You've Got a Friend in Me

by Randy Newman • Lesson #338 • Nov 22, 2020

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:

  • 0:00 Preview & lesson overview
  • 2:25 Chord shapes needed
  • 6:20 Chord progressions
  • 9:48 Strumming patterns
  • 13:21 Rhythm tip: pushing the C7 chord
  • 15:40 Intro tab: simple version
  • 19:06 Intro tab: my secret stash version
  • 21:47 Full play-along cover w/ lyrics

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.

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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