ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

How to play Smoke On The Water

Updated on September 21, 2014

How do you play Smoke on the Water

How do you play Smoke on the Water? This is possibly Rock's most classic song and you can start playing Smoke On The Water today! Deep Purple was without doubt Prog Rock's greatest supergroup and almost certainly Smoke On The Water is Rock music's most covered song! Got your electric guitar for Christmas? Do you have the TAB for Smoke On The Water?

Here I hope to introduce you to playing the main riff of Smoke on the Water, show you some resources for learning the song in its entirity and write a little about about guitar playing styles. So, without further ado, if you have never heard this masterpiece for beginner electric guitar.... Smoke on the Water!

Note - public safety warning - please do not play this riff in music stores unless you can play the solo too ;)

Image credits - intro picture and all graphics used here created by Photahsiamirabel. Please do not copy.

Flaming Guitar

Flaming Guitar by skphotos seems to have the spirit of Smoke on the Water to me.
Flaming Guitar by skphotos seems to have the spirit of Smoke on the Water to me. | Source

Preview Smoke on the Water on iTunes

Listen to Smoke on the Water - Deep Purple and Gillan

If you have not heard Smoke on the Water here are two links to it on iTunes where you can preview the song. The first link is to the original by Deep Purple, the second is to the version by Gillan. Ian Gillan carried on Deep Purple's work after guitarist Richie blackmore split to form Rainbow. I am proud to know and be a friend and colleague of Gillan's guitar player, Ray Fenwick.

iTune link Deep Purple

Richie Blackmore's playing style for Smoke on the Water

Smoke on the Water was originally played fingerstyle!

Yes, Richie Blackmore used thumb and two fingers to play the original riff of Smoke on the Water and palmed his plectrum for the actual solo. Not many guitar players do that because it requires a measure of dexterity in the right hand. Playing the first riff fingerstyle allows the notes to be played absolutely simultaneously and the tone is softer too. Using a pick slightly arpeggiates the notes so although the attack is brighter, the version is not so tight. Personally I emulate Blackmore and use my fingers, this is easy because I started with classical guitar. If you find fingerstyle guitar difficult, then just do as most other players do and use the pick.

Basic Shapes for Smoke On The Water

Power chords for Smoke on the Water

Here are some graphics I made which will help you understand and play this song.

Before you can play Smoke on the Water, you should learn Power Chords. These are movable shapes and the riff uses two of them. For G5, use the "F" shape with first finger on fret 3 of string 6. For Bb5, C5 and Db5 you need the Bb shape. Bb has the first finger on fret 1 of string 5, C has the first finger on fret 3 and Db has the first finger on fret 4.

The G minor pentatonic scale will help you to improvise your own solo should you find Richie Blackmore's is too difficult to learn. Stick to the notes in that shape and emphasize "G" and you will be fine!

I will not be giving the riff in notation for copyright reasons, but the chord progression of Smoke on the Water goes something like this:

G Bb C G Bb Db C G Bb C Bb G

If you practise the chords and listen to the song the rhythm should not be too difficult to pick up.

Smoke On The Water from Amazon UK - Check prices on Amazon UK


Smoke on the Water - Marching Band Version

Blowing with Smoke on the Water!

I thought this was great! Marching bands these days play just about evrtything, and I was happy to find the score of Smoke on the Water for brass instruments. Now wind players can enjoy it too!

Smoke on the Water - marching band score

Did you enjoy this page? Thank you for visiting.

Green Dragon Mouse Mat

A smoking gift
A smoking gift | Source

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)