15 Easy Bob Dylan Songs on Guitar

If you’re a passionate music fan you’ve probably read quite a few articles about your favorite musicians and bands. I know I have!

And in my experience, the most common question that comes up in interviews is “Who are your biggest influences?”.

Well, Bob Dylan is a name that is mentioned again and again as an inspiration for people who perform all kinds of music, not just Folk.

Though his music of the past few decades may not be considered required listening for most people, his classic songs of the 1960s and 1970s still hold a place in our hearts. 

Because he was the face and voice of a cultural revolution back during the Counterculture and Hippie movement.

And he has a Nobel Prize for Literature, along with just about every accolade you can think of.

On a personal note, I even know a guy who proposed to his wife at a Bob Dylan concert!

And though covers of his music by Guns ‘N Roses and Jimi Hendrix are considered classics, he’s inspired many amateur musicians to pick up a guitar too and luckily most of his music isn’t technically difficult.

Of course, his singing is famously easy to replicate too; the guy didn’t have much vocal range but he didn’t let that stop him from becoming one of the most famous singers of the 20th century, did he?

Now as far as trying to play some of his music, Dylan shocked the world when he “went electric” in 1965, but I think you’re probably best off using an acoustic guitar.

And you can add a harmonica if you want to, but I’m afraid you’re on your own for that stuff.

Anyway, let’s dig in and see what makes his music so timeless and inspiring!

1. One More Cup of Coffee (Valley Below) feat. Emmylou Harris

As someone who drinks a lot of coffee, this has always been one of my favorite Dylan tracks…

And it’s not even from his most heralded period in the mid-Sixties, instead coming off of 1976’s Desire album. 

But that’s not the only thing that makes this song stand out for me, because Dylan composed it after hearing some Gypsy music and that experience can be clearly heard in the vocal stylings.

And with Emmylou Harris sharing those vocal duties, there’s a lot to love about this one!

The strumming pattern is appropriate for beginners with a Down Down Up Up Down Up Down Up pattern.

And it uses only four easy chords too!

Here are the parts to the song. 

Intro and Verse: Am G F E (play two times)

Chorus: F E (two times) Am G F E

Link to tab

And here’s a lesson:

2. When the Ship Comes In

For a lesser-known Sixties song from The Times They Are a-Changin‘, this one is easy to learn.

The lyrics are classic Dylan, showcasing his vitriol for his (perceived) enemies after being treated badly because he was a (dirty) Hippie. 

But with his talent for words, it doesn’t come across as something personal and takes the form of fighting against injustice in general. 

Musically it has a driving rhythm as it goes through its eight verses without one single chorus.

But it’s not quite as simple as it sounds since the chord progressions for the verses alternate between two different ones.

It’s all done with four beginner chords though.

Here is how to play it.

Verses 1, 3, 5, and 7: G D C D

Em C G



Verses 2, 4, 6, and 8: D C G (play three times)


Link to tab

And here’s a lesson:

3. Blowin’ in the Wind

One of the most famous (and greatest) protest songs ever written is a must-know song!

This one comes off of The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan in the early sixties and provokes some serious thought from the listener.

And not only is Dylan’s mastery of poetry/lyrics on display here, but I find that this song makes perfect use of his raspy singing style, making it really sound like the thoughts of a common man or woman.

Musically it’s very sparse with acoustic guitar and Bob’s trusty harmonica filling in the gaps.

Here is how to play it with a capo on the 7th fret.

(These are “standard” chord shapes listed but keep in mind your “G chord” is actually a D with the capo).

Verse: G C D G C G



Chorus: C D G C D G

Harmonica backing chords: Use the Chorus Progression but play the C an extra bar.

Link to tab (key of D with capo)

Link to tab (arranged for key of D with no capo)

And here’s a lesson:

4. It Ain’t Me Babe

Depending on your circle of friends, you may want to know some Dylan songs with a little more pep in their step than the protest songs.

And this one has some tricky timing in Dylan’s version, but you can also do it as a fun Rock or Pop song like The Turtles did in their cover version. The chorus is great for singalongs!

Check out the video for a more accurate version for more advanced players.

Here is how to play it using only simple chords.

Intro: G C/G

Verse: G C G D G (play two times)

Bm A (four times)


Chorus: G C D

G C D G 

Link to tab (chords)

Link to tab (more advanced tab)

And here’s a lesson:

5. Like A Rolling Stone

This is another banger and while it’s not as popular as Jimi Hendrix’s cover of All Along the Watchtower, Hendrix did cover this song as well. 

This is one of Dylan’s electric guitar (and backing band) songs and is a little more advanced than some of the previous songs.

But this song and The Rolling Stones band both take their name from a saying that “a rolling stone gathers no moss”. 

And for guitar players, you can apply this wisdom to mean that a musician who is always learning new songs and pushing themselves to new heights will never hit a plateau or fall into a rut in their playing. 

There are some video tutorials for this one that use a capo, but in live footage of Dylan playing it, he doesn’t use one.

Here is how to play it. 

Intro: C Fmaj7/C (x33210)…

Verse: C Dm7 Em F G (play two times)

F G (two times)

F Em Dm7 C (two times)

Dm7 F G

Chorus: C F G (6 times) 

Link to tab

And here’s a lesson:

6. Mr. Tambourine Man

Link to tab

7. Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door

Link to tab

8. The Times They Are A-Changin’

Link to tab

9. Masters of War

Link to tab

10. All Along the Watchtower

Link to tab

11. Tangled Up in Blue

Link to tab

12. You’re Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go

Link to tab

13. Girl from the North Country feat. Johnny Cash

Link to tab

14. Subterranean Homesick Blues

Link to tab

15. North Country Blues

Link to tab