Folsom Prison Blues (Lead)

Animated Folsom Prison Blues (Lead) tab by Johnny Cash on guitar. So easy you'll be playing in minutes.

This is the main lead guitar for Folsom Prison Blues. If you just want the basic chords, then check out the Rhythm Guitar instead. The original track is played in F (capo 1st fret) but we're playing it in standard tuning to keep things straightforward. It's exactly the same, just with no capo.

The lead guitar basically follows the same '12 Bar' style chord progression played by the rhythm guitar. Except, it is more riff based. And there are a few parts like the little solo lick, intro and outro as well. All you need to know is outlined below:

Intro - The lead guitar plays an intro lick based around this B7 chord. This is quite a tricky start, but very short. Don't worry about getting it perfect if you are a beginner - as long as you hold the basic melody (the lower notes in this case), then it will sound good. After that, give the E5 (powerchord) a few rounds. Notice that soon into this riff, the first finger bars across the strings at the 2nd fret. The point is to mute the highest 3 strings, whilst keeping the Low E5 strings available for playing. Use light palm muting for this riff to get that nice country 'alternating bass note' thing happening.

Main Progression - Just keep cycling through this 4 chord sequence:

E5 - short transition - A5 - E5 - B7 (repeat)

Each chord is played like a riff, using light palm muted downstrokes. You can use upstrokes instead for certain notes if you find it makes the picking easier. As long as you get consistent with the alternating bass notes, that is the main thing.

That is all you need to know to play most of the song. Just keep repeating it!

Little solo - This little solo is played twice in the song and is the same both times. The first part is nice and easy. Then he goes into some chords, which are a bit trickier. If you have problems with them, just play them out your own way, or, revert to following the rhythm guitar again. ie. Use the main progression (palm muted riffs) shown above.

Outro - This is similar to the intro lick, it starts the same way, but then ends on the E major chord. It is short and snappy, and finishes the song nicely!

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