Some 20 years ago, Al Petteway tuned his guitar to an open Csus2 chord—low to high, C G C G C D—and started exploring this rich alternate tuning. He found himself moving two-finger shapes up and down the neck, pitting them against the ringing open strings, and before long a new tune had announced itself.

Petteway was a photo editor at National Geographic at the time he composed the piece, and its contemplative atmosphere seemed to match an image, shot by his cohort Sam Abell, depicting the full moon over the white cliffs on the coast of England. This image inspired the tune’s title: “Midsummer Moon.”


Petteway’s studio recordings of “Midsummer Moon” appear on his 1995 record of the same name and on his new album, The Collector’s Passion….

The text above is excerpted from Adam Perlmutter’s analysis of Al Petteway’s “Midsummer Moon,” which originally appeared in Acoustic Guitar’s May 2018 issue. For the full text of the article, performance notes, and music notation and tab that match this video note for note, head to the Acoustic Guitar Store and pick up a copy.