John Mayer guitar lesson: 12 tips that will help you capture the essence of his versatile playing style

John Mayer
(Image credit: C Flanigan/FilmMagic)

John Mayer’s guitar vocabulary is anchored in electric blues with obvious tips of the hat to players like Stevie Ray Vaughan, Jimi Hendrix, BB King and Eric Clapton. He is equally at home on the acoustic guitar too, and has a solid foundation of modern acoustic techniques and approaches in his arsenal.  

For this lesson we are using Mayer’s versatility as a vehicle to focus on a variety of core techniques and vocabulary. The rhythm guitar work in our tab examples showcases both the strumming and fingerstyle techniques used by JM. And, with blues forming a great well of inspiration for Mayer, we’ve recorded a handful of examples in this style for you to try.

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Total Guitar editors

Total Guitar is one of Europe's biggest guitar magazines. With lessons to suit players of all levels, TG's world-class tuition is friendly, accessible and jargon-free, whether you want to brush up on your technique or improve your music theory knowledge. We also talk to the biggest names in the world of guitar – from interviews with all-time greats like Brian May and Eddie Van Halen to our behind the scenes Rig Tour features, we get you up close with the guitarists that matter to you.