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52 Easy Songs for Guitar

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Nothing keeps you motivated to play the guitar quite like learning new songs, particularly when you’re first starting out. So, in this lesson I’ve compiled a list of 52 easy songs for guitar that are suitable for beginner players.

This list represents a good mix of uptempo and slower tempos songs that range from simple three chord progressions to more complex seven and eight chord progressions.

You can mix these songs into your daily practice routine and learn a new song each week over the next year. If you find some too challenging, you can always come back to them when you’ve made progress on the easier songs.

(Click the song to jump to the chords for the song.)

  1. “Nutshell” – Alice in Chains
  2. “Learning to Fly” – Tom Petty
  3. “Dead Flowers” – The Rolling Stones
  4. “Rockin’ in the Free World” – Neil Young
  5. “The Celestials” – The Smashing Pumpkins
  6. “Used to Love Her” – Guns N’ Roses
  7. “One” – U2
  8. “Have You Ever Seen the Rain?” – Credence Clearwater Revival
  9. “Ho Hey” – The Lumineers
  10. “And It Stoned Me” – Van Morrison
  11. “Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)” – Green Day
  12. “Sweet Jane” – The Velvet Underground
  13. “I Remember You” – Skid Row
  14. “Mother” – Pink Floyd
  15. “Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door” – Bob Dylan
  16. “What’s the Frequency, Kenneth?” – R.E.M.
  17. “Sweet Home Alabama” – Lynyrd Skynyrd
  18. “Wild Horses” – The Rolling Stones
  19. “No Rain” – Blind Melon
  20. “Summer of 69” – Bryan Adams
  21. “Cover Me” – Candlebox
  22. “Brown Eyed Girl” – Van Morrison
  23. “Mr. Tambourine Man” – Bob Dylan
  24. “Mr. Jones” – Counting Crows
  25. “Tangerine” – Led Zeppelin
  26. “Bad Moon Rising” – CCR
  27. “Into the Mystic” – Van Morrison
  28. “Wish You Were Here” – Pink Floyd
  29. “Mary Jane’s Last Dance” – Tom Petty
  30. “Wonderwall” – Oasis
  31. “The Times They are A-Changing” – Bob Dylan
  32. “When I Come Around” – Green Day
  33. “Buddy Holly” – Weezer
  34. “What’s Up” – 4 Non Blondes
  35. “I Won’t Back Down” – Tom Petty
  36. “Small Town” – John Mellencamp
  37. “Every Rose Has Its Thorn” – Poison
  38. “About a Girl” – Nirvana
  39. “Disarm” – The Smashing Pumpkins
  40. “Two Steps Behind” – Def Leppard
  41. “Run Around” – Blues Traveler
  42. “Free Fallin'” – Tom Petty
  43. “Comfortably Numb” – Pink Floyd
  44. “Love Me Do” – The Beatles
  45. “Seven Turns” – The Allman Brothers Band
  46. “Rain King” – Counting Crows
  47. “Heart of Gold” – Neil Young
  48. “Polly” – Nirvana
  49. “I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)” – The Proclaimers
  50. “3am” – Matchbox Twenty
  51. “Simple Man” – Lynyrd Skynyrd
  52. “Wild Thing” – The Troggs

1. “Nutshell” – Alice in Chains

Alice in Chains - Nutshell guitar chords diagram

Key: Em

Chords: Em7 – G – D – Cadd9

From Alice in Chains’ EP Jar of Flies, “Nutshell” is a four chord acoustic song in the key of Em. The ring finger essentially acts as a pivot point between chord changes, making this a particularly easy chord progression to play.

Listen: “Nutshell” – Alice In Chains


2. “Learning to Fly” – Tom Petty

Tom Petty - Learning to Fly guitar chords diagram

Key: C

Chords: F – C – Am – G

“Learning to Fly” is a Tom Petty song from Into the Great Wide Open. The F – C – Am – G chord progression is played on repeat throughout the song with only minor variations, making it one of the easiest songs to learn on guitar.

Listen: “Learning to Fly” – Tom Petty


3. “Dead Flowers” – The Rolling Stones

The Rolling Stones - Dead Flowers guitar chords diagram

Key: D

Chords: D – A – G

A simple 3-chord progression, “Dead Flowers” by The Rolling Stones is about as easy as it gets. What I love about it is with three chords you get a verse, pre-chorus, and chorus that are all distinct from each other.

Listen: “Dead Flowers” – The Rolling Stones


4. “Rockin’ in the Free World” – Neil Young

Neil Young - Rockin' in the Free World guitar chords diagram

Key: Em

Chords: Em – D – C – G – A

Neil Young’s “Rockin’ in the Free World” is a great, hard rocking song played in the key of Em. It’s an easy song to learn on guitar and one every beginner player should get under their belt.

Listen: “Rockin’ in the Free World” – Neil Young


5. “The Celestials” – The Smashing Pumpkins

Smashing Pumpkins - The Celestials guitar chords diagram

Key: Em (F#m)

Chords: Em – G – D – C – Am

“The Celestials” by The Smashing Pumpkins is a great song to practice fundamental strumming patterns. This song is played with a capo on the 2nd fret, but the chords shown here are based on the open forms.

Listen: “The Celestials” – The Smashing Pumpkins


6. “Used to Love Her” – Guns N’ Roses

Guns N Roses - I Used to Love Her guitar chords diagram

Key: D

Chords: D – A – G

“Used to Love Her” by Guns N’ Roses is almost identical to “Dead Flowers” by The Rolling Stones. It uses the same three beginner guitar chords, only the chord progression varies just a bit. If you know one, you essentially know the other as well.

Listen: “Used to Love Her” – Guns N’ Roses


7. “One” – U2

U2 One guitar chords diagram

Key: Am

Chords: Am – D – F – G – C

Probably my favorite U2 song, “One” is also an easy song to play on guitar and a perfect song for a beginner.

Listen: “One” – U2


8. “Have You Ever Seen the Rain?” – Creedence Clearwater Revival

Creedence Clearwater Revival - Have You Ever Seen the Rain guitar chords diagram

Key: C

Chords: C – Am – G – F – C/B – Am/G

“Have You Ever Seen the Rain?” provides a good first look at slash chords, which are chords in which a note other than the root is in the bass position, noted by the slash in the chord name. The left side of the slash indicates the chord, while the right side of the slash indicates the bass note.

Listen: “Have You Ever Seen the Rain?” – Creedence Clearwater Revival


9. “Ho Hey” – The Lumineers

The Lumineers - Ho Hey guitar chords diagram

Key: C

Chords: F – C – Am – G

When it comes to The Lumineers’ music, they get a lot of mileage out these 4 chords. “Ho Hey” is no exception. It’s a perfect song for a beginner guitar player. This song also provides opportunities to vary the fingering on the F and G chords, so feel free to play around with it.

Listen: “Ho Hey” – The Lumineers


10. “And It Stoned Me” – Van Morrison

Van Morrison - And It Stone Me guitar chords

Key: G

Chords: G – C – D – Am – Em

“And It Stoned Me” is from Van Morrison’s epic Moondance album. It’s a five-chord song in the key of G major.

Listen: “And It Stoned Me” – Van Morrison


11. “Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)” – Green Day

Green Day - Good Riddance (Time of Your Life) guitar chords diagram

Key: G

Chords: G – C – D – Cadd9 – Em

“Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)” comes from Green Day’s fifth album, Nimrod. While the chords are arpeggiated in the beginning of the song, they can just as easily be strummed.

Listen: “Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)” – Green Day


12. “Sweet Jane” – The Velvet Underground

Velvet Underground - Sweet Jane guitar chords

Key: D

Chords: D – A – G – Bm – C#m – G# – E – B

Don’t let the number of chords fool you, The Velvet Underground’s “Sweet Jane” is not a complicated song. It does, however, provide a pretty cool strumming pattern that is loads of fun to play. Be warned, there are a lot of barre chords in this one, so it can get rather fatiguing.

Listen: “Sweet Jane” – The Velvet Underground


13. “I Remember You” – Skid Row

Skid Row - I Remember You guitar chords

Key: G

Chords: G – Cadd9 – D – C – Em

“I Remember You” is a popular monster ballad from Skid Row. While the chords are mostly strummed, it does provide opportunities to incorporate some embellishments between the chords changes to spice things up a bit.

Listen: “I Remember You” – Skid Row


14. “Mother” – Pink Floyd

Pink Floyd - Mother guitar chords

Key: G

Chords: G – C – D – F

“Mother” comes from Pink Floyd’s epic concept album The Wall. It’s a simple chord progression played in the key of G, but there’s an intricacy to the strumming pattern that can trip you up if you’re not careful.

Listen: “Mother” – Pink Floyd


15. “Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door” – Bob Dylan

Bob Dylan - Knockin on Heavens Door guitar chords

Key: G

Chords: G – C – D – Am

“Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door”, a classic song that’s perfect for beginner guitar players.

Listen: “Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door” – Bob Dylan


16. “What’s the Frequency, Kenneth?” – R.E.M.

R.E.M. - Whats the Frequency Kenneth guitar chords

Key: A

Chords: D – A – G – Bm – E

This four-chord song from R.E.M. has a nice energy to it and is really fun to play. It’s easy, too.

Listen: “What’s the Frequency, Kenneth?” – R.E.M.


17. “Sweet Home Alabama” – Lynyrd Skynyrd

Lynyrd Skynyrd - Sweet Home Alabama guitar chords

Key: D

Chords: G – C – D

“Sweet Home Alabama” comes from Lynyrd Skynyrd’s second album, Second Helping. It’s a simple three-chord progression for most of the song and a suitable song for beginners.

Listen: “Sweet Home Alabama” – Lynyrd Skynyrd


18. “Wild Horses” – The Rolling Stones

The Rolling Stones - Wild Horses guitar chords

Key: G

Chords: Am – G – C – D – Bm

One of my favorite songs by the The Rolling Stones, “Wild Horses” is from their 1971 album, Sticky Fingers. It’s a classic song every guitar player will want to learn.

Listen: “Wild Horses” – The Rolling Stones


19. “No Rain” – Blind Melon

Blind Melon - No Rain guitar chords

Key: E

Chords: E – A – G – D – E7

Blind Melon’s “No Rain” came out during the surge of alternative and grunge music in the early ’90s. It’s primarily a four-chord song with an E7 brought in for a little embellishment.

Listen: “No Rain” – Blind Melon


20. “Summer of 69” – Bryan Adams

Bryan Adams - Summer of 69 guitar chords

Key: D

Chords: D – A – G – Bm – F – B♭ – Dm

Break out the electric guitar and crank up the gain. “Summer of 69” is a rockin’ song by Bryan Adams that’s just loads of fun to play.

Listen: “Summer of 69” – Bryan Adams


21. “Cover Me” – Candlebox

Candlebox - Cover Me guitar chords

Key: Em

Chords: Em – G – D – Cadd9

From their great debut album, Candlebox’s “Cover Me” is a fantastic acoustic song if you’re just starting out on the guitar. The strumming pattern is pretty basic and the tempo is ideal for practicing chord changes.

Listen: “Cover Me” – Candlebox


22. “Brown Eyed Girl” – Van Morrison

Van Morrison - Brown Eyed Girl guitar chords

Key: G

Chords: G – C – D – Em – D7

The second song on the list from Van Morrison, “Brown Eyed” girl is another easy, uptempo acoustic guitar song that’s just fun to strum.

Listen: “Brown Eyed Girl” – Van Morrison


23. “Mr. Tambourine Man” – Bob Dylan

Bob Dylan - Mr. Tambourine Man guitar chords

Key: G

Chords: G – A – D – Dsus2

Sticking to seconds, “Mr. Tambourine Man” is Bob Dylan’s second song on the list. This song is played with a capo on the 3rd fret. The chords are the open form shapes relative to the capo.

Listen: “Mr. Tambourine Man” – Bob Dylan


24. “Mr. Jones” – Counting Crows

Counting Crows - Mr. Jones guitar chords

Key: Am

Chords: Am – F – Dm – G

Form their debut album August and Everything After, “Mr. Jones” was the breakout song for Counting Crows. Great song for beginner guitar players to learn.

Listen: “Mr. Jones” – Counting Crows


25. “Tangerine” – Led Zeppelin

Led Zeppelin - Tangerine guitar chords

Key: Am

Chords: Am – G – C – D – Dsus2 – Dsus4 – Asus2 – Asus4

There aren’t many Led Zeppelin songs that will make a list of easy guitar songs for beginners, but “Tangerine” is one of them. And if you’re not already familiar, it’s a great introduction to sus2/sus4 chords.

Listen: “Tangerine” – Led Zeppelin


26. “Bad Moon Rising” – Creedence Clearwater Revival

Creedence Clearwater Revival - Bad Moon Rising guitar chords

Key: D

Chords: D – A – G

Three chords is all it takes for “Bad Moon Rising”. Again, Creedence Clearwater Revival shows that complicated chord progressions are not a requirement for a great song.

Listen: “Bad Moon Rising” – Creedence Clearwater Revival


27. “Into the Mystic” – Van Morrison

Van Morrison - Into the Mystic guitar chords

Key: E♭

Chords: C – G – Em – F

Another classic from Van Morrison’s Moondance album. A capo is used on the 3rd fret and the open chords are relative to the capo.

Listen: “Into the Mystic” – Van Morrison


28. “Wish You Were Here” – Pink Floyd

Pink Floyd - Wish You Were Here guitar chords

Key: G

Chords: Em7 – A7sus4 – G – D – C – Am

With chord names like A7sus4, “Wish You Were Here” may seem complicated. It isn’t. Don’t let the chord names throw you off, they’re all really easy to play.

Listen: “Wish You Were Here” – Pink Floyd


29. “Mary Jane’s Last Dance” – Tom Petty

Tom Petty - Mary Janes Last Dance guitar chords

Key: Am

Chords: Am – G – D – Em7 – A

Tom Petty’s “Mary Jane’s Last Dance” provides some cool dynamics on the chord strumming. Have fun with this one.

Listen: “Mary Jane’s Last Dance” – Tom Petty


30. “Wonderwall” – Oasis

Oasis - Wonderwall guitar chords

Key: Em

Chords: Em – G – D – A – C

“Wonderwall” comes from Oasis’ second album, (What’s the Story) Morning Glory?. This song provides some cool strumming techniques but you have to listen closely.

Listen: “Wonderwall” – Oasis


31. “The Times They are A-Changing” – Bob Dylan

Bob Dylan - The Times They Are A Changin guitar chords

Key: G

Chords: Em – G – D – C

You can fill an entire list of easy songs for beginners with Bob Dylan songs alone. This is another great song from one of the greatest song writers ever.

Listen: “The Times They Are A-Changin'” – Bob Dylan


32. “When I Come Around” – Green Day

Green Day - When I Come Around guitar chords

Key: G

Chords: G – D – Em – C – A5 – C5

One of their biggest commercial hits, “When I Come Around” comes from Green Day’s debut album, Dookie.

Listen: “When I Come Around” – Green Day


33. “Buddy Holly” – Weezer

Weezer - Buddy Holly guitar chords

Key: F#m

Chords: G# – A – D – Dm – F#m – E – C#m

The song that put Weezer on the map, “Buddy Holly” is from their 1994 debut album, Weezer.

Listen: “Buddy Holly” – Weezer


34. “What’s Up?” – 4 Non Blondes

4 Non Blondes - Whats Up? guitar chords

Key: A

Chords: A – Bm – D

Another easy three chord song. This one comes from 4 Non Blondes. “What’s Up?” is their hit song from their 1992 debut album, Bigger, Better, Faster, More!.

Listen: “What’s Up?” – 4 Non Blondes


35. “I Won’t Back Down” – Tom Petty

Tom Petty - I Wont Back Down guitar chords

Key: Em

Chords: Em – D – G – C

Released in 1989, Tom Petty’s “I Won’t Back Down” has become an American anthem. Like Bob Dylan, Tom Petty was a masterful song writer that got a lot of mileage out of simple chord progressions.

Listen: “I Won’t Back Down” – Tom Petty


36. “Small Town” – John Mellencamp

John Mellencamp - Small Town guitar chords

Key: G

Chords: G – D – C – Am

An uptempo classic from John Mellencamp, “Small Town” has long been one of my favorite tunes of his.

Listen: “Small Town” – John Mellencamp


37. “Every Rose Has Its Thorn” – Poison

Poison - Every Rose Has Its Thorn guitar chords

Key: G

Chords: G – Cadd9 – D – C – Em

“Every Rose Has Its Thorn” is great 80s power ballad from Poison. Straightforward strumming pattern and open chords. Doesn’t get any easier.

Listen: “Every Rose Has Its Thorn” – Poison


38. “About a Girl” – Nirvana

Nirvana - About a girl guitar chords

Key: Em

Chords: Em – G – C# – C#/G3 – F# – A – C

Nirvana’s “About A Girl” is from their lesser known first album, Bleach. While the number of chords may look intimidating, it’s really not a complicated song at all.

Listen: “About A Girl” – Nirvana


39. “Disarm” – The Smashing Pumpkins

Smashing Pumpkins - Disarm guitar chords

Key: Em

Chords: Em7 – Cadd9 – G – Dsus4/F# – D – Em

“Disarm” comes from The Smashing Pumpkins second album, Siamese Dream. The chords are pretty straightforward, but the progression can be a little tricky at first.

Listen: “Disarm” – The Smashing Pumpkins


40. “Two Steps Behind” – Def Leppard

Def Leppard - Two Steps Behind guitar chords

Key: A

Chords: A – D – G – E – F#m

“Two Steps Behind” is an acoustic song by Def Leppard. Nothing fancy here, just a straightforward chord progression that’s easy to play.

Listen: “Two Steps Behind” – Def Leppard


41. “Run-Around” – Blues Traveler

Blues Traveler - Run Around guitar chords

Key: G

Chords: G – C – Am – D

“Run-Around” comes from Blues Traveler’s album, Four. It’s an easy, uptempo song that’s great for working on chord changes.

Listen: “Run-Around” – Blues Traveler


42. “Free Fallin'” – Tom Petty

Tom Petty - Free Fallin guitar chords

Key: F (capo on 3rd fret)

Chords: D – A – Dsus4 – E

One of Tom Petty’s all-time greats, “Free Fallin'” is from his album, Full Moon Fever. Like a lot of Tom Petty’s songs, there’s nothing fancy here…just a simple chord progression that creates a great song that’s easy to play.

Listen: “Free Fallin'” – Tom Petty


43. “Comfortably Numb” – Pink Floyd

Pink Floyd - Comfortably Numb guitar chords

Key: Bm

Chords: Bm – A – G – Em – D – A – C

The second song on the list from Pink Floyd also comes from The Wall. Guitar solos aside, “Comfortably Numb” is a really easy song for beginner guitar players.

Listen: “Comfortably Numb” – Pink Floyd


44. “Love Me Do” – The Beatles

The Beatles - Love Me Do guitar chords

Key: G

Chords: G – C – D

For beginner guitar players, it doesn’t get any easier than “Love Me Do” by The Beatles.

Listen: “Love Me Do” – The Beatles


45. “Seven Turns” – The Allman Brothers Band

The Allman Brothers Band - Seven Turns guitar chords

Key: G

Chords: C – G – Em – D – C/B

There are a lot of songs from The Allman Brothers band that wouldn’t be appropriate for an easy guitar songs type of list, but “Seven Turns” isn’t one of them. This song is definitely in the realm of a beginner guitar player, so it’s a good idea to start learning from The Allman Brothers band as soon as you can.

Listen: “Seven Turns” – The Allman Brothers Band


46. “Rain King” – Counting Crows

Counting Crows - Rain King guitar chords

Key: D

Chords: D – A – Bm – G – E

“Rain King” is another fantastic song from a truly great album, August and Everything After. It’s an uptempo song that’s great for practicing chords changes.

Listen: “Rain King” – Counting Crows


47. “Heart of Gold” – Neil Young

Neil Young - Heart of Gold guitar chords

Key: Em

Chords: Em7 – D – Em – G – C

You can put Neil Young in the same category as Bob Dylan and Tom Petty for his ability to create timeless music with a simple chord progression.

Listen: “Heart of Gold” – Neil Young


48. “Polly” – Nirvana

Nirvana - Polly guitar chords

Key: Em

Chords: Em – G – C – D – B♭

Straightforward acoustic song from Nirvana’s Nevermind.

Listen: “Polly” – Nirvana


49. “I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)” – The Proclaimers

The Proclaimers - I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles) guitar chords

Key: E

Chords: E – A – B

“I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)” by The Proclaimers provides an opportunity to practice a staccato style strumming pattern.

Listen: “I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)” – The Proclaimers


50. “3am” – Matchbox Twenty

Matchbox Twenty - 3am guitar chords

Key: G

Chords: G – Cadd9 – D – Em

From Yourself or Someone Like You, Matchbox Twenty’s “3am” is a catchy song using easy-to-play open chords.

Listen: “3am” – Matchbox Twenty


51. “Simple Man” – Lynyrd Skynyrd

Lynyrd Skynyrd - Simple Man guitar chords

Key: C

Chords: C – G – Am

“Simple Man”, another three-chord masterpiece from Lynyrd Skynyrd. While on the recording the chords are arpeggiated, you can just as easily strum them and it still sounds great.

Listen: “Simple Man” – Lynyrd Skynyrd


52. “Wild Thing” – The Troggs

The Troggs - Wild Thing guitar chords

Key: A

Chords: A – D – E – G

What easy guitar songs list would be complete without “Wild Thing” by The Troggs? For the most part it’s a simple 1-4-5 chord progression. Classic song.

Listen: “Wild Thing” – The Troggs

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