John Denver- Sweet Surrender- Fast Fingerstyle

John Denver- although very famous for his great songs and vocals, was definitely overlooked as a guitarist. In this lesson 1 of a series learning “Sweet Surrender,” the focus is on the fingerstyle or fingerpicking guitar- and learning how to gain speed (this song is very fast!). The good news is, there are only 2 chords in this song (G and D)! But to gain speed (which we will learn one step at a time) these lessons which will span over a 3 to 4 week period starts for beginners by learning how to play it slow. Each week, we will add some more speed to the song and also look at some other techniques along the way. Lesson 1 focuses on one easy fingerpicking pattern and changing between the G and D chords while fingerpicking the pattern John used. This lesson is FOR BEGINNERS!

Lesson Download the free sheet music here:

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LESSON 2: How to find your key to sing Sweet Surrender

Download the free CAPO and Chord positions- Sweet Surrender here:

IN THIS SERIES of Sweet Surrender, this Lesson 2 is devoted to finding the right key for you to comfortably sing and play this song. We will go over using a capo to change keys, what keys are most suited for different types of vocalists, and how to easily find your key. Step 1 of being able to sing a song in your key is to determine what that lowest note of a song is (in a particular key) and the highest vocal note in the song. Once you know what those notes are, Bob will give you those notes (transposed) for all the most commonly used keys typically used in folk music.

LESSON 3: Play Along to Sweet Surrender

In this lesson 3 of Sweet Surrender by John Denver, we will play together in 3 different speeds (30 Beats Per Minute, 50 BPM, and 75 BPM. Although the song is a little faster (87 BPM), being able to play this near 75 is quite an accomplishment!

Again, if you want the free sheet music and tux guitar files for this song, Download here



  1. Thanks again my friend . Watching the video’s with the music sheet is helping me a lot I love I’m getting there slowly 👍

    • Robert Harris

      Hey Shaun, slow and steady wins the race. Thanks for taking the lessons- happy you are playing!!

  2. Good Morning Robert, I am so happy having found your videos – I love the songs of John Denver and Sweet Surrender is one of my favourite ones. I was searching for a tutorial without lots of hope… who wants to play and hear his songs in 2024 and is able to teach playing them at the same time? And then I found you – thanks god! :))
    I only want to say THANK YOU SO, SO MUCH!!!
    I am able to play the pattern now in a nearly fast enough way and now I start trying to sing along with video 3 – again: thank you for this incredible job!!
    Greetings from Germany and all the best for you 🙂

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