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!
- 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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Want to learn some fun fingerstyle arrangements of famous songs?: Can't Help Falling In Love (Elvis Presley), Take Me Home, Country Roads (John Denver), Don't Look Back In Anger (Oasis), Ticket to Ride (The Beatles), Have You Ever Seen The Rain (Creedence Clearwater Revival).
Alternatively you can browse the whole song catalogue: Song Lesson Library
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.