Christmas has Arrived
Legendary Christmas has Arrived

Back and better than ever... Our Annual Holiday Event is here. New, exclusive, and Free Guitarist Tookits synergize with our best prices of the year.

How to Play The Star-Spangled Banner by Francis Scott Key (Guitar Lesson)

What are you waiting for? Get your membership now!
David MacKenzie

The Star-Spangled Banner

Learn "The Star-Spangled Banner in an easy, step-by-step fashion. Be sure to check out the Supplemental Content section for tablature and chord charts.

Taught by David MacKenzie in Songs with David seriesLength: 22:00Difficulty: 3.0 of 5

Video Subtitles / Captions

Supplemental Learning Material


Member Comments about this Lesson

Discussions with our instructors are just one of the many benefits of becoming a member of JamPlay.[email protected] replied on June 22nd, 2018

Please fix!! You didn’t finish the whole song you forgot “whose broad stripes and bright stars, etc”!! Please finish!! replied on February 10th, 2018

not sure about owning a lesson.. Iam not sure how much of the lesson is covered and or how many lessons

Jason.MounceJason.Mounce replied on February 13th, 2018

When you have download credits available (either given as part of some purchases, or purchased in packs through your account) you can spend 1 credit to receive ownership of one lesson. In regards to this lesson that means you can download the entire lesson which would be a total of 6 downloads to complete the lesson. 1 credit will always equal 1 lesson regardless of how long the lesson is, or how many scenes it has. Once you utilize a download credit, you own that lesson for life. You can download it and place it on any device you'd like. Should you lose that content, you can download it again any time you want or need, whether your JamPlay account is active or not.

AeroncaAeronca replied on November 9th, 2017

Been playing since I was a little fella- nothing close to Dave. I agree - Please listen to the actual song written by Francis Scott Key- sang by many. It sure helps me. Great Performance Dave. I apologize if I misspell my words, I was in a M.V.A. Had to lay down my old J-45 Gibson / Martin /- flat top /acoustic. Went electric got a older Fender Strat. Where there is a will, there is a way. Take care all and God Bless. p.s. need a octopus, cant play all 5 at once!

Mitchell.JacobsMitchell.Jacobs replied on May 1st, 2015

Please tell what fret and string your on. You started out telling what fret and string you were on in the beginning, but not all the way through.

mark wildmark wild replied on January 17th, 2015

just wanted to say david with your lesson I learned this song very quickly and I am now to the point I can throw in my own little licks here and there,

mark wildmark wild replied on January 17th, 2015

if it helps any one I have guitar pro on my computer and as I see dave play I input the cords as he plays and it is really helping then I go back and watch him play and try to keep up

demaxwelldemaxwell replied on November 2nd, 2014

Why are you in drop tuning? It's a pain in the neck for those of us who don't want to retune our guitar after doing this lesson?

nataliecherinkonataliecherinko replied on August 18th, 2014

hey david I want to learn iron man by black sabboth

HeavychevyHeavychevy replied on February 12th, 2014

Dave I just signed up and watched your lesson. I just read the comments and I agree with "tonyletizia", "agibson" and "ozy1808". Your not explaining what you are playing. Please tell what fret and string your on. You started out telling what fret and string you were on in the beginning, but not all the way through. I am a beginner and am having trouble following you when you are not saying what fret and string you are on.

redpiliumredpilium replied on November 22nd, 2013

Dave: I am playing the melody by reading tabs in supplemental material. I can sight read in position 1 but am just reading tabs up in position 6. How can I best learn what notes I'm playing as I read the tabs? Is this important? Do you even think about note names when you play?

tonyletiziatonyletizia replied on November 2nd, 2012

Dave you left out what to play for the lines "whose broad striped and bright stars, thro' the perilous fight. O'er the ramparts we watched, were so gallantly streaming." You play it in the intro but u never show how to play it or put it in the tabs. So none of can actually play the song correctly. Could you consider fixing it or atleast update the tabs properly.

nataliecherinkonataliecherinko replied on April 24th, 2014

Enter your comment here.

clemixclemix replied on October 28th, 2012

Very nice!

guitarfreakguitarfreak replied on February 7th, 2009

Dave, having a real problem with the ending?? Seems like midway through the ending video, the video jumps to the very last part leaving you in mid sentence. I'm having a hard time putting it all together?? Any suggestions?? Just picked up a guitar 2 weeks ago and really enjoy youe lessons.

david.mackenziedavid.mackenzie replied on February 8th, 2009

sorry your having technical issues with the video, hopefully that'll get worked out. i would suggest for now that you actually listen to the "star spangled banner" in any form, mine or other versions, that stick to the actual song it self. get the song inside your head, to a point you might be able to pick out some notes from humming it. this sounds primitive, but lots of people do this to flesh out a tune they are trying to remember or put together. also look at the supplemental content, and see if you can pick out the last part. if i knew where exactly you were having the problem i could perhaps help more. i hope that gives you some avenues to help you get down the ending. let me know how you progress.

rooarmy187rooarmy187 replied on July 1st, 2011

ive been playing tabs for a bit now and you jump on the second set of tabs you go from twilights last gleaming to rockets red glare..... it skips out whos brought stripes and bright stars section

ozy18708ozy18708 replied on January 20th, 2010

on scene four i meant. on scene four at around 5:50 you don't really explain what your playing

agibsonagibson replied on January 8th, 2012

Please alway tell what fret and what string your going to. A couple of times you played a 3 or 4 note progression and said "see there". When you fingers are bunched up sometimes it's hard to see what fret and string your hitting.

ozy18708ozy18708 replied on January 20th, 2010

at around 5:50 it starts to not make sense. your not explaining what you are playing :(

kevinmckevinmc replied on December 19th, 2009

Very nice, this song is full of great places to add your own flourishs

giliyadgiliyad replied on December 2nd, 2009

Loved your lesson helped me alot u rock!

adambadamb replied on September 8th, 2009

it is very good but i think it could use a tab table

jimhambyjimhamby replied on May 12th, 2009

Dave I have always wanted to play this song. I am a new guitar player and this version is a great place to start. I am taking some parts from your advanced version and putting them into this one as my skill increases. Thanks and you rock.

david.mackenziedavid.mackenzie replied on August 7th, 2009

your most welcome! thats awesome your adding stuff to it as you improve! great idea!!

timptimp replied on July 18th, 2009

I`m just learning how to play and I want to learn how to play a song would this song be a good song for a beginner?

darkobliviondarkoblivion replied on August 6th, 2009

yes definately it was the first song I ever learned to play, and this is a great version.

footefoote replied on June 11th, 2009


grunt3066grunt3066 replied on January 13th, 2009

yo thanks for this lesson i mastered this lesson in like 2 hours and 30 minutes thanks man soon ill learn your advanced lesson.

kavishkavish replied on January 3rd, 2009

great lesson now i can play this to my friends and family, you rock !!!!!

david.mackenziedavid.mackenzie replied on January 3rd, 2009

great!! good job!!! keep it up!!! you can use a lot of the things you learned here in this lesson for other music you will get into later on. so remember the shapes you've learned here. go get em! best to you this new year!!!

mike77mike77 replied on December 18th, 2008

Dave hi i like the lesson i nail it in 30 mins Dave my ? is why is it that i can play a higher skill song as a beginer but can play as well in the phase 1 lesson or a lower skill song in phase 3 thanks mike

skilletrebirthingskilletrebirthing replied on September 2nd, 2008

Awesome Lesson, Dave! Took me a little while to get the last part down, but I got it! Thanks!

david.mackenziedavid.mackenzie replied on September 2nd, 2008

excellent!!! good job!!!

skilletrebirthingskilletrebirthing replied on August 22nd, 2008

Awesome lesson, Dave! it took me a little while to get the last part down, but I managed. Thanks Dave!!

kyle1992kyle1992 replied on August 15th, 2008

Ok im new to this website and I dont really know how all this works, but i just replied to my own comment so im dumb lol, but what i was saying was, could you please tell me your amp settings as far as your bass, treble, mid, and distortion? Thanks.

david.mackenziedavid.mackenzie replied on August 16th, 2008

hey there, i think i used jeff's little marshall 15 watt amp. i tend to go about 4-6 on bass,3-5 on mids, and 6-8 on treble with that amp. hope that helps. dont forget that the sound you hear there is being compressed thru all the digital stuff going on in filming. so it may or may not be easy to replicate that tone. thanks for the question.

kyle1992kyle1992 replied on August 15th, 2008

Great video, but is it me or did you leave out: Whose broad stripes and bright stars thru the perilous fight, O'er the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming? You went from last gleaming to rockets red glare. But in the demonstration you played it. Im really confused could you straighten that out for me?

cruiserridercruiserrider replied on June 8th, 2012

Gotta add repeat bars on 9th Bar after the E on the 5th string(7th fret)

kyle1992kyle1992 replied on August 15th, 2008

Sorry to bother you again, but could you please tell me what you have your amp settings on as far as the bass, mid, treble, and distortion? Thanks.

jboothjbooth replied on August 15th, 2008

As dave mentioned it's the same, also check the tablature if you need any help :)

david.mackenziedavid.mackenzie replied on August 15th, 2008

that might be the case, but only because thata phrase is the same as the first part, so no reason for me to re-teach it. you just repeat it i believe, and that should take care of that...i!

kyle1992kyle1992 replied on August 15th, 2008

Ok great, then just ignore the video question then. Thanks alot :).

vanslash1010vanslash1010 replied on May 11th, 2008

awesome lesson dave

david.mackenziedavid.mackenzie replied on June 19th, 2008

thanks man!!! i really appreciate it! that was quite a lesson to prepare. look for an another one on star spangle banner with extra licks thrown in for excitement! coming to a video screen near you!!! ....sorry, got carried away there! :)

billyb440billyb440 replied on June 19th, 2008

Geez Dmac almost makes me want to be American........ But I like being a ......... what was that word..... oh ya..... CANUCK... good job Dmac

david.mackenziedavid.mackenzie replied on June 19th, 2008

haha, billy, billy, billy!! thats okay, we will just say your an honorary American! hows that!!! hee, hee! we love all the same!!! ooooohhh, Canada!!!! :)

foximus1100foximus1100 replied on March 16th, 2008

i picked up a guitar LITERALLY 8 days ago with NO experiance at all.. right know i can play this song and the beginning of back in black and it sounds great. dave is my favorite instructor. thanks. now i have to keep practicing.

ten9t6ten9t6 replied on March 2nd, 2008

Very nice! I can't wait to get to this level. I get goose bumps everytime I hear that Awesome song. I like the 101st patch, too. The only thing that could have made it better would be an 82nd patch. ;-) Great job..I will be back to this lesson, soon.

hgnativehgnative replied on February 23rd, 2008

ahhh done thanks david for the lesson now ill teach it to my daughter you are a good instructor thanks again

hcsohcso replied on February 11th, 2008

I love it and it isn't as hard as I thought it would be. Dave is a great instructor

rileyriley replied on January 24th, 2008

hey if you get the chance could you do the canadian anthem

rileyriley replied on January 2nd, 2008


igoreigore replied on October 31st, 2007

jimi's version was awesome

Songs with David

Found in our Beginner Lesson Sets

David MacKenzie will teach a wide variety of songs from genres such as metal, rock, punk and more.

Lesson 5

The Star-Spangled Banner

David MacKenzie teaches you how to play "The Star-Spangled Banner."

Length: 22:00 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 10

Electric Eye Part 1

This lesson is based on the song "Electric Eye," which was recorded by Judas Priest in 1992. Learn Dave's interpretations of the song's signature riffs.

Length: 24:00 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 11

Electric Eye Part 2

Learn the rest of Dave's version of "Electric Eye" by Judas Priest.

Length: 29:00 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 13

Closer to the Heart

David MacKenzie covers "Closer to the Heart," a classic song by Rush.

Length: 44:30 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 15

Advanced Star-Spangled Banner

In this lesson David MacKenzie teaches an advanced arrangement of "The Star-Spangled Banner." This lesson includes a backing track.

Length: 37:12 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 16

Canon Rock in D

David Mackenzie teaches a rock oriented interpretation of Pachelbel's classic "Canon in D."

Length: 80:12 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 17

Carol of the Bells

DMac teaches a Trans-Siberian styled rendition of "Carol of the Bells."

Length: 35:53 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only

About David MacKenzie View Full Biography Dave MacKenzie has been playing guitar for 30 of his 45 years on this earth. Starting back when he was 14 years old, Dave picked up the guitar and started to learn from his oldest brother, who had played some guitar as well. Dave was hooked, and couldn't learn fast enough! Everything from the Beatles, Chicago, Ted Nugent, The Eagles, you name it, Dave was trying to play it.

Then as with a lot of players out there, Eddie Van Halen came along and changed the way guitar was played! Dave has been influenced by anyone he has heard play guitar, literally! Always keeping an open mind and a humbleness about him has helped him to keep learning new things on, and about the guitar.

Dave has mostly played in top 40 rock, country, and pop bands. He is most recently playing guitar and keyboards in a 80's metal band called Open Fire. They have opened for Warrant, Firehouse, Winger, and LA Guns within the 3 and a half years they have been together, and are now jumping into original music.

Dave believes you should have internal motivation, and passion to play guitar, and most definitely, it should be fun!

As with his playing, Dave will find new ways to show you how to get the most out of your time learning guitar!

Acoustic Guitar Lessons

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

Robbie Merrill Robbie Merrill

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

Free LessonSeries Details
Miche Fambro Miche Fambro

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

Free LessonSeries Details
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...

Free LessonSeries Details
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.

Free LessonSeries Details
Freebo Freebo

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

Free LessonSeries Details
Mitch Reed Mitch Reed

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

Free LessonSeries Details
Eve Goldberg Eve Goldberg

Eve talks about the boom-chuck strum pattern. This strum pattern will completely change the sound of your playing.

Free LessonSeries Details
Erik Mongrain Erik Mongrain

Erik expounds on the many possibilities of open tunings and the new harmonics that you can use in them. He explains what...

Free LessonSeries Details
Tyler Grant Tyler Grant

Tyler Grant is back with an introduction to his new series "Classic Country Chops." In this series, Tyler goes in-depth...

Free LessonSeries Details

Electric Guitar Lesson Samples

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

Allen Van Wert Allen Van Wert

Allen shows you the 24 rudiments crucial to developing finger dexterity. This is a short lesson but the exercises here can...

Free LessonSeries Details
Bumblefoot Bumblefoot

Guns N' Roses guitarist Ron "Bumblefoot" Thal pulls out all the stops in his blistering artist series. Dive into the intense,...

Free LessonSeries Details
Tony MacAlpine Tony MacAlpine

Free LessonSeries Details
Tosin Abasi Tosin Abasi

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

Free LessonSeries Details
Lita Ford Lita Ford

Lita Ford, guitarist for The Runaways, presents a fantastic and in depth series on what it was like and what it took professionally...

Free LessonSeries Details
Rex Brown Rex Brown

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

Free LessonSeries Details
Jeffery Marshall Jeffery Marshall

Welcome to Inside and Out with Jeff Marshall! In this lesson series, Jeff takes a bottom up approach to fret board proficiency....

Free LessonSeries Details
Brent Mason Brent Mason

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

Free LessonSeries Details
John March John March

Take a new look at the fretboard and learn where to find a voicing that works. There are techniques that simplify the fretboard...

Free LessonSeries Details
DJ Phillips DJ Phillips

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

Free LessonSeries Details

Join over 526987 guitarists who have learned how to play in weeks... not years!

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

Unlimited Lesson Viewing

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

Live Lessons

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

Interactive Community

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

Chord Library

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

Scale Library

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

Custom Chord Sheets

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

Backing Tracks

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

Interactive Games

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

Beginners Welcome.. and Up

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

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

Price Per Lesson < $0.01 $4 - $5 $30 - $50 Free
Money Back Guarantee Sometimes n/a
Number of Instructors 92 1 – 3 1 Zillions
Interaction with Instructors Daily Webcam Sessions Weekly
Professional Instructors Luck of the Draw Luck of the Draw
New Lessons Daily Weekly Minutely
Structured Lessons
Learn Any Style Sorta
Track Progress
HD Video - Sometimes
Multiple Camera Angles Sometimes - Sometimes
Accurate Tabs Maybe Maybe
Scale/Chord Libraries
Custom JamTracks
Interactive Games
Learn in Sweatpants Socially Unacceptable
Gasoline Needed $0.00 $0.00 ~$4 / gallon! $0.00

Mike H.

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

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

Greg J.

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

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


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

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

Join thousands of others that LIKE JamPlay!