how to play “Purple Rain” on guitar by Prince | electric guitar lesson tutorial

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Here’s a link to the 1983 live performance of Purple Rain. It might not work but here it is anyways:

Wikipedia link:

An electric guitar lesson on how to play “Purple Rain” by Prince and the Revolution from the album “Purple Rain”, released in 1984.
More shocking news this week with the passing of Prince. Very tragic and 57 just seems so young these days…

Prince was an incredibly talented person. Singer, writer, producer, guitarist, keyboard player, dancer and amazing performer. These days, you might need to hire 10 people do to do everything that he was not only capable of, but that he excelled at. Really an amazing individual…
As a tribute to him, this is my lesson on the rhythm guitar parts to “Purple Rain.” This has always been my favorite Prince song. It’s very soulful and has sort of a gospel feel to it. I really think that he nailed it with this tune…it’s a very emotional performance.
It’s one of those songs that you recognize when you hear the first chord.
There’s only four chords in the song, but three of them are quite different to what I think most people are used to playing. It’s essentially a 1-6-5-4 progression, which is very common, but the voicings and flavor of the chords are what make it so unique. You’ll know the difference right away when you play the proper chords.

I hope you enjoy the video and enjoy playing this amazing song.

I get a lot of questions about my sound so here’s what I’m using:

My guitar is a 1975 Gibson Les Paul Deluxe. I have Suhr Aldrich pickups on it. I have them coil split, but for this video they were in single coil mode.
My amp is an Egnater Renegade head. I am using a Two Notes Torpedo Live. It’s a load box and a speaker emulator so I’m not running the Marshall 1960b speaker cabinet anymore. It enables you to crank up your tube amp but use headphones, or just listen at low volume through your monitors, so I can be rocking out and getting a great sound without bothering people around me. So far I like it!
I use a TC Electronics Nova System through the loop for effects. I also have a BB preamp which I essentially never use anymore, and sometimes (rarely) a Boss CS-3 compressor. The reverb is from the amp. My wah is a Dunlop MC404 CAE Dual Inductor, REALLY great pedal! I also use a Polytune tuner which is fantastic.
For this tune I used the pitch change (+8-8), the flanger, digital delay (tap tempo) and reverb. I had the pickup switch in the middle and the coil split switch was set to single coil mode. The volume on both pickups was at around 5. I used the clean channel of the amp, with very little gain. I used the 6L6 tubes section.

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Thanks for all the comments, and questions and of course for subscribing. A special thanks to all of you that have contributed financially by making a donation! I really appreciate the support. Good luck to everyone with their guitar playing.


  1. Eduardo Alvarez

    Spot on! Great video/lesson, many thanks!

  2. Hey man! THANK-YOU! A million times over… thank-you! You know what you are doing! I have been playing for 40 years now, and I've been teaching guitar for 15 years… but most, if not ALL of the pretenders online are doing something incorrectly! This lesson is brilliant! You patiently explain everything slowly, and provide PLENTY of examples! But what I truly appreciate more than anything else (and what inspired me to subscribe and donate) was the very thorough listing of your gear and your settings! I heard the delay, flanger and reverb, but I could've SWORN you threw in some chorus! I had NO idea you were doing the +8/-8 pitch thing! BRILLIANT! Thank-you for inspiring me! Kudos!

  3. RafaToral CanalGuitarra

    well done

  4. Do you read music?

  5. Scott L Mitzner

    Awesome lesson!

  6. this song is very very magical and very well created by the master Prince himself wow wow wow wow

  7. Daniel Domalik

    how about taking a look at Lost for Words – Pink Floyd?

  8. Nicolas Duthil

    Thank you so much for posting this !

  9. Great video!

  10. You rock dude, excellent. Thanks for sharing. Prince will be missed.

  11. My heart is totally broken……. I haven't played my guitar in many many years but I think maybe I'll give it another try. Thank you for helping us to learn. He was a master at everything he did.

  12. Great Job on the Tutorial!  thanks for taking the time to make it.

  13. Zambezoni Zambezoni

    Man, best lesson of PR I have ever seen. Your sound is amazing as well as chords and technique.
    WOW WOW WOW!!!

  14. Jeremy Edgington

    I can't believe this video got even ONE thumb down, let alone OVER 60. Savages.

  15. you are amazing , please keep the great work , Thank you :)

  16. hi ur playing is magnificent wow do u think u could include the chords to this song on a chart because I'm having trouble getting the fingerings properly thanx in advance u play excellent sincerely!

  17. TheTheratfarmer

    tune to standard E 440 Hz. this sounds cool man but the or your pick strumming just looks out of time, lol. only ed can play that way. what kind of guitar is that? looks like a les paul custom at first, but the volume and tone knobs look like an ibanez artist.

  18. Please do Smells Like Teen Spirit. NO ONE has it 100% right on Youtube. Many have close versions, but not 100% like the record in many little details that mean A LOT. And you know what it would be very cool? Here is no Why by the Smashing Pumpkins :P

  19. sir, would you ply Def Leppard – Hysteria make us lurn better how to play Def Leppard – Hysteria please .

  20. I looked at so many Purple Rain tutorials and they were all wrong; wrong notes, wrong chords, unnecessary alternate tunings, etc. Thank you for getting it right and making this tutorial. Much appreciated.

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