The Bitter Blues

Genre and Style Guitar Course from Chris Liepe

Blues is easy to play, but hard to master. Chris Liepe's mission in the Bitter Blues, is to make you a master.

32 Lessons

Complete course with step-by-step lessons and practice examples.


Course filmed with 6 cameras for the perfect angles.

100% Appoval

121 of 121 of our members have given this their approval.

Tabs & Info

Download tabs, helpers, JamTracks and docs included with lessons.


Access this course, along with all other courses with Membership.

Full Course Breakdown

This series covers an original Blues song titled "The Bitter Blues." The song was inspired by Led Zeppelin, and Jimmy Page, and as such is an excellent study in modern electric blues. Chris will break down the song into 30 easy to digest sections. Each section can be learned individually, and them combined into a full song.


Introduction to the Bitter Blues

Chris Liepe introduces "The Bitter Blues," a unique blues composition inspired by Led Zeppelin and Jimmy Page. In this intro segment, Chris talks about how the song will be taught.

4:45 Runtime

2.5 Difficulty

View this Lesson

Full Song Demonstration

Chris Liepe demonstrates the entire song from start to finish. This will help you master the phrasing of the individual licks.

6:40 Runtime

3.5 Difficulty


Lick 1 : The First Tear

From the first note and the first bend, the mournful whisper of the guitar sets the stage for the tumultuous conversation between voice and strings. Bend slowly.

2:29 Runtime

3.0 Difficulty


Lick 2 : Drag Your Feet

You’re holding back. You know what you want to say but you’re tiptoeing around it. Finally, the definitive resolve comes at end of the sentence. Play it like you’d speak it.

2:39 Runtime

3.0 Difficulty


Lick 3 : Speak Slowly

There is much more resolve in this statement. What might the guitar be saying now? From the pregnant pause in the middle, to the reaching, slow-to-arrive bend, there’s a lot of phrasing to study here.

3:30 Runtime

3.0 Difficulty


Lick 4 : Speak Firmly

The frustration comes out in this lick! After a few phrases that tread lightly, this statement is just put out there. Strike that double stop! Lash out a bit with your playing.

2:39 Runtime

2.5 Difficulty


Lick 5 : An Early Apology

Perhaps too much was said in the last lick...and a bit too forcefully at that. How about this soothing minor chord and some soft whining bends as an attempt to make amends? Get your pick hand fingers involved and think about the contrast with passage 4.

3:20 Runtime

3.0 Difficulty


Lick 6 : I Meant That!

It’s hard to hide true feelings. Opening up for the first time can be messy. Think less about the tempo and more about the ending notes for each phrase in this passage, particularly the last bend. Get the bar involved.

4:28 Runtime

3.0 Difficulty


Lick 7 - The List of Hurtful Things

With each held note, it's as if there are offenses being moaned out. Give it all you’ve got here without getting ahead of yourself. Play slowly and fiercely.

4:30 Runtime

3.0 Difficulty


Lick 8 - A Calculated Transition

Finish the rant and say all the words you feel you need to before taking some time to listen and react. This first guitar solo has come to an end, and now it's time to connect with the vocalist. Practice active listening. React emotionally and intelligently.

5:46 Runtime

3.0 Difficulty


Lick 9 - Affirming the Listening Ear

You’re not restating anything yet, just making it clear that you’re now here to listen. Fill the hole quietly and retreat.

2:45 Runtime

3.0 Difficulty


Lick 10 - Uh Huh

You’re about to get an earful of notes, so brace yourself and keep it brief. Just let it be known that you’re still tracking. Control and precision with harmonics and bar bending are needed.

7:53 Runtime

2.5 Difficulty


Lick 11 - On the Same Page

Follow every nuance of the voice as closely as you can. Match the pitch, the inflection, the pitch bend, and the dynamics. One of the best ways to learn phrasing is to practice copying other instruments.

4:19 Runtime

3.0 Difficulty


Lick 12 - The Role of Accompanying

In this guitar/vocal duet, you must make direct statements, and you must learn to dance while partially being in the background as an accompanist. This is the first of many opportunities to do just that.

3:07 Runtime

3.0 Difficulty


Lick 13 - On the Defensive

Now you’re being lashed out at. Loud inquisitions are being blasted at you. You’ll react strongly at first and then calmly as if to say that you don’t really need to defend yourself after all. Instead, you just need to be present and equally interesting.

2:39 Runtime

3.5 Difficulty


Lick 14 - The Shouting Match

This is another opportunity to copy the phrasing of the vocalist. This time, you get to do it while shouting instead of talking under your breath. Study the nuances of the voice!

4:16 Runtime

3.0 Difficulty


Lick 15 - Are We Really Listening?

The flurry of notes seems to suggest that hands are being thrown up and walls are being built at this point in the argument. Don’t let the need for subtle speed take away from the following accompanist role.

4:16 Runtime

3.0 Difficulty


Lick 16 - Fall Back

You’re still here, but you're licking some wounds and finding comfort and camaraderie in the rhythm section. It's time to play some arpeggiated chords and fill holes in a very subtle way.

4:14 Runtime

3.0 Difficulty


Lick 17 - Pacing Back and Forth

The rhythm playing and intensity grows and the unsettling octave line paints a picture of someone pacing back and forth as guilt trip from the vocals continues. Listen to your band! They are your support and your context!

2:45 Runtime

3.0 Difficulty


Lick 18 - Now It's Your Turn

You’ve heard the singer’s side, had a little time to form your thoughts, and now it’s your turn to lay it all out. You start slowly and gracefully while paying attention to every statement you make. The smallest detail counts and makes a difference in terms of how you are heard by your friends and opposers alike.

4:04 Runtime

3.0 Difficulty


Lick 19 - New Thoughts

You offer a new angle and a new thought. Many times in arguments we end up going around in circles unless new ideas are brought to the forefront. How about a little harmonic minor?

2:45 Runtime

3.0 Difficulty


Lick 20 - A Long Night

There’s a lot that could be said, but choosing your words carefully is more important than simply speaking your mind. The more care you put into your words, the more likely you are to be heard.

3:16 Runtime

2.5 Difficulty


Lick 21 - There Still Feelings

As if to reach out for affection, you cry out repeatedly to make sure you are understood. Make those high notes weep! Demand a strong reaction!

4:52 Runtime

3.0 Difficulty


Lick 22 - Say What You Mean

This could be a flurry of frustration, a jumbled thought in the midst of what you thought was clarity or just a passionate phrase describing your feelings in the most intense way you know how. Precision and aggression are needed.

3:39 Runtime

3.0 Difficulty


Lick 23 - Reveal Yourself

These are the boldest and most soaring notes to be played yet! It’s as if you are saying how you REALLY feel and showing your true colors in this mess of an ordeal. Let It Sing!

3:10 Runtime

3.0 Difficulty


Lick 24 - Don't Back Down

As emotions run high and the anticipation of some sort of true resolution is almost too much to take, you need to keep the tension and wait to see some more effort from the other side. This passage is asymmetrical, and the timing can be difficult. Practice slow, but know that it really only has true impact at full speed.

4:55 Runtime

3.0 Difficulty


Lick 25 - Just You and Me

The back and forth continues, but this time it’s without the band. It seems that there really are some deep roots in this relationship. There’s screaming and there’s whispering. Make sure the difference is felt and heard.

3:58 Runtime

3.0 Difficulty


Lick 26 - We Are One

Be one with the vocalist one last time. Translate the brokenness in the vocal sound into intentionally messy unison bends. Match the vocal timing exactly.

3:23 Runtime

3.0 Difficulty


Lick 27 - We're Both Steaming Now

You're accompanying now, but you are not backing down. You’re fuming. Your energy is almost too much to contain, yet you translate that to the guitar by playing aggressive, in-the-pocket chords!

4:00 Runtime

3.0 Difficulty


Lick 28 - Pretty and Ugly

The dissonance with the band and the vocalist seems to suggest that the situation may be falling apart. Now the relationships with others could suffer too. Playing the established and familiar hooks over a more shifty bed is a good way to create more tension.

3:54 Runtime

3.0 Difficulty


Lick 29 - I’m Not Finished Yet

You’re both left panting. You’re partially gasping for air and partially grasping for one another. This final run sets up the last attempt to bring closure to this melancholy musical exchange between the two musicians.

4:08 Runtime

3.0 Difficulty


Lick 30 - One Last Attempt

You get one last chance to soar, but you don’t get the final words. Many times, how you choose to end things is the most important part of something that was meant to be beautiful.

4:14 Runtime

3.0 Difficulty

Let's Start. Together.

Setup your account and explore our courses, teaching tools and resources.

Get Started
  • Greeley, CO
  • Playing since 1995
  • 312 lessons at JamPlay
Portland native Chris Liepe first played piano, which he pursued until discovering his love for the electric guitar in high school. As a fan of bands like Soundgarden, Collective Soul, and U2, he was inspired to start singing, songwriting, and helping others in their musical endeavors.

After moving to Colorado with his family, Chris began gigging, recording, and teaching in a number of music stores and out of his apartment until he decided to pursue music full time. He completed his Bachelors in Music Technology and started working at Sweetwater Productions, a division of Sweetwater Sound and one of the largest, most successful recording studios in the Midwest.

Chris spent nearly 4 years at Sweetwater as a producer, recording engineer, studio musician, and writer. During this time he had the privilege of working with many artists, including Augustana, Landon Pigg, Jars of Clay, and Mercy Me.

Chris Liepe owns and runs his own recording and teaching studio in Colorado. You might even hear his vocals featured in theme music for dozens of daily radio programs and commercial jingles airing around the country.
Reviews & Feedback 100/100 with 121 ratings

And I like the teacher!


awesome man...


easy to understand and will learn alt from his series, just what I was looking for,thanks




I wish he would go over each note a little slower at first, just to make sure I'm picking up every note. Big Help.


love the song


love this song


Somewhat new to JamPlay and not as dedicated as I should be. Chris keeps me coming back.


Stunningly well done!






Why i cant mark all option!? Awesome and very good teacher! With Chris all understand, improvisations. I love my guitar again), thank you, Chris!