Easy Classic Country Songs for Guitarists

A Little Bit of Country: Easy Classic Country Songs for Guitarists

Easy Classic Country Songs for Guitarists

If you’re a fan of classic country music, you’ve come to the right place. Here, guitar teacher Willy M. shares his favorite classic country songs for guitarists…

I grew up in the late ’70s and early ’80s in the rural Midwest when “Hee-Haw,” a country television program, was something that everyone knew about. It was the Grand Ole Opry’s rendition of a high-theatrical experience, and a showcase for classic country artists to play their tunes.

Willie Nelson, one of my favorite songwriters of all time, was among the popular performers who appeared on the show. Nelson has written many classic country songs that people know and love. What I find particularly interesting about his songs, however, is that they’re simple to play, but allow someone learning guitar to develop technique on a range of levels. Learning his songs can help you develop rhythmic technique and learn lead lines that will astound and amaze your friends.

From the early days when he was writing hits like “Crazy” for Patsy Cline, to the ’80s gypsy anthem “On the Road Again,” Nelson has inspired several generations of guitarists with his guitar “Trigger,” a 1969 Martin N-20 guitar. Nelson says that his favorite guitar player is Django Reinhardt. His simple chord progressions often flavor Django-like riffs, making his tunes perfect for someone learning guitar, but also great for more experienced musicians. So whether you’re a beginner or an advanced guitarists, here are two Willie Nelson hits you’ll love to play.

“Crazy”

Written by Willie Nelson – Recorded by Patsy Cline

“Crazy” has a good amount of chord changes over relatively simple chords. The song is slow enough that the chord changes are not too difficult, but once mastered, this is a very satisfying song to play. It starts on a G chord, then moves to an E chord, which is an extremely easy transition for a beginner guitarist. The E then moves to an Am chord, which is the same chord form, just moved to different strings. Next, move to D7. This simple pattern repeats for the rest of the verse, before moving to a basic C-G-D7 pattern for the chorus, with an A7 thrown in for good measure. So instead of including difficult jumps and chord movements, Nelson shows an economy of motion when he moves from one simple chord to another. Plus, the song includes simple chords that any beginner should know.

G E7 Am

Crazy I’m crazy for feeling so lonely

D7 G

I’m crazy crazy for feeling so blue

E7 Am

I know you’d love me as long as you wanted

D7 G

And then someday you’d leave me for somebody new

C G

Worry why do I let myself worry

A7 D7

Wondering what in the world did I do

G E7 Am

Crazy for thinking that my love could hold you

C D7 Am G

I’m crazy for trying crazy for crying

Am D7 G

And I’m crazy for lov-ing you

E7 Am

Crazy I’m crazy for feeling so lonely

D7 G

I’m crazy crazy for feeling so blue

E7 Am

I know you’d love me as long as you wanted

D7 G

And then someday you’d leave me for somebody new

C G

Worry why do I let myself worry

A7 D7

Wondering what in the world did I do

G E7 Am

Crazy for thinking that my love could hold you

C D7 Am G

I’m crazy for trying crazy for crying

Am D7 G

And I’m crazy for lov-ing you

“On the Road Again”

Written and Recorded by Willie Nelson

This classic country song has a gospel-like chord progression. It moves from the beginning C chord to an E7, and just like many gospel songs, moves to a Dm chord before finishing with a standard cadence of F to G.

The chorus is also interesting, as it revolves around the simple I IV V of C F and G, but Nelson uses the Dm and the E7 chords to flavor the chorus. This simple but catchy song is easy to learn, and satisfying to the beginning guitarist who’s learning to branch out from the basics of I IV and V, and add a few more chords to their bag of tricks.

What are some of your favorite classic country songs? Let us know in the comments below!

C E7

On the road again just can’t wait to get on the road again

Dm

The life I love is making music with my friends

F G7 C

And I can’t wait to get on the road again

C7 F C

On the road again like a band of gypsies we go down highway

F C

We’re the best of friends insisting that the world keep turning our way

G7 C E7

And our way is on the road again just can’t wait to get on the road again

Dm

The life I love is making music with my friends

F G7 C

And I can’t wait to get on the road again

C E7

On the road again goin’ places that I’ve never been

Dm

Seein’ things that I may never see again

F G7 C

And I can’t wait to get on the road again

C7 F C

On the road again like a band of gypsies we go down highway

F C

We’re the best of friends insisting that the world keep turning our way

G7 C E7

And our way is on the road again just can’t wait to get on the road again

Dm

The life I love is making music with my friends

F G7 C

And I can’t wait to get on the road again

Give these songs a try and let us know what you think. Need some extra help? Find a guitar teacher in your area.

What are some of your favorite classic country songs? Share them in the comments below!

 

Willy M

Willy M. teaches guitar, ukulele, and mandolin lessons in Winston, NC. He is the author of the Dead Man’s Tuning series of mandolin songbooks, and is a former member of the American Federation of Musicians. Willy has been teaching for 20 years, and his students have ranged in age from young children to folks in their 80’s. Learn more about Willy here!

 

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Photo by John P.

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