Paul Simon – American Tune
Learn how to play Paul Simon – American Tune note-for-note on guitar.
Difficulty level: Intermediate
Barre chords: No
Thumb over chords: No
Playing Style: Fingerpicked
The complete song lesson contains a lesson video, a performance play thru video, full tabs and chords and lyrics sheet. You’ll receive a link to download the lesson which will download as a zip file of 354 Mb containing all the lesson content.
Return to Individual Songs Page
Chords & Songsheet Preview
Return to Individual Songs Page
You’ll receive at least two videos per song, one lesson and one performance-standard play-through. You’ll receive the chords/lyrics and guitar tabs as PDF files.
The videos are mp4 format and should play on PC’s, Macs and most mobile devices.
They will download as Zip files. If you don’t have a Zip program on your PC you’ll need to install one to open the file.
If you want to download to an iPad or iPhone you’ll need an app to do so, please read here to know more about it.
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Fingerstyle Instrumental pieces
These lessons are great but I’m having trouble downloading things.
I’d love to get American Tune. Thank you!
What device are you using and what happens when you click ‘Download The Lesson’?
Cliff Carbaugh says
Hi Jerry, I haven’t found the “Hard Rain, Budokan”Album versions of Bob Dylan’s “Lay Lady Lay” anywhere. It is my current favorite and I would Love to learn it. Thank you for all you do so professionally and so competently!
Norm Siegel says
Well, your lesson on An American Tune has been my guide! I was challenged to learn this song. It will take a lot of patience, practice, and discipline. I should be able to present the song by 12 July, at a Farmers Market. Just outdoor background music as people pass through the Woodstock Historic Square. A PA system is set up and the music goes from 9 to 1. I hope that by August, I have committed as much time as needed and made it part of my permanent repertoire.
I just saw a video on 50 Ways To Leave Your Lover. Here in Chicago, when that tune hit the airwaves, someone with too much time on their hands, wrote a parody: 50 Ways to BEAT Your L.over!
I have an arthritis problem on both hands. The thumbs are painful and I have trouble fretting the strings and getting all the sound. I’ve had a knee replaced, but am not sure if they have perfected a thumb replacement! The problem is chronic, but I still manage. Thanks for a great video. I am, like almost a whole genre of musicians, so broke! I get by month to month. Fixed income with little discretionary spending available. We’ll just have to do the best with what we have! If I can scrape together the money, I’ll join with you on Patreon! Stay Healthy! Stay Strong!
Thanks for sharing and for the kind words.
Best of luck with the farmers’ market gig in July.
All the best
Noirm Siegel says
Well, isn’t this tickety-boo! I’ve written to many online teachers, but you’re the first to answer. Thank you for your reply.
This morning I thought I’d try to download An American Tune. After following directions for the download, I was ready to print it, but, before, had second thoughts, as I was not a regular visitor.
So, I went, and printed it, and out came 3 sheets of TAB and music. I can read the music line and play it right from the piano part. However, there were no sirens or whistles going off. Perhaps I misunderstood (lots of that going around!)about your lesson material. They’re right there, for anyone to download. There’s a term that has become part of the American vernacular that is used to describe a man, an upright man who not only cares for himself, he cares for Musicians who do the work to learn. That term is “MENSCH”! Paul Simon is a “mensch! You hardly hear it much anymore. Its source is Yiddish/Eastern European.
So I am completely GOBSMACKED! I took lessons at Chicago’s Old Town Scool Of Folk music. I started to get there every Saturday afternoon for close to 6 years when they finally decided that I could teach 2 intermediate classes a week. From 1965 to 1968, I was also performing a solo act and drawing my audience to come to learn. Amazing how many knew me!
Breakthrough! I now understand TAB. I can actually read it along with the music.! Saving all my change to join Patreon!
Back to breaking down the TAB along with the video, which helps. However until now, and from one of your others, I had no TRUE video of Paul performing where his hands are visible. It came from Frank:
I now can see all the work YOU HAVE DONE, in breaking this down. This was the way we were taught. TAB was then a foreign language! So thanks for making TAB a bit more understandable.
Paul is a wonderful guitarist.
Just transcribing his guitar parts is a lesson in itself. (“Oh so THAT’s what he’s doing”)
It’s why I never get tired of this work.
Just in case you haven’t seen this. It’s appropriate for the circumstances.
Scott Jones says
Have just sent another two people to this transcription as an introduction to the quality of your teaching and hope they become customers. I play this song everyday as part of my practice repertoire thanks to you….
Jean-Marc Ottorini says
Beautiful complete and detailed transcription for this fine, exceptionally pristine, accompaniment by Paul Simon.
Many thanks for the gift,
Ron Lee Stewart says
Thanks Jerry for the ”’ accurate ”’ free lesson! I have been looking for someone to show me how to play this song properly, and ‘You The Man’!
And to make it a ””’FREE””’ download, shows your compassion for fellow musicians.
I am very happy I stumbled upon your YouTube video, and found your site.
Thank you very much!!!!!
Great lesson Jerry – little surprised its one of the free ones, being such a popular song. So, many thanks.
Love to see “Something so right” covered soon…any plans? That’d be worth 6 bucks of anyone’s dough!
Joshua Shuffman says
Tough song to get down– I think the bass note on the “and” is a big first obstacle. But I’m getting it, bit by bit, thanks to your excellent tutelage.
Thank you, thank you.
Just downloaded tabs, music, and videos for American Tune. I first discovered your lesson video on YouTube. I could learn it from that video only, but the written tabs and play-thru video will make it much easier to learn. Your instructions are clear, accurate, and complete. It was very generous of you to provide this lesson at no cost. I appreciate the work it took to create it. Next time I’ll come back as a customer!
Thanks a lot! Great lesson, sound and playing!
Hi Jerry, I love the way you present your lesson and I hope to be a better guitar player after learning this lovely song. A BIG THANK YOU!
George Armenante says
Jerry, Thanks! I just downloaded this American Tune kit. I’m a bit of a beginner… but, love this song. I’ll give it a go.
Scott Jones says
Jerry, I am working my way through your Paul Simon collection. I have played some of these songs forever but not very precisely. This transcription of American tune is spectacularly accurate. I so appreciate the attention to detail that you have brought to your lessons. There were numerous times you presented alternatives for finger position and explained reasons for this in several different tricky spots. I appreciated the rhythmic counting on several of the challenging parts as well so that I could carefully practice the part while counting. This helped when I couldn’t intuitively “get” the rhythm. I actually cannot imagine any better lesson of a song – it is complete. I suppose you could go into a discussion of music theory and harmonic movement but that is not the point in a lesson like this. Anyway, I just felt compelled to Thank You for the rigorous quality of your work. Your lessons are the best I have ever experienced. I have bought many of your sets and am in the “woodshed” working away!
Kazuhiro Matsushita says
I am Japanese. English is not well written.
I received the file from you.
Now, I will practice and work hard.
Thank you very much,so much.
Joe Rivamonte says
I’d love to give your lesson a try, thanks. The down load seems ok but what do I need to open the file?
You’ll need a zip program to be able to open the zip file. All pc’s basically come with one as standard. Then you’ll need a video player for the videos, and Adobe Acrobat reader for the tabs etc. Again these should have come as standard with your pc.
Tim Ruble says
I’ve learned more in a few days than ever before your way of teaching really speaks to me.Thank you so much.I love to play but had hit some walls I wasn’t getting over.
Michael Foster says
Thanks for your freebies. You are a very good teacher. I really am enjoying playing For Everyman by Jackson Browne.
Thanks Jerry. Your lessons are easy to follow. I appreciate your teaching abilities.
Jerry, your lessons are so good, I wish I could buy them all. Thanks for all you do. I do have a couple songs in mind that I think would be well received. Uncle John’s Band by the Grateful Dead. And a song called Lost Cause by Beck. (Yes only Beck) If you’ve not heard him, treat yourself to a listen. One last idea, Guess I’m Doing Fine by my favorite artist Bob Dylan. Thanks again for all you do.
Hi Albert. Great to hear you’re enjoying the lessons. I’ve made a note of those songs. The Beck one I don’t yet know but I admire him as a musician so I’ll check it out. All the best.