You might have started learning how to play an acoustic guitar, and there are many songs you can learn along the way. But if you have a capo, things can get a bit more interesting. Of course, you can play any song with or without a capo.
However, playing some songs without a capo can be quite challenging if not impossible. Many players use it to make it easier for them to play or sing on a pitch, and having a capo can be more than useful.
So, grab your capodaster, and prepare to learn some of the songs with this handy little tool for guitars. Needless to say, you can use a capo for both electric and acoustic guitar, but my focus will be acoustic songs only.
Hotel California – The Eagles
One of the first things on everyone’s mind right now is that mind-blowing solo at the end of the song. It is undoubtedly one of the best solos in the history of rock music, and it really adds a special note to the song.
But what is also exciting to learn is the intro of the song played on the acoustic guitar. Of course, you will need a capo if you want it to sound dead right. The capo is placed on the seventh fret, and it will sound incredible when you start playing.
Even though there are a couple of barre chords, the song is not that hard to learn. Moreover, you can always check out the acoustic version the Eagles played a couple of years ago.
I See Fire – Ed Sheeran
I See Fire was released in 2013, and it was recorded for the second Hobbit movie – The Desolation of Smaug. Peter Jackson’s daughter Katie suggested that he should contact Ed Sheeran, and Sheeran wrote the song on the same day.
The song is about Torin Oakenshield and his journey to Erebor to reclaim their homeland. It appeared during the credits and quickly became a hit.
The strumming part of the song is quite easy, but the main challenge is the opening riff that repeats throughout the song. For it, you will need to place the capo on the sixth fret.
Wonderwall – Oasis
You may love it or hate it, but Wonderwall is one of the most popular songs in the world. Especially if you just started playing the guitar. And the reason for that is more than simple. The song is easy to play, and it can be a significant boost to your morale if you are a beginner.
Knowing how to play at least one song will make you push further, and continue practicing. Naturally, you will need a capo if you want to play along with the original song, and you will place it on the second fret.
The best thing about Wonderwall is that the song won’t be any trouble, and it can be a nice starting point for your musical journey.
Here Comes The Sun – The Beatles
One of the most popular songs by George Harrison is Here Comes the Sun. This incredible song was recorded in 1969, and it was released on Abbey Road. Once again, the capo is on the seventh fret, and it will help you play along with the record.
I should mention that this isn’t the easiest song on the list, and it might be difficult for beginners. However, learning Here Comes the Sun can be a huge step forward and it might allow you to progress a bit faster.
It is not rare to hear a song by the Beatles with a capo, but Here Comes the Sun is probably the most famous of them all.
You Can’t Always Get What You Want – The Rolling Stones
It is difficult to create any type of “the best of” list without mentioning the Rolling Stones. And here, you can try out You Can’t Always Get What You Want. The song was released in 1969, and it appeared on their eighth album Let It Bleed.
The song quickly became a hit and it earned them another spot on the top 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. The hit song by the Rolling Stones features a choir, and there are two versions of the song.
But regardless of the version you pick, you will still need a capo to play it. The song is in open G tuning, and it’s not that challenging to play. All you will need is a bit of practice.
You’re Beautiful – James Blunt
You probably heard the most popular song by this British songwriter. It was released on his debut album in 2004 called Back to Bedlam. The song reached numerous number one positions on charts across the world, and it brought him many awards.
The main inspiration for the song was his ex-girlfriend and how he felt when he saw her with another man. He admitted that he wrote the song after the encounter in just two minutes. However, the song is not fully an autobiography, and there are some elements that are not true.
Either way, You’re Beautiful is fun to play, and easy to learn. The capo is on the eighth fret.
Jolene – Dolly Parton
Jolene is one of the biggest hits by Dolly Parton, and the song received numerous awards and covers. The song is about Parton and her confrontation with Jolene. She believed that Jolene was going to steal away her lover, and Dolly intended to persuade her to leave them alone.
According to Dolly, the song was based on a true story, which is one of the primary reasons why she rarely performed it even though it was one of her most recognizable songs.
When it comes to the guitar, there is a beautiful fingerpicking pattern that’s often overlooked. Finally, you will need a capo on the fourth fret.
Losing My Religion – R.E.M.
Probably the most popular song by R.E.M. is Losing My Religion. Interestingly, the mandolin part of the song came to life while Peter Buck was practicing the instrument. He just bought it, and the goal was to learn to play it.
Another interesting fact about this song is its music video. Thanks to a highly artistic style, the video for Losing My Religion became quite popular, and with it the band as well. Playing the song on the guitar is not difficult, but you will need a capo.
Blowin’ In The Wind – Bob Dylan
The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan is the second released studio album, and it was filled with hits. Blowin’ in the Wind is among the most popular songs by Dylan, and it is in the fourteenth place of 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.
Over the years, the popularity of the song only grew, and it was included as poetry in high-schools across the world. Needless to say, the song also got numerous covers over the years from Marlene Dietrich to Steve Wonder.
And the thing that beginner players will adore is that it is not difficult to learn. There are a couple of basic chords, capo, and simple strumming patterns.
Hallelujah – Jeff Buckley
Hallelujah is a song written by Leonard Cohen, and it was released in 1984. But here, I will focus on Jeff Buckley’s cover from 1994. Jeff Buckley was an American songwriter, singer, and guitarist, and he recorded one of the most popular covers of this song.
It was inspired by John Cale’s piano version, but Buckley played it on the guitar. While the original version is played on the electric guitar, it sounds equally good on the acoustic. There are no effects like distortion or overdrive, so you can play it on the acoustic as well.
The song has a beautiful fingerpicking pattern, and it has a capo on the fifth fret.
Let Her Go – Passenger
Let Her Go was released in 2012, and it was written by Michael Rosenberg otherwise known as Passenger. It quickly became a hit across the world, and it received numerous awards. It was also nominated for the British Single of the Year.
The intro of the song was inspired by the Red Hot Chili Peppers and their song Slow Cheetah. More precisely, the outro for the song. Let Her Go tells a story about a breakup, and it’s quite melodic.
Of course, the main quality of the song is Passenger’s unique singing, accompanied by acoustic guitar. For this one, the capo is on the seventh fret.
The Sound Of Silence – Simon And Garfunkel
The song was written by Paul Simon in 1964, and it was recorded a year later. The original title of the song was The Sounds of Silence (plural) but it was shortened. According to Simon, he used to play his guitar in the bathroom. The tiles were giving him a nice echo, and he used to turn off the lights so he could concentrate better.
Over the years, there have been several covers of the song, among which the most popular is by Disturbed. People also speculated that the song is about the assassination of JFK, but it was never confirmed.
When it comes to the playing, you will need a capo on the sixth fret and a rather simple fingerpicking pattern.
Free Fallin’ – Tom Petty
Free Fallin’ is the opening song from Tom Petty’s debut solo album called Full Moon River. It was released in 1989, and it was written and recorded in just two days. The song remained the most popular and highest charted in his career.
The inspiration for the song was his frequent drives along Ventura Boulevard in Los Angeles. Free Fallin’ is a perfect song for all beginners out there since there are no complex fingerpicking patterns or solos. All you need is a capo on the fifth fret and a couple of chords.
Fast Car – Tracy Chapman
Fast Car is written and recorded by Tracy Chapman, and it was released in 1988 on her debut album called Tracy Chapman. The song tells an emotional and realistic story about a working-class woman trying to escape poverty.
The genre is folk -rock, and it was ranked on 167th place on the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time by Rolling Stone. It also reached several top places on charts across the world.
One of the most beautiful parts of the song is the acoustic riff and fingerpicking pattern. While it is not the most challenging piece on the list, you still might need to practice it a bit if you are inexperienced. The capo, for this song, is on the second fret.
Romeo And Juliet – Dire Straits
Romeo and Juliet appeared on Making Movies in 1980, and it was released as a single a year later. It tells a story of two lovers, where Juliet left Romeo after she gained fame. The intro of the song is played on Knopfler’s resonator guitar, and it came to life while he was experimenting with different tunings.
The song Romeo and Juliet is in open G, and it has a lot of arpeggios. Needless to say, this isn’t an easy song to learn, but it sounds so beautiful and unique. The capo is on the third fret, and if you never played Knopfler before, you might need a bit of practice.
So, tune your guitar to DGDGBD, and start learning. It is so much fun once you get to understand it.
Don’t Think Twice, It’s Alright – Bob Dylan
Another song from The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan is Don’t Think Twice, It’s Alright. It was recorded in 1962 and released a year later. The melody of the song is based on a traditional song called Who’s Gonna Buy Your Chickens When I’m Gone, but with a different fingerpicking pattern.
Over the years there have been many covers of the song including Ed Sheeran, Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash, John Mayer, and many more. At the 30th Anniversary Celebration concert for Bob Dylan, Clapton played a blues version of the song.
The capo is placed on the fourth fret, and there is an interesting pattern you will need to learn. The chords in the song are basic ones, but it might be a bit challenging if you are inexperienced.
Diamonds And Rust – Joan Baez
Diamonds and Rust is a song written, recorded, and performed by Joan Baez in 1974. It tells a story of a sudden phone call that made her remember an old lover. Joan Baez said in an interview later that the song was inspired by her relationship with Bob Dylan.
Interestingly, one of the covers of this song is by none other than Judas Priest, and Joan Baez was quite happy with their version. The original version is on the acoustic guitar, and it has a nice chord progression with a beautiful fingerpicking pattern.
The capo is on the first fret, and it is not that hard to learn. But it sounds really wonderful.
Norwegian Wood (The Bird Has Flown) – The Beatles
The song Norwegian Wood was released in 1965 on the Rubber Soul album. It was mainly written by John Lennon, and he was inspired by Bob Dylan and his lyrics. Norwegian Wood played an important part in their career and it was the first step towards their improvement as songwriters.
It was also the first rock song to feature an Indian string instrument since George Harrison got interested in learning sitar. The main inspiration for the song was Lennon’s affair he had in London.
The song has a simple rhythm, and the capo is on the second fret, so it’s great for beginners.
Bigmouth Strikes Again – The Smiths
As soon as you see the Smiths, you know the song won’t be easy to learn. Johnny Marr is known for his unique playstyle and complex themes, and this song is no different. Bigmouth Strikes Again was the lead single from The Queen is Dead album, released in 1986.
The song is about a protagonist’s response to his comments and issues people had with them. He also compares himself to Joan of Arc a couple of times throughout the song. The rhythm of Bigmouth Strikes Again is incredible, and while it sounds like there are only chords involved, it can be quite challenging.
Needless to say, you will need to practice both switching chords and your strumming hand to pull it off correctly. The capo is on the fourth fret.
Read My Mind – Brandon Flowers
Read My Mind is a song by the Killers, and it was released on their second album called Sam’s Town in 2006. It was written by Brandon Flowers and other members of the band, and he often performed it during his solo career.
He also said that it was the best song he has ever written, and critics claim that it was the highlight of the album. Even though Killers often have incredible guitar parts and riffs, here, you will get a more down-to-earth version of the song.
This means that all you will need is a couple of chords and a capo on the third fret.
Friday I’m In Love – The Cure
Friday I’m in Love is a song by the Cure, and it appeared on their ninth studio album Wish in 1992. Robert Smith is the primary writer of the song, and he described it as a happy, naïve song.
For a while, Smith was convinced that he stole the chord progression from somewhere, and he kept calling people to see if the song is theirs. As it turns out, it was his song, and they recorded it for their album.
It is a fun song to play, and there are not any difficult bits, so you won’t have trouble learning how to play it on your acoustic guitar.
Slow Cheetah – Red Hot Chili Peppers
Slow Cheetah is a song from Stadium Arcadium that was released in 2006. It is a lot slower than people are used to, and it’s one of the few songs on the acoustic guitar. The song is a great example of their musical journey and Frusciante’s passion for psychedelic music.
It is neither the easiest nor the hardest song to learn from this list, and if you had any experience with Red Hot Chili Peppers, this won’t be a problem. The capo for Slow Cheetah is on the sixth fret.
Landslide – Fleetwood Mac
The Landslide was written by Stevie Nicks, and it was released in 1975 on the album called Fleetwood Mac. The song is one of the most popular songs by the band, and it sold over a million copies.
Stevie Nicks wrote the song while she was wondering whether she should go back to school or continue playing with Lindsey Buckingham.
The song is slow, but it has a nice fingerpicking pattern. The capo is on the third pattern, and it can be a bit harder for inexperienced players.
Scarborough Fair – Simon And Garfunkel
Scarborough Fair is a traditional English song that dates back to the seventeenth century. It is about a list of impossible tasks for a former lover that lives in Scarborough. Paul Simon learned this song from Martin Carthy in 1965, and it was set to a melody by Art Garfunkel.
It has a similar vibe as other songs by the iconic duo, and it has a capo on the seventh fret. If playing the Sound of Silence wasn’t a big deal for you, then you won’t have any trouble with this one either.
No Surprises – Radiohead
Radiohead is one of the greatest alt-rock bands in history, and here, you can learn more about No Surprises from their third album OK Computer. Thom Yorke wrote the song while he was on the tour with R.E.M. in 1995, and it was released in 1997.
The main intro of the song is on the electric guitar, but the rhythm is on the acoustic with a capo on the third fret. It is not that hard to play, but it sounds really good.
Aqualung – Jethro Tull
Aqualung is a song from the 1971 album of the same name by Jethro Tull. The story follows a homeless man named Aqualung, and his trouble living in the streets. It starts with a heavy, distorted guitar, but it quickly switches to an acoustic part.
The acoustic part of the song is quite easy, and you won’t have any problems learning it. Here, the capo is on the second fret.
Atlantic City – Bruce Springsteen
While he was writing the song, the working title was Fistful of Dollars inspired by Clint Eastwood’s movie. He recorded at least five different takes of the song and eventually changed the name to Atlantic City.
The story follows two lovers and their escape to Atlantic City. But it also covers the inevitability of death and problems with organized crime.
As you can probably expect, the song is not that hard to learn, and it is a perfect starting point for beginners.
Cannonball – Damien Rice
Damien Rice is an Irish folk singer, and his second studio album, called O, features the song Cannonball. When the song was initially released, it failed to reach charts. However, a year later, it managed to land on the 32nd position.
It is played on the acoustic guitar, and it has only basic chords. Cannonball is fun to play, and easy to learn, so you will enjoy it.
Trains – Porcupine Tree
Porcupine Tree is a British progressive rock band, and their seventh studio album is In Absentia. The second song on the record is Trains, and it features an acoustic guitar with a capo on the third fret.
The whole album is not a formal concept album, but it has a lot of songs sharing themes about serial killers, criticism of the modern world, and childhood went wrong.
If you are a fan of Porcupine Tree and prog-rock, you will love learning Trains. It really sounds great, and you can practice playing it along with the record.
Big Love – Lindsey Buckingham
To spice things up a bit, here is another one by Lindsey Buckingham. Big Love is probably the most challenging song on the list, and it might take you a while to learn it properly. However, it is so much fun to play, and it’s worth all the time you’ll invest in learning it.
The song first appeared in 1987, on the Fleetwood Mac’s album called Tango in the Night. However, the version Lindsey Buckingham plays live is a lot more different, and it features only acoustic guitar and vocals.
Capo can be a lot of fun, and it can significantly change the way you play and see songs. It will also allow you to sing easier if the original song is too high for you. Either way, you can experiment with different tunings, techniques, and patterns.
As I said before, in theory, you can play any song without a capo, but some will just sound right once you place it on the neck.
Hope you will have fun learning new songs, and that you will get to improve your playstyle.
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