3 Songs (Guitar Lesson)

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Brad Henecke

3 Songs

It's finally time to learn some more fun songs! In this lesson Brad walks you through the main riffs for the songs "Smoke on the Water", "Cat Scratch Fever", and "Sweet Home Alabama."

Taught by Brad Henecke in Rock Guitar with Brad Henecke seriesLength: 28:28Difficulty: 2.5 of 5
Chapter 1: (2:55) Introduction As usual, Brad gets things started with some smokin’ blues licks.
Chapter 2: (0:50) Lesson Information In this lesson, Brad walks you the through the main riffs to three popular classic rock songs. “Smoke on the Water,” “Cat Scratch Fever,” and “Sweet Home Alabama” are all great songs for beginning guitarists to learn. The simple riffs in these songs provide you with the opportunity to apply what you have learned in Phase 1 and 2 lessons to popular songs.

Just because these riffs are relatively easier to play does not mean that they are lower in quality. Most great riffs tend to be relatively simple and catchy. A riff’s ability to lodge itself in a listener’s brain is its most important quality. Brad demonstrates three great riffs that have achieved this goal for decades.
Chapter 3: (4:43) Smoke on the Water Tablature Review
Tablature is a short hand method of writing guitar notation. Each of the 6 horizontal lines correspond to a string on the guitar. The lowest tablature line corresponds to the lowest (or fattest) string on the guitar. Thus, the other five lines correspond to the other five strings on the guitar.

Numbers written within the tablature refer to frets on the guitar. For example, if a 7 is written on the lowest line, this indicates that the low E string should be played while fretting the 7th fret. If the number “0” is written on any line, this indicates that the string is played open. When two numbers appear one on top of the other, these two notes are played simultaneously in a chord.
“Smoke on the Water” Main Riff
The chords used in this riff are power chords. However, the root note is not the lowest note of the chord. Rather, the fifth is played as the lowest note. For example, the first chord is a G5 power chord. This chord consists of the notes G and D. The fifth of the chord, D, is played as the lowest note. When a chord tone other than the root is played as the lowest note, the chord is referred to as an “inversion.”

Brad plays each of these power chord shapes with his second and third fingers. You may find it easier to play the riff by barring each power chord shape with the first finger.

Practice the riff a measure at a time. Breaking it into smaller sections will enable you to learn and memorize the riff much more quickly. Notice how the third measure is an exact repeat of the first. Pause the video and memorize the riff on your own. Then, practice playing it along with Brad at 4:10.

For additional practice, record yourself playing the intro riff. You can use the blues scales in the key of G to practice improvising over this riff.

Note: Click the “Supplemental Content” tab for tablature to the “Smoke on the Water” riff.
Chapter 4: (6:38) Cat Scratch Fever The intro riff to Ted Nugent’s “Cat Scratch Fever” begins with a unison bend. (Unison bends were covered in the last lesson.) Fret the second string with the first finger. Then, use the third to fret the note B on the 4th fret of the G string. These strings are plucked simultaneously. Then, the note on the third string bends to match the pitch of the second string note. Use your second finger as additional support when playing bends with the third finger.

Similar to “Smoke on the Water” the bulk of this riff is played with inverted power chords on the D and G strings. Each of these chord shapes can be played by barring the first finger across these strings. Brad prefers to play each chord with a different finger, so he doesn’t have to shift out of position. He barres the first chord with the 1st finger. The second chord at the 4th fret is barred with the third finger. The last chord is then barred with the pinky. The riff concludes with some pick-up notes played in eighth notes on the low E string.

Note: Click the “Supplemental Content” tab for tablature to this riff.

Note: As you may have noticed, this is a slightly simplified version of the riff. Ted Nugent adds some additional pedal A notes to the riff.
Chapter 5: (12:16) Sweet Home Alabama The third and final riff presented in this lesson is Lynyrd Skynyrd’s classic “Sweet Home Alabama.” This song combines some open chords and licks into a timeless rock and roll riff. It is slightly more challenging to play than the previous two licks. As a result, more practice time is required to play the riff properly. Brad begins this scene by demonstrating how the tune is played.

The Chord Progression
Before you work on the riff, take a moment to look at the chords involved. The first chord is a basic open D chord.

You might not be familiar with the second chord, Cadd9. Pay very close attention to the tablature to ensure that you are fretting the right notes. Cadd9 is fingered in a manner very similar to the open G chord, the final chord in the progression. However, the second and first fingers play on the A and D strings respectively.
Playing the Riff
Once again, break this riff down into smaller sections. Brad breaks the riff into three separate sections. The riff begins with two bass notes from the D chord. Then the D chord is strummed. Practice this small segment by itself. Next, switch your left hand fingering to the Cadd9 chord. Play the bass note of this chord twice before strumming it. Repeat the same process with the G chord.

The riff ends with a short lick from the G major scale. All of the notes in this lick receive the value of a sixteenth note. The final note is played as an eighth note. Make sure that you play your hammer-ons and pull-offs in time. Practice the riff with a metronome to ensure rhythmic accuracy.
2nd Riff
Brad also demonstrates how to play the other great riff from the song. This riff occurs between verses. Open the tablature to this riff under the “Supplemental Content” tab. Then, watch Brad carefully to learn how this riff is performed.
Chorus Riff
On the original recording, the chorus is played the same way as the verse. Brad recommends that you switch over to barre chords during the chorus. You can also play each chord using the shuffle pattern discussed in an earlier lesson. This gives the song more interest and variety.
Note: Click the “Supplemental Content” tab for tablature to this song.
Chapter 6: (1:20) Final Thoughts and Exit The riffs taught in this lesson are not exact duplications of the original recordings. Brad has simplified each of these riffs in the interest of making them easier for you to play.

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.

trini1trini1 replied on April 2nd, 2016

Well done. Awesome lesson.

tgupta999tgupta999 replied on December 9th, 2014

brad what are the effects you have for ur guitar tone

bjcleagebjcleage replied on December 24th, 2013

Brad I think your a great teacher. I like the way you write the tab out. How about some easy Allman brothers lessons

layollayol replied on April 14th, 2012

Great job teaching these. Thanks Brad Keep up the great work!!! Doug

jburdjburd replied on September 21st, 2011

The Skynard song is hands down my favorite lesson on Jamplay. When people say - hey - I didn't know you play, play a song. You drop the Alabama lick and they think your fricken' Eric Clapton. Easiest song that sounds complicated taught perfectly. Great lesson!

adjohns3adjohns3 replied on October 29th, 2010

Please PLAY the whole thing FIRST,,,then talk

anmol100anmol100 replied on October 20th, 2009

teach us the we will rock you solo plz!

rosshudsonrosshudson replied on June 26th, 2010

or rock u like a hurricane Intro

strat9strat9 replied on June 4th, 2010

Brad: It's so much fun learning songs! Maybe I'm not hopelesss after all! Keep giving us more songs! thanks

JackstrawJackstraw replied on March 19th, 2010

I must be hanging out in the nerd crowd. I've never heard anyone call out from the audience to hear Smoke on the Water. Usually it's the standard go to"FREEBIRD!" shout from someone who thinks they are being funny.

sidksidk replied on March 6th, 2010

Hey Brad I can't seem to get the sustain like you have. Especially in your vibrato. Is there a secret or effects pedal etc. for that? I do have my gain turned up.

jb1973jb1973 replied on October 8th, 2009

I would think this lesson should be before hotel california as bar chords are fairly difficult. Or should I not be attempting these in order?

grassercgrasserc replied on April 23rd, 2015

I kind of agree. The Hot Cal lesson had its purpose but my daughter is taking private lessons and said that any teacher who does a C shape barre chord is a beast. This one lesson made me wonder if I doubted my skills because of the C barre chord. I stuck with it and the remaining lessons so far have been easy by comparison.

vmfa122vmfa122 replied on March 12th, 2009

"SKYNARD" LOL--I hate this song, but I am going to learn it just because my buddy plays this song in his set live. Great instructor; you're awesome--cheers, I mean beers!

Brad.HeneckeBrad.Henecke replied on March 14th, 2009

I know what you mean .The song is very over played But alot of people still want to hear it LOL

lukacar24lukacar24 replied on February 11th, 2009

nice :D

eickeick replied on January 1st, 2009

cant get that lenerd sound to save my life. got the other too songs sounden alright thx

eickeick replied on December 31st, 2008

my cat scatch fever sounds like crap but the wife did come down and ask me if thats what she just herd so thx so much.

ephodzenephodzen replied on December 24th, 2008

I love this lesson. Brad is getting me playing tunes very quickl rock on!

bgyjbgyj replied on August 2nd, 2008

In sweet home at the end of the second part, instead of playing that last bass line, can you show us the three or four notes from the lead that happen at that same time.

promo0promo0 replied on December 2nd, 2007

Brad looks hairy on the intro.....weird.

SylviaSylvia replied on June 29th, 2008

ha ha ha! Booth must have done some sort of effect on the video.... looks like Brad is some sort of demented Rocking Zombie.

jboothjbooth replied on July 9th, 2008

I wanted him to look intense or kinda weird :) I dunno, just thought it went with the music!

rockerdonrockerdon replied on July 9th, 2008

These are awesome!! I love knowing how to play cat scratch fever.

sprahakasprahaka replied on May 23rd, 2008

Hey Brad, on your lessons you have printed material on your white board ,that is not in the supplemental content. How or where can we get the tab like you have?

jboothjbooth replied on May 23rd, 2008

They should be back in the sup content now. Thanks for noticing!

sprahakasprahaka replied on May 23rd, 2008

Thank You JBOOTH !!!!!! I appreciate your quick response, thanks agian

igoreigore replied on October 19th, 2007

for cat scratch fever how do you bend because its so hard on the second fret

austin2656austin2656 replied on March 30th, 2008

if you cant get it bend forward ensted of toward you

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


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


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!).

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