Wasted Years Guitar Lesson – Iron Maiden

In this Wasted Years guitar lesson video, I will show you how to play this Iron Maiden classic off of their 1986 album Somewhere In Time note-for-note.

The tuning is standard tuning.

Written by guitarist Adrian Smith, "Wasted Years" starts with a signature guitar lick that is instantly recognizable. The lick uses rapid alternate picking on the open high E string while also adding a melody within it. Those melody notes require you to have good synchronization between the fret-hand and the picking hand.

There are some sparse power chords underneath this riff before the band launches into the verse.

The verse section, although not overly challenging to play, is sort of confusing to memorize. The chord progression is pretty ambitious using mostly power chord chords but with a couple of different chord voicings thrown in there as well. It is a long progression to, so it will work best if you know the sound of the song well.

The chorus uses the "Iron Maiden G power chord" as I like to call it. I will demonstrate what that is. It has a big sound, but isn't very easy to play. The rest of the chorus is pretty simple.

We will also take an in-depth look at Adrian Smith's amazing guitar solo.

This solo starts with a very challenging legato lick that I usually see played incorrectly by people doing covers on YouTube or wherever. It isn't a simple legato lick on the B string. It is a repeated 6 note lick that starts with a note of the high E string, played with an upstroke followed by downstroke on the B string and legato stuff on the B string from there. It is pretty awkward at first. He plays the exact same pattern later in the solo albeit in a higher position of the scale which makes it even more difficult to play.

The fast descending lick is also very challenging and I will give you a couple different options of picking it.

All-in-all, "Wasted Years" is a great workout for any guitarist. I hope you have fun with it!


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Wasted Years Guitar Lesson - Iron Maiden


  1. James Killian on May 30, 2020 at 1:34 pm

    Thank you for sharing this Video !! I played this song for years wondering what the Guitar arrangement was and how it was really played. I learned this from you ,and played it with the album, and it came together like magic.
    You should be touring with Maiden Bro!! Adrian Smith and Dave Murray could learn from you. What a Phenomenal, and talented Guitarist. and for you to show this to other players is great gift. I sent you a Donation and will sign up for your professional lessons. Rock On Carl Brown..

    James Killian
    Winston Salem, N.C.

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