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Guitar Chords for Country Songs

Kevin Ott
Country guitarist

Country songs can be addictive because their chords and melodies are often simple yet beautifully written. Explore these song resources to master the guitar chords for your favorite country songs.

Three Sets of Chords for Country Songs

The three original LoveToKnow song sheets below contain guitar chords for popular country songs, and their simple structures will give you a quick start to learning. See Guide for Adobe Printables for help with downloading the file if you have any difficulty.

Folsom Prison Blues by Johnny Cash

Folsom Prison Blues, released by Johnny Cash in 1956 and recorded live in 1968 at Folsom Prison, is one of the most famous songs in modern music history and one of the songs that launched Johnny Cash to stardom.

Folsom Prison Blues by Johnny Cash words and chords
  • Each chord is placed on the lyric syllable and beat of the melody where you make the chord change on the guitar.
  • If you'd like to get the true Johnny Cash sound, you can use the palm muting technique when you strum or pick the chords with your right hand.

Johnny Cash played Folsom Prison Blues at another live prison concert in San Quentin Prison, where future country legend Merle Haggard was an inmate serving a burglary-related sentence. When Haggard heard Cash, it changed his life and inspired him to start writing country songs.

The Dance by Garth Brooks

Another legendary song that has transcended the country genre and become a modern music classic, The Dance, written by Tony Arata and discovered by Brooks in a serendipitous chain of events, helped catapult Garth Brooks to super-stardom in 1990 when it became his second number 1 hit on the charts.

The Dance by Garth Brooks words and chords
  • Each chord is placed on the lyric syllable and beat of the melody where you make the chord change on the guitar.
  • To capture the magic of the original Garth Brooks recording, try fingerpicking the E minor chords and playing softly at the ending.

Every Little Thing by Carly Pearce

Every Little Thing by Carly Peace, a 2017 Top 20 Billboard hit, adds some of today's country flavor to the mix. The haunting chord progression that tastefully switches between major and minor chords combined with a well-written, bittersweet melody makes this song a wonderful addition to your guitar chord repertoire.

Every Little Thing by Carly Pearce words and chords
  • Each chord is placed on the lyric syllable and beat of the melody where you make the chord change on the guitar.
  • The second chord on each launch is played on the offbeat and anticipates the rhythm of the melody. It will take some practice, but try listening to the original recording as often as possible (or watch the video below) while you're learning the song to get a sense of the correct chord rhythm.

Country's Approach to Chord Progression

Country music often utilizes few chords in songs in order to emphasize other elements, such as lyrics, emotion, and performance. Many country music buffs will tell you it is about reality and emoting something relevant to your audience and less about chord progression. Popular country music chords include:

  • C
  • F
  • G
  • G7
  • D
  • A Minor
  • E minor
  • B
  • B Minor

You can learn how to play each of these chords using LTK's free printable guitar chord chart.

It is rare to find a large variety of different chord types in a country song. For that reason, don't worry if you can't play fast, complicated chord changes. You likely won't need to.

Guitar Chords for Country Songs

Once you've mastered the three songs above, you can try your hand at these additional songs and browse other internet resources for more country songs:

  • 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, diminished E, B, and E as the only four chords in the song.
  • Green Green Grass Of Home by Johnny Cash: It features G, G7, D, D7, and C as the song's only chords.
  • Not Ready To Make Nice by the Dixie Chicks: This only uses Em, D, G, and C.
  • Take Me Home Country Road by John Denver: The song features G, Em, D, C, and G.
  • Traditional Bluegrass Archive: If you like the old-school bluegrass end of country music, this archive contains dozens of free songs to keep you busy, from Blue Moon Of Kentucky to I've Got That Old Feeling. Scroll down the long list of songs and click to open the music.
  • Classic Country Song Lyrics: This country-loving site offers free access to a huge library of classic country songs, both lyrics and chords, that are transcribed for educational purposes. Its focus, however, is on classic country artists, but it casts a wide net from '50s artists like Buck Owens to early '90s stars like George Strait.
  • Country Tabs: If you need a site that is more focused on modern artists and today's country hits, Country Tabs is a great resource. It features a list of the current top charting country songs with easily scannable lists on its homepage and a search box so you can quickly find the song you want.
  • E-Chords: The Country Genre section in E-Chords offers over 1,000 free country songs with chords. Granted, many of these songs are from obscure artists, but it has many household names, as well. Search by artist name. The songs are free to view, but you can upgrade to Premium for $3.95 per month to remove ads and unlock other features.
  • Pluck and Play Guitar: This guitar instruction site has created its own chord sheets of ten classic country songs ranging from Taylor Swift's Love Song to Willie Nelson's Always On My Mind. Each song is free. Click on the song image, and the chords and lyrics pop up.

Country Music on the Guitar

The rustic, simple sound of a bunch of strings rattling a hollow piece of wood somehow fits the country music genre perfectly. For this reason, learning to play country music on the guitar can be one of the most gratifying musical experiences you'll have because it doesn't take much to make a song sound amazing.

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Guitar Chords for Country Songs