Nothing beats the warm resonating sound of an acoustic guitar. As a beginner guitar player, you probably can’t wait to pick up your instrument and begin playing some of your favorite easy guitar songs.
In this guide, we’ve rounded up some of the best easy acoustic guitar songs so you can begin playing with confidence. We’ve picked songs that don’t require a lot of fancy picking, tricky chord progressions, or difficult rhythms.
If you’re ready, let’s get to it with this diverse collection of easy acoustic guitar songs you can start playing today.
My Picks of Easy Acoustic Guitar Songs
1. Riptide by Vance Joy
“Riptide” by Vance Joy was a popular single in 2013, and is still fairly well-known today. It’s a catchy tune that features the guitar and vocals. It’s been covered by many guitar teachers, and it’s pretty fun and easy to play.
This song can be played with a capo on the first fret using the chords Am, G, C, and F. The F chord is usually the hardest of the four to master, but this chord only shows up in the bridge so you’ll play it the least in the song. You can play “Riptide” open (without a capo) using the same chords.
Chords: Am, G, C, F
2. The Joker by Steve Miller Band
Steve Miller Band formed in the late 1960s in San Francisco. The band was originated by Steve Miller, and though he had found some success in earlier albums and songs, “The Joker” was and remains one of the band’s most famous songs.
This song is made up of only three chords, G, C, and D, making it a good choice for beginner guitar players. As with many songs on the guitar, there are more complicated versions of how to play, but a beginner can play a simple version of this song and it will sound close enough to the original that people can sing along.
Chords: G, C, D
3. The River by Bruce Springsteen
Bruce Springsteen a rock performer of the 1970s and 80s and beyond, is known as both a solo artist and as part of E Street Band. “The River” was a song he wrote as a tribute to his sister and brother-in-law. It was recorded in the 1970s, and the style of the song was inspired by country music star Hank Williams.
The song was originally recorded on a 12-string guitar, but it can be performed on a 6-string guitar with no issues. The chords are the same, it just has a slightly different sound without the six extra strings.
Although this song has five chords, all of them are easy beginner chords that are not difficult to transition through.
Chords: Em, G, D, C, Am
4. I Walk the Line by Johnny Cash
Johnny Cash, the iconic country music singer, is known for a number of hits. One of his most famous songs is “I Walk the Line”, the title of which inspired the 2005 movie about his life. Johnny Cash’s music is widely known and though he’s a country music star, he was also influenced by gospel, rock ‘n roll, and folk music.
“I Walk the Line” supposedly took Johnny Cash 20 minutes to write, and was released in 1956.
The song is played with only three easy chords, A, D, and E, but the introduction and strumming pattern will take some time to learn for a beginner guitar player.
Chords: A, D, E
5. Sweet Home Alabama by Lynyrd Skynyrd
“Sweet Home Alabama” has a guitar intro that is instantly recognizable. This song was released in 1974, but is still commonly heard on the radio and was featured in a number of movies including of course Sweet Home Alabama, as well as Forrest Gump, Joe Dirt, and Despicable Me.
This song uses chords G, D, C and it’s a good choice for early picking practice as there are many picking parts in this song. “Sweet Home Alabama” wouldn’t be the first song to learn to play on the guitar, but it’s a good choice for a developing beginner guitar player.
Chords: G, D, C
6. Eleanor Rigby by the Beatles
The Beatles are one of the most famous bands of all time. Hitting the scene in the 1960s, this band is responsible for a high number of hit songs. “Eleanor Rigby” is one of those hit songs released on their 1966 album Revolver.
The song was an ode to lonely people, primarily those who are elderly. The theme of the song is dismal, but the sound is catchy and experimental. “Eleanor Rigby” only uses two chords, and the strumming pattern is easy to pick up as well.
Chords: C, Em
7. Love Me Do by the Beatles
Looking for another Beatles classic to add to your repertoire? Why not try this easy acoustic guitar song “Love Me Do?” It’s another good beginner guitar song that’s fun to listen to and play.
This song has three chords that can be played with or without a capo. The original version is played with a capo, but the capo is placed in the 10th fret which can be a difficult play for beginners. Strumming for this song is simple and the pattern repeats throughout the song.
Chords: A, D, G
8. Bad Moon Rising by Creedence Clearwater Revival
Creedence Clearwater Revival is a rock band that hit its height of popularity in the 1960s and 70s. They’re best known for their hit songs “Down on the Corner,” “Fortunate Son,” “Up Around the Bend” and of course “Bad Moon Rising.”
“Bad Moon Rising” released in 1969, is an enjoyable song that will surely raise the mood when you start strumming your guitar. This song is really easy to play with simple strumming and three common chords that keep repeating.
Chords: D, A, G
9. Cigarette Daydreams by Cage the Elephant
Cage the Elephant, a band formed in Kentucky, began their rise to fame in the 2010s with songs like “Ain’t No Rest for the Wicked” and “Shake me Down.”
Another popular song “Cigarette Daydreams” is an easy guitar song you can master with a little practice. It does feature a few bar chords which are harder to pick up as a brand new guitar player, but you will repeat many of the same guitar chords which make it easier to learn. The strumming pattern is also attainable for the new guitar player.
This song may take a bit more practice than the three chord ones, but it’s still a good option for the new guitar player wanting to branch out and try something a little different.
Chords: D, Dmaj7, Em, G, A, Bm, F#m
10. Live and Die by the Avett Brothers
Avett Brothers are a folk band formed by…well two brothers. Though they had aspirations for being rock ‘n roll superstars, they found their home in folk and bluegrass performances with hints of rock ‘n roll mixed in. They’ve been releasing albums since the early 2000s, and continue to have a faithful following today.
“Live and Die,” a song off their 2012 album, Carpenter is a fairly easy song for beginner guitar players and is a good one to have under your belt if you enjoy modern folk songs.
If you want a tutorial from the artist themselves, here’s a video of Seth Avett teaching you how to play the song.
Chords: G, Bm, C, Em, D, Am, D7
11. Zombie by the Cranberries
Want an acoustic song with a completely different feel? Why not try out “Zombie” by the Cranberries. “Zombie” is an Irish protest song in response to the 1993 Warrington bombings.
This song repeats the same four chords, but creates a distinct mood and is enjoyable to learn how to play.
Chords: Em, Cmaj7, G, D
12. A Horse With No Name by America
America is a rock band formed in the 1970s known for their vocal harmonies and acoustic guitars. If you’re looking for an extremely easy beginner song, try “A Horse With No Name” by this band. It features a simple strumming pattern and only two simple chords.
Before you get too blown away by the D6/9/F# chord, don’t worry, it’s only two strings. The chord name might throw you for a loop, but it’s very very easy to play.
Chords: Em, D6/9/F#
13. La Bamba by Ritchie Valens
Once you start playing “La Bamba” by Ritchie Valens, you may not be able to get it out of your head, but this classic is easy to play and easily recognized by most adults.
You can play this song by simply strumming the chords, or you can pick out individual strings for a more stylized sound.
Chords: C, F, G
14. Wildest Dreams by Taylor Swift
Taylor Swift’s fame is undeniable, and her songs are catchy and fun to sing and play. “Wildest Dreams” from the album 1989 is a song about an ideal man but a relationship that is destined to eventually fail.
This song is played with a capo on the first fret, and five easy beginner chords. The strumming pattern is pretty straightforward as well.
Chords: C, Em, D, Am, G
Can I Really Learn These Songs as a Beginner?
One thing to understand about learning the guitar is that you can play along with some of the more difficult guitar songs without playing every trick or twang that you hear. In other words, there are easier versions to some of your favorite songs.
Another thing to know is that you might find different chord combinations depending on the website or YouTube video that you use. One reason for that is that you can play guitar songs in different keys. Or, you may choose to play with a capo or without one.
Some guitarists will show you how to play the song in the same key as the original artists, while others will show you easier versions played in a different key. This is often to accommodate beginners and allow them to play along with songs that are more complicated or that have harder to learn chords.
Keys can also be changed in order to make it easier to sing along with. Some singers have very high or very low voices which are nearly impossible to match for the average singer. When this happens it’s pretty common to change the key of the song.
So as you’re learning to play these songs you may be thinking, hey that doesn’t sound exactly like the original song. That’s OK. That’s part of the learning process of playing the guitar, and as your skills become more developed you can start adding in some of those harder techniques you’re hearing in your most beloved songs.
Most of all, as you pick up your guitar, find songs that you enjoy learning to play. The more you want to play them, the more you’ll be willing to put in the time and effort to learn them. Even if a song seems a bit out of your reach, if you’re really inspired to learn it, chances are you’ll be able to pick it up much faster than dredging through a tune you don’t care about.