If you're a beginner guitar player, you probably want to start learning songs right away. Many tunes only use a few basic chords and strumming patterns, so you'll be able to learn them quickly.
Here are 10 easy songs you can get under your fingers today!
Wonderwall by Oasis
Wonderwall by Oasis has become a staple for acoustic guitarists. We all know it’s a great song to listen to, but it’s also fairly easy to play. And beware—if you ever bring your guitar in public, you might be asked to play it!
You’ll start by grabbing a capo and putting it on the second fret. Next, you should practice the chords. There are 6 of them, but don’t be intimidated because they’re all fairly easy. Finally, you just need to get used to the strum pattern.
Be sure to isolate each hand in order to learn this song as fast as possible. Your left hand is responsible for chords, while your right hand works out the strum. Then just put them together!
Taylor Swift’s Back to December is a modern classic of heartbreak and the challenges of moving on. It really captures the feeling of looking back on a past relationship, reliving the good times and wondering what might have been.
The good news is that you can play this easy guitar song with only 5 chords. The bad news? One of them is the dreaded F chord. That said, you definitely don’t need to use a full barre for the F. Instead, use one of these Easy F Chord Shapes.
John Denver is one of my favorite country singer-songwriters. He wrote a bunch of memorable tunes glorifying rural America, and Take Me Home, Country Roads is one of his best. This song really captures the satisfaction of returning home after a long journey.
Another simple song, this one centers about G, Em, D, and C with a few others added for spice. These “spicy” chords, such as G/D and D/F#, aren’t necessary for you to play the song. You can learn them if you wish, but if you’re having trouble, feel free to play G and D instead.
Chasing Cars by Snow Patrol was all the rage when it came out, and you’ll still hear it on the radio to this day. It’s a song that resonates with many of us, describing a quiet, sentimental moment amid a loud and busy world.
You can play Chasing Cars with 3 simple chords: G, C, and D. But you’ll also want to put a capo on the second fret if you want to sound like the recording. The strumming pattern is also easy: you just want to strum once every upbeat and downbeat.
Some Nights by Fun is a really striking pop masterpiece. It seemed to come out of nowhere, but before long its expressive lyrics carried it to the top of the charts. Nate Ruess, the lead singer, has said that Some Nights is about “the feeling of being someone different on any given night.”
Musically, this song is very easy to play. You’ll only need 4 chords: C, F, G, and Am, and you can keep the strumming pattern simple. Of course, if you’re going to perform this one you might want to get a vocal coach, since Nate Ruess is a remarkable vocalist!
I’m Yours hit the charts hard and for a long time. People loved this incredibly feel-good song. It captures the early stages of being in love, and the sheer giddiness and excitement really comes through in the music.
This tune centers about 4 easy chords: C, G, Am, and F. The only challenging part of playing I’m Yours is the strumming pattern. You’ll find that it’s a little bit fast and uses some muted strums for flavor. My advice is to practice the pattern slowly and keep listening to it under you have it down.
Green Day’s Wake Me Up When September Ends is one the band’s most poignant songs, and probably one of the best anti-war tunes from a massively popular band. The music video is a clear homage to all the veterans who toured Iraq and Afghanistan as well as their families.
This beautiful song is a little bit trickier to play than some of the others on this list, but it’s well worth your time. And you don’t need an electric to play this one either—it actually sounds great strummed on the acoustic, and probably even more heartfelt.
Hey, Soul Sister is a pop staple from the American rock band Train. I think the main appeal of this song is that it’s joyous and upbeat, even if there’s not a ton going on beneath the surface. Plus, who doesn’t like a charming ukulele part?
This hit also sits well on the guitar, and can be played using only 4 chords. You’ll find them familiar by this point: C, G, Am, and F. Again, my take on the F chord is that if you’re struggling with it, you should simplify it.
You Belong With Me is still one of Taylor Swift’s best songs. Like a lot of her music, it details the awkwardness and frustrations around young love. I think most of us know what it’s like to be on the outside looking in, which is exactly what this tune conveys so well.
One of the easiest songs on this list, you can play You Belong With Me with just 4 chords: D, A, Em, and G. As far as the strum goes, I would listen to the song until your right hand starts to find something that works. You’ll get there before long, trust me!
Boulevard of Broken Dreams by Green Day is another great one for beginner guitarists. Like Wake Me Up When September Ends, it’s a rock song that also works well as an acoustic solo. If you’re like me, you’ll be singing as you’re strumming along.
The key chords here are Em, G, D, A, and C. All of these shapes are easy, so you should be able to pick this one up right away. Things get a little trickier during the solo, but you can either work up to it or skip it entirely.
Barring might just be the single most difficult guitar technique. That means if barring is an issue for you, you’re in good company.
The trick is to build up your left-hand strength over time with consistent practice. Take a few minutes every day (literally 2-5 minutes) and practice holding a few barres. You’ll be surprised at how quickly you gain confidence with them.
Changing chords is one of the hardest things to do on guitar. It requires a lot of left-hand dexterity, but also some strategic fingering choices.
For one thing, don’t be afraid to “shop around” when it comes to chord shapes.
Say you’re playing the F chord, for instance.
Rather than barring the entire first fret, you could just barre the first two strings, making for a much easier shape. Don’t kill yourself for no reason! Check out my post on Easy Ways to Play the F Chord for more workarounds.
I said it before and I’ll say it again: isolate the left hand to practice chord changes. Just finger each shape without even sounding the chords. It may seem silly, but it’s a huge shortcut!