How To Play Long Train Running On Acoustic Guitar

Playing the iconic song “Long Train Running” on the acoustic guitar is a true joy for any musician, especially for those who appreciate the soulful sound of the blues. In this article, I will guide you through the process of playing this timeless classic on your acoustic guitar. So grab your instrument, let’s get started!

Getting in Tune

Before we dive into the intricacies of playing “Long Train Running,” it’s essential to ensure your guitar is properly tuned. The standard tuning for an acoustic guitar is E-A-D-G-B-E, starting from the thickest string to the thinnest. You can use a guitar tuner or tune by ear using a reference pitch.

The Opening Chords

The song begins with a catchy series of chords that set the groove right from the start. Place your fingers as follows:

  • Em7: Place your second finger on the second fret of the A string. Strum from the A string down.
  • G: Place your second finger on the third fret of the low E string and your third finger on the third fret of the B string. Strum from the low E string down.

Alternate between these two chords, playing each one for two measures. Feel free to experiment and add your own personal touches to make it your own.

The Classic Riff

Now that we’ve established the foundation, it’s time to tackle that iconic guitar riff that drives the song. Here’s how you play it:


Practice this riff slowly at first, ensuring every note rings out clearly. Once you feel comfortable, gradually increase your speed until you can play it effortlessly. Remember to add your own flair and make this riff your own.

The Verses and Chorus

As the song progresses, the verses and chorus follow a similar chord progression. Here’s how to play them:

  • Verse: Em7 – G (2x)
  • Chorus: D – Em – G (2x)

It’s important to pay attention to the rhythm and strumming pattern while playing these chords. Listen to the original recording of “Long Train Running” to get a feel for the groove, and try to replicate it as closely as possible. Remember, personal touches and variations are always encouraged!

The Solo

No discussion of “Long Train Running” would be complete without mentioning the incredible guitar solo that takes center stage. While it’s challenging to replicate the original solo note for note, here’s a general outline to get you started:


This solo section calls for some string bending and vibrato techniques, so feel free to experiment and make it your own. Don’t be afraid to explore different positions on the fretboard and add your unique flavor to this classic guitar solo.


Playing “Long Train Running” on the acoustic guitar is a rewarding endeavor that allows you to showcase your musicality and creativity. By mastering the opening chords, the iconic riff, and the chord progressions, you can capture the essence of this timeless song. Remember, while it’s essential to learn the song as it’s written, don’t be afraid to add your personal touches and make it your own.

So grab your guitar, put in the practice time, and let the soulful sound of “Long Train Running” flow through your fingertips. Happy playing!