Guitar lesson for
Mammas Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to be Cowboys
by Waylon Jennings • Lesson #118
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- 0:00 Lesson overview
- 1:28 Chords needed
- 2:29 Strumming patterns
- 6:10 Verse #1 playthrough
- 7:29 Key change in verse #2
Quite simple! Three chords only, played in the same order for the verse and the chorus. If you want to change key in the second verse, you’ll need the E A and B7 as shown below (this isn’t required though, if you’re doing a campfire version).
E –––2––––3––––0–––– –––0––––0––––2––– B –––3––––0––––2–––– –––0––––2––––0––– G –––2––––0––––0–––– –––1––––2––––2––– D –––0––––0––––2–––– –––2––––2––––1––– A ––––––––2––––0–––– –––2––––0––––2––– E ––––––––3––––––––– –––0––––––––––––– D G A7 E A B7
Here’s a few ways to approach it. For starters, think of things in groups of 3. Begin with down strums on the “1” counts only.
D = down strum U = up strum 1 + 2 + 3 + 1 + 2 + 3 + D D
From there, add smaller / weaker down strums on the “2” and “3” counts, keeping the accent (emphasis) on the “1”.
1 + 2 + 3 + 1 + 2 + 3 + D d d D d d
Then, if you desire, you can add upstrums in between the smaller down strums:
1 + 2 + 3 + 1 + 2 + 3 + D d u d u D d u d u
Said out loud, this would be “DOWN, down up down up… DOWN, down up down up… “.
Strumming with alternating bass notes
This isn’t required, but is a fun way to spice up the song a bit. Which is, alternating bass notes on the chords you strum. Examples below. See video lesson for reference.
E ––––––2–2––2–2––––––2–2––2–2––––––2–2––2–2––––––2–2––2–2––––– B ––––––3–3––3–3––––––3–3––3–3––––––3–3––3–3––––––3–3––3–3––––– G ––––––2–2––2–2––––––2–2––2–2––––––2–2––2–2––––––2–2––2–2––––– D –––0–––––––––––––––––––––––––––0––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– A –––––––––––––––––0–––––––––––––––––––––––––––0––––––––––––––– E ––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– D E ––––––3–3––3–3––––––3–3––3–3––––––3–3––3–3––––––3–3––3–3––––– B ––––––0–0––0–0––––––0–0––0–0––––––0–0––0–0––––––0–0––0–0––––– G ––––––0–0––0–0––––––0–0––0–0––––––0–0––0–0––––––0–0––0–0––––– D ––––––0–0––0–0–––0––––––––––––––––0–0––0–0–––0––––––––––––––– A ––––––2–2––2–2––––––––––––––––––––2–2––2–2––––––––––––––––––– E –––3–––––––––––––––––––––––––––3––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– G E ––––––0–0––0–0––––––0–0––0–0–––––––––0–0––0–0––––––0–0––0–0–– B ––––––2–2––2–2––––––2–2––2–2–––––––––2–2––2–2––––––2–2––2–2–– G ––––––0–0––0–0––––––0–0––0–0–––––––––0–0––0–0––––––0–0––0–0–– D ––––––2–2––2–2–––2–––––––––––––––––––2–2––2–2–––2–––––––––––– A –––0––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––0–––––––––––––––––––––––––– E ––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– A7
Lyrics w/ chords
VERSE #1 D G Cowboys ain't easy to love and they're harder to hold A7 D They'd rather give you a song than diamonds or gold D G Lone star belt buckles and old faded Levi's and each night begins a new day A7 D If you don't understand him and he don't die young, he'll probably just ride away CHORUS D G Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be cowboys A7 Don't let 'em pick guitars or drive them old trucks A7 D Let 'em be doctors and lawyers and such D G Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be cowboys A7 'Cause they'll never stay home and they're always alone A7 D Even with someone they love VERSE #2 E A Cowboys like smokey old pool rooms and clear mountain mornings B7 E Little warm puppies and children and girls of the night E Them that don't know him won't like him A And them that do sometimes won't know how to take him B7 He ain't wrong he's just different E But his pride won't let him do things to make you think he's right CHORUS E A Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be cowboys B7 Don't let 'em pick guitars or drive them old trucks B7 E Let 'em be doctors and lawyers and such E A Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be cowboys B7 'Cause they'll never stay home and they're always alone B7 E Even with someone they love
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