Learn to play "Tennessee Whiskey" by Chris Stapleton
Play along with the ukulele cover of "Tennessee Whiskey" (Chris Stapleton) performed by our friends Joey Charles (guitar), Mike Odo (bass), and of course Aldrine (ukulele). Just follow the chords and the basic rhythm of the song to play along. If you need some step-by-step help learning this song, start with STEP 1 below.
Just a heads up, Joey took some artistic liberties with this version of the song. If you'd like to learn something closer to the original version, check out our Whiteboard Request Lesson. It only uses two simple chords, and it's super easy.
STEP 1 - The Chords
Here are all the chords you'll need to play along with the song:
F#(3121), G#m(434X), B(432X), C#7(1112), F#(3121), C#7(1112)
Practice holding each chord and memorize the names of each chord. If you've never played barre chords or if you struggle with them, check out Week 7 of Ukulele 101 or Ukulele Webcam Sessions - Focused Fretting Fingers for more tips. Once you're able to see the name of the chord and instantly know how to hold it, you're ready to move on.
STEP 2 - Chord Switching
Now that you can hold all of the chords and know them by name, you need to be able to switch chords smoothly. Because this song is in an unusual key, learning the chords and playing them smoothly is more than half the battle. Do your best to play along with the chord switching video below, switching to the next chord right on time.
Once you can hold the chords, switch between them, and play them at the right times, you can already play the song! Go back to the Play-Along video at the top of the page and play through the whole song, holding the chords and strumming them at the right times when they change. If you're a beginner, You did it! You've just played the beginner version of this song.
STEP 3 - Basic Rhythm
Now that you're able to switch to all of the right chords at the right times, you can focus on your strumming hand. Practice strumming and switching chords in time with the video. Once you have the basic rhythm down, begin to cut the chords short on every other strum by using the Left Hand Mute.
Once you can play along with the basic strumming for the song, you can now play and strum the song! Go back to the Play-Along video at the top of the page and play through the whole song, switching through the chords and playing the strumming rhythm that you learned. If you're an intermediate ukulele player, great job! You've just played the intermediate version of this song.
STEP 4 - Advanced Rhythm
If you are able to play through the Play-Along video using the basic strum rhythm pretty easily and you want to take it up a notch, feel free to move on to the advanced rhythm. Aldrine slowly increases the complexity by adding in quick pick up strums and accenting certain muted strums. Exactly what he's doing isn't important, all that matters is listening to the rhythm and letting your hand follow along. If you feel like you're off beat, relax and try to think less while you really feel and listen to the rhythm.
STEP 5 - The Picking
You can play the chords and you can play the rhythm, now let's work on the cherry on top. Play along with Picking Parts 1 & 2, trying your best to match the notes and rhythm. Aldrine uses two techniques for this section, the slide and vibratos.
Once you have Parts 1 & 2 mastered, you can move on to Parts 3 & 4. Same deal as last time: Watch, Listen and Copy. In Part 4, Aldrine uses a technique called the bend.
Now let's practice putting that soulful picking solo together. Use the following video to practice stitching parts 1,2,3 & 4 together. Keep at it till your solo sounds as smooth as Tennessee Whiskey.
Once you can play all the way through the chords, rhythm, and picking videos, test your skills by playing along with the Play-Along video at the top of the page. It may have taken a lot of work, but you just added another song to your musical library, and you improved a lot of important skills along the way. Congratulations! If you have any questions, we're always here for you. Until next time, keep strummin!