Sweet Home Alabama

by Lynyrd Skynyrd • Lesson #43 • Jan 29, 2017

Editor’s Notes

This guitar lesson is for a solo acoustic version of Sweet Home Alabama by Lynyrd Skynyrd. For this classic song, I’ll show you how to play all of the recognizable riffs and fills you hear during the song: including during the intro, verses, and choruses. I’ll also show you how to play the chords used during the entire song, including strumming patterns (both simple and complex).

My aim with this lesson is to give you the core building blocks you’ll need to take this song to advanced places, should you wish. I won’t cover the solo or 100% note-for-note tab recreations of what each guitar plays during the song, as that’s a huge effort and others have done that in many cases.

Free Video Lesson

Print-Friendly Song Sheet 4 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.

Buy at Musicnotes.com

Save 50% on this song sheet by applying the June 2023 code at Musicnotes checkout: SZKPFR8GKU (click to copy). Thanks for being a Premium supporter!

Song Notes Premium includes a 50% discount code you can use when buying any of my licensed song sheets. For the current month's code, upgrade to premium or log in.

Chords needed

For 99% of the song, you’ll only need to know these 3 chords. If you’ve never seen the Cadd9 chord before, don’t be scared! It’s actually easier to play than the typical C-major chord, since you’ll be keeping your left-ring and left-pinky fingers in the same place as they are in the G chord.

E –––2–––––3–––––3––––
B –––3–––––3–––––3––––
G –––2–––––0–––––0––––
D –––0–––––2–––––0––––
A –––––––––3–––––2––––
E –––––––––––––––3––––
     D   Cadd9   G    

There’s one place in the song (the “boo-hoo” lyric) where an F chord is needed. You can play a full 6 string F if you please, but know you can also get away with a 4-string F that only uses the middle four strings.

E –––(1)–––
B ––––1––––
G ––––2––––
D ––––3––––
A ––––3––––
E –––(1)–––

Chord progression for the entire song

For the entire song, you’ll want to use this progression from D to Cadd9 to G. Repeat it over and over:

"Sweet wheels keep on turning..."

D . . . Cadd9 . . . G . . . G . . .

In one or two cases, you’ll change this for one progression by throwing an F into the mix. You can use as simplified an F as you prefer:

"In Birmingham they love the Governor, boo hoo..."

D . . . Cadd9 . . . G . . . F . C .

How to play the main riff

There are many ways you can play this – each has slight variations in the final measure. I’m not super interested in mapping each of these out to their exact location in the song… for that, I leave it to you to listen to the album version, watch my video, and combine these as you prefer. Also, note that some of these riffs may not be 100% accurate to what you hear in the album version – I’m less concerned with an exact reproduction, and more concerned with giving you the structure that’ll get you started with things.

See sheet music for tabs.

Interlude riff

This is what you hear between each verse. Again, there are a few ways you can play it. Use the method(s) that work for your needs.

See sheet music for tabs.

Strumming Patterns

Here’s a few ways to strum it, in order of complexity (starting at the easiest version). The “” symbol in the patterns below designates playing the bass note of that chord, for that strum. See my video for reference for all these.

See sheet music for strumming diagrams.

Browse Related Lessons

Click any tag below to view other lessons I've made in that category:

About Song Notes

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 »

Get Free Lessons Each Week!

Join the 20,000+ readers who get my new lessons dropped in their inbox each week. I teach a fun mix of songs, weekly riffs, practice ideas, and more!

Enjoy my lessons? Buy me a beer!

If this and my other lessons have proven helpful to you, please consider making a one-time donation to my tip jar. Contributions of any amount help make this project possible (including the many, many hours I put into it).

Fun & Helpful Tools I've Made

Fret Monster

Interactive fretboard map! See the patterns behind every scale in any key.


Capo Captain

An easy way to calculate key & chord combinations, for any capo location!


Subscribe to my YouTube channel

Be sure to never miss a lesson by subscribing on YouTube. I put out 2-3 new videos every week. These include full song lessons, as well as covers, practice tips, behind-the-scenes updates. Thanks!

Recent Lessons

Browse All Recent Lessons →

Browse All My Lessons

By lesson type

By technique

By musical genre

By decade

By musical key

By popular artist

← back to homepage