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10 Of the Best Easy Guitar Songs for Beginners

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by Jennifer VanBenschoten
10 Of the Best Easy Guitar Songs for Beginners

When you’re a beginning guitar player, there’s nothing more satisfying than learning some easy guitar songs to play with your friends. I’m a big believer that although scales and technical exercises are great, they can only get you so far. In my experience, nothing made me better at guitar when I was a beginner than learning actual songs that I loved to play! 

Even if you’re an intermediate guitar player, or a seasoned pro, there are still lots of reasons to play easy guitar songs for beginners. The best reason I can think of is that sometimes it’s nice to play something easy so you can let yourself get lost in the music. Plus, many popular songs are also easy guitar songs, so you can play songs that lots of people know, and they might want to sing along with you!

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If you want to make this year, the year that you finally learn how to play guitar, I put together a short list of 10 of my favorite guitar songs for beginners. Most of these songs belong to the 3-chord or 4-chord song club, and a couple of them have some fancy-sounding chord names that are actually pretty easy to play!

Take a look at some of these guitar songs for beginners:

3 Little Birds

This classic tune by the late great Bob Marley uses just three chords: A major, D major, and E major. All of these are beginner-friendly chords that sound great when played in first position on the guitar, and they’re a great introduction to making smooth chord changes. A real feel-good tune to play on the guitar for beginners, it also has the potential for you to put your own personal spin on it and really make it your own. 

Stand By Me

Another great song by Ben E. King that’s suitable for a wide range of audiences, from kids on up to adults! This tune uses the chords of G major, E minor, C major, and D major. It’s perfect for sing-alongs around a campfire or with school groups. This is a super soulful tune that brings back lots of great memories for some of us who grew up in the 80s.  

A Horse With No Name

One of my favorites to play on the guitar, because it’s so easy and you can really rock out to it! While there are a few more advanced versions of this song floating around, you really only need two basic chords to play it: E minor and a D6/9. Don’t let that second chord fool you – it’s just pressing down on the second fret of the sixth (low E) and third (G) strings of the guitar with all the other strings open!  

Zombie

If you’re looking for a great song with just four chords that will help you practice making smooth chord changes, this is for you! It uses just four basic chords: E minor, C major, G major, and D major. It’s another great song that’s easy to rock out to when you’re practicing your guitar chords! This is another one of those great songs that sounds just as good when you play it slowly as you do when you get it up to tempo. A great anti-war song by the Cranberries!

Free Fallin’

This easy guitar song is great for beginners! By one of my favorite musicians, Tom Petty, this song can be played with just the A major, D major, and E major chords. It’s another fun song for playing with friends and sounds great on an acoustic guitar! 

Time Of Your Life

Green Day songs are so much fun to play on the guitar! Especially for a beginner, learning how to play this song is also a great introduction to fingerpicking patterns – you can strum it or use a fingerpicking pattern! This 4-chord song that uses G major, D major, C major, and E minor, but it’s also a great introduction to using a Cadd9 chord if you’re feeling adventurous!

Read more: Know the Guitar String Notes 

Brown Eyed Girl

A fun feel-good song, this one is also a member of the four-chord song club! You’ll only need to know the G major, D major, C major, and E minor chords to play this classic by Van Morrison. The chord changes in this one happen quickly, so take it slow at first until you’re comfortable making smooth chord changes. 

Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door

Who could forget the Guns ‘n’ Roses cover of this Bob Dylan standard? You don’t necessarily have to play guitar like Slash, but you do need to know your G major, D major, C major, and A minor chords. This is another fun song to help you practice that chord change from G major to D major that comes up in so many guitar songs for beginners. 

What’s Up?

I have to admit: this song by 4 Non Blondes was an important part of my life soundtrack while I was working my way through college and beyond. It’s a great rock song that sounds just as good to me now as it did when I was in my 20s! The best part is that it’s a great guitar song for beginners because you just need to know the G major, A minor, and C major chords. The chord changes flow naturally in this tune!

Yellow Submarine

No list of the best guitar songs for beginners would be complete without at least one song by The Beatles! The chords you need to know to play Yellow Submarine are just G major, D major, C major, E minor, and A minor. A couple more than my favorite 3-chord classic songs, but still a great tune to challenge a beginner. 

Missing You Ukulele Chords - John Wait

Feeling inspired to move beyond beginner guitar player status? Then take a look at all the great online guitar courses available at the Terry Carter Music Store/Rock Like the Pros! You’ll find courses on strumming, blues, and music theory that will help take you from beginner to advanced. And because they’re all self-paced, you can work at a speed that’s comfortable and convenient for you! Whether you choose to purchase one course, a pack of courses, or become a monthly or annual member, you’ll find helpful videos, printables, and backing tracks that make you feel like you’re playing with a full band. Check out all the great guitar courses and level up your guitar skills!

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