All Along The Watchtower (Lead)

Animated All Along The Watchtower (Lead) tab by Jimi Hendrix on guitar. So easy you'll be playing in minutes.

The lead guitar for this song is one of Hendrix's finest. He was a perfectionist when making music and this song was dubbed and re-dubbed with various guitar parts until he was happy. Sometimes people expect guitar heroes to simply pick up a guitar and just create / play like this on the spot. That's rarely the case...It takes practice, patience and a little bit of vision!

The lead for this song is full of memorable solo licks - centred in the key of Cm. During the verses, he plays more rhythmically whilst singing, and therefore the guitar parts are played lower down the neck - loosely following the chord progression of the backing guitar (C minor - Bb Major - Ab Major). See the Rhythm guitar ActionTab for more info on that.

Remember that the song is played a half-step lower than standard tuning. So tune each string down by 1 note to get Low Eb - Ab - Db - Gb - Bb - Eb. Use the ActionTab tuner to help you retune.

As a whole, this is a difficult solo and will challenge you for sure. The great thing about it though is that some of the coolest parts aren't the hardest to do. Plenty of high bends in true Jimi style. Just be aware that where you hear some vibrato during those bends, that's where the whammy bar is being wavered up and down. Jimi used the whammy bar a lot in his songs, often meaning he would need to retune between songs onstage.

Also, occasionally we show the 4th finger being used when you could use the 3rd finger instead (like Jimi does). Like here.

Which finger you use is down to you and your finger size. Remember, Jimi's hands were very large so he could easily do 4 fret spreads between 1st and 3rd finger. For some people this is not so easy - so use the 4th instead (the good ol' 1 finger-per-fret rule). On the higher frets (from fret 12 and up), this is less of an issue because the fret sizes are considerably smaller. So 4 fret spreads between 1st and 3rd finger are much easier. You may wish to switch to using your 3rd finger for those parts especially if you find the excessive bending in this song is tough on your little finger.

This is especially true for the outro. Use your 3rd finger and repeatedly pick the high bends. Use your ear to guide you in getting the bends right here.

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