Learning the Intro Solo to "Wish You Were Here"

Lesson #502 • Jul 7, 2023

In this week’s lesson I’m excited to teach you the iconic intro solo heard in Pink Floyd’s classic Wish You Were Here. While I learned to strum & sing this song nearly twenty years ago, the solo had always eluded me — remaining on guitar bucket list until the past few weeks. I’ve finally learned it, and am happy to finally share this lesson.

With the solo I’ll show you two ways to play it. One is incredibly simple, where I remove all bends, slides, double-stops, and pull-offs. This surely waters it down quite a bit, but it lets you play the full solo without as much difficulty. From there, I’ll build up to my “intermediate” version — which is about 90% of what you hear Pink Floyd play. I still cut a few small corners (mainly the bends in the 3rd line), but for those of us without expert-level lead guitar skills — I think this is worth it. Let’s get into it!

  • 0:00 Lesson Summary
  • 1:52 Pentatonic Scale Recap
  • 3:46 Line 1 of 4
  • 10:30 Line 2 of 4
  • 14:06 Line 3 of 4
  • 18:24 Line 4 of 4
  • 19:33 Backing Track Tips
  • 20:21 Playthrough (Simple)
  • 21:08 Playthrough (Intermediate)

Instructional PDF 3 pages

Follow along with the print-friendly PDF! It includes all of my notes for this lesson, allowing you to follow along at your own pace. You're free to download, print, and share the PDF across your devices.

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Follow along with the print-friendly PDF!

It includes all of my notes for this lesson, allowing you to follow along at your own pace. You're free to download, print, and share the PDF across your devices.

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Lesson Discussion

Jump in the conversation with other members of the Song Notes community! Post a comment about this lesson, ask a question, or even upload a video of your progress. All skill levels welcome!

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Extended Video Lessons

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Suggested Practice Exercise

Here’s the G major pentatonic scale exercise I demonstrate in my main video lesson, shown with tabs on screen. If you’re just getting started with things, I strongly recommend getting comfortable with this — it’ll make the solo easier to learn!

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Solo Playthrough (Simple)

Full solo, vastly simplified so it’s melody notes only. No bends, double-stops, slides, or pull-offs. You can use what I show here to play along with the backing track, giving you a solid lay-of-the-land.

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Solo Playthrough (Intermediate)

Here’s the version of the solo I open my main video lesson with. It has a few areas where I simplify things compared to Pink Floyd’s exact version — e.g. I reduce the number of bends on line 3. Per my skill level, this is a worthwhile compromise! As getting more technical causes me to make mistakes, which ruins the vibe. Sharing here in case this is helpful!

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Backing Track

If you’d like to practice the solo over some chords matching what Pink Floyd plays in the intro of the song, check out this backing track! It’s played at the same tempo as Pink Floyd’s version, and captures their AM radio aesthetic as well. See my main video lesson for a quick demonstration of playing along with this track.

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My Full Lesson for Wish You Were Here

Here’s the previous tutorial I made teaching how to play this full song. It focuses on the intro riff, chords, and strumming — and doesn’t tackle the intro or outro solo. View my full lesson notes here, which includes a link to my licensed song sheet (available for separate purchase).

Additional Videos

Pink Floyd’s Wish You Were Here album recording:

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