Top 10 Easy Country Songs To Learn On Guitar

Strap on your boots and grab your cowboy hat – we’ve got 10 easy country songs to learn on guitar!

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In this free lesson you will learn…

  • 10 easy country music tunes to kickstart your playing
  • The difference between country & western music
  • How bluegrass is different from country music & why
  • The “Train” rhythm & how to play it!

Gas Up The Truck & Get the Dogs! We’ve Got 10 Easy Country Songs To Learn On Guitar!

Nothing, we tell you, nothing in the world, is more fun than embracing your inner country music fan and finding some easy country songs to learn on guitar!

Three chords and some life experience is all you need to begin working on this set of simple and fun tunes.

Just make sure you invite us over to your next jam session so we can play these songs together!

Easy-country-songs-to-learn-on-guitar

Johnny Cash – “A Boy Named Sue”

Sure, Johnny Cash was the USA’s chief spokesperson for the downtrodden and disenfranchised in the latter 20th century, but he also gave us this gem:

This rare moment of Johnny Cash frivolity was brought to you by none other than The Giving Tree author Shel Silverstein, who wrote it in 1969. Cash performed it at San Quentin prison and it became a big hit.

He is playing the song in the key of Bb, which is not a popular set of chords for easy songs to learn on guitar. He is actually playing in the key of A with the capo on the first fret.

If you would like to do that, but you don’t know how, please check out How to Use a Capo in 3 Easy Steps.

A (x02220)

Easy-country-songs-to-learn-on-guitar

(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!)

D (xx0232)

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E (022100)

Easy-country-songs-to-learn-on-guitar

These three chords are all you need for quite a few easy songs to learn on guitar!

For “A Boy Named Sue,” you’ll also need your lungs, because this is a talking blues, like “Alice’s Restaurant” and “Talking Dust Bowl Blues.”

There are quite a few verses, so get to learning! Here’s a handy set of chords and lyrics to “A Boy Named Sue”.

You’ll want to do the Johnny Cash alternating bass strum in this song.

  • For the A chord, you’ll pick the A string, strum the chord, pick the low E string, strum the chord.
  • For the E chord it’s the low E string and then the A string.
  • For the D chord, it’s the D string and the A string.

Easy-country-songs-to-learn-on-guitar

Easy Country Songs To Learn On Guitar – Marty Robbins – “El Paso”

So many of the best easy country songs to learn on guitar are story songs! Here’s Marty Robbins’ “El Paso.”

Robbins wrote this gunslinger ballad in 1959, and in the video, he’s playing in the key of C.

That’s a key that’s a bunch of trouble for this song, so you’re going to play it in the key of D. You’ll thank me later!

Here are all the chords you’ll need.

D (xx0232)

Easy-country-songs-to-learn-on-guitar

Em (022000)

Easy-country-songs-to-learn-on-guitar

A7 (x02020)

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G (320003)

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C (x32010)

Easy-country-songs-to-learn-on-guitar

D7 (xx0212)

Don’t worry! You only need three chords at a time.

  • As easy country songs to learn on guitar go, this one’s pretty long, so here’s a reference chord chart with lyrics to “El Paso.”
  • This tune is a waltz, meaning that instead of the usual four-count measure, you’ve got three counts that repeat.

When getting used to playing a waltz, it helps to accentuate the first beat:

ONE two three ONE two three.

Just hit the strings a little harder on the ONE!

Easy-country-songs-to-learn-on-guitar

Pro-Tip: Is D a terrible key for you to sing “El Paso?”

 

Any time you run into a song that’s outside your comfortable vocal range, you can use the capo to change the key.

 

That way you can use the chords you already know and love!

Learn the 12 EASIEST beginner chords with our famous FREE guide

  Stop struggling. Start making music.

  Learn 12 beginner-friendly versions of every chord.

  This is our most popular guide and it will improve your chord ability quickly.

Easy Country Songs To Learn On Guitar – On The Road Again, Willie Nelson

This might be the most pure and happy thing ever written, and it is one of the most popular easy country songs to learn on guitar: “On the Road Again.”

Willie Nelson’s first leading role in a film was 1980’s Honeysuckle Rose, and when he was asked on a flight to write a song for the soundtrack, he wrote this one. On a barf bag.

Willie plays this one in E, but we’re going to play it in C so as to avoid some barre chords.

C (x32010)

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E7 (020100)

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Dm (xx0231)

F (xx3211)

G (320003)

If the F chord is not your jam yet, you can replace it with an alternative from one of these great lessons:

F Guitar Chord – 3 Easy Alternatives

Fmaj7 Guitar Chord: 5 Ways to Play this Lovely Chord

This is a fun and simple song to memorize and sing, and here’s a handy chord chart for “On the Road Again” to help you do that!

So many easy country songs to learn on guitar are “train songs,” which doesn’t necessarily mean that they are about trains but that they sound like trains.

Take-Me-Home-Country-Roads-Chords

The alternating bass strum is the best way to sound like a train. You pick the root of the chord on the first beat, strum the chord on the second, pick the alternating note on the third, and strum the chord on the fourth beat.

  • For C, you pick the A string 3rd fret and then low E string 3rd fret.
  • For E7, it’s E string open and A string second fret.
  • For Dm, it’s D string and then A string.
  • For F, it’s D string 3rd fret and A string 3rd fret. For G, it’s low E string 3rd fret and open D string.

Follow the pattern above and you’ll gain a lot of headway with many of these easy country songs to learn on guitar!

Easy-country-songs-to-learn-on-guitar

Easy Country Songs To Learn On Guitar – Tennessee Ernie Ford – “Sixteen Tons”

A timeless commentary on capitalism, and one of the greatest easy country songs to learn on guitar – here’s “Sixteen Tons”.

“Sixteen Tons” was written by Merle Travis in 1946 about life working in the Muehlenberg County, Kentucky coal mines. Muehlenberg County was also the subject of the song “Paradise,” by John Prine.

The chord progression for this song pops up in all kinds of music, from “Valleri” by the Monkees to “Stray Cat Strut” by Brian Setzer to “Hit the Road, Jack” by Ray Charles.

It’s so famous that it has a fancy music theory name: The Andalusian Cadence.

We’re going to play “Sixteen Tons” in A minor, and here are the chords you’ll need:

Am (x02210)

G (320003)

F (xx3211)

E (022100)

Dm (xx0231)

C (x32010)

Here is a copy of the chord chart with lyrics for “Sixteen Tons.”

  • Each chord gets two beats, so there’s not a whole lot of time for fancy rhythm.
  • You can simply strum down twice per chord to get the point across in a lovely way.

Playing these easy country songs to learn on guitar with power chords is another cool way to emulate the bass-heavy arrangement Tennessee Ernie Ford uses.

A5 (57xxxx)

G5 (35xxxx)

F5 (13xxxx)

E5 (02xxxx)

D5 (x57xxx)

C (x53xxx)

Easy-country-songs-to-learn-on-guitar

Easy Country Songs To Learn On Guitar – Buck Owens – “Act Naturally”

Yes, Ringo Starr sang it, but Buck Owens was much, much better dressed. Here’s “Act Naturally.”

“Act Naturally” was written by Johnny Russell, and then the publishing rights were transferred to Buck Owens when he recorded it with his Buckaroos in 1963.

The Beatles had the biggest hit with it in 1965, and it is still one of the most popular and enduring easy country songs to learn on guitar.

You’ll play it in the key of G, using these chords.

G (320003)

C (x32010)

D7 (xx0212)

A7 (x02020)

 

Use this chord and lyric chart to play and sing “Act Naturally.”

There are a few simple and effective strumming patterns you can use to play “Act Naturally” and a lot of other easy country songs to learn on guitar. Try one or more of these!

Down, down, down-up, down-up

Down, down-up, -up, down-up

Pick (root of chord), down, -up, down

easy-country-songs-guitar

Pro-Tip: Learn to tune your guitar without a tuner!

 

This is the first step in teaching your ear what to notice about music so that you can begin learning songs from recordings.

 

Check out this lesson to walk you through: How to Tune a Guitar

Easy Country Songs To Learn On Guitar – Willie Nelson – “Don’t Fence Me In”

Some easy country songs to learn on guitar are suitable for every purpose. This is technically a western song, but it is just a darn fine song all around: “Don’t Fence Me In.”

This song was written by Cole Porter in 1934. The best version, however is right here with Willie Nelson and one of our favorite pianists and arrangers, Leon Russell.

The difference between country music and western music is a long story that may only be interesting to a handful of people anywhere on the planet, but here’s a clear illustration: the B7 chord in this song.

We’re playing it in the key of D, and the B7 chord is a very jazzy turnaround that starts winding the song around the circle of fifths until it lands back at D. That is the difference between country and western music.

D (xx0232)

A7 (x02020)

D7 (xx0212)

B7 (x21202)

E7 (020110)

You don’t have to get it to enjoy it! Here is a handy chord and lyric chart to “Don’t Fence Me In” so that you can start playing along right away.

Another difference between country and western music is western music’s greater propensity to swing.

  • To swing your strum, make your down strum longer than your up strum, as though your arm is heavy.
  • Instead of dividing the beat evenly in half, you’re giving the first part of the beat a little more time.

guitar-country-songs

Easy Country Songs To Learn On Guitar – Hank Williams – “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry”

Hank Williams is an endless resource for easy country songs to learn on guitar.

Here is “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry.”

Elvis called it the saddest song ever written, and he’s not wrong.

You’ll play this one in key of E. Here are the chords.

E (022100)

E7 (020100)

A (x02220)

B7 (x21202)

 

The song’s verses repeat and the chord progression is simple, which is what makes it one of your easy country songs to learn on guitar.

Here is a chord chart with lyrics for “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry.”

This is another country waltz – another opportunity for you to practice strumming ONE two three ONE two three!

There’s nothing intuitive about playing in 3, but with practice in easy country songs to learn on guitar like this one, you’ll have it down in no time.

fun-country-songs-for-guitar

Download our lead guitar cheat-sheet to make things easier

It can be disorientating for guitarists to understand which scales work with which keys.

With this in mind, we created a cheat-sheet; a key and scale-finder that you can use again and again.

Easy Country Songs To Learn On Guitar – The Band – “Long Black Veil”

There are a million beautiful versions of this Lefty Frizzell classic, but this one is by The Band, a band you should be listening to all the time. Here’s “Long Black Veil.”

Of all the easy country songs to learn on guitar, this one has everything: murder, incarceration, infidelity, a plot twist, and only three chords!

We’ll be playing this one in the key of G, and here are the chords.

G (320003)

D (xx0232)

C (x32010)

 

For the whole story, here is a chord chart for “Long Black Veil” with lyrics.

The harmonies are beautiful, so grab some friends for this one!

If you want to get that chunky little groove The Band is known for, you can try this strumming pattern:

Down, down, down, down-up-down-up.

The down-up-down-up strums all happen in the fourth beat.

best-country-songs-for-guitar

Easy Country Songs To Learn On Guitar – Nitty Gritty Dirt Band – “Rockytop”

We do not understand why it is that as the 21st century advances, children in summer camps all over the United States of America are still being taught this song, but we’re glad it’s happening.

“Rockytop” was written by Felice and Boudleaux Bryant, who also brought you “Love Hurts”, “Wake Up Little Susie,” and “Bye Bye Love.”

  • The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band does this song beautifully in the key of G, and that’s what we’ll do too.
  • Bluegrass songs are frequently in the key of G because that’s how a banjo is tuned.
  • Conveniently, that puts us in the open and first positions on the fretboard for all of these chords, which is common in many of these easy country songs to learn on guitar.

G (320003)

Em (022000)

D (xx0232)

C (x32010)

F (xx3211)

 

Here’s your chord chart with lyrics for “Rockytop.”

Bluegrass songs tend to go at a pretty quick tempo, which doesn’t leave much room for fussy strumming.

The main thing about bluegrass strumming is the choppy accented strum on beats two and four, which create a backbeat!

country-guitar-lesson

Easy Country Songs To Learn On Guitar – John Denver – “Country Roads”

We can’t very well conclude a list of easy country songs to learn on guitar without including this one: “Country Roads.”

Denver wrote this song with Bill Danoff and Taffy Nivert, who wound up getting married and bringing you the Starland Vocal Band! Thanks, John Denver!

He’s playing “Country Roads” in the key of A, but we’re going to avoid barre chords and play it in the key of G, the People’s Key. Here are the chords you’ll need:

G (320003)

Em (022000)

D (xx0232)

C (x32010)

F (xx3211)

If you’d like to play along with Denver, you can put a capo on the second fret.

Here is a chord chart with lyrics for “Country Roads” in case you don’t already know them.

You can strum this song down, down, down-up, down-up.

You can also replace the first downward strum in each measure with a single note, the root of the chord.

how-to-play-country-songs-on-guitar

Add These Tunes To Your Songbook!

These easy country songs to learn on guitar will become even easier when you learn them with some friends.

There are lots of opportunities to stretch yourself musically when you find one or more practice buddies, so that is today’s recommendation.

With practice, you can learn to take solos, sing in harmony, and play more complicated and interesting rhythms together.

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