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Wayfaring Stranger in the Style of Johnny Cash

Lesson ID: A0115

Learn how to play the traditional American folk song “Wayfaring Stranger” in the style of Johnny Cash. First, we’ll break down all the chords and show you some strumming patterns that will make your rhythm sound country and bluegrass. Then, we’ll teach you the chord progressions along with the lyrics. For those of y’all that aren’t interested in singing this song, we’ll also have a nice acoustic guitar arrangement that incorporates the song’s melody. PDF files are available for download below the video! If you like this lesson, you might also like our Classic Country & Bluegrass Strumming Course.

Overview

Chords & Strumming

Video Start Time Lesson Topic
00:00 min “Boom Chick” Strumming Pattern
02:06 min Alternating Bass Line over Am Chord
03:01 min Alternating Bass Line over Dm Chord
03:59 min Alternating Bass Line over E7 Chord
05:19 min Alternating Bass Line over F Chord
07:41 min Alternating Bass Line over C Chord
09:34 min Two More Strumming Patterns

Chords with Lyrics

Video Start Time Lesson Topic
00:00 min Intro Chord Progression
02:11 min Verse 1 with Lyrics
05:33 min Chorus 1 with Lyrics
07:31 min Instrumental Break Chord Progression
07:57 min Verse 2 with Lyrics
08:53 min Chorus 2 with Lyrics
09:36 min Song Ending

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Song Intro

Video Start Time Lesson Topic
00:00 min Listen to the Intro with Tablature
00:50 min Pickup Measure and Random Tips
02:11 min First Half of the Intro – Breakdown with Tablature
04:44 min Second Half of the Intro – Breakdown with Tablature
06:41 min Make the Intro Fancier with Some Accent Strums

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Instrumentals

Short Instrumental Break (over verse progression):

Johnny Cash played “Wayfaring Stranger” with the short instrumental break that you’ll learn in this video. This short instrumental break is basically the verse progression played in a fancier way to incorporate the song’s melody.

Video Start Time Lesson Topic
00:00 min Overview
00:39 min Listen to the Short Instrumental
01:59 min Measures 1 through 5 – Breakdown with Tablature
03:55 min Measures 6 through 10 – Breakdown with Tablature
06:33 min Measures 16 and 17 – Breakdown with Tablature
07:06 min Practice Along with Me

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Long Instrumental Break (verse + chorus):

In this next video, we’re going to play a longer instrumental arrangement over the song’s verse and chorus. The first half will be the exact same as the Johnny Cash “verse” instrumental taught in the previous video. Then, we’ll break down the second half that’s played over the chorus.

Video Start Time Lesson Topic
00:00 min Structure of the Long Instrumental
01:10 min Listen to the Long Instrumental
02:23 min Play Through the “Short Verse Instrumental”
03:19 min Instrumental over the Chorus – Breakdown with Tablature
10:38 min Practice Along with Me

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Backing Track

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23 Comments
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Curtis
Curtis(@curtis)
5 years ago

Great song!! Thanks for the lesson!

Ron
Ron(@ron)
5 years ago

Good stuff Devin!

terryturnell
terryturnell(@terryturnellyahoo-ca)
5 years ago

Very good lesson – most enjoyable and informative.

Don Russell
Don Russell(@rocketman)
1 year ago
Reply to  terryturnell

Don here. I have been a member for Close to a year but just getting around to practicing with your lessons. I thought I was a 6 month member but apparently I am month to month so I missed a lot of downloads.I have tried several times to upgrade from monthly to 6 months but have been unsuccessful so far.
Where can you buy those picks?
Also can you remove the voices from the backing tracks. I’m enjoying your lessons very much.

Don Russell
Don Russell(@rocketman)
1 year ago
Reply to  Don Russell

I meant for this to go to Devin, sorry Terry

marius
marius(@marius-tjostheimgmail-com)
5 years ago

Great lesson. Nice sound from your guitar. What Martin model are you playing? What pick do you like the most? Are there any blue chip picks that are similar to the Dunlop Jazz III that you know of?

Thanks, keep up the good work

marius
marius(@marius-tjostheimgmail-com)
5 years ago
Reply to  Devin

It’s definitely bang for the buck compared to d18 or d28. Love the martin sound. Play j45 myself. Like IT, but it is more mellow in a way. Was thinking of the tp48 pick. Have you tried it? Does it bend like the jazz iii?

Tim Miller
Tim Miller(@tim)
5 years ago

Excellent playing and instruction

Terry
Terry(@terryturnellyahoo-ca)
5 years ago

Great lesson Devin I have the guitar part down what can you do to help me with the singing.
Really well put together lesson – most enjoyable?

Peter
Peter(@peterkiely59gmail-com)
5 years ago

Great lessons Devin Iam having difficulty with the f cord just can’t get it right any tips I can use

Peter
Peter(@peterkiely59gmail-com)
5 years ago
Reply to  Devin

Works a treat thanks

Rick Gardiner
Rick Gardiner (@guest_1202)
4 years ago

Hi Devin, I go out in the desert around the Moab area a lot and don’t always have service, is there a way to save videos and play them without using data? Thanks, Rick

Karen
Karen (@guest_1003163)
4 years ago

Karen thanks so much. First lesson that has been so helpful.

albert
albert(@albertdbrownhotmail-com)
4 years ago

Devin,

I like this song (Wayfaring Stranger). The minor chords give it a nice haunting sound – pretty. It will be a good song to practice alternating base and such as you have in the lesson module. Additionally, I have been looking for other songs to exercise Cross Picking with. This might be such a song. I’ll see if I can use it for that too.

allanc550
allanc550(@allanc550gmail-com)
3 years ago

That 3rd strum pattern sounds great with this.
took a while but all coming together.
Thanks Devin

jerseychicadee
jerseychicadee(@jerseychicadee)
1 year ago

I’ve been working this tune but can you do a Playthrough with the tabulature. This has become my favorite way to learn/practice your lessons. I feel pretty victorious when I can speed up and keep up with your video

Lawrence Britt
Lawrence Britt(@lawrence1012)
7 months ago

Nice tuition and support. Many thanks.