Written by Junior Parker and Sam Phillips, a hit for Elvis Presley, here is the Chet Atkins version of "Mystery Train" taught by fingerstyle legend Pat Kirtley. This is the second of three parts.
They recorded a duet of Mystery Train with Chet and Jerry trading licks back and forth. What I have done is changed it around a little bit to make it be a standalone guitar solo tune that sort of has that complete flavor of what they were doing. So, he played the melody up here like this and then back to the figure. [Demonstration] So, it starts out with this chord which is a little bit awkward but boy it sounds great. That chord right there, I don't know if you can see what I am doing. I will take it apart a little bit because it looks very close but it’s this sound right here. I think you can see that well enough and then I am going to take my little finger and bar those two strings over the top over that top over there to 12th fret. [Demonstration] That’s only played for one beat. That’s just the very first note of the song but to get that sounding there; it requires you to do this. So, it’s a little tricky. It’s a little bit awkward but like that. So, you just start out like that and then very quickly you shift these two fingers so that they’re where they were like these and you take that one away and these two fingers are here on 3rd and 4th strings and then your going to put this first finger back here on the 9th fret and go like that. [Demonstration] So, the first little move which is awkward and could be tricky is like this and at the same time you do that, you start your rhythm going. So, it’s only a few notes but its lot to do at one time, so you have to practice it. [Demonstration] And then this slides forward to make the next melody like that. And those notes are just in the chord. And then you’re going to take this finger off, your little finger and your going to put this finger here and go like that. So, on the second and third strings and then the open E string and that by the way gives you time to get your whole hand down here to play the E chord that comes behind it. [Demonstration] Repeat that same exact thing and then it goes to B7 which is at the 7th fret, this chord here. But I am going to play not the whole chord. Usually, if you’re holding down the whole chord, you’d put all this fingers on it like this. This is the way people learn to play this chord. What Chet did a whole lot and made good use of it is to not put this finger on because you’re going to need that finger to play things up here anyway and if you have enough muting going on with your right hand, you don’t notice that that note isn’t there and that’s a pretty common thing to do. So, it makes a whole lot easier to play this chord. So, I am going to play this chord and the melody goes: [Demonstration] I can slide or I can—which every way you want to do it, what works for you okay. And this little thing here can be altered a lot of different ways. You can go like that or go down or go up. If you wanted, if you’re a bender, some people are benders, you can bend a note. I am not a good bender on that note there but if like that, you could do it like—. It takes me four fingers to bend it, so I don't bend it too good. And then on A7 chord which Chet use this one a lot. This is a very inexpensive A7 chord. It only cost you two fingers to play it. That one; it’s a really good sound. [Demonstration] There is the chord and I am playing this melody note and I am playing this melody note and back to the E again. And the way that the timing works on this is I am not playing it right on the B and then there is one but its behind where one really would be and it sounds good that way. It’s almost a quarter of beat behind one but it is okay. [Demonstration] Okay, that gets us through the form of the song one time. By the way, this thing B7 repeats twice. It goes—and the whole thing repeats again because that’s the way the song works, that’s the way it was written. [Demonstration] Now, for the first variation, we’re going to go back and take off like we took off before but the melody is going to be altered. It’s kind of like instead of going up, the melody goes down now. [Demonstration] And back to this thing always exactly the same thing every time back here. So, the melody goes like this. What I am doing is I am playing on the top string, second string, third string. And again, keeping the rhythm going the whole time while you’re doing that; a little bit of a challenge. And then I play this chord and this is a little bit different than the way Chet played it but I when I heard it, I liked it, so I kept it in there. [Demonstration] And different little variations you can do on this two. Any kind of way you want to alter this is fine but there is the basic chord and it’s kind of an Asus chord. It’s kind like that chord up here with open strings in it. It sounds really different. And then the tail of that is the same as before. I am not going to repeat it but I repeated it a bunch before and so on. [Demonstration] So that gets us through the second time through of the song. Now, the third time through, Chet and Jerry began to take solos and one plays a solo and then the other one plays a solo and we want to make this be a standalone guitar piece. So, instead of having sort of adlib solos in it, I wrote a little part that I put in it. I like it and I am going to show it to you and I think it completely fits and it goes like this and what it are just triads. It’s three notes down to E. [Demonstration] So, this shape, slide it down two frets. This shape, all happening on the second third and forth strings by the way. My finger at the top string but I am not playing it. A7, this chord, A triad again, G triad, an A down here and I am playing a little melodic and then the E and the E pattern. [Demonstration] And I am changing the rhythm too a little bit. Instead of doing this sort of back beat rhythm, I am doing it this kind of like that, another, a rhythm like that. Let me play the right notes, back into the rhythm. [Demonstration]