Fortunate Son Guitar Lesson – Creedence Clearwater Revival

In this video guitar lesson we will take an in-depth look at the Creedence Clearwater Revival classic "Fortunate Son". Released on their album Willy and the Poor Boys in 1969, "Fortunate Son" went on to become one of the band's biggest hits and it is still heard on radio, tv and movies to this day.

It's lasting appeal comes from the raw emotion that John Fogerty put into his lyrics and guitar playing. In this Fortunate Son guitar lesson I will show you how to play all of his guitar parts note-for-note.

John Fogerty used D tuning for this song, which means you will need to tune your guitar down a whole step across all six strings in order to follow along with this lesson and the original recording. That would mean your guitar should be tuned starting from the 6th string D G C F A D.

The first guitar riff heard in the song is one of the most recognizable guitar parts of the 60's. Fogerty slides into a couple of arpeggio picked double-stops then proceeds to incorporate the use of hammer-ons in the second half of the riff. It is rather simple to play but a highly effective riff none-the-less.

The band then launches into the aggressive strumming of the verse. The second chord in this progression is a standard barre chord shape, but if you watch videos of Fogerty playing that chord live you will notice that he chooses to play it sorta like Jimi Hendrix would have played that chord. I teach it both ways so you can choose whichever way is most comfortable for you.

The A major chord that ends the verse typically has a little guitar fill over it. John Fogerty doesn't play the exact same thing every time here, but he does stick to a basic format that you can easily understand so you can do your own little fills over this chord like Fogerty does live.

The chorus contains all basic open position chords with some additional fills over the D major chord. I will also show you how to play that fill every time the D chord comes around and ways of altering the fill if you wish.

The guitar solo comes next and contains all minor 3rd double-stops. Since this chord shape never changes it will be a pretty easily solo to get under your fingers very quickly.

Pay attention to the timing of the slides in the solo and you should be fine. 🙂

Well that is about it for this classic from Creedence Clearwater Revival! Good Luck!


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Fortunate Son Guitar Lesson - Creedence Clearwater Revival


  1. Giacomo Bergonzi on March 26, 2015 at 3:50 pm

    Thank you Carl!

  2. george kerr on March 6, 2016 at 2:37 pm

    Fun easy song. How about doing Born on the Bayou or Tombstone Shadow. Thanks as always.

  3. Jeff Walker` on December 3, 2016 at 1:49 pm

    Another song down thanks to you Carl. I appreciate the free song lessons and I am very proud to say I am a premium member. The premium lessons here are second to none I have found on the web. Thanks again!!!!

  4. Pat Ambrosch on July 20, 2018 at 7:15 am

    Do you have tabs for this lesson

    • Carl Brown on July 21, 2018 at 3:39 pm

      I wish I did Pat. Unfortunately, I am unable to provide TABS with the song lessons due to international copyright restrictions. 🙁

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