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How to Play Satisfaction on Guitar
Today I am going to show you How to Play Satisfaction by The Rolling Stones. This song is perfect for the beginning guitar player and great for the advanced, too. If you are just starting out this song will show you some new techniques and won’t do so in a very complicated way, also this entire riff is all on one string which makes it very simple since you will only have to think about moving to different frets.
Like I was saying there are just a few special techniques that are more lead guitar player techniques that make this riff special and stand out and that you may not have come across yet. If you are an advanced player this is just a great song to know since it is so popular, fun to play and everyone loves it. The main riff is just so catchy and cool, it’s a good one to have as part of your repertoire.
Step1: The Main Riff
The main new technique you will be using while learning how to play Satisfaction on guitar, is the pull off. But first remember this entire riff is all on one string. Place your pointer on the 5th string 2nd fret and pick it twice both picks being downstrokes. In between those two notes I actually kind of slap the guitar to mute it and make it sound really tight instead of letting the strings ring out. So I go pick then slap my hand down, and I actually use both my fretting and picking hands to mute, that’s how you get the tightest, best mute because the guitar would just keep sounding out forever unless you mute it. By using both of your hands to mute I guarantee it will be silent. As you can see at the 1:51 mark one hard is pretty good, but both hands is the best and makes the guitar silent.
So we picked the 5th string 2nd fret twice and now we play the 2nd fret, 4th and 4th, of course all still on the 5th string. I have my fingers lined up so I am doing the littlest amount of movement. I’m doing that by kind of assigning one finger per fret, starting at the 2nd fret. So when I play the 2nd fret I am always using my pointer finger, If I was going to play the 3rd fret I would use my middle finger but we aren’t going to use that fret for this song, for the 4th fret I use my ring finger, and for the 5th fret I use my pinky. I do this every time for this riff, never coming out of this position. So picking down down on the 5th string 2nd fret, then I pick the 2nd fret again but then I pick the 4th fret and the 5th fret. Picking down on the 2nd fret, up on the 4th, and down on the 5th.
This part is just a little quicker, so adding that upstroke in there allows me to play this part faster and make sure I get where I need to in time and with less effort. So don’t forget to mute in between those first two picks on the 5th string 2nd fret. Then pick down up down. This is the ascending part of the main riff.
Next, we will cover the descending. Ascending means to go up, you can hear it going up because the pitch goes up or gets higher, and descending means going down where the pitches will become lower.If you are enjoying this simple but cool song be sure to check out my video lesson for how to play Sunshine of Your Love by Cream.
Step 2: Descending
Now for the descending part of this riff. Descending again means to come down. So we just went up and we were left with our pinky on the 5th string 5th fret. We start the descending riff with our pinky also on the 5th fret 5th string. I pick it twice but on the second time I pull off to the 4th fret. A pull of is when we hear two different attacks but we only physically pick once. It creates a smooth legato sound and is one of the advanced techniques I was talking about earlier than is used in this song.
So pull off from the 5th fret to the 4th and then from the 4th to the 2nd fret. So again a pull off is just when we pick once and then we do exactly what it says we do, we just pull off the string. Because we are already holding down the next frets we are going to play, the string doesn’t go crazy or move when we pull off to the next fret. So kind of pushing your finger off the string while we pull off which creates a picking affect with our fretting hand, so that’s why we still have momentum and will have sustain without using the pick. Pushing it off as though you are picking the string with your finger.
Again, the reason it doesn’t go crazy is that we have that ring finger already planted before it. And remember the guitar doesn’t pick up multiple notes on the same string and only picks up the note closest to your picking hand. So that’s why we are able to prepare ahead of time and have fingers placed behind the note we are picking first but we couldn’t do that if it were the other way around and we were playing other notes closer to our picking hand after. This is demonstrated at 4:17. So pick pull off, pick pull off. Only picking on the first time you play the 5th string 5th fret for the descending line and picking the 5th string 4th fret after you pulled off to it to take you to pulling off to the 5th string 2nd fret. And that’s it!
Recap: How to Play Satisfaction on Guitar
I hope you enjoyed learning how to play Satisfaction on guitar. This Rolling Stones classic is so fun and easy to play. Like I said it’s perfect for the beginning guitar player since it is all on one string but it’s great for guitarists at any level because it’s just cool.
Another lesson within this lesson is that it doesn’t matter how big or good musicians are, cool is just cool, whether it be hard or easy, cool is just cool. So you don’t always have to make things difficult for them to be hit or be popular, or just plain good. Always do what’s best for the song and of course, as always, have fun!