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Pat Kirtley

Pat Kirtley is a gifted performer who blends the rich musical heritage of Merle Travis and Chet Atkins with imagination and masterful contemporary technique, in styles "from Bluegrass to Brazilian." As a creator of new acoustic music, Pat has penned a virtual library of fresh, lyrical compositions for guitar. His deadpan wit, engaging personality and splendid versatility combine to create a unique musical experience, delighting audiences at concerts, festivals, and workshops throughout the United States and abroad. Here are some typical listener comments from Pat's shows - "…he is a superb guitarist, whose music makes you grin, sigh, shake your head", "...a wonderful, inspiring evening", and "Pat is funny, musically gifted, and immensely entertaining".

Tablature/music 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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Pat Kirtley Single Song Downloads


Alice Blue Gown
Level: 3
Tuning: Standard

This is an old standard which Chet Atkins adapted as a thumbstyle guitar arrangement on one of his early albums in the 1950's. Chet recorded it twice, and this version combines what many players to be the best parts of both Chet's versions. Played in the key of G.

 


Amazing Grace
Level: 2
Tuning: DADGAD

"Amazing Grace" was written by the English poet John Newton (1725-1807) and published in 1779. The song has a message of forgiveness and redemption of the sins people commit. "Amazing Grace" is one of the most recognizable songs in the English-speaking world. This is a basic and easy-to-play arrangement of the eternal classic. It is played in the DADGAD and is a good introduction to this evocative tuning.


 


Battle Hymn of the Republic
Level: 2
Tuning: Dropped D Tuning

Written during the Civil War in 1962 by William Steffe and Julia Ward Howe. It is a classic traditional tune that should be in every fingerstyle player's repertoire. Pat presents a simplified but highly musical and playable in Drop D Tuning (DGDGBD). This arrangement was chosen for advanced-beginner to intermediate skill level, and to illustrate the differences and unique features of the Drop D tuning.


 


Both Sides Now
Level: 2
Tuning: Open G Tuning

Written by Joni Mitchell in 1969. Chet Atkins recorded it as an instrumental in Open G tuning. The arrangement sits well in this open tuning and conveys the melodic and dream like quality of Joni's original recording.

 


Boys From Blue Hill
Level: 3
Tuning: DADGAD

A challenging fingerstyle arrangement of an Irish hornpipe arranged in DADGAD. The melody is known by many other titles, i.e. The Beaux Of Oak Hill, The Beaux Of Oakhill, The Boys From The Blue Hill, The Boys Of Blue Hill, The Boys Of Blue Oak Hill, Boys Of The Blue Hill, Buachaill An Chnoic Ghoirm, The Lad Of Bluehill, The Lads Of North Tyne, Mildew On My Mind and more!

 


Chinatown, My Chinatown
Level: 4
Tuning: Standard

Classic early Chet Atkins thumbpicking piece at a fast tempo. The arrangement has been modified from Chet's original so it works as a solo guitar piece, where Chet had a rhythm section supporting his playing of a single line solo choruses etc. 

 


Deep River Blues
Level: 2
Tuning: Standard

Doc Watson said that he heard "Deep River Blues" on a 1933 Delmore Brothers recording and tried to figure out how to play it in the style of Merle Travis. It became one of his signature pieces and is a great introduction to thumbstyle guitar. It is played in the key of E and uses first position chords with the addition of an E7 fingering up the neck. A real fun piece to play.


 


Down Home
Level: 4
Tuning: Standard

"Down Home" is one of the very first tunes written by Jerry Reed for Chet Atkins. As Jerry described it : "I had stumbled into that counterpoint stuff I do. And 'Down Home' just blew Chet's mind. He loved 'Down Home.' And I was livin' in Atlanta when he recorded that." It is played in the key of A and has that Jerry Reed blues piano feel.


 


Drive In
Level: 3
Tuning: Standard

This is a great thumbstyle guitar tune recorded by Chet Atkins in 1967, and written by Jerry Reed (under a pen name). It is one of the easier Chet-style tunes to master. Played in the key of E.


 


Fanny Power
Level: 3
Tuning: DADGAD

This tune was written by the Irish harper Turlough O'Carolan (1670 -1738). He was a blind early Irish harper, composer and singer whose great fame is due to his gift for melodic composition. Although not a composer in the classical sense, Carolan is considered by many to be Ireland's national composer. Some of O'Carolan's own compositions show influences of the style of continental classical music played during this period. "Fanny Powers" is one of his best known and widely played and arranged instrumentals. It is a stately set-piece and fits well in the DADGAD tuning. 

 


Guitar Rag
Level: 2
Tuning: Standard

This tune is also a song but it sounds great as an instrumental piece. The chords progression is a turn-around ("round robin tune" like Merle said in an interview). Originally, we think it was written by Amos Johnson, who taught it to Mose Rager, who played it for Merle Travis. Played in the key of E.

 


Hidden Charm
Level: 3
Tuning: Standard

A classic thumbstyle tune written by Spider Rich as heard on Chet Atkins' 1963 album Guitar Genius. This arrangement is note-for-note from the original recording. It is played in the key of A.


 


I Am A Pilgrim
Level: 2
Tuning: Standard

Classic traditional thumbstyle guitar tune in the style of Mose Rager, Merle Travis, and Doc Watson. A good introductory piece for learning thumbstyle and a regular in the repertoire of most pickers. A hymn originally written in the mid-1800s by Mary Dana Shindler. Played in the key of E and using first position chords.

 


I'll See You In My Dreams
Level: 3
Tuning: Standard

Another Mose Rager - Merle Travis classic thumbstyle arrangement. Played in the key of C and using first position chords. "I'll See You in My Dreams" is a popular song. It was written by Isham Jones, with lyrics by Gus Kahn, and was published in 1924. Originally recorded by Isham Jones and the Ray Miller Orchestra, it charted for 16 weeks during 1925. The song was also recorded by Django Reinhardt and the Quintet of the Hot Club of France, and inspired Merle Travis to record it as a guitar instrumental.


 


Moran's Return
Level: 2
Tuning: DADGAD

A beautiful melody played in the DADGAD tuning. This slow air sits well in this tuning. Decorations around the melody are explored.


Mystery Train
Level: 3
Tuning: Standard

Written by Junior Parker and Sam Phillips, "Mystery Train" was a huge hit in 1955 for Elvis Presley. It is essentially a blues. Pat has based his arrangement on the Chet Atkins/Jerry Reed recording and is played in the key of E.

 


Oh By Jingo, Oh By Gee
Level: 4
Tuning: Standard

"Oh By Jingo!" is a 1919 song by Albert Von Tilzer with lyrics by Lew Brown. The song was featured in the Broadway show Linger Longer Letty and became one of the biggest Tin Pan Alley hits of the post-World War I era. Chet Atkins recorded his arrangement in 1953. It's a real barn-burner when played well. it incorporates a library of early Chet licks and moves.


 


Ready For The Times To Get Better
Level: 2
Tuning: Standard

Chet Atkins' 1980 Grammy-winning treatment of Crystal Gale's country favorite. This is an excellent tune for thumbstyle which is performance-ready but not too hard to learn. Played in the keys of Am and C and using first position chords.

 


Rose Ann
Level: 3
Tuning: Standard

This is a blues shuffle piece written by Jerry Reed and recorded by Chet Atkins in 1965. It's full of rock and boogie motifs, with some interesting chord changes. Played in the key of E.


 


Skye Boat Song
Level: 1
Tuning: DADGAD

The DADGAD tuning is an alternative guitar tuning most associated with Celtic music, though it has also found use in rock, folk, metal and several other genres. Tuning to DADGAD from standard is accomplished by tuning the first, second and sixth strings down a whole step (two frets). The result is an open D suspended fourth. Being suspended, the open tuning is neither intrinsically major nor minor. The suitability of DADGAD to Celtic music stems from the fact that it facilitates the use of a number of moveable chords which retain open strings. These act as a drone on either the bass or treble strings, approximating the voicings used in traditional Scottish and Irish pipe music. "Skye Boat Song" is an easy fingerstyle arrangement of a beautiful Scottish air played in DADGAD. 

 


Somebody's Knockin'
Level: 3
Tuning: Standard

This tune was originally a pop radio hit by Terry Gibbs in the late 70's. Chet and Lenny Breau recorded it as a guitar duet on Standard Brands in 1981. This version consolidates Chet's and Lenny's parts into a guitar solo arrangement. Played in the key of D. 

 


Spanish Fandango
Level: 1
Tuning: Open G Tuning

A fascinating instrumental that was written by Henry Worrall in 1860. This was at the height of "parlour guitar music" - a pseudo-classical American hybrid that was very popular amongst middle class women. In fact, we refer to the guitars built during this period by Martin Guitars and other makers as parlour guitars. "Worrall's Original Spanish Fandango" called for the guitar strings to be tuned to an open-G chord (D, G, D, G, B, D, from low to high), with the explanation that the music was to be read as if the guitar were in standard tuning. Somehow this instrumental permeated both White and Black blues and country music. It was one of the first tunes that traditional guitarists learnt in the late 1800s and early 1900s. It was recorded by both White and Black musicians and it's echoes can be heard in the blues of Robert Johnson, Charley Patton, Elizabeth Cotten, Mance Lipscomb, Mississippi John Hurt, John Dilleshaw - The String Marvel's and many others.

"Spanish Fandango" takes advantage of the open strings in this tuning as well as the ease to make chords by just barring across all six strings. This is a great introduction to the Open G tuning.

 


St. Louis Blues
Level: 4
Tuning: Standard

This is note-for-note from one of Chet's early classic signature pieces. The arrangement here combines the best parts of his 1953 and 1955 recordings of the tune. Played in the key of E.


 


Steel Guitar Rag
Level: 3
Tuning: EADEAE

This is a Pat Kirtley's signature arrangement of the Bob Wills - Leon MacAuliffe classic country tune from 1936. The tune was actually written and recorded by Sylvester Weaver in 1923, making it probably the first fingerstyle guitar tune ever recorded. Sylvester Weaver played his version in an Open D tuning (DADF#AD) whereas Pat employs a tuning made popular by the British guitarists Martin Carthy and Davey Graham. The guitar is tuned EADEAE. As strange as this tuning might seem, it is perfect for arranging and playing "Steel Guitar Rag." Try it and a new world of possibilities will be at your fingertips.


 


The Blarney Pilgrim
Level: 3
Tuning: DADGAD

This is a fascinating tune. The structure is AABBCC. Pat's arrangement is challenging but very satisfying. This classic jig is arranged in DADGAD.


 


The South Wind
Level: 3
Tuning: DADGAD

A famous traditional Irish air as arranged and recorded by Pat Kirtley. The DADGAD tuning is perfect for this haunting melody. It is also known as "The West Wind."


 


Trambone
Level: 3
Tuning: Standard

Chet Atkins' wrote and recorded this classic tune in the mid-1950's. This version is altered from the original to make it work as a stand alone guitar solo instead of needing a backup rhythm section as Chet used in the recording. Played in the key of C.


 


You'd Be So Nice To Come Home To
Level: 4
Tuning: Standard

A Chet Atkins and Lenny Breau arrangement of the Cole Porter standard which features different flavors including chord melody, bossa nova, and thumbstyle. Played in the key of G.