When you're first learning to play guitar, sometimes you need a little extra motivation to keep practicing. Your fingertips are sore, your fingers don't seem to want to bend in the right place at the right time and practicing chords on their own is just not that rewarding. You want to play real music, not just do drills all day long.

What's the solution? Learn a few easy songs that help you master basic chords and still feel like you're making good progress. The truth is, you will be making progress. You may even learn faster than you would otherwise because you'll enjoy the process more. You'll also have an advantage because, when you play a familiar song, you already have a feel for it in your head and you'll know right away if it sounds right or not. Check out this list of 36 easy songs to play on guitar to get started.

Classic Tunes

There are some songs that it seems everyone just knows, no matter what. Either they've permeated American culture for so long that no one can escape them, or they're just that catchy. These are good, familiar songs to learn on guitar, and friends and family may even sing along with you and encourage you to play more often.

"With or Without You" by U2. All you need to know is G, D, E minor and C. Put your capo on the fourth fret.

"Stand By Me" by Ben E. King. Play this song on guitar using the chords A, D, E and F sharp minor. That last one sounds tricky, but it isn't.

"Let It Be" by the Beatles. This song has a lot of chords, but they're all pretty easy. You'll need to master the A, A minor, C, D, D minor, E, E minor, F, F sharp minor and G chords. The F sharp minor is really easy to play, and although the F chord can be tricky, you can use an alternate chord (F Major 7) if you haven't mastered it yet.

"La Bamba" by Ritchie Valens. One of the simplest chord progressions ever if you can play an F chord or one of the usual substitutions. The only chords you need are C, F and G.

"Sittin' on the Dock of the Bay" by Otis Redding. This song has quite a few chords, but it's still pretty simple. You need to know the G, B7, C, A, E, D and F chords.

"Margaritaville" by Jimmy Buffett. Another super simple, extremely catchy tune. You can play it using just the A, D and G chords.

Country Songs

For some reason, simple major chords tend to dominate country and western songs. This makes them pretty straightforward to play.

"When You Say Nothing at All" by Keith Whitley. Whether you're familiar with the Keith Whitley recording or the Allison Krauss and Union Station version, you only need three simple chords to play this one: D, A and G. You'll put your capo on the first fret to change the key to E flat.

"On the Road Again" by Willie Nelson and friends. To play a simplified version of this fun song about adventures with your entourage, you need to be able to play the chords C, D minor, E, F and G. Put your capo on the fourth fret to change to the key of E.

"Cruise" by Florida Georgia Line. To play this fun song, all you need are the G, D, E minor and C chords. Put your capo on the third fret and you're all set.

Traditional and Folk

Think of these as your classic campfire singalong songs. Ready to get your camp on? Try these favorites with your camping buddies or kids.

"Old Macdonald." OK, so you don't think this song is cool enough for you, but even Elvis Presley released a version of this one! Swallow your pride and sing along with an oink oink here and an oink oink there. The only chords you need to know are A, C, D, E minor and G.

"Kumbaya." You know, that song everyone sings around a campfire even though nobody knows what it means. One reason it's so popular is that it's easy to remember the words. The other reason is that you only need to know how to play the G, C, A minor and D7 chords.

"Take Me Home, Country Roads" by John Denver. Put your capo on the second fret and use the C, D, D7, E minor, F and G chords to play this perfect mountain singalong.

"Day-O (The Banana Boat Song)" by Harry Belafonte. Play this traditional Jamaican song using only the chords G and D7.

"The Yellow Rose of Texas." Another two-chord traditional song. This one uses only C and G.

"When the Saints Go Marching In." This song is great for beginners and uses only the chords G, D7 and C.

"Loch Lomond." This traditional Scottish song sounds bright and cheerful, even though the lyrics tell a different story. You'll need to master the C, D minor, A minor, F and G chords before you can play it.

"City of New Orleans" by Arlo Guthrie. This song, written in 1971 by Steve Goodman, is one that everyone seems to know the chorus to. Impress your friends by learning all the words. The chords for this one are C, G, G7, A minor, F and E minor.

"Teach Your Children" by Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young. Bring out your inner hippie and play this one using only the D, G, A and B minor chords.

"This Land Is Your Land" by Woody Guthrie. Call it an anthem to America, or not. Either way, you can play this catchy singalong using only the G, C, D, G7 and D7 chords.

"Home on the Range" by Gene Autry. If you've always wanted a home where the buffalo roam, you probably already know all the words to this song. To play it on guitar, you'll also need to know the G, C, A7 and D7 chords.

Classic Rock 'n' Roll

These songs come from the garage band era, so they're perfect for practicing (and even performing) before your sound is perfectly polished.

"Have You Ever Seen the Rain" by Credence Clearwater Revival. A powerful but simple song. You'll need to learn A minor, C, F and G to play this one.

"House of the Rising Sun" by The Animals. This song includes the E minor, G, A and C chords. All pretty easy to learn, plus it's easy to switch between these chords without super fancy finger work.

"Hey, Jude" by The Beatles. This one has more than just a couple of chords, but they're easy to learn and easy to play. The ones you'll need to know are G, D, D7, C, E minor and A minor, with an F thrown in there to challenge you a bit.

"Down on the Corner" by Credence Clearwater Revival. This one is super simple to play using only the C, G and F chords.

"Midnight Special" by Credence Clearwater Revival. Have you noticed how many songs in this section are by CCR? It's not just a coincidence. There's something infinitely playable about their songs. They're easy to sing along with, too. This one is often included in beginner guitar books because of the easy rhythm and the fact that you only need to know how to play the D, G and A7 chords.

"Brown Eyed Girl" by Van Morrison. Does anyone not know this song? If you've been practicing guitar for any amount of time at all, chances are you also know the chords A, C, D, E minor and G, which are all you need to play this one.

"Free Fallin'" by Tom Petty. Another easy one that everyone can sing along with, and you only need to master the A, C, D, E minor and G chords for this one, too.

Pop

These pop songs are among the new classics that you and your friends can sing along with.

"Jar of Hearts" by Christina Perri. Crank out this soulful tune using the A minor, C, D minor, E, F and G chords with your capo on the third fret.

"Paparazzi" by Lady Gaga. You'll get a more stripped-down version of this song by playing it on the guitar, but it's a welcomed change. An acoustic version is interesting and easy to sing along with. E minor, D, A minor, C and G are the only chords you need.

"She Will Be Loved" by Maroon 5. You only need to play A minor, C and G chords to play this one. Put your capo on the third fret.

"Hello" by Adele. Translate this piano-heavy tune into the realm of the acoustic guitar with the B minor, C, D, E minor and G chords. Put your capo on the first fret.

"Clocks" by Coldplay. Put your capo on the first fret again and play A minor, C, D, E minor, F and G to master this one.

Two-Chord Songs

Sometimes you just can't handle more than two chords in a single song when you're just starting out. All that switching of your hand position gets confusing, especially when you're first starting out. These songs can each be played with just two chords, so they're easy to learn. Plus, you should get really good at those two chords because you'll be playing them over and over!

"For What It's Worth" by Buffalo Springfield. All you need are the E and A chords.

"Born in the USA" by Bruce Springsteen. For this song, you'll need to play a B major (which is a bar chord) and E major.

"Give Peace a Chance" by John Lennon. Yep, just two chords in this epic song, too: C and G, with your capo on the first fret.

"Fallin'" by Alicia Keys. Although the piano is the featured instrument in the studio version of this song, it sounds pretty good on guitar, too. You can play it using just A minor and D minor with a capo on the second fret.

There you have it: 36 easy songs to play on guitar, whether you are an absolute novice or have been practicing for some time. What are you waiting for? It's time to start strumming!

When you’re first learning to play guitar, sometimes you need a little extra motivation to keep practicing. Your fingertips are sore, your fingers don’t seem to want to bend in the right place at the right time and practicing chords on their own is just not that rewarding. You want to play real music, not just do drills all day long.

What’s the solution? Learn a few easy songs that help you master basic chords and still feel like you’re making good progress. The truth is, you will be making progress. You may even learn faster than you would otherwise because you’ll enjoy the process more. You’ll also have an advantage because, when you play a familiar song, you already have a feel for it in your head and you’ll know right away if it sounds right or not. Check out this list of 36 easy songs to play on guitar to get started.

Classic Tunes

There are some songs that it seems everyone just knows, no matter what. Either they’ve permeated American culture for so long that no one can escape them, or they’re just that catchy. These are good, familiar songs to learn on guitar, and friends and family may even sing along with you and encourage you to play more often.

“With or Without You” by U2. All you need to know is G, D, E minor and C. Put your capo on the fourth fret.

“Stand By Me” by Ben E. King. Play this song on guitar using the chords A, D, E and F sharp minor. That last one sounds tricky, but it isn’t.

“Let It Be” by the Beatles. This song has a lot of chords, but they’re all pretty easy. You’ll need to master the A, A minor, C, D, D minor, E, E minor, F, F sharp minor and G chords. The F sharp minor is really easy to play, and although the F chord can be tricky, you can use an alternate chord (F Major 7) if you haven’t mastered it yet.

“La Bamba” by Ritchie Valens. One of the simplest chord progressions ever if you can play an F chord or one of the usual substitutions. The only chords you need are C, F and G.

“Sittin’ on the Dock of the Bay” by Otis Redding. This song has quite a few chords, but it’s still pretty simple. You need to know the G, B7, C, A, E, D and F chords.

“Margaritaville” by Jimmy Buffett. Another super simple, extremely catchy tune. You can play it using just the A, D and G chords.

Country Songs

For some reason, simple major chords tend to dominate country and western songs. This makes them pretty straightforward to play.

“When You Say Nothing at All” by Keith Whitley. Whether you’re familiar with the Keith Whitley recording or the Allison Krauss and Union Station version, you only need three simple chords to play this one: D, A and G. You’ll put your capo on the first fret to change the key to E flat.

“On the Road Again” by Willie Nelson and friends. To play a simplified version of this fun song about adventures with your entourage, you need to be able to play the chords C, D minor, E, F and G. Put your capo on the fourth fret to change to the key of E.

“Cruise” by Florida Georgia Line. To play this fun song, all you need are the G, D, E minor and C chords. Put your capo on the third fret and you’re all set.

Traditional and Folk

Think of these as your classic campfire singalong songs. Ready to get your camp on? Try these favorites with your camping buddies or kids.

“Old Macdonald.” OK, so you don’t think this song is cool enough for you, but even Elvis Presley released a version of this one! Swallow your pride and sing along with an oink oink here and an oink oink there. The only chords you need to know are A, C, D, E minor and G.

“Kumbaya.” You know, that song everyone sings around a campfire even though nobody knows what it means. One reason it’s so popular is that it’s easy to remember the words. The other reason is that you only need to know how to play the G, C, A minor and D7 chords.

“Take Me Home, Country Roads” by John Denver. Put your capo on the second fret and use the C, D, D7, E minor, F and G chords to play this perfect mountain singalong.

“Day-O (The Banana Boat Song)” by Harry Belafonte. Play this traditional Jamaican song using only the chords G and D7.

“The Yellow Rose of Texas.” Another two-chord traditional song. This one uses only C and G.

“When the Saints Go Marching In.” This song is great for beginners and uses only the chords G, D7 and C.

“Loch Lomond.” This traditional Scottish song sounds bright and cheerful, even though the lyrics tell a different story. You’ll need to master the C, D minor, A minor, F and G chords before you can play it.

“City of New Orleans” by Arlo Guthrie. This song, written in 1971 by Steve Goodman, is one that everyone seems to know the chorus to. Impress your friends by learning all the words. The chords for this one are C, G, G7, A minor, F and E minor.

“Teach Your Children” by Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young. Bring out your inner hippie and play this one using only the D, G, A and B minor chords.

“This Land Is Your Land” by Woody Guthrie. Call it an anthem to America, or not. Either way, you can play this catchy singalong using only the G, C, D, G7 and D7 chords.

“Home on the Range” by Gene Autry. If you’ve always wanted a home where the buffalo roam, you probably already know all the words to this song. To play it on guitar, you’ll also need to know the G, C, A7 and D7 chords.

Classic Rock ‘n’ Roll

These songs come from the garage band era, so they’re perfect for practicing (and even performing) before your sound is perfectly polished.

“Have You Ever Seen the Rain” by Credence Clearwater Revival. A powerful but simple song. You’ll need to learn A minor, C, F and G to play this one.

“House of the Rising Sun” by The Animals. This song includes the E minor, G, A and C chords. All pretty easy to learn, plus it’s easy to switch between these chords without super fancy finger work.

“Hey, Jude” by The Beatles. This one has more than just a couple of chords, but they’re easy to learn and easy to play. The ones you’ll need to know are G, D, D7, C, E minor and A minor, with an F thrown in there to challenge you a bit.

“Down on the Corner” by Credence Clearwater Revival. This one is super simple to play using only the C, G and F chords.

“Midnight Special” by Credence Clearwater Revival. Have you noticed how many songs in this section are by CCR? It’s not just a coincidence. There’s something infinitely playable about their songs. They’re easy to sing along with, too. This one is often included in beginner guitar books because of the easy rhythm and the fact that you only need to know how to play the D, G and A7 chords.

“Brown Eyed Girl” by Van Morrison. Does anyone not know this song? If you’ve been practicing guitar for any amount of time at all, chances are you also know the chords A, C, D, E minor and G, which are all you need to play this one.

“Free Fallin’” by Tom Petty. Another easy one that everyone can sing along with, and you only need to master the A, C, D, E minor and G chords for this one, too.

Pop

These pop songs are among the new classics that you and your friends can sing along with.

“Jar of Hearts” by Christina Perri. Crank out this soulful tune using the A minor, C, D minor, E, F and G chords with your capo on the third fret.

“Paparazzi” by Lady Gaga. You’ll get a more stripped-down version of this song by playing it on the guitar, but it’s a welcomed change. An acoustic version is interesting and easy to sing along with. E minor, D, A minor, C and G are the only chords you need.

“She Will Be Loved” by Maroon 5. You only need to play A minor, C and G chords to play this one. Put your capo on the third fret.

“Hello” by Adele. Translate this piano-heavy tune into the realm of the acoustic guitar with the B minor, C, D, E minor and G chords. Put your capo on the first fret.

“Clocks” by Coldplay. Put your capo on the first fret again and play A minor, C, D, E minor, F and G to master this one.

Two-Chord Songs

Sometimes you just can’t handle more than two chords in a single song when you’re just starting out. All that switching of your hand position gets confusing, especially when you’re first starting out. These songs can each be played with just two chords, so they’re easy to learn. Plus, you should get really good at those two chords because you’ll be playing them over and over!

“For What It’s Worth” by Buffalo Springfield. All you need are the E and A chords.

“Born in the USA” by Bruce Springsteen. For this song, you’ll need to play a B major (which is a bar chord) and E major.

“Give Peace a Chance” by John Lennon. Yep, just two chords in this epic song, too: C and G, with your capo on the first fret.

“Fallin’” by Alicia Keys. Although the piano is the featured instrument in the studio version of this song, it sounds pretty good on guitar, too. You can play it using just A minor and D minor with a capo on the second fret.

There you have it: 36 easy songs to play on guitar, whether you are an absolute novice or have been practicing for some time. What are you waiting for? It’s time to start strumming!

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