How to Play She Talks to Angels by Black Crowes (Guitar Lesson)

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Mark Brennan

She Talks to Angels

Mark Brennan and his wife, Marla, take on "She Talks to Angels". This song is track #8 on The Black Crowes 1990 release, Shake Your Money Maker.

Taught by Mark Brennan in Rock Songs with Mark seriesLength: 34:12Difficulty: 2.5 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.

greeneyedgypsygreeneyedgypsy replied on May 7th, 2018

Great job Mark! This song is a lot fun to learn!

stringthumper856stringthumper856 replied on May 23rd, 2015

awesome you two

Kaptain KickassKaptain Kickass replied on April 9th, 2015

Thanks Mark. You took a deceptively hard song and made it really easy. My guitar playing is shit, but I'm playing this song start to finish with real confidence. It's nice to knock off another song. It keeps a person excited.

Terla123Terla123 replied on January 7th, 2015

Awesome. And Marla adds the finishing touches to this song. Dynamic duo. I can't get enough of your series. I started off jam play with Mark Nelson's slack key lesson and stumbled on your website looking for Landslide and boy you deliver. Never to late to add to your repertoire. I am a 61 year old woman. Love love love it!!!!!

depp604depp604 replied on November 20th, 2014

I just learned landslide, Talk To Angels is my next song to learn. Marla and you sound great together! thanks for such precise lessons. glad I found your series

ricras384ricras384 replied on October 26th, 2014

Awesome lesson and I really enjoyed hearing your wife sing while you played. A perfect way to bring it all together. You both really did a nice job with this song.

wardyr1wardyr1 replied on July 29th, 2014

Really enjoyed that guitar sounded great, and Man, can she sing! Awesome!

beehobeeho replied on July 13th, 2014

let your wife sing in some more videos

beehobeeho replied on July 3rd, 2014

I really think I have this down, except, I cannot figure the right places to put all of the lyrics.

beehobeeho replied on July 1st, 2014

great lesson. where is the song wish you were here???

beehobeeho replied on July 3rd, 2014

Could you teach wish you were here by pink floyd

beehobeeho replied on July 2nd, 2014

The best lessons

docshueydocshuey replied on November 14th, 2013

Thanks so much for a wonderful breakdown of this song! I am actually really close to getting it all together. Now I need to be able to sing while playing it. You and your wife did such a wonderful job with putting it all together! I notice that you were adding some additional fingering to the song demo. This skill is what I am most interested in figuring out on my acoustic. How did you know which notes fit into the chords? Are the scales the scales altered much in open E?

john6stringjohn6string replied on December 31st, 2013

how do you know when the vocals come in

docshueydocshuey replied on November 16th, 2013

Also, I would really like to understand more about the common riffs that are used in music, especially songs of this genre, rock and blues, that play well on an acoustic guitar. Ones that are played over open chord positions , and then closed positions as well if possible. Do you know a particular lesson set that you would recommend on jam play for this? Any suggestions would be very helpful, and thank you again for what you did with song. If you are looking for possible suggestions for a future song to teach, would you look at Adam Hoods " Million Miles Away" but not the straight song that he does, look at YouTube and watch the video of him playing with a drummer while sitting on a stage playing. He improvises nicely and plays some wonderful little blues riffs that I would dearly love someone like you, to help me figure out. I think it would be a very instructive song to help understand more about filling out a song tastefully with riffs. Thanks so much!

brady levasseurbrady levasseur replied on October 31st, 2013

Thanks for the awesome video, mark! I'm now able to play the song :)

toejammintoejammin replied on August 16th, 2013

Awesome lesson ! It's so easy to follow your instruction. The duet at the end was a nice surprise, thanks !

jaxwiredjaxwired replied on June 15th, 2013

Thank you!!! This lesson has inspired me to pick up my guitar again after a hiatus. Great lesson...

misha1dibbsmisha1dibbs replied on April 10th, 2013

Mark, Thanks for the lesson. I found your instructional manner really easy to follow. Although I have been noodling around with guitar for a while, Jam play has really helped my playing by leaps and bounds. Thanks again for the lesson, and I hope to see more acoustic songs from you soon:)

nikkispearsnikkispears replied on April 3rd, 2013

Thanks Mark, also Marla, nice job!

bluejackbluejack replied on March 18th, 2013

Thanks Mark . The songs you teach are the songs i enjoy and the way you teach is easy to follow. Thank you.

gamonsgamons replied on March 30th, 2013

Hi Mark, I just wanted to send you a Thank You for being a great teacher. Your wife also gets a Thank You for the Vocals. I've been playing off and on for 20 years. You make Guitar Playing fun and easy. I hope I see more stuff from you in the future. Do you still play in that cover band? Do you ever come to Chicago? Thanks again, Joe Gamons

mossienmossien replied on March 17th, 2013

Mark, I am making great progress with tis song but having trouble with speed on the 3rd part of the opening lick-the 0/5,0/4,0/2 lick. How are you picking it ?, with only the pick or are you using your 2nd finger on your picking hand to pick the open E string to get the speed.? PS. Your wife has agreat voice-the last track with vocals is real nice and helpful as a learning tool.

MarkBrennanMarkBrennan replied on March 18th, 2013

Thanks for the nice comments.....I'm using strictly the flatpick on all these riffs. With this one, start with an upstroke on the top e string, then a down stroke on the b second string. Go back to the upstroke on the e string then back to the b string with a downstroke. continue this alternate picking for the whole riff.

MarkBrennanMarkBrennan replied on March 16th, 2013

Please note that in the course of the discussion of this lesson, there was a concern on the part of a lot of subscribers about the strain on the neck from the open E tuning. A good option for this would be to tune your guitar to open D (DADF#AD) and capo on the second fret. Use the tab as if the capo was "zero" fret.

mossienmossien replied on March 16th, 2013

I love the Black Crowes-this is a great lesson-I was able to get my acoustic to sound just like the video. Thanks

brunsonbrunson replied on March 16th, 2013

Tuning in the song tab under supplemental content is wrong. G string should be tuned to G#, not E.

MarkBrennanMarkBrennan replied on March 16th, 2013

I checked the tab...on the top of the first page the tuning shows the 3rd string (the G string) to be in scene 2 I mention the same thing....3rd string G tuned up to G#.

Don.SDon.S replied on March 15th, 2013

Holy Cow! I couldn't believe it when I saw this lesson became available again. When I first started on JamPlay this is one of the first songs I learned. It's like seeing an old friend for the first time in a long time. Good to see Marla and you again, Mark. Great song.

martin.baylymartin.bayly replied on March 11th, 2013

Ditto on the awesomeness of getting this back ... had it on my todo list and never got to it before it was taken down ...

MarkBrennanMarkBrennan replied on March 11th, 2013

Great to see this lesson back up....enjoy!!

jecruzjecruz replied on March 11th, 2013

Great lesson and wonderful performance. I look forward to starting on this one tonight!!!

Jason.MounceJason.Mounce replied on March 11th, 2013

SOOOOOO awesome to have this one back up! Enjoy!

coolclaycoolclay replied on November 28th, 2009

For the final song with Marla... It would have helped me practice some if the camera didn't zoom in. I like to see the chord changes and struming when I strum allong and sing allong.

MarkBrennanMarkBrennan replied on December 2nd, 2009

Hey Clay.....try singing along with the Acoustic song demo, scene'll be good practice for your vocal.

guitarfoolguitarfool replied on November 21st, 2009

Hey Mark, I was at a stopping point playing the guitar, but this song took me to another level. I've taken a bunch of lessons that have open tuning, but never open e--it's a lot of fun, and leads seem easier, thank you, I'm going to check out your pink floyd songs next, rock on dude!

stparetstparet replied on November 8th, 2009

there has to be a solo in there.

MarkBrennanMarkBrennan replied on November 17th, 2009

Consider the solo to be in the middle where the riffs at the opening of the song reappear.....I called it riff A.

coolclaycoolclay replied on November 16th, 2009

I loved the lesson. I've been thinking about the open E tuning I really don't like tuning that high.. not worried about the neck, maybe the bridge and blowing strings. I tried the Open D caped at the 2 and it is really flat sounding.. haven't tried this yet as I have decided to keep the open E for learning purposes, but something half way that should work is tuned 1/2 down from open E and capo the first ie.. Eb Bb Eb G Bb Eb Should be less strain on your guitar and brighter sounding. Let me know what you think. Love this song.

MarkBrennanMarkBrennan replied on November 17th, 2009

This sounds like a good idea, and it would certainly work. I'll give it a try and let you know what I think....Mark B.

mazzystarlettemazzystarlette replied on October 29th, 2009

WOW!!!That was absolutely beautiful. I think I am going to cry.....tears of joy. Great job!!!

sbondsrnsbondsrn replied on October 23rd, 2009

Mark, Great lesson. I'm a newbie and the way you teach makes it so easy for someone with no training. I'm about 75-80% speed. Still some mistakes, but I've got all the parts. I'm working on Big Yellow Taxi and Stairway to Heaven. I don't have an electric (yet), so acoustic tunes are what I'm looking for. Thanks. Great lesson.

johncrousejohncrouse replied on September 21st, 2009

Hi Mark, I'm fairly new to guitar and guitar tab so maybe I'm missing something. I may have missed it in the lesson but the tab shows a 4th chorus but I followed along in the tab and it doesn't seem as if the demo you played had the 4th best i could follow along, it seems like it went Intro, Verse 1, Verse 2, Bridge, Interlude, Verse 3 and Outro. Am I completely missing something here? Showing my amateur status with tab perhaps? Enjoy the lesson....just wish I could get the finger strength up to do a real barre chord...not doing it over the top of the neck. Wife's lovin' it anyway and wants to go see the Crowes when they are here in San Diego in November!

BarryNZBarryNZ replied on September 24th, 2009

Many thanks to Marla for singing on both this and Landslide. It's much more fun than playing with a metronome! Both these songs sounded incredibly difficult whenI first heard them but the lessons are great and, after quite a bit of practice, I am now getting them down. Best wishes from New Zealand.

mritalian55mritalian55 replied on September 19th, 2009

AWESOME! Thats it Keep up the great work. First song that I learned how to play in another tuning and with harmonics to boot. What a great lesson. Great teachers and great lessons. You guys need a pay raise! Did I just raise my tuition?

jfm6stringjfm6string replied on August 19th, 2009

Mark, this is one great lesson. All the way from the tuning to you and your wifes performance. My band has been playing this song for around 5 mos. now thanks to you. Our lead vocalist (Female) and I do a duet on this and it is just one killer song that always brings down the house wherever we play. I say you're the best teacher on jamplay and you always take the time to really explain the technical issues of the tunes you teach. By the way, your band is awesome and if you're ever in the Seattle area doing shows e-mail me and we'll come as a group to hear you guys. Maybe we can even meet. Thanks again for such a great song.

MarkBrennanMarkBrennan replied on August 21st, 2009

Thanks James. That's awesome that your band is performing this song. Always a crowd pleaser. Good luck with the gigs! Mark B.

puddlespuddles replied on August 20th, 2009

Mark, one more thanks from me for such a great lesson.

roguerogue replied on July 27th, 2009

awesome lesson mark! have always loved this song. also you and marla did a great job together! thanks!

foussfouss replied on July 19th, 2009

Hi Mark I just joined JAM PLAY and appreciate your way of teaching acoustic guitar. I need some clarifications about this song. Could you plz confirm to me the strumming formula about the chorus? thanks again for your comments and see you on other guitar lessons !! A student from France

E221bE221b replied on July 2nd, 2009

One other question - I guess asking it here makes sense: How bad is it for strings to continually tune them up to Open E to practice this song and then back down to standard for other songs? My neck is fine since it's a Martin, but I recently re-stung it and I've notice that I've lost a lot of shimmer in the strings from all the re-tuning. Is that then only thing that will happen? I'll probably go through a lot of strings this way.

E221bE221b replied on June 29th, 2009

Mark, would you be willing to discuss the embellishments you use in the final verse? I've been playing around with some things (and I've got the unvoiced slide down and it sounds cool), but I can't get it exact.

MarkBrennanMarkBrennan replied on July 1st, 2009

Hi Benjamin. I assume you're referring to the song demo in scene 7.....I'm improvizing a bit on the last verse. I'll have a tendency to do this when I perform it with Marla and just my guitar. I start off with a slide in from the 12th fret on the low E string. I'll also do filler strums between the main strum careful not to step on the vocals too much (I'm probably doing that here because there's no vocal in this demo). Then I'm throwing in some riffs on the lower strings....these are using the E Major pentatonic scale, and I'm doing different hammer on and pull off riffs. Again, it's all improvized.

E221bE221b replied on July 2nd, 2009

Cool thanks. I've been playing around with some stuff. Nice to know the scale mode it's in. I really need to practice my pentatonic scales...

bobbidogbobbidog replied on January 31st, 2009

Love the lesson. Having trouble with the strum. My strumming sounds way to ringy and can't figure out how to get the nice strum that I hear from you where not everything is all jumbled together.

6bangr6bangr replied on June 10th, 2009

Hey jst reading through the notes was having the same problem, i found focusing on hitting the 5th/4th/and 3rd as best i could and strumming lighter helped heaps. hope this helps

MarkBrennanMarkBrennan replied on June 13th, 2009

that's a good tip....also try relaxing your right (strumming) hand wrist and forearm while strumming, and try experimenting with a thinner pick.

scoffeyscoffey replied on May 4th, 2009

Hey Mark, Thanks for the lesson. I love this song. It was the first I learned on Jamplay. I just wanted to let everyone know a little tip. I loved learning the songs, but went through two sets of strings tuning to open E tuning before I learned if you just tune down to D on your E strings, and F# on your G string, then capo on the 2nd fret, you can save money on strings. It still sounds pretty good, maybe a slightly lower pitch. Thanks again.

scoffeyscoffey replied on May 4th, 2009

I forgot to mention the b string to A. So its D, A, D, F#, A, D and capo 2

MarkBrennanMarkBrennan replied on May 4th, 2009

Yes..this definitely works. After all the discussion on the open E tuning....I do agree this is the best way to do it.

rockingrubyrockingruby replied on April 24th, 2009

Hi Mark, I am a beinginner and tonight i sorta learned the "She talks to angels" it actually sounds like the song a biggy for my I am having trouble with the middle riff i can't see it very well but other then that i got the rest of it down and i feel really good about what i learned tonight tyvm and your wife rocks! great pipes......I really enjoy your lesson plans Ruby.......

MarkBrennanMarkBrennan replied on April 24th, 2009

Hey Ruby...I'm going to assume that you're talking about what I refer to as "rhythm riff A", which appears at the beginning as well as the middle of the tune. In scene 3, I break it down pretty well. Take it riff by riff slowly and you should get it....congrats on your progress! Mark B,

flightmedicflightmedic replied on March 31st, 2009

awesome guys that sounded great mark what model is that martin

mxcaggmxcagg replied on February 17th, 2009

Mark, any suggestions to help with the speed of the intro? I can follow the tab but cant seem to get the speed fast enough to make it sound like the song. I practice it over and over and try to build up speed but it's not coming along for me. Thanks.

MarkBrennanMarkBrennan replied on February 19th, 2009

Hey Mike....check out Scene 2....I play the intro riff at a slow tempo. Try to get it at that speed. Make sure you're playing it correct rhythmically. Then, slowly increase your tempo with a metronome. The rest of the intro is demonstrated in Scene 3, and are played at slow tempos...let me know if this helps...Mark B.

mxcaggmxcagg replied on February 27th, 2009

Thanks Mark, I'm working on it, getting a little better each time.

randy862randy862 replied on February 3rd, 2009

Hi Mark, great lesson. Even though I'm a beginner, I've been able to pick up this song very quickly. I am, however, having trouble picking up the correct strumming patter for the 3 chords in the chorus when played at full speed in the video. Can you explain the strumming pattern there? Thanks!

ro7477ro7477 replied on February 1st, 2009

happy new year mate!!! u my fav instructor..cant wait for more accustic rockstar moments from you this year. cheers!!

randy862randy862 replied on January 29th, 2009

I love this lesson. I've only been playing for a month, and I really love the slow and meticulous pace of the lesson. I am so excited that I am actually playing something that sounds like a real song! I can't wait to see more acoustic lessons from you. Thanks.

mkesnermkesner replied on November 17th, 2008

Hi Mark, what model Martin is thay your playing?

Don.SDon.S replied on September 27th, 2008

Mark, could you post the strumming pattern you used on measure 20 at the end of the end of the verse and before the start of the chorus? Also, I'm getting up to tempo, finally on the opening 12 bars or so. Thanks, Don

Don.SDon.S replied on September 29th, 2008

Mark, I think I got it figured out. Based on what you've said about the timing on the notes, etc. it should be UDU-DUDU-DUDU-DUDU, right? I'll have to find where you explained about the timing of the notes that helped me figure it out, if I have it right. Thanks from a newbie. I played this for my mother over the phone yesterday, she was in tears, (it's a long story). Don

MarkBrennanMarkBrennan replied on September 29th, 2008

Hey Don...that strum is correct. Going back to bar 19 it's...D D UD D D D / UDUDUDUDUDUDUDU. Again, it's a 16th note strum pattern where you strum DUDU for ever quarter note. Hope that helps...Mark B.

Don.SDon.S replied on October 15th, 2008

Mark, thanks for the confirmation. By the way, I was in your neck of the woods recently, but had to fly through without stopping. Maybe next time I can stope and we can arrange a "lesson". Don

mykster454mykster454 replied on October 10th, 2008

Excellent Lesson, Great performance!!

ironsonironson replied on July 15th, 2008

Excellent lesson Mark! Thanks not only for picking a great blues band, and a great song, but also for the great detail in the lesson. I look forward to your future lessons. Maybe some sweet Zepplin?

MarkBrennanMarkBrennan replied on July 15th, 2008

Thanks! I've got a few ideas for Zepp tunes...stay tuned

keithwrightnhkeithwrightnh replied on September 27th, 2008

I just heard "Over the Hills & Far Away" by Zeppelin...been along time since I heard that song. But I really noticed it this time since I started playing the acoustic guitar. If I were to vote on which song I'ld like to see next then this one would have my vote. And firm release dates on new video instructions?

MarkBrennanMarkBrennan replied on September 29th, 2008

I think Over The Hills would be a great song lesson...I'll suggest it to the boys....stay tuned for more on "Dogs", and more of my beginner lesson series.

dimitrisgdimitrisg replied on September 28th, 2008

This is great. Thank you!

meganmegan replied on September 19th, 2008

I will add further praise for Mark and Marla. You are both so great. Plus this is an excellent song choice - guys and gals can sing to this. Yeah happy! I so appreciate Marla's vocals. Her singing sure helps me to mark my own. I find it a little tough to count and sing at the same time. Learning mid-level songs for the acoustic guitar is buck, deck, ace! Lets me work on what I know as well as helps me to progress a little. I picked up the guitar a year ago. I am at a stage where it's tough to find material where I feel like I am progressing, but can still enjoy playing. I've worked on Wish You Were Here. It's a little tougher, so my sense of progress isn't there yet. The vibe is so different. This one though, one evening and I mostly had it. Thanks!

keithwrightnhkeithwrightnh replied on September 5th, 2008

I really like seeing the notation/tab in addition to the video lessons. I 1st try to get the rhythm down without it and then refer to it for a little refinement. I'm fairly new to this and I want to be sure I understand what I'm seeing and how it relates to what you're saying. On the notation for the beginning riff...with the slide from 4 to 5 and the hammer there anything on that notation that tells me to hold down the hammer and pick the other notes or that I should be holding the string on the 4 to 5 slide as I pick the high E? Or is not every nuance of a song on the notation? Thanks for the help Mark.

MarkBrennanMarkBrennan replied on September 5th, 2008

Hey Keith....good question. Yes there are elements on the tab and standard notation that will indicate a slide or a hammer or pull off. On the opening riff, the line between the two notes indicates a slide. The curved line connecting the two notes is called a slur. With a slur, you always attack the first note, but not the second; you'll either slide, hammer, or pull off the second note. As I said, the line indicates a slide. The slurs without a line are either hammers (second note goin up), or pull offs (second note going down).

keithwrightnhkeithwrightnh replied on September 6th, 2008

Hi Mark. Thanks for the prompt reply. More specifically I was looking at the 1st measure where you slide from 4 to 5 and your video lessons says hold the 5th fretted string while you pick the high E open string. From the notation it looks like I would slide from 4 to 5 and then lift up from that 5th fret before striking the open E so that only the open E rings. Then, on that same measure you do a hammer on from the open 3rd string to 1st Fret, 3rd String and while holding that 3rd string you strike the open 2nd and then the open 1st before releasing that 3rd string. How does the notation show that? Thanks for the help.

MarkBrennanMarkBrennan replied on September 7th, 2008

Good observation Keith, and your correct. The way I perform and teach those elements is the way you want to do it. The tab does not precisely indicate this, although the indication "let notes ring" might imply this. To make the tab more accurate, you could use tied notes, or give those notes a longer value. That first E that you slide to should be a dotted eighth note, and the hammered 1st fret, third string note should also be a dotted eighth as well.

keithwrightnhkeithwrightnh replied on September 11th, 2008

Thanks Mark. Makes sense. While we're on the subject of Counting Crows...someone in the group suggested Big Yellow Taxi by Joni Mitchell. I'ld love to see this particular song done as is played by both Joni and the Counting Crows. Are they in fact played the same or differently? This same person also suggested "You can't always get what you want" Open E. I'ld also love to learn a few more tunes in Open E while I'm here right now.

keithwrightnhkeithwrightnh replied on September 11th, 2008

Oops...just as I hit enter I realized I was confusing The Black Crows and Counting Crows. Anyway..still would love to see how Big Yellow Taxi differs between Joni Mitchell and Counting Crows. Thanks

MarkBrennanMarkBrennan replied on September 11th, 2008

I think Big Yellow Taxi by Joni Mitchell would make a great lesson. It is in open E, and not too difficult to play, except the strumming might be a little tricky. The Counting Crows version is probably just in a different key, but I'll have to listen to that version a little closer. I'll try my best to get it in in a future lesson. Stay tuned

Don.SDon.S replied on July 16th, 2008

Mark, I don't know that I can add much to the other's comments. All I can say is thanks, you've added a new dimension to my desire to play.

Don.SDon.S replied on August 25th, 2008

Just an update. I've got the first 20 measures down to memory finally, and I got my first compliment on a song other than Wish You Were Here today. This place I go practice in the evening is popular right around sunset, and I was sitting there butchering, er, playing this song, and a couple walked up and said, "Black Crowes, eh?" Way cool. Thanks again, Mark, between you and Jamplay you'll make a guitar player out of me yet. Woo Hoo!

MarkBrennanMarkBrennan replied on August 26th, 2008

Cool! That's great to hear....these are the things that keep you goin.....keep practicing. Mark B,

Don.SDon.S replied on September 6th, 2008

Hey, Mark! Another first while practicing STTA and the strumming patterns. Three families rode up on bicycles to my practicing site, and I started to pack up. They came over and offered me a burrito and a beer to continue playing while they were there. My first paying gig! Although I reckon I should keep my day job for a bit yet.

stevenstrattstevenstratt replied on August 23rd, 2008

Thanks you two. It only took a couple of times thru it and I'm playing it just fine. I down loaded the song and play along with it and it sounds right. Now that song is stuck in my head. Time for a few beers.

brianmcn44brianmcn44 replied on August 23rd, 2008

these are lessons that keep me at jamplay. great vocals too!

knapper32927knapper32927 replied on July 31st, 2008

I watched this live - and they are using different chords - althought I don't know what they are - but all the notes are in different positions - and no 'open' chords (the open 'E' chord) - every chord was fingered.... it was just so different - is there any way to find the way that they do it?

MarkBrennanMarkBrennan replied on July 31st, 2008

Hey knapper....I've watched a few YouTube videos, and it looks like he's using the open tuning pretty consistently...I think he plays one of the riffs a little differently...but using the open tuning. What video are you referring to?

knapper32927knapper32927 replied on August 1st, 2008

Actually I saw them a live a few years ago ( I didn't play then, but I was interested and watching) and when he played the second part (after the first strumming pattern) he was playing much higher on the neck. But I could be wrong lol. Thank you for the response, and thank you for the lesson :) Do you think there is an alternate way to play it so I don't have to keep re-tuning my 12 string?

MarkBrennanMarkBrennan replied on August 2nd, 2008 can cetainly play it a different way using standard. The guy in my band does it at his solo gigs. Go on Youtube. There are clips of people playing it this way (they're not that good though)....the only thing you can't do are the harmonic chords...and of course the vibe's not the same...but it certainly is do-able.

freeflyer87freeflyer87 replied on July 21st, 2008

You could also tune to open D (D A D F# A D) and capo at the second fret

pattymclaughlinpattymclaughlin replied on July 14th, 2008

Mark Your Awesome! Please tell me if open E tuning can damage a guitar neck in anyway. I have got conflicting answers.....I don't want to stress the neck.

MarkBrennanMarkBrennan replied on July 14th, 2008

That tuning is not a problem for my Martin. But keep in mind that you are increasing the tension on your neck...the A and the D strings are up a whole step, and the G string is up a half step. I don't think this should be an issue on a quality acoustic. If you don't feel comfotable with it try using extra light strings for the A,D, and G strings.

toddjames6toddjames6 replied on July 20th, 2008

hmmm, i think i should minimize the time i have my 12 string tuned up. i guess there would be close to twice the tension... never woulda thought that would warp my neck, but better safe than sorry i guess.

MarkBrennanMarkBrennan replied on July 20th, 2008

yea easy does it with the twelve string. try my open Eb tuning I suggested in another post...Mark B.

pattymclaughlinpattymclaughlin replied on July 14th, 2008

Thanks for the advice, I tuned up and it sounds great, learned the song today.....great song....Also anyone reading, there are 2 other great songs you can play while your guitar is tuned to open E, You can't always get what you want, Stones and Big Yellow Taxi, Joni MItchell. Mark, Your a fine Musician and your wife has a wonderful voice!

jboothjbooth replied on July 14th, 2008

I would guess the answer to this depends on a couple of factors including the guage of strings you are using and just how your guitar is built. For me, personally, I never tune my acoustic up. I don't know if it's just paranoia or not, but it's served me well thus far.

joegonzalespcjoegonzalespc replied on July 19th, 2008

Can we get another lesson in the same tuning, as long as I've got my guitar tuned that way?

MarkBrennanMarkBrennan replied on July 20th, 2008

That's a good suggestion....I'll get another open E tuning tune in the future.

toddjames6toddjames6 replied on July 20th, 2008

i agree this open tuning has me really curious about the possibilities for new chords, sounds, and melodies. I just bought a fender 12 string 2 days ago, hehe doing the open tuning took a while but has a sound that rings in my ears for days. thanks mark & marla!

MarkBrennanMarkBrennan replied on July 20th, 2008

Here's another suggestion for those concerned about the extra stress on the neck with the E tuning.....try playing the song down a half step.....that means the tuning would be Eb Bb Eb G Bb Eb. You would tune down your low E to Eb, tune your A(5) up to Bb (a half step), tune your D(4) up to Eb (up a half step), your G(3) would stay the same, tune your B(2) down a half step to Bb, and tune your high E(1) down a half step to Eb. This will give you open Eb tuning. This might actually work better for the guys trying to sing. For the girls, if it's too low capo on 1 or 2. You're probably going to need a chromatic tuner to make this easy. I just tried in, and it works great, although a slightly different vibe with the lower tuning. Definitely easier on the neck. Let me know how this works. Mark B.

flyrerflyrer replied on July 20th, 2008

Thanks Mark, very well done easy to follow you

pattymclaughlinpattymclaughlin replied on July 20th, 2008

I have heard that if you tune your guitar to open D and capo on the 2nd fret you have open E tuning.. I have tried this but it just is not the same to that wonderful open e tuning. I have broken a string tuning up so maybe I could somehow make open d sound more like open E with capo??????? Any Suggestions????

amx13amx13 replied on July 19th, 2008

what more can I say! such an amazing performance. Great lesson Mark, now I have a lot of homework to do, hehe. Marla, you have such a great voice. Im already waiting for the next one :-) !

rblgeniusrblgenius replied on July 16th, 2008

Beautiful voice, love the song, always been my favorite. Great job guy and gal :)

mcd_sportsmcd_sports replied on July 14th, 2008

SWEET!!! Love this song and it is a ton of fun to play. Keep tem coming!

greenogreeno replied on July 14th, 2008

Great lesson Mark.Whole new dimension with the open E tuning. The addition of the great vocals by Marla realy help bring the whole tune together and it gave me a better idea how the whole thing comes together. More please.

mclend1mclend1 replied on July 14th, 2008

Great song, great lesson, thanks Mark. Spot on vocals by Marla too, nice job alround!

badaxebadaxe replied on July 14th, 2008

Mark & Marla, awesome job. Great song, geat lesson. Mark, I gotta tell you, your guitar sounds absolutely amazing. Wow, I need to get myself a nice quality acoustic/electric. Just amazing.

jdwoods4451jdwoods4451 replied on July 13th, 2008

Dude, Your wife really rocks!!!!!!!!! Nice Job.

sailorgirliesailorgirlie replied on July 13th, 2008

Yay :D I love this song. I almost nailed it in a couple of hours. I need to practice that 3rd little riff and get the vocals to it and this is going to be my first full song I can perform :) Thanks ever so much! I still have the goosebumps after that demo. It's just so beautiful. Mark & Marla, you guys are awesome!

MarkBrennanMarkBrennan replied on July 13th, 2008

Congrats on your first full song! Keep it goin, onward and upward

joshgreenojoshgreeno replied on July 13th, 2008

that's fantastic! thanks!

mav67mav67 replied on July 13th, 2008

Great lesson and great performance, hope to see more of both in the future.

cheesebombcheesebomb replied on July 13th, 2008

Cool lesson, that's a great tuning there too. Thanks Mark!

robearlerobearle replied on July 13th, 2008

That's an amazing singing voice you have there Marla. I certainly hope we're going to see more of you on Jamplay in the near future.

rhoadsfreakrhoadsfreak replied on July 12th, 2008

Another great lesson Mark. I've been wanting to know how to play this one for a long time. Outstanding work. I can't wait for your lesson series to begin. Thanks.

Rock Songs with Mark

Found in our Beginner Lesson Sets

Take a step back in time with Mark and learn to shred some rock n' roll classics.

Lesson 4

She Talks to Angels

Mark Brennan and his wife, Marla, take on "She Talks to Angels". This song is from The Black Crowes release, Shake Your Money Maker.

Length: 34:12 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 10

Big Yellow Taxi

"Big Yellow Taxi" appears on Joni Mitchell's Ladies of the Canyon, released in 1970.

Length: 23:13 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 11


Mark teaches you the ins and outs of a Stevie Nicks' / Fleetwood Mac fan favorite. After Mark plays the full song demo, Marla (Mark's lovely wife) joins him and sings this beautiful song.

Length: 34:23 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 13

You and Me

Mark Brennan takes you through the mega hit that brought Lifehouse international attention.

Length: 23:34 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 14


Mark Brennan teaches this classic rock song by Jethro Tull.

Length: 69:09 Difficulty: 2.0 FREE
Lesson 15

Bad Moon Rising

Mark Brennan teaches this classic rock staple.

Length: 35:05 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 16

Down On The Corner

Mark Brennan teaches this Creedence Clearwater Revival classic.

Length: 31:14 Difficulty: 1.0 Members Only
Lesson 17

Proud Mary

Mark Brennan teaches this Creedence Clearwater Revival classic.

Length: 36:25 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 18

I've Got A Rock 'n' Roll Heart

Mark Brennan teaches you how to play this hit song from Eric Clapton. Released on Money And Cigarettes in 1983, the song has had a recent boost in popularity thanks to its use in a cell phone commercial.

Length: 75:00 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 19

Dear Prudence

Mark Brennan returns to JamPlay with a song lesson for "Dear Prudence" by The Beatles. Originally released on the famous White Album, this song was written about Prudence Farrow.

Length: 72:55 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 20


Mark Brennan returns to his Phase 3 lesson set with a lesson on the classic Beatles tune "Blackbird." This is a somewhat simple, but elegant fingerstyle acoustic arrangement that chronicles the struggles...

Length: 28:13 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 21

Rocky Raccoon

Mark Brennan returns with another song for his Phase 3 series. In this lesson, he tackles the Beatles tune "Rocky Raccoon." This is The Beatles' attempt at a bit of humor and some country western flair.

Length: 22:31 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only

About Mark Brennan View Full Biography Mark Brennan, born August 12th, 1954 in Cleveland, Ohio, began playing guitar at the age of 10. His first influences were from the Ventures and the British Invasion, especially the Beatles and Rolling Stones. Shortly afterwards he was playing in rock bands with his brother on drums, developing his ear by learning songs straight from records. Playing in a band became a passion.

In high school, he grew to love acoustic and classical guitar. He spent time playing acoustic music, influenced by The Eagles, CSN, Dan Folgelberg, James Taylor, Joni Mitchell, etc. In the 70's, he headed a very popular Cleveland band, The Brennan-Cosma Band, which played a variety of acoustic and rock music, along with originals. He also took up classicalguitar, and began developing his fingerstyle technique.

Mark is a graduate of Cleveland State University (1980), with a Bachelor of Music in Classical guitar performance. He also studied Music Composition, and took many Music Education classes. After graduation, he began his private teaching career, teaching electric, acoustic, and classical guitar, along with music theory. He taught in various studios and guitar shops throughout his career, and currently has a private practice at his home in Fairview Park, Ohio.

In the 80's Mark took an affection to Progressive rock. With his band Polyphony, he was influenced by the music of Yes, Genesis, Kansas, ELP, Styx, along with a set of prog rock originals.

Currently, Mark is in the regionally successful Pink Floyd tribute band Wish You Were Here. The band performs faithful renderings of the Floyd classics spanning their entire catalog, along with a strong visual stage show. Here, Mark displays his command of the David Gilmour style.

Mark is excited to be part of's fine roster of teachers. He's looking forward to extending his 35 years of performing and teaching experience to the JamPlay members. His philosophy is about developing a passion for guitar and being the best musician you can be; being true to yourself and developing a personal style, and truly expressing your heart through your music.

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Eve Goldberg Eve Goldberg

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

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Dave Yauk Dave Yauk

Learn a simple mini song that illustrates just how intertwined scales and chords really are. Dave uses a G chord paired...

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Kaki King Kaki King

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Randall Williams Randall Williams

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Jessica Baron Jessica Baron

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Steve Eulberg Steve Eulberg

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Horace Bray Horace Bray

Horace provides a short etude on how to practice connecting the different shapes of the G Major open triads. This helps you...

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Kris Norris Kris Norris

Kris analyzes different pick sizes and their effect on his playing. Using a slow motion camera, he is able to point out the...

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Prashant Aswani Prashant Aswani

Do you want to play more musical sounding solos? Do you want to play solos with more emotion behind them? Maybe you're the...

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Andy James Andy James

Get an in-depth look into the mind of virtuoso guitarist Andy James. Learn about Andy's early beginnings all the way up to...

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Lauren Passarelli Lauren Passarelli

Lauren Passarelli offers up her wisdom on purchasing a guitar. She also includes information regarding proper setup and care....

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Joe Burcaw Joe Burcaw

Join Joe as he shows one of his favorite drills for strengthening his facility around the fretboard: The Spider Technique.

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Billy Sheehan Billy Sheehan

Billy starts his artist series off with a lesson on something he gets asked the most to explain: right hand 3 finger technique.

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Paul Musso Paul Musso

JamPlay is proud to welcome senior professor and Coordinator of Guitar Studies at the University of Colorado at Denver,...

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Lisa Pursell Lisa Pursell

Lisa breaks into the very basics of the electric guitar. She starts by explaining the parts of the guitar. Then, she dives...

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