Country music varies across several styles and often requires more versatility from the guitarist than many other music genres. That doesn’t mean learning to play country music has to be challenging. If you’re an aspiring guitarist, there are plenty of easy country songs to ease you into guitar playing. Here are some of the best easy country songs on guitar.
Song Year: 1973
Dolly Parton recorded “Jolene” in 1973. The song became an instant hit for its heartfelt, poetic nature and its catchy tune. Today the track remains one of the most popular country songs and is considered a classic by musicians across different genres. There are now multiple covers of Jolene, and the song made Rolling Stone’s list of top 500 songs of all time.
If you want an emotional classic to get started on your guitar-playing journey, this is the one. The song only has three-chord changes, and you can easily focus on chord memorization to master it.
Song Year: 1992
Billy Ray Cyrus’ 1992 hit continues to be popular at social events today, and there’s virtually no one who won’t recognize the song upon hearing it. Don Von Tress wrote the original song and titled it “Don’t Tell My Heart.” Despite its first recording in 1991 by The Marcy Brothers, Cyrus’ version remains the most well-known.
Achy Breaky Heart’s chorus requires a simple rotation of A and E chords. Though many will argue this song is not real country music, it’s undeniable that it is a good choice for guitar beginners who want an easy track to learn.
Song Year: 1971
This 70s classic is yet another country song that achieved global popularity across music genres. John Denver received a standing ovation rumored to last five minutes after performing this song for the first time. Since the song’s 1972 release, West Virginia University has used it as an unofficial theme song before football games.
Some of the song’s beats require stronger strumming than others, which makes it an excellent tune to practice guitar. Despite a few additional nuances, such as the F chord appearing briefly on the song’s bridge, it’s a simple song for beginners to pick up.
Song Year: 2015
The original song was recorded in 1981 by David Allan Coe. However, it became immortalized by Chris Stapleton in 2015. It’s a song that even people who dislike country music will know, and fun to play on the guitar. You’ll have a ball learning the opening bassline alone.
One of the best parts about learning to play this song is that it doesn’t require as much strumming as other country songs. If you’re a complete beginner, you’ll surely enjoy practicing Tennessee Whiskey.
Song Year: 1990
Earl Bud Lee and Dewayne Blackwell wrote this song in 1989 and passed it on to Brooks, who wasn’t too well-known at the time. The song helped kick-start his career as a singer and quickly became a 90s summer hit.
You’ll love learning to play this upbeat tempo, and you probably already know the lyrics to sing along. The song only has four chords and is very simple to play.
Song Year: 2012
Blown Away is a modern country song with several pop elements. The melody is very upbeat, while the lyrics are dark, telling a tragic story about a broken home. Carrie Underwood released the song in 2012, and it has topped music charts ever since.
If you want something you can fingerpick to, this is a good song to start with. It’s a versatile song perfect for beginners who want to experiment with different techniques.
Song Year: 1978
This melancholic tune is another song that became popular thanks to an artist other than the original. Ed Bruce recorded it in 1976 (the seventies were a great decade for country music). Willie Nelson performed his duet version with Waylon Jennings in 1978, and the song has been a favorite of country fans ever since.
If you’re a complete beginner, you’ll love how easy the strokes are. The chord changes are also not difficult, and the slow rhythm serves to facilitate practice.
Song Year: 1957
Johnny Cash is considered a real country music king, and many of his songs reached global fame. Many remember Cash most for his participation in the Million Dollar Quartet, where he sang beside the equally famous Elvis Presley.
Despite its title, Cry, Cry, Cry has a cheery melody and strumming pattern that makes it fun to practice on the guitar. This is an older classic that Cash released in 1955 but remains popular among country fans today.
Song Year: 1980
The comical lyrics and sunny melody scream country music in this 1980 hit. What’s great about this song for guitarists who are just starting is that you can come back once you’ve mastered fingerpicking and create an amazing solo. In the meantime, you can easily learn the strumming patterns as they only require three chords.
Song Year: 2012
Florida Georgia Line is a contemporary country duo whose songs are a mix of country rock and pop. Their 2012 song Cruise has a quick tempo but isn’t overly fast or too complicated for beginners. It’s a happy, cheery song with easy transitions.
There are two simple strumming shifts and only four chords throughout the song, so you’ll have an easy time practicing regardless of your skill level.
Song Year: 1988
Keith Whitley first released this song in 1988, but several covers have been made since by both male and female artists. The lyrics are very relatable, as they talk about a loved one being able to read you without exchanging words.
The song’s melody is soothing and casual, with no fuss. Additionally, you’ll only have three main chords to worry about: G, D, and C.
Song Year: 1940
The original version of You Are My Sunshine was recorded in 1939. This is one of the oldest songs on our list, yet it continues to be a favorite in modern times. Since the original release, artists across multiple genres have made several modern renditions. Many are more familiar with today’s poppy covers than with the original.
Regardless of your cover preference, this song is one of the simplest to learn because it repeats the same three chords. It’s also quite versatile and something you can play at either a party or to lull your kids to sleep at night.
Every beginning guitar player should have at least one Johnny Cash song on their list. We included a second because no country song list would be complete without this one. It’s well-known to this day despite being recorded in 1963 by Anita Carter (Cash recorded his popular rendition in the same year).
You’ll need only basic chords (G, D, and C) for this song, and it’s a relatively simple melody. That said, you will alternate between strumming and arpeggio, so keep this song in mind if you want to transition to the next guitar-playing level.
Song Year: 1997
It’s Your Love is one of the most popular country songs but also crossed into other genres’ top charts. Tim and Faith are a dynamic duo that made this song a karaoke favorite for pop and country lovers alike.
The melody is a relaxing one, and the song uses simple chords and an easy progression. It’s perfect for beginners who want to start slowly.
Song Year: 1999
The storytelling elements characteristic of country music are fully intact in this modern song. It’s an uplifting message about a boy whose mother finally met a good stepfather figure. The rhythm is smooth and slow, allowing you time to get it right.
With four basic chords, this song is easy to master, even for absolute beginners.
Song Year: 1996
A constant theme among country songs is that they tend to end up covered by several artists and across genres. Strawberry Wine is no exception despite being more contemporary than many on the list. Deana Carter recorded this song in 1996, but the track has since appeared in several music charts over the years.
The song uses five basic chords and simple strumming but can be built up, which is just what you need when you’re looking to improve your guitar skills.
Song Year: 2004
Wagon Wheel is yet another hot country song that has remained irresistible to artists who enjoy making covers. The story behind this song’s creation is intriguing. The legendary Bob Dylan wrote the chorus to Wagon Wheel and left the song (which he titled “Rock Me, Mama”) unfinished.
Years later, the band Old Crow Medicine Show reached out to Dylan and offered to finish it. The band added 25 verses to the original lyrics, resulting in the popular version known today. It uses four basic chords and has an easygoing yet upbeat rhythm bound to make your guitar practice a pleasant experience.
Song Year: 1947
Sixteen Tons tells the story of a coal miner in Kentucky. Some of the lyrics came from Travis’ father and brother’s letters, detailing what life was like in the mines. The original song came out in 1946 but has since seen several renditions.
You can work your way from strumming to arpeggios with this song, so you’ll definitely get some good practice.
Song Year: 2010
This song has an interesting sound as it’s a little more poppish in melody but moody with bluegrass elements. The Band Perry, whose band members are siblings, left the country genre for pop back in 2016. If I Die Young remains one of the group’s top country hits from before their crossover.
With only four basic chords, this song sounds beautiful on guitar, even without vocals or additional instruments. It’s bound to help you build your skill with its slow yet flowy sound.
Song Year: 2009
Farmer’s Daughter feels authentically like country music. It follows a love story from beginning to end in a slow melody using five chords. The pace makes it easy to practice this song, and there isn’t anything too complex. If you want a solid country song with traditional components but a modern feel, this one is great.
Song Year: 1952
If you’re looking for an incredibly relaxed song with fun vibes to start with, try Jambalaya. It’s a classic 1952 song that only uses two chords – it doesn’t get much easier than that.
Strum your way through the simple progressions, and if you’re feeling ambitious, try one of the more fast-paced modern covers. This is William’s most covered song of all time.
Song Year: 2010
You may be familiar with Swift’s original Back To December rendition, dressed up with many instruments and extra sound. However, the acoustic rendition of the song is fabulously simple and sounds more like genuine country music. The melody is sweet and features only five chords as well as simple transitions.
Don’t shy away from this one because it’s a Taylor Swift song. It’s a great guitar song for beginners and sounds much less poppy with only the guitar.
Song Year: 1997
This is a Tim McGraw classic from the nineties. It’s got sad long-lost love vibes, a slow melody, and only three chords. It’s the perfect country love song to start with and one of the easiest from this artist.
The greatest thing about simple songs like this one is that you can dress them up and add more the better you get. For beginners, though, this one is one of the least intimidating on our list.
Song Year: 2018
Strum your way through the six chords in this modern country love song from Scott Mcreery. It’s a happy, upbeat song about finding the one you want to spend the rest of your life with.
This song uses more chords than others on the list, but can be easily adapted to a beginner level. Once you master the basic chords and feel more comfortable, you can add a capo and replace the C with cadd9.
Song Year: 2017
Though this song didn’t top many charts like others on the list, it’s a very catchy, sweet love song. It makes for easy listening with simple lyrics and only three chords. If you’re looking for a romantic song to play that you can master quickly, consider opting for this one. It’s brimming with contemporary country vibes.
Song Year: 2020
This song is one of the globally famous Lauren Alaina’s latest, and will give you a positive outlook on life. It speaks relatably about waiting on the next big thing to happen and constantly wanting more. The ending message, however, is about learning to accept and appreciate what we already have in life.
You can play this song easily as a beginner and work your way up to using a capo and some fingerpicking rhythm. It’s a very buildable song that is perfect for beginners looking for a catchy tune they can add to as their skills improve.
Song Year: 1993
We’ll end this list with a swingy, feel-good track from Martina McBride. This nineties country song has a happy tune and cheery love lyrics along with it. It’s easy to listen to and despite its faster rhythm, easy to play. You’ll only need four chords for this song, and you’ll truly enjoy practicing it.
Country music has undergone many transformations over the years. Traditional country music had its roots in folk storytelling and started taking off during the roaring 20s.
In the 30’s it became the central focus of Hollywood Western films, and by the 40’s it evolved to include energetic rock n roll riffs as many still do.
This list includes songs from different decades, so you can choose from a variety of styles and learn at your own pace.