There is something special about an easy acoustic guitar song for beginners. Maybe it’s the fact you’ve heard them played for years at bars, on patios, or sitting around a campfire. Maybe it’s the fact that so many people know the words. Maybe it’s the fact that covering your favorite artists, from Pink Floyd to Jason Mraz, is a fun way to learn how to play the instrument.
Whatever it is, people love to sing along to acoustic guitar. It generally doesn’t even matter if it’s an easy song, or what the chord progressions are, beginner and intermediate players can entertain a crowd or have fun playing songs from Hey there Delilah to Mary had a little lamb. From Achy Breaky Heart to House of the Rising Sun.
With that in mind, we put together a beginners guide to both full songs and easy versions of harder tracks. Many of these harder songs have a guitar chord that is difficult, or something we wouldn’t consider a simple strumming pattern.
So some of these songs have slight alterations, like switching a D minor for a D, all of a sudden a more advanced song becomes a beginner song! Everyone in the room will know that you are playing “Knocking on Heaven’s Door” or “Sweet Home Alabama”
What makes a easy guitar song?
When creating this list we followed some rules so it would be a collection of songs that was perfect for beginner guitarists.
We didn’t put any songs on this list that can’t be played with four chords or less. We also avoided using the dreaded “F” chord, or any other barre chord for that matter. All the chords you need are listed next to the song so you can quickly find songs you can play with the chords you know. Lastly, many of the songs link to a video lesson that can help show how to play the songs!
A Note on Strumming Patterns
Adding a complex strumming pattern to any song as you are learning it will just make things more difficult. Having the guitar tab or easy chord charts for these songs is only half the battle.
The first step is to get a metronome. You can find inexpensive ones on Amazon or you can simply download one for your smartphone.
All of the songs on this list use a 4/4 time signature except for one. The exception is “This Years Love” by David Gray, and we’ve included a video that does a great job walking you through the time for that song (it’s in 6/8).
For more on some simple strumming patterns you can add once you’ve mastered the chord changes, check out this one from GuitarLessons.
Guitar Chord Books We Recommend
While the list we’ve put together has a great selection of songs in it that only use the basic chord progressions, there are always more out there.
Especially while you’re learning it is nice to have a physical book near you in case you have any questions about chords so we’ve linked to a lot of our favorite guitar chord books!
85 Acoustic Guitar Songs for Beginners
Before we get into the list, just a note. We tried to list these in some sort of order with the easiest ones first, but it will be far from perfect. We also tried to get all the three chord songs first, followed by the ones with four chords.
Pick a song you like, learn the chords, and then work on the strumming. They are all (relatively) easy!
Oh, and have fun!
1. Walk of Life - Dire Straits - A, E, D 2. Moves Like Jagger - Maroon 5 - Bm7, Em7 3. Wonderwall - Oasis - Em7, G, Dsus4, A7sus4 (Never move two fingers!) 4. Sweet Home Alabama - Lynard Skynard - G, D, C 5. Feelin' Alright - Traffic - A, D 6. Can't You See - Marshall Tucker Band - D, C, G 7. What's Up - 4 Non Blondes - Am, C, G 8. I Walk the Line - Johnny Cash - A, D, E 9. How Bizzare - OMC - A, D, E 10. Old Time Rock n' Roll - Bob Seger - G, C, D 11. Glory Days - Bruce Springsteen - A, D, E 12. Bottoms Up - Brantley Gilbert - Em, C, D 13. Leaving On A Jet Plane - John Denver - C, D, G 14. Bad Moon Rising - Creedence Clearwater Revival - D, A, G 15. Free Falling - Tom Petty - A, D, Dsus4 16. Heros - Wallflowers - C, D, G 17. Say it Right - Nelly Furtado - C, D, Em 18. Hound Dog - Elvis Presley - E, A, B7 19. A Girl Like You - Edwyn Collins - Em, D, C 20. Lay Down Sally - Eric Clapton - A, A7, D, E 21. She Will Be Loved - Maroon 5 - Am, C, G 22. Blowing Smoke - Kasey Musgraves - E, A 23. Common People - Pulp - A, D, E 24. Love Me Do - The Beatles- A, D, E 25. Louie Louie - The Kingsmen - A, D, Em 26. All Summer Long - Kid Rock - D, C, G 27. Fallin - Alicia Keys - Am, Dm 28. Marry You - Bruno Mars - D, Em, G 29. Brown Eyed Girl - Van Morrison - G, C, D 30. This Years Love - David Gray - C, D, G, Em 31. Breakfast at Tiffany's - Deep Blue Something - A, D, G 32. Want Somebody To Love - Jefferson Airplane - G, D, Em, A 33. Stand By Me - Ben E. King - G, Em, C, D 34. Used to Love Her - Guns n' Roses - A, D, G 35. Doll Parts - Hole - A, C, D 36. How to Save a Life - The Frey - G, D, C, Em 38. Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For - U2 - A, D, E 39. Break On Through - The Doors - D, Em 40. Laundry Room - The Avett Brothers - Am, C, G 41. Day After Day - Alan Parsons Project - Am, C, Em, G 42. Back to December - Taylor Swift - Am, C, Fmaj7, G 43. For your Love - The Yardbirds - Em, G, A, Am 44. Knocking on Heaven's Door - Bob Dylan - G, D, Am, C 45. Turn The Page - Bob Seger - A, C, D, Em 46. Save Tonight - Eagle Eyed Cherry - Am, Fmaj7, C, G 47. Mad World - Gary Jules - Em, G, D, A 48. Working Class Hero - John Lennon - Am, G, D 49. That'll Be The Day - Buddy Holly - C, G, D7 50. Line of Fire - The Veronicas - Am, C, Em, G 51. I Won't Back Down - Tom Petty - C, D, Em, G 52. Before You Accuse Me - Eric Clapton - E, A, B7 53. Mustang Sally - Wilson Picket - C, Fmaj7, G 54. Closing Time - Semisonic - G, D, C, Am 55. Girl, You'll be a Woman Soon - Neil Diamond - Em, A, D, C 56. Songbird - Oasis - G, D, Em 57. Behind These Hazel Eyes - Kelly Clarkson - Em, C, G, D 58. Ring of Fire - Johnny Cash G, C, D 59. Hall of Fame - The Script - C, D, Em, G 60. Honky Tonk Woman - The Rolling Stones - A, C, D, G 61. Going Down Slow - Blues Standard - G7, C7, D7 62. Sugar - Maroon 5 - C, Am, Dm, Fmaj7 63. One - U2 - Am, D, Fmaj7, G 64. Radioactive - Imagine Dragons - Am, C, G, D 65. Hello - Adele - Em, G, D, C 66. Stuck In The Middle With You - Steelers Wheel - D, G, A, C 67. Where Your Heartache Exists - The Menzingers - G, C, Em, D 68. Bye, Bye, Love - The Everly Brothers - A, C, D, E 69. Love the Way You Lie - Rihanna - C, D, Em, G 70. Hot Legs - Rod Stewart - C, D, E, G 71. We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together - Taylor Swift - C, D, Em, G 72. I Run To You - Lady Antebellum - A, D, Em, G 73. Poker Face - Lady Gaga - C, D, Em, G 74. Let Her Cry - Hootie and The Blowfish - C, D, Em, G 75. Perfectly Clear - Jewel - C, D, Em, G 76. Next Year - Foo Fighters - A, C, D, G 77. Why Don't You Get a Job - The Offspring - A, D, E, G 78. Nutshell - Alice in Chains - C, D, Em, G 79. Pompeii - Bastille - C, D, Em, G 80. No Rain - Blind Melon - A, D, E, G 81. A Long December - Counting Crows - A, D, Em, G 82. Drive - Incubus - A, C, D, Em 83. In The End - Linkin Park - C, D, Em, G 84. It's Been Awhile - Staind - Am, C, D, G 85. Linger - The Cranberries - A, C, D, G
Is there a beginner song that we missed? As we get comments we’d love to expand this list and keep it current as new songs are released so let us know!
There are literally thousands of other songs from artists like Jason Mraz, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Sam Smith, Pink Floyd, Aerosmith, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Bob Marley, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Bob Dylan, John Lennon, etc. that either already use easy guitar chords or can be adjusted for beginner and intermediate players.
The Final Note
Want more help learning guitar? StringVibe has a ton of information from buying a beginners guitar, to chord charts, speed progression and more. Before you leave the site check out our full selection of guitar information!
And if that isn’t enough…. Check out our friends over at ArtistWorks. They offer a FREE Acoustic Guitar 101 course and after you’ve completed that you can move on to a wide selection of specialized courses, like the Classical Guitar Course offered from Jason Vieux!