David Hodge

Since joining Guitar Noise in 1999, David has written over a thousand articles, lessons, interviews and reviews here. He also serves as the site's Managing Editor, supervising all content in addition to the continued writing of his own lessons and articles. And if that wasn't enough to keep him busy, David is also the author of seven instructional books, the most recent being Idiot’s Guide: Guitar Theory.

Featured on Guitar Noise


  1. Cheryl Nolan
    February 14th, 2012 @ 12:31 pm

    I just want to thank Guitar Noise for helping me to learn to play guitar. After reviewing many websites that offer free lessons on line; Guitar Noise is simply the best. Lessons are clear, concise and cover just about any topic you can think of. Thanks Guitar Noise; I am really enjoying the process of learning to play the guitar.

    • David Hodge
      February 17th, 2012 @ 8:49 am

      Hello Cheryl

      And thank you for your kind words! And while we here at Guitar Noise take a lot of pride in our lessons, we also think that one of our biggest strengths is our community. On our Forum pages you will get a lot of great advice from guitarists of all levels of experience, from fellow beginners to those who’ve been playing for more than fifty years. I’m not sure there’s a friendlier place out there on the Internet.

      And you should always feel free to post any questions you may have here or email me directly at dhodgeguitar@aol.com.

      Looking forward to hearing how things are progressing with you.


    • enrique
      March 26th, 2016 @ 8:58 pm

      The original tuning for this song is D E D G B D.

  2. Howard
    February 29th, 2012 @ 1:05 pm

    Thanks Dave, i’m new to the guitar, just bought my first one last week, i have followed your tutorial closely and found it good, my problem seems to be strumming, the pattern doesn’t quite fit, what am i doing wrong.



    • David Hodge
      February 29th, 2012 @ 3:12 pm

      Hi Howard

      Thanks for writing and welcome to Guitar Noise!

      When you say “the pattern doesn’t quite fit” I have to ask “Fit what, exactly?” If you’re trying to make yourself sound exactly like the guitar on the original recording of “Horse With no Name,” you can’t – because there is more than a single guitar strumming chords in that recording of the song. One of the biggest traps that beginning guitarists fall into nowadays is the idea of there being something called a “strumming pattern.” To play a song correctly, it’s about keeping the rhythm right, not about following the specific strumming done on the original recording. We’ve a good article here at Guitar Noise called “The Pattern Trap” (https://www.guitarnoise.com/lesson/the-pattern-trap/) that might be of help to you.

      Without being able to hear you strum in order to make sure you’re keeping time correctly, it’s close to impossible to say that you’re doing anything wrong. So if you can let me know why you think you’re off (and you can post again here or email me directly at dhodgeguitar@aol.com) I’ll do my best to help.

      Looking forward to chatting with you again.


  3. Carlos
    March 11th, 2012 @ 10:20 am


    The “HORSE3.mp3” is missing, you loaded No. 4 twice :(

    Can you please load the missing one :) i love the song.

    Thanks for the articles!!!!!

    • David Hodge
      March 11th, 2012 @ 10:58 am

      Hi Carlos

      Sorry about that! I’ve think I’ve managed to fix it (and considering that Paul usually does this sort of thing since my computer skills are practically non-existent, this is a big step!), so try it again and see if it works.



  4. Carlos
    March 13th, 2012 @ 5:44 pm

    Fixed and working! thanks a lot for the fast response.

    Keep writing articles please, i love the webpage, I’m learning superfast!



  5. Joey Blue
    May 11th, 2012 @ 9:09 pm

    Of course “A Horse With No Name” is easy. It only has 2 chords. It is musically monotonous.

    • David Hodge
      May 12th, 2012 @ 4:39 pm

      Hi Joey

      Thanks for writing and I agree with your assessment that “Horse With No Name” is easy because it just has two chords. For someone who has just picked up a guitar and possibly never played a single chord before, this is the sort of song that is encouraging because it’s reasonably easy to play. Usually a beginner is so engrossed with making the chord changes, not to mention doing so in steady rhythm, that there’s little opportunity (at least at first) to become bored.

      Being “musically monotonous,” though, is an entirely differrent matter. Any song can become boring after a while. A good musician can make any song, even one with one, two or three chords, sound interesting. That’s one of the reasons behind the “follow up” article to this song lesson (https://www.guitarnoise.com/lesson/horse-with-no-name-2/) – to give a beginner some basic ideas on which to start creating his or her own arrangement to the song. And to plant the seeds of musical exploration and adventure.

      There are, as I’m sure you’re well aware, guitarists of a seemingly infinite degrees of playing levels and expertise. This particular song lesson is certainly not meant for someone who’s been playing a while! However, anyone who has been playing a while and who is into creating music can, more likely than not, come up with even more ways to keep a simple song like this from becoming musically monotonous. That’s part of the fun of playing.

      Looking forward to chatting with you again.


  6. bob
    June 5th, 2012 @ 11:42 am

    cannot beleive it, just got a guitar, tuned it, sort of, and on my first day have played a tune, amazing, even my wife said she recognised it, what a great feeling for a pensioner. congratulations on your very clear and well constructed lessons

    • David Hodge
      June 6th, 2012 @ 6:58 am


      Thanks for writing (and for your kind words) and congratulations! Welcome to the wonder of making music!

      The cool thing is that this is just the starting place. You’ve got a whole world of music waiting for you to play! Enjoy!

      And always feel free to post here (or email me directly) with any questions you may have. Looking forward to hearing how things are going with you.


    June 27th, 2012 @ 4:27 pm

    David, my friend, your lessons great so clear and concise. The lessons and blog keep my fired up for guitar learning and enjoyment. Thanks so much. Tom

    • David Hodge
      June 27th, 2012 @ 8:08 pm

      You’re welcome, Tom. Thanks for your kind words.

      Looking forward to chatting with you again.


  8. Jazzsaxman
    July 1st, 2012 @ 2:52 pm

    Great lessons. I play sax and decided to take up guitar to help with my understanding of chord progression. With the silent guitar and your tutorials I can practise late. Thanks David look forward to the next one.

  9. deercoffee
    September 6th, 2012 @ 7:45 am

    Thank you for this! I just started trying to play the guitar last week and was so glad to stumble upon this well understandable lesson. It’s so much fun to alter this song step by step.

  10. Tony Miranda
    October 30th, 2012 @ 9:29 am

    I enjoyed your in-depth tutorial concerning this song, which by the way, is one of my favorites and easiest to play. However on the second part of the song (chorus) I play a Em9 and a Dmaj9 which I learned from a songbook for easy guitar playing. those are not hard to play and makes the song less monotonous.

    • David Hodge
      October 30th, 2012 @ 12:06 pm

      Hi Tony

      And thank you for your kind words concerning our “Horse With No Name” tutorial. Glad you liked it.

      You certainly can play the chords you mention during the chorus, or even during part of the verses. D6 (XX0202) also works well. And making the song less monotonous is a good thing. On the original recording there are several acoustic guitar parts (at least one done with a twelve-string guitar) playing different chords and voicings so changing around when we’re playing a single-guitar arrangement is definitely a smart way to go.

      Looking forward to chatting with you again.


  11. Les
    January 8th, 2013 @ 5:42 am

    Thank you very much for this website, I have found that after several failed attempts to learn guitar I now have something I can both follow and relate to. Horse with no name is an inspired choice as a beginners tune and at 50 years old to at last be able to play a song and have it sound correct is brilliant.

    Looking forward to trying out the rest of the tunes.

  12. Jacob
    May 27th, 2013 @ 10:22 am

    Hello, I’m just starting out on guitar, and I’m very lucky to have found your site. Although, I seem to have a lot of trouble with an upstroke. Not the rhythm, just playing an upstroke. Help.

  13. David Hodge
    May 27th, 2013 @ 5:49 pm

    Hi Jacob

    Thanks for writing. Without being able to see you play, it would be helpful to know more about what, exactly, the trouble with the upstroke is. For most beginners the key to playing upstrokes is to realize two things – first, it’s a matter of strumming with the wrist and keeping the wrist going in a perpetual motion. Second, it’s only necessary to strike two or three strings on the upstroke. Hitting all six strings tends to create a muddy sound. Think of the upstroke as a short motion with the purpose of positioning yourself for the next downstroke.

    I hope this helps get you going. Please feel free to write more about your difficulty if this advice isn’t helpful.

    Looking forward to hearing from you again.


  14. bob
    June 28th, 2013 @ 10:50 am

    Hi David, this was my first song i learned about a year ago, strange how i keep going back to it, anyway, thought i would learn some theory and boy what a pickle I’ve got in. pentantics, root notes and stuff, does an old codger have to learn theory, don’t want to set the world on fire, just bumble along trying to remember my youth!!
    Doing a great job, by the way, please don’t stop now!

  15. Claudine
    October 7th, 2013 @ 9:27 am

    (Sorry for my bad english)
    i just started Guitar last week ( I m 48 years old)
    thank you for your job, your explanations are so clear that it’s a very big help for me to understand how the way to move my hand, to find the rythm.


  16. Juan David
    January 14th, 2014 @ 9:20 pm

    Thanks a lot, this is a great lesson!

  17. Debe
    January 21st, 2014 @ 7:10 pm

    Hi Mr. David! I have played the drums for about 17 yrs and decided to try the guitar. I have been poking at it for about 2 yrs and decided to get series about it. I know all the basic cords (except the F & B) which I cannot seem to master. My problem is, because I am a drummer, I seem to follow the BEAT of the song with my strumming! So needless to say it is a hard transition for me. I was looking at your lesson on the song Horse with No Name and was wondering if you have video to go along with your lessons? I would also like to know what you are charging to get these lessons and how often you give them? Thank you for you the lesson you gave and I will be giving it a try till I get it right!
    Your musical new guitar friend,

  18. Solphivyaé Rose Thunderword. - Cohen
    May 13th, 2014 @ 11:36 am

    Hello Mr. Hodge,

    I am a beginning guitarist. I recently purchased a guitar for my 49th birthday.

    After scouring the Internet for free lessons and after trying out many different sites I like yours the best. Why? Because the instructions here come in small chunks and the directions and their related images are clear and concise. And last but not least, you make the lessons fun. It’s not a collection a boring repetitive finger exercises I’m actually learning how to play song. WHILE, i’m learning chords etc.

    Thank you for this site and being a really cool teacher.

    Because I live on a fixed income your site is a blessing to me.

  19. Daniel Minchew
    July 10th, 2014 @ 9:11 am

    David, from the bottom of my heart THANK YOU i have owned a guitar for over 35 years,im 52 now and never could understand music,beats, and patterns till now.Blessings and thanks!

  20. Tasha
    November 7th, 2014 @ 7:13 am

    This is the best lesson ever!! Played this song as a beginner years ago & basically just strummed the chords once per line where it says…. had no clue!!! May encourage me to pick it up again.. :)

  21. Ricardo Garcia
    February 11th, 2015 @ 6:19 am

    Hi, this is a great tutorial. I’m learning and playing this on a electric guitar, this is ok right? I always tend to think that playing acoustics songs or chords on a electric guitar isn’t the best way because I may not be getting the best sound possible.

  22. Sherri S
    April 8th, 2015 @ 10:57 am

    Thank you David. Awesome site and took the “I can’t do this” right out of me.

  23. Nate
    April 30th, 2015 @ 4:09 pm

    Awesome lesson! I have to second what Sherri says, the lesson really did take the “i can’t do this” out of learning (well actually I usually use a few curse words instead!)

  24. Andrea
    May 7th, 2015 @ 1:27 pm

    WOW – great teaching!!!! I have been trying for ever to get that beat going….

  25. Harold
    June 10th, 2015 @ 9:57 am

    I’ve been a drummer for 45 years in the same band for 25 years but I play guitar around the house. I have never played guitar in a band. I was wanting to learn more opening chords like the 9th 7th aug, sus, & so on, I found this site and realized I already knew most of the chords and have been playing them for years just didn’t know their names. I had a friend ask me about putting a duo together and I didn’t want to look completely stupid. I want to thank you for the information, now I can start this new adventure.

  26. Kim
    August 1st, 2015 @ 6:34 am

    Wow! What a great tutorial! I used to play Horse With No Name in the 70’s as a kid, so finding your tutorial is a real treat! Love the strumming rhythm! Since my daughter is in the hospital, and the music therapist dropped off a guitar for her to learn to play, I too picked up the guitar again and searched for easy songs to play. So glad I found your site! Really clear tutorials. So fun to be able to play this again way better than I did back then.

  27. John
    September 24th, 2015 @ 1:52 pm

    Nice post! I have been playing for some years now and I plan to start teaching and to make use of a blog and other media at some point. Basically research to see what others are doing brought me to your site. Its really interesting to me, and one of the many things I love about playing guitar and music in general is that you never stop learning. Even a basic simple song like this has stuff to offer for players of all levels and you do an excellent job of bringing that out while still keeping it simple enough for the absolute beginner. I am about to start teaching my brother to play and songs like this are perfect because he will recognize it and it is easy. I look forward to digging through the rest of this site. Thank you for sharing your knowledge!

  28. Ron
    October 25th, 2015 @ 9:09 pm

    Just started lessons at 66 about six weeks ago. Always liked this song. When I realized it was simple I started working on it.. Two chords, easy, but the strumming is making me work! And I’m having lots of trouble with the muting on the upstroke. But thank you for the clear and visual lesson.. I’m gonna keep coming back?

  29. Ultra beginner | mollomar
    February 13th, 2016 @ 2:23 pm

    […] We had another lesson about a week later, where we worked on switching chords and strumming. She let me borrow her precious guitar baby and I practiced almost every night for about two weeks. I started trying to learn “Free Fallin'” with a G instead of a D4 and started working my way though the Guitar Noise tutorial for “Horse With No Name.” […]

  30. Philip
    February 23rd, 2016 @ 2:02 pm

    Wow, this was so helpful in so many ways! This lesson really get’s you going and is fun, whereas other ‘first lessons’ are simply dull and seem to lead nowhere. It was also really great to learn just how much you can do with only two chords. Great stuff overall! Many thanks!

  31. Tyler
    October 27th, 2016 @ 7:56 pm

    I just started taking guitar lessons this week, and my instructor talked with me about how so many songs just use a few chords and that with 8 or 10 chords, I would be able to play many popular music songs. What brought me to your site was that he demonstrated “A horse with no name” to show how with just 2 chords you can play a great song. This is a great resource – I really appreciate the audio clips that demonstrate how it is supposed to sound at each element. Thanks!

  32. Nate
    November 13th, 2016 @ 4:51 pm

    Been looking at a few places online to help me brother learn guitar. anyone have a good experience with jamplay?

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