Stefan Grossman's Guitar Workshop Instructional and Historical DVDs Books and Materials
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Chet Atkins

Chet Atkins's trademark "Atkins Style" of playing uses the thumb and first two—sometimes three fingers of the right hand. He developed this style from listening to Merle Travis occasionally on a primitive radio. He was sure no one could play that articulately with just the thumb and index finger (which was exactly how Travis played) and he assumed it required the thumb and two fingers—and that was the style he pioneered and mastered.

Other major guitar influences were Django Reinhardt ,George Barnes , Les Paul and later Jerry Reed.His trademark picking style and musicianship brought him admirers within and outside the country scene, both in the United States and internationally.

Tablature is available as a PDF file for each lesson. Lessons are filmed with multiple cameras and consist of a performance, explanation, and conclude with a slow tempo split screen that follows the tab/music.

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Chet Atkins Single Song Downloads


Bye Bye Blackbird
Level: 3
Tuning: Standard

"Bye Bye Blackbird" was one of Chet favorites and often performed by him in concert. It was included on his album Solo Sessions that was posthumously released in 2003. It's an American standard written by Ray Henderson and Mort Dixon and first published in 1926. 

 


Happy Again
Level: 3
Tuning: Standard

In 1996 Chet Atkins recorded his album Almost Alone. The album won him his fourteenth Grammy award. It also turned out to be Chet's last solo recording. His composition "Happy Again" was inspired after overcoming some serious health issues. This happy little tune has gone on to be one of his most popular compositions.


 


Londonderry Aire
Level: 3
Tuning: Standard

"Londonderry Aire" is a traditional Irish melody that also became known as Danny Boy. Frederic Weatherly an English lawyer penned the lyric in 1910 and set it to the melody of "Londonderry Air." It is considered the unofficial anthem of Ireland particularly for Irish Americans.


 


Lover Come Back
Level: 3
Tuning: Standard

"Lover Come Back" was one of Chet's favorite songs to improvise on. He recorded it on his 1970 album Pickin' My Way. This is another great showcase for Chet not only as a player but also as an arranger. It's an American standard written by Sigmund Romberg and Oscar Hammerstein II.

 


Maybelle
Level: 3
Tuning: Standard

Chet Atkins wrote "Maybelle" as a tribute to Maybelle Carter, patriarch of the Carter family. Maybelle was also affectionately known as "Mother." She toured with her daughters Helen, June, and Anita in the 1950's and 1960's under the name Mother Maybelle and the Carter Sisters. The song incorporates some of the fingerpicking techniques she became known for.

 


Mr. Bojangles
Level: 3
Tuning: Standard

"Mister Bojangles" became one of Chet's signature songs in his later years. The song was originally written and recorded by Jerry Jeff Walker in 1968 on an album of the same title. It became a hit when recorded by The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band in 1970.

 


Petite Waltz
Level: 3
Tuning: Standard

Chet Atkins recorded the "Petite Waltz" on his sixth RCA album in October of 1956. The album was titled Fingerstyle Guitar and is today considered a classic. It is a famous waltz though the composer is not known. Such diverse artists as Erroll Garner and Lawrence Welk have recorded it.


 


When You Wish Upon A Star
Level: 3
Tuning: Standard

"When You Wish Upon a Star" is possibly Chet's greatest solo guitar arrangement. Chet recorded it on his 1970 album Pickin' My Way. The song is originally from the 1940 Disney classic Pinocchio and was written by Ned Washington and Leigh Harline.

 


Young Thing
Level: 4
Tuning: Standard

"Young Thing" was written and recorded by Chet Atkins as a tribute to his longtime friend Bill Young. It's a piece that is inspired by the boogie-woogie piano playing of the 1950's. The song was released by Columbia records on an album titled Read My Licks in 1994 and won a Grammy that same year for Best Country Instrumental.