14 Easy Pop Songs to Learn on Guitar

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Pop songs are some of the most popular music genres on the radio and most of them even use the same chords. If you’re a guitarist who wants to learn some new tunes, there’s no better place to start than with these pop songs that are perfect for beginners!

In the list below, we’ve compiled 14 easy pop songs on the guitar you can bust out in any scenario. Let’s jump in.

1. Royals by Lorde

This famous tune by the pop star, Lorde, made splashes in 2013 when it hit the charts and is one of the easiest guitar songs for beginners to learn right in the comfort of your own home.

The song is known for its great vocals and mix of art-pop and electro and it’s still as relevant today as it has ever been.

If this is your first time playing this song just focus on playing the chords with easy downstrums combined with singing at the same time. Once you get the hang of it you can start mixing in some more complicated rhythms.

2. Ride by Twenty One Pilots

Twenty One Pilots has the great distinction of holding 3 different songs in the Top 5 charts all at the same time. The only other bands to do that was The Beatles and Elvis.

This is a great one to start off with because it has some basic strumming patterns you should be able to pick up fairly quickly.

This is a great hit that not everyone knows so you can really surprise the audience when you bust this out.

3. Love on the Weekend by John Mayer

John Mayer mixes up his pop roots with some of his bluesy soul on this tune, Love on the Weekend.

In 2016 this was a huge hit and its easy to see why with the beautiful vocals and melodies. Even though John has some excellent guitar skills this song is pretty easy for you to pick up and start playing.

You could take your pick from John’s catalog and try to recreate it but this one might be easier for you to learn than others.

4. Kids by MGMT

When MGMT released the album Oracular Spectacular it wasn’t just one of the biggest hits of their career, it was one of the biggest hits in the world.

Three singles came off that album and Kids was the third released. The song itself has a ton of production but you can cut it down to four basic chords when you learn this on guitar.

This is a great track that never gets old so when you start playing it you’ll have at least a couple of people singing along.

5. Photograph by Ed Sheeran

Ed Sheeran is the king of slow pop music that gets people emotional. Bust out Photography on your guitar and you might just have the room crying.

Photograph is an extremely simple song to make, especially since it can be played so slow for dramatic effect.

It won’t take you long to pick up the chords and strumming pattern for this and you can even mix it up to make your own style.

6. All of Me by John Legend

John Legend is known for playing ballads on the piano and this song sounds just as beautiful when you translate it to your guitar.

What’s nice about this tune is when you play it on the guitar you can just keep the chords open when you strum them so it’s nice and easy to play.

Maybe you don’t have John Legend’s vocal chops but you can still play this tune anytime you want.

7. You Belong with Me by Taylor Swift

When you need a song to bust out when you’re playing in front of a younger crowd, try this You Belong with Me track from Taylor Swift.

Taylor swift songs are great ones to learn for guitarists of all ages because they are simple but have a nice upbeat rhythm that keeps your head bobbing.

Taylor Swift has so many hits that are on the acoustic but this one is one of the easier tracks to learn.

8. I Need My Girl by The National

If you’re looking for an extra easy pop song to make, I Need My Girl is the one to start with.

It only takes four chords in order to play and it also uses a capo which means you don’t have to push down on the strings as hard.

This 2013 is the perfect song to take on when you’re trying to log some pop songs under your belt.

9. Payphone by Maroon 5

Maroon 5 is well known for writing songs that get your hips moving with infectious beats. Payphone is an excellent blend of rhythm and blues with pop and really lets your vocals shine.

You can get some real practice with this song too because it uses a less familiar chord that you’re probably not used to.

So you can learn a pop song that will keep people interested while improving your skills at the same time.

10. Rise Up by Andra Day

it didn’t take long for Andra Day to make an impact in the pop industry with her debut album, Cheers to the Fall.

When Rise Up came out it shot to number one and millions of people responded to its emotional vocals. You can play it right at home with only a handful of chords.

The song was so good it even received a grammy nomination.

11. With or Without You by U2

U2 is a classic rock and roll band who puts a lot of effects and production on their songs. That doesn’t mean you can’t take the chords and play them on your own to create a great acoustic version.

Even though this hit was made in 1987 the song still resonates to this day.

Playing this song is a great way to get better on the guitar because there are a ton of different strumming patterns you can use to create the sound you want.

12. Just the Way You Are by Bruno Mars

Instead of going with a simple strumming pattern when you are learning a new pop song, try out this finger-picking song by Bruno Mars.

Just the Way You Are is a sentimental ballad that will get your listeners interested in what you’re playing.

Combine the finger-picking with a capo that is used on this song and it will be the perfect chance to improve.

13. Diamonds by Rihanna

It doesn’t matter if you actually like Rihanna or not, this song is sure to please any ear that stops to listen.

The r&b vocals that Rihanna has in all her songs are really the stand-out here so once you learn how to play it you can focus on the vocals. The chords are very easy to learn and even easier to play.

It has a nice tempo so you don’t have to keep playing ballads just to learn a pop song on the guitar.

14. What Makes You Beautiful by One Direction

When One Direction took over pop charts they become one of the biggest bands in the world. Their song What Makes Your Beautiful is a great one for guitarists to learn because it doesn’t have a lot of chords.

What makes it special though is that the chords you are using are different from the major and minor chords you’re probably used to.

There’s even a great format the song has because of some technical breaks before it goes into the hook.

Learning Easy Pop Songs

With the songs listed above, you’ll be able to learn a ton of new pop songs that you can play on the guitar easily.

You’ll have songs that are slow and don’t require a lot of complicated strumming patterns and others that only need a handful of chords and are easy to play.

Whenever you need to impress your friends with your repertoire or fill out your setlist, these easy pop songs will be a perfect choice.

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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.