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Acoustic Fingerstyle Guitar Lesson: Learn to Play "Rylynn"


In 2005, virtuosic acoustic guitarist and composer, Andy McKee, released his third solo album, Art of Motion, on Candy Rat Records. A year later, Candy Rat shot and produced a short series of performance videos featuring live renditions of a handful of the songs off Art of Motion, including the title track, “Drifting,” “Rylynn,” “Shanghai,” “Into the Ocean,” and more. The performance videos were then uploaded to a relatively new internet platform designed specifically to stream videos: YouTube.


Little did Andy or the folks at Candy Rat know, but Andy would quickly become an internet and acoustic guitar sensation overnight. Andy’s performance videos of “Drifting,” “Rylynn,” and “Into the Ocean,” in particular, grabbed the attention of the world and became some of the first online viral videos in history. For a period shortly after their release, these three videos were concurrently the three most-watched on YouTube, and have aggregated a collective 106 million views since their debut.


In this online acoustic guitar lesson, ArtistWorks fingerstyle guitar instructor and the creative mind behind these wonderful masterpieces, Andy McKee, teaches how to play the gorgeous introductory section to his song, “Rylynn.” This short excerpt is a masterclass in fingerstyle guitar technique and is not only beautiful to listen to but incredibly fun to play.


LEARN MORE: Want to learn how to play acoustic fingerstyle guitar from a master musician like Andy McKee? Try some free online acoustic guitar lessons now!


Watch and listen to Andy’s full performance of “Rylynn” here:


“Rylynn” by Andy McKee:



When setting out to learn how to play “Rylynn,” it’s important to note that Andy utilizes an alternate tuning other than standard when performing this piece, as well as a partial capo on the fifth fret.


Rather than the standard EADGBE (low string to highest) tuning, Andy tunes his guitar to ECDGAD for this song. Then, he uses a banjo capo, which is slightly shorter in length compared to a standard guitar capo, to capo just the lowest four strings at the fifth fret. This alters the tuning further to become: AFGCAD.


“I had always loved the ECDGAD tuning,” explains Andy. “I always thought it sounded so beautiful. So, one day I decided, why not try some partial capoing in this tuning to see what it yields? Shortly after, ‘Rylynn’ was born.”


To learn how to play the introduction to Andy’s critically acclaimed piece, “Rylynn,” dive into this online acoustic guitar lesson from Andy McKee:


Learn to Play “Rylynn” with Andy McKee:




Have you always wanted to learn how to play acoustic fingerstyle guitar? Through our comprehensive acoustic guitar lessons online and Video Exchange Learning platform here at ArtistWorks, you can learn from internationally renowned players, like Andy McKee, and get personal feedback on your playing.


Andy’s course starts with the basics and teaches everything from beginner guitar to advanced performance techniques, including two-hand tapping, slap harmonics, and percussion on the guitar body. Plus, you’ll learn many of Andy’s unique original compositions and imaginative covers. So, whether you’re a beginner, intermediate, or advanced player, all levels are welcome and all students will grow and improve their skills as guitarists and musicians!


Sample some free music lessons here and see what makes ArtistWorks courses some of the best online music lessons around!



“Acoustic Fingerstyle Guitar with Andy McKee” is Now Open!

Acoustic Fingerstyle Guitar Lesson: Slap Harmonics with Andy McKee

ArtistWorks Music Roundtable Podcast—Episode 4: Andy McKee & Trevor Gordon Hall




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