How to Play Workin' Man Blues by Merle Haggard (Guitar Lesson)

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DJ Phillips

Workin' Man Blues

DJ Phillips returns with a look at another country classic. In lesson 62 of his songs series, he teaches "Workin' Man Blues" by Merle Haggard.

Taught by DJ Phillips in Songs with DJ Phillips seriesLength: 32:12Difficulty: 2.5 of 5

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Member Comments about this Lesson

Discussions with our instructors are just one of the many benefits of becoming a member of JamPlay.

Mo GunnMo Gunn replied

I think DJ does a great job.

DannyAhlfeldDannyAhlfeld replied

I much prefer when the teacher calls the strings out EADGBA or 12345. Find it .......if you can call the sting out and not say " pick here" would be more enjoybale....going to youtube.

Songs with DJ Phillips

Found in our Beginner Lesson Sets

DJ Phillips lends his expertise to popular music with a blend of ultra in-depth song tutorials!

Free RideLesson 1

Free Ride

DJ Phillips breaks down the 70's hit "Free Ride" by The Edgar Winter Group.

Length: 61:33 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Melon BallerLesson 2

Melon Baller

DJ Phillips teaches his funk tune "Melon Baller."

Length: 22:20 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Stray Cat StrutLesson 3

Stray Cat Strut

DJ Phillips demonstrates how to play the song "Stray Cat Strut" by The Stray Cats.

Length: 79:03 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Song For AmericaLesson 4

Song For America

DJ Phillips breaks down the epic progressive rock tune "Song for America" by legendary artists Kansas.

Length: 117:24 Difficulty: 4.0 Members Only
Carry On Wayward SonLesson 5

Carry On Wayward Son

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

Length: 90:14 Difficulty: 3.5 Members Only
On the Road AgainLesson 6

On the Road Again

DJ Phillips teaches both the acoustic rhythm and lead sections of Willie Nelson's "On the Road Again."

Length: 32:42 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Do You Realize??Lesson 7

Do You Realize??

DJ Phillips breaks down the rhythm and lead sections of The Flaming Lips' song "Do You Realize??"

Length: 37:34 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Once Bitten Twice ShyLesson 8

Once Bitten Twice Shy

DJ Phillips breaks down the Great White hit "Once Bitten Twice Shy." This song propelled the band to stardom, but is actually a cover from another artist.

Length: 67:03 Difficulty: 3.5 Members Only
Oye Como VaLesson 9

Oye Como Va

Originally written in 1963 by Latin Jazz musician Tito Puente, "Oye Como Va" was made famous by Santana's 1970 cover. In this lesson, DJ breaks down the rhythm and lead sections to this influential song.

Length: 55:14 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
On Top of the WorldLesson 10

On Top of the World

DJ Phillips breaks down the rhythm and lead sections to the Cheap Trick song "On Top of the World."

Length: 64:01 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
So Good to See YouLesson 11

So Good to See You

DJ Phillips demonstrates how to play the song "So Good to See You" by Cheap Trick.

Length: 28:20 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
SlideLesson 12


DJ Phillips breaks down the electric rhythm, acoustic, and lead portions of "Slide" by Goo Goo Dolls.

Length: 42:23 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Walk Away (Maybe)Lesson 13

Walk Away (Maybe)

DJ teaches and demonstrates the punk song "Walk Away (Maybe)" from Good Charlotte.

Length: 33:13 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Back Where You BelongLesson 14

Back Where You Belong

DJ Phillips breaks down and demonstrates the rhythm, lead and harmony guitar sections for the .38 Special song "Back Where You Belong."

Length: 84:37 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
JennyLesson 15


DJ demonstrates and teaches the guitar sections to his former band Brother Big Bad's song "Jenny."

Length: 70:29 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
NameLesson 16


DJ Phillips demonstrates and breaks down the parts to the song "Name" by Goo Goo Dolls.

Length: 63:15 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Ain't That UnusualLesson 17

Ain't That Unusual

DJ Phillips provides a thorough lesson on the Goo Goo Dolls single "Ain't That Unusual". This song was a hit off of their album A Boy Named Goo prior to their adult contemporary sound taking hold.

Length: 46:07 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Only OneLesson 18

Only One

DJ Phillips provides a lesson on a punk-inspired tune from Goo Goo Dolls entitled "Only One". One of their early hits from "A Boy Named Goo," this song was popular before Goo Goo Dolls hit it big with...

Length: 69:35 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
What You See In MeLesson 19

What You See In Me

For his "Style of Keith Urban" series, DJ wrote and composed a song that takes a nod towards this guitarist. Incorporating classic country, rock, chicken pickin', and melodic elements, this song is a study...

Length: 97:06 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Long Train Runnin'Lesson 20

Long Train Runnin'

DJ is back with another epic song lesson! This time, he teaches The Doobie Brothers' song "Long Train Runnin'". Initially created as a jam track used for live performances, "Long Train Runnin'" went on...

Length: 35:48 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
AmieLesson 21


DJ Phillips returns with another song lesson in his Phase 3 lesson set. This time around, DJ is teaching the classic rock hit "Amie" from Pure Prairie League. He breaks down the three different acoustic...

Length: 73:21 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Three Minute Positive Not Too Country Uptempo Love SongLesson 22

Three Minute Positive Not Too Country Uptempo Love Song

DJ is back with a mouthful of a lesson! This time he teaches Alan Jackson's snub to the industry, "Three Minute Positive Not Too Country Uptempo Love Song." In this lesson, DJ breaks down the main acoustic...

Length: 66:19 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Rock 'N' Roll FantasyLesson 23

Rock 'N' Roll Fantasy

DJ returns to his phase 3 series with yet another classic rock song. In this lesson, DJ teaches the main electric guitar parts for "Rock 'N' Roll Fantasy" by Bad Company.

Length: 20:04 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Angel from MontgomeryLesson 24

Angel from Montgomery

DJ Phillips is back with another classic country tune. In this lesson, DJ teaches the acoustic and electric guitar sections for "Angels from Montgomery" by John Prine.

Length: 21:32 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Amarillo by MorningLesson 25

Amarillo by Morning

In his 25th song lesson with JamPlay, DJ Phillips breaks down the acoustic and electric guitar parts for the classic country western tune "Amarillo by Morning." Originally written by Terry Stafford and...

Length: 29:07 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Super Bad Super SlickLesson 26

Super Bad Super Slick

In this Phase 3 song lesson, DJ breaks down the funk classic "Super Bad Super Slick" by James Brown. In addition to the guitar on the original recording, DJ has also transcribed several other instruments...

Length: 42:06 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Jingle Bell RockLesson 27

Jingle Bell Rock

DJ is back with another holiday classic for his Phase 3 series. In this lesson, DJ teaches the electric guitar parts to "Jingle Bell Rock" as performed by Brian Setzer.

Length: 26:34 Difficulty: 2.5 FREE
Peaceful Easy FeelingLesson 28

Peaceful Easy Feeling

DJ is back with another lesson in his Phase 3 series! In this lesson, he teaches both the acoustic and electric parts to the iconic song "Peaceful Easy Feeling" by The Eagles.

Length: 41:38 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Sixteen TonsLesson 29

Sixteen Tons

Here is an old song about a coal miner. First recorded by Merle Travis in 1946, this song has been covered by countless artists. In this lesson, DJ teaches you the lesser known instrumental version recorded...

Length: 33:37 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
FearlessLesson 30


Here is a nice country/blues song from contemporary Christian singer/songwriter Karen Staley. The song has both acoustic and electric guitar parts. The electric part features a simple, riff-like lead that...

Length: 20:00 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Girls Like Fast CarsLesson 31

Girls Like Fast Cars

Here is a song by singer/songwriter Anita Cochran from "The Dukes of Hazzard" soundtrack. This song has both acoustic and electric parts, and it features more chicken pickin' than you can shake a stick...

Length: 48:36 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Take This Job And Shove ItLesson 32

Take This Job And Shove It

Here is "Take This Job and Shove It," which was written by David Allan Coe and made popular by Johnny Paycheck. This song has relatively simple acoustic and electric parts, but the timing may give beginners...

Length: 26:00 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Follow You DownLesson 33

Follow You Down

DJ Phillips is back with another great 90's rock tune! He breaks down the parts to the song "Follow You Down" by Gin Blossoms.

Length: 46:31 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Where I Come FromLesson 33

Where I Come From

Here is Alan Jackson's 18th no. 1 hit single "Where I Come From". This is a hot country song served with all the fixin's like chicken pickin', slide guitar, and more. While the rhythm is great for beginners...

Length: 35:16 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
My BackyardLesson 34

My Backyard

Here is a country rock song from the band Her & Kings County. This song is very dynamic and has acoustic, electric, and slide playing throughout. Beginners, you're gonna love the rhythms, but you may struggle...

Length: 30:00 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
TushLesson 35


DJ Phillips is back with a lesson on the classic blues song "Tush" from rockers ZZ Top! This lesson features a full breakdown and the correct tunings for both the rhythm guitar and slide guitar parts....

Length: 32:12 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
HeroLesson 36


Here is a song from Chad Kroeger of Nickelback that was released on the Spider-Man soundtrack back in 2002. The song became a tribute to the victims of the September 11, 2001 attacks on America.

Length: 22:00 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Waiting For The SunLesson 37

Waiting For The Sun

Here is an alternative country rock song from The Jayhawks. This song was released in 1992 on the Hollywood Town Hall record.

Length: 50:00 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Theme from The Dukes of Hazzard (Good Ol' Boys)Lesson 38

Theme from The Dukes of Hazzard (Good Ol' Boys)

Here is the theme song for The Dukes Of Hazzard TV show that was popular in the 80's. Released in 1980 on Music Man, this song quickly became a #1 hit for Waylon Jennings.

Length: 23:00 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
I've Been EverywhereLesson 39

I've Been Everywhere

Here is a song that's been recorded by many different artists and was originally written by Geoff Mack in 1959. The version DJ teaches was recorded by Johnny Cash in 1996.

Length: 26:00 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Ramblin' ManLesson 40

Ramblin' Man

DJ is back with another great classic rock hit! This time he offers up a lesson on "Ramblin' Man" from The Allman Brothers. This tune has a mix of catchy riffs and driving rhythms that explode in an all...

Length: 70:22 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
RevolutionLesson 41


DJ Phillips is back to his song lesson series with a look at the gritty "Revolution" from The Beatles. DJ breaks down all three electric guitar parts, then discusses the tone used in this song.

Length: 55:03 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Hey JudeLesson 42

Hey Jude

DJ is back with another epic Beatles tune! In this song lesson, he breaks down the acoustic guitar part for the iconic "Hey Jude". Additionally, he has transcribed several of the string instrument lines...

Length: 33:57 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
EchoLesson 43


DJ is back with another modern rock guitar lesson! This time, he covers the 2000's hit Echo by the band Trapt.

Length: 25:04 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
HeadstrongLesson 44


DJ returns with another modern metal favorite from the band Trapt. This time, DJ takes a look at the song "Headstrong," which was one of the band's first major hits.

Length: 31:43 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
CrazyLesson 45


DJ Phillips returns with a look at a classic country tune made popular by Patsy Cline. Originally written by Willie Nelson, "Crazy" is a staple of the classic country sound.

Length: 29:56 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Power of LoveLesson 46

Power of Love

DJ Phillips returns with a look at one of the 80's biggest hits! This time around, we're looking at the Back to the Future favorite "Power of Love" by Huey Lewis & the News.

Length: 40:40 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
The Heart Of Rock And RollLesson 47

The Heart Of Rock And Roll

DJ is back to his song lesson series with another great Huey Lewis and the News hit! This time he takes a look at "The Heart of Rock and Roll".

Length: 42:12 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Funny How Time Slips AwayLesson 48

Funny How Time Slips Away

DJ Phillips is back with a look at another classic country tune. In this lesson, he teaches the acoustic and electric parts to Willie Nelson's "Funny How Time Slips Away".

Length: 24:26 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Goodbye EarlLesson 49

Goodbye Earl

DJ Phillips returns to his song lesson series with a look at a popular country song from the Dixie Chicks. "Goodbye Earl" combines two different acoustic guitars and a layered electric to sink your teeth...

Length: 51:23 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Far BehindLesson 52

Far Behind

Haven't had your fill of 90's rock?!? DJ amps up the grunge with a look at a big title from the mid 90's! In this lesson, you'll learn "Far Behind" by Candlebox.

Length: 43:56 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Cult of PersonalityLesson 55

Cult of Personality

DJ Phillips returns with another look at a staple from the 80's! This time it's Living Colour's hit "Cult of Personality"!

Length: 38:07 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Wild ThingLesson 56

Wild Thing

DJ is back with another classic rock tune for your ears! This time he's taking a look at "Wild Thing!" Originally written by The Troggs, the version we're looking at here is as recorded by Jimi Hendrix.

Length: 22:13 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
DecemberLesson 57


DJ Phillips is back once again with a great rock ballad from the 90's. This time he breaks down the popular Collective Soul hit "December".

Length: 41:30 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Heaven's Already HereLesson 58

Heaven's Already Here

DJ returns to his song lesson series with a look at a rock country style tune from Collective Soul. "Heaven's Already Here" appeared on the band's debut album and is a great ballad for a starter.

Length: 25:03 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Hey Good Lookin'Lesson 59

Hey Good Lookin'

DJ is back with another early country classic for his song series. In lesson 59, he takes a look at the classic song "Hey Good Lookin'" by Hank Williams Sr.

Length: 40:17 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Your Cheatin' HeartLesson 60

Your Cheatin' Heart

DJ Phillips returns with a look at another Hank Williams Sr. song. This time he breaks down the guitar, fiddle and steel arrangements for "Your Cheatin' Heart".

Length: 39:35 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Mama TriedLesson 61

Mama Tried

In lesson 61 of his songs series, DJ is back with another classic country tune. This time he breaks down the parts to the iconic "Mama Tried" by Merle Haggard.

Length: 30:42 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Workin' Man BluesLesson 62

Workin' Man Blues

DJ Phillips returns with a look at another country classic. In lesson 62 of his songs series, he teaches "Workin' Man Blues" by Merle Haggard.

Length: 32:12 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
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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