Autumn Leaves Guitar Melody for Beginners

A definite must-know standard, Autumn Leaves is one of the most commonly called tunes at jazz jam sessions. It can be played in Em or Gm, and therefore is an introduction to tunes that are commonly played in more than one key, forcing you to learn it in both keys. There are also major ii V I’s and minor ii V I’s to navigate in your comping and soloing, and the melody line is ripe for a chord melody arrangement.

Besides all of this technique material, Autumn Leaves is just a fun tune to play. It’s challenging, can be played at many different tempos, and sounds great in many ensemble settings. Because of this, Autumn Leaves should be one of the first jazz songs that you learn and study in the practice room.

To get you started with Autumn Leaves, here are 2 ways to play the melody of this great standard. We start with a simple single note version, then you’ll learn a version with some chords mixed in.

We opted to keep the arrangements simple so that it’s easy to play for beginners.

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Autumn Leaves Melody – Single Note Version

Learn the melody as written, playing it along with the audio example. From there, play it along with the backing track and you work on memorizing this important jazz standard.


Backing Track

Listen & Play Along


Autumn Leaves Melody for Guitar 1


Autumn Leaves Melody for Guitar 2


Autumn Leaves Chord Melody

When you’ve got the single note version under your fingers, it’s time to learn this easy chord melody for Autumn Leaves.

The melody has been moved to mostly the top 2 strings, compared to the whole fretboard in the single-note example. This is to accommodate the chords played below the melody line in this arrangement.


Backing Track

Listen & Play Along


Autumn Leaves Chord Melody 1


Autumn Leaves Chord Melody 2



The Easy Guide to Chord Melody and Chord Solos

  • Raymond Paskiewicz says:

    I just started listening to these tutorials and am truly enjoying them. I never realized how much I would enjoy Jazz. I’m hooked.

  • Igor says:

    Great site. Congratulations on the idea and execution.
    Thank you very much.

  • Paul says:

    I love this tutorials begining to get a grasp

  • Dan says:

    I love this! Is there a version without tab?

  • Les sawyer says:

    Thank you. I am just beginning my journey on guitar.

  • Stuart Arnold says:

    Thanks for the lesson,very nice lovely to play with.

  • Pablo Amado David Jimenez Ruiz says:

    Loved it! Thanks for the post! For the chord parts do you strum, pick or use 4 fingers?

    • Dirk Laukens says:

      Hi Pablo, thanks for the feedback! The chords are played with 4 fingers.

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