Song Lessons- Englishman in New York by Sting (Acoustic Rhythms & Chords)

Mar 16, 2024 | Learning Guitar, Online Guitar Lessons, Song Lessons | 0 comments

Englishman in New York by Sting is one of MY favourite tunes to turn up loud and sing along to. It makes for an awesome acoustic guitar arrangement.

We have a driving thumb and staccato finger picking pattern for the verse and chorus in which we have three chords. The middle section is a little bit more chordy but we’ll make it….


The chords

The Intro, verse & chorus chords are just 3, nice and straight forward.  Em7, A, Bm (if you don’t have your barre chords sorted feel free to use the alternative for B minor which is much easier and sounds lovey).

The Rhythm

We’ll start with the basic foundation of the rhythm first and then move onto the more stylistic technique that will make the guitar part sound more like the recording.

The rhythm uses the thumb and fingers on the picking hand separately.  We count the thumb on beats 1 2 3 4.  We count the fingers on the upbeats (the ‘&’).

When we play Em7 the thumb plays the low E string.  Immediately afterward the index, middle, ring fingers play the D, G, B strings at the same time.  We do this by pinching the strings and pulling them slightly up and away from the guitar. As you do this count 1 (thumb) & (fingers) 2 (thumb) & (fingers) etc.

When we play A the thumb moves down a string to play the A string and the other fingers remain on the same strings.   For the Bm chord the thumb plays A string and fingers remain.  Continue with the same picking pattern…

Below is the tab so you can see how this works.  We repeat the 2 bar sequence round and round for the Verses and the Choruses.

Once you feel confident stringing this together we can move on to HOW it’s actually played….

The Mutes

In order to get the sound of the driving thumb and the short, stab (staccato) fingers we have to mute the strings shortly after playing the fingers part. This is a great technique to practise to develop your guitar playing, a well – used technique in rhythm playing.

We play the thumbs as normal but really emphasise the driving sound, make the thumb sound intentional, like it’s footsteps.  It’s the movement of the song so we need it to move. When we go to play the fingers, pinch the strings to let them sound but immediately afterward lay the side of your picking hand across all of the strings to deaden the sound and stop the vibrations. This creates a break in the rhythm. It gives the rhythm much more bounce.  Practise this on one chord to begin with until you can master the feel of it, then put the chord sequence back together.

For a video example of this click HERE


The Bridge

The chords in the bridge are D, A, Bm, F#, G, A, A#dim, Bm.  (The extra chords are below).


We play the same picking (Thumb, Fingers) style pattern but this time we let the strings ring out.  We also count 4 beats for each chord as in the tab below:


The Song Structure

Now you’ve come this far, here is the song structure so you can piece it all together and either play along or sing along aswell.

This is a really great song, musically and lyrically. 

Enjoy practising!

Full Video Lesson HERE


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