Prince Guitar Lesson, How to Practice Licks, ZZ Top

Prince has been known to be protective of his material when it comes to Youtube. So even though Ben Eller goes out of his way not to mention it, I’ll let you know that this video lesson features the opening guitar lick from When Doves Cry. It’s a fast distorted lick that will turn heads.

One way to get to know a lick and your fretboard is to try moving the lick around. Robert Renman goes further in depth on this concept and shows you how to work this concept into your practice routine. You can also take a similar concept and apply to it rhythm guitar and different chord shapes around the neck. Check out our Moveable Blues lesson for more on that.

Jody Worrell has a new lesson out on learning a rocking blues lick in the style of ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons. The lick is played of a backing track of G-F in 12/8 time. We’ll use the minor pentatonic scale while still stating the chord changes of the backing track with our note selection.

How to Practice New Chord Progressions & Strum Patterns

As you continue to learn new songs on your guitar, you’ll encounter chords or strum patterns you’ve never played before. In these videos, you’ll find Peter Vogl’s game plan for efficiently practicing new chord progressions. We use a basic strum and chords in these songs, but these exercises can be applied to any new song or advanced technique that you’re learning.

em-b7-chordsFor our first session, we’re going to use Em and B7 as our chords in this example. We’ll start by learning how to play each chord correctly. Next, Peter will show you how to practice changing between these chords. Finally, we’ll start slow and gradually speed up the pace as you practice making the change along with Peter.
em-b7-strum-patternIn the second session, we’ll learn a strum pattern to play over the same chords. We’ll start by focusing on just playing the pattern correctly and ignoring the left hand. Once we have that down, we’ll practice the pattern along with the chords at increasing speeds


By isolating the chords, changes, and pattern, you can really focus on your technique and make sure you’re playing everything correctly. Trying to jump into each piece of music at full speed can cause you to develop bad habits. This type of focused and detailed practice will allow you to identify trouble areas to work on and improve as a guitarist.

Stevie Wonder Lesson | Classical and Bluegrass Exercises

Stevie Wonder’s Master Blaster (Jammin’) has always been a personal favorite of mine. Stevie’s take on reggae has a combination of great horn parts over an unforgettable groove. Justin Sandercoe has created a guitar arrangement for the song that becomes a really fun lesson to play around with.

Bluegrass Speed: Learn how to utilize crosspicking to play up tempo flatpicking licks. Jake Stephens will show you how to pick through chord shapes using a down-down-up or alternate picking pattern.

Classical Guitar Exercises: Our first practice session on playing tremolos will teach the basics of this essential technique. By playing a note three times in a row on the same string, you can create a shimmering sound.  In our follow up video, we’ll use a planting technique to develop more speed and control with tremolos.

Let us know if you saw any other great lessons around the web this week.

Uptown Funk & Classic R&B Guitar Lessons

During the early part of 2015, no song may have been bigger than Mark Ronson’s Uptown Funk. The song is a throwback to the early 80’s funk scene and features guitar riffs similar to Prince and other artists from the era. In the video below, Andy Crowley will walk you through the collection of small guitar parts that combine to create this dance classic. You can check out our funk lessons for more on playing rhythm. If you’re looking for an easier interpretation of Uptown Funk that you can sing along with, try out the Guitar Goddess’ lesson.

On a more chill note, Cornell Dupree was a R&B session guitarist who played with Aretha Franklin, King Curtis, and Joe Cocker among others. His Hot Licks Video has been lingering in VHS purgatory until recently appearing on Youtube. This 56 minute video features a casual seminar teaching style (especially since the printed tab is not available to you). However, watching through the whole video and carefully studying specific sections should unlock a ton of ideas for you to try. There are some great hybrid picking ideas, double stop licks, and general advice in this lesson.

Our own new free lesson features Jody Worrell teaching you a Robert Cray Style Lick. This is an upbeat and expressive lick that features some exact techniques to create it’s tone. Learn the lick using the on-screen tab and then trade it back and forth with Jody against the jam track. If you like it, learn an entire Cray style solo and more with our Master of Blues lesson package.

25 Guitar Tips You Should Know

25_Things25 Things Every Guitarist Should Know: Askold Buk has come up with the 25 things every guitarist should know. We have a portion of the list below, but check out Guitar World  to see the expanded list.

  • Having a great feel is your most important musical asset
  • Play for the song, not for yourself
  • As soon as you learn something cool, apply it immediately to a real-life musical situation
  • Learn as many tunes as possible, from start to finish

Where Does Volume Come From? Peter Vogl has a quick tip that will help you create more volume with your strumming technique. This is a great way to add dynamics to your playing.

New Pickups vs. New Guitar: Are you struggling with the choice of upgrading  your pickups or getting a whole new guitar? Or did you even consider just changing your pickups? Seymour Duncan has a guide to making this decision based on what you’re hoping to achieve with the upgrade.

Optimize Your Guitar for Under $100! On a similar note, Tony Nagy over at Premier Guitar has written an article on 10 Ways to Optimize Your Guitar! Some may seem like common sense, but it never hurts to make sure your guitar is at its best.

Better Barre Chords for Classical Guitar: The size of the neck and strings can pose additional issues when trying to play barre chords on classical. Scott Morris has a lesson that will show you some different tips and ways to use partial and full barres.