9 Easy Beginner Guitar Songs

Woman holding an electric guitar learning an easy beginner guitar song.

The following list 9 easy beginner guitar songs are presented in order of difficulty and includes resources like pdfs and images to help you learn each one. Each song presents a new and interesting technique for you to discover.

Zombie – the Cranberries

Easy beginner guitar song: zombie by cranberries

View the Zombie PDF

The PDF shows how to play this song with open chords like I play it in the video and also to play it with “power chords” (2-note chords). Just use the same strumming pattern with all down-strokes.

Californication – The Red Hot Chili Peppers

View the Californication tab 

This song can be played on both electric or acoustic guitar and is perfect for the beginner guitarist.  It features a great riff that provides an introduction to playing chords as well as single-note ideas.  The song is based on 2 simple chords that are very easy to play and make your own.  Beginners can simply learn the 2 open chords whereas more advanced players can try to play the 3 simple barre chords that are featured in the song.

A Whole Lot of Love – Led Zeppelin

This is a great tune to get introduced to playing with distortion.  The song is generally played on electric guitar but it can also be done on an acoustic. Playing with distortion can be delicate because If you don’t mute the strings that you aren’t playing, it will sound very messy.

Playing a Riff

This song features a guitar riff.  A riff isn’t a chord or a single line melody but somewhere in the middle.  It is some-kind of groovy, repeating pattern that drives the rhythm of a song forward.

String Skipping

String skipping is where you hit a string and then jump one or more strings and then hit another. Basically, you keep going back and forth jumping between strings with a pick. The song is pretty fast so a great way to work on this song is to slow it down and then progressively get it up to speed. 

Rolling in the Deep – Adele

View the Rolling in the Deep PDF

In this link two of the chords are shown differently than how I am showing them. I strongly advice playing them as shown in this downloadable PDF : link to tabs pdf. You’ll notice the differences and be able to use the link to learn the rest of the song if you feel like it.

This is a beautifully produced song that uses only bar chords. The tricky part of the song is in the verse where you need to learn to change chords on the and of beat 1. This can be tricky for a beginner. To get this, count the song in eighth notes by subdividing each beat into two. For example, count: 1 and 2 and 3 and 4 and. By doing this, you’ll be able to understand when to switch the chord at the right place.

Knockin on Heaven’s Door by Bob Dylan

This beginner guitar song, written by Bob Dylan, uses only 4 chords: G, D, Am and Cadd9. This song is often played with the C instead of the Cadd9, but to make chord transitions easier, we’ll use the Cadd9.

To start, try playing the chords in sequence with a simple down rhythm.

Pay attention to the chord transition

To make chord transitions easier, keep common fingers on the fretboard when moving from one chord to another. For example, for the passage from G -> D, keep the ring finger in place. Same thing for D -> Cadd9.

Song and Chord

Once your chords are coming together nicely, now it’s time to combine the vocals and chords. I suggest using a lyrics sheet (Knocking on Heaven’s Door) while singing along with the recording (*without the guitar.) After a few covers, try to combine the singing with the guitar.

Fast Car by Tracy Chapman

This well-known song by Tracy Chapman plays well as a beginner guitar song. The chords used are Cadd9, G, Em, D. You can also use Cmaj7 instead of Cadd9.

Listen to the version of passenger

Both of these versions use a capo at the second fret.

Fast Car chord progression

You can use the chords presented here to accompany the singing of this song.

Start by practicing the sequence of these 4 chords. *Leave a moment of silence between each chord. optionally you can adjust the rhythm to better follow the song.

Instrumental Tab version

To play the instrumental melody of this piece, you can learn the following tab and follow this Fast Car tutorial. The version presented here is the one that Tracy Chapman plays in concerts when she plays solo.

Good Riddance (Time of Your Life) by Greenday

Good Riddance (Time of Your Life) by Greenday, uses the chords G, Cadd9, D, Em.

Start with a simple rhythm

This simple rhythm will allow you to first play and sing the lyrics at the same time. *Optionally you can try the more complex rhythm used in the song.


In this song the intro is played 2x , the verse 2x. The chord sequence is the same. The intro is played instrumental (without the vocals), and the verse with the vocals.


Repeat the pre-chorus 2x.


Ici le refrain est joué 1x.

How to practice?

  • Practice each section of the song separately.
  • Think about your chord transitions and make sure to keep common fingers on the fretboard.
  • Practice singing and playing guitar separately, and when you’re ready, you can play the chords following the lyrics here.

How to practise all these songs

In order to learn to play these easy guitar songs for beginners with chords,  learn the basic parts and chord progressions of each song, and then try to play along to the recordings.  If you are having difficulty with that, slow the songs down using an app or try practising them with a metronome at a slower speed.  If both those option don’t work, simply try to play the song while tapping the beat with your foot.

Integrate advanced rhythm

Once you are able to play the chords with a simple rhythm and sing the lyrics, you can try playing the song rhythm (more difficult). There are two sections: the “picking” section and the “Strum” section. The following video offers a very good tutorial for learning how to play the Time of your Life rhythm. We also have an article on developing your guitar strumming patterns here.

Picking section:

This section is typically played with a pick. If you are not comfortable reading guitar tabs, I suggest you work with the following book: Hal Leonard Guitar Tab Method. Make sure you make the correct up and down movements. D = Down, U = Up.

*Tip: You need to practice very slowly at first before you can speed up properly.




Strum section

After the first chorus, the rhythm changes to the strum. D = Down and U = up. If you don’t have enough experience playing this rhythm, please visit our page How to Read Strumming Guitar Patterns. This article will help you master your basics so you can eventually play the rhythm section below.


*The D chord is played starting with an upward strum.



Wish You Were Here by Pink Floyd

This classic Pink Floyd song is great for beginners. The intro can be played with 2 guitars (chord + solo) and the sung part can be played alone with vocals and chord. You will need the following chords: G, Cadd9, Am, Em7, and D.

*Cette chanson est souvent jouée avec un C (au lieu d’un Cadd9), mais dans mon expérience de professeur de guitare, le Cadd9 fonctionne très bien et offre une transition plus facile pour les débutants.


For this section you need to hold the G chord shape.

  • The ring finger and little finger will never move. Keep them in place for the full intro section.
  • For each chord in the tab below, I suggest simply playing the D-D-U rhythm.
  • Play the first two rows 2x, and the 3rd row 1x.
  • Em7 is similar to Em, but with the little and ring fingers in the same position as G.

Sung Part (Verse)

I suggest starting with simple rhythm and eventually learning advanced rhythm. For simple rhythm, simply play 4 beats down per chord. You can find the lyrics and chords for the song Wish You Were Here here.

More advanced rhythm

Once you have mastered chord changes with a simple rhythm, you can try learning the rhythm of the song.

  • Dotted arrows: the movement of the hand without touching the strings
  • The dark arrows: the movement of the hand when touching the strings

*Work all the chord transitions of the song with this rhythm. With enough practice, you will be able to integrate the lyrics.

Wonderwall by Oasis

Wonderwall, the classic Oasis song is a good beginner guitar song, because it uses only 5 chords and the transitions are not difficult. The chords are: Em7 (or Em), G, Dsus4, A7sus4, and Cadd9 (or C).

*Note that for each chord, the ring finger and little finger never change position.

Chord sequence

The first step to learning Wonderwall is to string together the chords with a simple rhythm, and to work the song in sections. Play each section in a loop until you are comfortable with the sequence. This Wonderwall tutorial is very good.

*Keep the ring finger and little finger (3,4) on the fretboard for the duration of the song.

This song is broken down into 4 sections: Intro, verse, prechorus, and chorus.



Repeat this section 2x

Then string together the following chords:


Add the lyrics

After working on the chord sequences, you can now add the lyrics. Start with the simple rhythm shown at the top, and then you can try with the advanced strum of the song. Use this chords and lyrics sheet from Wonderwall as your guide.

Rhythmic Wonderwall Advanced:

Use this rhythm for the rest of the song, except somewhere (when there is more than one chord per measure.)

Should I learn these songs on my own or with a guitar teacher?

I have been mostly self-taught throughout the years but if I did start with taking lessons and had teachers along the way to correct me. It would have created a lot more frustration otherwise and taken much more time to get to where I’m at right now.  Teachers provide shortcuts and help tremendously for exponential growth. I would advise any beginner to take lessons at first to help get started.

A great teacher can help you with the following aspects of learning guitar:

  • Confidence in playing difficult songs
  • Positioning yourself and the guitar
  • Holding a pick properly
  • Making better transitions between chords
  • Emulating the sound that you hear on recordings
  • Avoiding strain and pressing the strings as lightly as needed.

For guitar lessons in Montreal, For guitar lessons in Toronto, For guitar lessons in Vancouver

There is no perfect.  Be disciplined but don’t be too hard on yourself.  Feel your inner sense of rhythm. Allow yourself to discover in the context of practicing the song. – Charles

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