Here’s how to play “California Dreamin” by The Mamas and The Papas on guitar. Our lesson will show you a simple version of this classic hit from the ’60s.

With its unique sound and amazing vocals, “California Dreamin'” is a great song to add to your guitar repertoire. Also, it’s a good song to grow into. You can make the strumming pattern as simple or advanced as you want, and keep experimenting as you improve on the guitar. 

One tip for beginning guitarists: our version here using a capo on the 4th fret to simplify the chords you’ll need. The only barre chord is F by using the capo.

This is also a good oportunity to learn a suspended chord – Esus4. You’ll find complete chord diagrams below to make it easy.

Let’s start dreamin’ about that California sun and dive right in…

Guitar Chords

The chords you’ll need to play this song are below:

  • G
  • C
  • F
  • Am
  • E
  • E7
  • Esus4

G chord

G Chord

C chord

C Major

F chord

F Major

a minor

A Minor

E Major chord

E Major

E7 chord

E7 Chord


Esus4 Chord


If you’re looking for a fun and easy way to remember these and 25+ other essential chords, check out our free guitar chord flashcards.

How to Play California Dreamin’

For this song, make sure your guitar is in standard tuning. Put your capo on the 4th fret.


Am                      G                             F             G     Esus4                               E     F
All the leaves are brown (All the leaves are brown) and the sky is gray (and the skies are gray)

C                        E        Am                F      Esus4                           E
I’ve been for a walk (I’ve been for a walk) on a winter’s day (On a winter’s day)

Am                  G              F               G                                 Esus4    E
I’d be safe and warm (I’d be safe and warm) if I was in LA (If I was in LA)

Am                       G              F                  G                    Esus4
California dreamin’ (California dreamin’) on such a winter’s day


Am   G F   G                     Esus4  E
Stopped in to a church I passed along the way

F                                             C   E Am     F            Esus4   E
Well I got down on my knees and I pretend to pray (I pretend to pray)

E                                                         Am   G F
You know the preacher likes the cold (preacher likes the cold)

G      Esus4 E
He knows I’m gonna stay (knows I’m gonna stay)

Am           G    F                 G                    Esus4   E
California dreamin’ on such a winter’s day


Am   G F                 G   Esus4   E
All the leaves are brown and the sky is gray

F                         C   E    Am           F   Esus4   E
I’ve been for a walk on a winter’s day

Am  G  F       G          Esus4   E
If I didn’t tell her I could leave today


Am       G      F                 G                       Am
California dreamin’ on such a winter’s day

Am       G      F                 G                       Am
California dreamin’ on such a winter’s day

Am       G      F                 G                       Am
California dreamin’ on such a winter’s day


For educational purposes only. The materials on this page represent the author’s own work and his creative interpretation of the song shown. It is intended for private study, scholarship or research only.