10 Great Guitar Songs for Beginners (That Aren’t Wonderwall)

10 Great Guitar Songs for Beginners (That Aren’t Wonderwall)

The internet’s full of guitar songs for beginners. But you know what? They’re so BORING.

Every list features the same done-to-death songs. Horse With No Name. Brown Eyed Girl. Achy Breaky Heart. Or worse still, daggy nursery rhyme level stuff. It’s enough to suck the life out of your acoustic.

What’s even worse is guitar tab. You can’t distinguish suitable guitar songs for beginners from the super hard ones. And half the time they’re inaccurate. And in un-beginner-friendly keys.

It’s annoying to look up songs, guitar in hand, only to find that they have confusing progressions and weirdo chords like F#m7.

Eww.

But fear not, my good friend. I’ve compiled a list of genuinely rad guitar songs for beginners.

These songs are easy and fun. Along with each song, you’ll find chords, original tracks and tips to help you play better.

So tune up your guitar and let’s get strumming.

Lonely Boy

The Black Keys

Guitar Songs For Beginners

Lonely Boy by The Black Keys hit the charts in 2011. It was the lead single from their album El Camino. Featuring just three simple chords, it’s a whole lotta fun to play.

DIFFICULTY: Easy

CHORDS: E G A

STRUM: Down Up Continuous Strum

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

* TIPS TO PLAY THIS SONG BETTER *

Here’s a hot tip for ya – the intro to this song is just the E & A chords repeated. The 3 chord structure starts when vocalist Dan Auerbach starts singing. Follow that structure and you’ll be playing along like a rockstar!

Sex Is On Fire

Kings of Leon

guitar songs for beginners

In 2008, Kings Of Leon burst onto the indie rock scene with their massive hit Sex On Fire. It’s easy to play, and satisfyingly gritty to sing. Just two simple chords and you’re off.

DIFFICULTY: Easy

CHORDS: C Am

STRUM: Down Up Continuous Strum

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 *

Ok, so the trick to this song? It’s all in the singing. You can’t just play the chords – it’s dull. You have to learn to sing and play at the same time, and this is a great song to get you started. Nail your chord changes, and then get straight into howling that chorus. Have FUN with it.

Tree Hugger

Kimya Dawson

guitar songs for beginners

I first discovered Kimya Dawson‘s song Tree Hugger on the 2008 soundtrack to the movie Juno. The chords are straightforward, the beat is fun, and the lyrics are gorgeous. Give it a go!

DIFFICULTY: Moderately Easy

CHORDS: G C D

STRUM: Down Strums

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

* TIPS TO PLAY THIS SONG BETTER *

You have two options to strum this song as a beginner – lots of fast down strums or a mixture of up & down strums. I’d advise you to do what comes naturally to you for now. It’s a good challenging speed to play along to, but the song is quite raw and forgiving, so just have fun with it!

The Way I Walk

Jack Scott

Guitar chords for easy songs

Let’s head back to rock’n’roll era with this classic song. The Way I Walk was written by Jack Scott in 1958, and you might know it from The Cramps cover version that came out 20 years later. Both versions rock.

DIFFICULTY: Easy

CHORDS: D G A

STRUM: Down Up Continuous 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 originally in the key of E, which means playing the chords E, A and B7. Uh-oh. But to make it beginner-friendly, you can simply put your guitar capo on the second fret and play along with the chords suggested above – D G A. Problem solved!

Heart It Races

Dr Dog

Guitar Songs for Beginners

The Architecture in Helsinki song Heart It Races is an easy modern song to play. But Dr Dog‘s acoustic cover is even easier to learn from. Just two chords and you’re good to go.

DIFFICULTY: Easy

CHORDS: G Em

STRUM: Down Strums

Below is the Dr Dog cover version for you. If you want to play along with the recording, capo on the 3rd fret.

* TIPS TO PLAY THIS SONG BETTER *

If you’ve got brilliant ears, you’ll notice that the Dr Dog version is tuned just fractionally different from standard tuning. You can still play along, but it’ll sound better if you just use the recording as a reference and play it on your own.

Jane Says

Janes Addiction

Songs For Beginners

An oldie but a goodie. Jane Says is a simple two chord song released in 1988 by Jane’s Addiction. It’s an easy rock song to add to your guitar playing collection

DIFFICULTY: Easy

CHORDS: G A

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 *

What makes this song work is the rhythm of the strumming. If you’re just starting out, use whatever basic strum you can do. As you master the chord changes, start to incorporate more interesting strumming patterns that reflect the energy and rhythm of the song.

Poor Ned

Redgum

Easy Chords Redgum song Poor Ned

How about an Australian folk song to add to your repertoire? Poor Ned (aka The Battle Of Ned Kelly) was originally written by Trevor Lucas and famously covered by Adelaide band Redgum. It tells the story of Ned Kelly, Australia’s most famous outlaw. And it’s one of the better 3 chord guitar songs for beginners to play.

DIFFICULTY: Easy

CHORDS: G D C G

STRUM: Down Up Continuous Strum

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

* TIPS TO PLAY THIS SONG BETTER *

This song uses only three chords in an easy, repetitive pattern. Just make sure you go BACK to the G chord at the start of every round or you’ll get out of sync.

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.

Iko Iko

Dixie Cups

Dixie-Cups---Iko-Iko

What a fun song! Just two chords, and plenty of time to practice switching between them. Iko Iko is a popular song that’s been covered by many artists. Here I’ve got The Dixie Cups version for you to listen to.

DIFFICULTY: Easy

CHORDS: D A

STRUM: Down Strums

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 *

If you have any trouble singing and playing this song at the same time, just do single strums for each chord change. Let them ring out nice and long, and sing along between chord changes. Keep it easy, guitar is meant to be fun!

Riptide

Vance Joy

Vance Joy Riptide Chords

Riptide is a well known song by Australian artist Vance Joy. It was released in 2013. Although the recording is on a ukulele, it works great on a guitar. 

DIFFICULTY: Easy

CHORDS: Am G C

STRUM: Simple Down Strums

Below is the original song for you, but it’s not in standard tuning, so it won’t sound quite right if you play along.

* TIPS TO PLAY THIS SONG BETTER *

I’ve recorded a free Riptide guitar lesson for you. It’s totally beginner-friendly and in easier tuning. You’ll have better luck learning the song if you play along to that.

Summary

That’s it!

Now you’ve got a diverse range of guitar songs for beginners you can learn.

Feel free to spread the love and share this list with your guitar-lovin’ friends. When you get the basics, organise a jam with your mates!

If you’re having any trouble mastering these songs, you can get help in my guitar course. It might be just what you need.

Happy strumming.