HOW TO PLAY “SMOKE ON THE WATER”
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One of the greatest and most well known hit song of the rock group Deep Purple is “Smoke on the Water”. (Actually here where I live, I think Soldier of Fortune is more popular and a favorite song by many men in their Karaoke machines).
Anyway, this article along with the accompanying video, will teach you how to play Smoke on the Water on the Guitar.
Learning this classic guitar riff is very easy since you do not have to bar any chords. And speaking of chords, you only need to know 4 very simple major chords.
Once you know and master how to play these notes/chords by heart, you will undoubtedly impress your friends.
How to play “Smoke on the Water”
10 little-known facts about the song “Smoke on the Water”:
- The song was inspired by a real-life event in which a casino in Montreux, Switzerland, caught fire during a concert by Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention. The fire destroyed the casino and the band had to find a new place to record their album.
- The title of the song comes from the smoke that rose from the burning casino and floated over Lake Geneva.
- The iconic guitar riff was actually composed by Deep Purple guitarist Ritchie Blackmore during a soundcheck before a concert in Switzerland.
- The band recorded the song in a mobile recording studio parked outside the Montreux casino, which they nicknamed the “Rolling Stones Mobile Studio”.
- The song was initially released as a single in the United States in 1973, but it wasn’t until the release of the “Machine Head” album later that year that it became a hit.
- The song features one of the most recognizable guitar solos in rock history, which was played by Ritchie Blackmore.
- The lyrics of the song were written by Deep Purple’s lead vocalist Ian Gillan, and describe the events of the fire and the aftermath.
- The song has been covered by numerous artists over the years, including Metallica, Santana, and Black Label Society.
- The riff from “Smoke on the Water” is often cited as one of the first riffs that beginners learn when they start playing guitar.
- In 2004, the song was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in recognition of its cultural and historical significance.
Smoke on the Water Guitar Riff Tablature
Below is the “complete” guitar riff (in tablature notation) of the Deep Purple song. Read them and more importantly watch the video and try it out and play it.
Then read the instruction and the actual how-to on how to play this riff.
The G Chord:
The first note or chord (two notes) is “G”. From the tablature, string 4 and 5 are played on both 5th fret. Use you second and third finger in playing those notes. This is to prepare the first and second finger to play the second note/chord – “C”.
This is in fact a G5 or a G major power chord. But instead of having the low root note G on the third string, it is on the 4rth string. It does not matter though, it is still G5 power chord.
The C Chord:
The next notes on the 3rd fret of strings 3 and 4. The recommended fingering is to use the first one to lie down on both strings, alternatively you can use The first finger is placed on the 4rth string and the second finger on the 3rd string.
The D Chord:
This chord is the third one and the same fingerings is used on the G Chord – that is, second and third fingers.
You then repeat the first two chords and instead of playing fifth fret, you play the 6th fret then 5th.
Please check the video for further explanation on how to play this classic riff.
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