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.
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.
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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.
Don't just learn songs, it's such a tiny part of playing fingerstyle.
Finally we have the last part, it's pretty similar to the first section, just in the key of C.
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.
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I hope you've found this lesson useful and thank you for reading.