So, you have just started your journey with the acoustic guitar. There are a lot of important things you need to practice and develop to further your abilities. Things such as scales, chords, and rhythmic patterns are important elements to study individually.
However, sometimes these things can be overwhelming at first and you just want to have fun and play some of your favorite songs. I believe this is the right way for every beginner to start learning. Playing your favorite songs, having fun play guitar, and on the way learning chords, rhythm, and strumming patterns.
So let’s get started. Choose one of these 50 songs and master it fully.
Eleanor Rigby – The Beatles
Eleanor Rigby is a song by English band, The Beatles. It is part of their 7th studio album, Revolver, and is one of their most popular songs. Paul McCartney primarily wrote this song.
This is a two-chord song in the key of Em. However, the Em chord has two sets of variations. You also have an Em7 chord and an Em6, which includes the note C#. This note is not part of the scale. A good song to learn a bit of outside notes.
Chasing Cars – Snow Patrol
Chasing Cars is a song written by Scottish-Northern Irish band, Snow Patrol. It is their most successful song and was part of their fourth studio album, Eyes Open.
This song is in the key of A and has all open chords. The D chord in this song has a couple of variations, Dsus2 and Dmaj7. They are still simple chords to play and Chasing Cars is overall a great song for beginners.
I Will Follow You Into The Dark – Death Cab For Cutie
I Will Follow You Into The Dark is the most popular song from American indie rock band, Death Cab For Cutie. This song is a simple acoustic ballad that is great for beginner players.
This song is in the key of Dm and you can use a capo on the 5th fret to have all the basic open chords at your disposal.
The A Team – Ed Sheeran
The A Team is the solo debut single from Ed Sheeran’s prolific career. Part of his debut album +, released in 2011, this is only a song of the many ones in this album that are excellent starter songs.
This song is in the key of A and has only open chords, including C major. C major is not part of the scale and shows you a bit of how modulation works in popular music.
Tears In Heaven – Eric Clapton
Tears in Heaven is a song written by blues legend Eric Clapton and Will Jennings. This song was written about the death of Clapton’s four-year-old son, Conor.
This song is in the key of A but has some chords outside of the scale. While this song is slightly more complex than other songs on this list, it is a great song to challenge your skills and help you improve.
Iris – Goo Goo Dolls
Iris is a song from the American alternative rock band Goo Goo Dolls. It is part of their sixth album, Dizzy Up the Girl, and is considered one of the main factors to their professional success.
This song is in the key of Bm and has some barre chords. In order to simplify this song, you may use a capo on the 2nd fret and use all open chords. However, this is a great chord to develop hand strength for barre chords.
Horse With No Name – America
Horse With No Name is a song by folk-rock band, America. This song was part of their self-titled debut album and became their first and most successful single.
Horse With No Name is in the key of Em and is a very simple song to learn as you only need two fingers to do all chords.
Have you Ever Seen The Rain? – Creedence Clearwater Revival
Have You Ever Seen The Rain is a song by American roots rock band Creedence Clearwater Revival. It was written by founding member John Fogerty and is one of their most successful songs.
This song is in the key of C and is a very straightforward song. To make it more interesting, you can use some chord inversions such as G/B. This means you’ll play a regular G chord but with the note B as the bass. You’ll see it on the chord chart.
Sound Of Silence – Paul Simon
Sound Of Silence is one of the most popular songs in contemporary music. It was written by songwriter Paul Simon and performed by duo Simon & Garfunkel.
This song is in the key of Ebm, but a capo on the 6th fret uncomplicates things. You’ll only need your basic open chords. Another great version to see is the one from the American heavy metal band Disturbed.
Free Fallin’ – Tom Petty
Free Fallin’ is one of the many prolific songs from American singer-songwriter Tom Petty. It is the opening track from his debut solo album and is his most successful song as well as his longest-charting one.
This song is in the key of D and a capo on the 3rd fret will allow you to play this song with ease.
Ain’t No Sunshine – Bill Withers
Ain’t No Sunshine is a song by American singer-songwriter Bill Withers. It was part of his 1971 album Just As I Am and is one of the most successful songs of his career.
This song is in the key of Am and has only three chords for you: Am, Dm, and Em. Apart from that, you get a small variation of Em where you have the G note on the bass (I previously mentioned these chords are chord inversions).
Daughters – John Mayer
Daughter is a song by American singer-songwriter and guitar master John Mayer. It was released as a single from his second album Heavier Things. Daughters was very successful, earning him a Grammy in 2005.
This song is in the key of D and has some nice chord variations. This makes it slightly more complex than some other songs from this list. It is still a relatively simple song to learn and a great challenge for beginners.
More Than Words – Extreme
More Than Words is a rock ballad from American band Extreme. Despite it being a very different style from their other music, More Than Words is one of their most successful songs.
This song is in the key of Gb, but not to worry! By tuning down your guitar one half-step, you can play this song as if it were in G. A great ballad for beginner guitarists.
505 – Arctic Monkeys
505 is the last track on the second studio album from the British band Arctic Monkeys. It is a very simple two-chord song in the key of Am.
The great thing about this song and the chord chart is that you get to see a couple of different spots where you can play the Dm and Em chord. This, in turn, can help you begin expanding your knowledge on where things are in the guitar.
Just The Way You Are – Bruno Mars
Just The Way You Are is the debut and lead single from Bruno Mars’ debut album Doo Woops and Hooligans. This song won vocal performance of the year in the 53rd edition of the Grammys.
This song is in the key of F and by using a capo on the third fret, you can play the three required chords (F, Gm, and Bb). A nice love song to play for your loved ones.
Yesterday – The Beatles
Yesterday is one of the many hits Liverpool band The Beatles gave to us. It is part of their fifth studio album Help! and was primarily written by Paul McCartney.
This song is in the key of F and you can use a capo on the 5th fret to help you play almost all chords in an open position. This song does have a couple of barre chords, so it is good practice to develop finger strength.
Born In The USA – Bruce Springsteen
Born In The USA is a song from American songwriter Bruce Springsteen. It was part of his seventh studio album, which is also titled Born In The USA. Funnily enough, people think this song celebrates USA patriotism but in fact, is a heavy criticism of American culture and politics.
This song is in the key of E and has B as a barre chord. If you have problems with that, you can put a capo on the 7th fret and play open E (which would be the B chord).
Fallin’ – Alicia Keys
Fallin’ is a song from American singer-songwriter Alicia Keys. It was the debut single for her debut album Songs in A Minor and one of her most successful songs to date.
This two-chord song is in the key of Em and only uses Em and Bm7. Both can be played in an open position and require no more than 3 fingers. This makes it a quite simple song to learn and a great choice for R&B lovers.
High and Dry – Radiohead
High and Dry is a song by the English alternative rock band Radiohead. It was released as a double single along with Planet Essex for their second studio album, The Bends.
This song is in the key of E, and I’d personally recommend you use the chord chart you see at the very top of the page. You can also use the manually written tabs, but it might make your experience a bit more complex. All open chords at the beginning work great.
Wish You Were Here – Pink Floyd
Wish You Were Here is a classic when it comes to easy acoustic guitar songs. It is from British band Pink Floyd and is the fourth track from their ninth studio album.
Wish You Were Here is in the key of Em and has a very distinctive intro riff, which is a great tool to begin learning the pentatonic scale.
Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door – Bob Dylan
Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door is a song by American singer-songwriter Bob Dylan. This song was originally written for the 1973 film Pat Garret and Billy the Kid. Bob Dylan later released it as a single and gathered a lot of success.
This song is in the key of G and has all open, simple chords at your disposal (G, Am, C, and D).
Wonderwall – Oasis
Wonderwall is a song by the English rock band Oasis. It was part of their second studio album (What’s the Story) Morning Glory? and can easily be considered the biggest song of their career.
This song is in the key of F#m and a capo on the 2nd fret will allow you to play all open chords. There are some chord variations here and there, but it is still a fairly simple song.
Peaceful Easy Feeling – Eagles
Peaceful Easy Feeling is a song by American rock band Eagles. Jack Tempchin, who was a friend of the Eagles band members wrote this song. They released Peaceful Easy Feeling as the third single on their self-titled debut album.
Peaceful Easy Feeling is in the key of E, and a capo on the 2nd fret will allow you to play all open chords.
American Pie – Don McLean
American Pie is a song by American singer-songwriter Don McLean. It was the lead single from his second album, which was also titled American Pie. It is considered his best and most successful song.
American Pie is in the key of G and contains all open chords, except for a Cm chord, which will be a barre chord on the 3rd fret.
Blowin’ In The Wind – Bob Dylan
Blowin’ In The Wind is another song from American singer-songwriter Bob Dylan. He wrote this song in 1962 and released it in his second album, Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan.
This three-chord song is in the key of D, and you can use a capo on the 7th fret so you can play what he’s exactly playing on the provided video. You can also play this with no capo and still have all open chords.
Blackbird – The Beatles
Blackbird is another great acoustic guitar song from English band The Beatles. It was primarily written by Paul McCartney and part of their ninth album, the White Album. Johann Sebastian Bach’s Bourrée in E minor inspired the creation of this song.
Blackbird is in the key of G and is more of an intermediate song. It is a great challenge for you to develop your fingerstyle technique and a great song to learn. If you are just beginning with guitar, you might want to leave this one for later.
Hurt – Johnny Cash
Hurt is a single found on Johnny Cash’s album American IV: The Man Comes Around. Even though Hurt is one of Johnny Cash’s most acclaimed songs, it was actually written by American industrial rock band Nine Inch Nails.
This song is in the key of Am and has all open chords except for the F chord. This makes Hurt a great song to begin developing your F barre chord and how it relates to other chords from the Am key.
Fast Car – Tracy Chapman
Fast Car is a song written by American singer-songwriter Tracy Chapman. It was the lead single from her self-titled debut album and is considered her most successful song.
Fast Car is in the key of D and a capo on the second fret will give you all open chords. You’ll also have a chance of experimenting with the Imaj7 chord (Dmaj7).
The Man Who Sold The World – Nirvana
The Man Who Sold The World is a song written by British singer-songwriter and icon David Bowie. However, the version we are using today is Nirvana’s cover version, as heard on their MTV Unplugged.
This song is in the key of C#m, and you will have to tune your guitar down one half-step to achieve the desired tone.
Give Peace A Chance – John Lennon
Give Peace A Chance is a song written by John Lennon and performed with The Plastic Ono Band. It was John Lennon’s first solo single and received critical acclaim.
Give Peace A Chance is in the key of Db and is a two-chord song. You will need a capo on the first fret and both the C chord and the G chord.
Doesn’t get much simpler than that!
In The End – Linkin Park
In The End is the eighth song on American rock band Linkin Park’s debut album, Hybrid Theory. It is one of their most recognizable songs and one of the best rock songs of the 2000s
This song is in the key of Ebm but with a capo on the 6th fret, you can use the open chords in the key of Am.
Drive – Incubus
Drive is an acoustic guitar-driven song by American rock band, Incubus. It was a single on their third studio album Make Yourself and is the biggest breakthrough single of their career.
Drive is in the key of A and mostly revolves around open chords. There are some barre chords included but they are all part of the key of A. This is a great song to explore said key.
Bye Bye Love – The Everly Brothers
Bye Bye Love is a popular contemporary song written by American songwriters Felice and Boudleaux Bryant. The Everly Brothers released their version of it in 1957, thus becoming the official artists to publish said song.
Bye Bye Love is a three-chord song in the key of A. Apart from this, the main riff of the song is one of the first rock and roll riffs to be presented in popular music (at the time, of course).
Stuck In The Middle With You – Stealers Wheel
Stuck In The Middle With You is a song written by Scottish songwriters Gerry Rafferty and Joe Egan and performed by their band, Stealers Wheel. It is the band’s highest-charting single.
This song is in the key of D and was originally performed on a Double Drop D guitar. However, this version was arranged for standard tuning, making this song much more accessible to beginners.
Sugar – Maroon 5
Sugar is one of the many hits American band Maroon 5 has produced over their long career. It was part of their fifth studio album V and is one of their longest-charting singles.
This song is in the key of Db, but by placing your capo on the 1st fret, you will be able to play the song as if it was in the key of C. It is a very simple song and a great one to show to your peers.
Hello – Adele
Hello is the lead single from British singer-songwriter Adele’s third studio album, 25. It is not only one of Adele’s most successful songs but also one of the most successful, record-breaking songs in popular music.
This piano-based ballad is in the key of Fm. By using a capo on the 1st fret, you can play the chords in the Em key and make it much more accessible to you.
Ring Of Fire – Johnny Cash
Ring Of Fire is a Johnny Cash song released in 1963. It was actually written by his wife, June Carter, and is considered one of the best songs within the Country music genre.
This is a very simple, three-chord song in the key of G. You will only need your standard open G, C, and D to rock out to this tune.
Break On Through – The Doors
Break On Through is a song written by American rock band The Doors. It is the opening track of their self-titled album and is considered one of the most iconic rock songs of all time.
This song is a two-chord tune in the key of Em. You only need your classic open Em and open D and you are ready to go.
Stand By Me – Ben E. King
Stand By Me is a song performed by American singer-songwriter Ben E. King. He co-wrote this song along with Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, two very prolific songwriters from those times.
Stand By Me is in the key of A and contains one of the most popular chord progressions there is: I-vi-IV-V (A-F#m-D-E). Apart from the F#m barre chord, this song is a great one for beginner players.
She Will Be Loved – Maroon 5
She Will Be Loved is another of the many hits Maroon 5 had. This one was written by frontman Adam Levine and guitarist James Valentine and was part of their debut album, Songs About Jane.
This song is in the key of Cm and with a capo on the third fret, you’ll be able to play it as if it were in the key of Am.
What’s Up – 4 Non Blondes
What’s Up? is a song written by all-female American rock group 4 Non Blondes. This song was released in 1992 on their debut album and was featured as their second single.
This one is in the key of A and you will need a capo on the 2nd fret. It is a three-chord song, therefore it will be a good one for beginner players.
Sweet Home Alabama – Lynyrd Skynyrd
Sweet Home Alabama is a song by Southern rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd. It was part of their second studio album Second Helping and is the most successful song of their entire career.
This song is in the key of G and only uses the classic V-IV-I progression (D-C-G). Be wary, there is a very small, quick part of the song where you will use an F chord.
Crazy Little Thing Called Love – Queen
Crazy Little Thing Called Love is a song included on British rock band Queen’s eighth album The Game. Crazy Little Thing Called Love became the band’s first number-one single on the US charts.
This song is in the key of D and has some barre chords to challenge you. It is slightly more difficult for beginners, but a great song and opportunity to improve your skills.
Moves Like Jagger – Maroon 5
Moves Like Jagger is yet another top-selling single from Maroon 5. This one was part of their third studio album Hands All Over and features Christina Aguilera as a guest artist.
Despite this song being very pop, James Valentine’s main riff is quite funky and a great exercise for developing rhythm and sixteen note patterns. This song is in the key of Bm.
Royals – Lorde
Royals is the debut single from New Zealand singer-songwriter Lorde. It was included in her EP, as well as her debut album Pure Heroine. Royals is Lorde’s best selling song, as well as one of the most successful singles in modern pop history.
Royals is in the key of D but uses a C chord, making it a Mixolydian tune. You don’t need to worry about this, you only need to know your 3 basic open chords (D, C, and G)
Boulevard Of Broken Dreams – Green Day
Boulevard Of Broken Dreams is a song by the American rock group Green Day. It was released as their second single but rapidly became their lead song from their acclaimed album American Idiot.
This song is in the key of Fm and requires a capo on the 1st fret. This will make it seem as if it were in Em, making it a simple song for beginners.
Dreams – Fleetwood Mac
Written at a very turbulent time for British-American rock band Fleetwood Mac, Dreams is one of their top hits. Interestingly enough, it is one of the most popular songs of last year (2020) due to a viral Tik Tok video.
This song is in Am and only uses F-G in a constant loop. A very simple song to learn. I’d recommend you use a capo on the 5th fret to avoid any barre chords.
Three Little Birds – Bob Marley
Three Little Birds is a song by Jamaican artist Bob Marley and his band, the Wailers. It is the fourth track on the second side of their album Exodus and a single released in 1980. Three Little Birds is one of Bob Marley’s most recognized songs.
This tune is in the key of A and is very simple chord-wise. Where the tricky part comes in is with the strumming pattern.
Hallelujah – Jeff Buckley
Hallelujah is a song written in 1984 by American songwriter Leonard Cohen. This song has been covered by many artists and popularized by American singer-songwriter Jeff Buckley. It is one of the most recognized ballads of all time.
Hallelujah is in the key of Db, and with a capo on the first fret, you’ll be able to play it with ease.
I’m Yours – Jason Mraz
I’m Yours is the biggest single by American singer-songwriter Jason Mraz. This song was part of his third studio album We Sing. We Dance. We Steal Things and was nominated for Song of the year in 2005.
I’m Yours is in the key of B, and a capo in the fourth fret will allow you to play it as if it were in the key of G.
There are many, many other songs you can learn and you should always go towards the songs that interest you the most. This is just a list designed to help you find some simple, yet powerful songs to begin your journey.
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