How to play The Joker by The Steve Miller Band

Well this one is gonna be a fun one. Today's lesson will show you how to play the laid back acoustic classic "The Joker" by The Steve Miller Band.

Released in 1973 on their album of the same name, "The Joker" made it to the top of the billboard charts due to it's catchy guitar parts and quirky lyrics.

First thing first, before trying to play along with this lesson and the original recording, you will need to tune your guitar down one whole step, low to high that will be D G C F A D.

After you are tuned up (or down), we get to open the track with an instantly recognizable bass line that is played by both the bassist and guitarist. This little riff is super fun to play and has a really cool laid back groove to it.

There are parts of this riff that can be a little tricky to play, so pay close attention to the video lesson. Try playing through it nice and slow then slow work it up to speed after you feel like you are locked into the groove. After that it is a blast to play.

From there we play we get to the chorus. It calls for strumming some open position chords with the occasional hammer-on lick thrown in their for good measure. Nothing very challenge really.

When learning how to play The Joker, or any song for that matter, really try to focus on an solid rhythmic foundation first. If you have that, the chords just seem to fall into place automatically. It feels almost as if your picking hand is driving the other hand.

I would put the level of this song at about an upper beginner level.

So have fun with this one, it is definitely hard to not smile while playing this classic. 🙂


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How to play The Joker - The Steve Miller Band


  1. russell wyly on October 14, 2019 at 10:13 am

    Are horn charts and strumming available

  2. Martin Osborne on December 31, 2019 at 4:08 am

    Hi Carl,

    What about the slide/wah parts?

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