The Ultimate Guide To Hotel California Chords

Hotel California Chords: Barre Chords Version

Ready to play some barre chords? Go through your hand stretches and let’s get to it!

Barre chords can be scary to look at at first, but practice definitely makes perfect where these are concerned. Start out slowly, don’t get discouraged and keep at it!

Here are the Hotel California chords you’ll need in the original key of B minor:

Bm (x24432)

or (799777)

F# (xx4322)

or (244322)A (x02220)

or (577655)

E (02210)

or (x79997)

G (320003)

or (355433),

D (xx0232)

or (x57775)

We’ve included barre chord versions even where open chords are available for a couple of reasons:

  • First, one of the best ways to exercise your barre chord muscles is in the context of a song – these Hotel California chords are a perfect example of that..
  • Having something audible to keep pace with helps you build stamina. Just make sure you’re not causing yourself any discomfort.
  • Second, it can be easier to stay in barre chords than to switch back and forth between barre and open chords.

Pro Tip: You can build up to playing full barre chords by playing only part of them.

Begin by barring only two strings, then work your way up to six. This works best if you start from the high E string and work your way down to the low E string.

Barre chords take time to master, and your index finger will need plenty of time to adjust. That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t start trying, however!

Hotel-California-Chords

You can practice transposing by taking the A minor chords given above and moving them all up a whole step, two frets, to get the names of the Hotel California chords in B minor.

If you’d just like the answer key, you can find the B minor Hotel California chords for the verse below:

Bm F# A E

G D Em F#

Remember, those chords go for two measures each! Now for the chorus:

G D F# Bm

G D Em F#

You may have noticed that an A major chord, for example, sounds a little different when played as a barre chord versus an open chord.

The difference in voicing, where the chords are played on the fretboard, can make a big difference in your arrangement.

Use different chord voicings at different points in a song to change the personality of the chord without changing its identity.

How-to-play-Hotel-California

Hotel California Chords: Structure & Rhythm

The hardest part of learning this song is remembering the order of the verses. Let’s run down the entire structure of Hotel California.

Song Structure

The intro is an arpeggiated version of the Hotel California chords from the verse, twice through.

In B minor, you can find a decently tabbed out version of the intro here. You can also just play the chords one note at a time, starting at the lowest note of the chord.

After the intro, there are two verses, each going through the chord progression once:

“On a dark desert highway…”

“There she stood in the doorway…”

Chorus

There are two more verses after that:

“Her mind is Tiffany twisted…”

“So I called up the captain…”

Chorus

Two more verses:

“Mirrors on the ceiling…”

“Last thing I remember…”

How-to-play-hotel-California-guitar

Immediately following the last verse, there’s an opportunity to either go through the chord progression once more and end the song or take a guitar solo.

Download our lead guitar cheat-sheet to make things easier

It can be disorientating for guitarists to understand which scales work with which keys.

With this in mind, we created a cheat-sheet; a key and scale-finder that you can use again and again.

Rhythm

Finding the groove for the Hotel California chords involves a lot of listening.

  • The groove in the recording is a fantastic and interesting mixture of styles.
  • The arpeggiated intro keeps going through the verses.

When the first verse starts, the bass and electric guitar are laying down a reggae beat. To strum reggae, you stay silent on beats one and three, like this:

(one), down-up, (three), down-up.

The second verse adds in a sustained distorted guitar track, strumming only at the beginning of each chord.

Notice the breakdown in the “Mirrors on the ceiling” verse, where it shrinks back to just the fingerstyle intro.

Guitar-Chords-Hotel-California

Pro-Tip: Along with rhythm, you can shape your arrangement with dynamics!

Dynamics have to do with how loudly or quietly you are playing at any given moment. Songs frequently get a little quieter in the verses and build up to a louder chorus.

Hotel California Chords: The Ending

If you are interested in improvising over the ending of Hotel California, you have a couple of options.

The simplest place to start is with a pentatonic scale. This is a five-note scale configured so that you do not have to move your hand up and down the neck to reach all the notes.

Since this song is in the key of B minor, you’ll use the B minor pentatonic scale. Check out the scale shapes below.

To practice soloing, you can use this backing track.

The B minor pentatonic scale has five interlocking positions, so as you get one down, you can add another and begin moving around the fretboard.

Free-Chords-Hotel-California

Guitar-Lesson-Hotel-California

Another good jumping-off point for improvising through the end of the Hotel California chords is by using the harmonic minor scale.

  • There are a few different kinds of minor scales, and you don’t need to learn all of them today.
  • Broadly speaking, the type of minor scale you use depends on the underlying chord progression.
  • The harmonic minor scale is useful when you’re in a minor key and the V chord is major. In this case, we’re in B minor and the V chord is F#.
  • It’s a particularly good choice because it has the best note – A# – for when you hit that important F# chord at the end of the cycle.
  • Use the tab below to learn the root shape of the B harmonic minor scale.

A full chord chart for the Hotel California chords in A minor is here. For B minor, here’s your chord chart.

National-Guitar-Academy

Pro Tip: The harmonic minor scale has a definitive pulling tone to it that leads us back to the root of the scale (in this case, B).

These definitive qualities are what distinguish scales from each other, and the harmonic minor scale’s sound can be very useful over these Hotel California Chords.

Make good use of backing tracks when learning new chord progressions to solo over!

Hotel California Chords: A Must-Have For Your Next Jam Session!

This is one of the best songs around to play and sing with other people.

Once you’ve mastered the Hotel California chords, take it out for a spin.

  • Timeless songs like these are great because many people know the words and are more than happy to sing along with you, wherever you are.
  • When you’re getting to know other musicians, it helps to bond over familiar tunes. Make sure to bust this one out at your next jam session!

Recommended Resources

If you’ve enjoyed this lesson, we have other places for you to go next! Continue on your path with these lessons:

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