Day #1: “Iris” by the Goo Goo Dolls

In this lesson, we’re going to look at how to play “Iris” by the Goo Goo Dolls. Chances are you’ve probably heard it, but if you’re unfamiliar with the song, you can take a listen to it here (opens in a new window).

The following video lesson is presented free by Mark Lincoln from JamPlay. I’ve used their online guitar lessons before and I can’t say enough good things about their course. If you are a member, you can get access to hundreds of song specific video lessons. With their permission, they’ve allowed me to use some of their videos in conjunction with this free lesson course I’m providing to you. You can learn more about JamPlay online guitar lessons here (opens in a new window).

How to Play “Iris” by the Goo Goo Dolls

Watch the following video to learn how to play the song “Iris.” You can navigate to any part of the lesson by using the chapters list below the video. If you don’t see a video, try refreshing the page.

About the Tuning

You’ll notice that this song has a very unique sound to it. This is because it uses an alternate tuning of BDDDDD. An alternate tuning refers to any tuning other than standard tuning (EADGBE). Guitar players and songwriters frequently use alternate tunings to get different tones and sounds for a song.

If you’ve never used an alternate tuning before, don’t worry. In fact, if you’re never experimented with alternate tunings, this is going to be a blast! Experimenting with different tunings is a lot of fun and really easy. You’ll find that using an alternate tuning not only sounds really cool but it often provides an easier way to play a song.

Here’s how you will tune your guitar to BDDDDD for “Iris.”

  • Tune your low E string down to a B
  • Tune your A string down to a D
  • Leave your D string the same
  • Tune your G string down to a D
  • Tune your B string up to a D
  • Tune your high E string down to a D

Because you are tuning most of your strings down, they will feel a little loose. The strings will need a little bit of time to “adjust” to the new tuning. The best thing to do is to play the strings and continue to tune the guitar as you notice the guitar going out of tune. Eventually, the strings will adjust to the new tuning so you want have to tune as frequently.

Your Practice Goals for Day #1

Hopefully, you are really excited to learn this song! It’s an awesome song. If you play “Iris” for a group of friends, they will find you very impressive. Your goal for today is to start going through the above video. Experiment around with the alternate tuning. Try to get through learning the verse and chorus riff. The main goal for today is to experiment.

Tomorrow, we’re going to look at how to find the right strumming pattern to play for any song. This will help you with your strumming for “Iris.” If you struggle with finding the right strumming pattern for a song, or if you struggle with keeping your strumming consistent and steady, then you’ll want to stay tuned. See you then!