Jon MacLennan


Fingerstyle Blues Guitar Lesson -- Play Like Mississippi John Hurt

blues fingerstyle Jan 11, 2024

Fingerpicking the blues is a ton of fun!

Now, I love Chet Atkins and the boom-chick style that he played.

And this style has been carried on by players like Tommy Emmanuel and many others…

But what a lot of people don’t know about, is how the blues players played differently than this classic Chet style.

Sure, they didn’t use a flatpick and had alternating bass movements etc. 

But there is much more to getting the sound. 

And it’s quite different from any other style of fingerpicking. 

Today I want to share with you some of these differences. 

And also break down how to play like Mississippi John Hurt using my 2-step method.

So put away those picks for today and let’s get started with this fingerstyle blues guitar lesson!

Fingerstyle Blues Guitar Lesson Step 1:

Let’s begin with learning the chord progression and alternating bass line. There are only 3 chords we’ll use in this song D, G, and A. We’ll play them in...

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Purple Haze Guitar Lesson (Jimi Hendrix)

blues Jan 07, 2024

What if you had a chord named after YOU?

Picture this…

It’s 50 years from now…

And a bunch of guitarists are all sitting around talking about music.

Suddenly one of them says, “Oh that chord. Yeah, that’s the [YOUR LAST NAME] chord.”

That would be pretty cool.

I mean, how many guitarists have accomplished this?

To be honest, I can only think of one.

Jimi Hendrix!

In fact, here’s a crazy story about the first time I ever learned about the “Hendrix chord." 

Decades ago when my parents got our first computer, I discovered this thing called TAB sites.

Now I’d already been playing guitar for a bit, but this was an amazing thing. 

You see, I figured out (from a TAB at the time) the opening riff to “Purple Haze”.

I was about 12 years old, but I never connected it to the “Jimi Hendrix chord.” 

But I couldn’t stop playing the riff…


I remember playing it and thinking, ...

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Change The World Guitar Lesson (Eric Clapton)

blues Dec 31, 2023

If you want to become great at playing popular music on guitar from the past 120 years, you’ve got to be familiar with the blues.

Now oftentimes players don’t realize a song they love is based on the blues.

They may even know how to play it but still do not realize they are playing the blues.  

Today is a great example of this.

In this “Change the World” guitar lesson you’ll see how the blues can be brought straight into popular music.

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

Who wrote Change the World?

"Change the World" is a song co-written by Tommy Sims, Gordon Kennedy, and Wayne Kirkpatrick. It was recorded by Eric Clapton for the soundtrack of the 1996 film "Phenomenon." 

The song was produced by Babyface and the recording took place at Ocean Way Recording in Hollywood, California. It features Clapton on vocals and guitar, along with a notable lineup of musicians, including Nathan East on bass, Steve Gadd on drums,...

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Midnight Blues Guitar Lesson (Gary Moore)

blues Dec 30, 2023

Gary Moore was a phenomenal musician. 

Today I want to share with you one of his AMAZING blues guitar songs.

It’s slow…

It’s groovy…

And it gives me goosebumps every time I hear it!

This is the kind of song you can easily picture being played in a smoky dark club well after midnight.  

It’s a minor blues, and the rhythm part mixes a riff and some sweet chords together. 

And then of course, Gary plays brilliant slow blues licks over the top of this progression which reminds me a lot of songs like “Thrill is Gone” and many other classic blues tunes. 

So grab your guitar and let’s dive into this “Midnight Blues” guitar lesson.

Who wrote Midnight Blues?

"Midnight Blues" is a blues rock song written and performed by Northern Irish guitarist Gary Moore. The song was released in 1990 on Moore's album Still Got the Blues

It is one of Moore's most popular songs and has been covered by many other...

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Rebel Rebel Guitar Lesson (David Bowie)

rock Dec 26, 2023

One of the core techniques every guitarist should have a handle on is arpeggio picking. 

The basic idea of arpeggio picking is you take notes of a chord. But instead of strumming them. You pick them individually.

This one technique has been the seed of many legendary guitar riffs. And today, I would like to share with you an example of this in this Rebel Rebel guitar lesson. 

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

Who wrote Rebel Rebel?

"Rebel Rebel" was written and performed by David Bowie. It was first released as a single in 1974 and then later included on his album "Diamond Dogs." The song has a catchy guitar riff and it’s known for its rebellious lyrics. 

Bowie recorded it in January 1974 at Olympic Studios in London.

"Rebel Rebel" is considered one of Bowie's signature songs and a glam rock anthem. 

The song features Bowie's distinctive vocals and Mick Ronson's memorable guitar work. 

It reached No. 5 on the UK Singles Chart. 


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In My Life Guitar Lesson (Beatles)

rock Dec 24, 2023

A fan on Reddit said this about today's song:

"Those opening lines, 'There are places I'll remember/All my life, though some have changed' - they just take you right back to your childhood." 

I would agree with that.

I’ve played this song at:



Private events… 

I’ve played it all over. And it always seems to hit an emotional note with the crowd. 

Today I want to break it down for you step-by-step. We’ll look at the signature guitar parts, the chords and progressions, and even an unexpected twist at the end. 

I’ll dive deep into how George Martin recorded and played the piano solo in this In My Life guitar lesson.

Who wrote In My Life?

The iconic song "In My Life" is credited to the legendary songwriting duo Lennon-McCartney. But its origins are a bit murkier than that.  

While John Lennon wrote the lyrics and is considered the primary author, there's been debate about the extent of...

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The ULTIMATE Wichita Lineman Guitar Lesson

rock Dec 23, 2023

Bob Dylan is often thought of as one of the greatest songwriters of all time.

But in an interview, he was once asked what he thought was the greatest song ever written…

What was Bob’s response?

“Wichita Lineman”

And many people agree with Bob… 

In fact, this song has moved the world.

So today I want to share with you the ULTIMATE Wichita Lineman guitar lesson.

We’ll unpack the history of this song, the chord progressions, and even the iconic guitar solo.

So tune up, and let’s get started! 

Who wrote Wichita Lineman? 

"Wichita Lineman" is a classic song written by American songwriter Jimmy Webb. It was made famous by the iconic American country singer Glen Campbell, who recorded and released it in 1968 as a single and included it on his album of the same name. 

The song was recorded at the famous Capitol Studios in Hollywood, California. It featured the skilled and emotive guitar work of session musician James Burton,...

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The Ultimate AMERICAN WOMAN Guitar Lesson

rock Dec 22, 2023

Let's go back in time and play an epic song from 1970… 

Currently, this tune has over 50 million views on YouTube (cumulatively between the two versions I share below.)

And here’s the crazy part, you only need 3 chords to play the main riff.

So grab your guitar, tune it up, and let’s dive into this American Woman guitar lesson.

Who originally sang American Woman?

"American Woman" is a legendary rock song originally sung by the Canadian band The Guess Who. It was primarily written by Randy Bachman (lead guitarist and vocalist) with contributions from the rest of the band. The Guess Who recorded this iconic hit at RCA Studios in Chicago, Illinois, in December 1969. It was produced by Jack Richardson.

The song has received quite a few accolades like:

  • Ranked No. 3 on Billboard's "100 Greatest Canadian Songs of All Time" (2005)
  • Certified Gold by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA)

Covered by numerous artists, including Lenny Kravitz,...

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Ticket to Ride Guitar Lesson (Beatles)

rock Dec 19, 2023

Few guitars capture the essence of the pop and folk-rock sounds of the 60s as the Rickenbacker 12 string does. 

So today I want to share with you a classic example of this sound in action. You’ll learn a catchy tune that only uses 6 chords. Plus we’ll break down how you can use a technique called arpeggio picking to create memorable and melodic guitar parts.

So grab your guitar, tune-up, and let’s dive into this “Ticket to Ride” guitar lesson!

Who Wrote Ticket To Ride?

"Ticket to Ride" is a classic song by the British rock band The Beatles. It was primarily written by John Lennon, with some contributions from Paul McCartney. The song was released as a single on April 9, 1965, in the United Kingdom and on April 19, 1965, in the United States. It also appeared on their album Help! which was released in August 1965.

The song was recorded at EMI Studios (now Abbey Road Studios) in London, England. It was produced by George Martin, who was the Beatles'...

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Miss You Guitar Lesson (Rolling Stones)

rock Dec 17, 2023

Ever tried to explain a song real quick to some bandmates or fellow musicians for a jam?

Well, if you have, you’ll notice this cold truth I am about to tell you right now…

Songs with simple structures and not a lot of chords are best for this…

Think about it.

If your bandmates don’t know the song, is it easier to explain a complex tune with a bunch of twists & turns, and unexpected changes? 

Or is it easier to say, “Hey the chords are G, C, and D, and it repeats this same part over and over.”

The answer is the ladder.

Now today’s lesson is not quite as simple as that.  

But it’s pretty close… 

And that’s why this song is played at jam sessions and in cover bands all the time…

Because musicians can pick up the meat of the song pretty quickly.

And then just get to the PLAYING! 

So that’s what we are going to do today in the Miss You guitar lesson. 

Who Wrote Miss You?


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