Tennessee Flat Top Box

by Johnny Cash • Lesson #145 • Apr 21, 2018

Video lesson

Print-Friendly Song Sheet 3 pages

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Editor’s notes

In this video I’ll teach you how to play “Tennessee Flat Top Box” by Johnny Cash, including a tutorial for the intro tab, the chords needed, strumming patterns used, and more! This is one of the funnest Cash songs to play, in my opinion – it combines simple verse chords & strumming with a complicated (but approachable) riff heard in the intro and interlude. Enjoy! Make sure you put a capo on 3 if you want to play along with Cash’s album version.

  • 0:00 Lesson preview & greeting
  • 1:23 Capo or no capo?
  • 1:57 Verse chords
  • 2:45 Verse strumming
  • 3:45 Verse lyrics & chord changes
  • 4:36 Main riff, part 1 of 2
  • 7:32 Main riff, part 2 of 2
  • 11:01 Riff extras: how to transition back to verse
  • 14:36 Riff extras: how its played in song’s intro
  • 16:10 Full song playthrough

My full play-along cover

Capo to play along with Johnny Cash

If you want to play along with Johnny Cash’s version, use the chords I show you with a capo on the 3rd fret. I’m choosing not to play with a capo to keep things simple and accessible.

Chords needed

These are the chords you’ll need for the verse:

e –––3––––2––––
B –––0––––1––––
G –––0––––2––––
D –––0––––0––––
A –––2–––––––––
E –––3–––––––––
     G    D7

Intro riff

This is what’s heard in the opening measures of the song:

See sheet music for my tab.

Interlude riff

This one is very similar to the intro riff, the only difference being how it begins. Note that they both end the same.

Play through these two sections twice:

See sheet music for my tab.

Then, play this to end it and transition into the next verse:

See sheet music for my tab.

Lyrics w/ chords

See sheet music for the lyrics with chords.

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!

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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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