Hi! My name is Charles. I’m a professional musician and guitar teacher with Musiprof. I am based in Montreal, Canada. In this post I am going to teach you how to play 6 easy guitar songs for beginners with chords.
They are: Zombie by the Cranberries, I’m Yours by Jason Mraz, Californication by The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Whole Lotta Love by Led Zeppelin, Time of your Life by Green Day and Rolling in the Deep by Adele.
The following list of easy guitar songs is presented in order of difficulty and includes a free guitar tab to help you follow along to the videos. Each song presents a new and interesting technique for you to discover.
#1: Zombie – the Cranberries
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.
#2: I’m Yours – Jason Mraz
Our second beginner song is I’m Yours. This is a beautiful and groovy song. I chose this song precisely because it will help you understand how to groove on the guitar. This is one of the most important things for a musician to learn.
The PDF shows how to play the chords using all the six strings. Start by playing it like I demonstrate in the video and then explore adding your own twist to it. Keep it simple, it always sounds better !
What does learning to groove actually mean?
To groove means to put emotions and feel into what you play. It also means getting inside the rhythm of a piece of music and placing the accents in the right places. I’m Yours is a simple song that leaves a lot room for groove discovery and for you to play around with it.
Reggae Folk Feel
The song has a reggae type of strumming pattern with 4 counts. Alternate from playing 1 weak beat followed by a strong beat in order to match the feel.
I’ve put together 2 versions for playing this song. The first version is played with bar chords (so it’s a little more difficult.) The second version is played with open chords and a capo.
Hear me talk about how to groove:
You have to learn how to groove. It’s not always necessarily about playing precisely on the beat with surgical precision. It’s about feeling the overall rhythm. – Charles
#3: Californication – The Red Hot Chili Peppers
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.
#4: 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.
#5: Time of Your Life – Green Day
View the Time of Your Life tab
This is one of the first songs I ever learned when I was a kid living in France. It’s based of 4 easy guitar chords that are found in many songs ; this breakdown though will be based on the verse which only includes 3 of these chords. Once you learn these chords, you can play hundreds of songs.
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.
#6: 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.
How to practise all these songs
In order to learn to play these 6 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.
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
Hear me speak about how to make a song your own
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
Signup for guitar lessons with me
If you would like some help in learning these songs and playing the guitar in general. I offer lessons online or at my studio in Montreal.
If you take lessons from me you can really expect me to try to understand what you want out of guitar playing. I will provide you with all the tools that I have to help you play what you want to play. I’m comfortable in most genres and will teach you the basics, no matter what style you like.
I also teach advanced guitar, improvisation, chords, jazz guitar, distortion, finding your tone and how to play easy guitar songs for beginners with chords. My passion is to share and teach so don’t hesitate to reach out.