Angelina was written by the legendary acoustic fingerstyle guitarist Tommy Emmanuel, and the song appears on his 2005 album 'Endless Road' (a must-listen for all acoustic guitar players). In this lesson we're going to learn how to play this truly beautiful piece of music from start to finish.
Angelina is by no means an easy song to play, requiring a tremendous amount of picking accuracy and strength/dexterity in the fretting hand. Having said that, once you do master it, it feels great under your fingers and is a real joy to play.
Bear in mind that you could play this song fingerstyle but Tommy actually employs the pick and uses a lot of hybrid-picking throughout. Personally I find that the gentle tap of the pick against the strings really helps to sweeten up the tune just that little bit more than fingers alone can do.
Alright, let's get on with the lesson.
- Capo - 2nd fret
- Key - E major with capo (D without)
- Tuning - Drop D (D A D G B E)
- Tempo - 125 bpm
- Difficulty - advanced
As you learn to play Angelina, be sure to frequently return to the performance as a good reference point and guide.
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In this first video we learn how to play the intro and the verse of Angelina. The intro isn't too tricky and is really just four chords looping with a relatively simple picking pattern. The verse, however, is where things really ramp up and there's an awful lot going on, as you'll see in the video.
Into the bridge now and the intricate and delicate playing continues. As always, if you're struggling just take it slow. Focus on accuracy over speed and making sure all the notes are lined up correctly.
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The ending of Angelina is predominantly natural harmonics spread across the neck. At a slow tempo it's not hard to play (providing you can play your harmonics OK), but up to speed at 125 bpm it's hard and it's very easy to not quite hit the harmonics and accidentally play dud notes. Just take your time.
Intro, Verse, Bridge, Verse, Outro
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If you enjoyed this lesson and are keen to learn more, then any of these song lessons will be a great next step for you: Classical Gas (Mason Williams), Mister Sandman (Chet Atkins), Never Going Back Again (Fleetwood Mac), Neon (John Mayer).
Alternatively you can browse the whole song catalog: Song Lesson Library
Let me know what you thought of the lesson in the comments section below. Say what you found hard/easy, what level you're at and what your fingerpicking goals are.