American Girl

by Tom Petty • Lesson #113 • Dec 14, 2017

Video lesson

Print-Friendly Song Sheet 2 pages

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Editor’s notes

In this lesson I’ll teach you how to play American Girl by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, from their debut 1976 self-titled album. This will be an acoustic lesson, showing you how to emulate the sound of the full-band song with a solo acoustic guitar. I’ll teach you how to imitate the intro sound, as well as chords & strumming needed for the verse and chorus sections. There’s also a breakdown riff I’ll teach which makes for a fun break before picking things back up for the ending. Best of luck, and enjoy!

My Fingerstyle Arrangement of American Girl

In video lesson #438 I return to this song, determined to work out a low-key, easy-going fingerpicked arrangement. The end result uses the same chord progressions I show in this video, but I’m using custom voicings for some of the chords to better suit things for fingerstyle. If you get my song sheet (linked above), I’ve included the fingerstyle tabs I use in case you’re curious to try it out!

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