30 Easy Guitar Songs for Beginners

If you’re learning how to play guitar, there’s nothing more satisfying than learning a new song. It’s what playing the guitar is all about, right?

But here’s the thing: beginners often start with songs that are too difficult for their level.

The secret is to start with basic guitar songs. Songs to play with two, three, or a maximum of four easy chords are the best.

To help you out, we’ve compiled a list of easy guitar songs for beginners.

For each song, we’ve included a video of the original song so you can hear how it’s supposed to sound, along with a link to find the chords. You won’t require barre chords for most of these songs (most use open chords), but if you find one that does, check out our guide to playing barre chords). The strumming patterns should be pretty easy too.

Ready? Let’s get to it then.

‘Horse With No Name’ – America

You wanted easy? I’ll give you easy. This is one of the easiest guitar songs ever.

The chords probably won’t be the ones you’ve learned already, but that doesn’t matter for the purpose of this song. Just learn where to put your fingers, and enjoy the results.

Here are the guitar chords.

‘Chasing Cars’ – Snow Patrol

This tender love song is one of the most played songs of the last few years. Everyone knows it, most love it, and the good news for you is that it’s pretty easy to play. It just requires three chords, you can manage that right?

Here are the guitar chords.

‘Unknown Legend’ – Neil Young

A lesser-known track by one of our best songwriters, it’s surprisingly easy to play (just two chords). It centers around a girl on a Harley Davidson motorcycle, so if you’re into your bikes (or better still, know a woman who is) then this is a must-learn track.

Here are the guitar chords.

‘Three Little Birds’ – Bob Marley

No list of beginner guitar songs would be complete without this Bob Marley classic. Of course, you have the whole “don’t worry” line, which instantly relaxes anyone who hears it. Provided you don’t sound like a blocked drain when you sing it 🙂

Here are the guitar chords.

‘She Will be Loved’ – Maroon 5

One of the best pop bands in recent years, Maroon 5’s ‘She Will be Loved’ is a mid-tempo tune about loving a woman who’s being neglected by her guy. It’s an easy song to play and sounds great if you can hit the high notes.

Here are the guitar chords.

‘Love Me Do’ – The Beatles

The world and his mother know this one by those famous mop tops from Liverpool. Learn to play it and wheel it out at your next family gathering. If you have any Beatles fans in the family (most have – if you don’t, get a new family :-)) then they’ll love it.

Eleanor Rigby is another easy song by the fab four.

Here are the guitar chords.

‘Boys Around Here’ – Blake Shelton

With the line “chew tobacco, chew tobacco, chew tobacco, spit” it’s another for an acquired taste. It’s one of the most requested country dance club songs – so if that’s your thang – then go learn it. It’s also just two chords.

Here are the guitar chords.

‘Sweet Home Alabama’ – Lynyrd Skynyrd

Sweet Home Alabama is one of the best songs about home ever recorded, so popular in fact that the State of Alabama uses the phrase ‘Sweet Home Alabama’ as the official slogan on car license plates!

It’s also one of the best beginner guitar songs by one of the best ’70s bands.

Here are the guitar chords.

‘Free Fallin’ – Tom Petty

Co-written and produced by ELO frontman Jeff Lynne, ‘Free Fallin’ is a great little song. It’s easy enough for the beginner too (just three chords.)

Here are the guitar chords.

‘Achy Breaky Heart’ – Billy Ray Cyrus

This country music classic from the ’90s is a bit like marmite. Some love it, others can’t stand it. If you’re in the first camp, learning to play it will be a breeze (it’s just two chords). Just don’t try spreading it on toast 🙂

Here are the guitar chords.

‘Bad Moon Rising’ – Creedence Clearwater Revival

Guitar players listen up! If you learn only one song from this list, make it this one. It will serve you well for the rest of your playing career.

If you’re a fan of 80s werewolf movies, you’ll also know it’s the song that rolls at the final credits. Hence why we include it on our songs about wolves playlist too.

Here are the guitar chords.

‘Lively Up Yourself’ – Bob Marley

Two Marley songs on the list? Well, what’s the harm! It’s a catchy little number, and a joy to learn. If you need help with the reggae strumming pattern, check out our strumming patterns for guitar guide.

Here are the guitar chords.

‘Talkin’ Bout A Revolution’ – Tracy Chapman

One of the most famous revolution songs (ok, maybe the Beatles’ ‘Revolution’ is more famous). Chapman was untouchable in the 80s and came out of nowhere to adorn charts on both sides of the Atlantic with her brilliant songs.

Here are the guitar chords.

‘I’m on Fire’ – Bruce Springsteen

Here’s a song about a guy who wakes in the middle of the night with ‘the sweats’ on for a girl. This auto mechanic has the hots (quite literally) for this highfalutin lady. If you watch the video till the end, he decides against it. It’s so good, we include it on our songs about fire playlist.

Here are the guitar chords for this fire song.

‘Zombie’ – The Cranberries

Here’s a call for peace and the end of violence in Northern Ireland. You can play it with four chords (C G D/F#), so it ticks the easy song box.

Here are the guitar chords.

‘Wonderful Tonight’ – Eric Clapton

You don’t usually associate easy songs with Clapton. Usually, his material is anything but (try playing ‘Layla’ with three chords!). You can just scrape by with ‘Wonderful Tonight’ on five chords though. It’s a great song if you can manage it.

Here are the guitar chords.

‘Skinny Love’ – Bon Iver

Ok, there’s no way this should be on the list. It uses seven chords! But one of those is a one-note chord (D6sus2), and the rest are fairly straightforward. It’s such a great song with superb guitar playing, that it’s worth going the extra mile for.

Here are the guitar chords.

‘Don’t Fear The Reaper’ – Blue Oyster Cult

One from our songs for Halloween playlist, ‘Don’t Fear The Reaper’ urges us not to be afraid of, well, death.

Here are the guitar chords.

‘Satisfaction’ – The Rolling Stones

Every guitar player will know this one by The Stones. For some, it’s the song that made them pick up a guitar in the first place.

The good news is you can manage it just with three chords. It sounds better on an electric guitar (with distortion turned up, and a cigarette hanging out your mouth in true Keith Richards style) but you can play it on an acoustic guitar too.

Here are the guitar chords.

‘Imagine’ – John Lennon

There’s nothing to say about ‘Imagine’ that hasn’t already been said countless times. It was one of Lennon’s best solo songs (probably his best), and one of pop music’s finest moments that is now one of the most famous anthems for change. The guitar chords aren’t hard either.

Here are the guitar chords.

‘Stuck In The Middle With You’ – Steelers Wheel

If you’re a fan of Quentin Tarantino movies you’ll know this one from his first movie, the brilliant Reservoir Dogs. It’s played in the scene when, well, you have to just see it.

Here are the guitar chords.

‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’ – Deep Blue Something

One of the easiest guitar songs, it’s a simple three-chord song.

The great thing about this one is you play the same three chords for the verse, then just switch the order for the chorus, making it super easy to play.

Here are the guitar chords.

‘Stand By Me’ – Ben E. King

Here’s another classic using a simple four-chord progression. Check out this incredible version.

It’s an easy guitar song that can be played with just four chords.

Here are the guitar chords.

‘The Joker’ – The Steve Miller Band

Another simple song from the Steve Miller band, The Joker is one of those foot tappers that’s just fun to play.

Here are the guitar chords.

‘Get Lucky’ – Daft Punk ft. Pharrell Williams & Nile Rodgers

Let’s get our funk on with this modern classic.

Here are the guitar chords.

‘Pompeii’ – Bastille

Now for something a bit more alternative, from UK indie rockers Bastille. Take a quick listen:

You can play this in open tuning, but it’s better with a guitar capo at the 2nd fret.

Here are the guitar chords.

‘Knockin’ on Heavens Door’ – Bob Dylan

What list of easy guitar songs would be complete without some Bob Dylan. Knocking on Heaven’s Door is really easy.

Here are the guitar chords.

‘Hallelujah’ – Leonard Cohen

Easily one of the best songs ever written in my opinion, by easily one of the best songwriters. Like Dylan, Leonard Cohen was in a different league when it came to songs, and I reckon he’ll be remembered like Shakespeare in years to come.

If you can manage to learn this song, it’s a beauty. Not the easiest on the list, but worth the effort.

Here are the guitar chords.

‘Brown Eyed Girl’ – Van Morrison

A staple at weddings and, well, if you know a woman with brown eyes. Van Morrison himself doesn’t even rate the song that highly (he’s probably sick of playing it), but as beginner songs go, it’s worth learning.

Here are the guitar chords.

‘Have You Ever Seen The Rain’ – Creedence Clearwater Revival

The short-lived ‘Creedence Clearwater Revival’ managed to knock out a bunch of brilliant songs in their time as a band. They made some of the best guitar songs ever in my opinion (also check out ‘Bad Moon Rising’… I mean come on, what a tune!)

Here are the guitar chords.

Ok, we’re done. This list should give you plenty to work on 🙂 See, we hardly needed barre chords or guitar tabs.

Good luck!

More Beginner Songs (in case you needed more!)

  • ‘Time Of Your Life’ – Green Day
  • ‘When You Say Nothing At All’ – Alison Krauss
  • ‘Just the Way You Are’ – Bruno Mars
  • ‘505’ – Arctic Monkeys
  • ‘Shake It Off’ – Taylor Swift
  • ‘Blurred Lines’ – Robin Thicke
  • ‘Stay With Me’ – Sam Smith
  • ‘Born in the USA’ – Bruce Springsteen
  • ‘Seven Nation Army’ – The White Stripes
  • ‘I Can’t Quit You Baby’ – Led Zeppelin

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About Ged Richardson

Ged Richardson is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of ZingInstruments.com. He has been featured in Entrepreneur, PremierGuitar, Hallmark, Wanderlust, CreativeLive, and other major publications. As an avid music fan, he spends his time researching and writing about new and old music, as well as testing and reviewing music-related products. He's played guitar in various bands, from rock to gypsy jazz. Be sure to check out his YouTube channel, where he geeks out about his favorite bands.

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