One of my favorite parts of Blues Guitar Unleashed is the member forum.

I try to get over there pretty much every day and join in on the discussions about guitar learning. And the BGU courses in particular.

There was a thread there recently that got me thinking, and I’m sure it’s something that might have crossed your mind at some point as well…

The question boiled down to:“If I go learn a bunch of solos from various artists note for note, won’t that naturally lead into improvising?”

The short answer is “maybe”…

But as with most things, there’s a lot more to it.

Let’s say you go and learn an SRV tune, Texas Flood is one of my favorites, and you learn the whole solo note for note.

Do you know what key the tune is in? Do you know what Stevie was thinking when he chose those particular notes to play in the middle of the 2nd  measure?

Chances are, the answer is no. Unless you actually have taken the time to learn where the right notes would come from, you don’t have a very good chance of re-using those notes correctly.

Let’s go back to my baby learning to talk analogy…

If you teach your 1 year old how to say “thank you,” you haven’t taught him when to say “thank you,” only how.

He has no concept of how that phrase is to be used for the proper effect.

But let’s fast forward a bit, and now he’s grown up and 22 years old.

He’s learned the rules of grammar, and he knows deep down how to use words and phrases properly.

So now he sees a word in a book that he doesn’t know, but he can tell what it means just by looking at what is around that new word.

As adults this sort of thing happens all the time but we don’t notice it anymore. I know I often see a new word that I haven’t seen before, but I can figure it out just from how it’s being used what it probably means.

And that’s *exactly* how it works when I learn a new lick now. I can look at the notes, the chords it’s played over, the style of music, and make an extremely educated guess as to exactly what the artist was thinking when he or she chose those particular notes.

Now eventually, through a lot of trial and error – meaning doing it wrong an awful lot – a baby would probably learn how to use the phrase “thank you” in the right way.

But think about how long that might take…

Now imagine the same scenario with your guitar playing…

How long is it going to take for you to make sense of the licks you learn if you don’t know how they are supposed to be used in the first place?

There are, of course, many great guitar players who learned simply by copying the licks of their heroes. So it would be ridiculous of me to say that it can’t be done.

But it takes a long time and a lot of hard work. Those great players who learned that way played all day, every day. Most of us simply don’t have that luxury.

So take the time to learn what’s going on behind the scenes and it’ll great speed up your path to playing the blues.

Got an opinion about this? Leave it below, I love reading them…

    248 replies to "Learning Blues Guitar Solos"

    • billy "guitar"

      Hey Griff just wanted to drop a line on your discusion about improvising before I do I would like to extend my wishes to u your family and your gang for a happy and blessed 4th we are so lucky that aside from all our troubles we live in a land that makes it possible to enjoy playing this wonderful instrument u do a fantastic job of all the online sites that teach guitar u are buy far one of the most knowledgeable the most difficult part of playing guitar is improvising I can play just about anyone’s riffs or rythums but who wants to play other ato provide tje best rtists stuff I want to play my own maybe if u have any suggestions as to what one of your course’s may be most benifishal for me I would greatly appreciated it thank u and I hope u will continue

    • Mario Rivera

      I will get one of your videos as soon as I am able to get my finances in order.

    • tony

      man their is alot of comments here . like some of the other players here i dont always have the oppertunity to play as often as i can ,but, when i do the time flys by so rapidly its like wow i have played for two an one half hours . i have been the lead man in a classic rock band for over ten years and in that time have played out many times . i had been taught the 12 bar blues and used it alot . my band plays alot of songs that only have three guitar cords to them and there are alot of them . problem is that as far as being a strong lead soloist was weak unless i learned the note for note tab . i guess that is ok ,but, where do i stand as a soloist with new riffs or solos . well here it is if not for the course i got from you griff i still would be doing note for note coping . this is not what i want to do . i want to create my own solos . i have taken what you have shown me and work on doing my own thing no matter how bad it may seem i just think back quickly and remember that its mostly the penatonic structure is where most solos come from . with that and a bit of mixing and remember where the blue notes are and bring it all together with a major an minor sound . i take a song and lets say its got fm7 for the first cord tear it down look to see you are playing all notes in it sometimes they are in a book of cords but dont show all the finger positions in it . the lead is based on that cord can you find diffrent voicing for it now you got something to work with that is not all that far from the original master who created it . born on the bayou. you should be able to find at least 3 diffrent ways to play the lead . voicings is what i call them. this i got from the course . i hope i didnt bore ya all!

    • Joe Kosior

      Great analogy in teaching to say “thank you” as opposed to knowing when to say it. Not too different from learning any words and knowing how to structure them in a sentence. Notes are like individual words. You can learn many words yet still not be able to structure a sentence let alone a paragraph. Theory is sort of like grammar. As you need proper grammar to speak intelligently, you need theory to be able to play correctly. Thanks for your help in teaching this.

      • 601blues

        I’am what you would call,a “Slow Hand Player” Kinda Like BB, I like his comments, Like “Give Them a Few Notes,and Beg for Another” so I feel each not I play is very useful in what I want to say, we all have walked away from an important conversation and thought!! I should have said!!Listening to other artist I find the way they express themselves interesting, and we all do that with words as well, a cool saying or phrase, BTW I hate the phrase “COOL” or “MAN” so while others use it I stay away,But find in my playing I have picked up many Musical phrases that has expanded my Vocabulary, and have added a few of my own, so when I play a tune I like to pick from my own Vocabulary,and express what I feel about the subject,I don’t repeat what I have heard others say.

    • Charliemac

      I think if you know scale positions and chord relations,soloing over blues or whatever, I think the most important point is to feel the music,and sound ,play it from the heart improvise as best as possible ,phrasing is also crucial,don’t get caught up in to much theory, as it said if you know your scales and chord relations, enjoy and don’t put a lot of pressure on your’ self……..

    • Cindi Inden

      Hi Griff,

      I feel it’s important to have a vocabulary first to build from. Coping the masters or using your course gives me that! Once I achieve that, then I can work on being creative.
      Thanks for everything!

    • Lemuel killins

      Griff, I totally agree with you 200% . This is hie main reason why I order your BGU program in the first place, (just getting started) i’am hopeing I’ll advance much faster this way. Thanks Griff, Lem

    • Ray Jackson

      Hi Griff. I’ve left many comments at the end of your downloads and have stated that once I’ve Learned that lesson I then take it and then turn it around to the way that I want to or feel like playing it. And I’m totally Satisfied with doing this.

      When I started teaching myself to play guitar in 1970/71, I wanted to play certain tunes just like Hendrix or Clapton or Page and others, until it dawned on me. How long will it take me to get it note perfect before someone said “that sounds JUST LIKE so and so”.

      Then I realised that I wanted to be complimented on the way that I played and more over on how I played someone else’s tune or a tune that I had put together myself. I also get such a buzz out of playing say, All Along The Watchtower in numerous different ways. So now I don’t get hung up on getting someone’s tune note perfect, but enjoy putting my own twist on them and if it sounds good, then what better compliment to the original song writer and his music.

      Let’s face it, how many times do you hear an artist or band play one of their numbers in a different way and you think, that was great or sadly, sometimes, they slaughtered that one.

      Playing my guitars is a total pleasure for me and only today, my grandson was playing on his XBOX and I started playing my guitar. When I happened to look up and saw that he had stopped playing his XBOX and he was tapping his foot, watching and listening to me playing. Wow, my guitar playing can drag a kid away from a game console, that’s got to be some sort of compliment.

      When I play the solos / licks that I’ve downloaded from BGU and slot them into a tune, if they FEEL Right, you can bet you’re life, they are right. I aim for comfort when I play and not cringe. And if I get it wrong, as we all do at times, I just don’t beat myself up about it, I’m only human. Ray (UK)

    • emusic this website

      I take pleasure in, cause I found exactly what I used to be taking a look for.
      You have ended my four day lengthy hunt! God Bless you man.
      Have a great day. Bye

    • Howard

      Nothing at all wrong with a beginner learning to play a few solo’s by copying or immitating. If someone comes over to visit and notices your guitar, they normally don’t ask you to play a scale in Bb or dorian or some other theoretical request. Tho’ they might ask you to play “something”. Knowing a few tunes, is what keeps us all focussed on our guitar and motivated to keep learning. Its what keeps it fun. We can continue to learn songs and keep adding theory with it, as we continue our journey. Howard.

    • Bob

      I have been playing muxical instruments when I was 12. Just learning a series of notes does not get the emotion and expression needed to make the results impressive to a listener. Follow Griff’s blog and get better results.

    • gina

      Just like copying someone’s homework.

      • Tea

        you are so right, because that’s the way I have been
        learning all of my 70 years.

      • Larry

        That’s the best explanation!


      I agree you have to know why one played those notes.
      It is just like writing a song.

    • gene

      first you crawl,then walk,then run. you have to do it in order. makes sence to me

    • Friend -

      As Griff rightly says: music is a language. I speak English, but a Frenchman may not know what I am saying -but you can sure bet that he can read the meaning through the emotion which is expressed in my voice. Context is key. Not just content.


      Makes sense to me, Griff. I’m thinking it takes a young one 3-6 years to start making sense, so I’ll be practicing with your material and see how long it takes me. Just got it for Christmas! and am enjoying it very much. My story is very similar to those above; waited too long to get serious; but, I’m now enjoying it as a hobby into my aging years.

      • James Colon

        Griff great point. What happens when you go to a jam and they start playing a song you do not know. If you know the key they are in and understand some theory you can play some lead by using your knowledge to get by.
        Having said that by playing different song from graeay players helps you create your own voice. I started playing ten years and had no musical training all, had limmited time as a forty year old father and husband. Bottom line is that this instrument takes hours and hours of practice before you start sounding well. Lifetime of learning so enjoy it and have fun learning all aspects of it. Learn to play rhtym because without holding down the rhtym the lead players will not sound good then lead which always makes you feel good and always grab some theory which helps you speak the language while playing with others

        James Colon

    • David Dresser

      I am an old fart who never had any musical training at all, not even basic rhythm in grade school. So I am having to learn everything, notes, terms, jargon – everything. I took your course thinking to learn a little bit about very fundamental things just enough to entertain myself. But your philosophy of learning has inspired me. Now I want to learn to play the guitar, not just “play with” the thing. It will take awhile because I have to go backwards to know what is being talked about, but I have no rush. I am busy with other things and yet I feel I can make slots of time for things. I know that success with this instrument demands great dedication and I am limited by other demands. I just have to make do. Still each of your demonstrations and lessons gives me enthusiasm all over again. Thanks for that.

    • Frankie

      Hey Griff , I appreciate everything you have to offer for all of us wanting to learn proper guitar technics in sounding as best we can … I’ve always loved the sound and regret not having learned will young . Now at 57 I go with each of your teaching methods and am learning slowly but surely … HAPPY THANKSGIVIG , be Blessed always

    • Vince

      I do beleive a musican mu have a foundation. I sir do not have that. I’ve been trying to play guitar since the age of 10 when my mother gave me a japanese electric guitar she purchased for 10.00 at a flea market.
      My love for the guitar started! We were very poor and couldn’t afford an amp or guitar lessons so I just picked. After learning to tune my guitar and learning a 3 cords I was actually making music.
      I’ve learned a lot of bad habits now at 62 I need to go back and learn the basics to do things correctly but I don’t know where to start. Can you advise?

    • bryan

      I actually started doing that recently, look at a song, figure out the key and seeif using minor, major, Dorian , whatever. To figure out how they chose those notes. Easier said then done sometimes.

    • John

      Griff my friend. I would say your courses and lessons are mainly for beginners and intermediates for the most part. So as a beginner/intermediate I want to learn how to play for my family and friends, I want to have good phrasing, a bit of music theory, know my way around a fretboard, make my scales sound musical, sound good and know how to practice. You know beginner/ intermediate stuff. I really couldn’t care less at this point what an artist was thinking. But I sure would like to sound like him or her. I’d be happy to play the notes correctly without worrying about where they came from. You are great Griff. No doubt. But some of these threads take the wind out of my sails. They discourage me. I begin thinking that I should start knowing this kind of stuff. Just more to be concerned about. Respectfully, J.W.

      • Paul

        Hey john, you sound like your along the right tracks. My best suggestion to u would be to not get bogged down with learning to much at once. Timing is key to good guitar playing and is needed in both rythmn and lead playing. Good timing will help with phrasing/licks etc….play cleanly but don’t worry about being too clinical (like a robot) it’s about feel and expression. How to practice is easy, just keep picking up that guitar. Learn a lick or phrase and play it in every key E,A,D,G,C,F,Bb,Eb,Ab,Db,Gb,B….will help with ear training and know your way around the fretboard. Good luck and have fun.

    • Paul Hachey

      I never really thought about in that context; but it makes perfect sense. The analogy of learning to talk kind of brings it home. Thanks for inspiring a newbe a little more & making me want to learn more. Appreciate your time & insights on the blog; always keeps me coming back!

    • Tim uk

      Some people, I guess are happy leaning solos note for note or as close to that as makes no difference, however IMPROVISING and UNDERSTANDING is a whole different kettle of fish. This is where Griff is such a help. The explanations as to how and why the music works is an incredible help to just let rip with an expression of ones own musical creativity. Thanks so much for the little bite size nuggets of help that step-by-step nudge us towards our aspirational levels of guitar prowess.

    • Paul Warner

      My experience has been that it is hard to get something you are copying to sound exactly the way they played it, with all the little nuances they used to get the unique sounds they got, but still I enjoy copying and trying to figure out what scale they used and how did they know they would get a particular sound they were looking for, but the main thing is the speed and the how and where they used it, is the most challenging. I once took a year of my life to try and learn the lead to “The Last In Line” by Ronny James Dio with Vivian Campbell playing guitar and doing the lead to this song. I was locked up in a room trying to get it down for a long time and when I realized I wasn’t going to get it, I became depressed and stopped playing guitar for years and years. Even now I get goose bumps when I hear that lead. Paul

    • It’s very straightforward to find out any topic on
      web as compared to textbooks, as I found this piece of
      writing at this web page.

    • Phil

      Hi Griff, I always remember a good friend who is now a world renound guitarist saying to me when I was younger with two good hands and trying to get my head around some crazy technical solo “stop trying to copy what is never played the same way twice, what is on the sheet music is just somebody elses interpretation and is usualy wrong so innovate dont imitate” now playing on nylon strings instead of steel due to a nasty accident to my left hand I find myself doing that all the time and learning a lot more, there is an old saying “there is more than one way to skin a cat” knowing how to find and use the alternatives has become a must for me.

      • Mason

        Phil; the saying was actually there is more than one way to skin a cat fish. Did you ever wonder why someone would want to skin a cat? Sorry I am just nuts about saying,said wrong. Much like songs played wrong by just one note is like, a saying with just one word wrong.BTW I am a English teacher and Minister also leraninga lot from Griffo.

    • John Davis


      I think I see what you’re saying… rather than stamping brain-pans with memorized rhetoric, the way of educators from by-gone era’s, it’s much more beneficial to “learn how to learn”? Prof. Marshal McLuhen was big on this idea and talks how important the skills of “pattern recognition” are increasingly important to the modern citizen of our “global community” (a phrase he coined about 30 years before the advent of the interwebz)!

      I’ve been watching your offerings for a while now but was impressed in that very first video with your teaching style and ability. “Here’s a guy who can REALLY teach”, I thought. You ‘da man and thanks for your contributions to the community of music lovers and aspiring guitarists everywhere!!! 🙂



    • Flavio Ciucci

      Hi Griff, Absolutely agree with you. I think to copy without understanding what we are playing
      is the worst approach to learn Blues or any kind of music.


    • Philip Bannan

      Griff, you are right: keep up the good work, & continue to break things down into thin slices of knowledge – that is the only way forward for us wannabees.



      Griff, I don’t think I am ready for blues. As for now I lean toward country and folk tunes and am trying to learn some Thank you for your help. Tom Murphy

    • Dominic Popolillo

      You sir,are a good teacher. That is the highest complement that I can give!One has to do it with passion to do it well! I enjoy your lessons! Dom.

    • Paul

      Very well said. In my teens back in the 60’s i was in a band and Kim Fowlly(Joan Jets producer) was our producer. very wierd guy, but he was a genius. we wrote all our own songs and i was lead singer and rtyhm Guitar. Back then to doulble track a lead singer you had to do it by overdubing your voice. Lucklly I was gifted with doing that in 1-2 takes. I was a Kid and everyday played and practiced. Got up at 5am for recording time until 5pm . In my 20’s I had a bass player and we would do nightclubs, Did alot of Niel Young and Bob Dylan, some beatles and my own songs. Played unpluged. I copied alot of differant styles of playing songs and used some of them to create my own tunes with bits and pieces from them. The only scale i knew was ,do rey me. I came so close to becoming a professional singer with Kim fowlly, but A&M records I had a contract with held me back. Now I’m 61 and for years after becomeing disabled I did’nt play for 8 years. When you send a lick, or solo , or any of your lessons I learn them play them to a backing track, but the next day i forgotten them. I even hum the licks. I have almost learned all the Box’s .
      the great news is I have noticed I play better now then i did when i was young. You had a video of a lick Eric Clapton uses and I may not play it the same the next day, it has added another improvement on my solos. If I wasn’t disabled, I feel comfortable enoug to play live by myself. Unpluged. I found playing cover songs That it’s better to sing them in your own style. I knew Niel young and i knew where alot of his songs came from his life exsperiance. He was a very passonate guy and alot of his songs where from the heart. Have you ever heared Mathew morrisons version of Over the rainbow from Glee? Good example of how and why and what he’s feeling in the way he sings the song. Differant than Judy garland.

    • Cal Burke

      Most of the things I love can be chased for a lifetime, but never caught. You can look at music and the guitar so many different ways. The more I see, the more I see there IS to see.

      One of my favorite players says : “It’s all dedication and determination. When you are learning a song play it over and over and over. When your girlfriend moves out and your dog runs away – THAT’S when you know you’re on to something.”

      • mike gerow

        I would suggest finding a different favorite player.

    • site emusic review

      We are a group of volunteers and opening a new scheme in our community.
      Your website offered us with useful information to work on.
      You’ve done an impressive task and our whole neighborhood might be thankful to you.

      • mike gerow

        I would suggest finding a different favorite player.

    • Ral;ph Falkenburg

      Let’s get into some Rockabilly!

    • ghostplayr

      that is what im now dealing with can make solo’s and copy but. to have it in my mind I have found I need help one person cant figure out the beat’s to the solo’s and the all it take’s to make it your (sense) need to have player’s around. you can’t get around that it’s a collective one must have.. people just don’t jump out and say hey play with us!. hard . even though im getting advanced now . I went looking for and instructor that was in tune !! with me do the cover’s but you also have a player. that can help .. 2 cents

    • Carolyn Burleigh

      How difficult is it to learn the guitar? I’d like to some day!

      • Mason

        Johnny Cash YEAH I love his music too.

      • mike gerow

        It’s really difficult. I’d just forget about it if I were you.

    • Jack Wilson

      Been playing a long time. This is the first time I’ve ever heard the learning experience put like that. It is the best explanation I’ve heard!. It works. You can play the notes fine but if you don’t know the feeling that should go with them, you’re missing it. Great! Thank you.

      • mike gerow

        Just practice making a lot of funny faces when you play.

    • Jose Eduardo Pablos Velez

      Hola, recibe un cordial saludo, te felicito por ser un buen Maestro, espero que Dios te de muchos a~os mas de salud, para que compartas tu conocimiento con todos los que seguimos, tus ense~anzas.

    • Gary Apitz

      I agree that learning a bunch of licks may not get you where you want be. Fitting those learned licks into the proper scales , up and down the neck will help some , also the expression you use when you play those licks makes a difference. Also besides knowing more about the guitar player and what he intended I agree is very helpful. Two other points that I would say help is your own experience with your guitar, and lastly the amp , guitar and sound or tone you use is important. I like a wailing sound, with nice sustains.

    • Bruce Sankey

      Yes Griff l totally agree with this analysis of riff playing , & learning by rote ,vs learning to listen to the flow , tempo , and melody of whatever song is being played. l think to ,some songs that are popular, the leads could technically be played many ways , but we think that because we get used to hearing on radio that their notes are the only correct ones , but that is not really true. Yes true some riffs are really catchy ,and we want to learn them , but you are telling us the right thing , it is much better to listen to song ,and play our own notes in our way , in following the tempo,and adjusting the highest & lowest notes following the essence of the song , the vocals, the range of pitch, etc. Understanding the how & why behind what we are to be doing , listen ,assess,and apply what we have learned, our way.

    • Phil Short

      As humans we are fallible by default. Practice makes perfect. Keep them coming Griff

    • Joe

      i hear you
      love of music is stronger than frustration of poor learning
      keep sending it through

    • Robert

      I think if life was easy we would all be rich and an expert in our chosen field, I think its OK to mess up I have made many riffs for then, think about it if it comes from your head and your fingers can move at the same speed ! cool, some notes just dont sound right with what the artist is thinking about and you can alwas put your”thing” in were it fits. Just as playing on any key only so many notes are going to fit into it. As Grif says just learn the notes and were they are on your guitar and have some fun in it, And Grif my thought is I have been play music for a long time and this time is not even close to stoppin so it dont matter how long it should take just as long as it sound good to some one else its COOL .

    • Rick

      I find it impossible to totally recreate my favorite guitarists solos/riff exactly as they did it. It does take up way too much of my time. I would rather concentrate on finding my own style because that says who I am as an artist and how I view the world and people around me. By listening to the sounds that my favorite “people with callouses on their fingertips” create will sometimes shade or color what I am playing for that is inevitable. Curse that subconscious of ours. So would every experience of any nature that happened in my life up to this moment while I’m typing, and any of my thoughts of the future, will show soon as I play.

      Rene Descarte said “I think, there for I am.”
      I say “I play, there for I am.”

      Right now, I can smell that our new puppy crapped in the utility room. I wonder what that’s gonna sound like?

      • mike gerow

        Picasso said, “People who talk about pictures are usually barking up the wrong tree.”

    • Wolfgang

      I would agree with most what you said, especially with the comparison of the time investment needed to achieve similar results. I think this also relates to the well known discussion about the question, if the greats in Jazz and Blues actually knew what they played, if they were aware of any of the theory and playing guidances which are available to all of us today. To me, becoming a great artist (and I never will be) boils down to hard work and time investment anyway. You may start with theory or not, you may getting to know all your scales and have the theoretical background – this will of course make you a rather good musician – but it is in no way a guarantee for developing an individual style. Many of the well educated musicians sound rather similar. I think, true music comes from the heart, in many cases it is a result of overcoming the hurdles of theory because you have it internalized already and you’re able to play around seamlessly with it., but it is not mandatory. In any case, it is hard work and practicing. Nothing saves you from investing blood, sweat and tears to get to the core.
      Greetings from Austria, Wolfgang

    • kenny mathes

      your right about alot of these ideas and also that alot of us dont have the time to study everything we would like too i am not presently playing live with any bands in my area i guess are interest grew apart played bass for along time have always tryed to pick 6 string and learn cover songs and constuct my own melodies but over the last few years just cant find the time to do either i really do appreciate your e-mails please cont.sending thank-you

    • Rune Hammer

      I could not agree more. And have wasted years learning licks, I am 65 and I have realised that I need to hurry. I have lessons from the net with 250 must know licks. I thought that would make me a guitarist, I was wrong. I had a guitar teacher that tought me more licks. Waste of time and money. No I have a jazz guitar teacher Gisle Torvik he is great, teaches me the how and why, cause he knows. Does not try to have a masters in music theory, it is cords, arpeggios and teach me to play ( like a child plays) within the rules. For the first time I do music in stead of playing guitar . There is a difference. I do t have a great talent, I will never be a guitar hero, buti havefun and some times let us say 1 in a hundred times I make a little music. Maybe next month or so that can be one in 80 times. So knowing the essentials of the rules, and having a good teacher is great

    • Lukini

      Hi griff! Thanks again for your dedication as a teacher, and musician! I enjoy reading all your stuff, and wanted to know, if your BGU classes will shed light on differences of all scales, ex, minor/major pentatonic, modes, jazz scales, major Ionian scales, and when to use them, over what kind of music, jazz, rock, blues, etc! And explain logic of why their used over a certain song or chord, also when are good times to use arpeggios in blues, etc, thanks again for your loyalty to teach us out here in “blues-guitarist wannabes land”. Gene

    • charles

      I can readily identify with your comments on soloing; you bring up a critical point: there is copying (or ‘partotting’) and then there is creating. I am able to play proficiently that which i have well-practised. I have not been successful in being able to translate what I hear in my own head to the fingerboard, to ‘express’ my own ideas. One suggestion, if I may: slow WAY way down if this is you. It has helped me learn the fingerboard. Since you, the player, are inventing something new (“on the fly), you’d better at least have a map: those ‘blocks’ that contain the ingredients for your ‘dish’. It sure as heck is painstaking, though!

    • Tex Salerno

      Solid advice there for sure.

      I was stalled out not going anywhere until in one of your lessons, it was geared to learning music theory and the fret board.Been getting better and better at playing acoustic blues ever since.

      Tex Salerno

    • leon

      Hi. I love your lesson things and I share them with my daughter who is trying to learn how to play guitar. She told me more than once that you are the best teacher bar none and I agree, that is why I send her many of your lessons. I do not know if she ever signed up for your stuff, but just wanted to let you know that.

      I do not have the dexterity to really get into lead hard core. I can do the chords and random notes (accepella sp. thing more so).

      I have a friend who is awesome on lead guitar. I asked if he actually knows all the notes on the guitar neck and he said yes, but he incorporates what he also knows about the notes. A goes good with a G or C and E sound good together too. for examples. He said with practice and a good ear you tend to just know where to go on the neck, whether you want to go up or go down, it is your choice. I guess that works, at least it makes sense.

      Thanks for your clear lessons.


    • 601blues

      I like to hear different licks from different artist, however I don’t focus on the notes so much as the timing,as a slow hand player,I find I can express my self better in this style, I find that scale patterns do more to help me find what I want to express,as you said,when I have learned note for note runs from Stevie/BB/Alvin Lee/etc. I have never found where I could use the run for my self, To give insight, say I was an author and wanted to write a novel on Horses,how would I accomplish this, would I read..lets say the Black Beauty, then copy page by page changing wording now and then,leaving out a coma or period???Or would I find my own story?

    • Rick

      Hi, Griff.

      Hey man, I think I messed up something on my computer. I may have pressed something that took me off your list of students. If so, please put me back on.

      I’m an old dinosaur with computers. I had to make a choice between learning the hard/software, or working on some geometric projects and playing guitar. I picked the latter. Actually I finger-picked the latter.

      Sorry to go through this way of contacting you, but I don’t know any better.

      If I am mistaken, disregard this letter. Just accept a ‘thank you’ for all you do for us. Rick

    • Ron

      I find that learning a few main licks from an artist to get a feel for their stylings leads me to new lines to use in my solos. (like BB’s 4 note variations).
      For blues, knowing your notes in terms of the 3rd, 7th and 9th helps me find the sweet notes.
      So in key of C, instead of starting all my licks from the C note, I purposely start the lick on the E note, or G note or the Bb note. Just starting somewhere other than the root makes all your licks new and different.

    • Cindy Anzalone

      My comment has nothing todo about this website. I this past wkend went to Laughlin, NV. There was a blues festival. There were several different blues bands. I’m still adjusting to the blues played on electric instruments. After listening & watching each band,I see the pros & cons of electric v.s. accustic. My favorite blues band of all was Chris Hiatt & Stevie G. Really no name for group. I took a few videos & had my picture taken with them! The best one of all was the Buddy Guy concert! Our seats were so far back I snuck up to stage & got an extremely short video clip. He’s a blues legend. & a cool performer. My favorite blues piece he did was Skin Deep! This piece had meaning to it. It told a story, if you closed you eyes & listen, you could imagine his story as he told it, & feel it. It took you to that special place you rarely go to or visit! AWSOME!!

    • rooster

      thanks griff love your stuff keep em comin

    • bill

      Dear Griff;

      Just love yer philosophy….and yer lessons

    • Pat Burg

      I have been playing for 50 years give or take a couple. When I started I didn’t have access to any of the information that is available today and I am always looking to improve. After about 10 years into music I learned box one and that is all I used up until a few years ago. I got very comfortable with box 1 and I put together a lot of good licks of my own. I never had any luck copying solos, every time I go back and listen the solo would sound a little different so I gave up on that route. I expanded box one without knowing what I was doing I accidentally stumbled into boxes two and three using the first 3 strings and this is what I used for the better part of my career. Every time I play a solo I have no idea what I am going to play but it almost always comes out OK. A few years ago I started learning the complete set of 5 minor boxes and my playing doesn’t sound any better. I still sound like me. I would like to sound like SRV but even when I learned his solos note for note with correct timing I still sound like me. If I were in his head and had his talent I could sound like him but that is not possible. If people like the way you play what is wrong with sounding like yourself and creating your own licks? It seems like everyone is obsessed with sounding like someone else.


      Could’nt agree with you more Grifff. I have Health problems, that have damaged my brain, there Virus’s infecting the nuerons and then the reciptacals die. It’s slowlly is doing damage to my whole body, since the brain is the bodies computer. My Problem is Memory, along with some loss of cognativity I went throug your BGU course and had a hard time remembering what i learned. Being Disabled All I have is my guitar to play , but cronic fatgue limits the amount of time I practice my scales, or open saved emails from you with your playing on the porch, ect… I can learn a cool solo , get it down and play it . The next day It’s like How did that solo go? I can only remember Box 1 of the A minor Blues scale. After a few hours of going through all the box’s, I can’t remember them. Next day. Blank! I learned a David Gilmore solo, Time? It helped my bag of solos and licks, but I can’t play as good a David, but it gave me a few licks that made me play like i owned it. I can put on a Backing track and solo along with it, but sometimes I get lost and my solos are not very versiatile. Like you said playing alot for years has its advantages, if your Brain is not messed up. 38 years of playing music and I got sick and stopped for 6 years. Bad Move, but was to ill to even think about Music. Thank you for your lessons, your good Medicine for me. Paul. Redondo Beach CA.

      • William Babbitt

        Paul was my Dad’s name and died a decade ago for not taking his medicine. He had a collection of guitars, and some I remember from way back when I was 5 or 6. I learned to play on a giant flat top my Mom put on layaway at Woolworth’s. I think it cost like $20 bucks cause she would start in the late summer, take a bus downtown, and pay another $5.00 bucks on it. Then by that one Christmas it was so cool there was this huge present for him under the tree.

        Sorry about your health, we have some things in common there also. I have degenerative arthritis, my Brother now 6 years ago was beaten by an ex football player in a road rage incident and nearly died three times, they had to cut a section of his head about 7 inches by 4 inches, when the anger ex football player hit him, [he only got out of his car because he was bringing his Son home from a Doctor’s visit, the dude had him blocked him against a curb, and I know he wanted to draw the dude away from his kid, but in that short time the football player hit him so hard it knocked him off his feet and his head hit one of the edge of the asphalt curb.

        His Wife partially not knowing what she was doing and partially just so worried about MONEY NOW the guy walked clean, they live in a dump on the east side of town, he is a walking vegetable, from the guy who puts too many lights from K MART on his house at Christmas, to just nothing but a barely walking idiot.

        So I know a bit about medical frustrations. I bought him a decent beginners guitar hoping it would have some kind of savant effect but he barely even could hold it, so we gave up on that, I have to exercise my fingers daily no choice so it is either those exercise balls, or other exercises they taught me, or I can pull out emails and BGU and play one of forty guitars I have no clue what to do with as I bought parts to fix up some of his, and often it was cheaper to buy the whole shot guitar to get a bridge than it was to buy a bridge.

        I have some emotional attachment to some, then our house caught fire, the guitars were luckily in storage, but I lost my list, my receipts my laptop my backup drive, so I have a hell of a project to do all over again, and then decide what to keep, fix and or sell, but I have a suggestion for you that might help the memory issue,

        If you go to a hardware store or a motor repair shop, the motor repair shop will have strips of aluminum numbers that are like a quarter inch square with like 10 of the same on one strip of a card, they will probably give you one.

        They peal off and stick, and you could mark your frets with not all the fret numbers but say 3, 7. 9. 12, 15 or whatever you are comfortable with right on the top side of the neck.

        When you learn a lick where the strip came off the card, you could start with the first note on whatever fret, then put the string number on the card where the number strip is pealed off, so you would have a plastic card with the fret numbers at the top and then the string number under that and keep them in order left to right or whatever scheme or convention you might like, next day if you don’t remember look at the card look at the top of the neck and you will have penned in the riff so you can repeat it, maybe repetition more often will help with the memory maybe not, but it will be your system, it will work, I have done it, the cards are cheap and the aluminum numbers just the right size so if they wear off you stick another on.

        But as frustrating as it is, you are doing the tough thing already, sticking with it.

        My Brother won’t ever recover enough to play, so it can get worse. I fight through the pain everyday or actually less days now because I have kept at it.

        It is worth a shot and making your own system without having to spend a bunch of money might help you recognize the fret and go from there, ???

        I see the word trick and tip a lot and that is a concern, because if anyone is looking for a tip or trick, you are spending more time looking for a shortcut than you are repeating known correct riffs, chords or anything else, which is the “key” in the end, Dissonance or consonance? The latter is used to describe using notes within a scale, dissonance is hitting a note not in the scale and not always a bad thing.

        For what it is worth, I have do have a couple tricks if anyone is interested.

        When I first tried to handle that giant guitar and copy the notes to a song from a battery powered AM radio, I would listen to the song, back then way less songs so more got played really often, I would learn the first or middle or last whatever I could hear and grasp on the high e string, so say I was learning pick it, marry had a little lamb, I would go up and down the e string until I got a chunk of the song, then another, then another, along the way, I found if I had to hit the string at the 3rc fret and the next note was at the 9th somewhere in the upper strings was the same note so I could start “boxing it in” versus trying to wrestle that big ole guitar.

        I do it to this day, and I say copying is neither good or bad, just another tool.

        Now when I figure out a lick or struggling for a note, and I find say 4 to 6 notes that sound pretty good I might know from BGU the note don’t belong but I try a note next to it, or two frets over, or a slide, or whatever and some pretty cool stuff comes out, and the note is not in any book belonging to the traditional.

        I use those as my own personal twist to whatever, created by me, and believe me a three string run with the middle note not in the scale sometimes sounds like I know something.

        Try playing to a backing track and soften up now and then, then bend the hell out of things mix it up and that will be one of the best TRICKS you will ever have in your tool bag.

        Pretty wild a lot of us are all at the same age, or close, same issues, and yea time can make a mess of things if you let it, no rush, have fun, play, AND BY THAT I DO MEAN PLAY AROUND, SEE WHAT HAPPENS,

        Paul you might try recording yourself also, you can get a pretty inexpensive battery tape recorder at the dollar store, no need for a reel to reel, just something you can play back over,

        Paul, good luck to you Buddy, I watch what was the most out going, Raindeer blowing up light hanging nutball do nothing but stare most of every single day, not sure what he is thinking, cannot understand IF he tries to answer, and it hurts, way more than my fingers every will.

        It is SOOOOOOO cool you are hanging in there even with the other fights, I admire that. Maybe some numbers will spark remembering more of what you worked so hard on.

        And do your best to stay on the bright side, life can be a big ball of crap for not one good reason, so enjoy the talents you have and keep hanging in there, it inspires way more than me.

        AND Griff, what can any of say, as I have said many times, people with skills, are not necessarily Teachers, Teachers care, have compassion and love to the share the joy of the skill they have, and you are one hell of an example!

        Keep picking guys and so what if sounds wrong, screw with it until it does, that is half the fun,


    • Tea

      i agree with you, & i wish i had known about you & your teaching 20 or 30
      years ago.
      But Griff : i am 69, & i just play for fun now.

    • Dan

      Hey, That’s a great analogy! I’m very interested in learning to play “High water Everywhere” acoustic version played by Joe Bonnamassa. Do you know if he plays it in standard tuning or an open tuning? A lesson on that would be greatly appreciated!

      Thanks for all the great videos! Dan

    • Glen Heidler

      Hello Griff Love your stuff and you have a great out look on playing guitar . I have been playing for over thrity some years and there are still some of those licks I have know idea what to do with . But as I said I went from rock an roll , country , blue grass , old timey , to Blue’s and now looking at some Jazz I like and to try to keep it all apart is hard to do . I do love throughing things in and get the looks from other players and the party begins . The Questions roll so I send them to you LOL !!!! Keep doing what you do GOD Bless

    • David

      Hello Griff
      I always consider your licks in terms of which chord they are played over and in what context. After al, what good is a lick if you don’t know where to use it? I’d be gratefull if all your licks had chord symbols under them and were part of a sequence – they don’t always!

      Thanks for your free stuff. I’ve used quite a bit of it and I’m a jazzer not a blues man.

      Good luck

    • Weldon Ransome

      Yes Griff I think what you are talking about is right and if you following the right path of music it will turn out right and sound a lot better. People just keep learning the videos that Griff is sending and everything will sound ok .Thank you for all the music that you are sending in these videos .I got lots of your videos to learn so i dont see any reason why i should copy someone Else note by note when it is all there in your videos.Have a great day and thank you again for all your music.

    • Gary Wolfe

      Hello Griff,
      I have been studying the 4note course all winter and I have got the solo examples pretty well memorized, however, when I try to play along with the jamtrak I get lost. Do you have any suggestions that may help?
      Thank you,

    • gator

      Regarding playing someone else’s solo, just listen to Clapton on Strange Brew. He plays an exact copy of Albert King’s solo on Crosscut Saw—he even admitted it in an interview. But that’s okay, he took it beyond that over the years, as all of us old-timers have.

      But, you should record your practices. The small boxes from Zoom, Tascam, etc. are excellent, with stereo condenser mics and 8 mg chips. What you hear when you play and what you hear when you’re listening (and not) will help you immensely. you’re right about learning how the chord affects the note that you should or shouldn’t play at a particular time. But you learn that much more intuitively if you listen to yourself when you’re not playing. Many times I thought I played a hot solo until I listened to the recording and realized otherwise. I wish I’d started doing that 20 years ago.

    • Kevin

      I visited a guitar store yesterday, just testng out a potential purchase when someone sat down and began playing solos note for note. I was impressed at his dexterity but it raised an ongoing internal debate I’ve had for quite a while: As impressive as these players sound, what can they do wthout someone else’s work to copy? My thought is that you should play what you feel, dissect it, study it, join a jam session and eventually, you’ll become a better guitarist who understands relationships between and among notes in a scale.

    • Barrie

      The easiest way is to listen to the lick (any lick), part figure how it’s played, then do it your way. That way you develop your own kind of style, maybe based on a dozen (great) guitar players, but distinctive to you.
      Do you think Clapton got to be great by copying someone else? Or was it by developing the styles of several others?
      I run my own guitar class and I tell my guys the same thing, “here’s how the book tells you to play a chord. Is that easy for you or can you figure out a better way, a more comfortable way?” These are mostly beginners but they soon see that you don’t need to follow the rules exactly.

    • Fabrizio

      That was an excellent post. I recently learned Eric Clapton’s, tore down, partially from your post and partially from the EC song book! But I was having trouble working out the solo! It was a difficult task to attempt to move my hands as quickly as I wanted but, physically and educationally just not ready to give that type of performance. I recalled another lesson if yours the major/minor over the 1 and minor scales over 4&5… Do with that in mind, I was able… All be it, slow hand, to eek together a halfway decent solo! Perhaps I will post it after I play at Philadelphia’s world famous Dobb’s, on South St! Thanks for all the lessons and keep them coming!!!

    • Soap Box

      Thanks Griff. Sensible analyses & directives. S.

    • james

      True, it takes a long time to be able to play and copy solos by ear.But I believe it’s a valuable skill once you have that feel for finding the chords and figuring out the solos to songs. You can’t go wrong with this skill. Besides music is a language. We learned to express ourselves first by listening and imitating.

    • Marty

      Griff, great analogy. In a related perspective, I’ve been thinking of guitar education as the sum of three aspects: The head (theory, learning new stuff, etc.), the hands (technique) and the heart (emotion, creativity). I think learning the language and its context, as you say, is impossible without all three aspects, but especially the heart, which builds on the other two and leads you to your own voice.

    • Charles Guthrie

      Makes great sense to me Griff. Thanks for the article.

    • Georgem - from OZ

      I find that patterns form in songs and tunes. To support that tune you need to feel that you are going along with the ride and not detracting from the pattern or message. Most times I close my eyes and let instinct and what I have practiced take over. Do this when you are jamming or practicing with your group.You will soon feel, or your buddies will let you know, if you are on the right track. Record yourself and listen to your playing. You will improve pretty quickly. Remember, don’t try to be a show-off, just play easy and clean until you improve.

    • dale

      Hey Griff. allways enjoy reading your posts. I bought my first guitar out of a sears and roebuck catalog for less that 15$,true story… around 1960.. so you might say i have been playing for some time….but over the last few months I have progessed more and better by following your online lessons. needless to say over the years I have picked up a lot BAD habits: really appreciate all the help you post for your followers. I have yet to purchase one of your courses, mainly because I can’t decide on the one that one benefit me the most. You have so many good course. thats all for now, thanks ;for all the help. will keep following you until my finger won’t take it any more. By the way, I have advanced up to Epiphone LP.

    • Dave Baer jr.

      Great analogy Griff ! I love your holistic approach ! I only got two years of music theory, grade 7 and 8, and had four different teachers during that time. Needless to say, I didn’t learn much starting in the middle like that.
      I started playing guitar in church by learning chords, but my goal has alwYas been to learn the fretboard to the point where I can play by ear. Also, without the theory it’s very frustrating trying to talk with musicians who do.
      Your free lessons even tbough I don’t practise as much as I’d like to, has improved my playing tremendously ! Your approach is clear, simple and fun :). Thanks so much Griff! You are a rewl inspiration and encouragement dave

    • Manny

      Hey Griff, I’ve been in music for the longest but never did anything with it, l’ve played in the school band,in a band,started guitar when i was 15yrs old,but never seriously and now that im at a age i picked up my guitar again no one show me the principle’s and understanding why one make’s music,and now with what i read and my life i think im ready to write and get down to it,so thanks again for the words of a true musician. And true the BGU’s are for me keep up the good work your fan,MPM

    • Donny D

      Hey Griff and friends. I really feel connected to your ‘guitar language’, even after this very short time being a part of BGU. I can relate to the analogy and actually have always felt that way about learning the guitar. Griff, I particularly enjoy the regular e mails, not only for the valuable information, but for the insight shared with us all. As an older ‘student’ of the blues guitar, I
      am thoroughly enjoying the experience of having fun and playing better every day! Griff, please keep doing what you are doing…thanks!

    • Michael Wilson

      ..well done – I think that is one of the most helpful comments I’ve ever heard about licks and so on – and I play piano, mainly – even more true on the keyboard. Once you crack the intention of the lick, it sticks in the mind.
      Thank you

    • Jim

      Thanks for the ideas. I’ve never thought about it this way. Sometimes I play (or try to) note for note and sometimes I embellish. Whatever I try if it doesn’t sound right it doesn’t happen.

    • Thaip

      Thank you for your blog, it’s really helpful and inspiring on the way to mastering guitar. Cheers!

    • rony

      Hi Griff,
      Happy new year and all the best wishes to you and your family!
      One of the guys I’ve played with about 28 yeas ago was a music teacher, he told me the same what you are talking about, we learn since we are in the womb through the years first sound words and it takes years to get it right even after all those years we still learning.
      I think every day that I learn new way new notes chords phrasing solo’s it makes me feel great about music, my brother give me hard time to play for him all the tracks that he compose and I have to arrange it till it gets somewhere he can let it sings by a singer or himself.
      As we always say the way it’s what all about.
      Rony Dvir

    • Gary

      Someone told me we know all the 26 letters we should be able to spell every word, but we don’t. The same with ours notes, we might know all of the names or numbers of the notes but until we understand how to spell that chord will we understand what 1 3 5 or 1 b3 5 really means.

    • pete travis

      I go back and forth on this Griff.Sometimes I try very hard to understand what the artist was thinkig when he wrote a song and why his riffs were played a certain way.Other times I just want to rip and make it sound great to myself and not give a rip about anything technical.I just wanna sound good!Like most guitarists-a little schichzoid huh?Merry Christmas Griff and thanks for all the great stuff.

    • ozzy

      “Tin Pan Alley”, now that’s what guitar is supposed to sound like. Don’t really have anything else to add to what you said because you said it all and said it right but I do wanna remind folks to listen to “Tin Pan Alley” if they need some inspiration. That’s the song to inspire you if nothing else does. Thanks Griff. Great job as always.

    • Tom Anderson

      I feel more comfortable making up my own licks and using other peoples’ licks as an inspiration rather than learning and memorizing them note for note (with a few exceptions). I hit a dead spot several years ago and couldn’t get past it, your emails have helped me immensly.

      Thank you

    • Kirk

      I am a GI from Veit Nam and just recently was diagnosed with
      PTSD. Your emails are doing a lot of good for me. I thank you
      Very much for your emails. I m sorry but I haven t been able
      to purchase any of your coarses but enjoy your emails. I am
      getting better and I want to thank you so much. God Bless
      and may you have a wonderful Holliday Season.
      Thank You, Kirk

    • Rique

      Hey! Griff!!!!

      Great way of putting it. It’s baby steps to success.

    • Sterling

      Hey Griffin, that was fantastically stated. I have listened to several guitar instructors, and picked up useful stuff, but Griffin the way you teach,explain, and your illustrations are far more helpful, clear and easier to follow. GRIFFIN, Thanks so much, “YOU DA MAN”

    • Cliff

      Griff that was a great example

    • Joseph McKenna

      Am half way through acoustic BGU that I ordered a few months back. Your lessons have filled in so many blanks for me on my acoustic.. Also, your online email short videos, keep em comming! My Yamaha AES620 and my yamaha amp THR10 are now begging for your BGU unleashed! Got me sold!
      Good work Griff!

    • John Millington

      Can’t add to’s absolutely spot on true. But you DO need to say it and reiterate it, because there’s still a lot aspiring axe-men out there who haven’t quite got that notion yet.

    • romo1948

      I like to learn the songs first so I can play something and feel that accomplishment. That gives me more incentive to learn. I also find myself improvising over the notes of the original. I understand where you’re coming from. I do want to know why I’m doing what I am but I just want to be able to play something when I pick up a guitar.

    • Mike Skyba


      Is it worth it to purchase the Riff Pro software where one can slow down the pitch/tempo of a solo and learn the solo note for note of the song, or is it better to put one’s own spin on it?

      Does the Blues Supplement course allow one to mix or flow the minor and major notes together so one is not trapped in playing the Blues scale boxes in order.
      I sometimes I feel that Iam trapped in playing solos by playing parts of box 1, then work my way down to box 2, then 3 and so forth.

      But Iam told I could start in box 1, jump to box 3, and on to box 4 or 5 and start again until the solo is done.

      Your recommedation would be greatly appreciated
      Thank you,
      Mike Skyba

    • Ron lawslo

      Great hearing from you!! trying to learn bass but, its slow. always enjoy your input. Catch you later.

    • Coot

      “Maybe” is correct Griff. Memorizing can’t teach you why the notes were selected by the composer. You have to learn the basics in order to instinctually be fluid in your playing. That is why I try to sit and warm up with scales so that it becomes “muscle memory” and reflex.
      I like to copy sometimes. But mostly I feel better interpreting. As long as it works.


    • Charles

      Griff, I had an idea, I remember trying to drill the little chords into my head. It was interesting to know then but boring as h… To stay with it. I was wondering if you could make up a up beat interesting lesson out of those chords in all the 4positions.


    • Charles

      Hi Griff, I’m just getting the second half of little wings down in my head and ready to practice playing it. I loved the approach of learning so much while at the same time making music.
      Do you have other such lessons? If so I’d be up for getting it.
      Thanks, I think your one of the best teachers on line, which are in general the best there is.


    • Ian Oates

      I take note of what you say and over the months i can now pick the right note when playing a known riff. Not all the time some are more complicated than others but anything around the Am pen is pretty much straight forward. Many thanks for all your help.

    • Kent Longaker

      I have been riffing for years, playing tab, and watching videos. I don’t play out but I love to sit and play just about every day. I learn something and then put my own spin on it. If I can’t feel it i can’t play it.I don’t have many rules in place for playing. If it sounds good i keep it if it doesn’t i work till I find what I like. P.S. Happy Thanksgiving

    • Peg Bishop

      I bought my first starter guitar in September, 2010 (age 57); bought an Ibanzez SA Series April, 2011. Started weekly private lessons January, 2011,and continue to this day, but started with a new really great instructor (Tim Bertsch) in Aug. 2012.

      I have learned so much from you, and really appreciate your emails. Can’t tell you how much I learn and enjoy your lessons.

    • Phil Mingin

      I was lucky enough to have had 8 years of violin and piano as a youngster (ages 6 to 14) and then play keyboards in a cover band in the late 60’s -early 70’s, but I was always a closet guitar player. Learning Theory and Harmony as well as sight reading at an early age has been invaluable to me when I finally decided to get serious and learn the guitar (starting at age 57!). My biggest challenge is knowing where the notes are on the fretboard and learning to play them at speed, but I’m coming along. Copying licks by rote is one thing; knowing where they go and why is another! As usual, you’ve hit the nail on the head.

    • Steve Allen

      You make an excellent argument for getting deeper into the fundamentals of soloing as opposed to just trying to cobble your favorite licks from half a dozen blues or rock guitarists in order to learn why certain notes are chosen in a solo and others not and how to assimilate that knowledge and incorporate that with the various lick patterns to create your own solos. Yes, as you said, that can be very, very time-consuming. I know because I basically got nowhere trying to learn how to play even the most rudimentary solos on my own. Once the internet came along, I half-heartedly tried to learn some solos from artists I liked, but still was not making much progress, and even worse, every time I would take the time to learn a specific blues lick, in a couple of weeks I’d have almost no recollection of it. Buying books to learn the “basics” was not any better, because I would get tired and bored with the dry information and technique excercises. That changed when I stumbled across you “play a complete blues solo with just 4 notes” video. It was easy, it sounded good and it was certainly not difficult to imitate. Then soon after that I came across someone talking about the BB King “blues box” and that really helped me to begin making serious progress. Then something I’d spent 45 years ignoring fell into place ~ I began to learn how to upstroke with my pick and not just downstroke with it. Suddenly my finger speed increased and I could then play riffs with pull-offs and trills and tweedlies. I am now able to play enough blues lead to really enjoy playing. To sum up, I think one key is to find something that appeals to you that is simple, yet is also a basic step in the knowledge to take another step forward. From what I’ve seen of your instructional videos, you are one of the few teachers who understand it has to be fun first, then the lesson behind the notes is more williingly digestible. Thanks to you I’m finally able to play some great blues licks and I also have the foundation to build on what I know. It’s just as soul-satisfying as I’d always imagined it would be when I’d watch somebody like Eric Clapton or BB King and could see how much they loved being able to express themselves and have everybody listening completely captivated as well. Hope some folks who are still struggling to “get it” get something from this. Keep seeking and you will find what you’re looking for!

    • Ross Treftlin

      Hi Griff.
      At 61, I’m glad to see your comments from my peers. I found out about basic music theory from trips to the library years ago, and had fun teaching a few friends. I had a piano at the time, and would show how scales were simple until leaving the C major scale on piano, but stayed simple on guitar. When they had their “ah ha” moment I would tell them to forget it and play your guitar. Now im filling in the blanks all these years later for myself. I love to improvise leads in the peak experience moment, where I’m no longer playing, but am being played. The first time, jamming with one other guitar and drums, I was playing with my eyes closed, very comfortably, but loved the rocking blues solos I was hearing. I didn’t want to break the spell, but had to look at what he was doing. It was freaky to see him playing chords to my lead. My guitar neck looked warped and twisted with random wires where strings had been. Over the years, I’ve seen pictures of players who seem to be listening instead of playing as they jam. I don’t know if that’s where you are leading us Griff, but I’m coming along for the ride. Thanks man.
      Ross Treftlin
      Calgary, Canada.

    • Kevin Butler

      Just wanted to thank you Griff for everything you’ve shown me, and the “baby learning to talk” analogy couldn’t put it any better about learning how, and why! Thanks again man

    • Ed

      That makes alot of sense. Thanks for the insight.

    • sam carruthers

      I agree and know that you are correct. I learn to play by setting in a circle with other musician and jammin. I can play with anybody. as long as they didn’t ask me what I did, ha. I was lucky to meet a man that taught me basic theory and was good cause I could then communicate with other jammers. I recently meet 2 high school music teacher that had no idea how to jam! If it wasn’t written out for them, they were lost. Playing music is about communicating your inner feelings. I think you must know both techniques to be a great musician. If you are just copying someone elses story, you have none to call your oun. Keep on jammin. You are a godsend to all us closet musicians. THANKS for your efforts

    • Derek

      Just to follow up on my previous post. Check out Bloom’s Taxonomy (of learning objectives) – on wikipedia etc – and consider how it applies to learning to play the blues.

    • Derek

      Totally agree that understanding music theory helps your learning/playing.
      Without much music theory knowledge whatsover (no notes, keys, nothing) you could still learn licks or even whole solos note for note by listening to the original recording and finding which string/fret each note comes from, then playing it over and over and over and over ……. until eventually its ‘in your fingers’ and can be recalled at any time. But how long would that take? …. and how long would it take to learn the next song? …. or make up your own riffs?
      If you know [and understand] for example, that a song is 12 bar blues [I, IV, V], swing feel, in C and a riff is in C minor pentatonic blues scale box 1, you can be much more focussed and learning is easier.
      An understanding of music theory also lets guys like Griff explain stuff to you more easily because you both understand the music dialog.
      If you know and understand the theoretical parts, as appropriate and applicable to blues guitar, you can apply that knowledge when ‘noodling’ and make yourself a better player.
      No denying it folks – you need the theory!!!
      But you also need heart and soul and emotion 8>}

    • Rex Hawkins

      You can play all the right notes and it yet, something is missing. I have some friends I play with that play songs note for note and it sounds good and even impressive. I’ve got a couple of friends that add that emotion that little something that makes it the song belong to them. Sometimes I just sit back and say wow where did that come from. Seeing this happen is what makes playing so much fun.

    • Farley

      Your so right dude

    • Jimi Martin

      Yep, you can learn almost any song note for note but the question that always used to come to my mind is “how do I incorporate some of those licks into other songs”? You do really have to know what chords that solo was played in. Then the whole world opens up before your eyes, guitar speaking that is.

    • essensian

      That’s a lesson for life.


      Thanks Griff,it is a very good job

    • Peter Watson

      That reasoning is sooo right, it also applies to virtually everything mankind does in its struggle to adapt to an unnatural environment. We get used to it, we adapt, we succeed or fail, we fall, we get up, dust ourselves off, and try again. We find crutches that suit us – suit the way we’d like to express ourselves; ever thought of the guitar as a crutch? Some people say “it’s a hard life, and then you die” – so what’s the point? You might go to heaven, you might not, if you couldn’t even play the blues right what makes you think you’ll be trusted with a harp? So what is this life about? Maybe it’s more about being unique – being who we really are, and doing what we’re really here to do as unique individuals, in a unique orchestra called mankind – on a unique and still beautiful Earth – instead of constantly seeking to emulate others who have done exactly their right thing, probably without thinking too much about what other people were thinking about what they were doing. Let’s BE. And thanks, as always, for the tips-and-tricks and guitar licks, much appreciated Griff.

    • dianna gibson

      Well I’m starting to adlib.isn’t that how bands and songs get togather? I love the inspirations. Thanks for doing a great job.peace out.

    • Bruce

      I love analogies! They have a way of making everything clearer!
      Thanks griff

    • Raoul Duke

      Sometimes when I am doing a solo, I feel I understand what was going on and I attempt to make the solo fit in. As I’m a beginner, I try to keep it simple and direct. I also try to play something that will “stand out” from the rhythm. I find a lot of this confusing so I go with my gut and experiment. I downloaded some backing tracks and I play everything into a portable tape player. Sometimes it sounds good to me and other times it does not. Other people’s opinions vary so we don’t all hear the same thing.
      Anyway, your videos and emails are most helpful. I just put one foot in front of the other until I get where I’m going.

    • kc

      Works! Yea, thanks so much, I look forward to participating. Just started the Blues Guitar Unleashed course and I am having a lot of fun with it. I talk it up with everyone I meet. This is a real service to all the guitarist wanting to play blues. I salute you Griff.


    • kc

      Trying to join in the forum, so this is just a test. Now for a second try

    • kc

      Trying to join in the forum, so this is just a test.

    • David Monson

      Griff, you hit the nail on the head. The best way to learn to solo and improvise is to learn the fretboard and the scales. Practice, practice.

    • Tommy

      I’ve been trying to get beyond just being able to play some songs out of a book for maybe 40 years now. I had dreams of being a professional musician when I was young, but couldn’t seem to get to where I could play what was in my head instead of just what was on the pages of some poorly transcribed music book. As a kid I had plenty of time to learn music but no money to take lessons. Now that I’m grown I can afford the lessons, but I can’t afford the scheduled time for them.

      Now that I’ve gone through most of BGU and a couple other similar courses, I’ve been going back and watching all the videos and trying to pull out everything I can about the theories of why things are played the way they are, instead of just trying to train my fingers to hit the right notes or bend the strings just enough. After all these years, I finaly feel like I’m starting to get somewhere.

      I probably have a couple of years to go before I aquire enough talent to get anywhere closed to being satisfied with my playing. but, I have to say, In the last 5 or 6 months of studying the why, instead of just the how of making music, I’m finaly making headway. As an example, last week after studying how the mixolydian (Did I spell that right?) scale is put together, I picked up one of my guitars and a binder of lyrics I’ve tried to write over the years, and actually put together a song of my own that’s similar to the style of Gary Moore but still all my own. It’s nowhere near as good as Gary’s stuff, but it’s far beyond anything I’ve done before.

      Griff, you couldn’t be more right in relating how kids learn a language and how we should learn to make music. I already feel like I owe you way more than the cost of BGU, for what I’ve learned so far. Now you just need to be talked into doing a course for us that’s heavier on the theory than BGU but in the same style of what you’ve done. I thank you, for taking me past the boring stuff I’ve studied before, to the direction I want my music to go. Keep in mind that when I get through with BGU, I’m going to want more!

    • Bob LeVangie

      If I play a lead break a thousand times (exagerated) I seem to have memorized the tune (lead tune) in my head and play a few different ways, but different ONLY cause I’v improvised in the beginning. My problem is making it sound appealing, I’m not convinced “enough” people really enjoy it, I sometimes feel if its not (my) kind of music I should just go back to drumming. My drumming Is easier I can always make the drums sound good, but I suppose as an older dude just lately really driving on “our own sound” and doing many leads, I’m almost threatened to make the guitar sound good. Thanks, your stuff is so good, Peace, radiobob

    • Dave Calhoun


      I really enjoy all the posts you make and save them all to my ‘guitar’ folder which is probably running out of room. There is one problem with this, being a beginner now at 67 and following the lessons of Blues Unleashed. I see many of the posts on licks and say to myself, “I can do that.” So, I move away from the video and practice a bit on the new lick and then back to the video.

      The problem is, as you have pointed out, I have several things I can do but don’t know how to string them together or what the next chord(s) should be to go with the lick. In short, I have all the pieces of a 10,000 part puzzle but have no idea of how to complete it. Aside from my personal drawback of not reading music (I read TAB) and being partially deaf from a war injury, I feel that there may be many out there like me. We want to learn but we don’t want to miss any of the videos that might have a trick or something we can use to help with the learning.

      What to do? What to do? Continue with the lessons and then start playing all the videos? Combine some of both and keep on plugging? I want to do more than just wish I could play like that. It’s probably why I like the ‘Porch Blues” so much as it is something I can point to and say, “I can play that!” It’s one of my warm up pieces after the scales to loosen up my fingers which are kinda short anyway.

      So, I’ve resigned myself to keep downloading the tips and trying to add them to the lessons. A good video would be ‘What Comes Next,’ taking a popular and easy lick and showing chords and/or fingering to complete the picture.

      An old, slow player – –

    • Rick Thomas

      I have come to a road block . I got as far as lesson 10 the texas shuffle can,t seem to play it . But i have been playing playing on the porch and another blues tune called solo 1 intro but having a bit trouble with the ending.

    • James

      I can’t agree more Griff, so many other things in life are the same. Weather you are baking a cake or straightening a bent and buckled car, you can do it by trial and error or you can follow the rule book and save a lot of time. We aren’t all master chefs or brilliant metal men. But if we understand the medium we are working with we are miles ahead. If you want to fly, learn the rules, want to play the blues intuitively, Learn The Rules. For me I have to be persistent and patient because I’m a slow learner without much time to spare so I’m struggling with the rules. It’s already worked for me in so many other things in life. Remember, it’s not what we have got that matters so much, it’s what we do with it that counts. Best wishes to all. James.

    • bernard

      Finding a way to get into another persons thinking is also very hard,and as most of the greats are gone how can you be sure of what they were thinking?

    • Shaun

      I decided a long time ago that simply learning licks & chords wasn’t enough. I knew the chords/licks, but had no idea where or when to use them. By learning the structure of the licks and chords and the twelve bar blues, I’m doing much better keeping things in context.

    • Terry

      The song is in E flat.

    • Michael Robinson


      This is my first post in this forum.

      As you explain things is exacly the same as i think and explain to my self and to others. So. It’s not a new thout to me. It’s realy the same with most things in this world, I think.

    • russell grice

      Hey Griff MERRY CHRISTMAS TO YOU AND YOURS Enjoy the Holidays

    • Tom Fassbender

      Griff, I purchased your Blues Guitar Unleashed some 5 months ago. Even though I’m 69 I still work so time is a big factor for me. However your course has given me a great deal of new information I never had before, and has opened my eyes to many new things that I am now learning.(licks, scales, etc.) Putting them together will be another challenge.

      Most of all I have found new excitement in playing guitar again. I am also playing with a couple of other guys now & this has helped with the ease of playing around others. I have wanted for some time to tell you how much your BGU course has helped me. Thanks so much!

      I am not very good with the computer so I haven’t been able to get into your member forum yet, but I will try to get there again soon.

      Thanks again,

      Tom Fassbender

    • Ian H McCallum

      Hi Griff,
      I dig what your saying. I have been playing guitar for 55 years, blues being my favourite genre.
      I have studied music for a long time and although I struggle reading music, I have found that a good knowledge of scales is most important when playing blues. I usually manage very competent solos just by employing pentatonic, mixolydian, dorian, lochrian and be-bop scales. Of course sometimes I struggle, but I can copy any style and at the moment I am studying jazz, which is still a bit of a mystery, but the guy who is helping me out reckons the most important thing is to know your scales. Its a bit like learning advanced mathematics – certain rules and algorithms apply. I continue to enjoy your emails, keep it up!
      Ian H McC.

    • Stanley Koskiewicz

      Learning to do music and become an expert definitely would require a lot of time, and hard work. On doing solos, that’s probably a real good idea, learn 2 or 3 songs, wire to wire until you have them mastered, play them so good, you can only gain confidence! That’s what I need to do! Right now I have been picking up my guitar, and have been trying really hard to just memorize the sounds I get, when I pick at all the strings, up and down, across, you name it, pressing on every fret, and using all my fingers, and I am trying to stay with just one guitar. The reason I have been trying this lately is, a theory I have realized. Just think of guys like Stevie Wonder, Ray Charles, and Jose Feliciano! They are totally blind, so they play by sound only, my theory is, if they can do it, why can’t other people do it? I have nothing to lose, I figure, if I can memorize all 6 strings up and down the neck, it sure can’t hurt, right? Just think, those 3 blind men have made millions of dollars, with their ears, and the touch of their fingers!? Doesn’t that make you wonder? (Stevie, where are you?)

    • John Stanger

      You are right Griff,music is a language that takes time to learn.I like using the cooking analogy:you can have all the ingredients for a recipe but you need to know how much to use and when to combine and cook them at the proper time so it will turn out the right way.When you get good enough, you can improvise and avoid following instructions from a book so that you can create something original.

    • Lanny B. Guthrie

      I agree with what you are saying. I’ve saved all your lessons and bought a guitar. I have just turned in my CPA license. I’m 74 years old.and always wanted to play a guitar. My dad F.B., (Finiston Brackston) Guthrie, was a musician, who played alto saxophone for a “famous” dance band in the roaring 20’s in Los Angles. I played first chair alto saxophone in the early ’50s at the Tipton, OK high school band, and really enjoyed it. My dad became a farmer, but had a whole drawer full of songs with words and music he had written. Dad was very efficient in mandolin, violin, and somewhat on guitar. My oldest brother played the guitar, while dad played the mandolin or violin. My brother got,these musical instruments when dad passed away in his 90’s,, which is proper. My twin brother and myself were the last in the family, child #6 and #7). I always
      wondered if dad was kin to Woody and Arlo Guthrie,but he wasn’t sure.Thanks.for all you do!LBG.

    • barry

      learning to play note for note is hard work to make it sound like a recording. for me i like to understand the chord structure and beat then you know where to go for the fills or lead

    • Mann X

      My dear friend

      I admire your playing techniques and music but unfortunately I am no longer in the position to continue learning due to my health incapacity and ages which unsustainable by me. All I need is to see a few of your style and it is enough for me to enjoy it. I appreciate your effort of sending your talent and expertise but I guessed it is more appropriate if you will send this for younger people or the same age as yours for this is only my hobby way back many years ago.

      Once again thank you

    • Charles Amara

      I agree with you Griff.

    • Brian Schumacher

      Andrew and Wyatt are right on target from my experience. I can tell you that it is a real challenge to progress without some type of program to follow. I tried it for ten years, it just didn’t work. So I got serious a year ago today. I took an online class from a friend of Griff’s on Penatonic scales for 6 months. After that I still really couldn’t solo and that’s brought me BJU. BJU made it happen for me. I worked out the solo’s then committed them to memory and quick as I could. I would practice the solo’s as I would scale patterns to develop muscle memory while watching TV unplugged so to speak. I connected the solo’s together ie 1&2, 3&5. At that point I am still copying Griffs work. Now after a lot of hard work that took allot of time this past year I am pleased that I am starting to develop some ownership of my soloing. With that said I feel that you need to learn phrasing patterns and commit them to muscle memory before you can really achieve personal ownership. Now its on to SBS and really digging my heals in.
      Thanks Griff

    • Wyatt E

      learning/working/duplicating someone else’s licks/riffs/solos is an excellent way of “peering” into what someone else was thinking/expressing,and in the process, you can learn those positions/movements…but,to duplicate the same expression/feelings that some other musician had when doing that stuff is next to impossible,so you make it your own,with your own expression…it’s all about windows…look through them,feel,express,and enjoy your own version…it’s always about learning new stuff…cheers…

      Wyatt E.

    • Andrew Mortimer

      After more than 30 years of tinkering around the guitar. The best way to play solo’s is to understand where yourt are going. Would you get in a car and try to drive down the street with your eyes closed. As silly as this may seem it is one of the most important things to know.So I say learn your keys, learn your positions ,YES all five major and minor, harmonic relevent, and study your chords, they hold the answer to whiich you seek. Thanks Griff

    • G. P. Wilson

      Morning and thanks for the info and help
      My struggle is TIME. I work three jobs and try to be a family man as well. I love playing the guitar but sometimes days go by before I can get to it, relax and play. I play mostly gospel music and would love to be able to incorporate some simple licks but I just can’t seem to know when and where to place them. I too have picked up different licks from other sites but they are just licks I don’t know when to place. I understand different licks depend on what key you are in but I am in a big struggle to go anywhere with soloing or simple licks. I do enjoy your emails and special teaching videos. Your way of teaching is clear, without being long winded and that I appreciate very much. I am unsure where to go from here but I will not stop trying to learn more. Thanks for all your help

    • Larry

      The analogy is very valid. I am still practising G7,A7,D7 from chapter 1. Do I need to be perfect to get to next page? Should I move on and come back to polish every other session?

    • Peter Reynolds

      Hi Griff,
      I have several guitar playing freinds who have that natural skill and ear to play solos with apparent ease but who are generous enough to share their techniques with a struggling mortal like me. I would just like to say that there is no substitute for hard work and practice. There are no real short cuts to playing well. I teach painting and can directly link the learning process of these two disciplines and often quote my guitar struggles and triumphs to my painting students to emphasise the need for constant hard work to improve skills. Playing a solo is like painting. You need to work on the basics then go for the masterpiece. And there is no greater triumph than a piece of your own original work after hours and hours of dedicated practice.
      I was also lucky enough to talk to the great Walter Trout after a gig in Sheffield. I asked him about his own attitude to playing. ‘Play from the heart’ he said, ‘ Hear what you want to say and let it come through your guitar from the heart, and enjoy, always enjoy’.

    • Alan Lee Wilson

      Another thing about copiing other players solos is you may end up sounding like those players where as if you don’t listen or copy other players you are more apt to develop your own unique perasonal style. This from a mostly classical player who likes to sometimes dabble in the blues. Alan

    • Georg

      I have been and is still in the process of teaching myself to play guitar. I’m 66 and played drums in a rock band in the early sixties but always wanted to play guitar but never had the time and also also cannot read music. Drumming was self taught and I started at a very young age i.e. 16 years. Obviously at that time The Shadows were big and we played many of their tunes. Until today those tunes are still stuck in my head and because of this I have chosen to play their music from tabs. This comes fairly easy because I know the tunes well but have nevertheless downloaded the tunes again and have also managed to download backing tracks. Obviously my aim is to first accompany the original track and ultimately play with the back track. Going about it this way, I often look at a diagram of the entire neck (which I have pasted on the wall in front of me !) to see what pattern the notes follow i.e to understand to method behind the tune and of course often when just noodling around I often find myself following a similar pattern and from there branch out further and eventually find myself making up a tune with notes from a familiar tune. In this way I have come to understand major scales and pentatonic scales plus I have have become more familiar with notes on the neck. This probably sound like a strange way to go about learning but at my age memory retention is a problem when I simply read stuff but I find with repetitive playing a tune it sticks a bit better and it also sticks for longer. So it’s a case of the brain telling the fingers where to go purely because repeating similar patterns on a regular basis. My practice routine therefore revolves around covering scale runs, run through every tune that I have mastered thus far and work through one new tune every night. Obviously because I am now retired I have the time to this. Hope you find my story of some interest and your comments/criticism is welcome. Finally I’d like to thank you for all the video clips and tabs that I have received from you. These are all downloaded and I often spend just one night during the week just going through your lesson/s that I have received. These have been very inspirational and I think you are a great teacher.

    • Roy


      62 just a child, I’m 73 have been watching your instructions for apx. 4 years thats when my boy told me heyyyyyyyy dad go buy a guitar like i did and we can play togeather and have some funnnnnnnn. OH————– BOY —– guess what, ya you are right . he lasted about two months, but i just keep on going. and know i am just having a ball playing that guitar he talked me into buying. i can run up and down the hole fret board in almost every key playing lead to the 12 bar blues fun fun fun. and GRIFF i would just like to thank you the most marty second and david third you are all great, for the guitar teaching industery. P.S. I read music notes not tabs, i personely beleave it is a better way to learn. O.K. enough i am going to go play my guitarrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr now Buyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy ROY

    • Kerry Briggs

      Someone once compared Blues to being like a musical gumbo……think about that……
      it IS………

      if blues is like a stew then there are certain musical ‘spices”(licks or favorite phrases) you might want to add…….

      not for their own sake- but because they fit-appropriately- and they make interesting and better what you are musically trying to say…….

      thats the great thing with our music(Blues)…..( which I have loved and played for over 40 years now…)….

      Like with a gumbo (or a stew) you can add to it………………make it whatever you want it to be……( thats the beauty of the 12 bar framework………. we have this framework we can do so very much with……)

    • Ed Arguijo

      So true. I needed to read this. I can learn a solo and it disappears in a day. I guess I need more fundamentals and practice.

    • Nev Chamberlain

      Hi Griff I am 62 years old and have been playing blues since I was 14, my point is that I an still learning SRV and many others were not available to me when I was young but I still their sound and want to learn it. I cannot read music and can’t play by ear so picking up Tab and watching videos is perfect for someone like me. Keep up the good work, keep the faith, and show us how it should be done. Nev

    • Andy

      I for one have rarely learned guitar solos note for note, perhaps because I haven’t been doing covers I mostly write my own stuff and have been doing so for over 40 years. Use to do covers when I was is bands as a kid but long gave that up. The interesting thing about the above discussion is that I totally agree with the theory.
      I have worked on constructing licks from my own understanding of music and it’s notes assembly. As a result if I’m asked to jam or participate in a cover song I will usually wing it. The result is never the same from one time to the next however it is usually much more from the heart and spontaneous which to me, anyways, far outweighs the mechanical attemps of replicating the tune as it was originaly done. Put yourselves in the shoes of the original artist he approached the tune with that same feeling, he did not memorize it from someone else, it came from the heart!

      Andy Levesque

    • John Bikadi

      Very good point Griff , I am a new guitar player taking lessons in my home town from a very good teacher like your self and get into many discussions like this as well .
      Some of my other Musician friends that have been playing for more than 30 years say to me as well
      that you can’t learn it In 3 months or 1 year, but it is a ongoing process to get to where they are today . But they all tell me they wished they would have stuck with the early on lessons because they feel they would be way further ahead today in the theory department . A lot of them did what you said they listened to licks played through trial and error and 30 years later I think there pretty decent players . I have learned so much by understanding the the key your playing in and how the licks apply to to where they fall on the fret board and why it has made my journey learning the guitar very enjoyable. I enjoy your e-mails you send to me and purchased some of the tools you have mentioned such as Riff master.
      And I would just like to say Thank you

    • Mike

      BB King said liten to everyone but don’t copy anyone, make the music your own. BB listen to all the greats that went before him as did SRV. They cetainly made their mark with therir own sound. I play Blues and play and listen to as many different guitar players as I can and take from them what I like and work into my own vocabulary. That way you are always evolving as a player and never risk boredom. After a while you will find yourself sounding like the music you listen to and love but with your own twist. Blues is about feeling and no two people feel the same way about what they listen to or play.

    • arthur chepil

      we were talking about this last night its the chords and note targeting that made him and he went outside of the box literally and figuretively to establish a sound that was different on the edge of jazz and blues i enjoy your stuff but i am just a poor pensioner may the blues be with you

    • Esar

      Thanks Griff, Good statement, however how do I say thank you in other languages? Here is what I mean: I start the blues scale in “A” on the 5th fret. Now I would like to move up or down the neck, staying in a same key. Where do I go next? I am not sure what fret or what my next move is. I do not want to remain in a same spot for ever. Can you offer some help please?

    • Chris

      Griff, I’m a professional writer, and you could just as easily say that copying someone else’s writing won’t give you the ability to write. However, reading lots of really good writing can make you a good writer – if you’ve got the desire to practice the craft.

      Same with guitar. I think it’s more important to LISTEN to really good guitarists than it is to imitate their parts. That is what will help you understand better the context in which they do certain notes, tempos, low vs high notes, etc.

      That said, I personally like learning individual pieces of solos – little riffs and runs and arpeggios that I can use as my vocabulary.

      I view individual notes as letters, not words. Riffs are words, and bends and hammer-ons and stuff are like the punctuation between them. Combining various riffs into a full solo is how I tell the story.

      Does that make sense? Or maybe I’m nuts! All I know is, I love to play.

    • David

      Nicely put Griff, thanks


      David Voss

    • Ed Scalise

      Hey Griff. I have been playing along time and have never became a riff master. I hold my own when it comes to open chords or bar chords. I have learned it means more if you can play a slower riff with meaning vs a fast riff just to impress without any feeling at all.
      I love the blues, and God has blessed my fingures. I do great bends, pull offs etc. I know I will never be SRV. All I want to be is Ed Scalise and make my own style. So unless your putting your heart into it like SRV, playing super fast licks do not mean a thing. I also write my own songs. I teach beginner guitar and play at various churches in which I provide the acoustic section with several acoustic guitars with good rhythm. And every now and than I play beautiful slow licks taken from Arpeggios. But I do have to say I have developed more speed.

    • Luther Redd

      You made that real cleal Griff, good point. I remember reading about it before.



    • aitie

      Learning tp play guitar well is really hard for most people. Very few become professional musicians but thats okay because the life style is probably not for most people.I have been playing two hours a day for 2 years, have made good progress but most of all I enjoy it. If you cant be a great guitarist go for originality or try song writing. A solid song is worth a hundred screaming guitar solos. Thanks,

    • Chaliq

      I think I know what you mean, sometimes I get the notes right but I can’t get the groove.

    • julius

      Hi everyone.
      I always wanted to play when I was a kid but my parents did not think I will keep it up, so I ended up starting when I was 25.Same as some other people who had some friend around who could play.I firs learned few chords and I was stuck on them for 15 years.Maybe because I was just to busy or just did not care.Four years back I smashed my index finger on the fretting hand and I thought that was it.I had only limited movement left in it.I thought to my self the best way to get it back to usable state is to play more.That was when I started to learn more about rules of music.I bought a book with lessons from beginners to advanced and started from zero.
      That is when I started looking up lessons on the net as well.That is how I came about you as well.These little few minute lessons or instructions made me understand music and particularly blues music better.I have found that learning licks and solos is a good thing but I still don’t play them exactly as they are played by original artists.Maybe I am just to dumb to remember or I just here them different.Lately I started playing to backing tracks and I got much better in short time.Now all the licks and solo parts start to fall in place and I can here when I play something in the wrong place or wrong time.I do agree with Griff that just playing licks and solos do not teach you when to use them but you have to start somewhere.If that is the starting point for you just keep playing and everything will fall in place like a big jigsaw puzzle.Thank you all.

    • Kevin Shone

      Hi Griff, first of all, thank’s for the excellent tuition, I really enjoy the lessons so far. After taking up the guitar after a long absence of playing, I found your lessons a great help. I am now 64, and although the old fingers don’t have the same dexterity as they used to have, I still get a great enjoyment out of my humble style of playing. I have been a blues fan for as long as I can remember, and alth ough I’m never going to be an Eric Johnson or an SRV, the secret I’d like to share with everyone is ENJOY WHAT YOUR DOING, we can’t all be riff masters, but we can enjoy our playing at whatever level. And of course, with a little help from a great tutor such as yourself, Hey, we can only get better!! Best Wishes, Kevin Belfast (Northern Ireland )

    • bob hackett


    • damian kelcheski

      when your guitar becomes a part of your heart and soul then you have somthing to say.

    • Bill

      I first took a liking back in the ’53’s to a guy named Josh White and when I saw him on some old music pics, I was taken on his sound and guitar playing! I’ve owned a guitar for many years now but was either too lazy to take lessons nor could I afford them I guess? I used to get together with a couple of mates who knew some chords and ‘blues licks’ and, altho’ I don’t read or understand music, I just copied what they were doing and enjoyed our little sessions together over time…mostly in the key of E…..we had fun anyway! I love your ‘blues’ licks and instruction, especially ‘Stormy Monday’ (one of my all time favs by the Allman Bro’s) and altho my hands and fingers are not dexterus as they used to be, it’s nice to be able to follow thru’ on what you are trying to to teach us? But age is now my enemy, I’m 81 yrs old and only wished you had a program I could watch and enjoy in my younger years? cheers, and keep up the good work? I’ll get to ‘Clapton’s’ level before I reach 100!

    • Astrel

      I like your lecture; it is very entrusting .Especially, when you say it all. However, I am never dream or want to be a guitarist, but I love the instrument when someone plays it classically.
      The sound of the guitarist brings much passion on m y mind for life and nature. I would love to play the instrument, the way it should but I am teaching myself .It will take me times and patient.
      There are many things, I don’t understand, one of them is the “G minor”. It seems like the setting of the notes; make it difficult to play with a full speed and the tonic required. You say it well.

    • Mike Prater


      Could not agree more. I took classical guitar lessons for many years and I have to say, theory was not my strong point. I think the reason I gave it up was that I was not enjoying what I was playing because I did not know why I was playing a particular passage or phrase. When I started your course I was determined that I was going to listen and make an effort to understand, not just how to play but why! I am getting a lot of pleasure from the course and its great that I now have the confidence to improvise some stuff based on your teaching.

      Best wishes


    • Paul

      I’m not confident enough to solo, but your great musical advice has drawn me into a small band. nothing outstanding (appart from the lead) but we’re all very dedicated. Thanks again for your help.

    • Jp

      This sound like the Suzuki “Mother Tongue” concept. Am I right?

    • Barry

      I couldn’t put it better than Ron Ekelson.Thank you Griff.

    • doc

      If you’re struggling with the whole solo thing … you know alot of licks but just pasting them together doesn”t work … then try a very simple trick. AUDIBILIZE. Even if you’re not a great singer, sing along with your blues records and hum the solos. When you go to solo just sing/hum it as you play and amazingly your voiice, brain,fretboard fingering all seem to effortlessly synch. Singling the note and fingering it become one easy motion. Your breaths become rests and your solos have a real emotive blues feeling.. Listen to a George Benson solo in which he does this … it really works especially for beginners. Don’t be afraid to sing along with your solos and start simply. Good luck.

    • marcel

      j,aime beaucoup parler avec des musiciens, , moi j,ai jouer beaucoup dans des clubs les fins de semaines , pour pouvoir manger, et j,ai beaucoup appris avec d,autres bons musiciens, qui jouaient du contrey ou du retro, , je jouais de la guitare ordinaire , maintenant j, 70 ans et je joue de la steel guitar pedals, mais le seule probleme qu,il a c,est que tout le monde veux avoir de la musique pour s,amuser mais personnes ne veux payer pour ça , Vous saver personnes ne regarde les dépenes que font les musiciens pour apprendre et pouvoir donner le plaisir aux autres en leur faisant ecouter ce qu,ils on appris ( les musiciens ) SALUT ET BONNE CHANCE A TOUS CES MUSICIENS

    • Angie Dankowrth

      I like this article. I have never been able to understand how an artist creates a solo… the baby analogy is very fitting. I guess I’ve got a lot of learning to do. But really, I’m not sure if I am really interested in soloing… I like accompanment and rythm section.

      Good article though

    • Ged 13

      Hi Griff,
      I bought BGU a short while ago and it turns out this might have been a bit ambitious. What I have done to keep up my morale is to look at soime tabs from a couple of my Rock & Roll heroes, Chuck Berry & Buddy Holly and also listening to the tracks. The result is that I can play a tune something like their originals, this has given me the confidence that I can play and progress with your course. You are absolutely right that you need to try to understand the “meaning” of what the artist is trying to put across.

    • James


      I was curious as to metal solo’s, I do a lot of metal solo’s with the pentatonic scale, with actually very minor distortion, so it sounds almost bluesy. I’m trying to make it a lot more bluesy, so what scales should I go through with?

    • Robin Sherrod

      Hello Griff,

      I agree with you and it’s very well said. I have enjoyed many of your teaching videos that you have posted. I love the Blues, but am trying to concentrate on nylon string flamenco style and some world music/ Cuban/Brazilian, old jazz standard accompaniment etc. but very much long to be able to improvise freely over any music. I very much admire your playing capacities, the tone of your teaching and playing and your natural, fluent, expressive free flowing way with your guitar. I don’t feel a lot of hype around your teaching which I very much appreciate.

      I agree with what you have written about learning to improvise, because I have spent so much time trying to figure things out on my own which has often been frustrating and felt like I was trying to invent the wheel. Living as I do in a remote valley in the interior of British Columbia Canada, it has been very hard to find someone except in Vancouver, and for 60.00 / hour. I miss having people that I can play and share ideas with and if I were studying electric or acoustic Blues guitar I would seriously look at taking your course.

      Even still you have been a help to me. I watched your video on mixing the major and minor pentatonic blues scales to get the authentic sound and feel – something I had not ever heard of, and then having already taught my 82 year old father the pentatonic scales for him to solo with over my 12 bar progressions, shared this new knowledge with him.

      Thank you,


    • chris

      If the person knows how to read music or tab, Why?? would they have a problem transforming the music….

    • Tramp

      I can play most any blues songs after I know what key it is in, but the blues are easy compared to trying to play songs with just tubs. I have been playing a little over 2 years and I have written so many tabs but without knowing the other stuff like using the music theory it doesn’t work. So now when I copy something I put everything. I wasted so much paper just writing tabs and not the rest.

      I am going to start recording my own stuff soon.. I don’t have all the equipment I would like to have but I have to start some where and with Band in Box and real player plus my computer I have a chance to see how I do.


    • vincent macino

      OK Then, griff, I took all your free lessons, and a few years of playing, and took them to the “King of the blues 2011” compititon at the sherman oaks guitar center, I didn’t do to bad. Out of 8 competitors, I think I came in around 4th. For the first time playing in public, I think I did OK, if I had taken your course I would have probably had done better. I will buy your lessons this year (2011) and I will take the store and reginal finals next year (2012),maybe even??? Thanks, your the best,(instructor that is),wish me luck

    • Ron Eskelson

      Hey Griff, Bought and Love your Soloing without scales. From age 7 til I went in the Army at age 19 I studied accordian from several levels of teachers til I finally ended up in an accordian conservatory. When I came home 7 years latter I fell in with a bar hoppping country and western group who needed a rhythm guitarist. Chord progression on the guitar is so married to the accordian that it was a snap. The base notes on the left hand side of the iinstrument are arranged in the circle of 5ths starting with C as the starting point and moving up G, D, A, E, B, Fs etc. and moving down from C is F, Bb, Eb, Ab. As you can see it was easy for me to learn a few chords and be able to jam with them. I learned chords by position and became adept at 5 and 6 string barre chords. I could cheat my way along quite well, I didn’t even know the notes of the fret board. What I couldn’t cheat was myself. I wanted more but didn’t know where to get it. I couldn’t find a teacher that wanted anything more than to ‘teach’ simple single not tunes, pat you on the back inorder to bring you back the next week. I had had a belly full of that while playing accordian. I had gotten good enough on the accordian to play on TV, Eugene Jelesniks talent show, things like Sabre Dance, Flight of the Bumble Bee, I’m not trying to blow smoke, this really has a point. The songs I learned were simplly memorized note for note, and if my mind drifted while performing I was compltely lost. I couldn’t even fake it because I had never been taught any of the thingw that you are teaching. I’m 66 now and know more about music than I had learned in 65 years. I had talent or I would have never gotten as far on the accordian as I did, but it frustrated me so bad I sold my $6,000 Iorio Accorgan and haven’t touched one since. MY POPOINT IS: The most talanted person in the world needs direction in order to channel that talant. To not find someone like Griff to do that is to waste over 50 years stumbling around as I did. It is very satisfying if nothing else, to be able to understand what I was only able to memorize and mimic before. Thank You Griff a million times to take the time to share your knowledge and to take the time to make it understandable. Money alone is not enough to inspire you to do what you do so well. The love you have for the guitar and music in gneral must be the driving force that allows dummies like me to to take advantage of your hard work and dollars spent at college for so little. Every once-in-a-while there emerges a true “Giant” in their chosen field and I take my hat off and salute you. Once more allow me to say Thank You!

    • Lloyd Misener - The Wheaton Band

      Greetings Griff and fellow musicians. Normally I don’t comment too much on other folks stuff but I was a bit disturbed about the posting previos to my last where there is a lot of talk about “talent”. I get that some folks are playing piano or guitar at age 3 BUT talent is not going to get you where you want to go. When I was last in Nashville there were so many “talented” guitar players everywhere that it occurred to me that 1 in maybe 10000 will ever get a chance to record on a label and 1 in a million will make it. Sure there are “technical” guitar pickers BUT I say this..we all have talent. Some more..some less. As long as ANY musician follows a guy like Griff and does the hard work and sweat then they will take WHATEVER talent they have and magnify that a thousand fold.

      If having GREAT talent was the key to success in playing great blues guitar and only the so called “talented” folk got results then great teachers like Griff would never sell a course. The so called “talented” folks using your theory would not need the course and no one else would ever be able to play a Bm chord.

      There are a lot of great recording artists on labels but only one Eric Clapton. But heck, even the lesser “talented” muscians than Clapton make more money and are truly awesome pickers and write and make incredible music..

      I say…it is about learning it correctly from a guy like Griff and then it is practice, practice, practice and ANYONE with the dream will find that inner “talent”.
      What say you , Griff???

      The Wheaton Band – Lloyd-rythm guitarist (with I dunno how much talent but who played and practiced and still does until my fingers are cut at times and folks seem to come out to hear us)

    • The Wheaton Band - Lloyd-Rythm Guitar

      Greetings Griff,

      I agree with your comments and if I read it corectly it is about learning the “why” behind the music and what notes etc. you are playing. Frankly, I think your approach is the way to go. In your lessons I have learned riffs etc which give me the basic “fodder” to move forward and also I get the “why” this sounds like this or how to progress by delving deeer and having a good solid grounding upon wich to build. My personl experience with guitar is that we all seem to begin with a couple of chords (wow I can play a simple song) and we learn and we move forward to more comlex pieces based upon an increased knowledge of ‘what we are really playing’. I remember when I started and I could knock off quite a few songs and then I joined a band and the lead guitarest said, hey guys lets try this in Em instead. Huh??? I get it Griff. and I agreewith your comments.
      Thanks for all of your lessons, They have helped me progress.


    • Fernando Bodi


      I agreed with most of comments above and also your post. I haven´t had the chance to buy your course, but I am following up your tips, as well as others, had private lessons with excellent teachers in the past, etc. For sure we all will agree that practice is one of the key points; knowledge is another one. But I have to say that there is one more that nobody talks about, but I think that everybody knows which is: Talent
      Unfortunatelly talent is something unique that just some persons have. Don´t misunderstand me. I am pretty sure that everybody can play fairly OK an instrument with practice (willpower) and knowledge, but just some are really good and eventually succeed and be famous (also be lucky to be discovered!). In other words, there are 3 keys and most of us can have 2, the third one (Talent) is a gift for some chosen ones. There are many known musicians that are so talented that they didn´t even study how to play a guitar, and can play 100 times better that anyone with large number of years of classes and theory. What about those who can play incredibly good several completely different instruments, like: drums; guitar and piano??? They cannot even have de day practice time for 3 or 4 instruments. How they can be that good?? Because they are talented. Period. The rest of us can have some good time playing alone or with friends, or even make some money in a night pub, but we would never be able to reach that level of excellency. But it is OK to try different courses, tips, videos and practice our hobbies and most importantly, have fun with them. So next time you start getting frustrated or mad because you cannot reach that note, or cannot solo at the speed you should, or you cannot compose a touching song, let´s face it: You don´t have the talented needed. Let´s have fun and don´t get mad, there is anything you can do about it…. just listen and admire those talented musicians…. My best regards

    • Mike Hebert

      I couldn’t agree more. I have only been taking lessons for a year and a half. I sometimes get frustrated with my seeming lack of progress. My wife gave me Keith Richard’s autobiography for Christmas. There is a passage that really puts things in perspective. When the Stones were in their infancy they all lived in a shabby little flat. They would spend all day listening to records trying to nail the licks of their heroes. This was almost 24/7 as they, unlike most of us, didn’t have day jobs. What dedication to the craft! It made me realize that the 5-10 hours a week I put into learning the guitar was going to yield pretty slow results. Therefore I can really appreciate the tips you offer online, and effort my instructor puts into developing not only my technique, but the theory behind what we play.

      Jam on Bros.

    • Alvaro

      Thank you once again my friend! I think my guitar unleashed has arrived now, just need to get home and check! Great to read about this, will definitely keep it in mind for my future playing! Thanks a million!

    • Austin

      Hi Griff
      Firstly can I say that as being someone who did’nt pick up a guitar until I was 62 years old (that was a year ago) how much i enjoy dipping into your lessons. I find the baby talk analogy very true, and I suppose I am still at the “go go go da da da” stage of talking. But I am building up my vocabulary quite well now, and have ambitions to be rocking away in a Band when i retire from my job as an Aerospace Engineer next year.
      What I have got into is learning the music theory,and wanting to have the ability to sight read music. Allthough it takes me away sometimes actually practising playing the guitar, I think that ultimately it will speed up my progression to being an accomplised player (I dream!). The time I have to practise is pretty limited at the moment and I do not have the luxury of spending hours strumming and picking. But when I cannot pick up my guitar, I will pick up a book on guitar music theory, It does help.
      I have a very wide range of tastes in guitar playing music, from Clasical to Heavy Metal and Blues.

    • Richard

      Hello Griff,
      I have playing guitar since I was 18 years old not all the time though. Life is like that you know what I mean. I decided to make guitar one of my interest because my friends I hung out with also played know it was a 70, 80’s thing with Bob Dylan, Alice Cooper, Neil Young, Beatles, Crosby Stills and Nash, Eagles, Jackson Brown, Dire Straits, America then Queen, the Traveling Wilbury’s, Men at Work, and so many more. I loved the guitar style with Roy Orbison and Buddy Holly tunes but would go into a day dream listening to Mark Knopfler lead guitar and still do.. My biggest dream was to be lead guitarist in a band (still not happened) however I can still have fun picking out root notes in the mean time. I am 50 this year..maybe I get there by 60..I hope.

    • Neal G

      Hey Griff I enjoy getting your e-mail with the short lessons. I wish that I could afford to purchase your complete lesson plan but right now I’m so broke that I have a hard even paying attention if you know what I mean. But keep the e-mail coming that’s probably going to be able to pick up some of your great short lessons. I wish I could play even half as good as you. I see what you mean by how to play the licks in simple moves. I haven’t gotten close to being able to play them with blues songs. I have another problem and that is playing complete songs, I guess I could if I had the material to practice them I could , but I don’t have the material to do so. Maybe eventually I with Gods help I might be able to purchase your lesson pack.

    • Barney

      I want to thank you for sharing your musical knowledge with the rest of us. As a fifty-something guitarist trying to pick up where I left off many years ago, I like the visual demonstrations and the printed tabs, which are very helpful for me. I continue to search for the best way to learn and find that to be the most challenging for me. I have too many books and find myself getting overwhelmed and frustrated as I try to make up for time lost over the years. As a busy individual, I don’t always have a great deal of time to practice and need to make what time I do have as productive as possible.

    • Dan Kaufman


      I absolutely know that what you say is true. For me right now I struggle with how to decode a piece or a solo in the way that you mention. I’m making great progress with your lessons and I’m sure that this will come but I don’t have a roadmap for making sense of all that in a systematic way.


    • Paul


      I bought your video lesson with the jam track and I really am learning a lot. Have a little problem: I have broked my high e string three times. It is a No. 9 and today I am taking my guitar to get it looked at. Is that common?


    • Wassilij

      Hi Griff
      I fully understand your point but …
      In my youth I was lucky to meet Django Rheinhard´s younger brother Schnuckenack. As his brother he was, musically spoken, an analphabet but he could play anything on his violin. He just felt what he had to play and his natural feeling and understanding of harmony and rhythm told him what to do when in his playing.
      Anyway, I think you´re doing a great job with all your lessons and I´d like to thank you for all your effort and time.

    • john sweeney

      i would love to learn some more great stuff, thanks!

    • Rob

      I think learning a solo from another guitarist note for note, such as the “4 note solo” is a way to help get creative juices flowing. Phrasing comes from within the guitar player over time, while copying the skills of others is a way to learn and boost self confidence.

    • brian jeffs

      when i was learning to play as a teen i had no idea what chords were or where .
      then one day while at my sisters house i saw a man walk past with guitar under his arm, so i ran out the door and cought him up,i asked if he would show me how to play and he replyed yes come to my house in the week, so i went and he put down on paper some chords with words of where to change to the next chord,
      that was fine,the song was i remember you by frank ifield long time ago. now after a few different songs he put down on paper i got the gist of it and could learn a song from a record LP in a day or so,so i went on to have about 100/to 150 songs whitch i played for a number of years and then i bought a farm and stoped doing gigs. so then i retiered and thought i would do it all again but as i could never read music and nither read tab i was stumped as the abilaty to work out the songs i wanted to play i couldn’t work out the chords or the tab and when i tried to play them they didn’t sound right, the moral is that you need the dots or at least tab at a younger age to be able to carry on playing as you get older if you want to have a second go at iti still can’t read music and only just read tab its like learning from the start but i have determination and drive but how long for remains to be seen.let this be a leason for the younger ones.yours brian.

    • Garry Blanton

      Hey Griff, Thanks much for all of the help. I am finally starting to put some things together, and I am really looking foward to the kickstart blues soloing videos. In fact, I’m about to go to the first one right now. Garry…

    • hp laserjet 4250

      Respect to article author , some excellent information .

    • Lou

      I’m in the same boat as many of the people here. I can hammer out any rhythm, but my solos sound like crap. I have learned the scales, the chords, the chord progressions, the modes, what notes fall on what frets of each string, the locations of alternative chord formations, and many other guitar theories, I tend to have a difficult time wailing out an improvised solo. I look at it like learning a new language. Just because I know that Ocho Rios means Eight Rivers doesn’t mean I know how to speak Spanish. But practice makes perfect and I’ve learned two things: 1) metronomes help learning solos be lesser of a task as you can get each note and cadence down to a science; which has made my solos sound and feel more fluid once I’m up to the right beats per minute, and 2) the best inspiration for improvisation is the spur of the moment; where for some odd reason I may be thinking of a scale, mode, or chord progression, and all of a sudden a melody flows out…may not be an award winner, but at least I have that in the back of my mind, or on a sheet of paper just in case I want to revisit that riff again and modify it. Your material has been very helpful. I look to learn more from you.

    • jbl control

      its superb as your other posts : D, regards for posting .

    • fantastic 4

      I am glad to be a visitor of this staring blog ! , regards for this rare information! .

    • Bob Perrone

      Completely agree, I started playing when I was 8 years old and took lessons from the start with a very talented guitarist named Al Firaldi. Great jazz player. Learned theory, technique and immersed myself in learning styles and as many different genres of music as I could sink my teeth into. Stuck with the lessons for 10 years until the day came when Al told me that there wasn’t any more he could show me unless I wanted to learn classical guitar which, at that time, was not my interest. I reach back all the time when improvising, using all the little bits and pieces scattered inside my fingers from the past and it just takes me where I want to go. Sure you learn licks and solos from others, that’s how you get ideas and incorporate them into your style.

    • pizelle

      some really good blog posts on this internet site , thanks for contribution.

    • sennheiser hd280

      I very glad to find this website on bing, just what I was searching for : D besides saved to my bookmarks .

    • RichS

      Troy, the free short lessons are from the course. Try the course again but keep at it, everyday, try not to get frustrated, imagine yourself “getting it” and it will happen. Good Luck.

      Any BGU students in New Jersey?

    • Catalina Distefano

      You have observed very interesting details ! ps decent internet site .

    • troy

      Dear Griff, I had returned the blues guitar unleashed, as this was almost a year ago, and i got lost right away, on the strumming techniques, but your free, short lessons, thereafter, I could follow your videos, much better, so if you could keep sending free clips, i would appreciate it, and if you have any new material to order please specify the price, and i’ll see if i can afford, thanks Cliff, your friend and student, Troy Fazzio

    • TMichael

      Good Job Griff; as normal;
      I think any tune you learn you have to put yourself into it. You can learn all the Clapton or SRV you like but it is still their riff’s and music. You just copied it. A person told me a long time ago that you can learn all the licks and riffs you want; but what do you have then? A pocket full of licks that you will forget or don’t know how to use. Gotta get down to the basics.
      Great post, loved it.

    • Louann Juarez

      Good job! I believe you have done ones research right here.

    • Catherine

      Hi Griff and other members! I just ordered Griff’s program…Blues Guitar Unleashed – I am so excited about learning….I have been following his videos for awhile – okay so I am an old lady that loves electric guitar – Griff is my Hope – LOL…I started playing when I was 12 and that was over 40 years ago… and never got beyond the basic chords then learned barre chords from Griff’s free videos – what a world that opened up for me! My biggest challange is learning to use a pick because I am so use to picking some (took some classical lessons) with my fingers…so coordinating that is a little hard for me. But – I figure if I use my fingers on electric guitar – so what ..right?! As far as guitars – I have an Amercian made stat and I love the sound…but it is really kinda big for me (heavy) so mostly I am playing a Daisy Rock as the neck is slimmer and just easier on me.
      I am sure I will be asking you folks some questions as I go along!
      Thanks so much! C

    • Wayne Majors

      Enjoy your insights and want to practice some of your licks! We are so busy gigging lately that I have a hard time finding time. I appreciate the writer who suggested setting aside time before bed to practice. That will work for me! Thanks!

    • Kevin

      Think it was Henry Ford who said” you think you can, or you think you can’t. Either way you’re probably right.” Never thought I could learn to play guitar, but last year around my 56th birthdayday I traded a sailboat for a 12 string. Talk about jumping in! But my friend who started playing a year before got suprizingly good in a year, and he encouraged me to give it a try. After about 14 months, I am able to read tab, learning to read music and starting to sound pretty OK. I try to play a least an hour a day. Practice is essential. Play every day. Turn off the TV and play.
      Your analogy of the baby is a good one. I had NO musical training, no ear, no talent, no musical framework to hang anything on, and did not believe I could ever play anything. But once I started thinking hey, maybe I can play, I stuck with it and I am thrilled with my progress. Talent is a nebulous thing. Certainly there are child prodigies, but for the rest of us it is a matter of putting in the time, of which we all have 24 hours every day, building a framework, reading about music and musicians, and getting pointers along the way. Keeping your guitar on a stand where you can just pick it up and play 5 or 10 minutes before you head out the door in the morning is a great tip somebody gave me and more before you go to bed. Your brain does rewire itself. Practice at least a little every day
      So Griff, Thank YOU! You have been an inspiration along the way. Keep up the good work!

    • Vic

      I’ll never be a great guitarist or maybe not even a good one. I believe that all ‘good’ guitarists do have something in common. I believe they have a natural talent that they were born with. Having said that, I’ve played guitar for many years now – on and off, and I’ve had hours and hours of enjoyment along the way. And that’s the bottom line I think. If you enjoy your instrument and your music, that’s what counts. And isn’t it great when something comes together. Many years ago a friend and I recorded some songs using just a radio cassette recorder and a couple of mikes. Very crude. Nothing sophisticated at all and just for our own amusement. I still have the recording and often play it and think yes, that really wasn’t bad at all considering our lack of talent and equipment ! I’m quite proud of it in fact. So stick with it and enjoy. It’s well worth it.
      By the way, thanks for the inspiration Griff.

    • norm

      Good one Griff i have never thought of it like that before,just hope i can work it out anyhow many thanks for what you do your the best iv’e come accross.all the best norm.

    • John Dewey

      Thanks Griff!

    • Pete Galand

      Love your teaching videos God bless you

    • roger

      hey griff;
      there is so much truth to what your trying to say and the funny thing is if i dont get what you play or cant quite figure something out or not fast enough to do certain parts long as im in the same key and do what im capable of doing it dosent sound that bad! lol remembering every note to a song is not a bad thing but if you can play along with the big guns with your own feel is not a bad thing either! ya i got alot of slang so to speak in my playing but who speaks perfect english all the time? lmao i love clapton & santana & hendrix & so on but i just want my own signature sound as bad as it may be right now but its coming from a basement warrior which 95% of us are! we play to feel good about ourselves! well i do anyway! compliments are priceless!!! thanks so much!!!! roger in toronto ay! lol

    • Don Heywood

      Great stuff, Griff. Well said.

    • tommy kearins

      very profound and inspiring. Things I think you only realise after playing for a long time. To instill this into a begginer would be difficult but not impossible. You have a fantastic grasp on the mentality of playing. mechanicaly and mentally is always hard to combine, but thats down to the individual. As with everything its all new, after a period of hard work and experience it becomes fabulous.
      Playing guitar is something you earn but it pays you back ten fold.

    • Ilia Todorov Iliev

      Dear Griff, many thanks for your attention to me. I read very carefully all about guitar playing and soloing every time I get information from you, but I can not afford buying your perfect lessons no matter how much I want them. I am from one of the poorest country in the world and here most of us are very hard up people. My country is called Bulgaria and it is in east Europe. So excuse me. I can assure you I respect you and your useful work and exactly the way you tread all guitar players. You are right of everything you wrote above but I go the hardest way of learning soloing rock and blues reiterating endlessly the songs unfortunately. So good by now. Truly yours Ilia.

    • Clayton

      You are an awesome teacher! that is totally true!

    • Dave Spitz

      I’m fairly accomplished at playing rhythm but my problem with playig lead has always been where is it right to start at and where to start it in a song especially one I am trying to write?

    • Ralph (Vito) Medeiros

      I like the sound clips you send me with you playing the guitar, I helps me alot to learn the riffs thanks again, Vito

    • gary hill

      Dear Griff,
      First of all I would like to say that the lessons that your giving for free must come from a good heart. It has helped me out greatly.I’m just a poor musician trying to learn all I can. these “other people” lust lure you in and bang, they start asking for money.I’ve been playing a long time but through the years I’ve picked my guitar up and put it down. Abig mistake,but right now I’m into it 100% I’n fooling around with Jazz right now but your lessons are still a great help to me.I want to say thank you for not being greedy. your great Gary Hill

    • Chris Parkes

      Hi Griff, I know exactly What you mean when you spoke about learning solos note for note not necessarily leading onto learning to improvise. Although I am trying to learn Bass I find your site very helpfull . Initially I was learning the bass notes to a lot of songs but I wasn’t learning to play Bass as a Backing instrument, Iwas not getting into the groove and improvising etc .I don’t have a teacher ( yes I know I should ) so it took awhile to realise that I could not learn the bass notes to everything I wanted to play. My ambition is to be able to improvise and Jam to a lot of different music. My advise to your students is ” don’t get hung up on trying to learn note for note every song or tune they want to play. Regards from Chris in South Australia.

    • armando martinez

      Thank you for these words i want so desperately to be able to learn to play lead guitar i have been playing for a long time and i struggle to pick up solos by ear

    • Roger Hurst

      First thing is to learn to talk (play) like everyone else.
      If I talk (play) often and long enough, I might create my own language (style).
      I should have taken lessons long ago.

    • mike a.

      good points-
      i only want to say “Thank You” are only two words.. i know, a lot for any baby
      solos, are vast and can be short or long..
      imagine all the notes ever played by musicians since the beginning.. they are like the endless passages of the cosmos !

    • Bill Elmer

      I’ve always watched and listened to persons playing piano, guitar or mandolin and learned to play by that method. it does work well up to a point.
      45 years ago a chord book and records were about the only thing going. Most teachers didn’t get the way I hear and learn. With the advent of DVD’s and tabs such as Griff has out, I said “self” go the whole way and cut the wasted time.
      Some things are going to work on your own, others you just can’t pull out of the air. Technique, short cuts on learning the finger board and etc.


      hi, griff im ricardo i want to buy someting about the blues soloing. can you pls send me a message how to order by a credit card. big thanks .

    • Kevin

      I have to agree 100% with this. Although I also find the reverse is true in my case. I learned every bit of background I could on scales, modes, chord structure and harmony, but now I actually have to go back and learn some full songs note for note, just to increase my vocabulary. I’m the guy that can tell you every interval, in every chord, analyze a scale to chord relationship, tell which chords work over which scales, and vice-versa, but I’m vocabulary weak. I need way more phrases, sentences and full on novels of music to really become an excellent musician. Although I can jump up at any blues jam and wail with the best of them, and I even know why I’m playing the Mixolydian, Dorian and Ionian modes over a 12 bar dominant blues, and when, to play each (the great major/minor mixup), I still need to learn dozens of actual recognizable riffs and songs. Wouldn’t hurt to work just as hard at singing either. I find people really do care way more about that.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.