Top 17 Easy Country Songs on Guitar (For Beginners) - Music Grotto (2022)

Some of the most famous country songs prove you don’t need complicated fingerpicking to create a classic. A lot of hits since the 1950s are easy for even first-time players to learn, and most use simplistic guitar chords, too.

Below, check out 17 of the best, easy country songs on guitar that you can pick up today.

1. “Wagon Wheel by Old Crow” Medicine Show

You may recognize this song by Darius Rucker’s 2013 rendition. But the original was a song that Bob Dylan and Ketch Secor wrote in the 70s. They released it in 1973, and since then it’s one of the most recognizable country songs.

The lyrics take you on a trip down into the “land of the pines”. But the best part is that this crowd-pleaser is easy to learn.

Wagon Wheel follows the same four chords repeatedly. You don’t have to switch your fingers fast to get them, and it has a calm strumming motion. We think beginners will both enjoy this song and find it easy to adapt to.

Chords: G, D, Em, C.

2. “Ring of Fire” by Johnny Cash

“Ring of Fire” is a funny song because it makes up a metaphor of love as fire. In this 1963 classic, Johnny Cash sings about how he’s fallen into the ring of love.

It’s a great guitar beginner song because it only has three chords. The strumming pattern is quick, but not so quick that new guitarists can’t pick it up. If anything, the fast strumming makes it the perfect first challenge for a beginner guitar song.

A lot of new guitarists find Johnny Cash songs easy to pick up. If you want more music from him, check out “I Walk the Line,” “Hurt,” and “A Boy Named Sue.”

Guitar Chords: D, C, G.

3. “Jambalaya” by Hank Williams

“Jambalaya” is a hit song from 1952 that tells a feel-good story about being in the bayou. With lyrics like Jambalaya, a-crawfish pie and-a file gumbo,” we think it has a nostalgic quality.

It’s not only fun to sing to, but one of the easiest songs to learn. You only need to memorize two chords, and you won’t switch your chord hand much for this song.

On the flip side, the strumming pattern is trickier. “Jambalaya” doesn’t have a straight-down strumming movement, but more of a shuffle.

But don’t fret. Once you get the basic starting rhythm, it stays the same throughout the whole song.

Chords: C, G.

4. “Jolene” by Dolly Parton

If you want a moody, poetic song that’s not too hard to learn, pick “Jolene.” In Dolly Parton’s 1974 hit, she begs Jolene not to take away her man. The lyrics are a mix of heartfelt, creative, and artistic.

Luckily, this song only has three-chord changes. You can strum down all six strings for each shift, meaning you can put all the work into chord memorization. Even if you slow down the song, it still sounds good.

There are other easy but more challenging songs you can practice from Dolly Parton’s discography. For example, “I Will Always Love You” has four chords, and “Coat of Many Colors” has five.

Chords: Am, C, G.

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5. “Cruise” by Florida Georgia Line

Florida Georgia Line’s 2012 song is a contemporary, happy tune that compares a girl to a song. It’s a great tune to play for laid back days outdoors or in good company.

It has four chords that repeat throughout the whole song, and it’s easy to transition between them. For example, you can keep your third finger in place when you go from G to D.

When it comes to strumming, “Cruise” has two main shifts in its pattern. But they’re not too fast, and we think new guitarists will enjoy it.

Chords: G, D, Em, C.

6. “Take Me Home, Country Roads” by John Denver

“Take Me Home” has become one of the best country songs since its release in 1971. Even listeners outside of the country music scene recognize it immediately, and with good reason. This nostalgic song takes you on a trip through country roads to the mountains of West Virginia.

It’s also easy to play. You only have to move your first two fingers when you switch between its chords.

The strumming is a little more nuanced. On some beats, you’ll strum harder than others, but that’s what gives the song its moving atmosphere.

You may need to hold your thumb down to keep the strings from resonating. But that just adds to your practice.

Chords: G, D, Em, C.

7. “I’m Gonna Be Somebody” by Travis Tritt

This song tells the story of Bobby, a boy living in financial hardship with a dream to become a musician. We find it inspiring for aspiring musicians both mentally, and in practice.

To play “I’m Gonna Be Somebody,” you have to move all your fingers along the four chords. But the switch isn’t fast, and you don’t need to move up and down the neck of the guitar.

The melody makes for easy strumming. Some people recommend this as the first song to learn on your guitar. As a bonus, it sounds good on electric guitars.

Chords: G, C, D, Em.

8. “On the Road Again” by Willie Nelson

Willie Nelson’s 1980 song is an upbeat retelling of his excitement to get on the road for tour again.

It might be a little challenging for beginners because it has five chords. But there’s no fast switch between them, so it’s still one of the best easy country songs on guitar.

The strum pattern also isn’t too complicated, either. It goes down twice, and then up-down.

Want another song by Willie Nelson? Check out “Mammas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Cowboys,” which also has five chords.

Chords: C, E, Dm, F, G.

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9. “Sixteen Tons” by Merle Travis

“Sixteen Tons: originated as a folk song in 1947. But in 1955, Tennessee Ernie Ford did a country cover of it to revive it.

This tune sings about a worker carrying sixteen tons of coal. So we find the song a little dark, but the melody is fascinating.

To play “Sixteen Tons”, you’ll learn a mix of strumming and fingerstyle. It has a variety of chords, but the transition between each isn’t hard.

Overall, “Sixteen Tons” is one of the easy country songs on guitar that introduces you to more precise string movements. You can try out more easy folk guitar songs here.

Chords: Am, F, E, Dm.

10. “Rockytop” by Nitty Gritty Dirt Band

Released in 1967, “Rockytop” is a song about returning to home sweet home. In it, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band looks to Rockytop as the bills-free, smoke-free place they want to return to.

This song is neither too fast nor too slow. The strumming is a little tricky because it involves both fingerpicking and strums.

Most of the song follows the same chord sequence, but the outro gives you a minor challenge to wrap up with quick F, C, and G notes.

It’s not the most famous song on our list, but it is one of the well-written country songs on guitar.

Chords: G, C, Em, D, F.

11. “El Paso” by Marty Robbins

“El Paso” is a Western Ballad about a cowboy from Texas who has to flee his home after a gunfight. But through the years, he misses a girl he loved named Feleena so much that he journeys back home.

The interesting story matches the strumming pattern. You’ll be going up and down quickly, and then pausing at the bottom in between sequences.

The chord transitions are slow, so you’ll be holding each one for a bit. At the very beginning, though, you start with a quick progression between A, D, F sharp, A, F-sharp, D quickly. Easy enough to learn, unique enough to feel satisfied when you’re done.

Chords: G, Em, D, A.

12. “When You Say Nothing at All” by Keith Whitley

First released in 1988, “When You Say Nothing at All” has since had versions by Alison Krauss in 1995 and Ronan Keating in 1999. This is the perfect easy country song on guitar to dedicate to a loved one. It sings about someone understanding you without saying a word.

For the whole song, you’ll stick to around three main chords. You can keep your pinky and ring finger locked in the same place, using only your front two to switch between chords.

The strumming style goes between six, five, and four strings to strum. The speed is relaxing and mellow, so you don’t have to rush yourself to memorize it.

Chords: G, D, C.

13. “Strawberry Wine” by Deanna Carter

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“Strawberry Wine” from 1996 recalls a young summer in love. It was a huge hit in its year and has four main sections you can learn. We encourage you to get the main chords of the chorus, first.

The song is slow-paced, so finding your rhythm on the chords isn’t tricky. The strumming isn’t too complicated either.

If you have an electric guitar, you can practice the bridge solo. It picks up the pace from the rest of the song but adds an interesting touch to this easy country song for guitar.

Chords: C, F, G, Am.

14. “Tennessee Whiskey” by Chris Stapleton

David Allan Coe performed the original “Tennessee Whiskey” in 1981. But you may know the Chris Stapleton version, which has influences of R&B music in it.

Despite the name, the song is actually about helping someone get better when liquor was their only love. The lyrics and rhythm together make it a soulful, but slow song that new guitarists can easily enjoy.

The main chords through the song are A and Bm. If you put a capo on the 2nd fret, you can play it with G and Am.

Some parts of the song make you strum hard. But the rhythm is steady, making the song have a beat without needing to go fast.

Chords: A, Bm.

15. “Friends in Low Places” by Garth Brooks

“Friends in Low Places” is a playful but mysterious song about not fitting into fancy places or black-tie affairs. The song feels like a story, and it consists of just three main chords.

The strumming moves faster than the chord changes, and you’ll take pauses in between them. So this might not be the first song you should learn on the guitar, but it is a great bridge into more precise combinations.

After you learn the main chorus, try the introduction. It consists of quick fingerpicking and chorus shifts. And for another good easy country song to learn by Garth Brooks, check out “The Dance.” Also try more fingerpicking guitar songs too as country uses this technique alot!

Chords: G, Am, D.

16. “Achy, Breaky Heart” by Billy Ray Cyrus

Plenty of TV shows, parodies, and music videos have referenced this hit since its release in 1990. It fits the trend of groovy, upbeat music with moodier lyrics. In this song, Billy Ray Cyrus tells an ex she can tell the world why they’re over, but not his achy, breaky heart.

The chord progression is as easy as it is catchy. It goes A A A E and then reverses to E E E A. So you won’t be changing it too much, but you will have to focus on the hard strumming pattern.

This is another song that sounds great on both the electric and acoustic guitar. It’s fun to play, and the kind of song you can have people sing along with you.

Chords: A, E.

17. “It’s Your Love” by Tim McGraw

The 1997 hit from Tim McGraw has a sweet, slow, and romantic guitar melody.

It has what’s called a Driving Pattern for strumming, which holds four beats at a time.

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There are only four main chords on this song, and the shifts are slow. You’ll be holding the same chord for two Driving Strums at a time, making it predictable enough to memorize.

The strumming switches between harder and softer sounds. We suggest you mute the chords by holding your hand down on them, and try the Driving Pattern first to see if you get the beat.

Another great song to try by Tim McGraw is “Meanwhile Back at Mama’s.”

If you ever want to find more easy great country songs on guitar, we always recommend looking at your favorite artist’s discography.

Chords: G, C, Em, D.

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1. “I Wanna Be There” by Blessed Union of Souls. This song has just three simple and major chords: G, C, and D. These are probably the easiest chords to learn first on the guitar, and once you have them, you can already learn how to strum a song.

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What is the 3 chord trick? ›

Known as a I-IV-V (one-four-five') progression, or 'three-chord trick', the chords are built on the first, fourth and fifth notes of the major scale. Learn the scales to find out the chords.

What are the 3 chords in country music? ›

The I (tonic), IV (subdominant) and V (dominant) chords (primary triads) together encompass all seven tones of the tonic's major scale. These three chords are a simple means of covering many melodies without the use of passing notes.

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Top 17 Easy Country Songs on Guitar
  1. “Wagon Wheel by Old Crow” Medicine Show. ...
  2. “Ring of Fire” by Johnny Cash. ...
  3. “Jambalaya” by Hank Williams. ...
  4. “Jolene” by Dolly Parton. ...
  5. “Cruise” by Florida Georgia Line. ...
  6. “Take Me Home, Country Roads” by John Denver. ...
  7. “I'm Gonna Be Somebody” by Travis Tritt. ...
  8. “On the Road Again” by Willie Nelson.
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What key are most country songs in? ›

Many country songs don't even have a chorus! To top it all off, most of the tunes are limited to the major keys G, A, C, D, E, and F, and because all of the chords in the I-IV-V-I (1-4-5-1 in Nashville) progression are major, there are no minor chords in the basic structure.

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Playing open chords

Open chords are one of the first skills a beginner guitarist will learn. Master just three, and you can play a whole host of popular songs. Aside from attending guitar lessons, following a chord chart is one of the best ways to get acquainted with the basics.

What are the 3 most used guitar chords? ›

The chords are G, C and D and collectively they contain all the notes from the 'G major' scale. G, C and D are some of the most commonly used chords in popular music and are used in literally thousands of songs.

What song has easiest chords? ›

33 Easy Guitar Songs (Top Beginner Guitar Chord Songs)
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  • 2) “Hallelujah” by Leonard Cohen. ...
  • 3) “Stand By Me” by Ben E. ...
  • 4) “Hey Joe” by Jimi Hendrix. ...
  • 5) “Love Me Do” by The Beatles. ...
  • 6) “Knockin' on Heaven's Door” by Bob Dylan. ...
  • 7) “Brown Eyed Girl” by Van Morrison.
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How do you play country guitar chords? ›

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What chord can I play instead of F? ›

Here's how to do it:
  • First, make a folk-style C chord. ...
  • Move your middle finger up one string to the 3rd string (still 2nd fret), and place your pinky on the 3rd fret of the 4th string. ...
  • Keep your first and third fingers in place during the chord change.
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What guitar do most country singers use? ›

The Fender Telecaster is widely considered the best guitar for country music thanks to its unique sound. Countless country music guitarists have used the Tele over the decades since it first appeared in the 1950s.

What key are most country songs in? ›

Many country songs don't even have a chorus! To top it all off, most of the tunes are limited to the major keys G, A, C, D, E, and F, and because all of the chords in the I-IV-V-I (1-4-5-1 in Nashville) progression are major, there are no minor chords in the basic structure.


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