Two Songs at Once (Guitar Lesson)

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

Two Songs at Once

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

Taught by Jim Deeming in Fingerstyle Guitar seriesLength: 30:03Difficulty: 2.5 of 5
Chapter 1: (00:10) Musical Introduction Welcome back to the Phase 2 Fingerstyle guitar series with Jim Deeming! Sit back and enjoy Jim's performance of the classic fingerstyle arrangement "Yankee Doodle Dixie."
Chapter 2: (02:34) Lesson Introduction - Yankee Doodle and Dixie Lesson Objectives

Jim has decided to teach Chet Atkins' arrangement of "Yankee Doodle Dixie" for several specific reasons. First and foremost, the arrangement is incredibly fun to play. Your friends and family will be amazed by the timeless parlor trick of playing two songs at once. Learning the arrangement will also vastly improve your guitar skills - specifically thumb independence. Past fingerstyle lessons have combined a melody with an alternating bass line played by the thumb. This lesson forces you to play two completely independent voices at the same time. The melody to "Dixie" is played as the upper melodic voice. The thumb does not play a repetitive pattern like in previous lessons. Instead, the melody to "Yankee Doodle" is played by the thumb as a bass line. After completing this lesson, you will most likely find that your thumb independence has improved. Consequently, it will be easier to perform alternating bass lines along with a melody or chordal accompaniment.
Chapter 3: (03:44) Thumb Notes Arrangement Overview

Bass Line

This arrangement features the melody of "Yankee Doodle" played as a bass line. The bass line is played on the sixth, fifth strings and fourth strings. All bass notes are either played as open strings or at the second and fourth frets. Use the first and third fingers to fret these notes. This fingering must be used in order to accommodate the melody to "Dixie," which Jim will discuss later in the lesson. Use the right hand thumb to pluck all bass notes. Apply some light palm muting so that this voice sounds more like a supporting bass line. As a result, the melody to "Dixie" will stand out as the focal point of the arrangement.

Practicing the Arrangement

Do not attempt to play the arrangement as written at first. You must first isolate each of the independent voices. Begin by working on the "Yankee Doodle" bass line. The bass line is played as the lowest voice in the notated score. Focus on playing this bass line smoothly and in time. Then, work on the melody to "Dixie" on its own. You may find it helpful to write in the appropriate right hand fingering for Dixie as you work through the melody. This will become important down the line when you combine both parts. When both individual individual voices are mastered, begin to combine them. When the voices are combined, they both must sound subordinate to one another yet able to stand strongly on their own. As you perform the arrangement, do not think of it as two songs happening at the same time. Think of it as a single arrangement.
Chapter 4: (11:21) Starting the Song Practice Tips

-The melody to "Dixie" begins with some eighth notes played as pickups. Make sure that you are fretting all melody notes at the fretboard locations indicated in "Supplemental Content." Otherwise, you will not be able to play the melody and bass line simultaneously. The first two pickup notes can be played on the second string with a pull-off. The pull-off adds a smooth legato sound to the melody voice.

-Practice the arrangement one measure at a time. Jim breaks down the first measure along with the pickup notes at 04:10 in the lesson video.

-Notes at the second fret can be played by barring them when two notes are played simultaneously on different strings. This fingering requires the least amount of mental and physical coordination. Compare this fingering with the fingering that Jim uses in the lesson video. Use the fingering that is most comfortable for you.

-Practice very slowly! Ensure that you are playing in time and playing all rhythms exactly as written. You may need to start as slow as 40 beats per minute.

-Drill all transitions that you find difficult. Make mini exercises out of all difficult measures. Repetitious practice of each measure will build your muscle memory and coordination between your brain and hands.

-Make mental pictures of the left hand fingerings. This will also help your mental and muscle memory.
Chapter 5: (04:10) Moving On Measure 3

Jim begins this scene with an explanation of the third measure. In this measure, he frets the B bass note with the thumb. This note along with the F# "Dixie" melody note can also be played by barring the first finger at the 2nd fret. Keep in mind that Jim has huge hands. The thumb technique may simply not be practical for you in this situation, especially if you have small hands or are playing a classical guitar.

Measures 4-5

A position shift must occur in this measure in order to play the high notes involved in the "Dixie" melody. Shift up to fourth position from second position on beat 2 of measure four. At the beginning of measure five, use the pinkie finger to fret the high C# note on the E string. Shift back to second position on beat 3 of measure five.
Chapter 6: (01:00) Rhythm Notes Pay very careful attention to the rhythm of the arrangement. In order to create the illusion of two songs played at once, you must play the rhythms exactly as written. If you play certain eighth note groups with a hammer-on or pull-off, make sure that these slurs remain perfectly even. Play the measures containing slurs slowly along with a metronome. For example, the pickup notes as well as the eighth notes at the end of measure two may be slurred. Make sure that both notes involved in the slur receive the exact same rhythmic value. However, if you play the arrangement with a loose swing feel, the first note must be slightly longer than the second note.

Also, be aware of when two eighth notes in the "Dixie" melody are played with a single quarter note in the "Yankee Doodle" bass line.
Chapter 7: (00:33) Slow Demonstration In this scene, Jim provides a demonstration of the arrangement at roughly half the performance tempo. Watch and listen carefully several times. Focus on the rhythm as well as the right and left hand fingering. Then, practice the arrangement on your own with a metronome. Once you can play the arrangement at the tempo demonstrated by Jim, return to the video and play along with him.

Continue to practice the arrangement on your own with a metronome until you can comfortably play the arrangement at around 120 beats per minute.
Chapter 8: (00:19) Regular Demonstration Jim plays through the arrangement at a much quicker tempo. However, he's still a long way from the ideal performance tempo. Play along with him in this scene to ensure that you can play the arrangement accurately and in time.

Then, continue to practice the arrangement on your own along with a metronome until you reach the ultimate goal tempo of 175 beats per minute. At this tempo, you may want to set the metronome to about 88 beats per minute and play the piece in cut time.
Chapter 9: (02:38) Chords, Thoughts, and Notes No more than two notes are played simultaneously at any given point in the arrangement. Typically, a triad or chord is defined by three different notes. However, specific chords can be implied by the combination of a bass line and a melodic line. The chords implied throughout the arrangement are the I, IV, and V chords in the key of A major. Respectively, these chords are A, D, and E. Analyze each measure to determine which chord is implied.
Chapter 10: (03:28) Yankee Doodle and Polly Wolly Doodle Both "Yankee Doodle" and "Polly Wolly Doodle" can be played together in a single arrangement. Once again, the melody to "Yankee Doodle" is played as a bass line while "Polly Wolly Doodle is played as the upper melodic voice.

Take the same approach to learning this arrangement as outlined in scene 3. Learn each voice separately at first. Then, begin to combine them at a very slow tempo.

Phase 3 Lessons

For the full Chet Atkins arrangement of "Yankee Doodle Dixie," visit Jim's Phase 3 lesson series. The full version includes a bridge section.

Questions About the Lesson

If you have any specific questions concerning this lesson, feel free to write in to Jim. Either email him or leave a comment within this lesson. You can also leave questions and comments for him on his JamPlay forum.

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.

stooshstoosh replied

This song is in a Mel Bay book "chet Atkins "off the record." pub 1976. Bunch of others both in tab plus the actual notes. There is also a chet atkins version of Scott Joplins The Entertainer. Not sure if you teach it. I know there is sheet music ( and I assumes tablature) for the guitar for it as well.

epiphone65epiphone65 replied

Love the lessons, you mention about looking at the tabs but I don't see any. I'm I not looking at the right place ?

burnyburny replied

Really great lesson, I can play this through now at a moderate pace, just need to work on getting it up to the right tempo. Ive learnt more in the few days ive been a member than in years trying to go it alone. Gonna take a look at the chorus tab soon :-)

bcgaraybcgaray replied

Jim this is the same email I wrote about the chorus. I can't seem to get base line syc with the melody. The tab doesn't match the video in phase 3. At least what I can make out. I'm using [email protected] There are two others listed could you tell what they are? Love the lessons keep them coming. Thanks

dagmyhdagmyh replied

Hi, struggling a little,- it seems to me that the first notes of the YDD, the one with the pulloff, is not the same as in the notesheet? It would, I think help if the cords could be written in the note sheet as well. Dag

homerhomer replied

video link is not working!

jboothjbooth replied

I can play all videos ok. Are you sure you have the most up to date verison of the Flash player?

govertgovert replied

Hey great lesson, but I do have a remark/question. In measure 5 you go from with the Yankee Doodle from an A to the low E. In the score it shows an G# which is a bit harder but doable. I guess you go pick what sounds right to you. Thanks for the lesson it is very easy to follow.

dash rendardash rendar replied

Just a minor point, but I think Jim is playing an A on the fourth beat of the 3rd measure (on the G string), rather than the C# (on the B string) indicated in tab in the supplemental for Yankie Doodle Dixie.

epiphone65epiphone65 replied

Where are the tabs ?

mr mikemr mike replied

I remember about 40 years ago trying once or twice to get this song and I gave up. Now you got me up to 5 bars of it. Thanks

greenogreeno replied

Fun lesson, Jim. Thanks

tomorrowtomorrow replied

great lesson superb teaching style .thanks

wolfpack21643wolfpack21643 replied

Your Insane Jim. Ha Ha!!!!

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.

Alan Skowron Alan Skowron

Alan shares his background in teaching and sets the direction for his beginning bass series with simple ideas and musical...

Free LessonSeries Details
David Isaacs David Isaacs

JamPlay welcomes David Isaacs to our teacher roster. With his first lesson Dave explains his approach to playing guitar with...

Free LessonSeries Details
Mark Kailana Nelson Mark Kailana Nelson

Mark Nelson introduces "'Ulupalakua," a song he will be using to teach different skills and techniques. In this lesson, he...

Free LessonSeries Details
Jessica Baron Jessica Baron

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

Free LessonSeries Details
Don Ross Don Ross

New fingerstyle instructor Don Ross introduces himself, his background, and what you should expect in this series.

Free LessonSeries Details
Jim Deeming Jim Deeming

Jim discusses the importance of setting goals. He provides some tips that will help steer your practicing in the right direction.

Free LessonSeries Details
Greg Greenway Greg Greenway

Greg kicks off his series telling a little about himself and introduces the C9 tuning.

Free LessonSeries Details
Kaki King Kaki King

In lesson 6, Kaki discusses how the left and right hands can work together or independently of each other to create different...

Free LessonSeries Details
Robbie Merrill Robbie Merrill

JamPlay welcomes bassist and founding member of Godsmack, Robbie Merrill. In this short introduction lesson, Robbie showcases...

Free LessonSeries Details

Electric Guitar Lesson Samples

Electric Guitar

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

Nick Greathouse Nick Greathouse

Nick starts his series with Alternate Picking part 1. Improve your timing, speed, and execution with this important lesson.

Free LessonSeries Details
Steve Stevens Steve Stevens

Steve Stevens shows some of his go-to licks and ideas while improvising over a backing track he made.

Free LessonSeries Details
Paul Musso Paul Musso

JamPlay is proud to welcome senior professor and Coordinator of Guitar Studies at the University of Colorado at Denver,...

Free LessonSeries Details
Andy Wood Andy Wood

So how does Andy Wood pick so quickly and with such precision? Level up your speed and accuracy with Andy's near-flawless...

Free LessonSeries Details
Daniel Gilbert Daniel Gilbert

Known around the world for his inspirational approach to guitar instruction, Musician's Institute veteran Daniel Gilbert...

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
Jeffery Marshall Jeffery Marshall

Welcome to Inside and Out with Jeff Marshall! In this lesson series, Jeff takes a bottom up approach to fret board proficiency....

Free LessonSeries Details
DJ Phillips DJ Phillips

Learn a handful of new blues techniques while learning to play Stevie Ray Vaughn's "The House Is Rockin'".

Free LessonSeries Details
Matt Brown Matt Brown

Matt Brown shows off some ways to add some creativity and originality to your rock chord voicings.

Free LessonSeries Details

Join over 504949 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 125 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!