Chris Griffin is the owner of Jam Academy Music School in Woodinville, Washington. In this video Chris teaches you how to play the Green Day song Brain Stew.
We regularly teach this song to kids and teens at their first guitar, drum or bass lesson and we posted it here so that our students can get a quick and easy refresher course if they need it. It's really groovy. It's catchy. And best of all it's really, really easy to play and memorize. It's a perfect first song for jammers and students of almost any instrument.
Send us an email if you want the tuning notes/tips for this song!
Chris is playing a Teton electric guitar in this video
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Full transcript from the video (edited for readability) is provided below. Read it if you want :)
Hey Yo! It's Chris from Jam Academy Music School and Spotlight Music Inc. And I'm the guitar teacher guy. I've been teaching guitar since 1990 and I've taught lots of beginners from kids, teens and adults how to play guitar and how to get better at guitar if they've already been playing. Today I'm going to take you as if you've never played guitar before. Hopefully you're familiar with the parts of the guitar and the names of the strings 6, 5, 4, 3, 2,1 - Tuning is E, A, D, G, B, e. That was fast so rewind the video if needed.
Basically, I'm here to help you out. A lot of new guitarists are intimidated and think guitar is going to be hard. But after years of teaching we've discovered some material that makes learning the guitar easy and fun. We go for the instant gratification approach here. (It really works great!)
Our students have found that [this approach] makes learning fun, they love to go home and practice and they feel jazzed about it. They're learning songs that they hear on the radio or internet and it's not like it's dumb-downed material. It's the real thing. This one just happens to be very attainable to beginners.
I'm playing it in standard tuning but the original recording was recorded with the guitars tuned down by one half-step. (Play along with me if you're using standard tuning) Otherwise If you try to play along with that song, the tuning will be different and it will NOT sound good unless you tune down a help-step as well.
You can request a video tutorial to explain and demonstrate tuning down by a half-step.
First thing we're going to do is show you how to play a power chord. A power chord is a two finger, move-able guitar chord and you've heard it in everything from "Rock You Like A Hurricane", "Hit Me With Your Best Shot", to you know, Iron Maiden and Metallica (I'm dating myself with these 80's references I know). Anyways, all kinds of great tunes utilize the power chord. So, we're gonna keep it simple here today with first lesson type material. We want you to hit the ground running so we're gonna make it pretty easy.
So here's what we're gonna do.
Putting the power chord on hold just for a moment - Put your 1st finger (left hand) on the 5th fret of the low E (6th) string play a one finger progression. Only strumming that string and pressing down firm. Two strums. If you're getting a good noise then proceed with the same technique down the fretboard. From beginning to end play the frets on the 6th string in this order 5, 3, 2, 1, 0. (Check the video/audio for the timing)
Counting is important but can't be transcribed easily in text form so please use the video for reference to counting.
DO tap your foot.
DO Nod your head.
Get your body INTO the music.
The earlier you can do that, the earlier music will become comfortable for you.