Jon MacLennan


Green River Guitar Lesson: Tips and Tricks for Blues Rock Players

rock May 05, 2023

If you're a fan of blues and rock guitar, then this “Green River” guitar lesson by Creedence Clearwater Revival (CCR) is perfect for leveling up your skills. 

This song skillfully blends the two styles of music and adds a swampy feel for good measure.

I’m going to break it down for you step-by-step so when you're done you'll have an awesome version that will sound great for accompanying yourself, playing along with the recording, or even jamming with other people as well. 

Who wrote Green River?

"Green River" was written by John Fogerty for the American rock band Creedence Clearwater Revival. It was first released as a single in July 1969, one month before the full Green River album was released.

The song was written about a vacation spot on Putah Creek, near Winters, California that Fogerty used to go to as a kid. 

Green River Chords

You’ll only need to know 3 chords to play “Green River” and they are E7, C, and A.

You can play E7...

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Get Your Blues Groove On with this "Got My Mojo Working" Guitar Lesson

blues May 04, 2023

Looking to expand your blues repertoire and improve your timing and groove?

This ultimate guide to how to play “Got My Mojo Working” on guitar has got you covered. 

In this guitar lesson, I’ll share with you how to play the signature blues groove, rhythms, turnarounds, and even talk soloing for this classic blues tune. It follows a typical 12-bar blues progression, and if you practice the tips shown here, you’ll have your audience tapping their feet and swaying to the beat in no time!

Who originally sang Got My Mojo Working?

"Got My Mojo Working" was written by Preston "Red" Foster, and it was first recorded in 1956 by R&B singer Ann Cole. This version has a great upbeat groove to it. The lyrics of the song describe something called mojo, which has been associated with hoodoo, an African-American folk magic tradition.

Later in 1957, Muddy Waters put his own spin on the arrangement and changed the lyrics just slightly. His most famous version of the...

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Learn Chuck Berry's "No Particular Place to Go" on Guitar

rock May 04, 2023

When it comes to the roots of rock and roll guitar, it all started with Chuck Berry. In fact, even John Lennon said on The Mike Douglas Show in 1972, 

"If you tried to give rock and roll another name, you might call it Chuck Berry." 

In this post, I am going to dive deep into his guitar style and share key elements for playing the way he played. Specifically, we'll cover how he used classic blues progressions and double-stops in his iconic hits. 

So grab your guitar and get ready to rock!

Who wrote No Particular Place To Go

“No Particular Place to Go" was written and performed by American musician Chuck Berry. It was first released in 1964 as a single and then later appeared on Berry’s album St. Louis to Liverpool.

The tune has a catchy melody and an upbeat groove that made it an instant hit, reaching #10 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in the United States. It also received critical acclaim, with Rolling Stone magazine ranking it as one of the 500...

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Step-by-Step Guide to Playing "Further On Up The Road" on Guitar

blues May 03, 2023

Learn to play blues guitar like a pro with this step-by-step lesson on the blues classic "Further On Up The Road." 

“Further On Up The Road” is a blues standard that was first recorded by Bobby “Blue” Bland in 1957. It has a classic Texas-style shuffle feel to it, and it is a pinnacle example of the sounds of the blues transitioning from the early 1940s style into the 60s blues-rock style.

This song has been recorded by many great artists however, in this post, I’ll be breaking down elements of the classic version Eric Clapton recorded live with the Band in 1976, for the concert film The Last Waltz.

You’ll learn the chord shapes, scales, and even some licks in this blues guitar style. So grab your guitar and let’s dive in.

Further On Up The Road Chords

You only need three chords to play “Further On Up The Road” G7, C7, and D7.

For G7 I would recommend this:

C7 can be played exactly the same way just shifted higher up the...

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Learn to play "You Really Got Me" on guitar in this step-by-step lesson!

rock May 02, 2023

If you're a fan of rock music, at some point, you are going to come across this tune. Whether it’s the original version by The Kinks or the version later done by Van Halen, this rock riff should be a part of every aspiring rock guitarist's repertoire.

In this “You Really Got Me” guitar lesson, I’ll be covering the original Kinks version and walking you through the main guitar parts you need to know to get playing in this style today!

The Kinks' original version of this song was first performed in more of a bluesy style, inspired by artists like Big Bill Broonzy and Lead Belly. Two takes were recorded, and the second one was used for the single, which was first released in the UK in the fall of 1964.

“You Really Got Me” was written by Ray Davies, and it was rumored that Jimmy Page played the guitar solo, however, this was a myth that has since been proven incorrect.

You Really Got Me Guitar Chords

The song is in the key of G and kicks off with an...

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I Know It's Only Rock n Roll (But I Like It) Rolling Stones Guitar Lesson

rock Apr 21, 2023

In this post, we'll dive into the guitar style of the classic rock anthem 'I Know It's Only Rock and Roll (But I Like It)' by The Rolling Stones. 'I Know It's Only Rock and Roll (But I Like It)' is the lead single from The Rolling Stones' 1974 album 'It's Only Rock 'n Roll'. The songwriting was credited to Keith Richards and Mick Jagger. In this guitar lesson, I'll guide you through the chords, strumming patterns, and rock guitar techniques you need to know to play it like a pro.

It's Only Rock n Roll (But I Like It) Chords

Essentially there are just 5 chords you need to know to jam along with this recording. Those chords are E, A, G, D, and B. Here’s how I would play them as open-position chords. 

For E I would play all 6 strings like this:

A like this:

G like this:

D like this:

And finally, B is like this:

Adding in the rhythm

Now Keith often instead of playing just the straight open chords, would substitute in blues rhythm patterns.

So instead of just strumming an...

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How to Play “Boom Boom” By John Lee Hooker On Guitar Like a Pro

blues Apr 20, 2023

Ready to level up your blues guitar skills?

Look no further than the classic sounds of John Lee Hooker and his tune "Boom Boom".

In this "Boom Boom" guitar lesson, I'll share with you the key elements of Hooker's bluesy style and break down the chords, signature riffs, grooves, and even how to get started soloing in this classic blues style today.

"Boom Boom" has been covered by countless artists over the years, and its iconic riff and groovy rhythm make it a must-know for any aspiring blues guitar player. So grab your guitar, and let's get ready to jam some blues!

Who Wrote Boom Boom?

“Boom Boom” was written by American blues singer, songwriter, and guitarist John Lee Hooker. It was first recorded in 1961, and even though it’s considered a blues standard music critic Charles Shaar Murray called it "the greatest pop song he ever wrote".

The song has a bluesy groove to it but it actually doesn’t follow a typical 12-bar blues chord progression like many...

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Guitar Lesson: How to Play "Run Through the Jungle" by Creedence Clearwater Revival

rock Apr 15, 2023

Unlock a swampy blues jam you can add to your repertoire with this guitar lesson on how to play "Run Through The Jungle" as recorded by Creedence Clearwater Revival. This lesson will guide you through the tuning, chords, strumming patterns, and riff variations so you can start playing in this style like a pro today!

Who wrote Run Through The Jungle

"Run Through The Jungle" was written by singer, guitarist, and songwriter John Fogerty. The song was first released on Creedence Clearwater Revival's fifth studio album, Cosmo's Factory, in 1970. The lyrics and title of the song have led many to believe that the song is about the Vietnam War.

What tuning is Run Through The Jungle in?

The guitar tuning for "Run Through The Jungle" is drop D tuning. To get there from standard tuning, you'll want to take your low 6th string and tune it down from E to the note D. This gives the song and riffs a deep bass foundation that adds to the emotion and feel of the song. Simply tune the 6th string...

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Lay Down Sally Guitar Lesson (Eric Clapton)

rock Apr 14, 2023

Looking to unlock that funky, bluesy guitar riff that Eric Clapton played on "Lay Down Sally"? 

If so, this "Lay Down Sally" guitar lesson will be your step-by-step guide to the chords, rhythm, and even soloing over this fun song!

If you're a guitarist of any level, this song is a great one to add to your repertoire. If you’re a beginner I would suggest starting with just working on the three fundamental chords and changing between them in time.

Getting that down first helps you build a strong foundation for the tune. Then, for more experienced guitarists, this song is a chance to explore Clapton's iconic bluesy rhythms and add some new licks to your arsenal. 

So, grab your guitar, and let's get ready to learn how to play "Lay Down Sally"!

Lay Down Sally Chords

Like so many great songs there are only 3 chords you need to know to play this one. A, D, and E. 

For A play it like this:

For the D play it like this:

For the E play it like this:

These chords can...

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Mastering the Blues: The Ultimate Guide to 'The Thrill Is Gone' Guitar Lesson

blues Apr 13, 2023

Whether you are gearing up for a jam with friends or want to play some blues guitar at home this ultimate guide to "The Thrill Is Gone" guitar lesson is your one-stop shop for playing minor blues in the style of B.B. King.

King was born in 1925 in Leflore County on a cotton plantation close to the city of Itta Bena, Mississippi. He was the son of sharecroppers and grew up surrounded by music from a very young age. He sang in a gospel choir and the local minister gave him his first guitar lesson after he got his first guitar at age 12. In this article, I’ll break down key elements to King’s guitar approach and show you step-by-step strategies so you can get playing in this style today. 

Who wrote The Thrill Is Gone?

King actually was not the original writer of "The Thrill Is Gone." The original writers were Roy Hawkins and Rick Darnell. 

King took this slow minor blues and put his own twist on it, releasing his version in December of 1969. One of the most...

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