Watch the Classical Gas: 1 online guitar lesson by Tommy Emmanuel from Certified Gems, Vol. 1
I'm going to try and do my best to teach you my arrangement of Classical Gas. Before I start doing that let me say a few things about this wonderful piece of music.
I remember when I first heard Classical Gas when it came out in 1969. I was living in Australia back then. A lot of people were really jumping on this song. People were buying the sheet music and classical players were playing it and all having a go at it.
Classical Gas is brilliantly written by a good friend of mine, Mason Williams. Mason, who is mostly a comedy writer, wrote this amazing piece of music and he's also a wonderful guitar player. I had the great pleasure of playing this song with him and Edgar Cruz and Rubin Romero at the Chet Atkins Appreciation Society Convention back in 2003 or 2004 (I played drums). The piece, in its original form sounded so great with these three classical guitarists playing the song in unison as I played the drums. It was a lot of fun!
Most players perform the original version as the composer intended, including Chet Atkins who recorded Classical Gas and did a beautiful job on it. Luckily for me Mason didn't mind that I took his song and moved it upside down and changed it all around. As an entertainer and as a solo guitar player everything I do needs to have a special form and keep surprising my audience.
I'm going to teach it to you the way I play it but I want to encourage you to go back and listen to the original. And if you decide you want to go somewhere in between his version and mine, that's fine too! A lot of people discovered Classical Gas because of my version, which is very nice but I always tell people to listen to the original and then make your decision to play it my way or that way. It's up to you. And that goes for a lot of other songs too. Like the way I play Lady Madonna or Day Tripper or any of those Beatle songs, Blue Moon or any of those classics. Listen to the original and see what you think because I sure do take a lot of license with other people's songs. It's just my way of putting my self and my personality into my music.