The top 5 Fret Zealot courses of 2023

Fret Zealot has guitar courses for all skill levels, genres, and techniques. These are the five top courses for 2023. 


30 Day Beginner Challenge 

One month is all it takes to learn the basics of guitar with this course. 


The Total Beginner’s Guitar Course (Level 1)

This is a great course for complete novices at guitar. It breaks down guitar anatomy, how to tune, finger exercises, as well as first chords and strumming.

Electric Guitar Beginners – Level 1

This beginner’s course will teach you chords, how to read chord charts, and how to strum in time. 

Acoustic Beginners – Level 1

This course, which covers chords, strumming, and good practice habits, is all about setting the foundations of your guitar education journey. 


Acoustic Guitar Lessons For Beginners

This step-by-step program takes the guesswork out of what and how to practice. It breaks down music theory into easy-to-understand sections.

Read more:

Review: Pentatonic Protocols guitar course by Robbie Calvo

How to choose between over a hundred courses available on Fret Zealot

These are the top five guitars in the Fret Zealot store in 2023

These are the five most popular guitars from the Fret Zealot store in 2023! 

Epiphone Slash Pack

Designed by Slash himself, the AFD Les Paul Special-II has more appointments than most electric guitars. Topped with AAA flame maple, this guitar also features a dark cherry mahogany body and neck, ivory binding, and a silk print of Slash’s Snakepit logo on the headstock. The first time you plug into a high-gain amp, the AFD Les Paul Special-II’s Ceramic Plus Zebra-coil humbuckers will treat you to the thick, overdriven, screaming metallic tone that Slash made famous. Complete with a premium gig bag and signature guitar picks the Epiphone Slash AFD Les Paul Special-II Outfit is a great bundle for beginners or anybody who is searching for a quality, affordable electric guitar.

Check out this review! 

Epiphone PR-4E

The Epiphone PR-4E Pack gives you a great-sounding acoustic-electric guitar and much more! You get a quality Epiphone PR-4E acoustic-electric guitar that sounds amazing unplugged or amplified, with a comfortable neck for easy fretting. You also get an acoustic guitar amp, a gig bag, electronic tuner, strap, and picks. When you learn to play on a quality acoustic-electric instrument that sounds good and feels right, you’ll be inspired to keep playing.  That’s what the affordable Epiphone PR-4E Pack gives you.

Yamaha FG800



Try this guitar’s acoustic/electric counterpart, the FGX800C. 

Epiphone Player Pack

The Epiphone Les Paul Player Pack gives you a great guitar, combo amplifier, and everything else you need to get started playing electric guitar! You get a quality Epiphone Les Paul electric solidbody guitar with two humbucking pickups and a fast neck for easy fretting, a 10-watt amplifier with a clean/crunch switch, a gig bag, a clip-on tuner, a strap, and picks. When you learn to play on a quality instrument that sounds good, you’ll be inspired to keep playing. Quality, great sound, and affordability are what the Epiphone Les Paul Player Pack gives you.

Check out this review. 

Epiphone DR-100

The DR-100 has the look, sound, and build quality that first time players and professionals expect to find when they pick up an Epiphone. The dreadnought is considered the classic go-to shape for bluegrass, folk, rock, country, and everything in-between. The dreadnought sound is commanding when required, but its balanced sound means that at any volume, you can be heard and hear yourself well, too.

Click here for the review.

These are Fret Zealot’s top five new lessons of 2023!

We unveiled lots of brand new song lessons this year – from AC/DC to ZZ Top. Here are the five most popular song lessons we released in 2023. 

Purple Rain – Prince

“Purple Rain” is the title track for Prince’s 1984 album and film of the same name – but it was originally intended to be a collaboration with former Fleetwood Mac frontwoman Stevie Nicks. Nicks said Prince sent her a ten-minute instrumental version of the song and requested that she write the lyrics. Nicks declined, saying it was too much for her. Prince brought the song to his band instead, and by the next day, had “Purple Rain” as we know it arranged. 


Creep – Radiohead 

Radiohead’s debut single “Creep” – and one of their most successful songs – wasn’t supposed to be released at all. The band recorded the song at the request of their producers and released it as a single in 1992. It didn’t become a hit until it was re-released in 1993. 


Take Me Home, Country Roads – John Denver 

Songwriting team Taffy Nivert and Bill Danoff were driving through Maryland when the inspiration for “Country Roads, Take Me Home” struck. They were originally going to sell the song to Johnny Cash, but John Denver “flipped” when he heard that news, and had to have the song for himself. The song is one of West Virginia’s four official state anthems. It was selected to go in the National Recording Registry by the Library of Congress in 2023.

Hells Bells – AC/DC

The creepy bell featured at the start of this 1980 track is an actual 2,000 lbs. bronze bell. It was recorded using a mobile studio inside of the bell’s foundry in England.

Come As You Are – Nirvana

Read more:

Want to learn to play guitar like John Mayer?

Getting the band back together! Five bands that reunited after breaking up

Want to learn to play guitar like John Mayer?

Check out this John Mayer Player Study course, and you’ll be slinging guitar like the “Gravity” songwriter in no time! 


Mayer was born in Connecticut in 1977 to a high school principal father and an English teacher mother. Young John Mayer became infatuated with the guitar after watching Marty McFly’s performance in Back to The Future. Mayer’s father rented a guitar for him to play when he turned 13, and a Stevie Ray Vaughan cassette tape gifted to him by a neighbor helped Mayer develop his affection for the blues.

 Mayer took guitar lessons from a guitar shop owner in his Bridgeport, Connecticut hometown. His preoccupation with the instrument concerned his parents so much that they took him to see a psychiatrist, who assured them he was fine. 

Mayer briefly attended the Berklee College of Music before dropping out after two semesters and moving to Atlanta with a college friend to form the duo LoFi Masters. They played in clubs and coffee houses in Atlanta, parting ways as Mayer wanted to pursue pop music. Mayer recorded an independent EP, Inside Wants Out, in 1999. 

Mayer’s fledgling career benefited from the growing online music market at the time – he was able to benefit from an online following. A lawyer acquaintance sent Aware Records Mayer’s EP, and the label later released his internet-only album, No Room For Squares. Columbia Records later remixed and re-released the album, which spawned radio hits like “Your Body is a Wonderland”, “No Such Thing”, and “Why, Georgia”. 


“Crossroads Festival 2010 – John Mayer” by aaronHwarren is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0.





Mayer’s blues influence is evident in his guitar playing, which features a distinctive sound. He utilizes a mix of fingerpicking and flatpicking to incorporate percussive elements. Mayer is a guitar collector and has over 200 guitars






Dead and Company 

Mayer has been touring with Grateful Dead members Bob Weir, Bill Kreutzmann and Mickey Hart since 2015 as Dead & Company. He developed a strong interest in The Grateful Dead’s music in 2011 after hearing their song “Althea” on Pandora. He played the song with Weir on the Late Late Show, impressing Weir enough to bring him on. 


Getting the band back together! Five bands that reunited after breaking up

Unfortunately, band breakups happen – and they can get ugly, especially when money and fame are involved! Here are some bands that thrilled fans by getting back together after their breakups. 


Guns ‘N Roses 

Hard rock band Guns ‘N Roses saw meteoric success in the late 1980s and early 1990s with songs like “Welcome to the Jungle”, “Sweet Child O’ Mine”, and “Paradise City”.  The band went through several lineup changes, including founding drummer Steven Adler leaving in 1990 and founding guitarist Izzy Stradlin leaving in 1991. Tensions rose while trying to create a new original album after the 1994 covers album “The Spaghetti Incident”. Guitarist Slash left in 1996, followed by bassist Duff McKagan in 1997. Lead singer Axl Rose was the only remaining member when the act resurfaced in 2001. However, in 2016, Slash and McKagan came back in 2016 for a hugely popular (and ongoing) reunion tour. 


The Police 

British New Wave band The Police were at the top of their careers with songs like “Message in a Bottle”, “Roxanne”, and “Every Breath You Take” when they disbanded in 1984. Creative differences – and age differences – contributed to strife within the band, and all three members embarked on solo careers following the breakup. In 2007, the band reunited for a 30th anniversary tour (briefly). When the tour ended in 2008, The Police once again disbanded – as the world’s highest-paid musicians of that year. 


The Eagles 

The Eagles had a huge hit with their 1976 album Hotel California, but tensions were high as they recorded their followup, In the Long Run. That tension between guitarist/vocalist Glenn Frey and guitarist Don Felder bubbled over during a 1980 fundraiser concert for a U.S. Senator. Frey felt that Felder had insulted the senator under his breath, and confronted him about it – and that he felt the par would get into a physical altercation following the show. The group separated after that night. The band had a reunion in 1994 for their Hell Freezes Over tour. 



Possibly the biggest pop-punk bands of all time, Blink-182 has had a few lineup changes but is best known for being a trio: drummer Travis Barker, bassist/vocalist Mark Hoppus and vocalist/guitarist Tom DeLonge. The group had era-defining hits in the late 1990s/early 2000s, including “All the Small Things” and “What’s My Age Again”. However, they broke up in 2005 following arguments about recording and the direction of the band. In 2008, Barker survived a plane crash that killed four people, leading to the trio reuniting and starting the conversation about getting back together. The band reunited in 2009 and toured until 2014, when DeLonge quit. He was replaced by Alkaline Trio’s Matt Skiba for several tours and albums, including 2016’s California. Hoppus announced in 2021 that he was diagnosed with cancer, and the band announced DeLonge’s return in 2022. 


Led Zeppelin 

“Jimmy Page with Robert Plant 2 – Led Zeppelin – 1977” by Jim Summaria, is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.

After drummer John Bonham’s tragic 1980 death at age 32, Led Zeppelin disbanded, and lead singer Robert Plant, guitarist Jimmy Page, and bassist John Paul Jones went their separate ways. In 2007, the group reunited for one night only – with Bonham’s son Jason on drums. The group played the O2 Arena in London. Although the show generated plenty of buzz about a new tour or record, it never happened. 


Review: Pentatonic Protocols guitar course by Robbie Calvo

We reviewed Robbie Calvo’s “Pentatonic Protocols 1” guitar course.

A professional guitarist and musician for over a decade,  Calvo teaches you his unique soloing strategies through this course. These intentional, defined approaches can be applied to all five Pentatonic scale shapes – no matter what genre you’re playing.

Read more about Calvo here.

Check out the review here:


More songs you can play with only three chords

Even with a basic grasp of guitar chords, you have a lot of songs at your fingertips. Here are some songs that only need three chords to play. 


What’s Up – 4 Non Blondes

Chords used: G, Am, C

This ‘90s anthem is a great song to break out at parties, and with a simple strumming pattern, it’s easy to play.

Evil Ways – Santana

Chords used: C, Gm, D

While playing Carlos Santana’s lead part on this 1970 hit might take some practice, the riff is made up of just three chords.

Englishman in New York – Sting

Chords used: Em, A, Bm


Born This Way – Lady Gaga

Chords used: E, D, A. 

You’ll need a capo on Fret 2 to play this pop song in the key of the recording. 

Blowin’ in the Wind – Bob Dylan 

Chords used: C, F, G.

One of the best-known folk songs of all time, “Blowin’ in the Wind” can be played with only three chords. You can also play this song with a capo on the 7th fret and G, C, D. 


Learn these Bob Dylan songs with Fret Zealot

Bob Dylan songs are an essential part of any guitar player’s songbook. As one of the most prolific songwriters of the past 60 years, Dylan has not only penned many classic hits for himself – many of his songs have been famously covered by other artists. 


Check out these Bob Dylan lessons available with Fret Zealot. 

Blowin’ in the Wind

One of Dylan’s best-known songs, “Blowin’ in the Wind” didn’t even chart when it was initially released – but it became one of the signature tracks of the 1960s and cultural revolution taking place among young people, including the protest against the Vietnam War. 

Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right

The melody for this song is from the traditional song “Who’s Gonna Buy Your Chickens When I’m Gone?” which is in the public domain. The song was taught to Dylan by fellow folk singer Paul Clayton, who used the tune in his song “Who’s Gonna Buy You Ribbons When I’m Gone?” 


Forever Young

“Forever Young” has been covered by Joan Baez, The Band, The Pretenders, Pete Seeger, Blake Shelton, and Eddie Vedder, to name a few famous covers.

Walkin’ Down The Line

This 1962 song has been covered many times – including by Arlo Guthrie at Woodstock.

All Along the Watchtower

“All Along the Watchtower” is actually a Bob Dylan song, but Hendrix’s 1968 version is so iconic that it influenced the way Dylan performs his own song, to the extent that they’ve been called “covers of a cover”.

Make You Feel My Love

“Make You Feel My Love” was released by Bob Dylan in 1997, and it has been covered by more than 450 artists, including Adele – making it a modern standard. 



Six reasons you should go check out a local show

Need plans for this weekend? Here are six reasons to check out a local show!

  1. You might discover your new favorite band. 

Some show lineups include multiple local bands, usually in a similar genre or with a similar vibe. If you’re attending to see a specific band, make sure to get there for the opening band and stay for the full lineup – you might find a new local band to love! 


        2. You actually get to talk with the artists. 

Unlike most big arena bands, the musicians from local shows will be hanging out in the crowd (or at the merch table) after their set! If you have a question about the inspiration behind a song, their gear, or other stuff, they’re likely going to be eager to talk to you. 


         3. It will inspire you to play more 

Watching other musicians play guitar is a great way to motivate yourself to practice – and maybe even write some new music! Remember that Fret Zealot has nearly 4,000 video lessons for all genres.


       4. Your money goes further 

A ticket to a local show is much cheaper than going to see a big artist – plus, the money is going to the bands and the venue, not to the ticket sales company. And don’t forget about merch – buying a T-shirt from a local band is cheaper than buying one from an arena band, but that money directly helps with recording, touring, gear, etc. 


      5. You’ll meet like-minded people 

Going to local shows is a great way to meet people who love music just as much as you! You might find a community of folks who enjoy supporting – and maybe even making – music. 


    6. Your presence counts 

Every attendee at a local show counts – you’re not just another face in the crowd, you’re a valued supporter of the local scene. 


REVIEW: Yamaha A1M electric-acoustic guitar

We reviewed Yamaha’s A1M electric-acoustic guitar

It’s available in our store! 


Check out the review below:


Here’s a transcript of the review: 

This is the Yamaha A1M, a beautiful cutaway acoustic with some top notch features. I’m going to be walking you through this beautiful guitar and letting you know what it has to offer. 

First, aside from the beautiful sound, let’s talk about what comes behind that. There’s a beautiful selection of woods that comes in this guitar, starting with the spruce top – Sitka Spruce – this guitar is a Vintage Natural finish which has a little bit more of a darker amber color to it. I think it stands out a little bit compared to the typical natural finish, which is more translucent, more natural wood grain, and lighter.  This one’s a little bit darker and has a sort of vintage vibe to it, but also that sort of amber color, which is just really warm and draws me in visually, and then on the body we have binding all the way around the body, which is actually mahogany binding and it looks really amazing from the front, and then on the sides too we got binding on the front and the back. It’s a really nice visual feature that’s on this range of guitars. This is a very approachable guitar, but slightly on the more intermediate price range of Yamaha, and we’ll talk about what that gets you in terms of added features. Continuing on with the woods,  Sitka Spruce top, the mahogany binding, and then mahogany throut on the sides. Mahogany back and then mahogany neck, so really a traditional and typically appreciated combination of woods. Rich tonal responses that you get from a mahogany guitar – a really smooth mahogany neck – and then Rosewood on the fretboard and Rosewood on the bridge. Yamaha is not stopping short with any of the of the wood selections. You can’t go wrong in my opinion with this combination of woods for an acoustic, and then simple but classic you know appointments and looks throughout. I’m finding the fretwork to be really nice on this guitar, very smooth and easy to play. I’m finding it very responsive, very friendly – comfortable and just sounding really nice like a really full response. I’m getting a lot of clarity with the notes that I’m playing, and it’s just set up great right out of the box. That’s a testament to the Yamaha quality – they are just so very consistent with the guitars that they produce, and the quality that you get at the price you pay, compared to the other lower price Yamaha guitars, this one comes with the added bonus of the of the binding. The overall construction, the bracing system that comes in this guitar, is a step up. It’s also got the electronic system, we cannot leave that out – it comes with the Yamaha electronic system with the underbridge pickup. It sounds really awesome. It’s always great to have a guitar that you can plug in and the audio jack is right here and then it’s got the battery compartment. This guitar has diecast chrome tuners on the neck and on the headstock, and then it comes with elixir strings on.  That’s actually a really nice bonus – I recommend those strings for the longevity that they give before they start to get dull.  So, great choices all around in terms of the sound and the vibe. 


 You can’t really go wrong with a full size guitar and the cutaway – it’s a very comfortable design. I appreciate a nice cutaway guitar due to the comfortability, and this body style is just really fantastic. Another really nice little addition is just the the shape of this pick guard. I think it’s got a little bit more of a stylized look, so these are just some of the nice visual but then also practical updates that you get with a slightly nicer Yamaha. You know all of the Yamahas are really top-notch throughout the price range, but if you were looking for a guitar with slightly more appointments like the binding and a little bit more of the of the premium sort of attention to detail that you get with the craftsmanship, this is a really nice one to look at. Especially because of how great it sounds and how nice it looks at the price, the A1M really delivers for me. 


I would really pick this guitar up from the Yamaha line at this price range because it just sounds so good. It’s very comfortable and it’s just very solid throughout. I really like the wood choices – the look of this guitar is amazing and there’s really just nothing holding this guitar back from doing what it needs to do across different genres. You could really stand out and play with rock, folk, anything that you would want to – it’s a really nice sounding acoustic guitar. 


If you’re playing out or wanting to plug in this, it is a great one to do it with because it’s got the awesome pickup system. Let’s walk it through its paces and hear how it sounds, both acoustic and also plugged in –  and see what sort of tonal variety we can get across a different set of riffs. 


Before I get started with the pickup demo, I just wanted to mention that this guitar also does come in a really beautiful vintage sunburst finish as well as a black finish. We have this one picked out for the demo today, but you should definitely consider checking out the other finish options that are available for this guitar. It’s a really well-curated, nice-looking line for the A1M that includes both Sunburst, black and then natural.  They all feature the same specs and the same pickup. 

 The pickup sounds good, and also the natural voice of the guitar is beautiful. I think that translates well to the pickup sound, so no matter what your needs are as a player, this guitar can really meet it. It’s got the higher fret access so it’s easy and really clear sounding throughout. I’m not getting any like dead notes or buzzing. The craftsmanship is really really above average on this guitar, especially for the price, so overall for the A1M, it’s a highly recommended guitar for me. If you’re looking at a slightly nicer acoustic guitar, I would steer in the direction of the A1M.  I think it really punches above its weight in terms of the price, which is really typical for Yamaha.  Other guitar that you would consider in this range would be the FGX800C, which we also reviewed.  This guitar gives you a little bit more in terms of aesthetic features, the wood selection, the colors that are available. 


So if you’re looking for something that’s just a nice guitar, that you’re going to really like having in your collection, I think this one really does stand out a bit more.That’s why I would recommend this one over other options that are out there, and on top of that, it’s just a great performing tool, a beautiful sounding guitar, and I’m really having a lot of fun playing with it.  Thanks for listening, let us know what you think about this guitar – have you tried a Yamaha acoustic before? Let us know. 


You can get this online – it’s in stock in our shop. Rock on.