Angels and Airwaves Guitar Lesson “Automatic”

October 14, 2021

How To Play “Automatic” By Angels And Airwaves

As I was listening to the most recent release from Tom Delonge’s band, Angels and Airwaves, one of the songs that really stuck out was “Automatic.”

With its uptempo beat, cool guitar parts, and (gasp!) a guitar solo, I had to figure out how to play it. Which wasn’t all that easy. There’s a lot of layers to this song and I’m still second-guessing some of my note choices.

Intro, Verse, Chorus

The intro chords are A5 to Amaj7 (with no 5) and D5 to Dmaj7 (also with no 5). These continue into the verse. The single-note riff sits low in the mix so this is one of the parts where I question my own transcription. However, as you’ll hear in the video, it definitely sounds like the song when the chords and riff are played together. You just may want to play with the exact order and timing of the notes.

The chorus harmonies are correct- A5 A5/G# D5 (with F#5 and E5 substitutions on choruses 2 and 3 the third time around). As I mention in the video, experiment with which versions of the chords you use and where you play the chorus riff. Depending on how many guitars you have playing or performing together, you might choose fuller or lighter versions.

Guitar Solo

The guitar solo is awesome and really surprised me. It’s got just the right amount of everything to be effective and catches your ear without overdoing it. Watch the video for full performance of the solo. See below for approximate guitar TAB which is not 100% accurate. It might just be missing or adding an 8th note here or there. Nothing critical, though.

There’s a cool post-chorus riff that connects the guitar solo to the final chorus. It can be played in either or both octaves as notated in the TAB.


The outro is the same as the intro but with those same F#5 and E5 substitutions I mentioned earlier. These occur on the third and fourth times through.

Ok that’s it! Leave any comments or questions below or on the Youtube video. As always, if you need extra help with this song or anything else in your playing, schedule an introductory guitar lesson (in-person or online) with me or one of my instructors. Current students can email me for extra help or ask about it in your next lesson.

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