20 Easy Songs to Play on Guitar (With Videos)
Playing some of the iconic songs on guitar when you are just a beginner not only motivates you to play and practice more, but it also helps with your technique. So, having some easy songs on your guitar practice routine is highly important in your guitar journey.
The following 20 famous and easy songs will give you a chance to celebrate your progress. While these are quite straightforward tunes, they do contribute to your technique and train your fingers and hands quite well. So let’s start!
- 1. “Chasing Cars” by Snow Patrol
- 2. “Creep” by Radiohead
- 3. “Imagine” by John Lennon
- 4. “The Scientist” by Coldplay
- 5. “Seven Nation Army” by The White Stripes
- 6. “California Dreamin'” by The Mamas & The Papas
- 7. “Losing My Religion” by R.E.M.
- 8. “Complicated” by Avril Lavigne
- 9. “Radioactive” by Imagine Dragons
- 10. “Summer Of 69” by Bryan Adams
- 11. “Let It Be” by The Beatles
- 12. “That’s Alright Mamma” by Elvis Presley
- 13. “I Shot The Sheriff” by Bob Marley
- 14. “Knocking on Heaven’s Door” by Bob Dylan
- 15. “Stand by Me” by Ben E. King
- 16. “Wonderwall” by Oasis
- 17. “Hurt” by Johnny Cash
- 18. “Free Fallin'” by Tom Petty
- 19. “Learning to Fly” by Tom Petty
- 20. “Good Riddance” by Green Day
1. “Chasing Cars” by Snow Patrol
Northern Irish-Scottish alternative rock band Snow Patrol’s “Chasing Cars” was a huge hit in 2006 after being featured in the season final of the popular TV series Grey’s Anatomy.
The song is quite easy to play as the verses go with two-note power chords, with the pinky finger staying in the same position while the index finger changes. In an alternate picking pattern, you pick both strings individually.
In the chorus, there are 4 chords with a steady downbeat strum pattern, making the song perfect for absolute beginners. The only challenge could be the E/G# chord shape, which is a bit odd, but you can get used to it with a little practice.
2. “Creep” by Radiohead
“Creep” was the debut single of the alternative rock giants Radiohead back in 1992. The song became a worldwide hit the next year with its basic chord progression and outstanding lyrics.
The song is pretty straightforward to play with a 4-chord progression. Although the song is played with barre chords, you can also play with open chords to make it a little easier if you struggle with them. Plus, the strum pattern is a traditional one that you can learn intuitively.
3. “Imagine” by John Lennon
One of the most peaceful songs ever made is “Imagine” by John Lennon. Having sold over 1.5 million copies, the song became one of the most sung, played, covered, and performed songs of all time.
The song may be a bit complicated at first sight for absolute beginners as it has many parts and chord variations, but don’t be alarmed, it gets easier. The chords are all open chords, and the strum pattern is mainly downstrokes. It is a great song to learn for having fun and practicing chord transitions.
4. “The Scientist” by Coldplay
Coldplay’s melancholic piano-driven ballad, “The Scientist,” is another great song that can be played easily on guitar. Although the actual song is mainly played on the piano, it can be adapted to the guitar perfectly.
The song starts with a basic open-chord progression with downstrokes driving the rhythm. The chorus is no different but has some tricks, which beginners can play without if it gets too challenging. The chord changes are pretty easy for the fingers, and the slow tempo helps with the transitions.
5. “Seven Nation Army” by The White Stripes
One of the best and most famous songs of the 2000s is Seven Nation Army by the garage rock band The White Stripes. Having won the Grammy for Best Rock Song in 2004, the song also became a massive hit and was used in many sports events as an anthem and was covered by countless artists.
The song features a highly easy main riff and you probably already recognize one of the best basslines of all time. You can start playing the song with single notes solely on the lowest string to get familiar with the riff before playing it with power chords. And that is it. Also, do not forget to add some overdrive and pitch shift to your tone if you have the chance.
6. “California Dreamin'” by The Mamas & The Papas
One of the oldest songs on the list is “California Dreamin’” by The Mamas & The Papas, which was released back in 1965. The gold certificated song became one of the greatest songs of all time and a pioneer of the California Sound.
The song starts with a basic arpeggio and gives way to open chords with a simple down-down-up strum pattern. As the chord changes may be pretty quick for absolute beginners, you can start with a slower tempo and build up the speed as you progress.
7. “Losing My Religion” by R.E.M.
The Grammy award-winning song “Losing My Religion” by the great alternative rock band R.E.M. deserves to be on this list with its great melody and easy chord progression. The song is driven by the mandolin but can be adapted easily to the guitar.
Most of the song goes around some of the most basic chords like Am, Em, Dm, and G. This all open-chord progression is strummed in a steady pattern. Although it is not difficult, you may have to practice the 8-beat strum pattern well to play the song properly.
8. “Complicated” by Avril Lavigne
The debut single of the Canadian artist Avril Lavigne, “Complicated,” is a simple yet beautiful ballad to play. The slow tempo of the song, as well as the 4-chord layout almost throughout the entire song, make it quite beginner-friendly.
The chords you need are Dm, Bb, F, and C, which means you will have to use two barre chords. There is also a Gm chord you have to use in the chorus once. It is a great song to practice barre chords, and the slow tempo will help you with the transitions.
9. “Radioactive” by Imagine Dragons
Released in 2012, “Radioactive” became a sleeper hit, hitting the world slowly as it eventually became one of the best-selling singles of all time. The song features a four-chord progression, an entire song with quite an easy strum pattern.
The song is played with four of the simplest open chords, and its chord and strum pattern does not change at all, making it one of the easiest songs to play on the list.
10. “Summer Of 69” by Bryan Adams
For electric guitar enthusiasts, “Summer Of 69” by Bryan Adams is a great choice to learn and play with its killer rock riff. The song has many different parts with different techniques, but all the parts are quite straightforward when taken individually.
The good thing about the song is it makes you use many different techniques like palm muting, arpeggiating, power chords, and various strum patterns. But these are all played with very easy chords and finger positions, making it more fun and easier to play.
11. “Let It Be” by The Beatles
“Let It Be”, is a fairly easy song to play with a basic strum pattern and four simple open chords. It is a great song to play on an acoustic guitar and sing along with.
The chords you will need are C, G, Am, and F, which makes the transitions between chords pretty straightforward. The strum pattern consists mainly of downstrokes with an upstroke at the end. There is also a short walk-down at the end of the chord pattern, which you can add after you get comfortable with the chord changes.
12. “That’s Alright Mamma” by Elvis Presley
If you are an absolute beginner guitarist and looking for an easy-peasy piece to play, “That’s Alright Mama” by the king of rock ‘n roll Elvis Presley is just for you. The song features the same 3-chord sequence throughout the track, and the strum pattern goes as a single bass and a strum.
The song also has a solo between easy and intermediate levels with nice bass walks and a bluesy feel.
13. “I Shot The Sheriff” by Bob Marley
“I Shot The Sheriff” by the reggae legend Bob Marley is a great song to play for reggae-fan guitarists. Although the song has a straightforward chord sequence repeating throughout, the reggae rhythm pattern and the barre chords may be a bit hard to play at first.
You can practice the strum pattern with the same chord before playing the chord changes to get a better hang of it. The song also has an easy riff on the lower strings after each verse which makes the song more fun to play.
14. “Knocking on Heaven’s Door” by Bob Dylan
“Knocking on Heaven’s Door” by the legendary Bob Dylan is one of the most famous songs among beginner guitarists for a reason. The song features four of the most common open chords and the same chord sequence in the entire song, strummed with a very traditional pattern.
To play the song, you only need to use three fingers as the chords are G, D, C, and Am. The simple strum pattern and the slow tempo make the song one of the easiest songs to play on this list.
15. “Stand by Me” by Ben E. King
One of the most famous tunes in music history, “Stand by Me” by Ben E. King, is a great song to learn for beginners thanks to its four-chord progression that does not change throughout the song.
You only need four open chords, G, Em, C, and D, to play the song along with a quite groovy strum pattern. You can also play it in a more traditional way without mutes if you are not comfortable with the technique. Later, you can also add the little walk-down between the chord transitions to make it sound better.
16. “Wonderwall” by Oasis
Another rock classic, “Wonderwall” by Oasis, deserves a place on this list with its simple yet iconic chord sequence and great lyrics. It is a really easy song to play with 5 chords and a relatively simple strum pattern.
You will need a capo to play the song to make it sound like in the recording. Your pinky and ring finger will be in the same position all throughout the song, while the index and middle fingers will be responsible for the chord changes. The strumming part may be the most complex part of this one, but you can get comfortable with it after a little practice.
17. “Hurt” by Johnny Cash
The last ever song of the country legend Johnny Cash, “Hurt,” is an ultimately emotional song with a striking melody. The chord sequence, the slow tempo, and the easy arpeggios and strum pattern with downstrokes in the chorus make this one an absolute beginner-friendly tune.
The song is played with 5 open chords, and the progression only changes in the chorus. The arpeggios in the verses are quite easy, and the chorus only consists of simple downstrokes.
18. “Free Fallin'” by Tom Petty
“Free Fallin” by Tom Petty is a great and easy song to learn for beginners as it features a simple 4-chord sequence repeating throughout the song. Do not let the names of the chord shapes like Asus2 scare you, as all four chords have quite easy finger positions.
The strum pattern is a bit different, but nothing you can not get used to after a few tries. The fast chord changes may be challenging with this strum pattern, but if you start slowly building up the speed later, you’ll be fine.
19. “Learning to Fly” by Tom Petty
If you are looking for a basic 4-chord acoustic guitar song, “Learning to Fly” by Tom Petty is the right choice for you. It has a short yet great chord sequence with four chords and an easy yet groovy strum pattern.
The song has relatively quick chord changes, but the finger transitions in between are quite easy. The strum pattern is also simple, so you only have to get the timings right for the chord changes.
20. “Good Riddance” by Green Day
The last song on the list is the famous tune by Green Day, “Good Riddance.” The song features 5 open chords, all quite easy to play and change between. There is only one odd chord, Cadd9, but it has comfortable finger positions, and the transition from the G to Cadd9 is extremely easy.
The strumming groove is a bit fast, but the pattern is one of the most traditional ones. So, when you get the chord changes right, there is no obstacle on the way to playing this tune.
So, here are 20 easy and famous songs to play on the guitar for you to enjoy. Learning these songs will not only make you have fun feeling like a rockstar, but it will also get you more motivated to play while helping you progress with your technique. These are all great songs to add to your repertoire.