Angeles Guitar Lesson

Angeles by Elliot Smith Fingerstyle Guitar Lesson (with TAB)

Angeles was written by singer-songwriter Elliot Smith in the mid '90s and appears as track 9 on his 1997 album Either/Or. Although Angeles wasn't released as a single, it's still a very well-known song of Smith's and certainly a favourite among his fingerpicking fans. 

Angeles is no. 47 on my Top 60 Fingerpicking Songs of ALL TIME list. If you've not seen the list be sure to check it out and sign up to my weekly email lesson. That way you won't miss learning any of these great fingerstyle songs.

This song certainly has its challenges and isn't for beginners. Likely one of the hardest things you may struggle with is the speed of it, Angeles come in at about 120 bpm and playing sixteenth notes at this tempo is very hard. 

There's also a lot of chords to wrap your head around and many different techniques to deal with. Despite all these obstacles I'm sure you can get it together with consistent and steady practice. 

Angeles Song Details:

  • Capo - 5th
  • Key A minor
  • Tempo - 120 bpm
  • Difficulty - Intermediate/advanced 


Intro, verse x2, bridge, verse.


The intro is likely the hardest part of the song, as this is where most of the really fast fingerpicking rolls are. Take your time and bring out the metronome to track your speed.

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The next challenge as you venture into the verse is the quick strumming you have to do. Along with this you also have to often pluck the bass notes with your thumb as you work your way through the chords.


After the second verse there's a quick four bar bridge. Thankfully this section isn't too tricky but it may still require some work.

If you want to make sure that you're really on the right track with fingerpicking, then try one of my fingerstyle guitar courses - find out more here.

If you have any questions or want to share anything at all, then please leave a comment below.

I hope you've found this lesson useful and thank you for reading.

  1. Todd left a comment on 12th April 2020 at 12:32 am

    I’ve been looking to learn this song forever! Thank you!

    • Six String Fingerpicking left a comment on 12th April 2020 at 6:53 pm

      It’s a pleasure Todd.

  2. Jett Joils left a comment on 29th April 2020 at 4:54 am

    Amazing tutorial! Thank you

    • Six String Fingerpicking left a comment on 1st May 2020 at 10:29 am

      Pleasure Jett.

  3. Winston Smith left a comment on 5th July 2020 at 1:48 pm

    The intro to this song was so hard I gave up playing guitar for a year. I figured that if I can’t master this I don’t deserve to play anything.

    Now I am back on the horse – due to your tutorial.

    Thank you good Sir 🙂

    • Six String Fingerpicking left a comment on 10th July 2020 at 1:37 pm

      That’s great, this isn’t an easy one so you just have to keep on pushing forward.

  4. Shawn left a comment on 28th September 2020 at 2:58 am

    Curious where the tab? I need to see the chords I’m terrible at watching haha

    • Six String Fingerpicking left a comment on 28th September 2020 at 10:29 am

      Hi Shawn, the tab has been removed due to copyright. For more information on why, this video by Gareth Evans explains the issues:
      The music will be transcribed in the coming months and then available via Musicnotes as for all other songs.
      Thanks, Chris

  5. Dario left a comment on 14th October 2020 at 10:47 pm

    Thank you very much for your lessons! Greetings from Sardinia.

    • Six String Fingerpicking left a comment on 16th October 2020 at 10:42 am

      You’re very welcome Dario, glad you like them.

  6. jeremy left a comment on 18th October 2020 at 10:13 am


    If we suscribe we will get all the tabs ?


    • Six String Fingerpicking left a comment on 20th October 2020 at 2:01 pm

      H Jeremy, due to copyright laws that’s not possible I’m afraid. The courses are separate from the songs and they focus on other areas of fingerstyle. Thanks

  7. Patrick left a comment on 26th January 2021 at 12:25 am

    Great video, made it easy

    • Six String Fingerpicking left a comment on 30th January 2021 at 8:17 pm

      Thanks Patrick

  8. Meredith left a comment on 7th April 2021 at 1:04 am

    Thank you so much for this tutorial. Over several months, you’ve helped me learn this song. If you ever feel like making a video for Josh Klinghoffer’s cover of it, that’d be great too 😀

    • Six String Fingerpicking left a comment on 10th April 2021 at 11:37 am

      Thanks Meredith, I’m really pleased that I’ve been able to help you out. I’ve never heard Klinghoffer’s cover but I’ll check it out.

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