How to Play Carry On Wayward Son by Kansas (Guitar Lesson)

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DJ Phillips

Carry On Wayward Son

DJ Phillips breaks down Kansas' popular classic "Carry On Wayward Son."

Taught by DJ Phillips in Songs with DJ Phillips seriesLength: 90:14Difficulty: 3.5 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.

LenderingLendering replied

at 2.30 use the middle finger for first D, don't have to worry about the jump then

olikolik replied

I would be great if you could link the Scene Selection to Measure Number

kevin.cherrykevin.cherry replied

Ok I'm good up to the verse so far, which was kinda amazing how quickly I picked it up. The problem is with the verse as I feel like I'm missing something here as it is portrayed as simple but I'm not getting this 3 string voicing thing. I'll look over it again a few more times to see if I can get it.

charlie_waspcharlie_wasp replied

What's about making a vocal lesson for this song? :)

jekajajojesajekajajojesa replied

DJ you need to do another beginners corner.

eric95f1eric95f1 replied

Nice lesson, great job. In the "Lead Section" after the hammer ons and pull offs (4:30), I think, it's better to pick 17 fret in the G string instead of 13 in the B string - Just for ease. :)

johnnyrockitjohnnyrockit replied

excellent what an awesome band especially when John Elefonte joined them! Thanks for this DJ!

kingpinned89kingpinned89 replied

Think i got the tabs .. :) But there are multiple tabs for everything like keyboard n stuff .. gotta really look n check properly ..!

kingpinned89kingpinned89 replied

Sorry for the multiple comments web problem . :|

kingpinned89kingpinned89 replied

Hey ive learnt the E minor riff and the main riff findin difficulty with the verse ..! How to play the chords.. DJs gone too fast with em .. Should i follow the tabs? Coz they are sounding different to what Djs playin in the vid.!

kingpinned89kingpinned89 replied

Hey ive learnt the E minor riff and the main riff findin difficulty with the verse ..! How to play the chords.. DJs gone too fast with em .. Should i follow the tabs? Coz they are sounding different to what Djs playin in the vid.!

kingpinned89kingpinned89 replied

Hey ive learnt the E minor riff and the main riff findin difficulty with the verse ..! How to play the chords.. DJs gone too fast with em .. Should i follow the tabs? Coz they are sounding different to what Djs playin in the vid.!

aarond11aarond11 replied

A fav song with my Favorite teacher! Thanks!

moabmoab replied

Dude, not only can you play, you can teach. Nice.

rudy.martinezrudy.martinez replied

Excellent work DJ! Heart and soul.

davidkladddavidkladd replied

this song is so damn awesome! reminds me of south park:) epiiic

tnt47tnt47 replied

i just realised that i was paying 80 euros/95 dollars a month to my teacher and i learnt nothing , and now this awsome dude learn me this song in 90 mins with just .... 1 dollar? Oh boy im stupid. Nice job and i like your advices .

dj.phillipsdj.phillips replied

Thanks, tnt! Finding the right teacher can be a difficult process. Sometimes, you just aren't a good match for each other. I'm glad you're getting something out of the lessons here on the site though!

ledzepfan17ledzepfan17 replied

Awesome lesson (notably slow), one of my favorite songs! As my name implies I'm a huge Led Zeppelin fan and the Heartbreaker part was awesome. :) Anyways I was wondering, would you be willing to do any Zeppelin lessons?

dj.phillipsdj.phillips replied

Led Zeppelin is one of my favorite bands of all time and I would LOVE to teach some, but currently they are off the table for licensing reasons. When/if that ever changes, I'll be chomping at the bit to teach anything I can from Zepp!

jakk04254jakk04254 replied

I use the 5th string C on the third fret instead of the 8th fret c on the low E in the intro, it sets you up to jump from d to e a little easier

dj.phillipsdj.phillips replied

Yes, you can totally do that and make the jump a little more manageable. I wanted to show how Livgren does the part in the lesson, but you're absolutely right, there are different valid ways to play it! Rock on!

leibnizleibniz replied

DJ, in my opinion, sets the standard as to how these lessons should be taught. Both the demos and tabs are absolutely first rate.

dj.phillipsdj.phillips replied


dmkheildmkheil replied

I enjoyed learning how to play some missing pieces to this song. Only criticism I have about teaching styles is that many of these teachers like DJ dumb down so much and so slow that it takes hours to learn what is for most intermediate guitarists a fairly simple song to learn in ten minutes. If someone is a beginning guitarist, which is where DJ aims his teaching imho, they have no business learning this song. Trying to aim at both beginners and intermediates is a losing proposition.

dj.phillipsdj.phillips replied

Thanks for the honesty and the feedback, dmkheil. We really do appreciate it. I do understand where you're coming from but each person's learning level and preferences are different, so I can't agree that what you say is true across the board. If an intermediate guitarist is sick of listening to me speak slowly and explain things in detail, they can certainly skip forward a little bit (I do that all the time when watching/transcribing lessons on JamPlay) and also use the transcription on their own without listening to me yammer on and wipe food stains on my shirt. As for this particular song, I actually taught the main riff to an 8-year-old beginner a few years ago, so it can be done! Thanks again for the feedback though, I will keep it in mind for future lessons.

jhainlyjhainly replied

this is marked as acoustic on the selection list...

erick450erick450 replied

you made this song so simple to learn amazing teaching skills

Donald_RoseDonald_Rose replied

Can you please tell me how to get the tone for the song? Thanks

apal212apal212 replied

That was great!!!

cheesebombcheesebomb replied

hahahaha epic!

gvanausdlegvanausdle replied

This is absolutely sweet! love that song.

moabmoab replied

Dude, you make me want to learn this songs. Great work!

dj.phillipsdj.phillips replied

Thanks, guys. Tabs are up!

YucatanEdYucatanEd replied

One of my favorite songs of all time! Dude. Love this.

deadlystandeadlystan replied

I think I better stay seated for a while.

mkorsmomkorsmo replied


hereticsound666hereticsound666 replied

no tabs are you serious?

SylviaSylvia replied

Soon, they'll be up as soon as they have them. :o)

SylviaSylvia replied

comment by Hubby... "F-er's good." "F-er" ha! You impressed him DJ. Good job.

jimgarveyjimgarvey replied

Whey hey, that's the easter holiday's sorted :-)

hereticsound666hereticsound666 replied

but really, thanks for the lesson great job.

robabrobab replied

Love all this classic Rock!!!!! Tabs should be coming soon.

stratmusicstratmusic replied

Yeah!!!! DJ and JP...GREAT JOB!

mkorsmomkorsmo replied


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Carry On Wayward SonLesson 5

Carry On Wayward Son

DJ Phillips breaks down Kansas' popular classic "Carry On Wayward Son."

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Rock 'N' Roll FantasyLesson 23

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Amarillo by MorningLesson 25

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Sixteen TonsLesson 29

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Cult of Personality

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Wild Thing

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Hey Good Lookin'Lesson 59

Hey Good Lookin'

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Your Cheatin' HeartLesson 60

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DJ Phillips

About DJ Phillips View Full Biography Like many guitar players who began playing around the same time, DJ began plunking out Nirvana and Soundgarden tunes when he first picked up the guitar in the mid-nineties. While these grunge-y roots certainly have their merit, it wasn't until DJ's eldest sister took him to a Led Zeppelin laser light show that the full potential of the guitar began to come into focus.

With Jimmy Page's Les Paul pyrotechnics as his inspiration, DJ began fervently practicing for hours on end in the suburban jungle of Southwestern Ohio. This newfound passion (combined with his complete lack of athletic prowess and physical coordination thus completely ruling out all sports) led him to form rock bands in junior high and high school. He grew to love the performance aspect of music and soon decided on it as a career path.

College led him to Nashville, Tennessee where he began to pursue a degree in Commercial Music at Belmont University. He also started another band and got his first professional theater gig the following summer. Since that summer, DJ has spent nearly every waking hour finding ways to play music and avoiding a real contribution to society in any other way.

He moved to Minneapolis after college, rocking out between theater gigs with his current rock band Brother Big Bad. He has now convinced the band to move to Nashville where music flows like water.

DJ is elated to be a part of JamPlay and is thankful for everyone's warm welcome and says "Now, let's ROCK, people."

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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.

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