Warm Up Exercise

Colter Wall's Sleeping on the Blacktop intro riff

Lesson #237

Video Overview

Get the educational PDF(1 page)

  • Support me on Patreon.com to get access to this and 200+ other educational PDFs I've made, plus new PDFs I make going forward (1-2 added each week).
  • The cost is $3/month (one month minimum, cancel anytime). Annual plans also available. Here's a free sample if you're on the fence. Thanks!
Download the PDF on Patreon

After clicking the button and logging in to Patreon, look for the PDF attached to the bottom of the post.

Editor’s notes

In this lesson I’ll show how to play the outlaw country fingerstyle groove of “Sleeping on the Blacktop” by Colter Wall. This is a straightforward, stripped down, and raw sequence that cycles between two sections: (1) a subdued repeating walk-down which builds up tension; and (2) an unleashed chorus-like drop that releases all the energy. I’ll teach you the chords (with tabs), explain the Travis picking technique, and talk through how to practice the different phrases heard throughout this sequence. This makes for a great warmup exercise, even if you’re not familiar with Colter Wall or this song in its full form.

Video timestamps:

Capo and tuning notes

Take note that I’m playing this in standard tuning and without a capo. Colter Wall plays this song with a capo on the 2nd fret while tuned down one whole step… but I’m going to keep it straightforward and simple for now. If you’d like to eventually see a full lesson for this entire song, let me know… I might get to it one day. In the meanwhile, I trust this will do you good. Best of luck!

Other suggested videos

Here’s a great solo acoustic performance by Colter Wall – I find these sorts of clips super helpful just to watch how he plays it.

Here’s a clip from Hell or High Water, a really great 2016 movie that uses the album verison of this song. I can’t recommend this movie enough! Good stuff.

Get my lessons in your inbox!

Every couple weeks I send out an email newsletter with links to whatever new lessons I've made. Sign up here and stay in the loop!

Enjoy my lessons? Buy me a beer!

If this and my other lessons have proven helpful to you, please consider making a one-time donation to my tip jar. Contributions of any amount help make this project possible (including the many, many hours I put into it).

You can also support me on Patreon. For only $3/month you'll get access to a print-friendly PDF of my notes for each new lesson (view free sample).


Subscribe to my YouTube channel

Be sure to never miss a lesson by subscribing on YouTube. I put out 2-3 new videos every week. These include full song lessons, as well as covers, practice tips, behind-the-scenes updates. Thanks!

Recent video lessons:

📝 My "song" PDFs are now individually purcasheable! I've arranged a licensing agreement with Musicnotes, a service that lets you buy sheet music. Patreon suppoters get 50% off each purchase. Get the latest info here »   (last updated July 1, 2021)

Browse my all lessons

By lesson type

By song decade

By musical genre

By guitar technique

By musical key

By popular artist

← back to lesson list