10 Easy Country Songs on Guitar: Beginner’s Guide

14 minutes read

Learning to play easy country songs on guitar is a fantastic way to dive into the rich and diverse world of country music. This genre is celebrated for its heartfelt lyrics, memorable melodies, and the distinctive sound of its signature instruments. As you begin your journey, mastering a few simple country songs will not only build your confidence but also give you a deeper appreciation for the musical elements that define country music.

Before we dive into learning some easy country songs, it’s essential to understand the common instruments that give country music its unique sound. By familiarizing yourself with these instruments, you’ll enhance your playing and deepen your connection to the genre. From the banjo to the pedal steel guitar, each instrument contributes to the soulful and vibrant essence of country music.

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Signature Instruments in Country Music

Country music is a genre that’s as diverse as the instruments that create its iconic sound. From the classic acoustic guitar strumming to the twangy pedal steel guitar, each instrument has its unique role in shaping that heartwarming country sound.

According to the Country Music Hall of Fame, various musical instruments are used to play country songs, including the banjo, acoustic guitar, fiddle, dobro, electric lead guitar, mandolin, piano, and the pedal steel guitar.


Easy country songs on guitar instrument - the banjo. A man showcasing his skills in playing the banjo.
Photo by strengeplukk

The banjo adds a bright, percussive quality to country music. Techniques like banjo rolls and frailing create intricate patterns that drive the rhythm, especially in bluegrass and old-time country. Banjo virtuosos include Earl Scruggs and Ralph Stanley. These guys have truly pushed the banjo’s boundaries, showing us its versatility and power (Hughes, 2023).

Acoustic Guitar

Easy country songs on guitar - acoustic guitar. You can play country songs using acoustic guitar.
Photo by rudi_bults

The acoustic guitar might seem understated, but it’s the backbone of most country songs. Setting the mood in ballads, folk-inspired tunes, and singer-songwriter compositions, this instrument is integral to the genre. And with maestros like Chet Atkins, the acoustic guitar truly earns its place at the heart of country music.


Photo by tyfiddle

When it comes to stirring up the crowd at a hoedown or square dance, nothing beats the fiddle. This lively instrument is particularly popular in traditional and bluegrass country music. Legends like Johnny Gimble have shown us the magic a well-played fiddle can bring to a country track. So, ready to join the fiddle club?


The dobro, or resonator guitar, is a real treat. Its metallic sound, amplified by a metal resonator cone, gives it a unique timbre. The dobro’s soulful and bluesy elements are a staple in country music, particularly in slide guitar playing. According to Briones (2023), Gearank, this musical instrument is widely used in blues, bluegrass, and country music. Looking for some dobro inspiration? Jerry Douglas, Mike Auldridge, and Josh Graves are the names to know.

Electric Lead Guitar

A lead electric guitar is also used to play country songs.
Photo by nude_guitars

For a more rock-infused country sound, the electric lead guitar takes center stage. It adds an edgy vibe with solos, riffs, and melodic hooks. Talents like Brent Mason, Brad Paisley, and Albert Lee have mastered this instrument, making it an essential element in modern country and country rock.


Featuring a Gibson style mandolin signed by buddy Gary Moore
Photo by carlos.pickups

The mandolin, with its bright, choppy chords, injects energy and texture into country music. Often doubling guitar parts, it’s prevalent in bluegrass and folk-country. Mandolin maestros like Sam Bush, Chris Thile, and Ricky Skaggs have demonstrated just how much this instrument can spice up a country song.

Piano (Honky-Tonk Piano)

A piano in Karlsruhe's suburbs. This is instrument is also used to play country songs.
Photo by lukaskarpathos

Let’s not forget the honky-tonk piano! A staple in classic country bars and dance halls, its rollicking, barrelhouse style defines honky-tonk music. Pianists like Moon Mullican, Floyd Cramer, and Jerry Lee Lewis have brought this instrument to life, proving that the piano still has a vital role in country music.

Pedal Steel Guitar

Multiple pedal steel guitars stored inside the room. This instrument is also known to be used in country music.
Photo by dougbeaumier

What’s that sound that instantly transports you to a country roadside bar, complete with cowboy hats and boots? That’s probably the pedal steel guitar, folks! This instrument, with its unmistakable twang, evolved from Hawaiian lap steel guitars, which were modified six-string guitars played across the lap. The modern-day pedal steel guitar is a marvel of multi-tasking – it requires both hands, both knees, and both feet to operate. Imagine that! 

Pedal steel guitar maestros like Buddy Emmons, Lloyd Green, and Paul Franklin have set the bar high. So, if you’re itching to recreate that signature country sound, the pedal steel guitar is your first stop

10 Easy Country Songs on Guitar for Beginners

1. “You Belong With Me” by Taylor Swift

Picture this: a cozy bonfire night, friends gathered around, and you strumming the chords of “You Belong With Me” on your guitar. This country-pop gem from Taylor Swift’s “Fearless” album is an absolute winner for beginners.

“You Belong With Me” by Taylor Swift is a country-pop song, blending traditional country elements with modern pop sensibilities, making it accessible and appealing to a wide audience.

Why It’s Perfect for Beginners

  • Simple chords (C, G, Am, F) give you the freedom to concentrate on strumming and singing.
  • Its steady strumming pattern acts as a metronome, helping you to learn rhythm skills.
  • The soul-touching lyrics connect with a wide audience range, making it an emotionally rewarding experience.

Beginner Tips

  • Master the basic chords first and then focus on seamless transitions.
  • Practice the strumming pattern to capture the song’s vibrant energy.

2. “Love Story” by Taylor Swift

Picture me on stage at a college talent show, strumming the chords of “Love Story” and the room filling up with smiles and nostalgia. Inspired by Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet,” this song can create a magical atmosphere. The fingerpicking intro is melodious, yet manageable for beginners.

“Love Story” by Taylor Swift is a country-pop song that combines the storytelling and instrumentation typical of country music with the catchy hooks and production style of pop, making it a crossover hit that appeals to fans of both genres.

Why It’s Perfect for Beginners

  • The song’s soft verses and powerful choruses give you a crash course in dynamics.
  • The fingerpicking intro is an achievable challenge and fun to master for beginners.
  • Its storytelling aspect helps you to understand the integral role of music in narrating tales.

Beginner Tips

  • Prioritize fingerpicking techniques for the intro.
  • Understand the concept of dynamics: keep it soft during verses and powerful during the chorus.

3. “Blue Ain’t Your Color” by Keith Urban

Picture me on a road trip, the melancholic vibe of “Blue Ain’t Your Color” echoing in the background. This soulful hit from Keith Urban, blending country and blues, is an excellent pick for beginners exploring different genres.

Why It’s Perfect for Beginners

  • The song accentuates timing and groove, crucial elements for any guitarist.
  • The bluesy elements add a twist without being overly intricate.
  • Learning from a seasoned guitarist like Keith Urban can be incredibly inspiring.

Beginner Tips

  • Break down the chord progression (C, Am, F, G) for beginners.
  • Understand the importance of timing and rhythm in creating a song’s groove.

4. “Body Like A Back Road” by Sam Hunt

Picture a backyard barbecue where I played “Body Like A Back Road,” and it instantly became a crowd favorite! This catchy song, blending country, pop, and R&B, has a memorable riff and upbeat rhythm that make it a fun choice for beginners.

Why It’s Perfect for Beginners

  • The catchy riff acts as an excellent practice tool.
  • Singing along while playing enhances your overall musicianship.
  • Sam Hunt’s style introduces beginners to the contemporary country genre.

Beginner Tips

  • Deconstruct the catchy riff and strumming pattern.
  • Sing along while playing to boost your confidence and enjoyment.

5. “Jambalaya” by Hank Williams

“Jambalaya” transports me back to my grandfather’s vibrant garden. This classic country tune, with a pinch of Cajun flair, is a staple of Hank Williams’ repertoire and a delight to play.

Why It’s Perfect for Beginners

  • The lively rhythm keeps beginners engaged and motivated.
  • Exploring different country styles helps to broaden your musical horizons.
  • The feel-good vibes make it fun to play and share with others.

Beginner Tips

  • Break down the chords (C, G7, F) and focus on the upbeat rhythm.
  • Remember, music is about enjoyment; play with enthusiasm, and the rest will follow. 

 6. “Okie From Muskogee” by Merle Haggard

Imagine this: my dad, a vintage acoustic guitar in his hands, strumming the chords to “Okie From Muskogee.” This song, with its lyrics that paint a picture of small-town America and traditional values, was our bridge across generations, as tangible as the worn frets of my dad’s guitar.

Why It’s Perfect for Beginners

  • “Okie From Muskogee” is a song that plays nicely with beginners.
  • It strums along to a simple chord progression (G, C, D).
  • This makes it a fantastic entry point for those new to the guitar world.
  • It’s more than just chords and lyrics; it’s a slice of cultural history with a rebellious spirit that resonates across time.

Beginner Tips

  • Getting comfortable with the basic chords (G, C, D).
  • Diving deep into the rebellious and relatable lyrics.
  • Grasping the song’s cultural context to enrich your musical journey.

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

Picture a summer night, my friends and I, camping under the twinkling stars. A guitar emerges, and soon we’re all singing “Country Roads.” The song, like a melody-laden echo, perfectly captured our nostalgia and yearning for home.

Why It’s Perfect for Beginners

  • This folk-country classic is more than just a song; it’s a welcoming committee for beginner guitarists.
  • It features simple chords (G, D, Em, C).
  • The intro is tailor-made for fingerpicking practice.
  • It’s a campfire song that’s both fun and instructive.

Beginner Tips

  • Simplifying the chords (G, D, Em, C) if necessary.
  • Practicing fingerpicking patterns for the intro.
  • Embracing the song’s universal theme, the secret sauce that makes it a timeless favorite.

8. “Tennessee Whisky” by Chris Stapleton

I had the honor of playing “Tennessee Whisky” at my sister’s wedding. As the slow, soulful chords filled the venue, the emotions were palpable, leaving not a single dry eye.

Why It’s Perfect for Beginners

  • Chris Stapleton’s heartfelt ballad is a gentle introduction for beginners.
  • It features a simple chord progression (A, E, D).
  • This song lets you explore the nuances of phrasing.
  • It teaches the art of making your guitar sing.

Beginner Tips

  • Break down the soulful chords (A, E, D).
  • Take your time to understand phrasing and the importance of vocal-like guitar playing.

9. “Boys ‘Round Here” by Blake Shelton

Remember that one road trip with my buddies, our voices belting out “Boys ‘Round Here” as the highway stretched out before us. The song, with its camaraderie and carefree spirit, was a perfect soundtrack to our country living.

Why It’s Perfect for Beginners

  • This lively country hit is straightforward and catchy.
  • It features chords (G, D, C) that are easy on the beginner’s fingers.
  • Its groove and call-and-response elements in the chorus make it engaging.
  • It’s a fun pick for new guitarists.

Beginner Tips

  • Simplify the chords (G, D, C) and focus on the groove.
  • Engage with the call-and-response elements in the chorus.

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

The ’90s — a time when “Achy, Breaky Heart” was the pulse of school dances. The line dance steps were a challenge, but the energy in the room was contagious.

Why It’s Perfect for Beginners

  • Billy Ray Cyrus’s global hit is simplicity at its best.
  • It uses a straightforward chord progression (A, E, D).
  • The catchy melody is a joy to strum.
  • As an upbeat crowd-pleaser, it’s perfect for beginners looking for a fun practice session.

Beginner Tips

  • Focus on the straightforward chords (A, E, D).
  • Let loose, enjoy the catchy melody, and tap into its sing-along factor.

Beginner tips for playing easy country songs on guitar

Mastering Basic Chords: The Building Blocks of Country Music

Let’s start by mastering the basic open chords – C, G, D, A, and E. Think of them as your musical alphabet. And don’t worry, they’re easier to remember than all the lyrics to “Wagon Wheel.” Practice transitioning between these chords until it’s as smooth as butter, and your fingers can find them without conscious thought. 

Strumming Patterns: The Pulse of Country Music

Next on our agenda is strumming patterns. Begin with simple downstrokes on the beat, like the steady thumping of a heart – your guitar’s heart, that is. As you gain confidence, start experimenting with alternating bass notes and throwing in some upstrokes. Remember, variety isn’t just the spice of life; it’s also the key to dynamic strumming! 

Fingerpicking Techniques: Adding Sophistication to Your Sound

Ever been entranced by the delicate notes in Kansas’ “Dust in the Wind?” That’s the magic of fingerpicking, my friend. As you explore this technique, you’ll discover that styles like Travis picking or simple arpeggios can add a whole new layer of sophistication to your playing. 

Immerse Yourself in Classic Country Songs: Let the Music Guide You

Now, it’s time to let the soulful tunes of country music guide your journey. Dive into the timeless tracks of Johnny Cash, Hank Williams, and Willie Nelson. Pay close attention to their guitar parts, chord progressions, and the overall feel of their music. The insights you’ll gain from just listening will surprise you!

Country Riffs: Be the Star of the Show

Are you ready to shift gears from blending in to shining bright? Start learning some classic country riffs such as “Sweet Home Alabama” or “Friends in Low Places.” Not only will these riffs impress your friends during jam sessions, but they’ll also give your playing that unmistakable country twang.

Slide Guitar: The Bluesy Undertone of Country

Ever played your guitar using a glass or metal slide? If not, you’re missing out on a whole world of bluesy, soulful sounds. Slide guitar can add a whole new depth to your music. Take a leaf out of Duane Allman’s or Bonnie Raitt’s book for some slide inspiration.

Understanding Country Song Structure: The Art of Songwriting

Country songs often follow a simple structure: verse-chorus-verse-chorus-bridge-chorus. By dissecting how these songs build and release tension, you’ll gain a deeper understanding of the art of songwriting

Using a Capo: Effortlessly Change Keys

A capo can be your secret weapon when it comes to changing keys without altering chord shapes. Experiment with different capo positions to find the sound that perfectly suits your voice and style. 

Learning Licks and Solos: Add Some Sizzle to Your Sound

Country guitar solos often weave together major and minor pentatonic scales in a way that’s pure sorcery. Try your hand at solos by artists like Brad Paisley or Brent Mason to get a feel for it. Who knows, you might even create some sizzling licks of your own!

Playing Along with Backing Tracks: Practice Like a Pro

Lastly, one of the most effective ways to refine your skills is by playing along with backing tracks. This will not only help you keep time but also improve your ability to complement the rhythm, just like a professional musician. There are numerous online resources and apps available to help you with this. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the essential chords for playing country songs?

Start with basic open chords like C, G, D, A, and E. These chords form the backbone of many country tunes.

Are there specific fingerpicking techniques used in country music?

Yes! Travis picking (alternating thumb and fingers) and simple arpeggios are common. Listen to songs like “Dust in the Wind” for inspiration.

How can I learn country guitar solos?

Start by practicing licks that blend major and minor pentatonic scales. Check out solos from players like Brad Paisley or Brent Mason.

What’s the best way to practice playing along with country songs?

Use online backing tracks or apps. Focus on staying in the pocket and complementing the rhythm.

How can I achieve that classic country twang in my playing?

Experiment with strumming patterns that emphasize downstrokes on the beat. Also, consider using a capo to change keys and achieve that signature country sound.


Mastering easy country songs on guitar is an excellent way to immerse yourself in the world of country music. Starting with simple songs helps you build confidence and technique, while also connecting you to the rich tradition of this beloved genre.

As you continue to practice and play, remember the importance of the instruments that define country music. From the bright, percussive banjo to the soulful pedal steel guitar, each instrument adds its unique flavor to the soundscape. By understanding these instruments and their roles, you’ll not only become a better guitarist but also a more well-rounded musician.

Whether you’re strumming around a campfire or performing for friends and family, the joy of playing country music lies in its ability to tell stories and evoke emotions. Keep practicing, exploring, and most importantly, enjoying the music you create. With dedication and passion, you’ll soon find yourself strumming your way into the heart of country music.

Alon Cooper

Alon Cooper

Hey! I'm Cooper, and I hope I can be a helpful friend on your musical journeys. I'm a music artist based in Austin & Amsterdam, playing venues with a band / solo, and trying to learn with the most inspiring musicians wherever I go. In the last 8 years I've lived in Australia, northern Europe, the US and more.

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The Guitar Campfire Songbook

I hope this list has given you some great ideas, and if you want to have another bunch of song ideas in a fancy PDF songbook form, then feel free to download the songbook in this link.

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