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


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David MacKenzie

Advanced Star-Spangled Banner

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

Taught by David MacKenzie in Songs with David seriesLength: 37:12Difficulty: 3.0 of 5


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.


Southern CashSouthern Cash replied on October 19th, 2015

Enjoyed it, great job!

adydas78adydas78 replied on April 5th, 2013

Hey, great lesson! Can I play this in E flat tuning? I play most of my tunes in E flat and since I have only one guitar don't want to changed tuning every time I play this. Would I sound too off? Thanks!

dennis.hodgesdennis.hodges replied on February 13th, 2013

tabs now match the performance scene.

musicrnmusicrn replied on August 19th, 2012

Hi Dave, This is gorgeous and inspirational! I can play it but not getting the tone I like. What effects are you using exactly? Ive bee playing Jazz the last year, but do hv a Marshall available,fender strat too. Any tips welcome. You are a great teacher too!,

gibbsc13gibbsc13 replied on November 19th, 2011

Did you change the lesson in the middle of the song? On the second video lesson, when your playin the high notes you do it one way, but then as you recap what you played, you play it differently.... or I may just be seeing things (4:36-4:50).

thrasher334thrasher334 replied on November 6th, 2011

I seen you playing your arrangement and loved it so much that even though I knew I am way out of my league as a beginner I was so impressed and emotionally moved I decided I have to learn this as my first real accomplishment I have heard other versions of THE STAR SPANGLED BANNER but this is the absolute best I have heard.

cindarcindar replied on June 24th, 2011

love this version Dave!! ive pretty much got the whole song down except for that last litttle riff, but i love the way you've mapped this out!! continue the great work

gunnygunny replied on December 15th, 2010

Dave...you can play that on my parade deck anytime...you have every right to do so. Being that we both did time during the Persian Gulf crisis...and my deepest respects to your son. I will add this to my guitar footlocker. And when I play the Banner I will do so as with much feeling as you have shown...so that those who are listening will know it is being played in honor of your son and to our comrades who have fallen in the line of duty. Greatly appreciated and respectfully submitted....Semper Fi! The Gunny.

alexferreealexferree replied on December 11th, 2010

What guitar are you playing?

judewaddlejudewaddle replied on July 30th, 2010

busted song plez

dragon1968dragon1968 replied on July 6th, 2010

david your a awsome guitar player and more so a great teacher i first saw you on youtub and had to join jamplay i've almost got the entier song down and looking fowerd to learning more from you . thank's tracy hastings

goinblindgoinblind replied on January 12th, 2010

hey dDave I have mastered half of this song, working your ending, but just want to let you know this is the best version of the song i have ever heard

david.mackenziedavid.mackenzie replied on January 13th, 2010

well thank you very much! i am humbled to hear you say that! I am glad your getting something out of ths lesson, and this song is very close to my heart!

thesheriffthesheriff replied on October 8th, 2009

Watching the Song Demonstration and the way Dave Plays it does not match the Tabs provided in several spots. This makes learning the song very difficult

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

i have to apoligise, as i think afterwards looking at the break down of riffs, i did perform it slightly different for the actual performance. in reality, most peoples styles do not mesh, such as, i dont sound like eddie van halen, or slash, etc, therefor i wont be able to put forward all the techniques perfectly like them. what i am getting at is NOT an excuse but that you SHOULD allow your own style to come out in this piece. i gave examples of licks/riffs to play, but please add your own as well.

thesheriffthesheriff replied on July 22nd, 2009

where can I get a copy of the backing track?

maxmaxmaxmaxmaxmax replied on May 30th, 2009

great arrangement dave, one question i always played intro 2-0,3-1,4-2,3-1,2-0,1-0 don't it makes notes ring longer because open strings

jimhambyjimhamby replied on May 13th, 2009

Hey Matt, Did you ever get the backing track tabed out?

dinotatsdinotats replied on October 17th, 2008

The backing track still doesn't operate. It would be coool if it did. Also the tabs still aren't completed correctly.

dinotatsdinotats replied on November 20th, 2008

Well I haven't been on since I wrote last but it's working now. Before I would just click the backing track and nothing would happen but now it worked. The tabs were good for the song itself but the riffed out ending wasn't there. But it is now. Thanks

jboothjbooth replied on October 17th, 2008

Hey there, I just tested the backing track on a few pcs and it has worked on all of them. Are you getting an error? have you tried downloading it to your computer to see if that helps? as far as the tab do you know which part you feel is incorrect?

dinotatsdinotats replied on October 17th, 2008

PS Dmac rocks!

ben234ben234 replied on October 10th, 2008

can you put the jimi hendrix version up as well

VinnyBVinnyB replied on July 26th, 2008

Just watched it twice in a row.......awesome.

headbanger245headbanger245 replied on July 12th, 2008

on the supplemental content, on the second part of the tab, instead of star-spangled banner, its playful popoki in the slack key lessons. just thought i should bring that up.

kevinacekevinace replied on July 4th, 2008

Tabs tabs tabs!

mattbrownmattbrown replied on July 8th, 2008

Tabs will be up by tomorrow...sorry for the delay, everybody!

mattbrownmattbrown replied on July 8th, 2008

I'll transcribe the backing track sometime tomorrow for those of you that want to learn the rhythm parts as well.

mattbrownmattbrown replied on July 8th, 2008

I recommend that you all master the easier DMac version of this song and memorize it. Then, start adding in the embellishments and advance techniques that Dave is teaching in this lesson.

david.mackenziedavid.mackenzie replied on July 8th, 2008

i agree with matt, especially if you are a beginner. that way you'll have the foundation of the song down, and then can add all the extra riffs. good call matt.

jboothjbooth replied on July 4th, 2008

Matt's working on it :) I'm sure it's not gonna be fun to notate this, lol.

hgnativehgnative replied on July 3rd, 2008

nice song dave is it yours

david.mackenziedavid.mackenzie replied on July 3rd, 2008

this is my rendition of the SSB. i put it together on my digital recorder. used my roland keyboard and did the drums. played my bass, and added the rythm guitar. then added the strings to add some higher end to it.

hgnativehgnative replied on July 3rd, 2008

it is nice!!

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

Thank you for the nice compliments! i really tried to do it justice! i played it so much i think i can do it in my sleep now! lol!

mav67mav67 replied on July 2nd, 2008

Dmac laying it down and taking names. Good job, almost made me wish I was American.

Jim.DeemingJim.Deeming replied on July 2nd, 2008

Nicely done, DMac - you're the BOSS!

dennis.hodgesdennis.hodges replied on July 2nd, 2008

cool arrangement

mkorsmomkorsmo replied on July 2nd, 2008

Sounds like Eric Johnson jumped in there for a few riffs near the end.

rhoadsfreakrhoadsfreak replied on July 2nd, 2008

Dave, that was absolutely an incredible version of The Star Spangled Banner....It is truly inspiring listening to you play. Thanks for sharing that with us.

robearlerobearle replied on July 2nd, 2008

oooo! that rocks! you rock! In fact, everything about it just ...rocks!

dsilvestredsilvestre replied on July 2nd, 2008

I am tuned up this time in standart tuning, i got it right, in tune... Ahah couldn't be more right! I am going to lern this now and then i will let you know... Great Lesson...

nmoundnmound replied on July 1st, 2008

Damn, very nice!!!

ronin808ronin808 replied on July 1st, 2008

Wow!! You pumped alot of energy into this versionI hope I can get it down for the 4th. Great job as always man!!

nessanessa replied on July 1st, 2008

Dmac, YOU ROCK!!!

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!

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