Learn to Play: Tommy Emmanuel Teaches 4 Steps for Fingerstyle, Performs "Rachel's Lullaby"

We here at Reverb are big fans of Australian guitar virtuoso Tommy Emmanuel, and we've been fortunate enough to have worked with him multiple times over the past couple of years.

We first sat down with Tommy in early 2016 to talk more about his Maton EBG 808 and its AP5 Pro pickup system. A few months later, in November, we launched The Official Tommy Emmanuel Reverb Shop—the proceeds of which were donated by Tommy to Guitars For Vets, MusiCares, and Doctors Without Borders.

Today, we welcome Tommy Emmanuel back into the Reverb studio to pass along four of his tips for getting started with fingerstyle guitar-playing. As Tommy explains in the video above, a lot of fingerstyle players have slightly different philosophies and approaches.

But one thing that everyone agrees on is that the first and most important thing to learn is how to get your thumb to move independently from the rest of your fingers. Without the ability to maintain a steady groove, fingerstyle will never sound the way that you want it to. And once you have that independence down, a whole world of new fingerpicking patterns opens up.

In this second video, Tommy treats us to a solo performance of "Rachel's Lullaby," a "Blackbird"-inspired song for his daughter, from his new record, Accomplice One. On the album, Tommy is joined by ukulele player Jake Shimabukuro, but today he's performing alone, "as the composer intended."

Be sure to watch both videos in full, where you can learn for yourself the basics of fingerpicking and then see a master of the style at work. And check out Tommy Emmanuel's discography on Reverb LP.


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