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Best Sad Guitar Songs to Learn to Play Next

Best Sad Guitar Songs to Learn to Play Next

If you’re a sad person or you’re in a bad mood, you’ll more than likely listen to sad music. Here are the best sad songs to learn on guitar. These sad songs are at all different difficulty levels and are all very successful. Who knows, maybe this will inspire you to write your own sad guitar songs.

Listening to sad music helps us process our emotions and feel them in a safe environment. If you’re learning guitar, you should learn some of these sad songs. You’ll not only appreciate these songs more but playing them may help make you feel better and will guide you through a difficult part of your life.

Eric Clapton – Tears in Heaven

“Tears in Heaven” is performed by Eric Clapton and co-written by Clapton and Will Jennings. Clapton wrote this song about the death of his four-year-old son, Connor. The song follows a narrative of Clapton wondering if his son will recognize him when he meets him in Heaven.

Its somber tone but beautiful melodies make it one of Clapton’s most successful and recognizable songs. It’s also regarded generally as one of the best songs of all time.

This song is easy to intermediate in terms of difficulty because it features some chord inversions. It’s played in chord A and Clapton uses a nylon guitar for this song.

The Beatles – Yesterday

“Yesterday” is one of the most famous Beatles songs, mainly because so many people can relate to it. The lyrics follow the narrator as they’re going through a breakup, longing for the love that they had yesterday. The song was written by Paul McCartney and appears on the Help album.

This song is easy and a great beginner song. It’s played in F and you can use a capo on the fifth fret to play open chords on the whole song.

Fleetwood Mac – Landslide

Fleetwood Mac’s “Landslide” appeared on the band’s debut album and is one of the best-known songs. Singer Stevie Nicks wrote the song while she was visiting the mountains in Aspen, Colorado. The song is about the challenges of life and the many changes we go through.

This song is of intermediate difficulty. It’s in the key Eb and you’ll need a capo on the third fret. It’s mainly difficult because of the finger-picking pattern needed.

The Beatles – The Long and Winding Road

I love The Beatles so I’m going to feature a few Beatles songs and be biased in these recommendations. “The Long and Winding Road” appears on their Let It Be album. Paul McCartney and John Lennon received songwriting credits for this song.

The title comes from a long road that stretched up into the hills in Scotland. It was written when The Beatles were suffering from cracks in the band which ultimately led to their breakup. Even if you’re not a member of the most successful rock band in the world, you can at least feel a little sad when listening to this song.

As with many Beatles songs, this is a beginner-level track. It’s in the key of Cm and you need a capo on the first fret.

Death Cab for Cutie – Transatlanticism

This song by rock band Death Cab for Cutie appears on their album of the same name. The song centers around the challenges of being in a long-distance relationship.

This song is at an intermediate level because of the chord progressions. It’s in the key of A but progresses between C#m, D, and F#m.

The Scorpions – Still Loving You

I’m a huge Scorpions fan and their discography is near close to perfect. Out of their sad songs, this one is probably my favorite. It’s off their 1984 album Love at First Sting and was written by guitarist Rudolf Schenker and singer Klaus Meine. The song follows a couple on the verge of a breakup. The narrator admits they still love their partner and wants to try again.

If you’re playing Scorpions material, just know the material is difficult (hey, at least this isn’t Uli Jon Roth-era Scorpions). But when you finally learn it, you can rest easy knowing that you can play some legendary riffs! But seriously, you’re dealing with some serious chord progressions. And just because this is a sad song doesn’t mean you’re skimping on the distortion.

Queen – Somebody to Love

“Somebody to Love” is a Queen song that appears on the album A Day at the Races. The song was written by singer Freddie Mercury and the song describes a man who calls out to God because he can’t find love. It’s a song that many of us can relate to and this is one of Queen’s most timeless songs, right next to “Bohemian Rhapsody.”

This song is difficult. It features guitar solos and complex harmonies. The song is in key Ab and you’ll want to have a capo on the first fret.

Smashing Pumpkins – Disarm

“Disarm” is one of the rock band Smashing Pumpkin’s most famous songs. It appears on their album Siamese Dreams.

The song was written by frontman Billy Corgan and centers around his shaky relationship with his parents. When we think of sad songs, we often think of songs involving relationships. But what we go through during childhood can impact the way we feel about ourselves, our family, and other loved ones. This is why “Disarm” is such an influential yet controversial song.

This song is one for beginners. It’s in Em and is played in all open chords. There is a slight chord progression to F#, but overall it’s still fairly easy for a new player.

Scorpions – Wind of Change

Another song from my favorite German rock band! This time, it’s “Wind of Change.” It’s another of their most successful songs and appears on the album Crazy Nights.

The song is about political turmoil in Europe. The fall of the Soviet Union, tensions between Germany and Russia, and the division between capitalism and socialism. It’s also about the fall of the Berlin Wall, which is why this song is the unofficial German reunification anthem.

While this song is about hope and unity, any song about politics bums me out (though the fact that this is the unofficial anthem of German reunification is inspiring).

Even for a Scorpions song, this is a beginner-level track. It’s in the key of C and doesn’t have the complex parts as other Scorpions songs.

Pink Floyd – Wish You Were Here

“Wish You Were Here” is one of Pink Floyd’s most famous songs but is also one of their saddest songs. Roger Waters wrote it for former member Syd Barrett, who exited the band because his drug abuse problem caused his mental health to deteriorate. Barrett died in 2006 at the age of 60 from diabetes complications.

It pained him to see Waters’ friend and bandmember so detached and lost, which is why he wrote the song. Today, “Wish You Were Here” is a song about mental inability and losing a loved one to mental health, which are topics that can tug at anyone’s heartstrings.

Even though Pink Floyd writes more progressive songs, this one is ideal for a beginner. It’s played solely on acoustic guitar. There are some chord progressions, but nothing too complex. However, the intro and solos are best handled by experienced players.

The Beatles – While My Guitar Gently Weeps

Many people not only consider “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” to be one of the best Beatles songs but also one of the best rock songs ever.

It was written as a folk ballad by George Harrison. He was inspired by the Chinese I Ching and is a song about the potential for universal love, though no one realizes it. In addition, this song was written when the group was going through a difficult time, and the song is also a reflection of the disharmony that the band was facing.

While most Beatles songs are ideal for beginners, this one is a little difficult. It’s best handled by intermediate players. Eric Clapton plays some bluesy solos and licks that may be too advanced for a beginner. However, if you’re at this level, then it’s definitely worth it to learn this guitar masterpiece of a song.

Bob Dylan – Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door

“Knockin’s on Heaven’s Door” is a classic by folk legend Bob Dylan. It’s been covered by the likes of Eric Clapton and Guns n’ Roses and is arguably one of Dylan’s most recognizable songs.

Dylan wrote it for the movie Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid, specifically for the scene where Sheriff Colin Baker is dying of gunshot wounds. But even beyond the movie, the song focuses on life and death and the feeling of, well, knockin’ on heaven’s door.

This is probably the simplest song on this list, perfect for a beginner. It’s centered around the chords C, G, D, and A minor. As long as you have a chord chart, you can easily learn this classic song.

Jewel – You Were Meant for Me

This is one of my favorite songs from childhood and one I often listen to during a breakup. However, this song is more complex than I imagined.

The song tells a story about a couple who recently broke up, and the narrator is hoping that the ex will come back.

In reality, Jewel wrote the song during a period when she was homeless and suffering from anxiety. One lyric in particular, “Dreams last for so long even after you’re gone,” is about fantasy love versus reality. Which I think is something a lot of people can relate to.

Overall, this song seems to have different meanings for everyone. It can be about wanting an ex back, struggling with fantasy love, or simply going through a tough time and wishing for better days.

This is an intermediate-level song because there are some chord progressions here.


Question: What Is the Saddest Guitar Chord?

Answer: If you want to write your own sad song, you’ll need to focus on more than just sad lyrics. You’ll need to get the song sounding melancholic.
In addition to the guitar used and the tone, you’ll want to play your song using simple chords. Pretty much, any minor chord will make a song sound moody. D minor is said to be the saddest minor chord. The seventh major chord, specifically Cmaj7, is considered to be one of the saddest chords to play on guitar.

Question: What’s the Best Way to Write a Sad Song?

Answer: There are some techniques that will make your songs sound more somber. Refrain from playing in open chords. Some of the songs in this list use open chords, but it’s still recommended you avoid this when writing your own sad song.

If your song has chord progressions, make sure those progressions always go lower. For guitar, acoustic is always sadder than electric. However, many rock bands play sad songs with electric guitar and distortion. Again, the chords you play and the lyrics will still set the mood.

Question: What Songs Make People Cry?

Answer: This is entirely suggestive. When I do a search on songs that make you cry, I come up with some pretty standard and popular songs by Sam Smith, Selena Gomez, and Bruno Mars. But everyone has songs that make them cry, whether because they remind them of someone or something, or maybe the song represents a specific time in their lives.

Me personally, the songs “Just the Two of Us” by Grover Washington Jr. and Bill Withers as well as “Wonderful Tonight” by Eric Clapton always make me cry. While they’re not sad songs, those songs remind me of my parents and they always make me emotional. We also played “Every Breath You Take” by The Police at my dad’s funeral and that song always makes me choke up.


Sad music helps us all process our emotions, which is why some of these sad songs are the most famous in music history. From Jewel to Eric Clapton, a variety of artists throughout music history have written sad guitar songs that turned out to be smash hits. If you’re learning guitar, learn to play these famous sad songs and maybe you can even write your own.

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