Here’s an intermediate lesson on how to play this amazing tune by Charlie Daniels. I’ll show you how to play the opening riff as well as Johnny’s solo

The song was included on the Urban Cowboy soundtrack and became a huge cross-over hit. I’m tempted to say that it was a hit because it included elements of rock, country, funk, and even heavy metal. But when it comes down to to it, it’s just a great story-song.


The tune is in D minor. Warm up with D Dorian or Aeolian modes as well as F Major.

D Drone

F Drone

Review and practice the scales if you need:

The Riff

Short audio

Full play along tracks (with slow to fast tempos) are available to All-access users. Subscribe here.

Full audio tracks

Full tabs

A part 

first line: A3-L2-3-E0-L1 L1-L2-3 3-L4-3-L2-L1-0

The remaining tabs are available to All-access users.

Full sheet music

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Johnny’s Solo

Short audio

Multi-tempo full audio tracks

Full tabs

A part 

first line: (E0-0)-L1-0-L1-L2-L1-0-A3-E0-L1-0-L1-L2-L1-0-A3-0 The remaining tabs are available to All-access users.

Charlie’s version!


2 responses to “The Devil Went Down To Georgia

    1. I have really small hands and short fingers too so I feel your pain. It will get there. Your hand flexibility will improve over time. I do find that most of the time I cheat. I can’t keep my first and second fingers down and still hit the fourth finger accurately most of the time… I pick up fingers 1 and 2, anchor with the 3, and then play the fourth fine. Because of some arthritis pain in my first finger on my left hand I find I pick up that finger a lot unless it’s actually needed to finger a note.

      One thing that helps in this song is that the fourth finger on the E plays B flat (low fourth) instead of having to reach all the way to play the full B!

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