Why Georgia (John Mayer)

How to Play Why Georgia by John Mayer (Fingerstyle Guitar Lesson)

Scroll down for full video lesson (with tab) of Why Georgia by John Mayer.

Why Georgia was recorded in 2001 by guitarist and songwriter John Mayer, it appears on his album 'Room for Squares'. The song was his third single from the album after 'No Such Thing' and 'Your Body is a Wonderland', and went on to reach number 2 on the 'US Adult Alternative Songs Billboard'.

Why Georgia is no. 31 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.

Mayer is known for his clever songwriting and highly technical guitar techniques. There's no doubt that his songs require some dedicated practice to get to the point of mastering them. He regularly adds percussive taps to his acoustic playing and all sorts of other tricky nuances. In lessons to come we'll be learning his songs 'Stop This Train' (no. 41 on the top 60 list) and 'Neon' (no. 49), which really are quite remarkably well written and difficult to play. Why Georgia is a good stepping-stone before learning either of those two songs and for that reason we're attacking it first.

Mayer has a pick tucked away in his fingers as he fingerpicks the intro/first verse of the Why Georgia, then as he goes into the pre-chorus he pulls it out and starts to strum with it. I recommend taking this approach to playing this song as the pick will cut through a bit more when you come to strumming the chords, but this is optional and you certainly don't have to.

One other thing to watch out for is the percussive taps he has used on the main riff. By knocking your right hand into the strings and hitting them into the frets, you produce a nice tapping sound, this is replicating a snare drum being played on beats 2 and 4. You definitely want to get this in as 1. it sounds 10x better with it and, 2. it's a great technique to have in your arsenal that you'll find yourself using all the time once you have it mastered.

Song Details:

  • Key - G major
  • Tempo - 97 bpm
  • Tuning - standard
  • Difficulty - intermediate/borderline advanced

The Lesson:

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Intro/Verse 1:

Why Georgia Intro


Why Georgia Pre-Chorus

Verse 2:

Why Georgia Verse 2


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Why Georgia Bridge

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. Mike Rider left a comment on 2nd November 2018 at 1:18 pm

    Just found your website and subscribed. Worked on Why Georgia Why all morning. Excellent tutorial. Thank you for providing the tabs–makes a big difference for me.

    • Six String Fingerpicking left a comment on 2nd November 2018 at 1:32 pm

      Thanks for subscribing! Really glad you liked the lesson, it’s not an easy song to learn to play!

      • Mike Rider left a comment on 6th November 2018 at 4:28 pm

        Great website and tutorials. Have you thought about offering the tabs as a Guitar Pro format download since you have already done all that tab work? Wow that would awesome.

        • Six String Fingerpicking left a comment on 6th November 2018 at 4:48 pm

          Glad you like the site. Do you mean so that you could play and listen to them?

  2. Mike Rider left a comment on 6th November 2018 at 5:03 pm

    Yes, I am new to music theory and I find GP really helps me understand the way the song and notes work. Also very easy to see, play repeating loops for learning, getting timing down, etc. I am still pretty low on the learning curve and the GP files really help. I have transcribed a lot of songs that I am learning myself just to facilitate the learning. Thanks.

    I have seen other websites, for example, that offer all the tutorials tab downloads in GP format for a membership add-on fee–the combo of your demonstration/tutorial and GP download would be super comprehensive.

    I appreciate all the hard work your lessons require. I plan on trying all 60…

    • Six String Fingerpicking left a comment on 6th November 2018 at 7:31 pm

      Yeah, you really have a good point there. I’ll definitely look into that and strongly consider your suggestion. Thanks a lot!

  3. Tan left a comment on 20th July 2019 at 8:19 pm

    I can totally subscribe to what Mike Rider said. Having the gp files would greatly help the learning process!
    Great job with the tutorial!

    • Six String Fingerpicking left a comment on 25th July 2019 at 10:28 am

      Hey Tan, I’m working on it trust me. Sadly it’s not that straight forward with copyright.

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