How to Play “Tennessee Whiskey” on Guitar: A Step-by-Step Guide

Master the chords and rhythm to play “Tennessee Whiskey” on guitar with this step-by-step tutorial. Discover bonus tips to add flavor to your performance…

“Tennessee Whiskey” by Chris Stapleton has become a modern country classic, captivating audiences with its soulful melody and heartfelt lyrics. In this guitar tutorial, we’ll walk you through the essential chords and rhythm pattern needed to play this beloved song. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced guitarist looking to add this tune to your repertoire, this guide will help you master “Tennessee Whiskey” in no time.

The Chords You Need to Know

To play “Tennessee Whiskey,” you’ll need to familiarize yourself with two main chords:

  1. A major
  2. B minor

A Major Chord

The A major chord can be played with one finger or three fingers, depending on your preference and skill level. For the one-finger version, barre your index finger across the second fret of the D, G, and B strings.

B Minor Chord

The B minor chord is a barre chord that may be new to some guitarists. To play this chord:

  • Barre your index finger across the second fret from the A string down
  • Place your ring finger on the fourth fret of the D string
  • Place your pinky on the fourth fret of the G string
  • Place your middle finger on the third fret of the B string

If barre chords are new to you, start by practicing the basic shape with just your index finger and ring finger, then gradually add the pinky and middle finger as you become more comfortable.

The 6/8 Rhythm Pattern

“Tennessee Whiskey” has a 6/8 time signature, which means there are six beats per measure. This rhythm may feel different from the more common 4/4 time signature. To count in 6/8, you would say: “one, two, three, four, five, six.”

The strumming pattern for this song is:
Down, down, down-up, down, down, down-up

Practice this pattern slowly at first, counting “one, two, three-and, four, five, six-and” as you strum. Once you’re comfortable with the rhythm, you can add emphasis to beats one and four to create a more dynamic feel.

Putting It All Together

The chord progression for “Tennessee Whiskey” is:

  • 2 measures of A major
  • 4 measures of B minor
  • 2 measures of A major

This progression remains the same throughout the verse, chorus, and instrumental sections of the song. Practice transitioning between the chords while maintaining the 6/8 rhythm pattern. Start slowly and gradually increase your speed as you become more comfortable.

Bonus Tips to Spice Up Your Performance

Once you’ve mastered the basic chords and rhythm, try incorporating these techniques to add depth and flavor to your rendition of “Tennessee Whiskey”:

  1. Add a sus4 to your A major chord by including your third finger on the second fret of the B string.
  2. Throw in a B-flat diminished chord right before transitioning to the B minor for a soulful sound.
  3. Create a chromatic chord run by playing C-sharp minor, C minor, and B minor during the fourth measure of the B minor section.
  4. Incorporate a low E string over the B minor chord or play a B minor 7 to build tension and resolve back to the A major.

Remember, these bonus tips are optional and designed to help you personalize your performance. Feel free to experiment and find what works best for you.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

  1. Q: What are the main chords used in “Tennessee Whiskey”?
    A: The two main chords used in “Tennessee Whiskey” are A major and B minor. The A major chord can be played with either one finger or three fingers, while the B minor chord is a barre chord that requires four fingers.
  2. Q: How do I play the B minor chord?
    A: To play the B minor chord, barre your index finger across the second fret from the A string down, place your ring finger on the fourth fret of the D string, your pinky on the fourth fret of the G string, and your middle finger on the third fret of the B string. If you’re new to barre chords, start by practicing the basic shape with just your index and ring fingers, then gradually add the pinky and middle finger.
  3. Q: What is the strumming pattern for “Tennessee Whiskey”?
    A: The strumming pattern for “Tennessee Whiskey” is: down, down, down-up, down, down, down-up. This pattern is played in a 6/8 time signature, which means there are six beats per measure. Practice counting “one, two, three-and, four, five, six-and” as you strum to get a feel for the rhythm.
  4. Q: What is the chord progression for “Tennessee Whiskey”?
    A: The chord progression for “Tennessee Whiskey” is: 2 measures of A major, 4 measures of B minor, and 2 measures of A major. This progression remains the same throughout the verse, chorus, and instrumental sections of the song.
  5. Q: How can I make my performance of “Tennessee Whiskey” more interesting?
    A: To add depth and flavor to your rendition of “Tennessee Whiskey,” try incorporating techniques such as adding a sus4 to your A major chord, throwing in a B-flat diminished chord before transitioning to the B minor, creating a chromatic chord run, or incorporating a low E string or B minor 7 chord to build tension and resolve back to the A major.
  6. Q: Is “Tennessee Whiskey” a difficult song to learn on guitar?
    A: “Tennessee Whiskey” is a relatively simple song to learn on guitar, especially if you’re already familiar with basic chords and strumming patterns. However, the B minor barre chord may be challenging for beginners. With practice and patience, most guitarists can master this song in a reasonable amount of time.
  7. Q: Can I play “Tennessee Whiskey” with a pick or should I use my fingers?
    A: You can play “Tennessee Whiskey” with either a pick or your fingers, depending on your preference and playing style. Using a pick may make it easier to maintain a consistent strumming pattern, while fingerpicking can add a softer, more intimate feel to the song.

Remember, these are just a few common questions that beginners may have when learning to play “Tennessee Whiskey” on guitar. If you have any other questions or need further guidance, don’t hesitate to reach out to a guitar instructor or consult additional online resources. With time and practice, you’ll be playing this beloved country tune with ease and confidence.

Wrapping Up

With dedication and practice, you’ll soon be playing “Tennessee Whiskey” with confidence and soul. Remember to take your time, focus on proper technique, and most importantly, have fun! As you become more comfortable with the song, don’t be afraid to add your own unique touches and express yourself through your playing.

Happy strumming!

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