20 easy guitar songs for beginners (+ more)

Yousician team 18 min read

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.

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.

10 Bonus Songs to learn with open chords

If you want to learn new songs fast, an easy way to do this is by picking songs you already know that use only, or mostly, open chords. You can learn many songs with only three chords. Better yet, there are even songs with just two chords to remember!

Pro tip: as you learn more and more easy songs, it’s a good idea to keep track of all the ones you already know how to play. Create a playlist or write each song and its guitar chords in a notebook so you can always check your list if you can’t decide what to play.

To add more great tunes to your repertoire of easy guitar songs for beginners, here are 10 bonus tracks that use only open chords.

  1. “Bad Moon Rising” by Creedence Clearwater Revival (D, A, G)
  2. “Blowin’ in the Wind” by Bob Dylan (G, A, D)
  3. “Zombie” by The Cranberries (Em, C, G, D)
  4. “Redemption Song” by Bob Marley (G, Em, Am, C, D)
  5. “Yellow” by Coldplay (G, D, C, Em, Dm)
  6. “Cocaine” Eric Clapton (F, G, A, E)
  7. “Heroes” by David Bowie (C, D, Am, Em, G)
  8. “Radioactive” by Imagine Dragons (C, D, Am, G)
  9. “Just The Way You Are” by Bruno Mars (F, C, Am)
  10. “Hey, Soul Sister” by Train (F, G, C, Am)

How to learn an entire song on the guitar

Once you know how to play a handful of chords, it’s time to put them to good use and learn to play an entire song from start to finish. This might be easier said than done because each song consists of multiple parts that, when put together, create the whole structure. Here’s how you can practice playing whole songs on the guitar.

Memorize the chords

The first step to learning any song on the guitar is to familiarize yourself with the chords used in the song. Choose songs with just open chords at first. Some good ones to start with include the A, C, D, E, and G chords. Start by practicing these chords until you can switch between them smoothly. Use a chord chart to memorize finger placements, and take your time to ensure you’re playing each chord correctly.

Learn the chord progression

Once you’ve mastered the chords, the next step is to learn the chord progression of the song you’ve chosen. A chord progression is the order in which the chords are played and forms the backbone of the song. Start slow, focusing on transitioning smoothly from one chord to the next. You don’t have to think about strumming patterns yet; just strum one chord at a time. As you get more comfortable, gradually increase your speed until you can play the progression at the song’s tempo. A metronome might come in handy at this point.

Listen to the strumming pattern

The strumming pattern is the song’s rhythm and gives it its unique sound. It can be helpful to listen to the song while focusing on the guitar part to understand the strumming pattern. Some songs have a simple downstroke pattern, while others include a mix of downstrokes and upstrokes. Practice strumming separately from the chord progression, then combine them once you’re comfortable. If the strumming pattern seems challenging at first, start by just strumming while muting all the strings with your fretting hand.

Break the song down into parts

The song structure is made up of different parts, and becoming familiar with these can help you get a better grasp of the song as a whole. Learn each individual part and listen to if there are any variations between how song verses and choruses are played or if they are played the same way each time. If it helps, start with the easiest part of the song and proceed from there. Maybe the song’s intro is easy, while the chorus poses some challenges. Once you know how to play all song parts, put them all together, and you have the full song ready!

Practice and have fun!

The key to mastering any guitar song is practice. It might take time to get the chords, progression, and strumming pattern down, but don’t get discouraged. Remember, the aim is not just to learn the song but to enjoy the process. So, have fun with it! Try practicing with a friend or play along with the song once you’re comfortable. The more you enjoy the process, the more motivated you’ll be to keep learning and improving.

What’s next?

Once you have some beginner-friendly songs and guitar chords under your belt, you can gradually start to venture into more advanced playing techniques and songs that put your skills to the test. When you feel ready, consider learning the following:

  • More difficult chords: After mastering basic chords, beginners can gradually start to expand their repertoire with barre chords, 7th chords, or suspended chords, for instance. You can do this by learning songs that incorporate these chords or by practicing chord progressions using these chords. Use a chord chart for guidance to memorize how to place your fingers.
  • Tabs: Guitar tablature, or tabs, is a simplified system of music notation for stringed instruments. Beginners can practice reading guitar tabs with Yousician’s interactive gameplay. Start with slow, easy songs and gradually work your way up to faster, more complex pieces. If you know how to play a song with basic chords, see what it looks like when played with guitar tabs instead.
  • Fingerpicking: Fingerpicking is a technique used in many styles of guitar music. If you prefer playing with an acoustic guitar, fingerpicking is a technique for you. You can practice fingerpicking by learning simple picking patterns and applying them to songs they already know.
  • Solos: If the electric guitar is more of your thing and you want to show off your skills, start learning some simple guitar solos. Playing solos is a more advanced skill that takes a lot of practice, but you can start by learning simple solos from your favorite songs. It’s important to start slow and focus on accuracy before trying to play at full speed. Slowing down the song with the song’s tabs for reference helps a lot in learning solos.
  • Writing your own songs: After learning some songs and mastering basic chords, beginners can start experimenting with writing their own songs. This can be as simple as coming up with a chord progression and adding a melody on top. Songwriting is a creative process, so there’s no right or wrong way to do it.

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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