A HORSE WITH NO NAME by America
“A Horse with No Name” by America is possibly one of the simplest songs to play on guitar ever, that is, depending on how you play it. It’s pretty famously known for being a two-chord beginner song, but there’s a sneaky third chord that fights its way in now and again.
To start with, though, we’re not going to worry about that third chord. The two we’re going to be focusing on are the E minor chord and what we’ll call the D6 chord. The D6 chord is basically just the two fingers of the E minor chord spread out – the second finger goes up to the 6th string and the 3rd finger comes down to the 3rd string. If that 5th string gets muted by your 2nd finger, that’s totally fine. I’m pretty sure that’s what’s happening on the original recording, and I actually think the chord sounds a bit cleaner that way.
So, one chord per bar – that’s about as simple as it gets. You can start off strumming one chord per bar and then work your way up to strumming once per beat. Once you’re all good there, try adding in the strum pattern. I’ve given you a few different patterns here for you to try.
If you’re having some trouble syncing the strum pattern with the chord changes, practice them both separately. First, practice your chord changes with a super simple strum pattern. Then, practice your strum pattern with muted strings. Once you get them to sync up, focus on keeping your tempo smooth and consistent. This is especially important if you’re planning on singing along with your own playing.