The guitar is one of the best instruments for beginners to learn! When you are getting started with playing the guitar, it’s incredible to find the sheer number of songs that you can learn to play right from the start.
Since many guitar songs utilize only 2 or 3 major chords, it is easy to pick up these songs when playing. It’s good to have a starting point for finding some easy guitar songs when you begin your journey of learning.
Of course, you’ll want to always continue learning more on the guitar as you go because, with practice, you will get better and better. Whether it’s our NYC-based guitar lessons or online guitar lessons, you need to be willing to learn and practice outside of the lessons as well.
There are many songs you can start with that will help you learn how to switch between chords with more ease as you learn to play. You can use either an acoustic or a classical guitar to suit your desired sound. Let’s explore 50 easy guitar songs for beginners to help you get started!
Let’s take a look at 50+ simple guitar songs that every beginner should learn:
1. “I Wanna Be There” – Blessed Union of Souls
This is a simple song made up of us just three chords – G, C, and D. These being the first three chords you’re likely to learn on the guitar, you can strum the song and learn how to switch between the chords in the progression.
The chord progression goes like this: G | C | D | G, and once you can switch to each without any problems, you’ve got yourself this song. It’s a very simple and easy song to begin with, and who doesn’t like a love song?
2. “What’s Up” – Four Non-Blondes
This song has a few more chords than three, utilizing the chords E, Am, G, D, and B. However, these are all chords that can be easily picked up on the guitar.
This is also one of those songs that are familiar, especially to the karaoke folk, so it’ll be a big hit at parties and get-togethers.
3. “Love Me Do” – The Beatles
The classic song “Love Me Do” by the iconic Beatles is very simple to play.
When you play this great song, it only takes TWO initial chords for the chorus: G major and C major, until you get to the bridge part of the song that goes, “Someone to love…” where you add in a D major chord.
A very simple song with just two chords to start, making it very easy to play.
Note that every song is going to have its own strumming pattern, and they will differ based on the song you choose. It helps if you are familiar with the song and its rhythm because this will help with your strumming.
The chord changes are pretty easy since it’s a slower but still upbeat in-tempo tune. And it can be aided by the use of a harmonica, like with the Bluest Traveler song.
4. “Brown Eyed Girl” – Van Morrison
Van Morrison is a popular name in the world of music, and his hit “Brown Eyed Girl” is played at almost every American festival, party, and gathering.
It’s easy to play on the guitar by strumming the chords G, C, D, E minor, and D7.
Again, the strum pattern that you use is what will solidify you as a true guitarist. The rhythm is just as important as learning how to play the chords correctly.
5. “Three Little Birds” – Bob Marley
Another simple song but one that everyone will know, “Three Little Birds” is a great one to have in your back pocket.
The chords again are only just using three: The A chord, the D chord, and the E chord. You play them to a reggae beat, and you’ll master this song in no time at all!
The strumming pattern will be the trickiest part to learn here because the genre calls for it to be more specifically played. But with a little practice, you’ll get the hang of how it compliments the song.
6. “Achy Breaky Heart” – Billy Ray Cyrus
If you’re into the country scene, you can pick up this little tune on the guitar with some simple strums of the chords C and G. And that’s it, just two chords! Talk about easy.
It could be the first song you learn, especially if you like country songs. Because both the chorus and the verses of this song follow the same pattern, this is an excellent beginner song.
7. “Sweet Home Alabama” – Lynyrd Skynyrd
Very well-known and popular, the old country rock song “Sweet Home Alabama” is another easy song you can learn for the guitar. The simple three-chord progression goes G, C, D, and sometimes with an F chord.
Since the chords are the same, you might also be able to throw in the song “Werewolves of London” by Warren Zevin – remember the Kid Rock version that incorporated both? Two songs in one!
Since the chords are the same you might also be able to throw in the song “Werewolves of London” by Warren Zevin – remember the Kid Rock version that incorporated both? Two songs in one!
8. “Bad Moon Rising” – Creedence Clearwater Revival
The ease of playing a Creedence song can help give way to your bluesy side. This uses the chords D, A, and G in the progression that goes D | A | G | D and then adds a G major chord in the beginning when you get to the part in the chorus of “Don’t go around tonight…”
9.”Run Around” – Blues Traveler
If you want something that’s not so old, this hit song by Blues Traveler is one that everyone would like to play. It would be essential to play with someone who knows the harmonica, too, and make you a smash hit at your next party. The song comes from the album Four, and it’s an easygoing, uptempo song that uses just four chords: G, C, A Minor, and D.
Usually, the first chords you’re going to learn on the guitar involve D, G, and C because they are the easiest. And with those three chords, you can easily make an entire song so that it’s easy to play for a beginner guitarist.
10. “Wild Horses” – The Rolling Stones
A slower melody, the song “Wild Horses” is an easy song that uses more chords and chord progressions so you can practice adding in more than just three. It’s in the Key of G and uses the following chords in succession: Am, G, C, D, Bm, and the F chord. It’s a great song to play that will impress your audience.
11. “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door” – Bob Dylan/Guns N’ Roses
The cover that Guns N’ Roses did of “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door” by Bob Dylan is an excellent song to have in your guitar repertoire. You can also play this one on an electric guitar to give it a different sound.
The chords in this song go from G to D, the A Minor chord, G, D, and C, with alternating between the A minor chord and the C chord as the final. For the chorus, you play as G chord, D chord, and C chord, then back to alternating when going to the verse.
12. “The Joker” – Steve Miller Band
Many people recognize this song but don’t really know the name of it. This is another great example of a song with only three chords, making it easier to practice. The chords are all played in a steady pattern – G, Cadd9, and D.
This is a great example of using your fingering to do some guitar picking once you get more confident in your playing ability. You can mimic the bass line with your fingers rather than just play the easy chords.
13. “Wildest Dreams” – Taylor Swift
If you want to play more popular songs, this one by Taylor Swift is an easier one for the guitar. This is a great example to help you learn how to switch between chords.
The song has five chords, but they are easier open chords to play. With a capo at the first fret, you play the C chord, E minor chord, D chord, G chord, and A minor chord. The key is to encompass the dreamy sound of the song.
14. “All The Small Things” – Blink 182
Another popular song and smash hit, going in a different genre of punk and pop, “All The Small Things” is a crowd-pleaser to play that will have everyone singing along. It revolves around the C power chord on the third fret of the A string, a G power chord on the third of the low E string, and a power chord in the F position.
You can practice your strumming pattern, it’s easy to learn because it’s a steady down pick. You also can work on your palm mutes, where you use your full hand to deaden the strings when playing them.
15. “Chasing Cars” – Snow Patrol
Another in the more modern realm, this song features a really neat melodic guitar riff that uses picking so you can practice with your fingers. It’s a breakaway easy song that doesn’t use such chord-heavy playing.
Playing this uses the chords A, E/G sharp, D, D2, and Dmaj7. You play in a down-pick fashion that matches up with the vocals.
16. “Learning To Fly” – Tom Petty
A great beginner song to learn, the chord progression is played on repeat throughout with very minor variations. The chords are played as follows: F, C, A minor, and G.
17. “Rockin’ In The Free World” – Neil Young
One of those hard rock songs that is played in a minor key, Neil Young’s classic song is another easy riff. The chords are played in E minor, D, C, G, and A.
18. “Ho Hey” – The Lumineers
The Lumineers were genius by using just four chords to get a ton of recognition. A great song for beginning guitar players, “Ho Hey” uses the chords in the key of C, with the progression of F chord, C chord, A minor, and G chord.
You have opportunities to vary the fingers in your F and G chords. So you can play around a bit more with this tune.
19. “Good Riddance (Time of Your Life” – Green Day)
With a capo, this song is a very popular and nostalgic-feeling tune. It’s also relatively simple to play on the guitar. The chords are arpeggiated in the beginning of the song, but they can be strummed as well. In the key G, the chords are G, C, D, Cadd9, and E minor.
20. “Mother” – Pink Floyd
The Wall was an incredibly popular album for Pink Floyd. The song ” Mother” uses a simple chord progression played in the G key. Pay attention to the strumming pattern in this song when playing the chords.: G, C, D, and F.
21. “No Rain” – Blind Melon
The guitar tab for Blind Melon’s “No Rain” is a great alternative and grunge song that most people are familiar with. The four guitar chords used are E, A, G, and D, with an E7 brought in for embellishment.
22. “Summer of ’69” – Bryan Adams
This influential rock song can be played on an electric guitar if you’re so inclined. In the Key of D, it’s played with guitar chords D, A, G, B minor, F, B flat, and D minor. It’s a very fun and uplifting tune that will have everyone rocking out!
23. “Mr. Jones” – Counting Crows
Even though the song is played in a minor chord, “Mr. Jones” is a great song for a beginner to learn. It may take some time to master, but it’s a good five-chord progression of A minor, F, D minor, G, and C.
24. “Stand By Me” – Ben E. King
The intro’s riff in this song all has to do with timing, so you’ll have to practice and listen closely. But it has open chord shapes with the progression of C, Am, F, and G. Everyone knows and will sing along to this classic tune!
25. “A Horse With No Name” – America
You can practice your strumming patterns with this song since it’s a little different than most songs. The chords are what make it easy, with just these four: Em, D6/9, Em9, and Dmaj9.
26.”Thinking Out Loud” – Ed Sheeran
Ed Sheeran is a popular artist who often plays the acoustic guitar, and his slow love song “Thinking Out Loud” is a perfect song for any beginner who is learning. The key to this is using your ear to pick up the timing when playing the chords – C, C/E, F, G, Dm, and Am.
The part of the song that goes, “maybe we found love right where we are,” has a chord change with each word. This can make it difficult at first, but you’ll soon have it mastered with some time.
27. “Wonderwall” – Oasis
The strumming techniques in this song are what make up the challenging part for a beginner. It will take a little bit of time to work out the chord progression and play it. The chords are as follows: Em, G, D, A, and C.
28. “Buddy Holly” – Weezer
The song that got Weezer the recognition and a fun song to learn on the guitar. If you’re a fan of 90’s tunes, you can enjoy learning the chords in a minor key (F sharp ). The chord pattern goes G#, A, D, Dm, F#m, E, and C#m. It’s a great example of how to learn to play different keys since it’s not a major chord.
29. “Small Town” – John Mellencamp
A throwback song is a great uptempo play for the guitar. It’s especially a lot of fun to play if you live in a small town! The chords for this play are simple chords: G, D, C, and A minor.
30. “Every Rose Has its Thorn” – Poison
Maybe you’re more into 80s power ballads. This great song from Poison has an easy strumming pattern with open chords G, Cadd9, D, C, and Em.
31. “About a Girl” – Nirvana
If you’re into learning songs that are lesser known, “About a Girl” by Nirvana is from their first album Bleach. This is a great example of the first steps to learning how to switch across many chords, as the number of chords is large: Em, G, C#, G3, F#, A, and C.
32. “Disarm” – The Smashing Pumpkins
The Smashing Pumpkins have some great songs to learn on the guitar, one being “Disarm.” It’s a straightforward song with easy chords in the E minor key: Em7, Cadd9, G, Dsus4, F#, D, and Em. The chords can be a bit tricky to learn at first, so it takes some practice to get the hang of it.
33. “Closing Time” – Semisonic
This four-chord progression song that goes G, D, Am, and C is repetitive, which makes it an easy guitar song to practice and learn quickly. You can find your own strumming pattern to sing along to where it doesn’t exactly match the recording, too, making it fun.
34. “I Ran” – Flock of Seagulls
Want to start with a song that only uses two chords? This simple song from the 80s uses some cool synthesizer sounds and a delay effect on the guitar. But when played plainly, the two chords are played with A minor and G to make up this hit.
35. “I Walk The Line” – Johnny Cash
Johnny Cash had multiple number-one hits during his career. One of his well-known songs, “I Walk The Line,” is one of his simple guitar songs for beginners to learn, and it also has multiple chords to help with your learning to do progressions and switching. It uses the major chords E, A, and D, and the strumming pattern goes like E/A/E/A/D/A/E/A.
36. “Ain’t No Sunshine” – Bill Withers
Bill Withers had a hit that is a class song today with “Ain’t No Sunshine” in the key of A minor. The chords used include Am, Em, and G. And just consider how easy it is to play when you’re holding the part that goes “I know, I know, I know, I know, I know….”
37. “Stay With Me” – Sam Smith
This song got some scrutiny because of its similarity to the song “Won’t Back Down” by Tom Petty. The chords are only slightly different, but the strumming pattern is very close. This song uses Am, F, and C chords, while Petty’s classic song uses Em, D, and G.
38. “Creep” – Radiohead
This is another karaoke favorite for people, “Creep” uses a four chord progression that goes G, B, C, and Cm. Even though it was dubbed as a song that was too depressing, many people find it to be a fun song to sing.
39. “Free Fallin” – Tom Petty
There is nothing too fancy, but there is a lot of soul in Tom Petty’s songs, and they are excellent tunes to learn and play on your guitar. “Free Fallin'” comes from the album Full Moon Fever and was a huge hit for the band. The four-chord progression is simple with D, A, Dsus4, and E.
40. “Comfortably Numb” – Pink Floyd
Another Pink Floyd song that makes it easy to learn guitar, “Comfortably Numb” is a popular song with a slow tempo and heavily utilizes open chords. It’s great for a beginner guitar player to work on switching between the chords for Bm, A, G, Em, D, A, and C.
41. “Seven Turns” – The Allman Brothers
You can’t play guitar and not have an Allman Brothers song in your repertoire. There are so many songs that you could learn, but “Seven Turns” is the easiest guitar song of them all. The chord progression for this tune goes C, G, Em, D, and C/B.
42. “I’m Gonne Be (500 Miles)” – The Proclaimers
Learning a staccato-style strumming pattern can be useful with this hit song. You can practice how to strum up and down to a predetermined tempo (listen to the tune to get the hang of it). It only uses three chords, but they are strummed in a particular fashion, going E, A, B.
43. “3 AM” – Matchbox Twenty
The song “3 AM” is an easy song for beginners because it’s catchy. Many guitarists who start off learning want to play songs that they know and like, and this song helps get you off to a great start.
The open chords make it easy to play: G, Cadd9, D, and Em. You can also get fancy and learn the fingering and picking pattern at the very beginning of the song once you’ve mastered the strum.
44. “Simple Man” – Lynyrd Skynyrd
This three-chord masterpiece from Lynyrd Skynyrd is more fun to play than “Free Bird.” The recording has the chords more arpeggiated, but you can strum them on an acoustic guitar, and it still sounds excellent. The chords are C, G, and Am.
45. “Wild Thing” – The Troggs
Your easy song list for the guitar is not complete without “Wild Thing” by The Troggs. The song uses a 1-4-5 chord progression with A, D, E, and G. Another song that’s well-known and will have people singing along to it!
46. “Sympathy for the Devil” – The Rolling Stones
A great cover of this is done by Guns N’ Roses, but The Rolling Stones made an easy song of “Sympathy for the Devil.” It’s a welcome song for beginners to learn to play because the verse only uses three chords: E, D, and A. The chorus uses just two chords: B and E.
47. “What I Got” – Sublime
Sublime got a smash hit with “What I Got,” and one you should learn the guitar tabs for so you can play it. There’s no specific strumming pattern for this song, so you can feel free to experiment with it, but with just a two-chord pattern, it is pretty simple: D, G / D, G.
48. “Fire on the Mountain” – Grateful Dead
People love to hear the Grateful Dead songs, and you can easily learn a couple of them to put under your belt as a beginner. One song in particular, “Fire on the Mountain,” uses the two chords B and A to make it an extremely simple song to learn.
49. “Landslide” – Fleetwood Mac
Another song that can help you learn finger styles, the movement of this on the guitar with the capo on the third fret is utilized in another song (“Simple Man” by Lynyrd Skynyrd). For this tune, you can work on fingerpicking with the chords C, G, and B.
50. “With or Without You” – U2
A four-chord classic song, U2 couldn’t miss our beginner guitar list. This song is excellent for playing, singing, and solos on the guitar. The strumming technique is a “1 and 2 and” type of strum. The chords used are D, A, Bm, and G.
Essential Guitar Chords for Beginners
Starting with easy songs is the best way to practice and learn chords as a guitar player. And you’re never too old to learn! Guitar tabs are easy-to-read chord pictures that show you where your fingers could go.
Taking a look at three of the same chords you will see many times throughout since they are used in many songs, let’s break down what it looks like on a chord chart:
The numbers correspond with your fingers, showing you where they go on the fret and on what strings. So looking at a chord, we’ll look at C Major, your index finger is 1, your middle finger is 2 and your ring finger is 3.
The “X” indicates that you DO NOT play that string. The “O” indicates that you play the strong ‘open’, or without a finger on it. The number “1” on the upper left side indicates it is the first fret on your guitar.
There are also many other popular songs out there that utilize simple chords you can learn. Take a look at some songs by Johnny Cash, Elvis Presley, or John Denver. Practicing is also the most important tool because the more time you can spend playing, the better you’ll be.
It can also be most helpful to take guitar lessons from an instructor. A guitar player is going to know the best tips and tricks and can adapt to your learning needs as a beginner. Eventually, you’ll go from learning simple chords and progressions to learning songs.
So, bring your guitar the next time you go camping and work on some chords by the campfire, or take it with you on your next vacation so that you can spend as much time as possible working on your craft. Play along with recordings, stopping to repeat trouble spots until you can really get them down. Go ahead and start playing!