Mister Sandman Guitar Lesson

Mister Sandman by Chet Atkins (Guitar Lesson and Tabs)

In this lesson we're going to be learning how to play Chet Atkin's version of Pat Ballard's 1950s hit song 'Mister Sandman'. 

There's no doubt that this is a fiddly piece to play and really requires some fretting hand strength. The song has complicated and demanding chords throughout, so you're going to have to grip each one just right whilst simultaneously playing the melody line. For that reason, really take your time and if you feel a lot of strain in your hand take a break.

I've transcribed and taught the live version of Chet playing Mister Sandman in this lesson. The song comes in at just under two minutes but it's full of twists and turns and there's an awful lot to remember. 

Alright, let's start learning how to play Mister Sandman!

Song Details:

  • Tempo - 110 bpm
  • Tuning - standard
  • Difficulty - advanced

Mister Sandman (Performance)

As you learn to play Mister Sandman, be sure to frequently return to the performance as a good reference point and guide.   

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Mister Sandman Guitar Lesson (Part 1)

If your hands are on the smaller side then straight away you're going to run into some problems as the first few bars require some pretty huge stretches. In order to make it easier on yourself, make sure you drop your thumb right down the back of the neck as you play these wide grips, this really allows your fingers to open up. 

Mister Sandman (Part 2)

This is where Chet adds some extra parts for his live version. If you're not keen on it you can just play the previous section but in the key of D. 

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Mister Sandman (Part 3)

Finally we have the last part, it's pretty similar to the first section just in the key of C.

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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. 

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  1. Mister Sandman (Chet Atkins) Guitar lesson and TABS | NewbieGuitar.com left a comment on 22nd February 2019 at 8:17 pm

    […] Mister Sandman by Chet Atkins (Guitar Lesson and Tabs) […]

  2. René Bertin left a comment on 5th November 2019 at 12:58 pm

    Is there no downloadable score?

    • Six String Fingerpicking left a comment on 7th November 2019 at 12:33 pm

      There will be in time.

      • René Bertin left a comment on 7th November 2019 at 1:33 pm

        Thanks, can’t wait!

  3. seb left a comment on 25th March 2020 at 9:00 am

    Very nice lesson. And number one free pedagogic ressource online, One thing missing is the chord name. May be something to consider adding to your future lessons,
    Best of luck for your academy.

    • Six String Fingerpicking left a comment on 31st March 2020 at 10:49 am

      Thanks Seb, I don’t know why I didn’t put the chord names on, I always normally do. I’ll be transcribing this one again soon for publication so it will definitely have the chords on.

  4. beau left a comment on 8th April 2020 at 9:52 am

    such amazing lessons thank you so much!

    • Six String Fingerpicking left a comment on 12th April 2020 at 6:56 pm

      Thanks a lot!

  5. Spencer Knerr left a comment on 21st September 2020 at 4:09 pm

    Awesome lesson! Definitely one of the harder fingerstyle arrangements I’ve played, but it’s coming along slowly and surely thanks to the great instruction. Learning the limits of how far I can stretch my fingers as well…

    • Six String Fingerpicking left a comment on 24th September 2020 at 11:32 am

      Cheers Spencer, yeah this one is hard! But really good for your playing.

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