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10 Free Country Music Guitar Tabs


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Classic Country Riffs, Chords and Tabs...

Here's a collection of 10 well-known country songs that make for great music on the guitar.  Remember that this is not necessarily of "Best of" kind of list, it's simply a selection of (popular) country songs, on the web and elsewhere, that are great to play.  To that end, for many of the songs below, both chords and tabs (where applicable, say for a solo/riff) have been included..

Here are three things to take note of in order to benefit from this page:

(1) You need to know How to Read Guitar Tabs & play many of the basic chords on guitar.  Otherwise nothing on this page is going to make sense.

(2) Some of the Riffs and solo's employ certain guitar techniques such as hammer's, bending and sliding.  If you don't know what these are, read the notes section after each song, or head on over to the Guitar Techniques section of this site.

(3) If a specific song you're looking for is not on this list, or if you're looking to learn songs from other genre's as well, you can have a look at the many other collections of guitar tablature on PluckAndPlayGuitar such as these Beginner guitar tabs, or these classic rock guitar tabs or these tabs of famous guitar solos..
Learn to Play 10 Free Country Music Guitar Tabs from famous artists like Johnny Cash, Garth Brooks, Taylor Swift, Lonestar, Kenny Rogers and a few more...
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Free Country Music Guitar Tabs #1:
Love Story (Taylor Swift)

Written by Mrs. Taylor as the lead single on her second album (Fearless 2008), this country pop hit recounts the story of a love interest that was unpopular with the family (think Shakespeare).  It certainly worked as "Love Story" is today one of the best-selling singles of all time and has been certified platinum 8 times

Not bad for a swirling, dreamy love song that was written in 20 minutes, on the bedroom floor.
Notes on the Song

The Intro Riff of this song is an arpeggio-style fingerpicked line where the notes on the bottom two strings remain the same throughout.  While the bottom E string remains open, the third fret is maintained on the B string.  This riff would be form a good exercise for newer players unfamiliar with fingerpicking, though it is played rather fast in the original song and requires you to shift your hands after each bar.

The rest of the song is here in the key of G (see chord progressions).  For newer players: You can learn the chords for the G chord progression from this beginner guitar chords article.  The "Bm" chord is usually played as a barre chord.
Free Country Music Guitar Tabs #2:
Ring Of Fire (Johnny Cash)

Popularized by Mr. Cash, this hit was actually written by his wife (June Carter) and a 3rd party in 1962.  It ended up becoming the biggest hit of Johnny Cash's career and has, decades later frequently featured on many "top 100 country songs" list.  The song was apparently inspired by the fiery love that Johnny and June were experiencing at the time.
Notes on the Song

On the original recording the intro is played with a trumpet, but have been arranged as a simple picking line for the guitar here.  The song is here in the key of G and only uses three simple chords.  For newer players you can learn the four basic chords of the G chord progression from this beginner guitar chords article.
Free Country Music Guitar Tabs #3:
The Dance (Garth Brooks)

Written by famous Nashville songwriter, Tony Arata, "The Dance" was the final song on Garth Brooks’ first album and today is considered by many to be his signature song.  It was voted the best country song of 1990 by the Country Music Academy in Los Angeles. The song is about an ended romantic relationship, but also makes veiled references about the death of a loved one.
Notes on the Song

You'll notice this tab has two intro sections.  That's because, in the original recording, the first part is played by a piano (here arranged for the guitar) and the second fingerpicked on an acoustic guitar.  It might be necessary to listen to an audio version of the song to accurately play the timings for these riffs.

The strumming part (VERSE & CHORUS) is here in the G Chord Progression and for newer players; you can learn the chords from this beginner guitar chords article.
Notes on the Song

In the original recording, the intro guitar part is played fairly fast simultaneous with a bass guitar riff.  The riff is repeated twice after which the verse chords start.  The strumming part here is in the key E.  Kenny Roger's version of the song is actually one key lower than this, so if you want to play it in the exact same key as he did, you need to use D#, or just tune your guitar one note down.

Note that, after the verse listed above there are two more verses with different lyrics (not included here) before the chorus starts.
Free Country Music Guitar Tabs #4:
The Gambler (Kenny Rogers)

"The Gambler" appeared on Roger's 1978 album which eventually won the Grammy for best male country vocal.  Known for its vivid narrative lyrics, the song tells the story of a late night encounter with a gambler who recounts his life stories and dies at the end of the conversation.  The song was later used for Roger's TV movie serial, also called ‘The Gambler’.
Free Country Music Guitar Tabs #5:
Amazed (Lonestar)

Though only covered by Lonestar, "Amazed" was essentially made famous through their version in 1999 and became their longest lasting number one single.  Today it's still a classic love song favorite that many newlyweds use as their 'first dance' number.  The song was written by three Nashville songwriters working in collaboration.
Free Country Music Guitar Tabs #6:
Always on my Mind (Willie Nelson)

By the time Willie Nelson's cover of "Always on my mind" came along, the song was quite famous already, have been recorded by Elvis Presley and John Wesley Ryles.  The song has been covered by more than 300 artists, but Nelson's version shot to number 1 on the Hot Country chart's back in 1982. The initial version of the song was apparently written by Wayne Carson (a Nashville Songwriter), in 10 minutes.
Notes on the Song

Played here in the key of D, the song uses the same 4-5 chords throughout.  For newer players:  If any of these chords are unfamiliar you can grab a free copy of one of my guitar chord charts for visual instruction on how to play them.
Free Country Music Guitar Tabs #7:
When you say nothing at all (Ronan Keating)

Originally written when Ronan Keating was only 11 years old, his version (in 1999) is today arguably the most famous.  The song was written by two Country singers who, at the end of an unproductive day in 1988 came up with the idea of "saying nothing at all".  One of the writers (Don Schlitz) also wrote Kenny Roger's "The Gambler".
Notes on the Song

The guitar intro of this song has a nice arpeggio-style fingerpicking part that would be a great introduction to anyone unfamiliar with fingerpicking.  The riff essentially picks the chords G-C-D-C in succession.

The rest of the song is in the key of G using the four main chords for the G chord progression.  If you are comfortable with picking and singing simultaneously, you can just keep playing the picking line once the verses start, since the chords remain the same.
Free Country Music Guitar Tabs #8:
I'm so Lonesome I could cry (Hank Williams Sr)

Hank Williams wrote this song in 1949, originally intending that the words be spoken, and not sung.  The lyrics, about loneliness, were inspired by his troubled relationship with his wife.  The song was put on Rolling Stone's 500 greatest songs of all time, the second oldest song on the entire list.
Notes on the Song

This old-school country classic needs to be played with enough melacholy to make you cry!  The intro consists of a fairly simple picking riff with the rest of the song strummed in the key of E.
Free Country Music Guitar Tabs #9:
Amarillo by Morning (George Strait)

Originally written in 1973, "Amarillo by morning" became a major hit for George Strait ten years later.  The idea for the song came to the original writer during a rodeo in San Antonio (the lyrics are sung from the perspective of a rodeo cowboy), and the song is still played regularly at rodeos today.
Notes on the Song

On the original recording, the intro is played on a fiddle, but here transcribed for the guitar.  The song is here played in the key of D.  This is a nice song for trying out a couple of different strumming patterns, to ensure you don't end up playing the same strumming style across different genres of music.

For newer guitar players:  If any of these chords are unfamiliar to you, grab one of these free guitar chord charts for visual instruction on how to play them.
Free Country Music Guitar Tabs #10:
Folsom Prison Blues (Johnny Cash)

One of Johnny Cash's signature songs, the artist was inspired to write it after seeing the 1951 movie "Inside the Walls of Folsom Prison".  The song was later performed at the actual Folsom State Prison (in California) in January 1968.  Johnny Cash was involved in real life political Prison Reform for many years.
Notes on the Song

Like many Johnny Cash's songs, this one is dead-simple using the three basic chords of the E chord progression.  The guitar riff intro is also straightforward using only the top 3 strings with a bend on the second to last note.
Where to from here?
Learn Beginner Guitar Tabs
For more free song lessons, I highly recommend you check out what I've written on Jamplay.  Jamplay has over 350 professionally transcribed and recorded song lessons (the very best on the Internet).
Learn Chord Sets
Jamplay is Amazing
Love
Story

(Taylor Swift)
Ring of
Fire

(Johnny Cash)
The
Dance

(Garth Brooks)
The
Gambler

(Kenny Rogers)
Amazed
(Lonestar)
Folsom Prison Blues
(Johnny Cash)
Amarillo by
Morning

(George Strait)
I'm so
Lonesome I
could cry

(Hank Williams)
When you say
Nothing at all

(Ronan Keating)
Always on my Mind
(Willie Nelson)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Notes on the Song

What makes this song interesting is the fact that it uses three different keys / chord progressions for the verse, pre-chorus and chorus of the song.  Some chords (like D# and Bb) are usually played as barre chords and if any of these chords are unfamiliar to you, grab one of these free guitar chord charts for visual instruction.

I've also included the simple guitar solo which starts at 2:49 in the song and consists of two simple riffs played in succession.
Learn to Play Love Story by Taylor Swift
Learn to Play Ring of Fire by Johnny Cash
Learn to Play The Dance by Garth Brooks
Learn to play the Gambler by Kenny Rogers
Learn to play Amazed by Lonestar
Learn to play Folsom Prison Blues by Johnny Cash
Learn to play Amarillo by Morning by George Strait
Learn to play I'm so lonesome I could cry by Hank Williams Sr
Learn to play When you say nothing at all by Ronan Keating
Learn to play Always on my mind by Willie Nelson
Learn to Play Love Story by Taylor Swift
Learn to Play Ring of Fire by Johnny Cash
Learn to Play The Dance by Garth Brooks
Learn to play the Gambler by Kenny Rogers
Learn to play Amazed by Lonestar
Learn to play Always on my mind by Willie Nelson
Learn to play When you say nothing at all by Ronan Keating
Learn to play I'm so lonesome I could cry by Hank Williams Sr
Learn to play Amarillo by Morning by George Strait
Learn to play Folsom Prison Blues by Johnny Cash