Take Guitar Lessons from Mike Keneally

From Steve Vai, Joe Satriani, Dethklok, Mike Keneally Band

Mike Keneally has 20 guitar lessons and videos at JamPlay, with 20 lessons in our Artist Series. Use the tabs below to learn more.

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Keneally Retrospective

Join Mike Keneally in a retrospective of his music over the past 3 decades. His work with Frank Zappa, Steve Vai, Joe Satriani, Dethklok and others have heavily influenced his own original compositions creating a truly unique mash up of eclectic styles.

Lesson 1

Series Introduction

Mad scientist guitar player for Frank Zappa, Steve Vai, Joe Satriani, Dethklok and others...

Length: 4:44
Lesson 2

Fingerpicking/Hand Sync...

Mr. Keneally looks at an excerpt from one of his original songs "Dee 'n' A" and presents...

Length: 13:01
Lesson 3

Cause of Breakfast -...

Mike teaches some key licks from the instrumental interlude to "Cause of Breakfast" off...

Length: 9:23
Lesson 4

Cause of Breakfast -...

Mr. Keneally continues with part 2 of 3 on the "Cause of Breakfast" interlude. Get an...

Length: 10:04
Lesson 5

Cause of Breakfast -...

Put all the pieces together and play the entire interlude as a whole. Be sure to check...

Length: 15:29
Lesson 6

Using Counterpoint

Keneally teaches the verse to his song "Dee 'n' A" and illustrates how you can play a...

Length: 15:28
Lesson 7

How to Solo over Shifty...

Mike Keneally details his process for developing and executing musical ideas over a chord...

Length: 9:42
Lesson 8

Open String Licks and...

Odd times and odd chords mixed with blazing open string licks comprise the recipe for...

Length: 11:01
Lesson 9

Messin' with Chuck Berry

Welcome to the first of many lessons where Mr. Keneally takes a 'standard- sounding' lick...

Length: 6:14
Lesson 10

Messin' with Country

Mike Keneally screws up a typical country lick based on 6ths. By keeping the rhythm the...

Length: 5:53
Lesson 11

Messin' with Hendrix

Mike Keneally takes a classic Hendrix sounding lick and substantially screws with it....

Length: 4:17
Lesson 12

Messin' with the Blues

Mike Keneally takes a lick that is traditionally used in a 12 bar blues progression and...

Length: 7:33
Lesson 13

Not So Standard Pentatonic...

He's done it again. Take a very standard A minor pentatonic lick and royally screw it...

Length: 5:07
Lesson 14

Screw Up This Sequence!

Make a familiar pentatonic run sound like a whole new animal. Harmonize with it. Harmonize...

Length: 5:42
Lesson 15

1988 Was A Million Years...

Mike Keneally's dissonant yet soothing fingerpicking is displayed in all its glory here...

Length: 9:41
Lesson 16

1988 Was A Million Years...

Keneally turns up the dissonance and the tempo as he teaches another passage from this...

Length: 14:34
Lesson 17

The Desired Effect

We have an alternate tuning and multiple melodies going on at the same time! Good fun!...

Length: 12:25
Lesson 18

Waiting On Williams

Clean pentatonic riffing is the name of the game with this '90s tune from Mr. Keneally....

Length: 9:50
Lesson 19

3 Octave Warm Up!

Get both hands warmed up with this 3 octave major scale drill. You'll stretch your fret...

Length: 5:39
Lesson 20

Lots of Sliding!

It's easy to slide. It's not easy to slide over and over again targeting specific notes...

Length: 4:46
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Learn more About Mike Keneally

Mad Scientist guitar player for Frank Zappa, Steve Vai, Joe Satriani, Dethklok and others brings a retrospective Artist series to JamPlay. Draw on his experience as a "first call" band leader and musician, learn how to put old licks into a new context, and learn to play passages of many staple Keneally songs that span his lengthy and diverse career! Mike Keneally obviously doesn't like to be labeled -- he's a bandleader and bandmember, a rock and jazz fusion player, and also an outstanding guitarist, vocalist, keyboardist, and percussionist. Taking up keyboards at age five, Keneally's life changed when he moved from New York to California in 1970 and heard Frank Zappa for the first time at age ten. Woodshedding for the next 15 years as a self-taught guitarist, Keneally formed a band called Drop Control in his hometown of San Diego in 1985 and became one of the city's musical heroes. Keneally auditioned for Zappa's band in 1987 as a "stunt guitar" replacement for Steve Vai, and was hired as a guitarist, keyboardist, and vocalist. The multi-instrumentalist would appear on some classic Zappa albums like Broadway the Hard Way and The Best Band You Never Heard in Your Life, but little did he know that his lineup would be Zappa's final touring band. Between 1988 and 1991, Keneally performed with Drop Control and Zappa's son Dweezil's band Z, toyed with studio-musician status, and moved to Los Angeles.

Zappa's Universe After working on the Grammy-winning tribute album Zappa's Universe, Keneally started a solo career with his 1992 debut album, Hat. Quirky and hard to categorize (with Zappa trademarks like classical undertones, stuttering, jazz-like rhythms, and humorous lyrics), the debut was a big hit with critics. But the next year would claim both Keneally's father and Zappa, leading to the moody yet brilliant 1994 CD Boil That Dust Speck. Ranging from intense rock ("Skunk") to ballads ("Blameless [The Floating Face]") to Keneally's closing percussion tribute saga to Zappa, "The Old Boat Guy," the disc showcased every facet of his array of talents. Leaving Z in 1996 and naming his solo touring band Beer for Dolphins, Keneally released the riotous double CD Half Alive in Hollywood, featuring one disc of live-in-a-studio originals and one of live stage performances (including covers of Jimi Hendrix's "Power to Love" and Led Zeppelin's "Immigrant Song"). He also formed a band called the Mistakes, with Henry Kaiser, Andy West (Dixie Dregs), and Prairie Prince (the Tubes), who released a self-titled album.

G3: Live in Concert The same year, Keneally joined fellow Zappa alumnus Steve Vai's band, playing on the G3 Tour over the next year with Joe Satriani, Eric Johnson, Robert Fripp, and Kenny Wayne Shepherd. Playing classical piano-like keyboard lines, percussion, and intricate harmonized guitar lines with rock virtuoso Vai, Keneally helped the band steal the G3 show often (as evidenced by the G3: Live in Concert CD). Between releases by Beer for Dolphins (1997's Sluggo!; 2000's Dancing) and solo albums (1999's Nonkertompf, on which he played all of the instruments), Keneally also found time to record two CDs with Vai, 1999's The Ultra Zone and 2001's Alive in an Ultra World.

Wooden Smoke In 2001, Keneally got a new acoustic guitar, which led to the release of the largely acoustic-based and mellow Wooden Smoke, which showed yet another side of Keneally's musical personality. For another interesting detour, in 2002, Keneally was approached by Co de Kloet, commissioning director for Holland's NPS Radio, and was commissioned to write music for electric guitar and orchestra. The resulting music and live performances with the renowned Metropole Orchestra were such a success that de Kloet started the NPS Output label to release The Universe Will Provide in 2004, just a month after Keneally turned around and delivered his hardest-rocking album to date, Dog, with the newly christened Mike Keneally Band. Just a few months after that came Piano Reductions, Vol. 1, an album of Vai songs played solo on piano that was actually recorded in 1999 at Steve's request. As if he weren't busy enough, around the same time he got involved with Henry Kaiser and Wadada Leo Smith's Yo Miles! project, appearing on both Sky Garden and Upriver.

Guitar Therapy LiveThe Mike Keneally Band hit the road in 2005, playing across the U.S., with Guitar Therapy Live appearing as the tour document in 2006. That same year, Keneally acquired the rights to his early catalog on Immune with plans to re-release it in deluxe editions in 2007 on Exowax (each of Keneally's Exowax recordings has been available as a limited-edition package with lots of bonus material). With his wide-ranging talents and ability to be creative in almost any musical situation, Keneally is the leading progressive rock genius of the post-Zappa era.