Watch the Song Structure online guitar lesson by Johnny Hiland from Ten Gallon Guitar: Intros, Outros & Turnarounds
Well now that we've learned those patterns, let's get back to learning how to form an intro of a song or a turnaround. Essentially, when I say "11-44-55-11", what does that mean? The 11 stands for two bars of 1. What's a bar? It's essentially four beats. That means we have eight beats of 1. Now I actually like to think of it in bars, since beats go by quickly, but by all means if it's easier for you, you can count by beats when you practice. Next, we go to the 4 - which is a "44", meaning that there's two bars of 4. Then we go to the 5, which is a B chord, and play two bars of that as well, then go back to the E chord (1 chord).
So you see how this counting thing really works well, and yeah, you don't want to spend the whole gig counting like that, but after a few gigs you'll get pretty comfortable with how the intro goes. But again, when someone jumps on the stage and start playing a song you haven't heard, and the drummer throws numbers at you like that, you need to know how to form them.