The other day a SKYPE student of mine was telling me about having to play Journey's Don't Stop Believing with a cover band for an up coming event. He said he was having difficulties with the intro guitar part and asked if I had any tips on nailing the part.
My first tip is: If you play in any kind of band that ever does covers, you might as well start practicing this song. I can't count the number of times I've had to play it in the last couple of years...I've played it in a country band, a Hard Rock covers band, a Soul Jazz band, and a Motown band. I've had to play it in a three piece up to a nine piece band with horns. Why everyone wants to hear this tune, and band leaders think it's a good idea to call it, I don't know, but I've made peace with it, and can (usually) pull it off in a semi competent fashion.
Most of the tune is pretty easy, but there are a couple of things that can be hard to pull off. The first is the intro bit my student was having trouble with. It comes in at about 50 seconds into the tune and is a simple repeating figure of four notes.
When i first worked up this song, I watched a few You Tube videos of Neal Schon including this one:
It's interesting to watch how Neal picks this. It looks to me like he is using all down strokes on the first note of the string then pulling off. On the recording I'm pretty sure that he is picking each note, when playing 16th notes, but the video only shows him playing 32nd notes.
In my first 2 examples in the video below, I'm using economy picking to pick each note. Down, up, up, down....Down, up, up, down....rather than alternate picking for the 16th notes.