#1
So on a whim at about 0:30 last night I figured it was about time I listened to some Chet Atkins. I saw he'd recorded a version of Mr Sandman so I figured I'd listen to that as I already knew I liked that unheimliche number, and I was very impressed. Needless to say, I spent the next hour with my elbow in my crotch trying to manage those chord shapes, but that wasn't what gave me the most trouble.

I'm not a particularly experienced fingerpicker, nor a pianist, and the self accompaniment thing gave me a lot of trouble. I have two main questions:
a) Will not having a thumbpick affect my ability to play this?
b) I know the basic formula is slow it down, divide it up, but can anyone offer any extra advice/techniques for coordinating what essentially constitutes two different, simultaneous lines on the right hand?

Am I meant to be able to manage this with my thumb on the bass? The rest is awkward but manageable, this is just way out and although the lesson video I watched included it, when I watched a video of Chet playing the piece he omitted this shape
E|-4
B|-7
G|-5
D|-6
A|-x
E|-4

Neither on my Tele's soft V, nor on my brother's Jaguar's modern C (24" scale, of course), nor on my LTD's shredder neck could I manage that 7th fret.
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Last edited by K33nbl4d3 at Oct 17, 2015,
#2
i'll start with the bonus ? first. seems like doing that as a barre chord would work best (at work so can't try it out)

as for the chet atkins stuff that will take some time as he was one of the true greats and did very complex things techique wise. not having a thumb pick will hinder you a bit fron getting the tone he gets using one. the fingerpicking technique takes a fair bit of practice and coordinating with your right hand is tricky for sure. you really have to learn the piece and have it down withyout thinking to much to get it to work.
#4
Thanks, both; I think Chet uses the thumb for the bass note (in the video I saw he played a straight major chord without the 7th fret) because it puts the fingers in a better position for the bassline walking up at the end of the bar, but I'll have to give it a shot with the barre chord when I next take a stab at this piece.

And on the thumb, I figured since the thumb is basically metronomic in function there might be a bit more of a technique to it, and in a way I guess there is, but basically it's just a matter of making it muscle memory, right?

EDIT: After some brief further efforts, I think I'm going to stop relying on the tutorial video or the tab, and rather (with their help) put together my own tab/chart of it so as to keep better track of which appendages are doing what and where.
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Last edited by K33nbl4d3 at Oct 17, 2015,
#5
You've inspired me to go back and relearn Drive In which I found a very good tab for here:

http://www.songsterr.com/a/wsa/chet-atkins-drive-in-tab-s28177t0

When I originally learned it (which I think was like 30 years ago) it was from someone who knew it and showed it to me over a lunch at work and jotted some stuff down on a sheet of paper. I remember having to laboriously listen to it and try and figure out a lot of it for myself.

The interwebz makes it SO much easier now.

Also, I really suck at finger style so I'm going to try get some tips from my Guitar Principles book and try and do it better this time.
Last edited by edg at Oct 17, 2015,
#6
I'm an alternating bass fingerpicker.

A thumbpick won't make any difference to whether you can do it or not, it is just a matter of preference. An advantage of the thumbpick is that it makes rh damping easier. I don't know that particular song, but if it relies on rh damping, then a thumbpick would be important.

I teach folks to think of it as pinches and alternates, not as a bass line and a melody line, so it might go pinch-and-thumb---pinch-and-pinch, and so on. I think that is an easier way for a beginner to view it.
Last edited by Tony Done at Oct 17, 2015,
#7
Quote by Tony Done
I'm an alternating bass fingerpicker.

I know; I was hoping you'd respond to this

Quote by Tony Done
A thumbpick won't make any difference to whether you can do it or not, it is just a matter of preference. An advantage of the thumbpick is that it makes rh damping easier. I don't know that particular song, but if it relies on rh damping, then a thumbpick would be important.

Yeah, there's a palm mute on the bottom three strings for pretty much the whole piece, so I think it may well be worth shelling out the vast sum of about £1.50 to buy myself a thumbpick.

Quote by Tony Done
I teach folks to think of it as pinches and alternates, not as a bass line and a melody line, so it might go pinch-and-thumb--pinch-and-pinch, and so on. I think that is an easier way for a beginner to view it.

That definitely sounds like it could be worth trying, thanks
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