Country Honk

by The Rolling Stones • Lesson #539 • Feb 8, 2024

In today’s lesson I’ll teach you to play Country Honk by The Rolling Stones, from their 1969 album Let It Bleed. This song is effectively an acoustic & countrified version of the more familiar Honky Tonk Women — featuring the same chords, progression, and (mostly) identical lyrics.

I’ll start with the basics, showing you the verse & chorus progressions along with a few strumming options. From there, I’ll walk through a few of the more iconic riffs heard in this song – including the rolling bassline riff played by Keith Richards during the intro, verse, and instrumental sections. This one is quite manageable to get started with, while offering plenty trickier bits for you to bake into your practice routine. Let’s get into it!

  • 0:00 Lesson Summary
  • 1:04 Chords Used
  • 2:20 Verse & Chorus
  • 4:10 Strumming Options
  • 7:54 Main “G” Riff
  • 15:26 Bassline Riff
  • 21:08 Add’l Riffs
  • 24:50 Song Sheet Tour

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Print-Friendly Song Sheet 3 pages

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Extended Video Lessons

Play-Along Cover

Here’s how I play the song from start to finish, using everything I show in my main lesson (including the bassline riff and walk-down during the instrumental). For strumming, I’m often using the bass-note pattern I teach in my tutorial – though honestly I’ll skimp on the individual bass notes (on the 1 and 3 counts) and replace them with full strums. My goal in sharing this is to demonstrate how you can mix and match the various ingredients to find something that works for you. Good luck!

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Vocal Melody Explainer

Here’s a short video teaching how to play vocal melody notes, as heard in the first line of the verse and chorus. Note, I’m being very approximate here, and not capturing all the vocal flourish Jagger uses on each syllable. I mainly want to give you something to get started with if trying to learn how to sing along while playing.

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Practice Track

Here’s a Key of G play-along track you can use which mimics the chord progression of this song. This includes my simple guitar strumming, with basic drums and bass added as well. The on-screen graphic should help orient you through the progression, which repeats a few times. Use this to practice strumming, chord changes, playing the riff in time - or even work on your own soloing efforts. For additional instructions on how to use this practice track, see lesson #499.

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Other Videos of Note

Album Recording from “Let It Bleed” (1969)

Keith and Mick Backstage (2016)

Here’s the other Rolling Stones-inspired lessons I’ve made! Click any link below to view that lesson’s video and additional resources.

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