Beginner Guitar Songs: 10 Easy Songs To Get You Started

Easy Beginner Guitar Songs

One of the great things about being a beginner on the guitar is that you have yet to develop any style so far. Perhaps you will turn into a blues guitarist and learn lots of licks to embellish the basic chord and strum technique. Perhaps you will use lots of slide and twang to get a country sound to your playing. Alternatively, you might go for power chords using an overdrive pedal and an amp for a rock guitar style. However, before you develop to this stage, you need to know the fundamentals so that you have the core skills necessary to progress. Sites like Guitar Tricks can help novices to develop these skills and to make headway with their chosen style. Along with this, one of the best ways of building confidence is to learn to play songs you already know. Better than simply changing between chords in a series of dry exercises, learning easy beginner guitar songs helps you to acquire finger skills in a fun way which means you make progress every practice session. It helps if you can sing a bit, too, but this is not essential so long as you can hear the melody in your head. Once you are up to speed with a song, you can always play along with a recording of it, anyway.

Before embarking on learning a few basic songs, it is worth remembering that two or three chords are the mainstay of many highly successful tracks. Just because a song has a relatively simple harmony structure of only a few repetitive chords does not mean that it is a basic song – far from it. Often, it is the way songwriters get something new from tried and tested song structures that marks them apart. Easy songs to learn on the guitar can sound very professional with a bit of practice, so don’t be put off because the songs on this list don’t seem sophisticated at first glance. Quite the reverse is often the case!

  1. Let it Be

    Originally written for a piano accompaniment, this Beatles song is a great sing along number to have in your repertoire. Usually played in the key of C major, you will need to be able to switch between C, G, F and A minor at a moderate tempo. To add sophistication to your playing, try adding Am/G in a run down during the chorus. This means playing A minor with the bass string sounding the note of G (third fret on your E-string), creating a pleasant transition prior to the chord of F which comes next.

    View the chords for Let it Be.

  2. 505

    This Arctic Monkeys song is the easiest of all their tracks to learn and requires you to only know two chords, D minor and E minor. Need to learn a song rapidly to fill up a set? This is the one to go for!

    View the chords for 505

  3. Don’t Do Me Like That

    This Tom Petty number runs through exclusively major chords in the verse. They are G, F, C and D. In the chorus, you will also need Em. In the bridge, you will have to learn how to switch between G7 and C7 and there is also a single C minor chord to play which includes the accidental note of E flat, bringing a new flavour to the song. Beginners should treat C minor just like B minor, but slid up one fret.

    View the chords for Don’t Do Me Like That

  4. Achy Breaky Heart

    This song needs just two chords to play. It sounds great with open chord positions, so A major and E major are perfect for this mid tempo song by Bill Ray Cyrus. Played in a 4:4 time pattern, you can use Achy Breaky Heart to experiment with slightly differing strumming patterns to build into the performance with a country twang, as you go.

    View the chords for Achy Breaky Heart

  5. Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door

    This Bob Dylan song is probably the easiest of all his memorable tunes to learn and the chord sequence has been used many times since for other songs, so you can re-use what you have learnt once you master it. You will need to learn G major, C major and D major along with A minor. For some subtle variation in the song, try using Am7 from time to time in place of a normal A minor. To play this chord, remove your ring finger from the fret board when playing A minor so that a G note is sounded along with the usual notes of A, E and C.

    View the chords for Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door

  6. Sing

    Needing you to only play two chords, this minor key song by Ed Sheeran can be played by beginners even if they have not yet master barred chords. All you need is Em and Am to be able to play it. Just use a capo on the fourth fret to transpose the song to the correct key, if you want to play along with the original. Use the side of your strumming hand to stop the strings after you strike them to get the funky groove sounding just right.

    View the chords for Sing

  7. I’m a Believer

    A great song to busk along to, I’m a Believer is one of Neil Diamond’s biggest hits as a songwriter, even though it was originally released by the Monkees. The verse requires you to play G, C and D, but for the chorus you will also have to play the chord of F major. As the song is quite quick, work on your chord transitions before perfecting your strumming patterns.

    View the chords for I’m a Believer

  8. Mull of Kintyre

    This song by Wings is a good one for beginners because it has simple chords in its construction, using just A, D, E and G for the most part, although adding A7 and D7 will help it to sound right. However, because it is in 3:4, it has a lilting quality which many rock songs don’t offer. Learning this song will help you to improve rhythmically by mastering waltz time.

    View the chords for Mull of Kintyre

  9. Three Little Birds

    Perhaps Bob Marley’s best know song, this one has an offbeat skanking rhythm which, like Mull of Kintyre, will also help you to master new rhythmic ideas. To play it, all you will need to know are the major chords of A, D and E.

    View the chords for Three Little Birds

  10. Coconut

    This Harry Nilsson song is superb for learners who want to gain confidence because it contains no chord transitions whatsoever. All you need to know to play the song is C7. Sometimes play it without hitting the bass E-string and sometimes do, with your finger on the third fret to sound a G note. That’s it!

    View the chords for Coconut

Acoustic Guitar Vs. Electric – Which Should I Learn?

Acoustic Vs. Electric Guitar

Beginners can often dream of playing their guitar to thousands of people in a stadium and really rocking out with a blistering solo. However, novices will often be learning scales on an acoustic guitar and the gap between the two can seem insurmountable. However, when learning the guitar, remember that you are in charge. It is quite possible to teach yourself to play and to develop your own style along the way, so you should choose the sort of guitar to learn on – electric or acoustic – that you actually want to perform with. All you need to do is to try and minimise the number of bad habits or lazy techniques that you pick up along the way, since these will slow your progress from being an intermediate player to becoming a top-quality guitarist. Don’t worry about such things too much for now, however, because there are plenty of online tutorials that you can view which will keep your technique on the straight and narrow.

Choices, Choices…

Choosing which sort of guitar to learn on does not necessarily need to boil down to a choice between acoustic or electric. You could, of course, spend time perfecting your chord changes and melody playing on both sorts of instrument. Many of the techniques you need to pick up in order to play a guitar will be exactly the same no matter whether you happen to be using an acoustic guitar or an electric one. Nonetheless, there are some differences between the two instrument types that can be lost on novices – and it does not simply come down to the sort of sound that they make, either! When choosing your first guitar, it is most certainly a big decision. Choose wrongly, and you could find that you are put off learning all together. As such, it is highly advisable to try a few guitars out, even if you don’t know any chord shapes or strumming patterns, to get a feel for the differences. Try a few models of each type in a guitar shop before making a decision or, even better, ask to borrow a friend’s acoustic guitar for a few weeks before swapping it for an electric one to see which you get along best with.

Practical Considerations

One of the most important things to consider when you are weighing up whether to choose and acoustic or an electric guitar is when and how you will practice with it. This really comes down to the sort of lifestyle you have. Acoustic guitars are often preferred by beginners because they can often be that bit cheaper and you don’t have to worry about any additional equipment. Acoustics are ready to go, once strung, but an electric guitar needs a strap, if the body shape means that it will not sit over your knee properly. In addition, electric guitars need a lead and an amplifier to make a decent sound. If you opt for an electric guitar and an amp, you may need to spend more, but think about the impact on others around you when you play it. If you don’t have a sound proof studio to play in, will consideration for others around you mean that you rarely plug it in and mean you practice less often?

On the other hand, despite acoustic guitars often being quieter than an amped up electric guitar, it is impossible to turn it down, especially when you want to play late at night. All you can do is to hit the strings with less force to play as quietly as possible. With an electric guitar, at least you can unplug it and play nearly silently on it without amplification. Remember that many guitar amps will have headphone jacks. This means that you can also get that amp sound, great when you want to rock out, without having to disturb anybody else.

Advantages of Learning With an Acoustic Guitar

Complete novices often opt for an acoustic as their first guitar and this may apply to you, too. Relatively inexpensive, unless you immediately jump to a very high-quality model, they are usually perfectly good to learn on. Acoustic guitars offer a distinct advantage in that they can be performed or busked on without any additional equipment being required. So, if you learn your first three-chord song and want to try it out with family and friends, then you can do without needing anything else. With an acoustic guitar you don’t have to worry about adjusting the tone pots, knocking the tremolo bar or fiddling with amp settings. You just pick it up and play. This simplicity can be very appealing when you are learning and getting your fingers used to moving up and down a fretboard for the first time.

Steel-strung acoustic guitars are not very different in feel from electric ones. They may have a slightly higher action (the distance between the fretboard and the strings) than an electric, often to make them sound louder, but the difference in feel on your fingers will not be very noticeable if you later want to move on to playing an electric guitar. Conversely, classical guitars do feel very different. This type of guitar often has a slightly wider neck than an electric, making stretches a little bit more demanding. However, this is more than made up for by the fact that the strings are easier to push down on than steel-strung instruments. Beginners usually benefit from this until their finger tips toughen up and get used to the amount of pressure required to make a string sound properly, when struck.

Advantages of Learning With an Electric Guitar

If you want an overdriven sound with lots of sustain, then learn on an electric guitar from the start. Equally, if you want to develop a style with lots of vibrato, then choose a solid body guitar which can cope with a tremolo being bolted on to it. If you already know what sort of guitarist you aspire to be, then why learn on another sort of instrument, only to have to re-learn your techniques later?

Electric guitars offer more advantages than their sound. Although heavier, they are usually a good deal sturdier than acoustics and will stand up to a bit more punishment. They can often be easier to restring, too, depending on the particular model you opt for. Finally, an electric guitar is often thinner than an acoustic, so it is a bit easier to see over the top and down to your hands, whilst learning.

So have you decided between electric or acoustic? Start learning today for free with the online lessons at Guitar Tricks.

5 Amazing Tips For Learning To Play The Guitar

Learn To Play The Guitar

The guitar is one of those instruments where it is quite possible to make continued good progress as a beginner. Many of the techniques beginners use are just the same as advanced players, although more experienced musicians tend to add to their repertoire of skills over the years. However, all guitar novices can benefit from tips which will allow them to play better and to progress to the ‘next level’ much more rapidly. If you are just starting out with learning to play the guitar, then consider all of the following advice the next time you pick your instrument up.


Work on Strumming Patterns
Quite often new guitarists concentrate on one hand over the other. This usually means that right-handed players, for example, look at their left hand on the fretboard at the expense of their rhythm-making hand. Remember that skillful guitar playing relies on both hands working in tandem. Make yourself look away from the chord shapes and fingering your non-dominant hand makes and focus on the other one. For beginners, this means working on upstrokes as well as downward ones to create new rhythmic patterns. Try strumming along to reggae songs to improve your offbeats and upstrokes, usually a weakness in beginners.


Learn Scales
Do you know the difference between a major and minor scale? Can you tell a chromatic scale from a bluesy one? Not all guitarists – even very good ones – do. However, a little theory with scales goes a long way to turning you from a run-of-the-mill rhythm guitarist into a lead musician. Taking a solo is so much more than stamping on an overdrive pedal and thrashing around. Practice scales but don’t just plod on, doh-reh-me. Add little licks and rhythmic steps to your scale runs as preparation for a blistering solo. In short, learning scales with a few tricks on the way will prepare you for improvisational play.


Switch Guitars
If you always play on an electric guitar and never on an acoustic, or vice versa, then you may find that your playing style becomes very narrow. This is fine if you know exactly what sort of guitarist you want to be. However, for most of us, our playing style will naturally change with differing instruments, so don’t always play on the same one, if possible. Swap for a while with a friend if you don’t have access to another guitar. Different guitars have different feels, usually down to the action – the gap between the string and the fretboard – and their body – solid or acoustic. With the change of feel, so your playing will adapt and your musicianship can improve in terms of subtlety and variation of style, as a result. If you don’t have access to anything other than one guitar, then try using it in different tonal environments. For example, try playing whilst seated on a bed, for a very acoustically dead response. Alternatively, stand up in the bathroom facing a tiled wall for a very bright response.


Avoid Bad Habits
Many novices get into bad playing habits without realizing it. This could be that they form a barred chord without a strong index finger position, for example. Alternatively, it could be that their plectrum grip is all wrong. The trouble is that these things are harder to unlearn than to pick up in the first place. As such, online tutorials can be invaluable and help you to focus on things like your stance or thumb position, when stretching for hard to reach fret positions. By ironing out these bad habits early with online guitar lessons, you may find that there are less plateaus in your learning because problem areas, which prevent ongoing progress, are rarer.


Work on Chord Transitions
When switching between open chords, try and think about how you can anchor your hand to move smoothly. For example, when playing a D-major chord and you want to progress to a G-major chord your ring finger can stay on the third fret of the B-string for both. Without having to look at your hand, this means you can use the anchor to find the new finger locations needed much more easily than completely releasing the position previously held. All sorts of chord combinations have anchor points like this, especially harmonically-related ones, like A-minor and C-major for instance.


When learning the guitar, don’t forget to have fun. It should not be a case of repetitive drill, but of taking enjoyment in the progress made. Sometimes you may think that you are making no headway at all. At such times, try recording yourself on a mobile phone or similar. When you next think that you have made little progress, listen back to the recording and you may well find that you have indeed improved. Ultimately, playing should be about personal enjoyment. It is a question of making music, after all.
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