmp1969cmp1969 replied

Great lesson Brad. really had allot of fun with it. Especially doing the shuffle. I found myself wanting to improv a little bit while playing by going back to the blues scale and adding some bends then right back to the shuffle.

splineslingersplineslinger replied

Brad, hey I really enjoy your videos. I must say that I have learned more from you in past few weeks than a lifetime of trying to figure things out myself. You have re sparked my interest in playing again. My goal is to be able to play clean, dynamic lead. I have a hard time switching from playing rhythm to licks. Do you have any tips for this? It would also be cool to see tab for your lead licks. I am trying to figure out but cant hit the same notes. Thank you in advance.

mgaurav5mgaurav5 replied

Excellent lesson Brad!!Thanks

brett911brett911 replied

Super lesson on explaining chord construction.

beehobeeho replied

have learned so much from you. thank you terry bergmann

drigerdriger replied

in the major scale, the major chord of a particular scale consists of the 1,3, and 5 notes of that scale. what notes would the root chord consist of in the pentatonic scale?

Brad.HeneckeBrad.Henecke replied

If you are playing the Minor pentatonic The Root chord would be spelled .1. Flat 3rd and 5. If you are playing the Major Pentatonic the root Chord is spelled 1, 3, and 5.

drigerdriger replied

the video uses bar chords, but the tabs in the supplemental section show open chords? am i missing something?

mattbrownmattbrown replied

Brad teaches several ways of playing the 12 bar blues progression. At the beginning of Scene 4, he demonstrates the progression with open chords. In the middle of this scene, he plays the same progression with barre chords. It looks like I accidentally left this exercise out of supplemental content. I will be adding it shortly. Thanks for pointing this out.

drigerdriger replied

i guess your showing the tab using the barre chords under "blues shuffle" but just not showing the complete tabs.

drigerdriger replied

complete chords rather.

dickieboydickieboy replied

Lesson 5 I see a pattern being used to develop chords out of scales, it is 2,2,1,2,2,2,1 - is this the Ionian Mode?

Brad.HeneckeBrad.Henecke replied

yes that is the Ionian .

dickieboydickieboy replied

It looks like lesson 5 answered some of the lesson 4 questions.

plugyplugy replied

hi this is my first post but here goes great lessons for the novice like myself but the one question i have is can you put the backing tracks you use on your lessons for us to use as they dont seam available on the site

dickieboydickieboy replied

Brad, That was a really good lesson on chord theory and scales. The one thing I did not understand is the "Relative Minor" and how that is different from a generic minor chord, such as; Dm, Am, or Em. Thanks

dickieboydickieboy replied

Thanks, that makes sense.

jboothjbooth replied

It's not different. The relative minor for a key is just a specific minor chord that sounds good with that key / chord progression. It is just a regular minor chord that sounds great when used in the context of the key.

serafin1969serafin1969 replied

Hey Brad, can you ask the powers that be to put scales and progressions in the music tools link. thanks great lessons!

jboothjbooth replied

This is coming, like real, real soon in the tools section :)

Brad.HeneckeBrad.Henecke replied

I think that is something that has allready been talked about but i will find out for sure .Thanks for your input .

luispolloluispollo replied

Hi Brad, great job with the lessons! I just wanted to suggest that you take it down a notch with the distortion/gain on your guitar while demonstrating chords and even scales as it kinda makes the sound a bit blurred and harder to identify.

bwoodatstatebwoodatstate replied

Hey guys, when Brad is going over the 12 bar blues, its sounds like he is muting the first string before he plays each chord, kinda that blues chuck....chuck,chuck..chuck, chuck... sound. I am just playing 4 down strokes and it sounds diffrent. Any help would be great. Thanks

Brad.HeneckeBrad.Henecke replied

Yes you are right. I do some palm muting .Its really just a feel thing for me .The hole thing with the strumming hand for me is a feel thing .It’s some times hard for me to explain what I do . I would find some blues songs Listen to the strumming pattern and try to copy what you hear and feel .Its the best way to come up with your own style.

spiderluccispiderlucci replied

Hi brad, I have a question for you! you have an Am blue scale 5th fret first position. Why is it a Pattern Box4 if it is first postion? thanks! Spider

spiderluccispiderlucci replied

There's a book by Robert Calva and this guy is well known all around the world... I know his work ! I also have his book called "Texas Blues guitar". and that's the same pattern your giving. This guy is alsome when he explain how scales work and how to improvise and how he show you is right on the money. That's why "I was Just asking you about pattern 4. spider

spiderluccispiderlucci replied

no you didn't mention anything about box4 brad but I read it and Robert Calva did and his not the only one that goes by this pattern. I was hoping maybe you can clear that information up for me. spider

jboothjbooth replied

Hey Spider. The "name" of the box pattern really doesn't mean anything, it really just depends on where they start. A lot of people start teaching blues and pentatonic scales on the 5th fret, and refer to the one on the 5th fret as the "first" position. Others start higher up on the neck. I wouldn't focus so much on the name of the box pattern as memorizing the patterns and where they occur.

spiderluccispiderlucci replied

Thanks for the tip Ibooth. I'll stick to what you said, and thanks again. I guess I was reading into it too much... hmmm :) spider

spiderluccispiderlucci replied

one more thing brad, for got to mention. what is the difference or are they the same??? The infomation I've been asking.... Am blue scale first potion and the patten 4. Hey, I'm trying to understand this, not break your balls! spider

jboothjbooth replied

It's generally the same scale just in different positions on the neck / different octaves. You get the same notes just on different positions of the neck.

Brad.HeneckeBrad.Henecke replied

I don't see where you are geting the Pattern Box4 from . Does it say Pattern Box4 some were in the lesson ? I call the box pattern on the 5th fret were the root note is on the 6th string 5th fret the first pattern because that is were i decided to start . The pattern on the fith fret is the first pattern that I learned and the most common pattern to play . That is why I started there .

rangerranger replied

I think this is the best one yet. GREAT.

chrisnewmanchrisnewman replied

I cant find the backing tracks in the supplemental content. great lessons though....

kevinacekevinace replied

You can find backing tracks in the Tools -> Backing Tracks section of the site.

aleshaalesha replied

Thanks for the answer and for the additional music theory lesson! Now I got to know about pentatonic scale as well!:) :rockout:

Brad.HeneckeBrad.Henecke replied

Thanks for the Question, You are right on the video there is one note missing for the blues scale .The note is the flat five note .When you add a Flat five to the Pentatonic Scale it changes it to the blues scale .The flat five gives the pentatonic a more bluesy sound .I must have been thinking of the pentatonic scale when I made the chart for the video. I did add the flat five on the fifth string just forgot the 3rd string. the supplemental is right .

aleshaalesha replied

Hey Brad! Thanks for the great lesson. It's really intro into lead guitar! I found blues shuffle exercises quite difficult but it definetely stretch fingers.;) My question is about blues scale Am - On video we have 2 notes on the 3rd string (C and D), but in supplemental part we have third note added (3rd string, 8th fret). Actually, both scales sound good, so I'm just curious. Thank you! ;)

lobservelobserve replied

I don't see the backing tracks in the supplement section. Where exactly are they? Thanks in advance.

jboothjbooth replied

No quicktime, but I will redo them in MP3. I think for some reason I made this backing track a WMA, which was a pretty stupid move on my part. I'll put it on my fix list.

nattyjesternattyjester replied

Would it be possible to have jam tracks in quicktime format as this will work on my mac.

nattyjesternattyjester replied

Is the relative minor always the sixth note of the scale ?

carlralstoncarlralston replied

Yeah - the backing track is what I'm looking for. Thanks for your help.

jboothjbooth replied

They are in the supplemental content section below the video. We are also working on making an entire section devoted entirely to backing tracks :)

carlralstoncarlralston replied

So where are the downloads to practice lead with? Brad talked about a posting of a 12 bar blues (chords) so I could work on filling in the lead? Where is it? I've been looking for something like this all over the net? Thanx.

Rock Guitar with Brad Henecke

Found in our Beginner Lesson Sets

In this Phase 2 series Brad Henecke will school you in the art of rock guitar. You will not only learn how to play some of your favorite songs in this series, but you will also learn how to create your own.

Basic Rock GuitarLesson 1

Basic Rock Guitar

This lesson covers the absolute basics of rock guitar. Learn about the electric guitar, pickups, amplifiers, changing strings, and more.

Length: 52:09 Difficulty: 0.5 Members Only
Learning ChordsLesson 2

Learning Chords

The first step of your rock guitar experience is learning some of the more popular chords and that is what this lesson is all about.

Length: 42:30 Difficulty: 1.0 Members Only
Barre Chords and MoreLesson 3

Barre Chords and More

Brad Henecke introduces common strumming patterns and barre chords.

Length: 42:23 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Your First SongLesson 4

Your First Song

In this lesson Brad covers some of the more advanced barre chord shapes. He applies these shapes to the song "Hotel California."

Length: 41:31 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Blues and ScalesLesson 5

Blues and Scales

Rock has its roots in the blues. Brad helps you explore the wonderful world of blues in this lesson. He also covers some chord theory.

Length: 48:14 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Tricks and LeadLesson 6

Tricks and Lead

This lesson is all about specific techniques used by lead guitarists.

Length: 52:02 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Jammin' with ScalesLesson 7

Jammin' with Scales

This lesson details how to improvise with the blues scale.

Length: 27:27 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
3 SongsLesson 8

3 Songs

In this fun lesson, Brad Henecke teaches you riffs from 3 classic rock songs.

Length: 28:28 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Power ChordsLesson 9

Power Chords

Power chords help give rock music that "punch you in the face" feel. Learn basic power chords in this lesson.

Length: 13:22 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
2 New SongsLesson 10

2 New Songs

Are you ready to learn "Ain't Talking About Love" by Van Halen and "You Shook Me All Night Long" by AC/DC? That's what this lesson is all about.

Length: 27:32 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Pentatonic ScaleLesson 11

Pentatonic Scale

Brad teaches the first pattern of the minor pentatonic scale and explains how it relates to the blues scale.

Length: 14:30 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Second PatternLesson 12

Second Pattern

Brad covers the second pattern for both the minor blues and minor pentatonic scales.

Length: 9:07 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Message in a BottleLesson 13

Message in a Bottle

Learn the classic rock song "Message in a Bottle."

Length: 10:22 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Third PatternLesson 14

Third Pattern

This great lesson covers the 3rd fretboard pattern of the minor pentatonic and minor blues scales.

Length: 7:19 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Colorful Chord TensionLesson 15

Colorful Chord Tension

Brad demonstrates how open strings can be added to chord shapes you are already familiar with.

Length: 9:09 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
The Fourth PatternLesson 16

The Fourth Pattern

Brad covers the fourth pattern of the minor pentatonic and minor blues scales.

Length: 8:28 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
DaytripperLesson 17


In this lesson Brad demonstrates how to play the Beatles song "Daytripper."

Length: 15:21 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
The Fifth PatternLesson 18

The Fifth Pattern

Brad demonstrates the 5th pattern of the minor pentatonic and minor blues scales. He also discusses practicing and memorizing them.

Length: 13:05 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 19

"Brown Eyed Girl"

Learn the classic rock song "Brown Eyed Girl" in this episode of Rock Guitar.

Length: 11:23 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
PhrasingLesson 20


Brad introduces you to the importance of phrasing. Quality phrasing is essential when performing any melodic line.

Length: 14:19 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Basics of TappingLesson 21

Basics of Tapping

Tapping is an idiomatic guitar technique that offers a unique sound.

Length: 14:34 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Intro to ModesLesson 22

Intro to Modes

Learning the modes is essential to the development of your scale vocabulary.

Length: 31:04 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Understanding Chord ShapesLesson 23

Understanding Chord Shapes

Brad further explains what chord shapes are and how they relate to barre chords.

Length: 10:15 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Natural HarmonicsLesson 24

Natural Harmonics

Learn the right and left hand mechanics involved in playing harmonics.

Length: 13:16 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Advanced HarmonicsLesson 25

Advanced Harmonics

Brad covers more advanced harmonic techniques such as harp harmonics, pinch harmonics and tap harmonics.

Length: 16:10 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
The Dorian ModeLesson 26

The Dorian Mode

Brad moves on in his modal lesson series to explain the Dorian mode. This lesson includes 2 backing tracks.

Length: 22:00 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Phrygian ModeLesson 27

Phrygian Mode

Brad explains and demonstrates the Phrygian mode.

Length: 13:33 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
The Lydian ModeLesson 28

The Lydian Mode

Brad continues his discussion of the modes. You will learn the Lydian mode in this lesson.

Length: 9:27 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Mixolydian ModeLesson 29

Mixolydian Mode

Brad explains the Mixolydian mode and its practical applications.

Length: 10:00 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
The Aeolian ModeLesson 30

The Aeolian Mode

Continuing with his modal lessons, Brad Henecke teaches the Aeolian mode.

Length: 9:09 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
The Locrian ModeLesson 31

The Locrian Mode

The final lesson in our modal series covers the Locrian mode.

Length: 9:00 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
The Ace ZoneLesson 32

The Ace Zone

Brad teaches some licks inspired by Ace Frehley of KISS. Incorporate these licks into your own solos.

Length: 7:18 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Learn LicksLesson 33

Learn Licks

In this lesson Brad Henecke teaches you some fun licks that can be used in your own guitar solos.

Length: 10:00 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Blues LicksLesson 34

Blues Licks

Brad Henecke demonstrates some cool blues licks.

Length: 17:00 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Modes and ScalesLesson 35

Modes and Scales

Brad Henecke provides an alternate way of comparing modes and scales.

Length: 8:00 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
A Different ViewLesson 36

A Different View

In the last lesson, Brad Henecke compared some scales that are major or dominant in quality. Now, he repeats this process with minor scales.

Length: 7:00 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
One String ScalesLesson 37

One String Scales

This lesson is all about 1 string scales. Learning scales on 1 string is essential to your knowledge of the fretboard.

Length: 8:34 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
One String Ionian ModeLesson 38

One String Ionian Mode

Brad demonstrates a one string version of the Ionian mode. This lesson demonstrates the importance of horizontal scales.

Length: 7:27 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Aeolian Mode on One StringLesson 39

Aeolian Mode on One String

Brad continues his discussion of single string scales. He explains how to play the Aeolian mode across a single string.

Length: 4:11 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Octave ScalesLesson 40

Octave Scales

Brad explains how to locate octaves within scale patterns. He demonstrates a cool lick that involves playing simultaneous octaves.

Length: 7:07 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Using OctavesLesson 41

Using Octaves

Brad explains how to use octaves in the context of an exercise. Octaves can also be used to build effective licks.

Length: 5:18 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Harmonic Minor ScaleLesson 42

Harmonic Minor Scale

Brad introduces the harmonic minor scale. He explains how it can be applied to the solo break in "Sweet Child O' Mine."

Length: 7:00 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Learning by EarLesson 43

Learning by Ear

Brad Henecke provides valuable tips regarding the process of learning songs by ear.

Length: 23:00 Difficulty: 3.5 Members Only
Ear Training GameLesson 44

Ear Training Game

Improve your ear training by playing "The Tone Is Right" with Brad Henecke.

Length: 29:00 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Diminished ArpeggioLesson 45

Diminished Arpeggio

Brad Henecke explains diminished chords and provides a fun diminished arpeggio exercise.

Length: 19:00 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Understanding Time SignaturesLesson 46

Understanding Time Signatures

Brad Henecke addresses time signatures.

Length: 10:00 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Diminished ChordsLesson 47

Diminished Chords

Brad Henecke explains the construction of diminished seventh chords. He also provides a diminished chord exercise.

Length: 10:30 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Open G TuningLesson 48

Open G Tuning

Brad Henecke introduces open G tuning in this lesson.

Length: 23:50 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Drop D TuningLesson 49

Drop D Tuning

Brad Henecke introduces drop D tuning in this lesson. He explains many advantages of this tuning.

Length: 12:57 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
G Major PentatonicLesson 50

G Major Pentatonic

Brad Henecke teaches the G major pentatonic scale. He demonstrates all 5 patterns and explains how they can be transposed to any key.

Length: 22:50 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Changing Scales with ChordsLesson 51

Changing Scales with Chords

In this lesson Brad Henecke talks about changing the pentatonic/blues scales with each chord in a chord progression.

Length: 11:08 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Mixolydian Scale and ChordsLesson 52

Mixolydian Scale and Chords

Brad will show how to use the Mixolydian scale with a blues chord progression.

Length: 6:56 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Gear and EffectsLesson 53

Gear and Effects

This lesson is all about gear and effects. Brad begins his discussion with power conditioning and removing hiss from your amplifier. He progresses to discuss a plethora of effects pedals. Brad explores...

Length: 52:48 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
The Wah PedalLesson 54

The Wah Pedal

In this lesson, Brad Henecke introduces the wah pedal and demonstrates its many applications.

Length: 15:53 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Brad Henecke

About Brad Henecke View Full Biography Brad Henecke was born in Cedar Rapids, Iowa on May 5th of 1963. He has been a fan of music for as long as he & his family can remember. You could always find him running around the farm wailing on his cardboard guitar, pretending to be a member of the rock band KISS. Additional inspiration came during his first concert when he got the chance to see Boston & Sammy Hagar in the early 1970's.

This opened up a whole new world of rock and roll music for him; his parents noticed his growing interest in music and enrolled him into guitar lessons when he was 13.

From there he jumped into two years of lessons at a local music store in Cedar Rapids. After discovering Eddie Van Halen, Brad knew that the guitar would always be a part of his life. He took his love throughout the city as he played as a pit musician & jammed at parties for friends.

This made him thirsty for more. He enrolled classes at Kirkwood Community College & also took lessons from the one & only Craig-Erickson (

His love for music landed him a gig opening for Molly Hatchet in Cedar Rapids with a band called "Slap & Tickle". He has also played in the Greeley Stampede show for quite a few years with "True North".

Brad is currently playing in Greeley, Colorado with a rock band titled "Ragged Doll". They play a wide variety of music with an emphasis on classic rock from the 60's to present, with Brad playing electric guitar in the five piece lineup.

He currently jams on his all-time favorite guitar: a Paul Reed Smith Custom 24. Beyond guitar, he plays also plays drums & bass guitar. He has also been known to thrash a banjo from time to time. He is still actively playing & passing his 31 years of playing experience on to others (you!).

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David Isaacs David Isaacs

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

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Steve Eulberg Steve Eulberg

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

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Kaki King Kaki King

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

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Pamela Goldsmith Pamela Goldsmith

Pamela brings a cap to her first 13 JamPlay lessons with another original etude inspired by the great Leo Brouwer. This is...

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Trevor Gordon Hall Trevor Gordon Hall

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Rich Nibbe Rich Nibbe

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

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Orville Johnson Orville Johnson

Orville Johnson introduces turnarounds and provides great ideas and techniques.

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Mark Lincoln Mark Lincoln

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

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Mary Flower Mary Flower

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

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Electric Guitar Lesson Samples

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

Emil Werstler Emil Werstler

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

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Guthrie Trapp Guthrie Trapp

JamPlay introduces Nashville session player Guthrie Trapp! In this first segment, Guthrie talks a little about his influences,...

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Joe Burcaw Joe Burcaw

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

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Horace Bray Horace Bray

Horace provides a short etude on how to practice connecting the different shapes of the G Major open triads. This helps you...

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James Malone James Malone

James explains how to tap arpeggios for extended musical reach.

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Irene Ketikidi Irene Ketikidi

Dynamics can be a key component to becoming expressive with your melodies. Irene applies some dynamic expressive techniques...

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Stuart Ziff Stuart Ziff

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

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Alex Scott Alex Scott

Find out what this series is all about.

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Matt Brown Matt Brown

Matt Brown shows off some ways to add some creativity and originality to your rock chord voicings.

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David Davidson David Davidson

JamPlay interviews Revocation's Dave Davidson.

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