One of the most beloved country songs ever written, You Are My Sunshine is also an ideal starting point for beginner guitarists. Using only two chords that are simple to play and strumming, You Are My Sunshine makes an excellent introduction into playing guitar for newcomers.
Start off by fingering a G chord using your middle, index, and ring fingers on the second fret of the low E string while your ring finger rests at third fret of high E string. Strumming slowly four steady downstrokes.
Simple Chord Progression
One of the best things you can do for your acoustic guitar playing is learning basic chord progressions. Learning these progressions will enable you to build song structures more efficiently while deepening your understanding of music as a whole. Knowing multiple progressions also gives you confidence to experiment with chord voicings, rhythmic patterns and more!
This progression consists of a simple ii-v-i-vi chord progression in C major. Though this may appear like just another small step, mastering it will pave the way to success across many musical genres!
This chord progression can often be found in music from the 50s and ’60s. It makes an excellent practice exercise both fingerstyle and with a pick, using identical chord shapes no matter which technique feels more natural to you.
Simple Strumming Pattern
If you want to play songs on your guitar, a good feel for rhythm is vitally important. While this may be difficult at first, trying counting beats or using a metronome may help hone this skill and practice strumming patterns over chord progressions such as those found in You Are My Sunshine can help tremendously in perfecting this ability.
This strumming pattern can be applied to many songs. It features four steady downstrokes followed by one upstroke on every second beat of every measure; an example of a swing rhythm whereby each downstroke lasts slightly longer than its upstroke.
Add some swing to your strumming by skipping downstroke on third beat (the ‘&’). This will result in two upstrums following each other without an intervening downstrum – creating a Hendrix-esque sound!
Simple Fingerpicking Pattern
This song is one of the easiest fingerpicking songs for beginners to learn and only requires basic chords and strumming patterns to play along with. Plus, its country music style will give you an ideal platform for mastering fingerpicking on guitar!
Play this song using your index, middle, and ring fingers at the second fret of D, G, B strings while leaving A&H E strings open; this will produce the E major chord, which is easy to fingerpick while sounding wonderful when strumming.
Fingerpicking patterns like these can be found in numerous classic folk songs by artists like Bob Dylan and Simon and Garfunkel, making this skill highly valuable in playing your favorite songs with this technique and understanding chord progressions more thoroughly.
Simple Arpeggio Pattern
For this riff we will employ an arpeggio pattern instead of traditional chord shapes. Arpeggios are composed of individual notes in a chord played apart rather than strumming together and can add speed while providing melodic home bases for your improvisations.
Arpeggios, like guitar chords, consist of three core ingredients – the root (1), major third (3) and minor seventh (5) – which can be combined in various ways to form repeatable fretboard patterns.
Do not be intimidated by arpeggios; use them to follow fast chord changes in your favorite songs! Experiment with various ways of playing them such as alternate picking, legato and hammer-ons/pul-offs; practice them both with pick and fingers to see which method feels most natural to you and gain strength for faster tempo playing while honing lead skills.