Hurt (Johnny Cash) Guitar Lesson with TAB

Hurt Guitar Lesson + TAB
In this guitar lesson, you'll discover how if it wasn't for the lyrics, this TAB would be perfect for a young beginner guitarist!


Hurt | TAB


The chords contain a modal interchange as we move from the key of G to the key of C. This is cleverly disguised by the D chord in the verse first being a sus2.

Here are Hurt’s verse chords using TAB.

Hurt TAB. Intro, verse, and instrumental.

As you can see, we play AmCDsus2. This could be VI – I – II in the key of C, or II – IV – V in the key of G. So that Am could be either Aeolian or Dorian.

Once we repeat it, it’s actually a D, not a Dm, meaning we are in the key of G, and Am is Dorian.

Let’s now look at the chorus chords of Hurt, here they are using TAB:

Hurt TAB, chorus.

Now we play Am7Fadd9CG, meaning we must be in the key of C and the chord progression is VI – IV – I – V.

What has happened here is that we have experienced a modal interchange. A verse in A Dorian, a chorus in A Aeolian.

On a final note, the last Am which takes us to the instrumental section is different rhythmically.

These tiny details (Dsus2, then a D chord in the verse, and the different rhythm of the first Am chord) are what create enough variation to make us want to hear Hurt’s chords over and over.

Ask yourself if you do this in the songs and guitar parts you write, or perhaps more likely, you do it too much. Studying other people’s songs like this is what will make you improve.

In general, great songs only have a few things that stand out, bad songs tend to do too much.



Hurt TAB | Related Pages


Hurt | Chords + Lyrics

Hurt chords

You can learn how to play Hurt by Johnny Cash using chords, lyrics, chord analysis, TAB, and the original recording.

C Dsus2 | Am |
I hurt myself today…


Beginner Acoustic Course

This Hurt 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 understand each song more deeply.



Five Similar Tunes | Chords + Lyrics

When you can play the TAB for Hurt, try these five tunes from the songbook.

Johnny Cash tunes

Johnny Cash covered Hurt.

Johnny Cash’s recording career started in 1955 on Sun Records (the same label as Elvis) and ended in 2002 with a masterpiece produced by Rick Rubin.

His best tunes include Ring of Fire, A Boy Named Sue, Hurt, Man in Black, Folsom Prison Blues, Get Rhythm, Personal Jesus, and I Walk The Line.



Johnny Cash on the web

Listen to Johnny Cash on Spotify.

About me | Dan Lundholm

Dan Lundholm wrote this guitar lesson and TAB for Hurt.

This guitar lesson by Dan Lundholm features TAB and covers Hurt. 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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