Learning guitar chords for country songs can help you spruce up your playing ability. It can also help make it easier for you to learn some of the most popular country songs out there.
About Country Music
Country music is an evolutionary musical style derived in the 1920s from a blend of folk, gospel and guitar-based music. It was developed in the Southern United States, but later spread nationwide. The style is also one of the few styles of music that has seen a rise during both a falling economy and a dwindling music industry at the start of the 21st century. Subgenres of country music include bluegrass, banjo tunes, honky tonk, truck driving country and Nashville sound.
Stylistically, country music uses instruments that are less used in other forms of music, such as the steel guitar, mandolin, banjo and harmonica. The style is also closely associated with the developmental history of the guitar and uses the instrument heavily. Many country songs use only a handful of chords and focus more on lyrical intonation and message. Popular artists over the years include:
- Emmylou Harris
- Kenny Chesney
- Garth Brooks
- Johnny Cash
- The Dixie Chicks
- Tim McGraw
- Chris Young
- Tricia Yearwood
Popular Guitar Chords for Country Songs
Country music often utilizes few chords in songs in order to emphasis other elements such as lyrics, emotion and performance. Many country music buffs will tell you that country music is about reality and emoting something relevant to your audience and less about chord progression. Popular country music chords include:
- A Minor
- E minor
- B Minor
You can learn how to play each of these chords using LTK's free printable guitar chord chart.
The most popular chord types used in country music include:
- 3 note major chords
- Minor chords
- Suspended 4s
- Minor 7s
- Major 7s
- Suspended 2s
Since many country songs involve only a few chords, it is rare to find a large variety of different chord types in a single song. As a result, don't worry if you can't play a major chord followed by a minor then followed by a major 7; you likely won't need to.
Guitar Chords for Country Songs
A few of the best known country guitar songs use the chords listed above in a basic manner. Once you have practiced the chords for a while, it might be time to move on to practicing a few songs. Some great songs to try include:
- I Walk The Line by Johnny Cash. The song uses only A, E7, and D chords.
- Friends In Low Places by Garth Brooks. The song features A, a diminished E, B, and E as the only four chords in the song.
- Green Green Grass of Home by Johnny Cash features G, G7, D, D7, and C as the songs only chords.
- Not Ready to Make Nice by the Dixie Chick only uses Em, D, G and C in the song.
- Take Me Home Country Road by John Denver features G, Em, D, C, and G.
Now that you know a few of the most popular guitar chords for country music songs, it is time to put them to use. Pull out your guitar and see how easy it is to play some of the most popular songs out there. You can even expand into musical styles that have influenced country music like old gospel guitar. With practice, you can be a country music guitar star in no time!