When you are first beginning to learn how to play guitar, starting out with easy guitar songs makes sense. We’ll start you out with something that isn’t too challenging. We don’t want you throwing in the towel just yet. At this stage it’s all about learning chords and trying to eke out some recognizable tune on your instrument. We’ll provide you with a list of songs that feature simple chord progressions.
Choosing Your Guitar
Before you decide which songs to start learning, you need to think about the guitar you will use. There are two main types, check out our article for a breakdown.
- Acoustic guitar
- Electric guitar
You can generally play all songs on either type of guitar, but some songs work much better on an electric guitar.
Easy Guitar Songs List
We’ve broken our list down into music genres. You can use an acoustic or electric guitar to play them, but we note specific genres better suited to one or the other.
Rock or metal songs usually use electric guitars because they are made to play loud. They often have aggressive beats, but ballads are also common.
TNT by AC/DC
Chords: E, G, A
This song came out in 1975. It is a good example of the hard rock genre, and it was one of the biggest hits for the band in its early years. It features many guitar solos and recognizable riffs.
Sweet Home Alabama by Lynyrd Skynyrd
Chords: D, Cadd9, G, F, C
Released in 1974, this rock song continues to remain popular. It is an example of classic southern rock, and the lyrics are very political in nature, expressing the band’s viewpoint. It is one of the biggest and most recognizable hits by Lynyrd Skynyrd.
Sweet Child O Mine by Guns N’ Roses
Chords: D, C, G, A, Em, B
Released in 1988, “Sweet Home Alabama” was first from this classic ‘80s hair band. It had fans enthralled, and the song is still one of the band’s biggest requests.
Free Fallin’ by Tom Petty
Chords: A, D, E, Asus4
This song represents hippie rock. The sound is laid back and very free. It was on the debut album for Tom Petty in 1989.
Don’t Fear the Reaper by Blue Oyster Cult
Chords: Am, G, F, E7, Em, D, C, B7
Released in 1976, “Don’t Fear the Reaper” really got a boost in 2000 when it became the focus of a skit of Saturday Night Live featuring Will Ferrell and Christopher Walken. In the skit, Walken played the producer who kept encouraging more cowbell, which is a sound for which the song is famous. Ferrell put his all into playing the cowbell, which became the star of the song.
Dead Flowers – The Rolling Stones
Chords: D, A, G
This song has very dark lyrics. It has a country influence to it, common in this genre that often borrows from the country genre. Released in 1971, it is a recognizable Stones song.
(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction – The Rolling Stones
Chords: E, A, B7
Released in 1965, this popular song scored The Rolling Stones their first number one hit in America. It was originally considered too sexually suggestive, with themes of sexual frustration and commercialism.
The country genre is ideal for acoustic guitars. It has southern roots and often features traditional southern instruments, such as banjos. However, the guitar is often the star of a country song, which makes this genre a lot of fun to play.
I Walk the Line – Johnny Cash
Chords: A, D, E, B7, B, G
“I Walk the Line” came out in 1956. It features a message to stay faithful in relationships, which was a struggle for Cash. He wrote the song while on tour with Elvis Presley.
Ring of Fire by Johnny Cash
Chords: G, C, D
Johnny Cash songs are all fairly easy to play and incredibly popular within the country genre, which is why we have two on our list. This one came out in 1963 and was a huge hit for Cash. He co-wrote this song with June Carter, who would later become his wife.
Wagon Wheel by Darius Rucker
Chords: G, D, Em, C
The original version of this song was a combination effort between Ketch Secor of Old Crow Medicine Show and Bob Dylan. It became a hit for both Old Crow Medicine Show and Darius Rucker on the country charts.
Whiskey Lullaby by Brad Paisley
Chords: D, G, Bm, A
“Whiskey Lullaby” is about love and loss also features a message about alcoholism and the damage it can do to a person’s life and the lives of those around them. It is a haunting melody Paisley released as a duet with Alison Krauss in 2004.
Before He Cheats by Carrie Underwood
Chords: Em, D, C, B, A, G
From her debut album in 2006, this song tells a strong tale about cheating. It was a cross-over success on the pop charts and helped Underwood go from American Idol to the country star.
Blown Away by Carrie Underwood
Chords: Am, C, G
Released in 2012, this is a song about revenge and abuse. It is quite dark, yet the melody is very strong.
Jolene by Dolly Parton
Chords: Am, C, G
This song is catchy and easy to play and sing along to, making it one of Dolly Parton’s most covered songs. The lyrics—where Dolly Parton begs Jolene not to steal her man—were supposedly inspired by a bank clerk who flirted with her husband at the time.
Traditional songs are some of the easiest to learn to play on the guitar. If you are a true beginner, then you will want to start with these. They are public domain songs that everyone usually knows.
Chords: G, C, Am, D7, D, A7
This song has been around since 1850. It is a simple song about a sleigh ride, snow, and fun in winter.
Little Drummer Boy
Chords: G, C, D
“Little Drummer Boy,” tells the story of a poor boy giving the only gift he can to Jesus at his birth. The song is the present, and while drums are a huge feature, the guitar part is simple and adds to the overall moving melody.
Chords: C, G
This fun dance song is a staple at any children’s event. It is also a popular song to play anywhere you have a gathering of people because it gets everyone up and dancing. Best of all, it uses only two simple chords, so it is a great introduction to the guitar.
Chords: G, C, D
This is a drum corps song from the Revolutionary War. It is a famous American folk song that gives off a burst of national pride.
London Bridge is Falling Down
Chords: C, G
Also known as “My Fair Lady,” this is a traditional English nursery rhyme. It is also a game you can play, which makes it a lot of fun.
Chords: C, G7, F
Who doesn’t know this song? Most of us sing it multiple times a year. It is always great to break out your guitar and play along at any birthday celebration.
Popular songs are those you hear readily on the radio. You may identify them as Top 40 hits that make it on the music charts. They are the type of song that most guitar players want to learn to play to share their craft with others because these songs are so recognizable.
How Bizarre by OMC
Chords: C, G, F
Released in 1995, “How Bizarre” was a one-hit-wonder for the band, at least in the U.S. It was in a few movies and won the single of the year award. It is an odd and fun song to play with only three chords.
Creep by Radiohead
Chords: G, B, C, Cm
The haunting melody of “Creep” speaks to its depressive roots. It is sad and slow but also relatable, so it became a huge hit for the band in 1992.
Stand By Me by Ben E. King
Chords: A, F#m, D, E
Released in 1961, this well-known song became the focus of a movie by the same name. It has a lot of religious inspiration in its message, which reverberates with those who hear it.
Wild Thing by The Troggs
Chords: A, D, E, G
This song has a well-known guitar part that you will love to learn. It came out in 1965 and was a number one hit. It is a good example of a rock love song that isn’t a ballad.
Smells Like Teen Spirit by Nirvana
Chords: E, A, G, C
Nirvana’s guitar sounds made their songs identifiable. Combined with Kurt Cobain’s unique vocals, the sound became the identity of the grunge scene in the early 1990s when the song came out. It was the band’s first real hit that skyrocketed them to fame.
Born Free – Kid Rock
Chords: E, A, D, G, B, F#m
Released in 2010, this song is all about America and freedom. It is one that Kid Rock brings out again and again as he plays for fans.
How to Learn These Easy Guitar Songs
While we found these easy guitar songs for you, it is up to you to learn to play them. Fender explains the best way to start is to listen to the song over and over. You might want to find an instrumental version to listen to so you can hear the guitar part clearly.
You should also take the song piece by piece. Start by learning a small portion and perfecting it before moving onto the next part. Once you master each part separately, you can put them together to play the whole song.
You have a good start on building your easy guitar song repertoire. Pick the song that speaks to you the most or the one you think you will have the easiest time learning first. This will help you not get discouraged out of the gate. Work on it until you play it with ease, and then grab another song to work on. Happy playing!