Derek Trucks Open E Slide Lesson Part 1

In this lesson, I’m going to break down a slide guitar lick used by Derek Trucks in the song “Key to the Highway” from the Songlines DVD.

The solo he plays in this song is nothing short of brilliant. Derek effectively manages to blend the Major, Minor, and Blues Scales together to form a very melodic vocal-esque slide guitar solo.

Notice the use of dynamics, phrasing, space, and melody in this solo. Only a true bluesman possesses the power of restraint during a solo.

You’ll notice he’ll leave quite a bit of space between the phrases at the beginning points of the solo.

In the next lesson, I’ll show you the lick that is played next in the intro. You can watch it here.

To learn more about Open E Tuning Slide Guitar, please check out my Slide Guitar Course.


  1. Hey John,
    Yes, this is a great solo that I would love to learn it. Not only for the challenge but there are a lot of great licks within this solo!

  2. Personally, slide guitar does not interest me. But am looking forward to your next blues guitar video lesson. Am also wondering if you do any lessons on acoustic guitar. Thanks.

  3. John – Thanks. I am a slide player and have found your lessons invaluable. Keep up the good work.

  4. Yes, John. I’d be really interested in learning this solo – thanks for the start. Although, to be honest the thing I am really struggling to crack is Derek Truck’s approach to comping and chordal work. Have been really trying to figure out exactly what he does on I Wish I Knew How it Feels to be Free.

    Thanks for all your work though – your podcasts and DVD have been invaluable. ‘Get what you deserve’ was great to


  5. I was watching again… I think the very first time you demo the riff, In the second part of the riff, you play a 3 note lead up to the high D, but in the rest of the demo you only do a 2 note lead up.

    I like it with 3. 🙂

  6. Hi John
    Great lesson! I’ve always been interested in learning the technique of Derek and others like Warren Haynes. Great example of some very good licks. I’ll be on that new Blues Lesson DVD too when it comes outl

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