When it comes to the guitar, there’s almost no end to the songs you can learn to play.
Whether a song was originally written for the guitar or not, there are tutorials out there to adapt seemingly any piece of music for the determined guitar-player.
With that being said, some songs are definitely more popular with guitar players than others.
If you’ve ever sat around a campfire with a guitar, or in a bar where there’s live music, you’ll notice that you hear certain songs come up far more often than others.
Whether you’re considering picking up a guitar for the first time ever, or a more experienced guitarist looking for new songs to add to your repertoire, we’ve got you covered!
Read on for 18 popular songs across various genres and skill levels that you should learn to play on the guitar! Why not start today?
Beginner-Friendly Guitar Songs
‘Hallelujah’ by Leonard Cohen
Not only is this song incredibly moving and beautiful, but it also happens to be easy for beginners to learn.
If you’re a total beginner, you can simply learn the chords, since there aren’t too many and the pattern is easy to pick up.
However, this song is also an excellent introduction to fingerpicking for newbies. So, if you’ve been wanting to learn how to progress past chords for a while, this is the song for you.
‘Creep’ by Radiohead
Most people will recognize the music and lyrics of Radiohead’s famous ‘Creep’.
However, many beginners don’t think they can execute it properly, especially on the acoustic guitar, since the music is so powerful.
With that being said, we’re here to tell you that ‘Creep’ is the perfect song to learn on guitar as a beginner.
There are only four chords in the song, so you won’t have a lot to memorize, and if you enjoy singing along as you play, this simple melody is ideal.
‘Hey Joe’ by Jimi Hendrix
Since Jimi Hendrix is hailed as a guitar legend, a lot of beginners doubt their ability to replicate his music, but unlike some of his more complicated songs, ‘Hey Joe’ is a fun and beginner-friendly tune to learn to play.
Not only will you be able to pick up the rhythm and melody to ‘Hey Joe’ easily as a beginner, but you will also learn some important guitar skills along the way.
If you’ve never attempted open-position grips for major chords, for example, this song will help you to progress as a guitarist by teaching you a few.
Songs For The Acoustic Guitar
‘Wanted Dead Or Alive’ by Bon Jovi
This is not only one of the most popular songs by Bon Jovi, but it’s also one of the most popular songs to learn on the acoustic guitar.
Like our beginner-friendly track recommendations, ‘Wanted Dead or Alive’ is easy to play from a technical standpoint.
This means that rather than spending all your mental energy trying to keep up with the chord pattern, you can really get into this classic rock anthem and even put your own spin on it!
‘Stairway To Heaven’ by Led Zeppelin
Another rock song that we highly recommend learning if you have an acoustic guitar is Led Zeppelin’s iconic track, ‘Stairway to Heaven’.
‘Stairway to Heaven’ has a beautiful melody, and if you have middle-level skills on the guitar, you shouldn’t have too much trouble with it.
Admittedly, the beginning section of the song is the most complex, but if you don’t feel confident, you can focus on the base chord pattern first.
‘Good Riddance/Time Of Your Life’ by Green Day
‘Good Riddance’, also known as ‘Time of Your Life’ may not be the most famous Green Day song, but it’s still one of the most popular by the band.
Most importantly, it sounds amazing on the acoustic guitar, and it’s quite simple, which means that guitarists at all levels can execute the melody to a good standard.
Tunes For The Electric Guitar
‘Whole Lotta Love’ by Led Zeppelin
Certain songs are more suited to the electric guitar than to the acoustic guitar, and ‘Whole Lotta Love’ by Led Zeppelin is one of them.
If you’re not a very experienced guitar player, we recommend just focusing on the riff, which is the easiest part of the song to execute, and also the most recognizable.
More confident guitarists can challenge themselves to learning the entire song.
‘Master Of Puppets’ by Metallica
Metallica’s ‘Master of Puppets’ requires guitar players to have a good sense of rhythm and the ability to riff, but it’s actually one of the easiest songs by this band to master (well, the easiest of the popular hits, anyway).
The trickiest part of the song is the solo, so we wouldn’t recommend this part of the song to total beginners.
However, even novice guitarists should be able to learn the chord pattern without too much difficulty.
‘Iron Man’ by Black Sabbath
Looking for a relatively easy Black Sabbath song to learn on the electric guitar? We recommend ‘Iron Man’.
Admittedly, it’s not novice-level easy, but parts of it are simple enough that electric guitarists should be able to get to grips with the melody quickly enough.
If you’re not confident in your string bending skills, this is the perfect song to sharpen your abilities in this area. Plus, the song is really fun to play.
Pop Songs For Guitarists
‘I’m Yours’ by Jason Mraz
Not everyone is into rock, either acoustic or electric, and that’s totally okay! In fact, there’s no shortage of great pop songs that you can learn for your guitar repertoire.
One example is ‘I’m Yours’ by Jason Mraz. With its comforting lyrics and catchy melody, it’s fun to play, and even though it was originally written to be played on the ukulele, it’s easy to adapt the chords to fit the guitar.
There are only four chords, but bear in mind that you’ll need to do some slides to make it sound like the original track.
‘Brown-Eyed Girl’ by Van Morrison
Van Morrison’s ‘Brown-Eyed Girl’ is one of our all-time favorite pop songs to play on the guitar.
It’s super-catchy, and there are no difficult chord transitions that will take you hours to learn.
Instead, this is the perfect song to learn regardless of your skill level, and you can get lost in the easy rhythm!
‘Blackbird’ by The Beatles
If you love a slow-paced, emotional song, then the best pop song for you to learn on the guitar is probably ‘Blackbird’ by The Beatles.
This song doesn’t require any fast transitions between chords, so it’s not stressful or frustrating to learn.
To make it sound like the track, you’ll need to incorporate some fingerpicking among the chords, and some of the chords need fretting, but apart from that, this song really isn’t difficult to learn.
Best Rock Songs For The Guitar
‘Sweet Child o’ Mine’ by Guns n’ Roses
Although a lot of rock songs featured in our acoustic and electric guitar song recommendations, we’ve saved our all-time favorite guitar rock songs for this section, starting with the iconic ‘Sweet Child o’ Mine’ by Guns n’ Roses.
Basically anyone who’s ever gotten started on the guitar has learned this song, but if you haven’t already, it’s time to tackle this popular hit!
Some parts of the song are more difficult than others, but the good news is that the rhythm comes naturally, and you don’t have to do any complicated fingerpicking.
Just learning the open chords will allow you to play this song in a recognizable way.
‘Smoke On The Water’ by Deep Purple
Deep Purple’s ‘Smoke on the Water’ is a favorite with novice guitarists, but no matter where you are in your guitar journey, there’s always room for this great rock song in your repertoire!
Once you master the riff at the beginning of the song, you shouldn’t have any trouble with the rest, since it’s all power chords from there.
‘Layla’ by Eric Clapton
We also think it’s hard to beat Eric Clapton’s ‘Layla’ when it comes to rock songs to learn on the guitar.
Admittedly, the song might not be suitable for total beginners since there’s a complicated swing rhythm part, but the rest of the song is made up of chords and relatively simple fingerpicking, so it’s nothing the average guitar player can’t master with dedication!
Popular Country Guitar Songs
‘Tennessee Whiskey’ by Chris Stapleton
Country music might not be everyone’s thing, but there’s no denying that it’s one of the best genres for the acoustic guitar!
If you love country music, we recommend starting by learning Chris Stapleton’s ‘Tennessee Whiskey’.
This is the most famous Christ Stapleton song, and it’s not too difficult to play as long as you know how to do barre chords.
If you don’t know barre chords, you can either use this as an opportunity to learn or use a modified version of the score that uses a capo.
‘Take Me Home, Country Roads’ by John Denver
‘Take Me Home, Country Roads’ is an absolute classic by John Denver.
It’s one that everybody likes to sing along to, so it’s a great song to learn on the guitar.
If you want to play it exactly like the track, there are some technical aspects you’ll need to master, but the song is recognizable just by the chords and rhythm, so if you’re a beginner, this is always an option.
‘Ring Of Fire’ by Johnny Cash
We couldn’t talk about country songs to learn on the guitar without mentioning ‘Ring of Fire’ by Johnny Cash.
This song was written to be played by several instruments simultaneously, and the guitar chords aren’t easy to identify by ear.
However, the guitar part is actually easy to play once you know what chords are being used.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why Should I Learn More Songs On The Guitar?
If you already know a fair few songs on the guitar, you may be wondering why you should spend time learning more.
The short answer to that question is: it’s good for you!
Yes, that’s right. Learning new pieces of music on the guitar is excellent for your brain function, and it can even improve your mental health.
Many people decide not to learn anything new on the guitar, or even put off learning the guitar in the first place, because they believe they’re too old, so it’s too late.
Actually, nothing could be further from the truth.
Learning new chords and fingerpicking patterns on the guitar has actually been shown to slow down cognitive decline with age.
What Are Some More Song Recommendations For The Guitar?
If you’ve learned all the songs we recommended earlier in the article, or these recommendations didn’t really resonate with you, here are some more ideas of songs you might want to learn:
- ‘Fast Car’ by Tracy Chapman
- ‘Iris’ by Goo Goo Dolls
- ‘Wonderwall’ by Oasis
- ‘Hotel California’ by Eagles
- ‘Small Bump’ by Ed Sheeran
- ‘House of the Rising Sun’ by The Animals
What Are Some Difficult Guitar Songs?
Looking for a challenge? If you’re an experienced guitarist and want to push your skills to the next level by learning one of the most difficult songs out there, here are a few we recommend:
- ‘Cliffs of Dover’ by Eric Johnson
- ‘Tornado of Souls’ by Megadeth
- ‘Through the Fire and Flames’ by Dragonforce
- ‘Sultans of Swing’ by Dire Straits
- ‘CAFO’ by Animals as Leaders
Which Guitar Chord Is The Easiest To Play?
If you’re a complete beginner, the first chord you should earn is E minor because it’s the easiest by far. You only really need 2 fingers to play E minor, and they’re positioned on the same fret.
What Songs Should All Advanced Guitarists Know?
When you get to an advanced skill level on the guitar, you should know how to play at least a few of these classic songs:
- ‘Eruption’ by Van Halen
- ‘You Really Got Me’ by The Kinks
- ‘Brown Sugar’ by The Rolling Stones
- ‘Purple Haze’ by Jimi Hendrix
- ‘Crossroads’ by Cream
Whether you’ve been playing the guitar for 10 years or 10 minutes, play electric or acoustic, prefer pop music or rock… There’s always something you can learn.
We’ve recommended songs for country-lovers and metalheads, and advanced guitarists as well as complete beginners.
Remember that there’s always a way to adjust any song to your skill level, whether that means just playing the chords or using a capo.
Plus, each new song is an opportunity to challenge yourself and pick up a new technique! Which song will you learn next?