Folsom Prison Blues Chords & Guitar Lesson
Folsom Prison Blues is a classic Johnny Cash song and one I love to play live. For most beginner students, I do the song in the Key of A to avoid tricky chord changes as a beginner guitar student.
The great thing about the key of A is that we also get to use 3 very easy chords - A, D and E. I usually have students strum very slowly when they are starting out. So each chord is one measure. But if you feel like you can play very fast, you can make each chord two measures to pick up the pace or play the sixteenth note pattern below.
If you would like to know how to play the easier Boom Chuck strum, you can always check out my Walk The Line Tutorial.
Folsom Prison Blues Strumming Patterns:
1 + 2 + 3 + 4 +
D D D D
Easier Boom Chuck Strum:
1 + 2+ 3 + 4+
BD BD BD BD
> > > >
1 e + a 2 e + a 3 e + a 4 e + a
DU DU DU DU DU DU DU DU
Folsom Prison Blues Guitar Lesson:
Find this website helpful? Click the button to show your support.
Folsom Prison Blues Chord Chart:
Intro: E A A
I hear the train a comin' It's rollin' 'round the bend,
And I ain't seen the sunshine, Since, I don't know when,
I'm stuck in Folsom Prison,
D A A
And time keeps draggin' on,
But that train keeps a-rollin',
E A A
On down to San Antone.
When I was just a baby, My Mama told me, "Son,
Always be a good boy, Don't ever play with guns,"
But I shot a man in Reno,
Just to watch him die,
When I hear that whistle blowin',
I hang my head and cry.
A A A A
D D A A
E E A A
I bet there's rich folks eatin', In a fancy dining car,
They're probably drinkin' coffee, And smokin' big cigars,
But I know I had it comin',
I know I can't be free,
But those people keep a-movin',
And that's what tortures me.
A A A A
D D A A
E E A A
Well, if they freed me from this prison, If that railroad train was mine,
I bet I'd move out over a little, Farther down the line,
Far from Folsom Prison,
That's where I want to stay,
And I'd let that lonesome whistle,
Blow my blues away.
E A A (hold)
This file is the author’s own work and represents his interpretation of this song. It’s intended solely for private study, scholarship or research.
We do not distribute printable chord and lyrics charts. These charts are here only to support online learning. We highly recommend buying music from Hal Leonard or a reputable online sheet music store.