Solsbury Hill by Peter Gabriel Lesson

Learn to play Solsbury Hill by Peter Gabriel on JustinGuitar!

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I have Solsbury Hill listed as one of my “Dreamer” songs. Straight away you have to form an open A using only your index finger without muting the high E. If that’s all you had to do, I could do it, but you then have to use your second and third fingers as well. At that point I always mute the high E. Justin has a lesson showing how to make an A with your index finger, but says to mute the high E. In his tutorial for Solsbury Hill, he makes the A this way but leaves the E open without any further explanation. This is absolutely needed to play the song correctly.
Has anyone else had this problem and knows how to overcome it? I love the song, but I’m about ready to give up on it.

You can play the chord either way when you barre it, it’s just the context and preference - if you play high E note it rings out quite significantly and has a different taste to one with muted high E. I haven’t played the song you mentioned so unable to give you an exact advice how crucial it is to play it or not high E note but how I would tackle it is push my wrist slightly forward, and push other notes using my 2nd and 3rd finger tips rather than laying them flat. This way you should keep your high E note clear of muting - your hand needs to sort of form a shape like you would be doing a legato if that makes sense. Hope this helps at least a bit?

Thanks for your help. This song is finger picking and the high E is picked regularly. If I play very slowly I can rock the index finger up slightly at the precise moment the E is needed, but doing it up to speed seems nearly impossible. I’ll keep trying. Thanks again.

I just had a quick look at the video, so I understand what you are saying.

Yes, that can be difficult. I don’t think there is a particular “trick” to getting this, it’s really a matter of getting your first knuckle joint so the top part of your finger is bending backwards in enough of a curve so you can lift the bottom part of your finger off the high-e. I suspect it’s a flexibility thing, and doing some finger stretching may help.

Also, experiment with where you place your index finger on the strings: placing them slightly higher on the fretboard may help.

Good luck!




Is it not much easier to play this wonderful song with Drop D tuning (EADGBD)? You will need to adjust the notes on the high E string to play it correctly. Just a thought.

I’m just starting in on this. Did you work through the difficulty of that first chord? It’s a big stretch for me as well, but it’s not clear why the barre is needed. Why not fret the A note (2nd fret) with your index finger, the D (3rd fret) with middle and the F# (4th fret) with ring. The D and F# are blocking second and fourth strings of the barre anyway. Then when you need to play only the A chord just lay your index finger down for the barre. It doesn’t solve your problem of muting the first string while making the barre, but it’s a LOT easier to fix that if you’re just working on the barre and not trying also to get your middle and ring fingers down seemingly half way down the neck.

I’ve worked through this part by rocking my index finger at the appropriate moment. This is one of the songs I work on for a while and put away for a while. I still find the whole thing difficult.