Learn how to play one of the most iconic guitar riffs of all time with Marty Schwartz’s step-by-step guide.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: Marty Schwartz’s tutorial on how to play Hotel California on guitar is a comprehensive guide that covers all aspects of the song, from the intro to the solo.

In this article, we’ll break down Marty Schwartz’s tutorial into sections, making it easier for you to follow along and master this classic tune.

Intro and Chords

Hotel California is one of the most iconic songs in rock history, and learning to play it on the guitar is a rite of passage for many musicians. Marty Schwartz is a well-known guitar teacher on YouTube who has created a series of lessons on how to play this classic tune. In this article, we’ll break down the intro and chords of Hotel California, using Marty’s lessons as a guide.

Breaking down the intro riff

The intro riff to Hotel California is instantly recognizable and sets the mood for the entire song. Marty Schwartz breaks it down into several sections, making it easier to learn. The riff is played in the key of B minor and uses a combination of fingerpicking and strumming. One of the keys to mastering this riff is getting the timing right, so be sure to practice slowly at first and gradually increase your speed as you get more comfortable.

Learning the basic chords

Once you’ve got the intro riff down, it’s time to move on to the basic chords. Hotel California uses a series of chords that are relatively easy to play, but they do require some finger strength and dexterity. Marty Schwartz demonstrates how to play each chord and offers tips on how to transition between them smoothly. The chords used in the song include B minor, F#, A, E, G, D, and Em.

Strumming patterns

Finally, Marty Schwartz goes over the strumming patterns used in Hotel California. The song uses a combination of strumming and picking, and the patterns can be a bit tricky to master. However, with practice, you’ll be able to get the hang of it. Marty breaks down each strumming pattern step-by-step and provides tips on how to make them sound more authentic.

Verse and Chorus

Playing the verse and chorus

Playing the verse and chorus of Hotel California on guitar is one of the most recognizable and iconic guitar riffs in rock history. The verse and chorus sections are in the key of B minor, and the chords used are B minor, F#, A, E, G, D, and Em.

To play the verse, start by playing a B minor chord for two measures, followed by an F# chord for a measure, then an A chord for a measure, and finally an E chord for a measure. Repeat this progression for the entire verse.

The chorus starts with a G chord for a measure, followed by a D chord for a measure, then an Em chord for a measure, and finally a B minor chord for two measures. Repeat this progression for the entire chorus.

Adding dynamics to your playing

To add dynamics to your playing, vary the intensity and volume of your strumming. For the verse, start with a softer strumming pattern and gradually increase the volume as you progress through the chords. For the chorus, use a more intense strumming pattern to accentuate the chord changes.

You can also add variations to your playing by using palm muting or fingerpicking techniques. Experiment with different styles to find what works best for you and the song.

Tips for transitioning smoothly between sections

To transition smoothly between the verse and chorus, use the last two measures of the verse as a lead-in to the chorus. This helps create a seamless transition between the two sections.

Another tip is to practice playing the verse and chorus separately and then gradually increase the speed as you become more comfortable with the chord progressions. This helps with muscle memory and makes transitioning between the sections easier.

Remember to keep your hand relaxed and avoid tensing up, especially when transitioning between sections. With practice and patience, playing Hotel California on guitar can be an enjoyable and rewarding experience.

Pro tip: For more guitar lessons and tips, check out Marty Schwartz’s YouTube channel Martyzsongs.


Breaking down the solo section

If you’re learning how to play “Hotel California” on guitar, the solo section can be one of the most challenging parts of the song. But with the help of Marty Schwartz’s tutorial, you can break it down into manageable parts and gradually build up your skills.

First, listen to the solo section and try to get a sense of the overall structure and melody. Then, work on learning each individual phrase, starting with the easier parts and gradually tackling the more difficult sections.

Using the right fingerings

To play the solo section of “Hotel California” accurately and efficiently, it’s important to use the right fingerings. Marty Schwartz recommends using your pinky finger for the high E string and your ring finger for the B string, as this allows you to move smoothly between the two strings.

It’s also important to use the correct picking technique, alternating between downstrokes and upstrokes as necessary to achieve the desired rhythm and sound.

Tips for building speed and accuracy

Building speed and accuracy in your playing is a gradual process, but there are several tips and techniques you can use to make progress more quickly. Marty Schwartz recommends starting out by playing the solo section slowly and gradually increasing the tempo as you become more comfortable with the fingerings and picking patterns.

You can also use a metronome to help you stay on beat and track your progress over time. And don’t forget to take breaks and stretch your hands and fingers regularly to avoid injury and maintain good playing technique.

Tips and Tricks

Common mistakes to avoid

When learning to play Hotel California on the guitar, there are several common mistakes that beginners tend to make. One of the most common mistakes is playing the wrong chords or playing the chords out of order. It’s important to practice playing the chords in the correct order and to listen carefully to the song to ensure that you’re playing each chord correctly. Another mistake is not paying attention to the rhythm of the song. The rhythm is crucial to the overall sound of the song, so be sure to practice playing along with a metronome or drum track to get the timing just right.

Alternative ways to play the song

While the original version of Hotel California is played on a 12-string guitar, it can also be played on a 6-string guitar. Marty Schwartz, a popular guitar instructor on YouTube, has created a simplified version of the song that is designed to be played on a 6-string guitar. He also offers alternative chord voicings that can be used to add variety to your playing. Additionally, there are many cover versions of the song that use different arrangements and instrumentation, so don’t be afraid to experiment and make the song your own.

Tips for memorizing the song

Memorizing the chords and lyrics to Hotel California can be challenging, but there are several strategies that can help. One approach is to break the song down into smaller sections and practice each section until you have it memorized. Another strategy is to practice playing along with a recording of the song, focusing on one section at a time. You can also try writing out the lyrics and chords by hand, which can help with retention. Finally, be sure to take breaks and practice regularly to give your brain time to absorb the information.

Remember, learning to play Hotel California on the guitar takes time and practice, but with these tips and tricks, you’ll be well on your way to mastering this classic song.

For more guitar tips and tutorials, check out guitarlessons.com or justinguitar.com.


By following Marty Schwartz’s tutorial on how to play Hotel California on guitar, you’ll be able to impress your friends and family with your guitar skills in no time.

Remember, practice makes perfect, so don’t be afraid to spend some time working on each section of the song until you’ve got it down pat.

With a little patience and dedication, you’ll be playing Hotel California like a pro in no time.

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