Looking for some beginner-friendly country songs to play on guitar? Here, Katy, TX guitar instructor Zachary A. shares some of his favorite classic country songs that are easy to learn and fun to play…
Country music has changed a lot over the past couple decades, but the classic country songs from the 50s and 60s still highlight the country music genre. The music written by Hank Williams Sr., George Jones, Carl Perkins, and Waylon Jennings was revolutionary. Each one of these artists has left a profound footprint on the genre, and paved the way for new country artists.
Country songs are generally pretty basic, which makes them fairly easy to play when you’re learning guitar. Most of the songs consist of three or four basic chords, and use the blues chord progression of I-IV-I-V. Country songs are perfect to play around a campfire, and sing along with your friends. Classic country songs have simple rhythms, but they are powerful, timeless, songs that resonate with listeners. Country songs are heartfelt and emotional, and perfect to play or listen to when you feel sad or blue.
Here are six country songs that are easy to play on guitar.
* The First three songs are from the legendary country artist Hank Williams Sr.
“Hey Good Lookin”
This song uses G7, C, C7, F, and D7. The song uses a few basic chord progressions, the I-II-V and the I-IV-I-V, all in the key of G major.
“Honky Tonk Blues”
This is another great song that you can learn fairly quickly. It’s in the key of C major, and it uses the I-IV-I-V-I basic blues chord progression. The chords used in the song are C, F, and G. This one may be one of the easiest songs to learn and play because it’s just one simple chord progression.
“Your Cheatin’ Heart”
This song uses a couple basic sets of chord progressions, which are pieced together throughout the song. Those are the V-I, and the I-IV-V-I, which repeat in the sequence V-I-I-IV-V-I. You will use the G7, C, C7, F, and D7 chords, and you will play the song in the key of G major.
“Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain”
By Willie Nelson
Play this simple, timeless classic in the key of E major. The song uses the G#, F#, E, E sus, B7, and A chords. The song is mainly in two different chord progressions: IV-I-V-I-VI, which repeats and ends the second progression on the IV, and III-II-I-I-I.
“Mamas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow up to be Cowboys”
Performed by Waylong Jennings and Willie Nelson
This song was performed first by Ed Bruce, and made famous by Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson. The song actually only consist of two simple chord progressions I-IV-V and II-V-IV. The song is in the key of D major. You will use the D, G and A E, B chords to play this song.
By Merle Haggard
To close out this list of epic classic country songs, I want to include my favorite country song of all time, “Mama Tried” by Merle Haggard. The song is in the key of D major and primarily uses the I-IV-I-V chord progression. You will use the D, G, and A chords to play this song.
All of these legendary country songs provide a foundation to help you create and write your own music. So if you want to write a country hit, or record a song that’s number one on the charts, then these songs are a great place to start!
Can’t get enough country music? Here are some more great country songs for guitarists.
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Zachary A. is a guitar instructor in Katy, TX specializing in beginning and intermediate students. He is currently earning a degree in music theory. Learn more about Zachary here!