Paranoid Android Guitar Lesson – Radiohead

Well the guys in Radiohead have certainly given us a lot to sink our teeth into with this one.

As the lead single off their 1997 album OK Computer (the whole thing is brilliant by the way), "Paranoid Android" was an unlikely hit due to it's unorthodox song structure and song length.

The song is really four entirely separate sections, each written by a different member of the band. In this Paranoid Android guitar lesson I will lead you through all of these sections note-for-note.

The first section starts in C minor and contains a challenging arpeggiated picking pattern throughout most of it. Besides getting these notes under your fingers, you will really want to listen to the original recording and focus on nailing the rhythmic feel. This wouldn't be that hard to do if they played straight 16th notes, but every chord in this sequence has some sort of rhythmic pause. Pay close attention to when I am pausing in the lesson to help you know what to listen for when listening to the original recording.

Also of importance in this section is the picking pattern. The way I will demonstrate to pick this part is very economical and will save you a bunch of headaches if you learn it right the first time. 🙂

The second section I will teach you in this Paranoid Android guitar lesson is in A minor and completely changes the feel with a funky single note riff that then leads into a fast shifting series of chords that require you to use your thumb in the bass. Don't worry, I will also show you how to play it with simple barre chords if you don't want to use your thumb.

In the second video lesson I will tackle the hard rocking section which incorporates the funky single note riff we learned earlier along with a bunch of quick chord shifts.

Also in the second lesson I will show you the really cool acoustic chord progression played during the sad choral section of the song. Very haunting and unique! These chords can also provide a good challenge for someone trying to learn how to play barre chords on the acoustic.

So I hope you enjoy playing through this epic Radiohead track. Radiohead has long been one of my favorite bands and it is about time that I give this song the lesson treatment that it deserves. 🙂


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Paranoid Android Guitar Lesson Pt.1 - Radiohead

Paranoid Android Guitar Lesson Pt.2 - Radiohead

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