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Michael Johnson >> Surf Guitar Legends >>
Lesson Subject: Surf Legends
What you learn: The Ventures Style
Teacher: Michael Johnson

Michael: Welcome to the interactive lesson on the style of The Ventures. The Ventures were well known as the premier "surf rock" band of the '60s. They featured simple guitar rhythms and melodies with a clean guitar running through a fender reverb and was the classic sound of that age. This lesson is excellent for beginners who want to learn how to play rhythm and simple lead melodies and fun for advanced players as well!

Lesson Sample

Michael: In this lesson you will learn:
1. 4 Chord Surf Rhythm in the Key of Am
2. The Classic Surf Chord Strum
3. Playing licks in the Key of Am
4. Playing Melodies that follow the Chord Progression,

Michael: Let's get started with our 4 chord surf progression, in this progression you'll play Am, G, D, and E:

Surf Chord Progression 1

This pattern has a basic up & down strum in sets of 3s.

Lesson 1 - Strum Technique

Kaan: Barre chords?

Yes Kaan, here's the chord pictures.

Am Barre

G Barre

D Barre

E Major

Michael: Let's move to the 2nd chord, now we continue with F, E, C, G, C to cap it off.

Michael: Very simple, here's the entire progression.

Michael: Now try practicing the progression over the looping jam track.

Looping Jam Track 1

Michael: Next we'll cover the licks and melody.

Buud: Can you play the D chord on 10th with the E-form barre so you don't have to change shapes? Seems a lot easier...

Michael: Sure buud, here's the A Minor scale for most of the licks we'll cover next.

Michael: This scale starts on the open 5th string A, and uses the open position of the neck. It's easy to play melodies in this position. What notes are in the A minor scale?

rob: A B C D E F G

Michael: Thanks Rob, it's also considered relative to the C Major scale.

Buud: Relative minor of C major. No sharps, no flats.

Michael: Here's the notes for each scale:
C Major C, D, E, F, G, A, B 
A Minor A, B, C, D, E, F, G

  Same notes different order, here's our first lick.

Michael: Notice how the melody follows the pattern.

Michael: Here's the second lick.

Michael: Pretty much the same lick, but with a different ending. Notice these licks play over the Am, G, D & E. Now you can change the melody with the chord changes. Here's the notes for the F, E, C, G, C chord change.

Michael: Here's the entire melody:

Lesson 2 - Entire Melody

Kaan: Very easy, but it has a good sound.

Michael: Yes and it's fun to play. Let's break down into more licks. This next lick follows the chord pattern on the 1st and 2nd strings:

Lesson 3 - Lick 1

Michael: This lick starts with barring the 5th fret/1st and 2nd string, then follows the A minor scale. Notice how it works over the chord changes when you play over the jam track. More advance players can jam in the A minor/Minor Pentatonic scales:

Michael: This next lick follows with double stop licks over the chord progression. This is actually a good lesson to practice over chord changes and then you can jump back to the A minor scale. Here's the next lick:

Lesson 3 - Lick 3

Michael: This lick has kind of a "Secret Agent Man" picking pattern, it picks between the 1st and 2nd strings.

Michael: Well hey everybody I have to go, see you next lesson!

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