Old Pine by Ben Howard

How to Play Old Pine by Ben Howard on Guitar (Fingerstyle Lesson)

Old Pine was written by English singer-songwriter Ben Howard in 2011 and appears on his debut album 'Every Kingdom'. A few lessons back we learnt how to play Keep Your Head Up by Howard, and although Old Pine has its challenges it's not quite as hard to play you'll be pleased to hear. The right hand doesn't have to work as hard and the tempo is considerably slower, and there's not that really awkward 'pick and go' technique that he applies to so many of his songs.

Howard is big fan of alternate tunings and so the very first thing you must do is tune to C, G, C, G, G, C and then plonk a capo on the 5th fret. Once that's in place you're good to go and you can start learning the song.

Old Pine is no. 28 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 so you don't miss learning any of these great fingerstyle songs.

Song Details:

  • Key - F major
  • Tempo - 149 bpm
  • Tuning - C, G, C, G, G, C
  • Capo 5th
  • Time signature - 4/4
  • Difficulty - intermediate


The key thing to master with the intro is getting all the notes to really ring into one another so make sure that you don't accidentally knock a string and mute it. Another thing you can try and get in (that's not on the tab) is the subtle slides he does on the high E string when he's descending through the intro chords, listen out for it on the record.

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Part 2:

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. tuning electric guitar with tuner left a comment on 18th September 2018 at 9:47 am

    I like this site so much, saved to fav. “Nostalgia isn’t what it used to be.” by Peter De Vries.

    • Six String Fingerpicking left a comment on 18th September 2018 at 10:33 am

      Thank you, not familiar with that one but I’ll check it out!

  2. Jose left a comment on 8th October 2020 at 7:27 pm

    Hello, where can i find the tab for this? I can´t find it on your website

    • Six String Fingerpicking left a comment on 9th October 2020 at 5:17 pm

      Hi Jose, all tabs will be available again within a few months. Had to take the remaining free ones down due to copyright laws.

  3. Andy left a comment on 20th December 2020 at 5:04 am

    Great thanks for this. So tabs early 2021 do you think? Love this piece of music.

    • Six String Fingerpicking left a comment on 25th December 2020 at 6:35 pm

      You’re welcome Andy, yes early 2021.

  4. Matt left a comment on 15th January 2021 at 12:54 pm

    Great lesson. Looking forward to the Tabs for this one

    • Six String Fingerpicking left a comment on 17th January 2021 at 7:31 pm

      Thanks Matt, I’ll be transcribing this one for publication soon.

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