The Spirit Of Radio Guitar Lesson – Rush

Released in 1980 on Rush's Permanent Waves album, "The Spirit Of Radio" introduced the band to a whole new level of success and it remains a Rush fan favorite today.

Guitarist Alex Lifeson really pulls out the pyrotechnics with the intro guitar lick. The good thing is that it is a repetitive sequence so it shouldn't take much time to memorize. However, it may take you quite a while to get it up to full speed. But hey, the challenge is half the fun right?

In this The Spirit Of Radio guitar lesson, I will demonstrate how to play all of Alex Lifeson's guitar parts, including that killer guitar intro, to this iconic Rush song note-for-note.

When learning the opening guitar lick, first focus on getting some nice clean pull-offs going. After you have that down, you will see that the actual pattern Alex Lifeson is using is u very complicated at all. I suggest practice this lick over and over until it feel very smooth and then you can learn how many times it is played within the context of the the song.

For this intro I will count out the exact amount of times this lick is played in the intro and also point out any variations he does along with the timing. There is a lot to think about when trying to get this intro right so be prepared and make sure you learn it right the first time.

Out of that lick Alex Lifeson rips into a fast descending lick that leads into the main riff of the song. This main riff if pretty easy to play technically, but does have an unorthodox timing to it. It's Rush so we can't expect anything less right?

Once you lock into the groove of that riff it is quite fun to play without much effort involved. You can help yourself out a lot by listening to the original recording a lot and having the sound of those riff memorized. Then it is just a process of taking that timing to the guitar.

In the second lesson I will tackle all of the chords and arpeggios found throughout the rest of the song and also show you note-by-note what Alex Lifeson is doing during his frantic solo.

The chords probably won't be much of a challenge to you, especially if you have already gone through and mastered that intro lick. However, the solo is difficult enough to challenge just about any guitarist.

Take your time and learn it phrase-by-phrase like I demonstrate it in the video lesson and you will have it down in no time. Good Luck!


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The Spirit of Radio Guitar Lesson - Part 1

The Spirit of Radio Guitar Lesson - Part 2


  1. Frank Montalti on September 27, 2015 at 2:37 pm

    Awesome song..great lesson as usual…how about a lesson on “Free Will”…thanks!

  2. taylor raikes on November 16, 2015 at 1:55 pm

    you should do more rush songs carl!

  3. Frank Montalti on June 4, 2016 at 10:44 pm

    Hi Carl….love the lesson. How about a lesson for Red Barchetta…great song from Moving Pictures!

  4. Wesley Pepper on November 20, 2017 at 4:28 am

    2112 or Temples of Syrinx would be awesome, actually any Rush is greatly appreciated. Thank you so much for sharing your talents!

  5. Mark L on July 29, 2021 at 8:27 pm

    Great lesson Carl!! Can you do a lesson on “The Trees”?

  6. Kyle Rhodes on May 6, 2022 at 10:33 pm

    How about some old Rush? What you’re doing, Fly by night, Best I can, working man, 2112, Bastile day.

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