JOHN MAYER'S Blues Chops
Guitar Techniques|December 2021
In this exclusive feature Milton Mermikides breaks down John Mayer’s impressive blues techniques and musical concepts, to show how they can inspire and supercharge your own playing.
Milton Mermikides

ABILITY RATING

Info Key Various Tempo Various CD TRACKS 4-10

Moderate/Advanced

Will improve your… Playing with good groove Classic & modern blues vocabulary Melodic blues soloing

JOHN’S TECHNIQUE

John Mayer performs much of his electric guitar work fingerstyle and this direct contact with the strings provides timing, timbral and dynamic nuance. He also ‘hides’ a plectrum between the first and second finger of his picking hand, which he retrieves to perform funky strumming and more standard blues soloing. He can switch between these techniques remarkably fluently and even exchanges phrases using the two techniques. Mayer also uses the Hendrix-inspired fretting-hand thumb to play notes on the sixth string which aids muting and chord embellishment. These all provide an intimate control, complexity and nuance of timbre and tone, a goal mirrored in his enviable roster of instruments, amps and effects.

Get the Tone

Mayer’s gear is legendary. But it’s there to enhance and augment rather than smother his inherent tone. He can roll off the volume and clean up, or dig in for a saturated overdriven tone. Remember the adage ‘most gear is better than most people’. Or, we learn the most, not by owning more, but by making the most of what we have. I used a Suhr S-style and Gibson 335 through a Line 6 Helix, modelling a Fender Twin Reverb and Dumble style amps.

Continue reading your story on the app

Continue reading your story in the magazine

MORE STORIES FROM GUITAR TECHNIQUESView All

Johnny Winter

This month Phil Short explores the virtuosic style of a Texas blues-rock firebrand with two uptempo, swinging 12-bars for you to learn.

3 mins read
Guitar Techniques
February 2022

BIG COUNTRY

This month Martin Cooper nips over the border as he remembers Scottish rockers Big Country and the talented but troubled Stuart Adamson.

3 mins read
Guitar Techniques
February 2022

MITCH DALTON

The studio guitarist’s guide to happiness and personal fulfilment, as related by our resident session ace. This month: One Hit Blunders.

3 mins read
Guitar Techniques
February 2022

PAUL GILBERT INTERVIEW

The Ibanez shred king has recorded a Christmas album! ‘Twas is full of great chops and festive fun. Jason Sidwell caught up with Paul to ask about chords, playing slide, great christmas songs and emu picking!

10+ mins read
Guitar Techniques
February 2022

PAT MARTINO TRIBUTE

A personal recollection of a jazz guitar legend but also an old friend, from Milton Mermikides.

2 mins read
Guitar Techniques
February 2022

THE CROSSROADS Blue Note Artists

John Wheatcroft explores some of the bluesy-jazz artists at the Blue Note label, with 10 classic and modern guitarists ranging from legends such as Grant Green, Kenny Burrell and Tal Farlow, to John Scofield, Bill Frisell and Julian Lage.

6 mins read
Guitar Techniques
February 2022

OZ NOY Video Masterclass

In another exclusive GT video feature, we welcome back New York based fusion icon Oz Noy to solo over Jason Sidwell’s new track, Guzzle. If you want to solo with bluesy sophistication over a Stax styled stomper, Jon Bishop is your guide.

10+ mins read
Guitar Techniques
February 2022

JUSTIN SANDERCOE

As one of the world’s most successful guitar teachers, Justin lends us his insight into learning and playing guitar. This month: All Ten Parts.

4 mins read
Guitar Techniques
February 2022

FRANCISCO TARREGA Pepita

Declan Zapala brings you this upbeat polka, full of quintessential Spanish flavour, packed full of arpeggiated runs, punchy rhythms, and busy melodies to improve and refine your classical guitar skills.

4 mins read
Guitar Techniques
February 2022

10 CHICAGO BLUES GREATS

Inject some authenticity into your blues playing as we turn back the clock in the Windy City, and check out the styles of 10 of the Chicago blues greats. Andy Saphir is your guide.

10+ mins read
Guitar Techniques
February 2022
RELATED STORIES

GUITAR GOD MAYER HAS JEN ON STRING!

MAN-HUNGRY Jennifer Aniston has been showering ex-lover John Mayer with health and diet tips, hoping to lure him back into her arms, sources say.

1 min read
Globe
December 13, 2021

OLD LOVE

On his new album, JOHN MAYER lives out a very specific rock ’n’ roll fantasy: “What if it’s 1988 and I had had a band in the late ’60s through the ’70s, and now I’m my age in the ’80s and people are handing me these things called chorus pedals?” The result is Sob Rock, a highly polished, extra-“generous” studio offering that slyly channels the guitarist’s high-school–days guitar gods — including Journeyman-era ERIC CLAPTON

10+ mins read
Guitar World
October 2021

I ❤ The 80s

A track-by-track guide to the slick sounds and classy guitar playing on Mayer’s new album, Sob Rock...

3 mins read
Total Guitar
September 2021

The Player

Inspired by Stevie Ray Vaughan and feted by Clapton, John Mayer is one of the most gifted guitarists of the modern era. He also knows how to the play the fame game - from crafting pop hits and collaborating with fellow A-listers to teasing his new album via TikTok. This is his story: the making of a guitar superstar...

10+ mins read
Total Guitar
September 2021

The Sky's The Limit

WE TAKE A CLOSER LOOK AT JOHN MAYER’S IDEALISED DOUBLE-CUT, WITH THE HELP OF PAUL REED SMITH HIMSELF

3 mins read
Total Guitar
September 2021

“I GREW UP A LONE WOLF IN MY BEDROOM PRACTISING MY GUITAR. ALL I EVER REALLY CRAVED WAS A COMMUNITY”

When John Mayer joined Dead & Company – featuring members of the original jam band, the Grateful Dead – he got a kick out of being a team player. And by honouring the legacy of the late Jerry Garcia, he found a new dimension to his playing.

4 mins read
Total Guitar
September 2021

THE SHAPESHIFTER

In ten key collaborations, John Mayer has travelled from classic blues to hip-hop, modern rock to mainstream pop and beyond...

1 min read
Total Guitar
September 2021

¿HACIA DÓNDE VA EL INTERIORISMO?

Desde siempre, la visión hacia el futuro del diseño por parte de los creadores tiene que ver con el marco histórico y cultural que se atraviesa y cómo todo esto afecta las necesidades de una persona en el tiempo y el espacio.

3 mins read
Ambientes
Ambientes 132

GLASS HOUSES

In a six-story building in the centre of Munich, Michael and Petra Mayer run — and reside in — one of the world’s oldest and most celebrated architectural glass and mosaic ateliers.

6 mins read
T Singapore: The New York Times Style Magazine
January 2021

Saurer's Path-breaking Innovations @ ITMA

Saurer Group is a leading globally operating technology group focusing on machinery and components for yarn processing. As a company with a long tradition, Saurer has always been a leader in innovation. Today, Saurer comprises the two segments Saurer Spinning Solutions and Saurer Technologies.

5 mins read
The Textile magazine
October 2019