How to Play Old Town Road on Guitar (& Actually Sound Good)

How to Play Old Town Road on Guitar (& Actually Sound Good)

It’s time you learned the Old Town Road guitar chords. I’ll teach you a nice and simple version that’ll sound great when you play it. It’s especially great for beginner guitarists.

Old Town Road is a country song written by American rapper Lil Nas X, a little ditty that became a massive hit. 

It has a straightforward catchy chorus. And today I’m going to show you how to play the song on guitar with just four easy chords – E,G,D,A.

I’ll also reveal why it sounds pretty rubbish when you try to play guitar along with the original recording. Plus, I’ll share some guitar teacher secrets to help you make this song sound even better when you play it.

Let’s go!

 

Who is Lil Nas X?

Not your typical resident of American country charts, Lil Nas X is an African American rapper from Georgia. Born Montero Lamar Hill, he dropped out of the University Of West Georgia, where he’s still technically enrolled as a computer science major. 

He felt trapped as a child, and developed a rebellious streak in his teenage years. When he created “Old Town Road” he was living at his sisters house, sleeping on her floor. 

But success has brought him freedom and taught him to trust his own decision making process. To date, he’s the only artist ever to come out as gay whilst holding the number one spot in the charts.

 

 

 

The Story Behind Old Town Road

Lil Nas X wasn’t doing so well in the music business. He’d been trying to release his music through Twitter without much success. 

Lil Nas X first released Old Town Road independently on SoundCloud and shared it on Twitter. It included a short sample from Nine Inch Nails instrumental track 34 Ghost IV and a beat track he purchased from YouTube producer YoungKio for $30.

It didn’t gain much traction initially. But he kept promoting it; pushing it on Twitter, and forcing it into memes.

Everything changed when he uploaded it to TikTok. He cleverly created the Yee Haw challenge, where millions of people started making shareable and funny dance videos.

The Long Road to Success

The song started tracking on the Billboard charts and then on the country charts. But it was quickly removed for not being “country” enough. This was a controversial decision, with some people suggesting it was racially motivated.

When Billy Ray Cyrus was invited to collaborated on a remix, he accepted the invitation enthusiastically. It didn’t matter to him what others said, he felt it was country music. 

The remix held the #1 position on Billboard’s Hot 100 for a record-breaking 19 weeks. And Old Town Road has sold tens of millions of copies and won countless awards. 

And this incredible popularity means that guitar enthusiasts just like you want to learn to play it. 

So now, I’m going to teach you to play it!

Old Town Road guitar chords

The Old Town Road guitar chords are straightforward. Not just because there’s only four chords, but also because the pattern is simple and repetitive. 

The chords we’re going to use are E, G, D and A. 

If you don’t know how to play those chords, watch these videos first:

Old Town Road guitar chord #1 - E

Old Town Road guitar chord #2 - G

Old Town Road guitar chord #3 - D

Old Town Road guitar chord #4 - A

How to play Old Town Road on guitar

When you feel comfortable with those chords, the following video lesson will teach you the best way to play it on acoustic guitar. 

This is a beginner-friendly version. Easy and slow. 

When you get better, you can speed up, play in different positions, and play around with strumming patterns. For now, I just want you to play along and get these four chords changing in the right spot.

Give it a try:

How to sing + play Old Town Road

To make your version of Old Town Road sound great, you really need to sing it.

Otherwise you’re just playing four chords over and over. Without the context of lyrics and a sung melody, the chords won’t mean much when you play them to your friends.

In fact, it’s a bit dull without the lyrics…

bored by your guitar playing

So below are Old Town Road lyrics for you to sing. 

You might notice I’ve modified one line to make it kid-friendly. You can change it back if you like, but this is the version my younger guitar students love singing.

Don’t feel intimidated about learning to sing. Just like learning guitar, it’s good to start with bite-sized pieces. Start by memorising just the chorus. Then the first verse. Then add the second verse. 

And remember to play slow while you’re putting it all together. Don’t rush to speed things up until you can sing and play at the same time.

 

I’m gonna take my horse to the old town road
I’m gonna ride ’til I can’t no more
I’m gonna take my horse to the old town road
I’m gonna ride ’til I can’t no more (Kio, Kio)

I got the horses in the back
Horse tack is attached
Hat is matte black
Got the boots that’s black to match

Ridin’ on a horse, ha
You can whip your Porsche
I been in the valley
You ain’t been up off that porch, now

Can’t nobody tell me nothin’
You can’t tell me nothin’
Can’t nobody tell me nothin’
You can’t tell me nothin’

Ridin’ on a tractor
Lean all in my bladder
I’m sweet on my baby
You can go and ask her

My life is a movie
Motorbikes and chickens
Cowboy hat from Gucci
Wrangler on my booty

Can’t nobody tell me nothin’
You can’t tell me nothin’
x2

I’m gonna take my horse to the old town road
I’m gonna ride ’til I can’t no more
x2

Guitar Secrets for Old Town Road

One last thing you need to know:

The four chords E,G,D, and A are technically correct and sound good on acoustic guitar. But the original track is a little less straight forward than that.

In the original, the A chord is a weirdo, known as a modular chord. It sits somewhere between a true A chord and a true C chord. 

In this next video, I’ll play through the song in the beginner friendly way, and then show you the difference from the original. Take a look: 

 

And that, my friends, is everything you need to get started!

I hope you’ve enjoyed learning the Old Town Road guitar chords and how to play the song properly.

Remember to learn it baby steps. And when you sing, sing loud!

When you’re ready, there’s plenty more to learn. My online guitar courses are full of awesome songs that actually teach you to play guitar with ease. Join me anytime you’re ready.

Fidel
X