Papa George Guitar Lesson

Papa George by Tommy Emmanuel (Guitar Lesson & TABS)

Papa George was written by Tommy Emmanuel and the song appears on his 2011 album 'Little By Little'. Like virtually all of his songs, it's tricky to play and not one for beginners. Emmanuel is without doubt one of the finest acoustic guitar players alive today and he holds nothing back when it comes to his songwriting.

Papa George is no. 52 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.

What I personally love about Emmanuel's writing is that, as musically clever as he is, he still writes songs for people of all walks. His songs may be very challenging to play and often used by people to boast about their capabilities, but underneath all the showmanship and astonishing techniques are great songs. Great chords, great melody, great rhythm and brilliant feel.

I've personally learnt a huge amount from watching/studying him, and if you're new to his music I urge you to study his songs deeply.

Papa George song details:

  • Key - F# major
  • Tempo - roughly 140 bpm
  • Tuning - standard
  • Capo - 2nd
  • Difficult - advanced




There really is a lot going on here, and it's very easy to miss things. When I was learning this I watched Tommy play it over and over again and to make sure I wasn't missing anything. The especially crazy thing is is that Papa George is one his easier songs to play!

Learn more about the techniques taught in this song.

Fingerpicking Bundle Course

Join the Academy


This is really the only other main section of the song; it's certainly no easier than the verse and you may even find it a little harder. Don't worry, I have faith in you!

Want to really take your fingerpicking to the next level?

Fingerpicking Bundle Course

Join the Academy


A short but jam-packed ending here, there always seems to be one last surprise up Emmanuel's sleeve.

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. Dave Elke left a comment on 9th May 2020 at 2:32 am

    Thank you so much! It was fun learning this song today. Tommy always throws in a twist. I need to dig thru your site. keep it up!

    • Six String Fingerpicking left a comment on 9th May 2020 at 11:09 am

      Yeah, he’s the ultimate player/writer. Glad you enjoyed the lesson.

  2. Tyler left a comment on 10th October 2020 at 4:43 am

    Any reason the tabs were removed? I tried different browsers/cache clearing, etc. and it seems that they are gone. Any way I could get them from ya? Thanks for your work and helpful videos!

    • Six String Fingerpicking left a comment on 10th October 2020 at 12:31 pm

      Hi Tyler, yeah all the free tabs have been removed due to copyright laws. They’ll all be back in time once I’ve transcribed and gotten them published but sadly they won’t be free anymore.

      • Tyler left a comment on 19th October 2020 at 8:33 pm

        Thanks for the quick response! Looking forward to getting the music when you get it out there again! Keep it up!

  3. Jake left a comment on 3rd December 2020 at 5:21 am

    Thank you so much! Through the years I’ve slowly started picking up Emmanuel’s songs, and these tutorials are by far the best I’ve seen. Cheers mate!

    • Six String Fingerpicking left a comment on 3rd December 2020 at 3:07 pm

      Thanks a lot Jake!

  4. Wayne Weade left a comment on 14th March 2021 at 1:30 pm

    Are tabs for Papa George available for sale? If so, where?

    • Six String Fingerpicking left a comment on 22nd March 2021 at 5:44 pm

      Not yet Wayne I’m afraid, I just haven’t had the time to getting around to transcribing it.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *