One of my most influential guitarists is the one and only, “Mr Guitar”…
…The great, Chet Atkins.
When I started out on the electric all those years ago, I was learning songs by big heavy rock bands – Nirvana, Metallica, Silverchair, and the like.
…But the first time I heard Chet’s music, something inside me shifted.
I was in awe.
Yet it was only years later, when I started teaching guitar, that I started to truly appreciate his style.
The sophistication of combining basslines while Travis picking…
…Beautiful melodies floating on top.
…And “chord tones” that were as rich and flavoursome as a special meal in a Michelin-star restaurant.
The trouble is, that style of playing is hard for beginners.
That’s why I like to break it all down.
Both for me and for my students.
One way I do this is to learn and teach the melody on its own.
Then add in some bass notes or chord tones.
…And then later on, add in the Travis picking style that keeps the music thumping along.
This month, as a fun little bonus for Dan Thorpe Acoustic Academy members, I’ve updated a previous version of the classic Christmas carol, “Jingle Bells”.
…And I’ve arranged it in a progressive way.
We start off simple, and then by the end of the piece we’re playing a Chet-style version… complete with a Travis-picking bassline.
This is a pure bonus lesson and one I decided to add at the last minute.
Well, one of the lessons is a two-minute challenge where I give you the notes on how to play the starting melody for “Jingle Bells”.
Then I get you to find these notes on the fretboard so you can play the tune.
It’s a simple little exercise that makes learning the notes on the fretboard fun and practical.
It’s the opposite of how many people learn the fretboard.
So, I decided to add the complete version of the “Jingle Bells” arrangement, simply because it makes sense.
Students will complete the two-minute challenge and want more.
Unlike all the main Dan Thorpe Acoustic Academy lessons which I teach in video, for this bonus there is no video – but you get the full TAB, notation, and the audio track you can download and play along with.
If you’ve learnt my previous arrangement of this song, you’ll be pleased to know this new version simply builds upon that.
Anyway, I’ve released the new lessons today.
…And if you join the academy before Friday, you will get this bonus lesson.
Plus, the main lessons on playing the blues in a unique way and my favourite rhythm-building lesson called the “Sub-Division Game”.
You’ll also get my Guitarists Get Theory book posted out to you for free.
If this floats your boat, you can check out the Academy today.
…And if it doesn’t, I still highly recommend you study the music of Chet.
Music doesn’t get much better than that, in my opinion.
Find out more about the Academy here:
P.S. Be aware, we don’t have many copies left of the Guitarists Get Theory book and once the publisher runs out, that’s it, I will no longer be sending out any more copies of this book for new members.
P.P.S. This post was originally taken from Dan Thorpe’s private email list. To get blog posts like this sent to you which are full of great tips to make fingerpicking, strumming, and learning guitar more enjoyable (especially if you are over 40) join Dan’s list. It’s 100% free, HERE.