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How to Play Don’t Look Back on Guitar
In this lesson I am going to explain how to play Don’t Look Back by Boston. Today we are going to just focus on the intro solo. There are a couple of challenging parts and a few cool techniques we can talk about that we are going to go over to get you playing it!
Step 1: The Bend Licks
The first step to learning how to play Don’t Look Back by Boston is making sure you nail all these bends! The first bend is really cool but sounds harder than it actually is. There is really just a lot of bending with picking and accenting things. So I bend the 16th fret on the 3rd string, and then bring it back down, and I do this several times in a row.
Bend, pick, bend, pick, bend, pick, and then pull off to the 14th fret 3rd string. Be sure to listen to this several times before attempting it as you really want to hear what you are trying to do. There is a certain style and attitude that comes with this lick so try and pay attention to it.
The straight into a bend on the 17th fret 2nd string. We do a quick bend and then we do a big bend with a lot of vibrato in the air of our bend. So when the bend is raised. These are two full step bends. What I do is I use my 3rd finger to bend with the support of my middle and pointer to help push, I also have my thumb wrapped around the neck and I push both hands towards each other. If you are enjoying the bends in this song, be sure to check out my lesson on how to play the solo to Whole Lotta Love by Led Zeppelin.
Step 2: The hardest Lick of the Solo
This lick is probably the hardest lick. I am going to start by placing my pointer on the 15th fret 2nd string. I just pick it. Then I am going to do a pattern. I start this pattern by planting my pointer on the 2nd string 14th fret. I pick this note and then hammer on and pull off to the note right next to it, the 15th fret 2nd string. Then I alternate between using my picking to play the 18th fret 2nd string and pulling off to the 14th fret and picking the 17th fret 2nd string pulling off to the 14th fret. I do all of this twice. Then I go back to the 15th and 14th frets and then I place my third finger on the 3rd string 16th fret then to the 14th fret 2nd string pick once and then go back to the 16th fret 3rd string and then bend. See 3:41. Also practicing all of this slow is extremely helpful.
Step 3: The Final Lick
So for that last part with the bend, bend the 16th fret 3rd string one full step and then pull off to the 14th fret. Then quickly on the 4th string we play the 16th fret to the 14th and same on the 5th string, 16th fret to the 14th. This is all played very fast and we alternate picking. Which means alternating, switching, every other time with a down pick and then an up pick. Probably the most useful technique to master on the guitar, to be able to place things efficiently and cleanly. Then play an open A5. To play an open A5 we have our open 5th string ringing out since it is the root of this chord, then place your pointer down on the 4th string 2nd fret and pick only the 5th and 4th strings together.
Recap: How to Play Don’t Look Back on Guitar
I hope you enjoyed my lesson on how to play Don’t Look Back by Boston. This intro solo is so fun and a bit challenging, too! This is a great lesson for intermediate to advanced players as it will push you a little bit. Remember to really listen and know what you are supposed to play, don’t just dive in.
Focus on putting lots of feel into your bends and checking them by picking the note two frets up if you feel like you’re having trouble bending in key. Play slow to play fast especially with that pull off lick, sometimes if we just jump in we don’t really know what exactly we are playing and we can learn the lick wrong, which is much harder to break than just slowing down in the first place. And of course, as always, have fun!