One of the greatest challenges, when you start playing guitar, is the transition between many different chords. Most songs have various chords, which requires long practice to get the fingers to move smoothly and quickly between different positions.
Luckily, there are loads of 2 chord songs that can make it much easier for beginners to practice their finger movements and muscle memory while enjoying the satisfaction of playing a song from start to finish.
To help new guitar players practice their chord changes and strumming skills I created the following list. The songs are very easy and fun to play. All of these songs are in different genres and styles, offering different chord positions and strumming patterns to help you get more comfortable with your instrument!
Blurred Lines – Robin Thicke
“Blurred Lines” is the hit song released in 2013 by Robin Thicke. Being inspired by Marvin Gaye’s “Got To Give It Up,” the track got very popular globally, hitting the number on the lists in more than 25 countries.
It is a very easy and fun song to play and sing along with the common chord transition G and D. The strumming pattern is pretty straightforward and includes some mute strums that make it more interesting.
When you get comfortable with the chords and the strums, you can add the little transition walk after the D chord. The transition goes on the 5th string with the notes 0 – 3 – 2 – 0. This song is excellent to play and sing with your friends; everybody will be familiar with it wherever you play it.
Whole Lotta Love – Led Zeppelin
The absolute classic from mythical Led Zeppelin, “Whole Lotta Love” from 1969, features one of the best rock guitar riffs ever written. Many mutes, fast strumming, and fundamental note transitions collectively create a solid-sounding unforgettable rock riff.
The song consists of two power chords (the root note and relative 5th), a D chord picked two times as separate notes of A and D, and a continuous fast-strummed E power chord. The strumming is a bit tricky and fast-paced, with mutes in between the power chords.
You have to carefully listen to the melody to really get the hang of it. But after you get it, you really can’t stop playing this easy but fantastic rock riff. You can later add the slides and different variations that Jimmy Page uses to make things more interesting!
Achy Breaky Heart – Billy Ray Cyrus
Billy Ray Cyrus’s country hit from the ’90s, “Achy Breaky Heart,” had vast international popularity. Almost everyone is familiar with the melody and lyrics.
This country melody is one of the easiest songs to learn to play with chord transitions between C major and G major chords. Two chords that are very popular in many genres, from country to rock music. So, practicing these transitions will help you play a wide variety of songs in the future.
The strumming pattern and the chord locations are very easy to master, making the entire song fun to play singing with your friends!
Drunken Sailor – Irish Rovers
The sea shanty from the British Isles, “Drunken Sailor,” is one of the most famous songs of the shanty repertoire among the world. It has been covered and played live by many musicians and sang in many parties and gatherings globally.
The Irish Rover version, which they play at the end of their concerts, is very straightforward, going between A minor and G chords, 2 chords with comfortable positions. The strumming pattern is also pretty easy with downstrokes, consecutively strumming the bass and after the rest of the strings.
It is the perfect song to play and singalong to kids or friends since it is very famous in pop culture. A little note, don’t forget to put on a pirate British accent when singing!
505 – Arctic Monkeys
The British indie rock pioneer, Artic Monkeys, is one of the most popular bands of the last two decades. Their hit song, “505”, had a large audience back in 2007.
“505” is an excellent song with two chords for beginners to practice barre chords and their transitions. It has an A minor chord and a B minor chord, which requires a bit of practice to play the song smoothly.
This song is also perfect for trying some effects such as delays and reverb. Also, you can make it enjoyable experimenting with different strumming patterns or trying to play A minor barre chord version.
Horse With No Name – America
“Horse With No Name” by America is a hit from the ’70s, famously known as a two-chord beginner guitar song. It is a very simple song to play which you can build up some tricks to make it sound more professional.
The two chords, E minor and what I will call a D6 chord, have elementary positions. Don’t let the name D6 worry you because it is easily played with the two fingers of the E minor chord spread out: the second finger goes up to the 6th string while the first finger comes down to the 3rd string.
What is tricky about the song is the strum pattern. There are multiple mutes that give the characteristics of the song.
You can start with a more basic strum pattern like strumming one chord per bar, later you can build up to one chord per beat, and finally, you can add the mutes. You can also work on strumming patterns separately without chords, and you can add them when you are more comfortable with the rhythm.
What I Got – Sublime
American band Sublime’s famous song, “What I Got,” was number 1 in the charts back in 1997 with its beautiful acoustic structure. The song was also picked for “100 Best Guitar Songs of All Time” by Rolling Stones magazine.
The song has two simple chords, a D major and a G major, two commonly used chords that are pretty easy to play. The song is played with a random arpeggiated picking style that can be difficult at first, but with a few attempts and some practice, you will definitely get the hang of it.
When you can get the arpeggios going smoothly, you can add some hammer-ons and pull-offs to make it sound more profound. Later you can also try to play the short solo of the song.
It is a perfect solo for entry-level guitarists, although if it is your first solo, it can be a little challenging. But you have to start from somewhere, and this is the perfect opportunity!
Born In The U.S.A. – Bruce Springsteen
Released in 1984, “Born In The U.S.A.” is one of the best-known singles of Bruce Springsteen. It is an all-time rock classic that is fun and easy to play and sing. Perfect choice for your first song to play on guitar!
The song goes between B major and E major chords with a fundamental strum pattern. If you are having a hard time with barre chords, there are many alternative ways to play B major chords in easier positions. Also, you can put a capo on the 2nd fret and play the song with A major and D major chords.
“Born In The U.S.A” is a very popular song, and it is easy to sing as well. So it is also great to practice singing and playing at the same time.
Lady In Black – Uriah Heep
“Lady In Black” is one of Uriah Heep’s most famous songs. Released in 1971, the ballad was a massive hit with its melodic vocals, partitions, and simple structure.
The song is straightforward to play and singalong with two easy chords, A minor and G major. The strumming pattern is almost the same entire song, very classic and steady.
It is an excellent song for absolute beginner players, very easy to play, and fun to sing the melodic vocal partitions.
Break On Through – The Doors
The Doors classic “Break On Through” from 1967 was the band’s first single. Back then, it didn’t achieve the popularity it has now; it is an entertaining song to play with your band or alone with its bossa nova rhythm patterns and energetic atmosphere.
The song is mainly in E minor with occasional D major chords here and there. You can start with a basic strum pattern and build it up as you progress through the song since this is a song full of little nuances and tricks that give its characteristics to the song.
To be able to add the riff partitions and the transitions, it is essential to work for one hand at a time for this song. You have to be sure to get the fingering and picking down individually. Once you can play it straight through, no stops, and up to speed, try to play the song with your friends. Much fun guaranteed!
Paperback Writer – The Beatles
The Beatles’ 1966 hit, “Paperback Writer,” is one of the band’s early hits that stayed in the number 1 in the charts for a long time. Although the song is mainly known for its fun guitar riff, it is an easy song to play that only has 2 chords.
The song consists of G7 and C major chords. G7 is a variation of the G major chord; the only difference is that you play the 1st fret instead of the 3rd fret in the first string. The strumming is pretty straightforward with a classic pattern.
When you can play the chords comfortably, try to add the iconic guitar riff to make the song sound more complete.
Oye Como Va – Santana
The Latin rock song from the ’70s by Santana, “Oye Como Va,” is a fantastic song with influences from various countries. Since the original song is cha-cha-cha, a rhythmic Cuban music style, it allows the new players to experiment with different timings.
Of course, you need a huge experience with your guitar to play the song’s lead guitar. But as a beginner, you can experiment with the song’s chord progressions which are pretty easy with two chords Am7 and D7.
Am7 is a variation of A minor chord; the only difference is that the 3rd string is open with Am7. D7, as a D major variation, has the 1st fret instead of the 3rd on the 2nd string.
The odd rhythm of the song could be challenging to catch, but if you listen to the song carefully, you can get the feel of the strumming pattern. It is an ultimately fun and educational song to play. And also you can practise your Spanish trying to sing it!
Dance The Night Away – The Mavericks
“Dance The Night Away” by The Mavericks is a country hit song released in 1998 and got pretty famous in the U.S.A., as well as the U.K. It is still the band’s most successful hit song.
This song is one of the best songs for absolute beginners. With two easy chords, D and A7 major, and a straightforward strumming pattern of one chord for each bar, it is one of the easiest songs for guitar players. A7 is a version of A major; the only difference is A7 is played with an open third string.
With its basic chords and rhythm, “Dance The Night Away” is a great song that can be your first song to play on the guitar.
You Can Never Tell – Chuck Berry
“You Can Never Tell” by the father of Rock n’ Roll, Chuck Berry, is a very famous song of its genre. The song has been covered by many artists such as Bruce Springsteen and played in the iconic dance scene of the famous Quentin Tarantino movie “Pulp Fiction.”
The song transitions between C and G major chords, which are easy to play. The strumming pattern is also pretty straightforward, with quarter-note strums, two bars for each chord.
Once you are comfortable with the chord transitions, you can add the G7 chord to make the song sound richer.
Something In The Way – Nirvana
“Something In The Way” is one of the lesser-known songs of “Nirvana,” but it is still very popular among Grunge lovers. It is a sad melody and a beautiful song to play on the guitar.
First, you need to drop down your guitar tuning to C to play the song. So your tuning should be Db Ab Db Gb Bb Eb from up to down. The two chords used are F# major and D major. The chords are pretty simple to play with half-barre positions.
The song is very slow-paced, so try to play smoothly with an easy down-down-down-up strumming pattern. You can also practice singing along since the vocal melody is very slow and easy.
Feeling Alright – Joe Cocker
The soul classic “Feeling Alright” from the ’60s is a beautiful song that got famous when Joe Cocker made his own version of the song. It is a joy to play the song with its samba rhythms and funky soul character.
As a funk piece, the song has some unconventional chords, such as F7 and C7 major chords. The finger positions can be a little tricky, so take your time practicing the transitions. The strumming pattern is pretty easy with one bar of each chord.
If you struggle with the finger positions, you can also try to capo the 3rd fret and play the song with A and D chords.
Jambalaya – Hank Williams
“Jambalaya” is a classic country song by Hank Williams released in 1952. Named after a dish from Lousiana, the song is entertaining to play with country rhythms.
The song has two easy chords, a G major and a C major, with an eight-bar progression. 2 bars of G major, 4 bars of C major, and 2 bars of G major again at the end. You can strum one chord for each bar and build up to 2 chords per bar later.
To spice things up and give more of a country feel to the song, you can pick each chord’s bass note before strumming them. This can be a little challenging for beginners, but you will add more movement to the rhythm with practice and care, making it more fun to play.
Tomorrow Never Knows – The Beatles
The lesser-known The Beatles song “Tomorrow Never Knows” from 1966 is a very rhythmic song with authentic Indian elements such as sitar partitions and tambura backing modals.
The song has two main chords, C and Bb major. Bb major chord can be tricky for players who are not used to the barre chords. So, instead of the original chord, you can try to place the barre to the 3rd fret up to the 4th string.
The strumming has a fast-paced, almost flamenco-like pattern making the song entertaining to play but a bit challenging at the same time. It can be easier if you start with a more basic pattern and try to build up to the original one.
Working Class Hero – John Lennon
“Working Class Hero” by John Lennon is a fantastic song with amazing lyrics. It was released in 1970 and was a massive hit with its profound lyrics and simple structure.
Lennon transits between two easy chords, an A minor, and a D major, with a one-time G major chord in the chorus. What gives the challenge to the song is the strumming pattern. Lennon picks the bass strings isolated and uses some hammer-ons to spice things up.
First, you can start with a basic pattern without isolated bass picks and hammer-ons. When you feel comfortable, you can try to add them slowly. It can be tricky for beginners, but as the song says, if you wanna be a hero, just follow him.
Give Peace A Chance – John Lennon
“Give Peace A Chance” is another beautiful and political song from 1969 by John Lennon. The song is great for beginners with its easy chords and strumming pattern.
The song goes between two of the easiest chords, C and G major, with a super simple strumming pattern. You can basically down strum every beat keeping it easy, or you can start with two down strums and end with a down-up-down-up pattern.
You can also play a G7 chord instead of a G major, which is the case in the original recording. The only difference is you pick the 1st fret instead of the 3rd on the 1st string. With its basic structure, the song is also great to practice singing while playing.
Heroin – The Velvet Underground
“Heroin,” released in 1967, is one of The Velvet Underground’s most famous compositions. It is a great song to start playing guitar with only 2 chords and down strums.
The song basically consists of D and G major chords played as 8 down-strokes each. It is an extremely easy song to play and sing. What is essential is to give the accents when strumming. You can give the accent to the third strum to keep the rhythm steady.
If you want a bit of a challenge, you can try to arpeggiate the chords. It can be an excellent exercise for fingerpicking.
Solitude – Black Sabbath
The ballad of Black Sabbath “Solitude” is a beautiful, sad tune. Even the song has great solo partitions and arpeggios; it can be acoustically interpreted for beginners.
The chords used in the song are two barre chords, G minor and F major. They have the exact finger positioning in different frets, making it easy to alternate between them. The song is also great for exercising barre chords and left-hand conditions.
The strumming is simple; first, a simple downstroke followed by the second accented stroke to the lower strings. If you feel it is too easy for you, you can try to play the arpeggiated intro or the melodic solo.
If you are playing it on an electric guitar, you can also add some effects like delays and reverb to make it sound more interesting.
I Only Want You – EODM
“I Only Want You” by Eagles Of Death Metal is an alternative-indie style song, contrary to the band’s name. It is a fun song to play as a beginner but can be great for advanced players with its tricky nuances.
The song can be played alternating between A minor and C major chords. The strumming pattern is straightforward, with 4 strums per bar. But you can make it sound heavier with 8 strums on each bar, creating a more rhythmic, energetic style of playing.
Once you master the easy version, you can add the power chords, bluesy rhythms, and the transitions like the original recording. It is also great to play the song with a bit of overdrive, creating the rocky feeling.
Tom Dooley – The Kingston Trio
The murder ballad from North Carolina, “Tom Dooley” by The Kingston Trio, is absolutely a campfire song to play to your friends. It is a popular traditional folk song with a simple structure.
The song alternates between two easy chords, a D and an A7 major. To get to the A7 position, press an A chord with an open G string. The strumming pattern is pretty easy with picking the bass note on beats 1 and 3 while striking down the chords on beats 2 and 4. The pattern creates a boom-chuck type of sound that is fun and cool to play.
When you master the song, you can spice things up by making some upstrokes between the beats. Don’t forget to learn the lyrics as this is a great song to play and sing with your friends.
Tulsa Time – Eric Clapton
The country classic “Tulsa Time” is a popular tune from the ’70s. Many great musicians have covered it, while the most popular is the version of great Eric Clapton’s.
It is an easy-to-play song, using just two chords throughout most of it, a G and D major. The strumming pattern has many variations so try to play it however you are comfortable.
To make things more interesting, you can try to add some country-sounding elements to the song. Use your first finger to change the chords a little and experiment with the new sounds!
When Love Comes To Town – U2 & BB King
“When Loves Comes To Town” is a bluesy piece created with U2 and legendary BB King’s collaboration. It is an easy song to play that makes you familiar with some blues techniques.
The song is played with two of the easiest chords on the guitar, E and A major chords. The strumming pattern varies through the song with double strokes followed by mutes and sometimes just strumming down and letting the instrument ring for a long time.
So pay attention to the rhythm guitar when listening to the song and try to recreate it as much as you can. It is a perfect song to put on some overdrive and play with the recording. You will be feeling like a bluesy rockstar.
Unknown Legend – Neil Young
“Unknown Legend” is a beautiful song by country-rock star Neil Young. Released in 1992, the song is great for beginners to practice the right hand, combining single picks and strumming.
Two main chords used in the song are G and C major, two of the easier chords to transit between.
The strumming pattern includes individually-picked transitions that may require some practice for beginners. Try to master the rhythm first, adding the transitions later on.
It is an entertaining song to play once you get the feeling of it. It has the basics of a country song with finger pickings and a Neil Young special, continuous strumming. This song is great to practice your right-hand technique.
Jane Says – Jane’s Addiction
The late 80’s hit “Jane Says” by Jane’s Addiction is one of the most globally loved popular songs. With its simplistic guitar playing, it is a great point to start.
The simple transitions between A and G major chords and a basic strumming pattern make the song very easy to play and sing. You can add some mutes when playing 8th note strums to spice it up slightly.
The vocal parts are also easy to sing with repetitive lines making the song perfect to practice playing and singing simultaneously.
Stop Whispering – Radiohead
“Stop Whispering” is one of the alternative rock pioneer Radiohead’s lesser-known songs. It is a beautiful easy-to-play melody with a sad tune.
The song is played alternating between two easy chords, D and G major. Although you can play the song with basic strumming, the original playing includes some arpeggios between chords. You can start with strumming and try the arpeggios when you feel comfortable.
The song is amazing to practice your fingerpicking with arpeggios and left-hand positioning with transitions between chords.
One World (Not Three) – The Police
“One World” by The Police is a reggae-influenced rock song, like most of the pieces of the band. It is a great song to try the offbeat strumming with easy chord transitions.
Two easy chords used in the song are F and G major. If the barre chord gives you a hard time, you can try the easier version by placing the barre between the 1st and 3rd frets.
The strumming pattern is pretty unconventional, with only upstrokes, creating the reggae rhythm. Start by playing the song very slowly to get used to the offbeat strumming. You can build up your speed when you feel more comfortable. Playing these kinds of rhythms will open the doors of lots of different varieties for your playing.
This list of 2 chord songs will help you progress with your technique, build up a repertoire of different styles, and have a lot of fun and satisfaction that will motivate you throughout your journey as a guitar player.
With a little bit of practice, anyone can play these songs pretty quickly and move through more complex pieces with 3 or 4 chords, even with basic solos.
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