If you are looking for advanced guitar songs you can play on the acoustic guitar, you’re in the right place. Most guides you can find online focus on beginner songs only, and advanced players need to find their learning materials by themselves.
Learning can be challenging and many advanced or intermediate players tend to struggle with finding new things to learn.
If Beginner lessons are too easy, and they pose no challenge. Here is a list of songs you can try, they are a bit more complex, but so much fun to learn.
Layla – Eric Clapton
Eric Clapton is among the best players in the world, and seeing him on a list won’t come as a surprise to you. Layla has one of the most recognizable intros in the history of music, and the same thing applies to the acoustic version of the song.
Naturally, the tempo is a bit slower and it is easier to learn, but it still falls in the intermediate category. And if you feel confident in your playing skills, you can always start learning the solo.
Big Love – Lindsey Buckingham
Lindsey Buckingham was a big part of Fleetwood Mac for quite a while. But what many players want to learn is his solo acoustic version of Big Love. The song is complex, challenging, and it sounds really good.
If you are looking for ways to test your skills, now is the time. Just remember that you will need a capo if you want to start practicing.
Neon – John Mayer
John Mayer proved time and again that he is an excellent guitar player, and if you were looking for something difficult to practice, Neon might be a place to start. But beware. This is by no means an easy song to learn, and you will need a lot of practice to learn it properly.
Moreover, you will need to tune your E string to C. Just remember that this song is a bit tricky so don’t feel discouraged if you can’t nail it on the first try.
Road Trippin’ – Red Hot Chili Peppers
When Californication came out in 1999, it brought us many incredible songs. It is among the most popular albums by the RHCP. On it, we had a chance to enjoy Frusciante’s acoustic playing and rather interesting fingerpicking pattern.
While it is not the most complex song on the list, you will still need to practice a bit before you can play it flawlessly.
Tears In Heaven – Eric Clapton
Probably the first song you’ll think of when I mention Clapton and acoustic guitar. It is one of the most beautiful and saddest songs ever written, and it can be a bit tricky to play. Fortunately, there are no different tunings, capos, or anything else, you need to worry about.
While it might take you a while to perfect the song, it will be worth it in the end.
Dust In The Wind – Kansas
Dust in the Wind is a legendary song by Kansas and one of many reasons is fingerpicking. Originally, Kerry Livgren didn’t plan to create this masterpiece. Instead, he was practicing his fingerpicking technique when his wife suggested that it sounds incredible.
And she was right. This song is an excellent exercise and you will have a lot of fun learning it.
And So It Goes – Tommy Emmanuel
Tommy Emmanuel is undoubtedly one of the best players in the world when it comes to acoustic guitar, and his song And So It Goes is something you should learn. It is not too difficult, but you will still need to practice it to make it sound as incredible as his version.
Romeo And Juliet – Dire Straits
Mark Knopfler is known for his unique fingerpicking technique, and he usually plays the guitar without the pick. If you love Dire Straits, you probably know Romeo and Juliet from the Making Movies album, and how incredible it sounds.
There are a couple of things you need to do before you start practicing. Firstly, you will need to tune your guitar to open G tuning or DGDGBD, and secondly, you need a capo on the third fret.
Nothing Else Matters – Metallica
Metallica made quite an impact when they released their Black Album, and one of the songs that gained them worldwide success is Nothing Else Matters. Now, many beginners believe this to be an easy song to learn but the tricky part is learning the whole song and not just the beginning.
I Am Yours – Derek And The Dominos
Layla And Other Assorted Love Songs have so many exciting tracks to offer, but the one I’ll mention here is I Am Yours. Clapton is playing the acoustic guitar, and it goes so well with Duane Allman’s slide guitar.
The lyrics are a direct translation of Nizami’s Layla and Majnun, at least one part of it. It’s a beautiful song, and it’s great for all intermediate players out there.
Tears Of The Dragon – Bruce Dickinson
The legendary Bruce Dickinson from Iron Maiden released his second solo album in 1994, and with it, a song called Tears of the Dragon. It has a nice acoustic guitar part with interesting fingerpicking.
At the end of the song, there is a bit harder part at the end with a solo on electric guitar, but you can focus on the main theme of the song.
Shape Of My Heart – Sting
Dominic Miller did an incredible job on this song, and he and Sting wrote it together. The song was a part of the end credits for the movie Leon, and it’s among the most popular pieces by this duo. The song tells a story about the gambler trying to figure out the logic of luck.
Behind Blue Eyes – The Who
The Who released Behind Blue Eyes in 1971 and it became an instant hit. You probably heard one of many covers, but the most popular is still the original version. The best thing about the song is that it’s not specifically hard to learn, but it will help you improve your technique and playstyle.
House Of The Rising Sun – The Animals
This is a traditional folk song, but the most recognizable version is by The Animals. It is not the most difficult song in the world, but it can be a nice exercise. The A minor arpeggio at the beginning will mean a lot if you never tried playing something similar.
While there are many other covers you can find, starting with this version seems the only right thing to do.
Blackbird – The Beatles
The song was written and performed by Paul McCartney, and it has an interesting theme on the acoustic guitar. It isn’t the most complex song on the list, but it is still something that beginners might struggle with.
Either way, it is a fun song and a nice thing to add to your music repertoire.
I See Fire – Ed Sheeran
If you are a fan of Tolkien, you probably know this song. It was written for the second Hobbit movie – Desolation of Smaug, and it is performed by Ed Sheeran. He does an incredible job, and the song has a nice intro that repeats throughout the song.
It is a combination of fingerpicking, hammer-ons, and pull-offs, and you will need a capo to play it correctly.
Jolene – Dolly Parton
One of the most popular country songs ever is Jolene, written and performed by Dolly Parton. While almost everyone knows how good this song is, not many focus on the guitar in the background. And it sounds really good.
It is not that hard to play, and it’s perfect for intermediate players out there.
Babe, I’m Gonna Leave You – Led Zeppelin
This song is written in the fifties, and there are so many covers available today. But one of the most popular versions is by Led Zeppelin. The song has a nice intro on the acoustic guitar, and it will do a great job helping you polish your technique.
Even though it is not the most famous song by the band, you will have a lot of fun learning it.
Classical Gas – Mason Williams
Classical Gas is a popular instrumental by Mason Williams. It is played entirely on the acoustic guitar, and it can be a bit tricky. Of course, if Mason Williams’ version is too easy for you, you can always move on to Tommy Emmanuel’s cover of this song.
Both songs are great, but Tommy Emmanuel’s might prove to be a challenge for most players.
Tears In Rain – Joe Satriani
Joe Satriani is known for his mind-blowing skills and lightning speed. Tears in Rain is Satriani’s song on the acoustic guitar, and it is quite short. However, this doesn’t diminish its quality. It is beautiful, and it is perfect for intermediate players.
Just Breathe – Pearl Jam
Just Breathe is a song from Pearl Jam’s ninth album, Backspacer. The song doesn’t sound like traditional Pearl Jam you might love, and it’s more in line with Vedder’s solo career. It is played on acoustic guitar, and it has a beautiful fingerpicking pattern.
The song is perfect for the intermediate category, and it is neither too difficult nor too easy.
Drive – Incubus
Incubus is an alt-rock band from California, and Drive is their highest charting song. Over the years, they have sold over 19 million albums. Drive is a fun song to play, and it has a nice riff that goes throughout the entire song, with tiny variations.
You probably won’t have any problems learning this one, and it will be a nice addition to your repertoire.
Could This Be Magic – Van Halen
You probably didn’t expect to see Van Halen on the list of acoustic songs. Could This Be Magic is not as popular as some of their other songs, but it is so much fun to play. The song is goofy, and Eddie plays it with the slide, so be prepared before you start.
Naturally, any guitar playing involving Eddie Van Halen means that the song is not for beginners.
Everlong – Foo Fighters
No one could have hoped that Foo Fighters would become such a huge band. And today, they are one of the best bands you can find. Dave Grohl proved time and again that he is such a good musician, and one of their most popular songs is Everlong.
Of course, this isn’t the original version, but the second one is adapted for the acoustic guitar.
A New Day – Michael Angelo Batio
Michael Angelo Batio is known for his lightning speed and “pick slanting.” A New Day is his acoustic song, and it’s heavily inspired by classical music. Of course, no one expects Michael Angelo Batio to play something simple, so you might face a real challenge here.
Back To The Old House – The Smiths
The Smiths had such a major impact on the music, and it seems right to add them to the list. Moreover, Johnny Marr has been known for his tricky guitar parts and incredible creativity. The original song is played on the electric guitar, but it works great on the acoustic as well.
Boots Of Spanish Leather – Bob Dylan
Bob Dylan is a Nobel Prize winner, and he is famous for his amazing lyrics. But even though he never was a virtuoso when it comes to acoustic guitar, you can still find a couple of songs with interesting rhythms and patterns.
Boots of Spanish Leather is a great song to learn that will improve your fingerpicking technique.
Under The Bridge – Red Hot Chili Peppers
Frusciante is undoubtedly one of the best players of our time, and there are so many songs to prove it. Under the Bridge is just one of many songs that sound rather simple, but are quite complex if you start learning it.
Even though the original is on the electric guitar, this version gives us a different take of the same song.
Pride And Joy – Stevie Ray Vaughan
Stevie Ray Vaughan is among the best players ever, and it seems obvious that he made it to the list. While the original version of Pride and Joy is something many players know, the acoustic version can also be a lot of fun to play.
Both songs have similar notes, and the main difference is that SRV uses a 12-string guitar in the acoustic version.
Banana Pancakes – Jack Johnson
Jack Johnson is an American multi-instrumentalist, and he mostly plays soft and acoustic rock. If you are looking for a fun song to learn, Banana Pancakes might be something you’d enjoy. The song is not too difficult to play, so it’s perfect for advanced players.
Lullaby For An Anxious Child – Sting
Once again, Sting and Dominic Miller wrote an incredible song for acoustic guitar. Dominic Miller uses an exciting fingerpicking technique with a lot of harmonics that really add that something to the song.
The song was released on Sting’s If on a Winter’s Night… album in 2009.
The song Autumn Leaves was composed by Joseph Kosma, and he used original lyrics by Jacques Prévert. Over the years, the song became a jazz standard, and it is a great piece that will undoubtedly improve your knowledge.
Limehouse Blues – Django Reinhardt
If you are looking for great jazz guitarists, you don’t need to look farther than Django Reinhardt. He was brilliant, and he managed to change the course of music. One of his songs you can learn is Limehouse Blues. There is fingerpicking, jazz chords, and a unique melody that make the song sounds quite good.
Spanish Romance is one of the songs that every classical guitarist knows how to play. But if you never went to music school, this might be a good exercise for your fingers. You probably already know this song, but don’t know the name, and now, you can learn how to play it.
Rondo Alla Turca – Mozart
This is probably the most recognizable song on the list, and it sounds incredible on the guitar. Of course, the difficulty is quite high, and you will need to practice a lot if you want to reach the level that William Kanengiser has.
Probably the best thing about the song is that you can start slow, and slowly improve and add on complexity as you progress.
Bourrée In E Minor – Johann Sebastian Bach
Another excellent classical piece you should learn is Bourrée in E minor by Johann Sebastian Bach. It will give you a whole new perspective of the music if you haven’t heard his song already. It might take you a while to learn it and to coordinate your hands, but it is such a fun piece to play.
Is There Anybody Out There – Pink Floyd
The Wall is among the best albums in the history of music. One of the songs from the record is Is There Anybody Out There. It features an acoustic guitar with a beautiful chord progression. It isn’t anything difficult, but there are some interesting parts you should check out.
Mediterranean Sundance – Al Di Meola
Al Di Meola is a virtuoso that is known for his flamenco style and incredible technique. His second album, Elegant Gypsy, gives us many great songs, but Mediterranean Sundance stands from the rest. Now is the perfect time to perfect your flamenco technique.
Ain’t No Sunshine – Bill Withers
There are many covers of this song, but the original still remains among the best. Ain’t No Sunshine is not a difficult song to learn, but it is hard to play it just right. It also offers a lot of space for improvisation, and you can always add what you want to make it unique.
Spanish Caravan – The Doors
The intro of the song is in fact from the song Asturias by Isaac Albeniz. The song came to life when Robby Krieger, the guitarist from the Doors, wanted to show off his flamenco skills. It is a great song to learn, and you will learn the part of Asturias as well.
Landslide – Fleetwood Mac
Landslide was written by Steve Nicks, and it is one of the most popular songs by Fleetwood Mac. Once again, we have the incredible Lindsey Buckingham on the guitar and his beautiful fingerpicking technique. This song is one of the easier ones on the list, but it is still so much fun to play.
Don’t Think Twice, It’s Alright – Bob Dylan
Another great song by Bob Dylan is Don’t Think Twice. The song was released on his second album, The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan, and it has an incredible fingerpicking style. If you love playing folk music, this one might not be that hard for you, but for everyone else, they will probably need to practice a bit before they are able to play it flawlessly.
Stop This Train – John Mayer
Once again, John Mayer offers another song for you to learn. While it is not as complex as Neon before, you will still need to practice fingerpicking and slapping technique if you want the song to sound right.
If you have trouble learning the song, just watch him play live, it might help you along the way.
Hallelujah – Jeff Buckley
There are so many great versions of this song, like Leonard Cohen’s, for example. But none is able to create an impact as the original one. And even though Jeff Buckley played the song on electric guitar, you can still do your own cover on the acoustic one.
Needless to say, it will sound great regardless of the type of guitar you use.
Freight Train – Elizabeth Cotten
Elizabeth Cotten wrote the song as a teenager, and it was between 1906 and 1912. This folk song became quite popular since then, and Elizabeth did a wonderful job on the recording. All of the folk players out there probably know it already, but for those who don’t, it will be a fun song to learn.
The Boxer – Simon And Garfunkel
The Boxer remained one of the most popular songs by this iconic duo, and it was written by Paul Simon. It is a folk ballad, and it has a beautiful fingerpicking pattern you should learn. It is not quite difficult to learn, and it might be something that you will enjoy playing if you decide to practice it.
Street Spirit (Fade Out) – Radiohead
Another song on the list that is recorded on the electric guitar, but has an interesting fingerpicking pattern. As a result, it sounds great on acoustic guitar as well. The song was written by Thom Yorke, and it was inspired by R.E.M.
Angeles – Elliott Smith
Elliott Smith’s third album, Either/Or brought us so many beautiful songs. Between the Bars is probably the most famous track from the album, and each song seems almost equally emotional and special. Angeles is an incredible song on the same album, and it is something you should undoubtedly learn to play.
(Don’t Fear) The Reaper – Blue Öyster Cult
Yes, I know that the song is not on the acoustic guitar, but it is so much fun to play. Furthermore, Buck Dharma is one of the best guitar players in history, and he is too often underappreciated. Don’t Fear The Reaper is an incredible song, and you can easily play it on the acoustic guitar as well.
Mister Sandman – Chet Atkins
Mister Sandman is a well-known song, and Chet Atkins recorded an incredible instrumental. Chet Atkins kept the original spirit of the song while adding country elements to it. But beware, it is a bit tricky to learn this song. However, once you get a hold of the rhythm, it will become a lot easier to learn.
There are so many great songs today, and the main challenge is to find the right ones for the list. Hopefully, it will help you in your musical journey, and you’ll be able to learn some exciting new techniques, playstyles, or fingerpicking patterns.