Solsbury Hill Guitar Lesson

Solsbury Hill by Peter Gabriel (Guitar Lesson)

Solsbury Hill was written by English musician Peter Gabriel in 1977. The song was Gabriel's debut single after leaving the progressive rock band Genesis, of which he was the lead singer.

In this lesson we're going to be learning how to play Solsbury Hill in full on the guitar. It can be quite a challenging song to play at first and I'd say that it's a great one to learn if you're a confident intermediate player.

It's pretty fast moving with lots going on in the picking hand and plenty of fast changing chords to navigate. Whilst this makes things pretty complicated at times, it also makes for a lot of fun once you've mastered it.

Let's get learning Solsbury Hill!

Song Details:

  • Key - A major (A without a capo, B with)
  • Capo - 2nd fret
  • Tuning - standard 
  • Tempo - 102 bpm
  • Difficulty - intermediate - advanced

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Main Progression/Riff Lesson for Solsbury Hill

Solsbury Hill is largely in 7/4 time (other than the final two bars of the verse which are in 4/4). It's good to know this from the get go otherwise it may well catch you out and you might struggle to find the pulse of the song. Take your time and really make sure all the notes are lined up correctly before bringing the tempo up.  

Verse Lesson (Part 1)

The verse of Solsbury Hill is long and it can be hard to navigate at times. So I've divided it into two parts to help simplify the learning process. In this first lesson we learn how to play just the first few chords. 

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Verse Lesson (Part 2)

The second half of the verse is probably a little more demanding than the first. Whilst the fingerpicking patterns are more or less the same, there are more chords to learn and to quickly switch between. This is especially true in the last bar of the verse where you have to play one chord per beat. Also remember here that the last two bars flip from 7/4 to 4/4 time. 

Structure of Solsbury Hill

Intro, Verse, Interlude, Verse, Interlude, Verse, Outro

Want to learn more fingerpicking songs of a similar difficulty?: Here Comes The Sun (The Beatles), Operator (Jim Croce), Stop This Train (John Mayer), Landslide (Fleetwood Mac).

Alternatively you can browse the whole song catalogue: Song Lesson Library

Let me know what you thought of the lesson in the comments section below. Say what you found hard/easy, what level you're at and what your fingerpicking goals are. 

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  1. Tom left a comment on 16th January 2021 at 1:29 pm

    Really great lesson, Chris. Thank you.

    This was a particular favourite of my Dad’s, it’s nice to be able to play it and think of him 🙂


    • Six String Fingerpicking left a comment on 17th January 2021 at 7:28 pm

      You’re very welcome Tom, it’s a great song. I’m sure your dad would be really pleased to hear you play it. All the best, Chris

  2. stu left a comment on 7th February 2021 at 12:09 pm

    I agree, really great lesson. It’s nice to have something that sounds good on its own without the vocal. What I found hard? In the intro, getting back to the D/A after the E/A fast enough, and picking the high E without touching the string with the barred finger. Come on, who has fingers that shape? The little arpeggio bits (if that’s the correct term) diddleee-de delee dee delee dee, for some reason, the repetition my brain has a problem with, but I’m getting there. What I found easy, oddly that hammer on at the beginning. My level, well I’ve been ‘playing’ for 35 years or more but I’ve never really done it seriously so I’ve got some skills, but a lot of the basics no doubt are missing (like ANY theory at all) so I’d put myself at beginner/ intermediate. I’ve not improved as a player for the last 20 of those years. This lesson has helped me realise that if you want to improve, you gotta practice. Maybe, one day, I’ll be able to play something someone wants to listen to. Hell, it might even be this. Thanks for the effort you put in, its appreciated.

    • Six String Fingerpicking left a comment on 14th February 2021 at 5:18 pm

      Thanks, glad you like the lesson. Practise – there’s no escaping it if you want to improve. Keep up the hard work!

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