Johnny Cash is an icon of American popular music. Many regard him as a country artist but his songs cross over into many different styles. Most of his songs are somewhat easy to play as the guitar accompaniments are really designed to be the perfect backdrop for his powerful voice. This set of songs includes three of his biggest classics as well as a couple of songs he covered and put his stamp on.
Lesson 1: Folsom Prison Blues - Guitar Lesson
Folsom Prison Blues is one of Johnny Cash’s most recognized songs. It follows a simple 12-bar blues progression with a standard country-style strumming pattern. Most of the difficulty here is hitting the bass notes accurately as the beats are moving very quickly. This lesson also covers some bass runs and a bit on the lead.
Lesson 2: I Walk The Line - Guitar Lesson
I Walk The Line is one of Johnny Cash’s earliest hits and a great example of a simple chord progression and strumming pattern expanding into a very interesting example of moving through different keys (modulating). This lesson goes into cut time (2/2), alternate bass note patterns, connecting chords with passing bass notes, and even why he hums a sustained note before each verse.
Lesson 3: Ring Of Fire - Guitar Lesson
Ring Of Fire is one of Johnny Cash’s biggest hits, originally released in 1963. The song is credited to his soon-to-be wife June Carter but the real origins appear to be a bit sketchy, particularly according to Johnny’s wife at the time. This lesson covers a Campfire Version as well as a version that incorporates the mariachi horn parts in Johnny’s arrangement.
Lesson 4: Ghost Riders In The Sky - Guitar Lesson
Ghost Riders In The Sky is a cowboy classic from the 1940s. It has been done by innumerable artists over the years, ranging from the original done by Burl Ives to surf, country, pop, trance, and even alt and metal bands. This lesson goes over Johnny Cash’s version, released in 1979 on his album Silver. It is pretty standard country strumming but we take a short look at the lead and even a bit on incorporating it into the strum.
Lesson 5: Hurt - Guitar Lesson
Hurt is a song originally done by Trent Reznor and his project ‘band’ Nine Inch Nails and it was first released in 1994 on the album The Downward Spiral. This lesson looks at the way Johnny Cash arranged it for his 2002 album American IV: The Man Comes Around. It uses an easy set of open chords along with very simple strumming patterns.