Awesome 4 Chord Songs to Play on Guitar

Awesome 4 Chord Songs to Play on Guitar

Are you ready for another list of hundreds of 4 chord guitar songs? Songs you’ll scan through but never bother learning properly?

Yeah, nah. Didn’t think so.

See, that’s the problem with learning guitar without a teacher. You just scroll the internet looking for songs and never learn how to play them properly.

Partly, this is because you need someone to teach you techniques, like strumming patterns and tricks to make songs sound good. But it’s also because the internet is failing you with lazy, boring lists of songs. 

Yes, there are bucket loads of songs with four chords. But most 4 chord guitar songlists are stuffed with yawn-worthy and done-to-death clichés. 

Instead, I’m going to broaden your musical horizons with my list of truly awesome 4 chord guitar songs that translate brilliantly to acoustic guitar.

Below is the list, complete with chords, tips and tricks on how to play each song. If these are beyond you, start with my 10 Day Guitar Crash Course. I also offer a range of online guitar courses that’ll help accelerate your progress and take you from absolute beginner to competent guitarist. 

Read on for some awesome 4 chord guitar songs to get you started. 

 

Fidel's Top 4 Chord Guitar Songlist

Teenage Kicks

The Undertones

The Undertones songs to learn acoustic guitar

A bit of an older song, but no less rockin’, Teenage Kicks was released by The Undertones in 1978. Fun fact, it was covered by Nouvelle Vague in 2004. Sounds great on acoustic.

DIFFICULTY: Easy

CHORDS: C A | F G

STRUM: Intuitive Strum

Below is the original song for you. If you want to play along with the recording, capo on the 2nd fret.

* TIPS TO PLAY THIS SONG BETTER *

This song is easy to play – 2 chords for the verse, the other 2 chords for the chorus. Play around with your strumming style until you get a nice rhythm that’s easy to sing along to.

Holiday

Pink Mountaintops

4 chord songs on guitar

Holiday is a song from Pink Mountaintops‘ 2009 album Outside Love. The album throws off supremely positive vibes. The song declares that everyone deserves a vacation in the sun. A sentiment I support and a great song that translates well to acoustic guitar.

DIFFICULTY: Moderate

CHORDS: G C D | C D G Em

STRUM: Intuitive Strum

Below is the original song for you. If you want to play along with the recording, capo on the 2nd fret.

* TIPS TO PLAY THIS SONG BETTER *

This song has two repetitive patterns and if you listen you’ll hear them pretty easily. Remember the more you use your ears to work out songs, the faster you’ll improve as a player. Listening out for the bass note changes is super helpful.

Deceptacon

Le Tigre

Beginner Guitar Songs Le Tigre

This is a bit of an unexpected song in a guitar list, but it’s totally worth including. Deceptacon featured on Le Tigre‘s self titled album released in 1999. It’s fun, electro-pop-punk roots translate surprisingly well to acoustic guitar. Give it a go!

DIFFICULTY: Easy

CHORDS: A G D C

STRUM: Intuitive Strum

Below is the original song for you. If you want to play along with the recording, capo on the 2nd fret.

* TIPS TO PLAY THIS SONG BETTER *

The more you develop your strumming technique, the better you’ll sound when you play these songs. This is something I focus heavily on in my guitar courses. It will make ALL the difference, transforming your chords into awesome entertaining songs.

In The Aeroplane Over the Sea

Neutral Milk Hotel

Neutral Milk Hotel - acoustic song chords

Another brilliant song. In The Aeroplane Over The Sea by Neutral Milk Hotel was first released in 1998 on their album of the same name. It’s a quirky, dark romantic waltz and an absolute pleasure to play on acoustic guitar.

DIFFICULTY: Intermediate

CHORDS: G Em C D | Em C G D

STRUM: Intuitive Strum

Below is the original song for you if you want to play along with the recording.

* TIPS TO PLAY THIS SONG BETTER *

I’ve mapped out the two chord progressions above for you. Just use your ears, you can hear when it changes from the first to the second pattern. And really emphasise the first beat of your strum to get that waltz feel just right. (Count ONE-two-three, ONE-two-three!)

January Wedding

The Avett Brothers

Awesome 4 Chord Songs On Guitar

January Wedding is a song by The Avett Brothers that from their 2009 album “I and Love and You”.  It was written by Seth Avett about his first marriage. Since his divorce, the band plays the song much less often. But it’s a beautiful song, well worth having a listen and learning it.

DIFFICULTY: Moderate

CHORDS: G C | D C  (*Am)

STRUM: Intuitive Strum

Below is the original song for you. If you want to play along with the recording, capo on the 2nd fret

* TIPS TO PLAY THIS SONG BETTER *

Remember to leave a bit of space in your strumming approach. Also there are a couple of surprise Am chords at the ends of Verse 3 + 5, so keep your ears open for them. 

Friends of Mine

Adam Green

Adam Green guitar chords

One of Adam Green‘s distinctively quirky songs, sung with light-hearted disdain. Friends Of Mine is heaps of fun and it’s only four chords. It’s good to learn songs that are a little bit unique, but still friendly to play with other people. Just like this one.

DIFFICULTY: Moderate

CHORDS: C Am Dm G | Dm G C

STRUM: Intuitive Strum

Below is the original song for you. If you want to play along with the recording, capo on the 3rd fret.

* TIPS TO PLAY THIS SONG BETTER *

Although there are two parts, you might notice that the second part is really like starting the first progression half way through. This is a common song structure and worth learning – it’ll come in handy later in your guitar journey.

Dammit

Blink-182

Blink-182-Campfire-Songs

Dammit is a song by 90s rock band Blink-182, released in 1997 as the second single from the album, Dude Ranch. The song is about maturity, growing older and breaking up. It’s well-known, fun, and has a nice predictable chord pattern.

DIFFICULTY: Easy

CHORDS: C G Am F

STRUM: Intuitive Strum

Below is the original song if you want to play along with the recording. 

* TIPS TO PLAY THIS SONG BETTER *

The actual chord pattern doesn’t change, but in the chorus, each chord is played for twice as long. Too easy!

Monkey & The Engineer

Dave Rawlings Machine

Dave rawlins machine intermediate guitar chords

Dave Rawlings Machine covered this Grateful Dead song and really made it their own. Monkey And The Engineer is from their 2009 album Friend of a Friend. It’s a terrific song that has a deceptively simple pattern to it, once you memorise it. 

DIFFICULTY: Moderate

CHORDS: G C A D

STRUM: Intuitive

Below is the original song for you. If you want to play along with the recording, capo on the 4th fret.

* TIPS TO PLAY THIS SONG BETTER *

I haven’t written the chords in the exact pattern played on the song. Use your ears to listen to the music and hear the changes. Use the bass notes for guidance. Restart the song as many times as you need and you’ll get there. It might seem harder than just looking up tabs, but it will train you to listen closely to music. 

Smells Like Teen Spirit

Nirvana

Nirvana Smells Like Teen Spirit Chords

There are very few guitar players alive today who haven’t smashed out Nirvana‘s classic hit Smells Like Teen Spirit. The four open chords listed here give you an easier version to get started with than the power chords you’ll find on guitar tab sites.

DIFFICULTY: Easy

CHORDS:  E A G C

STRUM: Intuitive Strum

Below is the original song for you. If you want to play along with the recording, capo on the 1st fret.

* TIPS TO PLAY THIS SONG BETTER *

You can learn about power chords and how to use them properly in my guitar course. But another important skill I teach is making electric guitar songs sound amazing on acoustic guitar. Because that’s what matters more when you’re sitting around a campfire with no amp, jamming in your room or playing tunes with friends at a party. Learning to make songs sound good without relying on effects will make you a much better guitarist.

Hit The Road Jack

Ray Charles

Ray Charles Hit The Road Jack

Hit The Road Jack is an awesome 4 chord song written by Percy Mayfield and first recorded in 1960 as an a cappella demo. It gained fame after Ray Charles recorded it, and won a Grammy award for Best Rhythm and Blues Recording. The song is ranked number 387 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of “The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time”.

DIFFICULTY: Moderate

CHORDS: Em D  C B7

STRUM: Intuitive

Below is the original song for you. If you want to play along with the recording, capo on the 4th Fret.

* TIPS TO PLAY THIS SONG BETTER *

This song has a circular chord pattern that loops round and round. Once you’ve learned how to play it, you can transpose the chord shapes to Am G F E and put a capo on it so you can sing it wherever you like. 

Never Had So Much Fun

Frenzal Rhomb

Frenzal Rhomb acoustic guitar chords

Off their superbly named “A man’s not a camel” album, Never Had So Much Fun is a rollicking 90s anthem from the Australian music scene. Frenzal Rhomb‘s punk rock is excellent for ear training, as the chords are clearly outlined in the song intro. Translating well to acoustic guitar, it’s great fun to play. 

DIFFICULTY: Moderate

CHORDS: G C D Em

STRUM: Hangs at the start, then Intuitive Strums.

Below is the original song if you want to play along with the recording.

* TIPS TO PLAY THIS SONG BETTER *

This song has great dynamics, make sure to do those big hangs at the start to a add a bit of punch when you start strumming. Use your ears to learn the chords, it will benefit you so much! The solo/bridge doesn’t add much to the song, so I’ve left it out. Feel free to figure it out if it’s important to you.

Same For Me

Cable Ties

cable_ties_band_acoustic_guitar_songs

Geez Louise, do I have a treat for you! Same For Me is a bangin’ tune from Melbourne punk 3-piece Cable Ties. Released in 2017, it’s one of the most underrated hits of the decade. It also happens to sound pretty rockin’ on acoustic guitar.

DIFFICULTY: Moderately Easy

CHORDS: D C G | A G C

STRUM: Intuitive Strum

Below is the original song for you. If you want to play along with the recording, capo on the 2nd fret.

* TIPS TO PLAY THIS SONG BETTER *

The best songs to learn on guitar (once you’re past novice status) are interesting songs that other guitarists aren’t covering. It takes guts and creativity to turn distorted punk songs into great acoustic covers, but it’s totally worth the effort. Songs like these are hidden gems.

Wagon Wheel

Old Crow Medicine Show

OCMS-Wagon-Wheel---Learn-Chords

The ultimate country guitar song you absolutely must learn – Wagon Wheel. Did you know, Bob Dylan wrote the bones of the chorus back in 1973, and then 25 years later, Ketch Secor of Old Crow Medicine Show polished it into the song we know and love today? Fascinating stuff! This song is heavily played, but it’s a beauty for getting people to sing along.

DIFFICULTY: Easy

CHORDS: G D Em C

STRUM: Intuitive Strum

Below is the original song for you. If you want to play along with the recording, capo on the 2nd fret.

* TIPS TO PLAY THIS SONG BETTER *

This song follows an easy, repetitive four chord structure. Use whatever strum you can master (or muster) right now, and add some hangs in the slow down bit. You’ll sound great!

Avant Gardener

Courtney Barnett

intermediate guitar songs

This sweet, rambling song from inner city Melbourne hipster Courtney Barnett became a big hit. Avant Gardener‘s a cute song with an almost Bob Dylan-esque talking/singing quality to the melody. This song gets a little trickier with the addition of the Bb chord. But it’s worth learning if you’re up to the challenge.

DIFFICULTY: Intermediate

CHORDS: G F C | G F C Bb F/C

STRUM: Intuitive 

Below is the original song for you to play along with the recording, 

* TIPS TO PLAY THIS SONG BETTER *

A two part song, you’ll notice I’ve written F/C at the end of the second part. It indicates that the first time round ends on F, but the second ending finishes with a C. If you use your ears you should be able to hear what’s going on.

Summary

See? Isn’t this better than a boring list of hundreds of 4 chord guitar songs you’ll never learn?

These songs are awesome. And you can learn to play so many more songs with just a few chords. Just start with a small selection. Pick one or two from this list and start learning them right now.

Don’t let the internet overwhelm you!

If you can, play live music with real people, like your friends or join a local music group. Music is for sharing, and I can teach you how to play guitar so others will enjoy listening. 

If you’re ready for a more streamlined approach to learning, check out my online guitar courses

Happy strumming.