Eric Johnson Lesson: How to Demystify Chord Improv

Last week, guitar maestro Eric Johnson gifted us with a video mini-lesson, focusing on using open strings in licks, and how they can improve your own leads. 

Now, Johnson has followed that up with another fantastic video lesson, in which he aims to demystify chord improvisation. 

Citing the strategies he uses while improvising during live performances of his most famous track, "Cliffs of Dover," Johnson gives more insight into the construction of that song, while also offering a crucial tip for guitarists who might feel stuck in their leads. 

"One of the most important things that you can do for all types of music on the guitar is to try to learn all the notes on the fretboard, of every string," Johnson says.

"It's a lot of learning, but it's like learning a language, and if you practice enough to figure out where all the notes on all the strings are, to where it gets like breathing to you, it helps you get out of playing patterns on your leads - you start to think more melodically."

There's a lot to unpack in the lesson, but Johnson's a great teacher, and makes all of the concepts he goes over surprisingly easy to follow. You can follow along with the lesson above.

Just like last time, Johnson is also encouraging viewers to donate to Feeding America or their local food bank.

To donate to Feeding America, step right this way.

Jackson Maxwell
Associate Editor, and

Jackson is an Associate Editor at and He’s been writing and editing stories about new gear, technique and guitar-driven music both old and new since 2014, and has also written extensively on the same topics for Guitar Player. Elsewhere, his album reviews and essays have appeared in Louder and Unrecorded. Though open to music of all kinds, his greatest love has always been indie, and everything that falls under its massive umbrella. To that end, you can find him on Twitter crowing about whatever great new guitar band you need to drop everything to hear right now.