Guitar lesson for

You've Got a Friend in Me

by Randy Newman  •  Lesson #338

How to play the full song (Lesson #338)

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Editor’s notes

Hey friends! New lesson here teaching you how to play a strum-friendly campfire version of “You’ve Got a Friend In Me”, from start to finish. This is a song I first learned the intro to last year (see my lesson #246), but knew I needed to return and teach the entire song after several of you requested I do so. As such, I put together this lesson teaching you basic chord shapes, progressions, and strumming patterns needed – and also show you two new ways to play the intro (one very simple, the other my “secret stash” personal version). This one has been a blast to learn, I hope you enjoy learning it as much as I did!

This version is largely inspired by the Claire Ryann (and her dad) cover that’s on YouTube, which is fantastic and I recommend watching. Note, I don’t get into the complexities of his fingerstyle technique – just because they raise the bar of difficulty quite a bit. Where possible, I’m opting for easy / familiar chords, especially during the bridge which I keep as simple as possible.

Video timestamps:

Advanced fingerstyle intro (Lesson #246)

Here’s my earlier lesson, recorded about one year before my full-song lesson above. This one focuses only on the intro, and aims to fully mimic what’s played in the Claire Ryann cover on YouTube. Just note, this one is tricker than my newer video above!

Song lyrics

See PDF for my intro tab.

    C            G+        C   C7    F               F         C     C7
    You've got a friend in me.......... You've got a friend in me....
    F           C           E         Am
    ...When the road looks.... rough ahead
               F         C               E         Am
    And you're miles and miles from your nice warm bed
    F             C                E       Am    
    ...You just remember what your old pal said
         Dm           G         C   C7        Dm           G         C
    Boy, you've got a friend in me..... Yeah, you've got a friend in me

    C            G+        C   C7    F               F         C     C7
    You've got a friend in me.......... You've got a friend in me....
    F                C         E               Am
    ...If you've got troubles.... I've got 'em too
    F              C         E             Am
    ...There isn't anything, I wouldn't do--- for you
    F             C              E         Am
    ...We stick together and can... see it through
           Dm           G             C  C7   Dm           G         C
    'Cause you've got a friend in me......... You've got a friend in me

        F             F                B7                         B7
        ...Some other folks might be a... little bit smarter than I am
        C             G+       C      C7
        ...Bigger and stronger too... maybe
        B7             B7           B7       B7
        ...But none of them... will ever---- love you
            Em    A7       Dm     G
        The way I do, it's me and you, boy

    C             G+       C   C7      F               F     C    C7
    ...And as the years go by..... our friendship will never die
    F               F            C    E   Am
    ...You're gonna see it's our des--ti--ny
    Dm           G         C   C7        Dm           G         C
    You've got a friend in me..... Yeah, you've got a friend in me

Chord Progression

See PDF for chord progression.


When first learning this song, begin with something simple – e.g. downstrums on the 1/2/3/4 counts, with the 1 and 3 getting the bass note of whatever chord you’re playing. Then do a full strum on the 2 and 4 counts.

See PDF for strumming pattern.

Then, you can proceed to this full version – which adds extra up strums on the “+” counts after the 2 and 4:

See PDF for strumming pattern.

Intro riff

Simple version:

See PDF for full tab diagram.

My “secret stash” personal version:

See PDF for full tab diagram.

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