18 Easy Guitar Songs for Beginners to Play

Guitar players can often struggle to find easy songs to play on guitar. This is a huge problem because if the song is too difficult, they will quickly get frustrated and stop playing altogether.

If you are looking for some simple songs that you can learn in no time, then this article has you covered with 18 different easy guitar songs for beginners to learn and impress your friends.

1. Wonderful World By Sam Cooke

Wonderful World was written by Sam Cooke in 1960 and it is an excellent song for beginners to learn on guitar. The chord progression in this song is very simple so it won’t take long to pick up.

You can also translate this song to a finger-picking style if you want to challenge yourself once you get the hang of it.

The key to this song is being able to strum the chords in a relaxed manner while maintaining perfect timing with your vocals.

This is a classic song to play when you have an older audience who can appreciate it just as much as they did when it first came out.

2. Wonderful Tonight By Eric Clapton

This is a great Eric Clapton tune that hit the charts in 1977 and it is a much easier song to learn from Clapton than his other, more rock, hits.

Wonderful Tonight was written by Eric Clapton for his wife at the time, Pattie Boyd. This chord progression is simple so you’ll pick it up quickly and the tempo is pretty slow.

Even if you’re just starting you can pick it up pretty quickly, which makes it a great choice to learn.

Once you get the hang of playing the chords, you can try recording them and playing solo on top of it to get that classic Eric Clapton sound.

3. Imagine By John Lennon

No introduction is needed for what is considered the greatest song of all time.

Something about the simplicity of this song really sets it apart from the others on this list and makes it a great easy pop song to learn on the guitar.

You don’t need to be playing for years in order to pick up the chords John plays, but you will have to remember a good amount of lyrics.

This song was originally recorded on the piano, which gives it that sentimental feel, but you can easily learn it on guitar for the same effect.

4. Die Young By Kesha

From the very first seconds of Die Young by Kesha you can tell this one is going to sound great on guitar.

You only need to memorize a handful of chords so this won’t be difficult to pull off once you get the hang of it.

The melodic lyrics will get stuck in anyone’s head, so it’s a great song to learn when you want the crowd to really get involved after playing a lot of originals.

This is the perfect acoustic track to whip out when you have a younger audience who will really appreciate its relevance.

5. Stuck In The Middle With You By Steelers Wheel

This classic by Steelers Wheel was written in 1972 but it is still very popular today.

This song only requires the use of three different chords which makes this one a great choice for beginners or anyone who wants something simpler to play.

The lyrics are somewhat dark, but they make you want to sing along once you get them memorized. The melody has an almost pirate-like riff to it, but you can easily get creative with this song and make it your own.

There are a lot of different versions by artists across many genres, so you can find one that really speaks to you and fits your range.

6. Don’t Fear The Reaper By Blue Oyster Cult

Blue Oyster Cult wrote this hit in 1976 and it has become a classic rock hit that everyone learns how to play at some point.

It is not overly complicated but it definitely requires more than just two chords which makes this one of the most difficult songs on this list.

This song really lets you get creative with the rhythm, melody, and lead guitar parts so make sure to take some time and really study the song before you try it out.

You will have a lot of fun with this one, but be prepared for a little bit more practice than the others and exercise patience.

7. Iron Man By Black Sabbath

When you’re just starting out you want to learn songs you love but so often the cheesy pop hits are the only ones you can pull off.

That’s not the case for this classic metal hit, Iron Man from Black Sabbath. The chords are super simple and you’ll be able to play the majority of this within a few minutes.

Since there’s a lot of time on the original in between guitar licks you could make up your own strumming pattern to fit your personal style.

This is a great song to pull out when you’re trying to earn some credibility with your audience.

8. Time Of Your Life By Greenday

Punk doesn’t always have super fast beats and Green Day proved it with their crossover hit Time of Your Life.

This song has gone on to accompany countless graduations, weddings, and special moments in people’s lives and you can bring back all the memories by learning this easy hit.

There are a handful of chords you need to know and then all you have to do is focus on nailing those vocals.

This song can be played in front of just about anyone because it has one of those timeless sounds that never seem to go out of fashion.

9. Wildest Dreams By Taylor Swift

This electro bass-heavy track by Taylor Swift was a hit and took over airwaves when it was released.

The melodic verses flow really well over the chords and the hook is sure to attract anyone’s attention.

A lot of Taylor Swift’s songs are easy to learn and this one is no exception. Within a few minutes of playing you should have the basic chords down.

The younger crowd will appreciate this hit but you might even get some parents who like Taylor because of their kids.

10. Bad Moon Rising By Creedence Clearwater Revival

When you want a classic 60’s rock hit under your belt, this Bad Moon Rising song by Creedence Clearwater Revival is an easy win.

It’s got an infectious beat you can copy by pounding your leg on the ground and the chords make you feel empowered.

The most fun part about this song is learning the strumming pattern because it can be challenging if you’re just learning.

This is a fun song that if you ever bust on in the south you’ll surely have people singing along.

11. Muddy Waters By Mannish Boy

Looking for a blues song you can learn without needing to be a seasoned veteran?

This Mannish Boy song by Muddy Waters couldn’t be easier to play so you’ll have no trouble learning this one.

It’s basically the same riff the entire song with some lyrics thrown in between.

This song was written by Muddy after he left the south for Chicago and the build-up at the end of the song will get everyone out of their seats.

12. Twist And Shout By The Beatles

When The Beatles released this song it shot straight to the top of the charts, just like all their other hits.

John Lennon went all out on the vocals for this track and you can show off your own rock n’ roll chops once you learn the super simple riff.

Just like Mannish Boy, this song is basically the same riff the entire song. There are a couple of changes in the song you’ll want to learn but they are just as easy as the main riff.

This is a great one to play when you want to win over the crowd and get them dancing.

13. Free Fallin By Tom Petty

Tom Petty has written some of the biggest hits of the past 30 years and this Free Fallin classic is his magnus opus.

The song is the exact same chords throughout the entire song so once you learn them you have half the song finished.

Memorize the classic lyrics and you’ll be able to get an entire crowd singing along when you learn Free Fallin.

Tom Petty released this classic decades ago but so many people know it that it goes well with any crowd.

14. Three Little Birds By Bob Marley

Bob Marley is the biggest reggae star to ever walk the earth and this Three Little Birds classic mixes that classic reggae feel with pop music.

The instrumentation has a ton of different sounds on the recording but this song sounds good even when you pair it down to an acoustic guitar.

Make sure to learn this as part of your repertoire because it’s one of the few songs that has a simple and positive message anyone can relate to.

Everyone loves Bob Marley so feel free to play this song anytime in front of anyone and you’ll create an impromptu sing-a-long.

15. Zombie By The Cranberries

This nostalgic hit by the Cranberries was released in 1994 and was one of the best songs to come out that year.

It’s an easy riff you can play while singing along with Dolores O’Riordan’s haunting vocals. Once she starts screaming “Zombie” things get harder, so make sure to learn it before playing in front of other people. 

There isn’t a whole lot to the strumming pattern on this song so you can focus on nailing those incredibly hard vocals.

Try to avoid playing this to younger audiences because they might not pick up on it as quickly as people who remember when it was released.

16. Ring of Fire By Johnny Cash

Sometimes you need a good country song that will never go out of fashion and Ring of Fire by Johnny Cash is the way to go.

This is a great track to learn because it isn’t just about playing chords but there’s a specific strumming pattern you need to hit to make it sound authentic.

You’ll start by playing the lowest note of the chord first and then follow that up by strumming the chord.

You’ll have the classic country strum pattern down and it will open the doors to a ton of other songs too.

17. Achy Breaky Heart By Billy Ray Cyrus

This is another country song but it’s mixed with a ton of pop melodies.

Achy Breaky Heart by Billy Ray Cyrus, or better known at this point as Miley Cyrus’s Dad, was a crossover hit that grabbed the attention of the entire nation.

This song created a two-stepping frenzy and you can do the same after learning the simple chords used throughout.

This may not be as good as The Beatles or Black Sabbath but it’s a quick win if you bust out this cover in front of others.

18. Summertime by George Gershwin

When you’re a beginner guitarists there aren’t a ton of simple songs that are in different styles of music.

This Summertime classic by George Gershwin is one anyone can pick up and people will think you have been playing a lot longer for doing so.

There’s even a Sublime song that is based on this one you can learn if you want something a little more modern.

Learning Easy Songs on the Guitar

You don’t have to stick with pop in order to pick up some easy songs to play on guitar.

You can impress your audience with a mix of rock, metal, jazz, and blues when you’re learning songs on the guitar.

Once you learn the easy classics above, you can apply all the skills you just picked up to more songs that have similar chords or strumming patterns.

Pretty soon, you’ll be playing so well you might have your crack at playing lead guitar.

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Written by Dan Farrant
Dan Farrant, the founder of Hello Music Theory, has been teaching music for over 10 years helping thousands of students unlock the joy of music. He graduated from The Royal Academy of Music in 2012 and then launched Hello Music Theory in 2014. Since then he's been working to make music theory easy for over 1 million students in over 80 countries around the world.