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 left 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.

Mister Sandman is no. 56 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. 

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. 

Mister Sandman Song Details:

  • Tempo - 110 bpm
  • Tuning - standard
  • Key - A/D/C
  • Difficulty - advanced

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First of all, here's a run through of Mister Sandman for you.

Learn more about the techniques used in this song.

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Mister Sandman (Section 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. 

I have to apologise here as I must have just knocked the lens whilst filming, which has made it ever so slightly out of focus.

Mister Sandman Guitar Lesson

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Section 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. 

Mister Sandman Guitar Lesson

Don't just learn songs, it's such a tiny part of playing fingerstyle.

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Section 3:

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

Mister Sandman Guitar Lesson

Let me know what you thought of the lesson in the comments section below. Tell me what you found hard/easy and add any song suggestions that you may have.

Recent Song Lessons:

Neon (John Mayer), God Only Knows (The Beach Boys), Never Going back Again (Fleetwood Mac), Don't Fear The Reaper (Blue Oyster Cult, Papa George (Tommy Emmanuel, Classical Gas (Mason Williams).

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. 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!

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