Guitar lesson for
I've Been Everywhere
by Johnny Cash • Lesson #170
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In this lesson I’ll show you how to play “I’ve Been Everywhere,” as covered by Johnny Cash. This is a fantastically fun song to learn, only requiring 3 chords. I’ll teach you the chords, demonstrate a few options with strumming, and show some riffs n’ fills you can use to spice things up throughout. I hope you enjoy!
- 0:00 Playthrough & greeting
- 2:12 Chords needed
- 3:50 Chord progression and strumming
- 8:40 How to play the intro
- 10:38 Riffs and fills
- 15:11 Parting wisdom
Lyrics w/ chords
INTRO (played freely) E E I was toting my pack along the dusty Winnemucca road E E When along came a semi with a high and canvas covered load A7 A7 If your going to Winnemucca, Mack, with me you can ride E E And so I climbed into the cab and then I settled down inside B7 (C7) (B7) He asked me if I'd seen a road with so much dust and sand E (let ring) (walk up) And I said, "Listen... I've traveled every road in this here land" CHORUS E E I've been everywhere, man... I've been everywhere, man A7 E Crossed the deserts bare, man... I've breathed the mountain air, man B7 B7 E Travel, I've had my share, man... I've been everywhere VERSE E I've been to Reno, Chicago, Fargo, Minnesota E Buffalo, Toronto, Winslow, Sarasota A7 Wichita, Tulsa, Ottawa, Oklahoma E Tampa, Panama, Mattawa, La Paloma B7 Bangor, Baltimore, Salvador, Amarillo E Tocopilla, Pocotello, Amperdello, I'm a killer [chorus] E I've been to Boston, Charleston, Dayton, Louisiana E Washington, Houston, Kingston, Texarkana A7 Monterey, Fairaday, Santa Fe, Tollaperson E Glen Rock, Black Rock, Little Rock, Oskaloussa B7 Tennessee, Tinnesay, Chickapee, Spirit Lake E Grand Lake, Devil's Lake, Crater Lake, for Pete's sake [chorus] E I've been to Louisville, Nashville, Knoxville, Omerback E Shereville, Jacksonville, Waterville, Costa Rock A7 Richfield, Springfield, Bakersfield, Shreveport E Hakensack, Cadallic, Fond do Lac, Davenport B7 Idaho, Jellico, Argentina, Diamondtina E Pasadena, Catalina, see what I mean [chorus] E I've been to Pittsburgh, Parkersburg, Gravelburg, Colorado E Ellisburg, Rexburg, Vicksburg, El Dorado A7 Larimore, Adimore, Habastock, Chadanocka E Shasta, Nebraska, Alaska, Opalacka B7 Baraboo, Waterloo, Kalamazoo, Kansas City E Sioux City, Cedar City, Dodge City, what a pity [chorus, end]
Here’s how to play the chords needed in this song. If you prefer, you can substitute a normal “A” chord instead of the “A7” - but I find the A7 captures the bluesy sound of things quite nicely.
E –––0––––0––––2––– B –––0––––2––––0––– G –––1––––0––––2––– D –––2––––2––––1––– A –––2––––0––––2––– E –––0––––––––––––– E A7 B7
Simple strum - start by strumming only on the “1” count of each 4-beat measure. This is a great way to start learning the song, especially if you want to play along but want to keep the strumming as simple as possible.
1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + D >
Intermediate strum - strum on each of the 4 counts, but put your accents on the “2” and “4” counts. This creates a nice back-beat that is well suited to much of Johnny Cash’s musical sound.
1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + D D D D > >
Full strum - add a “down up down up” on the back half each each measure. This requires quite a bit of motion (and can become tiring!) but creates a very nice driving sound, if you can manage it.
1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + D D D U D U > >
While this song has distinct verse and chorus sections, they both use the same chords in the same order. There’s only one minor difference between the two, which is the chorus stays on “B7” for one measure more than the verse does. For each chord named below, play one measure (4 counts). For each slash (“/”), repeat the previous chord for one measure (4 counts).
"I've been everywhere, man..." E / / / A7 / E / B7 / / E /
"I've been to Reno, Chicago, Fargo, Minnesota..." E / / / A7 / E / B7 / E /
Riffs and licks
Here are a few fun fills you can insert into the song, as demonstrated in my video lesson. These are nice ways to occasionally mix things up while you’re otherwise strumming along. Note, both of these fills begin and end on an E-major chord.
Walk up (heard at the end of the intro):
E –––0–––|–––––––––––––––0–––– E –––0–––|–––––––––––––––0–––– B –––0–––|–––––––––––––––0–––– B –––0–––|–––––––––––––––0–––– G –––1–––|–––––––––––––––1–––– G –––1–––|–––––––––––––––1–––– D –––2–––|–––––––––1–––––2–––– or D –––2–––|–––––––––––––––2–––– A –––2–––|–––2––4––––––––2–––– A –––2–––|–––2––4––6–––––2–––– E –––0–––|––––––––––––0––0–––– E –––0–––|––––––––––––0––0––––
Walk down (heard at the end of the chorus):
E –––0–––|––––––––––––––––––0––– B –––0–––|––––––––––––––––––0––– G –––1–––|––––––––––––––––––1––– D –––2–––|––––––––––––––––––2––– A –––2–––|–––2––0–––––––––––2––– E –––0–––|–––––––––3––2––0––0–––
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!
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