Country music has a fairly long and established tradition with common guitar chords for country
songs. It also has its own set of sub-genres that are defined by their repertoire and playing
styles. Nevertheless these sub-genres have several things in common as far as the basic structure
of music itself is concerned – they are lyric and accompaniment based, and they use similar guitar
chords for country songs for the accompaniments.
In order to play guitar chords for country songs, you'll want to learn and understand the open
chord forms. These are the chords played in the first three positions and have at least one open
string in their construction. There are really only about fifteen or so of these chords.
Take care when you are learning them to pay attention to where the root is for these chords and
only strum from this note to the highest one. Take for example the D major chord:
You only play strings four to one. The root of the chord is the open fourth string, the note
Once you have the open chords under control, you should learn at least the major and minor barre
chords based on the sixth and fifth strings. You may also find the dominant seventh barre chords
The great thing about barre chords is that they are moveable forms and provide a great base to
guitar chords for country songs. What this means is that you can take the same basic shape and move
it up and down the neck changing only its root note. Take for example the F major barre chord:
The shape of this chord places the root on the sixth string, the note F. Notice that there are
no open strings. If you take this basic shape and move it up to the third fret, you are now playing
a G major chord.
All barre chords are moveable in this manner. In order to use them effectively, you need to
learn at least the basic note names on the fifth and sixth strings up to the seventh fret. The
following table identifies these notes for you.
In guitar chords for country songs, the guitarist will often play a simple bass line as well as
the chords. An extremely common way of doing this is to play a bass note on beats one and three of
a four-four meter, while playing the chords on beats two and four. To get you started, simply play
the root of the chord for your bass line. The following tab gives you a C major chord with this
kind of bass pattern.
Once you are comfortable playing guitar chords for country songs in this manner you may wish to
play another bass note on beat three. Stick to notes that fall on strings four to six in the
beginning. This final tab shows an A major chord with an alternating bass pattern. Take your time
to learn it by playing slowly and evenly.