How to Play Misty Mountain Hop on Guitar
In this Guitar Control lesson video, I will show you how to play Misty Mountain Hop on guitar. I will break down the verse and the main riff, explain the techniques used and tell you exactly how to play it and give you some tips on how to practice smarter. Let’s get started
Step 1: The Main Riff
Step one in learning how to play Misty Mountain Hop on guitar is to pick the 5th fret 6th string with your ring finger. I kind of bend the note down because I like the way it sounds so that is personal preference but when we get to the 6th string 3rd fret we are really going to bend down. So feel free to add in your own style if you want or play the note just by picking it with no vibrato or bending. So pick the 6th string 5th fret, that’s our A note, to go to the G note on the 6th string 3rd fret with your pointer, and this is the note that we really bend down that I was talking about earlier. I kind of added the vibrato to the A note too because I like vibrato a lot, you again, don’t have to do that if it’s not your thing, the G note is the one we really bend down. After the G note we are going to pick the 6th string open, which is an E note. So everything is on the 6th string so far, and we picked 5th fret, 3rd fret, open. Then we are going to slide up on the 5th string all the way to the 7th fret and hit another open E afterwards on the 6th string. And I’m using my third finger for that slide. Then repeat! The slide really makes this riff stand out to me and why that’s so cool is because it adds a totally different feel. It just gives it a little bit of that lead guitar player/guitar hero kind of feel and style and makes this riff special.
A slide is when we place our finger down and we have pressure on the string all the way down to when we slide by just pushing your finger over to the note we want. So a slide means to hold down and do note release. Keep that pressure down almost like someone is pushing you. But we do it fast and that’s why it sounds cool. You also must be very accurate and land on the exact note when you slide, so sliding to the exact note. A quick recap, on the 6th string play the 5th fret to the 3rd, bend the third down, then play the open 6th string, then slide on the 5th string up to the 7th fret, being very exact when you land on this note and then pick one more open 6th string. The only thing that makes this riff a little hard is that our very first note is actually a pick up note, it’s the eighth note on the measure before. So that’s why when we cycle it or when we play our next part you’ll notice all of a sudden that 5 comes in a little fast, and that’s the main riff! If you are enjoying learning this riff be sure to check out my video on how to play Sweet Emotion by Aerosmith for another awesome riff.
Step 2: The Chorus
This next riff is when Robert Plant sings “walking through the…” The guitar actually just follows the vocals. It’s really cool and makes the vocal line feel even more powerful. If you are familiar with the open D chord, where we make a peace sign and place our middle finger on the 1st string 2nd fret, our pointer on the 3rd string 2nd fret, and in that space in between our two fingers we place our ring finger down on the 2nd string 3rd fret. This shape is a D major chord. When you strum from the 4th string down, that is a D major open chord, the open 4th string Is a D note which is the root for the D major chord and why it is included in the strum and no other open strings are.
So this shape you are probably familiar with if you are tackling a riff like this so think about that shape because we are actually going to apply this shape to different strings. Starting with the 5th fret 4th string with our pointer now, our middle finger is going to go on the 5th fret 2nd string, and our ring finger is going to go on the 6th fret 3rd string and only strumming the strings our fingers are placed down on, so the 4th string, the 3rd, and the 2nd strings. Then I make an A major shape but on the 7th fret, 4th 3rd, and 2nd strings again. If you are not familiar with A major it’s when we take our three fingers and put them all inside the 2nd fret on the 4th, 3rd, and 2nd strings and strum from the 5th string down. So we are going to play this same shape without the open string but moved up to the 7th fret. So pointer on the 7th fret 4th string, middle on the 7th fret 3rd string, and ring on the 7th fret 2nd string strumming just the 4th, 3rd, and 2nd strings. So both of these shapes that we moved up are played on the same strings the 4th, 3rd, and 2nd strings. So we are just switching between these two shapes, the D major shape and the A major shape in a few different places. Since we just learned the shapes I am only going to say the fret our finger is rooted on so it makes the most sense and to make it easier to explain and understand how to play these chords in the correct order. Also we are only strumming the 4th through 2nd strings. Not the open strings that either of these chords usually have.
So 5th fret making the D major shape to the 7th fret A major shape, then back to that D major shape on the 4th fret, and then back to the 5th fret with the D major shape. We are going to do all of that four times, but on the 4th time there is going to be a small variation. All I did was the 4th time through when I got to that 5th fret, I made the A major shape instead of the D major shape I normally do when playing that fret in this song, on the first time we play the 5th fret in the progression, not the last. Then right back into the main riff!
Rhythmically when we play this, every hit is a quarter note, so every 4 hits is a measure. And on the 4th measure is our change, on the 4th beat. At about 6:15 I will walk you through how to practice counting this riff.
Recap: How to Play Misty Mountain Hop on Guitar
I hope you enjoyed learning how to play Misty Mountain Hop on guitar! This song is so much fun and is just so cool! This song is so much fun and just so cool. Feel free to bring your own style into these riffs. Mess around with different feels you imitate form other guitarists or create your own. And of course, as always, have fun!