Crazy On You Intro Guitar Lesson – Heart – Famous Riffs

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The rapid acoustic guitar intro for “Crazy On You” by Heart introduced the rock world to the band in a very surprising way. “Crazy On You” was the first single off of Heart’s album Dreamboat Annie and guitarist Nancy Wilson paired the song which is in their signature hard rock style with a very cool and challenging acoustic guitar intro.

This rapid acoustic guitar intro was originally called “Steel Wheels” and uses a fast quasi Travis picking approach throughout. This fingerstyle approach was how the intro was written and recorded even though through the decades since it’s 1976 release, Nancy Wilson began to play the intro with a pick and a little bit of hybrid picking.

In any case, this Crazy On You Intro guitar lesson will focus on the original recorded version so drop that pick and get ready for a fingerstyle workout.

Upon the first couple of times listening to this intro you may feel that everything is a bit random sounding with different notes flying all over the place. In reality though, Nancy Wilson does use a repetitive pattern within all of this complex picking and she simply plays the pattern then does a variation on it over and over again 3 times in a row followed by an ending.

It can be quite difficult to get every note to ring true in this fast acoustic guitar intro. The pull-offs are going to be especially challenging. As always, it is about breaking everything down into sections and mastering each little detail by itself before putting all of those pieces together to form the entire intro.

Also, the tempo is quite fast but by no means should you practice at that tempo. Especially if you are not used to this style of fingerpicking. It is very important to get the fingerpicking patterns down well enough at a very slow tempo that you don’t even think about them when you speed it up. This is called muscle memory and is what your body uses for pretty much any rapid activity.

The training that you do at very slow tempos is what programs your muscle memory in a certain way. If you keep it clean and controlled it will also be clean and controlled when you speed it up. If you take a few short cuts and don’t practice the parts properly even at very slow tempos, that is also how you will play them when sped up.

In the second video lesson I will show you all of Nancy Wilson’s acoustic guitar chords starting from the end of the intro and progressing throughout the entire song.

You need to grab your pick again for these rhythms because Nancy Wilson does some very aggressive strumming throughout. This constant fast strumming makes for a nice picking exercise!

In the third video lesson I will tackle all of the electric guitar parts. We have that legendary main riff that is instantly recognizable by just about any rock music fan, plus lots of cool little guitar fills thrown into the pre-chorus.

I will also show you how to play both parts of the harmony guitar solo just in case you and another guitar player want to take a shot at it. If you don’t have another guitarist to harmonize with just pick the harmony part you like to play the best. They will both sound great on their own.

After the harmony guitar solo, we have short interlude with a clean guitar solo over it. I will also show you how to play that guitar solo note-for-note. 🙂

We that is about it. Hope you guys enjoy learning this rock epic from Heart!

Video Rating: / 5


  1. The best part is the harmonics!

  2. Great Tutorial!

  3. OK, I watched Nancy Wilson herself explaining the intro and frankly you teach it better than she does by leaps and bounds. Thanks!

  4. what is the best thing I can do just learning basics on a guitar on frets and strumming should I get some lessons for basics or what is your advice to play this is my goal but the fret fingering look difficult and any tips are appreciated

  5. Thank you for posting, fun to  play!

  6. Thanks, I tried to figure this one out by ear, but was always missing a few notes that made a huge difference and killed the timing. Anyway, it took a couple of days. But, now I can nail it. Thanks again for your excellent video. By the way, you should consider doing the Yes song Roundabout or how about Rush: Broon's Bain/The Trees. I know that videos for those songs already exist. However, none of them match the quality and professionalism of this video.

  7. Thank you so much for this!!! This really helped me with the intro to this song!

  8. sansebastian1972

    anyone got a tab arranged for pick?

  9. my guitar is now smashed in to a thousand pieces

  10. my fingers have blisters and i still dont have it down yet

  11. Kinda curious how many times Nancy Wilson from Heart has possibly viewed this video !?!? …

  12. hey thanks alot. I Lome this version. I did learn a different variation on some parts. so I can now mix the two!! thanks abunch

  13. Lauren Scholling

    One of my first songs on acoustic guitar! Relearning it for my band. Thanks for the lesson

  14. I DID IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    But my poor poor fingers…….im not used to finger picking. My middle finger is about to bleed.

  15. Atticus Killough

    Carl, this phenomenal! I'm gonna master this one (although I think I'll stick to flat picking, ha! Hey, if it's good enough for Nancy Wilson…) Enjoy your lessons a whole bunch

  16. brilliant..and thanks for the help..I've wanted to learn this intro for 20 years…

  17. brilliant..and thanks for the help..I've wanted to learn this intro for 20 years…

  18. great song….not even gonna try to attempt……to much finger picking…..nice job but too hard for me

  19. Hey Carl. Is that a Kremona Solea behind you? If so, you do you like yours. I played four of them and only liked one out of the lot. But I really liked it when I found it. Nevertheless, I wound up buying a Cordoba C12 which, with its lattice bracing, is almost unnaturally loud and pretty bright. I can't decide which I like more. Just wondering.

  20. Robert Fischer

    Thank you for being in tune.

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