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The Guitar Lesson by Tom - Theguitarlesson.com - 1M ago

This post appeared first at 55 Cool Guitar Riffs for Beginner Rock Stars on TheGuitarLesson.com, thanks for reading.

Let me ask you a question.

If you had to choose between playing repetitive exercises on the guitar OR playing awesome guitar riffs taken from real songs, which would you chose?

Probably the guitar riffs.

You want to learn how to play songs, that's why you started learning the guitar in the first place. During my years teaching the guitar, I've found that this is the exact way to motivate students and get them practicing more: teaching them songs. It's intuitive, yet overlooked by so many guitar teachers.

Here are 55 songs that have easy guitar riffs for beginner guitar players. Well, most are easy, some are a bit harder. Learn each riff, practice diligently, and play everything you learn to your family and friends.

1. Ain’t Talkin’ ’Bout Love

Van Halen

Genre: hard rock | BPM: 140 | Released: 1978 | Tabs | Tutorial

The awesome, dynamic guitar riff is a great example of Eddie Van Halen's style. You will be learning how to use accents and palm muting to make this riff sound like the original.


Music video

Van Halen Ain't Talkin' 'Bout Love 1986 1080p - YouTube
2. Are You Gonna Be My Girl


Genre: rock | BPM: 105 | Released: 2003 | Tabs | Tutorial

Some people say that this riff bears an uncanny resemblance to the riff in Iggy Pop's Lust For Life. Same goes for the drum pattern. Have a listen, you be the judge. Either way, the main riff of Are You Gonna Be My Girl is a great beginner riff to learn. It's simple and dynamic, in fact, you can play much of the song with it.



Music video

Jet - Are You Gonna Be My Girl - YouTube
3. Are You Gonna Go My Way

Lenny Kravitz

Genre: rock | BPM: 129 | Released: 1993 | Tabs | Tutorial

Even though this song was released decades ago, it still has the same punch and groove. The intro riff is a classic, make sure you learn if you are into the electric guitar. The bends are a bit harder than you would expect, since they are so close to the nut. They will give your fingers a great workout, and your callusses will enter a new dimension of hardness after a few days of practicing this song.


Music video

Lenny Kravitz - Are You Gonna Go My Way - YouTube
4. Back In Black


Genre: hard rock | BPM: 94 | Released: 1980 | Tabs | Tutorial

This awesome riff by AC/DC needs no introduction, it is one of the most recognizable guitar riffs of all time. It's not your standard run of the mill riff either, as it uses chords as well as single note plucks. Here is a lesson on the entire song if you want to learn the rest of it as well.



Music video

AC/DC - Back In Black (Official Music Video) - YouTube
5. Beat It

Michael Jackson

Genre: pop | BPM: 138 | Released: 1982 | Tabs | Tutorial

Michael Jackson was a great talent, and this iconic riff is a must for your guitar repertoire. To play it in the key of the original, you need to tune your guitar to Eb tuning, which means every string is a half step down: D# G# C# F# A# D#. Of course, when you are just practicing the riff, you don't need to tune down. The lesson below teaches the riff using standard tuning.



Music video

Michael Jackson - Beat It (Official Video) - YouTube
6. Breaking the law

Judas Priest

Genre: heavy metal | BPM: 82 | Released: 1980 | Tabs | Tutorial

Breaking The Law is an awesome rock song, it is one of the band's most famous songs, thanks, in part, to the opening riff. It is played in the key of A minor using a typical heavy metal chord progression: I - VI - VII. The riff is very easy to play, and so much fun when you play along with the original track.

Music video

Judas Priest - Breaking The Law - YouTube
7. By The Way


Genre: funk rock | BPM: 122 | Released: 2002 | Tabs | Tutorial

This is an awesome RHCP song. The intro riff is great practice for keeping time and staying on beat. It sounds easier than it is. Guitarists are notoriously bad at staying on beat, so practice it a lot.



Music video

Red Hot Chili Peppers - By The Way [Official Music Video] - YouTube
8. Chasing Cars

Snow Patrol

Genre: rock | BPM: 104 | Released: 2006 | Tabs | Tutorial

The intro riff to Chasing Cars is another good one to practice your timing and develop your sense of rhythm. The riff itself is very simple, but you keeping time is the real challenge here. By the way, Chasing Cars was the most played song of the decade in the UK in the 2000's.


Music video

Snow Patrol - Chasing Cars - YouTube
9. Come As You Are


Genre: grunge | BPM: 120 | Released: 1992 | Tabs | Tutorial

The intro riff to thie famous Nirvana hit is played with an alternate tuning. You'll need to tune all of your strings down by 1 whole step, so the end tuning will be D G C F A D. It's a bit of a pain, but if you want to play along with the original song, you'll need to do it. Of course, if you just want to practice it, you don't need to bother with the tuning.

F|-----------------------------------------| x4

Music video

Nirvana- Come As you Are "Live & Loud MTV 93" - YouTube
10. Crazy Train

Ozzy Osbourne

Genre: heavy metal | BPM: 138 | Released: 1980 | Tabs | Tutorial

Ozzy Osbourne is one of heavy metal's founding fathers, a true legend. The dark-sounding riff in the classic song Crazy Train, which is played by Randy Rhodes of course, is played on the F# natural minor scale. The minor scale is used in metal often, as it achieves a dark sound, characteristic of the genre.

There are actually 2 great riffs in this song, one played by the bass guitar, and the other by the lead guitar.

G|------------------------------------------------------------------| (x3)


Music video

Ozzy Osbourne - Crazy Train (1980) - YouTube
11. Day Tripper

The Beatles

Genre: pop rock | BPM: 138 | Released: 1965 | Tabs | Tutorial

This entire song is based around a single riff, which is probably one of the most famous guitar riffs ever written. It really shows you that you don't need much to create great music that will be listened to by generations to come.


Music video

The Beatles- Day Tripper ( Offcial Video) - YouTube
12. Dock of the Bay

Otis Redding

Genre: soul | BPM: 104 | Released: 1968 | Tabs | Tutorial

Otis Redding's classic song is based around chords, but if you connect the chords using walk-ups and walk downs, you can get a really groovy riff going. Check it out and have a try!

E |-----------------------2L---|--2-----x-----2-----x-------|
B |--------x--------------0L---|--0-----x-----0-----x-------|
G |--------x--------------2L---|--2-----x-----2-----x-------|
D |--------x--------------1L---|--1-----x-----1-----x-------|
A |--------x--------0--1--2L---|--2-----x--2--------x-------|
E |--3-----x-----3-------------|----------------------------|

E |----------------------------|----------------------------||
B |--5-----x-----5--4--3--2L---|--2-----x-----2-----x-------||
G |--5-----x-----5--4--3--2L---|--2-----x-----2-----x-------||
D |--5-----x-----5--4--3--2L---|--2-----x-----2-----x-------||
A |--3-----x-----3--2--1--0L---|--0-----x--0--------x-------||
E |----------------------------|----------------------------||

Music video

Otis Redding - (Sittin' On) The Dock Of The Bay (Official Music Video) - YouTube
13. Enter Sandman


Genre: heavy metal | BPM: 123 | Released: 1991 | Tabs | Tutorial

Enter Sandman was the lead single from the Metallica's Black Album. The song’s intro is instantly recognizable and is a must-know if you play guitar. It starts off with the acoustic guitar, and uses the E/Bb tritone, a very dissonant, sinister sound in music. This leads into the electric guitar riff, which is similar, but uses a slide and the E power chord instead of the open E string


Music video

Metallica - Enter Sandman [Official Music Video] - YouTube
14. Eye of the Tiger


Genre: rock | BPM: 116 | Released: 1982 | Tabs | Tutorial

The power chord riff during the intro to this song is instantly recognizable. It is very simple, but will get you much kudos. Make sure to learn this awesome riff, it'll give you a chance to work on moving your power chord up and down the neck of the guitar.






Music video

Survivor - Eye Of The Tiger (Official Music Video) - YouTube
15. Fortunate son
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This post appeared first at Yousician Review – Why you should NOT learn guitar with Yousician! on TheGuitarLesson.com, thanks for reading.

Have you been seeing ads for an app called Yousician popping up everywhere?

I have!

The Yousician ads looked pretty interesting. Guitar Hero mixed with a real guitar on your phone.

So being a curious guitar teacher, I wanted to see how Yousician teaches guitar.

Here is what I found.

What is Yousician?

Yousician is an instrument teaching app for your phone or tablet, so you need to download it from Google Play or the Apple App Store.

You can also download a Mac or PC progam to display the app on your computer monitor as well.

By the way, it used to be called GuitarBots a while back, but they rebranded into Yousician.

After you install the app:

  1. You will be asked which instrument (Guitar, Piano, Ukulele, Bass, Voice) you want to learn. I chose the guitar.
  2. How well you play it already.
  3. You'll be shown a 3 part video on how to use the Yousician app.

After this, you can start learning with Yousician.

Yousician method of teaching guitar

Yousician teaches the instrument in a structured format, which is nice to see.

It spreads its lesson tree into 3 main parts:

  1. Lead - All sorts of techniques needed for playing lead guitar, including alternate plucking, slides, bends, etc.
  2. Knowledge - Ear training, musical alphabet, keys, notes on the fretboard
  3. Rhythm - The skills you need to play rhythm guitar, so mainly chords and strumming. Fingerpicking is taught here as well.

The main premise of Yousician is that it teaches guitar through gamification.

It picks up the sound you make with your instrument.

The display runs in tablature format, which is good (I remember having tried Rock Smith, it had a Guitar Hero style "music sheet" running which is weird for a real guitar player).

You are essentially sight-reading guitar tabs while listening to the backing track of the song. You are shown what to pluck/strum.

The app lets you know whether you played in-time and on-pitch. If you hit the correct notes, you collect points and pass the level.

With each lesson, you need to play through the material at an ever increasing speed.

So in essence, Yousician is a metronome with ears that gives you kudos if you're good.

What I liked about Yousician

In theory, Yousician could be a good thing:

  • Gamification is trendy, so collecting points for playing well is nice.
  • The software is accurate, it picks up your instrument's sound well.

But it gets boring really quickly.

The competitive aspect probably helps in keeping you on the app, as you can see how many points other people score and try to beat it.

What I did not like about Yousician

Other than the billing department (see below), there are several things wrong with the lessons on Yousician:

  • Even though the lessons are structured, they don't do a good job of really getting the student deeply involved. The lessons touch a topic, then move on never to revisit it again. The correct way would be to have more exercises/songs on a skill, so the student gets ample practice time.
  • They don't have enough lessons. I don't think a beginner could learn guitar with this app without having huge holes in his/her knowledge.
  • The songs you play don't sound good. They are like exercises, not a song.
  • I missed the personal aspect. There is no teacher to look up to, as with video lessons.
  • The app focuses on the correct notes, but there is so much more to playing guitar than just hitting a note. Vibratos, slurs, etc., so the feeling of grooving is not something Yousician can teach.
  • Besides the monthly subscription, you need to pay extra to play popular songs (premium+ as they call it). This isn't advertised and is sort of deceitful if you ask me, aka switch and bait tactic.

Perhaps, with time, Yousician will become better. This review of Yousician was conducted in 2019, so right now, these are my issues.

Is Yousician for free?

You can test Yousician for free, but you only get limited access to its lessons. Basically, the free version of the app is there so you can try it out and see whether you like the idea of learning an instrument with it.

There is no free way of learning any instruments with Yousician in the long run.

You will need to purchase a monthly or yearly subscription to unlock the lessons/songs in the app.

Yousician pricing - monthly, yearly subscription and premium+

For some reason, the company thinks that having complicated pricing concealed behind upgrades is a good idea.

Let me break down the price of Yousician for you:

Normal pricing for 1 instrument

With the normal pricing package, you get access to lessons on 1 instrument:

  • $19.99 per month or
  • $119.99 per year

Normal pricing for all instruments

With this package, you get access to the lessons of all instruments:

  • $29.99 per month or
  • $179.99 per year

Premium+ pricing

With premium+, you get access to lessons on popular songs, and all instruments. This package is not available in all countries. I'm guessing it's because of song copyrights.

  • $29.99 per month or
  • $179.99 per year

By the way, you might want to think twice about giving your credit card details to this company.

Have a look at its Trustpilot reviews. It seems Yousician likes to continue charging credit cards even after the member cancels, and not give refunds.

Bad business practices are a definite no-no in today's online world. They will get you a whopping 1 star out of 5 on TrustPilot for sure.

I tried the 7 day free trial with Paypal, so I was not at risk of auto-rebill. If you go this route, make sure to cancel right away, otherwise you'll be billed monthly for 1 year!

Yousician alternatives - How you SHOULD learn guitar

After trying Yousician for a few days, I cannot recommend it to guitar padawans of any skill level. There are better ways to spend your money.

For a lower price, or even for free, you can get much better lessons that you can actually learn guitar with. Check out this list of the best guitar sites and youtube guitar channels.

For example, GuitarTricks and Jamplay are great sites with countless lessons and tools to help you learn guitar, plus they cost less than Yousician.

Yousician vs GuitarTricks vs Jamplay vs JustinGuitar

Oh wow, where to begin.

So first of all, GuitarTricks, Jamplay and JustinGuitar are video guitar lesson websites.

They've been around for many years, and have loads of video tutorials on everything guitar related.

GuitarTricks and Jamplay are paid-for sites while JustinGuitar is free, so they obviously have way more lessons/tools than JustinGuitar. But the premise behind these sites is similar.

With video guitar lesson sites, you choose a course to follow, choose a teacher, and you learn. You get tabs and backing tracks to help you progress. There are many courses for beginners, than you can advance to blues, rock, funk, country, etc.

With Yousician, everything is very limited. You get the basic lessons, which are not explained at all, or at least not in a way a guitar teacher would explain to you. You don't get deeper explanations, or a chance to learn the essence of playing with feeling. Why would you? Yousician is a metronome with ears.

If you are thinking about paying for a Yousician membership, I would urge you to have a look at these guitar sites instead.

TheGuitarLesson.com is your source for beginner guitar lessons.

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This post appeared first at Best online guitar lesson sites & YouTube channels to learn guitar on TheGuitarLesson.com, thanks for reading.

Top online guitar lessons

Which site will you learn guitar from in 2019?

So you just got your first guitar, and are looking for a way to learn to play?

Or you've been playing for a while, and want to take things to the next level?

Using the best online guitar lessons to learn guitar is a very efficient and cost-effective way to advance your chops, no matter what level you are at.

I have been playing guitar for 20+ years and teaching for 15+ years. I still use online lessons to learn new things almost every day.

If you are interested in which online guitar teaching websites I use and can honestly recommend, and also which ones I stay away from, read on. I will also list my favorite guitar YouTube channels on this page.

Top websites teaching guitar

This turned out to be a pretty long article, so here is a table summarizing the top lesson sites I can wholeheartedly recommend.

I have had accounts with each of these sites and have used them extensively for years.

Continue reading for a thorough review of each of these sites, with pros/cons of each and who they are best suited for.

Level Beginner
Online tools Chord library
Scale library
Jam tracks
Guitar games
Chord library
Scale library
Jam tracks
Guitar games
Chord library
Scale library
Jam tracks
Guitar games
Chord library
Scale library
Jam tracks
Guitar games
Chord library
Scale library
Jam tracks
Guitar games
Songs600+ popular songs300+ not so popular songsnone300+ popular songs200+ popular songs
PriceMonthly: $19.95

Yearly: $143.20 after coupon

Monthly: $19.95

Yearly: $159.95

Monthly: $19

Yearly: $150 after coupon

Ad supported + book purchasesMonthly: $9

Yearly: $108 (6 months free)

(January 2019)
Coupon codes and free trialCoupon codesCoupon codesNoneBuilt into pricing
1. GuitarTricks.com

GuitarTricks was established in 1997 in San Francisco. It was one of the first video guitar lesson companies on the internet, and as such, basically invented the industry.

They have grown along with the internet, presently employing about 40 guitar teachers to record their lessons.

GuitarTricks lesson structure

The backbone of GuitarTricks' offering is their "Core Learning System".

This is basically a collection of courses meant to take a complete beginner all the way to an upper-intermediate level.

It starts out with the most basic techniques and theory in the 2 stage Guitar Fundamentals courses, and transitions the student to a specialized genre of their choice:

  • blues
  • country
  • rock

These 3 genre courses are well thought out and structured, just like their beginner courses.

It's important to note that the lesson hierarchy is important, and should be learned in sequence.

A lot of times, beginner guitarists will skip a section they find difficult. Don't do that. Practice as much as you need to before moving on to the next section, otherwise, you will have holes in your knowledge and get stuck later on.

Genres taught on GuitarTricks

Beside the 3 main genres of covered by the Core Learning System, GuitarTricks has mini-courses on several other genres as well.

These are not lengthy courses to teach you an entire genre. They merely cover smaller niche topics of a given genre.

For example, here are the lessons they have listed under Funk:

This is more of a collection of funk topics, rather than an A to Z course on funk guitar.

Songs to learn on GuitarTricks

Sometimes you don't want to sit through a course which will take weeks to cover.

Sometimes you simply want to learn a song you love. After all, that's why you picked up the guitar in the first place.

The song lesson collection of GuitarTricks is very strong.

They have a massive amount of very popular songs to learn from a large number of artists.

Private, live lessons on GuitarTricks

Some people say that taking private guitar lessons held by a live teacher is the best way to learn guitar.

While I disagree with this statement for a number of reasons (money, appointments, accessibility, etc.), there are times when it's nice to be able to have somebody to ask a few questions.

GuitarTricks takes care of this, as you can buy private, 30 or 60 minute online lessons from a few of its teachers.

Learning mostly from prerecorded online lessons and having the means to talk with your online instructors is the best of both worlds.

Pros of GuitarTricks:
  • Great site structure and search
  • Downloadable videos
  • Yearly pricing is low ($143)
Cons of GuitarTricks
  • Jam station tool should be downloadable (you can download individual jam tracks though)
  • Monthly pricing a bit high (at $20)

Here is a video review of GuitarTricks, and a few screenshots below:

Who can get the most out of GuitarTricks?

Are you a beginner or intermediate guitarist?

Then I can honestly recommend GuitarTricks. Follow their lesson curriculum, be diligent, and you will learn guitar with this site.

If you are interested in signing up with GuitarTricks.com, make sure you have a look at this GuitarTricks discount, and their free trial offer as well.

2. Jamplay.com

Jamplay is another large guitar tutorial website. It was established in 2006 in Ohio and features lessons from about 70 guitar teachers and music professionals.

Besides publishing a large number of lessons, they also focus on innovation. For example, they employ the largest number of camera angles out of any lesson site I've seen and they have great online guitar tools.

They also contract established musicians to create guitar courses exclusive to Jamplay.

Jamplay lesson structure

Jamplay categorizes its lessons into 4 main categories:

  • Phase 1: lessons for beginners
  • Phase 2: lessons on genres and guitar skills
  • Phase 3: song lessons
  • Phase 4: song writing

They take a vastly different approach as compared to GuitarTricks, I'll show you why in a second.

Let's have a look at the beginner lessons page on Jamplay.

They presently have 20 courses for beginner guitarists taught by different teachers. Some are good, some are not.

I don't really think this approach is all that great though, because a beginner needs a set path to follow, not 20 different paths to get lost on.

Genres taught on Jamplay

The genre lessons are much better on Jamplay than their beginner lessons in my opinion.

They take the same approach, that is offer courses by a number of teachers. This is not a distracting factor though, since intermediate players need the variety the methods of different teachers can offer.

Again, with this many teachers, there are good ones and bad ones. You can weed out the bad ones very quickly.

Song lessons on Jamplay

The song lesson database is much smaller on Jamplay, and the songs that they have are not as good as GuitarTricks' song lessons.

There are only a few famous artists to choose from, so this isn't one of Jamplay's strong points.

Lessons for intermediate-advanced players

This is where Jamplay really shines in my opinion.

They offer lessons by real artists, which is great for advanced guitarists.

Also, they have a large number of lessons dedicated to mastering various skills on the guitar.

This is great, because I myself have struggled with speed picking in the past.

The solution?

Jamplay's Speed and Technique courses, of which there are 8 at the moment.

If you have been playing for a while and want to focus on targeted topics, they will definitely have a course (or several) to help you out.

Pros of Jamplay:
  • Loads of lessons for intermediate-advanced players
  • Great chord and scale finder tools
  • Large collection of jam tracks with great filter feature

Cons of Jamplay:

  • Videos not downloadable
  • More expensive pricing with "bundles" as upsells
  • Beginners will find other sites better

Here are a few screenshots of Jamplay from my account panel.

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The Guitar Lesson by Tom - Theguitarlesson.com - 5M ago

This post appeared first at Jamplay Christmas Sale 2018 on TheGuitarLesson.com, thanks for reading.

The Holidays are upon us, which means peak seasonality in the guitar industry.


'Tis the season of giving!

Many people receive a guitar as a gift, but of course, can't play it. Yet...

This is where online lessons come into play.

As I mentioned in my article on how to teach yourself guitar, the best way to learn guitar from home is through online lessons.


  • efficient
  • allow you to learn from home, at your own pace
  • super cheap compared to a real live teacher

JamPlay is one of the biggest guitar teaching websites on the internet.

They just launched their 2018 X-mas sale, which provides nice savings over their regular pricing, as well as some extra bonuses.

Click here to view the sale, or read on to find out my take on it.

Price reduction

First off, they cut their price from around $160-ish to $109 for the Standard annual membership. They also have a "Plus" and "Pro" version, which get you a few extra things.

This comes out to around $9 per month. You need to pay ahead for the entire year, but this is a really good deal nevertheless.

Just think that a regular teacher costs around $40 per HOUR...

Choose from 7 toolkits

JamPlay has been developing these so called "toolkits" on various topics. These are aimed at intermediate and advanced players, and provide solutions to common problems guitarists face, in order to boost your skills and playing.

The toolkits are:

  • Acoustic guitarist toolkit
  • Electric guitarist toolkit
  • Technique and theory toolkit
  • Chords and grooves toolkit
  • Blues guitarist toolkit
  • Country guitarist toolkit
  • Rock guitarist toolkit

If you are at an intermediate level and feel like you're in a rut, these toolkits will definitely help.

Check out the details of their sale to read the description of each toolkit.

Extra perks

As I mentioned, you can get the Standard ($109), Plus ($150) and Pro($200) variant of the annual membership.

The number of toolkits you can choose depends on what kind of membership you buy:

  • Standard annual membership - $109 - get 1 toolkit of your choice
  • Plus annual membership - $150 - get 3 toolkits of your choice
  • Pro annual membership - $200 - get all 7 toolkits

With the Plus and Pro variant, you also get "ownership credits", which allow you to download a given lesson and keep it for life. I don't think this is too useful, since you can download the tabs either way. I doubt you will watch a lesson again a few years down the line.

With the Pro variant, you also get a Jamplay T-shirt sent to you, wherever you are in the world.

It's nice, but nothing special. They sell it for $20 plus shipping, if you want to get it separately.

If you've been thinking about joining JamPlay, this is a great time to do so. Their yearly Christmas sale is as cheap as it gets, and they do provide nice bonuses with the toolkits.

Here is the Christmas signup page page.

If you miss the sale, you can still save a bit of cash by using these Jamplay discount codes.

TheGuitarLesson.com is your source for beginner guitar lessons.

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The Guitar Lesson by Tom - Theguitarlesson.com - 6M ago

This post appeared first at How to Jam on Guitar with Other Musicians on TheGuitarLesson.com, thanks for reading.

Playing at jam sessions is an important milestone in the life of all guitarists. Getting together with other like-minded people is great fun, fosters friendships, and will really advance your guitar skills.

After playing guitar for 20+ years, I've had my share of jams, good ones and bad ones.

There are a number of guitar skills you already need to be comfortable with in order to be able to play acoustic or electric guitar at jam sessions with other musicians, here they are in no particular order.

Rhythm guitar skills

Playing at a jam is not about you. It's about the collective making music together.

Even if you have amazing chops, you will mostly be playing rhythm guitar at any given jam session.

All in all, about 80% of your playing will be rhythm guitar. Not because you can't play lead, but because that's one of the main roles of the guitarist in a band setup.

And even if you don't play lead guitar, you can still attend a jam playing just rhythm guitar.

How can you improve your rhythm guitar skills?

First off, learn loads of grooves of all types in all genres.

Funk guitar? Yes please. Funk is underrated, but a great funk guitar rhythm can really spice up a song.

Blues guitar? Definitely. It has always been one of the most played genres at the jam sessions I've been at.

Rock guitar? The more the better.

Know your keys

One out of 2 things can happen at a jam:

  1. You will play a popular song (perhaps a standard in a genre)
  2. Someone will call out a key and you'll need to improvise in that key

If it's the later, you need to be comfortable with the concept of keys, and be able to identify the chords of any key.

I would say the most used keys are A, C, D, E, G. Also, their relative keys are used often as well.

You need to know the notes of each key (easy using scale shapes), and the chords of the keys. This requires a bit of theoretical knowledge, as you need to learn the theory of why each key has given chords.

Know your chords

Once you know your keys and they chords in a key, you need to learn the specific chords.

This requires knowledge of barre chords, so if you can't play barre chords yet, practice them first.

Here are the chord qualities you need to be familiar with:

  • major
  • minor
  • sus
  • 7th
  • 9th

So you basically need to learn all of the chords with all of the qualities all over the neck.

This might seem hard, but it's actually not, if you use the CAGED system. By using CAGED, you can play several voicings of any chord all over the fretboard.

Spice up your chords

Strumming at the same old chords will get boring for you, and the other's at the jam session.

To spice up your chords, you can:

  1. Add interesting groove variations - We already talked about this above.
  2. Learn chord embellishments - Small variations to your main chords that will make any old chord much more interesting
  3. Fill riffs - Practice riffs to add to your chords while strumming. So let's say you're in a 12 bar blues. You should be able to add small fill licks on the chord you are playing. And even call and response style riffs.

While it's nice to spice up a chord here and there, you have to be careful not to take it overboard.

Playing at a jam session is a group activity. You should only spice things up when it's OK to do so, not interfering with what other's are playing/singing at the given moment in time.

Know your chord progressions

When you're about to jam in a given key, you might also agree on a chord progression in the key.

It's good to already know the most popular chord progression in all of the most commonly used keys, this will make things easier for you.

The most popular chord progressions that tend to be used at jam sessions are:

  • The 12 bar blues and variations (quick change, 8 bar, long I, long V, etc.)
  • I IV V
  • Adding the vi chord to the I IV V chord progression is very popular
  • I vi ii V

Bonus tip: Learn short riffs to connect chord changes. So for example, staying with a 12 bar blues, lets say in E, learn walk up riffs from E to A, walk down from A to E, E to B, B to A. Naturally if you learn it in 1 key, you'll be able to use the same riffs in other keys.

Scales for lead guitar riffs

If you are up to it, you will get a chance to show off your lead guitar skills at a jam session.

Be polite though, nobody likes to listen to a 2 minute improvised solo. Keep it short and sweet.

Here are the scales you should know if you want to play lead guitar at a jam session:

  • Minor Pentatonic Scale
  • Major Pentatonic Scale
  • Blues Scale
  • Major Scale
  • Minor Scale

The most important out of these is undoubtedly the minor pentatonic scale.

Guitar jamming tips

Here is a thread on reddit with some great tips from a semi-pro guitarist/musician.

Also, here are more tips on how to jam with others:

  1. Learn to listen - It's ok to start out slow and listen for the chords and chord progression.
  2. Team work - Remember that there is no "I" in "team". A jam session will be fun and productive if every member supports every other member.
  3. Volume and dynamics - Don't play too loud when you are playing rhythm guitar. Palm muting and volume control is key.
  4. No surprise chords/keys - Don't change into another key or add chords that are not in the key. That sounds bad and throws the others off. If you want to change keys, let the others know before hand.
  5. Rhythm guitar > lead guitar - Just to re-emphasize. 80% rhythm, 20% lead.
  6. Repeat the chord progression - Part of playing rhythm guitar is playing the same chord progression over and over again. There is nothing wrong with it, don't try to change things up when you don't need to.
  7. Good solos are like stories - All stories have a beginning, a middle and an end. When you play a solo, try to lead into it, have a nice strong mid section, and lead out of it gracefully.
  8. Learn loads of riffs - Using fill riffs in any key is always a nice way to spice things up.

Here is a useful video with more tips on how to jam with other musicians.

3 Tips to Jamming on Guitar - YouTube
Overcoming your fear of playing with others

Most guitarists who have never jammed with others before are a bit afraid of the experience.

Don't be.

If you are at an intermediate level of playing, you can take part in a jam session. At the minimum, you can play rhythm guitar.

If you are prepared, you will do just fine. Look at the things I listed above, and practice at home using backing tracks.

Learning how to jam

The outline of the things you should know to jam with others covers several topics.

And they are big topics.

Don't search YouTube for a video on each, as the things you'll find will leave lots of holes in your knowledge. A single video can't possibly cover every topic and provide practice opportunities.

Check Jamplay, Guitartricks, Truefire for specialized courses on these topics.

They cost a few dollars, but they will actually help you learn the skills you need to start jamming with others.

TheGuitarLesson.com is your source for beginner guitar lessons.

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The Guitar Lesson by Tom - Theguitarlesson.com - 6M ago

This post appeared first at 72% off – Cyber Monday Sale 2018 on TheGuitarLesson.com, thanks for reading.

You just gotta love Black Friday and Cyber Monday!

It's the only time of the year, when you'll find an insanely great deal wherever you look. If you've been putting off learning guitar, today is the day to change your mind, here is why.

Take advantage of this once per year sale, and get a massive 72% discount off of a 1 year premium membership to TheGuitarLesson.com.

For just $29 for the year, you'll get access to all of the high quality video guitar lessons on our site.

You will quickly advance your guitar skills by learning songs from artists such as:

Acoustic Masters

Ed Sheeran

Neil Young

Bob Marley

Eric Clapton

Jack Johnson

Rock Stars



Lenny Kravitz

Maroon 5


Oldies but goodies

The Beatles

Chuck Berry

The Rolling Stones

Johnny Cash

Elvis Presley

Learn through playing real songs!

If you ask any guitarist what the secret to getting good at the guitar is, each and every one will say "Practice". But practicing boring exercises and doing drills all day long is no fun, that's why so many beginners quit.

At TheGuitarLesson.com, you'll learn the guitar through playing real songs, popular songs that you know and love. This is the best way to keep yourself motivated, and keep on practicing.

You'll learn songs in all genres, including:


Step-by-step video tutorials, with animated tabs

To make things as simple as possible, all of the video lessons you'll find on our site were shot from 3 camera angles, and contain animated tablature and chord charts.

What does this mean?

You'll be able to easily follow the material in each video, without having to stop and look at printed chord charts and tabs.

This makes a HUGE difference!

  • On-screen tabs make each lesson easy to follow

  • Chord progressions? No problem!

  • Animated tablature makes each riff easy to learn

  • On-screen chord charts will come in handy

  • Get the details on each and every strumming pattern

72% discount ends Thursday, November 29, 2018

Stop jumping from one crummy YouTube video to the next. Treat yourself to high quality guitar lessons today at the unbeatable Cyber Monday price of $29 for 1 year's access (72% off).

If you already have an account on TheGuitarLesson.com, please Login before pressing the PayPal button above, so your payment can be tied to your account automatically.

TheGuitarLesson.com is your source for beginner guitar lessons.

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The Guitar Lesson by Tom - Theguitarlesson.com - 7M ago

This post appeared first at Hey Hey My My Guitar Lesson – Neil Young on TheGuitarLesson.com, thanks for reading.

With this guitar lesson, you'll learn how to play Hey Hey, My My (Out of the Blue), which is the acoustic version of the song.

The song uses just a few easy chords, but it's not as easy as it seems. The real challenge is keeping your strumming hand going while picking out those riffs before changing chords.

Neil Young does this in an amazing way, where his strumming arm moves in a wide arc while he's picking out these single note. The arc is as wide as when he is strumming normally, so his control and precision is extraordinary.

Getting to his level of playing takes a lot of practice, but even if you simply pick out the notes, the song will sound great.

We'll start the guitar lesson on Hey Hey, My My by learning to play the chords you'll be using throughout the song, followed by the rhythm.

Once you master the chord changes, it's time to add those connecting riffs in between the chords. As I mentioned earlier, this is the most challenging part of the song.

Make sure you use alternate picking throughout the entire song, as that is the only way to keep proper time and rhythm.

Towards the end of the lesson, we'll learnt he second part of Hey Hey as well. It involves strumming 4 open chords, so you should not have many problems with it.

Hey Hey, My My Song Details

Neil Young released Hey Hey, My My in 1979 on his album titled Rust Never Sleeps. He wrote it at a time when he felt his music was growing irrelevant, but the song actually revitalized his career at the time.

The most famous lines from the song is "it's better to burn out than to fade away," since it was quoted in Kurt Cobain's (Nirvana) suicide note.

Neil Young recorded 2 versions of the song. The lesson teaches the acoustic version (Out of the Blue), but he also recorded a hard rock version of the song with Crazy Horse. This version is called Hey Hey, My My (Into the Black) and was featured as the last song on the B side of Rost Never Sleeps.

TheGuitarLesson.com is your source for beginner guitar lessons.

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