With the coronavirus keeping us all in our homes, many musicians, including Brian May and Roger Taylor of Queen and Kiss‘ Paul Stanley, have been uploading instructional videos on their instruments to Instagram and Youtube. They range from quick, free tutorials on how to play famous riffs and songs to full-blown, multi-part paid classes from legends like Carlos Santana. Take a look below to see what’s being offered.
On his Instagram account, Queen guitarist Brian May has periodically uploaded videos of himself playing guitar, giving fans a close-up look at how he plays his own songs such as “We Will Rock You,” “Tie Your Mother Down” and “Hammer to Fall,” as well as tracks that influenced him like the Shadows’ “FBI” and Elvis Presley‘s “Baby I Don’t Care.”
May’s bandmate Roger Taylor is also showing off his skills on Instagram. But instead of playing his parts, he’s going into detail about the components of a drum kit and the strokes required to be a good drummer. He’s also shared video from acolytes like Taylor Hawkins (Foo Fighters), Matt Cameron (Pearl Jam, Soundgarden) and Stephen Perkins (Jane’s Addiction).
On Kiss’ YouTube feed, Paul Stanley has sat down with his guitar and talked about how he wrote some of his songs. “Love Gun,” for example, came about when he saw a band covering Albert King’s “The Hunter” and heard the phrase “love gun” in the lyrics.
The Megadeth bassist and his David Ellefson Youth Music Foundation, is offering free lessons and one-on-one mentoring sessions for students 18 and younger via their new “School’s Out” program. As of press time, they’ve uploaded a few videos, including one of Ellefson discussing and playing some of the bass riffs that influenced him: Bachman-Turner Overdrive, “Not Fragile,” Iron Maiden‘s “Wrathchild,” Judas Priest‘s cover of Fleetwood Mac‘s “The Green Manalishi,” AC/DC‘s “Sin City.” You can apply for classes and learn more about the foundation’s work at their website.
Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal
Ellefson has recruited some of his friends to participate, including bandmates Dirk Verbeuren and Kiko Loureiro, Frank Bello (Anthrax), Nita Strauss (Alice Cooper) and past and present members of bands like Great White, Five Finger Death Punch and Sevendust. Another is former Guns N’ Roses guitarist Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal, who has offered instruction on how to play “God of the Sun,” a tune by his new band, Sons of Apollo.
On his YouTube channel, Anthrax’s Charlie Benante has created a series called “Yo! Watch the Beat,” in which he plays along with some of his favorite songs on drums (Van Halen‘s “Hot for Teacher” and Led Zeppelin‘s “Fool in the Rain”) and guitar (U2‘s “A Sort of Homecoming”). In the description, he goes into detail about what makes that track special.
Guitar manufacturer Gibson is offering a limited number of free, three-month premium memberships to Amped Guitar, an app-based guitar class. The program uses Augmented Reality technology to teach classic rock songs and improve technique.
Another guitar company, Fender, is giving away three months worth of free lessons to 500,000 people who sign up for their Fender Play program. Students can choose between guitar, bass and ukulele, with videos coming from teachers who have graduated from some of the top music schools in the U.S.
At Masterclass, Carlos Santana has created 16 lessons where he teaches what he calls “the art and soul of guitar.” Classes range from what he’s learned from the blues and world music to fronting a band to his own words of wisdom.
Rage Against the Machine guitarist Tom Morello has also partnered with Masterclass, with 26 lessons. They include going through his effects rig, his diverse set of influences, how to get the most out of practice time, theory and songwriting.
Alice Cooper guitarist Ryan Roxie has, along with his partners, created a method of guitar instruction called “System-12” and, in March 2020, launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds. Incentives for contributing include early access to the program, beta testing, personal interaction with Roxie and even souvenirs from his golf outings with Cooper.
Former Black Crowes guitarist Marc Ford is giving 30- and 60-minute lessons. Classes will be conducted over Skype.