Smoke On The Water Guitar Lesson – Deep Purple

In this Smoke On The Water guitar lesson series, I will teach you the main riff to this iconic guitar driven classic rock masterpiece, along with Ritchie Blackmore's awesome guitar solo note-for-note. In the first video lesson, I will teach you the riff.

A lot of this riff's popularity probably lies in the fact that it's learned by many beginner guitar players since it is actually quite easy to play. Unfortunately many of them don't play it correctly so hopefully this lesson will clear up any questions they may have.

As I mentioned in the video lesson, there are multiple ways to play this riff but I went with the way I have seen guitarist Ritchie Blackmore play it many times in live videos.

Technically this riff is not very difficult to play, but you do need to concentrate on a few things. First you want to make sure that you release the pressure on some of the chords a little bit early to make the chords slightly staccato at the very beginning on the riff. In addition to that, some of the chords are held and sustained. You need to be able to hear the difference between the two and perform them as well.

In the second video lesson the difficult level will be raised quite a bit as we tackle Ritchie Backmore's highly musical, yet virtuosic solo. As usual, I will perform the solo first, then break it down for you phrase-by-phrase to make the learning process as quick as possible. Some of the faster guitar parts are broken down into their own phrase. These little phrases make for some great technique workouts.

You should approach practicing these fast parts by repeating them in a loop. Just staying in rhythm and going through the lick again and again without stopping will help you absorb all the notes and get any recurring patterns down quickly. Good luck with this one!

The solo may be quite difficult, but this iconic guitar riff really is approachable by every guitar player on the planet so no excuses this time! There should be something in this Smoke On The Water guitar lesson series for everyone to play. 🙂


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Smoke On The Water Guitar Lesson Pt.1 - Main Riff

Smoke On The Water Guitar Lesson Pt.2 - Guitar Solo


  1. louie on January 24, 2015 at 12:05 pm

    Hello Carl:

    Please include the Solo for Smoke on the Water. It really is one of the best solos I have ever heard.

    • Cookinman on April 21, 2015 at 6:13 am

      Hi Carl, Ive figured out most of the rest of the verse and bridge to the song. I agree, though W Louie, pls teach the solo. Im developing a decent ear thanks to your lessons, but a jump start would help. We lost our lead guy and I have ALOT of lead work to catch up on as fast as possible. lol PLS help 🙂

  2. louie on January 25, 2015 at 1:11 pm

    Hello Carl:

    I’m amazed that you can slow down and speed up and still remember the solos note for note. How you keep all that stuff from getting jumbled is beyond me. You are truly gifted. I love your lessons and you are by far the best teacher that I have ever had. I was hoping for some advice though. You are teaching me things that I should have learned a long time ago and I am caught between the right way and the wrong way i learned. I started to play with my pinky early on, but was told most rock guitarist use their ring finger for playing across 4 frets. So now I’m not sure what to do when I play is there a right or wrong way? Another thing is hybrid picking. Sometimes I play with my fingers and most time with a pick, but now I feel like I’m starting over with Hybrid picking, and it can get very frustrating. I’m caught between all 3 ways. Any advice would be helpful.

    Is there a way you can include a little more theory with the lessons? I long to understand the reasons chords work together and the reason a particular a scale form works in a song.

    I would love to learn “Stranglehold and “Hey Baby” by Ted Nugent. One of my favorite solos is by Dickey Betts in “Blue Sky”. And of course anything else from “Machine Head”.

    I have signed up for 3 months, but I will be with you for a long time.


    • Carl Brown on January 30, 2015 at 7:12 pm

      Hey Louie, great to hear from you. I personally don’t feel there is a right or wrong way fingering wise. All players hand’s are different and you should just do what comes the most naturally to you. You should still use your pinky of course, but you can definitely have your ring finger be the dominant finger if you want. There are many great players on both sides of the fence. 🙂

      When it comes to picking, I feel you should just try to master everything from alternate to economy to hybrid. Many things can be played in an assortment of ways, the key is to be able to experiment with a part using all 3 techniques to find what is not only the most comfortable, but what sounds the best as well. Having all 3 of those picking styles in your bag of tricks will definitely give you more options when doing that.

      I agree there should be more theory in the song lessons. However, since they are all published on YouTube I get a lot of flack if I don’t go quick enough through the lessons. I guess it is just the fast food culture we live in these days. So because of that, and the fact that I want people to actually watch those lessons, I keep the talking to a minimum which of course leaves out a lot of opportunities to show someone how keys work around the fretboard and so forth. However, my Premium section is going to be updated a lot with new theory, ear training and fretboard harmony lessons so you can learn just about anything you need there. 🙂

      Hope this helps!


  3. Daniel Schram on August 13, 2016 at 12:51 pm

    Another great lesson Carl, thank you for breaking down the solo.

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