Summer Savings Event Ends in

Summer Savings Event with sub-Netflix prices and 2020 Guitarist Toolkits. Unlock all artists, courses and platform features. Apply Your Coupon

Chet Atkins Style (Guitar Lesson)

Guitar Lesson
Get Started
What are you waiting for? Get your membership now!
Jim Deeming

Chet Atkins Style

Jim explains key components of Chet Atkins' guitar style.

Taught by Jim Deeming in Fingerstyle Guitar seriesLength: 18:12Difficulty: 2.5 of 5
Chapter 1: (00:19) Musical Introduction Jim kicks off Fingerstyle Lesson 7 by playing a segment from Chet Atkins' arrangement of "Windy and Warm." This song was composed by John Loudermilk. A full lesson pertaining to this arrangement can be found in JamPlay's Phase 3 area.
Chapter 2: (09:11) Chet Atkins Style Chet Atkins is easily one of the most influential guitarists of all time. He absorbed the guitar styles of Merle Travis, Les Paul, and Django Reinhardt and transformed them into a unique style of his own. With the help of Owen Bradley, Chet Atkins devised a smooth style of country music referred to as the "Nashville" sound. His influence has far outstretched the bounds of the country genre. Atkins has inspired the work of countless guitarists such as Tommy Emanuel, Jerry Reed, Doyle Dykes, and rock players such as John Lowery aka John 5, Eric Johnson, and Mark Knopfler.

This lesson is used as a precursor to the Phase 3 lesson pertaining to Chet Atkins' arrangement of "Windy and Warm." Jim explains the key guitar techniques necessary to playing this arrangement.

Review of Past Lesson Materials

In the past several lessons, Jim has explained numerous thumb independence techniques. He has demonstrated how to apply an alternating bass line to basic chord progressions. Jim has also explained how syncopated and non-syncopated chordal accompaniments can be added to the alternating bass line. In Lesson 5, you learned some arpeggio figures that can be used to accompany a melody line.

Within the most basic chordal accompaniment pattern, blocked chords are plucked on beats 2 and 4 of each measure while an alternating bass line maintains a steady quarter note rhythm. Many bluegrass players and country players refer to this as the "boom chick" or "boom tick" rhythm. These onomatopoeias refer to the sound of this accompaniment figure.

In the current lesson, Jim relates these techniques to the guitar style of Chet Atkins. He introduces this style through a few basic exercises.

Am Exercise

A three string alternating bass pattern is applied to an "open" Am chord. The bass line is played in a steady quarter note rhythm. In addition to this bass line, a five note segment from the A natural minor scale is played on the treble strings. This scale segment is played in quarter notes. The segment begins with the tonic A note played at the 2nd fret of the third string. This pattern ascends to the open E note played on the first string. Once this note is reached in the scale pattern, the pattern descends back down to the tonic A note.

Left Hand Fingering

The second and third fingers remain planted on the third and fourth strings throughout the exercise. The first and pinkie fingers must move to accommodate the scale segment that occurs on the second string.

Right Rand Fingering

Jim uses the index finger for all melody notes played on the third string. The middle finger plays all notes on the second string. All first string notes are plucked by the ring finger. The thumb plays the bass line only. Remember to apply light palm muting to the bass line so that the melody line stands out.

As you begin to practice the exercise, do not get frustrated if you cannot make it through the entire scale segment. If this is the case, work your way through the bass line by playing just a few of the melody notes. Jim demonstrates this mini exercise at 05:10 in the lesson video. He plays up to the third note in the scale segment, C. Then, he gradually incorporates the remaining scale notes into the exercise.

Metronome Practice

Practice this exercise slowly and in time with a metronome. However, remember not to practice at too slow of a tempo. Fingerstyle exercises that require a great deal of mental and physical coordination become even more difficult at extremely slow metronome markings. Begin with the metronome set to roughly 60 beats per minute. Then, gradually increase the tempo.

Guitar Type

All of the techniques discussed in this lesson can also be played on a classical or electric guitar. Chet Atkins performed "Windy and Warm" on both of these guitar types. When performing an alternating bass line on classical guitar, a lighter palm muting technique must be applied in order for the bass notes to ring clearly.
Chapter 3: (02:50) Bass Run Within the arrangement of "Windy and Warm" the alternating bass pattern is frequently broken. The song would sound rather boring and monotonous if the bass line remained the same throughout the song. For example, a scalar bass line is played within the chord progression to create some variety and interest. This bass run is played between the V chord, E major and the tonic chord Am. This same bass line is used in countless other fingerstyle arrangements when the V chord resolves to the i chord.

Remember that the V dominant chord in minor keys is typically a major chord. The leading tone within this chord creates a strong half step resolution to the root note of the tonic chord. If a minor v chord is substituted, a distinct Aeolian modal sound is produced.

E Major Exercise

Begin the exercise with an "open" E major chord. Apply a three string bass pattern to this chord. The right hand pattern must change to accommodate this chord shape. In contrast with Am, the bass pattern for E major follows a 6, 4, 5, 4 string pattern. Play the bass line along with the "boom chick" rhythm.
Chapter 4: (05:52) Timing, Bass Runs, and Finger Positioning E to Am Exercise

Begin by applying the boom chick rhythm and an alternating bass line to an "open" E major chord. This figure lasts for a measure and a half. The chords and alternating bass line are suspended for the final two beats of the second measure. Instead, two notes from the A melodic minor scale are used in the bass line leading up to the tonic Am chord. These notes are F# and G#. Your second finger must lift from the E chord to fret F# at the 2nd fret of the sixth string. G# is played by the pinkie finger at the 4th fret of this string. The boom chick and alternating bass line return when the tonic Am chord is reached in measure 3 of the exercise.

Am to E Exercise

The descending version of the A melodic minor scale is used when moving from Am to E. The melodic minor scale utilizes a different series of notes when ascending and descending. The ascending pattern of the A melodic minor scale is spelled as follows: A, B, C, D, E, F#, G#, A. The descending form is identical to the natural minor scale. This scale is spelled A, B, C, D, E, F, G, A.

Once again, the boom chick rhythm and alternating bass line are played during the first measure and the first two beats of the second measure. This accompaniment is suspended on beats two and four of the second measure. On beat 3 of the second measure, a G bass note is played at the 3rd fret of the sixth string with the pinkie finger. The first finger must release from the second string of the Am chord to play an F bass note on beat 4 of this measure.

Combining the Exercises

Practice switching back and forth between these chords using the bass lines and accompaniment figures listed above. Start at a slow tempo and gradually work your way up to 165 beats per minute. This is the goal tempo for Chet Atkins' arrangement of "Windy and Warm."

Chord Progression to "Windy and Warm"

The bulk of the song is played in the key of Am. However, the second half of the tune modulates to the key of A major. When playing an A chord in the Chet Atkins style, always use a voicing that will accommodate the melody line. Typically a barred version of the A chord is used. Barre the notes on the fourth, third, and second strings with the first finger. This leaves the other three fingers available to fret melody notes. Every note in the A major scale can be played out of this chord grip. Jim demonstrates this scale within an A chord at 03:20 in the lesson video.

It should be noted that the F# note played at the 2nd fret of the first string is not part of an A major chord. Do not add this note when strumming the chord or using it in an accompaniment figure. Either omit the first string or fret the note A with the pinkie finger at the 5th fret of the first string.

Phase 3 Lesson

After you have mastered the concepts presented in this lesson, you are ready to tackle the Phase 3 "Windy and Warm" lesson.

Video Subtitles / Captions


Supplemental Learning Material



Member Comments about this Lesson

Discussions with our instructors are just one of the many benefits of becoming a member of JamPlay.

spritteyyspritteyy replied

Hello... can i find the song Windy and Warm somewhere ???

JWEjamJWEjam replied

Where is the full lesson for Windy& Warm? thanks

JWEjamJWEjam replied

Jim. Thank you for the ideal finger picking lessons. I have been searching for the best teacher (for me) to learn/master finger picking, for Chet Atkins, Doyle Dykes, Tommy Emanuel style, and tried Totally Guitars, Lick& Riff, Riff Ninja sites, but you are the best teacher. I have been playing since 1963 but need refresher courses and new learning. I joined last week for the year membership during JamPlay live and thankful I did. Thanks

cutchincutchin replied

Where do I find the replies to these comments?

tasmanian deviltasmanian devil replied

Jim, thank you for your great lessons. I can't believe how much they have helped me. Never thought I would ever be able to play "windy and warm" but with your help I am well on my way! wouldn't have been able to do it without the exercises taught in this lesson.

dfarneydfarney replied

To Jim Deeming, Hello, my name is Dr. Darrell Farney. I am a 66 year old man who is trying to learn how to play guitar in the Chet Atkins style. I have purchased a year long subscription to JamPlay. However, I don't think I am getting the most out of your lessons that I could if I knew better how to use your lessons. I need your help to know how to better use my time and yours. Is it possible for us to have a conversation on the phone? I live in Chicago, IL and my phone number is 847-270-0701.

tonigreertonigreer replied

are we going somewhere with this? bits and pieces, Im thinking I would like to learn the whole song it would help me to get it into my head better

geoffmanninggeoffmanning replied

holy crap where is your beard?

mysteriousmtmysteriousmt replied

where is the lesson you show the song windy and warm?

larry1larry1 replied

jim great lessons - i have learned so much-- i wondered if you could teach trambone in a phase 3 lesson thx lar

akman1akman1 replied

All through your lessons you mention the tablature, but I cant seem to locate these elusive tabs on this site. Where are these rascals?

jboothjbooth replied

It's under the supplemental content tab titled "lesson exercises."

gorbaggorbag replied

supplemental content...

jessehjesseh replied

Jim you are the greatest

jboothjbooth replied

Please note the tablature will be done shortly.

jessehjesseh replied


Fingerstyle Guitar

Found in our Beginner Lesson Sets

Fingerstyle guitar allows you to play the bass, harmony, and melody of a song all within the context of a single guitar part.

Intro to FingerstyleLesson 1

Intro to Fingerstyle

This lesson serves as an introduction for Fingerstyle Guitar with Jim Deeming. Come on in and get started!

Length: 24:32 Difficulty: 0.5 Members Only
Basic FingerstyleLesson 2

Basic Fingerstyle

Jim demonstrates a basic fingerstyle exercise that you can use with any of the chords you know.

Length: 16:05 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
More Picking PatternsLesson 3

More Picking Patterns

Jim expands on lesson 2 and teaches several different picking patterns. He also covers the basics of muting.

Length: 14:23 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Using SyncopationLesson 4

Using Syncopation

Jim Deeming explains how to integrate basic syncopation into your rhythm playing.

Length: 17:00 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Picking Melody NotesLesson 5

Picking Melody Notes

This lesson is all about picking melody notes. Fingerstyle guitar really gets interesting when you combine bass, harmony, and melody.

Length: 33:00 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Aura LeeLesson 6

Aura Lee

Jim Deeming teaches a fingerstyle version of the classic Civil War era song "Aura Lee."

Length: 43:23 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Chet Atkins StyleLesson 7

Chet Atkins Style

Jim explains key components of Chet Atkins' guitar style.

Length: 18:12 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
3/4 Time and a SongLesson 8

3/4 Time and a Song

Jim Deeming teaches a fingerstyle arrangement of "Bicycle Built for Two." He uses this piece as an example of 3/4 or waltz timing.

Length: 37:34 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Two Songs at OnceLesson 9

Two Songs at Once

Jim Deeming teaches a fingerstyle arrangement of "Yankee Doodle" and "Dixie." Both songs are played simultaneously!

Length: 30:03 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Open G TuningLesson 10

Open G Tuning

Jim Deeming teaches the basics of open G tuning. He also teaches a song entitled "Spanish Fandango" to show how the tuning can be used.

Length: 39:58 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Carter Family StyleLesson 11

Carter Family Style

Jim Deeming introduces a playing style called "Carter Family Style." The technique is also referred to as "Frailing" or "Clawhammer" style.

Length: 13:07 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
DADGAD TuningLesson 12


Jim Deeming teaches the many wonders of DADGAD tuning.

Length: 32:25 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Thumb Independence Lesson 13

Thumb Independence

Jim Deeming tackles the topic of thumb independence.

Length: 31:51 Difficulty: 1.5 FREE
The JamPlay SongLesson 14

The JamPlay Song

Jim Deeming teaches a more advanced version of the aptly named "JamPlay Song."

Length: 7:24 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
The Wayfaring StrangerLesson 15

The Wayfaring Stranger

Jim Deeming teaches a fingerstyle version of the classic song "The Wayfaring Stranger."

Length: 31:27 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
The Official Thumbpick GuideLesson 16

The Official Thumbpick Guide

Jim Deeming answers one of the most common fingerstyle questions, "which thumbpick should I use?"

Length: 13:03 Difficulty: 1.0 Members Only
Fingernail GuideLesson 17

Fingernail Guide

Jim Deeming presents his thoughts on how to properly grow and groom your fingernails.

Length: 7:07 Difficulty: 1.0 Members Only
The EntertainerLesson 18

The Entertainer

Jim Deeming teaches a fingerstyle arrangement of "The Entertainer," a classic piano song ported over to the guitar.

Length: 20:40 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Arranging Fingerstyle SongsLesson 19

Arranging Fingerstyle Songs

Jim Deeming teaches the skills necessary to transform any song into a solo fingerstyle masterpiece.

Length: 37:04 Difficulty: 4.0 Members Only
Arranging Fingerstyle Songs Pt. 2Lesson 20

Arranging Fingerstyle Songs Pt. 2

Jim talks more about arranging fingerstyle songs. This time around he discusses harmonization and chord inversions.

Length: 13:35 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Arranging Fingerstyle Songs Pt. 3Lesson 21

Arranging Fingerstyle Songs Pt. 3

Jim Deeming demonstrates alternate ways to play the CAGED chords that can be very useful when playing melody and accompaniment simultaneously.

Length: 30:38 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Arranging Fingerstyle Songs Pt. 4Lesson 22

Arranging Fingerstyle Songs Pt. 4

In this lesson Jim Deeming talks about a simple way to add harmony notes to the melody section of fingerstyle songs. This technique is quite simple and can add a whole new dimension to your playing.

Length: 5:51 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Jim Deeming

About Jim Deeming View Full Biography Jim Deeming got his first guitar when he was only six years old. His Dad was taking fingerpicking lessons, and Jim wanted to be just like him. The Mel Bay books didn't last very long before he strapped on a thumb pick and added the Chet part to Red River Valley so it sounded better.

Most of Jim's early learning was by ear. With unlimited access to his Dad's collection of Chet Atkins albums, he spent countless hours decoding his favorite songs. They were never "right" until they sounded just like Chet. Around the age of 12, Jim heard Jerry Reed for the first time and just knew he had to be able to make that "Alabama Wild Man" sound. The styles of Chet & Jerry always have been a big influence on his playing.

More recently he has pursued arrangements by Tommy Emmanuel and Doyle Dykes, in addition to creating some of his own and writing originals.

Jim has performed in front of a variety of audiences, including concerts, competitions, weddings and the like, but playing at church has always been a mainstay. Whether playing in worship bands or guitar solos, gospel music is deep in his roots and is also the driving theme behind his debut CD release, titled "First Fruits".

Jim has been playing for about 38 years. He also has taught private lessons in the past but believes is an exciting and better venue with many advantages over the traditional method of weekly 30 minute sessions.

Jim lives in Berthoud, Colorado with his wife, Linda, and their four children. Although he still has a "day job", he is actively performing and is already back in the studio working on the next CD. If you wonder how he finds time, look no further than the back seat of his truck where he keeps a "travel guitar" to take advantage of any practice or song-writing opportunities he can get.

The opening song you hear in Jim's introductory JamPlay video is called, "A Pick In My Pocket". It's an original tune, written in memory of Jim's father who told him early on he should always keep a pick in his pocket in case he ever met Chet Atkins and got the chance to play for him. That song is slated to be the title track for his next CD, which will feature several more originals plus some of his favorite covers of Chet and Jerry arrangements.

Lesson Information

Acoustic Guitar Lessons

Acoustic Guitar

Our acoustic guitar lessons are taught by qualified instructors with various backgrounds with the instrument.

Amber Russell Amber Russell

Playing fingerstyle requires the ability to play different techniques at the same time. This of course, is not always an...

Free LessonSeries Details
Danny Voris Danny Voris

Lesson 7 is all about arpeggios. Danny provides discussion and exercises designed to build your right hand skills.

Free LessonSeries Details
Pamela Goldsmith Pamela Goldsmith

Pamela brings a cap to her first 13 JamPlay lessons with another original etude inspired by the great Leo Brouwer. This is...

Free LessonSeries Details
Mitch Reed Mitch Reed

Mitch teaches his interpretation of the classic "Cannonball Rag." This song provides beginning and intermediate guitarists...

Free LessonSeries Details
Nick Amodeo Nick Amodeo

Nick explains how to play some of the most commonly used chords in the bluegrass genre.

Free LessonSeries Details
Freebo Freebo

In this lesson, Freebo covers the basics of right hand technique. This lesson is essential for all up and coming bassists.

Free LessonSeries Details
Mary Flower Mary Flower

Mary talks about the key of F in this fantastic lesson.

Free LessonSeries Details
Jessica Baron Jessica Baron

Jessica kindly introduces herself, her background, and her approach to this series.

Free LessonSeries Details

Electric Guitar Lesson Samples

Electric Guitar

Our electric guitar lessons are taught by instructors with an incredible amount of teaching experience.

Mark Brennan Mark Brennan

Mark Brennan teaches this classic rock song by Jethro Tull. Released on the album of the same name in 1971, this song features...

Free LessonSeries Details
Michael Ripoll Michael Ripoll

Michael "Nomad" Ripoll dives deep into the rhythm & blues, funk, and soul genres that were made popular by artists like Earth...

Free LessonSeries Details
John Shannon John Shannon

Meet John Shannon and his approach to rhythm guitar. John discusses why he put this lesson series together and what his...

Free LessonSeries Details
Joel Kosche Joel Kosche

Joel Kosche talks about creating and composing a guitar solo. He uses his original song "Sunrise" as an example.

Free LessonSeries Details
Eric Madis Eric Madis

In this lesson Eric talks about playing basic lead in the Memphis Blues style.

Free LessonSeries Details
Dan Sugarman Dan Sugarman

Dan Sugarman gives us an introduction and preview to his series - Sugarman's Shredding Revolution.

Free LessonSeries Details
Tom Appleman Tom Appleman

Tom Appleman takes a look at a blues in E with a focus on the Chicago blues style. The bass line for Chicago blues is very...

Free LessonSeries Details
Jeff Kollman Jeff Kollman

Been playing the standard 12 bar blues and looking to add some flare? Look no further than Jeff Kollmann's series, "Blowing...

Free LessonSeries Details
Michael Palmisano Michael Palmisano

Michael kicks off his course and explains what to expect from the course, as well as who this course is designed for.

Free LessonSeries Details
Andre Nieri Andre Nieri

Born in 1986 and hailing from Brazil, Andre showed musical inclination at an early age. Influenced by native Brazilian Jazz...

Free LessonSeries Details

Join over 515486 guitarists who have learned how to play in weeks... not years!

Signup today to enjoy access to our entire database of video lessons, along with our exclusive set of learning tools and features.

Unlimited Lesson Viewing

A JamPlay membership gives you access to every lesson, from every teacher on our staff. Additionally, there is no restriction on how many times you watch a lesson. Watch as many times as you need.

Live Lessons

Exclusive only to JamPlay, we currently broadcast 8-10 hours of steaming lesson services directly to you! Enjoy the benefits of in-person instructors and the conveniences of our community.

Interactive Community

Create your own profile, manage your friends list, and contact users with your own JamPlay Mailbox. JamPlay also features live chat with teachers and members, and an active Forum.

Chord Library

Each chord in our library contains a full chart, related tablature, and a photograph of how the chord is played. A comprehensive learning resource for any guitarist.

Scale Library

Our software allows you to document your progress for any lesson, including notes and percent of the lesson completed. This gives you the ability to document what you need to work on, and where you left off.

Custom Chord Sheets

At JamPlay, not only can you reference our Chord Library, but you can also select any variety of chords you need to work on, and generate your own printable chord sheet.

Backing Tracks

Jam-along backing tracks give the guitarist a platform for improvising and soloing. Our backing tracks provide a wide variety of tracks from different genres of music, and serves as a great learning tool.

Interactive Games

We have teachers covering beginner lessons, rock, classic rock, jazz, bluegrass, fingerstyle, slack key and more. Learn how to play the guitar from experienced players, in a casual environment.

Beginners Welcome.. and Up

Unlike a lot of guitar websites and DVDs, we start our Beginner Lessons at the VERY start of the learning process, as if you just picked up a guitar for the first time.Our teaching is structured for all players.

Take a minute to compare JamPlay to other traditional and new methods of learning guitar. Our estimates for "In-Person" lessons below are based on a weekly face-to-face lesson for $40 per hour.

Price Per Lesson < $0.01 $4 - $5 $30 - $50 Free
Money Back Guarantee Sometimes n/a
Number of Instructors 126 1 – 3 1 Zillions
Interaction with Instructors Daily Webcam Sessions Weekly
Professional Instructors Luck of the Draw Luck of the Draw
New Lessons Daily Weekly Minutely
Structured Lessons
Learn Any Style Sorta
Track Progress
HD Video - Sometimes
Multiple Camera Angles Sometimes - Sometimes
Accurate Tabs Maybe Maybe
Scale/Chord Libraries
Custom JamTracks
Interactive Games
Learn in Sweatpants Socially Unacceptable
Gasoline Needed $0.00 $0.00 ~$4 / gallon! $0.00
Get Started

Mike H.

"I feel like a 12 year old kid with a new guitar!"

I am 66 years young and I still got it! I would have never known this if it had not been for Jamplay! I feel like a 12 year old kid with a new guitar! Ha! I cannot express enough how great you're website is! It is for beginners and advanced pickers! I am an advanced picker and thought I had lost it but thanks to you all, I found it again! Even though I only play by ear, I have been a member a whopping whole two weeks now and have already got Brent's country shuffle and country blues down and of course with embellishments. Thank you all for your wonderful program!

Greg J.

"With Jamplay I can fit in a random session when I have time and I can go at my own pace"

I'm a fifty eight year old newbie who owns a guitar which has been sitting untouched in a corner for about seven years now. Last weekend I got inspired to pick it up and finally learn how to play after watching an amazing Spanish guitarist on TV. So, here I am. I'm starting at the beginning with Steve Eulberg and I couldn't be happier (except for the sore fingers :) Some day I'm going to play like Steve! I'm self employed with a hectic schedule. With Jamplay I can fit in a random session when I have time and I can go at my own pace, rewinding and replaying the videos until I get it. This is a very enjoyable diversion from my work yet I still feel like I'm accomplishing something worthwhile. Thanks a lot, Greg


"I believe this is the absolute best site for guitar students."

I am commenting here to tell you and everyone at JamPlay that I believe this is the absolute best site for guitar students. I truly enjoy learning to play the guitar on Yes, I said the words, ""enjoy learning."" It is by far the best deal for the money.

Join thousands of others that LIKE JamPlay!