Lonely Boy Guitar Lesson – The Black Keys

I got a fun one for your guys today that will also give you a nice challenge as well. This lesson is for "Lonely Boy" by The Black Keys.

In this Lonely Boy guitar lesson, I will take you through this smash hit by The Black Keys note-for-note.

The song begins with a cool riff that uses a whammy pedal to do a very dramatic dive in pitch. I don't use a whammy pedal in the lesson though. If you have a floating trem system you can just as easily re-create that dive with the trem bar. The pedal would be easier to use though.

After that intro, we have a nice challenging hybrid picked section that includes a consistent open string root note that is picked along with the main melody that is played with your right hand middle finger. This part of the song is by far the most challenging and you should really try to work on it piece-by-piece in order to get the feel of it in your hands.

Eventually, you will notice that you will lock into the rhythm of how the two parts work together and it will just seem to flow after that. It is a very good hybrid picking exercise and I highly recommend anyone who is new to the technique to spend some time learning it. There are just so many cool things that you wouldn't be able to play without it!

When we finally make it to the verse we have a very sparse but also quite challenging rhythm to contend with. This rhythm is very Bo Diddley inspired and requires a lot of left hand muting. In the video lesson I will break down the right hand rhythm very slowly so you will know how to approach all of the accents. You should just practice on the E chord for a while until it feels comfortable, then you can play the full progression.

When playing the G major and A major chords in the verse, I suggest trying to play them like Dan Auerbach does with the thumb playing the notes on the 6th string.

The chorus that comes next is the easiest part of the song to play since it uses only simple power chords along with a straight ahead driving rhythm. It is still fun to play though!

So I hope you guys enjoy learning this massive hit that also has a lot off cool guitar stuff to sink your teeth into. 🙂


If these free lessons help you, please donate to keep new ones coming daily. Thanks!! 🙂

Donate to GuitarLessons365
Other Amount:

Lonely Boy Guitar Lesson - The Black Keys


  1. Natalie Pauls on January 13, 2017 at 3:46 am

    Hi Carl,
    your lessons are really helpful. I find the Verse section very difficult, much more than the hybrid picking, and that is because of the left hand muting. There’s almost nothing to find on the whole internet on muting techniques with the left hand, except when soloing, but using left hand muting in rhythm playing is much harder for me, since you often have to mute several strings and often combine with dead notes just as shown in this example…
    That’s why I would love to see a video about left hand muting and using dead notes in rhythm playing.
    Thanks for considering,

  2. Jason Lee on October 16, 2019 at 1:38 pm

    Carl – got a theory question on this one. The song is in the key of E major correct? But it borrows the G?

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.