Freight Train Guitar Lesson with tab

Freight Train by Elizabeth Cotten (Fingerstyle Guitar Lesson)

In this fingerstyle guitar lesson we're learning a slightly simplified version of the classic fingerpicking song Freight Train.

Freight Train was written by Elizabeth Cotten in the early 20th century and is very often taught to people who are new to fingerstyle guitar. The song has a constant bass line running throughout with a strong, yet simple, melody line playing simultaneously. This makes it a great starting point for learning how to play more complicated fingerstyle songs.

Let's start learning how to play Freight Train!

Song Details:

  • Key - C major 
  • Tuning - standard 
  • Tempo - moderate 
  • Difficulty - beginner - intermediate

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Freight Train Guitar Lesson

The key thing to remember as you're learning this song is that you're always alternating between your thumb playing the bass note of the chords and your first finger playing the G string. The melody line is then played with your 2nd and 3rd fingers. This runs throughout the whole piece.

Want to learn more fingerpicking songs of a similar difficulty?

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. Henry Collins left a comment on 11th May 2018 at 10:23 pm

    Thanks for the lesson. I started practicing recently.

    • Six String Fingerpicking left a comment on 14th May 2018 at 5:44 pm

      That’s great! Please keep it up.

  2. Peter left a comment on 13th September 2019 at 7:39 am

    It’s so nice to see you the way you explain things, it’s just effortless I love it!
    Thanks for your free lessons.
    Love ,
    Peter
    India

    • Six String Fingerpicking left a comment on 13th September 2019 at 11:06 am

      Thanks Peter, glad you like the lessons.

  3. Brandon W. left a comment on 31st December 2019 at 12:35 am

    Thanks so much for your effort on these lessons. It is much appreciated.

  4. John left a comment on 30th March 2020 at 8:04 pm

    Thank you for creating an easy way to play Freight Train. This song is a favorite of mine but the Chet Atkins form is impossible for me. I like your style! I want to try one of your Fingerpicking Courses.

    • Six String Fingerpicking left a comment on 31st March 2020 at 11:02 am

      Thanks John, I’m really glad that you like it.

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