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learn: Learn San Lorenzo by Pat Metheny and Lyle Mays

By Anthony Garone

Get yourself a 12-string electric and a buncha custom strings and you can play this one.

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Why This Song?

Pat Metheny is an incredible composer and guitarist. I absolutely love a lot of his work (some I definitely don’t!).

I was asked if I would perform this song with my friend Jonathan Sindelman for his opening act when MWM brought Nik Bärtsch to Arizona in March 2019. Learning a Pat song sounded fun and interesting. Little did I know what I was getting myself into!

Purchase Pat Metheny’s San Lorenzo on Apple Music 

This is not an easy song to learn. First of all, you need a 12-string electric guitar. Second, you need to play in a non-standard tuning (shouldn’t be a surprise to Pat fans). Third, the non-standard tuning requires a set of custom strings that are all plain steel, except for one. Crazy! Here are the details on the tuning, courtesy of YouTube commenter David Kean:

Low to high!
Eb3 .021w/Bb3 .013 5th
F3 .018 /C4 .012 5th
Ab3 .015 /Eb4 .010 5th
Bb3 .013 /F4 .009 5th
C4 .012 /G4 .008 5th
F4 .009/F4 .009 Unison

There’s no good video of this song on YouTube, so I had to figure it all out by ear. The sheet music wasn’t of much help, either, because the tuning is non-standard, so learning how to read the sheet music in this tuning was like learning a new instrument. While I know I am not playing what Pat plays, this is a good “fake” playthrough that’ll accompany the track well.


Here is the instructional video for this piece.

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