Classical Gas Guitar Lesson with Tabs

Classical Gas by Mason Williams (Guitar Lesson and TABS)

In this lesson we're going to be learning how to play one of the most famous guitar instrumentals ever recorded - Classical Gas by Mason Williams. Released in 1968, this 3 minute action-packed song holds nothing back, you barely have a second to breathe when playing it. 

Classical Gas has been covered by some of the greatest musicians on earth. Artists such as Tommy Emmanuel, Steve Howe, Eric Clapton and many others have had a stab it, continuing to keep the song popular amongst blossoming fingerpickers.

OK, let's start learning Classical Gas!

Song Details:

  • Key - A minor
  • Tuning - standard
  • Tempo - as fast as you like (originally recorded at about 160 bpm)
  • Difficulty - advanced

Classical Gas (Performance)

As you learn to play this fingerstyle arrangement of Classical Gas, be sure to frequently return to the performance as a good reference point and guide.   

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The Intro to Classical Gas

The intro to Classical Gas is played freely with no set pulse. It's probably the easiest part of the song but regardless of that make sure you really work on your feel as you play through it.

Don't be tempted to move onto the next section until you've really got the intro together.

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How to Play the Verse

This is where all the craziness begins and the tempo picks up. Not necessarily super hard to play, but a lot to remember and playing it at full speed is likely going to be the most challenging aspect.

Want to learn more fingerpicking songs around the same level of difficulty?

How to Play the Chorus

I'd say the chorus of Classical Gas is probably a little more complicated and demanding than the verse. Rhythmically it's hard and you'll need a lot of left hand strength to get each of the notes to ring out.

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The Bridge

The bridge of Classical Gas is really great fun to play. Again, rhythmically it's tricky, so you absolutely must be practising with a metronome.

Enough exercises to last a lifetime!

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The Ending

Much of the ending has been covered earlier in the song, so hopefully adding this section in isn't too much of a struggle for you.

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. 

Recent Song Lessons

  1. Eddie left a comment on 14th February 2019 at 3:32 pm

    On the strength of you EXCELLENT tutorial of “Classical Gas”, I will purchase the $99 course when I can set aside that amount (retired on social security). I’d like to thank you for the free tutorial. These old fingers have some work to do. I can Hana (Flower) by Massaki Kishibe, so perhaps this may just be a next level jump!

    • Six String Fingerpicking left a comment on 14th February 2019 at 5:05 pm

      Thanks Eddie, really glad that you like the lessons. Keep on practising!

  2. Lizzy left a comment on 21st February 2019 at 8:31 pm

    What can I say?
    Awesome lesson, great vids with playing/description at the right speed; clear sheet music.
    I just wish I was at home to get practising and not stuck at work!!
    Thanks.

    • Six String Fingerpicking left a comment on 21st February 2019 at 9:53 pm

      Thanks a lot. Yeah, guitar is way more fun than work.

  3. Lizzy Johns left a comment on 21st February 2019 at 8:31 pm

    What can I say?
    Awesome lesson, great vids with playing/description at the right speed; clear sheet music.
    I just wish I was at home to get practising and not stuck at work!!
    Thanks.

  4. Dave left a comment on 21st April 2019 at 10:00 pm

    Hi
    I’ve really enjoyed and benefited from your free lessons and tabs. You are a gifted musician
    I’m 64 years old and I bought a guitar to help with my dexterity and to see if I could learn to play

    Intend to sign up for the classes but will take a while due to Soc Sec But thanks ad I will look forward to getting started with your classes
    Thx. Dave

    • Six String Fingerpicking left a comment on 23rd April 2019 at 1:57 pm

      Hey Dave, thanks for your comment. I’m really pleased to hear that you like my lessons, means a lot to me. I hope I can continue to help you get better at fingerstyle for a long time.

  5. Robert left a comment on 26th May 2019 at 5:38 pm

    You might be better off charging for the song lessons and giving the fingerpicking exercises for free. Just a thought.

    • Six String Fingerpicking left a comment on 26th May 2019 at 5:48 pm

      Yeah I hear you but it would greatly overstep copyright laws if I did that.

  6. Peter Milner left a comment on 3rd September 2019 at 3:53 pm

    Love the lessons. Is there any way to print off a complete tab for one of your top 60 lessons.
    Thanks Peter

    • Six String Fingerpicking left a comment on 4th September 2019 at 9:38 am

      Thanks Peter, not for this one, yet. All the songs are currently in the process of being legally published. This means that in a few months time they’ll all be downloadable, printable, have the option of playback and the songs will be tabbed from start to finish. However, due to copyright laws they won’t be free anymore I’m afraid.

  7. Trevor left a comment on 31st December 2019 at 3:25 pm

    Great lesson, and something I never thought I’d be able to play. Thank you. I have skinny fingers, so the hardest part for me was (and is) to get the fifth-fret-barred section to sound clearly. After weeks of struggling I’ve decided to use a workaround, barring only the top three strings and using the open 4th and 5th for the bass notes. Seems to sound OK. I also find it easier to use only my little finger for the melody notes in that section, and for the upper three-string barré on the run down that follows it (but I do have long fingers!). Thanks again, and Happy New Year.

  8. JP left a comment on 26th March 2020 at 2:10 am

    Hey man just discovered this website, I think I’ll gladly pay for all the free content you provided on youtube and here on this website. Your lessons are very helpful, I learned so much watching your vids. Hopefully more people get to support you as you’re amazing.

    Cheers from QC Canada

    • Six String Fingerpicking left a comment on 31st March 2020 at 10:51 am

      Thanks a lot JP, I’m really pleased that my lessons are helping you out.

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