Poison Guitar Lesson – Alice Cooper

In this Poison guitar lesson video, I will show you how to play this smash hit by Alice Cooper note-for-note.

The opening riff is instantly recognizable, but requires a pretty large stretch to play. This riff moves around quite a bit as well and could be quite the challenge for even an intermediate level player.

Next up, we have the second half of the verse which is an arpeggiated picking sequence across some Sus2 chords. You'll want to make sure that these notes are palm muted so that that they think cut through the mix better.

The pre-chorus uses a ton of power chords and what will probably be one of the longest chord progressions you'll ever play in a rock song. These cords work perfect with the vocals and it is a really cool buildup to the chorus.

The course is very similar to the main intro riff except the ending is a little bit altered.

The main guitar solo uses a lot of whammy bar dives (sorry about it pulling the guitar out of tune during the first phrase of the solo). After that, the solo moves into a blues based lick followed by a fast ascending run. You will see this played a number of ways, but I chose to base my fingering of this lick off of the way Al Pitrelli played it on the tour for the Trash album.

Even though Pitrelli wasn't the guitarist on the original recording, I feel this is the closest we can get to how that lick is actually played.

I decided not to do a note-for-note lesson of the outro solo since it is not only long, but underneath the chorus anyway. For the outro solo, I recommend just improvising in D minor.

Have Fun!

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Poison Guitar Lesson - Alice Cooper


  1. anonymous anonymous on December 18, 2014 at 4:20 pm

    I hope you will get 600 likes, because I really want to learn the entire song.
    Love your page.
    Kenan 🙂

  2. Sondre Heimvik on December 19, 2014 at 5:23 am

    I really love this website. I hope you get a million likes

  3. GEORG on January 23, 2016 at 3:50 pm

    619 likes on youtube now. Looking forward to the entire song.

  4. Joe Green on April 12, 2016 at 9:56 am

    Hey Carl! If you ever get around to it I’d really love to learn some other Alice Cooper songs like School’s Out, No More Mr. Nice Guy, or Be My Lover. Love your lessons! I wouldn’t be playing guitar like I am today were it not for your videos. Thank you!

  5. Rob Patyna on September 5, 2016 at 1:18 pm

    Hi Carl. Just joined as a premium member . Looking for the studio version of Alice’s song
    “you and me” love the site!

  6. Nicholas Kocher on November 24, 2017 at 12:52 pm

    Amazing lesson! Thank you for all the hard work you put into this song and the other ones you do.

  7. Scott Jones on February 26, 2018 at 8:03 pm

    no video >.<

    • Carl Brown on February 27, 2018 at 9:36 am

      Really sorry about that, The recent site upgrade accidentally reverted back to an old version of this page.

      Should be fixed now.

      Thanks for the heads up!


  8. Mark Johnson on September 28, 2018 at 7:42 pm

    Hey Carl,

    I’m looking at getting another guitar with a trem bar as I watch a ton of your 80s rock vids that all incorporate it to some degree. Problem is everything I tried out at the local guitar store that had a floyd rose on it didn’t feel natural for me with how I could bend or palm mute it out of key. Is there any brand or specific model of guitar that has a strat style block bridge that would do well with staying in tune if I maybe put locking tuners on it? Really appreciate your insight here!


    • Carl Brown on September 29, 2018 at 4:00 pm

      Hey Mark, with any type of floating trem you are going to have those issues, it is just the nature of the way a floating bridge works.

      There are workarounds technique-wise though. First, if you are palm muting and it pulls the trem sharp, you are either laying your hand on the bridge with too much weight, or the bridge isn’t set-up with the proper amount of tension. I good palm mute uses a very very small amount of weight on the strings. Like you are barely touching them.

      However, when doing bends, the other strings will obviously be affected, but as long as you know that, you can work on a bending technique when playing on a floating trem in where if you are bending a note while playing another, you slightly bend that other note to keep it in tune. It becomes second nature after a while.

      Hope this helps!

  9. Mark Johnson on November 20, 2018 at 10:47 am


    Thanks for that insight. I notice you play your Sterling for a lot of songs that need the trem bar, does it hold tune pretty well? I would love a floating bridge like that where I don’t have to mess with a Floyd rose. Is there any other guitars you can think of in that sub $700 price range that would come with a floating bridge, locking tuners, and hold tune for some bar dive bombs?

  10. Laurent Reymond on October 10, 2019 at 7:51 am

    Hey Carl !

    Thanks for all the good work and the great lessons on your website.

    I was looking for some Alice Cooper songs and noticed there’s only “Poison” here. Feels like you can add many mores down the line (Billion Dollar Babies, I’m Eighteen, School’s Out, No More Mr Nice Guy, Under My Wheels, Only Woman Bleed, Go To Hell, Ballad Of Dwight Fry to name a few !)

    Cheers from France !

  11. Josue Alfaro on August 27, 2022 at 7:38 am

    Nita Straus actually teaches this song on a YouTube video step for step. Same way you (Carl Brown) plays it just in standard tuning for this video.

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