It’s way more than just power chords and long hair.

Chops: Intermediate
Theory: Beginner
Lesson Overview:
• Learn the value of a good downstroke.
• Discover how to imply harmony in riffs.
• Build your picking-hand stamina. Click here to download a printable PDF of this lesson's notation.

The influence of the Ramones on the global music landscape over the past 40 years is immense. For many fans, the Ramones are a religion, and for even more, it’s a lifestyle. I had the opportunity to experience the depth of this firsthand by performing the songbook alongside Marky Ramone, the drummer of the classic Ramones lineup. I had to learn a lot about Johnny Ramone’s incendiary, raw guitar style, as well as how to create a rhythmically relentless wall-of-sound.

For many guitarists, playing Ramones tunes appears incredibly easy. How hard could it be to play four-chord songs? Nearly every guitar player thinks they can play any song from the repertoire, until they have to do it. But like many specialized areas, first impressions can be deceiving: It requires precision to get Johnny’s parts exactly right.

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Get some slippery-sounding bends without reaching for the bar.


Chops: Intermediate
Theory: Beginner
Lesson Overview:
• Create simple and meaningful blues phrases in the style of B.B. King.
• Understand how to emphasize chord tones over a blues progression.
• Learn how to use repetition to build tension in your solos.


Click here to download a printable PDF of this lesson's notation.

To my ears, string bending is what defines the sound and expressiveness of the electric guitar. I’ll take any chance I get to bend, pre-bend, or release a note. While I’ve always liked hearing a whammy bar in action, I strangely never enjoyed using it myself. I wasn’t able to develop a taste for the whammy bar early on, mostly because of a frustrating introduction to it on my first real electric guitar, which was equipped with a bar and a locking-nut system, but also came with many tuning and string breakage issues. I quickly unscrewed the bar and gave it up altogether.

As years went by and I started playing professionally, I stuck to my stubborn decision to just not use it unless I absolutely had to—in recording sessions for a really specific sound like dive bombs or over-the-top vibratos. But in recent years, I’ve been working on a few Broadway musicals where the guitar books would require the use of the whammy bar, whether for a slight “rock flavor” or for a full-out “rock-God” effect. While experimenting with the bar during soundchecks, I’ve come to enjoy some of its more subtle, bend-like qualities ... so much so that I’ve started emulating those sounds on my whammy-free guitars. I’ve been incorporating these new techniques in more creative, improvisational situations, and they have become part of my guitar vocabulary now. They offer interesting, alternative ways of using traditional bending techniques.

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