As a beginning guitarist all you need to develop your skills is a good list of easy guitar songs for beginners. The beauty of the guitar is that you can learn to play a huge amount of songs pretty quickly from the start. It gives an enormous kick to be able to play along with well-known songs. And the positive reactions from friends and family will also motivate you to continue. I have compiled a list of 99 songs that will get you started right away.
How to use the list of easy guitar songs
Based on a week of research reviewing loads of easy guitar songs and my 35 years of experience as a guitarist I’ve built a challenging list of songs that you can use to increase the difficulty for yourself in various ways. I’d like to briefly explain that.
Playing guitar starts with learning to play chords. For the first list of songs you only need to master 2 chords. In doing so, you begin by learning to play what are known as open chords. These are the simplest guitar chords and they are usually played in the so-called first position: that is at the very front of the guitar neck, close to the guitar’s tuning knobs. A little later you can also try playing so-called barre chords. In these chords you cover all six strings with your index finger, and put your other fingers on the different frets ‘behind your index finger’.
You can then challenge yourself by choosing songs with more chords. It then becomes more difficult for yourself, because you will also have to change chords more often and faster. I have compiled lists of songs with 3 chords, songs with 4 chords, and songs with 5 chords. In other words, if you go through the list ‘vertically’, it becomes increasingly difficult because the songs will consist of more and more chords.
But also if you go through the list ‘horizontally’ the complexity increases. For each song, in addition to the chord diagrams, I have included links to guitar tablature, abbreviated as ‘tabs‘. With guitar tablature you can see exactly which fret positions are played. Here you can see more details. For example, so-called ’embellishments’ of chords, which make chords sound nicer with some extra notes, or for example a certain melody line of the song. In the beginning it might be a bit difficult, but you can always make it easier for yourself by leaving out certain embellishments or notes. And for the two song chords the tabs are often identical to the chords, so it doesn’t get too difficult right away.
Because I’ve included links to both chord diagrams and tabs, you’ll learn to approach songs in different ways, and you’ll experience that there are always multiple ways (with different positions on the guitar neck!) to play a song. I have also included links to instructional videos on youtube, in which different guitar teachers demonstrate their approach, so you can also see how others play. Based on this information, you can choose which way appeals to you the most, and which fits your current playing level.
Now let’s get to it! There are songs in several genres, from several decades so there are plenty of songs of your liking in this list. Go ahead and try to play some easy two chord guitar songs, or read more information below to prepare yourself even better.
Learning how to play easy guitar songs
Reading Chord Diagrams
Chord diagrams are symbolic pictures of the fretboard on the guitar neck seen from above. The vertical lines represent the strings, the horizontal lines the frets. On the frets you place your fingers (place them right below the fret bars).
The bottom most string is called the sixth string. It is on the far left of the picture. The thinnest upper string is called the first string. This one is at the very right of the picture.
At the very top of the picture is the name of the chord. The thick line underneath represents the so-called ‘nut’ of the guitar: the last piece of the guitar neck on which the strings rest, on their way to the tuning mechanics. At the bottom are numbers, either an X or a 0:
- X means you shouldn’t play this string or you should ‘mute’ it.
- 0 means you should play an open string here, that is, the string without any of your fingers on it.
- The numbers 1, 2, 3 or 4 refer to the first, second, third and fourth finger on your hand. And the T stands for your thumb.
Playing With a Capo
A capo is a clamp that you can place at any position on the guitar neck. With a capo, you raise the key of the guitar. For example, if you place a capo on the second fret, and play a C chord, it sounds like a D chord.
The big advantage for beginning guitarists is that a capo makes playing guitar much easier. So use a capo right away, because it will motivate you to learn more and faster. In the lists of songs below are therefore several instructional videos in which the song is played with a capo.
Another advantage is that you can give the same chords a different sound (alternative voicing), if you play them with the help of a capo. And if you play together with other people, you can also easily change the key of a song without having to play different chords. So no problem if a singer or a keyboard player has learned the song in a different key. Capo on it, and you can play together perfectly in the same key. Make sure you clamp the capo correctly: always place the capo parallel to the fret bar, when you ‘release’ the capo to secure the strings.
You may also like to read my review of best guitar capos:
Different Strumming Patterns
If you can play a few chords, with and without a capo, the challenge in the beginning will be to be able to change chords quickly. At first, you’ll want to look at your own fingers to see if they’re landing on the right frets. But soon you will find that this is no longer necessary. Practice well on the chord transitions and try to work towards being able to change chords with your eyes closed!
In addition to changing chords, the rhythm with which you play the chords is important. The list below includes many references to Ultimate-Guitar, one of the largest chord and tab databases on the Internet. On the chord pages you will also find strumming patterns.
Tips for learning strumming patterns:
- Practice the pattern with only one chord;
- Pronounce the pattern out loud while playing;
- Relax your arms;
- Hold your pick loosely in your hand;
- And keep a loose wrist;
- Then try to play along with the song.
Blisters and Sore Fingers?!
Okay, now for the part they don’t tell you about beforehand, and the part that advanced guitarists have often already forgotten: sore fingers. When you start playing guitar, the calluses on your fingertips have yet to form. In contrast to the motivation of “getting the hang of” familiar beautiful songs, and the applause from friends and family, is the pain you will feel in your fingers in the beginning. Your fingers will say, “what part of ouch do you not understand?”
My message is: hang in there! The pain will lessen and the blisters will go away and give way to a feature you will share with all other guitarists: a protecting layer of calluses on your fingertips! Every guitarist has gone through this phase, and you can too!
Two chord easy guitar songs
Three chord easy guitar songs
Four chord easy guitar songs
Five chord easy guitar songs
The Bottom Line
Thanks for visiting my list of 99 easy guitar songs! I hope the list helps you with your first steps on the path of a becoming a great guitarist. I would love to hear about your experiences or maybe your tips to add to and improve this list. Don’t hesitate to leave a comment below.
Happy playing! 🎸