Jon MacLennan


How to play Lonely Stranger Eric Clapton Guitar Lesson

fingerstyle Jul 04, 2023

Improve your fingerpicking with this guitar lesson on how to play “Lonely Stranger” as recorded by Eric Clapton. 

This song is a unique hybrid of rhythm & blues, piano-style gospel chord progressions, and fingerpicking. 

Lonely Stranger" is a heartfelt ballad featured on Eric Clapton's iconic "Unplugged" album, released in 1992. The song showcases Clapton's ability to evoke deep emotions through his soulful guitar playing and heartfelt lyrics.

As part of the "Unplugged" session, "Lonely Stranger" stands out for its intimate atmosphere, recorded live in front of a small audience. The song reflects themes of longing, isolation, and the struggles of being a wandering soul in search of connection.

Clapton's delicate fingerpicking technique and subtle chord progressions contribute to the song's melancholic tone. In this post, I’ll share insights into his guitar style, and break this tune down step-by-step.

What key is Lonely Stranger in? 


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5 Beginner Fingerpicking Blues Licks

fingerstyle Jul 01, 2023

When it comes to playing fingerstyle blues guitar or just fingerstyle guitar in general, one of the most important areas to develop is the fingerpicking hand thumb. You want to focus on independence with this finger. The more a player develops this the more full sounding they are able to play. It takes time, but step-by-step is the best way to put this together.

In this post, I want to share with you 5 beginner fingerpicking blues licks. Each lick can be practiced like a fingerpicking exercise and will help you develop this exact type of thumb independence. 

This style has been used in the blues by many great players like John Lee Hooker and Hubert Sumlin, to even rock n roll musicians like John Fogerty with CCR. Have a listen to tunes like Suzie Q. or Green River to hear this style in rock as well.

Playing this pedal tone blues style is a captivating technique that adds depth and character to your blues playing. By maintaining a steady bass note (pedal tone) while...

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How to Play Suspicious Minds on Guitar

fingerstyle Jun 29, 2023

Ready to ramp up your fingerstyle guitar and add an awesome crowd-pleasing song to your setlist?

Well if that sounds fun this "Suspicious Minds" guitar lesson is the place to be.

So grab your guitar, tune-up, and let’s get started!

Who wrote Suspicious Minds?

"Suspicious Minds" was originally written and recorded by the American songwriter Mark James. After his first recording of this song failed commercially it was picked up by Elvis Presley. Presley’s version reached No. 1 on the US Billboard charts one year later in 1969.

Suspicious Minds Guitar Chords

To play the majority of the song you’ll just need 5 chords. This will get you until the bridge which we’ll discuss more on that later in this post. The 5 chords are G, C, D, Bm, and Em.

Each of these shapes I would play as bar chords. This is going to set you up for success to build more rhythm and the riff of the chord shape later.

Here’s how I would play each of these shapes.

G would be played at...

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How to Play "Roadhouse Blues" by The Doors on Guitar

blues Jun 27, 2023

In this post, I want to share with you how to play in the style of “Roadhouse Blues” as recorded by the Doors on guitar. This song is a unique blend of fingerstyle guitar, blues, and rock n roll. You’ll discover how to play the main riff, blues patterns, rock rhythms, and even some soloing using the blues scale. So get tuned up and let’s dive in!

Who wrote Roadhouse Blues:

"Roadhouse Blues" was written by all the members of the American rock band The Doors: Jim Morrison, Robby Krieger, Ray Manzarek, and John Densmore. It was featured on their 1970 album Morrison Hotel. It was one of the band's most popular and enduring tracks, known for its energetic blues-rock sound and captivating lyrics.

The origin of "Roadhouse Blues" can be traced back to the band's early days of performing live in small clubs and venues. The Doors often played in intimate settings where they experimented with various musical styles, including the blues. The song's title and lyrics...

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How to Play “Sweet Home Chicago” as Recorded by Freddie King on Guitar

blues Jun 21, 2023

Who else wants to add a great blues standard perfect for jams to their repertoire? 

Today I want to share with you how to play Freddie King’s version of “Sweet Home Chicago.”

This song is so fun to play with friends or call at a blues jam. In this post, I’ll walk you through Freddie King’s version. We’ll cover how to play the chord progression, rhythm patterns, licks, plus we’ll even dive into soloing and a classic King-style blues turnaround. So get tuned up and let’s play!

Who Wrote Sweet Home Chicago?

"Sweet Home Chicago" is a blues standard that has been recorded by a lot of artists over the years. The song is originally credited to Robert Johnson. Johnson was one of the most influential blues musicians of all time from the Mississippi Delta. He first recorded "Sweet Home Chicago" in 1936 during his legendary recording sessions in San Antonio, Texas.

The origins of the song can be traced back to earlier blues compositions....

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How to "Yer Blues" by The Beatles on Guitar

blues Jun 20, 2023

Hey Friend!

There is nothing quite like John Lennon’s raw and edgy vocals singing a blues tune. So today I want to share with you how I play "Yer Blues" by The Beatles on guitar.

This is a raw and soulful blues-rock guitar tune. And in this blog post, we'll explore the chords you need, 12-bar blues, riffs, and even some time signature changes. So get tuned up and let's dive in!

Who wrote Yer Blues?

"Yer Blues" is a song written by John Lennon and credited to Lennon-McCartney. It was recorded by The Beatles for their self-titled album commonly known as the White Album, released in 1968. The song originated during The Beatles' stay in Rishikesh, India, where they were attending an advanced Transcendental Meditation training course with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.

The song's origins can be traced back to a moment of frustration and homesickness experienced by John Lennon during their time in India. Feeling isolated and longing for the blues, Lennon wrote "Yer Blues" as a...

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Learn How To Play "And I Love Her" with this Guitar Lesson

fingerstyle Jun 18, 2023

If you're a Beatles fan, you know that the iconic band has created some of the most unforgettable tunes in the history of music. One of these tunes is "And I Love Her," a song that has captured the hearts of millions with its beautiful melody and romantic lyrics. 

If you're a guitar player, you might have tried playing this tune before, but finding the right chords and techniques to master it can be challenging. That's why I’m here to help! 

In this guitar lesson, I'll take you through the steps to master "And I Love Her" on the guitar. From the basic chords to the fingerpicking patterns, I'll break down the song into manageable sections, so you can learn and play it with ease. 

So, grab your guitar, tune-up, and let’s get started!

Who wrote And I Love Her?

"And I Love Her" was written by primarily Paul McCartney however it is credited to the Lennon–McCartney partnership. The song is the 5th track of the album A Hard Day’s Night and it was...

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How to play the Blues Scale on guitar

blues Jun 17, 2023

Ready to unlock one of the most powerful guitar scales that you can use in millions of songs today?

In this post, I’ll show you how to play the blues scale on guitar step-by-step.

WARNING: About The Blues Scale

Before we get into the meat of this lesson I need to address a concern I see with a lot of other lessons on this topic, and that is the combination of the blues scale with the minor pentatonic scale. 

From a player’s perspective, I completely get the fact that they are almost the same thing, however from a theoretical perspective they are actually two different scales. The pentatonic scale has 5 notes in it while the blues scale has 6.

Also, I want to address another common issue, it is important to know that the majority of the time musicians refer to the blues scale they are actually referring to the minor blues scale.

However, there is a major and a minor blues scale. For this lesson, I’ll be demonstrating an E minor blues scale and this would often...

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Learn Cinnamon Girl by Neil Young in this Guitar Lesson

rock Jun 13, 2023

In this post, I'll be unraveling the secrets behind one of Neil Young's most iconic tunes, "Cinnamon Girl." You'll learn how to master the iconic licks, tuning, rhythms, progressions, and I'll even cover some tone tips too in this step-by-step lesson.

Who wrote Cinnamon Girl?

"Cinnamon Girl" was written by Canadian-American singer and songwriter Neil Young.

The song debuted on the album Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere, in 1969 featuring the backing band Crazy Horse.

The song was later released as a single and went to #55 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 in 1970.

The track features Young on guitar and lead vocals. Plus Danny Whitten, also on guitar, Billy Talbot on bass, and Ralph Molina on drums. 

What tuning is Cinnamon Girl in?

The guitar part for “Cinnamon Girl” is in a double-drop d tuning. This is accomplished by tuning down the 6th string and the 1st string on the guitar 1 whole step from standard tuning.

6th string: E = D (1 whole step down)

5th string: A = A


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How to play Everyday I Have The Blues on Guitar

blues Jun 10, 2023

What if you could rock out at a blues jam with confidence? 

Or be able to play with other musicians and demonstrate some serious blues guitar skills? 

Well, if either of those sounds good to you, keep reading because, in this post, I'll share with you how to play "Everyday I Have The Blues" as recorded by B.B. King on guitar.

Who wrote Everyday I Have The Blues?

"Everyday I Have the Blues"  was written by the Sparks brothers, Pinetop and Milton. They used to perform the song in pubs and bars in St. Louis, Missouri. The tune follows a standard 12-bar blues chord progression and the original recording features Pinetop on piano and singing with a falsetto style tone. This first recording was done on July 28th, 1935. 

Throughout the decades it’s become a blues standard and has been recorded by countless famous blues musicians. 

This song became a staple in B.B. King’s repertoire. So much so that throughout his career, he made numerous recordings of...

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