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6 Top Country Guitar Songs of All Time

country guitar songs

Whether plucked, strummed, or chicken-picked, the guitar is easily the most prominent instrument in country music. Country guitar songs are some of the easiest and most fun to learn how to play, and with a little practice, you’ll be picking and grinning right along. To help get you started, here are some of the top country guitar songs of all time.

Hank Williams “Your Cheating Heart” 

In the pantheon of country music, few artists have influenced and shaped the guitar more than Hank Williams. “Your Cheating Heart” features Hank’s delicate but powerful strumming which is accentuated by his signature mournful wail.


Johnny Cash “Folsom Prison Blues”

Johnny Cash’s deep voice and rock steady rhythms made him the legend of country guitar songs that he is today. Always thinking of new ways to stand out in the music scene, this recording showcases Cash’s use of paper placed under the strings of his guitar to emulate the sound of a snare drum.

George Jones “He Stopped Loving Her Today”

One of the most popular country and western songs of all time, “He Stopped Loving Her Today” is a staple of any barroom crooner’s repertoire. A haunting, slide guitar dances and lilts over George’s whiskey soaked tearful voice, making it a cornerstone of country guitar songs.

Dolly Parton “Jolene”

Few guitar riffs in country music are more recognizable than the one that starts out Dolly Parton’s pleading tribute to the “other woman.” Driving and jumpy, the song is topped nicely by her sweet voice. In a genre dominated by men, Parton refreshingly stands out as one of the most prolific singers with the most longevity in the business.

Kenny Rogers “The Gambler”

A contemporary and frequent collaborator of Dolly Parton’s, Kenny Rogers made a splash with this song about a worn-out and downtrodden gambler, which even spurred a television movie starring Rogers himself. “The Gambler” is a premium example of storytelling and character study in country music, bouncing along with a catchy melody and simple, anthem worthy guitar.

Merle Haggard “Mama Tried”

Merle Haggard was not a country singer that faked being country. After spending time in prison, he was in the audience when Johnny Cash played at San Quentin and decided to turn his life around and play music. “Mama Tried” is a simple and elegant breakdown of how he got to that point in his life, and features a deceptively straightforward chord progression carrying the story along.

For a closer look at the lead guitar part for this song, check out ArtistWorks country guitar teacher Guthrie Trapp's lesson on it below. 

This is just one of the hundreds of country guitar lessons offered online at ArtistWorks, click here for more info and free sample lessons! 

Learn more about country guitar lessons with Guthrie Trapp at ArtistWorks

With so many great country guitar songs to choose from, learning your favorites is easy and fun. The classics are just waiting to be at your fingertips, and help you sing a tune to pass the time on that big, lonesome prairie. 

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