The Top 10 Easy Guitar Songs For Beginners

What’s an easy way to learn how to play the guitar? One answer might be as simple and straightforward as picking out songs from our list! We’ve compiled a few easy guitar songs for beginners with mostly open chords in different keys, all played in simple rhythms and strumming patterns.

Easy Guitar Songs For Beginners

The Best Easy Guitar Songs for Beginners

Playing your favorite songs on guitar does not require years of lessons and practice. In fact, many popular songs only require a few basic chords. Here are some of the most simple guitar songs to play, and they’re absolutely charming.

1. Leaving on a Jet Plane by John Denver

This song is a classic for a reason. The lyrics are beautiful and the melody is timeless. This is a very popular and simple song to play. There are no sudden chord changes, and the progression is used in all sections of the song. This is without a doubt one of the finest songs to practice for beginners.

Key: G

  • Chord Progression: I-IV-V
  • Chords Used: G C D
  • Strumming Pattern: D DU UDU

How to Play:

  • G C (Repeat the progression three times and play 1 bar each chord or 4 beats)
  • D (2 bars or 8 beats)

To make it easier, start with these basic strumming patterns.

  • Option 1: Play a downward strum on the first beat of each measure.
  • Option 2: Strum on beats.

If you find the original key difficult to sing in, try using a capo or changing the song’s key.

  • Capo 4: Same Chords
  • Key of D: D G A
  • Key of A: A D E

2. Twist and Shout by The Beatles

This song was originally written by Phil Medley and Bert Berns, and it was famously covered by The Beatles based on the Isley Brothers’ version. This is an all-time classic that is sure to get people moving. The song has a very simple chord progression, and the melody is easy to sing along to.

Key: D

  • Chord Progression: I-IV-V
  • Chords Used: D G A

Strumming Patterns:

  • Option 1: Play all down strums
  • Option 2: D D DD D UD UD UDU

How to play:

  • D – D D
  • G – DD
  • A –  D DD DD DDD or D UD UD UDU

After the short break, play the progression twice and stay on A chord for 6 bars (4 beats/bar).

The rhythm of this song is quite tricky, but if you listen closely to its groove, you’ll be able to play it with ease and fun.

3. A Horse With No Name by America

This is a classic soft rock song from the ’70s that is still popular today. It was the band’s first and most famous hit, which topped the charts in Europe and the United States. The chord progression stays the same throughout the entire song, this makes “A Horse With No Name” an easy song to learn for beginners.

Key: Em

Chords Used:

  • Em (022000)
  • D6-9/F# (2X0200)

Strumming Patterns:

  • Part 1: D DU D DU
  • Part 2: DU DU DU DU

How to Play:

  • Em – D DU D DU (light brush, accent on every second down stroke
  • D6-9/F# – DU DU DU DU (accent on every upstroke)

Strumming Option 2: D DU DU DU

You may also experiment with different strumming techniques to see which one works best for you.

4. Sweet Caroline – Neil Diamond

The 1969 release of the song has shown to be timeless with continuous popularity. In November 2014, the song sold over two million digital downloads in just the United States- proof of its global appeal. The chord progression is easy for beginners to learn and the song can be strummed using all downstrokes, or a combination of upstrokes and downstrokes.

Key: A

Chords Used: A D E (C#m Bm)

Strumming Patterns:

  • Intro/Verse: all down strum on beats
  • Pre-Chorus/Chorus: D DU UDU

How to Play:

  • Intro: E (all down strum, muting after down strum)
  • Verse: / A / D / A / E /  (Play 8 beats or 2 bars for each chord)
  • Pre-Chorus: / A / A6 / E / D / E /  (Play 8 beats for each chord)
  • Chorus:
    • / A / D / D / E  (Play 1 bar or 4 beats for A, 3 bars for D, and 2 bars for E)
    • A / D / E E7 E6 E (Play 1 bar for A, 3 bars for D, then play 2 beats for each chord of E, E7, E6, E)

5. Dreams by Fleetwood Mac

This song was composed by Stevie Nicks and is one of the most popular songs by Fleetwood Mac. Dreams is a simple song to play on the guitar, with a dance beat. The main progression of the song only uses two chords, with one additional simple chord in the instrumental.

Key: C

Chord Used: Fmaj7, Gmaj6, Am

  • Fmaj7 (xx3210)
  • Gmaj6 (320000) or (xx5430)
  • Am (x02210)

Strum Patterns:

  • Option 1 – DU DU DU DU
  • Option 2 – D D DU DU

How to Play:

  • Intro/Verse/Cho – Play one bar or four beats for each chord.
  • Main Progression: Fmaj7, Gmaj6
  • Break: F G G F | Am G G F – Play 4 beats for each chord.

6. Sweet Home Alabama by Lynyrd Skynyrd

This classic song was released in 1974 and is one of the most popular anthems in the United States. The chord progression is easy to learn, with only three chords used throughout the song. You can use a combination of downstrokes and upstrokes when strumming, or all downstrokes.

Key: G

Chords Used: D Cadd9 G

  • D (xx0232)
  • Cadd9 (x32033)
  • G (320033)

Strumming Patterns:

  • Option 1: One down strum per chord on count 1
  • Option 2: Strumming on beats, all down strum
  • Option 3: D D D DU (Play two down strums on the thickest strings D D – D DU)

How to Play:

  • D – 2 beats
  • Cadd9 – 2 beats
  • G – 4 beats

7. Have You Ever Seen The Rain by CCR

John Fogerty wrote this song in 1971 during the time his band, CCR, was falling apart. The band were on top of their game but couldn’t be happier. The song reflects on the sorrow of the situation. After releasing Mardi Gras in October of the following year, their seventh and final album, the band split up.

Key: C

  • Chords Used: C F G Am
  • Strumming Pattern: DU xU DU xU (or simply DU UDU U)

How to Play:

  • Intro: Am F C G | C – Play 1 bar on each chord the first progression and 2 bars on C
  • Verse: C G C (Play 4 measures on C, 2 measures on G, 2 measures on the last C and then repeat the progression)
  • Chorus: F G C Am | F G C Am | F G C (Play 1 bar or 4 beats per chord)

The Intro requires a great deal of attention to detail in the strumming pattern but once you have it down, the rest of the song is a breeze.

8. Zombie by The Cranberries

This song is a great choice for beginners who are looking for easy guitar songs. The riff uses just a few basic chords, making it easy to learn. And the slow, steady beat is perfect for keeping your timing in check. The lyrics are also relatively easy to sing along to.

Key: Em

Chord Used: Em – Cmaj7 – G6 – D6-9/F#

  • Em (022000)
  • Cmaj7 (x32000)
  • G6 (320000)
  • D6-9/F# (2×0200)

Strumming Patterns:

  • Option 1: Simple eight note down strums on each chord
  • Option 2: DDD DU DDD

Strumming Option 3: D D D DU UD DU DU

This song is played with 1 bar or 4 beats for each chord, using an eight note feel. To start, play slowly by strumming on beats.

9.  I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For by U2

This song was released in 1987 and is one of U2’s most popular anthems. The chord progression is easy to learn, with only three chords used throughout the song. This classic U2 ballad is played at a slow tempo.

Key: G

  • Chords Used: G Cadd9 D

Strumming Patterns:

  • Option 1: Strum on beats, all down strum with an eight notes rhythm.
  • Option 2: D DU UDU

How to Play:

  • Verse: G C G (Play 4 bars of G, 2 bars of C and 2 bars of G)
  • Chorus: D C G (Play 1 bar of D, 1 bar of C and 2 bars of G)

Other Key:

  • Key of C, Capo 1: G F C
  • Key of A: A D E

10. You Belong With Me by Taylor Swift

The final song is for anyone who loves singing Taylor Swift’s songs and those who want to engage with the current crop of youngsters. This song was released in 2008 and is one of Taylor Swift’s most popular anthems.

Easy Songs

Taylor was inspired to make it, together with her co-writer Liz Rose, after overhearing a male friend speak with his girlfriend on the phone. You’ll be quickly drawn in by the easy-to-learn chord progression of this all time favorite song. Whether you’re young or old, you’ll enjoy jamming out to this one with your friends or bonding with family.

Key: D, Capo 4

  • Chords Used: D A Em G
  • Strumming Pattern: D D DU DU

How to Play:

  • Verse/Cho: D A Em G (2 bars each or 8 beats)
  • Pre-Chorus:
    • Em G D A  (Play 1 bar or 4 beats for each chord)
    • Em G A (Play 1 bar for Em & G and 2 bars for A)

Play the verse strumming the thinner strings and then do a full strum on chorus.

Best Easy Guitar Songs

These are just a few of the easy guitar songs for beginners that you can start playing — just choose your favorite tune from this list today.

And remember, even if you make a few mistakes along the way, have fun and enjoy the process of learning something new. You’ll be surprised at how quickly you’ll progress!

So get those fingers moving and have some fun playing on a variety strumming patterns, one song at a time!

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