Good Songs To Play On Guitar When You’re Just Starting Out

Nothing can be more frustrating when you’re just starting out on the guitar and trying to learn a song that is far too complicated.  What you need to build your confidence are some easy and good songs to play on guitar that will prove to you that you can shred with the best of them!

While I personally think Tom Petty’s song Free Fallin’ is the easiest song to play on guitar, it may not be everyone’s cup of tea.

No sweat!  There are tons of good pop songs to play on the guitar that are just as popular and pretty diverse.  When you’re at a party and want to show off to your friends, it’s always good to have a diverse list of songs to pick from so you can cater to your audience.  Not only that, it will force you to challenge your skills as a guitar player as you mature into actually writing songs of your own.

My List of Good Songs to Play on Guitar:

There are probably more good songs to play on guitar than you’ll ever be able to learn in your lifetime, but below is a list of some of the greatest guitar songs and riffs that have stood the test of time.

Have fun learning some of these great songs and take the opportunity to further develop your skills with each one.

1. “Hotel California” – The Eagles

“Hotel California” is one of the most fun songs to play on guitar because of its unique harmonic structure. It also features a great sounding dual guitar solo toward the end of the track that will keep you busy for hours trying to master.

2. “Stairway to Heaven” – Led Zeppelin

For some time, anyone who walked into a guitar store and picked up a guitar could probably be heard trying to pick out Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven” on the guitar. Learning to play “Stairway to Heaven” is somewhat of a rite of passage for guitar players. The song features acoustic fingerpicking, full chord progressions, and an impressive guitar solo. It’s a fun song to play and its versatility will help you to play a variety of techniques in one song.

3. “Smoke on the Water” – Deep Purple

The main riff of Deep Purple’s “Smoke on the Water” was once ranked number 4 by Total Guitar magazine in their Greatest Guitar Riffs Ever. It’s a fun song to play throughout that features a blues scale melody harmonized in parallel fourths.

4. “Sweet Child O’ Mine” – Guns ‘N Roses

Slash is one of the most proficient guitar players around, and “Sweet Child O’ Mine” began as a simple string-skipping exercise and evolved as Slash began playing the exercise while practicing with his Guns ‘N Roses bandmates one day. The main riff will obviously help you to develop your string-skipping skills. Practice the riff slowly, then increase speed once you’ve mastered it slowly.

5. “Crazy Train” – Ozzy Osbourne

“Crazy Train” from Ozzy Osbourne’s debut solo album Blizzard of Ozz is a fun song because the song sounds and feels like a fast-paced freight train. It’s got a great opening riff that gives players great practice at single-note riffs on the lower strings. The chord progression for the verses will exercise your ability to switch between chords quickly. The song also features some great lead guitar work from a guitar legend, the late Randy Rhoads.

6. “Enter Sandman” – Metallica

Metallica has been one of the most influential bands in history, especially among aspiring guitar players. Though they have a list of hits that guitar players enjoy learning how to play, “Enter Sandman” from their 1991 self-titled album is one of the songs players enjoy learning most. The song starts simple and quiet, but then launches into a driving distorted guitar riff. The song also features a great solo that makes great use of a wah pedal.

7. “Dust in the Wind” – Kansas

“Dust in the Wind” is one of the most fun songs to play on the acoustic guitar. Guitar players love the sound of the song and the way the song helps them to develop their fingerpicking skills. Ironically, the song started as a simple fingerpicking exercise.

There are a lot more songs than these that are good songs to play on guitar, but these are a great start, and they are sure to be songs you’ll have a lot of fun with.

Easiest Song to Play on Guitar in Just 3 Chords

When you’re first starting out on the guitar, there’s one thing and one thing only you want to do – play for someone!

That’s the whole motivation, right?  You want to impress for friends and play a song for that special someone.  And you want to do it good so that they know how awesome you’re becoming at it.

There’s only one problem.  Most of the guitar songs you know and love are too complicated for your skill level when you’re just starting out.  They often require a great deal of consistent practice or techniques that might take you a few years to master.

But don’t worry.  If you’re strategic and start off learning easy songs to play on a guitar, then you might not have to go too far to pull off a smooth performance.

Even though there are lots of great pop songs out there that are nothing more than a few chords, you undoubtedly want to play a song that you will enjoy and others will too.

So what’s the easiest song to play on guitar?

Characteristics of Easy Songs to Learn on the Guitar

This is the tricky part.  Although there are a lot of songs that sound easy to play on the guitar, they can be deceptively more complicated than you think.  (Part of that is a testament to how easy the guitarist makes it look).

To start out, you’ll want to avoid any songs that require any intricate single-note riffs combined with other more chord-based riffs. You’ll also want to avoid any finger-picking runs. Of course, these types of songs could be great candidates for when your skills mature.  But probably not right now.

The easiest song to play on guitar needs to be something that is essentially based on strumming chords throughout the song and will probably feature only one or maybe two chord progressions that repeat throughout the song. As long as it’s a song that features throughout, then all you have to do is learn the chords of the song.

With a song that features two chord progressions, one for the verses and one for the chorus, you’re likely to only have to learn four different chords, which are the primary in the key that you’re playing in.

So what can I recommend?

“Free Fallin’” – The Easiest Song to Play

The song that instantly comes to mind is an oldie but a goodie.  And it’s definitely super easy to play:

“Free Fallin” by Tom Petty.

Tom Petty has been known as one of the most famous singer-songwriters in America for the last four decades. While Petty spent many years as the lead vocalist of his band Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, “Free Fallin,” arguably the song he’s most known for, was actually the opening track to his Full Moon Fever solo album in 1989.

To play “Free Fallin,” you only need to know three chords:

  • D (xx0232)
  • G (320033)
  • A (x02220)

Here is the progression:

D   G   G   D  A   (repeat)

Now notice that in the recorded song you’ll need to use a capo to play along with the recorded version. A capo is a great way to quickly change the key of a song, especially if you need to sing a song in a different key. For “Free Fallin,” put the capo on the third fret. Now, you’ll play the D, G, and A chord shapes just like you would if there was no capo, but now your third fret acts as the nut of the guitar.

Though you’ll be playing D, G, and A chord shapes, because of the capo, the chords you’ll actually be playing will be F, Bb, C.  For more on how to learn guitar chords and other chord progressions, please check out Guitar chord.

You’re now ready to play along with the recording. In fact, listening to the recording will help you to learn the strum patterns for the song and how the chord progressions go for both the verses and the choruses.

“Free Fallin” is not only a great tune but it is also simply the easiest song to play on a guitar that you can master right away.  I think once you get going you’ll really enjoy being able to play a full song from beginning to end. Even though it’s relatively easy to master, if you’re a beginning player, this is exactly the kind of library of songs you’ll want to build and impress your friends with.

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