Babe I’m Gonna Leave You Guitar Lesson – Led Zeppelin

In this lesson we are going to take a look at Led Zeppelin's version of "Babe I'm Gonna Leave You".

Using an arpeggiated picking pattern in A minor, the opening riff of Jimmy Page's arrangement of "Babe I'm Gonna Leave You" creates a very haunting yet beautiful sound.

In this Babe I'm Gonna Leave You guitar lesson I will show you how to play all of the parts to this legendary Led Zeppelin song note-for-note. It is important to note that the first of these 3 video lessons demonstrates how to use a pick for the arpeggiated verse parts. However, Jimmy Page uses a fingerpicking approach to play the verse on the record. In the second video lesson I will demonstrate the rest of the rhythm parts of the song including how to actually fingerpick the verse if you want to play it like Jimmy Page does.

The reason I teach the lessons in this way is because on the original recording of Led Zeppelin's "Babe I'm Gonna Leave You", Jimmy Page performs some sections of the song fingerstyle and some with a pick. The guitar solos and full band rhythms obviously use a pick instead of fingerstyle technique.

However, you can choose how to perform the song by either picking the whole thing or mixing it up between fingerstyle and pick style playing.

Pay close attention to letting the top melody notes in the verse ring for as long as possible. Especially the melody notes held with the first finger. It is a good exercise in coordination if you can keep your first finger down between the chord changes in which it holds the last melody note..

In addition to those frethand challenges, there is also quite a bit of string skipping in the picking hand if you are going to be using a pick throughout the entire song. At the beginning of the lesson I do talk about how I approach arpeggiated picking on the guitar. I feel that this method is the most economical and the most comfortable in the long run. However, if you have never played in this way it might be a little awkward in the beginning. But if you always approach your picking patterns in this way you will eventually play every cross string arpeggiated pattern this way without thinking about it.

So take your time when attempting to put all of this together. The full band rhythms are relatively easy to play but the solos and fills can be quite a challenge!

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Babe I'm Gonna Leave You Guitar Lesson Pt.1 - Main Riff

Babe I'm Gonna Leave You Guitar Lesson Pt.2 - Rhythms

Babe I'm Gonna Leave You Guitar Lesson Pt.3 - Solos & Fills


  1. Anonymous on July 22, 2014 at 3:08 pm

    Love the direction your taking this site Carl! These lessons are incredible, and an amazing tool for any guitarist.

  2. Paul Andrews on July 24, 2014 at 12:08 pm

    Agee that this is a great way to find out what songs people are really interested in learning and, even if you don’t end up doing the whole song, the riffs themselves are some of the coolest ever written! Thanks for your efforts, Carl. I’m a happy subscriber.

  3. Yasemin on September 15, 2014 at 8:18 am

    Hey Carl!

    Thank you very much for your effort. Lessons are excellent and you are a great teacher.

    I’ll be really happy if you can make a lesson for Deep Purple – Soldier of Fortune!

    Thanks again!

  4. Jack Fleming on January 29, 2015 at 10:59 pm

    how do I get tabs for these songs

  5. Sanchay Wadhwa on September 3, 2015 at 8:28 am

    This is the best tutorial for this song, hands down!

  6. george kerr on February 26, 2016 at 4:09 pm

    what about the end?

  7. Mark Hembree on April 22, 2017 at 9:04 am

    Audio is not working on these videos. All the other videos on the site work fine. Thanks

    • Carl Brown on April 24, 2017 at 4:50 pm

      It is something between YouTube and Zeppelin. I have been waiting for them to work it out but will probably just re-up them soon.

      Sorry for the inconvenience.


  8. Mark Hembree on April 29, 2017 at 9:12 pm

    Thank you so much. Love the site.

  9. Mark Hembree on June 23, 2017 at 8:29 pm

    Hi Carl, have you figured out any way to resolve the audio on this song. Leaned the first half of it with your great tutorial and would love to learn the rest. Your site is great. Thanks!

    • Carl Brown on June 27, 2017 at 10:12 am

      I tried reposting The Rain Song but it was blocked by their publishers within the first 24 hours. I thinks it is gonna take me removing the performances at the beginning of the video lessons and just starting with the beginning of the lesson. At least that is gonna be my next shot at getting these back up. If that fails, then there simply isn’t anything I can do. 🙁

  10. Megan on March 17, 2018 at 12:45 pm

    HI Carl, could you please do mayonnaise by the smashing pumpkins?

    • Carl Brown on March 17, 2018 at 3:35 pm

      I will look into that one. I thought I almost did it a while back. 🙂

  11. Megan on March 18, 2018 at 6:58 am

    Thanks Carl

  12. Ritwik Mishra on October 29, 2018 at 10:01 am

    Hey Carl! I love this song and was very happy to see that you had such a detailed lesson on the song. Thanks a lot 🙂
    There’s a song called “The Bard’s Song (In the Forest)” by Blind Guardian. It’s a really beautiful acoustic song with a lovely fingerstyle rhythm and a very melodious lead guitar. I’d love to see a lesson on it someday. Hope you find time to do the lesson and keep up the amazing work that you do! Thanks

  13. Don Kyle on February 10, 2020 at 6:50 am

    Hi Carl, I bought a guitar a few years ago and have been a premium plus member ever since. I can actually play quite a few things now thanks to you! Of course I had to try learning this Zep song since I still have the original vinyl that I bought when it was released! Here is my question. I have an acoustic guitar and en electric. I started playing on the acoustic. When I moved to the electric, I felt that it was more “forgiving” on how firmly you press the strings on the fretboard. I notice now that sometimes when I play this on the electric, I accidentally bend the stings on the fretboard enough that they sound a little out of tune. I think its becuase I am more used to really having to press hard on the acoustic and my pressure on the strings is sloppy? Are there any things I should know about the way I hold notes and chords on the electric versus the acoustic, or do I just need to learn to focus on pressing more evenly on the electric? Kind of an embarrassing question for sure, but since I have no musical training other than what I lerned from you I thought I’d ask. Thank you for all the songs I’ve learned from your website and thank you for the various picking patterns you taught me as well. You have no idea how cool it is for a guy my age to be able to pick up a guitar and crank out dust in the wind, or babe I’m gonna leave you!

    • Carl Brown on February 11, 2020 at 8:38 am

      Hey Don, this is actually a common problem. Many players use too much pressure to play notes on the fretboard either on acoustic or electric.

      A good exercise is to place your fingers on a chord shape, but with the fingertips just slightly touching the string which will make them sound muted. From there, strum the chord while you slowly start applying pressure. You will start to hear the notes ringing without buzzing and just stop applying pressure then. This will help you feel how little pressure is required to hold down a note if you are playing with proper technique. 🙂


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