Annie’s Song Guitar Lesson – John Denver

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In this Annie’s Song guitar lesson video, I will show you how to play this John Denver acoustic classic note-for-note. We will be playing it in standard tuning.

On the original recording there are a couple of guitars being heard, one of them a 12-string guitar. However, I will be teaching you how to play it on a 6 string acoustic.

“Annie’s Song” uses a repeated fingerpicking pattern throughout. This pattern can be played a couple of different ways depending on how good you are at fingerpicking. I will demonstrate the most common way to fingerpick it first. Then at the end of the lesson, I will show you an alternate way you may want to play that same picking pattern. The second way may be a bit easier for you to get up to speed.

We basically have two sections of the song to learn. The intro, which uses slightly higher chord voicings than the rest of the song, then the main chord progression that John Denver sings over.

For the main progression, the chords fly by at a pretty quick rate. “Annie’s Song” definitely requires you to be at an intermediate playing level to get it up to speed.

I suggest focusing first on getting the picking pattern almost second nature to you by practicing it on open strings. If you are playing the pattern the way I am playing it for most of lesson, you can practice it by constantly changing the string that the thumb picks to start the pattern by playing it on the 4th, 5th and 6th strings while keeping the rest of the pattern the same.

Then you can practice the quick chord changes by just strumming each chord once then smoothly moving to the next in time. After a while you should be able to finally put the fingerpicking together with the smooth chord changes.

I hope you guys enjoy learning this beautiful song by the brilliant and greatly missed John Denver!


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