How to Play Purple Rain on Guitar

Prince, the legend who is associated with the creation of several works of art, is well-known throughout the globe. As he released his album "Purple Rain" in 1984, it turned out to be one of the most admired albums in the world of music for its lead single, "Purple Rain". For the love of Prince's "Purple Rain", we all want to learn how to play Purple Rain on guitar. So let's get ready to play together.

Since then, plenty of us have come to explore the chords to this soulful song on their guitars. Of course, I'm one of these people. And I'd like to share what I've learned with you today. This tutorial will lead you on a journey to learn how to play "Purple Rain" on guitar. So, without any more ado, let us get started.

How to Play Purple Rain on Guitar: Chords lesson

How to Play Purple Rain on Guitar

If you listen closely, the chords of this track sound a lot like "Forever Yours Faithfully." However, Prince tuned this masterpiece with his guitar in such a way that this would blend in with any background instruments! As a result, it's more than just another four-chord piece of music.

Note that I’ll be discussing the chords with a capo, so their shapes can change depending on where the capo is.

How to Play Purple Rain on Guitar:

Capo Placement

You'll notice that we've used the CAGED chord scheme as you progress. As previously mentioned, the chords are organized based on the use of the capo on the guitar. Take, for example, the track's first chord, which is a Bb major chord. However, since we used a capo, we can start with the G major chord.

Since this tutorial is geared toward beginners, we recommend tuning your guitar in the following order, from low to high: E, A, D, G, B, E. Once you've completed all of the adjustments, you're good to go.

Chord 1- G major shape

Despite the fact that the first two chords are Bb major and G minor, we'll start with G major and E minor. G, C, F, Bb, D, G will now be the open positions on the guitar. Isn't that strange enough? But fear not; once you've started practicing with this series, you'll be used to it.

With the G form, hit the Bb major. To accomplish this, place your middle finger on the 6th fret, pinky on the E string, ring on the B string, and index on the 5th fret. When it comes to playing the opener, this is crucial because the position of your playing hand decides the ideal melody.

Now try striking the strings at once while turning your wrist in both dimensions. Make sure that all of the strings are striking the ears. You should verify each string individually before beginning to ensure that there is no dampening.

Let's move on to the next level with the E minor form if you've mastered these four chords.

Chord 2- E minor shape:

By playing the E minor chord with a capo at the third fret, you can scale the same as the G chord. Place your index and middle fingers on the fifth frets of the A and D strings respectively, and strike them all at the same time. Of course, inspecting the strings for dampening is always a good idea.

Now, before you go any further, I recommend that you practice both the E and G minor chords together to familiarize yourself with them.

Chord 3: D major shape:

If you've already completed the preceding steps, the following section will be simpler for you. Since there can be a lot of lessons to decipher for beginners, using a capo makes it easier to play.

The form we'll learn here is D major, which will be converted to F major in this scenario (for the use of capo of course). Furthermore, you'll just be playing the upper four strings here. The open D string is at the base of the chord, and we must depend upon upper strings to play it. So, how can the fingers be placed here?

Place your ring finger on the B string's sixth fret and your middle finger on the high E string's fifth fret. The third of your chords would be an F major chord if you strike from D to high E. Now that it's in your grip, once again, why don't we roll over from the beginning?

Chord 4- C major shape:

If you know something about chords and Prince's musical tastes, you've probably figured out why his chords are so jazzy. Even if you can't say exactly, the keys we've played so far, such as Bb major, have always drawn him to use them in his music.

With that in mind, the final section centered on using the Eb major chord with a capo and a C major form. Let's get this party started for one last time!

To reverse the chord, put your ring finger on the 6th fret of the A string, keeping in mind that Eb is the root note in this segment. Furthermore, you must position your middle finger on the D string's fifth fret while leaving the G string open. Then place your index finger on the B string's fourth fret while holding the E string open so it can resonate with the G string.

Strike all of the strings at the same time, beginning with the A string. 

Now play all of the chords you learned above at the same time to work out how to skip from one chord to the next. Recognize the notes between the chords is a piece of advice I'd like to give. This makes it more convenient for you to continue working with them.

The transitions

Now it's time to review it. Or to put it another way, we're going to learn how to hop from one chord to the next. This is crucial before we begin going through these chords; we need to know exactly where our fingers are going with each chord. So let's get started with chord changes to get it sounding and feeling perfect.

When you're recapping, begin with the G major shape on the sixth fret. Strike them all at the same time and walkdown. Go on with the rest of the chords in the same way. This is to bring out the best of the chords.

Walkdowns are useful when there is a note in the lowest string between two chords, and they're a perfect way to add some movement between our first two Purple Rain chords.

You must pull your hand to the top string to change from the E minor to the D form. The walkdowns between the two chords can now be practiced. Place your ring finger from the sixth fret of the B string to the sixth fret of the A string to move from the D shape to the C shape.

After that, return to C shape and play it again. Then, from the C shape, shift your middle finger from the D string to the low E string to the G shape.

What’s the purpose of the song Purple Rain?

Before we all bade our goodbyes from this tutorial, let's take a look at why Prince called this song "Purple Rain," as well as the album's title. Purple rain, to put it another way, is a craving that is unlikely to be satisfied.

Purple, according to Prince, represents the end of the universe. And by combining them, he hopes that our faith will lead us through the purple rain by having our loved ones by our side. Indeed, it has a profound sense!

Prince was without a doubt the most underappreciated guitarist of his generation. This album's all-time hit single, "Purple Rain,"  is featured in a film produced in 1984, which also had the same name. And, guess what, he was also the star of the movie! This is a fascinating aspect that many people are unaware of.

We all enjoy his music and consider ourselves to be true fans. However, after his tragic demise in early 2014, we have no choice but to cherish the incredible tracks he has left us with. For us, he's not just a singer; he's an inspiration to all guitarists around the globe. And, with our deep sorrow, we'd all like to take a few lessons from Prince's music, of which "Purple Rain" is one of the favorites.

Saying that I'm quite certain those who know the chords play it now and again. And those who learned how to play "Purple Rain" on guitar for the very first time, best wishes to you.


If you want to master the chords on this track, you'll need to practice them more frequently. As well as practicing the song itself, try to practice with the beat as much as you can. Even though this is a four-chord tune, the aim is to nail the Purple Rain chords on our guitars as precisely as possible.

You can also read: Why are So Many Songs about Love?

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