Though he’s not as well known today, Chet Atkins is a guitar legend.
By the time Atkins reached his 40s, the high school drop-out had already catapulted to the top of the rock n’ roll and country genres, along with serving as Vice President of RCA. Nicknamed “Mr. Guitar,” Atkins is known as one of the best guitar players of all time. So who better to show you how to play the guitar fingerstyle?
If you’re a guitar player, watch and learn!
Atkins walks the crowd through his guitar techniques, showing everyone exactly how he does it.
“Mr. Guitar” was born in 1924 and rose to fame by the ’50s. The talented guitarist is known as one of the musicians that created The Nashville Sound, a sound that made country music much more appealing.
In this video, he starts off by explaining how he first came about creating fingerstyle guitar, also known as fingerpicking:
“I started playing this way when I was a kid because I didn’t know any better. What I did was I played rhythm with my thumb like that for about six years, so after a little while I added a little melody with my fingers.” Chet said to the crowd.
The legend continues to show us how it’s done, and is still inspiring guitarists almost two decades after his passing.
Atkins puts on a clinic with his guitar—and it’s clear he’s in a league of his own when it comes to guitar playing. Many guitarists today still use his complex picking style!
Atkins was inspired by Merle Travis, who at the time finger-picked using one finger. A young “Mr. Guitar” thought Travis was using multiple fingers, so he started finger-picking using two or three fingers at a time and fingerstyle was born!
“Mr. Guitar” flawlessly finger-picks his way through multiple difficult melodies
You can still hear the influence of Atkins’ style of guitar playing in a lot of the mainstream music today, proving that legends never die. With over 100 albums, the timeless musician only got better with age.
There’s a reason Atkins’ phenomenal guitar skills go viral all these years later. After all, millions of people viewed his sensational fingerstyle playing on YouTube.
Over 1.9 million people viewed the fingerstyle guitar tutorial on YouTube, with many musicians praising his technique.
The iconic musician most likely wouldn’t even use YouTube if he were still alive, but even so, he instantly went viral. More than 1.9 million people viewed the brilliant video, 16,000 liked it and almost a thousand users left comments.
“One of the things I like most about Chet is that he plays at a moderate tempo even though he could surely play faster. A lot of the guys who have come along since want to play his style really fast, I guess either because they’re bored or they want to prove they can play it fast, but it’s not very interesting when it’s in a rush.”
“Chet just had an attitude about things that made his playing more than just the best—you just wished that somehow you were best of friends with him too. Many things I try to emulate about him that has nothing to do with picking, but wish I could emulate that too!!”
Chet Atkins paved the way for all guitar players today, and watching him play fingerstyle is a treat every time. To watch the brilliant performance by “Mr. Guitar,” watch the video below!
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