How to Play Refugee On Guitar


How to Play Refugee On Guitar

In this Guitar Control video lesson instructor Jon McLennan is going to show you how to Play “Refugee” on guitar. Jon is going to show you some Mike Campbell Guitar Licks in this Lesson. This is such a cool song and was a hit for Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers. This is such a cool, powerful song. Remember when you’re learning the hit songs with standout guitar parts, they aren’t just lesson in copying licks and learning riffs, they are also lessons in how these players made these riffs differently, what techniques did they use, why is it cool, and what does what they did speak to so many people and how can you take these elements into your own playing and create your own unique style.


Step 1: The Groove

Step one in learning how to play “Refugee” on guitar is learning the groove. So what’s happening with the band, is there is a three chord groove. Starting with an F#minor barre chord. To play an F# barre chord, barre your finger from the 6th string down through the 1st on the 2nd fret and play this chord twice. Then place your ring finger on the 5th string 4th fret and your pinky finger right under the 4th string 4th fret. Then there is this little walking bass line where you play the 6th string 2nd fret to the 6th string 4th fret, using your pointer finger to your pinky finger. Then you’re going to play an A major chord. Jon is playing his open A major by barring the 4th, 3rd, and 2nd strings all inside of the 2nd fret. Strum from the open 5th string down through the 1st string.

So a quick recap so far, Play the F#minor chord twice, this is placed staccato, stopping in between each strum, not letting the chord ring in between strums. The two strums are close together in time though. So F#minor twice, then to the walking bass line on the 6th string playing the 2nd fret to the 4th fret and then to an A major chord. Now you are going to go to an open E major chord. To play the open E major chord you have an open 6th string, your middle finger is placed down on the 5th string 2nd fret, your ring finger is right under it on the 4th string 2nd fret, and your pointer finger is on the 3rd string 1st fret. Strum from the 6th string all the way down through the 1st string. And that’s it for this groove! This is basically just a three chord vamp and Mike Campbell takes full use of this vamp playing over it in F# minor. If you are enjoying this lesson, make sure you check out our other video lesson for how to play Layla on the guitar by Eric Clapton to add another killer song to your repertoire.

Step 2: The Licks

For the licks and melodies, guitarist Mike Campbell, takes full advantage of playing the in F# minor over this awesome vamp we have going on. He starts with his third finger on the 4th string 4th fret, adding lots of vibrato. Then you are going to walk up on the 3rd string, first picking the 1st fret holding it down with your pointer finger, and then picking the 2nd fret, holding it down with your middle finger, again, both of these notes on the 3rd string with lots of vibrato as well. Then you’re going to do a bend on the 4th fret 3rd string with your ring finger and your middle and pointer supporting the bend. This is a bend release which means you don’t only bend up, but you also bring the bend back down. Back down to the 2nd fret on the 4th string with your pointer finger. Then back up to the 4th string 4th fret with your ring finger. Then back to the 3rd string, picking the 1st fret, holding it down with your pointer finger, and then picking the 2nd fret, holding that down with your middle finger. Repeat everything and then play the 4th fret 3rd string holding it down with your ring finger and then the 2nd fret 3rd string, holding that down with your pointer. Now we are going to go into this total classic rock lick. Very bluesy as well. Bend the 4th fret 3rd string with your ring finger.

Then when you’re bend is in the air, place your pointer finger barring the 2nd and 1st strings on the 2nd fret. Then pick the 2nd string, then pick the 1st string, while you are barring of course, so that the 2nd string 2nd fret, and the 1st string 2nd fret, both held down with your pointer finger. Then slide with you ring finger from the 5th to 7th frets on the 2nd string and add lots of vibrato when you slide into this note. Listen to John play that entire lead from the start at the 2:53 minute mark. Then at the 3:02 mark he will play everything we learned in this lesson. After this part the song goes into the verse. This is all we are going to cover in this lesson tho! So the entire intro!

Recap: How to Play Refugee On Guitar

I hope you enjoyed learning how to Play “Refugee” on guitar! This is such a cool song. The three chord groove is awesome and Mike Campbell takes full advantage throwing in tons of great guitar licks. Not only is this a great rhythmic lesson getting you playing that vamp, a guitar solo lesson, showing you these Mike Campbell guitar licks, but it’s all a great improvising and jamming lesson because you can take this vamp and record yourself to jam to or teach it to a friend and trade off solos but you can also use Mike Campbell’s licks or create your own. You can also use his licks as inspiration and build off of them or make variations of them. Remember these lessons aren’t only lessons in how to learn great riffs but lessons on what these killer players do to make there riffs and licks awesome and stand out. Learn to take away special elements of their playing that you learn from them and add these new tricks to your own playing. Pay attention to all the details in these riffs and licks, remember to play slow to build up to playing fast.

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