The Definitive Chet Atkins Fingerstyle Method

This method begins with the most basic concepts of fingerpicking and fingerstyle guitar.  Starting with a basic chord knowledge is all you need get going.  However, mastering this style of playing takes a great deal of dedication and will separate you from most other modern guitarists.  Finger control, coordination, neck knowledge, timing, and many other skills will be acquired and fine tuned throughout this course.  

After a few introductory lessons from Six String Country co-founder Tony Bakker, we'll hand the method off to Chet Atkins-style expert Sean Weaver.  Weaver provides all of the tools you need to conquer this style, including a number of actual Chet Atkins transcriptions fully tabbed and taught in video lessons note by note in great detail.  The song lessons are presented in the order of difficulty from easiest to hardest.  As the songs progress in difficulty more patience and persistence will be required, but the tools are here and this course is ready to be conquered.  We present to you The Definitive Chet Atkins Fingerstyle Method.

 


Lesson 1: Introduction to Fingerstyle & Travis Picking


This introductory lesson will introduce you to the fingerpicking style and the concept of keeping a steady bass pattern going with your thumb.  Guitarists with even the most basic chord knowledge can feel confident beginning here, so jump on in!

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Lesson 2: Fingerstyle & Travis Picking, Vol. 1


In Vol. 1, we will expand to using all 6 strings in our fingerpicking patterns, including the high E string.  Next we'll add in some transitions between chords to make the progression even more musical.

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Lesson 3: Fingerstyle & Travis Picking, Vol. 2


You are ready to incorporate a melody into your fingerpicking.  This is the fun part where you really begin to recognize that Travis Picking sound.  

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Lesson 4: Fingerstyle & Travis Picking, Vol. 3


In Vol. 3, we expand on what we've already learned with a more interesting melody, and more complex chord changes and transitional riffs by learning Mid-Michigan Serenade. 

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Lesson 5: Fingerstyle & Travis Picking, Vol. 4


Are you ready to jump down the rabbit hole?  It's time to turn the method over to Chet-style expert and Nashville guitar pro Sean Weaver.  In Vol. 4, Sean will prepare you for the rest of the method where you will be learning actual song arrangements in the Chet Atkins style.  Starting with this lesson, you will need a thumb pick (Sean uses heavy gauge Fred Kelly Slick Picks) and you will learn many of the techniques you will need for the rest of the method.  There is a lot of information here, so take your time with it and really internalize this one.  You won't regret it!

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Lesson 6: Buffalo Gals


Congratulations!  You've made it to the song arrangement portion of the method.  These are graded in order of difficulty, so we are going to start with Buffalo Gals.  Sean will start this traditional classic in the key of G and take you through a number of keys throughout the tune.  

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Lesson 7: Swing Low, Sweet Chariot


The second song arrangement of the method is the traditional spiritual Swing Low, Sweet Chariot in the style of Chet Atkins.  The tune moves seamlessly through the keys of G, C, E and ends back in C, touching on a number of stylistic "feels" along the way.

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Lesson 8: Oh Susanna


Oh Susanna is a folk classic from Stephen Foster that is continually recorded even in the modern era by names like Pete Seeger, Bruce Springsteen, and countless others.  Sean takes us through a number of keys in the Chet Atkins style and introduces 2 new concepts: natural harmonics and artificial harmonics.

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Lesson 9: Jingle Bells


The decision to include a song for the holiday season was intentional as it is often a great time to break out the guitar and play for friends and family.  Sean's upbeat arrangement of Jingle Bells in Chet's fingerpicking style takes us through 2 keys and will be the hit of the party.

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Lesson 10: WIldwood Flower


Wildwood Flower is a classic traditional American tune that has been performed by countless artists over the years including Chet Atkins.  This piece advances the method into the middle of it's difficulty range and introduces a new technique called the three finger roll.

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Bonus Tutorial: Electric Fingerstyle Guitar Tone

In this tutorial, Sean walks through amp and guitar settings for getting an electric guitar tone to sound appropriate for learning the Chet Atkins transcriptions coming up in this method.

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Lesson 11: Alice Blue Gown

Sean takes us through this note-for-note transcription of Chet's arrangement of Alice Blue Gown from his album Stringin' Along with Chet Atkins. 

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Lesson 12: Stephen Foster Melody

Sean demonstrates and teaches this exact transcription of 3 Stephen Foster songs that Chet arranged and recorded on his album "Galloping Guitar".  

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Lesson 13: The Water Is Wide

In this lesson, Sean teaches his custom arrangement of the traditional classic The Water Is Wide.  This lesson will move our command of the style along nicely and give us a beautiful, versatile performance piece.

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Lesson 14: St. Louis Blues

Sean delivers and note-for-note transcription of Chet's arrangement from the "Galloping Guitar" album of this classic tune from W.C. Handy.  This is an advanced lesson, and Sean's step by step video demonstration, along with the note-for-note sheet music, provide all the resources you need to add this to your repertoire. 

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Lesson 15: Oh By Jingo!

In this lesson Sean teaches his note-for-note transcription of Chet Atkins arrangement of "Oh By Jingo!" as performed on the album "Stringin' Along with Chet Atkins".  This is the final lesson in The Definitive Chet Atkins Fingerstyle Method, so... Congratulations!  After conquering all of these songs, we hope you feel comfortable and proficient playing guitar in the Chet Atkins style.  This is some challenging guitar material and learning it is something to be proud of!

 

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