Take Me Home Country Roads Chords – Your Essential Guide

John Denver’s Take Me Home Country Roads chords are fun & easy to play – let’s dive in & explore!

In this free lesson you will learn…

  • How to play the song as it was recorded
  • How to play the song in an easier key
  • A smart approach to chords
  • How to make this song easier to learn

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These Take Me Home Country Roads Chords Are Easy!

Ah, so you’re looking for timeless and fun guitar songs to have in your back pocket for your next jam session!

John Denver’s Take Me Home Country Roads chords is a great place to start!

This is not to be confused with James Taylor’s “Country Road,” which we promise to get into in a later lesson.

Country Roads is John Denver’s biggest hit, and it’s going to be one of your favorite songs to play and sing once this lesson is over.

With that, we’re excited to teach you to play the Take Me Home Country Roads chords in all their glory – let’s jump into it!

Take-Me-Home-Country-Roads-Chords

Take Me Home Country Roads Chords: The Background

Here’s a lovely live version of Country Roads, with John Denver and a full band, including a dobro and banjo.

Did you know that this song could have been a Johnny Cash song if it weren’t for a car crash?

Bill Danoff and Taffy Nivert wrote most of this song while they were working as a duo called Fat City.

Take-Me-Home-Country-Roads-Chords

They had planned to sell the Take Me Home Country Roads chords to Johnny Cash, but Fat City opened for John Denver in Washington DC in December 1970 and fate intervened.

  • On his way to visit Danoff and Nivert to jam, Denver got in a car crash and injured his thumb. So they showed him their song, which was initially called “I Guess He’d Rather Be in Colorado.”
  • They worked on it all night, and out came the Take Me Home Country Roads chords and the song itself.

Take-Me-Home-Country-Roads-Chords

Danoff and Nivert, by the way, were married, and they went on to form another band and give you another song you’ll never get out of your head!

Country Roads reached number two on the US Billboard charts and number three in Canada.

It’s one of West Virginia’s official state anthems, and it’s certainly one of the state’s best pieces of marketing, capturing the beauty of the landscape and the promise of a simple and peaceful life there.

Take-Me-Home-Country-Roads-Chords

Take Me Home Country Roads Chords For Beginners

The Take Me Home Country Roads chords are in the key of A major, and that’s how Denver plays it on the recording.

A major is not a super friendly key for beginning guitar players, when the song in question has more than three chords in it however. That’s because barre chords start to get involved.

  • For beginners, we suggest transposing the song to the key of G major, which allows you to play the entire song with open chords.
  • Here are all the chords you’ll need to get through your version of Country Roads in the key of G major.
  • Stick your capo at the second fret to move back up to A in order to play along to the recording.

G (320003)

(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)

C (x32010)

Em (022000)

F (xx3211)

or Fmaj7 (xx3210)

If you are not super comfortable playing that four-string F chord just yet, never fear!

For one thing, it only appears one time in the entirety of the Take Me Home Country Roads chords, and in a place where you only have to hit the chord once.

If you prefer, you can substitute the Fmaj7 chord for the F chord. It sounds just as pretty and is a little bit easier to land on.

Take-Me-Home-Country-Roads-Chords

Pro-tip: When you’re learning these Take Me Home Country Roads chords, you don’t need to inject any rhythm into your playing at all until you get used to the chord changes.

Just play the new chord when you’re singing the lyrics that happen over the chord change.

Later, when your fingers get used to the chord changes, you can start to play with a steady rhythm.

Harmonic-Minor-Scale-Guitar

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Take Me Home Country Roads Chords: The Structure For Beginners

This song has three sections: a verse, a chorus, and a bridge.

Taking these Take Me Home Country Roads chords one section at a time helps you to learn the song in manageable chunks and makes it easier to memorize.

Verse Chords

After a four-bar intro, which is just the G chord, the chords in the verse go like this:

G G Em Em

D D C G

That happens twice, and that’s it for the verse section.

  • The thing to watch out for in these Take Me Home Country Roads chords is that quick C to G change at the end of the second line.
  • That quick chord change just takes a little getting used to, but you’ll nail it in no time.

rhythm-guitar-lessons

Chorus Chords

Here’s the chord progression for the chorus of these Take Me Home Country Roads chords.

G G D D

Em Em C C

G G D D

C C G G

The chorus of a song is usually simpler and a little bit easier to learn than the rest of the song, because it’s the part that’s meant to be repeated.

As a beginner, you might want to learn the chorus of the Take Me Home Country Roads chords first and fill in the rest later.

This song is a great exercise in using the primary chords in the key of G major and will definitely help you to get better at changing between them!

Take-Me-Home-Country-Roads-Chords

Bridge Chords

The bridge of a song is that part of the song that breaks up the repetition between verses or between the verse-chorus structure.

It’s always at least a little bit different than the rest of the song and it gives your ear a rest. It’s anything but a rest for those of us playing the song, because it’s a new part that we have to learn.

In the Take Me Home Country Roads chords, the bridge changes mood slightly by starting on a minor chord. It doesn’t stay minor for long, but it’s a fresh approach, which is why songs have bridges.

Classical-Guitar-Lessons-Online

Also, the bridge contains the magic chord. In the case of this song, the magic chord is F. Listen to the song and you’ll understand why we’re calling it the magic chord! It’s just so pretty, sitting right there.

Here’s how the chords run in the bridge of Country Roads

Em D G G

C G D D

Em F C G

D D D D

Take-Me-Home-Country-Roads-Chords

Take Me Home Country Roads Chords: Put it In Any Key You Like!

As we’ve said, the chords above enable you to play Country Roads in the key of G major, which is the easiest key for this song, as far as the guitar is concerned.

You can put this song in any key you like, especially to accommodate your vocal range, with a capo.

Women singing this song might want to put their capo on the fourth through seventh fret to suit a middle-of-the-road female vocal range.

easy-way-to-play-e2

Men might want to leave the capo off, or put their capo on the first through third fret.

  • Where you choose to put the capo is entirely up to you; that’s the reason the capo is the number one guitar accessory – it allows you to personalize all of your songs without having to learn new chords!
  • These Take Me Home Country Roads chords suit any vocal style provided your capo is in the right spot – make it work for you!

Take-Me-Home-Country-Roads-Chords

Take Me Home Country Roads Chords: The Chords As Recorded

Denver recorded and played the Take Me Home Country Roads chords in the key of A major. This poses a problem for beginning guitar players because the chords in A major involve a barre chord.

Some of us learned barre chords as beginners, and as painful as that was to get through, it did teach us a lot about how the guitar works as an instrument and how to find things around the fretboard.

The key of A major is good for anyone who can get in and out of barre chords. Here are the chords you’ll need.

A (x02220)

F#m (244222)

D (xx0232)

E (022100)

G (320003)

Take Me Home Country Roads Chords: The Structure, As Recorded

Changing the key of a song, all the individual chords and the melody is called transposition.

If you understand the chromatic scale, you can do it pretty easily.

  • The beginners’ key of these Take Me Home Country Roads chords is G.
  • The recorded key is A. G is one whole step below A, so in order to transpose Country Roads from G to A, all we have to do is move everything up a whole step.
  • G becomes A. Em becomes F#m. The melody is sung beginning on the note one whole step higher. Everything stays the same; it just shifts.

how-to-play-country-roads

So, the chords in the verse of these Take Me Home Country Roads chords in the key of A go like this. Remember to go around twice to complete the verse.

A A F#m F#m

E E D A

The chorus chords go like this:

A A E E

F#m F#m D D

A A E E

D D A A

Verse:

F#m E A A

D A E E

F#m G D A

E E E E

Practice one section at a time, and before you know it, you’ve got the whole thing down!

John-Denver-Country-Roads-guitar-chords

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.

Take Me Home Country Roads Chords: The Rhythm

It might be obvious to all of us that Take Me Home Country Roads is a country song, but it’s not always easy to figure out how to make a country song sound like one.

You can always figure out your own rhythm and groove for Country Roads.

Toots and the Maytals played it with a rocksteady backbeat. Olivia Newton-John asked herself, “What would Elvis do?”

Take-Me-Home-Country-Roads-Chords

To play the song with a pretty solid John Denver feel, we suggest alternating bass strumming.

Alternating bass strumming is the boom-chicka strum you are always hearing from Johnny Cash in songs like “Folsom Prison Blues” and “I Walk the Line.”

The “boom” is a single string being plucked. The “chicka” is the chord being strummed.

This rhythm technique is ideal for these Take Me Home Country Roads chords.

Alternating Bass Strumming In G Major

In the key of G major, you’d strum the chords like this:

how-to-play-country-roads-guitar

Note that the C major chord is the one that requires you to somehow get a finger onto the third fret of the low E string on the third beat.

You can handle this in one of two ways: either move your ring finger back and forth between the A and E strings, or set up your C chord like this.

C (332010)

Alternating Bass Strumming In A Major

If you’re playing Country Roads in A major, then this is the alternating bass strumming pattern you’ll use for each chord.

easy-country-roads-chords

So, why didn’t we put the F chord into the key of G major alternating bass strumming, and why didn’t we put the G chord into the key of A major alternating bass strumming?

  • Listen to the recording. Those chords are just punched in at the beginning of the measure, and you don’t need to continue the strumming pattern in that section of the song.
  • It’s an arranging decision, and it’s meant to emphasize the magic chord and the lyrics!

guitar-chords-country-road-take-me-home

Pro-Tip: When you’re learning to do alternating bass strumming, try to develop the habit of not looking at your strumming hand.

You simply don’t have time to look down there.

Your hand will learn where the strings are and you’ll develop consistency over time. Just make your hand motion small when you’re picking, and you’ll be able to find the strings without looking.

guitar-fingerpicking-patterns

Take Me Home Country Roads Chords: The Intro Lick

Our favorite things to play on the guitar have two very important criteria:

They have to be pretty easy to do, and they have to sound cool. There is this nice short lick at the beginning of the Take Me Home Country Roads chords that satisfies both criteria.

In this version, what you hear is pretty much exactly what you see below.

If you have someone to play this song with, put them in charge of the A chord at the beginning of the song, and let this little lick rip.

country-road-chords

And there’s everything you need to know to play Country Roads!

Practicing & Playing These Take Me Home Country Roads Chords

Wherever you go, people are going to want you to play and sing along to these Take Me Home Country Roads chords, and probably teach it to them.

It’s also a great audition piece! If you need a chord and lyric chart, here one in G major and one in A major. Enjoy!

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