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20 Easy Songs to Play on Guitar
Posted on February 25, 2019
Grab your electric or acoustic guitar and get learning. These songs are easy to understand and follow for beginner guitar players.
These 20 simple guitar songs will help any beginner become a master of the guitar. Switching between chords and stretching your fingers to faraway notes will come naturally as you practice. You might soon notice that your fingers are really starting to hurt! This is good. It means you’re building up calluses on the tips of your fingers, which used to be soft. So don’t worry; just keep on playing.
By practicing the guitar for at least 10 minutes a day (I’m not joking, it’s that easy!), you’ll notice that your fingers don’t hurt anymore at the end of the week. (Tip: Try not to pick your calluses off; it’ll just make it worse. They’re your battle scars. Wear them proudly.)
One great way to practice 10 minutes daily is by using the Guided Lessons or finding the path you want to master in the Guitar Syllabus on Yousician. However, what works for you is always the best way to practice playing the guitar — or any instrument, for that matter.
You can play these songs in the Yousician app’s practice mode and even slow down the tempo to practice the songs at your own rate.
Table of contents
- What makes a guitar song easy?
- Playing guitar chords and acoustic guitar with a capo
- 20 fun and easy guitar songs for beginners
- “Sweet Home Alabama” by Lynyrd Skynyrd
- “The Scientist” by Coldplay
- “Ain’t No Sunshine” by Bill Withers
- “Under the Bridge” by Red Hot Chilli Peppers
- “Seven Nation Army” by The White Stripes
- “Mississippi Queen” by Mountain
- “Brown Eyed Girl” by Van Morrison
- “California Dreamin” by The Mamas & The Papas
- “Losing My Religion” by R.E.M.
- “Hey There Delilah” by Plain White T’s
- “Riptide” by Vance Joy
- “I Will Follow You into the Dark” by Death Cab for Cutie
- “A Horse with No Name” by America
- “House of the Rising Sun” (Traditional)
- “I’m Yours” by Jason Mraz
- “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door” by Bob Dylan
- “Ho Hey” by The Lumineers
- “Three Little Birds” by Bob Marley
- “Good Riddance (Time Of Your Life)” by Green Day
- “Chasing Cars” by Snow Patrol
- Learn to play more easy guitar songs with Yousician
What makes a guitar song easy?
There are a few things to look for when searching for easy and beginner-friendly songs to play on the guitar. You’re going to need some basic skills and some practice under your belt before trying to master a new song, so get familiar with your instrument. These things make a song easy to play:
- Basic cowboy chords. Every guitar player should start learning chords with the so-called cowboy chords. You usually need only two or three fingers to play cowboy chords, also known as open chords. This makes them easy to learn and memorize. Just make sure not to play any open strings that aren’t part of the chord. These are marked with an “x” in guitar chord charts.
- No barre chords. Unlike basic cowboy chords, to play barre chords, you need to press down multiple strings with the same finger – or barre the string. In essence, you’ll be using your finger like a guitar capo so that there aren’t any open strings.
- The number of chords used in the song. Most guitar songs for beginners use only a handful of chords, making them easier to learn. Even if the chord progression used in the song changes from one part to another, the chords may remain the same.
- Simple chord progression. When a song has a simple chord progression, you don’t need to remember too many chords to play it. Fewer different chords in a single chord progression makes it easier to memorize them as well.
- Easy strumming pattern. The strumming patterns used in a song describe how chords are strummed to create the rhythm of the song. Beginner guitar songs tend to use less complex strumming patterns that repeat throughout the song with little to no variation.
- Standard guitar tuning. Many songs can use some alternate guitar tuning to create a specific sound. Songs that use alternate tunings can be more challenging for a beginner guitarist because you have to re-tune your guitar to play them. Opt for easy guitar songs that use the standard EADGBE tuning instead.
- Slow to moderate tempo. Slow doesn’t always mean easy. However, in most cases, slower guitar songs tend to be less difficult to learn and play along to. Chord transitions can be especially challenging if the tempo is too fast.
Playing guitar chords and acoustic guitar with a capo
Sometimes you need a capo for a song. Capos are a cheap and essential accessory for any beginner guitar player. They raise the pitch and change the key of a song while still using the same chords you’ve already learned and are familiar with. Just count from the start of the capo instead of the beginning of the guitar’s fretboard to play the chord. Capos are great if you like to sing along with your guitar playing because you can adjust the song to any pitch or key you want.
If you love any of the songs below, chances are we offer a lesson in bass, ukulele, piano, or singing for it. You and your friends can finally get together and create that band you have always dreamed of.
20 fun and easy guitar songs for beginners
Below are 20 easy, beginner-friendly guitar songs. The songs use some of the most important and common guitar chords that every beginner should learn. Each of these 20 guitar songs also has simple and fun melodies that are easy to learn and play along to. Learn how to play these great beginner-friendly songs on the guitar with the best music-learning app: Yousician!
“Sweet Home Alabama” by Lynyrd Skynyrd
Learning this Southern rock classic is a good way to get started with the basic guitar chords (D, C, G) and simple chord progressions. Play this for your friends, and they can’t help but sing along. The basic D, C, and G are easy cowboy chords to get you started on your guitar journey.
“The Scientist” by Coldplay
This song uses basic cowboy chords with a capo (Am, F, C, G). “The Scientist” is a touching and beautiful ballad that’s a great way to practice strumming along to more of the basic guitar chords. If you have a capo, playing this song is a good way to put it to the test.
“Ain’t No Sunshine” by Bill Withers
Learn to play some of the minor chords (Am, Em, G, Dm) with this classic pop song from the 70s. Adding these guitar chords to your skillset is a great way to improve and learn more.
“Under the Bridge” by Red Hot Chilli Peppers
The wild funk rock band slows down in this hit song that everyone has surely heard before. Try learning the melody of “Under the Bridge” or strumming along with guitar chords.
“Seven Nation Army” by The White Stripes
Simple but catchy. If the main riff of this song is not playing in your head already, it surely will after learning to play it on guitar.
“Mississippi Queen” by Mountain
Another Southern rock classic that introduces you to some useful power chords (A5, E5). You’ll come across many different power chords in guitar tabs, so it is a great idea to start learning them as a beginner.
“Brown Eyed Girl” by Van Morrison
The melody of this upbeat pop song is a great one to learn whether you’re a beginner or a more advanced guitarist.
“California Dreamin” by The Mamas & The Papas
Learn to play this calm and moody pop song with your acoustic guitar, whether playing the melody or acoustic guitar chords.
“Losing My Religion” by R.E.M.
Once you know how to play this alternative rock hit’s main riff, try learning the chords as well. Goes well with both the acoustic and electric guitar.
“Hey There Delilah” by Plain White T’s
This song uses only four chords (D, A, Bm, G), making it a great song for beginners. Although the strumming pattern is quite simple and the song is slow-paced, look out for the Bm barre chord, which may pose a challenge if you’re not used to barring chords.
“Riptide” by Vance Joy
“Riptide” is another easy guitar song with just four chords (Am, G, C, F) and a simple strumming pattern. Once again, the song has a barre chord thrown in there to mix things up, so make sure to learn the F major chord well before diving deeper into this one.
“I Will Follow You into the Dark” by Death Cab for Cutie
If you’re up to learning fingerpicking, give this song a try. If that seems like too much, you can also strum along using some basic guitar chord shapes (C, Am, F, G).
“A Horse with No Name” by America
Most of this song uses only two chords (Em, D6/9), making it a super easy guitar song to learn. The strumming pattern also repeats throughout the song, so it’s easy to remember and get the hang of.
“House of the Rising Sun” (Traditional)
This classic folk song is one that many beginners learn early in their guitar-playing journey, and for good reason. The five chords used in “House of the Rising Sun” (Am, C, D, F, E) are ones that most beginners are likely to know, which is why learning it doesn’t require memorizing many new chord shapes.
“I’m Yours” by Jason Mraz
This song by Jason Mraz isn’t just a great tune for the ukulele — it makes for some good practice on the guitar as well. Try playing “I’m Yours” on an acoustic guitar using the basic cowboy chords. Check out some other Jason Mraz songs too, whether you want to master playing chords on the guitar or ukulele.
“Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door” by Bob Dylan
There are no barre chords in this song (G, D, Am, C), so it’s perfect for beginners. There’s no capo either, which is why this classic is an accessible and easy guitar song for all skill levels.
“Ho Hey” by The Lumineers
There are only four simple chord shapes in “Ho Hey” (F, C, Am, G), which makes this hit by The Lumineers perfect for practicing strumming patterns and chord transitions.
“Three Little Birds” by Bob Marley
Add some reggae into your guitar-playing arsenal and learn this classic tune by Bob Marley. Once you’ve mastered the three chords (A, D, E) and the simple strumming pattern used in this song, add some challenge and try singing along while playing the chords.
“Good Riddance (Time Of Your Life)” by Green Day
This acoustic track can be tailored to fit your skill level as a guitar player, whether you want to play simple chords or more complex picking and strumming patterns. The chords are simple and easy to remember.
“Chasing Cars” by Snow Patrol
Although some of the chord names might seem daunting at first (A, E/G#, Dsus2), they’re all quite simple to play and learn. So go ahead and give this rock ballad a try on the acoustic guitar.
Learn to play more easy guitar songs with Yousician
Yousician makes learning to play the guitar fun and easy. Check out Yousician’s full song library for more easy guitar songs and tunes for more advanced players. To make learning the guitar more motivating and exciting, try Yousician for free and play easy guitar songs with our interactive lessons.
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