learn the fingerpicking version of Sunny Bobby Hebb

Fingerpicking SONGs


Sunny” is a soul jazz standard written by Bobby Hebb in 1963. Play with a 3-finger pluck to add a jazz standard to your repertoire.



The main chord idea of the song’s verse is Am7, Gm7, F major 7, E7.

Start by just playing along with the bass to the audio below. The E string (thickest string) is fretted at 5th fret, 3rd fret, 1st fret, open.

Then you can just use your index finger to barre all the strings on the 5th fret and 3rd fret for the first two bars. 

Use the 3-finger pluck technique from a previous lesson. 

The F maj7 chord is something you can play by fretting the A minor chord shape and using your thumb or index finger to fret the low E (thickest) string at the 1st fret. 

A good practice exercise is to isolate just the first bar in A minor. Keep a regular bass and hit those partial barre chords twice in between playing that first bass note and second one.


sunny bobby heb learn fingerpicking songs | sunny example 1


In this example, we extend the idea we were playing in the previous exercise. 

In bar 2, we now play 2 chords – Gm7 (as before) and C9 (newly introduced). The move from Gm7 to C9 to Fmaj7 is a classic jazz chord change (called the II-V-I or “2-5-1”)

sunny bobby heb learn fingerpicking songs | sunny example 2


In this third example, look at bar 2 again. Notice that the C9 chord is played a bit earlier. 
If you can master this (listen to both audios), then you’ll really start to be able to put chords where you like/choose in relation to your bass line. 

Listen to both audios. Copy what I do. Then after playing it, the difference will be hugely obvious. 


This is a more advanced example. I play the melody line (the vocal line) while keeping that bassline steady. 

See if you can play bar 1 – with single notes and bassline. If you can, that’s a great start. 

Then enjoy the rest of it and give it a go at learning at super slow pace if needs be. 


Using the 3 finger pluck technique, you can learn your first jazz standard. 

This is also a great way to play partial bar chords – a great idea if bar chords are something you are still mastering. 

Playing the melody and changing back to the 3-finger chord pluck will sound great – if you master both individually and then start switching between the two. 

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