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.

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

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39 thoughts on “Autumn Leaves Guitar Melody for Beginners”

  1. Dick Campbell

    At 82, I’ve able to play the tabs, thanks!

  2. Vince

    In the chord melody, in the 8th bar, the chord is labelled as Em7, however, the notes in the tab contains an ‘A’ note?

    1. goldfinch

      it’s the 8th fret = G note which is a minor 3rd. Anyway A note sounds great over Emi7 as well, it’s 11 which is a part of minor pentatonic. Cheers!

  3. Raymond Paskiewicz

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

  4. Igor

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

  5. Paul

    I love this tutorials begining to get a grasp

  6. Dan

    I love this! Is there a version without tab?

    1. Ian Huntley

      Please offer a tabless version

  7. Les sawyer

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

  8. Stuart Arnold

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

  9. Pablo Amado David Jimenez Ruiz

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

    1. Dirk Laukens

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

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