Sailing Guitar Lesson – Christopher Cross

In this Sailing guitar lesson video, I will show you how to play this classic ballad by Christopher Cross note-for-note.

Before you start trying to follow along with the video lesson, it is important to get into the same tuning as the original recording. That tuning is called open "D" tuning. Those notes, starting from the 6th string are, D A D F# A D. I will also work you through this tuning in the video lesson.

Once you get into the right tuning, you will be able to simply strum all the open strings of your guitar together to create a beautiful sounding D major chord.

I will take you step-by-step through each section of the song in the same order that they appear on the original recording.

I believe the original recording was played with a pick and a consistent arpeggio picking pattern. You can see Christopher Cross do that on a lot of older performances, and it definitely sounds like into was played like that way originally.

However, in more recent performances, you can see Christopher Cross adding the low bass notes to the arpeggio pattern and fingerpicking the whole thing. I will demonstrate how to play both versions since they both sound great.

I hope you guys enjoy learning the very unique and beautiful guitar parts in "Sailing"!


If these free lessons help you, please donate to keep new ones coming daily. Thanks!! 🙂

Donate to GuitarLessons365
Other Amount:

Sailing Guitar Lesson - Christopher Cross


  1. Danielle Sharon on March 24, 2019 at 9:14 pm

    Love this one. So beautiful!

    • Danielle Sharon on March 26, 2019 at 12:53 pm

      Trying to figure out the strumming pattern for when you are moving around the barre chord(9,4,11 fret) after the chorus? You make it sound beautiful, but I am struggling.
      Thank you!

      • Carl Brown on March 26, 2019 at 5:32 pm

        You have the exact minute and sec mark of the video you are referring to?

  2. Tom Smith on February 22, 2022 at 12:08 pm

    Very nice job and laid out for all, no matter the level of experience. Have you tried incorporating the bass beyond just the open with the A?

  3. Jason on May 2, 2023 at 8:16 pm

    That’s… possibly the best guitar tutorial I’ve ever seen. About to hit that donate button.

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.