How to play along to real songs

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In my opinion, the most fun you can have practicing guitar is playing along to real songs that you love!

If you’re a total beginner, you’ll want to have played along to the video and drum loop in Lesson 2 strumming on the beat before you try this lesson. If you’ve done that, this is very similar! But there are a couple of things you should know.

Playing along to real Songs- Step by step

Firstly, you cannot start playing along from the first second of the track. The count in of ‘1 2 3 4’ is rarely still there on real songs. We need to listen first, and then join in to what we hear.

Take songs 1, a bar of E and a bar of A for 2 bars. To join in, you hear the first sound of the record and know this is the E chord. You then WAIT for this 2 bars, and then join in on the next E! You can even wait longer to get your bearings, but always start on the E chord. Focus on the drums and count the beat to be sure you know when to come in.

What about other songs or riffs?

If the song has a riff you’d like to join into, wait to hear the riff say twice, and then join in at the third time so you play at the right speed and can predict when to come in at the right time.

If all goes wrong and you lose where you are, just start again from the beginning of the songs. This is far better than trying to ‘catch up’ with the song as this likely won’t work. It’s therefore best to choose songs that don’t change much. The songs in Level 1 of my beginner’s course are perfect examples


If you can keep up for even just a minute- great job! That’s the goal of this whole level! Don’t move on too quick though, it’s important to practice this skill, even when you can do it or it will disappear. Like a muscle, all these basic skills need working out. SO keep at it, but feel free to vary the songs in your repertoire to keep yourself interested, and then stick to your favorites.

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