Guitar lesson for

Ring of Fire

by Johnny Cash

Video lesson

Chords needed

The whole song can be played with standard G, C, and D chords:

e –––3––––0––––2––––
B –––0––––1––––3––––
G –––0––––0––––2––––
D –––0––––2––––0––––
A –––2––––3–––––––––
E –––3––––––––––––––
     G    C    D

If you want, you can use a D7 in place of any D chord (it looks like Johnny Cash did this when he played the song):

e –––2––––
B –––1––––
G –––2––––
D –––0––––
A ––––––––
E ––––––––

Likewise, an easy way to approach these chords is as follows. Note how your ring finger is on the same note (3rd fret of the second string) for all the chords. This makes switching easy.

e –––3––––3––––2––––
B –––3––––3––––3––––
G –––0––––0––––2––––
D –––0––––2––––0––––
A –––2––––3–––––––––
E –––3––––––––––––––
     G    C    D

Strumming pattern

For simple starters, do all down strums… one per each count… and accent the 2 and 4 counts.

d = light down strum
D = heavy down strum

1 + 2 + 3 + 4 +
d   D   d   D        down DOWN down DOWN...
    >       >

From there, you can fill things out a bit by doing this. If you can, accent the 2 and the 4 if you can - but that becomes less important here.

D = down strum
U = up strum

1 + 2 + 3 + 4 +
D   D U   U D U      down, down up... up down up
    >       >

Mariachi riff on guitar

See my video lesson for an example of how to play this along w/ the rhythmic chord strumming.

e ––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––
B ––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––
G ––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––
D ––––––––0––0–0––0–0––2–––––0––––––––––––––––––––––––––––
A ––2–3–4–––––––––––––––––3––––––––2––2–2––2–2––3––0––2–––
E ––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––
          G            C     G     G            D7    G    

Lyrics w/ chords


G         C       G               G       D     G
Love is a burning thing... and it makes a fiery ring
G        C      G       G              D       G
Bound by wild desire... I fell in to a ring of fire


    D             C               G
    I fell into a burning ring of fire
           D                           C           G
    I went down, down, down... and the flames went higher
    And it burns, burns, burns
    G      C       G           D       G       
    ...The ring of fire... the ring of fire

The taste of love is sweet... when hearts like ours meet
I fell for you like a child...

    I fell into a burning ring of fire
    I went down, down, down... and the flames went higher
    And it burns, burns, burns
    The ring of fire... The ring of fire

Good luck!

Let me know if you have questions. I hope this was helpful. Be sure to check out my other Johnny Cash lessons, I have a bunch!

Enjoy this lesson? Buy me a beer!

If this and my other lessons have proven helpful to you, please consider donating to my tip jar. Contributions of any amount help make this project possible (including the many, many hours I put into it). Thanks!

Subscribe to my YouTube channel

Be sure to never miss a lesson by subscribing on YouTube. I put out 2-3 new videos every week. These include full song lessons, as well as covers, practice tips, behind-the-scenes updates. Thanks!

Monthly email updates

If you want to keep posted of new lessons over email, sign up for my newsletter. I'll email once a month with a digest of all my new videos. I promise: no spam.

← back to lesson list