Modern acoustic guitar with John Butler

Since taking up guitar at the age of 16 and starting out busking, John Butler and his trio have gone on to take the music world by storm, combining reggae, folk, funk, rock, hip-hop beats and more. In this video lesson, John demonstrates his unique approach to acoustic guitar.

John´s guitar style is a blend of many elements. The American Dobro-playing blues expert Bob Brozman and the Australian acoustic singer-songwriter Jeff Lang are big influences on John. His playing is always groove-based, relying on what John refers to as “cyclical rhythms”, which is what we´re looking at in this lesson.

John plays a 12-string acoustic guitar with a string missing. He intentionally omits the high octave G string, which he says makes the instrument more stable. Sonically, it´s more balanced too. Tuning is from low to high, C G C G C E - although most of the rhythmic ideas here will work just as successfully in regular tuning on a standard 6-string.#

There's more info on John on the John Butler Trio official website.


MusicRadar is the number one website for music-makers of all kinds, be they guitarists, drummers, keyboard players, DJs or producers...

  • GEAR: We help musicians find the best gear with top-ranking gear round-ups and high-quality, authoritative reviews by a wide team of highly experienced experts.
  • TIPS: We also provide tuition, from bite-sized tips to advanced work-outs and guidance from recognised musicians and stars.
  • STARS: We talk to musicians and stars about their creative processes, and the nuts and bolts of their gear and technique. We give fans an insight into the craft of music-making that no other music website can.