Acoustic guitars are great instruments to learn basic songs on.
Chords can be learned fairly quickly, and there are tonnes of free sheet music and Guitar Tabs online.
This article explores the top 24 easiest songs to learn on acoustic guitar. If you’re looking for beginner guitar songs, this article has everything you need.
This list covers some easy guitar songs that are perfect for the beginner guitar player to learn.
It includes a wide variety of genres, from pop songs to rock and folk.
This list of guitar songs for beginners will be useful for players who enjoy acoustic guitar, as they have simple chords and strumming patterns. These songs are also easy to play on the electric guitar too!
If you’re looking for a new acoustic guitar to buy, check out our post on the best acoustic guitars!
If you love playing guitar as I do, you’ll get a lot of enjoyment from playing these classic songs.
Get ready for a sing-a-long!
Table of Contents
- Moves Like Jagger – Maroon 5
- Sweet Jane – The Velvet Underground
- 12 Bar Blues
- I remember you – Skid Row
- Smells like Teen Spirit – Nirvana
- Creep – Radiohead
- I used to love her – Guns N’ Roses
- La Bamba – Ritchie Valens
- “Wild Horses” – The Rolling Stones
- Take Me Home, Country Roads – John Denver
- Three Little Birds – Bob Marley
- Wonderful Tonight – Eric Clapton
- Born in the USA – Bruce Springsteen
- Hurt – Johnny Cash
- “Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door” – Bob Dylan
- House of the Rising Sun – The Animals
- Californication – Red Hot Chili Peppers
- Hey Joe – Jimi Hendrix
- Sweet Home Alabama – Lynyrd Skynyrd
- Love Me Do – The Beatles
- Hound Dog – Elvis Presley
- Brown Eyed Girl – Van Morrison
- Bad Moon Rising – Creedence Clearwater Revival
- Achy Breaky Heart – Billy Ray Cyrus
Example Basic Guitar Chords
You should learn how to read and play the most crucial fundamental open guitar chords right away: C – A – G – E – D – Am – Em – Dm (see chord diagrams below).
These chords are used in a lot of beginner songs. Learning these chords on an acoustic or electric guitar will help when it comes to playing easy guitar songs.
Many songs use these basic chord shapes. You should learn these basic shapes before moving on to more chords.
Not only do you need to know chord shapes, but you should also practice your rhythm. The best way to do this is to practice in time with a metronome. Check out our post about the best metronomes for acoustic guitar!
Chords: Bm7, Em7
The pulsing synth of Maroon 5’s 2011 single has a lot of fans. It’s a striking statement with its outstanding blend of electronic drums and fast-paced sounds. Most people enjoy the bright and breezy whistle-driven music produced by maroon 5. This guitar song is a lot of fun to listen to.
Bm and Em are the central chords for this song. However, I am aware that some people may struggle with the Bm barre chord. You can transpose the chords to Am and Dm if you’re one of these people. This method should make it a lot simpler to play. To get the song’s flow perfect, concentrate on the proper strumming rhythm.
Chords: D, A, G, Bm
Velvet Underground’s Sweet Jane is a fairly simple song, so it’s a great choice for beginners.
It uses an exciting strumming pattern that is a lot of fun to play. It has some barre chords which may be tiresome if you’re not used to these kinds of chord shapes. You can play most of the chords in open fingerings, but the Bm chord may be difficult for beginners as always.
3. 12 Bar Blues
Chords: E, A, B
The 12 bar blues is a foundational style of music. The structure and harmonic theory of this genre has influenced many styles.
Originating in America in the early 1900s, blues is a style of music that evolved from folk music and field hollers from the deep south.
12 bar blues is super easy to learn on guitar, but a lot of fun to play! It’s a great style for beginners to learn, and it helps to understand other styles of music too. It’s also great to play with other musicians. It mostly uses the same chords.
The chord progression is a 1-4-5.
For example, the following chord progressions are used to play guitar in a 12 bar blues style:
E/// A/// E/// B///
Chords: G – Cadd9 -D – C – Em – Am
“I Remember You” is an iconic rock ballad from Skid Row. The chords are mostly strummed but you can spice it up throughout the track by fingerpicking and adding flourishes. The chord progression is fairly simple, with the hardest chord being the modified Cadd9, although once practiced, this acoustic guitar song is a breeze.
Chords: F5 – A#5 – G#5 – C#5
This classic grunge song was originally played on heavy electric guitars, but it’s also a great song for acoustic performances. Smells like teen spirit is an essential tune for the beginner guitarist.
Nirvana performed a classic unplugged set which is required listening for any musician!
The main chord pattern is.
F5 – A#5 – G#5 – C#5
Kurt Cobain loved to use 5 chords, aka power chords. These are simple chords that only need 3 notes holding down. They also work as barre chords.
Copy the strumming pattern from an original recording of the band.
The Main 5 chord shape in frets:
- (R = the root note of the chord)
- e —–
- B —–
- G —–
- D –2–
- A –2–
- E –R–
To play this song precisely like the recording, you’d have to play four barre chords the entire time. This may be difficult for beginners so I’ve designed a simplified method that alternates between easy, open chords and the odd barre chord to give your hand a break.
The strumming pattern is lengthy but relatively straightforward. It’s essentially two simpler patterns merged into one. Have a listen to the track, you only need to repeat the strumming rhythm once for each chord.
Make the verse a little more sparse and play it heavier in the chorus. This creates a contrast between the two portions, allowing the chorus to stand out.
Use heavy downstrokes to make the bridge section sound massive. When you put it all together, it gives the song an expressive dynamic range that still sounds fantastic when played solo on an acoustic guitar.
Chords: D – A – G
This track uses a very common and chord progression.
It uses only three chords which will be familiar to most musicians – if you know one you know them all. The melodic progression is sometimes slightly different.
The simple chord progression of this love song makes it a super easy guitar song to learn. There isn’t much variation through the verse and the chorus.
Guns N’ Roses’ “Used to Love Her” is nearly identical to The Rolling Stones’ “Dead Flowers.” The chord progression isn’t exactly the same, but it employs the same three beginning guitar chords. This funky rock tune featured a lot of acoustic guitars in the original recording. If you practice enough, one day you might become a guitar legend like Slash!
Chords: C, F, G7
On an acoustic guitar, there’s no better song to play than this 1958 rock & roll tune.
This song’s quick speed (144 BPM) will have you testing your strumming abilities.
Although the song has roots in Latin and folk music, you can’t dispute that it has a groovy rhythm. The song has a fantastic vibe to it, it’s catchy and a lot of fun to play.
Learning this song will give two important lessons to beginner guitarists.
For starters, it introduces them to playing the fingerstyle technique.
Secondly, the strumming pattern puts your finger and wrist coordination to the test.
Chords: G – Am – Bm – C – D – F – Gsus4
Wild Horses is the first single from the Stones’ ’71 collection Sticky Fingers. It’s truly a classic song every guitarist should learn. This epic rock ballad is a very simple song, and surprisingly easy to learn.
Chords: G, D, Em, C
This song from 1971 is a perfect demonstration of John Denver’s extensive musical talents. This song is widely known and is a classic track to sing around a campfire with an acoustic guitar. It’s anthemic!
The chords to this country tune will feel relatively simple for most guitar players. Even young children have been observed strumming toy guitars to the melody of this song.
Learning the song’s easy sections shouldn’t be too tough for novice adult guitarists too. It’s just as necessary to learn this song as it is to learn how to tie your shoelaces!
It’s a catchy classic that helps to learn the basics of acoustic guitar.
Chords: A – D – E
Everybody knows that “every little thing is gonna be alright.”
This widely loved reggae track is a super easy song to learn on the guitar. There are just three major chords used: A, D, and E.
With this song, your strumming should be deliberate. Try to capture an authentic island vibe!
The D chord is an open chord, which means the root string is unfretted. This is a fantastic jamming song with a steady beat. A true reggae classic.
Chords: G, D, C, Em, D/F#
The guitar solo in this 1977 tune is particularly noteworthy. Wonderful Tonight’s famous guitar riff summarises this classic soft rock tune that can move the heart and body.
The key to nailing this song is by using the right bends and slides, which gives the song its recognizable harmonic flavor. It’s a simple tune that helps to teach new players a variety of extended guitar techniques.
Playing Wonderful Tonight in the original fingerstyle may be difficult to master – you’ll need flexible fingers well-practiced fingerpicking technique to get it to sound right.
If this is beyond your abilities, you should stick to the easier strumming style. The track will still sound authentic – don’t worry!
Chords: A, E
It will be fairly easy to learn this Bruce Springsteen classic from 1984, mostly because it only revolves around two chords. The production of this song includes electronic sound design textures which became iconic in rock & roll in the 1960s. These sounds will be hard to produce on an acoustic guitar, but an acoustic rendition is always welcome.
The song’s strumming pattern is also relatively easy. The chord progression is extremely simple to learn too.
The greatest part is that you’ll get to learn how to play one of America’s most famous songs, which is still seen as an anthem today. This track is essential for any guitarist’s repertoire
Chords: Am – C – D – G – F
Nine Inch Nails’ 1994 song “Hurt” is a song written by the American industrial rock band Nine Inch Nails. Johnny Cash’s cover was released in 2002 with the aid of producer Rick Rubin, and it received widespread commercial and critical success.
One of the final tracks he published before his death was his rendition of the song. The Johnny Cash version is played in E minor with various modulations from A minor. it’s a fantastic tune to work on your fingerpicking techniques.
Chords: G – C – D – Am
This classic Song is perfect for beginner guitarists because it contains lots of interesting musical elements, and the melody is fairly simple to learn. This Bob Dylan song is a great way to learn the basics of playing acoustic guitar.
Many songs written by Bob Dylan are easy acoustic guitar songs, I recommend listening through his albums and picking your favorites.
Chords: Am – C – D – F – Am | E | Am | E |
The Animals’ 1964 hit “The House of the Rising Sun” is a popular folk or traditional song popularized by British rock band The Animals.
The song, which is about bad times in New Orleans, has become one of America’s most beloved folk tunes.
This song is in the key of Am and features open chords, making it an excellent choice for beginners learning popular songs. You can play this with chords or pick through the strings. The chord progression is iconic, and you won’t want to miss this one.
Chords: Am – F – C – G – Dm – Fmaj7 – F#m – D – Bm – A – E
Californication is a song by the Red Hot Chili Peppers, a famous American rock band. It was included on their seventh studio album, Californication, and has since become one of the band’s most popular songs.
The song is about the hidden darkness of Hollywood, and the corruption of fame and popularity. This song is written in the key of Am, thus no capo is required. The structure of this song is fairly complex at first, so listen to the recording to get a good idea of how it should sound.
Chords: C – G – D – A – E
Hey, Joe is a great Jimi Hendrix tune for beginners to start learning his tracks.
Start with the simple chord progression, learning the key and pattern. Once you are comfortable with this, use some guitar TAB to learn the solo and lead guitar riffs.
It’s essentially C G D A and E chords over and over, with a few lead, fills thrown in for groove.
Another Hendrix classic – “Foxy Lady” is another great song for beginners to learn; it consists primarily of a riff on F#, followed by F# and E for the rest of the track.
Learning to play the way Jimi Hendrix did will take years of practice. So come back to this track over time, and you will see your skills improve.
Practice regularly to learn the song’s foundation, then revisit it every month to refresh your memory.
Chords: D – Cadd9 – G – F – C
This is Lynyrd Skynyrd’s second album Second helping. It’s a simple 3-chord progression for the largest part of the song and a great song for novices.
If “Sweet Home Alabama” and other classic country-rock tracks appeal to you, this is a great place to start.
Thanks to the same three easy chords that feature in many of the songs on this list: C, D, and G, this song is also straightforward to learn on the guitar.
This song inspired a huge amount of country artists and talented musicians later down the line!
Chords: G – C – G7 – D
Many songs by The Beatles are simple enough for beginners but instantly recognizable and fun to play. Love me Do is a pretty easy tune to play because it only has two chords, to begin with.
When playing this song, only two chords are used for the chorus – G major and C major.
When you reach the bridge section, “Someone to love…”, add a D major chord to the pattern.
Keep in mind that each Beatles song has a unique strumming rhythm, listen carefully to the song, and watch live performances, to work out the correct pattern,
If you can sing like John Lennon, then you will create an even better performance!
Chords: C – F – G – C#7 – C7
This is a simple three-chord masterpiece from The King, everybody knows and loves this song.
This 12 Bar Blues chord sequence may be used to perform hundreds of songs! It’s a great one for total beginners because it sounds amazing with very easy strumming.
A capo on the 3rd fret is required to play along with the album, although it still works fine without.
Chords: G – C – D – Em – D7
This song by Van Morrison is easy to learn using the same three guitar chords: G major, C major, and D major. Don’t forget to add an E Minor chord in the chorus at the moment where you come to the first “My brown-eyed girl.”
This chord progression is seen everywhere. Look at how many tunes you can make with just three chords
G – C – G – D is the first chord progression for this song. Then C – D – G – Em is played in the second half.
Practicing cool and interesting strum patterns is one element that can distinguish you as a great musician. You must master harmony, melody, and, rhythm!
Chords: D – A – G
This pleasant, bluesy song written by Creedence Clearwater Revival has a simple chord progression that even the newest beginners can play. The chords D, A, and G are used in the progression.
Don’t forget to add an extra G major chord in the beginning when you get to the chorus portion of “Don’t go around tonight…”
Chords: A – E
Talk about simple things, this track only uses two chords!
If you like country music, you can play this short piece on the guitar using basic strums of the A and E chords. This is a fantastic starting tune since both the chorus and the verses follow the same structure. Everybody loves this country hit performed by Miley Cyrus’s father!
You’ve reached the end of our list! If you’re interested in Christian music, check out our post about the best worship songs to learn on acoustic guitar.
Noah is an accomplished audio engineer with several years of experience producing music for major companies and independent artists. He enjoys sharing his vast knowledge of audio engineering topics to help musicians and music producers create great music.