Are you learning to play the guitar – or teaching a child to play – and wondering which might be the best numbers to get you or them started? It’s important for beginners to have fun in the early stages and not to take on anything too challenging.
Good songs to learn on guitar for beginners will turn your new musical journey into a much more enjoyable experience. Some tunes are easier than others, so picking an achievable beginner guitar chord songs will help you develop without becoming frustrated.
Read on to find out which songs will help you develop faster and make the process more satisfying. You might just find some of your favourite tunes and artists in our suggestions.
Super easy guitar songs for beginners
A guitar is a fantastic instrument to learn because it’s so versatile and portable. You can play anytime, anywhere and can accompany yourself if you’re a singer. While it’s a great beginner’s instrument, it’ll work for you right through your life – even as a full time professional, best-selling musician. Learning guitar has been brilliant for the likes of Ed Sheeran, Taylor Swift, George Ezra and Carrie Underwood.
Here’s Ed busking with his guitar before he became famous.
Beginner Guitar Chord Songs
Doing anything for the first time can be daunting, and it’s common to start learning to play an instrument, then give up on it. To prevent this, give yourself the best possible start. A major part of that is picking the right song with a low number of chords to grasp. The good news is there are loads of great guitar tracks – old and new – that you can master with very few skills. You’ll feel great and want to keep playing.
So what makes a song easy to play?
What is the best first song to learn on guitar?
You need to pick tunes that have easy chords at first and a simple chord progression.
The best first songs to play will also be memorable and ones that you like – many of which won’t be as complicated as you might have thought. You’ll need to play the song, and sections of the song over and over again so you get the hang of it. You have a wide choice of song types from which to choose, so a good place to start is with your favourite genre.
If you have experience of another stringed instrument, such as a ukulele, you might want to start with something slightly more challenging (we’ll let you know which these are on our list).
Easy pop songs on guitar
We’ll begin with the most common and as the name would suggest, popular, type of music. Pop songs are generally easy to master and if you already know the number, you’ll find it comes to you faster – especially if you have a musical ear.
#1 Eleanor Rigby by The Beatles
Some classic pop next from one of the biggest bands that ever was. The Beatles soared to international fame with a couple of guitars, a drum kit, great voices and some killer tunes. Eleanor Rigby is one for the storytellers and has a quirky topline. But best of all for guitarists, this simple two-chord tune mimics that of another Beatles hit, Paperback Writer. So learn one and you’ll swiftly be able to master the other adding not one, but two numbers to the beginnings of your repertoire.
#2 Hey Soul Sister by Train
This is an easy strum four chord wonder that’s bound to have you tapping your feet and humming along. Like Shake It Off, it’s a feel-good song perfect for keeping you invested in playing. Unlike some other songs, this doesn’t need much more than some strings to fill it out.
#3 Pompei by Bastille
This uses four chords and has a nice simple structure. It’s not quite as overdone as some of the others so might suit some of you better if you like to avoid more hackneyed tunes.
#4 Blurred Lines by Robin Thicke
The song, the singer and that performance with Miley Cyrus have caused some controversy. But the tune itself is super easy on the guitar with just two chords to master and it’s a lot of fun to play.
#5 Shotgun by George Ezra
Another contemporary artist who’s rarely on stage without his guitar is George Ezra. If you’re a singer this is a winner. You just have to learn the chords as backing and sing the melody over the top.
#6 Brown Eyed Girl by Van Morrison
Another classic this uses four chords but is a gentle tune that won’t take long to pick up. It’s also a cinch to sing along with too and as everyone knows it, your friends and family will be impressed to hear you playing this longtime hit.
#7 I Ran by Flock of Seagulls
Have you seen that scene in La La Land where Mia runs into Seb and requests I Ran? It sounds impressive, right? Yet this song is deceptively simple to learn. It was originally a 1980s hit and uses just two chords, making it totally achievable for those just starting out – and it might just become your party piece.
#8 Stir It Up by Bob Marley
How about trying some reggae? Using just three chords, this Bob Marley classic is bound to have you in a summery chilled mood – which in turn will make you want to keep playing longer. And it’s a great one to strum at your next barbeque.
#9 Wonderwall by Oasis
This iconic 1990s hit is often a popular one for novice players. It’s ever so slightly trickier than those on our list so far in that it’s a five chord song – so if you already play the uke, banjo or have some musical experience it’ll be a good beginner song for the guitar. But it’s a simple and very recognisable melody that will come to most budding guitarists without too much trouble.
#10 Photograph by Ed Sheeran
Of course, we couldn’t have a pop guitar list without one of Ed Sheeran’s mega hits. Here’s how to play a simplified version of this tune.
What is the easiest country song to learn on acoustic guitar?
#11 Jambalaya (On The Bayou) by Hank Williams
Originally sung by Hank Williams, you may be more familiar with The Carpenters cover of Jambalaya. It uses two chords, but this video will also show you the next step of how to add in some flourishes once you’ve got those chords nailed.
#12 Sweet Home Alabama by Lynyrd Skynyrd
A three-chord guitar classic made famous by the movie starring Reese Witherspoon. The repetition means it’s a piece of cake to play once you get the chords down.
#13 Tennesse Whisky by Chris Stapleton
Just two chords are all that’s required for this one – although you will need a capo. (A capo is a device that’s clipped to the neck of the guitar. This shortens the strings and raises the pitch to transpose the sound).
#14 Achy Breaky Heart by Billy Ray Cyrus
Another two-chord song, but without the need for a capo, this is perfect for those who are brand new to playing any kind of music. This cheesy 1990s hit was made by no less than Miley Cyrus’ dad – Billy Ray.
Easy acoustic guitar songs
Even if you want to play the electric guitar, you’ll need to learn on an acoustic instrument first. Once you’ve grasped the basics you can then move on. As electric guitars are so loud, your family or flatmates won’t want to hear your very first practices at full blast.
They’re also much more expensive and require amps, so a budget acoustic guitar is the best place to start until you know you’ll be sticking with it. It’s likely you’ll move between the two over time as a guitarist, making your skills even more versatile across genres.
Easy folk guitar songs for beginners
The acoustic sound lends itself well to folk music. You’ll find this genre crosses over a great deal with other genres such as folk-country and folk-rock. It’s also possible to take a heavier song and give it a folk or country twang by doing an acoustic cover.
#15 Landslide by Fleetwood Mac
This is where folk meets rock meets country. Learn to play some Fleetwood Mac if you like popular and retro folk songs. This particular number is more of a soulful folk ballad originally recorded by Stevie Nicks, and later by the Dixie Chicks.
#16 Knocking on Heaven’s Door by Bob Dylan
Dylan was a guitar legend and penned this beautiful three-chord tune. Put heart and soul into it and you’ll make your audience shed a tear.
Bad Moon Rising by CCR
The genre of this one is debatable as it’s been covered in so many different styles. But that’s its beauty. Play it on an acoustic guitar and it’ll take on a folksy sound. Once you’ve got the hang of it you can also change the tempo for a reggae vibe. Or if you have an electric guitar, you might want to rock it up. Which brings us onto…
Easy electric guitar riffs
Perhaps you already play acoustic or want to concentrate on electric from the beginning of your guitar learning journey. There are some songs that need the rocking electric twang to work and you can create some amazing effects with little effort. Another benefit of learning with an electric guitar is that you can plug it into headphones.
If you have flatmates or neighbours at close quarters who won’t tolerate a lot of noise, this may be a necessary route. Or if you can afford it, you may want to invest in a hybrid guitar right at the beginning. This will enable you to create both an acoustic and electric sound but can be very pricey.
What is the easiest rock song to play on guitar?
Here are some of our faves that sound incredible, have easy riffs and deserve to be played on an electric guitar rather than an acoustic model.
#18 Song 2 by Blur
This has one of the most familiar modern classic riffs – if not the most memorable name. Play this and you’ll have your mates moshing in no time.
#19 Come As You Are by Nirvana
#20 Along the Watchtower by Jimi Hendrix
An electric guitar icon, Hendrix performed some amazing feats. But not all of his tunes were tricky. Try this one for starters.
#21 Smoke on the Water by Deep Purple
This sexy, sassy rock number is a joy tom play and to listen to.
#22 Highway to Hell by AC/DC
This epic tune is so much fun and easier than it sounds. You can also try AC/DC’s You Shook Me All Night Long.
Easy guitar songs for kids
Whether you want to play songs to kids, teach your kids to play or find songs to encourage them to learn the guitar, there’s plenty of suitable material.
Super easy guitar songs for beginners
Disney songs are a winner with all ages, but often especially loved by kids. As are party and novelty songs. Find a tune they already adore and you’ll stand a better chance of them sticking at it. So here are some tunes well worth considering.
#23 Let It Go from Frozen
One of the biggest hits of the decade, this is easy enough to sing along to and isn’t too challenging on strings either.
#24 La Bamba by Ritchie Valens
This is super fun as well as being super easy. Just three chords are needed to play this party hit.
#25 I See the Light from Tangled
Another hit movie, this is a lovely gentle ballad. As it uses six chords this will work better for those who already have some musical knowledge, but who are beginning the guitar.
Easy children’s songs to learn on guitar
Here are some handy classics that won’t take ages to pick up. And you don’t need to be a kid to play them. But if you’re a children’s entertainer, learning these simple melodies could earn you more cash.
#26 Happy Birthday
If there’s one song that’s going to be eternally useful at children’s parties, it’s Happy Birthday. A little fingerpicking and you can play the melody. Add in some strumming to fill it out.
#27 Baby Shark by Pinkfong
One of the most annoying and yet catchy tunes to have hit the charts in recent times, it’s been a major hit with a young audience. Get your kids excited about playing the guitar by introducing them to this tutorial. You’ll be listening to them practice it over and over in the house, so it may well be worth investing in a pair of earplugs or noise-cancelling headphones!
#28 Shake It Off by Taylor Swift
This may not officially be a kids song, but it’s mega-popular with children. We’ve already mentioned how playing the guitar helped launch Taylor’s career. She plays the piano too but has kept to her country roots with plenty of twangs acoustic sounds in her repertoire. This uses just three chords played with two fingers and while singing and dancing it at the same time would be tricky, it’s a really easy one to strum – and such a happy catchy tune.
#29 Twinkle Twinkle Little Star
Learn how to play this classic nursery rhyme from 9-year-old Reuben – he’ll show you just how easy it is.
#30 If You’re Happy and You Know It
If you work in a musical setting with tots, this number will be very useful. It won’t take long to pick up and you can keep the little ones entertained for ages.
How to teach a child guitar chords
Before students start to work on full songs, they’ll need to pick up the basic guitar chords and learn their way around the instrument.
If you are teaching yourself, or others to play, here are some great tips on how to start from scratch.
How do you play an easy song on guitar?
There are many ways to play a song on the guitar, so you can make it as simple or as complex as you wish. Either just pick out the top line (melody) notes, or strum very basic chords and sing the melody yourself. Once you’re more accomplished you can do both, transpose tunes, use a capo and change key.
Easy guitar songs for beginners chords
Want to know a secret? Four chords are pretty much all you need to sound incredible and that won’t take forever to learn. Almost every popular song is made of this simple recipe. Don’t believe us? Watch this very funny video from musical comedy group Axis of Awesome and be amazed at just how many songs come from this easy to pick up combo.
Easy guitar songs tabs
You’ll hear mention of something called ‘tabs’ in guitar lessons. This is short for tablature and refers to the way the notes are written down for guitar players. If the tabs are easy, it just means it’s not complicated musically and you should be able to take it on as a beginner.
Once you’ve mastered the basics of a song, try working on your dynamics, this is what will turn you from an average guitarist into an outstanding one. Before you know it you’ll be ready for a live gig.
Has one of these in particular whetted your appetite for playing the guitar? Learning to play a versatile instrument like this will always stand you in good stead as a musician. It will be invaluable if you decide to write your own tracks in future or you want to accompany yourself at gigs. And you will look and sound super cool.
- What song should I learn on guitar?
If you’re a beginner choose one from our list, If more advanced, pick one that suits your musical style and genre. It should offer just enough challenge to move you forward. Here are some options for improvers and advanced players.
- How long does it take to learn guitar?
Depending on how much time you spend practising and how proficient you want to be, it could be anything from 6 months to a couple of years. But you can pick some basic chords up in as little as a few minutes.
- Is it hard to teach yourself guitar?
While it’s always easier to motivate yourself with a teacher – and you’re likely to learn faster with coaching, it’s perfectly achievable to learn with YouTube tutorials, an app, or even just a book. The hard bit is sticking to it so we recommend you make a schedule rather than doing it ad hoc.
What are your favourite easy guitar songs for every beginner? Post a link to you playing them or let us know what they are in the comments below.