WELCOME to Learn Blues Guitar Now!


The site is dedicated to guitar education. If you are trying to find out about Pete Madsen's shows, cds, and  musical projects go to: petemadsenguitar.com



Jamming the Blues

~Blues Rhythm and Soloing~

Six Saturdays beginning April 22
Timbre Folk
801 Bancroft, Berkeley, CA
Price: $200
For guitar players who want to learn how to play rhythm and solo over blues changes. We will take a basic 12 bar blues as our background format and use ideas based on scales, riffs and chord shapes to learn the art of soloing. This will be a lot of fun for those folks who have a little background in playing blues  Learn classic solo lines from players like Robert Johnson, Eric Clapton and many more. Some background in playing blues rhythm required, but other than that just a desire to put some heart (and muscle!) into your guitar playing.

to sign up or ask questions email Pete: buzzyfrets@yahoo.com





Introduction to Blues Guitar
six Wednesdays beginning May 3, 5:30-6:45

In this class we will learn the basics of playing blues guitar. Whether you like modern electric blues or pre war acoustic fingerstyle blues it’s important to understand the fundamentals of the genre. In this class we will learn:

    • What a shuffle rhythm is.

    • How to play blues chord changes in several different keys: I IV V.

    • Walking bass lines.

    • Two string “spread” rhythms.

    • Great blues chords that you can move around the neck

    • Pentatonic scales: basic soloing techniques

    • Minor blues

The techniques and rhythms you learn in this class will prepare you to play hundreds of songs by everyone from Robert Johnson to Eric Clapton, Gary Clark Jr, and others.

This class is for anybody who knows basic guitar chords (“cowboy” chords) and is interested in blues.

to signup please contact the Freight and Salvage



Fingerpicking the Blues
Six Wednesdays beginning May 3, 7-8:15pm

Do you love the playing of Robert Johnson, Big Bill Broonzy, Son House or Delta and Piedmont blues in general? Unlock the mystery of the right hand in blues fingerpicking. This class is designed for the beginning blues fingerpicker: you will learn about playing a constant bass with your thumb over a melody line played with your fingers. First we will learn about “dead-thumb” – playing a single string bass, with melody notes played on other strings. Then we will try an “alternating bass” – a bass that travels between two or more strings. The bass in early blues recordings drove the music with a“chug” and a “bounce” that helped give the music its special rhythmic characteristics.

Participants should have knowledge of first position guitar chords and some fingerpicking experience is useful…beyond that just a love of blues and a desire to learn is all that is needed.

to signup for this class please contact the Freight and Salvage

   the Freight and Salvage is located at 2020 Addison St., Berkeley, CA.




Introduction to Jazz Manouche 

(in the style of Django Reinhardt)

Six Mondays beginning May 1

7-8:30pm (PST)

zoom invite

Price: $175


Django Reinhardt's influence can be heard everywhere; from the practitioners of jazz standards today like John Jorgensen to British rock pioneers like the dear, departed, Jeff Beck.

The style, formerly called "Gypsy Jazz." is rooted in the driving rhythm known as the "Manouche pompe." in which the guitarist plays fast, down-strummed chords. We will cover the rhythm style along with learning the "heads" (melody) to six songs, and explore a few improvisational techniques.


Songs will include:


Minor Swing

Swing 42

Dark Eyes

All of Me

Sweet Georgia Brown

Honeysuckle Rose


The Rolling Stones

Six Thursdays beginning May 4

7-8:30pm (PST)

zoom invite

Price: $175

The "other" big British band of the 1960s were more steeped in blues than the Beatles. Keith Richards wrote many memorable guitar hooks that drove much of the band's sound, and his use of open G (DGDDBD) tuning to create memorable guitar lines was pioneering.

   We will play though several of their hits, including:


Gimme Shelter

Honky Tonk Women

Paint it Black

This Will be the Last Time

Beast of Burden

Jumping' Jack Flash

Dead Flowers


Can't You Hear me Knockin'

Pete Madsen

In addition to performing, Pete is a well-respected guitar teacher and writes regularly for Acoustic Guitar Magazine. He has been teaching for over twenty five years. He has written seven books of guitar instruction, including A Guide to Acoustic Blues Guitar, A Guide to Bottleneck Slide Guitar, Improvisation and Variations for Fingerstyle Blues Guitar, and The CAGED System for Guitar. Most of these titles are available from his educational website: http://learnbluesguitarnow.com

In addition to the above styles Pete is well-versed in rock, electric blues, surf, funk, rockabilly and early jazz.


Space is limited to seven participants. Contact Pete to sign up:

buzzyfrets@yahoo.com Ph(510)708-8874



Forty songs and exercises to get your acoustic blues a kick start! Songs from Robert Johnson, Big Bill Broonzy, Mississippi John Hurt, Reverend Gary Davis and many more. Standard tuning, open g tuning, and open D tuning.




Update: January 2023

TrueFire channel is still live and growing. The latest lesson is “John Henry,” by Mississippi Fred McDowell in open D tuning (DADF#AD).



Check out my True Fire channel: access to lots of TABS, videos and acoustic blues guitar education. The focus is on fingerstyle blues. Learn to play:

• alternating bass

• monotonic bass

• slide guitar

• open tunings

• Lots and Lots of songs!

There over 200 videos and over a 150 TABS

Pete's Fingerstyle Blues Academy


I also teach private lessons at my studio in Berkeley. E-mail or call me for rates and availability.



Order the book: Play the Blues Like...

This book shows you how to play in the style of 12 different blues and blues-inspired artists, such as: Robert Johnson, Charley Patton, Skip James, Alvin Youngblood Hart, Memphis

Minnie, and many more. The book was written in conjunction with Acoustic Guitar magazine and published by Hal Leonard.



I'm a beginning guitar player and have been Pete's student for a few months and wanted to write him up here because I couldn't imagine having found a better teacher. I tried a few other people before going to Pete and the difference is amazing. While most guitar teachers know how to play, Pete also knows how to teach.
He's great at explaining things, great at showing technique, he sends an audio recording of each lesson to your email address (a HUGE help), and teaches you songs that you want to play. In addition to all this his rates are good and he's a cool, easy-going, guitar-loving guy…
--private student

looked forward to the class every week. Even though we were at different skill levels, Pete provided each of us with personal attention which inspired us all to practice. It was fun and rewarding to see myself (and all the other students) improve over the period of the class. Highly recommended!
Bob, student from class

Pete Madsen’s blues guitar classes at the Freight are just great! You learn a lot, and it is incredible fun. I honestly cannot get enough!
– student from class

i been playing for quite a while but not correct finger picking cant sink so this is nice and clear teaching i too think this is one of the best thanks bro
– youtube comment

Thanks for the good video on_ your blues lesson. You explained clearly and broke it down just enough keep up the blues lessons friend God bless

jo bro you helped me so much understand more about_ fingerpicking and syncopation. please keep on teaching man, your one of the best around…
--youtube comment

Took Pete’s Acoustic Blues class.......it was everything I hoped for. He really helped me wrap my head around the fingerpicking that had eluded me for years....thanks again!
I'm looking forward to studying with him again in the future.
-- student from class