Tennessee Whiskey Chords – A Comprehensive Guide

Tennessee Whiskey, a mellifluous anthem of love and libation, has held a special place in the hearts of music aficionados for decades. Originally crafted by the prolific songwriting duo Dean Dillon and Linda Hargrove, this song has weathered the test of time, resonating through the sultry voices of legends like George Jones and the contemporary brilliance of Chris Stapleton. Its chords, like the amber liquid it celebrates, flow smoothly yet carry deep, complex undertones.

This comprehensive guide is your key to unlocking the soulful secrets of Tennessee Whiskey on your guitar. We will embark on a musical journey through the heart of this timeless composition, breaking down its harmonious structure, providing you with meticulously crafted chord diagrams, and offering invaluable tips to help you master this beloved melody.

Whether you’re a novice guitarist yearning to strum your first chords or a seasoned player eager to add this gem to your repertoire, our guide is designed to cater to your needs. By the end of this article, you’ll not only understand the anatomy of Tennessee Whiskey’s chords but also imbue them with the passion and emotion that make this song an enduring masterpiece.

Understanding Tennessee Whiskey

Before we dive into the chords, let’s take a moment to appreciate the beauty of Tennessee Whiskey. Written by Dean Dillon and Linda Hargrove, this song is a poignant tribute to the allure of good whiskey and a memorable love story. Its rich lyrics and mesmerizing melody have made it a timeless classic, ensuring its place in the hearts of music enthusiasts for generations to come.

The Chords

Tennessee Whiskey is a song that can be played with relatively basic chords, making it accessible to guitarists of various skill levels. The song is typically played in the key of A major. Here are the basic chords you’ll need to get started:

A major (A)
B minor (Bm)
D major (D)
E major (E)
F# minor (F#m)

Let’s break down the chord progressions for the verses and the chorus:

Verse Chord Progression:

A – A – Bm – Bm – D – D – A – A

Chorus Chord Progression:

A – A – E – E – A – A – D – D

Chord Diagrams

To help you visualize these chords, here are chord diagrams for each of the chords used in Tennessee Whiskey:

1. A major (A)
2. B minor (Bm)
3. D major (D)
4. E major (E)
5. F# minor (F#m)

Playing Tennessee Whiskey

Now that you have the chords and diagrams, let’s talk about how to play Tennessee Whiskey. The song has a distinct rhythm and groove, so pay close attention to your strumming pattern. Here’s a suggested strumming pattern to get you started:

  • Down, Down, Up, Up, Down, Up (for each chord)

Apply this strumming pattern to each chord as you progress through the song. Listen to the original recording by George Jones or Chris Stapleton to get a feel for the timing and groove.

Pro Tips for Mastering Tennessee Whiskey Chords

1. Practice Chord Transitions: Smooth chord transitions are crucial for playing Tennessee Whiskey. Practice switching between the chords slowly and gradually increase your speed as you become more comfortable.

2. Use a Capo: Depending on your vocal range and preference, you might find it easier to play the song with a capo on the 2nd fret. This will allow you to use open chord shapes and may make it easier to sing along.

3. Listen Closely: Pay attention to the dynamics and phrasing in the original recording. Tennessee Whiskey relies heavily on expression, so try to capture the soulful essence of the song in your playing.

4. Experiment with Fingerpicking: While strumming works well for this song, you can also experiment with fingerpicking to add a unique touch to your rendition.

5. Sing Along: Don’t forget to sing along as you play. Tennessee Whiskey’s magic lies in its storytelling, so immerse yourself in the lyrics to convey the song’s emotions effectively.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the basic chords for Tennessee Whiskey?

The basic chords for Tennessee Whiskey are A major (A), B minor (Bm), D major (D), E major (E), and F# minor (F#m). These chords form the foundation of the song.

What is the strumming pattern for Tennessee Whiskey?

A suggested strumming pattern for Tennessee Whiskey is Down, Down, Up, Up, Down, Up, which can be applied to each chord. However, feel free to experiment with strumming patterns to match your style.

Can I use a capo when playing Tennessee Whiskey?

Yes, you can use a capo to change the key and make it easier to sing along. Placing the capo on the 2nd fret allows you to use open chord shapes while maintaining the song’s original key.

Are there any advanced techniques for playing Tennessee Whiskey?

While the song can be played with basic chords and strumming, you can enhance your rendition by experimenting with fingerpicking patterns. This can add depth and nuance to your performance.

How do I capture the soulful essence of Tennessee Whiskey in my playing?

To capture the emotional depth of Tennessee Whiskey, focus on dynamics, timing, and phrasing. Listen to the original recordings by George Jones and Chris Stapleton to understand how they infuse the song with feeling.

Is Tennessee Whiskey suitable for beginners?

Yes, Tennessee Whiskey is a great song for beginners to learn. The chord progressions are relatively simple, and it’s an excellent choice for practicing transitions between chords.

Can I sing along while playing Tennessee Whiskey?

Absolutely! Singing along while playing adds another layer of expression to your performance. Pay attention to the lyrics and try to convey the story and emotions of the song through your voice.


Tennessee Whiskey is a timeless country classic that every guitarist should have in their repertoire. With its straightforward chord progression and soulful melody, it’s a song that can be enjoyed by beginners and experienced players alike. Take your time to practice the chords, work on your strumming, and let your passion for music shine through as you play this iconic tune.

So, grab your guitar, start strumming those Tennessee Whiskey chords, and get ready to captivate your audience with this beloved song. Remember, it’s not just about playing the chords; it’s about telling a story through music.

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