10 Easy Country Guitar Songs

Learning easy country guitar songs is a fantastic way to improve your musicality and repertoire. In this lesson we’ll show you how to play 10 of our favourite country songs.

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In this free lesson you will learn:

  • Learn 10 easy country guitar songs.
  • 15 essential guitar chords.
  • 5 top tips that will turbo-charge your country guitar skills.

What is Country Music?

Country music means a lot of things. Generally regarded as rising from the music of Appalachia recorded by the Carter Family in the 1920s.

  • Country music also came from Bob Wills in Texas and Chet Atkins in Nashville, and it has never stopped growing in popularity all over the US and the world.
  • Country music encompasses folk music, plenty of blues, elements of jazz, a heavy dose of pop, and a longstanding marriage with rock and roll.

There are any number of endlessly ongoing arguments surrounding the classification, and this article is a nice discussion of the basic tension between traditionalism and progressivism in country music.

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Another way country music is diverse is that although its roots are in simple folk music from remote parts of the United States, there is no limit to how technically complicated it can be to play.

  • Some of the most virtuosic guitarists of all time, like Chet Atkins, Albert Lee, and Brad Paisley, are country guitarists. They are fast, and they are CLEAN.
  • But not even Glen Campbell was born a fast country guitar player.
  • Everyone starts with easy country guitar songs, and along the way, you’ll find the kind of country music that speaks to your inner guitarist.

The 10 easy country guitar songs in this lesson are from all over time and space and will give you a solid repertoire of country music.

Easy Country Guitar Songs #1 – ‘Good Hearted Woman’ by Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings

If you want to learn easy country guitar songs collection then you need to have some Willie Nelson in your repertoire!

It’s hard to imagine that in spite of having written “Crazy,” Willie was having limited success as a Nashville musician and songwriter.

He moved to Texas in the early 1970s and wrote “Good Hearted Woman” with Waylon Jennings during a poker game.

Waylon reportedly had the idea after seeing a commercial promoting Tina Turner.

“Good Hearted Woman” is a good-time three-chord song in the key of D, but to play along with the recording, you’ll be changing keys to E about halfway in.

Here are the chords for this song:

D chord

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G chord

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A chord

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E chord

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(If you don't understand the above image please read our article "How To Read Guitar Chordboxes In 60 Seconds". It will make everything clear!)

With this and many other easy country guitar songs, you will want to use an alternating bass strum.

Instead of strumming the first and third beats of the measure, you will pick the root of the chord on the first beat and pick the alternating note on the third beat.

To learn this in more detail, download this PDF:

Easy Country Guitar Songs – Alternating Bass Strumming

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Easy Country Guitar Songs #2 ‘Fist City’ by Loretta Lynn

Living country legend Loretta Lynn is, like Willie Nelson, still touring at almost 90 years old.

That’s more than 40 years after her then career-spanning biopic, “Coal Miner’s Daughter,” starring Sissy Spacek. Here’s her 1968 hit, “Fist City.”

Loretta did not need to draw on someone else’s experience when writing this song.

  • She wrote it for the women chasing after her husband and manager, Doolittle Lynn, while she was on the road.
  • “Fist City,” apart from having the best song title in the history of music, is one of her many honest and easy country guitar songs.

You can play it in the key of D with an alternating bass strum.

Here are the chords:

D chord

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A7 chord

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G chord

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E7 chord

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Loretta’s songs covered more than cheating husbands.

Her songs were banned from 1960s country radio for daring to discuss controversial issues like birth control and the Vietnam War.

In the above video, Loretta had to change the lyrics for her TV appearance from “he won’t cat around with a kitty” to “he won’t mess around with a kitty.”

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Pro-tip: Because so many folk and country songs have been written on stringed instruments like the guitar, easy country guitar songs are plentiful in the guitar-friendly keys of C, A, G, E, and D. You can play country guitar all day with chords you already know!

Easy Country Guitar Songs #3 ‘The Story’ by Brandi Carlile

There’s country rock, and then there’s Brandi Carlile. Like Willie Nelson, she borrows from all kinds of music and ties it all together with her distinctive voice.

Here’s her 2007 hit, “The Story.”

When learning easy country guitar songs, “The Story” by Brandi Carlile is one of the best songs out there.

It’s a great piece of songwriting which allows you to shape your own arrangement.

It’s in the key of A, but if you use a capo on the second fret, you can play along with the recording in the key of G, using these chords:

G chord

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D chord

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Em chord

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C chord

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“The Story” is sometimes categorized as Americana, a conglomeration of country, bluegrass, folk, gospel, rock, blues, and acoustic and electric music.

Other Americana artists with easy country guitar songs for you to try include Steve Earle, Neko Case, Mike Nesmith, and Alejandro Escovedo.

Easy Country Guitar Songs #4 ‘Lucille’ by Kenny Rogers

The all-time champion of country crossover music, Kenny Rogers, managed to take a whole string of straight country songs and turn them into pop chart hits, like this one.

Now, this is just fantastic songwriting. Like many easy country guitar songs, this is a story song.

  • The narrator is sitting in a bar with a woman who is telling him about her dissatisfaction with her life when all of a sudden her gigantic husband comes in.
  • Right before the narrator bolts out of his chair to run for his life, the husband begins speaking, and there is a major plot twist in the chorus, here the whole arc of the story changes.
  • This is a country waltz, three beats to a measure instead of four. It’s played in the key of G with the capo on the second fret.

Halfway through, the key changes to A, still with the capo on the second fret. Here are the chords for this song:

G chord

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C chord

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D chord

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Am chord

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A chord

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E chord

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Bm chord

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Pro Strumming Tip!

One strumming rhythm you can use for easy country guitar songs that are waltzes is down, down up down up.

Try to “swing” the strumming so that the down strum is longer than the up strum.

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Easy Country Guitar Songs #5 ‘Jolene’ by Dolly Parton

You may have noticed that infidelity is a recurring theme in country music, as it was in folk music long before.

Dolly Parton did not take her competitors to ‘Fist City’, as you can hear in her 1973 song “Jolene.”

It is played in the key of A minor, with the capo on the fifth fret. If you aren’t quite the soprano Dolly is, you can put the capo anywhere you like to match your vocal range. Here are the chords:

Am chord

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C chord

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G chord

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The guitar part in the recording was played by Chip Young, a Nashville session guitarist who built his career on his distinctive thumbpicking style.

There is no need to fingerpick this song; the chords, melody, and lyrics work just as well with a simple strumming pattern like this:

  • Down, down, down up down up.
  • Or you could use alternating bass strumming.

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Pro-tip: When picking an individual string of the guitar, try to keep your hand motion small by pushing the pick down past the string you want, just until it stops on the next string of the guitar. This will help you find your strings without looking!

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