Playing a basic song

OK, so in case you simply have no idea of what song you could possibly learn to play right now, I'm supplying you with a tutorial on how to play the first song I ever learned on the guitar (aside from "Smoke On the Water," of course). The song is called "2:45 AM" and it's performed and written by the late Elliott Smith.

I've produced a video with step-by-step instructions. It's fairly simple, and it certainly helps that its parts repeat over and over. Again, this is just an example of the kind of song you want to look for when learning to play guitar.

Guitar tabs for "2:45 AM"

The song starts off with a riff that repeats pretty much throughout the entire song. It's picking, but it's about the simplest picking you'll ever encounter. We will call this Riff 1.

e -------------------------

B -------------------------

G -------------------------

D -------------0-2-3-------

A ------0-2-3--------------

E ---3---------------------

The next riff, which we will call Riff 2, is only very slightly different, and it only occurs once in the whole song. For the purposes of learning this song initially, you can skip over it if it's giving you too much trouble. Just make sure you come back and learn it when you've gotten the song down better.

e -------------------------

B -------------------------

G -------------------------

D -------------0-----------

A ------0-2-3--------------

E ---3------------3-2-0----

Riff 3 is a little more prevalent, so try to learn this one. It's also a bit tricky.

e -------------------------

B -------------------------

G -------------------------

D -------------0-2-4-------

A ------0-2-3--------------

E ---3---------------------

OK so now that you have the riffs, I'll just refer to them by their names from here on out. The lyrics to the song are printed below, along with the format that you'll often see for lyrics and tabs written together. Instead of giving you the finger positions for all of the strings, most people assume that you already know how to play the chords. So they will just give you the chord names, such as, say, Em, C and G.

Lyrics for 2:45 AM