Learn to play bass with light – introducing Fret Zealot for bass!

Ever wanted to start playing bass guitar, but never got around to learning?

Introducing : Fret Zealot for Bass. Pre-order is available NOW, estimated ship date is December 5th. The holidays are coming up *wink wink*.

Fret Zealot’s state-of-the-art LED system is coming for four-string bass. It fits just next to the frets and shows you exactly where to put your fingers to play anything you can imagine… in any color!

Fret Zealot is a state-of-the-art LED addition to your guitar and is your gateway to learning anything you want to play – with color and light.

Bass courses are available on the Fret Zealot app, including:


Full size bass guitar with scale length: 34 – 35”


Android – version 6.0.1 or newer and support for Bluetooth 4.0 Low Energy (BLE) or newer.
iOS – iPhone 5 or newer and iOS 10 or newer.

If you need help determining the scale length of your specific bass model, please email [email protected] with your Make & Model and we will happily assist you!

Where did famous bands get their names?

Lots of popular bands got their names from unlikely places! Here’s where some famous bands got their names:


In 1969, songwriter/keyboard player Benny Andersson and songwriter/guitarist Björn Ulvaeus met vocalists Agnetha Fältskog and Anni-Frid Lyngstad and made their musical debut as “Festfolk”. They didn’t gain success in Sweden as “Festfolk”, but they took the top spot in the Eurovision Song Contest in 1974 under the name “ABBA”, an acronym for the band members’ first names.

Learn songs by ABBA with these song lessons!


During the “Satanic Panic” movement of the 1980s, many hard rock bands were accused of devil worship. Despite speculation that the band’s name stood for “Anti-Christ/Devil’s Children” or similar things, the reality is much more ordinary. AC/DC is an acronym for “Alternating Current/Direct Current,” which means a device can use both types of power.

Learn songs by AC/DC with these song lessons!

Deep Purple

The band was on a tour of Sweden and Denmark under the name “Roundabout” when
guitarist Ritchie Blackmore suggested the name “Deep Purple”, after his grandmother’s favorite Bing Crosby song.

Find lessons for Deep Purple’s hit “Smoke on the Water” here.


The band originally went by “Trigger” on their first demo tape, but that name was taken by another band. Guitarist Mick Jones, who is English, chose the name “Foreigner” instead since the band, made up of three Brits and three Americans, would always be “foreigners” no matter what country they were in.

Grateful Dead

The California-based band started out as “The Warlocks”, but that name was taken by another band. The group picked “Grateful Dead” out of a dictionary. The term refers to a concept featured in many folktales where the main character helps a dead stranger resolve a debt, giving them karmic repayment after the fact.

Hootie and the Blowfish

Contrary to popular belief, lead singer Darius Rucker is not “Hootie” and the rest of the band is not “The Blowfish”. Actually, the name comes from the nicknames of two of Rucker’s University of South Carolina friends, one who had big glasses that made him look like an owl (Hootie) and one with big cheeks that made him look like a pufferfish (the Blowfish). According to a 1995 newspaper article, the two walked into a party where the band was playing and Rucker announced “It’s Hootie and the Blowfish!” The name stuck.

Judas Priest

English heavy metal band Judas Priest took their name from another musician – Bob Dylan. The name came from Dylan’s 1967 song, “The Ballad of Frankie Lee and Judas Priest”.

Find the song lesson for “Breaking the Law” here.

Led Zeppelin

Guitarist Jimmy Page was playing lead guitar for The Yardbirds after Eric Clapton left the band, and the band had to finish out their U.S. tour dates without much of a band, so Page recruited Robert Plant, John Paul Jones, and John Bonham. Keith Moon of The Who said the project would go down “like a lead balloon”, so the newly formed group chose “Led Zeppelin” as their final name. They intentionally misspelled “Led” so that there wouldn’t be any confusion about the pronunciation.

Lynyrd Skynyrd

The Southern rock group named themselves after a strict gym coach, Leonard Skinner, at their Florida high school who sent founding member Gary Rossington to the principal’s office for having too-long hair.

Find song lessons for Lynyrd Skynyrd here!

Motley Crue

Motley Crue guitarist Bob “Mick Mars” Deal helped name the band when he recalled a time his previous bandmate called the group “a motley looking crew”. The group modified the spelling of the phrase and added some German umlauts inspired by a German beer they were drinking.

Pink Floyd

This British band started off as “The Tea Set” and had a residency at a club in downtown London. One night, another band also named “The Tea Set” was set to perform at one of their gigs. Frontman Syd Barrett created the name “Pink Floyd” on a spur of the moment, pulling from two names from his record collection, “Pink Anderson” and “Floyd Council”.

Find song lessons for Pink Floyd here.


The band was scrambling to find a name before their first gig, in a Toronto coffee shop located in the basement of a church. Drummer John Rutsey’s brother suggested the name “Rush”, since that’s what the band members were in.

Find the song lesson for “Tom Sawyer” here.

The Who

The band started off as “The Detours”, but after finding out about another band in London with a similar name, they had to change it. Other ideas thrown out were “No One”, “The Group”, and “The Hair”.

Find song lessons by The Who here.


While the group members searched for an appropriate name, guitarist Peter Banks suggested they called the group Yes, a very short and positive word. The others agreed that the name was not meant to be permanent, but just a temporary solution.

ZZ Top

Vocalist and guitarist Billy Gibbons admired talented guitarists like B.B. King and Z.Z. Hill, and noted that many of them had used stage names with two initials. He first combined their names to name the band “Z.Z. King”, but thought it was too close to “B.B. King”. According to AmericanSongwriter.com, “Gibbons decided that a “king is going to the top.” So, he landed finally on ZZ Top. The rest is history.”

Find song lessons for ZZ Top here.

"Hands and Fingers on a Piano Keyboard" by Image Catalog is marked with CC0 1.0.

How playing piano can be key to learning or improving at guitar

September is National Piano Month! Knowing how to play the piano or keyboard can be advantageous toward your guitar learning experience, whether you’re just starting out on guitar or a seasoned pro looking to polish your skills. If you have a couple of years of childhood piano lessons under your belt, you might be well on your way to better understanding the guitar!

“Piano keyboard” by freestocks.org is marked with CC0 1.0.

Here’s why:

Playing the piano helps with music theory

Every note on the piano is laid out horizontally, and there’s only one key per note, so it’s easy to know exactly where to put your fingers. This can be very helpful with reading music. It can also be helpful for better understanding how chords are structured, rather than memorizing patterns on a guitar.

Piano helps you develop strength and motor skills in both hands

This 2006 study from Cardiff University found that piano players actually showed development in the mapping of their motor cortices to increase speed and dexterity of their fingers. Playing piano with both hands can help make your strumming hand stronger and faster.

Playing piano can be useful for songwriting

Grammy-winning guitarist Eric Johnson said in a 2016 interview that every guitarist should learn piano, saying that learning the instrument can give you a new perspective on music that you can apply to any instrument.

“When you look at a piano, you can see every note,” Johnson told Total Guitar. “All 88 keys—the whole spectrum. It’s like laying out a long piece of paper that has all the architectural plans for a building. It’s a great center-point and home base to look at and study music.” You can apply that perspective to help you figure out chord and key changes, vocal arrangements, and more.

Piano is a “universal instrument”

Both of the Van Halen brothers, Eddie and Alex, learned to play piano at an early age. Eddie eventually became one of the most celebrated guitarists of all time, and he acknowledged how learning piano first helped him on his musical journey. In a 1981 Guitar World interview, Eddie said “the piano is a universal instrument. If you start there, learn your theory and how to read, you can go on to any other instrument”.

Here are some other famous guitarists who also play piano or keyboard:

Sir Paul McCartney

McCartney grew up with an upright piano in the front room of his family’s Liverpool home and learned how to play it by ear. He also composed what would become the melody to “When I’m Sixty-Four” on that piano.

Joni Mitchell

The prolific singer-songwriter took piano lessons for eighteen months starting at age seven before deciding she liked writing her own music more than doing piano exercises. Piano, along with guitar and Applachain dulcimer, is one of her primary instruments.

Pete Townshend

The guitarist/co-founder/songwriter of The Who is also an accomplished piano and keyboard player.

Keith Richards

The legendary Rolling Stones guitarist also knows how to play piano, and you can hear it on his solo recording A Stone Alone: Solo Sessions.

Steve Lukather

The sole continuous founding member of Toto started playing keyboards and drums before he taught himself guitar at age seven.

Check out the Steve Lukather player study to learn how to play like him!

Famous songs that started off as country songs

Many popular songs have country roots! Check out these hits that you might not know are covers of country songs.

Janis Joplin: ‘Me & Bobby McGee’

Joplin recorded her version of “Me and Bobby McGee” just days before her death in 1970. It was included on her album Pearl and became her only number-one hit. Prolific singer-songwriter Kris Kristofferson penned the track, naming the character mentioned after a studio secretary Barbara “Bobbie” McKee. It was originally recorded by Roger Miller (of “King of the Road” fame), as well as Gordon Lightfoot, who helped take it to number one on the Canadian country charts. Kristofferson didn’t know Joplin had recorded the song until after her death.

"Janis Joplin" by urcameras is marked with Public Domain Mark 1.0.

“Act Naturally”: The Beatles

The B-side of “Yesterday”, “Act Naturally” was penned by country singer/songwriter Johnny Russell. It was originally released by Buck Owens and the Buckaroos and went to number one on the Billboard Country singles chart in 1963. It has also been covered by country stars Loretta Lynn and Dwight Yoakam.

“I Will Always Love You”: Whitney Houston

"Whitney Houston in Germany 1999" by tm_10001 is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

The show-stopping ballad from Houston’s 1992 film “The Bodyguard” became the singer’s signature song, but it was written by country music queen Dolly Parton. Parton wrote the song in 1973 as a goodbye to her business partner and mentor after she decided to go solo. She later said that she wrote both the ballad and her hit “Jolene” on the same day!

Parton hoped that the Godmother of Soul, Patti LaBelle, would record a version of the song. Labelle didn’t end up taking the song, but another huge star was interested in it – Elvis. Parton’s recording of the song was number one on the country charts in 1974, and she was interested in letting Presley cover it until she found out that it was standard for songwriters to sign over half of the publishing rights for any song Elvis recorded. Parton refused.

“I Swear”: All-4-One

R&B boy band All-4-One topped the charts in 1994 with their hit “I Swear”, taking the top spot for 11 consecutive weeks. However, the song has country roots – it was released by country singer John Michael Montgomery only one year prior. All-4-One and Montgomery teamed up to release a new duet version of the song for their 2015 album “Twenty+”.

“Ring of Fire”: Johnny Cash

One of Cash’s most iconic hits was actually a cover of a country song released by his sister-in-law, Anita Carter, and co-written by his wife, June Carter Cash. Carter’s version didn’t become a hit, but after Cash heard it, he said he had a dream about the song being accompanied by “Mexican horns”, and went with that vision for the song.

You can learn songs from Johnny Cash with Fret Zealot!

Fun facts about the cast of Fox’s Monarch

Fret Zealot is partnering up with Fox’s Monarch to bring songs from the show to you!

MONARCH is a new musical drama that follows country music’s biggest dynasty – and their quest to hold on to their throne. The show stars Susan Sarandon, Trace Adkins, and Anna Friel as members of the legendary country music family, the Romans. 

Here are some fun facts about members of the Monarch cast:

Trace Adkins – “Albie Roman” 

MONARCH: Trace Adkins in the series premiere of Monarch airing Sunday, Sept. 11, immediately following the FOX NFL doubleheader (8:00-9:00 PM ET, and simultaneously to all time zones). It then makes its time period premiere Tuesday, Sept. 20 (9:00-10:00 PM ET/PT). CR: FOX © 2022 FOX Media LLC.

His left pinky was cut off while he was working on an oil rig.

Doctors were able to reattach it, but he had to have doctors fuse the bones in a position so that he could still play guitar.

He was on “King of The Hill”.

Adkins voiced Elvin Mackleston on the FOX sitcom. His character was a friend of Lucky, Tom Petty’s character on the show. 

He’s afraid of snakes.

"Mexican Milk Snake." by Bernard Spragg is marked with CC0 1.0.

Trace towers at 6’6”, but snakes give him the chills. He grew up in Louisiana, where snakes can be a real danger.

His favorite band is Lynyrd Skynyrd.

He also prefers The Rolling Stones over The Beatles.

He loves The Farmers’ Almanac. 

He said he has a nostalgic connection to the annual publication – his grandfather would read it religiously. 

Susan Sarandon – “Dottie Cantrell Roman” 

MONARCH: Susan Sarandon. CR: Drew Hermann /FOX © 2022 FOX Media LLC.

She participated in the Olympics – kind of.

Sarandon was one of eight women to carry the Olympic flag at the 2006 Turin, Italy Winter Games opening ceremony.

She landed her first film role without trying.

Sarandon attended a casting call for the 1970 movie “Joe” with then-husband Chris Sarandon to help read with him. Chris didn’t get the part, but Susan was cast in the movie.

She was very sick on the set of “Rocky Horror”.

Sarandon starred in the beloved cult classic “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” , and the set had no heat. Sarandon caught pneumonia after filming the pool scene, and although she was shaking with a fever, she refused to stop working.

She founded an international ping-pong club chain.

Sarandon is one of the founders of SPIN, a chain of franchised tennis table clubs that has locations in NYC, Boston, Chicago, Toronto, and more major cities.

She’s a dedicated activist.
Sarandon is well-known for her activism, using her platform to advocate for civil rights, presidential candidates and anti-war causes. She was appointed as a UNICEF Goodwill ambassador in 1999.

Anna Friel – “Nicolette Roman”

MONARCH: Anna Friel in the series premiere of Monarch airing Sunday, Sept. 11, immediately following the FOX NFL doubleheader (8:00-9:00 PM ET, and simultaneously to all time zones). It then makes its time period premiere Tuesday, Sept. 20 (9:00-10:00 PM ET/PT). CR: FOX © 2022 FOX Media LLC.

She’s actually English. 

Despite her Texas inflection on Monarch, Friel is English and her father was born in Ireland. 

She started acting at age 13. 

Friel made her acting debut as a teen on the British miniseries G.B.H., and then took on other roles in series like Coronation Street and Brookside. 


She had a longtime relationship with a Harry Potter actor. 

Friel and David Thewlis, who played Professor Lupin in the Harry Potter series, dated for a decade and have a daughter together. 


She has a successful stage career. 

In addition to acting in many TV series and films, Friel has also had successful runs in the theater business, performing on Broadway and London’s West End, including Holly Golightly in “Breakfast At Tiffany’s” and Yelena in “Uncle Vanya”. 


She’s an activist too. 

Friel works as an ambassador for the WWF wildlife charity. 

Beth Ditto – “Gigi Taylor-Roman”

MONARCH: Beth Ditto in the series premiere of Monarch airing Sunday, Sept. 11, immediately following the FOX NFL doubleheader (8:00-9:00 PM ET, and simultaneously to all time zones). It then makes its time period premiere Tuesday, Sept. 20 (9:00-10:00 PM ET/PT). CR: FOX © 2022 FOX Media LLC.

She’s had an extensive music career.
Ditto fronted indie rock band Gossip. The band was active from 1999 to 2016 and reunited for a world tour in 2019.

She also is active in the fashion industry.
Ditto has put out several clothing collections with retailer Evans, and opened and closed the spring 2011 Jean Paul Gaultier fashion show. She also launched a collaboration with MAC Cosmetics in 2012.

As a kid, she used to eat squirrels.
Ditto was born in Arkansas, and she caused a little bit of a stir in 2006 after saying in an interview that she ate squirrels like fried chicken as a kid. The admission caused some controversy from animal rights groups.

She was the first woman to be voted “Coolest Person in Rock”.
Ditto was bestowed the title in 2006 by British music magazine NME.

She’s a longtime activist.
Ditto has been a longtime activist for LGBTQ rights, feminism, and body positivity. She used to have her own advice column called “What would Beth Ditto do?” in the UK newspaper The Guardian.

Monarch airs Tuesday nights on Fox. Original and familiar songs from the show will be released on the Fret Zealot app each week after episodes air, allowing users to learn the songs through Fret Zealot’s innovative hardware and software system. 

Want to play guitar like Eddie Van Halen?

Want to play guitar like Eddie Van Halen?

You can “jump” right into learning his signature style with the Eddie Van Halen Player Study. This course covers the finger tapping pioneer’s signature style, including harmonics, bluesy licks, and pentatonic playing.


Edward Lodewijk Van Halen was born in Amsterdam to a Dutch multi-instrumentalist father and a mother who was from the island of Java in the Dutch East Indies. The family moved to California in 1962. Both Eddie and his brother Alex started playing the piano at age six. However, despite winning multiple piano competitions, Eddie told Esquire in 2012 that he never learned to read music. The boys were drawn to rock music and Eddie bought a drum kit when Alex bought a guitar, but after hearing Alex play the drum solo from “Wipe Out”, they swapped instruments. 

The brothers formed their first band, “The Broken Combs” in elementary school. Van Halen cites a fourth-grade lunchtime performance with that band as one of the things that made him want to be a professional musician. 

The brothers formed the band Mammoth in 1972, and David Lee Roth joined as lead singer two years later, when the band officially changed its name to Van Halen and started playing the Los Angeles club circuit. They opened for UFO in 1976, and KISS bassist Gene Simmons said he was backstage by the third song waiting to talk to the band. Simmons signed the band and had them record demos, including “Runnin’ With the Devil”, but KISS frontman Paul Stanley and manager Bill Aucoin didn’t want to sign the band to Aucoin’s management portfolio. Van Halen got their own record deal with Warner Records the next year. 


Eddie Van Halen popularized – but didn’t invent – the two-handed tapping technique. Steve Hackett, Genesis’ lead guitarist in the 1970s, is broadly credited with inventing the technique and was cited as one of Van Halen’s influences. Van Halen also named Led Zepplin’s Jimmy Page as an influence. Up until 2005, Van Halen held a patent for a support device that attaches to the back of an electric guitar, flipping it face upward and allowing the user to tap it like a keyboard. Van Halen liked to dabble in the construction of guitars, playing many custom and heavily-modified instruments throughout the years, including the “Frankenstrat”, a guitar he built out of various parts. 



Van Halen died in Oct. 2020 after a long battle with cancer. Before that, he donated 75 of his own guitars to the Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation, which gives instruments to students in low-income schools. Van Halen was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2007, and Eddie is widely regarded as one of the best guitar players in rock history. 


Once you master Eddie Van Halen’s playing style, try one of these Van Halen song lessons!

Ain’t Talkin’ Bout Love 

Eddie Van Halen wrote this song, but didn’t think it was good enough to show to his bandmates for a year! It was one of the few songs from the original David Lee Roth era that his replacement, Sammy Hagar, was willing to perform live. 


“Panama” was reportedly written about a car David Lee Roth saw in Las Vegas, the “Panama Express”, after a reporter accused Roth of only writing songs about women, partying and fast cars, and Roth realized he hadn’t written any songs about fast cars.