Tricks and Lead (Guitar Lesson)


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Brad Henecke

Tricks and Lead

Brad covers the process of creating your first licks. Then, he demonstrates the importance of hammer-ons, pull-offs, trills, slides, bends, and more! If you want to play rocking lead, this lesson is a must for you.

Taught by Brad Henecke in Rock Guitar with Brad Henecke seriesLength: 52:02Difficulty: 2.5 of 5
Chapter 1: (2:17) Introduction Brad opens Lesson 6 by improvising over a 12 bar blues progression. In this lesson, you will learn some fundamental left hand techniques that are essential to blues and rock guitar playing. Brad demonstrates how to apply these techniques to the blues scale to form your own lead guitar licks.

Do not continue with this lesson until you have memorized the blues scale pattern from Lesson 5!
Chapter 2: (3:04) Blues Scale Over 12 Bar Blues Brad plays through the blues scale over the backing track to the 12 bar blues. Notice how each note in the scale sounds when played over each chord. Each note in the scale has a specific relationship with each chord. This relationship determines how a note sounds when played over a specific chord. Take a careful look at how each note in the blues scale functions over the first chord, A.
A: This is the root of the chord. Thus, this note is consonant when played against an A7 chord.

C: Functions as a blues note (b3).

D: The 4th of the chord. The 4th scale degree is a very dissonant interval. It should only be used in passing. Do not linger too long on this note when the rhythm section is playing A7!

Eb: The tritone interval from A. This is an extremely dissonant interval. Use it only in passing.

E: The fifth of the A7 chord. This is a consonant tone.

G: The seventh of the A7 chord. This is a consonant tone.
These theoretical concepts can also be applied to the D7 and E7 chords in the blues. Here are the notes from the scale that can only be played in passing over these chords.

Over D7: G and Eb should only be played as passing notes.
Over E7: A and Eb should only be played as passing notes.

Note: The note that is a perfect fourth interval above the root of the chord is always considered a dissonant interval. This note should only be used in passing within the context of a melody line.
Chapter 3: (5:57) Create a Lick While viewing this scene, you may find it helpful to open the “Create a Lick” section under the “Supplemental Content” tab.

This color coded diagram maps out the A blues scale in fifth position. These are the notes available to you when creating your own licks. Brad has labeled each note by its function within the scale. For example, A is the root. A red circle in the fretboard diagram indicates this note.

The first lick discussed in this scene works great over the first chord in the blues: A7. The lick begins with the root note A. It then moves to E, the fifth of the chord. The lick ascends up to G, the 7th of the A chord, and returns to the root A. All of the notes from this lick are notes that comprise an A7 chord. Brad does not indicate a specific rhythm that the lick should be played with. Play along with the 12 bar blues backing track and devise a rhythm that works with the rhythm section. The lick works great using just eighth notes. This is a good place to start when developing your own rhythms for the lick.

Also, experiment with ending the lick on a different note. Brad chooses to end the phrase now on the note E, the fifth of the chord. Combining the original lick with this variation creates a new, effective lick that is twice as long.
Chapter 4: (2:53) The Lick With a Backing Track Brad demonstrates how this basic lick sounds over each chord change in the 12 bar blues progression. Hopefully this gives you a brief introduction to how licks are formulated. First, decide upon the notes from the scale that will make up the lick. Then, decide upon a rhythm. Finally, try the lick over the backing track to check its effectiveness.

In the following scenes, Brad demonstrates how to improve the overall sound of your licks by adding special techniques or tricks. The human voice is the original basis for how melodies are performed. Like Brad mentions, these techniques or tricks enhance melodic lines because they imitate important components of the human singing voice. One such component is vibrato. For more explanation regarding vibrato, review Lesson 5 of this series.
Chapter 5: (2:58) Hammer-Ons A hammer-on is the guitar version of a musical technique called the “slur.” A curved line attaching two notes of different pitch indicates a slur. This curved line indicates that the notes are to be played in a legato style. Playing hammer-ons involves a delicate two-step process. First a lower pitch is plucked. Then a left hand finger sharply frets a higher pitch causing it too vibrate. The second, higher pitch is not plucked.

Notation of Hammer-ons
A curved line connecting a lower pitch to a higher pitch indicates a hammer-on. Frequently, a lowercase “h” is written above the line to abbreviate “hammer-on.” Do not get hammer-ons confused with ties. A tie is a curved line that connects two notes of the same pitch. A tie extends the rhythmic value of the first note by adding the rhythmic value of the second note. The second note is not picked.
Why Are Hammer-Ons and Pull-Offs Important?
Adding these techniques creates smoother, more legato phrasing of the melody. Hammer-ons and pull-offs enable a guitarist to play melodic lines much faster since each individual note is not picked with the right hand. Brad demonstrates a few exercises in this lesson that will enhance your ability to perform these techniques. Before you dive into these exercises, read over these rules from Steve’s 4th Bluegrass Lesson.
1. Pay VERY close attention to the rhythm in which a hammer on is to be played. Many inexperienced guitarists cut the first note (the picked note) way too short. Consequently, the hammer on note is held for too long. For starters, practice all hammer-ons and pull-offs in an even eighth note rhythm.

2. Performing a hammer-on requires a forceful movement with a left-hand finger. The tone of a hammer-on is much clearer and louder when the hammering finger comes down fast and forcefully. If you bring your finger down to slow, the hammer-on will be weak or inaudible.

3. All rules regarding proper left-hand finger placement in relation to the frets become even more crucial when playing hammer-ons. Hammer the finger down right behind the fret. Hammering on top of a fret or too far from it will result in a poor tone.

4. Use the hard calluses on the tips of the fingers when making contact with the strings. This will help generate a louder tone.
Hammer-On Exercise
This exercise takes the fifth position minor pentatonic box and adds hammer-ons to the pattern. Within this scale pattern, there are two notes that occur on each string. Pick the first note on each string, then hammer-on to the second note. Ascend this pattern to the high E string. Then, descend the pattern to the low string.

Note: Click the “Supplemental Content” tab for tablature to this exercise.
Chapter 6: (2:40) Pull-Offs The second form of a slur is called the pull-off. A pull-off is essentially a backward hammer-on. For this reason, a hammer-on is frequently referred to as a forward slur, and a pull-off is referred to as a backward slur. Follow these guidelines whenever you play a pull-off.
1. The plucked note and the subsequent pull-off must be equal in volume.

2. Pull the finger straight down towards the floor when playing a pull-off. This will create the best tone.

3. Be careful that you do not pull your finger down too far. This may cause one of the adjacent strings to vibrate.
Pull-Off Exercise
This exercise bears some similarities to the hammer-on exercise in the previous scene. Instead of playing a hammer-on between the two notes on each string, play a pull-off between them.

Note: Click the “Supplemental Content” tab for tablature to this exercise.
Chapter 7: (5:23) Slides Similar to hammer-ons and pull-offs, the slide enables guitarists to perform a melody with legato phrasing. There are essentially three different types of slides that carry out a specific function. Note: Open the “Supplemental Content” tab to see how these different slides are notated. Legato Slide
A diagonal line connecting two pitches always indicates a slide. A slide is commonly abbreviated as “sl.” In addition to the diagonal line, a curved legato line is added to the legato slide.

Strike the first note. Then slide up to the second note. The second note is not picked.
Position Shift Slide
This slide occurs when the player shifts from one position to another while playing a melodic line. A simple horizontal line is used to notate the shift slide.

Strike the first note. Then slide to the second note. Strike the second note.
Slide From Nowhere
In this type of slide, only one pitch is notated. This indicates that the player should slide into the pitch from a few frets above or below. A forward slash indicates a slide from below. A backslash indicates a slide from above.
Watch carefully as Brad demonstrates each type of slide.
Chapter 8: (5:25) Fun Licks and the Roll Brad demonstrates three great new licks that work well over the 12 bar blues progression. These licks utilize the techniques he has discussed thus far in the lesson.

Note: Open “Trick Workout” under the “Supplemental Content” tab for tablature to each of these licks.

Lick #1
This lick features a legato slide followed by some hammer-ons. The lick closes with a technique called the finger roll. When a note is played at the same fret on two adjacent strings, this technique must be applied. Notice how the lick concludes with two notes at the 7th fret. These notes are both played by the third finger. First, fret the note on the G string. After playing this note, “roll” the third finger onto the 7th fret of the D string. Your third finger should not lift from the strings or fretboard during this process. Watch Brad carefully at 2:00 as he demonstrates this technique.
Lick #2
This particular lick features a slide from nowhere.
Lick #3
This lick contains two position shift slides. Remember to pick both notes involved in a shift slide! The lick concludes with a pull-off.
Chapter 9: (3:54) The Trill A trill is essentially a rapid combination of hammer-ons and pull-offs between two notes. The notes involved in a trill are notated with grace notes. These notes are roughly half the size of a normal note. The rhythmic duration is then indicated next to the notes involved.

Begin by picking the lower note. Then rapidly hammer onto the higher note. Perform a pull-off back to the first note. Repeat this process. The first note is the only note that is picked.

Note: Open the “Supplemental Content” tab to see how trills are notated in tablature.
Chapter 10: (5:53) Bends Note: The following information is taken from Matt’s Phase 2 Rock lesson regarding bending.

If you want to play rock, blues, or country, bending is one of the most important techniques to master. Bending occurs frequently within riffs, melodies, and solos. The way in which bends are performed is a key component of a player’s signature sound.

A. Set-Up Tips for Comfortable Bending
The way in which your guitar is set up will have a profound impact on string bending. A guitar’s set-up most typically refers to the gauge of strings used, the tuning (standard tuning, down a half step, etc.), and the action height.

Most rock players prefer to play with lighter strings (usually 9 or 10 gauge) because they are easier to bend. The tone of smaller gauge strings is also more appropriate for this style. When it comes to blues and country however, most professionals prefer a heavier gauge set (usually 11’s or higher). Heavier strings are more effective for producing a biting “twangy” sound. The disadvantage to playing with heavy gauge strings is that they are much more difficult to bend. I recommend starting with a lower gauge string and gradually working your way up to a larger set. Also, it should be taken into consideration that some people simply have smaller, weaker hands than others. If bending the strings causes any discomfort or unnecessary fatigue, it’s definitely a good idea to switch to a smaller set. Many players in the 80’s injured their hands as a result of bending large strings. Stevie Ray Vaughn popularized using very large strings (13 gauge) to create his signature tone. What people didn’t realize was that Stevie had absolutely massive hands and tuned his guitar down a half step.

Note: If you decide to change to a new string gauge, a new set-up must be performed. Some intonation, action, and minor truss rod adjustment may be necessary. Have this work done by a reliable professional.
B. Proper Technique for Bending
As a rule, it is always important to play with good classical technique. Solid left-hand technique is contingent upon several factors. First, the thumb must be perpendicular to the neck, resting approximately halfway up it. The rest of the left-hand fingers must be perpendicular to the fingerboard. They must be arched and bent at each individual finger joint.

Left-hand technique for bending is the only exception to this rule. In the context of the bend, it is highly beneficial to allow the thumb to come up over the neck. This enables you to have better leverage on the string. Using classical technique, you are relying solely on the strength of your fretting fingers to perform the bend. By bringing the thumb over the neck, you are combining its strength with your fretting fingers.
C. Pitch Control
To ensure that your bends are in tune, first play the fretted note of the pitch you are bending up to. For example, if you want to bend the 7th fret of the G string up a whole step, first play the note “E” on the 9th fret. This will give your ears a reference as to what the bend should sound like. Be sure to practice bends of different intervals. Half step and whole step bends are the most common. However, bends of larger intervals such as a step and a half as well as 2 step bends are also common.
D. Bending Direction
The direction in which the string should be bent (towards the floor or towards your face) is dependent upon which string you are playing. Generally, the bass strings should be pulled downward, and the treble strings should be pushed upward. Otherwise, you run the risk of running out of room on the neck. There are some exceptions to this rule however. Due to the fingering of certain musical lines, there are some instances when it is easiest to pull the G string downwards. You might also find the need to push the D string upwards.
E. Types of Bends
There are a few different types of bends to consider.

Pre-bend: The string is bent up to pitch, then the note is plucked.

Bend and Release: The string is plucked and bent simultaneously. Once the specified pitch is reached, the fretting hand returns the string to its normal position.

Gradual Bend: The string is plucked then gradually bent to pitch over a specified note duration.

Bend on the Beat: The string is plucked and bent simultaneously.
Note: Click on “Bends” under the “Supplemental Content” tab to see how each type of bend is notated.
Chapter 11: (5:10) Cool Bend Workout Unison Bend
Unison bends can be performed between the G and B strings and between the B and E strings. Play a fretted note on the E string with your first finger. Then, bend the note three frets up on the B string. The pitch of the bent string should match the pitch of the fretted note. When applying this technique to the G and B strings, bend the G string note that is two frets higher.
This bending exercise takes you through the entire minor pentatonic scale. The scale is played horizontally across two pairs of strings. Each note in the scale is played as a unison bend.

Note: Click on the “Supplemental Content” tab for tablature corresponding to this exercise.
Chapter 12: (6:25) Strumming Hand Tricks and Final Thoughts Alternate Picking
Note: The following information is taken from Steve Eulberg’s fifth Phase 2 Bluegrass lesson.

Alternate picking is commonly referred to as “double picking.” This technique enables a guitarist to play much faster. Repetitious picking in which the pick changes direction with each stroke is known as double picking. If you currently use downstrokes exclusively, your right hand is extremely limited in the range of what it can perform. In this lesson, Steve demonstrates some exercises that will get you acquainted with this important technique. You will also learn some very important scale patterns. Knowledge of scales and mastery of double picking are essential skills when playing any form of melodic material.
Double Picking Rules
1. NEVER rest your fingers on the pickguard under any circumstance! Although this may provide you with some stability when you are first learning, this poor technique will severely limit your right hand ability in the long run.

2. Rest the palm of your right hand on the bridge when playing a double picked passage. The palm should also rest on the bridge when playing any scalar line.

3. The palm SHOULD NOT rest on the bridge when playing any passage that involves strummed chords or string skipping. Watch Steve carefully as he demonstrates this technique. The right forearm rests on the upper body of the guitar to provide stability. This technique allows the right hand to move more fluidly. If your wrist is anchored to the bridge, the range of motion of the right hand is not large enough to accommodate the aforementioned techniques.

4. Downstrokes and upstrokes must be identical in tone and volume.

5. Your pick strokes need only be large enough to create a solid tone. Remember the economy of motion techniques that Steve explained in his Phase 1 series. Keep the pick as close to the string as possible at all times. This will enable you to double pick much faster.

6. Only the very tip of the pick should make contact with the strings. Do not dig your pick into the strings. This will hinder your ability to move fluidly from one string to the next.

7. The right hand fingers not holding the pick should remain slightly curled into the palm. They should only fan outwards when playing rapid palm muted passages in the rock and metal genres.
Two Methods of Double Picking
There are two ways in which double picking can be performed. Both are equally valid options. Experiment with both options for a significant amount of time. After this initial experimentation period, decide which technique is more comfortable for you.
Method 1 - Use the wrist as a pivot to double pick.

Method 2 - This method almost excludes the wrist entirely. The thumb squeezes inwards toward the palm during a downstroke. For an upstroke, the thumb and first finger relax and return to their normal position. Thus, almost all of the picking movement originates from the thumb and first finger. This technique is generally more comfortable for guitarists that have a hitchhiker thumb.

Practice through the blues scale using alternate picking.
Pick Slides
Turning the pick on its side and sliding it down the length of the strings creates a pick slide.

Frequently, guitarists will use any old foreign object to create off the wall guitar sounds. Van Halen used a beer bottle to create the opening slide sounds on “Women and Children First.” Feel free to experiment with different techniques to achieve the pick slide sounds you hear in your head. Like Brad says, “This is rock and roll. If it sounds good, it is good.” These are valuable words to live by. Also, check out rock players such as Eddie Van Valen and Adam Jones to hear some great examples of how to apply pick slides to your playing.

Brad jams out to a 12 bar blues at the end of the lesson. Notice how he adds pick slides to his improvised lines.


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.


JDKyleJDKyle replied on February 25th, 2017

Enjoyed these lessons. Instructor is very good at teaching. I hope I find another instructor as good. Thanks!

awosanyaawosanya replied on April 26th, 2016

GREAT LESSON SIR

SteveABSteveAB replied on May 25th, 2015

Excellent lesson. Full of good info.

anthunderanthunder replied on August 5th, 2014

Brad, I can't find your diagram to create a lick from the "Create a Lick" lesson, it's not on the supplemental material!!! Plase help. THank you, great lessons!

rarebird0rarebird0 replied on June 22nd, 2014

Again, Brad leaves out that there's 3 notes on the G string in the A minor blues scale. WTF? It's adjacent to the number 7 on the B string and should be notated on th G string. What' the deal Brad?. Second time I've seen you do this.

gary_reidgary_reid replied on June 8th, 2014

Agreed where is the missing content e.g. the Trick Workout from part 8?

bcgudelybcgudely replied on February 2nd, 2014

These are great lessons, but can we please get the rest of the stuff added to the supplemental content that's supposed to be there? There are a few things missing that would be a big help.

ermchanermchan replied on May 17th, 2013

My fav lesson so far. Finally feels like we're in phase 2 :)

aherbertaherbert replied on February 20th, 2012

On the last exercise in scene 8 Brad talks about pulling off from 7th to 5th fret on 1st string, however it looks and sounds like it is from 8th to 5th?

pooopooo replied on October 30th, 2011

on fun licks and the roll at 3.03 brad flicks us the middle finger

downunderdownunder replied on June 14th, 2011

Man those hammer on pull offs are giving me a serious pinky burn! I'm having a hard enough time just reaching the eighth fret as it is, but having too much fun to throw in the towel. I'll get there eventually.

metalmoogmetalmoog replied on May 30th, 2011

Great videos Brad. Really enjoying your series on Rock Guitar, because I too play Guitar to look and sound cool. Lol

fourdownfourdown replied on March 6th, 2011

Is it me or are these lessons (though great!) dead? Meaning: Brad is gone from Jamplay, no one is looking at these comments/questions and for sure no one is answering or fixing. Brad has done a remarkable job. It's a shame comments/questions are from past years and should be addressed...somehow.

Brad.HeneckeBrad.Henecke replied on March 14th, 2011

I'm still here Just not as often . I will go through the questions and address them best I can .I have been working on building a beginner faze 1 lesson set .Starting with chords the going into some music theory and building chord sequences lessons .I have filmed the basic chords lessons but they are not all up yet .Jamplay has grown so much and they are very busy trying to keep up with all the editing .So many instructors and so little time to edit .Hang in there.There will be more Brad Henecke lessons coming .

antl58antl58 replied on May 25th, 2013

GREAT looking forward to more im in Phase 2 , but your lessons are awesome you explain and demenonstrate excellent. thanks

8tothebar8tothebar replied on December 20th, 2010

Greetings Brad: Thanks for an incredible lesson. I've learned more from you in 6 lessons from you than I have in the three years I've been playing the guitar. Keep rockin'.

bestman1177bestman1177 replied on November 30th, 2010

fantastic lesson. Your videos are helping me so much in piecing together everything

taijuandotaijuando replied on July 5th, 2010

hey where is the trick workout under supplemental content

ricardoflynnricardoflynn replied on June 20th, 2010

Hi Brad! Thanks for the awesome lesson, particularly the 'Cool Bends' segment! I'd like to print off the tab of these (minor pentatonic?) bends to practice but can't find them.... a few other people here have mentioned it's missing.

merelymusicmerelymusic replied on June 4th, 2010

hey thanks brad awesome lesson,rock on!! ps.thanks for the backing track i was looking for one:)

aboznyabozny replied on March 15th, 2010

Somewhere Brad was talking about downloading the background music for 12 bar blues so that you can practice the blues scale. Anyone know where I can download this? thanks.

jboothjbooth replied on March 15th, 2010

It's at the very bottom under the "Supplemental Content" tab.

kabulujugkabulujug replied on February 10th, 2010

I'm using an acoustic guitar and bending the strings is really hard...I'm thinking about changing the gauge on my strings but does action have to do something with it also?...I can't make use of the blues scale if I can't bend the strings right?

jboothjbooth replied on February 10th, 2010

Honestly bending is going to be extremely difficult on an acoustic guitar unless you get lighter gauge strings. But you don't need to be able to bend to use the blues scale, it doesn't matter how you get to the notes (whether through a bend, hammer on, pull off or just regular picking) as long as you play the right note. That being said, bends do add a ton of blues flavor.

aboznyabozny replied on March 15th, 2010

I am also doing this lesson as a beginner on the acoustic guitar. It seems to me that bending the strings does not produce a sound that is nearly as pronounced as on the electric, but you can still do it. It's good to strengthen your fingers too. I use normal guage strings. My action is set to be easier because I am a beginner.

analogkidanalogkid replied on December 13th, 2009

Another really useful set of lessons Brad, Thanks! This is the "meat and potatoes" of soloing and "putting it all together". I like your method of teaching, slow and unpretentious. Great Job!!

tcottletcottle replied on October 18th, 2009

Brad I dont see your bending workout on the suppliment and could you put some of your licks you play on here in the suppliment? Thanks

pneumapilotpneumapilot replied on September 10th, 2009

The trill exercise is from the Devil! Thanks, Brad! :P

dlc53dlc53 replied on September 9th, 2009

? what is that player your using for your loop track

tominaltominal replied on June 25th, 2009

The bend exercise seems to be missing from supplemental materials

splineslingersplineslinger replied on May 23rd, 2009

Really enjoy Brad's style of teaching.

luispolloluispollo replied on July 10th, 2008

Hi Brad, I'm having some trouble with bends... When I do a whole step bend, my finger eventually catches the string above the one I'm picking, which kinda messes it up. Do you have any tips for avoiding that? Should I try to plam mute the strings immediately above the one I'm bending? Thanks!

splineslingersplineslinger replied on May 23rd, 2009

I have exactly the same problem. Seems like the finger I use to bend catches the string above. When I release the bend, the caught string makes noise. My guess is that the problem is the angle of my finger relative to the neck. I.E. my bend finger is to flat against neck. I probably need to have my bend finger not so flat. This way the string above has less chance of catching. Just my guess..

caseharr33caseharr33 replied on March 26th, 2009

Is the trick workout missing from the supplemental content?

marsekaymarsekay replied on January 15th, 2009

How come theres 14 notes on the scale provided in the supplemtal content yet only 13 in the create a lick...? im confused, which one is right?

tjamesmichaeltjamesmichael replied on November 14th, 2008

Hey Brad I gotta tell you that I really get a kick out of your teaching style. It's like your one of the guys. Good Job.

hansdehansde replied on June 8th, 2008

Thanks for the lesson. Brad you should also talk about on how to mute strings not played, specially with pull offs.

frisafrisa replied on March 12th, 2008

brad got confussed with the half step with the scales

gregdiehlgregdiehl replied on March 4th, 2008

whats your thoughts on which pick and position? I had a teacher who says to use a firm pick and strike the string perpendicularly instead of my medium and flat picking.

Brad.HeneckeBrad.Henecke replied on March 5th, 2008

Check out my lesson #2 Speed Tec. http://www.jamplay.com/members/guitar/phase2/brad-henecke-19/lesson2.html

Rob SRob S replied on October 2nd, 2007

One more thing, I have tried a few times to download the track by right clicking and saving, but no luck.....

Rob SRob S replied on October 2nd, 2007

Great, that answers my question about downloading the sound track. I will keep checking back for it. Thanks and keep up the good work. I really enjoy Brads Videos.

jboothjbooth replied on August 16th, 2007

You should just be able to right click and save as. Anyway we are building a new MP3 player for the backing tracks in the coming days because we are not happy with the one we have now for backing tracks, so look for that coming soon.

fingerspasmfingerspasm replied on August 11th, 2007

When I right click the backing track it only allows me to save the link. It does not allow you to save it as an MP3.... I would think this would be bad for your site if the only way to use it is by streaming it. That would take up your bandwidth and slow the site down. Is there any way to make it a downloadable MP3? Thanks in advance and your site is great!

jboothjbooth replied on July 23rd, 2007

Aaron click the supplemental content tab, the file should appear there for you to play and download. It should allow you to right click and "save as" the file. We are currently working on a whole new backing track section btw which will have many backing tracks for different styles for you to play with.

aaron00leeaaron00lee replied on July 22nd, 2007

How do i download the beat track? Like the one they said could be 'downloaded'

david.mackenziedavid.mackenzie replied on July 16th, 2007

Jase, dont worry, and dont get frustrated. Brad has been playing for quite a while, and he DOES make it look easy! he is very proficient, and just a great player, and you WILL be too, just keep after it! dont ever stop learning, and keep an open mind to all forms of music, as each unlocks more knowledge for you to use as a musician!:rockout:

jasejase replied on July 12th, 2007

Thanks Brad I am starting to get some licks down now with some of these tricks, everything seems to take so long though to come close to mastering. Jase

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.



Lesson 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
Lesson 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
Lesson 3

Barre Chords and More

Brad Henecke introduces common strumming patterns and barre chords.

Length: 42:23 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 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
Lesson 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
Lesson 6

Tricks and Lead

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

Length: 52:02 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 7

Jammin' with Scales

This lesson details how to improvise with the blues scale.

Length: 27:27 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 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
Lesson 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
Lesson 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
Lesson 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
Lesson 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
Lesson 13

Message in a Bottle

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

Length: 10:22 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 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
Lesson 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
Lesson 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
Lesson 17

Daytripper

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

Length: 15:21 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 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
Lesson 20

Phrasing

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
Lesson 21

Basics of Tapping

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

Length: 14:34 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 22

Intro to Modes

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

Length: 31:04 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 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
Lesson 24

Natural Harmonics

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

Length: 13:16 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 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
Lesson 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
Lesson 27

Phrygian Mode

Brad explains and demonstrates the Phrygian mode.

Length: 13:33 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 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
Lesson 29

Mixolydian Mode

Brad explains the Mixolydian mode and its practical applications.

Length: 10:00 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 30

The Aeolian Mode

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

Length: 9:09 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 31

The Locrian Mode

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

Length: 9:00 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 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
Lesson 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
Lesson 34

Blues Licks

Brad Henecke demonstrates some cool blues licks.

Length: 17:00 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 35

Modes and Scales

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

Length: 8:00 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 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
Lesson 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
Lesson 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
Lesson 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
Lesson 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
Lesson 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
Lesson 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
Lesson 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
Lesson 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
Lesson 45

Diminished Arpeggio

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

Length: 19:00 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 46

Understanding Time Signatures

Brad Henecke addresses time signatures.

Length: 10:00 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 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
Lesson 48

Open G Tuning

Brad Henecke introduces open G tuning in this lesson.

Length: 23:50 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 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
Lesson 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
Lesson 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
Lesson 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
Lesson 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
Lesson 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

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 (www.craig-erickson.com).

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!).

Acoustic Guitar Lessons

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


Dave Yauk Dave Yauk

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

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Marcelo Berestovoy Marcelo Berestovoy

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

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Alan Skowron Alan Skowron

Alan shares his background in teaching and sets the direction for his beginning bass series with simple ideas and musical...

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Miche Fambro Miche Fambro

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

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Mark Kailana Nelson Mark Kailana Nelson

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

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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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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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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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Mitch Reed Mitch Reed

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

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Electric Guitar Lesson Samples

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


Danny Morris Danny Morris

Hone in on your right hand and focus on getting in the groove. You'll only play one note during this lesson, but it'll be...

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Aaron Marshall Aaron Marshall

JamPlay welcomes instrumental guitarist Aaron Marshall for a comprehensive master course. In this first lesson Aaron discusses...

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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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Brent Mason Brent Mason

Learn Nashville style country guitar from one of the most recorded guitarists in history. Check out rhythm grooves, solos,...

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David Wallimann David Wallimann

This is a crucial lesson that explains tablature, how to read it, and why it's important.

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Paul Musso Paul Musso

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

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James Malone James Malone

James explains how to tap arpeggios for extended musical reach.

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Andy James Andy James

Get an in-depth look into the mind of virtuoso guitarist Andy James. Learn about Andy's early beginnings all the way up to...

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Lisa Pursell Lisa Pursell

Lisa breaks into the very basics of the electric guitar. She starts by explaining the parts of the guitar. Then, she dives...

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Dennis Hodges Dennis Hodges

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

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