The guitar is one of the most fun musical instruments to play. You can play tunes for your friends around a campfire or even set the mood for a night overflowing with drinks and laughter. It is also one of the most fun instruments to learn to play.
However, I would be lying if I told you that you can be a master of the strings overnight. First, you need to master the fundamentals like the correct strumming, plucking, and fingering of the strings.
And the best approach will also be to start with the easiest songs possible to help build that confidence in your guitar playing skills. The songs I am about to share with you are easy enough to play. I picked these songs because they have relatively few chords to master. I also think their rhythm is predictable enough for the average newbie guitarist.
Of course, there are hundreds of songs that can qualify as excellent pieces for absolute beginner guitarists. I settled on these 30 easy guitar songs that are a starting point for aspiring guitarists.
Here Are the Best Beginner Guitar Songs
1. Seven Nation Army by the White Stripes
There is no mistaking this guitar riff that Jack White of The White Stripes wrote and popularized. While the riff has a very uncanny name – earworm – it is one of the easiest pieces any beginning guitarist can play.
The song only calls for 7 notes that you play in succession. The best part? Well, you can start by playing all of these notes on the A string. In case you don’t know where the A string is, that is the second string from the top (the second fattest string).
With your finger on the A string, try to press on the 7th fret, 7th fret, 10th fret, 7th fret, 5th fret, 3rd fret, and the 2nd fret. Play these frets in that order (7-7-10-7-5-3-2). Those are the 7 notes for Jack White’s famous earworm. Finish it off with a G5 and an A5 power chords and you are off to a blistering start.
2. Achy Breaky Heart by Billy Ray Cyrus
Who would’ve thought that another country song would make it to the Billboard Hot 100 and follow in the footsteps of “Islands in the Stream”? Yet, “Achy Breaky Heart” defied all odds and topped the charts at number 4 in 1992. Not only did the song got people jumping up and down in their respective places. The tune also led to the boom of the now-iconic line dance.
Now, imagine if you can play this. You will need a bigger floor area in your home for your friends to showcase their line dancing prowess.
The “Achy Breaky Heart” is easy enough to master. I cannot think of any other song that only has two very basic guitar chords to make it work. You only need C and G and some simple strumming techniques to get everyone dancing to the groove. The pattern is easy to follow, making it great for beginners.
3. Sweet Home Alabama by Lynyrd Skynyrd
I think “Sweet Home Alabama” is a great piece for people who want a classic rock song that’s easy to learn and master. You can play this almost anywhere and your audience will be clapping their hands and singing along. It’s great for bonfires or to while your time during road trips.
Nothing can be simpler than “Sweet Home Alabama”. The rhythm is predictable. The song itself is open to different variations. You only need to master the basic chords before you can move on to more complex guitar playing techniques.
This 1974 Southern rock hit only has three chords to play. There’s a G, followed by a C, and then finished off with a D. You then start all over again. How easy is that?
Of course, you can try pull-offs and hammer-ons later to provide the song with texture. What is sufficient for beginners is to master the strumming of the chords. Get these chords right and everything should be easy.
4. Boys Around Here by Blake Shelton
With only two guitar chords to play, Blake Shelton’s “Boys Around Here” is one of the easiest pieces to master. A child who can reach his fingers on the fretboard should easily play the A and D chords of the song. It’s that crazy simple.
Strumming isn’t that difficult either. You can go as lazy as you want for a more laid-back vibe. Or, if you’re feeling more upbeat, you can strum the strings with a greater force to rock your neighborhood.
I couldn’t care less whether you can sing like Blake Shelton does or not. What is important here is for you to get the correct rhythm. You can even have your pals play along with their own instruments or perhaps an improvised one.
Jamming with your friends is now more fun. You can also replace the lyrics with your own to give the song a nice twist. This is easily one of the best beginner guitar songs out there.
5. Bad Moon Rising by Creedence Clearwater Revival
CCR’s “Bad Moon Rising” is another song that’s ridiculously easy to learn. There are only three chords to play. The usual pattern is D-A-G-D, although you will need to add G when you’re about to play the “Don’t go around tonight” line in the chorus. This gives it a D-A-G-D-G pattern, before reverting to the usual D-A-G-D.
Like any other song played on the guitar, it is important to learn how to strum. This is very basic. I suggest listening to the song a few times to get a feel for its rhythm. You can then create your own strumming technique.
The song has a nice feel to it that somehow marries light rock with a country vibe. It is not unusual for anyone who hears the song to find themselves tapping their foot. It’s a great piece to play at the camp or even during a weekend of barbecue fun.
6. What’s Up by 4 Non Blondes
You might consider “What’s Up” as a musical piece lacking in structure and largely incoherent and meaningless. However, when Linda Perry wrote the song way back in the early 1990s, she thought about a song that people of non-English-speaking countries can also understand. That’s the beauty of “What’s Up”.
What makes it even more beautiful is that you can learn to play it in a matter of minutes. The chord progression follows the E-Am-G-D-B pattern. These chords are very easy to play. Absolute beginners may find the B quite tricky at first. Once you master your finger techniques, everything will come together.
Get-togethers and big parties can come alive when playing this song. Everyone can sing along. Some may even accompany your guitar playing with their own brand of rhythm. Some would clap their hands, while others may be more inclined to beat something else.
This is a song worth learning.
7. A Horse with No Name by America
Another song that has only two chords to play is “A Horse with no Name”. It only involves E-minor and D69/F#. Most of the beginner guitarists I know get intimidated by the second chord. In theory, the chord signifies the D note in six, nine chords complemented with a bass note in the F-sharp.
You’d kick yourself in the butt if I told you that D69/F# only requires two fingers. One finger plays the second fret on the sixth string. The other finger plays the third string, also on the second fret.
And since E-minor also plays on the second fret, the song requires very minimal finger movement. It’s all about sliding those two fingers from the 4th and 5th strings of the Em chord to the 2nd and 6th strings of the D69/F# chord. Once you get the feel of the slide, you should be able to rock the song.
That’s what we call easy-peasy.
8. Stand by Me by Ben E. King
A favorite among best buddies, Ben E. King’s “Stand by Me” is a classic that has stood the test of time. First recorded in 1960, the song still enjoys significant airtime in popular radio stations and music streaming platforms that specialize on the hits of the yesteryears.
And why not? The message still rings true to this very day. Almost everyone I know cannot help but tap their feet to the rhythm while singing the phrase “stand by me” in a beautiful chorus.
Not only is this Ben E. King’s masterpiece a great song choice for any occasion. It is also a good stepping stone for aspiring guitarists. There are four chords to play that follow the 4-beat pattern of G-G-Em-Em-C-D-G-G.
You can put a twist, too. I have met guitarists who played with the chords to make the sound more ‘contemporary’, complete with a thump on the face of the guitar body that mimics the beat of a drum.
9. Shake It Off by Taylor Swift
Fans of Taylor Swift can play the pop star’s “Shake It Off” to get them on the fascinating journey of guitar playing. The song is one of Swift’s biggest hits with its video receiving more than a billion views on YouTube.
Most people don’t consider the pop icon’s songs as great for beginner guitarists. You’d be surprised at how easy the “Shake It Off” really is. It only requires three basic chords: Am7, Cmaj7, and G6.
All three of these chords only require two fingers on the fretboard. The G6 and Cmaj7 chords are also strikingly similar. On the G6 chord, one finger is on the 6th string on the third fret and the other finger is on the 5th string on the second fret. The Cmaj7 chord is similar, except that you will only move your fingers one string lower than the G6.
The pattern is simple and very easy to follow, too. What’s not to like?
10. All Apologies by Nirvana
Who doesn’t love the beat of Nirvana’s rock classic, “All Apologies”? It is a grunge/rock tune that is ideal for aspiring guitarists, regardless of age. The song is one of the greatest hits ever to come out of the 90s. It took the pre-millennium decade by storm.
If you want to master this classic, I suggest checking out the Unplugged Version. The strumming pattern is so easy both on the electric and the acoustic guitars. You’re welcome to try both versions to give you that rock star sound.
The simple rhythm that forms the backbone for the C, F, and G chords should make learning fast. There’s good harmony and the rhythm lends a basic structure to the song’s melody. Strumming is straightforward, although you might be tempted to perform guitar riffs in the future.
If you’re looking for a great song to sing along to, then you’ve got to consider “All Apologies”. This is a great song and it is a perfect guitar song for beginners.
11. Wild Thing by The Troggs
Most of the aspiring rock bands I have known started their journey mastering the explosive groove of the “Wild Thing”. With such a catchy title, there is no way this The Troggs’ masterpiece will not ring a bell in the minds of people across generations.
This 1960s rock classic still rule the airwaves of stations and channels that play rock. Many of the rock legends of our time also have their own versions of this classic, including Jimi Hendrix.
Playing the “Wild Thing” is not that difficult. After all, there are only three very simple major chords to play. You’ll strum to the chords of A, D, and E all throughout the song. You can go soft on the strings or strum it with all your might.
Want to know if you have that rock star spirit in you? Master “Wild Thing” by taking it slow. Move on to power strumming for greater dynamics once you’re done with the basics.
12. I Wanna Be There by Blessid Union of Souls
Another easy song to learn to play on a guitar is “I Wanna Be There”. Blessid Union of Souls first released the song in 1997 and the raves started coming. It’s easy to see why. The message was relatable and the sound itself was something that even a 5th grader can play.
The song only has three major chords that aspiring guitarists need to play. These chords include G, C, and D. It is as easy as playing blocks of A-B-C. There are no riffs, bends, and hammers, too. It’s all plain strumming.
You only need to play G-C-D-G in progression. Start with the basic strumming techniques before moving on to some fancy fingering. This should set you on the path to becoming a good balladeer.
Play this song when you’re on a date. You can easily impress the girl you have your eye on with the easy chords.
13. Love Me Do by The Beatles
There is something about the songs of The Beatles that seem so magical. The lyrics are simple and very relatable. The chords are also very easy, both on the fingers and on the ears.
One of the first songs I have ever played with my guitar is “Love Me Do”. It has this upbeat vibe that is very characteristic of Beatles songs of the mid-20th century.
Learning to play “Love Me Do” is as easy as playing two major chords: G and C. When you get to the bridge, you will only add a D to the pattern and you’re already gunning it.
However, I do have to emphasize that you will have to learn the correct strumming pattern. Some guitarists employ straightforward down-up strokes. Others use a different stroke. My recommendation is to familiarize yourself with the song, especially its rhythm. This will help you decide on the strumming pattern.
14. Brown Eyed Girl by Van Morrison
This song is a favorite during parties and weddings. It has a fun vibe to it that gives you a sense of having a carefree lifestyle. The chords are also easy and are open to a lot of improvisations. You can integrate detailed plucking techniques once you’ve mastered the basic strumming of the song.
There are only four notes in the song: G, D, C, and E-minor. You only add the Em chord when you’re ready to sing the “My brown-eyed girl” line of the chorus. The pattern is G-C-G-D, followed by C-D-G-Em.
Okay, so the pattern is a bit more complex for starters. However, the four chords are still very easy to memorize and play. You should be able to play the song within an hour of continuous practice.
I don’t need to reiterate the importance of rhythm here. Your strumming pattern will help you solidify your role as a guitarist.
15. Leaving on A Jet Plane by John Denver
One of my personal favorites, “Leaving on A Jet Plane” is a classic piece that is perfect for absolute beginners to guitar playing. The strumming pattern is simple.
I taught a youngster in our neighborhood once and he was playing it like a legend in less than an hour. If this bloke can gun this piece, then anyone who has enough passion for music can learn to play it, too.
What makes “Leaving on A Jet Plane” easy to master is its 3-chord tab. The chords are also easy to play on the fretboard, requiring very modest finger movements. You have G, C, and D strummed in progression throughout the song. The chords are the same whether it is the verse or the chorus of the song.
I still listen to John Denver’s 1966 classic as it never fails to remind me of the beautiful nature of folk and country songs.
16. Knockin On Heaven’s Door by Bob Dylan
Every time someone plays this Bob Dylan classic, I cannot help but find myself swaying to the beat. It is not as hard as metal rock. But it sure is one of the best sounds there is. As it turns out, playing the chords is also as easy as finding your rhythm with the song.
There are only 4 chords that you play. However, I have seen guitarists make variations in their chord plays to give the song a different vibe.
The chords follow a typical G-D-Am pattern and followed by G-D-C. You play these chords alternately. You may want to vary the positioning of your fingers to get a different C and Am7. However, I do recommend mastering the chord progression first if you’re just beginning.
It is important to feel your rhythm. The strumming motions are straightforward. It’s all down-up with a 16th note pattern. Keep on practicing this and you could be strumming your way to fame.
17. Three Little Birds by Bob Marley
The “Three Little Birds” is a Bob Marley classic of the late 1970s. It reached the UK Top 20 at the 17th spot and has been rendered by different artists of the modern era.
The latest artist to give their own take of Marley’s masterpiece was Maroon 5 in 2018. Today, the song remains a favorite among young children because of its feel-good vibe.
One thing you should know about this reggae is that it is also easy to play. There are only three chords to master: A, D, and E. It’s perfect for anyone who loves reggae or those who simply want a rhythm that can rock the soul like a lullaby.
Strumming to the rhythm of the “Three Little Birds” feels like getting transported to the white sandy beaches of the Caribbean. It has this distinct ‘island’ vibe to it that makes you feel so relaxed and in the mood.
18. Talkin’ Bout A Revolution by Tracy Chapman
This song is a classic folk song with a protest style undertone. The progression is very simple; perhaps, even simpler than the other songs I listed here.
The G-C-Em-D arrangement of chords is perfect for newbies. This is the only sequence that you will have to concern yourself with. From the opening to the verse and straight to the end of the song, these chords are everything.
Now, don’t think that it is that easy. The key to playing this song is understanding its dynamics. You must know when to strum the strings loud and when to turn it down. The song calls for a soft start. It gradually builds in strength, reaching a full pelt by the 75th second.
One trick you can employ is to practice your strumming. Try to vary the strength of your strumming to get a feel for the right dynamic. You’ll eventually get it right.
19. Sweet Caroline by Neil Diamond
What do the NFL’s Carolina Panthers, the MLB’s Boston Red Sox, and the Premier League’s Arsenal and Aston Villa Football Clubs have in common? Well, aside from being big-name professional sports organizations, these clubs have also adopted Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline” as the official song in their home games.
Putting the trivia aside, “Sweet Caroline” is an iconic song that has earned a lot of recognition for its vibrant melody and well-conceived acoustic theme. It is also relatively easy to play, requiring only three chords for the verse. They follow a predictable A-D-A-E pattern.
The pre-chorus comes with a different pattern: A-A6-E-D-E before moving into the A-D-E-A-D-E-D-C#m-Bm pattern of the chorus. The verse is easy. However, I do recommend spending some time making the transitions in the last line of the chorus. It may require some fancy finger work.
Regardless, “Sweet Caroline” remains a favorite of mine because of its feel-good vibe. You should try it, too.
20. Wonderful World by Sam Cooke
Please don’t confuse “Wonderful World” with “What a Wonderful World” by Louis Armstrong. Armstrong’s song has more of a mellow tune to it, while Sam Cooke’s masterpiece is more upbeat. Plus, while they allude to the same thing, they differ in the manner of expressing it.
I chose Sam Cooke’s “Wonderful World” because of its more vibrant melodies. Like most of the songs of the 60s, “Wonderful World” has a very predictable pattern. Any kid who knows how to strum a guitar should be able to follow the basic rhythm of the song.
There are 6 chords for the song, including G, Em, C, d, A7, and D7. The verse follows the G-Em-C-D pattern, while the chorus comes with a G-C-G-C-D-G pattern. It is easy enough to memorize and master in under an hour.
Sam Cooke’s “Wonderful World” also requires no fancy strumming, although you can apply variations once you have mastered the basics. The bottom line is that this is an easy guitar song that is fun to play.
21. Hand in My Pocket by Alanis Morissette
You couldn’t be any happier even though you’re broke whenever you’re playing Alanis Morissette’s “Hand in My Pocket”. This 1990s rock song has reached a classic status because of its remarkable contrasts of sorts. The song goes against many of the established formulas of songwriting, yet still finds a way to touch the hearts of even the harshest critics.
What is more amazing about this song is that newbie guitarists always find it so easy to play. With only five chords that span the whole song, mastering Morissette’s masterpiece is a cinch.
The verse has a very simple 2-chord, G-G4 pattern that is a breeze to strum. The last line of the verse only requires the G-F-C pattern to open into the G-G4-G-F-C-D-G-G4-G pattern of the chorus.
You’ve got to love the simplicity of the rhythm. And when you add a percussion instrument to the mix, you know that everyone else in the room will be dancing to the beat.
22. Take Me Home Country Roads by John Denver
I know “Take Me Home, Country Roads” is not exactly the kind of song you’d want to begin your guitar-playing journey. It makes your longing for home even greater. It is the perfect song for those who are lost or are who are already tired of their exploits.
However, you must give credit to John Denver for making a song that can give you a sense of nostalgia wherever you are or whatever stage of life you are in. West Virginia’s official state anthem, “Take Me Home, Country Roads” also happens an easy song to play on a guitar.
The verses are a breeze to play. They follow a G-Em-D-C-G pattern. By the time you reach the chorus, the chords change a bit to include G-D7-Em-C-G-D-C-G. The rhythm is not that fast. Absolute beginner guitarists can easily follow at their own pace.
You can try some fancy finger techniques in the future. However, this is hardly necessary as the song is already rich enough in melodies following Denver’s classic guitar-playing.
23. Perfect by Ed Sheeran
Anyone who aspires to become a good guitarist should include Ed Sheeran’s “Perfect” in their beginner’s repertoire of songs. The first time I heard the song, I knew it would be an instant hit. I know it can be cheesy, but you have got to love both the lyrics and the melody.
It is not surprising that the song has found its way into many wedding celebrations and other gatherings that need soft music to set the mood. It is a definite crowd-pleaser and a very simple song to master with the guitar.
Strumming G-Em-C-D is enough to get your chords right. You’ll never get lost in the rhythm, either. The chorus still follows the same chord pattern, although there as some minor additions to give the song the depth that it deserves.
Master this song and you’ll have your friends flocking around you like a warm marshmallow on a cold winter night.
24. Matchbox by Carl Perkins
You might not know the song, but “Matchbox” was a huge hit in the 1950s. It heralded the dawn of rockabilly songs that combined jazzy rhythm and blues with the distinct melodies of country music. I can understand if Millennials don’t know the song. However, it is one of the easiest and most fun songs you can ever play on a guitar.
For starters, the song only has three chords. These chords are also not the difficult ones that require some serious finger flexibility. Playing A, D, and E on the fretboard couldn’t get any easier.
Perhaps the only tricky aspect of the song is its rhythm. It can be quite fast to the absolute newbie. That is why I recommend practicing the chords first. You can always find your own rhythm by listening to the song several times.
“Matchbox” may not ring a bell to Millennials. But it is one of the best songs to play.
25. Wonderful Tonight by Eric Clapton
One of the first songs I ever learned to play is Eric Clapton’s classic, “Wonderful Tonight”. I love the wailing intro and I find it perfect for those who are just beginning to play the guitar. The only tricky part is how to properly bend the strings to get that excellent vibratory feel.
I have seen experienced guitarists fluffing the fluent bends of Clapton’s classic. This is how tricky this simple technique can be. Get it right and you can be wowing the crowd. Get it wrong and you’d earn their wrath.
You can always practice the correct string bending techniques later. What is sufficient for now is to get a feel for the different notes. Try to master the unbent target notes first. Once you have mastered these notes, you can then try bending the string with each hit.
Always listen to the notes as you bend the strings.
26. Twist and Shout by The Beatles
The swinging 60s was one of the most fun eras of modern time. With the Beatles providing upbeat music, it was almost impossible not to stand up and haul your date to the dance floor. One of the hippest music ever to be covered by the Liverpool Fab Four is the “Twist and Shout”.
What makes this song so great for beginner guitarists? How about having only three notes with a very predictable pattern? You see, “Twist and Shout” only comes with D-G-A. That should not be very difficult to remember.
Playing it is also easy. There are no fancy fingering techniques. It’s plain and simple strumming of the guitar strings.
You’re welcome to give it a riff if you want. You only need to play George Harrison’s opening line. You’ll have your fingers playing on the 5th, 2nd, and 4th frets before you start heading to the D-G-A pattern.
27. Imagine by John Lennon
There are plenty of reasons why John Lennon’s “Imagine” has won many awards, including a Grammy Hall of Fame and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Released in 1971, the message of “Imagine” resonates to this very day, especially at a time when there is inequality from all fronts.
It goes without saying that the song is one of the most important masterpieces that any musician must play in the early stages of his career. And even if you’re not going to play guitar professionally, learning to play “Imagine” is sure to get the whole room singing along with you.
The chords for the verse of “Imagine” are quite simple. They follow a typical C-Cmaj7-F pattern that starts from the introduction. Only when you get to the bridge will the chords can turn a bit tricky. There’s F, Am/E, Dm7, and F/C on the first line and followed by G, C/G, and G7 on the second line. This is easily one of the easiest guitar songs for beginners.
28. Mannish Boy by Muddy Waters
Long before Jack White popularized the earworm, there was Muddy Waters in the 1950s. The group created one of the greatest guitar riffs of all time. The “Mannish Boy” is one that would define Chicago blues. In fact, I think this guitar riff defines all blues.
What makes the Mannish Boy so easy to play is that it only comes with five chords in a sustained rhythm. A straight down strum of A-D-A-C-A is all that’s needed to play the song.
Technically, the guitar riff does not provide any melodies to the song. It serves more as a tool for establishing and sustaining the rhythm. If you want to make it more fascinating, you can add F# to the D and E to C.
If you do try to play this, I implore you to have your friends play bass and harmonica as well. Such a combination will give your song color and harmony.
29. House of The Rising Sun by Animals
There was a time in my youth when we could play “House of The Rising Sun” all day long. I remember it so well. Me and the gang kicking it out at the park with a guitar and several bottles of soda in tow. Then we’d play and sing the Animals’ classic for endless hours.
The pattern is a bit complicated for absolute beginners. However, I was able to learn it in a few hours. I have seen different chords, but the simplest are Am, C, D, F, and E. I’ve seen tabs that use Fmaj7 instead of simply F. You should start with the F if you’re having problems with the Fmaj7.
The introduction is a bit different from the verse. It typically follows the Am-C-D-F-Am-E-Am-E pattern. The verse, on the other hand, has the following progression: Am-C-D-F-Am-C-E-E-Am-C-D-F-Am-E.
I know it is quite tricky to memorize. You can nail it with constant practice, nevertheless.
30. All of Me by John Legend
This pop song is not really that easy to play if you are going to look at the number of chords you need to memorize and master. There are about 14 different chords required to play this ballad.
However, I was compelled to include it in this list because the chords are not really that difficult to play. I also think the slow tempo of the song can make it super easy for beginner guitarists to transition between chords.
This is unlike rock songs with a more upbeat tempo. You can easily lose track of your finger movements. You will not have that issue with this John Legend hit.
As always, I recommend focusing first on the mastery of the different chords. This will pave the way for an easy integration of the rhythm. Sooner or later, playing the song by feel will be almost second nature. Doing so will easily melt any lady’s heart.
I encourage you to include these songs into your repertoire. They are very easy and fun to play, whether in a group or just whiling your time. The best part is that you get to build the confidence you need to play songs with more complicated chords, patterns, and rhythm.
Hi, my name is Chris and I’ve had a passion for music and guitars for as long as I can remember. I started this website with some of my friends who are music teachers and enthusiasts so we could help others find accurate music-related information. I’ve been playing guitar since I was 13 (over 15 years now) and am an avid collector of all thing’s guitar. Seriously, it’s a sickness (lol). Sometimes I sell and trade, but I mostly buy and collect. Amps, Pedals, Guitars, Bass, Drums, Microphones, Studio and recording gear, I love it all. I was born and raised in Western Pennsylvania. My background is in Electrical Engineering earning a Bachelor’s degree from Youngstown State University and with my engineering experience I’ve developed as a designer of guitar tube amps and effects. A true passion of mine, I’ve designed, built, and repaired a wide range of guitar amps and electronics. Here at the Guitar Lobby our aim is simply to share our passion for gear with the rest of the music community.