Wish You Were Here Riff For Beginners

Started to answer this in terms of dotted notes and 8th note strumming, then thought “better to make a video with metronome!”

Started to practice with metronome as a warm up for the video, and realized my timing on this section sucks way more than I thought it did - sheesh, more met practice needed!

This song…will I ever stop working on it? :man_shrugging:

I already wrote it here for you

these will help a little

If we were to put 16 note counting into Justin’s Time Trainer app what would the time signature be?

They say there is no such thing a stupid question. Apparently this question is quite close - as it makes no sense musically? Doah!!

Ok, I’m heading over to music theory to get to grips with this. I can’t read music but enjoy singing so can feel things but lack the language to understand and describe it. Think it’s time to change that.

It’s not a stupid question. 16th notes can be in different time signatures. For this particular song, if you look in the top left corner of the tab, it says 4/4 which means the time signature for this song is 4/4.

Thank you - that now makes sense. I was muddling apples and pears before!

I have to say that I’m really enjoying learning this one. What a cool mix of picking and strumming. The guy is a great instructor.

I have gone back a few lessons to have another go at this one. Didn’t really have much interest the first time around, which is really ironic as it is probably this song that got me wanting to play guitar. The picking’s OK for me but the strumming needs more work!!

Seamlessly mixing the picking and strumming is key to the feel of that song…and it’s not easy, with the way the picked notes start on different beats and sub-beats at the end of each bar, and the strumming pattern variations in Justin’s beginner arrangement.

Really can’t wrap my head around the 7th part :frowning:

Hi everyone! This was the last riff that I learned since my last time playing and following Justin. I’m a newbie and I just bought an electric guitar and then followed Justin lessons for almost 2 months. Sadly, academics got in the way and I had to quit for around 2-3ish months. But now I have free time again to play the guitar. My last lesson was probably the F chord.

I have a lot of questions! First, do you guys have any tips for a newbie who just came back? I still got the chords in my mind to be honest not that smooth though. Should I go back and try the practices again for each modules? Second, this riff was very hard for me since I didn’t know the song, is it required to learn this riff? If it is for fun reasons only, I’m not really having fun learning it again, but if it’s going to make me a better guitarist, then maybe I should give it a go again! To be honest those are only my questions, maybe I’m just confused and trying to prepare to go back and learn. Any tips is appreciated!

Hi Aris,
I don’t believe you should force yourself to learn a song you don’t like.
I’ve loved this song for well over 40 years and I’m motivated to learn the riff. Learning to play it will make you a better guitar player, but will it make you a happy guitar player?

Thank you!! I’m still going to try and learn this riff but maybe in the future, I’ll try to learn a riff that I actually like for a counterpart for this lesson. Thanks for the advice!

Hi @Arisyyy! Fellow newbie here, currently hovering in Grade 2 (I’m finding power chords and palm muting a real challenge!). I’d suggest going back to Grade 1 Module 7 and working thorough the
How to Pass Grade 1 lesson. That will give you a chance to refresh anything that’s become rusty, while giving you confidence that you’ve retained much more than has faded while you were away! Once you’ve again “passed” grade 1, continue on with Grade 2 reviewing lessons you’ve already done. Also, remember to ease back into practice - you may want to break sessions into two shorter ones for a week or two while you rebuild your hand strength. And don’t rush yourself!

Regarding the riff - in my experience, it’s good to try to at least be able to play through the riffs Justin suggests as practice. You don’t have to master it. If you don’t know the song, listen to it on your favorite streaming service or YouTube to become familiar with it. Justin selects riffs to teach specific skills. Honestly, they are frustrating for me (even Happy Birthday!) because I don’t become as proficient at them as I’d like. But I’ve found struggling through makes it MUCH easier to learn other riffs that do interest me. And when I come back to them later, they flow much easier too.


Hi all, I’m working on this lesson and making progress, but I feel like my strums are way too loud compared to the picked notes. I’m trying different picks and trying to strum very lightly, but it is really giving me trouble. I especially have trouble holding thicker picks loosely for the strums, but thinner picks don’t work well for the picked notes. Not really sure where I should focus to work this out?

So a bit confused still on the tab vs the video. @ 3:40 in the video, Justin is clearly strumming all six strings. (sorry for replying to an old comment, but this seemed like the best place). And if he’s not playing all six strings (or at least including the A string), why show putting the first finger down on the second fret of the A string?


Hello @sch21c and welcome to the community.

Justin does strum a full Em7 chord to coincide with the fact he naming it and further describing it as a stuck 3&4 finger version, before also saying he will simply call it an Em for simplicity in teaching the riff.

However, within the riff itself (and if you watch the full play through at the end of the video lesson you will see this), he only strikes the 4 strings shown in the TAB.

It is a good habit to form a chord even if missing some of it in the strum … because you might choose to strum it all or accidentally strum it all.


Thanks for the welcome and thank you for the response and explanation. Much appreciated.


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Well, I am glad I did a search through the discussion to find out why the Em7 seemed to be missing a 2 on the A string. I did not know this was also a legitimate way to play Em7, I don’t remember that being mentioned in the lesson on the 34 stuck chords, but maybe it’s there?

If not, and as I’m seeing all the other people asking the same question about the TAB being wrong, maybe a note could be made in the TAB section or guitar Chords paragraph?

I’ll try leaving the A string off in my next practice, maybe it’ll sound better. When I strum with the full Em7 it sure sounds off to me. (Then again, maybe it’s just me. :upside_down_face:)

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So, to be honest i had been avoiding this one. Seemed like a cliche for beginning guitar players like me. But it’s the lesson and thats how we get better and it has the folkie grip; so I got into the groove.
But today I was in the hippest coffee shop in the hipsterist heart of Austin, Texas and they played the whole album. Start to finish. I sat there and listened to the whole thing again having been listening to it for damn near 40 years. Yep, that is why it is a cliche. “wish you were here” is the album.
Now I cant put the riff down. Going into the 2007 Justin videos for the deep dive.

Rock On