How to Play Rolling Stones Paint It Black On Guitar – Rolling Stones Paint It Black Guitar Lesson

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How To Play Rolling Stones Paint It Black On Guitar


Today we’re going to learn how to play Paint it Black by The Rolling Stones on Guitar. This song is super moody and really fun to play. Originally this song was played on a Sitar. A sitar is a plucked stringed instrument used mostly in classical Indian music. It has a very distinct sound and a very cool sound! You can hear it all over the place from this song, to Metallia, to Steve Vai and many many more. Today we’re going to focus on the intro and most popular part of this song. Let’s get started!

Step 1: The Main Riff

Step one in learning how to play Paint It Black by The Rolling Stones on guitar is to learn what pedaling is. Pedaling means no matter what we do, we come back to the same note. Another popular song that does this is “Crazy Train” by Ozzy Osbourne. We have one main note we treat as our home base and we keep coming back to it. In this case we play the note that switches first and our pedaled note is always second. In this song our pedaled note is the open 1st string, the high e. We always, always come back to this note.

So let’s go over the notes in the melody! So we know that our pedaled note in the open first string, but the entire moving melody is played on the 2nd string. So we go 5th fret 2nd string to the 7th fret to the 8th fret, all again on the 2nd string and playing open high e’s in between. So 5th fret second string, open high e, 7th fret 2nd string, open high e, 8th fret 2nd string, open high e. We are gonna keep doing this same thing but now going to the 10th fret 2nd string, followed by an open high e and then we start descending. So we now go back to the 8th fret 2nd string, then an open high e, the 7th fret 2nd string on the high e, and then to the 5th fret. When we get to the 5th fret we are actually going to play it twice. Both times having an open high e after of course. So 5th fret 2nd string, followed by a high e, and again 5th fret 2nd string followed by another high e. Then we are going to go to the 4th fret 2nd string followed by a high e and end this phrase by going to the 5th fret 2nd string followed by the high e and ending on the 7th fret 2nd string. If you are enjoying this Rolling Stones classic, be sure to also check out our lesson on how to play their song Satisfaction on guitar, also by the Rolling Stones.

Step 2: The End Lick

To finish off this awesome melody we have an ending lick. For this part we hammer on all on the 2nd string frets 2, 4, and 5. A hammer on is when we pick once and then slap your fretting hand fingers down on the desired note without picking again. This gives a very smooth, legato sound and changes the dynamic of the line. It’s a very popular technique that is fairly simple but if you have never done it before it requires some finger strength. So don’t worry if it feels a little challenging at first. It will become easy fast!

So after our hammer on we pick the 1st string 2nd fret once and then we pull off the frets we previously hammer oned. In one motion we are actually going to end this with a pull off to a hammer on. So after we picked the 1st string 2nd fret once we are going to pull off the 5th, 4th, and 2nd frets all on the 2nd string and then hammer on to the 4th fret to end this phrase and entire part. A pull off is the exact opposite of a hammer on in direction but a very similar technique. A pull of is when we pick the first note in our phrase but we already have our next notes finger down behind it. You don’t hear this note because the guitar only picks up one note per string, and it’s the note closest to our picking hand, not out headstock. Ands that’s it!

Recap: How to Play Rolling Stones Paint It Black On Guitar

So now that you know how to play Paint it Black by The Rolling Stones on Guitar, the most important things to remember are to make sure you do not accidentally mute the high e string since we are pedaling off of it and should hear it ringing throughout the song. Also feel free to practice both the main melody with pedaling and without when learning it. Which fingers you want to use are up to you, in the video I show you a few different options, but really whatever you find the most comfortable is fine, just make sure we have the high e ringing out, so whatever finger you are using on the 2nd string should be arched so it does not accidentally touch and mute the high e. I hope you had fun learning this song and adding it to your repertoire! Be sure to follow along with the video above for even more in depth detail on this riff.