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House of the Rising Sun Chords and Guitar TAB

Updated on March 3, 2017

The House of the Rising Sun Chords

Do you know the House of the Rising Sun chords? How do you play House of the Rising Sun on guitar? It is actually not that difficult to play House of the Rising Sun. Sending my mind back in time today... to when I learned the guitar chords for the House of the Rising Sun. It is sometime in the late 1960s (a lady never tells her age), and I am a geeky 12-year-old schoolgirl en route to Germany with a group of kids for my first ever holiday alone!


Well, specifically, I am with the Grimsby and District schools' swimming team bound for a gala and exchange trip to Bremerhaven. Very excited I was, and we kids were exploring the boat! I have my little guitar of course (then it traveled everywhere, these days I usually borrow someone else's). We are on a North Sea Ferry, and some older lads from I know not where are playing songs. They are professional buskers doing the Grand Tour! ;)

My new friends ask if I can really play guitar and I give them some Carcassi, Spanish music, Tarrega, a little improvised flamenco... They are impressed but do I play rock? The answer then is "No, my teacher only shows us classical." So, one of the guys hands me a plectrum, says "Follow me! Should be easy for you!" and we are off learning the chords of The House of the Rising Sun. It is easy, it is exhilarating to be part of a real band, and these buskers put me on a route I still follow - playing cool rock and blues songs.

The House of the Rising Sun, a Busking Classic!

Little did I then know how much of a classic the House of Rising Sun was! Eric Burdon and the Animals had made it part of our culture. In the tradition of 1960s rock icons like the Rolling Stones, Eric Clapton and the Beatles they had been heavily influenced by blues and took this traditional blues on to become an all-time rock classic of the 1960s. Meantime the 12-year-old girl that was me hit the strings for the first time in a powerful rhythm and quickly learned the fingerpicking accompaniment of House of the Rising Sun too.

TAB for The House of the Rising Sun as a Picture

House of the Rising Sun TAB
House of the Rising Sun TAB

House of the Rising Sun Chords

Do You Know All the Chords for House of the Rising Sun?

The chord progression you need for The Rising Sun is as follows. If you don't know any of the chords, just click on them to be taken to my Flickr page and see them. Incidentally, if the F is too hard (a barre chord) you could get away with the F major 7 in the intro photo!

Am / / / / / C / / / / / / D / / / / / F / / / / /

Am / / / / / C / / / / / E / / / / / E7 / / / / /

Am / / / / / C / / / / / / D / / / / / F / / / / /

Am / / / / / E / / / / / Am / / / / / E7 / / / / /

Here are some more songs you can learn the chords for:

  • 20th Century Boy
  • Band In A Jam Project
  • Best Songs To Learn On Guitar
  • Best Way To Use A Guitar Pick
  • Born To Be Wild
  • Hallelujah
  • Harley Davidson Guitar Stuff
  • Hey Joe
  • Highway to Hell
  • Johnny B Goode
  • Improvise on guitar - first lesson
  • One
  • Perfect Day
  • Play Guitar REALLY Fast
  • Satisfaction
  • Smoke On The Water
  • Stairway to Heaven
  • Summer of 69

House of the Rising Sun Chords
House of the Rising Sun Chords

House of the Rising Sun TAB

Guitar and Drum Music for House of the Rising Sun

A simple drum and guitar version with notes and TAB for The House of the Rising Sun Use this with the chords in the picture to do your own cover version of House of the Rising Sun.

House of the Rising Sun TAB
House of the Rising Sun TAB

Picking the House of the Rising Sun

There are two basic ways to pick the Rising Sun by the Animals, the first involves fingerpicking, which is the way I first learned it and the second way of picking House of the Rising Sun is to flat pick. I will explain both.

To fingerpick, let your thumb take charge of strings 6, 5 and 4, the bass strings. Where there are two quick notes, the thumb (p) rolls through both. Your index finger (i) should pluck string 3, your middle finger (m) pluck string 2 and your ring finger (a) pluck string 1. This is an easy way to play once you become proficient with fingerpicking. The pattern is either:

  • p i m a m i
  • p p i m a m i

To flat pick, you should follow the direction of string travel. This is called economy picking. Try to make the strokes almost continuous and don't turn the pick. If you have never used a pick before you might like to check out my lens on Using a Pick Correctly.

So the strokes go either:

  • down down down up up up
  • down down down down up up up

Do you have a favourite version of this American folk song classic or do you only know the Animals House of the Rising Sun?

Thank you for playing along!

© 2011 Lisa Marie Gabriel

Can you play the House of the Rising Sun? - Where were you in the 1960s?

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    • Lady Lorelei profile image

      Lorelei Cohen 4 years ago from Canada

      I think every man that I ever dated (with the exception of one) said that House of the Rising Sun was their favorite song (my current husband included). The song really strikes a chord in some people.

    • RosaMorelli profile image

      RosaMorelli 4 years ago

      Looking forward to learning this one - I'm a (not terribly good) bass player more than a guitarist, but this is a song I've always thought would be nice to learn properly. Love the tale about how you learned this, I'm in the North of England too, but on t'other side - the North West.

    • profile image

      HowAboutThis 4 years ago

      I always liked this song. Thanks

    • Countryluthier profile image

      E L Seaton 5 years ago from Virginia

      Another great tune to lens about! Love the selection. Sadly another classic tune I cannot play.

    • profile image

      Edutopia 5 years ago

      Everyone should learn this song as soon as they can. A great way to develop your talents or a nice easy song to rock out on.

    • profile image

      Edutopia 5 years ago

      This is a great song to cut your skills on. Good for beginners to practice on and for advance players to add to their repertoire.

    • puerdycat lm profile image

      puerdycat lm 6 years ago

      Just the way we played it when we were kid! This is great, have to get a new set of strings!

    • lizziehumphreys1 profile image

      lizziehumphreys1 6 years ago

      I love this song and my dad plays it on his guitar :) great lens

    • Vikk Simmons profile image

      'Vikk Simmons 6 years ago from Houston

      Well done. Brings back memories here, too. I learned to play House of the Rising Son on the piano and it was always my fall-back position. :) Love the song.

    • profile image

      indiemusicheaven 6 years ago

      Great Composition. Hope we will receive such kind of composition in near future also.

      All the Best

    • profile image

      Mabelmew 6 years ago

      Great song and what a fun way to introduce how to play it! :-) the chord chart was very clever!

    • Wednesday-Elf profile image

      Wednesday-Elf 6 years ago from Savannah, Georgia

      I took an adult evening guitar class at my local high school years ago in 'Beginning Guitar', One of the songs we learned in class was 'House of the Rising Sun', and I loved playing the chords. But the only version I was familiar with all these years was Bob Dylan's, because that's the recording the guitar teacher played! :-). It's a great song! I'm a big fan of all 1960s folk music, especially those songs played on the guitar, and this one fits right in.

    • Richard-H profile image

      Richard 6 years ago from Surrey, United Kingdom

      I don't play an instrument but The House of the Rising Sun is definitely a favourite :)

    • littlelotus profile image

      littlelotus 6 years ago

      I can't, not really musical :) good lens but :)

    • KathyMcGraw2 profile image

      Kathy McGraw 6 years ago from California

      This was the very first song I wanted to learn to play, and did. Always a classic. Loved your story of how you learned to play this :)

    • JeremiahStanghini profile image

      JeremiahStanghini 6 years ago

      A great song. :-)

    • dotpattern profile image

      Pat Moire 6 years ago from West Village, New York City

      Just saw some guitar chord playing cards on Amazon that are very cool.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Well looks quite tough for me, but maybe it is easy to play to the guitarists.

    • LisaAuch1 profile image

      Lisa Auch 6 years ago from Scotland

      Fantastic, my daughter will be getting a guitar for her birthday so I know where i will be sending her for music!

    • CHalloran LM profile image

      CHalloran LM 6 years ago

      Love this song. My husband's cover band had done a hard rock version of it, it was really good and the crowd always loved it too. I watched Haley sing it last week on American Idol, which wasn't bad at all. There is a youtube video of it.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Love music; can listen to music, sadly can't read music. :| Cheers to the house of the rising sun.