As an experienced guitar teacher, making songs easier for young beginners is very important to me.
How to Play Johnny B Goode
Remember Johnny B. Goode by Chuck Berry? Those of us old enough to remember him playing—and the duck walk that was his trademark—were glad of the privilege. Younger generations know the song from that amazing guitar solo from Back to the Future! A whole new generation of kids who missed the Chuck Berry hit the first time around picked up on that solo!
This is the ideal song to play at weddings and parties. We all know it, and it's a wild and exciting tune. Can you play Johnny B, Goode chords, or maybe even the solo? Would you like me to show you how to play it, perhaps? It's easy to play and possibly the "most played" song in rock and roll, after "Stairway to Heaven" and "Smoke on the Water."
Johnny B. Good is an "evergreen" in the annals of rock and roll, and of course, Chuck Berry remains a musical legend!
Here I will show you how to play an easy version of Johnny B Goode and lead you to tabs and sheet music for harder versions. You can also compare versions by different artists. It has been recorded by so many great artists and groups.
Do not despair if this is your first attempt at rock and roll guitar. My version is very easy, even for beginners!
Simple Rock and Roll Intro
I put this together for my country cousins to play. I would like to say my Uncle taught me the right way to play rock and roll, but he didn't! I had to find that out for myself. It has been printed and exported from Sibelius software. This intro is in Chuck Berry style and will fit nicely with the easy version in A.
Easy Johnny B. Goode Chords in A
Johnny B. Goode is a 12-bar blues song. Here is the chord progression you need. If you don't know any chords, just click on the letter to be taken to see photos of the chord. I have set this up so it will serve as a lesson in guitar chords. You will see it follows the 12-bar blues pattern, which is not surprising as Chuck Berry was a genuine R n' B musician (in the real meaning of R n' B, not the modern pop definition!)
Now that was easy wasn't it? Perhaps you would like to try this free simple rock and roll style 12 Bar blues in notename noteheads instead?
Johnny B Goode Tablature
In as much as tabs can ever be accurate, these are not too bad. I have the sheet music for Johnny B. Goode, which gives a little more insight into how to play the song properly than a tab can. The original key for the song was B flat, not A. This is not a good beginner guitar key to say the least! My simple version is in A helps avoid the huge stretches you see in Chuck Berry's playing, but more experienced players like myself could easily play these tabs. There are many different tabs out there, remember. I simply chose these because they are featured high on Google.
- Johnny B. Goode Tab by Tommy Ronningsveen
- Johnny B. Goode Bass Tab
Easy Rock and Roll 12-Bar Chords
This is the easy version and is not the same as Chuck berry plays!
Click here for an easy guitar and bass version in music and tab.
Here you are playing only two notes:
(These simple power chords are called diads)
- A5 and A6 pick only string 5 and 4
- D5 and D6 pick only strings 4 and 3
- E5 and E6 pick only strings6 and 5
Use firm downstrokes with your pick
Now that probably looks worse than it is? Perhaps you would like to try this simple rock and roll style 12-bar blues tab instead?
Jerry Lee Lewis and Friends Play Johnny B. Goode
Jerry Lee Lewis was never especially popular in Britain for cultural reasons. The public was judgmental about his marriage at the time, but there is absolutely no doubt that he was a very exciting performer. Performers like Jerry Lee Lewis set an entire generation alight with their stage antics and exciting songs.
Chuck Berry Style Tab
As Johnny B. Goode follows this simple and traditional 12-bar blues pattern, this makes a good band version. Try out this 12-bar blues in Bb for guitar and bass.
Which Version Do You Like Best?
Ean Brandon from United States on July 24, 2014:
I have a few videos of Jimi Hendrix, AcDc, and queen playing this song, so much power was born from this one man!
Lisa Marie Gabriel (author) from United Kingdom on July 03, 2013:
@greenspirit: Absolutely, and if you can play it you can play many more rock and roll classics!
poppy mercer from London on July 03, 2013:
What a great song. It's part of the roots of all good rock music.
desa999 lm on September 23, 2012:
Fantastic lens, well done!
Alana-r on September 02, 2012:
Great Lens, such a classic song!
dream1983 on July 12, 2012:
Great article, nice job!
alexbricker on May 30, 2012:
I play guitar and this is a good step in learning something new from my other stuff I normally practice. Thanks for the tips! I like Chuck Berry a lot.
Edutopia on January 30, 2012:
Great song for every one to know. And most importantly, you're kids are going to love it.
termit_bronx on October 01, 2011:
I don't know how to play a guitar, but I would really like to! ...Chuck Berry rocks! He is one of the best guitar players and I really enjoy listening to his songs!
Oosquid on May 28, 2011:
Nope can't play a note. I'm tempted to say the Hendrix version which is out of this world. But the vote has got to go to Mr Rock 'n Roll himself. Chuck Berry. After all he is the master and without him where would rock be?
sorana lm on May 14, 2011:
I don't play the guitar at all but I have really enjoyed the videos. Go Johnny go! Or should I say Go Photahsiamirabel go! :)