While I was thinking of what YouTube Video to produce for my Channel. I found this Great song: Called Tennessee Whiskey by Chris Stapleton. So I decided to do a guitar lesson on how to play Tennessee Whiskey.
If you want to learn Tennessee Whiskey. How to play Tennessee Whiskey on guitar. Let me tell you what you will learn here:
- How to play Tennessee Whiskey on acoustic guitar
- Tennessee Whiskey Chords
- Strumming Pattern to Tennessee Whiskey
- Solo to Tennessee Whiskey
- Tab to Tennessee Whiskey
- Bonus Video
If all that sounds like something you would be interested in grab your guitar, and come with me to learn Tennessee Whiskey.
The Song Tennessee Whiskey Acoustic Style
The way Chris Stapleton plays the song. He has an electric guitar. Then behind him is a band. Which sounds great, but if you don’t have a band. Then you might just want to learn the song. So that you can play it whenever you want, and it sounds good.
A lot of beginner guitarists have an acoustic guitar. So let me show you how to play it using the acoustic guitar. If you have an electric it will work too.
Here’s Tennessee Whiskey Chords
Let’s start with what chords are in the song. This is what makes this a nice song for beginner guitarist to learn. Because there are only two chords. The first chord is the A Major Chord. Here is a Chord Diagram for the finger position of the A Major Chord.
If you are not familiar with how to read this chord chart; here is a link that will help explain Chord Charts.
As shown above fingers one, two, and three, are all on the second fret. They are positioned on strings 4, 3, and 2. The A string. Which is the 5th string. It is also played with the A chord. Be sure not to play the 6th string.
The second chord in the Chord Progression is the Bm. It is spelled as B minor. Here is a chord chart for the Bm chord.
As you can see it is a bar chord. So you might be thinking OH NO! A bar chord. If you are, you can rest assure now is the time to start playing bar chords.
Once you learn them they are not that difficult. Most people starting out playing guitar have week hands.
This is normal, and is one reason that bar chords are difficult to play. Here is a link to help “whip” your hands into shape. Guitar Technique and finger strengthening.
To play the Bm chord you use your first finger on the second fret. Bar it across the first 5 strings. Then your third finger is on the fourth string, at the fourth fret. Right under that is your pinkie on the fourth string. Your second finger is on the second string third fret.
See that’s not to bad! If you want some additional tips on barre chords. Here is a link to help you play bar chords.
Then also what are minor barre chord shapes may give you some more insight.
What Time Signature is Tennessee Whiskey?
Most songs that you hear on the radio are in 4/4 time. Which means you are constantly counting to four. 1 2 3 4, 1 2 3 4, 1 2 3 4, 1 2 3 4. Or, 1 and 2 and 3 and 4, 1+2+3+4, 1+2+3+4, 1+2+3+4.
Some times you will also hear 3/4 time in country music. It’s the same rhythm as like Waltz. 1 2 3, 1 2 3, 1 2 3, 1, 2 3 like that.
See in a simple time signature the beat is divided by two. With a complex time signature the beat is divided by 3.
This means that instead of the bottom number of the time signature being 4. Signifying 1/4 notes the bottom number is 8. For 1/8th notes. Like in a 6/8 time signature.
The notes are grouped together in sets of 3’s. 1 2 3 4 5 6, 1 2 3 4 5 6.
Notice that the accent is on the one and the four. So when you play 6/8 time, you have a feel of two beats subdivided by 3.
But in this song Tennessee Whiskey we only want to count to 6, because the song is in 6/8 time. But don’t get concerned with all of that. As long as you can count to 6, you will be good to go. Let me show you the strumming pattern.
A Lesson on Tennessee Whisky Strumming Pattern
The strumming pattern is 1 and a 2 and a, 1 and a 2 and a. The easiest way to strum this is with all down strums.
Make the main beats long when strumming. Which would be the 1 and 4. If you are counting 1 2 3 4 5 6. Make sure you strum all the strings on the one and 4.
The other strums can be short strokes. When you strum them literally touch just one or two of the strings.
Take your guitar and practice the strumming. Be sure to count out loud. One two three four five six. One two three four five six.
Or you can say one and a Two and a. Keeping the two beats. Notice either way you count it. You are counting the 6 beats.
Notice at anytime you can include an upstroke to change the feel of the song. Also you can break it down even further into 1 2 3 1 2 3. Which is still 6 beats.
Playing an Asus4 Chord in the Song
The chord is played just as if you were playing the A Major chord. Then use your pinkie at the third fret of the second string. This is only played on occasion. Take a look at the chord progression to see when to play the Asus4 chord.
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Chord Progression for Tennessee Whiskey
The chord progression is this:
- One measure of A (4 times)
- Two measures of Bm (8 times)
- Add in the Asus after the two measures of Bm. (1 time)
- Then A Major for 1 measure (4 times)
When you play the Sus chord you want to strum down Up and Up Down. This may take a little practice. If you find it difficult to incorporate it into the song. Then just stick to the A chord.
But when you listen to the song you can here the Asus4 after the 2 measures of Bm, and back to the A chord.
Here is a link to help with strumming.
Tennessee Whiskey Guitar Solo
After the second verse there is a solo. Chris Stapleton plays the solo several different ways. I’ve seen in some video’s he will play it one way. Then in the actual song on the album it is played a different way.
What I want to do is recreate the solo thats heard on the album Traveller.
The solo starts out on the 3rd string. Way up on the 9th fret. You pick the note on the 9th fret. Then it goes from the 9th fret to the 11th fret, still on the G string.
Then play the note on the 10th fret of the B string. The second string. After that you bend the note at the 12th fret. A whole step up.
Breaking the Solo Down
The solo then moves to a slide that you would see in a lot of blues songs. Now your on the seventh fret. Position your second finger on the G string, and your first finger on the high E string. (Strings 3 & 1).
You want to slide from the 7th fret up to to the 9th fret.
To do this pick the 3rd string, and slide to the 9th fret. When you get to the 9th fret you pick the 1st string. On the 9th fret. Then pick the G string.
Your second finger is still at the 9th fret. Then go back to the 7th fret and pick both the G, and the E string at the same time. Use some vibrato, to let the notes ring out for a longer period of time.
Use Hybrid Picking in the Solo
When you are sliding between the 7th and 9th fret. You will want to use hybrid picking to play this part of the solo. Where you use the pick on your third string, and a finger on the first string.
So you do that two times. Then go back to the 9th fret. Pick the G and E two times. Move down a fret to the 8th fret. Pick the G and E one time. Move down another fret, to the 7th fret.
You want to slide again from the 7th fret to the 9th. The same as you just did. Picking the 9th fret on the first string when you get there. Then slide back to the seventh fret.
Next place your second, and third fingers on the 9th fret. Pick the first and 3rd string simultaneously.
Move back a fret to the 8th fret. Still keeping your fingers in the same position. So you can pick the 3rd and 1st string at the same time. Pick the notes on the 8th fret. Strings 3 and 1.
One more move with the same finger position. That is how you are going to move to the 7th fret. Holding that same shape with fingers two and three. Pick the notes on strings 3 and 1 at the 7th fret.
Then play the 6th fret with your second finger. On the third string. Play the 5th fret with your first finger. On the first string. They are played at the same time.
Practice the Solo
So all together you are walking down from the 9th fret, 8th fret, seventh fret. Picking both strings 3, and 1 at the same time. Then here is the last move of this section of the solo.
Land with your first finger on the first string at the 5th fret. Then your second finger is on the 6th fret of the third string. Play both strings at the same time.
This seems like a lot. But once you get it, it’s not hard at all. Also it is actually a lot of fun. Then you can incorporate that little move into other solos you learn.
What I would recommend doing is one. Get the Tab.
Then break the solo down into bite size peaces. Practice the first part until you get it. Then move on to the next part.
Once you master the second part. Before you move on. Take the two peaces, and play them together. Once they sound good, move to the next part of the solo.
You will find in guitar that it becomes easier to break things down. I find that doing this makes it easier.
Part 2 of the Solo
Since you are playing the lead, and the rhythm at the same time. You want to now play the A chord and the Asus4. Then it goes into a fast melodic run. Which starts on the 5th string back at the second fret.
Here are the notes, and strings to play. The frets will just be numbered.
- Start on the 5th string, frets 2 & 4.
- The 4th string, 2 & 4.
- At the 3rd string 2 & 4, slide to 6.
So you can see you are walking up the strings. When you get to the 3rd string 4th fret. Then you slide to the 6th fret.
Pick the 5th fret on the 2nd string. Then the 7th fret also on the second string. End on the 7th fret of the second string.
Then you pick the note on the 5th fret of the first string. Which is the A note. Almost immediately bend the E string at the 7th fret. A full bend.
On your way down from bending the first string pick the note again when the string is back down. Once the string is back to the natural position.
Pick the 5th fret two times. Then we are going to move back to the second fret.
Starting on the 7th fret of the second string. Pick that note, then pick the note at the 5th fret of the second string. Now pick the note on the third string at the 6th fret.
Slide from the 6th fret to the fourth fret. Move down and pick the note at the 2nd fret. Still on the third string. Then pick the note on the fourth string at the fourth fret.
Walking Back Down to the A Chord
This is a lot of notes, and it is played fairly fast, and smooth.
The next part of the solo starts on the D string. The 4th string, at the second fret. Pick the 2nd fret and hammer on the 4th fret.
Then pick the 2nd fret of the G string 2 times. Also Pick the 4th fret of the 4th string. Finally pick the 2nd fret of the G string. It does that two times.
Play the notes on the 2nd fret, and 4th fret of the 4th string. Go up a string to the 3rd string, and pick the note at the second fret. Pick the 4th fret note. Then go up to the 2nd fret of the B string. (2nd string).
Come back to the 4th fret of the third string. Play the note of the second fret. Now we are walking down the strings.
Next pick the 4th fret of the 4th string. Play the 2nd fret of the 4th string. Play the 5th string, 4th fret, and the note of the second fret of the 5th string. Finally the open A string. Which brings you to the A chord.
This is a lot easier to play, than read and write. Like I said get the Tab it will make more sense.
Beginning Guitar Riff in Tennessee Whiskey
At the Very beginning of the song there is a couple of cool riffs. I will show you how to play it so that you can play, and strum at the same time. Just the same As if your sitting around playing the song.
Not with a band a lead guitar, a rhythm guitar, bass and drums. So we need to incorporate the riff, and keep the strum together.
Here’s how I play it. First off we have an open E string. Which is the 6th string. Then play the second fret on the 6th string. After that an open A string, the 5th string.
You want to then pick the 2nd fret of the 5th string, and slide to the fourth fret. I strum the A chord after that.
Here is what you want to do:
- 0 & 2, on the 6th string.
- 0 on the 5th string. 2 Slide to 4 on the 5th string.
- Then Strum the A chord.
Below is the Tab, but if you need help reading & understanding Tablature take a look at this lesson What is a guitar Tab.
Second Part of the Intro Riff
Use your first finger to slide. Slide from 2 to 4, and back to the second fret. We are still are on the 5th string. Pick the open A string, and pick the 4th fret of the A string. Then strum the Bm chord.
You want to make sure you are using the right fingers. So that when you pick the note then have to play the Bm chord. Your fingers are right in place to make it happen. Make sure your using your first finger to slide.
After strumming the Bm. Using your 3rd finger. Bring it up to the fourth fret of the A string. Use alternate picking to pick that C# note 3 times. Then pick the 2nd fret one time. Strum that Bm again.
Finally Slide from fret 2 to 4 and back to 2. Still on the 5th string. Pick the open 5th string two times. Then strum the ASus4 chord.
To keep in Rhythm Pick frets 0 & 2 on the 6th string. Then open A string, and A chord (short) strum. Cut off the A chord. Then the Verse starts on A.
Muting the Strings to Get the Right Sound
In this great song Tennessee Whiskey. There is a lot going into the song to make the beat really stand out.
Part of which is the the muting of the strings. There are several places in the song where you will want to mute the strings. You can do this one of two ways. Either with your right hand or your left.
There are times when you are playing the A Major Chord. You will want to mute the strings. This can be done by raising your fingers off the strings to mute the sound.
When I say raising your fingers off the strings. Not all the way off just relax the tension on the strings.
Another way of muting the strings is palm muting. This is accomplished with your strumming hand. You are actually muting the strings with the palm of your hand.
When to mute the strings?
- At the beginning of the song, in between the riffs and strumming. You don’t want the strumming to continue, and to bleed into the starting riffs.
- Then there is a definite pause at the very beginning before the verse.
- At the Lyric “Your as Smooth”.
- After the Riff before the second verse begins.
- Before the Solo begins, after the second verse.
Chris Stapleton Tennessee Whiskey Guitar Lesson (Acoustic Cover)
Here’s the intro Tab:
After the first verse there is a Riff. Then it goes into the second verse. The riff is similar to the beginning riff. The riff is:
- On the 6th string frets 0 & 2
- The 5th string frets 0 & 2 slide to 4, then choke it fast.
Then the second verse begins. After the second verse there is a solo that starts out on the 10th fret.
If you like this lesson maybe you would like these Guitar lessons too.
How to Play Tennessee Whisky on Guitar for Beginners
The easiest way to play this song if you are a beginner guitarist. Would be to first learn the chords. The chord finger positions. Then work on transitioning between the chords. Here is a link to The Ultimate Guide How to Learn Guitar Chords.
Next I would recommend trying to play the song using open chords. Which would be the G, and the Am chord.
There are several ways to play the G chord. Here is how I play the chord. I place my second finger on the second fret of the fifth string.
My third finger is on the sixth string, at the third fret. Then my pinkie is on the first string at the third fret.
You can also play the G chord with fingers 1, 2, and 3. On strings 5, 6, and 1. Look at the chord diagram below to see the G chord.
The Second Open Chord
The next chord is the Am chord. Spelled A minor. Take a look at the Am chord in the chord diagram below.
When Playing the Am chord your first finger is on the second string. At the first fret. Your second finger is at the second fret of the 4th string. Then your third finger is on the third string at the second fret.
When you play the Am chord you play the A string. It is part of the chord. It is the open 5th string.
You don’t wan’t to strum the 6th string. This would not sound good.
After your good with the chords. We want to place the Capo on the Second fret. If you need a capo take a look at the variety of capos. there are Electric Capos Vs Acoustic.
Okay if you’ve got your capo and chords ready. Here is how to strum this song. First off most songs are in 4/4 timing. So you are always counting to 4.
This song is in 6/8 time. Don’t worry so much about that. Just know that you want to count to three. The beat is one two three, one two three. The “one” is the accented strum.
So you want a longer strum on the one. Also hit all the strings on the one. Then the other strums are shorter, and you don’t strike all the stings.
If you want to learn more about using a capo. Check out this lesson on what’s the use of a guitar capo.
How to Play Tennessee Whiskey With a Capo
If you want to play this great song using only open chords. Maybe your not ready to play the Bm chord yet. Here is a great place to start. With a Capo you can use open chords.
To start place the Capo on the second fret. Behind the fret wire. Then the chords that you want to play are G, Am, Am, and G. That is the chord progression.
The song is in 6/8 time. The easiest way to play it is with all down strums. With an accent on the one and four. So it is counted out 1 2 3 4 5 6.
If you want to learn the finger position of the G and the Am chord plus many more. Here they are: First Position Chords.
Tennessee Whiskey Chords George Jones
No Show Jones did it first! He did it quite a bit different than Chris Stapleton. The Tennessee Whiskey Chords George Jones version are E A B7. That’s with a Capo on the first fret.
It is played with an alternating base line. Here is a link to learn how to play that style. How to play alternating bass line.