ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Rock Guitar Lessons • How To Play Hotel California

Updated on March 27, 2019


The Eagles hail from Los Angeles, California. Formed in 1971, by Glenn Frey and Don Henley, they have rightly gained a place in rock music history as one of the most talented bands ever. They have sold over one hundred and fifty million records worldwide and picked up six grammys for their work. They have produced some of the finest country-rock music and spawned many top forty singles.

The album, Hotel California, sold over sixteen million copies in the US alone and yielded three top twenty singles: Hotel California, Life In The Fast Lane, and New Kid In Town. The title song was written by guitarist Don Felder, who, along with new member, Joe Walsh, supplied the unforgettable, highly melodic, guitar solos.

The Chords

I have transcribed the chords as all Root 6 and Root 5 barre shapes. Of course, some of them could be open shapes (A, G, D, Em7), but, since barre chords are difficult to execute, the more practice, the better. Be aware though, that even with the proper technique, they can be tiring and even painful when employed for an entire song. If you feel pain, stop and rest, or go on to something else. The acoustic arpeggios at the beginning and throughout the tune are played with a capo placed on the seventh fret. This turns all the chords into open shapes:

Barre Chords Without Capo

Barre chords for Hotel California by The Eagles
Barre chords for Hotel California by The Eagles

With and Without Capo Comparison

Without Capo
With Capo

The capo moves all the chords up a fourth.

Open Chords With Capo On Seventh Fret

Open chords (capo 7th fret) for Hotel California by The Eagles
Open chords (capo 7th fret) for Hotel California by The Eagles

Hotel California Verse And Chorus Rhythm With Capo

The Chart

Since the tempo is medium slow, I have notated a mixture of eighth and sixteenth note rhythm slashes. Use downstrokes for the eighths and upstrokes for the sixteenths. Although this strumming pattern can't be found on the recording, it works well as an accompaniment to a vocalist or another instrument playing the melody. Any song can be transcribed this way, with any strumming pattern, as long as it is within the time signature (in this case, common time).

Chord chart for Hotel California by The Eagles
Chord chart for Hotel California by The Eagles

Hotel California Rhythm Guitar For Verses

Hotel California Rhythm Guitar For Choruses

The Eagles use Genz Benz Acoustic Guitar Amps

Genz Benz Shenandoah SHEN-60LT 60-Watt  Acoustic Guitar Amplifier
Genz Benz Shenandoah SHEN-60LT 60-Watt Acoustic Guitar Amplifier

Newly redesigned to reduce its weight while keeping all of its warm rich tone. weighing only 29 lbs, the shenandoah stereo 60lt pumps out 60 watts of power and projects warm, articulate tone from its dual 61⁄2 inch speakers and studio-quality lush stereo 24 bit digital effects processor with 16 preset programs.the preamp has two separate channels, each with a 3-band eq with sweepable mid-range for flexible feedback control. the preamp offers one xlr mic input (with phantom power) and two 1⁄4 inch instrument inputs which mix together for additional versatility for use with multiple players.



On a dark desert highway, cool wind in my hair
Warm smell of colitas, rising up through the air
Up ahead in the distance, I saw a shimmering light
My head grew heavy and my sight grew dim
I had to stop for the night
There she stood in the doorway;
I heard the mission bell
And I was thinking to myself,
"This could be Heaven or this could be Hell"
Then she lit up a candle and she showed me the way
There were voices down the corridor,
I thought I heard them say...

Welcome to the Hotel California
Such a lovely place (Such a lovely place)
Such a lovely face
Plenty of room at the Hotel California
Any time of year (Any time of year)
You can find it here

Her mind is Tiffany-twisted, she got the Mercedes bends
She got a lot of pretty, pretty boys she calls friends
How they dance in the courtyard, sweet summer sweat.
Some dance to remember, some dance to forget

So I called up the Captain,
"Please bring me my wine"
He said, "We haven't had that spirit here since nineteen sixty nine"
And still those voices are calling from far away,
Wake you up in the middle of the night
Just to hear them say...

Welcome to the Hotel California
Such a lovely place (Such a lovely place)
Such a lovely face
They livin' it up at the Hotel California
What a nice surprise (what a nice surprise)
Bring your alibis

Mirrors on the ceiling,
The pink champagne on ice
And she said "We are all just prisoners here, of our own device"
And in the master's chambers,
They gathered for the feast
They stab it with their steely knives,
But they just can't kill the beast

Last thing I remember, I was
Running for the door
I had to find the passage back
To the place I was before
"Relax, " said the night man,
"We are programmed to receive.
You can check-out any time you like,
But you can never leave! "

Joe Walsh's acoustic solo for Hotel California
Joe Walsh's acoustic solo for Hotel California

Joe Walsh's Acoustic Solo

Joe Walsh sticks to his normal style here, the 'less is more' approach. The licks are melodic, simple and phrased tastefully over the chords. The parent scale for the solos is the B Natural Minor scale, but the Harmonic Minor scale is employed over the dominant F♯7 chord. This scale differs from the normal natural minor by one note: the raised seventh degree

B Natural Minor Scale

B C♯ D E F♯ G A B

B Harmonic Minor Scale

B C♯ D E F♯ G A♯ B.

The Natural Minor scale is also called the Aeolian Mode or the Relative Minor, and is based on the sixth degree of the Major Scale. Every Major scale is also a minor scale. They share the same key signature, in this case, two sharps F and C. The primary role of the Harmonic Minor scale is evident here. The F♯ chord contains A♯. The Natural Minor scale is altered by that one note to fit the chord.

Don Felder's Acoustic Solo

Don Felder takes a much more complicated approach. This solo sounds excellent after the simplistic nature of the preceding solo. It almost sounds like the song takes off here. He employs a number of hammer ons, pull offs and slide to create his licks (notated with a slur line). If the note is higher, the next note under the slur is hammered on, if the note is lower it is pulled off. The slides are notated with the normal notation. With this technique the playing sounds very fast but the picking motion is minimal. Strike the first note and four notes are sounded.

In the video lessons, the solos are broken down into licks to make them easier to master.

Don Felder's acoustic solo for Hotel California
Don Felder's acoustic solo for Hotel California

© 2013 Lorne Hemmerling


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)