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40 years of playing, writing, and teaching, Stuart Ziff is a seasoned veteran of the music industry. Stuart's resume checks all the boxes. Teacher at Musician's Institute, Guitar World columnist, session musician, touring performer. Stuart played guitar on hit #1 singles in the 1990s, and even even voice acted in Pizza Hut commerials early in his career.Hailing from Buffalo, NY, Stuart has the reputation of being the foremidable sideman. Reliable. Knowledgable. Consistent. A ... (more)
Stuart currently offers 137 guitar lessons at JamPlay, with 137 intermediate lessons.
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Reggae is a unique genre of music filled with history and passion. In this series Stuart will do his best to distill the essence of the genre and cover it's core techniques.
Welcome to lesson 1 of the Reggae Guitar series presented by Stuart Ziff! This lesson details the origins of reggae. In addition, Stuart gets you started with the basic ska comping pattern. Enjoy!
In this lesson, Stuart explains and demonstrates the "skank" rhythm. Practice this simple rhythmic pattern along with a "one drop" backing track.
Now that you have learned the "skank" rhythm, it's time to add in some melodic ideas. Stuart demonstrates how to play some guitar lines that layer nicely with the rest of the band.
Stuart delves into all the different aspects of how R&B guitar has had an impact within reggae music.
Stuart demonstrates how the delay effect can greatly enhance the music as well as how your rock & roll chops can easily be applied within the reggae genre.
This quick lesson demonstrates how to utilize space within reggae music and how to create solo type material to add into the overall song.
Yet again, Stuart covers some tips on how to apply heavy rock & roll chops within reggae music. This is another great example of how this genre has been influenced by other genres.
Stuart demonstrates some techniques that are used in more modern / contemporary reggae music.
Stuart summarizes the last 8 lessons and explains how each topic covered is a defining characteristic of reggae music.
Stuart will demonstrate his own unique style of Blues guitar. He will talk about the genre and demonstrate why this unique style is a staple of American music.
Stuart doesn't waste an ytime diving into blues as he starts his series off by demonstrating one of the most iconic and recognizable blues rhythm patterns, the "flat tire" shuffle.
Rhythm in blues is essential, and Stuart provides some tips on how the foundation for blues rhythm can be built.
In this lesson, Stuart demonstrates how to create complementary rhythms that accompany the rest of the band or layer in while a soloists takes over.
Stuart demonstrates how simple single note lines can really influence rhythm within blues music.
Stuart moves forward in his blues series by demonstrating the minor pentatonic scale. He explains how some major artists have influenced its use within blues music.
Even though they are less common than major keys, minor keys play a huge part in blues music. Stuart discusses and demonstrates minor blues concepts.
This lesson provide tips on soloing over minor blues progressions. Stuart uses a backing track to help demonstrate some basic fundamentals to keep in mind while soloing.
Adding a "swing" to eighth note groupings is the subject of this lesson. Stuart demonstrates how this simple rhythmic technique gives blues music part of its signature feel.
Stuart utilizes the swing technique to help demonstrate how "uptown blues" has its own unique sound that stems from larger, urban east coast cities.
Stuart demonstrates what a ii-V change is and explains how it is such a widely used turnaround within blues music.
Stuart takes an in depth look at pentatonic scale theory and demonstrates many different ways it can be applied within blues music.
Stuart will demonstrate what a 2 bar phrase is and how it can be used within the blues genre.
Stuart will now demonstrate what bottleneck slide blues guitar is, some of his favorite artists, and the techniques on how to achieve that unique twang sound.
Stuart will now dive much deeper into the many different techniques that are needed to create a Bottleneck Slide Blues sound.
Stuart will continue his slide blues techniques by demonstrating how to find intervals within an open tuning.
Learn the styles of Carl Perkins, Elvis Presley, Gene Vincent and more! Join Stuart Ziff in a comprehensive study and application of Rockabilly guitar.
Learn the styles of Carl Perkins, Elvis Presley, Gene Vincent and more! Join Stuart Ziff in a comprehensive study and application of Rockabilly guitar. Learn with real musical examples and composed material that, with some hard work and dedication, will have you playing right along with the greats!
Stuart will go into detail about what you need to know and be able to play in order to get the most out of this series. He'll discuss certain stylistic techniques and talk a little about gear and setup.
Begin the journey of digging into the style of Carl Perkins. One of the most important aspects of Rockabilly is the 'feel'. Learn the style of one of the original guitarists that made Rock SWING!
Start to look at Carl Perkins style of soloing. It's not all that different than Chuck Berry, but it tends to swing differently... Maybe a bit more Bluesy in some ways.
Continue looking at Carl Perkins and rhythm guitar. Look at an example that resembles "Everybody's Trying To Be My Baby. It's a nice familiar 12 Barre Blues sound.
Look at Mr. Perkins solo over an "Everybody's Trying..." style tune. He used a lot of rhythmic hooks and didn't focus too much on single note lines, but rather would use chords and single notes within those chords to create melody.
Look at another Carl Perkins rhythm loosely based on "Honey Don't" which was recorded by the Beatles. Get ready to play some seventh chords!
Now you'll get to work on the electric style of Carl Perkins as played in a song like "Honey Don't". You'll be fully exposed to the stop time feel after this lesson!
Look at another interest stop time Carl Perkins rhythm on your acoustic guitar. Remember, feel and groove is the most important aspect of this style. The more you learn and practice these rhythm patterns, the better feeling your playing will become.
Classic Carl Perkins electric guitar playing can be found HERE. Rhythm is such an important part of his lead playing. You'll also incorporate a lot of 6th chords and study the dynamic style of one of the greats!
Chord riffs and rhythm playing in the style of "Matchbox" are on the menu for this lesson that is continuing on in the style of Carl Perkins. Keep the feel!
Elvis and Rockabilly. You have the opportunity to play a rhythm that the King himself played many years ago! There's no drums on this track so the acoustic part must especially groove!
Learn the "Tick Tack" rhythm. Dial in a subtle slap delay and play along with the bass part. The solo that you'll hear will be rooted in this rhythm and employ many double stops.
In this lesson you'll get a taste of the rhythm playing of Scotty Moore. Get ready to do some muting and precise, short strums. You'll get to get warmed up over a familiar E Major progression.
Back to some electric picking with this lesson. Learn about the guitar player who contributed his talents to songs like Heartbreak Hotel. Scotty Moore was ahead of his time and his style remains timeless to this day!
The sound of twang is very important in Rockabilly. It's a tone... A sound... A vibe. The master of "Twang Guitar" was a gentleman named Duane Eddy. Take a melodic idea and make it a twang-influenced theme.
Brian Setzer brings Rockabilly into the modern era. He brought the classic swing and attitude of the music in the past and added a modern energy to it that really cooks!
You got a taste of Brian Setzer rhythm in the last lesson. Dive head first into Brian's lead playing. Rhythm is such a key component to his lead style. High energy and groove are some of the main ingredients!
Dive in to some Mystery Train style grooves. The Stray Cats made this kind of playing really shine. Grab your acoustic and your electric for this one and lay in to that downbeat!
Clean twang sounds and nice rhythms abound in this Duane Eddy style solo. After mastering the rhythms of the last lesson, try your hands at this solo!
Consider this lesson as possibly your first introduction to Gene Vincent. His playing, in this context really encapsulate what Rockabilly is all about. You've got to get this and the next rhythm part before you look at the solo in the coming lessons.
Let's look at the electric guitar part present over the acoustic part learned in the last lesson. You'll get to play in the style of Cliff Gallup and pick up some tasty licks! This will be good prep work for learning the solo in the next lesson.
You were warned! Hopefully you're good and warmed up from practicing the last two parts and ready to take on a new challenge. There's a little speed and some classic Cliff Gallup phrasing in this solo!
This passage has a brighter, bouncier sound. It doesn't require as much from your hands physically, but all of the fun factor is still there. Clean up your sound a bit and give this one a try!
We've been studying the style of Cliff Gallup over the last several lessons, specifically looking at his lead style. This is the last passage of this solo spanning multiple lessons. It contains some of the dirtier playing found in the first passage.
The artist is Ricky Nelson. The legendary James Burton is represented here. You'll get to work on both electric and acoustic guitar parts.
Look at a solo by one of the greatest Tele players that walked the planet! They start out a bit like Chuck Berry, but higher up on the neck, and there is a bit more 'range' to them... Kinda like blending Chuck, with T-Bone!
Work on a song based on the legendary "Waitin' In School" featuring Joe Maphis. Maphis was the kind of Country back in the 50s and 60s... A fantastic flatpicker! Combine some cool Country with some Rockabilly spirit! We're going to work on the acoustic rhythm first!
In this lesson we're going to look at the solo from Joe Maphis based on the track that we worked on in the last lesson. Mr. Ziff reveres this solo as one of the best of all time!
Again, featuring Joe Maphis on guitar, you'll get to learn a style based on a song called "Stood Up". In this lesson, look at the rhythm part. It's simple and straight forward.
This lesson is going to be flavored like a jam between Joe Maphis and James Burton. You'll get to dive into two distinctive Rockabilly lead styles!
Learn the solo like what Joe Maphis may have played from this track based on "Stood Up". It's based on a lot of cool rhythm stuff, but you're not just playing chords. Dig in and have fun!
Let's look at some Cliff Gallup in this lesson. Cliff had a lot of influence on guys like Jimmy Page and Jeff Beck. As usual, we'll look at the acoustic part of our track first. Become part of the groove and pursue it with all you have!
We're going to learn a couple of solo breaks in the style of Cliff Gallup in this lesson based on a tune that Gene Vincent did called "Racin' With The Devil". Roll up your sleeves and lets get at it!
Learn a Carl Perkins solo in the style of Matchbox, a song that was covered by the Beatles. You'll start off with some lower register single notes and then work up the neck in typical Perkins fashion. You'll also get to study more of the rhythmic syncopation that Perkins is so known for!
You'll be playing over a Carl Perkins track, but you'll get to borrow from many of the influences you've been studying over the length of this course and working on improvising your own solo!
This series by Stuart Ziff is one of the most comprehensive looks at all of the ins and outs of Slide Guitar playing you'll find anywhere.
This series by Stuart Ziff is one of the most comprehensive looks at all of the ins and outs of Slide Guitar playing you'll find anywhere. Once Stuart gets your tools and gear whipped into shape, he'll dive into the styles of some of the most influential Slide players in history and inspire you to start or improve your Slide skills with all of the great included examples and backing tracks.
Should you use your trusty multi-purpose axe for slide or should you dedicate a specific guitar in your collection for the task? How should it be set up? What about string gauge? Stuart covers all this and more in this must watch lesson!
Stuart will go through many different types of slides and discuss why there is such a great variety. You'll learn what each slide in the arsenal is best at, and what to watch out for when selecting your slide.
Slide players are all of the map when it comes to using their fingers or picks to get certain sounds or play certain lines. You'll get a great look at the basics of playing with a pick as well as fingers when it comes to dialing in the slide sound for a particular situation.
Getting just the right 'in tune' or 'slightly out of tune' sound is an art when it comes to playing Slide Guitar. Stuart goes in deep in demonstrating what proper pitch control looks like and sounds like!
One of the most important aspects of slide playing (and any playing for that matter) is how you mute the strings you don't want to hear. Slide guitar presents some interesting challenges in this area and Stuart is all over it!
Playing chords is such an art with slide guitar. This lesson is one of many that will shed light on this challenging aspect of this style. There are many great ways to play chords, and some nice little touches that Stuart will introduce throughout this series.
This lesson kicks off a mini series on learning what might be your first slide phrase. You'll learn the basic riff in this lesson and then in lessons to follow, you'll build upon it little by little.
You'll continue to build on the simple slide riff introduced in the last lesson. Over the next several lessons, you'll be able to continually add and experiment with this catchy motif.
Add just two more notes to this already familiar and catchy riff. The notes you'll be adding will add an aspect of bringing the phrase "home". There's another direction you can take it as well!
Add the chords of the 'turnaround' to this riff and you'll really be able to bring it on home. In last lesson we added the 1 chord in the form of the double stop, and now you'll get to complete the form.
Vibrato is a signature for any player in any style, but in slide guitar, the quality of the vibrato in every line is even more front and center. There are so many possibilities and a great deal of flexibility with this technique and slide guitar.
Open tunings are so fun with slide guitar and open up a whole world of sonic possibilities. Stuart will discuss many considerations including positioning and chord forms.
If you want to learn how to play electric slide guitar, you have to walk through the door that's labeled Elmore James. James was the first slide guitar player to have a hit record and his style is so influential to everything 'slide' that you hear today.
Now that you have a basic foundation for Elmore's style, we'll look and listen to a track in the style of a song that he is quite well-known for and we'll specifically hone in on the rhythm.
He's rhythmic, catchy, classic and melodic. Get immersed in how Elmore James approaches soloing!
Look at a different song in the style of a song called Blues At Sunrise. Eric Clapton covered this song on an album in the 90s and payed tribute to the fantastic slide playing of Elmore James. You'll learn look at the rhythm first in this lesson.
Work on the solo and lead component to the song covered in the last lesson that sheds some light on a slightly different way of playing that Elmore James is known for.
Learn to play a solo in the style of "The Sky is Crying" which is a slow blues that showcases that attention to every detail that Elmore had for every note he held out!
Son House didn't play a whole lot when he played, but what he did play... Said a lot! Utilizing open G tuning, you'll learn how to play in the style of one of the true masters of Delta Blues.
Dig a little more in to the sound of the Delta Blues by looking at the style of Robert Johnson. The story goes that Johnson sold his soul to the devil in order to play the guitar. He went from town to town playing for change early in his career and continues to be an inspiration to many!
Learn the style of "The Godfather of the Blues". He had a great vocal style. His band was always made up of exceptionally great musicians, and they knew the Blues! When Muddy decided to play guitar in his songs, he would usually elect to play slide. His vibrato is unmistakable!
Learn from one of the masters! He's got an uncompromisingly unique style. He was especially good at addressing the changes in a musical way. He had a very good understanding of what he was playing and why he was playing it!
Continue to dive in to the style of Michael Bloomfield, one of the most meticulous and strategic guitar players to set the standard for great slide playing!
Take another look at a track based on the style of "Shake Your Money Maker" in the style of Michael Bloomfield. Dive deeper into his quirks and intentional nature as a slide guitar player.
Duane Allman invented his own way to play slide guitar that was unlike any other in his time, and really of all time. He had this way of avoiding open strings when most people used open strings to create their sound of slide guitar. Learn this technique and more!
Continue diving into the unique and sought after slide style of one of the greatest players of all time! Work in the upper register with several nice riffs.
Look at a tune in the style of Statesboro Blues in open E, but playing in the key of D. It's another classic Allman sound!
Harrison had a tremendous nose for a good guitar melody. His solos reflected taste, restraint and flare all at the same time and his slide guitar playing was no exception!
Hardly just a sideman for Tom Petty, Mike Campbell has contributed some of the greatest guitar melodies of all time. Dig into his slide playing here!
Ry Cooder was one of the most unique guitar players in the world. He has no boundaries musically. A great Blues musician but he's also a 'world' musician. He's been all over the world, and worked with many different types of players across many genres!
Duane Allman had an otherworldly way of using his ear to instantly come up with tasteful ideas over music he'd never heard before. Get an even closer look at Allman's ability to do this in this lesson!
Now you'll get a chance to take all the styles you've worked with in this series and add your own bit of creativity. We're going to do an improvisation exercise and if you've been tracking with this series, you'll be surprised what comes out when you sit down with your slide and start to improvise!
We're going to step outside the Blues greats for a bit here and talk about some non-Blues sounds using open tuning. This approach will further broaden your approach to slide playing!
If you can't groove, you can't really make music. Even the best melodic intentions have nothing if there isn't solid rhythm. Stuart hones in on the importance of rhythm and practices lead playing that is especially rhythm-centric!
Chords are of course part of great rhythm playing, and they can be part of great slide playing as well! You've heard and seen it done in this series already, but here, Stuart goes deep into chord creation and implementation.
Much of what we've done in this series has been with beautiful and convenient open tunings. Here, Stuart will face the challenges of playing slide guitar in standard tuning head on! He'll share valuable perspectives and techniques for getting the most out of standard tuning and slide.
Learn the roots of this timeless style by navigating the blues players throughout history. We start with T-Bone Walker, move to the “three kings” of B.B. King, Albert King and Freddie King, then study the evolution of their playing with Mike Bloomfield and Duane Allman.
As guitarists, we all draw from what we know and like. And when we look closely at the greats, we learn to reflect their greatness in our own playing. Join Stuart as he introduces us to the Masters and their Disciples.
The foundations of blues soloing are the major and minor pentatonic scales. Before we get started looking at some of the blues greats, Stuart gives a quick review of all 5 patterns of the major and minor pentatonics.
To have command of your fretboard and to improve your soloing, it's very important to know what makes up a chord - in other words, your arpeggios. Here, Stuart shows us a method for learning patterns 1 and 2 of your dominant 7th, drop two arpeggios.
When learning the fretboard is your goal, arpeggios are a tried and true method. Stuart continues by showing us patterns 3 and 4 of the drop two arpeggios, along with a great way to practice them!
Now we get into the players. All electric blues guitar points back to T-Bone Walker. In this lesson, Stuart introduces us to some of the things that made him legendary: his sense of timing, rhythm and swing, and his use of space.
T Bone Walker, the Father of Texas Blues crafted single note solos that were fluid and very horn-like. Stuart takes a look at this and other attributes that made him one of the original bridges between blues and jazz.
Among other things, T Bone Walker was an authority in regards to rhythm playing. In this up-tempo shuffle, sometimes called a "jump blues", Stuart demonstrates how T Bone would punctuate the groove with horn section-like rhythm parts.
Being that bridge between jazz and blues, T-Bone had lots of jazzy elements in his playing: not a lot of bending, use of the 9th and other ear grabbing chord tones. Stuart uses a simple, bluesy harmony over this shuffle feel to demonstrate these qualities.
So how do you comp a rhythm part against an upbeat track? In this lesson, Stuart shows us how to execute a swing feel rhythm over this T-Bone style track based on the classic "Strolling with Bones".
What is a head melody? Well, think of it as you would a chorus in a song being sung. Only in jazz, we refer to it as a "head melody". Learning this simple melody will get you into the feel of this track!
We've learned the rhythm and the head melody, now Stuart shows us a call and response technique that he integrates into the solo, along with swung eighth notes and repetitive figures. Note the very horn-like phrasing that was a hallmark of T-Bone's style.
His technique. His distinctive vibrato. His use of major and minor pentatonic scales. We're talking about the great B.B. King. Stuart gives us a worthy introduction to the first "King" and shows the connection to the past in T-Bone Walker.
B.B.'s sweet sound could be boiled down to his note choices. The manner in which he combined the major pentatonic and minor pentatonic scales was the primary way in which he made the guitar speak. And make no mistake - the guitar was B.B.'s voice!
B.B. King had many classic moves that Stuart will now take a look at. He had a way of addressing the chords of a song, then applying his nuanced bends and signature vibrato to give us the legendary sound we know and love!
In part 2 of B.B. the Boss, Stuart asks us to forget about the "B.B. box" that everyone obsesses over, and focus in on the dynamics and emotion that made B.B. the king of the blues.
One of B.B.'s most iconic records has a rhythm guitar part played by the legendary Hugh McCracken. On this track in the style of "The Thrill is Gone", Stuart demonstrates how the rhythm guitar part can dictate the feel of a song.
Soloing over a minor blues can be a lot of what NOT to play, especially when emulating the tasteful style of B.B. King. Join Stuart as he talks about finding the right note combinations, where to bend, and what notes to stay away from.
Playing rhythm guitar over a slow blues can be one of the hardest things to get right when learning to master the blues. It requires a lot of restraint, and a single minded focus on supporting the groove.
No doubt about it, B.B. King was the master of the slow blues. His feel, emotion and note choice were impeccable. Using the classic call and response technique, Stuart emulates B.B.'s slow blues style on this classic sounding "in the style of" track.
Left Handed. Upside down. Radical string bending. Fingers and no pick. We're taking a look at Albert King now. Another unique, powerful voice in the world of blues, his bending in particular influenced the likes of Eric Clapton, Duane Allman and Stevie Ray Vaughn.
When analyzing Albert King's style, we must take into account his work with the Stax Records rhythm section, in particular, Steve Cropper. Here, Stuart shows us how Cropper really opened up space in the song through his rhythm guitar part.
Demonstrated in this lesson is Albert King's unique lead guitar style. His instantly recognizable playing was compiled of his phrasing, timing, string bending and overall attitude. Now you'll be able to grab bits and pieces of his phrases to compose your own solo!
Now Stuart looks at a blues staple in the New Orleans rhumba-style feel. A traditional Latin feel that was adapted to the blues, it is highlighted by contrasting differences in the rhythm section. This is all to understand the timing for soloing in the next lesson.
Strong groove and great phrasing highlight this Albert King style solo over the New Orleans rhumba feel. We'll take some of the timing and bending techniques that we learned in a previous lesson and apply it to this unique rhythmic feel.
The Albert King slow blues - a feel that depends on timing and space. One of the hardest feels to master, Stuart uses the tremolo effect to help accentuate the space in the track, helping you to relax and take your time!
In the slow blues, feel always trumps the number of notes. No one knew this better than Albert King. As Stuart guides you, be aware of the tempo and try to stay relaxed. The goal is to mimic the feel and eventually construct your own solo!
A player's feel and rhythm can shift when the song shifts feel and style. We've looked at a shuffle, a rhumba and a slow blues in the style of Albert King. Now it's time to travel to Memphis and get greasy with this funky track!
Are you hearing Clapton? Maybe Billy Gibbons? Well, they were both influenced by the Texas Cannonball. His distinctive playing included intense one and two bar phrases, and hanging on one note. Fierce, sweet and nasty are just a few words used to describe Freddie King.
Stuart now takes a look at the rhythm part of this track based on the classic, Woke Up This Morning. Syncopated eighth notes are the key to making this track groove. Add in the 9th chords, and you've got a very "jazzy" sounding blues track!
Freddie King was known for his aggressive style of guitar playing, and his very distinctive tone that really cut through the mix. In this lesson, Stuart locks in on Freddie's lead style by being choosy about which notes to bend, and which phrases to repeat.
This slow blues in the key of D encounters the challenge of playing at or around the 10th fret. Freddie was a master of being dynamic and grooving even when playing in a higher register on the guitar, just as Stuart tries to emulate here.
Now we get to one of the Disciples that was influenced by everyone we've looked at so far in this series: Duane Allman. One of the most influential players from late 60's and early 70's, Duane developed his own distinctive style with and without his slide.
In listening to Duane Allman, you could tell that he had been listening to T-Bone, the Three Kings, Muddy Waters and so on. Taking all of these influences, he put together his own fluid, lyrical and conversational style that Stuart demonstrates in this lesson.
Duane's bending of notes gave his playing a very animated quality, along with his sense of swing and phrasing that were unique to his playing. In this slow blues track, Stuart demonstrates some of the attributes that made Duane a powerful force in the blues world.
In some of the early Allman Brothers records, Duane's power was on full display. He had great facility when playing on slow blues, and up tempo songs as well. In this lesson, Stuart demonstrates many facets of Duane's playing on this upbeat number.
Along with being a phenomenal blues player, Duane was also adept at playing in the pop/rock, singer/songwriter style featured on some of the Allman Brothers records. On this track, Stuart demonstrates some of Duane's country-like taste that made him such a versatile player.
Mike Bloomfield was a player with great speed and facility on the instrument that was ahead of his time. He left us way too soon after blazing a trail through the 60's and 70's influencing countless guitarists along the way, including Stuart Ziff.
In this lesson, Stuart takes a look at Mike Bloomfield's style and how he used many of the techniques we've discussed so far in this series: using the major and minor pentatonics, addressing the chord changes and using arpeggios.
Bloomfield was a powerhouse blues talent. Even on a track like this one, with changing feels, Mike kept the intensity up at all times. In this lesson, Stuart emulates and analyzes some things Mike may have played over this type of track.
In this lesson, Stuart takes on the daunting task of playing a slow blues, and playing with such intensity and aggression that it challenges ones timing and groove. Mike Bloomfield was a master at this, and it can be heard in many of his recordings.
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