Get inside the style of folk-rock’s most influential 6-stringer.



Chops: Intermediate
Theory: Intermediate
Lesson Overview:
• Understand the essential elements of Thompson’s distinctive playing.
• Create Irish-influenced licks that work over rock grooves.
• Explore unusual open tunings. Click here to download a printable PDF of this lesson's notation.

Very few guitarists fit the description of a “musicians’ musician” better than Richard Thompson. For five decades now, Thompson has not only been one of the premier songwriters of his generation—Bob Dylan, Elvis Costello, REM, and the Neville Brothers are just a few who have covered his songs—but also one of its most original, jaw droppingly virtuosic guitar heroes on both acoustic and electric.

As a teenager in England, Thompson co-founded Fairport Convention, one of a handful of bands that would go on to define the British folk-rock sound, in 1968. After five albums with Fairport, Thompson left the band and made a string of what are now considered classic albums with his then wife, Linda Thompson, in the ’70s and early ’80s. He subsequently embarked on a prolific solo career that continues today (he released his 18th album as a leader, 13 Rivers, in 2018).

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