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15 Easy Guitar Songs for Any Beginner Player

15 Easy Guitar Songs for Beginners

We've compiled a list of 15 easy, beginner, guitar songs that can help to get any player started.

These songs contain the basics of chords and chord progressions to help you learn and improve your skills, while also teaching you how to play your favorites! You can also continue to learn after these foundational songs through our ArtistWorks Guitar Schools.


Sweet Caroline // Neil Diamond


A classic song that all know the chorus to, Sweet Caroline is a great way to learn a few more basic chords and get a hold of some barre chords to improve your finger-strength and playing.

I’ll Fly Away // American Traditional


Known as a true gospel hymn, I’ll Fly Away is a great song for any gospel/hymn lover out there. With only four chords, it’s a great pick for any guitarists who want to step out of their comfort zone, but still stick to the basics.

Stay With Me // Sam Smith


Stay With Me will forever be the breakup song of the 2010s, maybe it’s the sound or maybe it’s just Sam Smith pouring his heart out in the lyrics. Although the chords are on the cusp of intermediate in some parts, the challenge is worth it as many songs match the chord progressions such as Say Something by A Great Big World and Skinny Love by Bon Iver. Epic mashups, anyone?

Smoke on the Water // Deep Purple


Everyone knows the riff to Smoke on the Water, and that’s why it’s made the list. With it’s memorable riffs and easy chords, this song is a great start for all those lovers of classic Rock N’ Roll.

Smells Like Teen Spirit // Nirvana


Likely Nirvana’s most popular song ever, Smells Like Teen Spirit is a great starter song as it’s tune is easy to catch on to and the chords are few and simple.

Seven Nation Army // The White Stripes

Although The White Stripes have since disbanded, their hit song Seven Nation Army remains in the musical hall of fame for it’s easily recognized bass riff that makes up the amazing song. Seven Nation Army is a great piece to practice tab reading and general chord playing that focuses on rhythm.

Good Riddance (Time of Your Life) // Green Day

With only 5 chords, this popular Green Day song is a great start for anyone interested in some classic punk rock and wants a solid introduction. Don’t let the “add9” or other complicated-sounding chords scare you, they’re a lot easier than they seem in this song.

All the Small Things // Blink 182

Say it ain’t so, anyone can play this song? It’s true. With only three chords (C,F,G) All the Small Things is easily simplified so anyone can strum along next time they feel like singing this great song by Blink 182


Amazing Grace // American Traditional


Another classic hymn, Amazing Grace is fun and easy to play, with some of the most basic chords a guitar has to offer. For those who value good ‘ol American roots, this is the song for you.

Chasing Cars // Snow Patrol

Popular in the mid-2000s, Chasing Cars is a great starter song thanks to its basic chord progressions that any novice guitarist can pick up if they practice. It’s also a great song to practice your finger-picking.

Clocks // Coldplay

This is another song where even as time passes by like a ticking clock, the iconic piano riff continues to imprint itself in our memories. Although the riff is more advanced to play, it is possible nevertheless. However, the simplified chords for this song is what makes this list, creating an opportunity for any player to learn it.

Hey There Delilah // Plain White T’s

A typical love ballad that stole the hearts of teen girls all over, Hey There Delilah is sure to get you the romance you deserve, and it’s easy to learn as well. With a basic and popular chord progression, this Plain White T’s song is great for any beginners.

21 Guns // Green Day

One of Green Day’s more popular pieces, 21 Guns is a great way to get your basics down on chords and strumming. With only a handful of basic chords, you’ll be playing like a pro in no time.

Hey, Soul Sister // Train

Once a chart-topper, Hey Soul Sister is a great song to pick up if you want to have a few well-known songs up your sleeve. With just a handful of chords, this song is made for beginners, but still allows room for growth and a challenge.

I’m Yours // Jason Miraz

I won’t hesitate no more, so last but not least, I’m Yours by Jason Miraz is another song that swooned teenage girls. Luckily, it’s also a great and easy song to learn on any stringed instrument, from a guitar to even a ukulele.

One of the first things you'll notice when trying to play songs on guitar is that you'll likely need a capo if you only know a few chords. Sure, most songs are written with standardized open tuning, usually EADGBE, but unless you want to learn complicated shapes further up the fretboard that may require difficult stretches or rely on lesser-used fingers, a capo can open up the vast majority of songs without sending you back to a chord book. This is great for newer players or those looking for easy guitar songs to play in the backyard or at the beach.

For the most part, easy guitar songs are easy because they use the same standard set of chords, which is comprised of C, D, E, G, A, Dm, Em and Am. They're known as cowboy chords, a reference to their popularity with early country music and their status as basic building blocks of many songs you're already familiar with. Furthermore, cowboy chords are much easier to learn than complicated chords used in classical or jazz guitar and they require only three fingers -- your index, middle and ring. In fact, many guitarists learn these basic chords and not much more, and a guitarist can spend years playing countless songs with only these eight basic chords.

But if you come across a so-called easy guitar song that doesn't use one of these eight chords, you won't likely have to learn a bunch of new chords if you use a capo. The capo, which is shorthand for capo tasto, is a device that sits on the guitar neck and frets every string, moving the pitch for each string up a half-step for each fret. They're inexpensive, easy to find and use, and they'll drastically expand any guitarists repertoire, enabling you to play songs that were written with different chords or that were not even written on the guitar itself, like piano-based ballads or even keyboard-based pop tracks.

To understand how to use a capo when seeking out easy guitar songs, the instruction is usually not much more complicated than a designation such as "capo 2" or "capo 5," which tells the player to put the capo at the second or fifth fret, respectively. Once a capo is on, each guitar chord shape is "transposed" to another chord, which is just a fancy way of saying the chord shapes you're familiar with now form different chords, such as a C chord that becomes a D when played with a capo on the second fret -- the same goes for a D chord that becomes an E chord with a second-fret capo.

For most, a chart is the best way to visualize this, so here's how all the basic chords translate with the use of a capo up to the sixth fret:


As you can see, a capo on the second fret turns C, D, E, G, A, Dm, Em and Am into D, E, F#/Gb, A, B Em, F#m/Gbm and Bm, respectively. This means if you have a song that requires a tricky F# or F#m, you can put a capo on the second fret and play an E or Em chord, though you'll have to transpose your other chords with the capo in position. That's because once you install a capo and start playing, you're stuck with that tuning until you stop playing and remove the capo.

Keep learning after these foundational songs through our ArtistWorks Guitar Schools.

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