Hey, rockstar! Are you picking up a guitar for the first time? You’re not alone! The guitar market is growing, which means there are more people like you buying your first guitar and learning the basics of playing.
When you think about learning how to play guitar, you may think you’ll first have to learn the chords and theory. What you may not know is you can learn the basics of guitar theory while you play your favorite songs!
So, what are the most popular songs to play on guitar? Well, we all know there are different types of guitar players with varying musical tastes. So that’s why we’re giving you over 10 song recommendations that range across different genres, as well as songs to learn on acoustic and electric guitar.
Best Songs for Beginners
Are you a
1. Radiohead – Creep
“Creep” is by far Radiohead’s most famous song. It’s one that everyone can relate to and the lyrics are very touching. If you’re new to rock guitar, this is a great first song to learn.
Since it’s such a powerful song, you may think it’ll be a challenging song to play. Actually, it has a simple four-chord progression so any
2. Jimi Hendrix – Hey Joe
This is a song that many guitarists learned when they were beginners. Even though it’s a song by legendary guitar player Jimi Hendrix (and yes, his songs are typically tricky to play), “Hey Joe” is a very simplified song compared to other Hendrix tracks.
This is also a perfect song for beginners to learn some essential techniques, such as open position major chord grips. If you really want to challenge yourself, sing along to it. Don’t worry — Hendrix isn’t renowned as an amazing singer, so anyone can follow the vocal lines while playing guitar.
3. Leonard Cohen – Hallelujah
This is one of the most touching songs that everyone can recognize. That’s why everyone should try playing this song, especially if you want to play for family and friends. This song is also a perfect
Best Electric Guitar Songs
Let’s start off on a fun note — electric guitar songs! If you really want to rock out, these songs are heavy and easy enough for beginners.
4. Led Zeppelin – Whole Lotta Love
As one of Led Zeppelin’s most legendary songs, this is by far an iconic hit to play on guitar. But are you hesitant about playing this song? Jimmy Page is one of the most amazing guitarists in history for a reason — he revolutionized the instrument. Surprisingly, the main riff of the song is very easy to play. And when you play this riff for your friends and family, they will immediately recognize this jam.
5. Black Sabbath – Iron Man
Another legendary metal band is Black Sabbath. Not only because of the King of Rock n Roll Ozzy Osbourne but because Tony Iommi paved the way for heavy metal guitar playing.
Many people say “Iron Man” is the best Black Sabbath song to learn on guitar. It’s not only an easy song to learn but is fun to play. The catchiness of the riffs also makes the song easy to remember. There are some challenges, such as some of the string bending techniques, but overcoming these challenges will only improve your skills.
6. Metallica – Master of Puppets
If you want to sharpen your riffing, Metallica has some of the best songs to polish your rhythm-playing abilities. And as one of their most famous songs, “Master of Puppets” is one of the easiest songs to play, though the solo may be a challenge. While we do suggest you practice the chords first, this is a song you can “master” in no time!
Best Acoustic Guitar Songs
Is electric guitar not your thing? If you’re learning acoustic guitar, there are plenty of great songs for you to learn.
7. Green Day – Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)
Green Day is synonymous with being the band that beginning musicians learn how to play. That’s because their songs are simple but really good. “Good Riddance (Time of Your Life” is the perfect example. It’s a popular song that guitar teachers show their students. As long as you get the chords down, you can learn this song easily.
8. Led Zeppelin – Stairway to Heaven
Another Led Zeppelin song shows up in this list, and for obvious reasons. It’s one of their most famous songs, next to “Whole Lotta Love.” The song itself is beautiful and the guitars are very relaxing.
But is “Stairway to Heaven” easy to play? Don’t be fooled by its acoustic nature. It’s considered to be a mid-difficulty song. Many actually think the beginning of the song is the most difficult to play, so beginners can start by mastering the basic chords first. Jimmy Page also uses specific techniques that can be difficult to master as well.
9. Bon Jovi – Wanted Dead or Alive
“Wanted Dead or Alive” is another rock anthem and many consider it to be one of Bon Jovi’s best songs. It’s also the perfect song to learn if you’re picking up an acoustic guitar. This famous track is considered to be a beginning-level song for guitar.
Best Country Guitar Songs
These songs have largely been rock songs. Would you rather learn country? Here are some great country songs to learn.
10. John Denver – Take Me Home, Country Roads
If you’re a country music fan, this is a song your family plays for you, you hear it in the car, and even at school. This song is also taught to many country guitar players. While there are some more technical parts, the chords are easy enough for a
11. Johnny Cash – Ring of Fire
Whether or not you like Johnny Cash, this song likely left its mark on you. But when you listen to this song, you notice there are several instruments going on. Fortunately, the chords that Cash is playing are easy. You’ll need tabs for this song — learning by ear is extremely difficult.
12. Chris Stapleton – Tennessee Whiskey
This song is one of the best that Chris Stapleton released. It has a lot of soul and is well-liked by everyone, even though who don’t like country. That’s why this is the perfect country song to play. While this song does use barre chords, you can play a capo version if you’re a
Best Rock Guitar Songs
Let’s get a little heavier! Here are some of the best rock songs to learn on guitar.
13. Eric Clapton – Layla
This song is a masterpiece and one that Clapton is famous for. But can beginners pick up their guitar and start playing this classic? Fortunately, the chord and fingering aren’t difficult to play. However, the swing rhythm section may be a challenge.
14. Guns n’ Roses – Sweet Child o’ Mine
“Sweet Child o’ Mine” is the one song that every teenage guitarist learns how to play. Well, Slash doesn’t make things easy. There are multiple guitar parts and all have varying levels of difficulty. Don’t worry, the rhythm part is easy; just simple open chords that you can strum easily.
15. Deep Purple – Smoke on the Water
The second most popular song that guitar players first learn is “Smoke on the Water.” While the intro riff is simple, what about the rest of the song? Fortunately, the rest of the song also consists of simple power chords that are easy enough for the beginners of beginners.
Best Pop Guitar Songs
The guitar is not only prevalent in rock and country, but also in pop. Here are some iconic pop songs that are great to learn on guitar.
16. Van Morrison – Brown-Eyed Girl
Do you catch yourself singing this song to your brown-eyed girl? If so, learn it on guitar and woo her even more! The chords aren’t complicated and the rhythm is straightforward, so it’s an ideal song to learn at all skill levels.
17. Jason Mraz – I’m Yours
Don’t have a ukulele? No problem! You can play this song on your acoustic guitar. The song has some simple chords with a four-chord progression, so it’s not too bad for a
18. The Beatles – Blackbird
While The Beatles have so many hits, “Blackbird” is by far one of their most emotional. If you want to play a song for your family and friends, this is one of the best choices. It’s also an easy song to learn. The tempo is relatively slow and will help you polish certain skills, such as fretting chords and fingerpicking.
Answer: These aren’t the only songs you should learn on guitar. Other songs you can learn include:
• Oasis – Wonderwall
• Lynyrd Skynyrd – Free Bird
• Ed Sheeran – Thinking Out Loud
• Don McLean – American Pie
• Eagles – Hotel California
• The Animals – House of the Rising Sun
Answer: Other than the ones we already mentioned, many people still learn these songs on guitar:
• Snow Patrol – Chasing Cars
• Tracy Chapman – Fast Car
• Ed Sheeran – Small Bump
• Goo Goo Dolls – Iris
• Extreme – More Than Words
Answer: Most guitarists think “Up Around the Bend” by Creedence Clearwater Revival is the most fun song to play on guitar. It’s a happy song and will make you feel good when playing it. The song is in the key of D and the chords are simple enough for even a
Answer: As you start advancing as a guitar player, you should learn these essential songs for all guitar players:
• Jimi Hendrix – Purple Haze
• Chuck Berry – Johnny B. Goode
• The Kinks – You Really Got Me
• Cream – Crossroads
• Van Halen – Eruption
• The Rolling Stones – Brown Sugar
• Allman Brothers Band – Statesboro Blues
Answer: Are you beyond
• Megadeth – Tornado of Souls
• Cannibal Corpse – Frantic Disembowelment
• Dream Theater – The Dance of Eternity
• Dire Straits – Sultans of Swing
• Dragonforce – Through the Fire and Flames
• Racer X – Technical Difficulties
• Animals as Leaders – CAFO
• Eric Johnson – Cliffs of Dover
Answer: E minor (abbreviated as Em) is the guitar chord that most beginners learn first. It’s not only simple but it’s the chord that most guitar players use.
Answer: Before you start playing these songs, make sure you have this gear first:
• Extra picks
• Extra strings
Answer: Playing guitar is great for your mental health and brain function. Actually, all instruments offer some of the same benefits for your brain. Playing a musical instrument sharpens brain function, which can prevent mental decline in your later years.
Learn These Songs and More
As a beginning guitar player, you’re likely excited to learn your favorite songs. But if you think you need to learn theory first, you’ll be happy to know that you can learn your favorite songs at the same time that you learn theory.
What if you’re not sure what songs to learn? You have limitless options! From classics such as Jimi Hendrix to newer hits, there are so many songs that feature guitar.
Since not all guitar players want to play rock, there are plenty of songs for pop, country, classical, and even jazz players. And once you master the easy songs, you can move on to the intense metal and progressive tracks.
Do you still need help playing guitar? Here’s how to find the best online guitar courses.