Today we’re going to learn Brahms Lullaby on guitar. This is one of the best beginner fingerstyle guitar songs you can learn.
Brahms Lullaby was originally known as “Wiegenlied: Guten Abend, gute Nacht”, which means “Lullaby: Good evening, good night”. It was written by the great composer Johannes Brahms for his friend Bertha Faber, to commemorate the birth of her second son. Fast forward 150 years, and it's still one of the most popular lullabies with a beautiful and recognizable melody.
It’s also a standout among very easy fingerpicking guitar songs, as well as a great opportunity to get into fingerstyle guitar. With Brahms Lullaby, we’ll learn how to combine melody, bass, and harmony with this easy fingerpicking guitar song. Let’s get started.
I'm gonna break this down into four sections to make it even easier. We're gonna start with the form of a G chord. I’m fingering the G chord with my second finger on the sixth string, third fret, and my third finger and pinky on the second and first string respectively (both on the third fret).
The melody starts the second string open so let's lift the third finger temporarily. Hit that twice and then place the third finger down on the second third fret for the next note that hits together with the sixth string. So I'm pinching six and two (the sixth string is closer to your face and the first string is closer to your feet).
Now I'm doing a subtle fingerpicking pattern, by hitting the four and three strings so together and then repeating that.
The next part of the melody happens on the first string, third fret, second fret, open, open again, and then on to the second string. So with the chords, I'm still on that G chord form with the pinky down. Pinch six and one and then pluck the third string. We’re then going to place the index finger on the first string second fret and pinch it, then remove it and pinch the open first string.
Slide the second finger and third down to the second fret, with the pinky on the third fret second string and I'm gonna pinch on the 6 and 1. I still need that melody note. Then I use the open fourth string as the alternating note (instead of the third string). You can use the third if you prefer.
Moving on, we’re going to play a D7 chord with the bass note on F sharp which is the third of the chord. I'm doing the melody from the third string, and then with the open second string. Then I put the first finger down on the second string first fret (as in a D7 chord) and pinch the sixth and second string. This is followed by the alternating note on the open third string. We do that twice so it's worth practicing a little bit.
Now play those same two melody notes again but instead of going to the third note move your whole hand to a D form chord and pinch on the fourth and first strings. Then pinch on the open first string. Then with the rest of the D chord fingered, pinch the second and fourth strings and then the third string. This is followed by pinching the fourth and first string together, then the third string and finally hitting a G chord by pinching just the sixth and first string.
Here you'll notice the same chord forms with an added C chord. I'm gonna start by pinching the open third string twice. Then pinch the fifth and first strings. Then hit the fourth and third strings and then the melody on the open G. Place your pinky on the third fret second string and pinch, then pinch open, and then we go to the D7.
Next, place your second finger on the second fret sixth string, third string second fret, and first fret on the second string. I'm starting with the pinch on six and two. Then move on to the fourth string open, pinch the second string with the pinky on the third fret, then the first string open, and back to the fourth string open.
We then move on to the G chord but with the second string open and pinch the sixth and second string. Then pinch the open fourth string and put the third finger down to make the next melody note on the second string third fret.
This one is a lot like the previous one. It starts the same and then slightly changes at the end. Let's start with that C again. We play those two melody notes on the third string open. Then pinch and then open the second string G open and the third string. Now we're going to the D7 form again but the melody is slightly different than section 3.
Let's place that D7 form with the bass on an F sharp and open E string. We will start by pinching on the sixth and second strings together. Then fourth, second, and back to fourth.
Now we're gonna go to the third string back to fourth and end on G . I'm gonna pinch on sixth and third. There's 3 to 4 and then ends on G.
Great job! It's a good practice in general on how to learn songs but always remember that once you practice the section make sure when you practice that part in between one section and the others so that they flow one to the other.
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