25 Easy Guitar Songs — How To Play Them (With Videos)

Whether it’s working your way through guitar tabs of Beatles songs or taking your time to learn the most basic chord shapes and read music, learning easy guitar songs is a great way to learn how to play, develop rhythm and become a better overall musician. You won’t be playing like Jimi Hendrix right away, but we need to start somewhere, right?

With more than 20 years of guitar-playing experience under my belt, I still find new basic guitar songs to master, which help develop my technique. 

What I notice, though (and you will, too!), is that many songs use the same chord progressions or transition between verses and choruses. 

Once you pick that up as a beginner guitar player, you’ll realize how quickly you can learn new songs and almost predict what will come next in the piece.

So, I scoured top guitar tab sites, like Ultimate Guitar, to find the most accessible easy guitar songs to learn. YouTube guitar lessons also offer a bevy of song tutorials.

But I just didn’t pick easy songs, though. I made a concerted effort to find pieces that are recognizable and popular. Thankfully, you can play most of them with the knowledge of the basic chords.

When you learn how to play them, you’re sure to have a big smile on your face and plenty of guitar-playing confidence.

In no particular order…

Here Is An Easy Guitar Song Collection for Beginners to Learn:

 

Smoke on the Water by Deep Purple

Why it’s good for beginners:

This hard rock classic is excellent for practicing barre chords as far as beginner songs go.

How to practice it:

Work through each chord shape before practicing the transition from the E chord to the G and A chords.

What to look out for:

The intro of this song is all about playing mighty chords, but when you get into the verses, you have to mute the strings with the side of your strumming hand and shoot for an intense percussive sound. 

• • •

 

Can’t Help Falling In Love by Elvis Presley

Why it’s good for beginners:

It’s one of the most popular pop songs on Ultimate Guitar’s top 100 list of guitar tabs (1).

How to practice it:

You only have three chords to learn: C, G, and Am.

What to look out for:

Timing your strums is vital with this song. Once you get the hang of it, it becomes second nature. After you learn the strumming version, try fingerpicking it, which is how the song is intended to be played.

 

• • •

Louie Louie by The Kingsmen

The Kingsmen

Why it’s good for beginners:

You need three chords to make it through this 1963 hit by The Kingsmen — and easy ones at that.

How to practice it:

Learn the shapes of the three chords — A, D, and Em — and then work on the transitions. The good news is they just keep repeating and repeating and repeating.

What to look out for:

Once you’ve mastered the chords, you can focus on keeping rhythm with the song. When there’s repetition with chord progressions, it’s critical to focus on staying on beat.

 

• • •

 

Let it Be by the Beatles

A statue of The Beatles

Why it’s good for beginners:

This Beatles classic takes a little time to learn the chords, but once you have it down, you can feel how the chords walk up and down the C scale, allowing you to connect the verse to the chorus melodically.

How to practice it:

In tandem with learning the chords, run through the song by only playing the bass note with your thumb. This will allow you to feel the song’s rhythm before adding those chords back in.

What to look out for:

Depending on which guitar tabs you’re looking at, you may see some major seventh and major sixth chords in the verses. Ignore those while learning the song and simply play the major chords.

 

• • •

Ring of Fire by Johnny Cash

Country Music Hall of Fame

Why it’s good for beginners:

Everyone needs to know a Johnny Cash song, and there’s no one better than Ring of Fire.

How to practice it:

It’s only three chords — G, C, and D — but you want to focus on thumbing the bass notes to give that percussive feel to the song.

What to look out for:

This is one of those easy songs that are all about rhythm. Stay on beat, and you’ll be in good shape.

• • •

Perfect by Ed Sheeran

A guy playing guitar music to his girlfriend

Why it’s good for beginners:

This modern pop song is the ultimate song to play and sing to someone special. Thankfully, it’s also a consistent pattern with only four chords to worry about it. It’s also an excellent introduction to fingerpicking as opposed to strumming.

How to practice it:

After learning the shapes, fingerpick the chords from the bass to the treble strings. Eventually, you’ll feel how those chords all connect.

What to look out for:

This song is in the key of G#, which makes chord shapes significantly more difficult. However, if you buy a capo, you can easily put it across the first fret and stick to your comfortable G, C, D, and Em chords.

• • •

 

All of Me by John Legend

John Legend performing live

Why it’s good for beginners:

It’s a great introduction to songs with a verse, chorus, pre-chorus, and bridge because it retains the same chords, just in different orders.

How to practice it:

Break this up one section at a time. Focus on perfecting the verse before moving to the pre-chorus and chorus sections.

What to look out for:

This is another song that you should capo the first fret to shape less complicated chords.

• • •

 

Wonderwall by Oasis

Wonderwall meme

Why it’s good for beginners:

You’ve seen the memes, but Oasis’ Wonderwall is the ultimate song to play on the guitar you bring (or find) at a party.

How to practice it:

The chords in this song — Em, G, D, and an A7 — aren’t too difficult to learn. It’s the strumming pattern you need to practice. Try playing along with the original Oasis recording to master it.

What to look out for:

While you could simply play a C chord in its place, you must learn what a Cadd9 chord looks like. The 9 signifies the note in the scale, which would be a D, located on the third fret of your B string.

• • •

 

Hey Jude by The Beatles

The BEatles playing live

Why it’s good for beginners:

You can learn some more complicated chords, including Bb, without getting too frustrated.

How to practice it:

The rhythm is what’s most challenging about this piece. The chords aren’t too bad. Practice slowly before trying to play along with John, Paul, Ringo, and George.

What to look out for:

This song may feel slow, but the chords move a good clip. Practice nice and slowly first.

• • •

 

Imagine by John Lennon

"Imagine" floor inscription

Why it’s good for beginners:

This iconic song is the perfect tune to learn how to fingerpick. If you can play Imagine, everyone will think you’re a guitar pro.

How to practice it:

Work on the fingerpicking pattern you hear on the record, but ignore the piano part that chromatically climbs the scale.

What to look out for:

If you’ve never fingerpicked before, you’ll have your hands full making your thumb and fingers work together. Don’t get frustrated, though. It’ll come with practice.

• • •

 

Take Me Home Country Road by John Denver

People playing guitar around a campfire

Why it’s good for beginners:

It’s four chords and the ultimate campfire song to keep in your back pocket.

How to practice it:

This is another song that requires a steady strumming rhythm. As you sing along with your playing, it can be easy to lose your place and rhythm.

What to look out for:

The chorus has lyrics that build into the first G chord. So you won’t strike that chord at the beginning of “Country,” but rather start strumming at the beginning of “Roads.”

• • •

 

Sweet Home Alabama by Lynyrd Skynyrd

Why it’s good for beginners:

Many beginner guitar songs consist of strumming chords, but Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Sweet Home Alabama” is where you get to have some fun playing a riffing pattern. That intro might be one of the most recognizable guitar riffs in music. 

How to practice it:

This is one where guitar tabs come in handy. You’ll need to play very slowly at first and build up speed.

What to look out for:

That riff continues through the majority of the song. It’s more difficult to sing the lyrics and riff simultaneously.

• • •

 

American Pie by Don McLean

Don McLean performing live

Why it’s good for beginners:

It’s a challenging opportunity to learn the chord structure of the longer verses Don McLean wrote for this classic.

How to practice it:

The chords aren’t too tricky for this long song. It’s remembering which order they come in, though. Practice running through the verses a lot to get the order right.

What to look out for:

The guitar part of this tune isn’t too bad — it’s the lyrics that will throw you for a loop if you’re planning on singing along.

 

• • •

 

Sweet Baby Jaby James Taylor

James Taylor performing live

Why it’s good for beginners:

James Taylor is a masterful guitarist, and most of his tunes are pretty challenging to learn. Sweet Baby James is one of his more accessible songs, so it’s your opportunity to play a little like JT.

 

How to practice it:

Of course, James Taylor puts his flare on this song, but you can stick to playing the chords. Simply work on hitting the chords at the right time.

What to look out for:

This song is composed as a waltz, which means it’s in ¾ time. That can make it challenging to find the piece’s rhythm at first.

• • •

 

Amazing Grace

Amazing Grace lyrics and musical notation

Why it’s good for beginners:

Because this song is so old and has been done so often, it’s a great opportunity to put your spin on a classic.

How to practice it:

Learn the 7th chord in this one. It’s critical to get the exact sound of how the song was intended.

What to look out for:

Everyone plays this song a little differently and in different keys. You may have trouble finding a recording in the key you desire.

• • •

Brown Eyed Girl by Van Morrison

Why it’s good for beginners:

As one of the all-time classic pop songs, Brown Eyed Girl is perfect for learning how to strum a guitar and stay on time. Some consider it the easiest guitar song to play on acoustic guitar.

How to practice it:

Don’t worry about the chords — C, G major chord, D, D7, and an E minor chord — as much as nailing the strumming pattern.

What to look out for:

Playing the E minor chord is no biggie, but it can be easy to mix up the D and D7. While it seems insignificant, it’s a pivotal part of the song to nail that D7.

 

• • •

 

Fly Me to the Moon by Frank Sinatra

Woman touching the moon

Why it’s good for beginners:

It’s your introduction to playing jazz and not being intimidated by the ii-iv-i chord pattern.

How to practice it:

You need to learn how to shape a Bm7 chord and practice the ii-iv transition from that Bm7 to an F#7. Once you have that down, the rest of the song is straightforward.

What to look out for:

Jazz songs emphasize the two and four of the beat, while pop and rock hit on the one and three. If you’re not used to that, there’s a chance this Sinatra classic won’t swing as much.

• • •

Dead Flowers by Rolling Stones

Why it’s good for beginners:

This song is all major chords throughout — D, A, and G. It’s also a very memorable and straightforward chord progression.

How to practice it:

It’s easier to learn on an acoustic guitar than on an electric guitar, so start there. That’s how the Rolling Stones play it, too.

What to look out for:

Nothing too tricky here. The beat and pattern are pretty similar throughout.

 

• • •

 

Wonderful Tonight by Eric Clapton

Eric Clapton playing live

Why it’s good for beginners:

It’s a great chance to learn the chords of a classic song and the iconic Clapton riff.

How to practice it:

Pick either the chords or the riff to start with before moving to the next. The riff will require you to practice bending strings, which can feel unusual if you’ve never done it before.

What to look out for:

Play the bass notes in the chord and pay attention to the bass notes the song calls for. Instead of a D, you’ll often see a D/F#, which means they want you to play an F# (second fret on your low E string) in the bass.

• • •

 

Free Fallin’ by Tom Petty

A skydiver jumping from a plane.

Why it’s good for beginners:

It’s a timeless song you’ll be glad to know, plus it forces you to learn some alternatives to easy chords.

How to practice it:

Study up on sus chords, which stands for suspended chords. This song calls for a Gsus2 and an Asus4.

What to look out for:

The chords are the trickiest part of this song. You really can’t get away just playing the major chord that’s listed — you need to learn these slightly altered chords.

• • •

Love Story by Taylor Swift

Why it’s good for beginners:

This is one of those easy guitar songs that are extremely familiar to most people. You heard this T-Swift classic on the radio, and despite your opinion on the country-turned-pop star’s music, you can definitely rock out on it.

How to Practice It:

The hardest part is shaping the B minor. It requires a barre code on the second fret, which can be tricky for a beginner guitarist.

What to look out for:

If you’re playing on acoustic guitar, make sure to press down the strings to really nail all the chords as you strum along.

 

• • •

 

Have You Ever Seen the Rain by Creedence Clearwater Revival

Girl playing in the rain.

Why it’s good for beginners:

Another fun song to play at a party — and there are only four chords to worry about.

How to practice it:

Listen to CCR’s original recording and work on mimicking the exact strumming pattern. You’re going to need that in your muscle memory in order to sing along and stay on beat.

What to look out for:

Hitting the chords on the one of the beats is the most challenging part because the vocals scoop into the second beat in the bar. That’s why learning the rhythm of the song is so critical.

• • •

 

Iris by Goo Goo Dolls

The Goo Goo Dolls playing live.

Why it’s good for beginners:

It’s a song that can teach you about chord structure. The second line of the verses walks down the G scale, from a Bm to an A to a G.

How to practice it:

Play the bass (also referred to as the root) note of each chord with the Goo Goo Dolls recording to get a better feel for that chord structure.

What to look out for:

Occasionally, the Goo Goo Dolls throw in a Bm/A chord, which can be tricky to shape. Make sure to check it out.

• • •

 

Highway to Hell by AC/DC

ACDC playing live.

Why it’s good for beginners:

Aspiring rockers only need to know four chords to practice the easy strumming pattern and catch people’s attention.

How to practice it:

This rock song comes down to rhythm and strumming. Listen to AC/DC’s original recording to master it.

What to look out for:

The bridge contains some sustained chords, where you need to throw a high G note on your D chord.

• • •

 

Hold the Line by Toto

Toto's guitarist Steve Lukather playing live.

Why it’s good for beginners:

OK, we lied. This is more for intermediate players. But if you can master the 22 songs above, you can certainly handle this challenge from Toto.

How to practice it:

The piano in this song makes it feel fast, but it rocks pretty steadily. Relax when working your way through these more complex chords. Remember, this is considered one of the electric guitar songs for intermediates — take your time!

What to look out for:

The chorus’ strumming pattern is very distinct and requires patience to learn. 

• • •

Study Guitar Tabs to Learn Easy Guitar Songs

We’re always quick to recommend online guitar lessons to our readers because we feel having an experienced player teach you the basics is the best foundation you can build.
To learn an easy guitar song, we recommend studying guitar tabs. Not sure how to read guitar tab? We’ve got you covered.

Practice Easy Guitar Songs Today

A guy learning easy guitar somgs from his computer.

As you dive into any of these easy guitar songs, you might be intimidated at first. 

But by taking your time and slowly learning each part of a song bar by bar, you’ll be able to hear it come to life and then work on speeding things up to the song’s intended tempo. 

Remember: consistent practice can go a long way in developing your guitar-playing abilities. Get ahold of a cheap acoustic or electric, and invest some time and effort learning these songs.

Also! If you own an ukulele, don’t forget to each out our roundup of the easiest ukulele songs to learn and play.

Before you know it, you’ll be playing like these guys.

 

• • •

References:

  1. “Top 100 tabs by hits,” Ultimate Guitar, as published here: https://www.ultimate-guitar.com/top/tabs

• • •

Image credits:

John Legend image: Qqqqqq at English Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons; Hey Jude The Beatles image: Boer, Poppe de, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons; Don Mclean image: JeremyWestby, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons; James Taylor image: Jonathan Schilling, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons; Eric Clapton image: Ericclapton007, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons; Goo Goo Dolls image: Fr. Jeff Lorig, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons; AC/DC image: Ac-dcfreak785 at the English-language Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons; Steve Lukather of Toto: Ryanhuntmuzik, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons; Deep Purple image: Stephan Birlouez from Paris, France, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons; Elvis Presley image: Marion Doss from Scranton, Kansas, USA, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons; Johnny Cash image: Cliff, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons; Lynyrd Skynyrd: Lynyrd Skynyrd World Tour 2012 by Andy Farrington, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons; Rolling Stones image: Jim Pietryga, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons; Taylor Swift image: Dwight McCann / www.DwightMcCann.com, CC BY-SA 2.5, via Wikimedia Commons.

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