Top Classic Country Songs for Acoustic Guitar

Chords and Performance Tips for Popular Country Music

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Cross, Dan. "Top Classic Country Songs for Acoustic Guitar." ThoughtCo, Mar. 3, 2017, thoughtco.com/best-acoustic-country-songs-1711872. Cross, Dan. (2017, March 3). Top Classic Country Songs for Acoustic Guitar. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/best-acoustic-country-songs-1711872 Cross, Dan. "Top Classic Country Songs for Acoustic Guitar." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/best-acoustic-country-songs-1711872 (accessed October 21, 2017).

If you play the acoustic guitar and are a fan of classic country music, the links below will help you learn to play many of the most popular songs from the country genre. A guideline for the difficulty of each song has been included. The assumption with these guidelines is the beginner can play the basic essential open chords plus the more challenging F major chord. So put on your Stetson and get strumming!

01
of 10

I Fall To Pieces (Patsy Cline)

patsy cline showcase

Album: Patsy Cline Showcase (1961)
Level of Difficulty: advanced beginner

The chords for "I Fall to Pieces" are straightforward beginner grips, with one exception - the very brief Eb major, which appears during the transition from E major to D major. If you're brand new to guitar, try skipping this chord entirely - the song will still sound good. Strum slow downstrokes, four times per chord (although there are times when you'll want to strum a chord eight times at the end of a phrase - use your ear for guidance).

02
of 10

Your Cheatin' Heart (Hank Williams, Sr.)

hank williams your cheating heart

Album: released as a single (1961)
Level of Difficulty: beginner

If you know your basic open chords, this Hank Williams Sr. song will be nice and easy to learn. One you've got the basic song together, you may want to mimic the alternating bass pattern being used, but to get started, just keep a nice slow, steady pace using downstrokes.

03
of 10

Always On My Mind (Willie Nelson version)

willie nelson you were always on my mind

Album: Always on My Mind (1982)
Level of Difficulty: advanced beginner

This recording does not actually feature an acoustic guitar - it's entirely piano-based. Nonetheless, it is in a guitar-friendly key, and lends itself well to the acoustic guitar. Use short downstrokes in your strumming pattern.

04
of 10

Coal Miner's Daughter (Loretta Lynn)

loretta lynn coal miners daughter

Album: Coal Miner's Daughter (1972)
Level of Difficulty: advanced beginner

The guitar tab linked to here isn't horrible, but it doesn't get the original key right - or include any of the key changes that happen frequently throughout Loretta Lynn's recording of "Coal Miner's Daughter". To play this version of the song, you'll need to have good command of your barre chord shapes.

05
of 10

Stand By Your Man (Tammy Wynette)

tammy wynette stand by your man

Album: released as a single (1968)
Level of Difficulty: advanced beginner

You'll need to focus on the chord shapes when playing "Stand By Your Man" - there are a lot of chords for a country song. Although there are many open chords, you'll have to have good command of your barre chords. Keep the strumming simple - I'd suggest either four straight downstrums per bar, or using a down, down, down up, down up pattern.

06
of 10

For The Good Times (Kris Kristofferson)

kristofferson

Album: Kristofferson (1970)
Level of Difficulty: beginner

The chords and strumming for Kris Kristofferson's often-covered "For The Good Times" are straightforward. If you can play an F major chord, you should be able to play this one.

07
of 10

Ring of Fire (Johnny Cash)

Ring of Fire Johnny Cash

Album: released as a single (1963)
Level of Difficulty: beginner

The chords to "Ring of Fire" are as simple as they come - G, C and D7. Any beginner guitarist should, with a little practice, be able to play the basics of "Ring of Fire". The difficulty in playing this song well lies entirely in how it is strummed. The pattern is straight "down up down up", but to capture the feel of the original recording, you'll need to use your fretting hand to effectively muffle the chords between strums.

08
of 10

Tennessee Waltz (Patti Page)

patti page tennessee waltz

Album: released as a single (1950)
Level of Difficulty: beginner

As the title suggests, the "Tennessee Waltz" is indeed a waltz - meaning that it is played in 3/4 time. Strum this one "down, down up down up". The chords are straightforward - if you can play an F major, you should have no trouble.

09
of 10

Rainy Day Woman (Waylon Jennings)

waylon jennings the ramblin man

Album: The Ramblin' Man (1975)
Level of Difficulty: beginner

You can't get much easier than this - two chords and a basic strumming pattern. The original "Rainy Day Woman" guitar part features a constant "down up down up" strum. You'll need to pay attention to the recording to understand when exactly to switch chords. Note that this tab doesn't include any of the lead guitar parts - only the basic acoustic rhythm guitar part.

10
of 10

Hey Good Lookin' (Hank Williams, Sr.)

hank williams hey good lookin

Album: released as a single (1951)
Level of Difficulty: beginner

The basics here are easy - just C, D, F and G chords. Begin by strumming using only slow downstrokes. To replicate the feel of the original guitar part, try and focus on using your fretting hand to effectively muffle the chords between strums (a sound you'll hear commonly amongst early jazz guitarists). Once you're comfortable with the chords and the basic strum, try experimenting with a strumming pattern with an alternating bass note.

Format
mla apa chicago
Your Citation
Cross, Dan. "Top Classic Country Songs for Acoustic Guitar." ThoughtCo, Mar. 3, 2017, thoughtco.com/best-acoustic-country-songs-1711872. Cross, Dan. (2017, March 3). Top Classic Country Songs for Acoustic Guitar. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/best-acoustic-country-songs-1711872 Cross, Dan. "Top Classic Country Songs for Acoustic Guitar." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/best-acoustic-country-songs-1711872 (accessed October 21, 2017).