Announcement: releases “Blues Guitar Lesson - Guitar Intro Riff in the Style of Robert Johnson”

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In this lead guitar lesson sample video, now available on, Jon MacLennan teaches how to play a blues riff in the style of Robert Johnson.

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A “riff” is the catchy part of a song that sticks in your head. One of the most recognizable guitar riffs of all time is “Smoke on the water” by Deep Purple.

MacLennan demonstrates the riff as follows; 2nd finger on the 12th fret of the 4th string and 3rd finger on the 12th fret of the first string. Jon plays the 4th string with a guitar pick a once followed by the open 2nd string and the first string with his 2nd and 3rd fingers twice, this is the hybrid picking technique. Next, he moves the note on the 4th string down one half step to the 11th fret with his first finger and plays the first, 2nd, and 4th strings simultaneously and then moves his first finger down to the 10th fret and plays all three strings again. Next, Jon plays an E7 chord by baring his first finger across the first four strings at the 9th fret and his 2nd finger on the 10th fret of the 2nd string and again plays strings 4, 2, and 1 together. MacLennan ends the lick with an open B7/F#, which he refers to as a nice “Robert Johnson B7”, followed by the open 2nd string. Guitar TAB’s are available at

Robert Johnson was an American blues guitarist. He was born in 1911 in Mississippi and never had any great commercial success during his life time, but is credited as one of the most influential guitarists of all time. He was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame in 1980, Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1986, and Mississippi Musicians Hall of Fame in 2000. In 2006 he won a Grammy lifetime achievement award. Johnson died at age 27 in 1938.

Jon MacLennan

Los Angeles based guitarist Jon MacLennan began his career at the age of 16 and is one of the busiest upcoming session guitarist, artist, composer, producer, and professional educator in LA. Jon has done session work for Julian Lennon, Steven Tyler, and British pop star Jamie Cullum. He has appeared on Disney channels “The Suite Life of Zack and Cody” and on the sound track to the movie “Marley and Me 2 – The Puppy Years”. MacLennan earned a bachelor’s in ethnomusicology and jazz guitar studies from University of California, Los Angeles, and has been mentored by Carl Verheyen, Wolf Marshall, Kenny Burrell, Anthony Wilson, Tamir Hendelmen, Jimmy Wyble and Ron Anthony which has made him a highly sought after guitar instructor today.

About is the leader in modern blues guitar instruction. It’s packed with recourses including articles, video lessons, and the best videos in the business for the beginner to the advanced guitar student taught by the best instructors out there.

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Claude Johnson
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