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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Jam Track

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