This past year we dug into the playing of a jazz legend, rethought our approach to scales, and finally got to the bottom of the “Stairway” progression.

10. How to Play Slower

By Shawn Persinger
It’s not as simple as you might think, but dialing it back a notch can add new dimensions to your playing.

9. The “Stairway” Progression

By Nick Millevoi
Zeppelin might be the most famous case, but plenty of songwriters have borrowed these infamous chords.

8. One-Shape Blues

By Shawn Persinger
A few simple chords are all it takes.

7. The Subversive Guitarist: Don’t Think Scales—Think Sequences!

By Joe Gore
This technically challenging workout liberates you from muscle-memory habits.

6. Guthrie Govan’s Single-String Arpeggios

By Jason Sadites
Break free from tired old patterns by rethinking your approach to shred.

5. Metheny Madness

By Arthur Rotfeld
Discover how one of the most influential jazz guitarists of all time combined speedy pattern-based licks, horn-inspired bebop lines, and trademark rhythmic ideas to create a unique sound.

4. Why Is Rhythm Guitar So Hard?

By Shawn Persinger
It’s all in the details.

3. Funk Guitar in One Chord Shape or Less

By Shawn Persinger
Yes, you can get funky with a single chord shape.

2. Decoding Django’s Gypsy Chords

By Doug Munro
Investigate one of the most under-appreciated elements of Gypsy jazz by grabbing a fistful of new chord shapes and ideas.

1. Beyond Blues: The Mixo-Pentatonic Scale

By Rob Garland
Ditch the clichés and discover new ways to use an old friend.

Why I Built This: Cowbrand Design’s Michael King

Cowbrand Design’s Michael King on how retro space-age aesthetics, motorcycle maintenance, and Chicago-built blues guitars inform his unique takes on the 6-string.

"'If I fall and somehow my career ends on that particular day, then so be it," Joe Bonamassa says of his new hobby, bicycling. "If it's over, it's over. You've got to enjoy your life."

Photo by Steve Trager

For his stylistically diverse new album, the fiery guitar hero steps back from his gear obsession and focuses on a deep pool of influences and styles.

Twenty years ago, Joe Bonamassa was a struggling musician living in New York City. He survived on a diet of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and ramen noodles that he procured from the corner bodega at Columbus Avenue and 83rd Street. Like many dreamers waiting for their day in the sun, Joe also played "Win for Life" every week. It was, in his words, "literally my ticket out of this hideous business." While the lottery tickets never brought in the millions, Joe's smokin' guitar playing on a quartet of albums from 2002 to 2006—So, It's Like That, Blues Deluxe, Had to Cry Today, and You & Me—did get the win, transforming Joe into a guitar megastar.

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