With their catchy melodies and basic rhythmic patterns, pop songs have always been excellent songs to learn and play for beginner guitarists. Many of these songs have easy-to-follow structures along with their famous lyrics that are well-known by the audience, which will get the attention of any listener the moment you start playing or singing the song.
Most pop songs are pretty easy to play with basic chord patterns or straightforward repetitive riffs that would not give you any trouble mastering while you get more comfortable on the fretboard. Of course, there are more complex structured pop songs, too, but you can keep them for later.
If you are a newbie with guitar and love some pop songs, you should learn and master some of them in order to develop your guitar playing skills while having fun playing and singing them with your friends or alone.
Counting Stars – OneRepublic
Thanks to its beguiling folk rhythm, one of the most successful songs of the famous pop-rock band One Republic is Counting Stars. It is an utterly famous tune with views of over 3 billion on Youtube.
This one is a great tune to practice fingerpicking and strumming as the verses are arpeggiated, and the chorus is strummed. You can use a capo on the 4th fret to play it like the recording.
Waka Waka This Time For Africa – Shakira
Released in 2010 as the official song of the FIFA World Cup 2010, Waka Waka This Time For Africa by Shakira is a great song that blends African and Caribbean influences together. This tune is a joy to play and sing with dancy rhythms, Shakira’s fantastic voice, and beautiful lyrics.
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Hello – Adele
One of the greatest voices in the contemporary pop scene is undoubtedly the English singer Adele. Her most famous tune, Hello, is an excellent example of creating wonders with her fantastic voice.
Maybe it is hard to sing this song as Adele does, but it is not that hard to play. There are 5 basic chords on the chord sheet, which you can arpeggiate or strum depending on how you feel more comfortable—a great pop song to learn.
Chandelier – Sia
Chandelier is the famous electropop hit by the Australian singer Sia which rocked the world back in 2013. Thanks to its melancholic lyrics, the tune was a strong chart-topper accompanied by R&B and reggae-influenced melody and rhythm.
It is a pretty easy song to play with only 3 chords: Am, Em, and G. As the chords are three of the easiest, you can try to play the tune with fingerpicking to add more challenge and practice your picking hand.
If you like melancholy tunes, you might want to check out my list Top 45 Sad Guitar Songs That You Must Learn To Play
All About That Bass – Meghan Trainor
All About That Bass by Meghan Trainor is a tune loved by everybody thanks to its highly cool bass line and fantastic beat. The tune was trendy when it was released in 2014 with its brilliant combination of retro R&B, bubblegum pop, and doo-wop.
With only 3 chords and a basic strum pattern, you can quickly and easily learn this tune. Focus on the rhythmic groove and experiment a little to add some spice to the song.
Rolling In The Deep – Adele
Rolling In The Deep is another globally famous song by British singer-songwriter Adele. She describes the song as a dark, bluesy gospel disco tune.
You can play the tune with 4 easy open chords with comfortable finger positions. The strum pattern is also pretty straightforward, making the song excellent to learn for beginner guitarists.
Someone Like You – Adele
Another hit ballad from British star Adele, Someone Like You, is a slow-tempo beautiful song that is utterly entertaining to play and sing. This piece is great to play with friends and sing together as it is a popular romantic tune.
There are many chords in the piece, making it harder to learn and remember, but luckily all the chords are open chords that are extremely easy to play.
If you want to play more slow and easy songs, don’t forget to check out my list Top 40 Famous & Easy Slow Guitar Songs For Beginners – Tabs Included
Diamonds – Rihanna
Diamonds is a well-known piece by Barbadian pop star Rihanna. It is mid-tempo pop, electronic, and R&B ballad with heavy synthesizers, orchestral sounds, and electronic rhythms.
However, you can adapt the tune to the guitar with four chords, creating an acoustic version of the piece. Try to play it with different strum patterns exploring the best one possible.
Love Yourself – Justin Bieber
One of the easiest and hippest songs of the Canadian pop sensation Justin Bieber is Love Yourself from 2015. The song is perfect for playing with an acoustic guitar and singalong with a soft, mellow tone.
The piece features 4 easy chords, including a Bm chord which you will need to use the barring technique to play. As it is a slow-tempo song, you can practice it while enjoying playing the tune.
Just The Way You Are – Bruno Mars
With a perfect singalong chorus and a steady yet dancy rhythm, Just The Way You Are is a great uplifting tune by Bruno Mars. It is a lovely combination of pop-rock and hints of R&B and blues.
As the tune features only 3 chords, you will have no hard time learning the piece. You can try fingerpicking the chords for a better sounding experience.
If you are searching for love songs to play for a special person, you should check out my list Top 30 Easy Guitar Love Songs To Impress Her/Him – Tabs Included
Call Me Maybe – Carly Rae Jepsen
Call Me Maybe by Carly Rae Jepsen was a massive hit in 2013. It rocked all the charts worldwide, peaking in almost all of America, Europe, and Australia lists.
It is an easy tune to play with only 4 basic chords, G, Em, C, and D. The strumming pattern is also straightforward, featuring only downstrokes with accents on the strokes between the beats.
What Makes You Beautiful – One Direction
The hit single What Makes You Beautiful is the tune that introduced One Direction to the pop world. Rocking all the charts worldwide, the piece made One Directiın globally famous.
With C, F, G, Am chords, it is a pretty easy song to learn. You need to focus on the rhythmic groove of the song, which features that iconic break after each chord.
You Belong with Me – Taylor Swift
You Belong with Me by Taylor Swift is a famous hit from 2008, perfect for beginner guitarists. With its bouncy rhythm, pleasant vibe, and lovely lyrics, this one is one of the iconic songs of Taylor Swift.
It features an effortless chord progression along with a basic strum pattern—an delightful and easy tune to play.
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7 Years – Lukas Graham
7 Years is the hit piece by Danish soul-pop band Lukas Graham which was released back in 2015. The tune topped the charts in many countries and received more than 1 billion views on Youtube.
The song is played with only 3 basic chords making the tune a great first piece to learn for newbie guitarists.
Photograph – Ed Sheeran
Released in 2014, Photograph is a famous piece by English singer Ed Sheeran. The acoustic folk-pop song speaks about long-distance relationships with a lovely melody and beautiful lyrics.
Like most of the Ed Sheeran songs, this one also features basic chords and easy-to-play rhythmic patterns. Just focus on the Bm barre chord to play it correctly; the rest will be easy.
Ride – Twenty One Pilots
Ride is the popular song written by the American musical duo Twenty One Pilots in 2016. With the elements of rock, hip hop, reggae, punk, electro, and pop, it is a great tune to learn and play.
The tune consists of 5 basic chords, which are extremely easy to play. The challenge comes with the strumming pattern as it features offbeat upstrokes and stops. Listen to the song carefully to play it correctly.
If you want to play more riffs rather than chords, check out my list Top 30 Easy Songs Without Chords For Beginners – Tabs Included
Hips Don’t Lie – Shakira
Colombian superstar Shakira is well-known for her amazing tunes, outstanding vocals, and sexy dances. Hips Don’t Lie is one of the most fantastic examples for all of those. It is an immensely popular tune with a tremendous dancy rhythm and beautiful melodies.
With four easy chords, you can play the tune. Plus, you can experiment with the strum pattern to find something suitable for the piece and your hands.
Royals – Lorde
Royals is the first hit song of Kiwi singer, Lorde which became one of the best songs on the charts of 2013. The tune synthesizes electropop and art pop with influences from hip hop, grime, and indie-pop.
The 3 chords, the tune features, and the strum pattern are pretty straightforward. You can also use downstrokes on each beat if you are an absolute beginner.
Pumped Up Kicks – Foster the People
The colossal hit Pumped Up Kicks by the American indie-pop band Foster The People hit the top of the list back in 2010. A bouncy mid-tempo rhythm and deep, incredible vocals is a great pop tune to add to the repertoire.
Played clearly throughout the song, the riff is quite entertaining and straightforward to play. The chords are also 4 of the easiest, along with a straightforward rhythm.
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Moves Like Jagger – Maroon 5
The 2010 pop hit that rocked the year was Moves Like Jagger by Maroon 5. The iconic chorus, the whistle part, and the catchy riffs are great songs to learn and play for any audience.
It is pretty easy to play the tune, which consists of 4 simple open chords. You should use a high tempo strum pattern with 8-beat up and down strums to play it like the recording.
She Will Be Loved – Maroon 5
She Will Be Loved is one of the most famous ballads of the American pop-rock band Maroon 5. The melancholy tune features excellent romantic lyrics and melodies, which are also easy to play.
With a common and basic chord progression, Am, G, C, F, along with a basic strum pattern, the song is pretty simple to learn for any guitarist.
Whenever Wherever – Shakira
Colombian pop superstar Shakira’s first global hit was Whenever Wherever in 2001. The rhythmic tune features a unique and infectious chorus along with Shakira’s incredible voice, making it a signature tune from the pop star.
You can create an acoustic adaptation of the song with 6 basic open chords and a traditional strum pattern. Try to upbeat the tempo to make the tune sound more dancy.
If you are looking for some easy songs to play for your kids, you should check out my list Top 50 Famous & Easy Guitar Songs For Kids – Tabs, Chords Included
Get Lucky – Daft Punk
The 2013 Grammy award winner hit Get Lucky by Daft Punk, Pharrel Williams is a house-inspired disco, funk, and pop tune with a basic yet outstanding melody. The song topped the charts in many countries with a huge success.
You can play this piece with four basic chords and a relatively easy strum pattern. With a capo on the 2nd fret, the tune sounds better and is easier to sing.
You’re Beautiful – James Blunt
You’re Beautiful is the most popular song by the British singer James Blunt. It was released on his debut album in 2004 called Back to Bedlam. You’ve probably heard this romantic tune as it hit the top position of the list in many countries.
You will need four chords to play the tune: D, A, Bm, and G. You will have to use the barring technique to play the Bm chord, but as the tune has a slow tempo, you will have time to adjust your fingers.
Galway Girl – Ed Sheeran
Heavily influenced by Irish traditional music, Galway Girl is a beautiful tune by the English singer Ed Sheeran and Irish folk band Beoga. The pop tune has an authentic sound with a moderate tempo, Irish flavor, and catchy melodies of Ed Sheeran.
This tune can be a little challenging for absolute beginners as it consists of 6 chords and a complex strum pattern. But it is a highly fun song to play for guitarists with a bit of experience.
Apologize – OneRepublic
The pop-rock hit, Apologize by One Republic got immensely popular when released in 2007 with more than 10 000 plays on radios in the first week. It is remembered with the “It’s too late” hook and slow tempo.
With the common and easy Am, F, C, G progression and a steady strum pattern, it is a quite easy tune to learn and master.
Instant Crush – Daft Punk
Thanks to its easy chord progression and steady down-stroke strum pattern, the French electronic music duo Daft Punk’s famous hit Instant Crush is another great tune to learn for absolute beginners. The tune is considered one of the best songs of 2013 and utterly fun to play.
You will need F, Dm, Am, and G chords to play the tune, some of the most basic chords.
Cry Me A River – Justin Timberlake
The pop star Justin Timberlake’s signature song Cry Me A River won a Grammy award in 2002 after rocking the world and topping the charts. It is a great song accompanied by an electric piano, beatbox, guitars, synthesizers, and Arabian-inspired riffs.
It is quite easy to play the song with four basic chords and a traditional strum pattern.
Truly Madly Deeply – Savage Garden
1997 hit song, Truly Madly Deeply by the Australian pop duo Savage Garden hit the top of the lists and was selected to the National Film and Sound Archive as the song shows a snapshot of Australian life and has “cultural, historical and aesthetic significance and relevance.”
With C, F, G, and Am basic chords and a classic strum pattern, it is entirely a beginner-friendly tune.
What Goes Around – Justin Timberlake
Another Justin Timberlake tune, What Goes Around, was a massive hit in 2006 with its gentle and midtempo beat, its melody played by the Turkish folk instrument baglama, and Timberlake’s mellow voice.
The tune’s chord progression goes as Am, C, G, and D, which played with a classic mid-tempo strum pattern.
Hey Soul Sister – Train
Hey Soul Sister is a song released in 2009 by the American pop band Train. The song is the most commercially successful song the band has ever had, hitting the top positions in many countries and winning a Grammy award.
Although the tune is played by a ukulele, it can be easily adapted to guitar. With C, G, Am, and F open chords, it is a straightforward song to play.
Down Under – Men At Work
1981 disco-pop hit Down Under by Australian pop-rock band Men At Work is yet another upbeat and easy to play tune with a great and iconic melody. The tune has global fame, but it is especially famous in Australia.
The song’s four chords are pretty straightforward, but the strum pattern may take some practice as it features mutes 8th note beats and 4th note beats.
Nightcall – Kavinsky
Nightcall is the famous song of French electro house artist Kavinsky, released as a single in 2010. The tune was covered by acoustic guitars many times as it is easy to play and sounds great thanks to its wonderful melody and great slow-tempo rhythm.
The song consists of 6 chords and a steady down-up strum pattern. You should be aware of the accents in the strum pattern to make it sound less monotonous.
Budapest – George Ezra
The English songwriter George Ezra’s Budapest was released in 2013 and achieved quite considerable fame globally. The upbeat rhythmic tune is excellent for beginners as it is entertaining to play and easy at the same time.
The tune is played with only 3 chords and a steady strum pattern. Be aware of the mutes as they are the spices of the song.
All Of Me – John Legend
All Of Me by John Legend is a beautiful slow-tempo song with its beautiful chord transitions, which was actually composed for piano. Released in 2013, the song got famous thanks to its romantic lyrics and sentimental melodies.
The tune’s chord progression goes as Em, C, G, D, Am, and C/D. The strum pattern is also pretty straightforward with a slow rhythm.
Our Song – Taylor Swift
Our Song is the hit song written and performed by the American singer Taylor Swift. As one of Swift’s best songs, the tune hit the top of the pop and country charts in 2007.
With a mid-tempo and 6 easy chords, this tune is an excellent country-style tremendous song to learn and singalong.
I Love It – Icona Pop
I Love It is the pop hit by the Swedish duo Icona Pop featuring vocals from British artist Charli XCX. Released in 2012, the tune is uptempo and is describes as an electropop and dance-pop tune.,
G, C, and Am chords and a basic strum pattern are all you need to play the simple tune.
Die Young – Kesha
Released in 2012, Die Young is the pop hit of the American singer Kesha. The tune features electro-pop elements and acoustic guitar strums with an uptempo dance beat.
The song is played with four chords, Bm, A, G, and D, along with a quick tempo dancy strum pattern. Listen to the song carefully to get the hang of the rhythm and the strum pattern. When you do, it is a pretty entertaining song to play.
Kids – MGMT
Kids are the hit tune by the American rock band MGMT which was released in 2008. The song had a significant place in popular culture as it has been selected as the soundtrack in many video games, TV series, and events.
You will need the chords G, C, Em, and D in order to play the tune. As the tune is rhythmic, you can adopt a classic yet quick tempo strum pattern.
Goodbye My Lover – James Blunt
British pop singer James Blunt’s Goodbye My Lover from 2005 is probably the most famous tune of the artist. The song has an utterly melancholic tone with emotional lyrics accompanied by a crying piano.
The tune futures a typical chord progression with G, D, Em, and C chords. It can be played with simple downstrokes in between the vocals as the original tune is played by a slow-tempo piano.
Ghost Town – Adam Lambert
The 2015 hit song Ghost Town by Adam Lambert is well-known for its cowboy-style intro with whistles and s guitar balladry interlaced with fascinating electronic dance music bits. It has quite a dark character, yet it is a great piece to learn and play on guitar.
You will need 5 easy chords to play the tune with different strum patterns on verses, chorus, and bridge sections. Having different chord progressions and strum patterns gives the piece character avoiding it to sound monotonous or dull.
Frozen – Madonna
One of pop queen Madonna’s most beautiful songs is undoubtedly Frozen, thanks to Madonna’s success in adding exotic textures in the accessible pop tunes. Released in 1997, the piece is a mid-tempo electronic ballad with a layered sound enhanced by synthesizers and strings that can easily be adapted to guitar.
With 6 easy open chords and a classic strum pattern, you can adapt this beautiful tune to guitar. Significantly, the iconic chorus part sounds tremendous and is utterly fun to play.
With Or Without You – U2
The first and one of the biggest hits of the Irish rock band U2 was With Or Without You, an outstanding power ballad. Although U2 is not a pop band, it can be considered a pop-rock tune with its easy repetitive melody and structure. The beautiful vocals of Bono meet with the mellow melody played by the guitar and keyboard, which create a romantic and inspirational tune.
You will need 4 simple chords, G, D, Em, C, and a steady strumming pattern, to play this tune. Something like a traditional down-down-up-up-down-up pattern will do the trick.
I Have a Dream – ABBA
Younger music fans may not have heard about ABBA or their famous I Have A Dream hit, but if you ask your fathers or older relatives and friends, they will tell you about their strong memories of this 1979 hit. As many modern artists covered the tune, you may have heard it somewhere too.
You can play the tune with 4 open chords and a basic strum pattern. All of the featured chords have elementary fret positions making the tune ideal for absolute newbie guitarists.
Fall For You – Secondhand Serenade
Released in 2008 by the American rock band Secondhand Serenade, Fall For You is a very popular tune that tears the eyes with its sad yet beautiful melody and unique lyrics. The song is a fantastic choice for acoustic guitar repertoires.
The piece’s chord progression is a common, easy one with Am, F, C, G open chords. You may want to arpeggiate the chords with the fingerpicking technique to make it sound better. However, if you do not feel comfortable with the technique, you can also use basic strumming.
I Need My Girl – The National
Released in 2014, I Need My Girl is a song written and performed by the American alternative rock band The National. The tune is known chiefly by its appearance on popular TV series like Entourage.
There are some uncommon chords in the progression, such as Gsus4, which can be challenging to play for absolute newbies. But as this is a slow-paced tune, you will have plenty of time for the transitions and to adjust your fingers.
Time Of The Season – The Zombies
The oldest song on the list is the famous Time of the Season by the British rock band the Zombies, featured on their 1968 album Odessey and Oracle. The tune became an iconic hit of the 1960s psychedelia era, and it is still being played by many people and radios stations.
Although every chord the tune features are basic chords, their quantity can make it challenging to memorize. With 7 chords and a basic strum pattern, it is easy to play yet hard to memorize. But it is highly entertaining to play the song with its iconic chorus.
Love On The Weekend – John Mayer
With its lovely rhythm and relatable lyrics, Love On The Weekend is the song that John Mayer went back to his pop-rock roots without sacrificing his bluesy flair, creating an ultimate hit that people could not get enough of it.
Besides the elementary chords and fundamental strum pattern, the tune also features a simple riff that you can learn to add some spice to the piece. This song is perfect for beginners as it features the fundamentals of pop guitar style.
Beautiful Stranger – Madonna
Released in 1999, Beautiful Stranger is a fantastic tune by the American pop queen Madonna. With heavily reverberated guitars and bouncy drum loops, this is a great psychedelic pop and disco song.
The tune can be played with 6 chords and a mid-tempo classic strum pattern. The chorus part can be challenging as there are many chord transitions with an upbeat tempo. So, you may want to practice that part separately to play the tune correctly.
Bravado – Lorde
Bravado is an excellent song by New Zealand singer-songwriter Lorde in which she tells about her introverted nature and the need to find confidence in the music industry. The tune is described as a chamber pop and electropop song, which you can also adapt to guitar playing.
You will need 5 chords to play this piece, including a Bm chord which requires the barring technique. As you will often need the technique in your guitar career, this is an excellent tune to practice.
Pop songs are excellent learning materials for beginners as they are the songs we all know, as they have pretty easy song structures and mainly consist of basic chords and strum patterns. Playing these tunes will get you motivated, develop your guitar skills, and give you a great time playing and singing the tunes with your friends.
I recommend you to play the easiest ones first and moving on to the more complex ones later. When you get comfortable with a song, you can experiment with the strum pattern or even switch to fingerpicking to challenge yourself and add more spice to the tune. Just keep on looking for better, which will be the driving power behind your learning process.
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