Easy Guitar Songs to Play for Beginners

Only Open Chords!

These songs are supposed to be played with the clean electric or acoustic guitar.

The good news is that being able to play ten-fifteen open position chords and a number of finger picking or strumming patterns allows you to perform rearranged versions of very many rock and pop songs. The songs that 'by default' use only open chords do not need to be rearranged of course.

Check out the list of easy songs to play right below:

Zombie - Cranberries

It's indeed a very very easy song for beginners.
Only four chords: Em - C - G - D are used throughout the whole vocal and almost all instrumental line. Somewhere in the instrumental part only two: the Em and C chord are repeated several times. The strumming is really slow.

Sweet Home Alabama - Lynyrd Skynard

A 3 chord song: D - C - G

Hot - Avril Lavigne

Note that in the chorus, the chords are switched at the end of each text line.

            G
.............
            D
.............
            F
.............
            C
.............
Smells Like Teen Spirit - Nirvana

The original song was recorded in the key of F, requiring to use bar chords. Here is a transposed to the A key and a little modified version of this song, consisting only of easy to play open chords.

Teardrops On My Guitar - Taylor Swift

A couple of slow downward strums per chord goes well with this tune, this helps to mitigate too much focus on the strumming hand while working out the smooth chord changing.

For more interesting sounding, you can substitute the G - Em - C - D chords with the slightly modified ones:

G : 320033
Em7 : 022030
Cadd9 : X32030
D : XX0232

If you prefer to use arpeggiato instead of strumming, here is a pretty good guitar tablature for this tune.

Horse With No Name - America

One of the easiest song to play, the verse and the chorus are played just with the two different chords for each part:

Em ------ 
   ||||||
   |**|||
   ||||||
D6/9 ------
     ||||||
     *||*||
     ||||||
And
Em9 ------
    ||||||
    |*|||*
    ||||||
Dmaj9 ------
      ||||||
      |||**|
      ||||||

Here is a very good video lesson that includes an explanation on how to strum shuffle rhythm that is better suited here.

Every Rose Has Its Thorn - Poison

The first time, playing this song might seem not as quite straightforward as the chord layout looks, for example in the verse, the 3rd line contains 4 chords, when other lines contain only 2, that's why the duration of each chord on the 3rd line is 1/2 of a chord from another line.

Time diagram of the verse:

1st line: G  -   -   -   Cadd9  -   -   -   |
2nd line: G  -   -   -   Cadd9  -   -   -   |
3rd line: G  -  Cadd9  -   G  -  Cadd9  -   |
4th line: D  -   -   -   - C    -   -   -   |

Just listen to the song for some time, it's really a snap to get used to the changes.

Numb - Linkin Park (acoustic version)

The provided page contains one bar chord: the B chord in the bridge. But you can replace it with the B5 power chord - X244XX. This one does not require barre and integrates nicely into the composition.

Click here for the fingerstyle version of this song. It erroneously seems from the provided tab that each note lasts the same amount of time, but to make it sound right, play the note in the beginning of each bar twice longer than the rest of notes.
Listen it:


Here goes the missing intro:

e--------0-3-2--------3-2-----
B--0-3-0--------0-3-0-----3---
G-----------------------------
D-----------------------------
A-----------------------------
E-----------------------------
	
Hey there Delilah - Plain White T's (a simplified tab)

When played with the strumming, this song uses a couple of bar chords: Bm and F#m, but if you use the fingerstyle technique, as in the provided tab, you won't play chords, only simple fingerstyle pattern that requires maximum of two strings to be pressed simultaneously. Here's the lyrics for the song.

Animal Instinct - Cranberries

The C9 chord in the pop up suggestion window has a barre, here is a barre free version of the chord:

C9 : 032030
Wish You Were Here – Pink Floyd

Slow strumming makes this song really easy to play. In the interlude, in the middle of the composition, add extra G chord that is missed on the linked page:

Em - G - Em - G - Em - A - Em - A - [ G ]
Updated on October 13th, 2017

The provided page was edited and the issue with the missing chord is now fixed.

@ Easy Guitar Songs for Beginners

Hurt – Johnny Cash

The chord progression in this song is not that straightforward, there're minor changes between the first and the second part of the verses, but still nothing's really difficult.

The main picking pattern:

e|-------0------------0---------2------|
B|-------1------------1---------3------|
G|-------2------------0-------2-2------|
D|-----2-2----------2-2-----0---0------|
A|---0---0--------3---3----------------|
E|-------------------------------------|
Clocks - Coldplay

Except in the bridge, there are only three chords that repeat throughout the whole theme. The chord progression feels slightly "unequal" comparing to the other songs though:

D - Am x2 - Em

It took me some time to get used to playing the Am chord twice in the middle of it.

There's no Fmaj7 chord in my "open position chord chart", (this chord is used in the bridge of the song), here it is:

XX3210
Lost - Coldplay

You might substitute the G chord in the intro and the verse with G/E. It is the same G major chord, only with the bass of E note:

020033

This way it sounds more suitable.

The progression for the intro/verse would be:

Em7 - C - G/E - D
Wasted Love - Iron Maiden

This song is built upon a very beautiful (finger)picking formation. If you have a chorus guitar effect, add it to the clean sound, along with a reverb or delay, it will make magic.

The chorus in this song you can play with the strumming technique or by picking the power chords as on the original recording, they are quite simple and easy to play though:

     E5        C5        D5        G5   F#5 
e|----------------------------------------------|
B|----------------------------------------------|
G|----------------------------------------------|
D|---2---9-----5---5-----7---7------------------|
A|---2---7-----3---3-----5---5-----5-5---4-4----|
E|---0-----------------------------3-3---2-2----|
Speechless - Lady GaGa

This is the most complex song from these easy ones, and not because the chords are difficult, (in this simplified version they are not), but because the chords change too much.

The chord progression for the INTRO is:

C - G - Am - - - F - - - G - - (break)

There are a few chords with alternate bass notes on the provided page, you can look up their diagrams by hovering over the chord names.

Follow this link to see 4 additional beginners songs, contributed by a visitor.

If you know any other easy guitar song(s) for beginners that you think would be nice to place on this page please contact me
via the contact form.

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