A Horse With No Name (America) Guitar Lesson with TAB

A Horse With No Name Guitar Lesson + TAB
In this guitar lesson, the chords may seem simple and repetitive but you'll need TAB to make it work on just one acoustic guitar!


A Horse With No Name | TAB


A Horse With No Name is often described as “it only has two chords”, but what those two chords actually are is perhaps up for debate.

The band consists of three acoustic guitar players, all playing slightly different parts that blend together into a dreamlike landscape.

This can’t be summed up in one guitar part so we have to play “in the spirit of”. The first chord is an Em, sometimes an Em7.

The second chord is (either) a D6, with an added 9, using the 3rd in the bass, that’s an F#, we don’t call this a D6add9/F#, we call it a D6/9/F#.

Music theory is funny like this sometimes, 6/9 means no b7 or maj7, normally you have to say add9 to indicate this.

Should we want to look at it from the F#, instead of a D, and also ignore that open D string, we could call the chord an F#m11.

Here’s the TAB of two ideas of how to play A Horse With No Name’s strumming pattern. Moving between these two ideas will get you somewhere in the ballpark of what America played on the original recording (using several guitars).

A Horse With No Name TAB.


A Horse With No Name and Dorian

Very much like Scarborough Fair, A Horse With No Name’s two-chord loop forms the harmonic landscape of Dorian.

We know this as the two chords Em and F#m are the only two chords in the harmonized major scale that appear in this way; two minor chords a tone apart.

What’s so interesting here is that the note that defines Dorian (6th) is never used in the chords, but neither is the b6th, which would make it Aeolian.

The vocal melody also avoids it as it’s all Minor Pentatonic with a 9th.

So how do we know it’s Dorian and not Aeolian?

The answer to this is simple, try both and you’ll notice how Dorian sounds right, Aeolian doesn’t. Hiding it in the chords and the melody is part of what makes this seemingly simple song genius.



A Horse With No Name TAB | Related Pages


A Horse With No Name | Chords + Lyrics

A Horse With No Name chords.

You can learn to play A Horse With No Name by America using chords, lyrics, chord analysis, a chord chart, and the original recording.

Em | D6add9/F# |
On the first part of the journey…


Beginner Acoustic Course

A Horse With No Name's guitar lesson is part of Spytunes Beginner Acoustic Guitar Course.

In the Beginner Acoustic Course, you’ll learn how to play nine complete tunes using in-depth video lessons, full TAB, and loops to practice along with.

Most importantly, we’ll develop 2nd guitar parts so you can play with me, the singer and more deeply understand each song.



Five Similar Tunes | Chords + Lyrics

When you can play the TAB for A Horse With No Name, try these five tunes from the song book.

America tunes

America wrote A Horse With No Name's chords.

Named America so people wouldn’t think they put on a fake accent, the band formed in London during the late 60s.

Their most popular tunes include A Horse With No Name, Ventura Highway, and Sister Golden Hair.



America on the web

Listen to America on Spotify.

About me | Dan Lundholm

Dan Lundholm wrote this guitar lesson and the TAB for A Horse With No Name.

This guitar lesson by Dan Lundholm featuring TAB, covers A Horse With No Name. Discover more about him and how you can learn guitar with Spytunes.

Most importantly, find out why you should learn guitar through playing tunes, not practising scales, and studying theory in isolation.


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