Today we’re going to learn how to play Mr. Jones by Counting Crows on guitar This song was a massive hit and the first single from the band’s first album August and Everything After.

It made Counting Crows overnight stars, won them an MTV Award for Best New Artist and became a classic from the nineties. It’s introduction is instantly recognizable with the easy chord progression and that unique and odd “sha la la la la la la” vocal of singer Adam Duritz. This is a great song to add to your repertoire, so tune up and let’s learn how to play Mr. Jones by Counting Crows on guitar

Strum pattern

Mr. Jones features a simple and very common strum pattern. It goes down, down, down, up, down, up, down. If you don’t know how to play that yet, make sure you attempt it slowly at first. Take your time really mastering that right hand movement to get the right feel for the strum. Once you can play it slow, you can then speed it up. Try to use a metronome to track your progress. 


Mr Jones features very basic guitar chords that most beginners know. We’ve got Am, F, Dm and G. You play each chord for four beats and then repeat the cycle. However, on the second time you skip the Dm and go straight to the G, which stays for 8 beats. These are the chords for the intro and verse. On the other hand, the chorus uses C, F, G. The first two chords are played for four beats each, and the G is played for eight beats. In other words, the chords employ two of the chords of the verse, with the addition of the C at the top.


This song features the classic form of verse, chorus, verse, chorus, bridge, chorus. Remember, the form is just the order in which the sections of a song appear. We already know the chords for the verse and chorus, and the good news is that the bridge uses the same chords. The bridge slows down and goes into half time. The chords are Am, F, Am, G. The chords are played for four beats in half time. In other words, they last twice as long as the chords in the verse and chorus, hence the name “half time”. This will become clear to you when you play the song completely. 


Let’s simplify that bar F chord for those that are just starting out. Although Mr. Jones is a simple song, it may pose a challenge for those that don’t know how to play bar chords. The F chord is often a source of frustration for beginner guitar players, that you will have to deal with at some point.

However, if you want a simpler way to play it for now, keep reading. Place your ring finger on the fifth string third fret, pinky on the fourth string third fret, middle finger on the third string second fret and the second finger on the second string first fret. Technically speaking, this is a second inversion F chord, because it has the bass on C. You can use it for now, until you get that bar F chord sounding good. 

Take the time to learn how to play Mr. Jones by Counting Crows on guitar. It is such a fun song with that magic combination of simplicity and appeal. If you are a beginner, this will be a nice challenge for you. If you are a bit more experienced, adding Mr. Jones to your repertoire will be a breeze. Feel free to leave us a comment with other songs you’d like to learn.