How to Play Hotel California on Guitar Without a Capo

One of the most iconic songs in the history of songs. Is a song by the Eagles called Hotel California. The song has such a great intro that the minute you hear it you know immediately “Hotel California”. You have come to the right place if you want to learn how to play hotel California on guitar without a capo.

In this Lesson we are going to learn how to play hotel California on guitar without a capo. This is what will be covered:

  1. How to play hotel California on guitar without a capo.
  2. What key is Hotel California in.
  3. Hotel California Chords & Tab
  4. Hotel California strumming Pattern
  5. Chord progression for Hotel California
  6. Bonus Eagles Hotel California Guitar Lesson -YouTube Video
  7. Lyrics to Hotel California

Most of us are not out playing there guitars in big arenas. If your like me you just want to learn some good songs. That have a good beat. Songs that you can play by yourself, and it will still sound good. In this lesson that’s exactly what you stand to achieve.

That is get all the information you need to learn a great song. Then with a little practice sound great playing it. Without further a due. Get your guitar out, and let me show you how to play Hotel California.

Hotel California Chords

First we need some chords to play this song. The chords are Bm F# A E G D Em.

I will show you the chords one at a time. To get familiar with the finger positioning. Also I want to clarify that when I say the numbers of the strings. I am referring to 6 being the thickest string.

The strings get thinner as they go up to the first string. Which is string number one. This may seem backwards, but on guitar the first string is the high E. Not the first string you see when you hold the guitar and look down at the neck.

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What’s the Finger Position for the Bm Chord?

Here is how to play the Bm chord. Spelled B minor.

  • First finger is barred across 5 strings at the second fret.
  • Second finger is on the 2nd string, at the third fret.
  • Third finger is on the 5th string, at the 4th fret.
  • Then the Pinkie is on the 4th string, at the 4th fret.
  • On this chord you do not want to play the 6th string.
How to Play Hotel California on Guitar Without a Capo
Bm Barre Chord

There are a couple of Bar chords in this song. Now is the time to embrace the bar chord. Here is a lesson on the F barre chord. There are a lot of Secrets in that lesson that will help uncover the tricks to playing barre chords. So if you need help with barre chords click Video|5 ways to play the F chord.

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The next chord is the F# chord. Here is the finger position for the F# barre chord.

  • Place the Bar (first finger) on the second fret. Lay your finger across all the strings.
  • Put your second finger on the 3rd string 3rd fret.
  • Your third finger is on the 5th string, at the 4th fret.
  • Next is your pinkie, place it on the 4th string at the 4th fret.
  • This chord all the strings can be played.
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When you make the chords remember you want to put your fingers directly behind the fret. As close as possible without touching the fret.

I would practice chord transitioning from the Bm chord to the F#. If you need help moving from one chord to the next take a look at the Ultimate Guide how to Learn Guitar Chords.

What’s the F# Barre Chord Finger Position?

How to Play Hotel California on Guitar Without a Capo
F# Barre Chord

Now that we have those nasty o’l bar chords out of the way. The rest are open chords. To see a complete list of basic chords and how to play them click the link for first position chords.

The rest of the chords we have are the A, E, G, D and Em. Here is what they look like and how to position your fingers.

Guitar Fingerboard Breakthrough

What’s the A Major chord finger Position?

How to Play Hotel California on Guitar Without a Capo
A Major Chord
  • Fingers 1, 2, and 3, are all on the second fret of the guitar.
  • 1st finger is on the 4th string.
  • 2nd finger is on the 3rd string.
  • 3rd finger is on the 2nd string.

On the A chord you start the strum from the 5th fret. You don’t want to strike the 6th string as it will not sound good.

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E Major Chord & Em Chord Finger Position

The E Major and E minor chords are so similar that I will show you them together. Here is the finger position of the E Major chord.

  • First finger is on the 1st fret of the third string.
  • Your second finger is on the 2nd fret 5th string.
  • Then your third finger is on the 4th fret.

Now if you just remove your first finger off of the first fret third string. Leave the other two fingers on strings 5 and 4. That is the Em chord. Take a look at the chord diagrams. You will see how close the chords are.

How to Play Hotel California on Guitar Without a Capo
E Major & E minor Chord

The minor chord has a flatted third. If you want to get an eye opener take a look at How do you know if a chord is Major and minor.

All right we just have two more chords to review the G and D chord. There are several ways to play the G chord. I will show you one of them.

What’s the G Chord Finger Position?

  • 1st finger is on the 5th string at the 2nd fret.
  • 2nd finger is on the 6th string at the 3rd fret.
  • 3rd finger is on the 1st string at the 3rd fret.

You can strum all the strings. The variations of the open G chord. For a thicker sounding G. Leave your 1st and 2nd fingers in place. Then place your 3rd finger on the 2nd string 3rd fret. Then put your pinkie on the 1st string at the 3rd fret.

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What’s the D Chord Finger Position?

  • Place your first finger on the 3rd string at the 2nd fret.
  • Put your second finger on the 1st string at the 2nd fret.
  • Then your third finger is on the 2nd string at the 3rd fret.

This chord you strum from the 4th string down. You do not want to strike the 6th and 5th strings. It will sound terrible.

Make sure you can play those chords. Next let’s see what the chord progression is.

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What Key is Hotel California in?

I have read different story’s on the internet about what key hotel California is in. According to the Eagles Complete book it is in the key of D Major. The Key signature is two sharps which indicate that the key is D.

This lesson is with the chords that are in the key of D. If you play with the record you will find that the song is in the key of D.

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The Chord Progression for Hotel California

The song starts out on the Bm chord. It’s not a full out strumming. It’s just down strums. At the very beginning of the song is the solo. The song is in 4/4 time so there are 4 beats per measure. You want to strum down 4 times. Then it goes to the F# chord. Play the F# for four beats.

Then you play the A Major chord. Strum down four times. Next is the E chord. Strumming the E chord four down strums. After the E is the G chord, for four strums. D is the next chord in the intro. After strumming down for the D chord. Play the Em for four strums.

It comes full circle to the F#. The last chord in the intro is the F#.

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Chord Progression for the Verse

In the song there is an intro. 3 verses, and two choruses. The outro is the same chord progression as the verse it fades out.

When the Verse starts you go to the Bm chord. Then the song progresses to the F#. Next you play the A, E, G, D and Em. The verse ends on the F#. Practice the chord progression for the verse.

Long story short, the chord progression for the verse is: Bm F# A E G D Em F#.

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Chord Progression for the Chorus

Chorus begins with the G chord. Next chord in the chorus is the D chord. Then the F#, Bm and back to the G. It goes from the G to the D, then to the Em, back to the F#. Use the strumming pattern below.

The chord progression for the chorus is: G D F# Bm G D Em F#.

Strumming Pattern Hotel California

The strumming pattern is down down up up Down Down Down. If you need help strumming check out this link How to Get Better at Strumming.

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How to Play Hotel California on guitar Tabs

To make it a lot easier to practice playing Hotel California get this Downloadable Tab. It will really help make things easier for you. This is a free Downloadable. Click the link and start playing.

If you like that guitar lesson then maybe you might like these also: Guitar Lessons.

Lyrics to Hotel California

On a dark desert highway, cool wind in my hair

warm smell of colitas rising up through the air.

Up ahead in the distance I saw a shimmering light.

My head grew heavy and my sight grew dim; I had to stop for the night.

There she stood in the door way; I heard the mission bell.

And I was thinking to myself: this could be heaven or this could be hell.

Then she lit up a candle and she showed me the way.

There voices down the corridor; I thought I heard them say:


Welcome to the hotel California, Such a lovely place (such a lovely place) Such a lovely face.

Plenty of room at the hotel California any time of year (any time of year) You can find it here.


Her mind is Tiffany twisted. She got the Mercedes Bends. She got a lot of pretty pretty boys that she calls friends.

How they dance in the court yard; Sweet summer sweat.

Some dance to remember; some dance to forget. So I called up the captain; Please bring me my wine . He said we haven’t had that spirit here since 1969.

And still those voices are calling from far away; wake you up in the middle of the night just to hear them say;


Welcome to the hotel California, Such a lovely place (such a lovely place) Such a lovely face.

They living it up at the hotel California. What a nice surprise ( What a nice surprise) bring your alibis.


Mirrors on the ceiling, the pink champagne on ice, and she said we are all just prisoners here of our own device.

And in the masters chambers they gathered for the feast.

They stab it with their steely knives, but they just can’t kill the beast.

Last thing I remember I was running for the door. I had to find the passage back to the place I was before.

Relax said the night man we are programmed to receive. You can check out anytime you like, but you can never leave.

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Related Questions

How to Play Hotel California on Acoustic Guitar

The thing that is great about the guitar is you can play a lot of the same songs that are on an electric guitar, on the acoustic guitar. Sometimes it may be a little bit harder on acoustic if you have to bend any strings. But it can be done.

Another good thing about playing this song on the acoustic guitar is it has a great rhythm. Which makes it sound awesome on an acoustic guitar. The song is played in the key of D. If you have a capo you can transpose the key. If you want to learn more about using a capo. Click this link whats the use of a guitar capo.

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Chords to Hotel California

The chords that are in the song are Bm, F#, A, E, G, D, Em. Like I said if you use a capo you might can get away from a bar chord. I’m going to show you how I play it. Without the capo. One thing is for sure if you are going to play guitar your are going to have to learn barre chords.

What better song than hotel California to start playing them. Once you learn them you will discover that they are not really hard to play. For the most part, the struggle is not having the strength to hold the strings down.

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The song starts with the Bm chord. The intro is all down strums. Remember there is a solo at the beginning, You will be playing the rhythm. This song is great to sing and play. If you want to learn how to play the guitar and sing at the same time. Click that link.

After the Bm the next chord is the F#. This song is in 4/4 time so we have 4 down strums per chord. Then it goes to the A chord. Then play the E G D. This is the chord progression for the intro.

Strumming Pattern for Hotel   California

This is such a great strumming pattern, and fun to play.
down, down, up, up, Down, Down, Down.

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Chord progression for the Verse in Hotel California

Once you get to the verse that’s where the strumming pattern comes in. The chord progression for the verse is Bm, F#, A, E, G, D, Em. The tempo has picked up from the intro. After you go through the verse you end up back on the Bm. Then the chorus begins.

Hotel California Songs Chorus Chord Progression

Let the fun begin! With the chorus you go from that Bm chord to the G –
Welcome to the hotel California. Then play the D chord, After the D you play the Em, then it goes to the Bm. Back to the G, D, Em, F#.
Chords G D F# Bm The Second time G D Em F#.

The way I would practice this song is learn the barre chords. Practice going from the Bm to the F#. Once you get the barre chords down. Make sure you know how to play the other open chords. Then I would learn how to transition between the chords. Start a couple at a time.

Then learn the intro. After you know the chord progression for the intro. Then learn the chord progression for the Verse. Once you get the verse down. Practice playing the intro and verse together. Once you can play them together.

Practice playing the Chorus. Which should be easiest to learn. Since that’s the melody that you would normally remember. Now that you have learned the chorus. Put it all together and enjoy!

If parts of the song are more difficult maybe your having a problem with a chord or something like that. Slow it down and learn that one thing. Before you continue on.

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How to Play Hotel California YouTube

When I was starting out learning how to play the guitar. There was no such thing as YouTube. In fact the internet was not invented yet. Yes, wheels were round, It wasn’t that long ago! But seriously to think about how learning the guitar has changed over the last 30 years. Well really it is incredible.

I sometimes wonder what it would be like then to have had YouTube. I believe the amount of growth would be exponential.


I have a YouTube Channel if you have not Subscribed to it yet. Have a look around the channel and Subscribe for more tips and tricks. Ring the bell icon, so that you will get notified when I upload a new video.

If you want to learn a great song by the Eagles called Hotel California click the link.

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