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


on line and in person


The Guitar of Eric Clapton


7-8:30pm PST

Six Thursdays starting March 2

price: $175

In this class we will learn six classic songs from Clapton’s early stints with John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers, Cream, Blind Faith, Derek and the Dominos, and a nod to his early 2000s tribute to Robert Johnson.



Sunshine of Your Love




Can’t Find My Way Home

Sweet Home Chicago

email Pete to signup: buzzyfrets@yahoo.com

The Guitar of Big Bill Broonzy


7-8:30pm PST

Six Wednesdays starting March 15

price: $175

Among the pantheon of great blues guitarists few could measure up to Big Bill Broonzy in musical skill, longevity and influence on contemporaries and future generations of guitarists. He had a huge repertoire of songs and recorded throughout his career -- from the late 1920s on up to the mid 1950s. 


Shuffle Rag

Saturday Night Rub

Hey, Hey

Pig Meat Strut

Stove Pipe Stomp

email Pete to signup: buzzyfrets@yahoo.com

Jamming the Blues

Six Saturdays

starting February 18


in person at

Timbre Folk, 801 Bancroft, Berkeley, CA

price: $200

For guitar players who want to learn how play a 12 bar blues in various keys. We will take a basic 12 bar blues as our background format and use ideas based on scales, riffs and chord shapes to learn both rhythm and lead playing. This will be a lot of fun for those folks who have a little background in playing blues rhythms, but want to create lead lines that are rippin! 


email Pete to signup: buzzyfrets@yahoo.com


Introduction to Blues Fingerpicking Workshop

w/ Pete Madsen

contact: buzzyfrets@yahoo.com

Saturday, February 25 1pm-2:15 PST

invite only on Zoom


Do you love the playing of Robert Johnson, Big Bill Broonzy, Mississippi John Hurt, 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. Some folks refer to this as “Travis picking” — named for the great country picker, Merle Travis. We will use a 12 bar blues in the key of E as our template, using a simple alternating bass pattern — played between two strings. After learning the bass we will “layer” other notes on the treble strings to create a “separate voice.” The bass in early blues recordings drove the music with a“chug” and a “bounce” that helped give the music it’s special rhythmic characteristics.

Participants need only have knowledge of first position guitar chords, you know, like E, A and B7…

email Pete to signup: buzzyfrets@yahoo.com

We will cover:


  • Alternating bass played by the thumb
  • Adding treble-based (melody) notes
  • Dedicating specific fingers to specific strings (PIMA)
  • 12 bar structure
  • Blues in the key of E
  • Other resources for developing your playing


In addition to performing, Pete is a well-respected guitar teacher and writes regularly for Acoustic Guitar Magazine. He has written eight books of guitar instruction, including A Guide to Acoustic Blues Guitar, A Guide to Bottleneck Slide Guitar, Improvisation and Variations for Fingerstyle Blues Guitar, The CAGED System for Guitar, and Play the Blues Like.… He can be seen at his popular classes in Berkeley at Timbre Folk.


contact Pete Madsen to sign up:




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