Ring of Fire

by Johnny Cash • Lesson #134 • Sep 4, 2021


Hey, friends! Here’s a series of videos teaching you how to play the Johnny Cash song “Ring of Fire” from 1963. Typically, Johnny Cash played this with his full band, benefiting from their drum / bass / electric guitar – but this lesson will teach you how to play the distinctive lead riff while strumming at the same time – which roughly approximates the sound of multiple instruments. Note, my licensed song sheet (linked further down this page) includes notes & tabs for all video lessons on this page.

Part 1: Song Basics

This is my original video tutorial (lesson #134), where I teach you how to play the chords and strumming (2:04); then give a careful explanation how to mimic that Mariachi horn sound with your acoustic guitar (6:25).

Part 2: Strumming & Rhythm

Here’s my follow-up video (lesson #387), where I dive deep into this song’s deceivingly simple rhythm, chord progression, and strumming patterns. This comes years after my original video lesson for this song, which is very popular – but has lead to lots of viewer feedback on this exact topic. I’ll break down the exact chord progression Cash’s album version uses, in addition to showing you a simplified progression chart for the entire song (e.g. if you don’t want to carve out time for the mariachi horn sections during the verse).

Part 3: Play-along Covers

In this final video, available only members of Song Notes Premium, I play through the entire song (start to finish) twice: one using the chord progression heard in Cash’s album version, and the other using a simplified strumming pattern that removes the horn sections.

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Print-Friendly Song Sheet 5 pages

Follow along with my print-friendly guide for this song! It’s available for purchase at Musicnotes.com, the web’s leading provider of licensed sheet music.

On the fence? Here's a guide I made showing the purchase & print process, including answers to common questions about my song sheets.

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My other Johnny Cash guitar lessons

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Hey there! My name is David Potsiadlo, and I'm the creator of the 400+ weekly lessons here at Song Notes, going back to 2013. Here’s my guitar story »

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